Sweet Greens Facebook Fan Page

If you haven’t had a chance to check out Sweet Greens Facebook Fan Page, please stop by and say hello. The fan page is a great way to connect with other green minded individuals and it is fun to see the pictures and hear the stories that are shared. Starting this month, I will be having “fans only” contests and giveaways. I would love to have you and I would also like to thank the 121 fans that Sweet Greens has already. Sweet Greens has the loveliest fans out there. Thank you.

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.
Additional Entries
please leave a separate comment for each that you do.
* Share Seaglass Designs on Twitter and follow @SweetGreens.
You can tweet daily, just leave a separate comment each time
* Share Seaglass Designs on Facebook and join Sweet Greens Facebook Fan Page.
* Digg, Kirtsy or Stumble Seaglass Designs.
* Add Sweet Greens to your Technorati
* Add Sweet Greens to your blogroll
The winner will be announced on Wednesday, November 11th.
*UPDATE: WINNER:: Congrats to #170 TheEclecticElement. Yay!

It’s Halloween Week.

Can you believe that Halloween is this week? Do you have your costumes ready? We are almost ready at The Old Lyon Haunted House. Every year we watch ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ and listen to the soundtrack in the mornings while Eben eats his breakfast or in the afternoon when we are baking goodies or getting ready for dinner.

My favorite part of the movie is when Jack first arrives in Christmas land. I love the look on his face as he discovers the town. It is a movie we all enjoy and look forward to each year. We even watch it sometimes around Christmas time. Eben knows almost all of the words and sings along with all of the songs. It makes me smile.

Is there a Halloween movie that you watch each year?

Earth Friendly Etsy: All Things White Recycled Pumpkins Giveaway

So, are you excited for Halloween yet? Oooo, I am. One of my favorite things about Halloween is watching Mr. Sweet Greens carry all 6, yes 6 huge bins of Halloween decorations up from the basement. Eben and I love to unwrap all of the decorations, it is so exciting to us, like it is the first time. It is fun to reminisce about where we got them or when we made them. My favorite decorations are the ones we made together as a family or the few vintage pieces that we have. I think it will be lovely to one day, give all of these pieces to Eben and watch him enjoy them with his own family. Halloween heirlooms, I love it.
Does your family have Halloween heirlooms? If so, please tell me about them. If not, this week’s Earth Friendly Etsy shop will get you started. All Things White is a lovely Etsy shop full of beautiful items that are well, white. I have to admit, that fact that all of the items are white, is very enchanting to me. Why white? The owner of All Things White, Kathi says it is because white is timeless and classic, calm and serene, you can dress it up or down, it goes with everything, if your accents are white they will fit with every other crazy color you have, a crisp white shirt always works, every flower looks great in a white vase, if you have a good collection of white accessories you can add them to anything in your wardrobe and white just works. fun, right?

Kathi @ All Things White lives in a mostly all white house, which makes her happy. I love it. Kathi has a background in design and is inspired by wonderful vintage items, estate sales, beautiful interiors, anything white, her garden, wonderful fabric and so many lovely blogs. Kathi says that her husband and grown children know they can make her happy with a simple white dish or a pearl bracelet.

I love that All Things White uses vintage and handmade items and that Kathi repurposes these finds, into beautiful things. My favorite is the pumpkin patch that is up for grabs today. A Little Pumpkin Patch is made from scraps Kathi rescued from quilt batting trimmings and twigs from her yard. You will find so many other lovely white things in her shop and now is the perfect time to start your holiday shopping.

Kathi @ All Things White has been so lovely to offer ONE of my wonderful readers a Little Patch of Pumpkins. The pumpkins are adorable and so much fun. The patch includes three small pumpkins and one medium sized pumpkin. These will look adorable in your home throughout the fall, and would make a fab family heirloom.

How to Enter

1. Subscribe to Sweet Greens (if you haven’t already) and click confirm in the email you receive from FeedBurner.

2. Visit All Things White and tell me which white item you love?

Additional Entries
please leave a separate comment for each that you do.

* Share All Things White on twitter and follow @SweetGreens.
You can tweet daily, just leave a separate comment each time
* Share All Things White on Facebook and join Sweet Greens Facebook Fan Page.
* Digg, Kirtsy or Stumble All Things White.
* Add Sweet Greens to your Technorati favorites.
* Email a friend about Sweet Greens: Earth Friendly Etsy:: All Things White.
* Add Sweet Greens to your blogroll

{Rules for Entry}

* Please leave a way for me to contact you if you win. You do not need to leave your email address if don’t wish to share it. Just make sure to check back at the bottom of this post after the contest ends to see if you won.

* Contest ends October 21st @ 12am EST. Winner will be chosen at random using a random number generator and will be announced the following day. (I will announce the winner, if I do not hear from you within 72 business hours, I will pick another winner.)

* You must leave a comment telling me which item you love in order to qualify.

** UPDATE: WINNER:: #37 Joyful Girl Naturals. Congrats and thank you to everyone who entered and left me a comment about your fave decoration.

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!