facebook pinterest twitter google instagram rss

Green Your Easter with these Healthier Easter Basket Swaps

 If you’re looking for ideas for a healthier Easter Basket, you’ve come to the right place! Make some of these swaps this year and skip the artificial food colors, flavors, and high fructose corn syrup. You can also make some easy choices to reduce plastic waste too. Here’s to a Healthier Easter this year!Healthier Easter Basket Candy Swaps

*This post contains affiliate links which means I earn a small commission on your purchase.*

Green Your Easter with these Healthier Easter Basket Swaps

I’m so glad that more food companies are starting to listen to consumers. When my kids were little, I had to look far and wide to find find treats without all the junk. Holidays focused on candy and unhealthy crap like Easter really made my head spin. Luckily, it’s easy than ever to make healthier choices for Easter and on candy in general.

Good reasons to avoid artificial food colors, flavors and high fructose corn syrup.

There are many good reasons to avoid artificial food colors, flavors and high fructose corn syrup too. Did you know that artificial food colors and flavors are linked to ADHD in children – not necessarily causing the ADHD, but rather causing problems in all children. You can read about it in medical journals. The topic has been widely studied. Some food dyes are carcinogenic and have been banned in cosmetics, yet still show up in food! Why are we feeding this crap to our kids and eating it ourselves?

High fructose corn syrup is everywhere – not only has our intake of sugar skyrocketed in recent years, but it’s also full of chemical contaminants that are harmful to our bodies as well. Dr. Mark Hyman explains on Huffington Post why cutting HFCS out of our diet could be the single best thing we do for our health. You should read this article. It’s really good.

Easter candy without artificial food colors and high fructose corn syrup

I challenge you to make a healthier swaps this Easter.

Take a look at ingredient lists and see if you can’t find better options to give your children. Here are a few healthier Easter Swaps I found for you this year. I tried many of these items at Expo West recently and was happy to bring home samples for my kids to taste test too.

  • YumEarth Candy – YumEarth candy was the first healthier candy I ever found for my kids. They’ve been making lollipops for years, but their line is a lot bigger. Their candy contains no high fructose corn syrup, no artificial dyes or flavors, and is also made with no soy, no egg, and no dairy.
  • Spry Gum & Mints – Most sugar-free gum contains aspartame, another ingredient I like to avoid. Spry gum is made with xylitol and is also free of dyes and artificial flavors. Do you look for xylitol in your toothpaste and gum too?
  • Wholesome Candy – more organic candy options! My kids live the Wholesome fish and also the Wholesome cinnamon gummy bears. I brought back samples from Expo West that they were only too happy to devour.
  • Black Forest Candy –  More candy from Expo West that my kids were only too happy to sample. They liked the gummy bears and the sour candy I brought home so I’m added it to this list of healthier swaps as well!
  • Justin’s Peanut Butter Cups – I’ve long loved the Justin’s dark peanut butter cups. They also have white chocolate, milk chocolate, and they’re coming out with an almond butter cup in June as well! Justin products are currently being certified by Project NonGMO and they are also free of high fructose corn syrup, and artificial food dyes and flavors as well. You can find Justin’s in the health food aisle at HyVee or order them online at Amazon.
  • Surf Sweets Organic Jelly Beans – Want organic jelly jeans? Surf Sweet’s got you covered! These yummy little candies are free from artificial dyes, flavors, and high fructose corn syrup, so they get my vote of approval too.
  • Chocolates from ALDI –  If you’re a long time blog reader, you know I really like ALDI. We’re big fans of the seasonal items they come out with ever year. I always buy a milk chocolate bunny for each of my kids, and usually get a few other fun chocolate items from them as well. Their cocoa is responsibly sourced and ALDI quit adding artificial food dyes and artificial flavors to their food several years ago.


grow your own easter basket grass

Reduce plastic with these Healthier Easter Basket Ideas

Another way you can make healthier choices this Easter is to reduce the amount of plastic you buy. Instead of using plastic grass that gets thrown away, grow your own this year! You only need a week, so there’s still time to do this fun activity with your kids. Or if growing your own Easter basket grass isn’t for you, buy recyclable paper grass instead. You can find it on Amazon and also at Walmart.

I’m also a big fan of using multi-purpose containers for Easter Baskets. We’ve used terracotta pots before and then turned them into pretty spring planters, and I’m a big fan of these steel buckets too. You can find them at Menards, farm supply stories, or order one on Amazon and have it delivered directly to your door.

surf sweet organic jelly beans

Simply Real Foods Market – $35 order gets you FREE RAW HONEY!

Have you heard of Simply Real Foods Market? They are another online source for NonGMO food products, beauty and personal care items, and pet care as well. I learned about them at Shiftcon a few weeks ago. With a low price guarantee and no membership fees, Simply Real Foods Market can be a great source for hard to find healthier food options.

Simply Real Foods Market has a pretty sweet deal right now! Buy $35 worth of items from them and they’ll send you a free 16 ounce jar of certified organic raw honey. You can find a lot of the candy items I mentioned above at SRFM as well (at cheaper prices than Amazon!). Shipping is FREE with a $50 order. Order by Thursday, March 22 for guaranteed Easter delivery. Find all their Easter goodies here. And don’t forget to sign up for their newsletter so you always know when they’re running another awesome special.free honey at Simply Real Foods Market

These are a few ways we’re enjoying a healthier Easter this year. I hope they inspire you to make a few positive changes as well.

What are you doing to make your Easter a little healthier this year?

If you liked this post on Healthier Easter Basket Swaps, you might like these too:

Grow your own Easter Basket Grass

Yummy side dish and dessert options for your Easter meal

Don’t forget the toothbrush in your Easter basket

healthier Easter basket candy

Cream Cheese & Parmesan Asparagus Spears Recipe

Fresh asparagus is one of the finest treats of spring. While my favorite way to eat asparagus is an easy roast in the oven, these Cream Cheese & Parmesan Asparagus Spears make a lovely treat for a more formal table.Asparagus Spears with Cream Cheese & Parmesan

*This posts contains affiliate links which means I earn a small commission on your purchase.*

Cream Cheese & Parmesan Asparagus Spears

ingredients for cream cheese and parmesan asparagus spears

Puff pastry, fresh asparagus, cream cheese, Parmesan, and egg are all the ingredients you need to make this crowd pleaser. If helps if the cream cheese is at room temperature, but the puff pastry rolls out better if it’s cold.

prepping the asparagus spears

To make these delicious little spears, roll out the puff pastry, spread cream cheese on it, and cut it into thin strips. Trim the bottom of the asparagus, and peel a little bit if the spears are really fat.  Then, simple roll one sprig of asparagus around the puff pastry. Once all of the pasty is used, brush a little egg on the spears, and then sprinkle parmesan cheese on top. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 12-15 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown. By the way, if you need a nice baking sheet, I love these half baking sheets from Nordic Ware! I use them for everything – love them for sheet pan dinners. My favorite micro-plane also comes in very handy, as does this pizza cutter.asparagus spears

Your guests will love this easy recipe. It makes a great side dish or a nice appetizer too. Here’s your printable recipe for this delicious side dish or appetizer.

cream cheese and parmesan aspargus cigars

Yields 4-6 side dish servings

Serves 2 -3 spears per person

683

Cream Cheese & Parmesan Asparagus Cigars Recipe

This fun recipe is a delicious way to eat asparagus. It makes a fun side dish or a great appetizer as well.

10 minPrep Time

12 minCook Time

22 minTotal Time

Save RecipeSave Recipe
Recipe Image

Ingredients

  • 5 ounces puff pastry sheets
  • flour for dusting
  • 10 pieces asparagus
  • 1-2 ounces cream cheese
  • one egg, beaten
  • 2 TBS parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Roll the puff pastry sheet out into a 10" x 6" rectangle.
  3. Cover with cream cheese.
  4. Cut the sheet into 10 thin strips.
  5. Roll each strip around one spear of asparagus.
  6. Brush with egg and top with parmesan cheese.
  7. Bake for 10-15 minutes.
7.8.1.1
205
https://simplifylivelove.com/cream-cheese-parmesan-asparagus-cigars-recipe/

Like this recipe for Cream Cheese & Parmesan Asparagus Spears? You might also like these fun spring recipes as well.

Strawberry & Rhubarb Crisp

Strawberry Yogurt Cupcakes

My Grandmas’s Secret Strawberry Shortcake Recipe

Homemade Fruit Popsicles – Fla-vor-ice healthified

What’s your favorite way to eat asparagus? Enjoy this recipe!

Cream Cheese & Parmesan Asparagus Spears

 

How to Grow Your Own Easter Basket Grass

It’s fun and easy to grow your own Easter Grass!  And it doesn’t even take that all. You only need a few supplies and about a week! So keep reading and try something new this year. Your kids will have a lot fun with this easy Easter project.Grow Your Own Easter Basket Grass with this tutorial. You only need a few days!

*This post contains affiliate links which means I earn a small commission if you purchase through my links.*

How to grow your own Easter Basket Grass in less than a week!

Growing your own Easter basket grass is pretty simple process that anyone can do. I’m thrilled that we’re growing our own Easter basket grass this year instead of buying plastic stuff that ends up in the landfill. Growing your own wheat grass baskets has long been a tradition in Waldorf homeschooling circles as a way to welcome spring, and we enjoy it a lot!

Welcome Spring - How to make Waldorf Wheat Grass Baskets-cora

Supplies needed to grow your own Easter Basket Grass

  • Baskets – we picked up 88 cent baskets at Goodwill the other day. They had tons to choose from in all price ranges. I made my kids stick to the 88 cent baskets though because I’m cheap like that. We also have used these metal buckets and love them as well. They are fabulous for repurposing after Easter and using for lots of other projects.
  • Organic potting soil
  • Plastic wrap {or plastic liners for the baskets}
  • Wheat Berries {soaked in water for 24 hours prior} OR grass seed would work fine, too. Wheat berries are the product of the wheat plant and are ground to make flour. You should be able to find them in the organic or bulk section of your grocery store, or you can buy a bag of Bob’s Red Mill wheat berries on Amazon too and have them shipped to your house in two days if you have Amazon Prime.
  • Spray bottle


The most important step: soak the wheat berries overnightWelcome Spring - How to make Waldorf Wheat Grass Baskets-meabh

Mae sure to soak the wheat berries overnight. The night before you plan to start your basket, place the wheat berries in a bowl and cover them with water to soak overnight. I used about 10 cups of wheat berries for the six baskets we made and we had enough to do many  more baskets. Make sure the water covers them completely as they will soak it all up. You can get wheat berries from the bulk section at the grocery store, from a health food store, Amish store, or Azure Standard – you can even order them on Amazon Prime and have them at your door in 2 days. They’re actually a pantry staple I always have on hand since I grind them to make my own flour for bread I bake, like this whole wheat potato bread.

How to make waldorf wheat grass baskets to welcome spring

  • Then, line a basket with plastic wrap if you don’t have a basket liner.
  • Add a couple inches of soil, and then top with the soaked wheat berries.
  • Make sure the berries are still nice and moist. If not, spritz them with a water sprayer.
  • Cover them with plastic wrap to keep in the moisture.
  • Make sure to keep spritzing the berries with water. Don’t let them dry out or they won’t grow.

How to Make Waldorf Wheat Grass Baskets-day 2

On the very next day after you’ve planted the berries, you should already notice them growing! Make sure to keep them moist as they grow. Just keep spraying them with water. You might have to water them every day.

And that’s it – that’s all there is to it.

Here’s how quick it is to grow your own Easter Basket Grass!

Grow your own Easter Wheat Grass Basket

See how fast this grass grows! 4-5 days is all you need my friends! What are you waiting for?

If you liked this post on how to grow your own Easter basket grass, you may like these too:

Waldorf Wheat Grass Baskets

 hand-dying play silks with kool-aid,

Ukrainian egg decorating,

winter solstice spiral

May Day Pole Dancing.

It's actually a lot easier to grow your own Easter Grass than you may think. And it doesn't even take that all. All you need is a few supplies and about a week! So keep reading and try something new this year!

Welcome Spring! We’re glad you’re back. We’re looking forward to warmth and light.

Top 10 Plants for Early Spring Harvest

If you’re trying to eat local, in-season food, make sure to include these top ten plants for early spring harvest. They will yield the first food in the spring so you can have farm fresh produce as soon as possible.

top 10 plants for early spring harvest

*This post contains affiliate links which means I earn a small commission from your purchase.*

One of my long term life dreams is to eat only locally grown and produced food, like Barbara Kingsolver did in her book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle {one of my most favorite books of all times}. At first thought, it sounds kind of doable, right? I mean, I have a big garden, and I have egg and meat chickens. I’ve also found a source for local pastured pork and organic, local, grassfed beef. But the logistics are really a lot more complicated than my pea-brain can handle. And it would take a REALLY REALLY REALLY big garden to produce enough food to feed my family of six. Maybe some day.

For now, I will be content to do what I can, and that means maximizing every growing season, and this post starts with spring! Enjoy my list of the top 10 plants to consider if you want to get the earliest possible harvest out of your garden.

Top 10 Plants for Early Spring Harvest

bowl of strawberries and asparagus in the grass

Early Spring Perennials

I love perennials because I can plant them once, and reap the rewards for years! It’s also a bonus that a few garden perennials produce some of the earliest food in the spring, so make sure to include them in your garden.

Rhubarb – it seems a lot of people have a love/hate relationship with rhubarb, but I love it. It’s also ready for picking sooner than most other fruits and is delicious in crisps, scones, and made into syrup too!

Strawberries – strawberries are the first berries to ripen, usually late May or early June in my area. Nothing beats a fresh strawberry right out of the garden! And since conventionally grown strawberries are some of the most pesticide laden fruits grown, we prefer to grow our own.

asparagus on a sheet pan for roasting

Asparagus – asparagus is ready for a full harvest the third year after it’s planted. It’s one of the earliest crops of spring – so delicious!! We look forward to fresh asparagus every year.

Spring Veggies to Plant before the Last Frost

Spring Onions / Potatoes – can be directly sown from seed six weeks before the last frost if the ground is workable. Onions grow quickly and the greens can be cut pretty soon after they start growing. If you leave the bulb in the ground and just cut the greens, they will even grow new greens for you!

Potatoes are generally ready for harvest a little later, but you can carefully collect new potatoes without disturbing the plant ten weeks after the potatoes were planted. We use the no-dig planting method to grow potatoes. Learn more here.

Spinach / Kohlrabi / Kale – can be directly sown from seed five weeks before the last frost date. It’s especially important to plant spinach early as it needs six cool weeks to reach maturity and bolts quickly in hot weather.

Peas / Radish / Carrots – can be directly sown from seed four weeks before last frost date. Peas also don’t do well in hot weather, so make sure to plant them as quickly as possible. Every year I have volunteer radish crops in my garden because I let some go to seed in the summer. They are some of the first fresh veggies we eat!

Forellensuss Lettuce

Lettuce / Swiss Chard – can be directly sown from seed two weeks before last frost date. I also have volunteer lettuce in my garden from time to time and love it! Fresh lettuce is just delicious.

Check your seed packets to see which varieties mature the quickest. Some radishes are ready within 25 days! And lettuce is very quick growing too.

A collage of  pictures including strawberries in a bowl, forelenschuss lettuce, and a basket of eggs and lettuce harvest.

What plants do you look forward to most in spring?