Wednesday, June 9, 2010

GROWING OR GOING GREEN?

Good morning everyone. How is this bright and sunny June day treating you? Well, I hope. Today I am a little off… my stomach is not exactly happy today, but other than that I am good! I have big plans today for you and for me LOL. My plans you ask? CLEANING! LOL… yep I am gonna go through this house like a wild woman and clean things up, throwing stuff out, organizing, etc! Hopefully by the end of today I will find a floor in every room and everything will have a home. I figure if I do it now while I have the drive, it will free up my summer to actually have fun! So what are you going to do today?

Now you know me, and I am always browsing for articles about going green, recycling, saving money, etc. Well I found one today and I wanted to bring it to you… its about “Going Green” which seems to be becoming a new fad for some… some from necessity and some just because. So check this out and maybe it will hold some new ideas for you to try!

10 Ways to Save Money by Going Green

By Maura Judkis

The era of new American frugality ushered in by the recession has an added benefit. Many measures that families take to cut costs in tough times—turning down the heat or shopping secondhand, for example—are also good for the planet. "Our carbon footprint is directly tied to our consumption, whether that's consumption of energy or a consumer product," says Josh Dorfman, host of the Sundance Channel show The Lazy Environmentalist and author of the book and blog of the same name. Whether people realize it or not, cutting back has made them accidental environmentalists.

"Certainly, saving money is more important to most people than going green," says Dorfman. "For people to green their lifestyle, the solutions have to fit how they live. I think there are a lot of ways to make that possible." Below, you'll find 10—all of which will minimize not only your footprint but also your spending.

1. Get there, greener. You don't have to own a Prius to drive green. Any driver can increase fuel efficiency and thus save on gas by getting regular tuneups, keeping tires properly inflated, and avoiding idling. But considering that transportation accounted for nearly 30 percent of carbon emissions in America in 2006, the cheapest and best thing you can do for the environment is to drive less. According to the American Public Transportation Association, public transit ridership is increasing and in 2009 reached its highest level in 52 years. Or you can join the growing renaissance of fuel-free and fit bicycle commuting.



2. Enjoy home-cooked meals. Prepared foods may be convenient, but they cost more than the ingredients for a home-cooked meal—and come loaded with salt and preservatives. Chef Laura Stec, author of the environmental cookbook Cool Cuisine, says that preparing meals at home is cheaper, more healthful, and not as hard as we think. "We can't save money and benefit from the results of eating higher-quality whole foods if people don't know how to use them," says Stec. "It's not about recipes; it's about technique." Stec says fresh, nutritious food paired with simple seasonings can help novice cooks learn to prepare delicious meals. Packing a lunch of leftovers can save you more than $100 each month.



3. Eat your veggies. According to the Department of Agriculture, the average American eats nearly 200 pounds of meat each year—an amount that has not been good for our nation's waistlines. But the production of meat uses vastly more resources than produce, which is why climate scientists and green chefs like Stec recommend a diet that is mostly plant based. "Not only is the overconsumption of meat and processed foods and corn syrup contributing to problems with our own diets, but [it's harmful] to the health of the planet as well," says Stec. She recommends using meat as an accent for cheap and hearty grain-based dishes.

4. Flip the switch. The sight of a monthly utility bill can make you shiver—or sweat. But there are simple ways to keep cool in the summer, stay toasty in the winter, and still cut your bill drastically. Catherine Potter, manager for consumer content at smart grid software company. OPOWER, recommends this fundamental step: When you're not going to be at home, turn your thermostat up a few degrees in warm months and down a few degrees in cold months. "That will really give you the biggest bang for your buck because it's free to do, and heating and cooling comprise over half of the typical home's energy use," says Potter.

5. Work from home. "There was a time when people might have looked askance at home-based businesses," says Christine Esposito, president of Terracom PR. "But now it's one way to walk your green talk." Esposito moved her green business into her home to save money and stay true to its brand. Employees at traditional workplaces can talk to their managers about working from home just a day or two a week to save on transportation.

6. Buy none, get one free. The best way to save money, of course, is to pay nothing at all—and for free goods, one should look no further than the computer screen. "The trend is towards this community online where people can share or trade what they have and save money," says Dorfman. Freecycle, the pioneer of the bunch, is an online community where people can post items they want to give away or items they want, finding a new home for old stuff. Based on that model, there's Zwaggle, a community for new parents, and Goozex, where video gamers can swap their old games. Those on SwapStyle trade fashionable clothing, while NeighborGoods facilitates the sharing of tools and household items. There's even the self-explanatory PaperBackSwap. "In a time where we're so concerned about our budgets, these solutions that aren't necessarily designed to be green still enable us to live well," says Dorfman. "A byproduct of that is we consume less and reduce our impact."



7. Get paid to recycle. Sometimes, going green doesn't just save you money—it earns you money. Old phones, printers, monitors, iPods, and personal digital assistants—stashed in drawers and closets when they kick the bucket—are valuable to companies that refurbish, resell, and recycle them, and they'll reimburse you in cash. "From the lazy environmentalist's point of view, [recycling}is a pain in the neck," says Dorfman, who recommends E-cycler Gazelle. Second Rotation, EcoNew, and BuyMyTronics will also buy your broken gadgets. "You're getting paid to sit on your couch," says Dorfman.



8. Don't be trashy. Reducing your share of trash provides instant green gratification and can help you save on your grocery bill. Whether it's tissues, plastic sandwich bags, or cotton balls, most of our disposable goods have a durable alternative—like handkerchiefs or sponges—that will get the job done just as well and will pay for itself in savings. A surprisingly stylish influence has been the AMC television show Mad Men, which has brought 1960s-era accouterments like long-lasting straight razors and handkerchiefs back in vogue. But even if you find it hard to do without your paper napkins, the easiest change is to replace bottled water with a reusable water bottle.



9. Conserve Water- Your water bill is inextricably tied to your energy bill through your water heater, so reducing your use of hot water can mean extra savings. Dorfman endorses a low-flow showerhead, enabling him to take long showers guilt free.

10. Don't buy it—rent it. Savvy entrepreneurs have launched sites to rent out anything from cars to handbags for short-term use and big-time savings, both carbon and financial. Car-sharing company Zipcar is the best-known example, but sites like couture-lending Rent the Runway are growing fast. "Sites like these enable you to get what you want without actually owning it and allow other people to use it as well, collectively reducing the environmental impact," says Dorfman. "It allows you to save money and still enjoy your lifestyle."

Now for today’s craft… its inspired by my son, Alex. He is a pen thief LMAO! I always put tons of pens by my desk and they all seem to grow legs and walk off. I have seen these at places like our doctors offices, etc. and I think it is just the cutest thing! So now you can make one too! These also make cute office-mate gifts, Mother’s Day gifts, etc.



Craft Idea of the Day: Flower Pot Pens

Materials:

Felt
Terracotta Pot Or Flower Pot
Flower Head
Green florist tape
Pen/Biro
Glue
Clay or Plaster of Paris.

Directions:

For this free craft project you can use a plain terracotta pot or you can paint your pot using craft paints.

For this project we are using clay but you can also use plaster or Paris.

Start by filling your pot with the clay and pressing it down firmly. Press your pen lid into the pot firmly till it is all the way in. This will form the holder for the pen when it is not in use. Set aside and allow it to dry.

Using your green felt cover the clay or plaster of Paris by gluing down the felt, trim away any excess.

Take your pen and remove the top off the pen. Using the florist tape we are going to bind the pen. Florist tape sticks to itself when stretched so as you roll the pen you need to pull the tape tight as you wind, make sure you do not leave any gaps or the pen will show through. You can unwind this and try it again until you get it nice and flat. It's a little tricky but easy when you know how so have a few goes until you are happy with the result.

Place some glue onto the top of your pen and push your flower into the hole we left earlier by removing the top. Hold it firmly until it glues. If you have leafs you can thread these onto your pen and secure with a little glue. Now your pen is finished.

OK now its time for the FARMERS FAVORITES for today! And I want a little spice! I think a Mexican dinner is in order tonight! Yes my children, Spanish cuisine is a favorite of mine (of course so is Chinese, Italian, etc… just food in general LOL) and for today’s veggie faves I thought I would share with you a couple of great things sure to satisfy your taste for some South of the Border sensation! ¡Coma y Disfrute de! (Eat and Enjoy!)



Vegan Bean Taco Filling

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 bell pepper, chopped
2 (14.5 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed, drained, and mashed
2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
1 1/2 tablespoons cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 cup salsa

Directions

Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Stir in onion, garlic, and bell pepper; cook until tender. Stir in mashed beans. Add the cornmeal. Mix in cumin, paprika, cayenne, chili powder, and salsa. Cover, and cook 5 minutes.



Seven Layer Tortilla Pie

Ingredients

2 (15 ounce) cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup salsa, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
7 (8 inch) flour tortillas
2 cups shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese
1 cup salsa
1/2 cup sour cream

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

In a large bowl, mash pinto beans. Stir in 3/4 cup salsa and garlic.

In a separate bowl, mix together 1/4 cup salsa, cilantro, black beans and tomatoes.

Place 1 tortilla in a pie plate or tart dish. Spread 3/4 cup pinto bean mixture over tortilla to within 1/2 inch of edge. Top with 1/4 cup cheese, and cover with another tortilla. Spread with 2/3 cup black bean mixture, and top with 1/4 cup cheese. Repeat layering twice. Cover with remaining tortilla, and spread with remaining pinto bean mixture and cheese.

Cover with foil, and bake in preheated oven for about 40 minutes. Cut into wedges, and serve with salsa and sour cream.

OK my lads & lasses… its time for me to get off this computer and go get started on the clean-a-thon before I lose my spunk! I had fun today and hope you come back tomorrow to see what’s in store! Until then… HUGS!

3 comments:

  1. Debbie "MOM"June 9, 2010 at 8:45 AM

    Well, according to the article in your blog today, I have been GREEN for years. YAY for me! I do almost all of those suggestions and many more. Since hubby and me had to rebuild our house, we also thought ahead and did alot of the building with green or energy efficient products. My electric bill is now about fifty per cent cheaper than it used to be and we are using gas appliances so we save that way too. The insulation we put in is amazing. I have been having to turn up my thermostat because I have been feeling cold at the temperature we used to set it on. Imagine that! Turning your thermostat warmer in the summer time. Its GREAT!!! We used bamboo for the flooring because I wanted to be enviromentally friendly and let me tell you...I love how it turned out. And its great to think that I am helping the enviroment. I once watched an episode of "This Old House" with the hubby and saw a house that they built that was "Certified Green". Oh how I would love to work toward my house being certified green. Its one of the things on my bucket list.
    Vegan taco and tortilla pie....been there done those! Raising a family on one income made me have to be real inventive and BEANS, PEANUT BUTTER, and EGGS become big meal makers. Beans are actually very versatile, a good source of fiber and very nutritious so I would suggest eating them often. You can also do alot of different things with eggs, and they can be used at each and every meal. And dont believe that eggs are bad for you. The so called informed scientific community come out with a different warning for all kinds of foods every other day. Foods can all be bad for you if you eat to much of them. But most of us know limitations and are smart enough to know when to push away from the table and say "Enough, I'm full." So as the article said, eat meals at home. I agree completely. Sure eating out is fun once in a while but I usually find myself saying "Mine taste better then this!"
    Have a good day, eat a good meal and til next time.....

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  2. I so totally love that cat! Great Blog today! Thanks!

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  3. Ken "The Lurker Dad"June 9, 2010 at 3:31 PM

    The only problem I have with your mom's cooking is I just can't seem to "push away" soon enough! LOL!

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