29 October 2009

getting greener with GOOD

We all know that we can save water by making simple choices in our everyday lives, but how much water? What choices? How much change in our lives? GOOD Magazine produced this charming (and brief!) little video to answer these questions, showing you just how to make a big impact with just a little change.

Thanks again, GOOD!

26 October 2009

monochromatic brunch

While normally I would espouse the benefits of having "a rainbow on
your plate," I have to say, I am really into the monochromatic thing
happening with the salad I made myself for brunch yesterday featuring
some lovely market produce: roasted green and white cauliflower,
cucumber, fennel, Mutsu apple, and a deep red tipped lettuce. Tossed
with some olive oil, lemon juice, ume plum vinegar, and lots of black
pepper. Yum!

24 October 2009

green 1 thing: a happier halloween

Every year thousands of families gather around the kitchen table to carve up pumpkins for Halloween, etching toothy grins and triangular eyes into the great orange gourds. And every year, once the carving is done, tons of useful pumpkin innards are chucked in the trash, considered useless once the jack-o-lantern has been carved. In a world where we already throw away nearly half of all the food we consume (half!), the last thing we should do is dispose of more perfectly good and incredibly beneficial produce - especially in a year where poor weather conditions and climate change have left us with a significantly damaged pumpkin crop.

By no means am I telling you not to indulge in your yearly pumpkin tradition - go on! But this year, why not carve with care? Once you've got all this pumpkin goo on your hands, ask yourself: what are you going to do with it? Well, I'm here with a few options for you!

Start with the seeds, those beautiful white discs suspended in the stringy pulp. Cleaned and rinsed, these babies can be slow-roasted at a low-to-medium heat with a variety of spice combinations to produce a delicious, crunchy snack high in vitamins A, B2, C and E. Try making them with curry powder, or toss them with some chili and cumin for a spicy bite. Feeling exceptionally culinary? Try this recipe for black tea and butter pumpkin seeds over at 101 Cookbooks.

Bursting with beta-carotene (a natural immune booster), pumpkin flesh make for a great soup! Pumpkin soup is accomplished with a bare minimum of ingredients, usually just stock, milk, spices and (of course) pumpkin, but varieties of this fall favorite abound, ranging from pear-and-pumpkin combinations to the black-bean infused Caribbean pumpkin soup. With choices so far ranging you're sure to find a recipe that will warm both your heart and belly.

And finally, for those of you sitting back sneering, "That's it? Seeds and soup? That's all these giant beasts are good for?" To you I say, hardly! Try some pumpkin risotto! Or Alton Brown's pumpkin bread! Not interested in eating your pumpkin? Blend it with some tea and honey to create a moisturizing (and great smelling!) face mask! Or an indulgent pumpkin body butter. If the options are too overwhelming for you, you'll be happy to know that pumpkin freezes very easily and will last up to a year properly stored in your freezer.

Happy carving!

Image via tvland.com

22 October 2009

coming soon to a subway near you: the common cold

Nobody has time to be sick these days, but it seems like everywhere you turn a friend or colleague is is sniffling, sneezing, and calling in with the flu. Here are a few tips on how to help you through your cold, or even keep from falling sick yourself (and don't worry - none of them involve donning anything like this):

Though it's gotten a lot of press lately as the "new miracle herb", echinacea has been around for hundreds of years and has been used medicinally for a slew of cold-related symptoms. Echinacea is particularly effective in relieving upper respiratory infections, and reports from the highly-respected medical journal Lancet have found that the herb may have significant immune-boosting effects. Derived from a purpleish colored coneflower, echinacea is available in a variety of forms, including pills and tasty teas.

Drink plenty of fluids! Water flushes out the toxins and germs that might otherwise do your body harm. It also rehydrates you, invigorates your skin, energizes your brain, and just plain does a body good!

Licorice has been used to calm aching throats and congested chests for centuries. Great tasting and soothing, this herb also contains anti-viral compounds that stimulate the body's immune system. Be cautious, though - in large doses, licorice has a laxative effect, and it has been known to counteract birth control pills in any amount.

Depended upon by college students everywhere, Vitamin C is one of nature's most famed flu-fighters. Also known as L-ascorbic acid, this essential nutrient has incredible antioxidant properties, improves your absorption of iron, and protects your body's cells from the damaging effects of everyday life (effects which are intensified during winter's harsh conditions). Widely available in many forms, Vitamin C is best acquired through whole foods such as red peppers, papayas, and (of course) oranges.

And as always, a healthy, organic diet rich in antioxidants will help keep you feeling energized and balanced, no matter what the weather outside.

Photo via Everythingchangesbook.com

17 October 2009

make it last

I know I've blogged a couple of super-short posts lately (longer ones are coming, I promise!) but real quick - check out this remarkable list of things to do with leftover food instead of throwing it out. From chicken bones to baby cereal, blogger Colleen Vanderlinden compiled 50 possible solutions to prevent food waste. My favorite?

If you have pickle juice left in a jar, don’t pour it down the drain. Use it to make a fresh batch of refrigerator pickles, or add it to salad dressings (or dirty martinis).
Get recipes for this ingenious idea and read up on the other 49 right now over at Care2.com!
*Image via foodinjars.com

13 October 2009

from the road: today's haul

Two clients. Five big-ish canvas totes full of groceries. One taxi.

Just another normal day-in-the-life.

alton brown <3

I hung out with Alton Brown this past Friday at his chat about his new book at B+N in Union Square. Whatever his dissenting thoughts on veganism, his clever commentary, snarky sense of humor, and deep-sea-depth food knowledge make me want to be his BFF.

Thank you, Alton for being you.

12 October 2009

green 1 thing: getting around

Whatever your thoughts on Christopher Columbus, there's no arguing that tran-Atlantic travel has come a long way since the days of the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria. As so many of us begin planning our own travels for the upcoming holidays (already!), it is a good time to think about how we can lessen the impact of our own globe trotting.

By Plane: Popular travel sites Expedia and Travelocity both offer the option of purchasing carbon offsets while you book your tickets, making undoing the environmental damage of jetting as easy as the click of a button!

By Train: Rail transit has a lower environmental impact than flight or auto travel, making it a very efficient and green choice to begin with. Amtrak has sweetened the deal by partnering with Carbonfund and allowing you to purchase extremely cheap carbon offsets based on the distance of your trip.

By Automobile: After the wild success of the Cash-for-Clunkers program, many more Americans are cruising the roads in energy-efficient, green vehicles. (yay!) There are still a few steps you can take, however, to make your driving better for the earth, namely in the form of (you guessed it!) carbon offsets. Two of my favorite sites are TerraPass, which works directly with developers and farms to better the earth, and NativeEnergy, which helps to finance the construction of Native American, family farm, and community-based renewable energy projects.

Interested in seeing which option is the best for you? Compare multiple carbon offset providers at OffsetConsumer.org.

07 October 2009

dairy count

Ever wonder what your impact is? Just what difference do you actually make buying organic? Organic Valley's website now offers you one way to see! The organic farm collective turned 21 this year and, with over two decade's worth of healthy, sustainable farming under their belts, they decided to compile the production data from every one of their farms and compare it to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) to display the difference between their farms and farms that use synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.

The results? 89.5 million pounds of synthetic nitrogen fertilizers and 12.5 million pounds of herbicides and pesticides were spared from the environment thanks to organic methods supported by consumers like you!

See how your habits impact up by plugging in your regular purchases at Organic Valley's Add It Up calculator and remember: organic does matter! Keep making that difference.

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