Friday, January 29, 2010
I love the Super Bowl. Maybe it's because I have three sons, or maybe it's because I have such cherished memories of watching the Super Bowl with my husband when we were dating (back when the Giants were the team to watch!).
Now, as a Green Mom, I'm still enjoying the Super Bowl but with a eco-twist. I put together some ideas for you to enjoy your get together this year, guilt-free-and-earth-friendly!
When Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints square off with Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts next Sunday, February 7, 2010, you want to have your party packed with good friends, good food and plenty of taking-care-of-the-planet food and drink. When I define something as green, it goes like this: locally made/produced/manufactured=less travel time, hence kinder on the environment, organic or made without harmful preservative, chemicals, pesticides or dyes and recycle-able or biodegradable. Now, there are other options, but for today, that's what we're going to stick with.
Here are some of my suggestions:
Tip #1: MIND YOUR PAPERWARES
-Send out electronic invites or emails; about 1/3 of all household waste is paper-cut back on invites and save some trees
-Using sustainable serving wares is a great way to make your party green and still convenient and functional. In other words, you want the convenience of using disposables, but you don’t want to create a ton of waste. Chicago-based Solo Cup recently rolled out a line of plates, bowls and containers called Bare by Solo, which are made from compostable, renewable, or recyclable materials. The square plates, for example, are made from renewable sugarcane, and the clear cups are made with 20% post-consumer recycled plastic and are recyclable themselves.
-Don’t buy decorations you’ll use once and throw away, instead display your husband’s jerseys, team shirts, hats, footballs and any sports paraphernalia you have hanging around the house. It sets the mood for football with zero waste!
Tip #2: BUY LOCAL
-No Super Bowl party is complete without tasty beverages, including beer! So why not buy local brands? Buying local in kinder to Mother Earth, as the products don’t have to ship across country just to make it to your Super Bowl bash.
Goose Island beer is not only brewed locally, but also it is a brand that promotes a sustainable lifestyle and has sustainable practices. All of its brewing facilities use renewable energy and the majority of its packaging is from local vendors who use recycled materials too.
Going along with the buy local theme, Wild Blossom is Chicago's first winery and Illinois’ only meadery on the Northern Illinois Wine Trail. The company uses local honey (produced from local honey bees that collect nectar from the prairies of Illinois and the sand dunes of Lake Michigan) and fruits. They also do tours of their winery. Very cool! Wine tastes delicious too.
Tip #3: GO GREEN – AND HEALTHY – WITH YOUR FOOD SPREAD
A Super Bowl party can be fun – and healthy too! Here are some regional food companies that can help make your party more eco-friendly… and healthier too!
-Amylu’s Chicken Sausage Chili – Below I posted a recipe using Amylu’s chicken sausage. I simply love this brand (which is found at Whole Foods Market) because it is made from skinless, all natural chicken. It’s fresh, never frozen, adding a healthy spin for your party.
-Chef Earl’s Dips: These fantastic dips are found locally at local Whole Foods Market stores and are healthier dip options vs. your traditional ranch and sour cream based dips. The fresh ingredients used in the dips are all locally grown/made (no artificial ingredients). All natural and smooth unlike factory made hummuses. She will be showcasing both the Jardinière Hummus (pronounced Jar-din-air) hummus made with spicy Jardinière and made with freshly cooked garbanzo beans (garbanzo bean consumption in the US increased by 19% in 2009). You should also try the Cucumber Dill Hummus (made with fresh cucumbers and dill). A fresh departure from your everyday bland dips. Great with veggie plates, pita bread or even chips!
-Jamie’s Flour Tortilla Chips are a little gem that I discovered at the Food Stuffs store in Glenview. There are no preservatives or trans fats and the chips are handmade by Jamie herself here in Chicago and are a great addition to your green Super Bowl party. It has been said that Jamie’s chips are so addicting, you’ll eat the whole bag…have a taste and you can see for yourself.
Tip #4: GREEN YOUR CLEAN UP
Clean up without a lot of excess waste – here are some easy tips:
-If you used plastic utensils, you can hand wash them or even run them in your dishwasher. No need to throw them away. Better yet, just use regular silverware. Easier to clean up than plates and you do a small part to be a little greener.
-If you ordered pizza like most party-goers, did you know you can recycle the pizza box? Just tear off the greasy part and recycle the rest.
-Make sure you recycle or compost your paper plates and cups if possible. Throw away as little as possible.
-Remember to use recycled paper towels and napkins and biodegradable trash bags to keep your party green through and through.
Sausages by Amylu Chicken Sausage Chili
4 links Sausages by Amylu Gourmet Andouille Chicken Sausage
1 Tbsp. Olive oil
1 large Onion, chopped (frozen diced works great, too!)
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 Jalapeño pepper, finely chopped
4 oz. Mushrooms, quartered
2 cans Black beans, drained, rinsed
16-oz. can Chicken broth
14.5-oz. can Diced tomatoes, drained
2 Tbsp. Tomato paste
1 Chipotle pepper, seeded and diced
1/4 cup Cilantro, chopped
1 tsp. Dried oregano
1 tsp. Ground cumin
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. White pepper
2 Green onions, sliced
2 Tbsp. Green or black olives, sliced
2 Tbsp. Cilantro, finely chopped
Shredded Cheddar cheese and/or sour cream
Dice Sausages by Amylu Andouille Chicken sausage into bite size chunks.
Heat oil in a large dutch-oven or pot; sauté onions, garlic, jalapeño; cook 5 minutes.
Add diced Chicken Sausage and mushrooms; cook about 5 minutes (until lightly browned).
Add beans, broth, tomatoes, tomato paste and herbs; heat to a boil.
Reduce heat to low; simmer until vegetables are tender about 10-15 minutes.
Get Your Game On!!
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Being a green mom sometimes has it's challenges. Sure, I could easily slap some lunch meat between two slices of over processed bread with processed cheese and call it a day for my kids' meals, but I am really trying to make a difference in their health and well being. When their friends are constantly getting sick, my kids are continually taking their probiotic and fish oil supplements and staying healthy. I'm no better than any other mom, but I do try to take advice from everyone I can (who makes sense and has experience in the area of interest) and realize that I don't know it all and there's always room for improvement.
Sometimes it can get tricky feeding my sons healthy food, without them complaining that it tastes, "healthy". Years ago, I came across a brand of poultry, gluten-free products that taste amazing!Sausages by Amylu are a line of intensely flavored, lean and nutritious gourmet chicken sausages. High in protein, low in fat and carbs, they make delicious entrees. I sometimes use as them as ingredients to enhance appetizers, salads, soups or pastas.
What I love about the variety of Sausages by Amylu is that they are conveniently fully-cooked, making them quick and easy to prepare. Because they are GLUTEN-FREE, 100% ALL-NATURAL, made with 100% FRESH, boneless, skinless chicken breast and thigh meat, I know my kids will scarf them down without a "food fight". As a Green Mom, I'm glad that that there are no nitrates, preservatives, added MSG or anything artificial in the any of their products.
My favorite mid-day mom snack: Amylu's Apple & Maple Chicken Sausage sliced lengthwise and heated up (for a fast healthy snack) in the toaster oven, served with a small slice of local Wisconsin cheddar cheese and sliced apples! Power mom lunch including, protein, healthy fat and a touch of sweetness and salt.
A little bit about the founder of Amylu sausages:
Owner and CEO, Amylu Kurzawski is no stranger to the sausage business. Established in 1924 as Leon’s Sausage Company by her grandfather Leon Tiahnybik, ATK Foods is a third-generation family-owned and operated food products company. In 1922, Slotkowski Sausage, famous in Chicago for its history of producing high quality sausage products in the old-world tradition, was added to the company’s portfolio of brands. After two years of R&D, Sausages by Amylu gourmet all-natural chicken sausages was launched in 1994 offering consumers delicious on-trend flavors and healthy alternative to pork/beef sausages. “We try to keep us with the latest food and lifestyle trends – and apply them to our products”, says Amylu. “That’s why my sausages are flavorful, lean, convenient and versatile – exactly what today’s consumers are looking for in sausage products.”
I'd love to meet Amylu sometime and thank her!
For you Chicagoland moms, you can find Sausages by Amylu at Jewel-Osco, Whole Foods, Dominick’s, Treasure Island, Sunset Foods, Grand Food Centers, Olivia’s Market and Peapod.
To find out more, find locations near you or to SHOP ONLINE click here.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
I know, you're busy, so am I, but are you taking the time to protect the planet? Did you know every small step you make towards reducing, reusing and recycling really adds up? The other day, I found my son's used plastic water bottle in the regular trash--I went crazy! "WHAT is THIS doing in the trash? Innocently, my son said, "I thought that was the recycled trash" Sure, I thought-hmmm. "OK, just rinse it out and put it in the right container." Now, why is it that I get so upset about this? Well, for one, it is SO easy to recycle and two, it IS SO EASY to recycle.
Here's the skinny, you put your #5 plastic recycle-ables into the blue bin (or in our house, it's a blue bag taken to our building's big recycle center), and the cycle begins. Companies like Preserve Products (Made in the USA, mind you)then take the recycled "stuff" and make some pretty snappy products that you can use, over and over again. Check out this video clip to find out more, then, hop on over to PreserveProducts.com and become a pro!
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
With much resistance, I took down my holiday decorations this weekend; and with new resolve I decided to make my list of resolutions. It's quite a list, as always, but usually by mid June or July, I seem to notch most of them off of my list. I'm hoping this year is the same.
I have a lot of energy and I'm always looking for the next learning adventure. I don't claim to know it all, but I'm always willing to listen and learn and become a better person. I do feel a ubiquitous "green" movement in the air. It's no secret that "green" is the new black but will this trend continue throughout the year, decade and century? I sure hope so.
With your support and open mind to all that is green, together we can make the small steps toward a more sustainable planet. Let's resolve to use less, recycle more and reuse what we can. That's all that's asked of you. Then, once that becomes a walk in the park, do more. Read all that you can on the subject and then pay it forward.
For the next few months I will be working on my book about living a healthy, happy green life and I will be starting up my radio show again in February--and yes, these are on my list of to-dos. I will keep you informed of all the updates and happenings as they develop. Thank you for reading my blog and I invite you to come back soon.
Here is a link to my most recent TV appearance in Orlando on the Daily Buzz morning show. I have to tell you, the hosts were such a ball! So much so that right before we went on air, they told some really silly jokes, making me laugh--very hard. So, when you see me chuckling in the clip, you'll know why! We all need more laughter in our lives, so why not on national television!