Eco-Friendly Touches in Your Living Space

If your home could stand to be greener that’s probably because it can. Whether this means utilizing biodegradable objects or displaying recycled pieces, it’s actually quite simple to make your home more eco-friendly. If you can’t afford to completely redo your home with eco-friendly pieces that’s understandable, but there are small ways to implement changes. Find unique pieces for your space such as a bamboo Dell computer or aluminum foil laptops. Intrigued now? Read on to discover more green pieces, making it easy to implement an eco-friendly touch within your house.

Start with your kitchen and add to it with eco-friendly side boards made of recycled materials that will add to a chic space. Sideboards are traditional, stylish, and have a warm touch that makes any interior look unique. They especially work well for kitchens because they add a modern touch while creating an illusion of space. Add a green touch to your kitchen with a sideboard that’s trendy and eco-chic.

If subtle is what you’re going for then you may want to consider investing in an eco-friendly laptop. CEO Michael Dell introduced a Dell eco PC with a bamboo casing that supposedly is eighty percent smaller than a standard desktop and in addition, it uses seventy perfect less power. If you’ve been feeling guilty about how much power you use while working everyday on your standard computer you may want to consider this bamboo Dell computer instead.

Allow your kids to participate in your eco-renovation and implement an eco-friendly bed in their bedroom that they’ll think is super cool. In fact, did you know that they make swanky beds out of authentic airplane parts? Your kids can be their own pilot while enjoying their recycled airplane bed. They’ll think it’s awesome that the lounging space is pristine too because many of the beds are made fairly large. Let them enjoy a headboard that’s made from the inner flap from a C-130 military cargo jet and perhaps side rails that are DC-9 rear stabilizers. Super cool!

So as you can see there are many ways you can transform a space with recycled pieces and recycled beds. Your home may not be completely eco-friendly over night, but you can slowly and surely invest in pieces that will add to an attractive space and create an eco-friendly environment in every one of your interiors.

About the Author

Sierra is a freelance writer and blogger at Ocean Dreams. She loves eco-friendly décor pieces and hopes to implement them into her own home someday.

*Image courtesy of Houzz.com.*

There’s always something exciting about a pot of good stuff bubbling away on the stove. Especially when that “good stuff” includes powerful ingredients providing a balanced array of minerals, protein, and fiber. Adding the kale at the very end of the cooking ensures that it’s softened enough to be enjoyed, withoutdestroying all of its nutrition through heat. This is the kind of stew that eats like a meal.

Kale and Black-Eyed Pea Stew

Ingredients

1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 cups white onions, diced (about 1 medium onion)
6 cloves garlic, minced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves, chopped
½ tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
¼ teaspoon chipotle powder
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
3 cups vegetable broth
3 cups water
2 tablespoons wakame flakes, ground/crushed into fine pieces
3 cups cooked black-eyed peas
1 head kale, stems discarded and leaves chopped
½ lemon, juiced
fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish
Sea salt to taste

Preparation

In a large pot, melt the coconut oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the celery and bell pepper and cook for a few minutes longer. Stir in the herbs and spices, cooking for about 30 seconds. Add the vegetable broth, water, wakame flakes, black-eyed peas, and a pinch of sea salt. Bring to a gentle simmer, and cook uncovered for 30 minutes, adding more water if needed. Taste, and adjust salt if desired. After the soup is fully cooked through, stir in the kale and keep over the heat for a minute longer—just enough to wilt the kale. Add the lemon juice and turn off the heat. Top with parsley and serve.

Variation: Add 1 cup diced smoked tofu when you add the black-eyed peas.

Makes 6-8 servings.

SUPERFOOD TIP

Using smoked ingredients like chipotle powder and smoked paprika add an impressive depth of flavor to recipes without compromising nutrition through overcooking. Find these spices in most supermarkets, or from a retailer listed in the Ingredient Resources Guide (page 228).

Reprinted with permission from Superfood Kitchen © 2012 by Julie Morris, Sterling Epicure, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. Photography by Julie Morris

Complete your menu by serving these burritos with Traditional Guacamole (page 100) and Tofu Sour Cream (page 104), topped with sautéed collard greens or chopped avocado and cilantro.

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burritos with Cashew Cheese

Ingredients

Burritos

3 sweet potatoes or yams
1⁄2 cup corn, fresh or frozen
3 tablespoons lime juice
11⁄2 cups cooked black beans
1⁄2 red onion, diced
1 large tomato, diced
8–10 soft corn tortillas
11⁄2 cups prepared salsa
1⁄4 cup chopped scallions

Cashew Cheese

1⁄2 cup cashew pieces
1⁄4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400°F.

PREPARING SWEET POTATOES FOR BURRITOS

Place sweet potatoes on baking sheet or foil and bake 45 minutes or until soft. Remove from oven and cool.

PREPARING CASHEW CHEESE

In food processor, grind cashews to a fine meal. Add nutritional yeast and process briefly to combine. Add oil and process until you have a moist meal (do not overprocess or meal will become dough-like). Set aside.

ASSEMBLING BURRITOS

Set oven to broil. Place corn in strainer. Bring 1 cup water to boil and pour over corn to blanch or thaw.
Peel sweet potatoes and mash with lime juice. Fold in black beans, onion and tomato. Spoon filling into center of each tortilla, roll up and place, seam side down in shallow casserole. Spoon salsa over top and broil 3 minutes. Remove from broiler, top with cashew cheese and corn and broil 2 more minutes, watching closely to keep cheese from burning. Remove from broiler, top with chopped scallions and serve.

Serves 8.

Reprinted with permission from Clean Food Revised Edition © 2010 by Terry Walters, Sterling Epicure, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. Photography by Gentl & Hyers

It’s not traditional caviar consisting of fish eggs, but a delightful medley of vegetables, spices and beans that can be enjoyed with pita or tortilla chips!

Arkansas Caviar

Ingredients

1 15.25 oz. can Allens Whole Kernel Corn
1/3 cup Green pepper, finely diced
1/3 cup Red pepper, finely diced
1/3 cup Red onion, finely diced
1 15.5 oz. can Allens Black Beans, drained and rinsed
1 tsp. Garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups Tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup Olive oil
2 Tbsp. White vinegar
1 tsp. Lime juice
1 Tbsp. Sugar
1 tsp. Salt
1 Chipotle pepper, finely diced

Preparation

In large mixing bowl, combine corn, green peppers, red peppers, red onion, black beans, garlic and tomatoes. In small mixing bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients. Pour over vegetables and toss to combine.

Chill 1 to 2 hours before serving so flavors can combine. Serve with pita or tortilla chips.

‘Tis the season for heavy, multi-course meals; too many fatty and sweet desserts; and one too many cocktails spent toasting the holidays. It’s a lot for a tummy to handle all at once, and for the digestively sensitive, it can produce a state of virtually perpetual bloating from November through January. Most attempts to remedy the side effects of too much cheer come after the fact, and may be too little, too late. Beat the belly bloat this holiday season, and choose to “go goat” instead! Redwood Hill Farm and Green Valley Organics make the only kefirs with Flourish – a custom blend of 10 live active probiotic cultures for optimal digestive tract and immune system health. Swap plain kefir for cream, buttermilk, evaporated or condensed milk in just about any holiday recipe to shave off unwanted calories, fat, lactose and cholesterol in everything from eggnog to mashed potatoes, holiday quick breads and so much more. “Mom’s” favorite use of Redwood Hill Farm Plain Kefir is to make moist, delicious banana bread!

Here are 4 reasons to “go goat” from RD Tamara Duker Freuman:

1.Goat’s milk is naturally lower in lactose than cow’s milk, making it easier to digest for people who are mildly lactose intolerant. In addition to its lower lactose content, goat’s milk is also widely regarded as being more easily digested than cow’s milk for other reasons. Scientists are still trying to figure out why this seems to be the case; some research points to a possible role of anti-inflammatory carbohydrates called oligosaccharides that are present in goat’s milk dairy, or to differences in the protein and fat structures.

2.Goat’s milk contains more of the amino acid tryptophan than cow’s milk, making it a great bedtime snack. Tryptophan is the precursor for serotonin, the neurotransmitter produced by our brain that trigger feelings of calm and sleepiness. Instead of a glass of warm cow’s milk before bed, why not try out a glass of Redwood Hill Farm goat milk kefir?

3.Goat’s milk dairy is as good of a source of calcium—if not better—than cow’s milk dairy. Not only is dietary calcium important to protect bone mineral density as we age, but it seems to have a preventive effect against colon cancer.

4.Unlike other calcium rich foods, goat’s milk actually seems to enhance iron absorption! This may make goat’s milk dairy a good swap for cow’s milk dairy among people who suffer from chronically low iron levels or anemia.

Who says holiday dishes can’t be healthy? By adding fiberful parsnips to traditional mashed potatoes your guests will enjoy up to a whopping 10 grams of fiber per serving without missing a beat. A tummy-taming pour of Redwood Hill Farm Goat Milk Kefir adds creaminess, a delightful tang and beneficial bacteria to boot. For a lactose free option use Green Valley Organics kefir.

Creamy Parsnip and Potato Mash with Garlic and Rosemary

Ingredients

4 lbs. Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 lbs. parsnips, peeled and chopped
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
3 cloves garlic, peeled
3 Tbs. non-hydrogenated natural spread (try Earth Balance Buttery Spread)
1 cup Redwood Hill Farm or Green Valley Organics Plain Kefir
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil

Preparation

1.Place potatoes and parsnips in a large pot, cover with cold water and add rosemary, garlic and a generous teaspoon of salt.

2.Bring to a boil and simmer until the potatoes and parsnips are tender, about 25 to 30 minutes.

3.Drain the vegetables, discard rosemary and place vegetables back in the pot and cook over medium heat 1 to 2 minutes to remove any excess moisture.

4.Remove from heat and mash with a potato masher or pastry blender. For an extra smooth mash, press through a potato ricer or food mill.

5.Stir in buttery spread until it melts, then stir in kefir and season with salt and pepper to taste.

6.Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and more black pepper.

Serves 6 to 8.

*Recipe and image courtesy of Green Valley Organics.*

Reasonably Priced Eco-Friendly Accessories That Give to a Cause

Of course it’s important to cut back on spending when you’re on a budget, but did you know that many sites offer eco-friendly and cause worthy products? Usually these products are affordable and you can justify your spending by knowing the clothing and accessories are going to a good cause. Eco-friendly products are a great way to help preserve our earth, give to a cause, and stock up on trendy pieces that are both unique and attractive. Here are some sites that you won’t regret checking out because purchasing your favorites accessories will help save the environment.

TOMS One-for-one Movement – TOMS is an outstanding company that sells shoes for all ages and the proceeds go to children who need shoes! This one-for-one movement is also cruelty free and they use materials from the earth whenever possible. Purchase a new pair of sparkly or plain shoes for friends and family members for Christmas or buy a pair for yourself! Plus there are TOMS promo codes that will help you save while you shop.

Etsy Eco-Friendly Clothing Apparel – Etsy is a great site for about absolutely everything these days, including eco-friendly apparel that’s made from materials from the earth. Many of these shops also give to great causes as well, from animal shelters to a non profit organization that holds a special place in the seller’s heart. Find clothing that’s made from organic cotton, rayon fibers derived from sustainable raw materials, and recycled polyester.

Love Infinitely Project – There is another great site that offers a variety of affordable products, from clothing to jewelry and it is called Love Infinitely. Find a yogi necklace that reminds you how much you love your yoga classes or wear a soft cotton tank that will go perfectly with your comfy workout pants. The money made from this shop funds The Love Infinitely Project which in turn helps fund volunteerism all around the world.

Don’t stop your eco-friendly hunt by shopping just for clothing, shoes, and other accessories. There are other great brands to explore that offer eco-friendly apparel that also give to a great cause! Find a vegan wallet, an organic purse for your little girl, or an upcycled top and feel great about your purchases!

About the Author

Sierra is a freelance writer and owner of Paige One. She loves discovering new eco-friendly sites that also give to a good cause!

Orange juice and zest make these fun-sized cherry pies a refreshing, tangy dessert. With canola oil, these treats are better-for-you than traditional pies.

Cherry Pie Bites

Ingredients

Crust

½ cup slivered almonds (skin on)
2¼ to 2½ cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking powder
2/3 cup canola oil, chilled in freezer for 2 hours*
1 egg, beaten slightly
¼ cup ice water
¼ cup 1% milk
1 Tbsp vinegar
Canola oil spray

Cherry Filling

4 cups frozen unsweetened tart cherries, thawed (drain off any extra juice)
½ cup orange juice
1¼ cups granulated sugar
1¾ Tbsp cornstarch
1½ Tbsp fresh orange zest

Preparation

1. To prepare crust: In food processor, add almonds and pulse once or twice for coarsely ground consistency. Add flour, salt and baking powder. Pulse one or twice to combine ingredients. Add cold/frozen canola oil. Pulse again once or twice.
2. In small bowl, combine egg, water, milk and vinegar. With food processor running, pour liquid ingredients through feed tube. Turn off machine as soon as ingredients are mixed, about 10 seconds.
3. Remove dough and place on lightly floured surface. Knead ingredients 4 or 5 times to finish mixing. Divide dough in half, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to roll out.
4. To prepare filling: In saucepan, combine thawed cherries and orange juice over medium low-heat for about 8 minutes. In small bowl, completely combine sugar and cornstarch. Add sugar-cornstarch mixture and orange zest to cherries. Cook cherry mixture until it comes to rolling boil. Cook for 2 more minutes until well thickened. Cool cherry filling slightly.
5. Preheat oven to 425 °F (220 °C). Spray mini muffin tins with canola oil spray.
6. Roll chilled dough out on well-floured work surface. With 2½-inch (7-cm) round cookie or biscuit cutter, with its edge dipped in flour, cut 24 rounds from dough. Roll out remaining dough and use it to cut small decorative pieces of dough to decorate top of pies.
7. Carefully fit 2½-inch (7-cm) dough rounds into bottom of prepared mini muffin tin. Pat down bottom with excess coming up sides. Spoon about 1 Tbsp (15 mL) cooled cherry pie filling into each crust-lined cup. Carefully top each mini pie with decorative pieces of pie dough.
8. Bake for about 12 minutes or until edges are golden brown and filling is bubbly. Remove from oven and set on wire rack and cool completely, then remove from muffin tin and serve.

Yield: 24 mini pies.

*Recipe and image courtesy of CanolaInfo.*

Why Eating Miso Soup is Good for You

Meet chicken soup’s Asian cousin: Miso Soup!

She’s trendy, She’s mouthwateringly delicious, She’s vegan (sometimes) AND she’s brimming with healthy nutrition!

Miso soup is a Japanese delicacy that is contains a fermented blend of soybeans and rice. This blend is remarkably versatile and can be used in combination with almost any ingredient resulting in an assortment of flavors that delight the palate with every spoonful. Be it tofu, tuna, kelp, mushrooms or potatoes, carrots and onions—every time you make yourself a bowl of miso, you can feel free to play around with all sorts of Eastern and Western flavors and rest assured that the results will be scrumptious every.single.time!

•Look younger!

But the benefits of Miso soup aren’t all about the flavors. Rich in antioxidants, minerals and Vitamin E and B12, this is practically a magic potion to prevent aging! The linoleic acid and antioxidants help to keep the skin soft and prevent pigmentation. And it gets even better: antioxidants make the skin firmer and less prone to wrinkles.

•Look slimmer!

Also, miso soup is not only low in calories, but it actually helps in decreasing weight! If cooked with seaweed, the chemical fucoxanthin is released with increases metabolism and burning up fat reserves. The probiotics and high fiber content in the soup aid digestion and energize the body. Adding a daily bowl of miso soup to your diet will lead to a slimmer, sexier you in no time at all!

•Feel Better!

If you think Miso soup is merely a beauty-aid, think again! The high mineral content in miso boosts the strength of the immune system. Added benefits include lowering high blood pressures and cholesterol levels and acting as an antiviral to prevent infections— yet another reason to stock up on Miso soup during the flu season. In addition to this, recent research from Johns Hopkins University reveals that miso soup can also be used to ameliorate chronic pains, especially those associated with aging.

•Feel Stronger!

Recent studies from Japan and the United States show that a daily bowl of miso soup significantly reduces the risk of developing breast cancer. Miso soup is incredibly rich in isoflavones, which are chemicals that help regulate levels of estrogen hormones, and thus reduce their chances of causing cancerous tumors. And the anti-cancer properties of miso aren’t just limited to women only—both men and women can equally benefit from reduced risk of lung and colon cancer!

A word to the wise, however — as tantalizingly delicious and healthy as miso soup is, overindulgence isn’t necessarily a good thing. This soup generally contains high levels of sodium, which is why more than one bowl of miso in a day may counteract the benefits. But not to worry, you always have the option of going low-sodium miso. Once you incorporate some yummy miso soup in your diet, you’ll soon forget your life long loyalties to the old chicken soup…

About the Author

Andrew is a huge fan of Japanese food and is a regular blogger on various food publications. When he is not writing, Andrew distributes nigiri makers and other Japanese cooking equipment.

These individual cheesecakes are a healthier twist on the classic dessert with dried pears, gingersnaps and canola oil. Sugar plums will be dancing in your head with each bite!

Mini Pear-Ginger Cheesecakes with Gingersnap Crust

Ingredients

Cheesecake

½ cup water 125 mL
8 dried pear halves, chopped (dried apples can be substituted)
1/3 cup crystallized ginger 75 mL
3 packages (8 oz/250 g) low-fat cream cheese, room temperature
2 eggs, lightly beaten
¾ cup granulated sugar 175 mL

Crust

40 gingersnap cookies, processed to form crumbs (about 2 cups/500 mL)
3 Tbsp canola oil 45 mL
2 Tbsp brown sugar 30 mL
2 Tbsp granulated sugar 30 mL
2 tsp salt 10 mL

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 325 °F (160 °C).
2. In medium saucepan, bring water, dried pears and crystallized ginger to simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 12 minutes until water is absorbed and pears softened.
3. In food processor, process pears and ginger until course paste forms and cool about 10
minutes. While paste is cooling, make crust.
4. To make crust: combine all crust ingredients. Spray miniature cheesecake pans with canola oil. Divide crumb mixture evenly among mini cheesecake pans and press firmly into bottom.
5. Bake crusts for 8 to 10 minutes until golden brown around edges. Remove from oven and set on wire rack and cool completely.
6. Reduce oven temperature to 250 °F (120 °C).
7. While crusts are cooling, continue making cheesecake filling. In large bowl, beat cream cheese and gingered pear paste together on low until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs. Add sugar and beat until smooth, frequently scraping down sides of bowl with spatula. Transfer filling into liquid measuring cup or pitcher and pour filling into crusts, dividing evenly.
8. Place in oven and bake about 30 minutes until filling is set. Remove from oven and set on wire rack about 1 hour to cool completely. Then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before removing cheesecakes from pan.
9. To serve, garnish cheesecakes with crystallized ginger.

Tips: The cheesecakes can be also made in non-stick mini muffin tins that are sprayed well with canola oil and/or lined with cupcake holders. Dried pear halves may be substituted with dried apples.

Yield: 24 mini cheesecakes.

*Recipe and image courtesy of CanolaInfo.org.*