Mama Gone Green is a blog dedicated to raising happy children and reducing our impact on the Earth. My name is Taryn and I am the mother of 2 young kids and an environmental studies instructor at a community college in Portland, Oregon. Please join me as I journey through life as a mama, teacher, knitter, photographer, gardener, and environmentalist!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Lemon Ricotta Muffins

OK, so these muffins may not necessarily be the most sustainable of treats (they do require a lemon, which does not grow anywhere near where I live) but they are super yummy!

What you Need:
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup sugar (or for a healthier treat, substitute 2/3 cup agave sweetener)
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 tbl. lemon zest
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbl lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

What you Do:
  • Beat sugar (or agave), butter and zest. Add ricotta. Add egg, lemon juice and vanilla.
  • Mix the flour, baking powder and baking soda into the wet mixture
  • Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes in prepared (greased) muffin tins.
Makes 12 delicious muffins!! Pin It Now!

Friday, January 22, 2010

The FDA Gets on BPA (Finally)

Our government has finally raised concerns about BPA (bisphenol-A), a substance that is found in plastic bottles and cups, the lining of cans, and numerous other products. The ill-effects of BPA have caused an uproar amongst concerned parents for a few years now, but the government has finally gotten on board and admitted that this seemingly benign substance may actually pose a great threat, particularly to the health of our children. A $30 mllion study on the effects of BPA will be underway shortly.
Due to consumer demands, many companies have removed BPA from baby bottles and other children's products. However, BPA is still lurking in many places.....
To reduce your risks of BPA exposure look for plastic products labeled as BPA-free. Do not use BPA containing products that have scratches, and do not put hot liquids into containers made with BPA (these practices encourage leaching of BPA into your food/drink).
To read more about the new government study and the potential dangers of BPA, you can read a recent NYTimes article at:

To read my previous posts on BPA, click here. Pin It Now!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Book Review: Ecological Intelligence

Ecological Intelligence, by Daniel Goleman, is a book that will make you think twice about what you buy and the implications that purchase has. The premise behind this book is the idea of 'ecological transparency', where consumers would be able to find out how products rated in terms of human health, ecological health and social responsibility.
Goleman discusses the idea of "greenwashing" and how many items that are marketed as 'green' are oftentimes worse for the environment then non-green products. He also discusses how transparency in the market place would likely encourage competition between companies to become more environmentally and socially aware.... if you had the choice between 2 products and one was slightly more expensive than the other, but the cheaper product was labeled as "made in a sweatshop with child labor", most of us would opt for the more expensive choice. However, when consumers are kept in the dark about where our products came from and who or what they harmed in the process, we use price as the best way to judge the value of an item. If we were fully informed of what it took to make the products, value would likely include more than just price.
Often, when we think we are getting an item for a low cost, we just end up paying extra for it later in terms of environmental remediation, health care, or other aspects of society.
As more consumers choose responsibility over price, the price for environmentally friendly and socially responsible products will go down, because that is what the market demands, and the producers will find ways to reduce costs without reducing responsibility. Additionally, many methods that will give an item a greener footprint will also save money in the long run (for example, increasing efficiency in a factory will produce less emissions and use less fossil fuels and will also cost less to operate. That saving can eventually get passed on to the customer.
This book was a quick, interesting and informative read. I would recommend it to anyone concerned with the future of our planet.
Pin It Now!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Photo Box

A great toy for young children that you can easily make yourself is a photo album or even just a box of photos of your child's friends, family, pets and favorite things. Your child will love looking through the photos and it is a great way for them to learn names of objects and people (especially those relatives who live far away and are not always around!).
I made a photo album for my son when he was around 10 months old. The first thing he did was to rip all of the photos out of the album and destroy it entirely, but after that, I put them in a box, and he would spend 10 to 15 minute at a time just taking the photos out of the box and looking at them. As he got older he would recognize friends and work on sign language for pictures of objects and animals. And now, at 2, he still enjoys dumping the photos out and naming everyone in them.
This is an easy and relatively inexpensive project that can be added to/altered as your child grows and changes, and one that they will probably enjoy for quite a long time. Pin It Now!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Write A Letter! Ok, Well, An Email at Least!

Unhappy? Feel that our government should be doing things differently? Ticked off at the people who should be concerned for our safety but instead are only concerned about helping the big corporations?
Me too! What to do now? How about writing a letter? Or a few?
I know, I know. It seems like your one measly letter won't do much to save our planet or our children's future, but if a whole bunch of us write one measly letter... well, we may at least start to have an impact.
When the government tried to change organic standards in the 1990's to allow food fertilized with toxic sludge and irradiated foods to be considered as organically grown, consumers swamped the government with lots and lots of letters and actually persuaded them to keep organic standards somewhat pure. That means that if enough of us care, and tell the government that we care, then maybe they will actually do something about it! Obama is working for change, so now is the time to tell the government what our concerns are.
To write the big man Obama, go to:
To write your senators, representatives or other government officials, a quick google search will give you all the info you need. Most should have a web page where you can directly email then a letter with your concerns.
I recently wrote a letter voicing my concerns about genetically modified foods, and just sent the same letter (with a few changes) to several government representatives. So one little letter can get your voice out to several important people.
It is OUR government ("of the people", people) so let's help them make it a government that works for us. Pin It Now!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Props to the Non-Profits

Most of us parents in the United States are extremely lucky. Most of us chose to have the children we gave birth to, and those of us who didn't? Well,.... we were just as happy in the end. But, as Americans, most of us have access to condoms, birth control and information and we are able to make informed decisions about how many children to have and when to have them. Unfortunately, most women in developing countries do not have this luxury; methods of birth control are largely unavailable, and most women are discouraged from pursuing a career and instead start families at very young ages and tend to have more children than they can comfortably support.
As global population continues to climb and pressures on the environment continue to grow, it is imperative that we begin to take the necessary steps to help curb population growth, especially in developing countries where family planning and methods of birth control are often unknown or not available.
If you have a few extra minutes, check out Engender Health's website. This amazing non-profit is working to promote gender equality and improve reproductive health care in the world's poorest countries. Their work is helping to bring contraceptives, family planning, HIV+ health care, maternal health care and many other services to countries that need them the most. You can find out more about what they do, give a donation, or help them change policies and practices that affect women worldwide. Pin It Now!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Hello 2010!

Happy New Year! Hoping that 2010 brings much peace and happiness to all! Pin It Now!