Friday, November 13, 2009

New Column: The Organic Kitchen

Hello again! I'm introducing yet another new column, part of PGD's exciting new line-up, called the Organic Kitchen ( Style me Green, The Green Traveller, Eco-DIY, Eco-Style and Pure Green Living are all part of the PGD family). The Organic Kitchen is about food, what is good for you, why eating organic as much as possible is so important, and what's both healthy and tasty. I'm not a cook, so a lot of this stuff is adapted from some of my favourite cookbook authors (Molly Katzen, for example), my mom, sister and hubby (all wonderful in the kitchen) and my more adventurous friends. My first installment is about Nutella! Who doesn't love this tasty breakfast treat? But a careful look at the label leaves this classy condiment a few nutrients short of healthy. Milk solids aren't always great, especially in the great gads that we ingest it; sugar, sugar, sugar {!}, our kids are hyper enough, among other things. Well, who knew how easy it is to make your own...? This is coming from my good friend Nicole. I didn't believe her 'till I tried it myself. I didn't even use a recipe, and it came out deliciously. Before I divulge the secret, here's a little more about hazelnuts, and why they're worth eating, especially for breakfast: rich in vitamins & minerals, provide your entire daily requirement of Vit. E, good for the heart (lowers the bad cholesterol), good for your bones, super high in Vit. B, and adjust the body's protein, fat and carb metabolism, and finally, good for the nervous system. I personally find this amazing. Eating organic hazelnuts ensures that you are getting the purest nutrients that haven't been tampered with by pesticides and other nasties, and preserves the environment and farming practices. Check out this site for more even more info. So, without more preamble, here's how you make your very own healthy Nutella:

1. Roast about 1 cup of whole hazelnuts, at 350 for 15 min.

2. Shake to remove skins.

3. In a food processor, purée until becomes oily (hazelnut butter, anyone?), about 3 min.

4. Add 2 tbsp. of organic cocoa, and a good glug of maple syrup.

5. Process until it globs up, then spoon into a jar.

Note: keep in the fridge to keep from going rancid (there are no preservatives in healthy food!)

6. Enjoy!

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

New Book: Ecoholic Home!

Yay! I've been looking forward to this book for MONTHS! (It has nothing at all to do with the fact that my little store, Sustain, is in it!!!! Okay, okay, its just a little mention, but still, its an international bestseller! Check out page 346!!!! Ahem, pardon my excitement.) Here's how Adria describes her book: 'Ecoholic gives home owners, renters, condo-nesters and even dorm dwellers all the most up-to-date Canadian product and service info you need to eco-fy your private space - all the while pocketing planet-friendly cash savings. So stop stewing in toxins, chucking energy out the window and feeding the trash treadmill, and start transforming your abode into an Ecoholic haven!' This sets the tone for the book - you can imagine how great it is.
Just a note: while this book is useful for everyone, it is really best suited for Canucks, as its full of resources just for us.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

New Column - The Green Traveller

Whether you're planning to take a trip in the near future or not, its always nice to let yourself be taken away for a moment to a sunny place - hence I've decided to bring a new column to the PGD, called 'The Green Traveller', featured every Saturday (what better time to daydream than the weekend?). I love travelling, and would forgo so much else in my life in order to be able to afford it. My husband and I have a 'travel fund', in which we put small amounts away each month so that each year we can afford a trip. If its a great year and we've squirreled away a bundle, we go all out and travel Europe or South America; if we've had to skimp out a little, then we go for the quaint lodge somewhere close(ish) to home, like the Caribbean. The point is, there's nothing quite like experiencing other cultures to broaden your horizons and make you truly appreciate the planet we live on. For these reasons I've decided to bring you 'The Green Traveller', but with an eco spin. Eco resorts are popping up all over, so I thought it nice to educate you on just such places. Next time you're planning a trip, make sure you check and see if there are any green lodgings near by. The chances are good. And while you're at it, offset the carbon of your flight. Most airlines will let you do this when you purchase the ticket (online or with a travel agent), and it doesn't cost a lot. Last time, it cost $16.50 (CDN) to offset a flight to Cuba!

For my first posting, I've decided to feature something close to home, in Mexico. Lots of you may be planning a holiday getaway, and Mexico's a hotspot, so I thought it would be fitting. (I'm not ignoring my design fans - each lodge is carefully chosen for both it's eco creds and design.) The Balamku Inn, a small intimate inn with 9 'Palapas' (cottages), and located in the Costa Maya region (southern area of the Yuccatan Penninsula), is strongly dedicated to the environment. It runs completely off of wind and solar power, it was carefully built so as to not disturb the fragile surroundings, and has a strong lean towards ecotourism. You can sea kayak, deep-sea fish, snorkel the nearby world famoush Chinchorra Reef, go birding, hiking, explore Mayan ruins, go horseback riding or just plain veg on the beach with your non-toxic sunscreen and copy of Ecoholic. (Also, for you fellow Canadians, the Balamku is owned by Canadian Expats!). The Balamku has been certified as an EcoResort by several third parties, so you can be sure they are doing what they say!

Here's the best doesn't break the bank! The rates are $80 (high season), $75 (mid), and $70 (low), respectively, with a two night minimum, double occupancy.

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Friday, November 6, 2009

'Tea' Lites DIY

During the holidays everyone is sure to have some candles burning - there's something about them that just lend a magical festivity to everything. At the end of every season though, I have all these little bits of candles left over that I don't know what to do with, so I was excited to find this DIY activity. Make these adorable 'tea' lites as eco friendly gifts, or just repurpose them for yourself, they're sure to be a conversation peice at a holiday party. Find old teacups with personality at any salvage shop; in Canada try the Salvation Army or Goodwill. Click here for the full tutorial. If you want a healthier version, try beeswax instead. (Beeswax is infinitely better for the air quality in your home; they actually help purify your space. You can tell how dirty the air in your home is by how black the wax around the wick gets. YIKES, you may not want to know! Beeswax is more expensive to buy, but you get your money's worth as they last A LOT longer than paraffin candles.) You can usually buy just the wax at your local healthfood store. Have fun!

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Monday, November 2, 2009

New Column - "Livin' the Green Life"

I'm introducing a new weekly column to Pure Green, in an effort to help PGD apply to all areas of your life, not just design. Lets face it, we all love a pretty room but most of us have practical areas of our lives that we just can't ignore in favour of redecorating, so I'm trying to help with that.
As the holiday's approach, I'm going to feature eco friendly ways to introduce a little cheer into your home. Today I'm tackling air scents - the holidays are perhaps peak time for spritzing a little something, burning some candles or plugging in the glade, not realizing that all the while your home is a toxic soup of chemicals. Scented products for the home often cause an oil film (often methoxyclor, a pesticide that builds up in our fat tissue) to coat our nasal passage, or they release a nerve deadening agent to mask odor (eeew, that can't be good for you!). Now that I've scared you (sorry), the good news is that there are wicked alternatives. The easiest way is to make your own and simmer it in a pot on the stove, thus effectively filling your home with yummy, natural, non-toxic holiday deliciousness.

It's simple: place a pot with water on the stove, and add various ingredients depending on your fancy. Here are some of my favourites:

1. Cloves (or nutmeg) & orangepeel.
2. Cinnamon & vanilla (make sure you get pure vanilla, without added sugar, otherwise your pot might get sticky).
3. Add a few drops of peppermint oil and vanilla for a super yummy holiday scent.

4. Love Chai tea? Add cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cardamom and pepper and bask in the vapours of a delicious cup of chai all day!


p.s. - I'll be looking for reader inspired, eco friendly holiday decorating. If you're particularly proud of your holiday decorating, or have a great organic cookie recipe, or if you have any requests for something you'd like to see on Pure Green, don't hesitate. Email me!

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