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Jam vs. Jelly vs. Preserves: A Canning Glossary

A few years ago, my husband and I took up canning.  We started off with jars and jars of marinara sauce that we made to use up tomatoes – tomatoes basically took over our yard due to using our compost.  Then came a variety of salsas where we made good use of some of the delicious peppers in the backyard.  Then came jellies, jams, and preserves, thanks to local farms and our very own raspberries!  

I began reading up on the types of things you can can and what the difference is between jelly, jam, preserves, etc.  Here’s what I learned:

Jelly usually does not contain pieces of fruit, as it is made by cooking fruit juice, sugar, pectin, and lemon juice.... read more

Reusing Yogurt Containers

Gotta love yogurt.  Healthy, creamy, sweet, and chock full o' acidophilus.  But there's one thinreusing and recycling yogurt containersg about that cup of yogurt that is not to love:  the containers they come in.  Most yogurt comes in polypropylene (#5) plastic containers, which is not recycled in many cities.  Other common items that come in polypropylene are butter, margarine, cottage cheese, hummus, and cream cheese.

Before recycling your yogurt container, get as much use out of the little containers as you can.  After all, isn't the adage "Reduce, REUSE, Recycle?"  So, let's talk about how you can reuse those old Stonyfield Farm containers over and over...... read more

Green Camping Tips

green camping

Are you camping this summer?  Here are some tips for keeping your camping trip keen and green:... read more

Companion Planting for Natural Gardens

Companion planting is basically just arranging your garden so that complementary plants are near each other. This can mean different things, including plants that deter pests, attract insects, or require different nutrients to reduce competition. Most gardeners will be planting a common assortment of vegetables, so we will try to focus mostly on those you’re likely to find in any garden.

Alfalfa

For starters, there are some plants that are pretty much good to plant near anything. Alfalfa is one of these. A drought-resistant crop, it has strong roots that help to break up soil and aerate it for others with weaker root systems. Its tap root also deposits nitrogen into the soil, reducing your need for fertilizer and making the soil richer for the next planting year.... read more

10 Ways to Green your Super Bowl Experience

Each year the National Football League (NFL) spends time and energy on Green-oriented projects throughout the city where the Super Bowl is taking place. ... read more


Although most of us won’t be going to the actual game a good segment of the population will watch it from the comfort of their own homes and likely in the company of groups of others.

These gatherings, sometimes large, can be a lot of fun as Super Bowl Sunday takes on a life of its own in many communities. Nevertheless, the event has the potential to produce large amounts of waste and wasted resources across the country.

A Greener Valentine’s Day

It seems like I'm still putting the Christmas decorations away, but I'm noticing Valentine's Day stuff in the stores.  It's only a month away!  Surprise your sweetie with some green treats this Valentine’s Day!  Here are some gift ideas.  

Chocolate:

Order some fantastic chocolate from Endangered Species Chocolate.  They have chocolate bars, gourmet chocolates, and gift sets.  They support a bunch of really important eco-causes, too, so you can feel good about buying your chocolate from them!  


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Reusing Used Coffee Grounds

Reuse coffee groundsI don't drink coffee, but my husband does and he is always making a mess with those coffee grinds.  They ultimately end up in the compost bin, but not before they leave a trail all over the kitchen counters and sink.  But, after doing a little reading, I've learned that there are other things you can do with used coffee grounds.  Now I'm trying to respect those usually annoying coffee grounds, because they can be quite useful!

For instance...

You can fertilize plants with them!  Mix your seeds with used coffee grounds.  Apparently this will also help keep pests out of it.  Works best with carrots and radishes.  I'll have to try this next spring!

 ... read more

Keen For Green Holiday Gift Guide

20 more shopping days 'til Christmas!   I’m sure there are many of you who barely started your shopping.  (Like me!) Stumped on what to get friends and family?  I’m here to help!  Here are some of my favorite green gift ideas:

eco-lovers tea cupFor the coffee lover:

... read more

Don't waste those Thanksgiving leftovers!

Previously, I wrote a post about how much energy is used on wasted food.   With the beginning of the holiday season arriving, it's hard not to end up with lots of leftovers.  The green thing to do is to make sure you use up those leftovers!   Wasted Food says:  Be Thankful, Not Wasteful!  

First, don't make more food than you don't need.  Here's a chart of how much food will feed how many guests.  

Second, try to give as much to your guests to take home as possible.  Put together little doggie bags for everyone so they can enjoy the leftovers as well.

Even so, you might still end up with leftovers.  After your green Thanksgiving, you may choose to stay home on Black Friday instead of braving the crowds while enjoying all of that leftover turkey, pumpkin pie, and sweet potatoes.   But by Saturday, you might be tired of the same old turkey and mashed potatoes.  Time to get creative!... read more

Green Your Turkey Day!

Less than three weeks 'til Thanksgiving!  If you're having Thanksgiving right now, you might be thinking about ways to make your Thanksgiving dinner a little greener.

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  • Look into getting a local free range turkey.  You may need to order one in advance, so start making calls now!  Lower your Thanksgiving's carbon footprint and support a local farm!

  • Make as much at home as possible.  Things like cranberry sauce often come in cans, creating more waste.  Find some fresh cranberries and make your own sauce.  (And if you're near cranberry bogs, get some yummy local ones!)  

  • Use up the whole turkey.  My husband loves those giblets, but I can't stomach them.  You can always use them to cook things like gravy.  As for the bones and stuff, consider making some soup the following day.  My husband is half Chinese, so his tradition is to make jook (Chinese porridge) the next day with the turkey carcass.  Check out this recipe.  


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