The folks at Rootstock have come up with a lovely, simple list of the Top 5 Reasons to Host an Earth Day Dinner. Check it out! (link above)
So maybe you have noticed the proliferation of palm oil in your food products (I sure have). Turns out, all that oil is coming our way courtesy of rainforest clearing – the habitat enjoyed by, among others, those noble, most human-looking apes: orangutans.
I’m not recommending eating at Dunkin Donuts (got a lot of other issues with them), but a huge bravo for their decision to source their oils sustainably from now on! Click the link above for more on this story.
This is it…the moment we’ve been waiting for! Drum rolls! Huzzahs!
It’s a GIVEAWAY!!
If you’d like to try the Squooshi pouches that I reviewed yesterday (click here if you missed it), this post is for you – thanks to generous mom (and Squooshi founder) Shannon, we have an Assorted Four Pack of washable & reusable baby food pouches to give to one of our lucky readers.
Since this is our first giveaway I’m gonna get all crazy controlling about it and make some rules. ‘Cause my house, my rules.
First: You have to read my review.
Second: You have to post a comment on THIS giveaway blog entry, telling me what you’d put in your Squooshis, should you be the winner. You may also say nice things about my review and/or make further suggestions for how to thicken my smoothies (I have already been schooled in the frozen fruit trick).
[note: just saying "Squooooooooooooooooshi!" will not qualify you - but it will make me laugh]
Third: I’ll pick a recipe to try. If my kids like it, you win!
Ha ha just kidding. They like everything in a Squooshi. You just win if I like your idea the best.
Yeah, I’m not doing any of this random number generator crap. That just leads to people posting asinine “Pick me!” comments and leaves luck up to … well … luck. And frankly I believe in effort and creativity over luck!
Plus yes I am a little bitter that my many pithy and fantastic comments have always been overlooked by evil random number generators which I am pretty sure work for my enemies and will one day take over the world.
(I reserve the right to use a random number generator if I can’t decide what comment is best. So please don’t let a lack of energy to come up with something be the reason you don’t enter. If you want to enter without a recipe, just leave a comment about your favorite part of my review. Kissing up is always welcome.)
So leave your comment below and let’s help each other fill our Squooshis!
On that vaguely naughty-sounding note, I think we’d better wrap this up.
Congratulations to ERIN who has won the Four Pack of Squooshis!
Full disclosure: I was given this product for free in exchange for the review.
Yesterday I revealed that FoodiEvangelist is delighted to be doing our first product review AND giveaway!! And I talked a bit about how this is a product our family has been waiting for for a long time.
After playing with these pouches for a few days – filling them, feeding them to my kids, washing them, and taking them on-the-go – I have found a lot to love about them. I’ve also got a few tips for you if you choose to get your own (or are the lucky winner of our giveaway!). And I’ve even got a couple ideas for Squooshi itself – I know you guys are listening!
(Skip to the bottom for a bullet list of pros & cons if you don’t want to read my fascinating-but-lengthy narrative review.)
So the first thing you’re gonna notice about these pouches is that they are really freaking adorable. I appreciate the effort they put into making the product cute (usually my son just has some company’s name hanging out the end of his gob).
They feel a little flimsy but they held up very well to everything I put in them. I wound up deciding that the Panda was my favorite design, not only because it is the cutest, but also, practically speaking, it is mostly translucent – which makes it easier to see the gunk inside when you’re cleaning. More on that later.
I received an Assorted Four Pack, the same item that we’ll be giving away (check back tomorrow for instructions on how to win!). This was a set of two large (4.5 oz) pouches and two small (2.5 oz) pouches, in each of their four animal designs. They arrived in a nice little reusable sack for storage. I believe I already lost it, but it was a nice touch.
Another thing I am sure I will be losing: the little caps. They are necessary for filling the pouches (you fill upside down, from the bottom – the big end – which then zips closed), and they are, thankfully, interchangeable between the sizes. Already one step ahead of me, Squooshi sells replacements. I also happened to have an old cap from a disposable pouch (probably a Plum Organics) in the bottom of the diaper bag, and that fit as well. Whew.
My daughter and I couldn’t wait to try them out, so we grabbed our organic applesauce from the fridge and doctored it with cinnamon just like she loves. Already I’m happy that I’m not spending the usual 50 cents on an applesauce pouch, and double happy that this one is twice the size of the ones I usually buy.
If you’re short on time, just throwing store-bought applesauce in these babies is still going to save you money and the kids are still going to have more fun (and make less mess) eating it than they normally would.
And then, our first snag: in my excitement I hadn’t read the directions very carefully and I overfilled the first pouch. You have to keep it at 3/4 full or less. Lesson learned. You also have to make sure you clean out the zipper part at the bottom so you can get a good tight seal. I was really anal about this for the first few rounds, and I decided my finger was the best tool for the job (I guess you could use a paper towel but then you un-do the environmental goodness; and my dishrags are always dirty). So if, like me, you tend to lick your fingers when cooking, make sure you don’t add anything to the pouch that you’re not especially fond of (e.g. bananas, for me).
ANYWAY…as it turns out, the seal is good. On another day we took them out in the lunch bag, and they didn’t spill at all. I was worried about that the whole time, but my worries were unnecessary.
So Maggie sucked the first (small) pouch right up – so quickly, in fact, that I was relieved I hadn’t spent a long time working on its contents. Right away I figured out that the small pouches were going to be too small for my kids. They would probably be great for a baby’s first foods. But my kids are half past 2 and 4, and they have healthy appetites. If you have preschoolers too, I’d definitely recommend the large pouches.
Another point about the smalls: I found it more difficult to fill them and to clean them (both cleaning the zipper to seal it and then later cleaning the whole thing). I’m really hands-on and I guess my fingers are just too fat to go in those little pouches! I much prefer working with the larger size. I’ll bet an even larger size would work for me & my kids, too! (are you listening, Squooshi?)
For our next experiment we went with a full-on, homemade smoothie. But I’ve talked a lot so I’m gonna just let you enjoy this one in a series of oh-so-fun photos…
OK, hope that was a nice break from my chatter.
So my biggest worry with these things was how to get them clean. I know from experience that anything with strawberry seeds and/or yogurt in it is very difficult to get clean. I’ve destroyed many a reusable straw & cup with those ingredients.
Therefore I am being very anal about religiously washing these out every time I use them, before anything dries inside. Even when we took them to the zoo, we all tromped into the bathroom and rinsed out the pouches after snack. I can’t speak to how well they clean up in other circumstances because I just wasn’t willing to try.
However, I have been delighted with how easily they have been rinsing out and how, with just a little soap and warm water (even in a zoo bathroom!), they come pretty clean without too much effort. It helps to seal them up with the soapy water inside and squish it around a bit. I even let a small amount of soapy water slosh around in them all the way home from the zoo. When we got back, voila! Clean!
This is where the animal patterns come into importance – the Panda is the most see-through of the pouches, and thus it is much easier to see when it’s all clean inside. As for the straggling bits of this-and-that stuck to the inners & outers, I was especially frustrated with trying to clean the small one with my too-big bottle brush.
But then, a moment of sheer genius: my daughter was due for a new toothbrush and I realized her old one was perfect for getting right into all those little corners, plus brushing off the slim grooves in the cap device. WOW! I am really very pleased with myself for figuring this one out, and I offer you that tip freely – no attribution required.
By the way, they will go in the dishwasher, but in my experience this has taken the pictures off other products, breaks down plastics over time, and most importantly, doesn’t do much against dried-on smoothie (especially in nooks & crannies). So I suggest handwashing. With your kids’ toothbrush. Preferably after you buy kid a new one.
My only pseudo-disappointment with the Squooshi pouches is something that is obvious and unavoidable – and, ironically, part of their appeal: that the contents are always going to be fresh. This means that you can’t keep them in the pantry and you can’t throw them in the diaper bag and forget about them. You can freeze them – and they did defrost much faster than I expected – so this is a viable option as long as you remember to take them out of the freezer before kiddo is screaming for a snack.
If I had my druthers, I’d probably just buy one of the larger sets of the big ones, make contents in bulk, and keep a bunch of them in the freezer. I wish I could just get Pandas, though…(hint, hint).
For those of you “not into the whole brevity thing,” I hope this has been helpful and interesting. For those preferring bullet points, here ya go:
- Complete control over what goes in your child’s mouth – you can make it organic, local, fresh, and as healthy as you want (or as your child will eat!). Great use for all those CSA greens – hide ‘em in smoothies. A wonderful way to help develop your child’s palate!
- BPA, PVC, and Phthalate-free…unlike many other baby food products, unfortunately.
- They save lots of money! [single-use pouches run $1 on sale these days and up to $1.89 each]
- Absolutely too cute – love love love the designs!
- Kids will eat a lot of stuff (read: veggies) in a pouch, even if they won’t normally touch it. You know they’ve gotten at least one good serving of something healthy.
- Less waste = better for the earth and therefore our kids.
- Saving money!
- Handy and fun for all ages. I don’t think my kids will outgrow them, and I already know they’re great in a lunchbox.
- I found myself finishing off the smoothie that didn’t fit in the pouches, so they helped me eat a healthier snack than normal too!
- Overall pretty easy to clean, no special equipment required (except snagging your kids’ toothbrush).
- Did I mention saving the money?
- Small size difficult to fill & clean – but also not enough food for my kids anyway, so I wasn’t very motivated to figure out how to work with it.
- The caps are easy to lose (but also replaceable).
- Not shelf stable (yes I just listed freshness as a con…sigh). Nothing to be done about that, it’s just the reality of real food.
- Have to think ahead to defrost (but does do quickly), and have to prepare ahead (though in a pinch, some spiced-up applesauce is a great filler and still saves money!).
- Your smoothie ideas may suck (like mine) – but fortunately the Squooshi site’s blog has a growing list of recipes!
- The whole endeavor takes time and effort. But if you invest in a decent number of them and freeze large quantities, you can mitigate this problem somewhat.
To sum up:
Squooshis are, like so many eco-friendly parenting choices, a commitment more than a convenience. But if you are willing to commit, I truly believe you will be doing right by your kids’ health, the earth, and your wallet.
Come back tomorrow for a GIVEAWAY of an Assorted Four Pack just like I tried for this review!
Today I am so excited to announce our first FoodiEvangelist product review – complete with a giveaway, just like all the big mamas do it! And our product is something I have been hoping to see for a very long time…it is something made for parents like you & me…the SQUOOSHI!!
[Just take in the adorableness of that name for a moment...]
I first heard about Squooshi pouches from Plum District, which posted a coupon offer to get $5 off a purchase of $15 or more. Since I’d just spent $13 on pouches the day before (which would last approximately 2 weeks, if I was lucky), I decided this was a pretty dang good deal and snagged the coupon.
Actually, let me back up…I first conceived of Squooshi pouches when my son became addicted to those ubiquitous little baby food delivery devices. You’ve seen them, slowly taking over the aisles that used to be dominated by jars.
Mr K can’t get enough of them. They were in every lunch I packed his entire first year of Mother’s Day Out (and often the only thing he ate). They go in the diaper bag. They calm tantrums. They substitute for dinner. They make two year olds eat vegetables(!!). They sit on the bedside table for the inevitable 4 a.m. snack. They are God’s gift to parents – and so new that they didn’t even exist when my daughter was the targeted age! (Though she thoroughly enjoys them as well, and both request them on a regular basis for snacks & lunches)
However, I was not long into my pouch obsession before I realized two things:
1. They are mighty expensive, these little guys.
2. That is a lot of trash I’m contributing to the earth.
It was around that time my husband and I started saying, “Gee, wouldn’t it be awesome if we could refill these pouches? Just cram some more gunk back in them?” This became especially urgent as our son moved into the bigger pouches – and they stopped satisfying his hunger – while simultaneously the price started rising dramatically as demand took off. Suddenly they went from a buck or less each to $1.50 or even two dollars! for 4.5 oz of, basically, purée. Organic purée, but still.
Fast forward to my sheer delight at finding that somebody had actually gone to the trouble to invent the very thing we had been hoping to see – the reusable, refillable, washable pouch! And Squooshi is that company. Hooray!
Upon reading through their website I felt so simpatico with the owner that I had to write and congratulate her. And ok, I slyly mentioned that I do a little blogging, and one thing led to another so here I am writing a review and – drum roll! – offering a giveaway!
However, since I strive to keep my posts short (and my Lenten discipline this year is an attempt to talk less in general), I am going to split this into a few days’ worth of posts. Today we had the backstory. Tomorrow, I will post my review. Then on Monday I will post instructions to enter the FREE giveaway of an Assorted Four Pack of Squooshis for your very own little Squishy!!
Come back tomorrow and learn all about our fun Squooshi times over here.