Chocolate Chipotle Cake
1 cup plus ½ tsp unsweetened cocoa
2 ¾ cups flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon The Olive Tap® Cinnamon
2 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon The Olive Tap® Cayenne Pepper
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups lowfat milk
½ cup mild olive oil such as The Olive Tap®’s Arbequina or Mission
½ cup The Olive Tap® Chipotle Olive Oil
2 large eggs
3 tablespoon The Olive Tap® Dark Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar
1. Preheat oven to 350◦. Butter two 8-in cake pans and dust with ¼ tbsp. cocoa in each. Discard excess cocoa.
2. Whisk remaining 1 cup cocoa, flour, sugars, cinnamon, soda, cayenne and salt in bowl to blend. Add milk, oils, eggs and vinegar. Whisk until smooth. Pour into pans, dividing batter evenly.
3. Bake until a toothpick inserted in each cake comes out clean, about 40-45 minutes.
4. Cool cakes in pans for 10 minutes. Loosen the cakes from pans with a metal spatula. Turn each cake out onto a plate and cool completely. Sift powdered sugar onto cakes.
Additional Options: Mix 2 tbsp Dark Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar with cocoa and spread glaze over cakes. Or mix Balsamic Vinegar with 2 tbsp raspberry preserves and spread over cakes.
*Recipe and image courtesy of The Olive Tap®.*
Usher in the New Year with these delightful cocktails from VOGA Italia Wine! Maybe the Midnight Kiss will be followed by a real kiss as the countdown begins! What “Mom” loves about VOGA Italia Wine is not only its’ clear, distinct taste, but that the bottles are gorgeous and can be reused or recycled easily!
The VOGA Sparkler
2 oz. VOGA Sparkling
.5 oz. vodka
.5 oz. Raspberry Liqueur
.5 oz. Soho Lychee Liqueur
Combine vodka, raspberry liqueur and soho lychee liqueur in the bottom of a champagne flute.
Top with VOGA Sparkling Pinot Grigio.
2 oz. VOGAItalia Sparkling
1 oz. apple cider (“Mom” prefers organic)
.5 oz. ginger vodka
Juice from ½ lemon (“Mom” prefers organic)
1 apple, sliced (“Mom” prefers organic)
Combine ginger vodka, apple cider, fresh lemon juice and stir. Top with VOGA Sparkling and garnish with apple slices.
VOGA Italia hails from Italy, the country best known for producing some of the world’s best wine as well as its’ keen sense of style. VOGA Italia encompasses all aspects offering a collection of crisp delicious wine thoughtfully packaged in a revolutionary re-designed bottle featuring a unique resealable cap. Since the company’s inception, VOGA has earned numerous awards and accolades for their sleek and sexy glass cylindrical bottle, presentation and most importantly taste. The collection retails from $10.99 to $15.99 and includes Pinot Grigio, Merlot, Moscato, Quattro, Sparkling Pinot Grigio and Sparkling Pinot Grigio Chardonnay. VOGA is available in over 62 countries, hundreds of major cities, and can be found in thousands of the world’s trendiest bars, restaurants and shops. Wherever, whenever, if you are drinking VOGA you are drinking IN Style.
For more information on VOGA Italia wine visit www.vogaitalia.com.
*Company generously provided samples, recipes, and images for this piece.*
Fibromyalgia is an illness that causes widespread pain in the muscles and soft tissue of the body. Its symptoms, in addition to pain throughout the body, can include specific tender points on the body, extreme fatigue, stiffness when waking, sleep problems, depression and memory problems. Doctors have not been able to pinpoint any specific trigger for the disease.
In the past, some doctors told patients that the symptoms they were experiencing were imaginary, while others used the illness as a diagnosis when they could not find a cause for a patient’s symptoms. Research has now shown that both of these ideas were wrong.
Recent studies have shown that many of those diagnosed with fibromyalgia have lower than normal levels of the hormone cortisol in their bodies. Scientists believe that the processes that cause fibromyalgia, including the lower levels of cortisol, affect the way that the brain receives and perceives pain signals. In those with this illness, the sensation of pain is greatly increased from what is considered normal. Current treatments for fibromyalgia include pain medications, management of stress and, if needed, lifestyle changes. However, doctors are starting to include alternative treatments such as yoga, tai chi and acupuncture. Many doctors now advise their patients to incorporate yoga as a part of their overall treatment plan.
Those new to yoga will find that it is a purposely slow form of exercise consisting of three main components. The first of these components are the poses or postures (asanas in Sanskrit). There are many poses used in yoga, making its use appropriate for many different reasons. These postures help the body by allowing it to stretch gently while relieving stress and helping to strengthen the muscles. Using these postures also increases blood flow throughout the body.
The next vital part of yoga is breathing. The practitioner is encouraged to use deep breathing techniques in order to get the greatest amount of oxygen to his/her body and brain. Deep breathing is also used to relieve stress and aid in the release of tension throughout the body.
The final component of yoga is meditation. Those taking part in meditation typically report a sense of calm and awareness. This soothing energy aids the body in its natural healing process. The practitioner is usually reminded to concentrate on their breathing and to let thoughts come and go without any particular attachment to them. Meditation provides a great opportunity to become aware of the mind and body connection, to listen to the needs of the body and respond with love and healing energy.
Most fibromyalgia patients are encouraged to take part in some type of exercise, but many find that just a small amount of exercise leaves them in a great amount of pain. Unlike regular exercise, such as running on a treadmill, a stepper or using weights, yoga allows the patient to perform slow stretches and gradually develop more complex routines if desired. Most practitioners advise those with fibromyalgia to begin with basic styles of yoga such as Hatha yoga.
No matter which way a patient decides to practice yoga, through yoga videos or with an instructor in a class setting, it should become part of the daily routine. Once yoga becomes habitual fibromyalgia patients may notice changes in their pain levels, their sleep and their fatigue. When used in conjunction with a treatment plan set up by their doctor, the fibromyalgia patient may find that yoga makes that plan more effective, allowing them to gain control over their life again, without the severe pain they had previously endured.
In the South it’s believed that eating black-eyed peas and collard greens on New Year’s Day ensures good luck and prosperity in the year ahead. This less traditional preparation is simple and soothing, with the ham hock often found in traditional “peas and greens.” In Terry Walters’ home they eat this soup all winter long, but on New Year’s Day it especially provides welcome wholesomeness to balance the sweets of the holiday season.
New Year’s Soup
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 carrots, cut into 1/8-inch rounds (about 2 cups)
3 parsnips, cut into 1/8-inch rounds (about 1 cup)
1 bunch collard greens, stems removed
3 cups cooked black-eyed peas
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
4 cups vegetable stock
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
In soup pot or large Dutch oven over medium heat, sauté onion and garlic in olive oil 3 minutes or until soft. Add carrots and parsnips and sauté 3 minutes. Chop collard greens into bite-size pieces and add to pot along with black-eyed peas and oregano. Add vegetable stock, bring to boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer 20-25 minutes. Stir in apple cider vinegar and season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and serve.
For a heartier meal, stir 1 cup cooked quinoa or millet into soup before serving.
*Reprinted with permission from Clean Start by Terry Walters, Sterling Epicure 2010.*
The New Year is a great time to renew and refresh your home with a clean sweep – from recycling unused toys and clothing to finally vacuuming under the bed before you stash the holiday decorations! Now, for anyone who has made a promise to be a little more “green” in 2012, ECOS Earth Friendly Products makes it easy to clean your home from top to bottom with no worry about using toxic chemicals.
After a lively New Year’s Eve celebration, your dishes will shine with a little help from Almond Dishmate – not to mention, they will smell fabulous, too! Made of 100% biodegradable ingredients and scented with pure almond and cherry oils, this dish soap is effective without being harmful. A tiny bit goes a long way, too! Dishmate is available in Apricot, Grapefruit, Pear, Lavender and Free & Clear (for those with sensitivities).
For hard surface areas, such as stainless steel, corian counter tops, and porcelain, the Creamy Cleanser is a naturally abrasive cleanser that gets the job done! 100% biodegradable and non-polluting, the Creamy Cleanser will not scratch surfaces and is not harmful to the skin. With a light lemon scent from lemon oil, this is one cleaner you will be reaching for often in the New Year!
General cleaning, especially in the kitchen area, has never been more refreshing than with Parsley Plus All-Purpose Cleaner! Non-toxic, all-natural and 100% biodegradable, this lively spray will clean and refresh the area immediately.
For more information on ECOS Earth Friendly Products, to view the entire line, or to locate a retailer near you, visit www.ecos.com.
*Company generously provided samples and images for this piece.*
White House Orange Yogurt Cake with Baked Apples
Unsalted butter, as needed for the baking pan
1 large navel orange, cut into 8 wedges
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of coarse salt
1/2 cup plain whole milk yogurt
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1 large egg
3 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon pure (not imitation) vanilla extract
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
4 red apples, such as Macoun or McIntosh
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup honey
1 whole vanilla bean, scraped
2 tablespoons golden raisins
For the cake:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8-by-2-inch round cake pan with butter. Cut a circle of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the pan. Line the pan with the parchment paper and grease the parchment paper with butter.
2. In a medium saucepan, bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Cut the orange into 8 wedges and remove the seeds. Add the orange to the water and boil for 5 minutes. Drain the water. Refill the saucepan with another 4 cups of water and bring it to a boil. Add the orange wedges and boil again for 5 minutes.
3. While the orange is boiling, in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, 1/2 cup of the sugar, the baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
4. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, carefully remove the orange wedges from the boiling water and place them in a bowl. Add the remaining 1 cup of sugar to the boiling water. Cook, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Return the orange wedges to the boiling water and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Drain the water in a colander in the sink.
5. Place the orange wedges in the bowl of a food processor, along with, ¼ cup of the yogurt, the orange zest, egg, honey and vanilla. Process until well combined. Add the flour mixture and process again until combined.
6. Transfer the batter to the prepared cake pan. Place in the oven and bake until golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.
7. While the cake is baking, in a small saucepan, whisk together the lemon juice, confectioners’ sugar, and remaining ¼ cup of yogurt. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Let boil until glaze is thickened, about 3 minutes.
8. Place a wire rack on top of a sheet of parchment paper. Remove the cake from the oven and flip over the pan so the cake comes out onto the rack. Remove the parchment paper round from the top. Pour the glaze over the cake. Let it stand until the glaze is absorbed. Place on a serving plate and serve with sliced baked apples.
For the apples:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Using a sharp knife, cut into the stem end of each apple to remove the core, but do not cut all the way through the apple. Its shape should be left intact.
2. In each of 4 jumbo-size muffin pan cups, evenly divide the butter, honey, and vanilla bean seeds. Place an apple in each prepared muffin pan cup. Stuff each apple with about 1 1/2 teaspoons of raisins.
3. Cover each of the apples with a sheet of parchment paper, then place a sheet of aluminum foil on top. Scrunch the foil to secure it around the apple.
4. Bake until the apples are tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Spoon the juices over the apples before serving.
*Recipe and image courtesy of www.CommunityGardenRecipes.com. This recipe also appears in “A White House Garden Cookbook” by Clara Silverstein.*
If you were to visit the London Transport Museum in the city’s famous Covent Garden area, you would see some fine examples of British public transport, from taxis to trolleys to trains (and many made of wood!). But for many tourists, the best exhibits are the ones that feature London’s famous double-decker buses, which have long been a hallmark of the European city. And interesting enough, the buses that are on London streets today may soon find themselves gathering dust in the museum, nothing more than relics of a petroleum-fueled world. That’s because the well-known Routemaster buses (which are primarily used for sightseeing or private rental) have gotten a reboot for a greener era with a clean hybrid engine.
The bright red buses that were once ubiquitous in “The Big Smoke” (in fact, their diesel engines no doubt contributed to condition that earned London that nickname) were extremely popular from the time of their inception in 1958. But over the next twenty plus years, the noise and pollution caused by these behemoths (not to mention the cost of operating them) would lead the city to rethink their position on the merits of keeping the buses as a form of public transportation. And by the end of the ‘80s, the buses were pretty much relegated to tourist companies (thanks to their open-air upper decks, which allowed for better sightseeing).
But thanks to a complete overhaul by Ireland’s Wright Group, the newly redesigned Routemaster has the modern city-dweller in mind, and the amenities are both practical and eco-friendly. For starters, there is the hybrid engine to consider, and although it still relies partially on diesel, it’s not the foul petroleum product of yesteryear. The buses run on cleaner, more efficient diesel thanks to advances in the alternate fuel over the last several years. And half the time, they run on no fuel at all with the electric half of the engine. They are quiet and clean and they get double the mileage of their ancestors with half the emissions. The lightweight materials probably don’t hurt, either.
And if that’s not enough reason for Londoners and tourists alike to hop on, consider some of the upgrades that these buses will feature. The new model sports three, entrances, one of which is wheelchair accessible, and it also has a throwback to trolleys with an open rear portal that allows travelers to hop on and off the bus with ease (so that they can catch a ride even if they’re late and alight precisely at their stop instead of rolling past it). There are also two staircases (front and back) and seating for 87 passengers.
Of course, these buses won’t be widely available for a while, despite their obvious appeal. The test run of eight buses, which are set to hit the streets in early 2012, cost the city a whopping $17.7 million dollars (including development and construction). However, future models will come in at a far more modest half a million dollars each (give or take). And considering how much better they are for Londoners (and indeed, the planet), we could be seeing a lot more of these curvy, red beasts on the roadways in the coming years.
About the Author
Sarah Danielson is a contributing writer for usedinfinitiengines.com where Suzuki engines are shipped nationwide every day.
Ginger & Curry Butternut Squash Soup
1 whole butternut squash, quartered with seeds scooped out
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus more for rubbing on butternut squash
Sea salt, to taste
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 red onion, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1 tablespoon red curry paste
3 cups organic vegetable broth
1 cup organic coconut milk (if you want a richer soup just add more coconut milk)
¼ cup fresh lime juice
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place butternut squash on a baking sheet, skin sides down. Rub the flesh with extra virgin olive oil and season with salt to taste. Roast butternut squash for about 35-40 minutes, or until flesh is fork-tender. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. When cool enough to handle, scoop out the pulp from the butternut squash and set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium-high heat; add the ginger and sauté 30 seconds. Add the onion and celery and sauté 4-5 minutes, or until vegetables are soft. Add the roasted butternut squash pulp and Thai Kitchen Red Curry Paste and stir to combine.
Add the vegetable broth, coconut milk and lime juice. Use a handheld stick blender to process until smooth and creamy. Simmer for 10 -12 minutes. Serve warm.
*Recipe and image courtesy of Clean Cuisine.*
As we head into 2012, many of us will be resolving to lose those few extra pounds, save more money, or spend a few more hours with our families and friends. But there are also some resolutions we can make to make our lives a little greener. Each of us, especially in the United States, can make a commitment to reducing our environmental impacts.
Hunger, poverty, and climate change are issues that we can all help address. Here are 12 simple steps to go green in 2012:
Recycling programs exist in cities and towns across the United States, helping to save energy and protect the environment. In 2009, San Francisco became the first U.S. city to require all homes and businesses to use recycling and composting collection programs. As a result, more than 75 percent of all material collected is being recycled, diverting 1.6 million tons from the landfills annually—-double the weight of the Golden Gate Bridge. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, for each pound of aluminum recovered, Americans save the energy resources necessary to generate roughly 7.5 kilowatt-hours of electricity—-enough to power a city the size of Pittsburgh for six years!
What you can do:
Put a separate container next to your trash can or printer, making it easier to recycle your bottles, cans, and paper.
(2) Turn off the lights
On the last Saturday in March—-March 31 in 2012—-hundreds of people, businesses, and governments around the world turn off their lights for an hour as part of Earth Hour, a movement to address climate change.
What you can do:
Earth Hour happens only once a year, but you can make an impact every day by turning off lights during bright daylight, or whenever you will be away for an extended period of time.
(3) Make the switch
In 2007, Australia became the first country to “ban the bulb,” drastically reducing domestic usage of incandescent light bulbs. By late 2010, incandescent bulbs had been totally phased out, and, according to the country’s environment minister, this simple move has made a big difference, cutting an estimated 4 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions by 2012. China also recently pledged to replace the 1 billion incandescent bulbs used in its government offices with more energy efficient models within five years.
What you can do:
A bill in Congress to eliminate incandescent in the United States failed in 2011, but you can still make the switch at home. Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) use only 20-30 percent of the energy required by incandescents to create the same amount of light, and LEDs use only 10 percent, helping reduce both electric bills and carbon emissions.
(4) Turn on the tap
The bottled water industry sold 8.8 billion gallons of water in 2010, generating nearly $11 billion in profits. Yet plastic water bottles create huge environmental problems. The energy required to produce and transport these bottles could fuel an estimated 1.5 million cars for a year, yet approximately 75 percent of water bottles are not recycled—-they end up in landfills, litter roadsides, and pollute waterways and oceans. And while public tap water is subject to strict safety regulations, the bottled water industry is not required to report testing results for its products. According to a study, 10 of the most popular brands of bottled water contain a wide range of pollutants, including pharmaceuticals, fertilizer residue, and arsenic.
What you can do:
Fill up your glasses and reusable water bottles with water from the sink. The United States has more than 160,000 public water systems, and by eliminating bottled water you can help to keep nearly 1 million tons of bottles out of the landfill, as well as save money on water costs.
(5) Turn down the heat
The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that consumers can save up to 15 percent on heating and cooling bills just by adjusting their thermostats. Turning down the heat by 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit for eight hours can result in savings of 5-15 percent on your home heating bill.
What you can do:
Turn down your thermostat when you leave for work, or use a programmable thermostat to control your heating settings.
(6) Support food recovery programs
Each year, roughly a third of all food produced for human consumption—-approximately 1.3 billion tons—-gets lost or wasted, including 34 million tons in the United States, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Grocery stores, bakeries, and other food providers throw away tons of food daily that is perfectly edible but is cosmetically imperfect or has passed its expiration date. In response, food recovery programs run by homeless shelters or food banks collect this food and use it to provide meals for the hungry, helping to divert food away from landfills and into the bellies of people who need it most.
What you can do:
Encourage your local restaurants and grocery stores to partner with food rescue organizations, like City Harvest in New York City or Second Harvest Heartland in Minnesota.
Go through your cabinets and shelves and donate any non-perishable canned and dried foods that you won’t be using to your nearest food bank or shelter.
(7) Buy local
“Small Business Saturday,” falling between “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday,” was established in 2010 as a way to support small businesses during the busiest shopping time of the year. Author and consumer advocate Michael Shuman argues that local small businesses are more sustainable because they are often more accountable for their actions, have smaller environmental footprints, and innovate to meet local conditions—-providing models for others to learn from.
What you can do:
Instead of relying exclusively on large supermarkets, consider farmers markets and local farms for your produce, eggs, dairy, and meat. Food from these sources is usually fresher and more flavorful, and your money will be going directly to these food producers.
(8) Get out and ride
We all know that carpooling and using public transportation helps cut down on greenhouse gas emissions, as well as our gas bills. Now, cities across the country are investing in new mobility options that provide exercise and offer an alternative to being cramped in subways or buses. Chicago, Denver, Minneapolis, and Washington, D.C. have major bike sharing programs that allow people to rent bikes for short-term use. Similar programs exist in other cities, and more are planned for places from Miami, Florida, to Madison, Wisconsin.
What you can do:
If available, use your city’s bike share program to run short errands or commute to work. Memberships are generally inexpensive (only $75 for the year in Washington, D.C.), and by eliminating transportation costs, as well as a gym membership, you can save quite a bit of money!
Even without bike share programs, many cities and towns are incorporating bike lanes and trails, making it easier and safer to use your bike for transportation and recreation.
(9) Share a car
Car sharing programs spread from Europe to the United States nearly 13 years ago and are increasingly popular, with U.S. membership jumping 117 percent between 2007 and 2009. According to the University of California Transportation Center, each shared car replaces 15 personally owned vehicles, and roughly 80 percent of more than 6,000 car-sharing households surveyed across North America got rid of their cars after joining a sharing service. In 2009, car-sharing was credited with reducing U.S. carbon emissions by more than 482,000 tons. Innovative programs such as Chicago’s I-GO are even introducing solar-powered cars to their fleets, making the impact of these programs even more eco-friendly.
What you can do:
Join a car share program! As of July 2011, there were 26 such programs in the U.S., with more than 560,000 people sharing over 10,000 vehicles. Even if you don’t want to get rid of your own car, using a shared car when traveling in a city can greatly reduce the challenges of finding parking (car share programs have their own designated spots), as well as your environmental impact as you run errands or commute to work.
(10) Plant a garden
Whether you live in a studio loft or a suburban McMansion, growing your own vegetables is a simple way to bring fresh and nutritious food literally to your doorstep. Researchers at the FAO and the United Nations Development Programme estimate that 200 million city dwellers around the world are already growing and selling their own food, feeding some 800 million of their neighbors. Growing a garden doesn’t have to take up a lot of space, and in light of high food prices and recent food safety scares, even a small plot can make a big impact on your diet and wallet.
What you can do:
Plant some lettuce in a window box. Lettuce seeds are cheap and easy to find, and when planted in full sun, one window box can provide enough to make several salads worth throughout a season.
And what better way to fertilize your garden than using your own composted organic waste. You will not only reduce costs by buying less fertilizer, but you will also help to cut down on food and other organic waste.
What you can do:
If you are unsure about the right ways to compost, websites such as HowToCompost.org and organizations such as the U.S. Composting Council, provide easy steps to reuse your organic waste.
(12) Reduce your meat consumption
Livestock production accounts for about 18 percent of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions and accounts for about 23 percent of all global water used in agriculture. Yet global meat production has experienced a 20 percent growth rate since 2000 to meet the per capita increase of meat consumption of about 42 kilograms.
What you can do:
You don’t have to become a vegetarian or vegan, but by simply cutting down on the amount of meat you consume can go a long way. Consider substituting one meal day with a vegetarian option. And if you are unable to think of how to substitute your meat-heavy diet, websites such as Meatless Monday and Eating Well offer numerous vegetarian recipes that are healthy for you and the environment.
The most successful and lasting New Year’s resolutions are those that are practiced regularly and have an important goal. Watching the ball drop in Times Square happens only once a year, but for more and more people across the world, the impacts of hunger, poverty, and climate change are felt every day. Thankfully, simple practices, such as recycling or riding a bike, can have great impact. As we prepare to ring in the new year, let’s all resolve to make 2012 a healthier, happier, and greener year for all.
About the Worldwatch Institute
Worldwatch is an independent research organization based in Washington, D.C. that works on energy, resource, and environmental issues. The Institute’s State of the World report is published annually in more than 20 languages. For more information, visit www.worldwatch.org.