Friday, November 2, 2012

Vegan Recipe - Chili (sin carne)

Welcome to the first Friday of the month. Once a month we share a vegan recipe. Why? Because meatless meals are good for the planet (check out an early post on the subject HERE).

This month I'm sharing one of my own creations ... Chili. It features dried beans which are very wallet-friendly, easy to cook, healthy and delicious. The recipe calls for stove-top cooking but would easily work in a crock-pot. I hope you and your family enjoy it!


Cyndi's Chili (sin carne)

Servings: 2-3 adult portions

Ingredients

1/2 cup dried black beans - sorted & rinsed
1/2 cup dried pinto beans - sorted & rinsed
1/2 cup dried chick peas (garbanzo beans) - sorted & rinsed
1 Bay Leaf
3 Tablespoons Taco Seasoning
1 can (16 oz) tomatoes (approximately 2 cups)
1/4 cup oatmeal
1/2 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small dried chili pepper, soaked then chopped (can also use fresh peppers or pepper flakes, as hot or mild as you like)
Water (enough to cover beans by about 1 inch ... add more if you like your chili more soup-like)

Optional Toppings:

Sliced green onions
Vegan cheddar "cheese"
Vegan "sour cream"

Method

Soak beans overnight or quick soak them (cover with water, bring to a boil and let sit for an hour). Rinse beans after soaking.

Place everything into a heavy pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 2-3 hours, checking occasionally that the water level is appropriate.

During the last 1/2 hour of cooking, adjust salt/pepper and taco seasoning to your taste.

Serve with toppings of your choice.

We like to enjoy this chili with Vegan Cornbread.

If you have a vegan recipe which you'd like to share, please send it to me HERE. And for all the recipes we've shared so far, be sure to visit our recipe page using the tabs at the top of this blog ... or by clicking HERE.



Monday, October 22, 2012

Friday, October 5, 2012

Vegan Recipe - Tossed Kale Salad

Welcome to the first Friday of the month and my favorite feature on Reduce Footprints ... Recipe Day! Each month we share a delicious dish with you. Why? Because our food choices are one of the easiest ways to live green. Choosing plant-based meals, even once a week, can dramatically improve our impact on the earth. But put those thoughts right out of your mind because ... as you'll see ... we're simply talking about good food.

This month's guest chef is my friend JC of The Accessory Lady. Some of you might know her from Change The World Wednesday ... she participates often. Or, you might have read some of her "green" posts from Meet & Greet Monday. JC is a very talented designer ... she makes beautiful & unique accessories, most of which are made from Eco-friendly materials. She's also a photographer ... her photos take every day scenes and turn them into something magical. As you'll soon find out ... she also cooks, creating delicious and healthy meals. JC is not vegan but many of her recipes, which she posts on her blog, are meatless. I've often thought that she puts the same care in her cooking that she does in her artistic endeavors ... the foods are healthy, delicious and visually appealing.

JC has very kindly agreed to share a recipe with us today. It's "star" is kale ... one of my favorite greens.


Tossed Kale Salad

This super easy recipe was a hit at my last gathering so I hope you enjoy it!

-2 large bunches of steamed kale
-1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
-1/2 teaspoon of agave or any other sweetener you like
-1 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil
-1 teaspoon mustard (dijon or polish mustard preferred)
-1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
-1/4 teaspoon of garlic salt
-1/4 teaspoon of marjoram

Rip medium size pieces of kale away from the stems and steam for 15 minutes. While the Kale is steaming, mix all the condiments until the vinaigrette is emulsified and well blended.

Toss the warm kale in a large bowl and mix in the sauce (vinaigrette) until it's well coated.

Can be served warm or cold and it makes a great side for 4 people or full serving for 2.

Makes a delicious leftover as the flavor intensifies when it marinates or it can also be used as greens for sandwiches!

JC is a handmade accessory designer and photographer from Brooklyn, NY. You can find her creations and blogs at:
Accessory Designs: http://theaccessorylady.com (Coupon: FALLINTOFALL - save 25%)
Accessory Designs Facebook Page: http://facebook.com/theaccessorylady
Photography: http://onedayoneimage.net (Coupon: ONEDAY20 - save 20%)
Photography Facebook Page: http://facebook.com/onedayoneimage (Coupon: ONEDAY20 - save 20%)


Doesn't that look great? I hope that you and your family will give it a try.

If you have a vegan recipe which you'd like to share, please send it to me HERE. And for all the recipes we've shared so far, be sure to visit our recipe page using the tabs at the top of this blog ... or by clicking HERE.


Friday, September 21, 2012

39 Tips For Fall

This weekend marks the beginning of fall in our part of the world, which is a good time to take a look at ways to green our routine. We've been compiling this list of ideas over the past several years ... they are tried and true. Some are major and may require planning and budgeting ... others are minor and only require a bit of our time. All of them are Eco-friendly and help us walk a little gentler on the earth.

If you're moving into spring instead of fall, click HERE for some ways to get ready for the warmer months.

Here are your fall tips:
  1. Check the air pressure in your tires. Cooler temperatures lower tire pressure and that, in turn, lowers fuel efficiency. So check your tires and make sure that they are properly inflated.
  2. If you have a garage, park the car in it. As the weather gets colder, using a garage will alleviate the need to warm up the car before driving ... and will save fuel.
  3. Clean and test the furnace. Did you know that your furnace needs cleaning? Yep ... it collects all kinds of dust and debris which not only affects it's performance but could cause a fire. Before you really need the heat, get out your owner's manual for instructions on how to clean it. No manual? Check here or call a furnace maintenance company. If you have a gas furnace, have it professionally inspected once a year.
  4. Install a programmable thermostat and set it for 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 Celsius) ... it'll save money and use less fuel/electricity.
  5. Move furniture or any obstructions from vents, baseboard heaters, registers on the floor or radiators so that air moves freely. This is also a good time to vacuum these areas to remove any dust or debris. And here's a tip if you have a radiator ... place a reflecting panel behind it ... you can purchase one at a home center or make one yourself with a plywood panel and aluminum foil.
  6. Remove window air conditioners for the winter. If they can't be removed, seal them with caulking or tape and cover them with an airtight, insulated jacket.
  7. Open blinds during the day to attract warmth. Close them at night to retain the warmth. If you're making a change, opt for honeycomb blinds which are especially insulating.
  8. Vacuum the refrigerator coils to keep the compressor running efficiently. It's also a good time to check that the refrigerator is level ... the door should automatically swing shut instead of staying open.
  9. Check the seal on the refrigerator door ... try closing it on a piece of paper. If you can pull the paper out easily, it's time to replace the gaskets. Repeat this process at several spots along the door to ensure that the entire seal is working.
  10. Here's another tip for running the refrigerator efficiently ... don't over fill it. Allowing room for cool air to circulate will keep everything at the right temperature.
  11. And how about another refrigerator tip ... plan ahead and defrost frozen items in the refrigerator instead of on the counter top ... the frozen items will help keep your refrigerator cool thus making it run less.
  12. Clean the ducts and area behind the dryer. And don't forget, clean the filter after every use and every once in awhile, give it a good wash.
  13. Check windows for proper caulking. If you have single-pane windows, add storm windows. Even a plastic film over windows will reduce heat loss.
  14. Consider installing new, efficient windows.
  15. Check doors for weather stripping and replace as necessary. If drafts sneak in under exterior doors, replace the threshold or block the drafts with a rolled-up towel or blanket.
  16. Hang a thick curtain in front of the door to block cold air from entering the house. Use a shower curtain rod and loop hangers so that the curtain can be easily pushed to the side to open the door.
  17. Electrical outlets, especially on outside walls, and light fixtures are prime places for cold air to leak into your home. Add foam gaskets behind covers and switch plates, and use safety plugs in unused outlets. Be sure to shut off the power at the fuse box or circuit panel before doing this.
  18. If your home has no sidewall insulation, place heavy furniture like bookshelves, armoires and sofas along exterior walls, and use decorative quilts as wall hangings. This will help block cold air.
  19. Perhaps it's time to get new insulation ... if so, consider getting blown-in recycled cotton/denim insulation.
  20. Check your roof for any missing or damaged tiles or shingles.
  21. If you make any roof repairs, consider painting your roof white or installing light colored roofing.
  22. Clean the roof gutters and make sure downspouts are pointed away from the house. Now would also be a good time to install a rain barrel ... rather than allow water to drain into one spot, a rain barrel would allow you to direct the water to where it's most needed. One tip, a 50 gal barrel fills with just 1/2" of rain from the roof, so drain the overflow from the barrel far away from the house so that it won't flood the basement (if you have one).
  23. Keep weeds and shrubs trimmed. Keep them away from outside heating/cooling units for best airflow.
  24. Install foam covers over outside water spigots to prevent freezing.
  25. Check for water leaks both inside and outside.
  26. Wrap the water heater in an insulating blanket.
  27. If you have a ceiling fan, reverse the direction ... the fan should be run in a clockwise direction (stand under the fan and if you feel a breeze, reverse the direction so that air is being drawn upwards). This pushes the air up against the ceiling and down the walls, to gently re-circulate the warm air without creating a cooling "wind chill effect."
  28. Do you have a fireplace? This is a good time to have the chimney cleaned and get vent systems checked.
  29. Bring in any houseplants that have spent the summer outdoors. They'll help clean the air. Hint ... for about a week, bring them in at night and then put them out during the day. This will ensure that they aren't "shocked".
  30. Do a little outdoor landscaping. Trees and bushes, planted in the fall, have ample time to develop strong, deep root systems before the heat of the next summer. This increases their chances of surviving and typically means less watering during hot months. For a discussion on fall gardening, click HERE.
  31. As the autumn leaves begin to fall, consider raking them up rather than using a "blower" (it's great exercise). Once raked up, use them as mulch to protect plants throughout the winter or add them to a compost pile.
  32. Preserve summer produce for use in the winter.
  33. Even though fresh, local produce isn't as abundant during this season, there are still many options available. Visit local farms or farmer's markets and find out what's available and then, eat locally and in season. Visit Sustainable Table to learn which crops are growing in your area.
  34. Before packing away those summer clothes, go through them and determine which items to keep, which items to repurpose into something else (cleaning rags, craft projects, etc.) and which to donate.
  35. Bring out all those warm sweaters, socks, slippers and blankets so that when the temperature falls you'll be ready to bundle up instead of raising the thermostat.
  36. Are your kids returning to school? Consider buying clothes, backpacks, etc. from second hand stores and/or thrift shops. If you're buying new items at a store, opt for earth-friendly products and don't forget to pay attention to packaging. Also consider investing in reusable lunch items (beverage bottles, utensils, napkins, etc.) to further minimize your child's impact on the planet.
  37. Do your kids ride the bus to school? Often buses sit in front of a school, idling while they wait for kids to climb aboard. Suggest, to your school or the bus company, that bus drivers turn off the engine when waiting for their passengers. And, of course, if it's possible for your kids to walk to school ... all the better (for them and the earth).
  38. Speaking of school buses, as the weather gets cooler, there's a tendency to drive kids to the bus stop. To save that fuel, bundle up and walk your kids to the bus stop instead.
  39. In the fall, entertaining moves indoors. There are football parties, cozy dinner parties and later events like Halloween and Thanksgiving. When planning your fall event, consider reusable plates, napkins and utensils, decorations from nature, clean burning soy candles and plenty of plant-based foods on your menu.

Do you have any fall tips that we haven't covered? We'd love to hear them!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Vegan Recipe - Big Honkin' Chopped Salad

One of my favorite features on Reduce Footprints is our monthly vegan recipe. Meatless meals are good for the planet and good for our health. And ... it's a terrific opportunity to meet talented chefs who whip up delicious dishes to tempt our taste buds. This month's Guest Chef is, indeed, very talented!

Please meet Sam, author (and head chef) of The Quantum Vegan. The Quantum Vegan is a wonderful blog with a variety of interesting posts ... interviews with authors and chefs, product and restaurant reviews and even discussions on eating disorders. And then there are recipes ... lots of recipes ... lots of delicious recipes ... things like “Cheesy” Sweet Potato Hash Browns for breakfast, Toasted Zucchini-Cabbage Sandwiches for lunch and, one of my personal favorites, Millet Salsa Bowls for dinner. Looking for a desert recipe? How does a Mocha Brownie Torte sound? Or maybe “Dandy” Chocolate Chip Walnut Bars? Maybe you're just in the mood for a snack and would find Tangy Shredded Salad to your taste ... or Garlic-Dill White Bean Hummus. Is your mouth watering? Mine is! Each recipe is clear and concise and includes ingredients which most of us have in our kitchens. More importantly, each recipe (at least the ones I've tried) are fabulous ... they meet my main criteria: 1) they are easy to put together and 2) they taste great. The Quantum Vegan is for anyone who loves good food. I hope you'll check it out!

Sam has graciously agreed to share a recipe with us. It looks delicious!


Big Honkin' Chopped Salad

After seeing Forks Over Knives, I was inspired to start swapping out the vegan convenience foods in my diet with more whole foods. Without frozen burritos or ready-in-4-minutes organic ramen to rely on, I had to start being more creative about lunch. It was time to seek out new recipes!

Inspired by the "Hugh Jass Salad" in the Peas & Thank You cookbook (we won't mention how long it took me to work out that joke), I started making big salads with lots of add-ins, which evolved into big chopped salads with crunchy toppings and improvised "dressings." Chopped salad is a great way to get in a lot of vegetables at once, plus the chopping mixes everything together so you get a little bit of each flavor in every bite. Add some grains and beans, and you've got a whole meal in one bowl! Another bonus is that it's extremely portable, so if you're in need of a healthy lunch on the go, you can't go wrong with a big honkin' salad.

This is my basic recipe, but you can mix and match depending on what you have on hand. Sometimes I swap out some of the summer squashes for a few brussels sprouts or throw in some pea shoots. Quinoa and chickpeas is my favorite grain/bean combo, but I've used red rice and pinto beans, millet and white beans and bulgur and kidney beans in the past. Uncle Sam cereal is my favorite topping since it's just wheat flakes and flax seeds, but you can use anything healthy and crunchy. Chopped walnuts come to mind!

Ingredients

2 cups mixed greens (I use spring mix)
1 cup kale, roughly chopped
1 cup red cabbage, roughly chopped
1 cup zucchini, summer squash, or a mix, sliced
1/2 cup bell peppers, diced large
1/4 cup carrots, sliced
1/4 cup cucumbers, sliced
1/2 serving cold cooked grains (usually about 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup beans of your choice
2Tbsp. Uncle Sam cereal
2Tbsp hummus, homemade or store bought, thinned with water to desired consistency
pepper to taste (optional)

1) Dump the greens, kale, cabbage, squashes, peppers, carrots and cucumbers into a food processor. Pulse until chopped but not mushy. Transfer to a big salad bowl.

2) Add the grains and beans. Drizzle on the hummus "dressing" and mix until well combined.

3) Sprinkle on the pepper and Uncle Sam cereal, grab a fork, and enjoy!


Sam, a.k.a. the Quantum Vegan, has been vegan for three years and has spent that time experimenting with recipes in a quest to discover as much delicious vegan food as possible. She loves sharing pictures and comments via the Quantum Vegan blog and finding new recipes from other amazing vegan bloggers around the web!

MMM ... I can't wait to try out that recipe! Thanks, so much, to Sam for stopping by today and sharing this dish with us!

If you have a vegan recipe which you'd like to share, please send it to me HERE. And for all the recipes we've shared so far, be sure to visit our recipe page using the tabs at the top of this blog ... or by clicking HERE.


Friday, August 3, 2012

Vegan Recipe - Spicy Peanut Noodles

Welcome to the first Friday of the month and another fabulous recipe! What's a recipe doing on an Eco-blog, you might ask? Well, the foods which we consume actually contribute to our environmental footprint. Some foods help us walk a little easier on the planet. For example: local, organic and meatless meals are great choices. So once a month we feature a delicious dish which you can feel good about eating.

I'd like to introduce you to Jacqueline. Some of you might know her as The Organic Blonde ... but what you might not know is that she is a very talented chef and has a new site called The Blissful Beet. When I discovered The Blissful Beet, I was intrigued ... Jacqueline travels the world and has talked about living green in various countries. So I wondered how The Blissful Beet came about. Here's what she says:

"I’m Jacqueline, a globe-trotting girl, now happily married with a family of her own to nourish, whose “gypsy” lifestyle has taken me around the world and into the kitchens of some pretty amazing cooks in many awesomely healthy cultures. I learned from those cultures that food is life. It’s more than just a pizza delivery or a carelessly gulped sandwich at a desk. It’s about really connecting to the foods we cook and eat; buying local, seasonal ingredients and creating, with passion, delicious yet nurturing dishes full of life and love.

I am one of the lucky ones that spent hours on end with mothers and grandmothers all over the world in open air markets learning from them how to find the best fruits and vegetables, freshest meats, chicken, and line caught wild fish; in their kitchens learning how to create colorful, healthy yet simple recipes. I learned to cook from my gut, from the heart from these amazing cooks from all walks of life. Now I get to pass along that knowledge to you!

The Blissful Beet is a celebration of food. Nourishing, healthy, traditional food fused with a little attitude!"

The Blissful Beet is a beautiful blog. I first noticed the colors ... somewhat like fresh, healthy vegetables. The next thing which I noticed is how easy it is to navigate through the site ... one click takes you to recipes sorted out by meal type or by cuisine ... with a ton of vegan options. While Jacqueline and her family aren't vegetarian, they do eat healthy which means that meat takes a back seat in her recipes. You'll find Lebanese dishes like Super Charged Tabbouleh ... or Italian dishes like Brocolini and White Bean Panzanella. Of course, the proof is in the pudding (so to speak) ... and I can tell you, from first hand experience, that her recipes are fabulous! I adore the Georgian Salad with Walnut Dressing and the Curried Lentils are wonderful! Each recipe is easy to follow and, if it's not a vegan dish, typically includes the vegan substitutes. I could go on and on about what a terrific resource The Blissful Beet is (check out the shop and you'll see what I mean) ... but I'll bet you're getting hungry, right? Well, Jacqueline has graciously agreed to share a recipe with us. And oh wow ... you're going to love it!!


Vegan Spicy Peanut Noodles

SPICY PEANUT SAUCE INGREDIENTS:
• 1 cup of natural smooth peanut butter
• ¼ cup of soy sauce or tamari
• ¼ cup sesame oil
• 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
• 2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic (about 3 cloves)
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
• 1 ½ teaspoons Asian chili sauce such as Sricha
• 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
• 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
• ¾ cup hot water
• ½ teaspoon celtic sea salt

NOODLE and VEGETABLE INGREDIENTS:
• 1-pound noodles, (soba, brown rice, or egg noodles.)
• ¼ cup finely chopped green onions
• ¼ cup chopped roasted unsalted peanuts
• 1 bok choy or Chinese cabbage, blanched and loosely chopped
• 1 cup of snow peas, blanched
• ½ cup shredded carrots, blanched
• 1 red pepper, finely sliced and blanched

INSTRUCTIONS FOR SPICY PEANUT SAUCE:
1. Place all ingredients in a high speed blender or food processor. Blend until smooth.


INSTRUCTIONS FOR NOODLES and VEGETABLES:
1. Bring water to a boil in a large pot. Add vegetables to blanche by, letting them sit in boiling water for 30 seconds. Quickly remove vegetables with strainer and transfer to a large bowl filled with ice water.
2. Add noodles to the boiling water. Cook until al dente or according to package.
3. Drain noodles. Rinse under cold water. Continue to drain noodles.
4. Add vegetables to noodles. Toss with ½ of the sauce. (Start with less sauce and continue to add as needed.)
5. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts and chopped cilantro. Serve


Doesn't that look delicious? Thanks, so much, Jacqueline for stopping by and teasing our taste buds.

If you have a vegan recipe which you'd like to share, please send it to me HERE. And for all the recipes we've shared so far, be sure to visit our recipe page using the tabs at the top of this blog ... or by clicking HERE.



Friday, July 20, 2012

Eco Natural Soap

Have you looked at the ingredients of your personal care products? In my green-living evolution, I've learned that natural, Eco-friendly products really are best, especially when it comes to the things I put on my body. At one time, I didn't think a lot about it ... I assumed (wrongly) that if a lotion, shampoo or lip balm was on a store's shelf, then it was safe to use. It didn't occur to me that the chemicals in those products were causing (or at the very least irritating) my skin allergies. In fact, it wasn't until after I switched to earth-friendly varieties that I finally "got" the connection and realized that my skin was getting healthier as I banned the toxins.

So ... when we read the label (you all read the labels, right???), what should we avoid? Here's my short list:

  • I've written a couple of posts which list toxic chemicals to avoid. You'll find them HERE and HERE.
  • If a product doesn't list the ingredients, either on the label or on their website, leave it alone. Companies who have nothing to hide seem to be very forthcoming with that information.
  • If the ingredient list is fairly long and includes words that you don't recognize (or can't pronounce), consider leaving it on the shelf. If it sounds like a chemical, it probably is.
  • Stay away from products which are labeled "antibacterial" ... they typically contain a harmful chemical which has been linked to cancer.
  • Be cautious when you see words like "Natural", "Fragrance Free" and "Hypoallergenic" ... these words are not regulated and are typically used to fool consumers into believing they are safe ... and that's not necessarily true.
  • Do not assume that handmade products are safe ... follow the rules above and hold them to the test, just as you would commercial products.

Now let's talk about the good stuff ... the products that are good for the earth, good for us and are a joy to use. To do that, I'd like to introduce you to Alicia and Alan, the owners of Eco Natural Soap, and tell you about some of the products which I'm using. You might recognize Alicia from our Change The World Wednesday challenges ... she's a regular participant and always offers thoughtful tips and ideas. What you might not know is that Alicia and her husband, Alan, have built a very successful business by creating and selling natural, earth-friendly body care products. I've learned a lot about them through their website and Alicia's blog, Eco Friendly Homemaking ... but I wanted to know more. Here are a few questions which I asked them recently:

1. Would you please share a bit about how and why you started Eco Natural Soap?

When we were living in California not only was it an awesome adventure but a real learning experience as well. There are so many people who are "Eco Friendly" and we learned so much. I had a lady come up to me one day and asked if I knew what was in the soap we were using and that I ought to go home and Google the ingredients and then to remember that doctors prescribe patches for people because you absorb so much through your skin. I was shocked to learn what ingredients are allowed in the soaps, creams and lotions we put on our bodies each day. I had read that the average woman puts around 200 chemicals on her body before she walks out the door for work in the mornings! We threw away all of our soaps and started buying all natural organic chemical free soaps and lotions and really saw such a difference in our skin really quickly!

While out there I also learned of the terrible dangers of fabric softeners and made wool dryer balls from wool sweaters from Goodwill. Not only did we cut out the awful fabric softener but cut our drying time by 30%. This got us motivated to reduce as many toxic chemicals from our household as we could. I am happy to say that we pretty much have accomplished this.


2. How are your formulas developed and where are your products manufactured (kitchen, shop facility, etc.)?

When we moved back to Tennessee we brought the knowledge that we had learned back with us and decided to start Eco Natural Soap. Alan has put in thousands of hours of research on specific herbals and ingredients. He gives God all of the glory for the wonderful formulas. He tells 100's of people a week; I give GOD all the Glory for our success and formulas. I use almost 200 ingredients in formulating and I could have mixed this, with that, for the next 25 years and still never achieved the success and the formulas that we have. It is GOD, not man.

The products are manufactured in our shop and we are so excited to be looking for a bigger shop as we speak. As of May of this year we now have over 100 local retail stores that carry our products as well as our website where we ship out at least four times a week all over the United States. I think Alan mentioned the other day, we now have about 125 products with more in development.


3. I know that your products are Eco-friendly ... please tell us about the environmental aspects of other things like packaging, mailing, processing, etc.

We use recycled paper for our labels and our business cards are made with recycled paper as well. They are printed with soy based ink also. Alan recycles the peanuts, paper, foam, etc., that shippers use when sending our supplies. If you have ever purchased from us, that's why the packing is so many different colors and types. We offer free shipping on all orders so as of right now we use USPS flat rate shipping boxes.

Our goal is to replace all the toxic chemicals in the average household and we're about 70% there. Several items are close to marketing; laundry detergent powder with plant based enzymes that don't pollute the water, or your skin! A deodorant that's already tested and ready for manufacturing. On the planning board; Body Sprays and Air Fresheners. New Special Purpose Balms (by Fall 2012); Diabetic Neuropathy (Numbness Relief), Menopause/Hot Flash Relief, Gout Relief (Uric Acid Balancer) and the long awaited, much anticipated Wrinkle Relief Balm.


Finally, I'd like to tell you about the products which I'm currently using. One caveat ... I wasn't asked to review these items. In fact, I asked Alicia and Alan if I could share my thoughts with you.

AM Moisturizer Protector

I start my day out with the AM Moisturizer. Alicia told me that a little goes a long way because none of their products contain added water ... it's purely "good stuff". So a small pea-sized dab works for my face and neck area. It is light and odorless ... and feels so good. It is designed to wear under makeup but works equally well on it's own (I'm not a makeup person). Unlike other moisturizers which I've used, this product lasts throughout the day, keeping my skin comfortable.

Cuticle & Nail Balm

I love to work in my garden ... and, I love to touch the plants and soil. But refusing gloves comes at a cost ... my cuticles are dry, cracked and unhealthy. Rather ... I should say ... they WERE dry, cracked and unhealthy because this cuticle and nail balm is magical. It comes in a tube similar to the types used for lip balms. It's easy to apply around my nails and within a minute or so, it's fully absorbed. I use this item at night and by morning my hands look refreshed and supple. It's nice to have healthy nails.

Organic Lip Balm

I'm something of a lip balm fanatic ... I love the stuff. But not all lip treatments are equal. Not only do many commercial brands contain petroleum products, they simply don't measure up to the natural varieties. They wear off easily and seem to need reapplications often. I've been using Eco Natural Soap's Key Lime Pie and Natural lip balms. They both make my lips feel great and they last all day. The Key Lime Pie is slightly flavored ... enough to be pleasing but not so much that one licks the product off in seconds. Both tubes leave my lips feeling moisturized and healthy. As a true lip balm aficionado ... I give them major thumbs up!


Exotic Butters Luxury

Skin Balm (Citrus Sunrise)

If I had to choose just one body care product, this lovely skin balm would be it. I use it at night, typically on my face and neck ... sometimes on dry spots like my heels. The scent is wonderful ... it reminds me of driving through orange groves when the trees are in full bloom. This balm is slightly heavier than the AM Moisturizer but absorbs easily into the skin and feels so good. Again, just a small amount does the job. It might be wishful thinking on my part but ... after a month of using this balm, it seems that those fine, "smile" lines around my eyes have faded. I should also say that I was a bit worried about this product ... I have extremely sensitive skin and typically anything smelling of citrus causes a lot of irritation. But not with this balm ... it is actually soothing.

Every product from Eco Natural Soap is labeled with the ingredients. You won't find weird sounding items or chemical compounds ... instead you'll find things like Camellia Seeds, Shea Butter, Green Tea and Avocado. There aren't any warnings with these products because they are safe!! Eco-friendly ... natural ... "good for you" products! Perhaps the only thing better is that they are sold by two, very nice people ... Alicia and Alan!

Eco Natural Soap also sells soaps, shampoos, mineral makeup and a variety of problem-specific balms. You can connect with them in the following ways:

Eco Natural Soap Store
Twitter (@econaturalsoap)
Eco Natural Soap Facebook Page


Friday, July 6, 2012

Vegan Recipe - Salted Lemon Rosemary Shortbread

It is the first Friday of the month and that means ... another delicious recipe ... another delicious vegan recipe. Why vegan? Because meatless meals are good for the planet.

I'm so excited about our guest chef this month!! Please meet Kelly, the fabulous author & chef of Kelly Bakes. When you visit Kelly's blog (and I hope that you do), you may notice her tag line: "one girl. one blog. one dream. one
unending supply of butter." Butter? What's a girl who shocks her readers by saying that her middle name isn't “Bacon” doing here on Reduce Footprints? Well, Kelly has recently been experimenting with vegan baking ... she's been thrilling her readers with some delicious offerings like Vegan chocolate peanut butter banana tarts, Accidentally vegan blackberry breakfast bars and Vegan Pear Tart with Apricot Jam. Since she isn't vegan, I find Kelly's "take" on things very refreshing. One of my favorite things about Kelly's blog is her writing. Well ... here ... read what she has to say and you'll see what I mean ... she's brilliant!


Some of life’s greatest rewards come from pushing yourself just beyond your realm of comfort into the unknown, uncertain and uncomfortable.

In 2009, I packed up the bare essentials and moved four states away from my family in Connecticut to pursue my dream of getting a Master’s degree in English Literature. The subject had always been easy for me, as writing and reading were things I did well without even thinking much about them. I loved lit. It came naturally. End of story.

When I got to grad school, however, the romance was over. I fell out of love with English after a week. Classes were nothing like what I experienced in undergrad and I suddenly found myself four hours from home, living by myself for the first time, knowing no one and wondering if I had made the biggest mistake of my life.

I could have easily packed up my things and called it quits [after all, I had packed so lightly that, when I moved in, my mom & sister unpacked my apartment in the time it took to return the UHaul truck]. I don’t remember what made me stay, exactly, but I’m certainly glad. Pushing through my insecurities about grad school, the stress of advising 50 nervous college freshmen, and the anxiety about my future was one of the toughest emotional feats I’ve had to face in my short life. As I found myself at the end of it all, I not only had a diploma in my hand and a job as an Academic Advisor [who whudda thunk it?], but I had a strange itch to push myself past the point of comfort.

These cookies reflect that same spirit. I had never made shortbread, baked with herbs or attempted vegan baking until a few months ago. I have an almost debilitating dependence on non-organic white sugar, eggs and butter, the trinity of vegan no-no’s. Amazingly, once I made shortbread for the first time (a non-vegan version of these guys, in fact), I realized just how easy it was to adapt to an animal-free version without any compromise in taste.

I love the combination of flavors in the finished shortbread. Even with the vegan shortening, they still have the buttery flavor and slightly-crisp, yet still soft texture of traditional shortbread. The lemon adds a delicate tartness, the rosemary hints at savory but the sugar reminds eaters that they’re eating dessert. Finally, the tiny flecks of pink salt add a saline pop that transforms the flavor profile, adding depth and an exciting finish to each bite.

The next time you need an easy snack for a potluck or you’re craving simple, clean flavors, grab a lemon and some rosemary and prepare to bake! Warning, these are highly addictive, but they make plenty, so unless you want to eat ALL the shortbread, I would strongly suggest sharing!

Salted Lemon Rosemary Shortbread:
(adapted from this recipe: http://thefromagette.com/blog/2011/10/23/salted-rosemary-shortbread)

Ingredients:

3/4 lb {3 sticks} unsalted vegan shortening spread (such as Earth Balance), room temperature
3/4 cup organic white sugar
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 T minced fresh rosemary
rind of 1 medium lemon, grated
1/2 tsp artisan salt, plus more for tops of the cookies {I use Trader Joe's pink Himalayan}

Makes 2 dozen.

Method:

Preheat the oven to 350. With an electric mixer, cream shortening and sugar. In separate bowl, mix flour, salt, lemon zest and rosemary together, making sure the rosemary and zest are evenly dispersed throughout the flour. Add flour mixture into to the butter mixture on low speed, just until the dough starts to come together.

Cut dough in half, flatten each half into a disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1/2 hour.

Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface {or between 2 pieces of plastic wrap} to a nice chunky 1/2 inch thick, and cut into the shape of your choosing using a metal cookie cutter {I like squiggly squares or hearts but they'd be pretty in shapes for birthdays and holidays too. Get creative!}.
Place the cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment, allowing 1 inch between each cookie. Sprinkle generously with artisan salt and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the edges are just barely golden. [Cooking time will vary depending on the size and shape of your cookie cutters. When I make 2” squares, they bake for at least 20 minutes.]

Cool to room temperature and store in airtight container.

Happy Baking!

Xoxo,
kellybakes

Kelly is a 27 year old with a day job, dreaming of pastry school and the day she can finally say goodbye to Sallie Mae. Originally hailing from New England, she loves crisp autumn days, fall foliage and baking her way through blizzards. In 2009, she packed up her rolling pin and KitchenAid mixer, kissing Connecticut goodbye to move to the Philadelphia area. She may not say “wudder” or go “down the shore,” but she loves exploring Philly’s vibrant food scene, whether it be strolling through farmers markets, venturing to ethnic restaurants in different neighborhoods, or making friends with food truck owners. She lives on a tree-lined street with a sometimes-vegan roommate and a cat named Mascarpone.

Thanks so much for coming by, Kelly!!

If you have a vegan recipe which you'd like to share, please send it to me HERE. And for all the recipes we've shared so far, be sure to visit our recipe page using the tabs at the top of this blog ... or by clicking HERE.



Friday, June 1, 2012

Vegan Recipe - Coconut Pistachio Smoothie


Welcome to one of my favorite features on Reduce Footprints ... our monthly vegan recipe. This month's "guest chef" is no stranger to most of you ... she participates in our Change The World Wednesday challenges, is the editor of Good Girl Gone Green, and has a strong Eco-presence on many of the social networks. She is none other than our very own Stephanie Moram.

Stephanie shares a number of recipes on her blog. As I read through them, I noticed that many included raw ingredients. What I didn't see were tofu recipes, bean or pasta dishes, or dairy-free breads ... the usual "fare" on vegan recipe sites. Stephanie told me that she basically eats veggies, fruit, nuts & seeds and dried fruits. While she does enjoy grains, beans, lentils & tempeh, those are occasional treats ... 50-75% of her diet consists of raw foods.

Stephanie graciously agreed to share a recipe with us. It looks delicious!! Now ... here's Stephanie:


* * * * *


I recently ordered a large amount of nuts, and dried fruit in bulk from a local company here in Montreal. When I say large amount, I mean I have enough to last anywhere from 6 months to a year. You should see the bag of coconut flakes presently taking up space in my kitchen. I see lots of homemade coconut milk in my future.

One nut that I love is pistachios. I was having difficulty finding the organic variety; therefore I have not been munching on them lately- until I bought almost 20 lbs of them. Yes 20! I guess you could say J.P and I are slightly addicted to them and cannot stop eating them.

Of course, with all those pistachios hanging put in my kitchen, I just had to come up with a smoothie recipe. And let me tell you it is tasty. I have never actually had pistachio ice cream. Shocking I know. But if I did, I would want it to taste like this. It is that good.

You be the judge. Does it taste like pistachio ice cream or is it just a darn good smoothie?

Coconut Pistachio Smoothie

Ingredients
  • 2 cups of coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup of shelled pistachios
  • 2-3 dates
  • 1-2 frozen banana
  • 3 kale leaves
  • 1 tsp of vanilla flavor

Place all the ingredients in a high powered blender (I use my Blendtec) and blend until smooth and creamy. I am sure it would work in a food processor, but I would blend the dates and some coconut milk together first to make a paste for better blending when you add all the other ingredients.

Serving size: 2 cups

Stephanie Moram is the founder and editor in chief at Good Girl Gone Green. She is passionate about promoting green habits and environmental values, as well as being the voice of change that will help others make their positive contributions to the environment. Living a healthy, sustainable, and eco-conscious lifestyle does not have to be overwhelming. Making the simplest changes to your lifestyle can translate to a non-toxic, healthier, greener you, family and environment. Are you ready to join this movement of passionate people? Let us know how you are contributing to making our planet a better place.

Thank you, Stephanie ... I can't wait to try it!

If you have a vegan recipe which you'd like to share, please send it to me HERE. And for all the recipes we've shared so far, be sure to visit our recipe page using the tab at the top of this blog ... or by clicking HERE.


Friday, May 25, 2012

Balloons Blow…Don’t Let Them Go!

Please meet my newest bloggy friends, Chelsea and Danielle. I invited Chelsea and Danielle over to talk a bit about their mission (and passion). I think you'll find it very interesting.

Balloons Blow…Don’t Let Them Go! --

That’s the message we’re trying to get out. When we first started cleaning the beaches over 15 years ago, my sister and I, along with our parents, would never find balloons. As the years went on we would find a few more here and there. Now, both in our early 20’s, we continue our weekly beach cleanups and every year we find more and more balloons. Of course there is much more plastic than ever as well, but the disturbing thing about balloon pollution is that it is “celebrating by littering”. We collected over a thousand balloons in 2011. This year's count so far is already over 200.

It is very alarming, the amount of debris that gets washed ashore on our beaches, but it is particularly troubling that people are purposely littering with balloons to celebrate, to honor the dead, or to just mindlessly watch it float away. This is the reason we have created www.BalloonsBlow.org, a website dedicated to educating people about the danger and destruction that releasing balloons can cause. There are countless websites and Facebook pages promoting balloon releases. The balloon sellers try to convince people that latex balloons are "environmentally-friendly" and that they are "biodegradable" and harmless, but we show proof, that is not true. There are laws concerning balloon releases in several states in the U.S. and many countries around the world, yet many unknowing celebrators, grieving groups, and others, are arranging balloon releases worldwide. Honoring a loved one or celebrating by littering (litter that can entangle and kill wildlife) is ridiculous and should be banned altogether. People need to get creative and earth-friendly with their celebrations, and we will keep trying to get the word out that: Balloons Blow…Don’t Let Them Go!


About Chelsea and Danielle

Since we could walk, we have been doing beach clean-ups with our parents. One of the most disturbing debris we find are balloons. We find at least one every time we go to the beach (which is a minimum of once a week). In the past five years we have been finding an increasing amount of balloons, most with ribbons attached. Any animal that comes close can easily be entangled in the mess and eventually die. Wildlife can also mistake the popped or slightly inflated balloons for food and ingest them which can lead to death.

An increasing amount of people are releasing balloons for fun, for an event, or to remember a loved one. We find these balloons; balloons with festival logos, birthday balloons, balloons with notes, valentines day balloons, bouquets of balloons, balloons with charity logos, even animal print balloons (how ironic). The fact is that letting balloons go is littering. All litter threatens wildlife and the environment.

A little over a year ago we created www.BalloonsBlow.org, a website dedicated to bringing awareness of the impact balloon litter has on the environment. Since then we have gained support from people around the world through our facebook fanpage including scientists, rehabbers, and other grassroot organizations. We hope to continue spreading our message and hope it stirs more environmental consciousness and respect for our planet.


Thanks so much to both Chelsea and Danielle for stopping by with their message. As this weekend is a holiday in the US, I encourage everyone to reconsider the use of balloons. Chelsea and Danielle are now on Twitter ... their user ID is @BalloonsBlow.

Have a great weekend everyone!




Friday, May 4, 2012

Vegan Recipe - Roasted Red Pepper Risotto

It is the first Friday of the month and that means ... another delicious, vegan recipe. As most of you have heard me say (countless times) ... eating meatless meals is one of the easiest ways to walk a little gentler on the earth.

This month I am very pleased to introduce you to Cindy, the owner, author ... and chef-extraordinaire ... of Vegetarian Mamma. Cindy and her husband grew up eating meat but decided to make the switch to a vegetarian diet about 8 years ago. Their children have been raised vegetarian but since Cindy's youngest son has allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, gluten, soy and dairy, they focus more on vegan foods. They are interested in whole organic non-GMO products which are free of artificial flavors & colors. And they've recently taken an interest in adding more raw dishes to their diet.

Vegetarian Mamma recently moved to a new, beautiful site ... Cindy's own ".com"! This blog is so much fun to browse through. While you will find original vegan & vegetarian recipes (like Teriyaki Plate and Spinach, Mushrooms and Pine Nuts), you'll also find discussions on things like whether or not organic food is healthier, menu plans, recipes from other sites, DIY projects (the Homemade Bulletin Board is fabulous), reviews, deals and even an occasional giveaway. Vegetarian Mamma is a diverse, interesting site! Head over and visit for awhile!

Cindy has graciously agreed to share a recipe with us. I hope you and your family will enjoy it!

Roasted Red Pepper Risotto

Ingredients

1 red bell pepper
6 cups vegetable broth
3 tablespoons vegan "butter"
1/2 cup of your favorite Vegan White Wine
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cups arborio rice
salt and pepper to taste


Directions

  1. First, you will need to roast the red pepper. Wash, de-seed and slice the pepper into halves. Lightly mist the pepper halves with oil and place on a baking sheet under the boiler. Soon the peppers skin will begin to blacken. When the pepper is covered in darkened patches, remove from the broiler. Place in a paper sack to cool. (Or in a covered bowl) This will allow the moisture to stay in to help loosen the skin as the peppers cool. Once the peppers cool, peel back the skin with your fingers. Once peeled, puree the peeled peppers and set aside.
  2. Splash the 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil into a pan. Heat the pan to a medium heat, saute the chopped onions. Once onions are cooked, add dry rice and saute for 1 minute.
  3. Next, add your wine to the pan. Let the liquid cook down for about 1 minute. Next, add 2 cups of veggie broth. Let the broth cook down while you continually stir to avoid any burning. Once the liquid has been cooked down, add 2 more cups. Continue with this process until all your liquid is gone and your rice is soft. This process should take about 20 minutes.
  4. Finally, stir in your roasted red pepper puree, season with salt and pepper, then ENJOY!
**You can top with Vegan Parmesan or chopped fresh parsley.


Thanks, so much, Cindy ... I can't wait to try this recipe out!

If you have a vegan recipe which you'd like to share, please send it to me HERE. And for all the recipes we've shared so far, be sure to visit our recipe page using the tabs at the top of this blog ... or by clicking HERE.


Friday, April 13, 2012

Special Event Finale and Giveaway

Update ... winners to our giveaway have been chosen and emails will be going out ... so watch your inbox!

Here's are the answers to the questions asked in the giveaway:

The composers of the music are - J. Thorn and Curtis Luck.

The photos answers are as follows:
Photo 1 = The blood drop from the header of the website
Photo 2 = The chain from the locket on the Blood Chronicles page
Photo 3 = The Blood Ripples from the blood pool on the Media Room page
Photo 4 = The center of the Born of Blood cover from the home page
Photo 5 = The MuseItUp Logo from the home page

See you Monday everyone!!



Welcome to the Grand Finale of our week-long event celebrating the debut novel, Born of Blood, by my friend and very talented author, S.B. (Brian) Knight. How appropriate that today is Friday the 13th (oooh ... a chill just ran down my spine).

It has been an amazing week! We kicked off the celebration with a special Meet & Greet Monday ... hopefully you all got a chance to link up your sites, Facebook & Twitter accounts ... and made some new friends (if you didn't, it stays open until 6:00 pm tonight). On Tuesday, Brian talked to us about "green" publishing and how both the process of getting books into our hands (as well as the books themselves) has changed over the years and become efficient and Eco-friendly. Our regular Change The World Wednesday challenge stayed on topic asking us to turn off the TV & Computer ... and read. Thursday found Brian and I chatting ... about books, writing and green living. And then ... some of you joined the conversation and told us a bit about yourselves ... about which book genres are your favorite and your feelings on whether there is hope for our environment. If you missed any of this week's celebration, you can "catch up" HERE. Brian's book tour may be leaving "our place" but it's far from over. For his complete schedule, click HERE.

I was very fortunate, a long time ago, to read a preliminary draft of Born of Blood. Honestly, I wasn't sure I'd like it ... dark fantasy novels don't entice me. But, because I admire Brian, I tried to approach it with an open mind. And wow ... from the first chapter to the last word, I was hooked. To say it was a "page turner" would be an understatement! I haven't yet read the final version of this novel but I can only imagine that it is even better than the original draft. If you're unfamiliar with the storyline ... here's the description from Amazon:

In BORN OF BLOOD, Jesse Banks unknowingly, steps into the middle of a battle between good and evil that has raged on for generations. As the danger escalates, she begins to put the pieces of her clouded past together.

Jesse discovers the truth about her ancestors and the horror that relentlessly pursued them — a horror that now pursues her. To survive, she must join the fight. But the immortal monster that stalks her has other, more sinister, plans, and will stop at nothing to see those plans accomplished. Can Jesse escape a fate worse than death and defeat an age-old evil?


Sounds intriguing, doesn't it? Born of Blood is the first book, of three, in the Blood Chronicles saga. I can't wait to see how this story continues!

I'd like to thank Brian for making us a part of this wonderful event! And Brian ... I wish you continued success, my friend!


Born of Blood by S.B. Knight is available at:
MuseItUp Bookstore
Amazon.com
Amazon.co.uk

Don't have an eReader device? No problem ... download a free application HERE for use on your computer, iPhone, etc.


Okay ... now for the moment you've been waiting for ... it's GIVEAWAY TIME! Brian has generously offered us a bunch of prizes:

Two lucky Reduce Footprints' readers will each win a $5 gift card to MuseItUp Bookstore
One lucky reader will win a signed copy of Born of Blood

And then ... in a special Bonus Round

One lucky reader will win a $10 gift card to MuseItUp Bookstore


Wow ... sounds great, right? You can enter in the rafflecopter forms below. This giveaway is open to everyone and will end tonight (Friday) at midnight (EST). Winners will be contacted by email.

Good luck to everyone!! To begin ... take a good look at these photos:

Photo #1
Photo #2
Photo #3
Photo #4
Photo #5

Now enter the Born of Blood Rafflecopter giveaway (may take a moment to load ... if it doesn't, please refresh the page):


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Did you enter? Yes? Great ... move on to the Bonus Round:


a Rafflecopter giveaway


On Saturday I will post the answers to the photo questions so ... if you're curious, come back then!

Thanks Everyone!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Conversation between S.B. Knight &
Small Footprints

We're continuing our Born of Blood celebration today with an interview ... an interview with a twist. S.B. Knight asked me 5 questions about books and reading ... I asked him 5 questions about environmental issues. I hope you'll have as much fun reading our responses as we had writing them!

Question to Small Footprints: What are your top 3 genres? Why?

My favorite genres are historical fiction, mysteries and non-fiction spirituality. I find historical fiction fascinating ... it gives me a glimpse of what life was like in another era. Since we typically define our history in terms of dramatic events such as war, religious persecution, etc., the story lines are often about how people overcome tragic events ... and stories about the indomitable human spirit are truly "feel good" experiences. When I find a really good mystery, I can't put it down ... I'm anxious to solve it but disappointed if I can do so too quickly. A talented mystery author can weave a story with intrigue and make my jaw drop when the puzzle is finally solved. It's exciting and I like the mental workout! Non-fiction spirituality is the only genre of books that I'll actually buy, keep and read over and over again. I'm especially interested in Tao ... the fundamental nature of the universe. It's a fabulous concept!

Question to S.B. Knight: Writing and publishing books has historically been environmentally expensive. As an author, how do you reduce your environmental impact throughout the writing process?

This is a very exciting time to be an author. With the introduction of eReaders and the availability of computers in virtually every home it allows writers to really cut back on the environmental impact. In earlier times writers would use stacks of paper to prepare one manuscript. This is not true anymore.

During the writing of my first manuscript I printed out a copy each time I edited it. That soon evolved to printing two pages on one sheet. Now I don't print my manuscripts, I write them on a laptop and complete my edits without wasting paper. My publisher and editors do a great deal of work on the computers as well which saves a great deal of paper.

I also like that I write on the laptop. With it fully charged I can write for up to six hours which allows me to unplug it from the wall, write, and save power.

Question to Small Footprints: Who are your top 3 authors?

Well, S.B. Knight is #1 on my list!! I also enjoy Susan Wittig Albert ... she writes The China Bayles Mystery series. I'm currently enjoying the Earth's Children series by Jean Auel ... I suppose one might call her books historical fiction since they offer possible theories on how humans evolved. In the non-fiction arena I really like Thich Nhat Hanh ... his work is beautiful and has the power to change the world.

Question to S.B. Knight: Do you incorporate green living into your novels? In other words, are any of your characters seen as Eco-friendly or do we find them protecting the earth in any way?

Well, would saving the earth from unimaginable evil qualify? At this point in time I would say no. I mean, my characters don't harm the environment in any way. In the Blood Chronicles the characters are fighting for survival and to basically save the world.

As my writing evolves and expands I plan to incorporate more aspects into my character development. Being Eco-friendly is very high on that list.

Question to Small Footprints: If you could have dinner with your favorite author, what would you talk about?

Oh ... knowing me I'd probably talk about vegan food, veggie gardening and living green. But I'd also like to know about their background ... where they've lived, what their family life is like, where they go for vacation ... things like that.

Question to S.B. Knight: Many people say that the environmental actions we take today have no benefit ... that it's already too late. Do you believe that statement to be true?

This response may seem harsh but I am speaking honestly. I believe the people who say things like this are using excuses not to change their lifestyle or take responsibility for what they are doing. To say something like this is equal to saying you're not taking cold medicine because you're already sick.

No, this statement is not true. As long as we inhabit this planet there is always hope. We may be running out of time but we will never run out of hope. Sometimes that is all you need to make a true impact.

Question to Small Footprints: When you read books do the characters remind you of people you know? Do you picture people you know as the characters?

Hm ... that's an interesting question. No, I don't believe I've ever read a book with characters who remind me of people I know ... or pictured anyone familiar in the story lines. I'm not sure that I'd enjoy the book if it touched that close to home ... and it would certainly jade my perception of the story.

Question to S.B. Knight: I know that you have children. How do you get them involved in protecting the earth?

Right now we are teaching the importance of turning off lights so it saves energy and the amount I'm charged on my electric bill. We also practice recycling cans, paper, cardboard, and plastic. I have a garden every year that everyone helps with and that is really good because they appreciate where the food is coming from. Finally, I change the oil in my vehicles and recycle the oil which they observe as well.

Question to Small Footprints: What is the number 1 thing that attracts you to a particular book?

Actually, I think I'm initially attracted by the physicality of the book ... the size, the color and the title. I will typically pass on small books because I don't want something which I can read quickly. As strange as it sounds ... some colors make me want to read a book while others definitely don't. I've probably passed on some great stories simply because of the title and, in truth, I can't really say which words entice me. After the physicality, there are two more "tests" I put a book through ... the gender of the author and the first few lines. I will almost always choose a book written by a woman rather than a man (I know ... it's an unfair bias) ... and if a book doesn't "hook" me in the first few lines, it loses me. I'm pretty sure, SB, that reading your book is going to debunk some of my book prejudices.

Question to S.B. Knight: You often participate in our Change The World Wednesday challenges, offering terrific ideas. What factors, in your life, have encouraged you to live "green."

I was raised in the country. My parents planted a garden, cut wood to burn in the fireplace, and took good care of everything they owned. They did this because we lived on a tight budget. These practices saved a great deal of money and still hold true to this day. I follow in those footsteps.

Why do we recycle as much as we do? After designing landfills I understand how quickly they fill up and I also know what takes up the most space (cardboard is on that list). Recycling also saves money by limiting trips to the landfill which saves on gas. Honestly though, we understand that recycling and being Eco-friendly is the right thing to do. We want to pass that on to future generations.

That was fun ... thanks to Brian for both answering my questions and challenging me to think a bit about my reading preferences.

Now it's your turn ... how would you answer these questions? Leave us a comment ... we're dying to know! And here's a little "heads up" ... I can't say for sure ... I make no promises ... but SB has been randomly rewarding those who leave comments this week so ... leaving one on this post just might bring you a surprise.

Join us tomorrow for the grand finale of our week ... it's going to be a lot of fun complete with prizes.

Born of Blood by S.B. Knight is available at:
MuseItUp Bookstore
Amazon.com
Amazon.co.uk

Don't have an eReader device? No problem ... download a free application HERE for use on your computer, iPhone, etc.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The new age of publishing - Guest Post by SB Knight

Our week-long event continues with a fascinating guest post by SB Knight who shares his insight on publishing and the environment. If you missed yesterday's Meet & Greet ... never fear ... it will stay open until Friday evening and you can link up HERE.

The new age of publishing!

Printing, publishing, and the process of delivering the written word to readers all over the world has drastically changed. Actually, there are certain milestones throughout history that have greatly impacted the world of writing. Of course it all started with chipping symbols in store and/or painting them. From there we developed ink and the quill. Jump a few years and the world invented the ink pen. Technology took a nap but rebounded with the typewriter. Boy was that an invention. Books were published at a rapid rate by that time. Things did not slow down after that, soon the computer and laptop sprang onto the scene. To complete the leap we now have eBooks and eReaders. What is very sad is even with all of these advances the one thing that trailed behind was the environmental impact. Trees suffer the largest impact from book publishing but other hazards exist from the adhesive used for the binding to the ink used on the pages. Yes, we enjoy reading and although it is not often that books end up in the landfill or burned the true impact to the environment happens on the production side instead of the aftermarket such as we see with so many other items such as cardboard, empty plastic bottles, etc.

That was the bad news. Here is the good news. Technology, commerce, and financial feasibility have collided and a change is being seen in the publishing world. Allow me to get the most obvious out of the way right now. With the popularity of eBooks and eReaders the impact to our forest and trees is decreasing. Some may think that the fact that eBooks must be charged will use more energy but the Kindle, for example, can hold a charge for thirty days easy. That is twelve charges a year. I’m willing to bet that is on par or maybe even less than what a television uses in a year’s time.

With that out of the way let’s move on to the second most obvious jump in environmentally safe processes for publishing books. That would be…say it with me…recycled paper. Now here is a little something about recycled paper; each time paper is processed the fibers that make up the page breaks down which means the paper breaks down and loses quality. You know what I’m talking about, when you get paper at work and it looks flimsy and off white, maybe even a little thin but the package reads that it is recycled. It is recycled but it is recycled with paper products that have been processed a number of times. Publishing companies originally used virgin paper which is processed right from the tree with no added recycled materials. That has changed, Eco-friendly publishing companies use recycled paper with almost a 50/50 split of virgin paper and recycled material. This provides the thickness, crisp color, and paper quality everyone expects from a published book. This greatly cuts down the impact on trees. We may even see the day when there is no virgin paper used at all.

How do we know how much virgin paper and recycled material is actually used? I’m glad you asked. There are certification programs provided through councils and initiatives that track virgin paper use, recycled paper use, deforestation, and protection of regulated forest areas. Here are a few:

  • Canadian Standards Association (CSA)
  • Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI)
  • Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)

Other techniques and processes that lessen the impact on the environment are soy based ink and a process called coldset drying. This process not only saves energy but it greatly reduces pollutants from entering the atmosphere.

As you can see publishing companies have made great strides in reducing their footprints on the environment. I now have a fun assignment for you. What? I heard that groan but trust me, you will enjoy this. Click on the following website and take the quiz (click on ‘click to begin’) http://www.webcomlink.com/enviro/. With each correct answer the tree grows. Once you are done scroll down for more information about all the topics I talked about here. So, what do you think of the environmentally friendly techniques and processes publishing companies are taking? One more thing – how many questions did you get right on the quiz? Be honest.

Thanks to Brian for a wonderful post. I don't know about you ... but I learned a lot! Oh ... and to answer your question, Brian ... I completed the assignment and, thanks to the information you provided, I got all but one question right!

Join us tomorrow when we'll start a brand new "Change The World Wednesday" challenge ... inspired by the release of Brian's debut novel Born of Blood.

Born of Blood by S.B. Knight is available at:
MuseItUp Bookstore
Amazon.com
Amazon.co.uk

Don't have an eReader device? No problem ... download a free application HERE for use on your computer, iPhone, etc.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Vegan Recipe

Are you hear looking for our monthly recipe? Well, we're currently busy with daily challenges so ... we're going to suspend posting new recipes until the first Friday in May. In the meantime, check out our Vegan Recipes page (either click the tab at the top of the blog or click HERE).

Friday, February 3, 2012

Vegan Recipe - Vegan Poutine

It is the first Friday of the month and that means ... another delicious, vegan recipe. Why?? Because eating a plant-based diet is one (if not the) easiest ways to walk gently on the earth. Adding just one meatless meal to your week has a huge impact. In an article (found on the Environmental Defense Fund site) about Meatless Mondays, author Dominique Browning says "If all of us adopted this simple initiative, we would save enough energy annually – from avoided meat production – equivalent to taking eight million cars off the road." Imagine ... just one vegetarian/vegan meal a week!

I'd like to introduce you to Nicole and Eco-Veg Footprint (EVF). EVF is unlike any other vegan site. It is as varied, and interesting, as Nicole herself who hosts a 2-hour radio program called Maximum Joy, is involved with Food Not Bombs and speaks out on such topics as Feminism, Fracking and "Our Street London". Sprinkled liberally among posts about green living, you'll find fabulous vegan recipes ... things like Veg Nachos, Curry Potato Mash & Cuke Salad with Always Special Sauce and Bloody Beet Root, Apple & Kale Salad. EVF is a fabulous site ... it leaves me feeling empowered and with a sense that, with people like Nicole in our world, we can make a difference.

Nicole has graciously agreed to share a recipe with us ... Vegan Poutine. I first heard about Poutine when I lived in Florida and frequented a "flea" market hosted by some folks from Quebec. The original version is a high-fat dish consisting of french fries topped with cheese curds and covered with gravy. Nicole has created a healthy, vegan version that looks delicious. I hope you and your family will give it a try:


Vegan Poutine

Serves 3-4

On baking sheets:

2 large sweet potatoes, cut into fries
dressed with :
oil (mustard, grapeseed, olive, etc.)
1 small Spanish onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
paprika, cumin, sea salt and pepper,
dash of cayenne pepper/chili powder
Bake at 350 for 25 mins

1 large zucchini, cut into halved disks
1 can of white beans
1 large beet, shredded or cut into small cubes
1-2 garlic cloves, chopped
Bake at 350 for 15 mins

Prepare a bowl of 5-6 med-large carrots, shredded
Serve as topping or mix with creamy curry sauce and serve as "gravy"

Creamy Curry Sauce
4 tbsp vegan mayonaise
1 tbsp rice milk
1 avocado
1 tsp mustard
2 tsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp curry powder
add crumbled tofu for desired consistency
mix in a blender, especially for larger portions!

Serve with option of balsamic vinegar dressing, chimichurri sauce, or ketchup!

Serve sweet potato fries as the base, the zucchini and bean mix as a "cheese curd replacement" topping and the creamy curry sauce with carrots as the "gravy".

Thanks, so much, to Nicole for sharing that dish with us. For additional information on this dish and some variations, click HERE.

If you have a vegan recipe which you'd like to share, please send it to me HERE. And for all the recipes we've shared so far, be sure to visit our recipe page using the tabs at the top of this blog ... or by clicking HERE.