If you’re planning an upcoming event or dinner party in the near future, remember to recycle the scrap ends of your produce. I’m talking about the root ends that you cut off of your vegetables and sometimes throw away. Tossing produce leftovers is a huge waste considering that they can be composted into nutrient rich soil or regenerated by being placed in water. Rather than choosing only one method of recycling leftovers, why not do both! As you set aside some of your produce scraps for composting, save the root ends for your very own leftover garden!
Cut your onions as normal but leave 1 or 2 inches of the root. Place the bulb ends in a cup with some water and put near a window. Change the water every other day. After a week, cut off the stalks and enjoy.
Cut the stalks off of your celery and put the bulb end in a cup of warm water. Set the plant near a window and replant in soil after about a week.
Cut your carrots and leave about an inch of the root. Stick a toothpick into the sides of the root and balance on top of a cup or glass. Make sure that the cut end of the stump is facing downward and fill the glass with water so that it barely touches the bottom edge. Continue to refill the glass as the water level lowers.
Insert three toothpicks into the sides of the seed. Make sure that the pointed end faces upward. Balance the toothpick and seed on a cup or glass. Fill the glass so that the bottom half of the seed is submerged in water. Continue to refill the glass as the water level lowers. After a few weeks, a small root will sprout out of the flat end and tiny leaves will begin to grow. Later, when the main stem emerges, replant the seed in potting soil.
For more leftover garden ideas, check out Ecosalon.com.
Save money on decorations and practice good recycling habits by making a chandelier out of found materials. Chandeliers are perfect for indoor or outdoor occasions and add an elegant touch to any event. If you have a specific theme in mind, start collecting objects with colors that fit theme of your decor. Get creative and make the piece as simple or as grand as you like. Here are some amazing examples of chandeliers made from recycled and repurposed materials.
Artist: Stuart Haygarth
Materials: Collection of ‘man made’ debris washed up on the shores of Kent coastline
Artist: Stuart Haygarth
Materials: 1,000 plastic party poppers collected in London after New Years
Materials: plastic bottles
Materials: recycled milk crates
Materials: plastic dolls
Artists : Toby barrat, Pamela Goddard and Nik Rust
Materials: recycled drinking glasses
Being environmentally friendly can be difficult at the moment. Not only can it be more expensive to buy environmentally friendly products, the world is made for convenience, not for environmental consciousness. Luckily there are people everyday trying to be conscious!
One exciting – and very useful – program is called BikeRacker (http://www.bikeracker.com/). The idea is that this program will provide bike racks for events so that people can ride their bikes and not worry about where they will lock up their bikes once they get to the event.
The bright blue racks are locked up near the event to leave space for handrails and other important infrastructure free of bikes and locks. This means a much safer environment – and a better look as well! The racks are blue which makes them really easy to locate once you get to where you are going. The racks actually fold down for easy storage and for transport. The racks can be locked together or to something close by to keep them safe.
Originally started in Portland, Oregon, BikeRacker is now offering its service to the San Francisco Bay Area. They have provided space for 1000s of cyclists in events that had over 20,000 attendees to small house parties with only a few cyclists.
People are so busy with work that it’s sometimes difficult to slow down and show your other half how much you love them. Thankfully we have Valentine’s Day to remind us of how important it is to go the extra mile for the one you love. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to celebrate Valentine’s Day, all you need is love and a little creativity. Here are four inexpensive and eco friendly ideas that are fun and easy to do!
1. Write a love letter on recycled paper and turn it into a book mark for your loved one. Rescue paper bags, newspaper, thin cardboard or any other paper material that would otherwise be put to waste. A love letter written via email is a good way to stay green, but if you want your other half to read about how much you love them everyday, make a love letter that they will be able to see and use every time they open up their favorite book
2. This might sound cliche but eating chocolate covered strawberries is one of the best Valentine’s Day activities. Preparation is simple and the end result is always euphoric and delicious! Check out Well Vegan for a vegan chocolate covered strawberry recipe.
3. Have an outdoor or indoor picnic. If the weather is nice and you have a favorite spot in mind, set up your picnic outdoors. But if it’s late and a bit too cold to lounge outside, feel free to have your picnic at home. Either way, light some soy candles and lay a blanket out on the floor. Prepare food and drinks that you both enjoy and take the picnic slow. For vegan picnic recipes go to Oakland Local.
4. There’s no better way to show someone you love them then by bringing them breakfast in bed. Whip up some homemade coffee, juice, fresh fruit and vegan pancakes with all the fixings. Put thought into the presentation and get ready for a beautiful day! Check out Food.com for a delicious vegan pancake recipe.
Add elements of ease and tranquility to your next event with this No Sew Tablecloth and Terrarium Centerpiece. This project is inexpensive to make and can be completed in less than an hour. All you need is fabric, scissors, green plants, fruit, glass cylinders and a few saucers or bowls. Be resourceful and keep the tablescape as simple as possible so that you have more room for activities and conversation.
Look around your house for extra fabric, unused sheets or thin blankets. I used some leftover canvas from a previous project.
Cut the fabric into the same shape as your table. The fabric should be 25″ – 30″ wide and 6″ longer than the length of your table (3″ overhang at both ends). Once the fabric is cut, fold it lengthwise and iron it so that a crease forms down the middle.
Use the center crease as a guide and cut the fabric into two halves. Trim off the loose strings along the edges.
Line up each half of the fabric on opposite sides of the table. Leave the center of the table exposed so that it frames your centerpiece. Fill your vessels with water and put a green plant or fruit inside of them. Find glass cylinders big enough to encase your vessels and cover them.
If you do not own any of the materials in this project, check out garage sales or your local Ecopark store, such as Urban Ore.
Hosting a dinner party for your loved ones? Give your guests more than just a delicious meal by creating a vegan centerpiece that recycles into enlightening party favors. This project will save you money and promote a more sustainable way to entertain. It truly is a gift that keeps on giving!
- Recycled jars
- Pallet wood
- Fruits or Vegetables
- Scrap Paper
Purchase seasonal fruits or vegetables at your local Farmer’s Market.
Find pieces of pallet or scrap wood and place them in the center of the table. Arrange the produce on top of the wood.
Clean jars thoroughly so that they can contain beverages. Make place setting name tags using scrap paper and twine, and tie them around the neck of each jar. Inside of each nametag, write down a vegetable pickling or fruit preserving website such as Learn to Preserve. At the end of the evening, allow guests to harvest the centerpiece and stow their produce inside of his or her jar as a parting gift.
January 27th is National Chocolate Cake Day. An entire day dedicated to making, decorating and eating the iconic chocolate dessert. Celebrate this year’s holiday in blissful solitude or with friends and family using a delicious Vegan Chocolate Cake and Frosting Recipe!
VEGAN CHOCOLATE CAKE
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup coconut oil
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
(Double the measurements if you want two layers of cake)
VEGAN CHOCOLATE FROSTING
- 14 tablespoons coconut oil
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Melt the coconut oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the sugar and cocoa powder and then add the coconut milk. Heat and stir almost constantly, until mixture is smooth and hot, but not boiling. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and salt. Set aside to cool until mixture is room temperature.
Click here for more info on National Chocolate Cake Day.
During the joyous holidays and celebrating, engagements are extremely common! If you were recently engaged, you may have experienced that making your to-do list for your upcoming wedding may have fallen on the back burner behind the frenzy of the holiday season. Not to worry, you still have plenty of time to take all of the necessary steps in putting on your dream wedding! Here are some things to consider:
1. Set a budget. - When planning something so extraordinary, it is easy to get ahead of yourself when trying to make your wedding the best it could be. To prevent wedding stress and post-wedding issues, make sure to set an appropriate and suitable budget. This way, you will have enough money budgeted to be allotted to the many different aspects of your upcoming ceremony. Check out websites like WeddingWire for a place to track your budget online.
2. Start thinking about possible dates and venues. - After choosing a couple dates that will be ideal for your wedding, begin thinking about possible wedding venues. The urgency in doing this is higher up on the priority list because you want to avoid choosing a date that will not work with any of your top-choice venues.
3. Begin compiling your guest list. - Whether you are planning a small intimate wedding or a large extravagant one, a lot of thought goes into who you would like to be present for your special day. For this reason, you should start thinking about your guest list months in advance.
4. Announce your engagement. – While in the beginning stages of your planning, you can still announce your loved ones about your engagement. Such an occasion is an extremely valid reason for celebration! Also, this will give them a heads up to keep an eye out for future details and your save the date. You can do this by creating an announcement page, on websites like Smilebox, that your guests can visit.
5. Research! - A lot of research goes in to planning a wedding. Make sure you begin researching venues and services, vendors (caterer, DJ, etc.), transportation, etc. months ahead of time. This way, you can make sure you have weighed all of your options when the time comes for making decisions.
** LOG YOUR JOURNEY! – Logging your journey from the engagement to the wedding is something you should consider for your own personal memories. Using a journal to document to-do lists, exciting news, frustrations, reminders, etc. leading to the wedding date can be therapeutic, useful, and will be a great token for your own personal keep. You can use several methods for this! To avoid purchasing a journal and prevent unnecessary paper use, check out websites like Tumblr and LiveJournals.
The big day is almost here! It’s time to start tying up all of your loose ends and making sure that all of your holiday bases are covered. Do you have stuffers in your stockings this Christmas? Here are three fun and eco-friendly stuffer ideas that will be a guaranteed hit!
1. Baked Goods: Everyone loves Christmas cookies! Take some time to bake some fun and creative Christmas cookies that you can personalize for your loved ones. These meaningful and delicious treats would be an unexpected stocking surprise.
2. Personal Coupons: These stocking stuffers are not your average coupons. Get creative this Christmas and decorate your very own personal coupons for those on your Christmas list. You can give out your very own deals (e.g. “Homemade Dinner of Your Choice”) for friends, family, or your significant other.
3. ‘Take Me Back’ Photos: Who said that new things make best gifts? Imagine going into your stocking and finding a photo that takes you back to a time of extreme happiness. Go through your old albums and find some heartwarming pictures that will let your loved ones know how fortunate you are for your past, present, and future memories with them.