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, 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, 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


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


  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.