Posts Tagged ‘how tos’
As the weather turns colder and the days get even shorter, we’re on the lookout for healthy, hearty and seasonal recipes to warm the body and keep the house cozy too. If there’s a culture that knows corazón y alma (heart and soul), it’s the Mexican people and their ability to add a little spice to life and food. Ecover would like to share this delicious Tortilla Soup recipe from Two Peas & Their Pod. Don’t hesitate to substitute and make this recipe seasonal by adding some fall garden favorites like broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, or cabbage. ¡Buen provecho!
1 T. olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeño, minced (leave out if you don’t like things hot)
1 large russet potato, diced
2 small zucchini, chopped
1 bag of frozen corn (use fresh if you have it)
2 15 oz. cans diced tomatoes with green chilies
3 15 oz. cans of vegetable broth (low sodium, fat free)
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
Fresh lime juice
- In a large pot sauté the onion in 1 T. of olive oil. When it is tender add in the garlic and jalapeño. Sauté for about 2 minutes.
- Add in the potato, zucchini, and corn. Sauté until veggies are soft.
- Pour in the tomatoes and vegetable broth. If you are using plain tomatoes, add in a can of green chilies. Stir well.
- Add in fresh cilantro and lime juice.
- Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve hot with toppings.
Photo by GreenColander via Flickr.com
Creating your #GreenCloset isn’t just about buying new eco-threads or shopping at thrift stores. It can also be about reinventing or repurposing what you already own by searching for fashionable ways to reduce your own ecological footprint. Next time you clean or organize your closet, instead of tossing that t-shirt you haven’t used in years, think about how you can breathe new life into the once-loved piece of fabric.
Looking for inspiration? Here are a few great ideas we found!
- One of the greatest men’s shirt makeovers – tutorial! Suzannah from adventures in dressmaking shows us how make a springy skirt from a men’s shirt. The step-by-step instructions are easy to follow and the results are shockingly chic. It’s definitely something you’d wear to the office.
- Just a quickie… Repurposed has a fun post on how to make a fun, flowery scarf with nothing but a shirt (or two), scissors, a needle, and thread. This is the type of project you can easily complete in an evening.
- 13 Ways To Repurpose Old Clothes. If you’re not into making new clothes from old threads, our friends at Apartment Therapy have a great post on how to create décor from old clothing. Definitely check out the site if you’re interested in doing anything from making a pet bed to refashioned pillows, some of the easiest DIY projects.
And speaking of rewards, we have the grandest prize ever in our Green Closet sweepstakes on Facebook. Clothes from Auralis and Study NY, an eco fashion consultation by Greta Eagan, Elizabeth Cline’s book: Overdressed, and Ecover products! Enter today as this sweepstakes ends Sunday night at midnight. Good luck!
Image by Sewing Daisies via Flickr
Eating local and keeping up with seasonal ingredients can be great for both your health and the environment. Now that fall is in the air, Ecover thinks it’s the time to enjoy the aroma of fresh seasonal apples baking in the kitchen. There are few things in life more comforting than coming home to a plate full of warm Apple Oatmeal Cookies and the smell of Spiced Apple Cider simmering on the stove. Baking with apples is a surefire way to get rid of autumn’s chill!
Here’s a simple recipe from Natural Health magazine for these scrumptious treats … so sit by the fireplace and enjoy!
Apple Oatmeal Cookies
5 tablespoons butter, softened
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
¼ cup molasses
1⁄4 cup grapeseed oil
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon water
1 cup chopped pitted dates (or honey dates)
1 cup regular oats
2⁄3 cup whole-wheat flour
½ cup wheat germ
1 teaspoon baking soda
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2⁄3 cup dried apple slices, chopped
2⁄3 cup walnuts, finely chopped
- Preheat oven to 325º F. In a large bowl, cream together butter, light brown sugar and molasses until smooth. Add grapeseed oil, egg, vanilla, water and dates and mix well.
- In a medium bowl, combine oats, flour, wheat germ, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add to butter mixture and mix until well incorporated. Stir in dried apple slices and walnuts.
- Drop dough by rounded tablespoons 1-inch apart onto baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer cookies to racks to cool.
Image by iMaffo via Flickr.com
If you keep fresh fruit on hand, you’ve probably had some unwelcome visitors from time to time: fruit flies. Ecover knows that those little guys are super-hard to swat and super-annoying too. So, we were thrilled to hear about a simple way to get rid of them. Read on!
Turns out, all you need is a jar, some apple cider vinegar and a dash of dish soap to make a “trap.” According to Apartment Therapy, here’s how to do it:
Pour just enough cider vinegar to cover the bottom of the jar. Add a drop of dish soap (it will break the surface tension of the vinegar so the fruit flies can’t just sit atop the liquid). Now, cover the jar with plastic wrap and poke a few holes in the top.
This is said to work without the plastic wrap too … so if you have a sustainable household, no worries! Another option is to take a piece of paper, roll it into a cone, and stick it into the jar. The flies will find a way in through the open end of the cone, but not a way out!
Of course, we think you might as well use Ecover’s Dishwashing Liquid in the trap. Maybe the light scent of Pomegranate & Lime or Grapefruit & Green Tea will get the fruit flies even more excited about taking a dip!
Good luck, and we hope your home is fruit-fly-free soon!
Image by Jon Sullivan via Public-domain-image.com
We see that cauliflower tends to get passed over for its cruciferous cousin, the more brilliantly colored broccoli. Sure, cauliflower may seem bland by comparison, but paired with fitting flavors and roasted in a hot oven, cauliflower really shows its true colors! And Ecover loves the fact that cauliflower is packed with nutrients, particularly folate and vitamin C. This yummy recipe couldn’t be easier and is actually a huge hit with kids. We suggest experimenting with different combinations, such as olives, shallots and red pepper flakes, or toss with pasta and you’ve got a meal!
Roasted Garlic Cauliflower
2 tablespoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large head cauliflower, separated into florets
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (220 degrees C). Grease a large casserole dish.
- Place the olive oil and garlic in a large resealable bag. Add cauliflower, and shake to mix. Pour into the prepared casserole dish, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Bake for 25 minutes, stirring halfway through. Top with Parmesan cheese and parsley, and broil for 3 to 5 minutes, until golden brown.
Photo via Allrecipes.com
At Ecover we love the idea that Labor Day usually involves rest and relaxation! For many people it’s the last real weekend of summer … so let’s take advantage of that extra day off—and the great summer weather—and plan for a perfect outdoorsy event!
You can’t go wrong with a day at the shore. If you head for the beach, remember to bring beverages, but ditch those wasteful water bottles. We recommend packing a big thermos full of water and some nice, sturdy re-usable cups. And please don’t forget the sunscreen!
If you’re staying home and cooking out—and what could be better than a family Labor Day barbeque? We hope you’ll keep the grilling green and consider using real plates and cloth napkins instead of paper. And when it comes time to choose the menu, opt for the natural bounty of the summer’s end harvest! Think about tomatoes, corn and tons of zucchini!
Of course, as you’re enjoying the beach or pool, remember to make safety a priority. Drive safely to your destinations, stay hydrated and always keep an eye on children near bodies of water.
There are many ways to make this end of summer special, but the very best way is to carve out time for friends and family! We hope you’ll avoid too much “labor” on Labor Day … even the house cleaning can wait until tomorrow!
Image by Mickie Quick via Flickr
At Ecover, you know we love everything “green” and we love fresh, whole foods … so today we thought we’d feature an under-rated veggie superstar: the green bean! Green beans are a delicious late-summer crop, and are plentiful from now until early fall. Since vegetables always taste best when they’re “in season” and locally grown, why not stop by a farmer’s market today and pick some up?
One of the best ways to nibble fresh green beans is au naturel! Just clean them and trim the ends … and snack on them with your favorite dip or a little hummus. They also make the ideal side dish and can be prepared by steaming them, sautéing them with a little olive oil or even roasting them! When they’re roasted (after tossing with just a little olive oil, salt & pepper), they come out nice and crisp and can even replace fries on your kids’ plates! The versatile green bean is also perfect in salads, like a simple tomato and bean salad.
If you’re looking for something a little different, try this recipe from Attainable Sustainable. Kris Bordessa has taken the green bean to a whole new snacking level by combining it with dill, garlic and vinegar and putting the combination in a jar for long-term storage … and easy snacking! It’s like a pickle with a little extra snap! Give it a try and let us know what you think!
Image by tony.bailey via Flickr.com
Doing a home energy audit might sound cumbersome, but if you follow some easy advice, it can be a breeze! At Ecover, we view a more energy efficient home as simply a way to save you a significant amount of resources and money!
As you walk around your home, check out the following:
- Look for air leaks or drafts. You could realize 5% to 30% in energy savings by simply doing away with the drafts. Check the air flow through window frames, the weather stripping around doors, baseboards; look at wall or window-mounted air conditioners, attic hatches, plumbing fixtures, dryer ducts, and fireplace dampers. Note what need caulk, weather-stripping, or insulation.
- Inspect your heating and cooling equipment. This equipment should be inspected and cleaned annually, or as often as the manufacturer recommends. If the equipment is more than 15 years old, consider replacing it with new, energy-efficient units. And a programmable thermostat manages the systems efficiently!
- Look at your home’s lighting. Purchase LED or CFL lighting products and examine the wattage of the bulbs in your house – you could be using higher watt bulbs than necessary. And unplug electronic appliances when not in use, like chargers, computer chords, coffee pot, etc. Put all of your electronics on a power cord and turn off the circuit when not in use.
- Ensure your home is well-insulated. Make sure the floor of your attic is insulated, and that the material isn’t crumbling or compacted, which impacts its effectiveness.
- Be an energy bill hawk. Pay close attention to your bills and compare your energy costs month-to-month. Looks for trends, spikes, or changes and then make necessary changes.
DIY to save energy and cash!
Image via Flickr
When it comes to eco-beauty, nail care is one niche undergoing a much-needed green makeover. While nail products and salons are well known for their use of noxious chemicals, Ecover is happy to report that consumer demand for safer and more planet-friendly mani-pedi practices is making a difference. Ladies, we know this is great news now that it’s high season for foot-baring strappy sandals andwedges!
Three chemicals in nail polish – known as the “toxic trio” – have come under the most fire in recent years: formaldehyde, toluene and dibutyl phthalate, all of which are banned by the European Union for use in nail polish. In 2006, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics launched a major American public relations effort to get manufacturers to remove these chemicals from nail polish. Many of them did. Still, as reported recently on ABC, the toxic three were found in several lesser-known nail polish brands used in some salons. So buyers must continue to beware when purchasing any nail product or service.
While it’s great that the mainstream nail polish brands are improving their formulations, we love seeing the many eco-friendly alternatives now available. Even fashion bibles InStyle and Allure have gushed over several of these newer products. Scotch Naturals is one line winning raves for gorgeous nail polishes that contain only water, acrylic polymers and natural colorants. Better for your nails and the planet!
Love the salon experience? Be a savvy consumer by asking questions at various establishments to find out what type of products are used there, and how the building is ventilated. Just by asking the right questions, you might coax your favorite salon to make changes.
Have fun exploring all your options, and rock that awesome and eco-friendly pedicure all summer long!
Photo by Joe Shlabotnik via Flickr.com
Guests can’t get enough of the rich, cheesy flavors of Seven Layer dip, but we know it can be laden with fat and cholesterol. You enjoy it but afterwards feel as though you’re in a food comma! Well Ecover has a delicious alternative that is healthy, fat and cholesterol-free, allergen-free (no gluten, soy, corn or sugar) and also vegan (shhh, don’t tell anyone)!
It’s easy to make too, perfect for parties or during anytime as a healthy snack for the kids. You’ll feel great knowing that this Mexican Dip is just as healthy as it is to die for!
1 15-oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 red bell pepper, seeded and top removed
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp onion flakes
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp fine salt
1/4 tsp pepper
dash of granulated garlic powder
dash of paprika
juice of 1/2 lime
1/3 c nutritional yeast
2/3 c (or less) salsa
1 jalapeno, seeded (optional)
1/2 c canned or cooked black beans
- Preheat oven to 350 F
- Grease an 8-inch round or 9-inch square casserole dish and set aside.
- Add all ingredients except black beans to a food processor.
- Blend until smooth and transfer mixture to prepared casserole dish.
- Gently stir in black beans and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until dip is thoroughly warm.
- Garnish with diced tomatoes, chopped green onions, and lettuce if desired.
Yield: Makes 2 cups of dip.
Recipe by Lindsay S. Nixon, Happy Herbivore Cookbook
Image by Happy Herbivore Blog via Flickr
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