Archive for March, 2011

ECO FESTIVAL NEWS

Friday, March 25th, 2011

I see the future of packaging: Seventh Generation and partner Ecologic. They are introducing cutting-edge advancement in the art of sustainable product packaging: a new liquid detergent bottle made from 100 percent recycled cardboard and newspaper. Seventh Generation’s Natural 4X laundry detergent bottle has a fully-recyclable and compostable outer shell made from 70 percent recycled cardboard fibers and 30 percent old newspaper fibers that supports a recyclable lightweight plastic pouch inside. The new bottle can be upcycled into new packaging that’s recycled yet again up to seven times!

The recyclable lightweight plastic pouch inside the bottle containing the latest laundry detergent is twice as concentrated, getting you 66 loads of laundry now from one bottle. Did you know…3 tons of cardboard waste is generated by tradeshows like the one I just went to a few weeks ago. Seventh Generation, in partnership with Ecologic is recycling all of it and that is how it should be across the board.

COOLEST RECYCLED CARDBOARD OUTER SHELL

My photo of the coolest packaging I have seen for laundry detergent!

 

 

A GREEN GROCER CALLED COOKBOOK

Sunday, March 20th, 2011

Yesterday, I was feeling adventurous and took time away from my office and ventured into a different neighborhood…and walked into the wonderful green grocer COOKBOOK, in Echo Park/Los Angeles. Well worth the journey, I left with a bag of Proscuitto Ficelle Sandwiches, Homemade Fennel Soup and a freshly made Crusty Walnut baby baguette ( every bite was delicious!). The super cool owner Marta Teegan is onto something really good here. It feels very grounding doing your shopping in a store that feels like a mini farmers market, bringing to mind a time gone by, and which can be brought back if we support businesses like COOKBOOK, because they:

*  encourage the local growers to grow organic food/fruits/vegetables/eggs, etc.

*  encourage local bakers to bake organic fresh breads

*  encourage cooks to make fresh organic prepared foods

* give employment to many people doing something they love

*  build a relationship with the you and can discuss the foods available and where they came from, etc.

* It feels good to be part of a community :)

MEYER LEMONS and more

TANGELOS and CLEMENTINES

FICELLE SANDWICH TIED WITH A PIECE OF FICELLE

NICE FRENCHIE FRENCHIE SIGN

COOKBOOK

1549 ECHO PARK AVENUE

Los Angeles, CA 90026

213- 250-1900

Open every day from 8 am to 8pm ( I would call ahead and make sure those are the correct hours)

Collecting Flower Seeds

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

I have always loved collecting flower seeds, ever since I was a little girl. I spent my summers in Maine, and I often enjoyed the simple pleasure of  getting lost in my grandmother’s flower gardens, with a bucket in one hand, snapping off dried seed pods and dropping them carefully in so as not to startle the pods to pop open and scatter their seed. These are treasured moments for me. When I had children, I would bring them with me and together, we would carefully go through the ritual, and always mindful not to pick more than we needed.

My favorite flowers to harvest seeds from are:

NASTURTIUMS

LUPINES

SUNFLOWERS

COSMOS

COREOPSIS

SWEET PEAS

COLUMBINE

What are yours?

After I harvest the seeds, I spread them out on a large piece of wax paper over a tray, to check for tiny bugs. I leave the seeds out for at least 8 hours to make sure they are really dry before I store them in small paper envelopes in an air tight jar.  You can either sow them in your garden the following year or give them away as presents to your friends and family.

AU REVOIR APHIDS

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

It’s that time of year when Aphids are suddenly on every Rose bud in my garden. Ladybugs love to eat Aphids but I need an army of Ladybugs to get rid of the infestation I have in my garden right now! The next best and very effective non-toxic way of getting rid of Aphids is to fill a 16 ounce Spray Bottle with water and add 1/4 tsp of environmentally friendly dish soap, such as PLANET and shake the bottle up. You can then spray the Aphids right off the bud or they will stay and suffocate in the soapy water. Gently spray the Rose buds or other infested flower buds with a hose later on to remove any remaining soapy residue or foolishly lingering Aphids.

Aphid infested Rose bud

16 ounce Spray Bottle

March at the Farmer’s Market

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

Going to a Farmer’s Market is just such  fun! The colors, shapes and textures of all the produce and flowers are just popping out  everywhere you look. To have the luxury to buy freshly grown organic fruits and vegetables makes me feel so fortunate. And the flowers are out of this world!

Protea, named for the Greek god Proteus

Orchids

Onions

Meyer Lemons

Hedgehog Mushrooms

Romaine Lettuce

Anemones

Sunflowers

New Non-Toxic Home care and Personal Care Products

Sunday, March 13th, 2011

Yesterday, I went to the very lively Natural Products Expo West and I came home with many samples of non-toxic home care products I’ll be trying out over the next week. The only one I am familiar with is the Mrs.Meyers liquid dish soap, which is lovely. Several of the other products aren’t available yet in stores, but will be in the next 6 months, I reckon. Here are the ones I photographed:

* Seventh Generation’s natural laundry detergent has new fabulous packaging and scent: geranium blossoms and vanilla.

*Handmade vegan and eco-friendly Soap by Wembe’ made in Paraguay.

*Alabu skin soap made with pasteurized goat milk, olive oil, cocoa butter and essential oils.

*Vaska herbatergent laundry detergent is allergen and scent free.

*Bravo’s paper towel is made with 40% post consumer recycled fiber.

*Thayers natural dry mouth lozenge is made with slippery elm.

*Mountain Rose Herbs maitake mushroom is cool looking (most likely use: tea)

*Hugo Naturals have a lip balm in pineapple coconut.

*Pre-fence, an alcohol free hand sanitizer.

*Fatwood 100% natural fire starters are chemical and additive free.

*Earth Science stick deodorant is aluminum free and made with liken plant.
Preliminary Test: The Bravo paper towel feels thick and soft and I will definitely buy some and the Pre-fence hand sanitizer, great for traveling, is a foam that is alcohol free and feels wonderful on my hands, leaving them soft after use.

Non-Toxic Products Pre-Testing

Artichokes

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

Globe Artichokes are in season! Buy several if you can at a time from your local Farmer’s Market and if you can’t cook them right away, they are good for 5 days in the fridge.

YUMMY ARTICHOKES

Cooking Artichokes is very easy and steaming them is the healthiest way. You need a large enough pot to fit at least two, bringing 2 cups of water to a boil, then adding the artichokes with their stems cut off. Cook the Artichokes for about 30 minutes. I usually poke the underneath with a fork to test if they are done, and soft to the touch. Depending what kind of pot and steamer you are using, you can either pour the pot with Artichokes into a large colander in your sink or remove them carefully with tongs and place upside down in a bowl, to drain the water. Serve warm or cold with one of your favorite light dressings. Mine is with Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar, a teaspoon of Dijon Mustard, salt and pepper. Adding a teaspoon of chopped Tarragon to the dressing is also very yummy.

Did you know…that Artichokes are originally from the Mediterranean region and are high in anti oxidants, so very good for your liver. Artichokes also have no fat and one medium one has more fiber than a cup of prunes! Go Artichokes!

Here is a great multi use Stainless Steel steaming pot similar to the one I use. It comes with 2 different size steamers, so also good for steaming asparagus and broccoli.

All-Clad Stainless Steamer Basket

Stainless Steel Steamer PotHere are some super useful Tongs:

Tongs with Silicone Heads

Good Gripping Tongs

Royal Burgundy Beans

Monday, March 7th, 2011

From seed, I have grown tomatoes, carrots, and radishes, but this is the first time I am growing beans, the stringless Royal Burgundy kind, coming in a violet shade of purple, nature willing, and turning emerald green after cooking. The seeds were sprouted in Recycled Glass glasses on my windowsill about 3 weeks ago. They came up very fast and  I will be transplanting them into my garden by March 10th, being the best time of the month to plant seedlings according to the phase of the moon. Expect occasional updates on the status of the Royal Beans…

Royal Beans in Recycled Glass