As you may have guessed, my name is Andrea, and I try to use organic products as much as possible. Thus the name Organic Andrea.
I started this organic journey a few years ago when I started learning about all the harmful things that are being done to our food. First I learned about genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or genetically engineered (GE) ingredients. With that, I decided to clear out all foods in my house that were not organic that contained corn, soy and canola. There are other sources of GMOs, but I started with these three. You wouldn’t believe how many things in your pantry contain at least one, if not a combination, of these ingredients. When you finish reading this, go have a look in your pantry. If you are just beginning this journey, you will be amazed.
Times are tough, and many people are dealing with serious budgets. Belts are tightened. And many people think organic equals expensive. Well, that all depends. Here in my family, we are living on a seriously tight budget. There are four of us currently living on one humble salary. There is nothing extra. So believe me when I say that this can be done. The key is knowing where to shop for what. For instance, one of the local grocery chains recently raised the price of their one gallon of organic milk from $5.99 to $6.39. That’s a 40 cent hike. Well, Whole Foods is a bit farther out of my way, and I can only make it there once a week, but they still have their gallons of organic milk for $5.99. And if you buy 4 gallons at once, you save an extra 10%. If you go through a lot of milk a week, like we do, then that’s a nice bit of savings. Costco is also a great place to shop for organic foods. Different Costcos have different selections, but it doesn’t hurt to look and to ask if they can start carrying something you would like to buy. Whole Foods and Costco are my local go-to grocery shopping places. We also have Trader Joe’s and Fresh Market available locally, plus there are some farmer’s markets and other small organic stores. The problem is, with a full-time job and a family to take care of, who has time to run all over town on different days of the week to pick up this or that? I used to go to some of the farmer’s markets. I think they are great, but you never know what you’re going to get.
Another good resource for organic products is online shopping. My two favorites are Amazon.com and Vitacost.com. Always check both for what you are looking for, because there can be a huge price difference between the two. When I post recipes, I will tell you where I got which ingredients.
My goal with this blog is to help the everyday person move toward a more organic diet and lifestyle in a realistic way, without breaking the bank or having to eat dirt and twigs. There are lots of websites out there about organic living, and I have learned a lot from many of them. But my problem is that I don’t want to live on green drinks and a raw diet. That doesn’t work for me. I know people who love that. Unfortunately, I’m not one of them.
I urge you to read and learn as much as you can about the ingredients in your food, cosmetics, shower gel, toothpaste, deodorant, lotion, etc. Warning: once you start learning about all these things, you will do either one of two things: 1: Say, “Everything will kill you. You have to die from something. I’m not going to worry about it and just enjoy it while I have it.” or; 2: Freak out. Clear out the toxins, little by little or all at once, from your house, and start from scratch with organic and natural products. You will also probably continue to research and learn about more as you go.
If you fall into category 2, we can take this journey together. I have learned quite a bit over the past few years, and continue to learn. If you have any questions, please feel free to send me an email or comment at the end of the post. I will do my very best to help you and answer any questions that you may have. Just know that you don’t have to eat twigs and dirt!
On that note, here is an organic gluten free coconut recipe that is quick and easy. You will find out that I have a major sweet tooth and love to bake. Here’s a recipe for some coconut cookies. If you are one of those people who need gluten-free cookies, then you are in luck! Also, I am a freak about weighing ingredients, especially when baking. If you don’t have a digital kitchen scale, I highly recommend checking around for one. I got mine at Ross in the back where they have the kitchen stuff for about $15 several years ago. And it’s still going strong.
1/2 cup (5 oz.) organic sweetened condensed milk (Whole Foods)
1 1/2 to 2 cups (6 oz.) organic finely shredded cocount, unsweetened (Amazon.com “Let’s Do Organic” 8 oz. bags)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Those are the only two ingredients you need to make the cookies. However, I don’t know how to leave well enough alone, so I made a couple of different variations. If you like, you can just use those two things. Mix the sweetened condensed milk and coconut in a bowl until well combined and it starts to form a dough. I used my KitchenAid mixer with the paddle attachment. Grease your cookie sheets with organic coconut oil (Costco). Scoop your dough by teaspoonfuls, I used a teaspoon sized cookie scoop. They should be bite sized. Then bake them in the oven for 10 minutes total, turning them halfway through baking time so that they cook evenly.
Now, here are the variations that I made. On one recipe, I added two drops of lemon essential oil and 1/2 teaspoon of organic ground ginger to the mix. If you don’t have lemon essential oil, you can use 1/2 teaspoon of lemon extract or use some lemon zest, if you happen to have a fresh lemon. If you are going to use the lemon zest, make sure your lemon is organic. You have no idea what has been sprayed on the skin of non-organic lemons.
The other variation that I made was to add 1/4 cup of organic, raw cacao powder and 2 drops of orange essential oil. I ordered my cacao powder from Amazon.com. The brand is Healthworks, and it comes in a one-pound bag. It’s an amazing product. I love it! As with the lemon essential oil above, if you don’t have it, you can substitute orange extract or orange zest. Make sure your orange is organic if you use the zest.
Please let me know if you make they cookies and how you like them. Share any other variations you may come up with. I love sharing ideas!
I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday and a safe and happy New Year! Let’s make 2015 healthy, happy and organic!!