How Toxic Is Your Child’s Car Seat?

car-seat-hazardsWe all know that child car seats are designed to protect and shield our little ones from the dangers and hazards of driving on the road, but what about the dangers of the chemicals used to make them. By law, all safety seats in the US are required to be made with fire retardant materials, but the toxicity of some of the chemicals that manufacturers use to achieve this can be alarming. A recent study found that nearly three quarters of the child seats being sold today contain some form of potentially hazardous flame retardant chemicals. This may mean that while your child may be safe from the forces of a crash, you may be unknowingly exposing them to something that may pose a health risk down the line.

This may be shocking to hear at first, because we all try to do the best for our children to protect them and keep them healthy, but all is not lost. There are some child seat makers that have recognized that the use of these types of chemicals in their seats is not the best practice and their are some models that are safer than others in this regards. We found a few options for parents that may be concerned about this issue and want a safer alternative for their children to ride in on a daily basis.

Car Seats With The Least Exposure

Below are just some of the manufacturers that have taken steps to reduce or eliminate the use of the more harmful flame retardant chemicals in their seats.

Britax

Surprisingly, the Britax seats that were test were proven to be some of the safer options on the market. They contained the lowest level of chemicals and offered the lowest level of risk to children. This is surprising because they are also one of the biggest and most popular brands out there with some of the best rated convertible car seats that you can buy. Since their car seats are so readily available online, this gives parents a good option at more budget friendly price points. Of the child seats that test best, Britax makes the most affordable models so you will not have to break the bank to find a lower toxic seat.

Three of Britax’s car seats were test, 2 booster seats and 1 convertible safety seat, and they scored the best with the lowest amount of exposure risk according to the study.

Clek Foonf Convertible Seat

Not only is this a safe seat as far as crash protection, but it also scored better than the other seats test, other than Britax. The one downside about this Clek seat is that it is rather expensive. For anyone on a tight budget this will probably not be an option as they typically run north of $400. However, if you can afford its price tag then the Foonf is definitely worth the price. It is generally highly rated by owners.

Main Areas of Concern

The two main areas of a car seat that get treated with chemicals is the seat cover and the underling foam. Some seats may not treat their covers with flame retardants but their foam may contain them. Of the 15 seats that were tested, the Britax and Clek scored the best and if you are truly concerned about exposing your child to the potential dangers of these chemicals then they are probably going to your best options at this time. None of the seats were completely chemical free, but these two had the lowest amounts and represent the safest choices currently available. Graco, Baby Trend, and Orbit scored the worst. Orbit has actually gotten some bad press from this study as one of its main selling points was how safe it was in this area.

Hopefully as more parents become aware of this issue, the more attention car seat manufacturers will pay to the chemicals they use. It is a major selling point and we don’t see why this should not become a trend, especially for price that some of the current seats on the market go for. If you currently have a car seat and are concerned about this hazard then one alternative is to replace the cover with something organic and chemical-free. This will be a less expensive method than buying a whole new seat that help reduce your child’s exposure.

 

 

Mashed Potato Mondays

Organic mashed potato recipesThanksgiving is a time to cast back on many of our blessings, but it is also a great excuse to indulge is some homemade mashed potatoes. So to help you make use of some of the organic potatoes that you may have picked up we will show you an easy way to take advantage of the great taste that can deliver. They are pretty simple to make, but still there is a unique art in getting them perfect. Not too heavy, or airy, with just enough cream, pepper, salt and butter. Everyone seems to have their preferred way of making mashed potato recipes. Some like it creamier and smoother, some want a twist to their old favorite. Some cook them with the peel on, some without. Some add a little water to them for extra starch. But the key for making perfect heavenly mashed potato recipes is the kind of potatoes you use. People mostly prefer starchy Russets for such recipes. With their low water and high starch content, they are excellent for mashing and baking.

But why just be content with the plain old variety? Why not try to change things up a bit and get a little adventurous with the recipes below. You don’t have to settle for ordinary.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

This is often the go to altnernative for a lot of folks to plain Jane mashed potatoes. Garlic adds a nice accent and delivers the right kick of flavor. Bring a touch of nostalgia to your dinner table with this recipe. It is extremely rich and tasty.

For the recipe, boil a large pot of water.

Add 8 quartered and peeled potatoes to it. Boil for approximately 30 minutes until soft.

Drain and place them in a large bowl.

Next, combine potatoes with 1 cup milk, 50 gram milk and pinch of salt and pepper.

For a thick consistency, you can also use cream instead of milk.

Mix all the ingredients together with an electric beater or mixer. Set to a desired consistency. Top with chopped onions. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons sesame seeds over it and serve.

Irish Potato Champ

Great on its own, this delicious dish is served steaming hot. It is prepared by blending onions with creamy mashed potatoes. It is served with extra butter that melts through the dish.

For the recipe, place 1 kg peeled potatoes in a large pot. Fill the pot with enough water to cover. Cook for approximately 25 minutes until tender. Drain the water and return to low heat.

Allow the potatoes to dry out for a couple of minutes. Meanwhile heat 250 ml milk and 1 bunch thinly sliced onions in a pan.

Next, mash the potatoes, add salt and 50 g butter.

Mix together all the ingredients until smooth. Stir in the milk and onion until uniformly mixed. Sprinkle freshly ground black pepper. Serve hot in bowls.

Mashed Potato Cake

This is a pancake style cake. It is simple, buttery and tasty. All the cake lovers can enjoy this golden soft potato cake.

Firstly, preheat the oven to 250 C.

Mix 400 g mashed potatoes with 100 g melted butter. To this mixture, add 225 g plain flour.

Mix all the ingredients properly to form a thick dough.

Empty this mixture on to a work top and roll out to approximately 1.5 cm thick.

Cut into 10 to 14 squares.

Now place on a baking tray. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes until golden brown. Drizzle with walnuts and serve.

Mashed potatoes are a simple accompaniment to any food or meal and really easy and quick to make. These sumptuous recipes are crowd pleasing option too, for any event or occasion. So try your hand a bit at mashed potato cooking now!

There are tons of ways to experiment with organic potatoes as mashed potato recipes are quite abundant. There is no reason to have the same thing two days in a row if you are willing to try something new. For those that prefer to have the skin left on their potatoes check out his wonderful recipe for redskin mashed potatoes.

How To Better Enjoy The Taste Of Broccoli

broccoliLet’s face it, broccoli is usually the least favorite vegetable for a lot of people. It does not have a lot of taste and eating it raw can be quite a chore. But if you are going to take advantage of what organic vegetables have to offer then getting to know and love broccoli is something you should embrace.  Below are some recipes that you can try that will enhance, mask and transform broccoli into something that you may actually enjoy eating.

Broccoli is one of the most beneficial vegetables we can add to our diets. It is a powerful antioxidant, high in vitamin D that works to immune your body against toxins while giving you that added calcium kick your bones so desperately need. Learning to incorporate this nutritional powerhouse into your everyday meals will help you keep your family healthy for years to come.

Bacon Broccoli

Seriously, adding bacon to just about anything will make it taste 100% better, so here is a recipe that takes advantage of the goodness of bacon.

Ingredients:

2 heads of broccoli, chopped

10 slices of bacon, quartered

1 cup of old cheddar cheese, shredded

1/2 white onion, chopped

1/3 cup red wine vinegar

3 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 tbsp brown sugar

2 tsp ground black pepper

1 tsp sea salt

Directions:

Cut bacon into slices and lay out on a deep dish frying pan. Turn onto medium heat, and cook for 5 minutes on one side, then turn.

Chop broccoli, onion, and garlic.

Shred cheddar, and put it to the side.

Add onion and garlic into the pan with the bacon. When the onion begins to brown, add the chopped broccoli and cover with a lid.

Stir occasionally until broccoli begins to soften and the bacon fat is absorbed. If there is an excess of bacon fat, pour it out for disposal.

Turn the heat down low and sprinkle on brown sugar. Pour in red wine vinegar while rapidly string with a wooden spoon.

When the vinegar is absorbed, turn off heat. Pour broccoli into a serving bowl and fold in shredded cheddar.

Sprinkle with sea salt and ground pepper before serving.

Spicy Broccoli Snack & Dip

Ingredients:

1 head of broccoli, chopped

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp maple syrup

1 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp ginger spice

1 tsp ground pepper

1 cup plain yogurt

1 tsp hot sauce

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Chop broccoli into one inch cubes and put into a mixing bowl. Pour in the olive oil, maple syrup, chilli powder, sea salt, ginger spice and ground pepper. Toss the ingredients until the broccoli is well covered.

Spread the broccoli evenly over the cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Take them out to turn, and cook for another 15 minutes.

Mix yogurt and hot sauce in a small serving dish.

When broccoli is done cooking, allow to sit and cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Broccoli Breakfast Muffins

We know, it sounds weird to have muffins and broccoli in the same sentence, but this is actually a very tasty combo.

Ingredients:

1 head of broccoli, chopped

6 slices of bread

1/4 red onion, chopped

3 eggs

1 cup feta cheese

3 tbsp butter

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Chop broccoli and add to a stove top pot with enough water to cover the broccoli. Turn the heat on high, and allow the broccoli to boil until soft.

Strain broccoli, and add back into pot. Add eggs and mash broccoli.

Chop onions and feta cheese. Mix into broccoli and eggs.

With a rolling pin, flatten bread at thin as possible. Butter both sides of the bread, and cut in half diagonally.

Fold half slices of bread into a muffin tray, making a cup. Squish the bread into the walls of the tin if necessary.

Using a large spoon, fill the bread cups with the broccoli mixture.

Cook in the oven for 20-30 minutes. Use a fork to check to see if egg is cooked thoroughly before serving.

Broccolii Dip

Another way to enjoy this veggie is to mix it with other ingredients and use it as a delightful dip for chips or other veggies.

Ingredients:

1 head broccoli, chopped

3 stems of fresh basil, chopped

1/2 cup almonds, chopped

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1/3 cup plain yogurt

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp ground pepper

1/2 lemon, juiced

Directions:

Finely chop a head of broccoli and add to a food processor with 1/2 cup of chopped almonds.

Squeeze in the juices of half a lemon, and add yogurt to food processor. Blend well.

Add chopped basil, minced garlic, sea salt and pepper to taste.

Low Fat Broccoli Salad

Of course the most traditional way to eat broccoli is to throw it into a salad and drench it with your favorite unhealthy, creamy dressing. Here might be a slightly healthier take on that idea.

Ingredients:

1 head broccoli, chopped

3 carrots, shaved

1/4 red onion, chopped

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup pine nuts

1 tsp sesame seeds

1/2 cup raisins

1 tsp honey

1 tsp mustard

1 tsp olive oil

Directions:

Chop broccoli into small bite size pieces and put into a salad bowl.

Shave carrots, chop onions and halve tomatoes. Add to salad bowl with broccoli and mix in pine nuts and raisins.

In a small jar, mix balsamic vinegar, honey, mustard and olive oil. Put a lid on it and shake vigorously. Drizzle over broccoli while mixing constantly.

Sprinkle sesame seeds over salad and serve.

Adding It To Your Diet

No matter how you decide to incorporate broccoli into your diet, the bottom line is that you should do what you can to eat more of it. It is a great source of numerous vitamins and it is very high in Calcium and other things that can have positive impacts on the body. Even if the taste is a little bland, the health benefits of broccoli cannot be denied.  It may not be tasty, but it can be if you get creative.

For yet another broccoli recipe, we found this delightful video below.