The Green Screen
Today marks the first day of the Sundance Film Festival – an annual week-long event taking place in Park City, Utah. After the huge success of Al Gore’s documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” (which premiered at Sundance in 2006), the Festival is still doing what it can to set a green celebrity scene.
The Main Event Red Carpet Lounge will be giving out green goodies, Project Greenhouse (sponsored by Lexus Hybrid Living) will demonstrate ways to combine luxury living and a green lifestyle, including Eco-Fashion Closet, which will feature sustainable fashion from a variety of designers. The Festival itself has a page in it’s guide on ways to be green at the festival, and their online store sells a messenger bag is made from 2007 festival recycled banners with the Energy Passion Film theme.
The celebrity lifestyle isn’t for all of us, but we can learn a few green tips from these stars – paparazzi not included.
- Will Ferrell drives an electric car.
- Rocker Eve includes a “no plastic or Styrofoam” rule as part of her backstage demands.
- Leo DiCaprio uses a low flow toilet.
- And Tyra Banks only flushes when necessary.
- Jennifer Aniston takes three minute showers.
- Justin Timberlake practices carbon offsetting.
- Sting promotes eating locally and organically.
- Brad Pitt focuses on affordability, sustainability, safety for the new homes in New Orleans.
P.S. There’s more to this post! In addition to what’s shown here, readers of The Squeeze also got a fun and eco-friendly popcorn recipe. What else have subscribers to The Squeeze received? One lucky reader won a SIGG Water Bottle, and all of the December readers got a pre-release discount on Green-Lemonade products. Want to get in on the action? Sign up for The Squeeze today!
A few months ago, I had the pleasure of chatting with Shannon Hayes, a local farmer, mom and author. She and her husband were at the co-op showcasing meat from their family farm, Sap Bush Hollow Farm. I picked up her most recent cookbook, The Grassfed Gourmet (pictured above), and was anxious to try the Beef Stew recipe (below).
Grassfed meat is the obvious choice over the factory farmed variety, for many reasons. But, for me, it comes down to knowing exactly where my food came from and knowing that I am getting healthy food raised in an environmentally responsible way.
Old Fashioned Beef Stew
from the Grassfed Gourmet by Shannon Hayes
1 c all purpose flour
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. paprika
2 pounds stewing beef, cut into 1 inch pieces
3 tbsp. olive oil
2 large onions, peeled and cut into wedges
1 crumbled bay leaf
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 28 ounce can tomatoes, whole or crushed, undrained
2 cups beef broth
2 quarts water
6 to 8 carrots, scraped and cut into chunks
2 small turnips, peeled and cubed
4 boiling potatoes, cut into large chunks
Combine the flour, salt, pepper, and paprika in a shallow bowl.
Dredge the meat in the flour. Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the meat, and brown on all sides. Add the remaining ingredients, except the carrots, turnips, and potatoes. Cover. Bring the stew to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, covered, for 2 hours.
Add the carrots and turnips, cover, and continue cooking 45 minutes longer. Add the potatoes, cover once more, and cook for another 20 to 25 minutes, or until you can pierce the potatoes with a fork.
Get on Board
Considering that much of my time in the kitchen is spent slicing and dicing fruits and veggies, one might wonder why I have never owned a good cutting board. Until now, I have either used a plate (which isn’t good for the plate or the knife) or just cut the veggies by holding them in one hand and cutting them in the other (which isn’t so good for thumbs).
However, thanks to a present from my mom for Christmas, I am cutting board-less no more! I was excited to receive an Epicurean Cutting Board and equally as happy to know that it is made from environmentally friendly natural wood fiber (from trees harvested under the guidelines of the North American Sustainable Forestry Standards).
Moreover, I don’t have to worry about germs that are often linked to cutting boards because this nonporous board is backed by the National Sanitary Foundation and is dishwasher safe (unlike eco-friendly wood or bamboo).
As with any product, there are the typical pros and cons (Apparently, Epicurean Cutting Surfaces use paper that has been soaked in phenolic resin.) Check out this rundown of cutting board options, to see which one is right for you.
Local Raw ‘Kraut
I was never really big fan of sauerkraut, I never liked it on hot dogs and only really ever had it about once a year on my St. Patrick’s day Reuben sandwich. But a friend recently encouraged me to try a line of raw lacto-fermented vegetables from the nearby Hawthorne Valley Farm, and I really like it. It tastes so alive, having so much flavor it makes my tastbuds stand up. And I like it plain, all alone, no need for the sandwich!
While raw lacto-fermented vegetables may smell horrific, they are actually really good for you. Containing lots of Vitamin C, enzymes and friendly bacteria (lactobacilli), raw sauerkraut helps create a healthy atmosphere in your digestive tract by stimulating the growth of healthy flora and by keeping bacterial growth in check. Read more about the benefits of raw sauerkraut here.
I have also tried the fermented Ginger Carrots and the Kim Chee from Hawthorne Valley Farm which are equally as good. I am so happy to have found another great local food that’s in season and good for me, reminds me of why I choose to “eat local” as much as possible.
Depending on where you live, you may have no snow or you may be trekking around in more than a foot of the white stuff (as Liz can attest to in the past weeks.) Wool is a great way to keep warm, and is a renewable resource. However, not all wool is harvested in the most environmentally-friendly and/or humane way.
Thankfully, there are companies such as SmartWool, who (as a Zque Accredited company) “combines the superior comfort and performance attributes of New Zealand Merino fiber with an accreditation process to ensure environmental, social and economic sustainability, and animal welfare.”
So bundle up in the warmth of some SmartWool made from grass-grazing free-range sheep, and don’t forget that the minimal packaging is recycled and recyclable!
Chocolate + Orange
One of my favorite flavor combinations is chocolate with just a hint of orange. So after stumbling upon this recipe over at GLiving, and knowing that I had a new set of cute little tart pans to break in, I just couldn’t resist. What I love about this little double chocolate treat is that incorporates lots of fresh, wholesome ingredients, no baking required. And, while it does need to chill for a bit, it only took me about 10 minutes to put together. It was as good as I had hoped!
Chocolate Orange Tart
adapted from a GLiving recipe by Vanessa Sherwood
For the crust:
1/4 cup raw almonds
1/4 cup raw pecans
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1 tsp. orange zest
1 Tbsp. cocoa powder
1 Tbsp. Maple Syrup (or Agave Nectar)
Pinch of salt
Sprinkle of Cayenne
Combine the nuts in a food processor and process until fine. Add the remaining ingredients and process until starting to clump together. Evenly press into mini tart pans and chill for 30-60 minutes.
For the filling:
1/2 ripe avocado*
1.5 Tbsp. cocoa powder
1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1-2 tsps. orange zest
Process everything in a food processor until smooth. Fill tart shells and chill in the fridge for 1-2 hours until set.
*Similar to the previously posted chocolate pudding, I used avocado and banana instead of the coconut meat called for in the original recipe because, as I mentioned already, I couldn’t wait to try this and didn’t have any coconuts around, and, frankly, I’m a little intimidated be the idea of trying to crack one open!
I am typically a coffee drinker, but when it is cold and flu season, I reach for tea (especially when I start to get the sniffles and scratchy throat myself). In addition to the natural soothing effect typically associated with drinking tea, it also has many health benefits (thanks to the natural antioxidants and minerals).
However, don’t just grab the nearest tea bag. Just like fruits and veggies, it is important to choose organic teas (here are some specific reasons why). Also keep an eye out for ones that are fair trade.
As for me, I like teas from The Republic of Tea (available at World Market amongst other places.) The Republic of Tea offers organic and fair trade varieties, and also keeps the environment in mind. (The packaging is a reusable tin, and all tea bags are unbleached and free of staples and string.) If you are interested in also helping a cause, look no further than their “Sip for the Cure Tea” and “Man Kind Tea”, which raises money for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the Prostate Cancer Foundation, respectively.
Looking for healthy, kid-friendly recipes? Started by a smart mom concerned about the health of her kids and the alarming statistics on childhood obesity, diabetes, and various other health issues, www.smartfoodshealthykids.com is a wonderful resource for you. Smart Foods Healthy Kids is all about teaching moms (and dads) how to create healthier families by arming them with innovative recipes and savvy tips to keep the home safe for all, while promoting a “Good Better Best” attitude.
With lots of videos, articles and tidbits throughout the site, they are making it easy and fun to be “smart” about your family’s health. Not only do many of the recipes provide great alternatives to common kid allergies such wheat and nuts, but they are easy to make and suggest clever ways to get your kids involved in the process!
One of my favorite recipes so far is the “Best Sauce Ever” which I have made about a half a dozen times already and use as a salad dressing almost everyday. It delivers huge flavor and tons of antioxidants. It’s is egg, dairy, gluten, nut, and soy free, and contains only 7 wholesome ingredients including hempseed, garlic and honey.
Best Sauce Ever
1/3 cup hempseed
3 cloves garlic (more or less, according to your tastebuds)
2 Tbs. sweet white miso
3 Tbs. honey or agave nectar
2/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2/3 cup olive oil
1/3 – 1/2 cup water
Mix everything in a blender or food processor and whirl around until smooth. Use as a salad dressing or a dip for fresh veggies.
Light Up Some Soy
Love the way a candle fills the room with a welcoming aroma? You might not, when you think about the other potential toxins that are also filling the room. Lucky for you, you can still have all the ambiance and aroma of candles, without the carcinogens.
One (and probably the best) option is to get your hands on some local, pure beeswax candles. (Check your farmers market next time you go.) These are usually the least polluting choice. They last longer than the paraffin alternatives and give off a honey smell.
Another option are soy candles. They are made from soybeans (a renewable resource), burn longer, are biodegradable and contain no known carcinogens.
So next time you want to set a candlelit mood, don’t reach for the commercial paraffin candles. Check out some alternative options (like these from Method), and don’t forget to reuse the container when the candle is gone. Butter Dish, anyone?
Motivated by my love of squash and my desire to eat as locally as possible, I decided to try this interesting Squash Flan recipe from Tree Hugger tonight. Despite my husband’s continual questions as to why we were having pie for dinner, it was a delicious new way to incorporate local foods in the winter. It was very flavorful, savory, not too heavy, and looked pretty good for my first attempt at a flan and using phyllo dough. A perfect dinner for a frigid cold day here in the upstate New York where the temperature remained in the single digits all day. Below is my slightly modified version of the recipe. Now I just need to find a good baklava recipe to use up the rest of this great organic phyllo dough!
Squash Flan with Mushrooms
First, preheat oven to 450. Peel and dice a big Butternut squash (Hubbard or Acorn should work too). Toss with salt and pepper, a big drizzle of olive oil, and maple syrup in a baking dish. Dot with butter and bake until tender, about 30 minutes, stirring a few times. Remove and place squash into a strainer to seperate any liquid and to cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 375.
Next, prepare your pan. Layer 8 sheets of organic phyllo dough lining a spring-form pan, brushing each layer with melted butter, working quickly to prevent dough from drying out.
Then, saute 1/2 of a chopped onion until translucent. Add the squash and cook about 5-10 minutes to reheat and dry slightly. While that cooks, combine 4 whole eggs and 5 egg yolks (from a local farm, of course) in a blender, saving the extra egg whites for an omelette in the morning. Add to the blender 1/2 cup of freshly grated Parmesan like Grana Padano or Parmiagiano Reggianno. Then add the squash and onions to the blender and mix until smooth. Pour the mixture into prepared phyllo dough mold. Bake for 45 – 60 minutes, until set. Remove from oven and cool.
To prepare the mushrooms, start by warming a little olive oil in a saute pan with garlic. Add julienned mushrooms (shiitakes, or I used baby bellas) and cook for about a minute. Add 2 oz of Marsala cooking wine (or white wine) and 1 oz of balsamic vinegar and allow to cook off completely.
Release the flan from the pan, slice, plate, and top with a little more fresh grated Parmesan and sauteed mushrooms.