Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Green and Grateful.

We don't need a reason to be grateful this Thanksgiving season. To make sure everyone stays on track, here are some organic, nutritious GMO free recipes that you can prepare for your family and friends to celebrate good health and happiness!

Roast Turkey with Sage.

What is Thanksgiving without some turkey? Remember, look for organic and heritage turkeys, which are raised without hormones, antibiotics, or additives.

1 14-pound turkey, fresh or fully thawed
20 fresh, whole sage leaves
1 red apple, quartered (leave peel and core on)
1 onion, quartered (leave skin on)
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup turkey or chicken broth
Cheesecloth, large enough to cover turkey (single thickness)

  1. Preheat oven to 450º. Remove liver, giblets, heart, and neck from inside turkey; discard or save to make stock.
  2. Pat dry turkey. From the front of the breast, slide hands under turkey skin and loosen all the way to the back of the turkey. Place 10 sage leaves (5 on each side) under breast skin in a decorative pattern.
  3. Salt and pepper turkey cavities (body and neck). Stuff with remaining sage leaves, apples, and onions. Skewer cavities shut. Rub outside of turkey with soft butter. Fold and tuck wings under turkey.
  4. In a small saucepan, mix olive oil and broth. Saturate cheesecloth with liquid, squeezing out extra. Blanket turkey with cheesecloth. Use remaining broth for basting.
  5. Place turkey on a rack in a large, heavy roasting pan. Place pan on lowest oven rack and immediately reduce temperature to 325°F. Bake for about 3 hours (17 minutes per pound), basting with oil-stock mixture every 20–30 minutes. (During last hour of cooking, cover lightly with foil, if necessary, to prevent overbrowning.) Remove cheesecloth during last 30 minutes of cooking. Insert meat thermometer in breast and thigh meat to judge doneness. Final breast temperature should be 170º, thigh 180°F.
  6. Remove turkey from oven and let juices run into roasting pan. Tightly cover whole turkey with foil until ready to carve. Reserve pan juices to drizzle over slices before serving.
Fresh Spinach and Artichoke Baked Dip.

Buy local and use organically grown spinach to make this dish extra healthy!


1 cup nonfat plain yogurt
9 ounces baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella
2 tablespoons canola mayonnaise
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, or more to taste
1 14-ounce can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

 1. Place yogurt in a fine sieve over a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate. Let drain for 1 hour.
2. Preheat oven to 350°. Fit a steamer basket in a large pot with 1–2 inches water and add spinach. Bring to a boil and steam spinach until lightly wilted. Transfer to a colander and let cool. Wring out excess water.
3. Place spinach in a food processor. Add drained yogurt, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, mozzarella, mayonnaise, garlic, pepper, salt, and hot sauce. Process until coarsely blended. Add artichoke hearts and pulse until a chunky mixture forms.
4. Place mixture in a 1-quart baking dish and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese. Bake until bubbly and lightly browned, about 35 minutes.

Mashed Caulifllower.

 Maybe not a fancy dish, but a welcome one. Creamy and buttery, but without all the carbs. Of course, Thanksgiving comes with indulgences, but if you want to save your indulgence for another dish, creamy mashed cauliflower makes the perfect stand-in for mashed potatoes.


1 large head cauliflower, cut into bite-size pieces (about 6 cups)

8 tablespoons unsalted butter (you can substitute with ghee for a dairy-free alternative)
2 tablespoons whole milk or almond milk

1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Place cauliflower in a large pot and cover with water. 
2. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain. 
3. Pour cauliflower into the bowl of a food processor or blender. Add butter, milk, salt and pepper to the food processor and blend until smooth. 
4. Serve.

Cranberry-Pomegranate Relish.

Easy and tangy, this refreshing cranberry relish features organic orange peel for a bright finish.


3 cups fresh cranberries (about 12 ounces) (stems removed)
3/8 cup date sugar
1 cup orange juice
1 large orange peel (cut into thin slivers - no white pith)
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves
1 large orange (cut into 1/2-inch pieces)
2/3 cup pomegranate seeds

  1. Combine cranberries, sugar, orange juice, and orange peel in a large saucepan. Stir over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; simmer until berries begin to burst. Turn heat to medium-low and cook another 10 minutes, stirring often. Mince rosemary leaves; then stir into sauce with orange segments and pomegranate seeds. Transfer to a small serving bowl. Cover and chill.
Fig Pie.

 This novel, savory-sweet dessert features juicy, fresh figs; it's wonderful paired with fresh goat cheese.


2 Light and Flaky Crusts
2 1/2 pounds fresh figs, stemmed and quartered
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup unrefined cane sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon butter, room temperature

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one pastry disk to make a 12-inch round. Fit into a 9-inch pie plate, leaving overhang. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  2. Place figs in a medium bowl and sprinkle with lemon juice.
  3. In a small bowl, combine unrefined cane sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Mix well, sprinkle over figs, and toss to mix. Transfer fig mixture to pie crust and dot top with butter.
  4. Halve second pastry. On a lightly floured surface, roll one of the halves into an 11-inch round. Using a fluted pastry wheel, cut into 1-inch-wide strips. Repeat with second half.
  5. Carefully weave dough strips in a lattice pattern over pie. Trim edges of lattice pastry flush with rim of pie plate. Roll dough overhanging from bottom pastry up over lattice edges and crimp decoratively. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until filling is bubbly and crust is golden. Cool on rack and serve warm or at room temperature.



Monday, November 17, 2014

Shake the Monday Blues Away!

If you've had a long first day back into work and are looking for something to cap off your Monday, look no further. Courtesy of Huffington Post's Green page, we share with you this adorable orphaned otter who was taken in by Chicago's Shedd Aquarium a little over two weeks ago. Known as Pup 681, this precious creature enjoys toys and playtime as much as any little tot.

Have other adorable must see videos? Feel free to share them with us!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

'Tis (Almost) the Season!

Sorry it's been a while, folks! We've been busy checking out ideas for everyone as we know it's that time of year again when parties are being prepared and dinners are being set for the holidays. Today, we are proud to present our ideas for a totally eco-friendly gathering!

Eco Invitations
Recycled paper invitations are the obvious choice, but they’re not the only choice. How about getting creative and with the help of your child making your own – this will give the party a personal touch and is a fun way of using pictures from old cards or even leaves and flowers from the garden. But without a doubt the greenest invitation of all is one that saves on stamps and trees.

Think local when planning your menu
Leave your taste for global delicacies behind as you plan the menu for your eco-friendly party. Buying locally produced food is one of the best things you can do to stay green, since it takes a tremendous amount of fuel to get those global delicacies to your table. Instead of Brie, buy locally produced artisan cheese for a nice change. Same goes for wine. Discover wineries in your area and serve that to your thirsty guests instead of a wine from thousands of miles away. Grass-fed beef burgers are another good idea for organic meal ideas, as well as locally produced baked goods and desserts. Also, now that the farmer’s market season is revving up, that’s the perfect place to find what’s in season (in your area) and save as well.

A few more food-related ideas
Have at least one dish that’s completely animal product-free. The reason is two-fold: 1) More and more people are cutting meat out of their diets, so you never know if a guest will be Vegan/Vegetarian. 2) Meat production is considered another strain on the environment. By concocting a delicious animal-free dish, you’re showing your guests that animal-free doesn’t mean free of taste. And instead of plastic wrap for leftovers, use tin foil since it can be recycled (dirty tin foil however cannot be). And if you like interactive desserts, what better than providing the makings for s’mores, using organic chocolate and having your guests find their own twigs (if the party has access to trees/yard), which they can use for toasting their marshmallows.

Don’t forget the beverages
Whether you’re serving up beer, wine or cocktails to your guests, again, think local. Beer is produced everywhere nowadays, same goes for wine. Search away until you find alcohol that was made as close to your residence as possible. And while it may be tricky to find locally produced Vodka or Gin, you can at least make sure the mixers are local, such as using local fruit and either juicing it, mashing it or however else you’d like. And if there are no wineries in your area, you can buy organic wine. Frog’s Leap and BonTerra are two great options.

 Decorate to please the Green Gods
A little creative ingenuity can go a long way in this area. From repurposing bandanas as napkins to using large leaves as name tags for which to write your guests names, there are many ways to be green. Instead of buying water bottles, serve up filtered tap water in old wine bottles. And for the tableware, other than using REAL plates, cups, silverware, etc, you can also buy biodegradable disposable tableware from Whole Foods (their 365 store brand of tableware), offering disposable plates and bowls made from sugar cane. And locally grown flowers, or mini trees that you plant afterwards, are an easy way to decorate your table and home for your eco-fete. Reusable centerpieces, such as bowls or veggies and/or fruit, also work.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Expert Tips.

National Geographic shares with us some tips on greening up the loo! Who knew that small changes to the way we go about our business could make such a wondrous change in saving the planet?
Thanks to NatGeo's True Green Home Book for these amazing tips.

Sink or Swim: Don’t let the faucet run, wasting our most precious resource, as part of your family’s daily bathroom routine. Embrace the drain stop and use your sink as it was intended, by pouring in some water to wash your hands and face or to shave. Don’t run the faucet when brushing your teeth—use a cup of water instead. Any of these simple ideas can save as much as one gallon of water a minute. Check that your drain stop is actually keeping water in the basin, as a leaky plug equals water wasted.

Flushed Away: Toilet flushing is responsible for about 30 percent of all water used by the average American household, which means that almost 44,000 gallons of quality water is flushed away per family every year. Upgrade to a high-efficiency or WaterSense-labeled toilets; without one, your single-flush unit can use 3.5 to 7 gallons in one flush, compared to a high-efficiency unit’s 1.3 gallons or less. Check with your local government—you might even be able to switch to a waterless composting toilet. If you’re stuck with your old model, place an inexpensive toilet dam (available from your hardware store) in the cistern to reduce the amount of water in each flush, or fill an empty soda bottle and place that in the cistern. Silent leaks can waste up to 200 gallons a day: drop a little food coloring into your tank and wait 15 minutes—if the color turns up in the toilet bowl, call your plumber.

Reading Material: That two-ply designer toilet paper is indeed an expensive luxury. Amazingly, every ton of paper recycled saves 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil, 4,000 kilowatts of electricity, 3 cubic yards of landfill and 7,000 gallons of water. But recycled toilet paper makes up only 2 percent share of the American market—much of the rest is made from plantation-grown or native forest trees. Make the switch to environmentally friendly toilet paper that is unbleached, chlorine-free and, if possible, 100 percent recycled.

Light Showers:Showers are the biggest resource-guzzlers in the home, but you can reduce this just by spending less time in the shower and using a timer. Replacing your old showerhead with a WaterSense-labeled or energy-efficient model can save you almost 3 gallons of water a minute. Take advantage of rebates and offers provided by your local government or water authority to make the switch. If one out of every 100 U.S. homes was retrofitted with water-efficient fixtures, we could avoid 80,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions a year. Keep a bucket handy to collect gray water for use in the garden. Install a thermostat that keeps hot water at a usable temperature so no cold water is wasted.

Picking up the Steam:
It is essential to have an exhaust fan in your bathroom to reduce mold and other harmful contaminants, but that’s no reason to forget the fan’s negative environmental impact. Choose energy-saving exhaust fans that are thermostatically controlled and not connected to the light switch, so they turn on when the air temperature rises rather than when someone turns on the light. Clean the fan’s filter once a month to ensure that it runs efficiently.