Tips


 

Local Free Range Eggs & Meat Farms in Massachusetts

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

I spoke to a sustainability expert recently and he said, if you do one thing when it comes to changing your eating habits for a more ethical and organic diet, you should choose local cage free eggs. Well, now there are several places in the Boston area where you can obtain good heart healthy, kind eggs:

  • Pete and Jen’s Backyard Birds – Concord, MA
    In addition to selling ‘pasture raised’ eggs, they also sell pasture raised chicken and pork, free range beef and lamb.
  • Allandale Farm – Brookline, MA
    Sign up for an Egg CSA share and starting in June, for $100 you’ll receive one dozen eggs for 20 weeks. The eggs come from their free-range chickens.
  • Chip-In Farm – Bedford, MA
    Inquire about the Fresh Eggs from their ‘free running’ chickens.
  • Stillman’s at the Turkey Farm – Hardwick, MA
    You can purchase their humanely raised chicken, lamb, beef, and pork year round through their CSA programs or at our farmers’ market locations or by special order with winter delivery available.

Struggling to find farm fresh foods in your area? Visit FromTheFarm.com a new online Farmers Market where you can buy farm fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, flowers, fish, gift baskets, and more – all shipped direct to you from the farmer who grew the product for fresher food. Nothing is ever stored in a warehouse, just direct from the farmer to your kitchen.

Photo Credit: woodleywonderworks


FromTheFarm.com

Winter Season Farmer’s Market in Massachusetts

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

We do love the seasons, but one of the saddest days of the year is the last day of the Farmer’s Market, knowing that you’ve got to wait what feels like eons to get that fresh, sweet, savory delicious produce that you can only find at Farmer’s Markets (there, and Russo’s in Watertown!).

Well, perhaps for those of us in the Boston area, there is the new Somerville Winter Farmers Market to tide us over! Looking forward to dropping by this weekend. There are promises of freshly backed breads, deep-freeze proof root vegetables like turnips, parsnips and beets, anti-biotic free meats, fig scones and honey cakes, and, drum-roll, Massachusetts produced wines from Zoll Cellars, Coastal Vineyards, and Turtle Creek Winery!

Very exciting news. Hope to see you there!

The Somerville Winter Farmers Market takes place at the recently renovated Center for Arts at the Armory, 191 Highland Avenue, Somerville, MA.
Open Saturdays 10am -2pm January 8th through March 26th.

3 Great Meatless Monday Recipes

Monday, January 10th, 2011

I read a quote today in Time Magazine that said that 89% of Americans think they have a healthy diet. 89%, which makes me think that 50% of Americans must have no clue what a healthy diet is and made me re-examine my own ‘healthy diet,’ finding there is always room for improvement and questioning what exactly does ‘healthy’ mean?

For me it’s a holistic thing, good food makes me feel good and foods that have a smaller carbon footprint make me feel even better about what I am eating – looking at it as healthy for my body, my heart, my mind and the planet. One easy way to take a step closer to a healthier diet is to adopt the lifestyle of Meat Free Mondays. It’s good for your health because it cuts down on the amount of saturated fat in your diet (which aids in weight loss and lowering risk of diseases like cancer and diabetes) and good for the planet because the meat industry is one of the biggest generators of greenhouse gases, a huge consumer of water and nearly half of all the pesticides used in the US are used in meat production!

I am for the most part already a 2/3 vegetarian, but dinners still are centered around meat, so committing to Meatless Mondays is a good way to ease my way into a less meat-centric diet.

Here’s a typical Meatless Monday:

Breakfast is the easy one for me – a bowl of hot oat bran, raisins and a giant grape fruit.

Lunch – a fresh pita from the local bakery with a homemade hummuss spread (thanks Nate – he taught me how easy it is to make, can of chick peas, dash of salt, splash of olive oil and a splash of lemon – add tahini and or garlic for a more seasoned taste), stuffed with a greek salad – lettuce, pepperocini’s, olives, feta, carrots and cucumbers; a piece of fresh fruit.

Dinner – typically when I think Meatless dinner, I go straight for the spaghetti, but here are 3 meatless mondays recipes that will make you forget all about the meat!

1) Last-Minute Vegetarian Lasagna (Courtesy of Real Simple)
Ingredients:
* 1 26-ounce jar pasta sauce
* 2 30-ounce bags frozen large cheese ravioli, unthawed
* 1 10-ounce box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed of excess water (best way to remove the water is to thaw it, drain it in a colander and then squeeze out excess moisture with your hands)
* 1 8-ounce bag shredded mozzarella
* 1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Directions
1. Heat oven to 350° F. Coat a 13-by-9-inch baking dish with cooking spray and spoon in a third of the sauce.
2. Arrange 12 ravioli on top and scatter the spinach over them. Top with half of each cheese. Cover with another layer of ravioli and the remaining sauce and cheese.
3. Cover with foil and bake 25 minutes. Uncover and bake 5 to 10 minutes more or until bubbly.

We like to spice ours up with a little jalapeno or red pepper flakes mixed in with the sauce.

2) Black Bean Veggie Burgers (w/salad & roasted rosemary potatoes) – (Courtesy of Allrecipes.com)

Ingredients
* 1 (16 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
* 1/2 green bell pepper, cut into 2 inch pieces
* 1/2 onion, cut into wedges
* 3 cloves garlic, peeled
* 1 egg
* 1 tablespoon chili powder
* 1 tablespoon cumin
* 1 teaspoon Thai chili sauce or hot sauce
* 1/2 cup bread crumbs

Directions
1. If grilling, preheat an outdoor grill for high heat, and lightly oil a sheet of aluminum foil. If baking, preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C), and lightly oil a baking sheet.
2. In a medium bowl, mash black beans with a fork until thick and pasty.
3. In a food processor, finely chop bell pepper, onion, and garlic. Then stir into mashed beans.
4. In a small bowl, stir together egg, chili powder, cumin, and chili sauce.
5. Stir the egg mixture into the mashed beans. Mix in bread crumbs until the mixture is sticky and holds together. Divide mixture into four patties.
6. If grilling, place patties on foil, and grill about 8 minutes on each side. If baking, place patties on baking sheet, and bake about 10 minutes on each side.

3) Sweet Potato and Quinoa Salad – (Courtesy of Mark Bittman)
Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups cooked quinoa or other small-kernel grain or 1 cup raw
1 large or 2 medium (about 1 pound) sweet potatoes
Salt
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced
1/4 cup minced red onion or shallot
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic, sherry, or red wine vinegar
1/4 cup minced fresh chives or parsley leaves

Directions:
1. If you haven’t already, cook the quinoa or other grain. Drain in a strainer and rinse. Meanwhile, peel the sweet potato and dice it into 1/2-inch or smaller pieces. Cook it in boiling salted water to cover until tender, about 15 minutes; drain well.
2. Toss together the potato, quinoa, bell pepper, and onion; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Whisk the oil and vinegar together and toss the salad with about half of this mixture; add all or some of the rest to taste. Taste and adjust the seasoning, garnish with the chives and serve.

I am obsessed with quinoa and this from the master of cooking made easy, Mark Bittman, is divine. Although, my husband constantly complains of being hungry after a dinner of quinoa, so you might need something hearty to pair with this meal.

Here are some great reference books for exploring vegetarian cooking and learning how to incorporate more vegetarian meals into your diet:

Still struggling to cook meatless? Our recommendation – opt for Indian or Thai take-out, they’ve got plenty of delicious vegetarian dishes! Mmm Ghana Masala! Or try out some Indian cooking of your own with these 12 Vegetarian Curry Recipes.

Opt Out of Yellow Pages & Phone Books

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

phonebookEvery year about this time the dreaded yellow pages arrive upon my doorstep – we get three for our single family house. And up and down the neighborhood I see phone books piled up on doorsteps under snow and ice that will never be used. You should be able to ‘opt in’ to get a phone book instead of trying in vain to get your name removed from the list. It is outrageous – they won’t remove your name because they want to keep their subscription numbers up so they can sell more ads – even if it means sending 10 phone books to an office of 10 just in case everyone in the office needs to use the phone book at the same time.

Every year, I drop the phone books left on my doorstep directly into the recycling bin. Honestly, I cannot recall the last time I used a phone book – I never use phone books, I’d rather look something up online than pull out the phone book and try to find what I am looking for. It is an absolute shame all of the waste that they generate.

I did manage to track down a few of sites that help you get your name on the ‘do not send’ list: Super Media Directory Opt Out, Yellow Pages Association and Yellow Pages Goes Green. Although won’t know until next year if any of these work……

Photo credit: Wallula Junction

New Ecofont Cuts Down on Ink by 20%

Friday, June 19th, 2009

ecofont

Tired of replacing your ink cartridges or looking to save money on ink cartidges? Well, Dutch design firm SPRANQ, has developed a new “ecofont” that uses 20%  less ink than standard fonts. Their big idea sprang from looking at  “Dutch holey cheese.”  The theory being that you’ll save ink where the tiny holes are punched out with out compromising the verdana-esque font.  Although not recommend for say, your resume, the eco font is a great alternative for interoffice documents, notes, rough drafts etc. And it’s free.  Download your free copy at Ecofont.

7 Simple Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

I just went to the Down 2 Earth Expo where I attended a lecture by Dan Ruben, the executive director of Boston Green Tourism. He is on a mission to reduce his carbon footprint by 80% – he has already reached 60% without compromising his lifestyle.

He discussed a whole host of ways to curb your carbon foot print, some easier than others. I put together a ‘to do list’ based on his lecture, a few small steps towards my own carbon neutrality Maybe you’ll find something on my ‘to do list’ that you can check off too (I just checked off two!): Click to continue »

B.Y.O.M. For 10¢ Off at Starbuck’s

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

Starbucks Canada Celebrated Earth Day with a free mug of Pike’s Roast if you brought your own.  Not so in the US, but perhaps their thinking is that everyday is Earth Day. Whenever you bring your own reusable mug to Starbuck’s, you’ll receive 10¢ off of your purchase (they’ll estimate the size for you). Which means my venti latte is a mere $3.47…..

Brita Water Filter Recycling Hits the US

Monday, April 6th, 2009

Finally!!! There is now a recycling program for Brita Water Filters in the US! The company has had a recycling program in place for Europeans since 1992 and just now, in response to numerous campaigns and petitions led by Take Back Our Filters, Brita has partnered with Preserve to bring water filter recycling to the states. Click to continue »

Compost vs. Disposal vs. Landfill

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

I have often wondered if using the disposal was an environmentally responsible option, considering that running a disposal uses energy and water. So could this be an eco-friendly alternative?

As luck would would have it, I bumped into the Director of Sustainability for a nearby prep school, who responded with a yes and no. Yes, if composting is not an option and sending your waste to the trash is the only alternative and no, as energy is wasted, water is wasted and the matter must be chemically treated in a sewer treatment plant instead of naturally biodegrading chemically-free in a compost heap. Click to continue »

Eco-Friendly Shopping Discount Codes!!

Friday, September 19th, 2008

I stumbled across this hidden gem on the web today. Green Grechen, a eco-friendly fashion website, offers online coupon codes for all sorts of green clothing and accessories, making green products all the more accessible.  Currently offering deals such as 20% off at Luna Boston, Nimli, Beklina and envi! Note–most of the codes only apply to full priced items.