Sunday, August 31, 2008

Cinnamon Citrus Pancakes

Cinnamon Citrus Pancakes

1/2 cup organic whole wheat flour
1/2 cup organic unbleached flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 Tbsp. evaporated cane juice
1 1/2 tsp. Ener-G egg replacer mixed with 2 Tbsp. warm water (or 1 egg)
1 cup orange juice
1 Tbsp. water
2 Tbsp. canola oil
1 1/2 tsp. lemon juice

In a bowl, combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and evaporated cane juice. In another bowl, combine egg replacer mix, orange juice, water, canola oil, and lemon juice; stir into dry ingredients. Pour 2 Tbsp. of batter onto griddle preheated to 350 and cook until batter bubbles and pancakes begin to brown around edges. Flip and cook 2 minutes more. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

What to buy organic

As food prices continue to climb, you may be wondering which organic products are worth splurging on. The Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit association that tracks pesticide residue levels has a list to help you on your next shopping trip.

1. Fruits: Buy organic when buying apples, peaches, nectarines, strawberries, blueberries, imported grapes and other fruits without a peel. Save money, and opt for conventional bananas, oranges, lemon and other fruits with thick peels.

2. Vegetables: Buy organic when you're buying spinach, lettuce and leafy greens, bell peppers, potatoes, and carrots. Buy conventional broccoli, asparagus, frozen corn, sweet peas, avocados, and onions as these tend to have lower levels of pesticide residue.

3. Milk & Dairy: Buy organic milk and other dairy products. Organic milk comes from cows that are given pesticide-free organic feed or graze on pesticide-free land.

4. Meat & Poultry: If you can afford it, splurge on organic meat. Buying organic poultry may not be worth it, because the USDA requires that chickens must have access to the outdoors, but doesn't control how much access is necessary for each bird.

5. Seafood. Never spend extra for organic seafood, as there are no standards for organic seafood.

6. Grains: Save some money by buying conventional grains, breads, pastas, chips and similar products. The real benefits of organic products come from fresh foods, since grains are processed they lose much of their organic value anyway.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Reusable Shopping Bags

Fortunately for the environment, more people are using reusable bags instead of plastic bags when they head to the grocery store. Natural food stores like Trader Joes and Whole Foods have been selling great reusable bags for years and now most mainstream grocery chains such as Publix, Walmart, and Target have joined the cause with inexpensive bags available at the checkout. I know a lot of people who are great at remembering to bring their bags when they are grocery shopping, but still end up with a bunch of plastic bags from the craft store, mall, drugstore, etc. Until you train your brain to remember a reusable bag every time you shop at any store, I have found the perfect solution - the Reuse Bag from 3G. The Reuse bag is larger than a standard plastic bag but folds up into a great carrying case that you can throw in your purse. The Reuse bag even has a clip that you can use to attach the bag to your keychain and at the low price of $5 a bag you can through a few in your purse for your next shopping spree.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Party For the Planet

Usually hosting a party means generating a lot of waste. Next time you have friends over, be sure to entertain with the earth in mind. Some simple steps can reduce waste and may even save you money!

1. Shop local - hit your farmers market for fresh ingredients with a low carbon footprint.

2. Instead of fresh cut flowers, decorate with native potted plants that can be planted after the event.

3. Send E-vites or use recycled-paper invites.

4. Opt for products with minimal packaging - reducing the amount of processed foods you buy helps the environment and saves you money.

5. Don't waste food - be creative with leftover food or talk to a local shelter ahead of time to see if they accept food donations.

6. Avoid using paper products, by using reusable dinnerware and cloth napkins you are being kind to the planet and your wallet.

7. Recycle - be sure to make it easy for your guests to recycle cans and bottles by setting a recycling bin near the trash can.

8. When attending a party bring a hostess gift that shows your commitment to helping the earth like a plant, or an organic wine in a reusable fabric gift bag.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Rise Above Plastics

We vacationed at the beach this weekend and were reminded of the growing problem of plastics on our beaches... bottles, bottle caps, straws, bags, toys, toothbrushes, etc. The problem with plastics is that they never biograde, virtually every piece of plastic that has ever been made still exists. According to marine researcher and Surfrider Foundation activist Captain Charlie Moore, in certain areas of the ocean the amount of plastic particles in the water outnumber plankton six-to-one. Once in the ocean, plastics can be mistaken for food by marine animals. Over one million sea birds and hundred thousand marine mammals die each year from ingestion of or entanglement in plastics. Surfrider Foundation launched a new educational program called Rise Above Plastics (RAP) to educate the public on the impact plastics have on marine environments, and how to make changes in their daily lives and within their communities that will reduce the flow of plastics into the environment. The program calls upon people to reduce their plastic footprint by reducing or eliminating their use of single-use water bottles and single-use plastic grocery bags and when they need to use plastics to be sure to recycle them. Visit for more information and take the Rise Above Plastics Pledge:

I pledge to rise above plastics and reduce the amount of plastic waste I generate on a daily basis by doing one or more of the following:
Stop using single-use plastic grocery bags and use reusable bags instead
Use a refillable bottle instead of buying single-use plastic water bottles
Buy products with the least amount of packaging
Pick up at least one piece of trash or litter of the ground every day

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Eco- friendly Sunscreen

Did you know that each year over 100,000 tons of manmade chemicals are used in so called "natural" cosmetics? Another frightening statistic - you can absorb up to 60% of any substance applied to your skin. Most women absorb up to 2 kg. of chemicals through their skin each year. In the case of sunscreen not only can it be dangerous to your health - it can be dangerous to the ocean's health. An unexpected danger from sunscreen use is that it may be harming coral reefs and fish. Sunscreen from beachgoers and snorkelers washes off into the ocean and causes UV ray interference to the corals, leading to viral infections and coral bleaching. Scientists have found fish off the coast of California that have had ovarian tissue growing in their testes. They believe that oxybenzone (a main ingredient in many conventional sunscreens) is responsible. Other dangerous chemicals to look out for include octinoxate, diethanolamine (DEA), and parabens The best choice is a sunscreen containing naturally occurring zinc oxide. Some great choices are Caribbean Sol Soleo Organics and California Baby

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Easy Green Tips

Going green can seem overwhelming to some, but there are some simple steps you can take to go green and save some green.

1.Buy less stuff - by buying less you reduce the materials and resources used to manufacture, package, and ship items and reduce the amount of items that end up in the landfill

2. Save water - fix leaks in your home, take shorter showers, turn off the faucet when brushing your teeth, water your lawn in the morning to reduce evaporation.

3. Conserve electricity - turn off the lights when you leave a room, switch to compact fluorescent bulbs, shut down computers and printers at night, replace your air conditioner filter monthly, hang clothes on a clothesline to dry.

4. Save oil - drive less, switch to non-petroleum based cleaners and paints, choose products with less packaging, give up bottled water.

5. Recycle your belongings - use Freecycle or Craig's List to get rid unwanted items, donate to thrift stores, host a clothes swap with friends, donate books to the library or local nursing home.

Monday, August 11, 2008

5 tips for a greener school year...

It's that time again - time for the kids to head back to school or in our case start homeschooling again after a month's break. This year be sure to make green choices while back to school shopping.

1. Buy recycled paper, notebooks, and binders. Target has a great line that is produced with post consumer waste paper called greenroom eco and Staples has a line of paper products that are made from sugarcane instead of trees.

2. Buy a PVC-free backpack. Look for one without the recycle symbol #3 or the letter V both mean it contains PVC which has been linked to cancer.

3. When packing lunches check out some of the great options for earth friendly lunches like Wrap-N-Mat reusable sandwich wraps or Laptop Lunch - a lunch system which features great containers that all fit together to help you pack a healthy lunch.

4. Recycle old crayons. Make your own fun shaped crayons with candy molds or send your crayons to Crazy Crayons to be recycled.

5. Make greener choices with office supplies - buy paper clips made from recycled metal, use refillable pens & pencils, and buy a staple free stapler - it cuts a small flap and a notch in the paper, then it folds the flap back into the notch which keeps the paper stuck together.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Radioactive Countertops?

A report released recently found that granite countertops often contain uranium and are emitting serious amounts of radon into many homes. Sound crazy? Well here's a quick geology lesson - the earth's crust contains minerals which emit small amounts of radiation. Uranium deposits, are often found at the boundaries between igneous rocks, such as granite and other layers of rock. As uranium decays, it emits radon gas. Rice University physics professor Dr. W.J. Llope found that some granite countertops contain high levels of uranium, which releases radiation and radon gas that can cause cancer. Llope tested 55 stones of 25 varieties of granite purchased from local dealers and found some homeowners would be exposed to 100 millirems of radiation in just a few months, exceeding the annual exposure limit set by the Department of Energy for visitors to nuclear labs. In a document published on his website, Llope said there is no safe threshold for radiation and the general guideline is that each rem of radiation would cause cancer in 4 people in a population of 10,000. Some granite countertops he tested released one rem of radiation in just 250 hours or 10 days. Do you need to rip out your granite countertops? Not necessarily, you are exposed to radiation from many sources - TVs, x-rays, flying in a commercial jet, etc. That being said, no radiation is good radiation, especially when you have young kids around. Llope recommends that homeowners who have granite countertops in their homes keep their windows open at least for half a day every few weeks to dilute the indoor radon concentration. If you are planning a remodel or choosing new counters for your home, consider the many eco-friendly, safe countertop options that are now available. Check out,,, and other great choices like bamboo and recycled aluminum.