Friday, March 29, 2013

Guest Post - What Do You Do When Your Loved Ones Don’t Recycle?

“Hippie” is what I am called by my boyfriend any time I rip a paper towel in half as opposed to using the full sheet, or wash out a plastic container to use again instead of buying new Tupperware, or walk around the house turning off lights in rooms we’re not in. “Annoying” was what my best friend called me when I moved in with her and insisted we dig out her trusty blue recycling bin to use instead of collecting dust in the garage. I’m sure there have been other choice phrases used to describe my need to help others become aware of and care about the effect we have on our planet.

As environmentally conscious people, it can be a frustrating path to navigate when we’re making enormous efforts towards reducing our own footprint, yet watching others make choices that practically undermine our own efforts (or at least that’s the way it feels). So how do you approach a loved one with the subject of “Quit being so ignorant and recycle your empty milk jug!”

First of all, it’s never going to be helpful to make someone else feel badly about their personal choices. Such is life when it comes to diets, parenting styles, spending habits, and any other number of sensitive subjects that are essentially, none of your business. Even a person who loves you may not want to hear how you feel they should be living. However, when it comes to our shared living space named Earth, it somewhat is your business and (to me anyway) becomes harder not to chime in.

The trick is not to come across as a know-it-all, looking down your nose on someone’s day to day habits. Always keep in mind that while you feel your opinion is “correct” and “best” and “the only opinion worth having,” there is always someone who is doing more than you. You recycle your bottles? Big deal – some people never use bottles to begin with. You cut your garbage in half? Great – I read of one lady who only produces one bag of trash per year! I’m sure some people thought at the beginning of this article “she uses paper towels? How wasteful!”

The point is, you wouldn’t want someone making you feel badly about your efforts because no matter how small, any effort is better than none. So when approaching your loved ones about their impact on the planet, do your best not to make them feel like you’re scolding them.

Once you’ve gently broached the subject of the giant footprint we all make, it’s time to find out if its ignorance or simply insolence causing their damaging behaviors. Some people legitimately do not believe in, or know about the crisis afoot, so some gentle debating and fact checking might be in order. Others do not care and do not want to hear it. Either way, keeping the discussion light and starting very small is the way to go. Simply getting someone to recycle whatever their city will take away for them is an excellent start. Maybe entice them with some of the excellent rewards programs that large cities are offering for recycling – in Philadelphia I’ve wracked up thousands of points, just by recycling, that I can use for gift certificates, coupons and discounts for a wide variety of items. Saving money is a great way to encourage someone to save our planet as well. Find out what, if anything, they are doing for the planet and maybe try to come up with some small steps in the environmentally responsible direction.

The bottom line is, you can talk until you’re blue in the face but the best way to get someone to take a look at their own actions is to lead by example. Silently taking a glass bottle out of the trash and placing it in the recycle bin can have an impact. Reusing the same utensils, plate, and coffee cup at work can plant a seed in a co-worker’s mind. Or maybe suggesting to upper management ways to save the company money by going green (like purchasing everyone their own coffee mugs instead of constantly buying disposable ones) can help the environment and your career at the same time, while ensuring you look like a hero and not a raging hippie on a war path.

No matter what your tactic, the end goal for all of us remains the same: save our environment! Every piece of information shared, every person debating the issue has potential to change just one more person’s mind. Even my best friend begrudgingly began recycling, and my boyfriend will use his paper towels more sparingly, and I consider those wins because I personally believe that the best way to make big leaps is by taking small steps, every day.

Rubi Wiswall is a writer for Revolution Recovery, a Recycling company in Philadelphia PA. She loves educating on and learning about anything related to the environment and ways to stay green.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW)

Welcome to Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW)! If this is your first visit, please click HERE for information and a complete list of all the challenges we've taken on so far.

There's a lot of great information in this post and I encourage you to read through it ... however, if you don't have the time right now, you might find the following quick links helpful:

Last week we walked with a purpose ... we put on our shoes and headed outside but, rather than just stroll about, we paid close attention to how we could make that walk work for the environment. I will admit that when I walk I tend to simply enjoy the fresh air and movement without noticing any unpleasantness like litter. This week, however, I looked down, noticing everything along the path. I'm happy to say that I didn't see much. The exercise encouraged me to be more aware of my surroundings. From now on, I'll walk with the earth in mind and try to find ways to help our planet.

The Honor Society are those people who help us spread the "green" word by writing an article about our challenges and/or leaving pertinent comments. Here's what they had to say:

For some of us, these challenges are a new idea and we enthusiastically join in. For others, it's so much a part of their life that they don't realize that they are actually meeting and exceeding the activity. In my opinion, that's the case with our friend, Argentum Vulgaris. Last week he began the challenge by saying that he is hampered by a walking stick ... and that seemed to restrict him from tackling this task. But then, in the course of his day, he found something which he diverted from the trash and took home. He walked with a purpose. Find out what he found and read an update to the previous week's challenge in this POST. Nicely done, AV!

Alicia accepted the challenge. She not only walks but she and her husband incorporate "green" into their already Eco-friendly business. Here's what she has to say, "As always such a wonderful challenge. We live out in the country and I love walking. It is so much fun to get exercise by walking outside. Fresh air great scenery and getting into better shape! We are blessed that most of the people that live in our area treat it with respect. You see very little garbage on the sides of the road. On my upcoming walk I am going to carry a bag with me and if I see any paper, cans or bottles I will pick them up. We are invited to do several shows each year and we always incorporate green Eco Friendly tips into each one. We love how excited people are to get stated on using these tips. We get a lot of e-mails telling us how something we suggested that they do really worked for them. We love getting that kind of feedback! Even though it is harder for us to incorporate some of the challenges where you walk to do your shopping because we live so far from town we definitely try to make our trips really count! I think I will check into seeing if one of our local parks could use some help with clean up." You inspire me, Alicia!

Lois isn't seeing much spring weather in her part of the world so getting outside wasn't really an option last week. But, she found another way to make a difference ... and I think it's great. Check it out HERE. Can't wait for updates on this one, Lois!

Mystie joined us. Here's what she shared, "For the first day of Spring I think this is a great challenge!! I love the "while youre walking pick up litter to recycle!" I may have to use this for my Eco-Friendly Fridays! I accept this challenge! :) " Thanks, Mystie!

Helping the environment doesn't necessarily mean just picking up trash ... it also means helping those who make the earth home. Cat put on her walking shoes and did something very special. Can you guess? Find out in this PHOTO. You have a good heart, Cat!

Our Twitter friends joined the conversation ... here's what they had to say:

From @pinkladyapril
- I walk to work every day & try to include trips to the shops & library in those walks. Will think about other walks too

From @commplacegr
- "Pick battles big enough to matter, small enough to win." - Jonathan Kozol

From @givetreegifts
- Dehydration - How to Dry Foods Instead of Canning or Freezing:
- Bernardin Home Canning: Because You Can:
- Home Canning Guide: Learn How to Can Your Own Food:
- Canning Food:
- How to Properly Freeze Foods:
- How to Freeze Homemade Baby Food Puree:

The #CTWW Gang are those folks who share our challenges on twitter using the hashtag #CTWW. If you're a Twitter member, I highly recommend following them ... they have a lot of great things to say. Let's meet them:

Due to technical difficulties, I don't have a CTWW Gang list this week. Hopefully, the issue will be resolved by next week. Thank you to all who have promoted the challenges via Twitter ... I appreciate all that you do to spread the word.

My Final Thoughts:

I'll leave you with this quote ... "I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in." ~John Muir, 1913, in L.M. Wolfe, ed., John Muir, John of the Mountains: The Unpublished Journals of John Muir, 1938

Thanks, everyone! If you wrote an article, I have Stumbled, Tweeted, Facebooked and posted it on Google +. You can help spread the "green" word by using the share feature at the bottom of this post.

This Week's Challenge:

A LONG while ago, Argentum Vulgaris sent me an article entitled Do you know the water footprint of your cafe meal? It's an interesting article which talks about the water we use "behind the scenes" ... the water it takes to grow our food, produce our stuff, etc. We've done challenges to reduce our direct water use ... let's dig a bit deeper, shall we? Here you go ...

This week, consider your water footprint, particularly your indirect water use. Begin my using the calculators at the bottom of this PAGE (I found the extended calculator to be the best). If you need to convert measurements of food, here's a TOOL. Once you've calculated your water footprint, take a look at the results and see if there's an area which could be reduced. For example, if your primary water use is associated to cereals/grains, opt for varieties which require less water to produce (barley uses less water than rice). Reduce the amount of sugar you use (it takes 1,500 liters of water to produce 1 kilo of white sugar). Opt for fruits & veggies rather than meat (a kilo of beef requires 15,500 liters of water to create) ... or opt for pork or chicken (4,800 and 3,900 liters respectively). Drink tea instead of coffee, saving 110 liters of water per cup. Drive less (gasoline takes a lot of water). Buy less stuff (everything requires water to produce and transport). While reducing our direct water consumption is absolutely encouraged, this challenge is all about looking at the indirect water we use.

What do you think ... are you up for this one? I know that you are!

Join me in our mantra ...


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Were you raised green?

I've been thinking about how we become "green". Some of us are raised in green families ... others learn about the environment in later years.

So ... let's take a poll.

Were you raised "green"?

As always, feel free to use the comment section below to expound on your answer.

Image courtesy of digitalart /

Friday, March 22, 2013

Guest Post - 6 Tips for Community Gardening

Over the past few years, there has been an enormous increase in green living and organic, self-sustainable gardening in the United States, and the idea of feeding yourself and your family while at the same time helping the environment is one that even people who live in cities want to be a part of. The problem there though, is obvious: Where are they going to find the space to garden when their front yard is a busy intersection and their backyard is a parking lot?

Many communities have taken to solving this problem with community gardens: Public land where individuals and families are given a small plot to grow whatever they please. Cities all over the country have adopted this idea to give those people who wouldn’t otherwise have the chance the ability to garden. Though this is a great opportunity, there are obviously going to be some differences between gardening at home and gardening in a public forum, so the folks at Perfekt Earth decided to compile a few helpful tips about what and what not to do when starting a community garden.
  1. Use your trunk as a tool shed. Some community gardens have a shed with tools for everyone’s use, but if you’re not the only one in the garden there’s a good chance these will already be in use. Keep a set of basic gardening tools in the trunk of your car so you won’t ever have to find yourself waiting in line to use a spade. If you take public transportation, keep a backpack or duffel bag handy.
  2. Remember that the garden is a public place. Sure, the majority of the people are, like you, mostly trustworthy, but leaving tools out when you’re not around is an invitation for theft.
  3. Prioritize: Obviously you don’t want to keep a full tool shed in your trunk or duffel, so pick your tools carefully. A few must haves include a hand fork or cultivator, a trowel, gloves, hand pruners, and any soil enhancers you might want to use.
  4. Plan ahead. Since community gardens are utilized by a large number of people, space is obviously going to be an issue: You may not be able to have as large of a garden as you might like. This being the case it’s important to decide ahead of time what you want to grow and how much of it, and lay out your garden ahead of time. It’s never good to start without planning only to find that you’ve filled up your entire plot with tomatoes and corn, and have no room left for everything else
  5. Make friends. Since your garden isn’t in the same location as your home, there may be days where you can’t make it there for routine maintenance. Talk to your fellow gardeners: most of them would be glad to water or weed your crops if you can’t attend, as long as you do the same for them.
  6. Enjoy yourself. Though home gardens have the advantage of space and privacy, community gardens offer exactly what their name implies: community. Take advantage of your fellow gardeners to learn the latest news about gardening, and don’t be shy to ask for advice when you might need it. Making friends can make your experience even more enjoyable, and in many public gardens a group of people decide on a set time each day to attend, turning gardening into not only a way to eat right and help the earth, but a fun social activity as well.

This article was submitted by Scott Craw at Perfekt Earth. As devoted soil conservationists, we spend all of our time and effort in researching practical solutions that promote an easier, healthier, and sustainable way of life, and to replenish the world we live in: nourish the soil, the plants, yourself, and the world. Our ultimate goal is a healthier planet, with improved ways for people to grow better food.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

17 Eco-Friendly Tips For Spring

Welcome to Spring!! After a cold winter with some severe storms throughout the world, warmer weather and sunshine is definitely welcome. But with the change in temperature, our green routines must change as well. Here are a few tips to get us started:

If you're moving into Autumn instead of Spring, you might be interested in
39 Tips For Fall.

  1. Spring is traditionally a time to tackle those big cleaning jobs. Instead of using toxic chemicals, opt for more earth-friendly cleansers. Check out How to Make a Non-Toxic Cleaning Kit for ideas and recipes.
  2. Clean out closets and drawers and donate usable items to a charity, thrift stores or post them on FreeCycle.
  3. Take a look at air filters and wash or replace them as necessary. And don't forget the filter on your dryer ... it needs regular washing as well.
  4. Plan a vegetable garden. When considering which veggie to grow, consider heirloom varieties which help to preserve biodiversity. Consider natural pest control rather than toxic pesticides (click HERE for more information and be sure to click through to the natural slug control as well). Is your space limited? Consider a container and/or vertical garden. And, rather than commercial fertilizers, start a compost pile to nourish your garden.
  5. If you'll be landscaping your yard, opt for native plants which don’t need as much water and fertilizer.
  6. Check the air pressure in your tires. Warmer temperatures affect tire pressure and improperly inflated tires lowers fuel efficiency.
  7. As the weather warms, consider walking or cycling instead of driving. Or, choose the bus/train for your travel needs.
  8. Dry your clothes outside rather than use the dryer.
  9. Sweep your patio, deck or walkway instead of using an air blower.
  10. Use a push mower instead of a power or gas mower.
  11. Switch the direction on your ceiling fan to cool (here's a hint ... when you stand under the fan you should feel the air blowing down on you).
  12. When the fireplace is no longer being used, close the damper.
  13. Check the batteries on smoke detectors and make sure they are working properly (okay, it's not a "green" tip but ... it's important).
  14. Remove your shoes upon entering your home.
  15. Open the curtains and let the sun shine in (it'll help clean your air) and open the windows to let in some fresh air.
  16. Speaking of curtains, adjust them as the days warm up ... open them in the early morning and after the sun goes down ... and close them during the hot parts of the day, especially when the sun shines directly on your windows.
  17. Here's a trick for cooling your home on hot days ... rather than use an air conditioner, try using a portable fan ... during the cool morning & evening hours, set the fan in a window and blow in fresh air. When it gets too hot in the house, turn the fan and blow the hot air out. You'll be amazed at how well this works.
Spring is a time of renewal ... let's renew our commitment to a green life.

What tips do you have for spring?

Image courtesy of franky242 /

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW)

Welcome to Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW)! If this is your first visit, please click HERE for information and a complete list of all the challenges we've taken on so far.

There's a lot of great information in this post and I encourage you to read through it ... however, if you don't have the time right now, you might find the following quick links helpful:

Our challenge, last week, asked us to develop a strategy for putting local produce on our table next winter. Last autumn I canned tomatoes for the first time. I love knowing what's in them and the flavor cannot be beat ... we've enjoyed them all winter long. But, I decided to preserve food rather late in the season. Consequently, I had to go out and buy everything ... jars, a canner, vegetables. It could have been so much more "green" had I developed a strategy earlier in the year. This year I'm planning out my garden so that I can preserve more herbs and veggies. I'm also watching second hand stores and garage sales for jars. As the season progresses, I'll be checking with local farmers about what they'll have available and when the produce will be at it's peak. Hopefully, a little planning now will mean a stocked pantry next winter.

The Honor Society are those people who help us spread the "green" word by writing an article about our challenges and/or leaving pertinent comments. Here's what they had to say:

In CTWW - Local produce all year round Kris shares her plan ... it includes growing a few items (yummy berries which she freezes). She's also discovered a new market in her area and they will be providing local, organic produce. I loved the last paragraph of her post ... just goes to show that there's power in "asking".

Valerie gave us an update on the previous challenge to reduce our trash. She says, "... I DID find great ideas on Pinterest! My daughter and I made an upcycled bird feeder that our song birds were quite pleased with. :D I have plenty of cans now and I will do more outside with them , I think."

Mrs. Green discusses her efforts in Can you eat seasonal food in winter? She offers an interesting "take" on the challenge ... namely, what would happen if the world economy came to a stop ... could you survive with the food you have? Doesn't that just make one "pause".

Katie shared this, "I remember this challenge from last year! Boy, was it hard to find local produce in the middle of winter. I canned peppers from our CSA you-pick (; we have enjoyed some of those. I was able to store potatoes from the CSA in the cold basement for several months. This year, more canning! Whole Foods did have some local pumpkins, gourds, and winter squashes, so I tried to buy the local ones when they were available. I love that Whole Foods labels local items." Katie is also excited about her efforts to reduce trash by upcycling & reusing (a previous challenge). When I read her POST, I could see why ... what a nice (and pretty) idea. Check it out! She also found a compostable plastic cup. Curious? Find out about that HERE.

Last year, when we ran "part 1" of this challenge, CelloMom decided to talk to her CSA about offering winter produce. True to her word, she talked to them ... and guess what happened? My lips are sealed but ... you can find out HERE. Nicely done, CelloMom!

Alaiyo accepted the challenge. She shares, "I have been thinking about canning all winter. It's something my grandmother and my aunts used to do. I was missing the taste of the fresh tomato sauce, which I made with tomatoes from my garden last summer. That's when I thought, "yes," it's time to learn how to preserve some of the tomatoes I grow every summer! This is the challenge that I'm going to accept this growing season." WhooHoo ... let us know how it turns out, Alaiyo!

When I read the list of things that Lois plans to grow, my jaw dropped. All I can say is WOW! Take a look at this ARTICLE and be amazed. She's not only growing for her own pantry but she plans to fill her grown children's cache as well. Here's a nice idea ... she'll be growing an item which will hopefully offset the money which she's spending on her garden expansion. Brilliant, Lois! From our previous task, she shared this: "Your question of living on a landfill has already been done with grave results. Children who have died as a result. While we have been told for years what shouldn't go in the trash, like batteries and chemicals, with no where to recycle them people have been hiding them in their trash for pick up. No, I would never be comfortable living or playing on top of a landfill. And I want to thank you for your mention of my re-purposed item last week."

İlhami Uyar stopped in and shared his thoughts: We have care for environment,we collect old batary in box and transport refinement factory,I dont apply chemicial manure,we grow our pepper,tomato and other fruıts with real manure,I wish succes all activities, with my regards"

I've been reading Alicia's BLOG for a long time and knew that this challenge would be easy for her. She says, "YEA! I love this challenge! We always plant several gardens each Spring. We grow tomatoes, peppers, squash, eggplant and beans. These all can be eaten all Summer and then canned or frozen for the Winter. We grow cucumbers, watermelons and cantaloupes It is so nice to freeze the watermelon and cantaloups balls. They are wonderful to add to smoothies. This year we are going to plant a Fall garden as well. We will plant cauliflower, broccoli, kale, spinach and cabbage. These all can tolerate cooler weather and are great to put up for Winter eating also. I make relish, pesto and lots of herb vinegars. We always have a huge herb garden and I love going out and cutting all of the wonderful fresh herbs to use in cooking and grilling. I freeze and dry lots and lots of the herbs to use during the Winter months. If you don't grow your own veggies Farmers Markets are the next best thing. There is a farmer at one of the Nashville area markets that marks all of the produce down at the end of the day and we like to buy his surplus of tomatoes to put up since we use so many of them all year. We have so enjoyed all of our harvest all Winter. It is awesome to know what you are eating was not sprayed with chemicals was picked ripe and is so much better for you. You not only have better quality of food but save money as well. Win, win situation!! Spring is almost here so that means time to be thinking about what you want to plant!!"

Argentum Vulgaris says that he doesn't do "strategy" ... and when I read this POST I could see his point. While he might not plan, he does incorporate green-living into his life so yes, he'll have fresh produce on his table next winter. His comments made me think about the real goal ... making an activity part of our life.

I've been following EcoGrrl's gardening progress for awhile ... and not surprisingly, she's totally prepared for the coming season. She shares, "Already do this (sauces, tomatoes, fruits, etc) and this year I got kale, chard, and spinach through the winter, but definitely upping the game to have more canned "recipes" (soups, etc.) after obsessing recently over the Food in Jars blog :) Also hoping I can more successfully grow sweet potatoes so I have some to store and not just eat by November!"

Lady JC accepted the challenge and shared this, " I'm using mason jars this year for preserving. My stash will consist of pickled veggies and fruits, dried herbs for seasoning/teas and frozen portions of berries for smoothies and blends. For freezing I'm using glass tupperware which is very good at preventing freezer burn. I'm also starting some herbs from seed indoors to put outside as soon as it gets warm enough. Alicia, I think I'll follow your lead and grow some colder weather greens in the Fall to extend the season."

Our Twitter friends joined the conversation ... here's what they had to say:

From @givetreegifts
- Recycled Organization - Creative Storage Solutions - Bob Vila:
- 50 Creative Ways to Repurpose, Reuse and Upcycle Old Things «TwistedSifter:
- 30 Creative Ways to Repurpose & Reuse Old Stuff | Bored Panda:
- Upcycle and Repurpose Ideas:

From @lowimpactmama
- what a great #ctww challenge! RL is busy, so blog is quiet, but I'll be reading others' comments with interest!

From @rulesofgreen
- this is the first summer we will have our own garden so I am all giddy about this week's #CTWW. I realize though it is best to start small
- as we aren't moving until late June I have to look up which seeds are best to sow that late. I'll get back to you on that :)
- oh! And we have some land! So that is awesome. Bought a great book on organic gardening so I'm really excited about it!

The #CTWW Gang are those folks who share our challenges on twitter using the hashtag #CTWW. If you're a Twitter member, I highly recommend following them ... they have a lot of great things to say. Let's meet them:

@wrenmeyers @skipbang @planetpals
@lowimpactmama @crazy4grnlivn @biculturalmama
@a_kiasi @crazykids6 @mcmillendc
@greeneral @markcoruk @intricateknot1
@irishcarter1 @allnaturalkatie @rckweddings
@givetreegifts @startanewleaf @wencdj
@turningclockbac @bestrawesome @jnjgogreen
@dominiquegoh @groovygreenlivi @89linz
@marjoriemcatee @insignifblog @plus2point4
@momgamerwriter @laalicia @ruralmoms
@neat_os @earthyurban @beatepdx
@biggreenpen @lsctheliverlady @timsimms
@motherhoodlooms @hasbrochildrens @thefadderly
@commplacegr @beckymcneer @ladyjcmuses
@lorcadamon @smallbits @frederickbrooke
@conservationm @bstoneblog @ithoughtiknewma
@kiboomu @nolafusion @whywelovegreen
@rulesofgreen @pardonmypoppet @amotherlife
@treesgroup @jadekerrion @amecosolar
@cellomomoncars @jaemacjustsayin @whopaysthepiper
@ZenFarmZ @rich_redding @IAmAGoodSteward

My Final Thoughts:

We lead busy lives and manufacturers have hurried to assist us offering convenience ... fresh produce year round ... canned, frozen, or dried varieties of everything we wish to consume. They do what we don't have time for so that filling our pantry shelves is as easy as walking down the grocery store isle. Are they altruistic? No, they simply saw an opportunity to make money. As time went by, they found that adding chemicals and fillers to the food meant that they could provide more at less cost to themselves. They discovered that growing food centrally, processing it and then shipping it made them rich. Processed foods became unhealthy ... for both us and the planet. There are many options for ensuring that we have locally produced, healthy foods year round and not all of them require our time and effort ... they just require our willingness. In my mind, it's an easy choice.

Thanks, everyone! If you wrote an article, I have Stumbled, Tweeted, Facebooked and posted it on Google +. You can help spread the "green" word by using the share feature at the bottom of this post.

This Week's Challenge:

Awhile back, my North Carolina neighbor, Anita Adams suggested that it was time for a river clean-up in Asheville. Since today is the first day of spring, I thought I'd use her idea as the basis for this week's challenge. Here you go ...

Welcome to SPRING! This week take a walk outside. But we're not talking about any walk, this will be a walk with a purpose ... a walk which goes beyond the obvious "not using transportation" benefit. For example, walk to a library, gym or community center and post some basic green-living ideas on their bulletin board for others to read. Participate in a river, community garden or public park clean-up. Collect litter as you walk and recycle it or deposit it into trash bins. Join a "walk for the environment" ... an organized walk to raise environmental awareness or raise funds for a worthy project. The idea this week is to take that one additional step and make it count double.

So, are you willing to get your walking shoes on and head outside?

As always ...


Friday, March 15, 2013

Give Me Just One Good Reason

Do you ever feel that your green-living efforts don't matter? Sometimes it's hard! Reports come out regularly saying that global warming is escalating and that the only hope is if the world makes drastic changes. But the world includes government leaders who don't take the warnings seriously and entire countries who don't give the environment a passing thought. There are many of us who do take the warnings seriously and take action. Unfortunately, it sometimes feels like we're up against a wall. Thinking about it is depressing ... and overwhelming ... and leaves us asking ...

Why Am I Doing This?

Perhaps the answer lies in looking for more personal reasons to live green. Here are a few:

  • Living green saves us money. Many of the changes we make to walk a little gentler on the earth are actually frugal. For example, making our own Eco-friendly cleaning products is typically far less expensive than buying the commercial (and often toxic) varieties. Cooking with whole foods generally nets more meals per dollar than buying processed items. Reducing, which is a cornerstone of living green, almost always saves us money ... we save in gas, electricity, water ... we even save in the cost of space to keep stuff.
  • Living green improves our health. Foods which we grow, or which we purchase from local farmers, are fresher than processed foods or items which are grown across the country (or world) and then shipped ... since nutrients are lost the moment produce is harvested, it's healthier to eat local. Eliminating toxins from our homes prevents many health issues and serious diseases. Indoor plants purify our air. Natural personal care products nourish (rather than harm) our skin. And ... the knowledge that we aren't contaminating the world brings us peace and mental well-being.
  • Living green gives us hope. Even though we hear a lot of dire reports, it seems that no one knows exactly what our environmental future holds. So, our efforts may well be helping the planet. Taking action gives us hope that perhaps we can tip the scales. And where's there's hope, there's a determination to find solutions.
  • Living green is simply the right thing to do. As children, we're taught right from wrong. We're taught to care for each other and our possessions ... we learn to be honest and true. Caring for the earth is part of that package ... it's just the right thing to do.

Saving the earth is a lofty, righteous goal! I'm hoping that my actions will contribute to that effort. But whether they do or not, I'm confident that my life is made better by making the commitment ... and that motivates me to continue.

What is your one good reason to live green?

Image courtesy of Master isolated images /

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW)

Welcome to Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW)! If this is your first visit, please click HERE for information and a complete list of all the challenges we've taken on so far.

There's a lot of great information in this post and I encourage you to read through it ... however, if you don't have the time right now, you might find the following quick links helpful:

Last week we took a look at our trash bin and challenged ourselves to find alternate uses for the stuff we typically toss out. This is one of those activities which, in my opinion, needs to be revisited from time to time because it's very easy to throw things away ... easier than walking to the compost bin ... or sorting out recyclables ... or upcycling items into something new and usable. Even giving stuff away, something which we'd think is simple, can be a hassle. So while this challenge seemed easy enough, it turns out that it required thought and action.

The Honor Society are those people who help us spread the "green" word by writing an article about our challenges and/or leaving pertinent comments. Here's what they had to say:

Welcome back to EcoGrrl ... it sounds like you had a great vacation. EcoGrrl shared this, " Hola! I'm back from holiday in Oz and happy to comment on this one! Ironically, when I was WWOOF'ing down under, my host asked me, as one of my projects, to separate out the treated vs untreated wood. Her idea was that we'd use the untreated for firewood, and scrap the rest. But I stopped her and said hey, can't we build some stuff out of the good pieces of treated wood? And she jumped at my ideas, one to build a small fence to keep her dogs out of an area of the garden (, and the other to paint pretty signs to welcome new WWOOFers to the garden ( I love reusing stuff in my own garden at home as well, where I've build all of my wooden raised beds in my side yard out of scrap wood ( - function over form, yeah baby!"

Argentum Vulgaris embraced this challenge. In Change the World Wednesday – 6th Mar you'll find out what he does with his trash. He also talks about the "blonde bimbo". Uh-Oh!

Valerie accepted the challenge and said that she's going to peruse Pinterest to get some ideas for upcycling cans and milk cartons. How'd that go, Valerie? Did you come up with any good ideas?

Alicia left us some wonderful tips and ideas in her comment: " This challenge has come at a good time since we have just been doing some "Spring Cleaning". Sometimes cleaning like this can be a real eye opener! We have several lamps that have just been taking up room not being used. Instead of donating them and buying new ones I am going to get some Eco Friendly non toxic paint and freshen them up. It will be like having new lamps with my own custom colors. I found some nice lightweight curtains that I don't plan on using so I am going to make reusable shopping bags out of them. I always like having extra bags so that I can share with other people. I also found some old wool sweaters which I was really excited about. I am going to be able to make lots of wool dryer balls with them. They eliminate the use of fabric softener and decrease drying time by at least 30%. I am embarrassed to say I found a whole lot of those magazines that you get at the health food stores and at Whole Foods. They have so much good information in them. I always have such good intentions of reading them but a lot of times that doesn't happen. I am going to take them to be recycled but have made the decision to see if they are available to look at on line and do that instead. We have quite a few plastic pots from flowers and herbs that we bought this past year to plant in our garden.We try real hard to only buy plants that are in peat pots. That way plant and pot can be planted. They will be taken to be recycled as well but We are going to plant some of our own seeds this year that way we can eliminate those kinds of pots. I took clothes to be donated and what do you know I found two "new" tops for myself while I was there. Win win situation there!! I could go on and on with this challenge as you might can tell. I love cleaning out things that we aren't using and getting organized is such a great feeling. Just put your imagination to work before you throw something away. It can be amazing what you might come up with!!"

Mrs. Green is a Zero-Waste Diva (she accumulated just one bin of waste in an entire year) ... so I thought that perhaps she'd pass on this challenge because she's already made it a part of her life. However ... in this POST she talks about why she's accepting it and how she'll hold herself accountable. Could you do what she's doing?

Some people recycle ... some reuse ... and then there are folks, like Lois, who get Creative (with a capital "C") and take upcycling to new heights. In Change The World Wednesday With A New Toy you'll see what she did with a plastic bottle, some pens, an egg carton and a furniture bolt. All I can say is "WOW". And by the way ... guess who brought Lois some of these materials? Nope ... I won't tell ... you'll have to go and find out!

CelloMom couldn't accept this challenge. Nope! Want to know why? She accepted last year's zero-waste challenge and is still working at it. WhooHoo! Here's what she had to say, " I do remember last year's Zero Waste challenge. Boy, do I remember it: I'm still in it. Not that we're at zero, far from it, but we're down to about 50% from before we started the challenge: about 10 gallons a week. Now I have a new conundrum: our kitchen trash can is too large! So I need to find a good home for it, and find a smaller one that is preferrably not new." Nicely done, CelloMom! I'd suggest checking Freecycle for both a new home for your bin and finding a smaller one. Anyone else have ideas?

Using a little ingenuity, a little glue and some determination, Randy shows us how he went about Conserving Happiness by Gluing The Tree. Be sure to read the last line in the post ... I loved it!

Charlie offers us some motivation ... not only for this challenge but for all of them. Check it out HERE.

Developing a plan and getting organized is definitely more work than simply tossing stuff out but Kristina shows us just how rewarding it can be. Take a look at Think Before You Trash. Her results are awesome!

If you analyzed your trash, what would you find? Cat took a look at hers and shared this, "As always it is food wrapping that gets tossed out most in our home, I just don't get around that it seems. Interestingly though, I have eaten my first dishes from dumpster dived food this week. A student friend made potato bread from potatoes they found." Wow ... I'd love to hear more about that Cat. Anyone else tried dumpster diving?

Ann takes reducing trash "on the road". She has volunteered, at a local festival, to teach people about waste. Check out Save our world: Rubbish at a Festival to find out how things have changed in the years that she's been volunteering.

kmogilevski stopped by and says, "Love all of the reviews of soaps! Now I know which ones to look for and which ones to avoid. I also use natural soap on my hair - no more issues with dandruff or dry hair."

Scarlet dropped in and shared this, " Thanks for the linkback & the great list of reviews! :) "

Our Twitter friends joined the conversation ... here's what they had to say:

From @givetreegifts
- Recipes I use are still available online! ... Recipes to Make Your Own Soap, Lotion & More:
- This is the latest I've tried... A Recipe for Handmade Vegan Bar Soap:

From @truenatureed
- "Alone we can do so little/together we can do so much":

From @earthyurban
- Step outside your comfort zone and serve a cause larger than yourself. Something to think about today

From @gwened02
- Thrown freezer bag that had had salmon in. Can't be reused/recycled. But I could buy big salmon & cut it up saving money & packaging
- thrown away the snick from the lemon juice bottle and the plastic from the top of the soy sauce.
- Thrown away bag from packet of malteasers. To prevent this next time I will buy a big box of them as the cardboard can be recycled.

The #CTWW Gang are those folks who share our challenges on twitter using the hashtag #CTWW. If you're a Twitter member, I highly recommend following them ... they have a lot of great things to say. Let's meet them:

@skipbang @planetpals @mombloggerplr
@lowimpactmama @frederickbrooke @biculturalmama
@pinkladyapril @a_kiasi @crazykids6
@mcmillendc @crazy4grnlivn @irishcarter1
@allnaturalkatie @anktangle @lizbethsgarden
@givetreegifts @ginavalley @turningclockbac
@bestrawesome @kiboomu @biggreenpen
@89linz @marjoriemcatee @insignifblog
@almosttruth @wencdj @momgamerwriter
@laalicia @clubcontent @gwened02
@earthyurban @beatepdx @timsimms
@motherhoodlooms @hasbrochildrens @thefadderly
@rulesofgreen @events4bloggers @mamasmoney
@esideecodesign @lorcadamon @smallbits
@rckweddings @jaemacjustsayin @ithoughtiknewma
@ggirlggreen @intricateknot1 @nolafusion
@whywelovegreen @commplacegr @ladyjcmuses
@amotherlife @treesgroup @lady_bren
@littlegreenblog @spilldmilkshake @theworld4realz

My Final Thoughts:

How would you feel about building your home on top of a landfill? How about letting your kids play in a park which sits on top of waste? Would you plant a vegetable garden in soil which contained chemicals from a nearby trash site? It all sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? But that fact is that our waste doesn't biodegrade ... that process requires air and sunlight which aren't a part of the anaerobic conditions in a landfill. With populations growing and the constant accumulation of "stuff", trash sites fill rapidly and then the search is on for new sites. The fact is that at some point we won't have any more room for them. It's quite possible that in the near future our homes and community areas will sit atop a pile of junk. Or, we can change the way we do things ... we can stop acquiring so much, reuse and recycle. Which will you choose?

Thanks, everyone! If you wrote an article, I have Stumbled, Tweeted, Facebooked and posted it on Google +. You can help spread the "green" word by using the share feature at the bottom of this post.

This Week's Challenge:

Last August, CelloMom suggested that we find a way to eat local produce throughout the winter months (you can read that challenge HERE). Now that we're moving into spring, it's the perfect time to come up with a strategy to ensure that we'll have local fruits and veggies next winter. Here you go ...

This week develop a strategy which will ensure that you and your family enjoy local produce next winter. Need some suggestions? Plan a garden with preserving in mind. Consider freezing, drying, canning, etc. and start gathering the items/tools you'll need to accomplish it (don't forget to check thrift stores, Freecycle, etc. for things like canning jars, dehydrators, and other items you might need). Visit your farmer's market and learn about the items which they'll have available and when they will arrive for purchase. If you are a member of a CSA, talk to the farmer about your goals and see how he/she can help. This week is all about planning with the goal of having local produce on your plate next winter.

Will join me in this challenge?

Please join me in our mantra ...


Friday, March 8, 2013

The Power of Perception

In our last SURVEY we asked: "In 10 years do you believe that the country, which you live in, will be implementing more environmental policies?" The majority of participants, 47%, said yes ... 35% said they didn't know ... and 17% answered no. As I thought about the answers and read the comments, it occurred to me that it's all about perception ... and our perceptions are based on fact, right? Or are they?

What if it's the other way around ... what if fact is actually driven by perception?

Consider this ... when we perceive that the economy is getting stronger, we may go out to dinner a little more often ... or take a vacation ... or buy that special something for the home. Spending a little more of our money does, indeed, improve the economy. Conversely, if we believe that things are getting worse, we hang onto our money. And sure enough, the economy gets worse.

Here's another example ... you wake up, look in the mirror, and think that you look great. You head off to work and your confidence shines causing everyone you meet to smile and respond to you in a positive way. On another day, the image in the mirror isn't exuding confidence ... and the people you meet throughout the day seem distant and angry.

In both of these examples, the process started with perception. The perception may have been based on some fact but, more than likely, it was simply how we saw things in that moment. How we saw things, however, caused our actions ... and those actions resulted in facts.

This isn't a new revelation. Advertisers and politicians know that what we believe motivates us. So they spend a lot of time and money to create perceptions which will have favorable results.

What if we apply that same idea to the environment?

When our perception is that our country is taking the environment seriously, we become encouraged and kick up our green-living efforts. We want to be part of the movement. We begin to feel that our efforts matter so we do more ... and we talk more about what we're doing ... and companies (aka special interest groups) hear us ... and politicians hear them. The result is that our perceptions actually drive the government to take action ... and the result is positive environmental change.

Okay ... so now we understand that our perception causes things to happen ... and our perception is changeable. So, the next question is how can we create a collective perception ... the belief that the earth is getting healthier, and thereby make it happen? In my opinion, we can do so by encouraging each other ... by talking about our efforts and how they are making our lives better. When we hold fast to our green commitments, we show others that we believe our efforts matter. The more we say it ... the more others begin to believe it. And when we all believe it, our actions make it happen.

Perception = action = fact. Believe that things are getting better and our actions will make it so!

How will you create a positive environmental perception?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW)

Welcome to Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW)! If this is your first visit, please click HERE for information and a complete list of all the challenges we've taken on so far.

There's a lot of great information in this post and I encourage you to read through it ... however, if you don't have the time right now, you might find the following quick links helpful:

Last week's challenge asked us to review our body soaps. It was a lot of fun to find out what people were using ... or not using (winking at you, Mrs. Green). After completing my review, I spent some time investigating ingredients at Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep database. It was fascinating. They rank ingredients using a number of factors including health concerns, ecotoxicology, occupational hazards and even data gaps & availability (which speaks to the quality and amount of scientific data available on a given substance). I found some surprises ... companies which I thought were doing great but actually have a few concerns attached to their products ... and others who get a better rating than I would have guessed. I'll be using the database regularly, checking all body care products to ensure that they are safe.

The Honor Society are those people who help us spread the "green" word by writing an article about our challenges and/or leaving pertinent comments. Here's what they had to say:

Mrs. Green is a well-respected, knowledgeable "greenie". When she reviews a product, she considers everything and comes up with an in-depth post about the pros and cons of it's use. She's honest ... and people, including myself, trust her opinions. So that's the kind of post that I expected to see this week. But when it came to this challenge, she had a CONFESSION to make ... and it just might surprise you.

Argentum Vulgaris is using a well-known brand of soap. In this POST he lists the ingredients and shares his research on their safety. Check it out and tell me if you're surprised.

Scarlet is using ecoSTORE Body Wash and shares that it is free of Sodium Lauryl Sulphate, artificial dyes, perfumes or preservatives (all ingredients to steer clear of). In this ARTICLE she reviews the body wash as well as other skin care products.

Small Footprints is using Old Man Murray's Soap ... and loves it!

Charlie reviewed Sweet Knee Blue Bird Castile Soap. I had never heard of this soap and, upon checking them out, found that they are exactly what they claim to be ... Eco-friendly. And wow ... Charlie lists a bunch of "other" uses for this soap ... impressive!

Katie nourishes her skin with handmade soap. She's found a company who cares about sustainability, fair-trade ingredients and Eco-friendly packaging. Curious? Read her review HERE.

Kris uses Ivory with Aloe. She took a look at the ingredients and guess what she found? Oh you know that I won't tell ... but you can find out in this ARTICLE.

Valerie's soap of choice is Kirk’s Original Coco Castile soap. You might be surprised to learn where she first found this soap ... I was! You can read all about it HERE.

I knew that Alicia would have no problem with this challenge. Why? Because she and her husband have a whole line of Eco-friendly body care products. And they are fabulous (you can read my review by clicking on the review tab at the top of this blog). Here's what Alicia shared, " This one is super easy for me! We make our own soaps so I know exactly what I am putting on my skin. Our bath bars have Flaxseed,Jojoba, Shea butter, coconut oil and wonderful pure organic essential oils. You should read the ingredients on your soap labels well. Tallow is a main ingredient in a lot of soaps and it is animal fat. A lot of times animals that are to sick for food are made into soaps and shampoos. There are many great shampoo bars available now also. I have been using ours for over a year now and love how my hair looks and feels. Our bar has cammellia seed,neem,almond oil,apricot kernel oil,sunflower and sesame oils,horsetail grass,mango,basil,and so much more! It also has lavender,rosemary.and pink grapefruit essential oils. The retail locations that sell our products are finding that shampoo bars are really catching on.Checking out a good shampoo bar is two fold. You get an awesome shampoo that has ingredients that are good for your hair and no plastic bottle to dispose of!! It is so important to remember that it really does matter what products we use on our skin. That sure includes the soap we use because it is coming in contact our whole body!"

By the way ... from our previous challenge on 6 ingredients, Alicia is upping the ante and challenging her readers (and us) to do even better. Head over to I Have A Challenge For You and check it out? Can you do it?

CelloMom accepted the challenge and says, " Simple: Dr. Bronners, any scent. Currently it's the citrus; summers it tends to be the refreshing mint. It's just castile soap, very clean (in every way). And mild enough that those of us with sensitive skin can take it even in dry wintertime. Bonus: I can get the peppermint soap in bulk at our local store, so we don't even have to deal with the plastic bottles!"

Nicole B. joined the discussion ... here are her comments, "I am using Yardley's bar soap because it was on clearance at the store - I knew nothing about it, but when I read the ingredients in the store they said they were all natural and included essential oils for fragrance. I have since learned the company does not do animal testing and has been around since 1770 (!!??) according to the website. I usually prefer to buy all natural homemade soap, but have not made it over to visit my neighbor to buy some from her in awhile. Yardley's smells really good and performs well as a soap and does not contain any harmful ingredients to my knowledge. I like that it doesn't melt away really fast when you use it - one bar has lasted quite awhile in my shower. I think it is easy soap to find and inexpensive - I have since seen this brand at the Dollar store and other drugstores."

One of the things that I love about our challenges is finding out what's available in other countries. Cat lives in Sweden and reviews her soap in this POST.

Clare lives in New Zealand and makes her own soaps (click on her name to see some of her lovely creations). She says, "Home-made since 2009 - saponified oils of Olive, Coconut, Cocobutter, Castor, and occasionally Tallow (animal fats make brilliant soap!) .. Frangranced with either top quality fragrance oils, essential oils (some are skin irritants so a combination works best for me), and with other skin loving goodies such as goats milk, clays, oats etc .." If you haven't already discovered Clare's other blog, check it out ... it's so worth reading: Inside The Rainglow Grotto.

Lady JC accepted this challenge. Here's what she shared, " My absolute favorite soap is Dr. Bronner's liquid castile soaps. I use them for a few things. I used the lavender scented one to make myself a special face wash with essential oils, vegetable glycerin and chamomile tea. I also blended my own shampoo and body soap with it. As for bar soaps I used to love Tom's of Maine Lemongrass, but they discontinued it. Now I use their sage soap during the Summer. It's a natural deodorant soap. I'm looking forward to trying some of the handcrafted/homemade soaps mentioned though and perhaps one of these days I'll my own too!"

Our Twitter friend, @gwened02, joined the conversation ... here's what she had to say: "I use neal's yard organic. I looked into parabens last year & haven't bought anything containing them since."

The #CTWW Gang are those folks who share our challenges on twitter using the hashtag #CTWW. If you're a Twitter member, I highly recommend following them ... they have a lot of great things to say. Let's meet them:

@eddiegear @wrenmeyers @biculturalmama
@mombloggerplr @greenearthbazar @intricateknot1
@esideecodesign @pbardowell @crazykids6
@jamericanspice @crazy4grnlivn @allnaturalkatie
@anktangle @peopletowels @givetreegifts
@rozdb @bestrawesome @kiboomu
@momgamerwriter @biggreenpen @89linz
@insignifblog @wencdj @theriverwanders
@treesgroup @laalicia @clubcontent
@gwened02 @earthyurban @beatepdx
@nolamixn @timsimms @markcoruk
@familyfocusblog @ladyjcmuses @cleansediva
@rulesofgreen @beckymcneer @jaemacjustsayin
@vickyhardycena @lorcadamon @skipbang
@smallbits @whopaysthepiper @nolafusion
@ggirlggreen @whywelovegreen @a_kiasi
@amotherlife @truenatureed @ginavalley
@marshallbooks @spilldmilkshake @amecosolar

My Final Thoughts:

None of us would ever consider drinking a bottle of toxic chemicals. In fact, we'd scoff the idea as outrageous and ridiculous. And yet, many people don't hesitate to use body care products which contain those same chemicals ... all of which are being absorbed into our bodies with every use. The sad truth is that we aren't protected from unsafe ingredients by either manufacturers or law. It's up to us to do the work ... to research ingredients. Ethical companies never hesitate to share information about their products or their environmental commitment. In my opinion, we owe it to our health and to the environment to educate ourselves. Then, we can make informed purchases. That extra bit of work will have huge benefits ... to us and to the earth!

Thanks, everyone! If you wrote an article, I have Stumbled, Tweeted, Facebooked and posted it on Google +. You can help spread the "green" word by using the share feature at the bottom of this post.

This Week's Challenge:

Last year we did a waste audit, taking an honest look at the things we throw away. This week let's see if we can reduce the amount of trash we generate. Here you go ...

This week, before tossing anything out, consider alternate uses. For example, could the item be composted or used for another purpose? Could the item be given away and used by someone else? And here's a "biggie": could we avoid the item in the first place thereby eliminating the need to toss it out? The idea is to think before tossing anything and end up with less trash at the end of the week.

So what do you think? Can you do it? I know that you can!

Want an easy way to keep up with our challenges?
Just add the banner below to your blog by
copying the code & pasting it into your site!

As always ...


Friday, March 1, 2013

Vegan Recipe: Yellow Split-Pea Loaf with Almond-Cardamom Gravy

Welcome to the first Friday of the month ... the day we set aside for featuring a delicious vegan recipe. Why does a blog about green living include recipes? Because choosing a meatless meal is one of the easiest ways to live green. Simply put ... plant-based foods are easier on the environment than animal-based foods.

I am so pleased to introduce you to this month's guest chef ... Alaiyo of Pescetarian Journal. Wait a minute ... Pescetarian??? Yep, you heard me right ... Pescetarian! Alaiyo features both fish and vegetarian recipes which include sustainable ingredients ... and she shares important information about food choices. For example, this POST will tell you which shrimp are sustainably raised. And this ARTICLE will tell you how to find dungeness or blue crab. In addition to fish/seafood recipes, Alaiyo shares a number of vegetarian & vegan recipes ... delicious dishes like Vegan Burger Sliders, Asian Barbecue Seitan Salad and Double Pea & Rice Salad. Pescetarian Journal is a fabulous blog. But don't take my word for it ... go visit and see for yourself ... you won't be sorry!

Alaiyo has graciously agreed to share a recipe with us. I can't wait to try it!

I'm thrilled that Cyndi asked me to create a guest post for her blog, and I'm proud to be part of the "Change-the-World-Wednesday Gang." Cyndi and I met, virtually, when I asked her to be part of "The Green Group" on Triberr. We're a group of bloggers that write about strategies and solutions for green and sustainable living. I hope you enjoy my first guest post!

To assert that beans are a staple in my pantry is a kitchen cliche. They are more valuable than that. On any given Saturday, you will see me at the bulk bins at Mom's Organic Market, studying the beans and peas within their clear bins almost as intently as a jeweler studies gems. I consider color, clarity, and shape, as well as my culinary purpose. In this recipe, velvety yellow split peas are a flavor foil for the vegetable and spice ingredients in the Yellow Split-Pea Loaf.

My husband and I have vegan friends who don't feel slighted when we serve a bean loaf, and I generally make this dish for special occasions: a special dinner with guests or on holidays.

Start with two cups of cooked, yellow split peas (organic if possible). Cook the beans as you would any quick-cooking legumes, such as lentils, and include the aromatics: onion and garlic, in the cooking pot. As with lentils, yellow split peas don't need soaking prior to cooking.

Two cups of yellow split peas, plus additional ingredients in this recipe, will make enough to feed four. After years of making bean loaves, I've learned that thick loaves don't bake fully. The loaf will be full cooked on the outside, but will be too soft, even runny, on the inside--not a good discovery to make when serving.

Bulgar wheat is one of the binders in this loaf and helps to develop a delicious, crunchy crust. Add the bulgar wheat directly into a large bowl containing the yellow split peas.

Add the tomatoes, carrots, and scallions into the pea/bulgar wheat combination and mix thoroughly. Create a well in the middle of the mixture and add a dairy free egg substitute, such as the egg replacer by "Ener G" Foods, which acts as an additional binder.

Place the ingredients on a clean cutting board, rub a few drops of olive oil between your palms, and shape the loaf. The loaf should be 1.5 inches thick--and not much more--otherwise, it will not be uniformly firm throughout.

This loaf will serve four people, and the Almond-Cardamom Gravy contributes to the rich texture and flavor. I usually will make 4-6 loaves at a time and freeze several of them (they freeze beautifully). Consider making this loaf for Easter or another special holiday--or for Sunday dinner. It's worth the extra time.

Recipe: Yellow Split-Pea Loaf with Almond-Cardamom Gravy (Serves 4)


1 cup (250 ml) yellow split peas
1/2 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups water
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 cup bulgar wheat
2 teaspoons miso tamari (or soy sauce)
1 pinch red pepper
1 14.5 ounce can (428.816 ml) diced, canned tomatoes (unsalted)
1/2 cup carrots, minced in food processor
3 tablespoons egg substitute (I use the egg replacer by EnerG Foods.)
4 tablespoons warm water
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika powder
3 scallions, chopped
Dill for garnish

  1. Sort and rinse split peas. Place into two-quart pot with water, onion, garlic, and onion. Cook peas for 40 minutes or until tender (avoid overcooking peas--they should retain most of their shape after being cooked).
  2. In another small to medium pot, cook bulgar wheat in 1 cup of water until light and fluffy (about 15 minutes). Let stand until cool enough to handle with your hands.
  3. Spoon peas and bulgar wheat into a large mixing bowl. Add miso tamari (or soy sauce), red pepper, tomatoes, carrots, and scallions. Stir with a large wood spoon until ingredients are thoroughly mixed.
  4. In a small bowl, mix egg substitute powder with 4 tablespoons warm water. Make an indention in the center of the pea mixture and pour egg substitute into the indention (see photo above) Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  5. Empty ingredients onto the parchment-paper-covered cookie sheet. Grease your palms with a few drops of olive oil to avoid having the pea mixture stick to your hands. Shape the loaf in a football shape that is no more than 1.5 inches thick. Place loaf in oven and bake for 1.5 hours. Check firmness of the loaf by gently prodding the middle of the loaf. If it seems too soft, bake for an additional 15-20 minutes. Remove loaf from oven and allow to "rest" (become firmer) before serving.

Recipe: Almond-Cardamom Gravy


1 cup vegetable broth, plus 1/2 additional cup of broth
2 tablespoons almond butter (no salt added)
1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
pinch cayenne pepper
Dill leaves for garnish

  1. Pour 1 cup vegetable broth into saucepan. Add almond butter, cardamom powder, paprika, and cayenne pepper.
  2. Set burner on medium low heat and stir until almond butter dissolves and the gravy thickens (about three minutes). If gravy becomes thick too fast, add the remaining 1/2 cup of vegetable broth. Spoon gravy over the Yellow Split Pea Loaf Slices. Garnish with dill leaves.

Thanks so much Alaiyo for that wonderful recipe. And I hope that this is just the first of many guest appearances!!

If you have a vegan recipe which you'd like to share, please contact 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.