Kilimanjaro Feature

I’m Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro & I Need Your Help!

UPDATE:  For a few reasons (all good) our climb has been postponed to October.  October is Kilimanjaro’s driest month (April is the rainiest) so I’m pretty happy for the move.  I think our film crew will be happy as well.  And now there is more time to fundraise for the critically endangered eastern black rhino.  (Details for donations are below in the original post.)

I am also super excited that Patagonia has signed on to be our official gear sponsor.  I am a huge Patagonia fan so I am thrilled about this.  Not only will I have the best gear around to help me on this climb but I’ll have the most eco-friendly gear as well.  Thank you to Patagonia!

Original Post: I am beyond excited to announce that I am climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in April with a group of the coolest green girls around for the non-profit Climb for Conservation. Climb for Conservation raises awareness and funds for land, water & wildlife conservation. The leader of our pack and founder of Climb for Conservation, Ginna Kelly, is a wicked smart attorney AND model that has a passion for conservation that truly inspires.

Ginna has organized a group of eco-conscious, highly-visible women who truly believe in conservation, to make the trek up and down Kilimanjaro, the tallest free-standing mountain in the world.  Oh, and did I mention that Mariel Hemingway is joining us for the climb! (Yes, granddaughter of Ernest Hemingway, health guru, & ocsar-nominated Mariel Hemingway) How crazy awesome is that?  Want more?  Lelani Munter, that gorgeous tree-hugging race car driver will be climbing with us too. The April Kilimanjaro climb is the organization’s kick-off climb and I am beyond honored to be a part of it.

So why would we climb a mountain to raise awareness?  Because people will take note.  We aren’t some smelly boys conquering a mountain.  We are green girls on a mission and we have a message. Outside Television has already committed to airing several segments of our climb that will be documented every step of the way.

We climb because:

  • Human activities and climate-related change could drive one-half of all species to extinction between now and 2100.
  • Kilimanjaro is home to a glacier that has been rapidly retreating over the last 30 years.  At the current rate, Kilimanjaro is expected to become ice free some time between 2022 – 2033.

    Kilimanjaro's summit in Feb 1993 (left) and 2000 (right).

  • Tanzania is home to the highly endangered Eastern Black Rhino.  You might remember that the Western Black Rhino was declared extinct just 3 months ago due to poaching.  Our Kilimanjaro climb will directly benefit the Mkomazi Rhino Sanctuary, the largest sanctuary for the remaining Eastern Black Rhino.

    The critically endangered Eastern Black Rhino is poached for its horn which is used in Chinese medicine.

I need your help making this climb a success.  I am fundraising to ensure there is money to be donated to the Rhino Sanctuary and am hoping to find some personal donations to help cover costs as well.  Donations are tax deductible and come with a serious dose of good Karma.  If you would like to help support our efforts and the Mkomazi Rhino Sanctuary, please make a donation here.  I am committed to raising a certain amount of money so please email either myself (vanessa@thegreengirlnextdoor.com) or Ginna (ginna@climbforconservation.org) and let us know that  you are donating in my name.  (If you would like to personally sponser me, please send me an email.) I know times are hard right now and I am grateful for any amount that you may be able to give.  And if you have a company that would be interested in donating or sponsoring, please let me know.

Thank you!!!!!!

Vanessa

 

Thai peanut feature

Super Easy Thai Peanut Sauce

I absolutely love Thai peanut sauce.  But most recipes load up on sugar and require that you actually cook the sauce.  Who has the time?!  I came up with this soy & gluten free peanut sauce when I needed a good dip for spring rolls but I use it on stir fry too.  This is a great sauce to whip up and have on hand in the fridge for the week.  One day its a dip for your veggie wrap, the next its smothered over your veggies and rice.  You can even add this to some massaged kale.  The easy meal options are endless.

Ingredients (makes approx. 2 cups):

2/3 cup peanut butter (or almond butter for you anti-peanut people.)
2 cloves garlic
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
4 Tb lime juice
fresh grated ginger – to taste. (I probably used about 1 1/2 tb)
2/3 cup water
4 Tb tamari (or soy sauce for the non-gluten sensitive.)

I toss everything into a tall glass measuring cup and use my immersion blender to blend until smooth. A blender works great too. That’s it!

Need some meal ideas?

If you have 45 minutes for a meal, cook up some brown rice and stir fry up a bunch of veggies. Last night I used onion, zucchini, kale, red pepper and broccoli. I used a touch of coconut oil and tossed the onions in on medium heat until the onions started to soften. I then added everything else, covered the pan and cooked about 5 – 10 minutes until veggies were tender. No need to season the veggies since you’ll be adding the peanut sauce. But if you are inclined, you can add minced ginger, garlic, tamari, ?. In a separate skilled I cooked up some cubed tofu (not for the soy sensitive!) with a little bit of ginger and tamari just until browned. When the veggies are tender and the rice is done, pile it into your bowl, drizzle with the peanut sauce and top with tofu and fresh chopped cilantro. YUM!

My dinner last night. Under that layer of yummy peanut sauce is brown rice, broccoli, zucchini, kale, red pepper and onion. Cilanro & tofu make a perfect topping.

Only 20 minutes for a meal? You can cook up some quinoa or use frozen brown rice. You can still stir fry your veggies, or you can steam them.  Or wash and chop an entire bunch (or 2!) of kale. Massage it with a little bit of salt and garlic powder or with just lime or lemon juice.  When it looks all wilty, pour the peanut sauce on. It’s a match made in heaven. You can top it with chopped peanuts or even peppers for crunch.

Only 10 minutes for a meal? Grab a tortilla and start filling it with tons of chopped veggies. Greens and peppers are my favorite. Search your fridge for leftover tofu, tempeh, rice, quinoa or anything else that sounds yummy in a wrap. Drizzle some sauce on and roll it up. Lunch is served.

Annatarian heart feature

Eco-Friendly & Vegan Valentine’s Day Gifts

Most of you know I’m not very big on shopping.  My idea of a great Valentine’s Day would simply be time with your sweetheart.  Be it a picnic at a gorgeous park, a gourmet homemade meal, or hours set aside for one on one time (no cell phones allowed).  But lets face it, sometimes gifts can be fun. If you are more inclined to break out the wallet and do some shopping, I’m here to help you shop sustainably.  Here are a few of my favorite Valentine’s Day gifts.

Show your lady some love with a recycled silver heart necklace by Annatarian.  $51 dollars on Etsy.

 

If your gal is cold as often as I am, give her some warmth and style with Neuaura’s Ugg style boots.  All the warmth with none of the cruelty.  $165 at Neuaura.com

 

Reveal makes the most beautiful eco-freindly purses & iPad holders.  This gorgeous clutch is made of recycled stain but is miles from being crunchy.  This is about as classy as you can get.  $78 dollars at revealshop.com

Is your girl (or guy) a total yogi?  Make sure she has a healthy yoga mat for all that deep breathing.  100% natural rubber mat, $69.95 at JadeYoga.com

You can still be traditional and go with a bouquet of flowers.  Just make sure they’re organic.  (Nothing kills romance like pesticides & poor labor conditions.)  $35 and up at OrganicBouquet.com

 

Chocolate is always a good idea.  You just can’t go wrong with organic and fair trade treats from Allison’s Gourmet.  $12 and up at Allison’s Gourmet.

 

Need something for your guy?

Reveal has you covered.  Check out their iPad holder & stand.  On sale now for $78 on revealshop.com

Reveal also has these stylish bamboo DJ headphones.  $108 at revealshop.com

 

No man should be without a stainless steel bottle.  This one by Kleen Kanteen is not only the coolest looking, but it’s the only 100% plastic free bottle. $32.95 at Kleen Kanteen.

Sprout watches are literally sprouting up everywhere, from Target to Nordstrom.  I love this one with a bamboo dial and a rusty orange organic cotton strap. $30 at Nordstrom.

If you don’t have time to deal with on-line ordering and shipping, just head to your local health food store.  Grab some organic & fair trade chocolate, berries, & wine and make it a cozy night in.  After all, this day is all about the person you love.  xoxo.

 

FAQ1 feature pic

FAQ: Where Should I Start First (when going green)?

The question I probably get asked most often is, “What should I change first?”. Greening our lives and learning to live more sustainably is a process and the answer to this question is really to start wherever you can. The important thing is that you start. I know that is the annoying answer that no one wants to hear. Fortunately for you I’m more opinionated than that and will gladly give my suggestions to those looking for a bit more guidance.

My general rule is to use what you’ve got before you replace it, unless you eat it, inhale it or rub it on.  And when its time to shop, shop used.

1. Eat sustainably. There are a few reasons why greening our diets is a great place to start. Think about how many times a day you eat or drink something. That is how many times a day you can make a green choice. The less processed and more plant-based your diet is, the lower the carbon footprint. If you’ve never tried a plant-based diet, start with Meatless Mondays. Organic is not only better for the planet but it is also better for your health. Local is ideal but not practical for many. However, you can still eat seasonally which tends to localize your diet a bit more. Don’t buy those tart strawberries from south of the boarder during the winter, choose to buy oranges that are in their peak and taste best this time of year.

Remember, if the number on your produce sticker starts with a 9, then it's organic.

2. If you can smell it, green it. We are faced with toxins everywhere we look, from car exhaust to cigarette smoke. Why would you inhale more toxins in your home when there are better options. Most mainstream cleaning products and beauty products happen to be pretty nasty to inhale. So start the process of replacing those items. There are two ways to do this. Either round up all of your cleaning products & perfumes, take them to the toxic waste disposal site in your city and start clean & green or just replace them one at a time. Of course I would tell you to never inhale your Clorox again but if you just can’t throw out something you’ve spent money on, then just make sure you replace it with a green cleaner when you run out.  For tips on finding clean & green products check out my video.

Biokleen is just one of the many eco-friendly products you can find in stores or at a discount on Vitacost.com

Beauty products tend to be expensive but you can start the replacement process now. If your favorite perfume is a synthetic concoction, start looking for a more natural scent that you like. If your shampoo & lotion is full of sodium laurel sulfates, parabens & fragrance, start trying the natural alternatives so you can find the ones that work for you. And remember, it probably took you a while to find your favorite conditioner, so give it time to find your favorite natural alternative. Vitacost is the best place to buy natural products at a huge discount. Plus the user reviews are perfect for finding beauty products that suit your needs (ie. oily hair, dry skin, etc).

3. If it goes on your skin, green it! This one merges with number 2 since we are talking about beauty products again.  But seriously, this is important.  We forget that our skin is an organ.  Would you rub toxic scented lotion onto your liver?  No!  So why rub it onto your skin.  The Environmental Working Group (EWG) reports that “80 percent of all products may be contaminated with one or more of the two dozen recognized cosmetic impurities that are linked to cancer and other health concerns.”  How can this be?  The FDA does not require safety testing for cosmetics.  You are on your own here, and considering the amount of products we use every day, you want to be smart about this.  You want to avoid parabens, fragrance, dyes, phthalates & Diethanolamine (DEA).  You can look up your products on EWG’s cosmetics database.  They rank products 0-10 based on their ingredients.  0 being the lest toxic and 10 being a toxic dump.  You can also use the site to find the best products to use.

EWG's costmetics database will tell you just how clean or toxic your products are.

4. Stop Shopping! I’ve written about this before (read it here), but this is a big one.  We shop for fun and out of habit.  Quit it!  If you need something or really can’t kick that shopping habit completely, hit the thrift stores or Craigslist.   Every new item, even if it’s a “green” item, took resources to make.  Chances are you can find what you are looking for used.  Give it a try, it’s liberating!

Thre are so many areas we can green up but these would be my top places to start. When it comes to furniture, cars & remodeling, its almost always greener to stick with what you have.  Use what you’ve got before you replace it, unless you eat it, inhale it, or rub it on.  And when its time to shop, shop used.  Remember we vote with our dollars, so choose to support companies or practices that are in line with your beliefs.

yogaglo

I Found my Bliss at YogaGlo

One of the hardest parts about moving to Las Vegas was leaving my yoga studio. Let me tell all my Los Angeles friends now, you are spoiled with the amount of yoga studios around. Where I lived in Santa Monica I had 4 yoga studios within a half mile from me! Needless to say, I never once drove to yoga class.
As soon as I found out I was moving to Vegas, I began my search for a yoga studio near me that suited my style. After 6 weeks of searching and no yoga I was feeling mentally deflated and totally out of shape. The studios here are either too far away, don’t offer classes in the morning, or they only offer “hot” classes (not for me!). As I contemplated how to break my lease just so I could move back to my old yoga studio, I stumbled upon YogaGlo.
YogaGlo is a website that offers over 1,000 yoga classes filmed at their Santa Monica studio. New videos are posted every week and they have every style from Vinyasa to Cross Training and even meditation. Monthly access to the website is just $18 a month. In the 2 months I’ve been a member I’ve loved every single class but haven’t repeated a single one since there are so many to choose from.

Reasons why I’m kinda obsessed with YogaGlo:
1. It’s totally green. No driving involved!
2. I can take a class any time of day.
3. Walking into the living room to do yoga saves me so much time. No getting to class early to find a place, no commute, no time spent looking presentable (come on, we all do it!).
4. There are classes specific to the IT band (where my tendonitis is), post running specific classes (perfect after my trail runs), and pre-sleep classes that are heavenly. Anything I want, they got!
5. Some classes have music but for those that don’t I can play my Pandora yoga mix.
6. These don’t look like cheesy yoga videos. This are filmed in studio, and I seriously feel like I’m in the class. I even om along.
7. I control the temperature. No more fighting with other yogis over the windows or thermostats.
8. $18 dollars!! I’m saving about $100 bucks a month. Woohoo!
9. Anyone that does yoga knows that it’s not just physical but very mental. Yoga can literally be like therapy. In all honesty, moving from Santa Monica to Las Vegas has been tough but once I started YogaGlo I seriously felt lighter, happier and just more balanced.

YogaGlo members near Santa Monica can attend most of the filmed classes for free!

I’ll admit I do miss being in class sometimes.  I loved my teachers and I loved the ladies I did yoga with.  That 15 minutes before class was a nice social break during my day.  And there is no substitute for having your teacher correct your poses and help you evolve as a student. YogaGlo does have very good instruction for beginners with short videos dedicated to all the possible poses. But I’m not sure if I would be confident in my poses and my alignment if it weren’t for hands-on correction. If you are brand new to yoga, I would recommend you still make some studio classes.  But anyone can benefit from a site like YogaGlo.  And when a whole month costs less than your average yoga class, what have you got to lose?

I know this is one of those posts that sounds like an ad. So let me say that I have no relation to YogaGlo & have never been in contact with them. But I love them and I wanted to share. Namaste.

toothbrush

Ready to Talk Eco Toothbrushes?

Talking toothbrush may not seem so important, but its the little eco things we do that all add up.  And it turns out toothbrushes aren’t so insignificant. According to a 1999 report from the White House task force on recycling, toothbrushes represent more than 100 million pounds of plastic waste each year! So when eco change is super easy to do and will probably save you money, why not talk toothbrush!

Here is a summary of the video:

There are 2 great options that are pretty accessible when it comes to greening your toothbrush.

The first is a recycled plastic toothbrush by Preserve.  Not only are these made of recycled plastic but you can mail them back in (at no charge to you) to be recycled again.  Preserve recently redesigned their packaging so that you buy it in the prepaid envelope.  Just save the plastic envelope it’s packaged in and in a few months when you are done with your toothbrush, just put it back in the envelope, tape it shut and drop it in the mail.  Easy Peasy!  Preserve toothbrushes are $3 bucks at Trader Joe’s.  They can also be found at Whole Foods and other stores.  Check the website for a store near you.

The recycled plastic toothbrush by Preserve

The second option I love is by Eco-Dent.  This tooth brush is not made of recycled plastic but what you get is a toothbrush handle that has replaceable heads.  So each time you swap out a toothbrush head, you are throwing away very little.  You can get an Eco-Dent toothbrush that comes with an extra replaceable brush head for $4 bucks on Vitacost.  With a pack of 3 replacement heads for just $3.50, this brush comes out to just over a buck a head!  I’d be willing to bet that is way less than what you spend on your current toothbrush.

Eco-Dent's replaceable head toothbrush.

Alright, no excuses!  Next time you need to buy a toothbrush you know what to do.

Happy Brushing!

feature 2

Pumpkin Pie (gluten-free & date-sweetened)

This is a recipe I am really excited about.  Todd and I LOVE our pumpkin pie and last season I began experimenting with date sweetened versions.  They always tasted great but never came out quite right; they never really got firm.  This year, I decided to start with the pumpkin pie recipe in The Joy Of Vegan Baking and just alter it.  Eureka!

I made this pie for Thanksgiving and won everyone over with just one bite.  I was nervous serving a dish I hadn’t tried before but I was being told that this was the best pumpkin pie anyone had ever had.  Phew & Woohoo!

Gluten-free & date-sweetened Pumpkin Pie recipe:

12oz silken firm tofu.  (This is the tofu you find in a small tetrapak in the baking isle, not in the refrigerated section.)

2 cups pumpkin/squash puree

1 to 1 1/2 cup firmly packed medjool dates (this just depends on how sweet your dates are and how sweet you like your pie!.  Start with 1 cup and then add slowly until you reach the desired sweetness.)

1/4 cup arrowroot powder (I’m generous with the 1/4 cup so that the pie firms)

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp ginger

1/4 tsp cloves

1/4 cup pecan halves (optional)

 

Crust:

¾ cup pecans

¾ cup walnuts

¾ cup quick cooking oats

½ tsp cinnamon

Pinch of salt

½ cup – 3/4 chopped medjool dates

Directions:

Kabochas may be green, but their sweet orange flesh makes for a mean pie.

Pumpkin: I think the key to making a pumpkin pie sing is to not use canned pumpkin. You can use the sugar pie pumpkins that are sold this time of year but any sweet,orange squash will be better than anything called a pumpkin.  I love using kabocha or butternut.  Mixing those two are heavenly.  Just see what squashes look good at the store.  You want a sweet squash that isn’t stringy or fibrous.

To bake your squash: Set the oven to 400.  Wash your squash and dry it.  Poke a few holes in your squash (or stab a couple of times with a thin knife) and completely wrap the squash in foil.  This allows the pumpkin to steam itself without losing any flavor or moisture.  Place the whole squash on a baking sheet and place in the oven and bake for 60 – 90 minutes.  When you can insert a knife into the squash without any resistance, it’s ready to be turned into pie.

Remove the foil from your squash and slice the squash open.  Be careful of the steam you are about to release!  Remove the seeds.  Scoop the squash out and place in blender or food processor.  I puree all the squash and freeze what I don’t use for future pies or soups.  By the way, there are tons of nutrients in the skin of the squash.  If you squash has orange skin you can puree the skin with the “meat” in a vitamix.  If your blender can’t handle squash skin, or you have green skin from a kobacha, don’t add it.  Skin bits & green pies aren’t very appealing.

Pulse the nuts & oats until you get a medium ground.

Crust: Grease a 9 inch pie dish.  In a food processor  pulse the nuts and oats until it becomes a medium ground.  Add the cinnamon, salt and the medjool dates until it is sticky enough that you can form a ball with it.  The amount of dates can really vary.  You can start adding them slowly until your mixture is moist enough.  (By the way, you can make your own Lara Bars this way.)  Once you have a well mixed ball of crust, press the pie mixture firmly into the pie dish.  If you use a metal or glass pie dish, there is no need to pre-bake the crust.  If using a ceramic dish you can bake at 350 for 10 minutes.

Press the crust mix into the pie pan. It should be sticky enough to hold its shape.

Now you are ready for the pie filling.

In the blender or food processor, blend the 2 cups of your pumpkin with the tofu, dates, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, ginger and cloves until the mixture is completely smooth & creamy and then blend in the arrowroot powder.  (If you don’t have a vitamix, soaking or even boiling your dates first can help them blend.) Pour the filling into your pie crust and smooth the top.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the outermost inch of the pie filling is set.  Don’t worry if the center is still soft; it continues to firm up as the pie cools.

Gluten-free & sugar free pumpkin pie perfection!

Transfer the pie to a wire rack.  Optional: press toasted pecan halves into the filling in a nice design.  Cool to room temperature and then chill until set, 1 to 2 hours.

I attempted to make a date-sweetened whipped cream to go with my pie.  I ended up with something denser than whipped cream but with its own sweet custardy feel that paired very will with the pie.  I soaked 1 cup of cashews for a few hours.  I then drained the cashews, threw them in the Vitamix with just enough water to cover them and blended until completely smooth.  Next I added a dash of vanilla & some medjool dates, adding the dates slowly until it was sweet enough.  I honestly don’t know how many dates I added.  Just go by taste.  This custardy treat was great on its own too!

Happy Holidays!

 

 

Reveal feature

Eco-friendly Handbags to Fall in Love With

The other day I was killing time with friends at the Hilton Hotel in Las Vegas.  We wandered into the gift shop to see what sort of cheezy Vegas memorabilia we could giggle at.  Among the Vegas rhinestone T’s, and Elvis mugs I was shocked to find some eco-friendly products.  Laser cut wood earring, a line of vegan & natural beauty products and the most beautiful eco-friendly purses that I’ve never hear of!

As you know, I’m all about buying only what you need and striving to buy only used/vintage/pre-loved items.  But sometimes that just doesn’t happen and I step it up to look for a high quality, eco-friendly version of whatever I’m looking for.  For a couple years I’ve had my eyes peeled for a new purse but nothing got my attention until I discovered Reveal Handbags at the hotel.  The hotel had just a few purses but I came home and looked up the line.  Seriously, this might be true love.  The company is all vegan and is as sustainable as making new items can be.

I know I sound like an ad already but I have no connection to this company and have never even been in contact with the company.  I’m just crazy excited about discovering this line and needed to share.  Check these out!

Have you ever seen a linen purse more beautiful?  I think not.

Or maybe this gorgeous recycled satin hobo?

Satin too fancy?  How about this rock ‘n’ roll hobo:

A recycled suede shoulder bag?  Yes please!

They even have great items for guys.  Like this ipad case made from linen & recycled microsuede.

Of course they also have elegant ipad & kindle purses & folders for the ladies too (in the pic at the very top of the article).  AND for every item purchased, a tree gets planted.  There really isn’t much to feel guilty about here.  The prices are even pretty good with the purses falling between $41 & $188.  Oh, and they have a few other accessory items as well, from bamboo earphones & ipod cases to sunglasses.  I don’t own a Reveal purse yet so I can’t comment on the life of these purses.  But after fondling a few of them in the gift shop I really got the impression that these are quality.  Right now I’m a bit paralyzed by the gorgeous options to choose from.  Seriously, how am I supposed to pick one?

Check out Reveal at www.revealshop.com.  I think these purses would make awesome, guilt-free holiday gifts.  Yay for easy eco-friendly & cruelty free shopping.

 

 

 

 

 

 

farmers market feature pic

Green Girl in Las Vegas Part 1: Sustainable grocery shopping

I have been living in Las Vegas for about 10 days now. It’s amazing how different everything can be just a 4 hour drive from Santa Monica. But I’m learning to navigate this city & to find my green living options. Whether you are new to a city or have lived there your whole life, finding the greener side of your city is the same process. It can take a bit of time and there is always a learning curve, but keep at it and before you know, you become a green expert on your city.
If  you’ve read my blog before you know I love to eat.  So even if my kitchen isn’t unpacked yet, finding my sustainable grocery shopping options is a priority for me.  Plus, I had offered to cater a 50th birthday party with delicious organic vegan food for cheap (see the pics below).  So there was no wasting time!

Mission: sustainable grocery shopping.  Find my “green” grocery store options and check out the local farmer’s market.

Whole Foods does exist in Las Vegas, but Whole Foods is usually not the best option for affordable organic food. Additionally, it seems that about 90% of the the organic produce sold at the Whole Foods stores here is from overseas.  I always choose organic over local if I have to make the choice (see why), but I prefer to find a better option.   We also have Trader Joes which offers great organic prices but offers very little when it comes to sustainability.  Even the produce is packaged!

So I checked out a chain of grocery stores called Sunflower Farmers Markets. This is where the clouds began to part from the skies a bit. Sunflower carries a fairly decent organic produce section that is mostly seasonal and almost all of it was from California! I may not be able to keep my produce under 200 miles like I could in the organic mecca that is Southern California, but I’ll take 400 miles over South America any day. Additionally Sunflower has a small bulk section so I can get my brown rice, quinoa, nutritional yeast, raisins, almonds and more at a bulk price and without the packaging.  Sunflower is also a great place to buy organic boxed cereals, jarred or canned items, vegan frozen meals and all that usually expensive stuff at great prices.  For those guilty pleasure nights of processed vegan food, Sunflower carries Gardein at the lowest prices I’ve seen, along with Daiya vegan cheese and coconut ice cream.  Sunflower has locations all over the southwest and stretch east out to Texas and Oklahoma.  If you don’t have a Sunflower near you, find out what does exist. If you are lucky, you’ll have a Co-op to shop at!  Google “natural foods” and your city.

 

On the menu this week: Potato & kale enchiladas topped with Daiya vegan cheese. (recipe from Veganomicon)

Now, I’m not saying I won’t be shopping at Whole Foods or Trader Joes.  I’ve been to both more than once this week.  But I’ll be doing the majority of shopping at Sunflower, getting a few things (like tempeh) at Trader Joes and then hitting Whole Foods when I need something in particular that isn’t at the other stores.  I love to talk trash about Whole Foods but lets be honest, I’m glad they are there when my recipe calls for marjoram or jicima!

This past weekend I found my local farmer’s market. It sold more craft items than food, but I could get just about everything I needed as as far as organic seasonal produce went.  The farmers were almost all from Caifornia with the exception of an amazing herbalist and her creations (teas, seasonings, etc) that are grown right here in Henderson.  If you are in Vegas, look for Bloomin’ Desert Herb Farm.  There is no website but they do have a FB page.   To find a farmer’s market near you, check out Local Harvest.  Select “Farmer’s Market” and enter your city or zip.  How easy was that?!

 

Fresh organic produce in Las Vegas!

I still want to look into my CSA options but in just a week I think I’ve figured out how best to shop sustainably for my food.  The local farmer’s market & Sunflower with a little bit of Trader Joes and Whole Foods thrown in.  Nothing here is close enough to walk to which is a bummer but I wasn’t expecting that in Las Vegas.  I’ll just have to make sure I shop wisely so I don’t have to drive to the store every day.  And I think the farmer’s market is definitely within biking distance.

 

Vegan style mexican feast.

Oh and the 50th birthday party I cooked for?  It was a south of the boarder themed success.  Enchiladas, salad with mango, avocado & jicama, cuban style black beans, vegan queso, and of course a birthday cake.  The majority of the guests were not vegan and were still loving the food.  Lots of “I could be vegan if someone cooked food like this for me” comments.  Score!

Chocolate cake with organic raspberries for decoration. (Joy of Vegan Baking recipe)

 

The Green Girl Next Door is Moving

Well, its official… I’m moving.  Check out where I’m moving and what I’ve been up to so my move is as eco-friendly as possible.