21 December 2010

Celebrating the Holidays without hurting Mother Earth

This holiday season has been the hardest time of the year for me to make environmentally conscious decisions on how to celebrate the traditional way without taking a toll on Mother Earth.

Beside the fact that many people are using their cars to attend Christmas parties, family gatherings, winter vacation, the most harmful action towards our planet during this season: Christmas shopping. And some statistics about Christmas packaging... Americans throw away 25% more trash during the Thanksgiving to New Year's holiday period than any other time of year.

But I digress a bit here... and focus on the green holiday symbol: the Christmas tree.

Christmas tree decorating is one of my most favorite things to do during the holidays, but this year, it was an challenge. After feeling guilty about discarding my artificial Christmas tree I bought a year ago from Target (there was not enough room in the moving truck), I did not have a Christmas tree last year.
But with a new home, I didn't want to go another year without a tree.
Should I buy another plastic one that I can use for (hopefully more than) 10+ years or should I buy a cut-down tree that would be recycled after the garbage truck picks it up off my curb? An wonderful eco-friend suggested neither. "Why not buy a real live tree in a pot and then plant in your backyard? Home Depot carries those kind of trees nowadays" she said.

So I went to Home Depot. I saw the $45 dollar artificial pre-lit trees, the $25 dollar fresh cut trees, or the $19.99 baby Leyland cypress tree that "sort-of -looked-like-a-Charlie-Brown-Christmas-tree-in-a-pot" tree.
After 30 minutes of debating, I decided to get the Christmas tree that would tread less on the environment during the holidays... so, it was the Charlie Brown tree. As I drove home, I looked at it in the rear view mirror and found myself already starting to feel intimate with this 3-feet tall plant in my backseat. It was not going to end up in some dusty attic or be shredded, recycled, and replanted, instead...it would find a home in my new garden. Another bonus: I can always decorate it anytime of the year.

Speaking of decorations... last weekend, I was invited to an ornament-making party. It was lovely to see everyone come together to share hand-made ornaments that they created. Many made theirs from the ornament making kits sold in Hobby Lobby or Michaels, or bought from a crafts fair... I decided not to purchase anything from the art store. Instead, I went to my art box and created a star-wreath out of old discarded business/credit/gift/debit cards. Decorated the middle with old hearing-aid batteries and hung it using the elastic strings that most clothes tags come in.
To my luck, I won the best Ornament prize that night for my recycled ornament. Hopefully more and more people will realize that recycled stuff does look awesome on your trees.

So, I've shared with you all my "eco-adventures". Have you done any? If so, please do share!

For those who are just learning to be eco... I decided to add some simple n' green holiday tips:

1. Only buy what you need. 2. Seek out handmade gift options and opt for “like new” items. 3. Carry reusable shopping bags (and use them). 4. Bundle your trips into fewer outings. 5. Resist the urge to “shop around”, instead...shop online. 6. Buy local.

13 December 2010

Basic Craks Recipe~

Many of you asked what is the basic raw-vegan craks (I call them craks instead of crackers... Just like when I make nut/seed/coco -short for coconut - mylk, I call it mylk instead of milk... I'm sure you catch my drift! *grins*) recipe. Once you have this recipe squared away, you can let your creative juices flow away and storm up ideas to throw in different, snazzy flavors to jazz it up!

BASIC CRAKERS (I make mine very thin like chips/crisps. When the mood hits, I thicken it up! Sometimes so thick that I could use as a dehydrated bread!)
2 1/2    c        Filtered Water
1 1/2    c        Golden Flaxseed, grounded
1         c        Nuts/Seeds of your choice, soaked 2-4 hours - depending on what kind of nuts, except almonds which I don't include in my recipes for my own personal reasons - (drain & rinse with fresh water after soaking)
1/2      c        Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1         tbps    Himalayan Sea Salt
1/2      tbps    Cumin
Combine nuts/seeds, water, olive oil, salt & cumin in high-power blender. Mix throroughly and transfer to bowl. Stir in flaxseed slowly. Scoop about 1 cup of mixture onto Teflex (non-stick sheet for dehydrator) on each of 3 to 4 dehydrator trays and spread out to all corners evenly. Score cracker mixture using a spatula. Dehydrate at 115 degree for 6-8 hours (overnight) then flip the sheet over, peel off the sheet from the crackers and continue to dehydrate until desired crispness is obtained. Store in the refrigerator and consume within 2 weeks. 

To JAZZ it up, to SPAZZ it up, and to shake up your soul...
Add blended toms (short for tomatoes), red bell peppers, summer squash, diakon, greens, and/or MORE! Add basil, parsley, cilantro, dill, paprika, oregano... Oh!! My favorite... CAYENNE!!! Oh me, oh my! The spice! The FIRE! The passion! Can you feel it?! ooohhhhhhhhhhhh!

08 December 2010

What's Wrong With Our Food System? And What We Can Do-

11-year-old Birke Baehr presents his take on a major source of our food -- far-away and less-than-picturesque industrial farms. Keeping farms out of sight promotes a rosy, unreal picture of big-box agriculture, he argues, as he outlines the case to green and localize food production.

Make sure you click on subtitles below and watch away!

06 December 2010

*Knocking my Pretty Skull*~

Seriously... What is wrong with me?! I could never keep my word about posting on a daily basis! I can tell you this... that this does ring so very true.. that I do lead a very fulfilling, fun-filled life! I can't seem to get my tiny, pretty arse to sit in front of this screen and click-clack the keys away!

I recently posted this status on my FB and I love it! (It was posted yesterday)

Alynn Davis loves how words can crawl into our mouths and be blurted out! Sometimes words are not enough. Sometimes actions are not enough. Are you enough with yourself? In other words... Are you contented and at ease with yourself? Alynn knows she is!~

Hmm... Off the point here... I did say that I would... actually... I said that MAYBE I will post up a recipe and with a kind heart, I have decided to post one today. It is for those who already or aim to purchase an Excalibur Dehydrator -

Quinoa-Sesame Crackers
I don't consume quinoa myself, even if it is raw and sprouted, but I made this and it has been raved upon! You GOTTA give this a whirl and try!

Servings:  makes about 3-4 dozen
Feel free to experiment with the flavours. Also, this makes a lot of crackers; If you're not sure you'll like them, it's easy to halve or quarter the recipe.


- 1 cup quinoa seeds, sprouted* (that's one measured cup before sprouting. After sprouting you might end up with 2 or even 3 cups worth)
- 1 cup water
- 3-4 generous Tbs tahini (i.e. about as much as you can get onto your tablespoon!)
- 1 cup ground flax seeds
- 1 cup of sesame seeds - Yep!! LOTS OF IT!
- any flavouring you like: Coconut Amino's, Bragg's, fresh herbs, garlic/hing

*Quinoa is one of the easier seeds to sprout - it doesn't take too long & I've never yet had a batch spoil on me. Rinse the quinoa seeds well, then leave to soak 2 hours in plenty of water. Rinse well again, then place in a sprouting jar or tray, and sprout for 12 hours - rinse them well again about half way through this time. (Quinoa is coated in bitter saponins, & you need to make sure these are thoroughly washed off.) As long as they're completely dry, the sprouts should keep for up to two weeks in your fridge.

Place the quinoa sprouts, water and tahini, plus any liquid flavourings like amino's, in a powerful food processor or blender, and process until the quinoa is mostly broken down. If you're adding anything like fresh herbs, you might want to add these in next, & pulse briefly to break them down a little. If you're not using Amino's or Bragg's, you might also want to add a little salt to the mix.

Tip this mix into a bowl, & stir in the ground flax seeds, and any flavourings you haven't added yet. Then add lots of sesame seeds - I often almost double the volume with the amount of seeds I add. Amino  flavoured ones taste great with black sesame seeds added!

Once they're dried though, they taste great, so don't let it put you off. :)  Place a heaping spoonful of the mixture onto a teflex sheet on your dehydrator tray, & spread it out using the back of the spoon into a round 1/2 cm thick. (You could try making them thinner, but the mix is so sticky, I can never be bothered to fight it to get it thinner than this.) This is easier if you use two spoons - one to scoop, the other to scrape the mix off the first spoon.

Dehydrate your crackers at 115 degrees until the top is dry, then flip them over onto the trays & remove the teflex. Continue dehydrating until they're completely dried out, & store in an airtight container.


Property of Alynn Davis~
Please ask for permission to share (it may be in the book!)~

01 December 2010

Giving Up My Car Was Best Decision Ever

By Chris Hrubesh, CNN

  • Chris Hrubesh says trading his car for a bike was one of the best decisions he's ever made
  • Hrubesh gets around Atlanta by cycling and taking public transport
  • He estimates he saves between $300 and $500 per month by not owning a car
Read the full CNN article here