Thursday, October 24, 2013

Sweet Shop {My daughter's 9th birthday party}

One thing I am passionate about is avoiding artificial food dyes. It frustrates me that I find dyes in Children's medications, along with aspartame in some! Stop the madness.

One to the point...I decided to challenge myself and host a "sweet shop" themed birthday party for my daughter. This girl loves sugar! It's not easy to find clean candy options, but it's not impossible!

I knew throwing this party meant getting creative to find candy and treats that didn't have dyes.  My main goal was to NOT buy anything with dyes (Blue, Red, Yellow, Annatto, etc) and artificial sweeteners. I am pretty sure nothing contained Trans Fats too, which is a huge deal!

The party was a great success!

Here's the whole spread of treats!

 I made the cake pops!

Yummy Earth Brand

 Lovely Brand caramel/chocolate caramel chews Yummy Earth Brand lollipops, 
and Trader Joe's Brand taffy

Yummy Earth brand ginger zest hard candy, Lovely Brand fruit chews,
 and Trader Joe's chocolate covered sunflower seeds

Yummy Earth Brand hard candies

Jelly Belly brand jelly beans (mix of Snapple mix/Superfruit), Trader Joe's Chocolate mints, and Kroger/UNREAL brands mixed chocolate drops

 Whole Foods made the cupcakes. These colored with beets.

 Kroger Simple Truth brand

 Trader Joe's Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter cups and Spun City cotton candy

 G. H. Cretors Brand Chicago Mix popcorn (Costco)

Yummy Earth hard candies

I haven't sampled all of these candies yet, but I have liked all that I have tried.

We will be ordering the Roadside Rootbeer again when we run out. I also enjoyed the Wild Peppermint. My kids don't typically eat much candy at all (they get a small treat in their Planetbox treat spot daily). They also get some during movie nights at home or at the theater (of course I sneak in candy!). Vacation is another time we eat more than normal candy.

 I also enjoyed the Yummy Earth Hot Chili Lime pops. Spicy! The Lovely Brand caramels are DREAMY! A must try.

 You should have seen my daughter all "hyped" on candy that night. Even my best friend made a comment that she has never seen her act so wired....or weird. HA!

Here's a great source of natural candies. Just keep in mind that I don't know many candies that are completely "natural".

I managed to get all mine from Amazon (way better price on Yummy Earth & Lovely), Candy store at our mall (jelly beans), Trader Joe's, Kroger, and Home Goods. (I think that's all)

I typically would never buy anything with "natural color" or "natural flavor", but I did for this party. I think it's VERY hard not to when it comes to candy.

More info on Yummy Earth
More info on Lovely Candy Co

I'll leave you with this funny image. I guess that's her excited "sugar buzz" face! 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Food, Inc. {a documentary for change}

I will never forget sitting down to watch Food, Inc. for the first time in my life a few years ago. There was so little I knew at that point in my life about food. I lived on frozen Lean Cuisines, a lot of other frozen, highly processed foods, and Diet Coke. You know, convenience foods.

 I knew the first steps to me changing my life (and my family) was to get further educated on food. Fake foods vs real foods. How the food gets to my plate.

I learned so much from this film. Parts of it made me sick to my stomach. Parts of it made me cry.  Parts of it made me feel empowered and hopeless at the same time.  But, one thing is for sure, it changed the way I purchased food forever. It changed the way I view food at the supermarket and for that alone I feel blessed.

I am not sure if this link will work always, 
but here is a chance to watch the film for free online:

<<<<You can change the world with every bite you take. >>>>

 I have now watched Food, Inc. for a 3rd time and it never gets old. What has changed is how I live my life now after my first viewing of the documentary. 

Read Labels. Buy local when you can. Plant a garden. I do all of those things now.  It may not seem like a huge thing, but it is. We can make a difference.  
I encourage you to watch this film. 

I have never bought another Tyson or Perdue chicken since I watched this film.  I buy local whenever possible.  I eat way less meat in general. I can't tell you how much super cheap chicken I purchased prior to watching this film. It was a lot. 

Although "real" food is often more expensive, Michael Pollan says you either pay for real food now—or pay the doctor later. In 1960, Michael says 18 percent of our national income was spent on food, and only 5 percent on healthcare. Today, he says 9 percent of our income is spent on food and a whopping 17 percent on healthcare. "The less we spend on food, the more we spend on healthcare," he says. 

I am not going to tell you everything that is in the film because I want you to take the time to watch it.  Please watch it.