February 28, 2007

February 2007 Monthly Wrap-Up for Really Natural

necco-conversation-hearts.jpgFebruary's over, and I think there's a reason it's the shortest month. When a broken foot and ice and snow conspired to keep us indoors, we were torn between wanting to roam the world (in an electric car or from our armchair) and wanting to make our own little space in the world a little bit comfier.

With Valentine's Day in the middle of the month and articles aplenty in the mainstream news about "green weddings", we looked at natural and eco-friendly ways to say "I love you," (without necessarily spending a lot of money).

Here's a look at what we covered in February:

Electric Cars

EESUs Make Electric Cars Easier to Own

Green Homes

Bamboo TV Anyone?

Bamboolicious: Fair Trade Bamboo Square Tray

RabbitAir BioGP Air Purifier - Part 2

Don't Be SAD: Apollo Health GoLite P1 Blue Spectrum Light Therapy Device


Green News

The Urban Environment Report Ranks Greenest Cities

Treehugger: Vegetarianism is the New Prius

Ed Begley vs. Bill Nye the Science Guy

Organic Food News, Product Reviews and Recipes

Treehugger: Vegetarianism is the New Prius

O'Cocos Baked Chocolate Crisps

Product Review: Crispy Pineapples from Crispy Green

Organic Hot Chocolate with Marshmallows

Taza Chocolate and Tiny Trapeze Marshmallows

Recipe: Mini Molten Chocolate Cakes

Organic Valentine's Menu

Saying "I Love You": Green Weddings and Eco-Friendly Valentine's Day Celebrations

Organic Weddings: Balancing Ecology, Style and Tradition

TerraPass: Make Your Airline Flight "Fuel Efficient"

Be Mine: Order Organic Flowers Online

Organic Wedding Flowers

Green Weddings II: Bride's Magazine February-March 2007 Issue

NYTimes on Green Weddings

Valentine's Day Cookies from Dancing Deer

Organic Valentine's Menu

Baby

Until Kara Organic Cotton Baby Blankets and Burp Cloths

Health

Bach's Rescue Remedy

Travel

TerraPass: Make Your Airline Flight "Fuel Efficient"

Sustainable Gifts

Nest Sale: 50% Off All Fall and Winter Items

Bamboolicious: Fair Trade Bamboo Square Tray

Until Kara Organic Cotton Baby Blankets and Burp Cloths

Books (and other Weekend Reading)

Weekend Reading: National Geographic Magazine

Weekend Reading: The Bloodless Revolution: A Cultural History of Vegetarianism from 1600 to Modern Times

Earth From Above Yann Arthus-Bertrand


Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

February 28, 2007

EESUs Make Electric Cars Easier to Own

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Ever thought about owning an electric car? For anyone who's nixed the idea because of the 5-6 hours it takes to re-charge batteries on long trips, Texas-based company EEStor has some good news.

The company manufactures the EEStor ultra-capacitor (or EESU), a quicker-to-charge, lightweight battery that is faster to charge and easier to use than regular lithium-ion batteries. And unlike lithium-ion batteries, EESUs can be charged and recharged over and over without losing life.

ArrowContinue reading: "EESUs Make Electric Cars Easier to Own"

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

February 27, 2007

Bamboo TV Anyone?

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Looking for a way to make your boob tube habit feel a little more environmentally friendly? How about watching it on a 19" Bamboo LCD TV? According to the product description,
Bamboo LCD TVs combine technology with nature by incorporating the latest innovative technology and adopting bamboo material as a surround. The components on the cover, except for the buttons, are made entirely of bamboo. The electronic components are lead free and comply with CE and EU safety approvals.

Available at Playengine for 289.00 pounds ($483 US dollars). (Thanks Jay and Maya for sending this in!)

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

February 26, 2007

Nest Sale: 50% Off All Fall and Winter Items

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Our friends at Nest - the plucky little company that puts its profits toward micro-loans to help women artists and artisans in developing countries build sustainable businesses - are having a sale: 50% all fall and winter items.

red_nest800_medium.jpgOur choice: this nifty little hostess apron by Carrie Sommer of Sommer Designs.

Several items featured on the site have already sold out, so shop now to get the best selection!

Available at Nest.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

February 26, 2007

The Urban Environment Report Ranks Greenest Cities

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Last Thursday, the Earth Day Network released its Urban Environment Report on the country's greenest cities.

The report ranks 72 American cities in seven areas: air quality, quality of life, parks and recreation, toxics and waste, drinking and surface water, human and public health, and global warming climate change. Fargo, ND, Burlington, VT and Portland, OR top the list; our home city of Boston ranks 23rd -- behind Seattle, though ahead of NYC and San Francisco.

Check out the report to see where your city ranks. (Via Grist.)

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

February 23, 2007

Weekend Reading: National Geographic Magazine

National-Geographic.jpgWe'd planned to spend the next seven days trekking the mountains and soaking up the sunshine on the sandy beaches of Kauai. But we're holed up at home with a broken foot. Our Really Natural reading material of choice? NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC magazine.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, the flagship magazine of the National Geographic Society, chronicles exploration and adventure, as well as changes that impact life on Earth.

ArrowContinue reading: "Weekend Reading: National Geographic Magazine"

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

February 22, 2007

Treehugger: Vegetarianism is the New Prius

veg prius-thumb.jpgHe's not the only one to notice, but Lloyd Alter, writing for Treehugger, says it best, referring to Kathy Freston's article on Alternet about new UN reports on livestock and the environment:

With warnings about global warming reaching feverish levels, many are having second thoughts about all those cars. It seems they should instead be worrying about the chickens.

Read Alter's blurb at Treehugger.

Read Freston's article on Alternet.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

February 21, 2007

Don't Be SAD: Apollo Health GoLite P1 Blue Spectrum Light Therapy Device

B000C1946S.01._AA280_SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpgWinter days got you feeling SAD? If you suffer from seasonal affective disorder, you could benefit from light therapy. Apollo's GoLite P1 Blue Spectrum Light Therapy Device is one of the leading devices on the market, and for good reason.

Product features:

- Light therapy device uses blue spectrum wavelengths
- Effectively treats seasonal affective disorder and other circadian rhythm related mood disorders
- Blue spectrum is the most effective color in treating these disorders
- Lightweight and portable, weighs less than 1 pound, measures 6 inches by 6 inches; fully programmable interface and advanced features
- Equipped with built-in digital timer, automatic shut-down, protective flip cover, long-lasting eye-safe LEDs, and more

The retail price is $250; Amazon is selling it for $172 (30% off).

Buy it at Amazon.

ArrowContinue reading: "Don't Be SAD: Apollo Health GoLite P1 Blue Spectrum Light Therapy Device"

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

February 20, 2007

O'Cocos Baked Chocolate Crisps

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"All Good and No Guilt" proclaims the packaging on O'Coco's baked chocolate crisps. The wafer-thin crisps come in mocha, cinnamon and original, and help satisfy your chocolate craving in a 90 calorie package. Plus, they're all organic.

(Thanks to reader Gail for sending these in!)

Available at O'Coco's.

ArrowContinue reading: "O'Cocos Baked Chocolate Crisps"

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

February 19, 2007

Bamboolicious: Fair Trade Bamboo Square Tray

B000I83XL2.01-A1WI3AL6JH0S1L._AA280_SCLZZZZZZZ_V33984158_.jpg
Serving something delicious? Make it bamboolicious with this square bamboo tray from World of Good. Handcrafted of renewable bamboo and hand-painted by artisans in a fair trade family workshop in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Available at Bamboolicious.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

February 16, 2007

Organic Weddings: Balancing Ecology, Style and Tradition

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Thinking about planning a "green" wedding? You may want to pick up a copy of Michelle Kozin's book Organic Weddings: Balancing Ecology, Style and Tradition.

Kozin, a professional event planner and founder of Organic Weddings, Inc., has written a book for couples interested in creating a wedding that reflects their environmental and social values.

Buy it at Amazon.

ArrowContinue reading: "Organic Weddings: Balancing Ecology, Style and Tradition"

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

February 15, 2007

TerraPass: Make Your Airline Flight "Fuel Efficient"

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Got folks traveling in from out of town for your wedding? Honeymoon taking you to faraway places? Planning a getaway to, well, get away from it all?

The NYTimes article on green weddings notes that many conflicted couples are "offsetting" the global warming impact of their travel plans by purchasing carbon credits from companies like TerraPass, which help finance projects that reduce the emissions of climate-changing gases like planting trees or financing windmills that replace coal-burning plants.

TerraPass's passes are available on the Expedia website; you can also check them out at TerraPass.

ArrowContinue reading: "TerraPass: Make Your Airline Flight "Fuel Efficient""

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

February 14, 2007

Recipe: Mini Molten Chocolate Cakes

molten.JPGHere's a recipe for Mini Molten Chocolate Cakes (from the Wild Oats website):

Prep time: 20 minutes, Serves 4

Mini Molten Chocolate Cakes

1 stick plus 2 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
6 oz good quality bittersweet chocolate (Valrhona or Callebaut are good choices)
2 Large Eggs
2 Large Egg yolks
1/4 cup sucrose or raw sugar
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp organic unbleached flour
4 tbsp strong brewed coffee

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Butter and lightly dust (4) six-ounce ramekins with cocoa powder. Tap out any excess and place ramekins in a baking dish or on a cookie sheet. Melt the butter and bittersweet chocolate in a double boiler. In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs, egg yolks, sugar and salt at medium speed until the mixture thickens and turns a pale yellow. Add a small amount of the chocolate and butter mixture to the eggs and whisk together. Add the rest of the chocolate and mix well. Stir in the flour and the coffee. Spoon the batter into the ramekins, about 2/3 full, and bake for about 11 to 13 minutes or until the sides of the cakes are firm while the centers are still soft. Set each ramekin on a plate and top with a dollop of java whipped cream.

Java Whipped Cream

8 ounces heavy cream
3 tbsp strong brewed coffee
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Pour cream and coffee into a cold bowl. Whip with a mixer until almost stiff. Add sugar and beat until the cream holds peaks.

Find other recipes at Wild Oats Marketplace.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

Organic Valentine's Menu

molten-chocolate-cake.jpgFace it: Nothing says "I love you" like a home-cooked meal. Wild Oats Marketplace knows it, and is offering up three simple Valentine's Day menus featuring organic ingredients.

Menus include a Vegetarian Valentine's Dinner for Two, a Surf and Turf Menu for Two, and a menu for Fondue with Friends.

Check 'em out at Wild Oats Marketplace.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

February 13, 2007

Be Mine: Order Organic Flowers Online

assorted-tulips-hands.jpgOrganic flowers aren't just for weddings. Valentine's Day is another perfect occasion.

These organic tulips from OrganicBouquet.comare a fabulous way to say "I love you...and I care about the planet."

OrganicBouquet.com will ship USDA certified organic flowers overnight to your sweetheart.

Order them online at OrganicBouquet.com.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

Organic Wedding Flowers

Vendela-1dz.jpgOrganic or locally grown wedding flowers are just one way couples are saying "I do...care about the environment."

OrganicBouquet.com has helped established a national market for organic flowers, working with small and large growers to encourage farming and harvesting methods such as organic, biodynamic, green label, and wildcrafted. Each of these practices aims to improve the quality of farm working conditions, minimize damage to ecosystems, conserve biodiversity, and enhance environmental quality for future generations.

Check out their bouquets at OrganicBouquet.com.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

February 12, 2007

Green Weddings II: Bride's Magazine February-March 2007 Issue

015_primary.jpgThinking about a green wedding like the ones described in Sunday's NYTimes? Check out the February-March issues of Brides magazine, which features a planning guide for a green wedding.

According to Brides editor Millie Martini Bratten, interviewed for the NYTimes article,

(O)ver the last five years the interest in green weddings has blossomed from a desire to incorporate a few green elements, like a vegan menu, to making sure the entire celebration won’t contribute to the depletion of natural resources. This may include finding halls that recycle, hiring caterers who use locally grown ingredients, decorating with potted plants that can be transplanted and using soy-based candles, rather than those of petroleum-based wax.

Pick up the latest issue of Brides at your local newstand.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

NYTimes on Green Weddings

11green.2.190.jpgMireya Navarro has an article in the Sunday Styles section of yesterday's New York Times on green weddings. She writes:

People in the wedding business say the eco-friendly or "green" wedding has arrived, its appeal having expanded to spur a mini-industry of stores and Web sites offering couples biodegradable plates made of sugar cane fiber and flowers grown according to sustainable farming practices.

The quality and choice of products has so steadily improved that the green concept is spreading to other kinds of parties, allowing hosts to embrace the earth without sacrificing style, party planners and others say.

Read the whole article.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

February 11, 2007

Valentine's Day Cookies from Dancing Deer

main4.jpgIs your Valentine a sweetheart? A dear? What better way to tell her/him than with Valentine's Day cookies or treats from Dancing Deer?

Order by Monday at 5 p.m. and get free shipping on orders of $40 or more (and guaranteed delivery by Valentine's Day when you use the code VALSHIP07.

Available at Dancing Deer.

ArrowContinue reading: "Valentine's Day Cookies from Dancing Deer"

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

February 9, 2007

Weekend Reading: The Bloodless Revolution: A Cultural History of Vegetarianism from 1600 to Modern Times

0393052206.01._AA240_SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpgSaw an interview in the New York Times Book Review a few weeks back with Tristram Stuart, author of The Bloodless Revolution: A Cultural History of Vegetarianism from 1600 to Modern Times.

Although the term "vegetarian" didn't come into use until the mid 1800's, Stuart traces the history of vegetarian thinking to the 1600's, looking at literary, social and cultural history. At a time when nutritionists and health experts are re-discovering the health benefits of a plant-based diet (see Michael Pollan's article in last week's NYTimes for a terrific discussion of the thinking behind this latest thinking), Stuart's detailed history goes beyond "Meat is Murder" to explore the evolution of scientific and ethical thinking behind the vegetarian movement.

Available at Amazon.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

February 8, 2007

Product Review: Crispy Pineapples from Crispy Green

crispy_pineapples[1]-thumb.JPGFood and Wine magazine named CrispyFruit one of the Top 100 Tastes to Try in 2007.

Well, guess what? We tried it already. In 2006.

Luckily, the folks at Crispy Green, makers of Crispy Fruit, just introduced their newest product, Crispy Pineapples, and sent along some samples for us to try last week. And they're delicious.

Like the original products in the Crispy Fruit line-up -- Crispy Apples, Crispy Peaches and Crispy Apricots -- Crispy Pineapples benefit from Crispy Green's sophisticated freeze-drying process. They're pineapples distilled to their essence - pure pineapple flavor, in a crispy snack form that satisfies your urges for sweet and for crunch. Like their peers, Crispy Pineapples contain less than 40 calories per serving, and all the fiber and nutrients of 1/2 cup of fruit.

With no additives or preservatives, they're a snack you can feel good about. And their convenient snack-size portions -- not to mention their space-age silver packaging -- make them a favorite among kids for lunchboxes and after school snacks.

Available at Crispy Green.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

February 7, 2007

RabbitAir BioGP Air Purifier - Part 2

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Thanks to folks who've written in to vouch for the RabbitAir BioGP Air Purifier (responding to last month's Breathe Easier post).

Mark has this to say about it in his review on Mindful Musings:

After plugging the unit in, I turned it on with the thin remote and set it on full auto. It has a “pollen sensor” and a “smell sensor” and they work in tandem to determine how fast the unit runs. It was interesting to know how polluted the unit thought our house was when we turned it on.

* The unit is very close to silent. Only when it senses something nasty does it get a tad bit louder but the brushless fan is perfect.

* It cleans quickly and automatically. Cooking smells and odors are gone in a few minutes, never longer than a few hours (yet)

* The pollen and smell sensors work, which is quite amazing. Cooking makes it automatically run faster and so does Jennifer’ nail polish smell. When the dogs wag their tails near the pollen/dander sensor, the unit wakes up and starts sending more air through.

Read more about the RabbitAir BioGP Air Purifier.
Buy it for 37% off retail at Amazon.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

February 6, 2007

Organic Hot Chocolate with Marshmallows

Ingredients

0206_best_hot_chocolate_01.jpg1.5 Tablespoons unsweetened organic cocoa powder (we like Velo Rouge from Taza Chocolate, or Dagoba Organic Chocolate
1.5 Tablespoons organic turbinado sugar
1.5 cups of low-fat organic milk
2 Tiny Trapeze organic marshmallows (available at Whole Foods)

Instructions

Combine cocoa powder, sugar and milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir with a whisk until hot (do not boil). Pour into your favorite mug. Add marshmallows. Enjoy.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

Taza Chocolate and Tiny Trapeze Marshmallows

On a cold winter afternoon, nothing beats good, old fashioned hot chocolate with marshmallows. And I don't mean the kind that comes in a packet labeled Swiss Miss.

Lately, we've been warming our bellies (and our hearts) with some locally produced organic cocoa from Taza Chocolate in Somerville and marshmallows from Tiny Trapeze in Hyde Park.

Taza Chocolate owners Alex Whitmore, Lauren Adams and Larry Slotnick source beans directly from farming communities and co-operatives in Mexico and South America to ensure that a fair price is paid for high quality cocoa beans. From there, they bring the beans to our chocolate studio in Somerville, Massachusetts and grind them into delicious chocolate. Buy the beans and grind 'em yourself, or buy them pre-ground in a chocolate drink like Taza's Velo Rouge.

Tiny Trapeze Confections, located in an old mill building in the Hyde Park neighbor of Boston, makes tasty, old world sweets using all natural and organic ingredients. My latest guilty pleasure - and the perfect topping for a mug of cocoa - is one of their Simply Vanilla marshmallows. Pillowy and sweet right out of the package, the marshmallows melt in your mouth. Better still, if you can stand the wait, they melt right into your hot chocolate, creating a smooth sweet marshmallow foam that's pure heaven.

Taza Chocolate's Velo Rouge Chocolate Drink is available at Taza Chocolate. If you live in Massachusetts, visit Taza's open house next Sunday, February 11th from 1-4 at their Windsor Street studio, or stop by their Chocolate Lounge on Thursday nights at Mariposa Bakery in Cambridge.

Tiny Trapeze's Simply Vanilla marshmallows are available at Whole Foods. If you're vegan, don't despair. Tiny Trapeze also makes a vegan marshmallow that is out of this world. (Call your local Whole Foods to see if they carry it.)

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

February 5, 2007

Until Kara Organic Cotton Baby Blankets and Burp Cloths

burpcloth.jpgWhen Michelle Savin's son was sensitive to chemicals and allergens we're exposed to in daily life, she was inspired to create a natural and organic nursery for him. In 2006, she founded a company that would allow her to share her findings with other parents interested in organic living. She named the company Until Kara, after her youngest daughter.

Until Kara makes organic cotton baby blankets, burp cloths and cotton and wool mattresses, as well as simple wooden baby rattles. The products are intentionally minimalist and natural, like the values they are meant to embody.

Available at Until Kara.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

February 4, 2007

Ed Begley vs. Bill Nye the Science Guy

edbegley_HLWED_bioimage_d.jpgGot any post-Super Bowl TV viewing plans? Don' t miss the final episode of "Living with Ed" on HGTV.

In this episode, Ed drops by to visit his environmentally conscious neighbor, none other than Bill Nye the Science Guy! (I LOVE that guy!) Evidently, the two get a little competitive over who lives a greener life.

Also in this episode, Ed and his wife Rachelle head to Sundance for the eponymous film festival.

Living with Ed airs on HGTV at 10 p.m. EST tonight, Sunday, February 4th. It'll re-air on Feb 5th and Feb 17th. Check HGTV for TV listing.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

February 2, 2007

Earth From Above Yann Arthus-Bertrand

EarthfromAbove.jpgLooking for a eco-friendly gift for your Valentine that says "I love you and I love the planet, too"? Check out Earth from Above, a book of photographs from Yann Arthus-Bertrand. Gregory McNamee had this to say about the book in his review on Amazon.

Arthus-Bertrand, working with the support of UNESCO, has wandered the globe to gather this collection of more than 200 photographs, presented in a folio format. The images are uniformly striking, whether of stalagmite-like fans of algae spreading into the Mediterranean Sea, farmers working their fields in northern India, or destroyed Iraqi tanks littering the deserts of Kuwait. The accompanying text, captions, and short essays by some of France's leading scientists and social critics lend specific depth to the images, which will cheer few readers--but that will shock, and educate, and, with luck, inspire closer attention to the world around us.

Jeff Wignall, author of The Joy of Digital Photography adds


Earth from Above
is one of those books that just makes you instantly wonder: How in the world did one man do this? The scope and breadth of the territory covered, the absolute beauty of each and every image and the soulfulness of the subjects is almost impossible to describe.

Available at Earth from Above.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

February 1, 2007

Bach's Rescue Remedy

B0009POTSU.01-A2701FG002WN6Z._AA280_SCLZZZZZZZ_V59575601_.jpgOur friend Julie recently turned us on to Bach's Rescue Remedy, a homeopathic remedy for stress and anxiety. Put 4 drops (or a couple of spritzes) in your mouth, in a glass of water, or even on your wrist, and Bach's flower essence formula will provide courage, stress relief and peace of mind. All natural formula is safe for children, and even pets.

Ingredients: 5 x dilution of flower extracts of Rock Rose, Impatiens, Clematis, Star of Bethlehem, and Cherry Plum in a grape alcohol solution. Free from artificial additives and suitable for vegans

At Bach's Rescue Remedy Stress Relief Spray.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking
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