10 Fruits & Vegetables You Should Buy Organic

organic fruit and veggetables

Would you knowingly feed your family a juicy serving of DDT or a crisp bite of a toxic pesticide? Didn’t think so. But many of us unknowingly do this everyday when we serve our family their healthy servings of fresh fruits and vegetables. “But I thought DDT was banned in the US?” You ask. Well, yes- you’re right. However , even though uses of DDT and other toxic pesticides have banned in the US for over 20 years, they can still be absorbed from the soil our fruits and veggies grow in.

And although the traces of these toxins may be minimal in the foods you eat, children (and pregnant women) are in more danger due to the amount the consume and childrens’ small body mass. So, please buy certified organic when you can.

Here is a list of 10 fruits and vegetables you should consider always buying organic when feeding them to your family.

Tip: Check your local farmers’ market for your produce needs! Their fruits and vegetables typically are pesticide free, cost less, and are more fresh! Bonus: you’ll be supporting your local farmers!

Peaches

Summer’s blushing fruit contains high residues of iprodione, classified as a probable human carcinogen by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and methyl parathion, an endocrine disruptor and organophosphate (OP) insecticide. Methyl parathion has caused massive kills of bees and birds. According to Consumer Reports, single servings of peaches “consistently exceeded” EPA’s safe daily limit for a 44-pound child.

Apples

Apples may contain methyl parathion. Both fresh apples and baby food applesauce can also contain chlorpyrifos, an OP which has caused large bird kills. CORE Values IPM apple growers are trying to phase out OPs.

Pears

Pears, both fresh and in baby food, can also come with methyl parathion, as well as the OP azinphos-methyl, which is toxic to freshwater fish, amphibians and bees.

Winter Squash

Dieldrin, a chlorinated, carcinogenic insecticide, exceeded the safe daily limit for a young child in two-thirds of positive samples. Another potent carcinogen, heptachlor, also showed up. DDT and its breakdown product, DDE, were detected in baby food squash.

Green Beans

Green Beans can contain acephate, methamidophos and dimethoate (three neurotoxic OPs), and endosulfan, an endocrine-disrupting insecticide, which showed up in baby food, too. Acephate disorients migrating birds, throwing them off course.

Grapes

U.S. grapes contain methyl parathion and methomyl, a carbamate insecticide listed as an endocrine disruptor; imports may contain dimethoate.

Strawberries

The enhanced red color of strawberries comes from the fungicide captan, a probable human carcinogen that can irritate skin and eyes, and is highly toxic to fish. While the lethal soil fumigant methyl bromide doesn’t show up on the fruit, it has harmed California farm workers, and depletes the ozone layer.

Raspberries

Watch out for more than thorns! These berries can contain captan, iprodione and carbaryl, a suspected endocrine disruptor that has also been found in plum baby food

Spinach

Permethrin, a possible human carcinogen, and dimethoate dominate spinach’s toxicity ratings, but CU notes that residue levels have been declining as U.S. farmers reduce use of these insecticides. DDT has been found in spinach, which leads all foods in exceeding safety tolerances.

Potatoes

Pesticide use on potatoes is growing, CU warns. They may contain dieldrin and methamidophos, and children eating potatoes risk getting a very high dose of aldicarb, CU says.

Plus 2 more:

Note: In an update to its 1999 report, Consumers Union announced two more foods high in chlorpyrifos or other pesticide residues: tomatoes and cantaloupe.

Descriptions of pesticides from CHEC’s Healthhouse

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DIY Birthday Decor

The next time you find yourself planning a child’s birthday party, try one of these DIY decor ideas before you hit the store for those old crepe streamers.

Party Napkins

Instead of buying printed party napkins, try this DIY party idea:

  • Purchase solid colored party napkins to match your party decor.
  • Choose a shape to cut out that matches your party theme
  • Make a template of your shape using card stock.
  • Trace template onto napkin, then cut around design (cut through 3-4 napkins at once to save time).

Birthday Banner

Make your own birthday banner to match any birthday theme and/or color. You can really get creative with this idea since the fonts, letters, and colors are completely up to you.

  • Choose a piece of colored ribbon to hang your banner on (or any type of string or twine will work).
  • Print individual letters out from your computer (one letter per sheet) increasing font size to fill up page.
  • Repeat above until your completed message is printed
  • Attach pages to ribbon by folding over top and securing with tape. Then simply hang!

Tip: Alternate between different fonts and colors when printing out your message for a whimsical effect like shown above.

photos from Martha Stewart Crafts
Leave a comment and share you simple DIY birthday ideas with us!
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3 Simple Ways to Go Green

2008 seemed to be all about “going green” and for good reason….we must change some of our habits. Whether you are a green advocate or a so-so about the movement, there are a few small things we can all do that will make a big impact.

1. Ditch the “Paper & the Plastic” and opt for reusable grocery sacs. If you collect a few here and there (usually cost as little as $1.00 each) you will have plenty to use. I suggest you leave them in your car so they are handy for those quick trips into the store. Bonus: You’ll be carrying in fewer bags because the cloth hold so much more!

2. Turn off your computer at night. I am very guilty of not doing this, but I vow to change in 2009! Why waste so much energy by keeping your computer running all night long? In reality, your computer will run better with time to rest.

3. Use green cleaners. So many people I know are hesitant to change from their regular cleaners to all-natural ones. You really can clean anything with combos and variation of vinegar, baking soda, and lemon. Check out one homemade green cleaner here. Not ready to mix up your own? Try eco-friendly cleaners like Method and Seventh Generation which cost no more than their toxic counterparts.

These are just three simple tips to going a bit green. Please, share with us changes you have made!

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Room Color Inspiration

While reading through Domino, one of my favorite mags, I was inspired by their Paint Palette Combo Gallery. Maybe I was so inspired because I love color…or perhaps because I will be moving a redecorating soon– regardless, here are a few of my favorite color combos!

Bold Orange & Brown

Blue & Beige

Sophisticated Grays

I hope that these photos inspire you to play with color next time you find yourself painting! You can head over to Domino Mag for more fab paint combos and also get the specific paint names shown here.

Share with us: What color combos do you love?

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Four Festive, Fun and Simple Martini Recipes!

Four festive martinis that are oh so yummy and SIMPLE to make!

Pomegranate Raspberry Martini

3 parts Stirrings Pomegranate Martini Mixer
2 parts raspberry vodka
Garnish: Drop a couple fresh raspberries into each glass

Shake Over ice. Pour into martini glass and garnish with berries.

Lemon Drop Martini Recipe

6 parts lemon-flavored vodka
1 part dry vermouth
Granulated sugar
Lemon twist

Rim a chilled cocktail glass with granulated sugar (optional). Shake over ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with lemon twist.

Champagne Martini recipe

2 Parts Champagne
1 part CointreauĀ® orange liqueur

Shake over ice. Strain into martini glass. Garnish (optional) with fresh fruit of your choice.

Apple Martini

2 oz. Vodka
1/2 oz. Apple Pucker Schnapps or,
1/2 oz. Apple Juice or Cider

Shake over ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Garnish with an Apple Slice

Hostess Tip:

To keep your hostess duties stress-free, I suggest you chose a festive drink recipe to serve during your party (at the most two) rather than making several different drinks to serve. This will make your bar-tending duties much easier. Also, if you plan to serve a martini recipe, you can make a large batch of drinks ahead of time in a glass pitcher (just measure in cups rather than shots) then when guests arrive you can just stir, and pour into the shaker when needed. SIMPLE!

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Holiday Decor Inspiration: Cranberries

With so many different ways to decorate your home for the holiday, I suggest trying to pick something that you love (could be a color, a theme, or an item) and streamline your holiday home decor around it. Your holiday decor will appear more thought-out and really pop. We loved these holiday decor ideas we found at BHG all inspired by cranberries!

Simple Mantle Decor: Fill glass cylinders with fresh cranberries and white candles. Use different height cylinders and candles for interest.

Cranberry garland decor

String cranberries to make a festive garland. Attach to mantle with small hooks.

Outdoor Holiday Decor

Take the cranberry decor outside! Line your porch or front step with cranberries atop fake snow in a glass cylinder or other vase.

Crannberry table decor

Carry on the theme by freezing Cranberries into ice cubes to keep your holiday spirits cold.

Cranberry Wreath

Simple way to make a bold statement! Glue cranberries to a cardboard cut out of your families last initial. {Tip} Many craft stores sell cardboard letters in various sizes that are very affordable.

Cranberry Centerpieces

Cranberry centerpieces: Glue Cranberries to foam spheres of different sizes. Display atop candle holders, vases, or cake stands.

Do you use cranberries as decor? Share with us your tips. Or let us know what other “theme” inspires you!

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