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Be Nice isn’t just a cool site with organic, original shirts, but Marine and I have also created a Be Nice blog to keep people up to date with what’s going on with the two fresh chics and their biz.

You can get to it from, http://ubenice.com or go directly to the blog at, http://www.ubenice.com/blog/.

A girl can never have too many blogs.

-Cara

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The Last Time I Made Them

The Last Time I Made Them

It been a hot second since I’ve done a recipe and with the Holidays upon us (and today being Thanksgiving), it’s baking time. These Organic Cheesecake Thumbprints are a sweet delicacy. I love them.

What You Need

4 ounces organic cream cheese, make sure it is room temperature

1/2 cup organic sugar

1/4 teaspoon sea salt, plus an additional pinch

2 large, organic, free range egg yolks

1 1/2 teaspoons organic sour cream

1/8 teaspoon pure organic vanilla extract

2 sticks (1 cup) organic unsalted butter at room temperature

2 cups all purpose organic flour (I recommend King Aurthur Flour’s organic all purpose flour)

What To Do

In an electric mixer bowl using the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until it looks light and fluffy, about 3 to 6 minutes, stopping every 30 seconds or so to scrape the sides of the bowl and let the motor rest for a second.

Once light and fluffy add 1/4 cup of sugar and a pinch of sea salt and beat 3 to 5 minutes until smooth.  Add one egg yolk, sour cream, and vanilla; beat until smooth again. Transfer to a small bowl, and refrigerate  for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, with the oven racks in the upper and lower thirds. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper and set them to the side. In the bowl of the electric mixer use the paddle attachment to beat the butter and remaining 1/4 cup of sugar, on medium speed, till everything is good and mixed, for about 1 to 2 minutes I’d say. Don’t forget to scrape down the sides of the bowl now and again. Add the rest of the sea salt (1/4 teaspoon) and egg yolk; beat till mixed. Put the mixer on low and gradually add the flour, mixing until it is just combined.

Take a level tablespoon of the dough and roll into a ball about 30 times or until you are out of dough, placing each on a prepared baking sheet, about an inch apart.  Use your CLEAN thumb and make an indentation in the center of each ball, this is where the magic gets put into each mini cheesecake.

Bake the thumbprints for 10 minutes, then remove them from the oven. Make another indention, rotate the baking sheets, return to the oven. Bake for about 7 to 9 more minutes or until the edges of the cookies turn golden brown. Once done remove from oven and place on a wire rack until completely cooled.

Take a teaspoon and fill the center of each cookie with about one teaspoon of cream cheese filling, in a hill shape. Put the cookies back in the oven, baking them until the filling is firm, about 7 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Put them in an air tight container, layered between wax or parchment paper in the refrigerator for at least four hours before serving and to store any leftovers.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

-Cara

This organic mandarin orange almond salad is a simply delicious salad I love to make.

Watch You Need

1 head of organic green or red leaf lettuce or an organic mesclun mix works

1 can (11 ounces) of organic Mandarin orange segments or the equivalent of fresh organic Mandarin orange segments

1 to 2 ounces of organic toasted almond slivers

What To Do

Toss together in a huge bowl with an organic oil (1 cup), vinegar (1/2 cup) and mustard (2 tablespoons) dressing, or an organic Italian is good.

Try it.

-Cara

This organic vegan chocolate cake is good for you and tastes good. Try it, you’ll like it.

What You Need

1/2 a ripe organic banana

1 pkg. (10.5 oz) organic firm lite silken tofu

1/3 cup organic canola, organic olive or organic sesame oil or a mix of all three

1 1/4 cup H2O

2 1/2 teaspoon organic vanilla

2 tablespoons egg replacer (powder) (Reason 1 this recipe is not organic is I have not been able to fine a dry, organic egg replacer anywhere. If anyone knows about it let me know.)

2 1/2 cup organic pastry flour (for a little denser cake use 2 cups organic pastry flour 1/2 cup organic whole wheat flour)

2 cups organic sugar or organic sucanat

1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/4 teaspoon organic baking powder

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup organic cocoa powder (for extra flavor you may add 1/3 cup carob powder)

What You Do

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Oil and flour pan.

Blend tofu and oil in a processor or blender until smooth. Next, add the banana, water, and vanilla.

Combine remaining cake ingredients in a large bowl. Add to tofu mixture and whip for 8 minutes.

Bake for 35 minutes

If you want a fantastical organic pesto recipe here it is.

What You Need

1 cup organic walnut pieces
2 cups organic cilantro leaves, stems removed
1 organic jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 tsp sea salt, or to taste
1 tbsp Bragg organic raw apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup purified water, or as needed

Here’s What To Do

Grind the walnuts in a food processor until fine. Add the cilantro, pepper, salt, vinegar, and 2 to 3 tablespoons of water and blend. Blend in more water until the pesto is the consistency of a thick sauce. Taste and correct the seasoning, adding more salt if needed. Keep unused pesto refrigerated in a tightly covered container.

It’s good.

-Cara

This faux chicken is so tasty and really simple to make and takes 30 minutes at most to put together.

What You Need

1 10 ounce package frozen organic peas and carrots
1/3 cup organic butter (organic canola oil for a vegan version)
1/3 cup organic flour
1/3 cup chopped organic onion
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 3/4 cup organic vegetable broth
2/3 cup organic milk (organic soy milk for a vegan version)
1 cup cooked favorite organic vegetable, potatoes, green beans or mushrooms
1 1/2 cups organic chicken style seitan

What To Do

Rinse frozen peas and carrots under cold water to separate; drain. Heat butter in 2 quart saucepan over low heat until melted. Stir in flour, onion, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is bubbly; remove from heat. Stir in broth and milk. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Stir in vegetables and seitan.

It’s perfect Autumn food and goes great with my organic biscuits. :]

Enjoy.

-Cara

I don’t really like tomatoes, but this is one way I’ll eat them. It’s a great dressing. :)

What You Need

1 Cup Organic Apple Cider Vinegar (I myself prefer the Certified Bragg Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar)

1 cup organic canola oil (I like Spectrum)

1/4 cup organic honey

1 medium organic tomato, peeled, seeded, minced

2 tablespoons chopped, fresh, organic parsley

2 tablespoons chopped, fresh, organic basil

2 tablespoon organic Dijon mustard

2 cloves minced, organic garlic

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

What To Do

In a mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients and whisk until well blended. Transfer to some covered container and refrigerate for an hour at least. Serve chilled.

I knew I should have bought that tomato today…

Oh well.

-Cara

Veja is a Paris-based company producing shoes in Brazil. I love the look of their shoes. They are fairly traded and organic. These shoes are made from natural latex rubber, vegetable-tanned leather and organic cotton. They use wild rubber trees that are only found in the Amazon, by supporting wild latex production they help prevent deforestation in this region. Veja also supports two cooperatives of small organic cotton producers.

If you’re in NYC, LA or Pittsburgh you can find them in these stores:

– Takashimaya NYC, 693 5th Avenue, New York
– Ekovaruhuset, 123 Ludlow Street, New York
– American Rag, 160 S. La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles
– Equita, 100 43rd st. Suite 114, Ice Factory, Pittsburgh

My favorite are the organic cotton Veja Tauá collection.

That’s all.

-Cara

This is a shout out to Marine. She is into brown sugar everything. Don’t over cook them, unless you like crunchy cookies.  This recipe makes fifty 4-inch cookies. If the cookies harden before you have a chance to remove them from the baking sheet, put the sheet back in the oven for a few seconds to soften the dough for easier removal. They are thinner and crisp.

What You Need

  • 1 pound (4 sticks) organic unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for baking sheets
  • 3 cups packed organic light-brown sugar
  • 1 cup organic granulated sugar
  • 4 organic large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons organic pure vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups organic all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons organic baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups organic chocolate chips

What To Do

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with Silpat baking mats or parchment; set aside. Cream butter until smooth; add sugars, and beat until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Into a large bowl, sift together dry ingredients. Slowly beat dry ingredients into wet mixture. Fold in chocolate chips.
  2. Drop 2 to 3 tablespoons dough per cookie onto prepared baking sheets; space dough at least 2 inches apart to allow for spreading. Bake until golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove cookies from baking sheets, and allow to cool on baking racks.

I want a cookie.

-Cara

Here’s a small, simple tip to save energy. When you come home from grocery store and it’s time to unpack all those groceries and put them away, separate them into piles. There should be a pile for the refrigerator, a pile for the freezer and a pile for the pantry, cabinets, etc. That way you are only opening the doors once and for a short period of time.

Think fast.

-Cara

From The Persnickety Palate

Photo From The Persnickety Palate

I love pie crust more than pie, so here is my favorite organic pie crust recipe. This recipe makes two 8- to 10-inch crusts.

What You Need

1 cup (about 2 sticks) unsalted organic butter, plus more for pie plate
2 1/2 cups organic all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out dough
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon organic sugar

What You Have To Do

  1. Cut each stick of butter into eight pieces, and refrigerate until needed.
  2. Place the flour, salt, and sugar in a large mixing bowl, and mix to combine.
  3. Add the chilled butter. Using a pastry blender, incorporate the butter into the flour mixture; the mixture should resemble coarse meal with small pieces of butter, the size of small peas, remaining visible.
  4. Drizzle 2 tablespoons ice water over the flour-butter mixture, and blend. Repeat with an additional 2 tablespoons water. At this point, you may have to add more water: When a handful of dough squeezed together just holds its shape, you’ve added enough; if the dough crumbles, continue incorporating water, 1 tablespoon at a time, checking the consistency after each additional tablespoon.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface. Divide into two equal pieces, and place on two separate sheets of plastic wrap. Flatten, and form two disks. Wrap, and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
  6. Lightly dust a clean, dry work surface with flour. Place the chilled dough in the center of the work surface, and dust the dough as well as the rolling pin with flour. Position the rolling pin on the center of the disk, and begin rolling the dough away from you. Give the disk a quarter turn, and roll again. Continue turning and rolling until you have an even 1/8-inch thickness. Turning the dough as you roll will prevent it from sticking to the work surface. A dry pastry brush is handy to remove any excess flour during and after the rolling process.
  7. Lightly butter the pie plate. To minimize stretching when moving the dough, roll it around the pin, lift up, and unroll over the buttered pie plate. Using your fingers, gently pat the dough into place. Trim any excess dough with a paring knife or kitchen shears, leaving a 1-inch overhang; then fold dough under to reinforce the edge.

I love pie crust…

-Cara

I like to do a shout-out to my city every once in awhile. Today, I am taking it to a more local level, my neighborhood health food store. Well, it’s not in my neighborhood of Spanish Harlem, but it is the closest, super-freshest health store to me, Food For Health.

I really like this place and the familiar faces that keep the store running. They have coupons on their web site, which I just discovered and love! If you are around 3rd Avenue and 92nd you should stop by. They have reasonable prices, a juice bar and solid products.

Shop local.

-Cara

I have two cats, Zohara Lurlean and Jefferson Brooklyn and I think it is time I start to green up their lives, so here are a few cute green objects of art.

Turtle for Cat has a soft, eco friendly shell created from environmentally friendly fabric made of 85% re-engineered recycled IntelliLoft™ fibers and filled with USDA certified Organic Catnip. Turtle for Cat measures 6 inches, has a sewn-in jingling bell, and is made in Montana, USA for a smaller carbon footprint.

I can only say one thing, these are my cats’ dream lounges by Marmalade. Stop it! Constructed of multiple layers of laminated cardboard and hardboard end-panels, and all natural materials, 35% minimum recycled content. The adhesives used in their products comply with ASTM-D 4236 non-toxic materials for consumer products and made in the USA. Renewable and recyclable materials are used and they are ascetically pleasing…nice.


Last but not least it is Eco-Me cat products. Make your own natural Flea and Bug spray, Litter Freshener and Cat treats (we give you 3 recipes), plus organic catnip and natural pillow. DIY cat stuff is fun. I said it.

Spoiled cats.

-Cara

Photo from, The Well-Seasone Cook's Blog

Photo From The Well-Seasoned Cook's Blog

It is an alternative to mashed potatoes I like. It reminds me of my abuela and growing up in Miami. :)

What You Need

2 organic plantains (green or yellow), peeled and cut in half
1/2 cup organic milk
5 tbsp. organic butter
sea salt and pepper to taste
6 cups of water

What To Do

Place the plantains in a saucepan with the water and cover. Boil on high for 45 minutes or until soft. Once soft, discard the water and mash with electric mixer or by hand after adding the milk, butter, sea salt and pepper.

Good times and food.

-Cara

These cracker are good. I myself cut them in any shape I want to. You can even use cool mini cookie cutters. I love them with anything.

What You Need

3/4 cup organic, unbleached white floor

1/4 cup organic fresh mango purée

1 tablespoon organic canola oil

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon organic coriander powder

What To Do

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a mixing bowl combine all the ingredients together to form a dough. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough 1/16th inch thick and cut into 3 inch squares for the perfect crackers. Prick each cracker 3 times with the tines of a fork to prevent puffing during baking. Bake the crackers on a lightly oiled baking sheet for 5 to 8 minutes or until lightly browned and crisp. Remove crackers from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.

So good.

-Cara

I feel a bit stuck in a rut with this blog lately and I’ve been thinking about why that is. What I came up with is themes. I think I am over the responsibility of theme days. I am going to just write whatever I feel like writing about each day. It will still be “green” and beyond, just the day’s writings will be whatever I feel like.

Like this one, instead of being about a heroine, it is about me giving up themes. I am, of course open to patterns developing..that’s different.  :-) It is also about me finding a bunch of coupons for Organic Valley Farms’ products. :-D

Nice.

-Cara

I came up with this sauce using my brain and perusing other peanut sauces on-line. It’s great on cold organic Lo Mein noodles or whatever else you want a cold peanut butter based sauce on.

What You Need

organic Lo Mein noodles (Roland Organic makes some)

1/2 cup organic peanut butter (crunchy or smooth…I myself like it crunchy style…)

1/2 cup of cold water

2 tablespoons Bragg Liquid Aminos

2 tablespoons organic lime juice

1 clove organic garlic, minced

2 teaspoons organic grated ginger

some salt and pepper to taste

What to Do

If you are making the cold Lo Mein noodles, in a large pot of boiling water, cook the noodles, gently separating the strands with a long fork as they soften, until barely tender (about 2 minutes). Drain and rinse under cold running water to stop the cooking; drain well. Dump into a bowl and toss with 1/2 tablespoon of the sesame oil to prevent sticking, cover, put it in the refrigerator.

Take all the above ingredients (except the noodles!) and put them in a mixer or food processor and mix well. Makes about 1 cup.

Depending on how many noodles you make or how saucy you like your noodles is how much of the organic peanut sauce you should use. I like to then put the sauced noodles in covered glass container or a covered ceramic casserole dish and let them sit around for a few hours or until the next day lunch to soak in the flavor.

Do it how you do and enjoy.

-Cara

This mac and cheese is so good. The way you cook it makes it crusty on top. I switch the cheeses around to experiment.

What You Need

3 tablespoon organic butter

12 oz organic Gruyere cheese, coarsely grated

12 oz organic extra-sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely grated

1 pound organic elbow pasta, boiled in salted water, until just tender, drained and rinsed under cold water

1/8 teaspoon organic cayenne

sea salt

2/3 cup organic whole milk

What to Do

1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Use 1 tablespoon butter to thickly grease a 9 by 13 inch backing dish. Combine the grated cheeses and set aside 2 heaping cups for topping.

2. In a large bowl, mix the pasta, cheeses, cayenne and salt to taste. Place in prepared pan and evenly pour milk over surface. Sprinkle reserved cheese on top, dot with remaining butter and bake, uncovered, 45 minutes. Next raise the oven’s temperature to 400 degrees and bake an additional 15 to 20 minutes, until it looks crusty on top and bottom.

Good summer fun.

-Cara

sbr

This is an easy, but always good to have recipe.

What You Need

1 cup organic sweet brown rice

2 cups water

1 tablespoon organic unsalted butter

sea salt to taste

What You Do

Put all the ingredients into a pot with a tight fitting lid. Bring ingredients to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 50 minutes. Do not remove lid while cooking. Remove from heat and allow to stay covered for 10 minutes. Fluff with fork.

And it’s good for you!

-Cara

French Toast

Organic pain perdu is a simple to make, tasty Saturday morning treat. It is great for our household as we always seem to have stale baguettes laying around waiting to be turned into a fantastical brunch. :)

What You Need

2 organic eggs, well beaten

1 cup organic milk

1 tablespoon organic sugar

pinch of sea salt

1/4 teaspoon organic vanilla

1/2 teaspoon organic cinnamon with 2 teaspoons organic sugar

2 tablespoons organic butter

2 tablespoons organic olive oil

a stale organic baguette or 6 slices organic white bread (toasted)

What To Do

In a bowl, combine milk, beaten eggs, sugar and vanilla. Mix well. For the stale baguette soak for a few minutes. For the toasted white bread, soak for a second just before frying. Melt butter in a heavy skillet, add oil, and fry bread, as many slices fits at one time, on each side till brown. Mix the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl and sprinkle over toast while cooking. I do both sides of the bread, but you can do one side, or even wait till they are done cooking and sprinkle the bread on the plate to be served.

Soooo good.

-Cara

mojito

It’s summer, which means it’s Mojitos on the beach time. This recipe is the bomb!

What You Need

2 teaspoons of organic powdered sugar
2 ounces of organic lime juice
4 organic mint leaves
1 sprig of organic mint
2 ounces of organic white Rum
2 ounces of club soda [This is why the recipe is almost organic. I found that there is no such thing as organic club soda. If you can prove me wrong, do it!]

What You Need To Do

Place the mint leaves into a long “collins” glass, if you have one, if not a tumbler works just as well.

tumbler

Next pour the the juice from the limes over it, add the powdered sugar, then gently smash the mint into the lime juice and sugar with a muddler (you can also use the back of a spoon if one isn’t available). Add ice (preferably crushed), then add the rum and stir. Top it off with the club soda and garnish with a mint sprig.

Live it.

-Cara

g a

In previous Friday shopping entries I would list three items you could buy, but I have decided I would rather focus on just one product per shopping entry. The reason is it’s easier to focus and provide more information one one product, in comparison to three. OK, now that we have discussed the changes, lets move on.

Here is a really cool idea from Desert Sweet Organic.

In a pristine high desert farm in Arizona, 141,000 certified organic apple trees (Choose from Gala, Red, Golden, Granny Smith, or Fuji apple tree) are up for sale.

You can send 10-lb gifts boxes that contain certified organic apples from your very own apple tree to whoever, for $11.50 plus shipping, plus the one time cost of the tree and yearly horticulture. Prices of the trees range between $200-$250 depending on the tree and yearly horticulture is $45 a year.

Simply send them your gift list and they’ll do all the work for you. They take care of your tree and send the apples to your gift recipients every year it produces fruit, for as long as it lives. These trees have approximately 20 more years of fruit producing life.

If anyone cares I love Gala apples. ;)

-Cara

This gravy is sooo good. You can use it on anything, from fake chicken (frickin as I like to call it), to tofurkey,  to any type of sandwich and beyond.

What You Need

1/2 cup organic olive oil

1/3 cup chopped organic white onion

5 cloves of organic garlic, minced

1/2 organic all-purpose flour

4 teaspoons organic nutritional yeast

4 tablespoons organic tamari or braggs liquid aminos

2 cups organic vegetable stock

1/2 teaspoon organic dried sage

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

What You Need To Do

1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.

2. Stir in flour, nutritional yeast and tamari to form a smooth paste.

3. Gradually whisk in the broth.

4. Season with sage, salt and pepper.

5. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, stirring constantly for 8-10 minutes or until thickened.

Live it!

-Cara

Yummy

My favorite meal of the day is breakfast. It gets my brain and day going. These organic blueberry ricotta pancakes have it all, antioxidants, protein and carbs! :) Not only that, but they are very tasty.

What You Need

1/2 cup all-purpose organic flour
2 teaspoons organic baking powder
1/2 teaspoon organic sea salt
1 cup organic ricotta cheese
4 organic egg yolks
3 tablespoons organic sugar
1/4 cup organic milk
1-1/2 cups fresh or frozen organic blueberries
4 organic egg whites

What You Need To Do

1. In a mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt. In another mixing bowl beat together ricotta cheese, egg yolks, and sugar until well combined. Add to flour mixture; stir until smooth. Stir in milk. Fold in blueberries.

2. In a small mixing bowl beat the egg whites with an electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight). Gently fold the beaten egg whites into batter, leaving a few puffs of egg white. Do not over beat.

3. Heat a lightly greased griddle or heavy skillet over medium heat until a few drops of water dance across the surface. For each pancake, pour about 1/4 cup batter onto the hot griddle. Spread batter into a circle about 4 inches in diameter.

4. Cook over medium heat until pancakes are golden brown, turning to cook the second sides when pancake surfaces are bubbly and edges are slightly dry (about 1 to 2 minutes per side). Serve immediately or keep warm in a loosely covered oven safe dish in a 300 degree F oven. Makes 16 pancakes.

Eat well.

-Cara

LuLa

The big Memorial Day weekend is finally here. That means summer is just around the corner (June 20th). Nothing goes better in the summer than guacamole, some chips and a fantastical margarita. Enjoying it on the beach would be nice as well.

This guacamole is no everyday type of guacamole, it is an awesome guacamole. The flavor combination is super fresh. I have yet to make any since last year and am drooling just thinking about it.

What You Need

2 tablespoons julienned organic sun-dried tomatoes

1 ripe organic avocado

1/4 cup finely diced organic ripe papaya

2 tablespoons organic lemon juice (from an actual lemon, not a plastic one!)

1 teaspoon organic honey (to make this a vegan recipe you can replace honey with organic rice syrup)

1 clove minced organic garlic

1/2 teaspoon minced organic fresh cilantro

1/8 teaspoon organic sea salt

What You Need To Do

Soak the sun-dried tomatoes in warm water for at least 15 minutes and no more than 20 minutes, then drain and put them off to the side. Peal the avocado, remove the pit, then mash it into a paste. You want to have about 1/2 cup of avocado. Then in a mixing bowl, combine the tomatoes, avocado, papaya, lemon juice, honey, garlic, cilantro and salt and mix well. Cover and refrigerate. You can leave it at the least in the refrigerator for an hour, but I leave it overnight so the flavors really develop. Serve cold and with some plain corn chips and be ready for the best guac ever!

¡Buen provecho!

-Cara


Reason 99 from, 101 Reasons Why I Am Vegetarian:

Agriculture science inexhaustibly works to eke out every last bit of commodity wealth from farmed animals via genetic selection. Wild jungle fowl lay 2 dozen eggs per year; today’s maligned descendants lay an egg nearly every day. Sows in nature give birth to 5 piglets; today’s factory-raised litters yield 12 young. A hundred years ago a steer took 4 to 5 years to grow to market weight; today the process takes only 14 months. Just 50 years ago cows gave 645 gallons of milk per year; on dairies today, cows give over three times this amount.

Since we learned so much about what makes bamboo eco or not in yesterday’s entry I decided to list three “Certified by Cara” super ecological bamboo products.

T-Shirt

OK, finding eco bamboo clothes I have decided is like the search for the Holy Grail. I mean no one is mechanically pounding bamboo into yarn, thread, or t-shirts for that matter. If they are their marketing/PR team is lacking the skills necessary to promote said bamboo products. Everyone who makes bamboo clothes is close, but no cigar. The best company I found so far is, Bamboo Body.

They state, “The bamboo in our fabric is grown in the Yunnan Province in China without the use of any chemicals or pesticides. The plantation is managed in strict accordance with the international organic OCIA/NOP standard.

Bamboo yarn is produced by pulverizing the bamboo stalks and then regenerating the fiber. This process does not use harmful chemicals. Our fabric is dyed using azo-free dyestuffs. Our factory operates in conformity with ISO9001:2000 quality standard and is committed to the environment by reducing emissions and recycling waste. The factory pays all workers appropriately and does not employ staff under the age of 18.

While bamboo is grown organically, without the use of pesticides or chemicals, bamboo fabric is not certified organic. The process of converting bamboo to yarn does not meet the strict criteria for organic certification.

Our bamboo fabric is certified by oeko-tex 100 standard which confirms that it is environmentally sound and does not include any harmful chemicals.”

Everyone else either states that oeko-tex 100 is not all it is cracked up to be or “that it is impossible to be 100% ecological, but as technology advances they hope to be”….technology…for all the companies waiting for the future to arrive, here is the past, what I like to call the anti-technological way, also known as the “mechanical way”. The mechanical way is done by crushing the woody parts of the bamboo plant and then use natural enzymes to break the bamboo walls into a mushy mass so that the natural fibers can be mechanically combed out and spun into yarn. This is essentially the same eco-friendly manufacturing process used to produce linen fabric from flax or hemp. Bamboo fabric made from this process is sometimes called bamboo linen. Very little bamboo linen is manufactured for clothing because it is more labor intensive and costly.” What that means is it messes with these “green” companies bottom line.

Chop It Up

The next company that makes the “Certified by Cara” seal is Totally Bamboo. I really like the twist chopstick set they sell. According to Totally Bamboo they had a chemist develop a high grade, non-toxic formaldehyde free food grade glue which they use exclusively on their cutting boards. Also. they do not use artificial dyes or stains. Their factory is ISO 9000 compliant which is a rating system covering non-polluting environmental issues and employee welfare, safety and minimum age. There are 2 colors, light and dark. The light is the natural color of bamboo. The dark is “cooked” to perfection, literally, a result of the heating process. The natural sugar in the wood is caramelized, producing the beautiful honey color. This is permanent and will not wash off. This allows the boards to be sanded if needed. They have other cool stuff on their site as well, like bamboo director chairs, for those eco Hollywood directors…lol.

Solid Horizontal-Grain Bamboo Flooring, Amber

Next to finding truly eco fabrics, eco flooring was the runner up as far as hard to locate. One company that receives the “Certified by Cara” seal, is Eco Timber.

This is what they have to say about how they are super awesome bamboo flooring rock stars, “EcoTimber bamboo flooring is made from bamboo plantations — not from wild habitats. Bamboo is a highly renewable resource, harvestable only four to six years after being planted. Its low moisture absorption properties make it ideal for humid climates and applications where moisture might pose a challenge for other types of flooring.

EcoTimber Bamboo flooring is made with a Low-VOC adhesive that easily meets the strict European E1 standard for indoor air quality.

There are currently dozens of bamboo flooring manufacturers, some of which have flooded the market with poorly-made products. Click here to see what sets them apart from others. ”

The business of greenwashing is becoming an art form these days as the big players are joining the “green” game. I expect it from them, but am sad to see some small business jumping on the greenwashing train to nowhere.

I thought this blog entry was going to be easy, but I was wrong.

Keep it real.

-Cara


Reason 98 from, 101 Reasons Why I Am Vegetarian:

Every year, 24,000 fishers die on the job, making fishing the most dangerous occupation in the world, according to the FAO/UN. Meatpacking has the highest serious injury rate by far of any occupation. Repetitive stress disorders and knife cuts are rampant in meat plants. Poultry processing workers earn wages that are, for a family of four, below the poverty level. Full-time contract poultry growers clear incomes of only $21,000 annually.

Bamboo

I am on the “buy bamboo bandwagon”. I have been for awhile. I was thinking about it today, I have an idea why bamboo is considered a sustainable, environmentally-friendly substance, but just an idea. I decided on this lovely day to become informed and discover the truth behind bamboo.

Let’s start out with some interesting bamboo facts, one, bamboo is the fastest-growing plant on Earth. It has been clocked surging skyward as fast as 121 cm (47.6 inches) in a 24-hour period. It can also reach maximal growth rate which exceed one meter (40 inches) per hour for short periods of time. After harvesting, bamboo does not require replanting, it has an extensive root system that continually sends up new shoots, naturally replenishing itself, making it one of the most renewable resources known. It has also been around since the prehistoric era, which I just think is cool.

Next, there are 91 genera and about 1,000 species of bamboo, found in a number of diverse climates and you don’t need to spray them down with gallons of pesticides or fertilize them for them to thrive as they do so naturally. These variables make this plant more like a super weed, than a member of the true grass family, Poaceae and this is also what makes bamboo a renewable resource.

Fabrics made from bamboo have an extraordinary water absorbency quality. This characteristic makes bamboo fabric three times more absorbent than cotton. Bamboo fibers also keep moisture away from the skin, speeding up the evaporation process, keeping the wearer naturally drier and more comfortable. The fabrics made from bamboo are known to be extremely soft, breathable, hard to wrinkle and possess antibacterial properties! I also heard something about bamboo blocking out a large percentage of the Sun’s UV activity, but I could not find any solid facts on that, so wear your sun block, not your bamboo shirt, because skin cancer is a horrible thing to have!

There is one major man made issue which makes bamboo clothing either an eco product or not. It is the process it goes through before becoming the final product. There are two ways to process bamboo to make the plant into a fabric: mechanically or chemically.

To quote Organic Clothing’s blog, “The mechanical way is by crushing the woody parts of the bamboo plant and then use natural enzymes to break the bamboo walls into a mushy mass so that the natural fibers can be mechanically combed out and spun into yarn. This is essentially the same eco-friendly manufacturing process used to produce linen fabric from flax or hemp. Bamboo fabric made from this process is sometimes called bamboo linen. Very little bamboo linen is manufactured for clothing because it is more labor intensive and costly.

Chemically manufactured bamboo fiber is a regenerated cellulose fiber similar to rayon or modal. Chemically manufactured bamboo is sometimes called bamboo rayon because of the many similarities in the way it is chemically manufactured and similarities in its feel and hand.

Most bamboo fabric that is the current eco-fashion rage is chemically manufactured by “cooking” the bamboo leaves and woody shoots in strong chemical solvents such as sodium hydroxide (NaOH – also known as caustic soda or lye) and carbon disulfide in a process also known as hydrolysis alkalization combined with multi-phase bleaching. Both sodium hydroxide and carbon disulfide have been linked to serious health problems. Breathing low levels of carbon disulfide can cause tiredness, headache and nerve damage. Carbon disulfide has been shown to cause neural disorders in workers at rayon manufacturers. Low levels of exposure to sodium hydroxide can cause irritation of the skin and eyes. Sodium hydroxide is a strong alkaline base also known as caustic soda or lye. In its dry crystalline form, caustic soda is one of the major ingredients of Drano. This is basically the same process used to make rayon from wood or cotton waste byproducts. Because of the potential health risks and damage to the environment surrounding the manufacturing facilities, textile manufacturing processes for bamboo or other regenerated fibers using hydrolysis alkalization with multi-phase bleaching are not considered sustainable or environmentally supportable.”

What I learned today is bamboo alone is a renewable, sustainable, and abundant resource that grows organically in its natural habitat, but before you go and brag or even buy your bamboo clothes you need to ask the company what is their manufacturing process to make said bamboo fabric. Look for the Oeko-Tek certification. Oeko-Tek certification identifies textiles that are free of processing chemicals, although it does not ensure the environmental soundness of the entire manufacturing process. The same thing goes for your bamboo floors, bamboo cutting boards, your bamboo everything.

You’ve been schooled.

-Cara


Reason 97 from, 101 Reasons Why I Am Vegetarian:

To produce foie gras, male ducks are force-fed a stomach-gorging cup of corn pellets three times a day with a 15-inch feeder tube. This torturous process goes on for 28 days until the ducks’ livers, from which the pâté is made, miasmatically bloat to 10 times normal size. Mortalities are high due to the disease, intense stress, and burst stomachs. For days prior to slaughter, each bird will pant for air. So cruel are these practices that foie gras production is now outlawed in at least a dozen countries.

This recipe is scrumptious. You can make the organic seitan using another recipe of mine posted here.

What You Need

an organic onion

some organic olive oil

2 to 3 cutlets of organic seitan (or a store bought box)

3 tablespoons of organic seitan stock

2 tablespoons organic flour

2-6 organic milk [or organic soy milk for a vegan version]

a handful of organic parsley

What You Need To Do

Chop the onion and brown it in oil.

Cut seitan into bite-sized pieces.

Add to the onions and fry till brown.

While the onion browns, mix 2-3 tablespoons of the seitan stock with 2 tablespoons flour.

Next, stir it in the seitan-onion mixture.

Season it well with organic salt, white pepper, paprika or whatever moves you. Salt and pepper alone is also fine.

Then bring to the boil.

You can change the consistency by adding 2-6 tablespoons of organic milk or soy milk.

Garnish with chopped parsley.

It is great with potatoes, salad and biscuits.

I realize this is more of a Fall/Winter meal, but while there still is a slight chill in the air I thought why not one more time.

Enjoy,

-Cara


Reason 78 from, 101 Reasons Why I Am Vegetarian:
It is estimated that 40 to 50 percent of U.S. dairy cows are infected with mastitis at any one time. The painful udder infection is considered a man-made affliction. Cows get it by improper care, poor milking procedures, overmilking, and malfunctioning milking machines. The genetically engineered growth hormone Bovine Somatotropin (bST), which is widely used to boost milk yields, is plainly linked to mastitis.

These biscuits I have made a million times and never once did they not turn out. In fact, they have turned out delicious every time. You will not be disappointed.

Organic Biscuits

1/2 cup softened organic butter
2 cups all-purpose organic flour
1 tablespoon organic sugar
3 teaspoons organic baking powder
1 teaspoon organic sea salt
3/4 cup organic whole milk with 1 teaspoon vinegar added to it

Heat oven to 450F. Cut butter into flour, sugar, baking powder and salt with pastry blender until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in milk until dough leaves side of bowl, dough will be soft and sticky. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface. Knead lightly 10 times. Roll or pat 1 inch thick. Cut with floured 2 1/2 inch round cutter or a glass turned upside down. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake until golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Immediately remove from cookie sheet.

Eat well.

-Cara

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Hoof-and-mouth disease is rarely fatal for livestock, but it remains a death sentence just the same. When blisters form on hooves and lips, and growth slows because of fever, economics prescribe execution and incineration. In 2001, Great Britain responded to an outbreak by destroying nearly 6 million mostly healthy cattle, sheep, and pigs at a cost of [U.S.]$9 billion to save its export trade. There were actually only 2,030 known cases of the disease. The rest were exterminated to provide buffers to contain the outbreak.

Kiss

I have been dreading doing the reviews of stuff people have sent me. It isn’t that I am not opinionated, because ask anyone around…opinions I’ve got! I guess I feel pressure to say good things, because I received the stuff for free or maybe because I was raised to be thankful for whatever anyone gives you…or because it feels like….who knows what…it doesn’t matter because I need to do these reviews as I said I would, so here we go…

I’ll start with Eco Lips organic lip balm. I selected the vanilla flavored hemp 98% organic lip balm. The 2% that is non-organic seems to be D-Alpha Tocopherol [vitamin E] and the Rosmarinus Officinalis [rosemary] leaf extract. It is interesting that they can’t get organic rosemary leaf extract or organic vitamin E. I will see what I can find out about that. This product is also cruelty free, non GMO product, and petroleum free. Made in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. GBA! ;)

Let me give you a little bit of history about me and lip balm. I love it. I can’t get enough of it. I have tried a million different types of lip balms. I think it started when I was the Body Care buyer at Whole Foods for a few years. One of my duties as a Body Care Buyer was to sample all lip balms and bring in the best ones for our consumers. I feel as though my experience in lip balmery makes me an excellent candidate to review said lip balm. :)

I like the green label with the silver packaging of the hemp Eco Lips lip balm. It is a throwback to futuristic movies in the 70’s with a hemp leaf square in the middle. :D The vanilla smells like high end vanilla extract you use while baking. Then when you put it on your lips, it is a silky softness that stays. I am really impressed with it. Out of the three different Burt’s Bees lip balms I have and a plethora of other such brands right now Hemp Vanilla Eco Lips is my favorite and that’s saying a lot.

So of a rating of 1 to 5 I give this a solid 4 and it would have been a 5 but for the 98% organic shaved off a point.

OK, review one done and I feel good. Stay tuned…more to follow.

Best.

-Cara

UPDATE:

I have learned from an employee at Eco Lips after asking, Why do you all make it 98% organic instead of 100%…” that “Vitamin E can be extracted in a 100% NATURAL process, but not organic. This is very complex and has to do with chemicals and molecular bases, but it is just the way it is at this point in time.” and he also wanted to make sure I knew, “that Burt’s [Bee] is not at all organic, but only 100% natural.” I think both are important points, so I am sharing them here with you. You are welcome!

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Animal agriculture routinely mutilates farmed animals for its own convenience and often simply out of habit. Debeaking, branding, castration, ear notching, wing and comb removal, dehorning, teeth clipping, and tail and toe docking are ever-present tasks on today’s farm and ranch. Laborers, not veterinarians, perform the surgeries, employing restraint, not anesthesia.

I found this link the other day and took the “Quiz” to see if I could win a free tote bag…Earthbound Farms, champions of organic salads and other organic, pesticide-free produce is giving away the earth-conscience shopper’s ultimate must-have: a free reusable shopping tote for those who can answer 9 out of 10 questions correctly in their Conservation Quiz!!

I will not give away anything, but I have a feeling everyone might win a tote!

So, Test your Conservation knowledge! Take the Earthbound Farm Conservation Quiz and try your hand at winning a free shopping tote! Good luck!

Also, spend some time on their site. They have some good stuff on there.

Enjoy.

-Cara

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About a decade ago the government began imposing manure-handling controls on the nation’s confined animal feeding operations. The rules, which now regulate only 40 percent of the nation’s largest feedlots, have not only been laughably overdue in their implementation but have amounted to nothing more than permits to pollute as usual. And the vast majority of the nation’s mostly moderate-sized livestock operations are simply urged to follow recommended guidelines voluntarily. In 2004, the EPA granted a sweetheart deal to 130 companies representing thousands of mega-feedlots when it allowed them amnesty from the Clean Air Act in exchange for scientific monitoring. Other facilities across the country are now in line for exemptions from Superfund lawsuits.

This is a classic Cuban recipe for sweet plantain bread. It is not only classic, but delicious.

Again this can be an organic recipe if you can find organic plantains…not an easy feet, but possible.

What you need…

1 large ripe organic plantain

1 tablespoon organic butter

2 1/4 cups organic flour

1 teaspoon organic baking powder

1 teaspoon organic baking soda

1/2 teaspoon organic salt

1/2 cup organic butter at room temperature

1cup organic sugar

2 organic eggs

1 teaspoon organic vanilla

1 teaspoon organic lemon juice

organic butter and flour for greasing and dusting pan

What to do…

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Peal and slice the plantain into 1-inch thick diagonal slices.

Melt the butter in a sauté pan over medium heat.

When hot add the plantain slices.

Sauté 2 to 3 minutes on each side, just until soft.

Transfer the plantain to a small mixing bowl and mash it well with a fork, then set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, cream the 1/2 cup butter with the sugar. Beat in the eggs, then add the plantain, vanilla, and lemon juice. Add the plantain mixture to the dry ingredients and blend.

Grease 2 8X5″ bread pans with butter and lightly dust them with flour.

Pour the batter into the pans and bake approximately 1 hour, until a knife comes out clean when inserted into bread.

Remove from pan and allow to cool slightly on a wire rack before serving.

Serves about 20 people.

Eat with a great cup of coffee for breakfast and you are guaranteed to have a great day.

-Cara

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According to one study, when diabetics eat copious amounts of fiber they are able to control their blood-sugar levels significantly. Fiber, which is found only in plants, helps people to lose weight because of its ability to satiate. According to a European study of 400,000 people, a high-fiber diet can slash the risk for deadly cancers by up to 40 percent.

My mom sent me this link today. It’s perfect for earth day shopping. Thanks Mom!

Green Coupons and Discounts: 30 Money Saving Deals Good All Month Long! An Earth Day Month of Saving Money on Organic Foods, Paints, More!

Save money on everything you need to go green this April with this exclusive collection of coupons, discounts and deals from some of America’s best eco-friendly manufacturers. From organic foods, low VOC paints, earth-friendly fashions…even gifts for the green pet…we have 30 great finds here on one page. Many of these deals are exclusive to readers of The Daily Green. All together, they’re a recession-busting way to celebrate Earth Day all month by going green. Enjoy…and, Happy Earth Day, everyone!

-Deborah Barrow, Founder, The Daily Green.com.

Who is this Deborah Jones Barrow you may ask? I found via the “About Us” page on The Daily Green.com, Deborah Barrow herself states,

“I had gone to the country to live. After years of the media wars in Manhattan, I was ready to raise heirloom roses in my organic garden. And to volunteer. It was that kind of time.

But then the climate in my garden began to change. And then I saw An Inconvenient Truth. And then one day, my husband Peter said, “Honey, somebody ought to invent a great green website for regular people.”

So, welcome to TheDailyGreen.com.”

Nice…I like her style.

-Cara

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A study of 49 island countries found 55 percent of their coral reefs overfished. To sustainably harvest the million metric tons of fish taken annually from the islands, 30,000 square miles more of reef–or the equivalent of nearly four Great Barrier Reefs–would be needed. Demand for reef fish is largely coming from Hong Kong traders, who are now supplying a burgeoning market in Mainland China. Reef fish take 5 to 10 years to reach breeding age and so are particularly vulnerable. Fishers capture the fish, live, using cyanide, destroying coral in the process; 75 percent of the fish die even before getting to their market destinations.

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