Significant Others

Sweethearts

You may have already found gifts for your significant others in the Lovely Ladies or Manly Men categories, but if you are looking for something to share as a couple, we recommend the following gifts.


SAVE (Gifts under $25)

BottleNeck Scarf – $15.99 – Gift your sweetie the gift of warmth with one of these scarves, or better yet, by a matching pair. BottleFleece™ is made from 85% post-consumer recycled fibers obtained from plastic soda bottles and post industrial waste. The scarfs (and other products on this site) are hand-sewn in Portland, Oregon.

Organic Double Dipped Peanut Butter Cup Truffles – $20.00 – As we mentioned before, Endangered Species Chocolate sells only ethically traded chocolate, from farmers who are paid fair wages (thus promoting more sustainable farming practices). The company also donates 10 percent of its net profits to organizations that benefit animals, people, and the environment.


SPEND (Gifts from $25 to $100)

Organic and Fairtrade Cotton Bathrobes – approx. $99.90 – Bundle your sweetheart up in one of these bathrobes made from 100% organic and Fairtrade certified cotton.

Organic Sheets from Target – Prices Vary – Affordable and organic. Also available in Bamboo.

A Romantic (and Local) Dinner for Two – Prices Vary – Take your loved one out to dinner at a restaurant that uses local ingredients. Look for one in your city at LocalHarvest.org or SustainableTable.com.


SPLURGE (Gifts over $100)

Deluxe Organic Hemp Duffel Bag – $165.00 – Get packing (together) with this heavy-duty 100% organic hemp bag canvas with waterproofing fabric protection. Sweatshop-free and 100% vegan (no leather).

Sierra Club Outing – Prices Vary – Choose a region and take a environmentally responsible “vacation” abroad, or in your own backyard.

A Furry Friend – Prices Vary – While we don’t recommend surprising anyone with a new pet (and the responsibility that goes along with them) — a dog or cat can be a wonderful addition to many households. If you have the attention, time and finances available to commit to a furry friend, don’t head to the nearest pet store! Instead, spend some time determining what pet is best for your home. (Two great sites are ASPCA.org and the Humane Society web site). If you decide you are ready to give a pet a loving home, visit your local shelter or PetFinder.org and give a dog or cat a second chance at a happy life.

Posted in Holiday Gift Guide by Rhaya on November 30, 2007 | Permalink | No Comments

All Hail Kale

Kale

A lot of people are unaware of just how good green leafy vegetables are for you and what an important role they play in your diet. A member of the Brassica family, which also includes a variety of other cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbages, and mustard greens to name a few, Kale is a wonderful source of Vitamins A, C, and K, beta-carotene and calcium.

I’ve already mentioned one easy way to squeeze in a serving or two of raw leafy greens through juicing or even smoothies, but it is also very simple to use kale as the base of a salad. I’ve seen a few recipes using kale this way and at the heart of most of them is the essential “kale massage.” Massaging chopped kale with olive oil and a little salt helps soften and break down the stiffness of the leaves, making it more suitable to eat raw by bringing out the moisture from within the cell walls.

One of my favorites is a kale and avocado salad which calls for chopped kale leaves massaged with olive oil and a little salt, then a second massaging of the kale with an avocado, all topped with chopped tomato, a dash of cayenne pepper and a few squeezes of lemon. It’s so quick and easy, I can make it before work and take it with me. Check out this excellent video by Karen Knowler for step by step directions.

Posted in Chew On This,Recipes by Liz on November 29, 2007 | Permalink | No Comments

Phthalate Free Fingernails

No Miss Nail Polish

Everytime I polish my fingernails, our dog, Scarlet, curls up and rolls over and over covering her nose with her paws. Hmm, think it has something to do with that horrible smell? Maybe it’s the dibutyl phthalate or the toluene or the formaldehyde?

As I have mentioned already, I’m on a mission to find less toxic and more evironmentally friendly “beauty products,” that still do the job, so, for my dog’s sanity, and my peace of mind, I started searching for a healthier nail polish. Right now, I’m test driving No-Miss Nail Polish in “Singer Sienna.” It looks great, seems to stay on as long as my old favorites like O.P.I, and costs about the same. It still has a little bit of that trademark stink to it, but I do feel better knowing that my nails are not soaking up a bunch of toxic chemicals. Other polishes to try include DBP-free Sparitual and even a few drug store brands which get a lower hazard rating according to Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database. Just in time for all those holiday parties!

Posted in At The Market by Liz on November 28, 2007 | Permalink | No Comments

Kids and Teenagers

Teens and Betweens

Set an example for the young people in your life by giving gifts that are “cool” and green.


SAVE (Gifts under $25)

Jimi™ Wallet – $15.00 – Perfect for carrying student IDs and a drivers license, this slim, colorful, water-resistant “wallet” is made in the USA from 100% recycled materials. Even better, the manufacturer invests 1% of this product’s sales revenue into environmental causes.

Street Sign Cuff Bracelets – $20.00 – These handmade bracelets are made from recycled street signs.


SPEND (Gifts from $25 to $100)

iTunes Gift Card – $25.00 – When music styles change, MP3s won’t end up in a landfill like old CDs do.

Levis Eco Jeans – Prices Vary – Made from 100% organic cotton.

Solio Charger – $99.95 – Help kids and teens “unplug” by charging their cell phones, iPods and other handheld devices using this solar power charger.


SPLURGE (Gifts over $100)

H-racer-and-Hydrogen-station – $115.00 – No need for batteries with this, the “smallest hydrogen fuel cell car in the world”.

Voltaic Solar Daypack – $240.00 – Similar to the charger above, this backpack uses solar power to charge cell phones, PDAs, GPSs, iPods, cameras, etc.

Miss Rio Ottoman – $350.00 – This ottoman is colorful and cool, and made from unworn, overstocked flip-flop sandals. Sure to brighten up any bedroom or dorm room.

Posted in Holiday Gift Guide by Rhaya on November 27, 2007 | Permalink | 1 Comment

Put A Cork In It

Cork

It seems odd that while cork itself is a very eco-friendly material, finding a place to recycle it is not as easy as one would think. Australia, Europe and Canada are all doing it, so why aren’t we?

Yemm and Hart Green Materials is the only place I have found in the U.S. where you can ship your corks to be recycled.

Or for you crafty individuals, consider making something out of your old corks.

So next time you have finished that bottle of organic wine, don’t toss just the bottle into the recycling — set aside that cork for a second life as well.

Posted in Living Green by Rhaya on November 26, 2007 | Permalink | No Comments

Turkey, Turkey and More Turkey

Last week, I shared a tenative menu for what would be my first time hosting Thanksgiving, and I am proud to report that the meal came out very well.  We loved the pasture raised turkey and since I ended up with a 15 pounder to feed just four of us,we have a little bit of leftovers! So after sending some home with our guest, I began searching for turkey recipes and here are a few I came up with:

  • Barley ‘Risotto’ with Turkey and Mushrooms - My husband’s family is part Italian and since his mother-in-law was still in town, Friday night we had this amazing Italian style turkey dish by Mark Bittman, check out his video and recipe alternatives here.
  • Turkey Noodle Soup – There are lots of recipes out there for great turkey noodle soups, see the recipe below for how I made mine yesterday.  (I hope you saved the turkey carcass to make a good stock for your soup!)
  • Turkey Pot Pie – Use a standard Chicken Pot Pie recipe and substitute your leftover turkey for the chicken and try an easy whole wheat pie crust instead of the store bought.
  • Thanksgiving Sheperd’s Pie  – Use all of your leftovers in one dish with this easy Shepard’s Pie recipe. 

As you can see, these recipes incorporate a lot of the ingredients you probably already have on hand from various dishes from your Thanksgiving Day meal, so get creative and feel free to make substitutions according to what you have in your kitchen, this is all about a low stress way to use what you have instead of doing even more shopping.

Turkey Noodle Soup

4 carrots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup leeks, chopped
1 onion, chopped
8 cups stock
2 cups whole wheat egg noodles
1 bay leaf
2 cups leftover turkey, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Heat a large pot over medium heat, add a little butter or oil.  Add garlic, carrot, leeks, onion, salt and pepper, saute for approximately 5 minutes.  Add stock, noodles, and bay leaf, bring to a boil and then simmer for 5 minutes.  Add turkey, simmer for another 10 minutes.  Discard bay leaf and add a bit more of freshly cracked pepper.   We enjoyed ours with some toasted fresh focaccia olive bread from the Farmer’s Market.

Posted in Recipes by Liz on November 25, 2007 | Permalink | No Comments

Deck The Halls

Mall Santa

It’s officially “The Season”, which means it’s time to get out those boxes of decoration (if you haven’t already) and start decking the halls. Unlike this five foot Santa shown above, decorations don’t have to take a scary toll on the environment. Here a few tips to remember as you as you sing your Fa-la-las.

  • Oh Christmas Tree, how lovely are your branches? The greenest Christmas tree is an organic one that can be replanted. If that is not an option, a live tree (especially an organic one) is better than an artificial one.
  • Go natural. Use holly, pine cones, poinsettias and real wreaths to give your home a real winter wonderland feeling. (If you have pets, make sure to check what is safe to have in the house.)
  • Go vintage. According to the The Green Book, two-thirds of households buy new Christmas decorations each year. Look at thrift or antique stores (or your grandmothers attic!) for decorations with a history. If you just have to have something new, choose lead-free and fair-trade decorations.
  • Use LED lights. Most everyone loves the twinkle of lights this time of year. Save money and energy this year by switching to LED lights. The don’t present the fire risk of traditional bulbs and are available in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors here and here.
Posted in Living Green by Rhaya on November 24, 2007 | Permalink | No Comments

Babies and Toddlers

Babies and Beyond

Admidst all the product recalls, why not get something for the little one this Christmas that you know is safe for them and the environment around them?


SAVE (Gifts under $25)

Sckoon Organic Cotton Soft Toy: Baby Flat Doll – $11.00 – Organic inside and out, this baby is perfect for your baby.

Quack the Frog – Wooden Rattle – $12.95 – Wooden toys are the green alternative to plastic ones. Made from natural materials means that they are better from the environment, and less likely to contain harmful toxins.

Wild Animal Finger Puppets – $18.00 – Fun and fair-trade! Entertain the little one’s wild side with these adorable finger puppets.


SPEND (Gifts from $25 to $100)

Chili Pepper Baby Bag – $34.00 – You don’t have to wait until Halloween to dress your little one up in a veggie-themed organic cotton outfit like this one.

Organic Cotton Newborn Gift Basket – $43.95 – Perfect for a newborn or one that is arriving soon. This basket contains an organic cotton cardigan, pant, burp cloth, and small bear toy in a handmade basket of organic palm leaves.

Owl Kid’s Backpack from Branch – $58.00 – Hand-knit by women rural Kenya, these products’ importers personally monitors for safe, dignified and healthy working conditions. (Read more information here.) This backpack is perfect for a toddler to carry around his or her favorite things.


SPLURGE (Gifts over $100)

NUI Organics™ Air Weave blanket – $136.00 – Wool is a natural fiber and a renewable resource that is non-allergenic. Organic wool from NUI Organics has not been chemically treated, and the company also uses sustainable farming practices.

Recycled Wood Tree House – $170.00 – For the older (3+) toddler, this unique wood tree house is made from recycled cherry and elder wood.

Wolfgang Sirch Max push toy – $224.00 – This wooden push toy is both simple and beautiful.

Posted in Holiday Gift Guide by Liz on November 23, 2007 | Permalink | No Comments

Green Black Friday

Parking Lot

This Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year. Malls will be crowded and parking lots will be packed. Whether it is a family tradition, or you are the lone soul at your home getting up before dawn, don’t forget these tips as you head out the door.

  • Have a game plan. Planning your route before you go will elimate excess driving from one stop to another, or back-tracking all over the city.
  • Just park already! Big bags and cold weather might tempt you to drive around looking for the best spot. Save gas, and reduce pollution by parking at the first spot you find.
  • Support certain stores. When possible, choose to shop at stores that offer fair-trade or recycled gifts. Also keep in mind your local vendors and those who may have mission statements promising their commitment to the environment.
  • Bring your own bags. Grocery stores aren’t the only ones using plastic. Bring your biggest reusable bags for filling with gifts. You’ll come home feeling like Santa Claus himself.
  • Take your own healthy snacks. Shopping works up an appetite. Don’t fall pressure to the greasy food court options.
  • Not a fan of crowds, coupons and other craziness? Do your shopping online. Save on shipping and packaging by having the gifts sent directly to the recipient.

So set your alarms and grab your canvas totes. Black Friday is almost here, but this year, add a little green to yours.

Posted in Living Green by Rhaya on November 21, 2007 | Permalink | No Comments

Dads, Brothers and Other Dudes

Manly Men

The men in your life might be a little trickier when it comes to gifts. Look further than ties and power tools this year with some of our suggestions below.


SAVE (Gifts under $25)

Tyvek Wallet – Raw Hide Tri-fold – $15.00 – It may look like leather, but this seamless wallet is made from water resistant Tyvek that is 25% post-consumer recycled content and can be recycled.

Recycled Bicycle Chain Bottle Opener – $12.50 – This bottle opener made from recycled materials, is perfect for opening some local or organic beers.

Organic Grassfed Beef – Prices Vary – There aren’t a lot of guys who don’t like steak, so why not get them some that is healthy and local? Check out LocalHarvest.org to find a nearby farmer who supplies organic grassfed beef.

The Grassfed Gourmet Cookbook by Shannon Hayes – $22.95 – A great cookbook to accompany the above-mentioned grassfed beef!


SPEND (Gifts from $25 to $100)

M’s Synchilla® Vest by Patagonia – $70.00 – This fleece vest is made from recycled fleece and is recyclable. For more about what Patagonia is doing to help the earth, check out the Environmentalism page on the web site.

Planet Earth DVD – $99.98 – Nothing like a little high-definition to give the guy on your list goosebumps about our Mother Earth.


SPLURGE (Gifts over $100)

NatureMill Plus Compost – $299.00 – This composting system can be used indoors or outdoors, and not only are the results great for the garden, but according to the site, a "NatureMill automatic composter recycles its weight in waste every 10 days, diverting over two tons of waste from landfills over its life."

Tesla – approximately $100,000 – So, this is a SUPER splurge, but we’re willing to bet that there is no guy out there who wouldn’t want to see one of these 100% electric cars sitting in the driveway with a big bow on top.

Posted in Holiday Gift Guide by Rhaya on November 20, 2007 | Permalink | No Comments

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