Happy holidays, Pleni family! To celebrate the festive season, we’ve put together three cozy recipes featuring natural ingredients we use in our products. These are perfect to whip up over the next couple of days as 2019 comes to a close — and they’re also great to have on hand for all the chilly winter nights to come. Read on for the dishes!
Warm cinnamon apples
This unbelievably warming winter treat might just be the food equivalent of sitting by a crackling fire wearing your favorite cuddly sweater. Made using a few simple ingredients (most of which you probably already have on hand), cinnamon-spiced apples can be made in either a saucepan on the stove or in a crockpot.
- 4 to 6 apples of your choice (a mix of red and green works beautifully!), peeled, cored, and sliced
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp butter (or vegan butter alternative)
In a large mixing bowl, combine apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Mix well to coat.
Heat a large saucepan over medium heat.
Add the apple mixture to the pan. Add the water and butter, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until the apples reach your desired tenderness.
- 6 apples of your choice (a mix of red and green works beautifully!), peeled, cored, and sliced
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- 3 tbsp cornstarch
- Pinch of salt
- 2 tbsp butter, cubed (or vegan butter alternative)
Combine all ingredients in your crockpot. Stir to coat the apples in the spices.
Cook on low for four hours. Enjoy!
Raw broccoli, walnut, and cranberry salad
There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself when the weather’s on the cold side (or ever, really) — but if you find yourself craving something ultra-healthy, this raw salad will do the trick. Featuring Pleni ingredients broccoli and cranberry, this is a crisp, crunchy, bright dish that’ll nourish your mind as well as your body.
For the dressing:
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 ¼ tbsp apple cider vinegar
- Big pinch kosher salt
- Freshly cracked black pepper
Combine all ingredients in a jar. Screw on the lid, and shake to combine.
For the salad:
- 2 heads broccoli, chopped into florets
- ¾ cup walnuts, chopped
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- 1 small red onion, diced
- ½ cup bacon, chopped and cooked (optional or use vegan bacon alternative)
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Top with your dressing, and toss to combine.
Spiced orange-clove cookies
Zesty orange meets warming spices in these pillowy winter cookies. Known for its invigorating properties, orange anchors this recipe with a touch of both zest and extract, while the full spectrum of seasonal spice staples (Ginger! Cinnamon! Nutmeg!) adds pleasant complexity and festive cheer. Don’t be fooled by the long ingredient list here; these chewy cookies are super easy to make!
- ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened (or vegan butter alternative)
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1 egg, large
- 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ cup molasses
- ¼ tsp orange extract
- 1 tsp orange zest
- 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour (to make this gluten-free, use a 1:1 baking mix like Bob’s Red Mill)
- 1 ½ tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- More granulated sugar (to coat the dough in)
In a large mixing bowl, use a handheld mixer to cream together the butter and sugars. Add the egg, and beat until combined. Add the vanilla, molasses, orange extract, and orange zest, and beat to combine.
In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Add these to the wet mixture, mixing until just combined. (As always, don’t overmix!)
Refrigerate the dough for an hour. This will concentrate all those wonderful winter flavors, as well as making the dough firmer and easier to roll.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Remove the dough from the fridge. Roll into balls, coat with more granulated sugar, and place two inches apart on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet.
Use the back of a measuring cup to slightly flatten each cookie.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes before removing from the oven and cooling on a wire rack.
To start out our retailer series, we would like to feature a dynamic, family-owned brick and mortar store in Brooklyn, NY that is deeply committed to helping their customers make the switch to non-toxic! Junk Free Beauty carries an assortment of sought-after clean beauty and skincare products for the entire family. They have also started an e-commerce store and are slowly on-boarding the brands they carry to their site. The ladies behind Junk Free Beauty treat their customers like royalty; 1. individualized, top-level service in their retail store 2. delivery service of their non-toxic products to local customers and 3. non-toxic makeup and skincare parties! No wonder why Junk Free Beauty is a premiere destination for clean beauty in the Brooklyn area with many, loyal customers!
We love working with Junk Free Beauty because they are so passionate about what they do and if you follow them on Instagram you can actually feel their passion throught the tiles! Give them a follow and you will see what we are talking about!
We asked Gloria Molcho, one of the sister co-founders of Junk Free Beauty some questions about JFB:
How did you get started in green beauty?
Everyone in my family has a different story that brought them into this Green Beauty World. My oldest sister was trying to conceive which lead her to do her own research on products. Once she was pregnant she only wanted to use the safest ingredients. My mother watched my grandmother suffer from Alzheimers and did her own research to figure out why certain diseases are more prevalent in America today than ever recorded. My story with Green Beauty started when I was recruited to open Junk Free Beauty. I just fell in love with the idea of natural clean products. The knowledge I have gained from opening Junk Free Beauty has led me down a path of health and wellness in my lifestyle and the way I eat.
What is your vetting/product selection process?
We have a long list in known harmful ingredients that we do not accept into our store. If we come across an ingredient that we do not recognize, we head to the Environmental Working Group’s website and do our own research.
How is your store different from other green beauty stores?
We offer very personalized help. Our staff is passionate and knowledgeable on every product we carry. We try our best to educate our customers on products enough for them to make their own decisions.
From your many interactions with customers, what do you feel is the hardest type of product for them to transition from?
The hardest thing for most to transition in their life is their deodorant. Nobody wants to take the risk of smelling and/or sweating. Sometimes the first non-toxic deodorant you buy can work, and other times you may have to try a few different options until you find one that works for you. It depends on the person.
Are there any products in the traditional marketplace that you wish were available in green beauty/lifestyle?
I would love if there was a nontoxic version of fake hair fibers for men and women who experience hair loss. I also would love to see a self tanner that has color stay for a few days.
What is your best selling Pleni Naturals product?
Pleni’s Apple + Broccoli Wash is by far our best selling product, not just by Pleni but of all our baby washes. People love the smell, the packaging and the feel of it. Now that the wash comes in a 16oz. they're selling better than before.
What's next for Junk Free Beauty?
We’re hoping to be able to make some of our own products. Were looking to make inexpensive, bulk size house cleaning products and basic home necessities.
We ask this question in all of our Q and A Blog Series: What are some favorite veggies in your home and how do you prepare them for your family?
My husband and I love love love brussel sprouts. After washing them, I cut them in half and douse them in a marinade with balsamic vinegar, agave and avocado oil. Set the oven to 400 degrees and lay brussel sprouts on a flat baking sheet until they're golden crispy.
We love this recipe especially over warm brown rice with chickpeas with a lemony Tahini sauce drizzled on top. MUST TRY.
If you stop into Junk Free Beauty at 2154 East 4th street in Brooklyn NY through 5/21/19 and mention this blog post the ladies at JFB will offer you a 15% discount on Pleni Naturals products! Tell your local Brooklyn friends!
We are excited to introduce you to Amber - mother, photographer, and creative spirit who we love following on Instagram. Amber has two young children and is our kind of mom - she likes to cook, lives a healthy lifestyle and is intentional with the clothing, toys and other items she purchases for her family, like skin care products. Amber reviews the Pleni Naturals products on her blog, Driftless Wanderings and you can read Amber's experience with our products here.
Once you’ve hit that 6 month mark and start introducing new foods to your baby, it’s every parent’s goal to try and teach their little one about healthy food. We try multiple options to test and train their palettes with purees, mushes, and more. Yet, no matter how hard we try, we are still met with resistance, or worse as they get older and start tasting all the sugary, cheesy snacks their preferences rapidly shift away from veggies and towards the goodies. Picky eaters quickly emerge and meal time can become a major struggle every day. Check out delicious recipes that help our picky eaters explore new foods from Katie at Eat Pretty Darling. Just like it is with adults, the easiest way to stay healthy at the table is to make it a part of multiple aspects of our lives.
Think about the trend of avocado - in the last decade, the consumption of avocado in the US has increased by 79%. Concurrently, avos have been much more prevalent outside of the grocery store or your favorite Mexican restaurant's guacamole. Now, almost every coffee shop has avo toast, avocado ice cream is a thing, and fresh accessories, toys, and more, frequent our everyday lives.
The effect? We eat more avocado! Our brains are trained by frequency, the more we see avocados out and about, the more we want to eat them too. Think of what we can do as a culture by taking all our favorite fruits and veggies and giving them the same attention outside of the dining room or kitchen.
This very concept is what inspired the creation of Pleni Naturals skincare products! And we are so excited to see that there are more companies out there with the same mission!
One such company is Little Foodie - We met founders Dena and Jessica through Instagram and we immediately fell in love with their collection of onesies and toddler t-shirts with fun, brightly colored fruit and veggie characters on them and whimsical play on words. Seriously, so cute!
Although a 6 month old may not internalize exactly what a cucumber smells like or read the letters on their shirt, the habits and associations we are forming today away from the table, can build lasting healthy choices by making kale, broccoli and sweet potatoes just as fun in the bath and on the playground as they are on the table.
To CELERYbrate all things fruit and veggies, we have partnered with Little Foodie and Eat Pretty Darling for an epic giveaway (valued over $100!).
Head on over to Instagram to enter! Giveaway ends end of day Saturday, 1/26/19. Good luck!