Green-Lemonade.com will be on a break for the rest of the year, as we travel to visit family and friends for the holidays. Regular posting will resume on January 2nd.
We want to thank all our continued readers for their interest in and support of our site since it’s launch in August. The new year will bring new features to the site, including Green-Lemonade products available for purchase, book reviews, and additional interviews.
Here’s to a happy, safe and healthy holiday!
Rhaya & Liz
When I recently stumbled upon a fun book called Organic Body Care Recipes by Stephanie Tourles, I realized that making some of my own beauty products at home would be even better for my skin, certainly less toxic and easier on the environment. With over 175 recipes for homemade concoctions for face, hair, body and everything in-between, this book will keep me busy. I started off with something easy, the Honey and Wheat Germ Softening Mask. The author says honey is a humectant which pulls moisture from the air to the skin, perfect for these cold winter days.
To make the mask, mix the following in a small bowl:
1 tbsp. fresh, raw honey
1 tsp. sunflower seed meal * (or finely ground almond meal)
1 tsp. fresh, raw wheat germ
*To make the “meal,” place a handful of the sunflower seeds or almonds into a food processor and pulse until becomes a consistency similar to Parmesan cheese.
Once thoroughly mixed, apply to a clean face with clean fingers. The mask will go on kind of thick but once the honey warms up on your skin it will thin out a little. Lay down and relax for 30 minutes, then rinse with a warm wash cloth.
I’ve used it a few times now and it works just as well as any “miracle” mask from a tube at a fraction of the cost, and it tastes good too!
The decorations are up, the gifts are wrapped, and now it’s time to party. Entertaining over the holidays doesn’t have to be stressful for you or the environment. Here are some tips for hassle-free hosting that doesn’t hurt Mother Earth.
1.) Don’t do disposable. Use your real dishes, glasses and stemware. They are more sturdy, generate no paper or plastic waste and make the event a little more formal (in a good way). Isn’t that why you bought them in the first place?
2.) Go local for any ingredients that you can, and give visitors a “taste” of your region of the country.
3.) If you can’t get it locally, buy it in bulk. Not only will it save you money, but the amount of packaging waste is typically significantly less.
4.) Toast locally and organically. Look for local and organic wines, beers and egg nog to serve to your guests.
5.) Turn down the heat. The guests, oven, holiday sweaters and spirits will certainly keep everyone plenty warm.
6.) Serve small portions, like the recipe below, so everyone can try a bit of everything without having to take more than they want (and having it go to waste).
Last Minute Gifts
Christmas is a week away, and for whatever reason, you still haven’t done your shopping. Here are some last minute gift ideas that won’t require paying outrageous overnight shipping fees, or braving the over-crowded, picked-over shopping malls.
Organic Wine – Prices Vary – Paired with organic flowers, or some other organic edibles (such as cheese), organic wine is a great gift for someone who doesn’t need more “stuff” but would enjoy sharing a glass of wine and some conversation.
E/The Environmental Magazine Subscription – $20.00 – For your green-minded family or friend, a gift subscription to E, The Environmental Magazine lasts all year long.
Homemade Gifts – Prices Vary – If you have the time and materials, no one has to know you waited until the last minute to make one of these homemade gifts.
Charitable Gifts – Charitable gifts usually are given with a simple printed certificate (or can be personalized if you make a handmade card) which allows for extra procrastination.
Hot vs. Cool Kale
When I received a bunch of kale in my Farm Fresh Delivery bin, I used half of it in the great salad Liz mentions here, but another great thing about Farm Fresh Delivery is that they provide you with recipes based on that week’s delivery, so I also wanted to try a cooked version of this leafy green vegetable. They had a recipe for sautéed kale, but I gave it some Asian flavor by adding some of the ingredients I still had leftover from this recipe.
Sautéed Kale with Soy Sauce & Ginger
1 small bunch kale
1 tablespoon of olive oil
Organic minced garlic *
Organic ginger *
Soy sauce *
* to taste
Wash and cut leaves away from stem. Cut or tear leaves into bite sized pieces. Sautée everything in a skillet until the kale has turned bright green and has begun to wilt. Sprinkle with soy sauce. (Looking back, I wish I would have added sesame seeds too.)
Are you one of these people? You have a chance to win up to $25,000 for sharing your sustainability ideas with KEEN. But hurry, the contest deadline is December 31.
Smaller Gifts for Whomever
These crowd pleasers work well as stocking stuffers, “Secret Santa” at the workplace or for gift exchanges where the recipient is unknown.
Do Just One Thing: 2008 Day-to-Day Calendar (Calendar)
by Danny Seo – $11.99 – This is a good stocking stuffer for someone who is interested in making some personal changes to help the environment. Bonus points go to Danny Seo for making the calendar from recycled materials and the entire casing is returnable to the publisher for recycling.
Head to Toe Starter Kit from Burt’s Bees – $15.00 – Burt’s Bees products are 99% to 100% natural (they let you know the precise number on the product) and they believe in the the importance of sustainable business practices. This kit comes with a variety of trial sizes for your recipient to use and find their favorite, which my just be all of them!
SIGG Water Bottle – $19.99 – Lightweight, durable, eco-friendly (and stylish)! A SIGG water bottle is a great way to encourage others to ditch their bottled water ways.
Recycled Glass Holiday Ornament – $28.00 – These ornaments come in festive colors and are made from recycled glass bottles.
Give the Gift of an Experience – Prices vary – Gifts cards usually mean less waste, and gives the recipient some options of their own. Give the gift of a night out, like at a restaurant that is known for serving local foods, theatre tickets, etc.
Car Wash Tickets – Prices vary – When I was growing up, I could always count on car wash certificates being in my stocking on Christmas morning (maybe they were a hint from my parents). According to E/The Environmental Magazine it is better to take your car to the car wash, rather than washing it at home. Look for one in your area that uses environmentally-friendly practices, or try a waterless option.
My husband found this recipe in the local newspaper, and after I baked the squash, he made the meal from start to finish. This recipe is a unique and delicious change of pace from the traditional squash dinners that are so common this time of year.
1 1/2 cups cooked butternut squash, roughly mashed
2/3 cup feta cheese
Handful of chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons pine nuts
Dash of Salt and Pepper
Flour (for dusting)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Dollop of Greek-style yogurt
Mix the squash, feta, parsley, pine nuts, salt and pepper. Form into two patties, and dust with flour. Chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes. (You may be able to skip this step if you don’t mind slightly misshapen patties.)
In a non-stick skillet, heat olive oil and then cook the patties for 10 minutes on medium (or until brown), turning once or twice. Serve each patty with a tablespoon of Greek yogurt on the side (no bun necessary!). Serves three.
3 Little Words
We live in a disposable society where everything from our morning cup of joe to our toilet bowl brushes are designed to be thrown away after a single use. Remember a long time ago, I think it was grade school for me, we learned what those three little twisty green arrows on our notebook paper meant? “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.” It seems that the term “green” is everywhere these days; just add the word “green” to any search you are about to run on Google and you’ll come up with tons of hits. And while this is great that “green” stuff is even more popular and accessible, I think that it is also important to remember the basics of caring for the environment: 1. reduce your impact, 2. reuse everything you can, and 3. recycle what’s left.
So, what I’m really focusing lately on the art of re-using, as in re-using the extra napkin from lunch that I never even took out of my lunchbag, re-using that piece of foil that only rested on top of my dish for 30 minutes in the oven, and re-using the old t-shirt I hate for a dustrag rather than using tons of paper towels throughout the month. It’s probably one of the easiest “green” steps you can make and it’s free! I mean, my Mom always saved her jars when I was growing up, why did it take me so long to catch on?
We like to use some of our posts, especially in the “at the market” category, to highlight the great new “green” products that we discover and love, but it’s important to keep in mind that while it’s great to make eco-conscious decisions each time you shop, it’s even better to first consider whether buying something new at all is even necessary. For example, I’ve read a lot about food storage containers and how much healthier it is to store your left-overs in glass containers and, at first, I was so tempted to go out and buy all new bright and shiny glass containers. But then I realized that I could just start saving the glass jars that I was regularly sending to the recycle bin and use them for my food storage and even to take with me to collect my bulk items at the co-op (instead of getting new plastic containers or bags). And recycling is always good, don’t get me wrong, but it does take more energy to turn one old thing into a pretty new thing, and the recycling process can create unwanted by-products too. So go on and take those empty spaghetti jars, wash, rinse, fill them up with new good stuff, eat, and repeat!
The best gift is the one that is given to someone who is really in need. This year, consider making a donation in the recipient’s name to one of the suggested charitable causes below.
Nothing But Nets Campaign – “Nothing But Nets is a grassroots campaign to save lives by preventing malaria, a leading killer of children in Africa.” For just $10, you can purchase a net that will be given to a family and instructed on how to properly use it.
Heifer International – Through Heifer International you can give the gift of livestock to a family (and if you can’t afford the whole water buffalo, you have the option to donate a share). This truly is the gift that keeps on giving, because “recipients agree to share the offspring of gift animals with others in need, making them equal partners with Heifer in the fight to end world hunger.”
Kiva : Loans That Change Lives – Kiva puts you in touch with an entrepreneur in a developing country, to help get their business off the ground and help lift them out of poverty. Eventually your loan will be re-paid, and you will have the opportunity to provide another loan to a different business owner with that same money.
Changing The Present – This site has a very wide variety of causes that you can donate to. From as little as $2 to gifts as large as $500, there is certainly a cause on this site that would make a fitting gift for the recipients on your list.
Sustainable Harvest International – As their mission statement states: Sustainable Harvest International is “building a global network of local partner working toward environmental, economic and social sustainability.” Their donation/gift options vary from providing a Community Grain Silo ($60) to Saving 200 Acres of Tropical Forest ($600). For just $25, you can provide families with the seeds, nursery materials and training to plant 100 trees.
World Wildlife Fund – A cute and cuddly animal adoption available through the WWF Gift Center is a good donation for the younger family members. For some animals that aren’t so cute and cuddly (and thus receive less attention) check out the EDGE of Existence web site.