#CrunchyKitchens Instagram Challenge – Game on

Welcome to the first day of August everybody, which besides being my birthday month, is also the start of our first ever “Crunchy Kitchens” instagram challenge, which Willy B Mum is co-hosting with a few other green-inspired Mummy Blogs. If you haven’t heard about the Challenge head over to our informational post for additional details!

Crunchy Kitchens Instagram Challenge Giveaways

The Crunchy Kitchens Instagram Challenge will run for the entire month of August, so in reflection of that, all of our giveaways will be a month-long, starting today. And, to make things easier, we have compiled all the giveaways on this same post, instead of bombarding you with many separate posts.

Below, you will find a little bit about each giveaway prize as well as the form to enter each contest on. There are 7 giveaways in all, so make sure that you scroll the whole way through.

Do not forget to make sure to come back daily so that you can enter your different Instagram pictures! Every day you participate in the Crunchy Kitchens Instagram Challenge is an extra entry for the giveaways.

01. A $25 Gift Certificate from Strawesome

Crunchy Kitchens Instagram Challenge Giveaways

Here at Willy B Mum, we love all straws that are not plastic and are reusable, and this includes glass straws from Strawesome. Did you know that it is estimated by environmental groups that close to 500 million, yes I said 500 million, straws are used just in the United States each day. By using reusable straws, one can reduce the number of single-use plastic-ness from sitting in landfills toxifying our soils, or worse still, rubbishing our waterways and woodlands. If you want to read about the harmful effects of single-use straws you can read an article we recently posted HERE.

Strawesome straws come in a wide array of colors and designs, and this is surely one giveaway worth winning!

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02. Trio of Mina Harissa Hot Sauces

Crunchy Kitchens Instagram Challenge Giveaways

Mina Harissa  pepper sauces are made of 6 simple all-natural ingredients; red chilli pepper, red bell (capsicum) pepper, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, vinegar and salt. These traditional Moroccan hot sauces compliment all kinds of dishes, like a recipe we posted recently – Morrocan Carrot Salad. So simple and so perfect. Mina sauces are a flavorsome addition to any kitchen.

Want to win a variety 3 pack of MINA pepper sauce to try out for yourself? Enter below to win our giveaway including the Spicy Red, Mild Red and Spicy Green pepper sauces. Valued at about $27.

3 lucky winners will win this prize, yes we said 3 winners on this one!

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03. Sili Squeeze reusable Pouches

Crunchy Kitchens Instagram Challenge Giveaways


Sili Squeeze make practical reusable pouches that are perfect for use at home or on-the-go. The pouches are made of silicone and 100% toxin-free materials, they are also designed with a spill proof sprout – love that! Reusable products, mean less waste going into landfills which helps us all to “Keep It Green” as much as we can. They are designed to last for years with a growing child, saving money every time one is refilled with baby food, smoothies and more.

Enter to win a set of 4oz and 6oz Sili Squeeze Pouches in apple red!

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04. $50 Gift Certificate to Snackaby

Crunchy Kitchens Instagram Challenge Giveaways

Snackaby creates reusable snack bags that are the perfect solution for reducing plastic bags in your home! Snackaby bags are made of food-safe materials that can easily be cleaned by hand or the dishwasher. Snackaby makes more than just snack bags, they also make sandwich bags, lunch sets, wraps and totes. Not forgetting their wet bags, which we are looking forward to using at the beach on our family summer holiday soon.

Replace the plastic bags, and enter to win this Snackaby gift certificate!

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05. $50 Gift Certificate to Mighty Nest


Mighty Nest is a company that strives to sell only the best products which are made up of  non-toxic materials. Mighty Nest interview all manufacturers about their product ingredients, manufacturing processes and safety testing to make sure each product they endorse meets their strict guidelines. They do all the hard work for us for us so we do not have too, and therefore one can rest assured about purchase choices. This saves so much time, so we have more time to do things like the laundry and the dishes. Ha! You will find a range of natural kitchen products at Mighty Nest from water bottles, to cookware, to food storage systems. They have so many beautiful things.

Enter to win this Mighty Nest gift certificate to add some more natural awesomeness to your kitchen!

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06. $20 Gift Certificate to Bambu

Crunchy Kitchens Instagram Challenge Giveaways

has a whole collection of all things bamboo. Whether it is amazing cutting boards, eating utensils, or serving bowls; Bambu has you covered. This certified organic company is all about producing less waste and helping our earth stay green, and we love them for that.

You know you want some bamboo in your kitchen. Enter below to win some.

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07. 1lb bag of Wholesome Sweeteners organic Palm Sugar

Crunchy Kitchens Instagram Challenge Giveaways


Wholesome Sweeteners Coconut Palm Sugar is a healthier choice when it comes to sweeteners. It’s lower in calories and glycemic index. Wholesome Sweeteners is committed to producing their coconut palm sugar sustainably so rest assures that there is no need to worry about any environmental issues.

Add a bit of this great natural sweetener to your life and enter the giveaway!

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Thanks for stopping by Willy B Mum. We hope you win prizes in this giveaway.

Peace, Love and Crunchy Kitchens Make The World Go Around!

This contest will run through August 31, 2014 at 11:59 pm EST (8:59 pm PST). The winner will be chosen the following day and announced on the blogs through Rafflecopter, once winner has been confirmed. No purchase necessary. Must be 18 years or older to win. Open to US only. 
This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. You understand that you are providing your information to the blogs and not to Facebook.
Please note that  the blogs are not responsible for sponsors that do not fulfill their prizes. We have represented each sponsor with the expectation they will fulfill their prize and in a timely manner. We will contact the sponsor regarding your prize(s). The sponsors, in most cases, are shipping their items to you directly. I will make every effort to assist you obtaining your prize. If there is an issue with a sponsor, please notify the blog you won a prize from within 4-6 weeks for assistance, after that we may be unable to assist you.

Third Street Non-GMO Organic tea (giveaway)

The benefits of drinking the ancient elixir of tea are rumored to be many, being an efficient way to take in nutrients & antioxidants from plants we share this Planet with. From helping with diseases, weight-loss, and comforting the soul, it is a wonderful addition to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

My 3-year-old and I enjoy drinking tea. My Son especially likes fresh-cut mint tea, from our garden upstate New York, with some local raw honey. Personally, I am a big fan of Red Clover tea at the moment, which I wild-harvest from our land. However, the warmer months will soon pass, the snow will visit again, and we will not have the option to make straight-from-the-garden cold iced tea. Sure we can still make it from dried herbs, but if we are on-the-go we need a brand we can trust to get our tea fix. A brand who is making a good product which we agree with. And, that means; made with organic and non-gmo ingredients.

Third Street – a Colorado-based maker of premium, sustainable beverages – just introduced a line of organic, fair-trade, non-GMO and gluten-free ice teas which is right up our alley.
Available in 14 oz. sizes, these single-serve, ready-to-drink beverages include refreshing black and green teas from the lush region of Nilgiri, India, which are then micro-brewed in Colorado.

Serving tea to your children is a way better option than sodas for sure, and juice too (dependent on the situation). As a mother, sometimes I do not want to give Miles Storm fruit juice because of the sugar (natural or not), and water seems like it may be a little boring for him?

Third Street Tea has a few pros to help navigate through this; all of their beverages are either sugar-free or low in sugar content. The lemonade does not contain caffeine and the iced teas are very low in caffeine, between 10-30 grams per serving. To put that into perspective, there is anywhere between 34 mg – 55 mg of caffeine in a 12 ounce can of soda. By adding iced tea to a majority part of sparkling water, you can cut the sugar and caffeine even more. We also love the fun leopard packaging! So adorable.


Want to win a delicious 4-pack tea sampling from Third Street to try out for yourself? Well today is your lucky day! Enter below to win four 14 oz. bottles of Unsweetened Green Tea, Unsweetened Black Tea, Slightly Sweet Green and Half & Half Lemonade. If you are the winner, Third Street will ship you the prize, direct from their warehouse, as soon as possible.

This giveaway ends at 12AM on Thursday the 7th of August, and is open to USA residents only.
Otherwise, Third Street Tea, is available at Whole Food locations across the country, retailing at around $2 a bottle.

Good Luck, and thanks for stopping by Willy B Mum.

Peace, Love and Plants Make the World Go Around!

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#CrunchyKitchens Instagram Photo Challenge

Instagram is an online mobile photo-sharing, video-sharing and social networking service that enables its users to take pictures and videos, apply digital filters to them, and share them on a variety of social networking services, such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Flickr — WIkipedia

Here at Willy B Mum, we are very excited to be co-hosting and participating in our first ever Instagram Challenge with a few other top green-inspired Mummy Blogs. The challenge starts in a few days on Friday August the 1st, so mark your calendar and get excited.

Photo challenges are a wonderful way to meet new people on Instagram, spread the word about things you love, and challenge yourself. If you have never participated in an Instagram challenge, why not join in and show us some support; it can be a first for both of us.

Here are all the details……

What: An Instagram Challenge themed around “crunchy” natural kitchens
When: Every single day in August
Where: On Instagram, of course
Why: As mentioned above, Instagram challenges are a wonderful way to meet like-minded people, challenge yourself, share things you love and spread awareness. In this case, what natural real-life kitchens look like! You also have the chance to win prizes for sharing with us


  • Take a daily picture of your interpretation of the prompt and post it
  • Include the hashtag: #crunchykitchens in each post so that your photo can be found easily
  • Check out the other participants’ photos under the #crunchykitchens thread to see what they are posting. Make sure to leave a comment here or there, this way everybody has fun and feels loved

Need some inspiration. Top left & clockwise, here are some images from the Willy B Mum instagram feed; Snack, Natural, Organic and Store

Need some inspiration. Top left & clockwise, here are some images from the Willy B Mum instagram feed; Snack, Natural, Organic and Store


We have real food, natural kitchen related giveaways from our generous sponsors which is super exciting. Take note though, to enter the actual giveaways you will have to enter here on WillyBMum.com. As long as you are following us on instagram @WillyBMum, we will make sure you know when the giveaways happen and where to enter – all good!


  • Save the graphic to your phone so that you’ll have easy access to the daily prompts
  • You can participate whether your account is set to private or public however we will not be able to see your submissions unless your account is public. Daily submissions for the giveaways will need to be public, and not private, so we can verify. You can always change your account back to private after the challenge

Make Sure: Follow the hosts on instagram: @thepistachioproject, @akfabry, @willybmum@measuringflower and our generous sponsors: @bestrawesome@mina, @snackaby @wholesomesweet, @silikristinannie@mightynest @bambuliving

Feel free to help us spread the word, the more people who participate in this the merrier – grab the button below and share it on your website.

Thanks for Stopping by Willy B Mum. Please post here if you have a question, we are happy to help.

Peace, Love and Crunchy Kitchens Make the World Go Around!

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In the garden with a Happy Caterpillar

Gardening is a wonderfully messy way for children to engage in an enlightening and healthy pastime. It is also one of the most important skills a child can obtain, period. As a family, it is a bonding and rewarding experience which starts with the excitement of choosing the plants from seed, then learning how to nurture and manage the ground as plants grow, and ending with a harvest of homegrown goodness which all can sit down to enjoy as a meal together.

My almost-4-year-old Son has been in our food garden each summer since he was born. I am very proud to write that he recognizes many flowers and plants, being able to point them out quiet easily; kale, mint, rosemary, red clover, tomatoes, dandelion, chicory, chamomile, basil, corn and sunflowers are all familiar to him. Some of those plants he will even be able to tell you what they are good for, such as red clover is good to drink in a tea. As his Mother, I spend as much time as I can passing my growing knowledge of plants on to him. I think it is so important, especially after I read this disturbing article about how preschoolers are able to recognize corporate signs before they are able to read and I just have to wonder, how many of those children recognize as many plants. Unfortunately, probably not many.


Unlike previous Summers, where Miles Storm was content just being with my husband and I pottering around looking at things while we were working in the garden, this year he expressed that he wanted to participate in the garden with us. Huge Step, but we did not have any gardening tools for him to use, so I started researching brands to find him the perfect set.

I eventually found, an Australian company Happy Caterpillar, who make a really cute gardening set which is made of natural products; I am very anti-plastic. The Green Fingers Gardening Set comes with a canvas tote, which is resistant to UV light, stretching, shrinking, and mildew, to carry the tools to and from the garden (plus any extra toys my Son wants to take with him). The 3 mini tools (shovel, trowel, and cultivator) have blunt edges — very important — and are perfect for little hands.

We believe that children need to explore the world around them, and gardening in the backyard is a great and safe way to start the adventure. By exploring the world for themselves, children gain confidence and learn that they can be independent and can tackle challenges. Gardening also teaches children about nature, the seasons, and the bugs and plants that inhabit their backyard and that it’s also fun to play in the dirt and get messy — Happy Caterpillar

IMG_1106I was especially comforted to know, that Happy Caterpillar was started by Father. James Robinson, who has 2 adorable daughters of his own spends a lot of time in the garden with his young family. He believes, and I wholeheartedly agree, that “it’s really important for kids to get their hands dirty in the backyard, and dig holes, plant flowers and veggies”.

Our budding gardener, was very excited when his gardening set came in the mail, like really excited! And, as you can see from the photos, is out in the sunshine very focused and confident, digging holes and planting sunflowers. I am very excited also, as it means less work for his Father and I!



81CIIVcEONL._SL1500_Want to win a Happy Caterpillar Green Fingers Gardening Set for the Little One/s in your life? Enter below to win our giveaway of 1 of 2 Gardening Sets which include 3 tools and a canvas tote. Valued at about $19. If you are one of the 2 winners, we will ship you the prize as soon as possible.

This giveaway ends at 12AM on Wednesday the 30th of July and is open to USA residents only. Otherwise, no matter what part of the World, you can order online from Amazon HERE.

Good Luck, and thanks for stopping by Willy B Mum.

Peace, Love and Plants Make the World Go Around!

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Keeping Safe in the Great Outdoors of New York State

Now that summer is here, we look for ways to spend time with our children and our families. Getting out in nature is a refreshing way to re-energize, re-center, and re-engage with our loved ones. New York City offers a wide variety of settings where you can feel a little bit closer to nature. However, go just outside the city’s gates and you will find rich landscapes blanketed with forests and sprinkled with lakes.

New York State hosts a variety of flora and fauna. To a novice this may make journeying into the great outdoors somewhat daunting, especially when we read news about the danger of ticks, mosquitos, lions, tigers, and bears (oh my!). It’s amazing that anyone would take their family into such wild and unpredictable places. However with a little ole fashioned know-how, you can leave your worries behind. Being prepared is the best way to ensure a safe and fun family experience.

Bartolozzi_NycAdventureMom-excited mom and remThe big three…

1. Ticks:
Keep it simple. Treat all ticks the same.  The reality is that ticks carry harmful “stuff” that they can transmit to people. Prevention is best. Wear long pants tucked into your socks, or high socks. The lighter the color the better so you can see them. Spray your shoes with insect repellent. I use Badgers Anti-Bug Sunscreen for my daughter because it has natural Citronella and Cedar to repel insects. Ticks like to crawl up, so frequently check yourself along the way.

You can find further information: HERE

2. Poison Ivy:
Poison Ivy grows almost anywhere and comes in many different sizes and colors, which can make identification difficult. However, like I tell my mommies and kiddies “Leaves of three, let it be. Hairy vine, no friend of mine.” Color can range from pale to deep green, dull or shiny, even reddish in the spring and fall. On some plants, you will see a reddish color in the center where the three leaves join. Vines can trail along the ground or meander up tree trunks, ranging in thickness from pencils to forearms. Poison Ivy is the only vine-covered in reddish hairs. Recognizing Poison Ivy can save you from an itchy rash, which is an allergic reaction caused by oils in the plant. Oils can linger on shoes, clothes, or even pets (!) that may have rubbed against the plant, so be sure to wash with soapy, warm water as it will break down the oils.

For additional information click HERE

3. Snakes:
The majority of outdoor enthusiasts will not encounter a snake. If you do happen to have a run in, it may be reassuring to know that most snakes in New York State are not venomous. In our area there are two exceptions: the Timber Rattlesnake and the Copperhead. Snakes are exothermic meaning they cannot regulate their own body temperature, so a sun-filled rocky cliff or “look out point” is an ideal location. Snakes also spend much of their time under logs or leaves and beneath rocks. The vibrations of a walking stick can alert a snake to move out of our way. If you know you are in an area where snakes reside, it may be best to keep your canine companion on a leash.

Click HERE for further information

Bartolozzi_NycAdventureMom-legs in carrierTaking a minute or two to familiarize yourself with “the big three” will prepare you and make you more confident on your next outdoor adventure.  Sharing these tips with your children can be a way to engage in nature together, while teaching them about safety and awareness. And who better to hear it from than you.

Thanks for stopping by Willy B Mum!

head shotLori LaBorde is the Founder and Master Adventure Guide of NYC Adventure Moms – Guided nature day hikes for adventurous moms who want to get out in the fresh air with their little ones.
She has a B.S. in Wildlife Management from the University of New Hampshire and a M.A. in Teaching Biology from New York University.
Keep up with Lori on instagram and twitter @nycadventuremom


Ice-climbing; not for the faint hearted

Ice-Climbing having evolved out of rock climbing is not for the faint of heart, and surely ascending a vertical surface of slippery ice does exhilarate the soul. Ice-Climbing is an adrenalin-rushing extreme sport, demanding your whole attention, which is rapidly growing as a Winter activity.


Being part of an active family with my husband, has its perks; I am healthier, fitter and stronger than I have ever been in my life, and I love that! We have also bonded, on a new level as a couple seeing our love of exercise as a daily necessity.

This winter just past, as a Christmas present, I organized a full day ice-climbing expedition for my husband. Having skied since he was a child, he enjoys nothing more than to be out on the snowy slopes. A friend suggested the idea; to develop his survival skills in such conditions. Lately he has been hiking by himself, up mountains in the dangerous off-limit areas, to ski down again, so this kind of experience was only going to compliment the time he spends doing so.

Being Australian, and growing up in a desert country, I am not a fan of the cold weather, put me on a beach any day, and I will be happiest. So, my heart kind of sank a little when my husband asked me to accompany him. A full day outdoors in the cold mountain ranges is definitely not my cup of tea, but I had to agree to go to keep him happy.

To back track; 6 years ago I committed to the sport of snowboarding. I loved the idea of it and was hoping to be able to spend time doing this while my husband skied. Unfortunately I kept experiencing circulation issues with my feet. After a short period, they became very cold to the point that they numbed and I would have to go back indoors. With this in mind, my main concern on this day trip was not how frightening it was going to be, but whether I was going to be warm enough to be outdoors in the snow all day, at a higher-than-normal altitude.

Preparing for sub-freezing temperatures, and wearing the right gear is so important in these conditions and knowing what could happen, I made sure I was well rugged up.
What I wore;SONY DSC



Once we were at our destination

My husband and I met our guide in the closest town, signed a mandatory death waiver, and then hiked up the mountain range to where we were going to learn to ice-climb. Yes, we had to sign a death waiver, which was not so comforting!

The hike was very demanding physically, as the paths you create to walk up are so small, slippery and high up. My adrenalin was peaking and I really wanted to climb down the mountain, get in the car and just wait till my husband was done. I really was okay with that! But, alas there was no turning back!

Once we were at the base of the mountain, our guide strapped crampons onto our boots which are metal plates with spikes enabling you to get a sturdy foot hold, gave us a tutorial on the basics of ice climbing and we were off.

SONY DSCSONY DSCSONY DSCWhat happened over the course of the day was completely unexpected. I really excelled while my husband did not do so well. I easily adapted to the cold (if I was not dressed properly I do not think that this would have been the case), and managed to conquer my fear and climb to the top of our mountain. On the other hand, my husband really struggled with the exercise, almost giving up a few times. He eventually climbed to the top of the mountain but he needed a lot of encouragement and support to do so.

The whole experience was continually heart pounding and so so petrifying. We had to put complete trust into our equipment – ropes, crampons and ice picks – and our judgement on deciding which way was the best way to climb. It was so slippery, and ice breaks off so easily, it was just really demanding emotionally and physically.

However, once the daylight started to fade and we headed back down the mountain, I thought to myself — “Wow Libby that was so unbelievable”. Checking in with my husband it appeared he was of the same mindset, we both felt so invigorated, amazed and accomplished. It was so beautiful to be outdoors all day in the snow; for me this was a first. Nature truly is a beautiful thing whether hot or cold, and so is having a husband I have much to share with. I am truly so lucky! It was a phenomenal experience.

Readers – Would you ever try ice-climbing?

Thanks for stopping by Willy B Mum.

Spring Pea Soup from CookBook – Sylvia’s Table

One of my favorite fruits, or vegetables (depending on your train of thought) are the little green bundles of joy; peas. When I was a child growing up, my parents always bought peas in their pods, and somebody in my family would shell them to eat each night; this is a fond memory. In Australia, I remember the staple of boiled peas and carrots accompanying most home cooked dinners.

These days, and living in the United States, sadly it seems more commonplace to buy them as loose peas in the freezer department of a supermarket. However, if in season you should be able to get them as-is from a Farmers Market. We have them in abundance at our local spot at the moment, so this Spring Pea Soup is perfectly doable.

Personally, I do prefer them as I remember as a child, and I especially fancy this recipe as it uses both the pea and the pod. This deliciously wholesome soup is taken from the farm-to-table style cookbook – Sylvia’s Table

Every year children flock to the Sylvia Center at Katchkie Farm in upstate New York to learn firsthand about where fresh food comes from, —how to grow it, how to harvest it, and how to use it to prepare great-tasting meals. Now Sylvia’’s Table brings these lessons and recipes straight from the farm to your kitchen in a deliciously unique cookbook for families — greatperformances.com

Organic peas in the pod from the Rhinebeck Farmers Market, upstate New York

Organic peas in the pod from the Rhinebeck Farmers Market, upstate New York

We are so inspired by the happenings at Katchkie Farm; such a wonderful organization who, every day, are creating bright futures for our children. If you are ever Upstate New York in the Kinderhook area, you should stop by!

What You Need

  • 1 bunch Scallions or 2 small cleaned Leeks, white and 2 inches of the green parts, thinly sliced
  • 5 large sprigs Parsley
  • Sea Salt
  • 1.5 pounds bright green Peas in their Pods
  • 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced Onion or young Leek
  • Freshly ground White Pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • Black or white Truffle Oil (optional)

What To Do

  • Bring 1 quart of water to a boil
  • While the water is heating, add the scallions, parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Shell the peas, setting them aside, and add about 3 cups of the pods to the boiling water
  • Once the water returns to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes
  • Strain the stock into a bowl and discard the cooked vegetables
  • Pour olive oil in a soup pot and add the sliced onion. Cook over medium heat for about a minute, then add 1/2 cup of the stock to let the onion stew without browning
  • After 4 to 5 minutes, add the shelled peas, 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper to taste, and the sugar
  • Add 2 1/2 cups of the stock, bring just to a boil, then simmer for 3 minutes
  • Transfer the soup to a blender or food processor and purée at high-speed for 1 minute until smooth, adding additional stock to achieve your desired consistency
  • Reheat briefly, if necessary
  • Pour the soup into small bowls and serve immediately, with drops of truffle oil, if desired

Pea soup2222)Readers; What do you of peas, do you prefer them in their pods, or loose and from the freezer section of a supermarket?

Thanks for stopping by Willy B Mum.

Peace, Love and Plants Make the World Go Around!

**This recipe was used with permission

Moroccan Carrot Salad with MINA Pepper Sauce

Growing up in Australia, the carrot made appearances in most dinners I enjoyed as a child. They were right there next to the peas; the two vegetables being a favorite combination in many homes in the Land Down Under.

Carrots are a chock-o-block vitamin dense root vegetable which are traditionally orange, but can also be other colors like red, purple or yellow. Inside each carrot there is vitamin A, which helps maintain the health of one’s eyes, and is clearly why parents tell children they will see better in the dark if they eat them. There is potassium, which is necessary for the body to hydrate efficiently. As well as regulating a healthy heart, muscles and nervous system. Vitamin K which helps with strong bones and kidney health. Vitamin C which is fantastic for the immune system. Not forgetting Fiber, which helps keep the body regular. Moral of the story; eat more carrots.

Locally grown carrots from the Rhinebeck Farmer's Market upstate NY

Locally grown carrots from the Rhinebeck Farmer’s Market upstate NY

MINA Pepper Sauce

MINA fiery harissa pepper sauce is made in our local Brooklyn NY area by a Moroccan woman named Mina. She created the recipe herself, (having learned the art of cooking from her mother when she was a girl), carefully blending only 6 simple all-natural ingredients; red chilli pepper, red bell (capsicum) pepper, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, vinegar and salt. So simple and so perfect. Apparently, nearly all homes have a jar of this central condiment in North Africa where it is used as a spread or drizzled on top of meals. Sounds as Vegemite on toast, is to people in my home country of Australia!

Moroccan Carrot Salad

I must admit, besides either having raw carrots with hummus, blended in a raw juice, or as a side dish like the Australian tradition of steamed peas and carrots, I have not really ventured far with them in my diet. So, I was really excited to try this Moroccan classic, as suggested by MINA. This dish (which can be eaten hot or cold) is definitely on the easy side with minimal prep time before you are sitting down to enjoy all this orange-deliciousness.

IMG_0849What You Need

  • 1 lb fresh carrots peeled and cut into 1/8″ slices
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoon of Mina Harissa
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 clove of garlic finely chopped or minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt (to taste)

IMG_0854What To Do

  • Steam or boil the carrots until cooked but don’t over cook (slightly al dente is perfect)
  • Drain carrots then run under cold water to stop the cooking process
  • Dry the carrots and set aside
  • In a medium size pan over low heat, sauté the garlic in the olive oil for a few minutes (don’t let the garlic burn)
  • Discard the garlic
  • Add the carrots, lemon juice, harissa, herbs and spices
  • Cook on low heat mixing gently for a few minutes
  • Take off heat
  • Garnish with chopped coriander or parsley
  • Serve

This recipe is a base dish and open to interpretation, feel free to add your own twist if you like; maybe adding some dried cherries/cranberries, or vegan/goat cheese?

Giveaway Time

Mina_Harissa_GROUP Want to win a variety 3 pack of MINA pepper sauce to try out for yourself? Enter below to win our giveaway including the Spicy Red, Mild Red and Spicy Green pepper sauces. Valued at about $27. If you are the winner, MINA will ship you the prize direct from their warehouse.

Otherwise, MINA can be ordered online from Farm to People HERE, or from select retailers.

Good Luck, and thanks for stopping by Willy B Mum.

Peace, Love and Plants Make the World Go Around!

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Let’s talk Facial Masques & Keeping it Greentastic with Balanced Guru

Facial masques have been used for thousands of years as part of beauty regiments by people the world over looking to better or maintain the health and appearance of one’s skin. Thankfully I have been hip to this since I was a little girl, using them mostly as part of a 2 step process, after steaming my face to open my pores. There really is no comparison when using a facial cleanser in the shower, to the super-clean rejuvenating feeling achieved after using a masque.

Generally speaking, masques are either a peel-off kind or a wash-off kind. Extremely versatile, accommodating all skin types, they can be made from a variety of ingredients like yogurt, mud/clay, fruit/vegetable and grains. Masques help with a variety of skin concerns encompassing – moisturization, exfoliation, correcting conditions like blemishes, soothing conditions like sunburn, minimizing wrinkles and fine lines, drawing out impurities and refining pores.

Personally, I love the way my face looks and feels after using a facial masque. I just wish I could remember to use them on a regular basis, rather than just a random 3 times a year, or there about!


My husband really thinks I look hot-to-trot in my Balanced Guru Masque

What Are We Putting On Our Skin

I strongly believe that it is just as important to be aware about what you put on your skin as to what you put inside of your body. Many of us Mummies, go to considerably effort to be healthy and strong in many ways; exercising regularly, drinking alcohol in moderation or maybe eating a special diet? I know I want to be as bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as I possibly can be, so I can be a focused Mother to my beautiful little boy who is the apple of my eye! However, even though we go to great lengths, it seems to be somewhat commonplace to overlook all the chemicals and toxins in the personal products we use on a daily basis, which with continual exposure are said to be linked to all kinds of conditions with one example being breast cancer.

There are literally hundreds of kinds of masques available on the market today, but are they safe? I am going to jump right in here and say – No, Unfortunately the majority of them are Not. Mainstream beauty Products are riddled with parabens, sulfates, phthalates, petroleum, GMO’s and pesticide sprayed ingredients. And, that’s not pretty!

For me it is very clear-cut; heightened and constant exposure to such toxins, in the form of synthetic lab made ingredients, are harmful to one’s health and should be avoided at all costs. Period.

So what can you do to avoid this kind of exposure?

Well, you can either make your own facial masque, which is surely rewarding but also a time-consuming project considering the research and preparation time. Or, you can buy a masque from a brand honestly providing a safe product which you can be assured using, like Balanced Guru.

Balanced Guru (don’t you love the name) make a full line of products including facial masques, body balm, body oil, exfoliators, cleansers, toners, hair oils, scalp treatments and energy blends and mists. Not just that, this company REALLY cares about OUR Planet, and we cannot rave about that enough! All their products are certified organic being sustainably and responsibly harvested, they are cruelty free and their bottles and jars are made with post-consumer resin (PCR), which means they are recycled and 100% recyclable. LOVE that!

Let’s chat about the Spiced Berry Masque

Colorful berries are a great way to feed your skin with antioxidants. Clove and Cinnamon are also loaded with antioxidants to help fight free radicals. In case that wasn’t enough; vitamin C will give this masque and extra boost to also brighten your complexion — Balanced Guru

The first thing I experienced opening Balanced Guru’s Spiced Berry Masque is the overwhelming spicy warm comforting smell. It takes you to a whole new world, just really wonderful.

The masque comes in a dry loose powder. This means that you can play around and get creative with the liquid you use to mix in to activate it. Mixer suggestions, as per the packaging, are either water, raw honey or yogurt. But, how do you know which one suits you best? I wondered the same thing myself, so I did a little research!

If you use water you will just be absorbing the benefits of the ingredients; feeling frisky, add a small amount of apple cider vinegar to help regulate your skin’s PH levels. If you use raw honey the masque will include antiseptic, healing, soothing and antibacterial properties. If you use yogurt (I used my all time favorite Anita’s Coconut Vegan variety) you will topically take in the probiotic, the lactic acid can also help to soften skin and reduce fine lines! Just a note about the yogurt, using a sugar and hormone free kind is best, and you want to make sure that it contains live and active cultures to receive the greatest benefits.

My 3-year-old Son, graciously, mixed my masque for me. He delights in helping out with anything kitchen related, however he was not game enough to try the masque himself! Maybe next time?

I put the masque on using my hands and then went outside, enjoying the sunshine letting it naturally dry for around 25 minutes. I easily washed it off with cold water in the sink, and voilà my skin was super squeaky clean. And, I had complete peace of mind knowing I had used what I consider to be a wonderful product.

My little rainbow mixing my masque up for me with some vegan coconut yogurt

My little rainbow mixing my masque up for me with some vegan coconut yogurt

The antioxidant Spiced Organic masque comes in 2 sizes; a 4 oz which retails for $45, and a convenient 1 oz travel size which retails for $12. Balanced Guru also offer an astringent masque, moisturizing masque and a calming masque. You can see them all HERE.

Readers – Do you use facial masques, if so what kind do you like to use?

Thanks for stopping by Willy B Mum. Peace, Love and Plants Make the World Go Around!

Raw Juice and Smoothie Recipes just in time for Summer

In my family home, we love to juice fresh raw organic fruits, herbs and vegetables. During the winter months we do not do it so much, but during the warmer part of the year when our vegetable garden upstate New York is flourishing, we juice a lot! With summer finally here in the Northern Hemisphere, our juicer is officially out of the cupboard and back on the kitchen bench where it will stay, for now.

Juicing is a quick way to get your daily dose of fruit and veggies, a wonderful way to start the day and flood your body with essential nutrients. Juicing on a regular basis has been credited to a better immune system, weight loss, glowing hair and skin and increased energy (among other things).

I like to throw whatever produce we have into the Juicer (including scraps like apple cores and beetroot and carrot stalks), and hope for the best!  Unfortunately though, I can admit it, sometimes it does not taste so good. This is why unless you are a juicing genius (like my husband) following a recipe is a wonderful idea.

Today, we have 3 recipes to inspire you to start juicing. If you do not have a juicer, I suggest checking out the Omega website; they sell all kinds of different kinds HERE. They also have a ton of other juice and smoothie recipes, like this Raw Cacao Avocado Smoothie; which I must try soon. It looks so delicious! I love avocado.

Healthy green juice recipe made with spinach, collard greens, cucumber, lemon and fresh herbs.
What You Need for 1 serving at 500 ml

  • 4 cups spinach
  • 1/2 head of collard green or swiss chard (about 6 leaves)
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1/2 bunch of parsley (about 1 cup lightly packed)
  • 1/2 bunch of cilantro (about 1/2 cup lightly packed)
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon

If you have a ‘low’ setting on your juicer, juice all items in the recipe but the lemon juice. When complete, add lemon juice, stir and enjoy

2 green glasses

Tropical Beetroot Juice
What You Need for 1 serving at 500 ml

  • 1 beet
  • 100 grams (1/4 of the fruit) fresh pineapple, skin removed
  • 1 pear
  • 1 inch ginger root
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon

If you have a ‘low’ setting on your juicer, begin with the softer items first – pear and lemon. Then turn to ‘high’ and juice the remaining ingredients

red juice

Green Energy Smoothie
What You Need for 1 serving at 1000 ml

  • 1 cucumber, seeded and sliced
  • 3 cups raw spinach
  • 1/2 medium-sized honey-dew (cubed)
  • 1 cup organic green tea
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup of ice cubes
  • 1/2 fresh ginger root

Blend and Enjoy

Garnish with fresh berries for added if you like

Garnish with fresh berries if you like

We suggest using only organic produce if possible, as eating foods which have been sprayed with chemicals is not advisable for anybody. If you cannot afford, or do not have organic produce available in your area, try your best to avoid these foods which are on the Environmental Working Group’s list known affectionately as “The Dirty Dozen”. These foods are sprayed severely with pesticides – apples, strawberries, grapes, celery, peaches, spinach, capsicum, nectarines, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes and snap peas. Instead, choose fruits or vegetables with thick skins as the chemicals do not affect them as much.

Thanks for stopping by Willy B Mum. We hope this posting has inspired you to live a healthier lifestyle.

Peace, Love and Plants Make the World Go Around!