Earth Friendly Etsy: Seaglass Designs Jewelry Giveaway

I have just started my holiday shopping and have been looking for lovely jewelry ideas for the lovely ladies in my life. Jewelry is a wonderful gift because it is so timeless and beautiful. I love to choose jewelry that is made with materials that at one time had a life as something else. This is why I love this week’s Earth friendly Etsy shop, Sea Glass Designs.
Sea Glass Designs is owned by Rita who lives in Nova Scotia. Rita’s fabulous line of jewelry has an organic style that is made from natural sea glass, pottery and china shards found on the coast of Nova Scotia. Rita finds nothing more soothing than strolling the beaches, keeping an eye out for that little splash of color among the rocks and sand. I couldn’t agree more, whenever we visit the coast, I am always on the lookout for sea glass and I have a jar of pieces that I have collected over the years. I love the colors and the shapes of the sea glass and am always amazed that these pieces of glass, china and pottery that have found their way into the sea, could be recycled into such lovely pieces simply by being tossed about in the waves and the sand.

One reader will receive a lovely Sea Glass Designs Aqua Sea Glass necklace complete with barnacles and a sterling silver chain. If you win, you can mark someone special off your holiday gift list.

How to Enter
1. Visit Seaglass Designs and leave me a comment telling me what which item you love, love, love.
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The winner will be announced on Wednesday, November 11th.
*UPDATE: WINNER:: Congrats to #170 TheEclecticElement. Yay!

Naturals Ways To Improve Your Health Without Medications

Sometimes, trying to boost your wellness can be a bit challenging, even frustrating. That is especially true if you need to rely on pills after pills and different supplements to get you going. Supplements are great if you need to make up for some shortage or they came recommended by your doctor. Otherwise, there are natural ways to give your health the boost it needs without resorting to any medication – unless you need to. So, are you looking for ways to take your health to the next level without meds? The following tips should help.

Quit unhealthy habits

Sometimes one of the major setbacks to living a healthy life (no matter how hard you try) is unhealthy habits and addictions. For example, according to some experts, smoking tobacco is accountable for up to 30% of all cancer-related deaths, while substance abuse is responsible for about 50% of severe mental health issues. Therefore, it is essential to find helpful ways to overcome alcohol addiction, substance abuse, and other unhealthy habits, as those will pose major stumbling blocks to your health goals.

Cook at home

Cooking at home is always a healthier alternative to buying food on impulse, patronizing fast foods, or eating out in restaurants all the time. Aside from the fact that cooking your food at home will make you eat healthier, it is also easier on your wallet. Plus, it gives you complete control over what goes into your food. 

When it comes to ingredients, it is essential to go as green as possible. Unfortunately, many of the foods we find in grocery stores are highly processed. Therefore, not only are they very low in essential nutrients, but they can also be very toxic to the human metabolism. Most of the meals served in restaurants and fast food options are also very high in sodium, a substance linked to heart-related diseases.

Find ways to make exercising simple

You probably knew exercising was going to show up in this article, and you may be aware of all the health benefits it comes with. Many experts focus on staying fit and exercising only because it is one of the most effective ways of boosting your health. However, it is one thing knowing the benefits of exercise, and quite another thing making it part of your lifestyle. And one of the main reasons many people seem to start working out only to drop mid-flight is that they find it challenging to keep it up. Therefore, to keep yourself always motivated, find ways to make exercise simple. Set smaller, achievable goals and build on from there, instead of trying to do too much from the start.

Get some sleep

Even with adequate exercise and a healthy diet, your metabolism may not benefit much if you deprive your body of quality sleep. According to experts, most people need seven to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep every day. Combine this with your healthy diet and fitness plan, and you have a complete recipe for general health and wellness. Plus, sleep is also essential for weight loss and improving your body composition.

Hip, Hip Hooray for Pomegranates

We eat a ton of fruit in our home, each week we pick up the freshest local organic fruit that we can find. There are fruit that we purchase even if it isn’t local, for instance, pomegranates.
 
My mom loves pomegranates and I remember being a little girl and her giving me half of a pomegranate. I remember thinking it was a very odd fruit and I wasn’t sure that I would like it. However, I loved it.
 
Eben has been eating pomegranates since he was a toddler and whenever we go marketing he always asks if we can get them. TIP: If you cut/peel it in a bowl of water, there is no mess! Delicious and amazing! 
 
Last weekend, we stopped at Costco on our way home from Boulder. Costco had a crate of six giant pomegranates for $12. Wow! A bargain, compared to the $5 a pomegranate that we pay at our local fancy grocery store. They are giant too, about the size of a softball.

Do you love pomegranates?
How do you prepare them?
What do you think of the giant ones I found?

Eco-Friendly Cooking: What’s The Best Way To Cook Your Food?

When you think about eating food, you typically only worry about the nutritional value of your meals. In essence, you want to eat healthily and consume things that are good for your body. However, some of you may also think about the environmental impact of your cooking. How much damage are you doing to the planet when you eat your meals every day? It’s something everyone should be concerned with as we all eat, so we all have a massive contribution to the environment. If everyone made a few alterations in the kitchen, could we reduce harmful emissions and improve the planet?

The simple answer is yes, we can absolutely do that! There are many ways you can alter your eating habits to protect the environment. One popular idea is to eat less meat and animal products as the production of these goods have a large carbon footprint. Nevertheless, today’s post won’t focus on what you should or shouldn’t eat. Rather, you will learn some ideas and tips that help you cook in a more eco-friendly manner. So, regardless of your specific diet, you should have a much greener time in the kitchen!

Cook multiple portions at once

Instead of cooking a meal for one, why don’t you cook a meal for four? You might live on your own and only need one portion, but you can store the rest in your fridge/freezer for another day. Think about what you’ve just done; you’ve cooked a meal and now have enough portions for four separate dinners. As a result, that’s three extra days where you no longer need to cook. 

Aside from being convenient and providing instant meals, this saves a great deal of energy. Look at any recipe and you will notice that cooking times or temperatures don’t change when the quantity increases. Usually, you still cook things for the same duration, using up the same amount of energy. Now, imagine you don’t cook multiple portions at once. You have to use energy for each of the three days where you would’ve had your other portions! Basically, by cooking four portions for one person in one go, you use a quarter of the cooking time! 

If you apply this tactic every week, you may only need to cook three or four times, then have meals in the freezer to cycle through and last at least another week or two! Think of all the energy you save by not having to cook as often. 

Slice up your food as small as possible

The smaller your food is, the quicker it will cook. For example, let’s say you’re roasting peppers in the oven. Normally, a whole pepper might need to be roasted for around 30-40 minutes before it gets soft and cooks through. If you chop your peppers up into small chunks, you get the same effect after half the time. 

This goes for every ingredient you use while cooking. Onions are another common one – dice them as finely as possible

 and they will cook much quicker. Therefore, your smaller ingredients let you spend less time cooking, equating to less energy being used up. 

Keep the lid on your pans

This tip might not apply in all circumstances, but it works when you’re doing things like boiling water, cooking vegetables, or letting a sauce/soup cook through. Some recipes tell you to let something simmer for a set amount of time until the food is cooked. Others will say cook this for x amount of time until the ingredient is soft and tender. So, what usually happens? You cook things in the pan, leaving the lid off. 

While this might not seem like an issue, consider what’s happening in that pan. All the heat is escaping up into the air, which is a problem. Now, imagine you cover the pan, then what? Well, the heat has nowhere to go, so it stays contained in the pan. Thus, the food will cook a lot faster at a lower temperature! This works like a charm when you have to do things like softening onions or hard vegetables. 

Again, as with the previous two ideas, this helps to reduce your overall cooking time. After all, this means less energy is used, lowering your carbon footprint in the kitchen. 

Try to eat things raw

Did you know that eating things raw is one of the best ways to consume food for nutritional purposes? Okay, it doesn’t relate to things like meat and fish where you can get sick if it’s raw. But, it applies to almost all fruit and veg. Ask yourself, do I really need to cook this? In some cases, raw vegetables add a nice crunch to your meals, improving the overall texture. Food experts often say that adding different textures to a meal is the key to getting it to taste better! 

Furthermore, you see some nutritional benefits from doing this. When you cook something, you tend to destroy a lot of the natural nutrients it contains. Let’s take some fruit as an example. A lot of fruits are rich in vitamin C, which is a key nutrient to aid your immune system and prevent illnesses. If you were to eat these fruits raw, you would obtain all the vitamin C it contains. Well, your body might not be able to absorb all of it, but you haven’t destroyed or weakened the vitamin content. By contrast, if you were to bake the fruit, the heat would drop the vitamin content and mean you get less of this crucial nutrient. From a nutritional standpoint, it’s worth trying to learn more about the foods high in vitamin C, particularly with a pandemic going on! So, you should consider eating things raw unless it’s absolutely necessary to cook it. 

How does this relate to eco-friendliness? Yep, you guessed it, raw foods require no cooking, right? So, this means you don’t even have to turn on the hob or oven. You might still need to do this to cook other elements of a meal, but you cut out some valuable cooking time in other areas. 

Use more eco-friendly cookware

All of the previous points have pinpointed ways to cut down on your cooking time and save energy. This next idea will partially help with that, but it also reduces your carbon footprint in another way. Nowadays, there are lots of eco-friendly cookware brands out there. Typically, they make pots and pans out a ceramic-based material. The benefit of this is that it makes the pan heat up a lot quicker, but it’s also more durable. 

If you compare this to another non-stick technology – Teflon – this material will break down at a much higher temperature than Teflon. Therefore, you can keep the pans for much longer, preventing the need to continuously buy new ones. The process for making ceramic-based cookware is also more eco-friendly and involves better materials for the environment. Also, the fact that the pans get hotter means cooking time can be reduced, saving energy. 

Overall, it just makes sense to make more eco-friendly switches in the kitchen. Get some better pans, and also think about the utensils you use. If possible, find ones that are recycled or made from better materials. 

Put your leftovers to good use

Energy consumption isn’t the only concern when you want to be a green cook. You should also think about food waste! Tonnes and tonnes of food get wasted every single year. As well as being a waste of your money, the food often ends up in landfills, adding to the greenhouse gasses. 

A brilliant way of reducing your food waste is to make your leftovers go a lot further. Christmas is behind us, but how much turkey did you throw away? It was probably a lot, and why did you do it? Because you had no more use for it and it was going off anyway. Instead, you could’ve taken the leftovers and turned it into a turkey pie or a curry. There are so many creative recipe ideas out there that take advantage of the leftover ingredients you have from meals. This doesn’t just apply to Christmas – it applies to every meal where you’ve got things leftover. 

Similarly, what should you do with any leftovers you can’t eat? What if you only finished 80% of your meal, and the rest is on the plate? You could save it for later, but most of us will throw it out. Sometimes, food does have to be thrown away, but there’s a right and wrong way to do this. The right way is to recycle your food waste in compost bins so it can be put to better use. If you have your own garden, you may use it to help plant things – or you could ask around if any friends or neighbours would like it. At the very least, your local council will have food recycling days where they collect your waste and it avoids a landfill!

Keep all of these tips in mind if you’re hoping to improve the eco-friendliness of your cooking habits. It is also worth looking at different dietary choices and reading up on foods that have a smaller impact on the environment! 

A Quick Guide To Storing And Using Fruit And Vegetable Scraps

When you are cooking, you probably end up with a lot of fruit and vegetable scraps. All of the ends that you trim off things and the skin that you take off usually ends up in the bin, but before you get rid of it, you should think about different ways to use it. There are actually a lot of great uses for fruit and vegetable scraps, so if you want to reduce food waste and be more economical at the same time, you should start paying more attention to those neglected off-cuts. Here’s everything you need to know about storing and using fruit and vegetable scraps. 

How To Store Fruit And Vegetable Scraps 

Most of the time, you need to collect quite a lot of fruit and vegetable scraps before you are able to use them for anything, which means that you need a way to store them. Obviously, they will start to degrade quite quickly, so it’s important that you store them properly and the way that you keep them depends on what you’re using them for. 

If you are using them for non-food purposes, you don’t need to worry about keeping them fresh for too long. In fact, most garden uses require the scraps to be broken down, so it’s fine to get this process started now. However, you need to be careful about how you store your old food scraps because you will get a lot of wasp activity if you have rotting fruit and vegetables open to the air. Ideally, you need to store them in a closed container, away from the house. If you have a shed, that’s the perfect place to keep your food scraps until you are ready to use them. 

Some food scraps can still be used in cooking, in which case, you need to keep them fresh. The easiest way to do that is to keep a big bag in the freezer and throw any offcuts straight in there. It will keep for months like that, so you have plenty of time to use it. 

What To Do With Them 

Compost 

Making compost is the most common use for fruit and vegetable scraps. If you are a keen gardener, you can create a constant supply of great compost that will improve the health of your plants and help you cut back on waste at the same time. 

Vegetable stock 

There’s no need to spend money on stock cubes anymore because you can just make your own, and it’s so easy. All you need to do is get your bag of frozen vegetable offcuts, boil them in some water for 30 minutes with a few herbs and spices, and then cool and drain it. This stock can then be frozen again until you are ready to use it. 

Flavoring 

Old citrus peels can be used to flavor things, like olive oil or vinegar, for example. If you buy a cheap bottle of oil or vinegar from the supermarket and then soak the skins in it for a few weeks, you can completely transform it and turn it into something special. Just make sure to clean off the waxy residue on the skin first. 

These are just some of the ways that you can use your old fruit and vegetable scraps, so think twice before throwing them away next time.