Natural Cleaning Tips For Healthy Living - November 2014

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Eco-friendly dessert recipes Thanksgiving Recipes

Eco-Friendly Thanksgiving Recipes: Desserts

Thanksgiving Desserts

Ready for Thursday?  If you are still scrambling to find a recipe for an appetizer, side dish or dessert, we have just what you need for making this Thanksgiving eco-friendly and delicious.  For the past couple of weeks we have been sharing recipes for appetizers and side dishes–this week, we are all about the sweet tooth.

Recipes for this week:  Desserts.

Even before your Thanksgiving dinner begins, you may be thinking about the wonderful sweet treat you will be devouring at the end of your meal.  Here a couple of delicious and organic desserts you can share with your Thanksgiving crowd:

Pumpkin Bread via Good Housekeeping

Ingredients
1 cup(s) (packed) light brown sugar
2 large egg whites
1 cup(s) pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1/4 cup(s) canola oil
1/3 cup(s) low-fat plain yogurt
1 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract
1 cup(s) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup(s) whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoon(s) baking powder
1 teaspoon(s) ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon(s) ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon(s) baking soda
1/2 teaspoon(s) salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 8 1/2″ by 4 1/2″ metal loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray with flour.
  2. In large bowl, with wire whisk, combine brown sugar and egg whites. Add pumpkin, oil, yogurt, and vanilla extract; stir to combine.
  3. In medium bowl, combine all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture; stir until just combined. Do not overmix.
  4. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Invert pumpkin bread onto wire rack; cool completely.

Sugar-Free Apple Crisp via Natural Sweet Recipes

Ingredients
1 large Sweet Apple, diced
2 Tablespoons Whole, Natural Grape or PearJuice
1/2 teaspoon Lemon Juice
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
4 Medjool Dates
1/2 Tablespoon Almond Butter or Coconut Butter
1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
2 Tablespoons Almond Meal

Directions:
Apple Filling: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, mix together the diced apple with the other ingredients. Fill small ramekins with the mixture. Place ramekins on a baking sheet, on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 20-22 minutes, until the apples are softened, but not totally tender.

Crumble Crisp Topping: In a food processor, combine all the crumble ingredients. Remove the apples from the oven after 20-22 minutes, sprinkle the crisp topping over and return to the oven for another 4-5 minutes. You can also broil for a few seconds to achieve even more crisp. Allow to cool slightly before enjoying.

Talk to us:  What is your favorite Thanksgiving dessert?

 

Giving Thanks Thankful Tree Thanksgiving Thanksgiving Crafts

How to Create a Thankful Tree

Create a Thankful Tree

Thanksgiving is one of our favorite holidays—and not just because it gives us an excuse to eat ourselves into a food coma and watch a day of football.  We love the idea of gathering with friends and family and sharing what we are all most thankful for in our lives.  Which is why we fell in love with this idea from HGTV.com.

It’s called a Thankful Tree and it is a great way for friends and family to visually share what they are thankful for while also providing you with a piece of home décor that will become a part of your Thanksgiving tradition.

Here’s what you need:

  • A package of 36 large, die-cut paper leaves
  • Black gel pens
  • A hole punch
  • Scissors
  • Spool of baker’s twine
  • 2 bunches of curly willow
  • Postcard paper
  • Picture frame
  • Package of crayons
  • Colored pencils
  • Tall, sturdy vase

 

Directions:

  • Place the bundles of willow into your vase—making sure they are spread out enough so people can hang things from the branches.
  • Using the hole punch, make a hole at the base of each leaf.
  • Cut baker’s twine into three-inch strips and thread the twine through the hole of each leaf, bringing both ends together to create a loop with a knot at the top.
  • Create a postcard that gives guests details about the tree, including instructions.  Put the postcard in a picture frame beside the tree.
  • When guests arrive, give them a leaf and a black gel pen to write what they are thankful for.   Be sure to encourage even the little “non writers” to participate by having crayons available for creating pictures instead of messages.
  • Have each guest hang his or her leaf on the tree.

 

At the end of your celebration, have each guest share their message with the group and take their leaf home as a wonderful memory of the holiday.

Click here for full, visual instructions and share your Thankful Tree with us on Twitter or Facebook.

Talk to us:  Let’s create a virtual Thankful Tree—what are you most thankful for this year?

 

 

Cold and flu season Health and wellness Office germs Staying healthy at the office

How to Protect Your Office From Germs

Keeping the Office Germ Free

Sneeze, sniffle, cough, repeat. Look out, cold and flu season is upon us! Fortunately, there’s no need to lock yourself away to stay protected from germs at the office. There’s actually a lot you can do to keep your work environment clean and yourself feeling well all season long.

Your 4-step plan for a germ-free office:

  1. If you’re sick, stay home. It’s common sense, if germs don’t come through the office doors, they can’t be shared. Hopefully, your corporate culture supports employees staying home when they feel under the weather. A 2013 Staples study showed 90 percent of employees came to work when they knew they were contagious due to fears of falling behind on the job. Before going in, ask yourself how productive you’ll be. If you’re under the gun at work, consider the possibility of working from home to keep from sharing your sickness with your team members. And if you’re in charge, make sure your employees know that you prefer they stay home when sick.
  2. Wash hands often. I know, I know, we hear this all the time. It’s true though—hand washing is your best defense against germs that make it into the workplace. Be sure to use soap and warm water and wash vigorously, for at least 20 seconds. Keep non-toxic hand sanitizer in your bag for times when soap and water aren’t available. As much as we hate to use disposable paper towels, this might be the time to do it. Recent studies show that air dryers may actually increase the spread of bacteria. Stop the spread more successfully by drying hands with a paper towel and then using your towel to turn off the faucet, too.
  3. Keep common areas clean. Keeping your office clean in communal areas goes a long way toward preventing the spread of germs. Check out our best office cleaning hacks or bring in a green cleaning service like GreenHouse Eco-Cleaning to get the job done. But even if you do hire the pros, make sure it’s easy for employees to keep work areas clean on a daily basis. Stock up on earth-friendly products like our Ecospirit line and make sure all employees have clear guidelines and resources available to help keep the environment clean and healthy.
  4. Clean frequently used personal tech items.  Let’s face it, we’re constantly touching our computer keyboards and cell phones, making them a major breeding ground for all sorts of bacteria. Keeping them clean is critical all year long, but especially during cold and flu season. As a rule, clean your cellphone daily and your keyboard weekly. With microfiber cloths, isopropyl alcohol and cotton swabs, you’ll have a simple but mighty arsenal against germs. Learn all you need to know about tech gadget cleaning in our Tech Eco-Clean 101.

Talk to us: Does your office have a plan for keeping germs at bay during cold and flu season? If so, we’d love to know what you’re doing to stop the spread of germs.

 

 

image courtesy of flickr/Creative Commons/Califmom
Eco-Friendly Food eco-friendly side dishes Thanksgiving Thanksgiving Recipes

Eco-Friendly Thanksgiving Recipes: Side Dishes

Eco-friendly Thanksgiving side dishes

Already thinking ahead to Thanksgiving?  Over the next few weeks we are going to share some of our favorite recipes for making this Thanksgiving eco-friendly and delicious.

Recipes for this week:  Side Dishes.

Yes, we know that the turkey is the star of the Thanksgiving show, but creating a delicious (and healthy) side dish will have your dinner guests asking for seconds.  Here are some ideas for fantastic side dishes you can add to your Thanksgiving feast:

Bacon Quinoa with Almonds and Herbs via Food and Wine
Ingredients
1/3 cup slivered almonds
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 thick slices of applewood-smoked bacon, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 small shallot, minced
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
2 cups chicken stock
1 sage sprig
1 tablespoon minced chives
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
Salt and freshly ground white pepper

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread the almonds in a pie plate and toast in the oven until golden brown, 4 minutes; let cool.

In a medium saucepan, heat the oil. Add the bacon and cook over moderately high heat until the fat has rendered, about 2 minutes. Add the shallot and cook, stirring a few times, until softened but not browned, about 1 minute. Add the quinoa, stock and sage and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat until the stock has been absorbed, about 17 minutes. Remove the quinoa from the heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Discard the sage and fluff the quinoa with a fork. Stir in the chives, parsley and toasted almonds. Season the quinoa with salt and pepper and serve.

Grilled Spinach and Red Pepper with Blue Cheese via Sustainable Table 
Ingredients
2 bunches spinach (large, mature leaves)
1 med sweet red pepper, halved, seeds and pith removed
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt & black pepper
Rice vinegar
2 to 3 oz blue cheese, crumbled

Directions
Rinse the spinach, leaving the stems intact. Drain the spinach well, but leave some moisture on the leaves. Divide the spinach leaves into 4 equal bunches and tie the stems together tightly with string. Brush the spinach and the red pepper halves with olive oil.

Grill the spinach over medium-high heat on a covered gas or charcoal grill, until tender and wilted, about 1 minute each side. Grill the peppers over medium-high heat for 2 to 3 minutes each side.

To serve, place the spinach bunches on four large salad plates and remove the strings. Trim then stems if desired. Slice each pepper half into thin strips. Garnish the spinach with the pepper strips. Sprinkle each with salt, pepper and rice vinegar. Top with crumbled blue cheese.

 

Talk to us:  What is your favorite side dish at the Thanksgiving table?

 

 

Holiday DIY Upcycle Holiday Crafts Wine Cork Crafts Wine Corks

5 Cool Things to Do with Wine Corks

A recent Yahoo! study found that three of the five most popular days for drinking are in November and December:  Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve.   With wine being at the top of the most popular alcoholic beverage list, you might be looking for ways to reuse those great cork stoppers—especially if you can upcycle them into items you can use throughout the rest of the holiday season.

Here are some of our ideas:

Memo Strip from Wine Corks

Memo Strip via May Days
This is the perfect, quick craft for right after your Thanksgiving celebration.  While it can be used as a memo strip all year long, you can dress it up for the holidays by filling it with Christmas cards and photos.

 

 

Wine Cork Trivet

Herringbone Trivet via CityBee Studio
By cutting your wine corks in half (we suggest not to do this right after you have consumed the wine), you simply hot glue the halved corks into a cute herringbone pattern.  These will look great on your holiday table.

 

 

Wine Cork Candle Holder

Candle Holder via Two Twenty One
This is for the non-crafty among us.  Put a candle inside a small glass cylinder and place that inside a larger glass cylinder, dumping the wine corks into the larger container to fill up the space in between.  Perfect centerpiece for your table.

 

 

Wine Cork Holiday Wreath

Wreath via Lolly Chops
Do you have around 180 wine corks taking up space?   If so, why not take on this great craft project.  It looks more complicated that it actually is –you only need a straw wreath, glue gun, wine corks and some twine.  Stick in some holiday berries or greenery and this is the perfect addition to your home holiday décor.

 

 

Wine Glass Charms from Wine Corks

Wine Glass Charms via the Green Divas
When you are entertaining a crowd, wine glass charms are a must. With these simple DIY options, you can write  a personalized message on each charm and allow your guests to take it home.

 

Because we are an eco-friendly cleaning company, we can’t talk about wine without giving you a tip for removing red wine stains from your carpet.  After you blot up the spill as much as possible, sprinkle salt over the stain.  Wait for it to soak up the red wine (no longer than 5 minutes) and then rinse with cold water or run over the spot with a vacuum.

Talk to us:  What is your favorite wine to serve when company joins you for dinner?

Eco-friendly Appetizers Eco-friendly Thanksgiving Thanksgiving Recipes

Eco-Friendly Thanksgiving Recipes: Appetizers

Tasteseekers Kitchen Hummus RecipeAlready thinking ahead to Thanksgiving?  Over the next few weeks we are going to share some of our favorite recipes for making this Thanksgiving eco-friendly and delicious.

Recipes for this week:  Appetizers.

We love appetizers, but we don’t always know what to make–especially if we are trying to keep ingredients organic and local.  Here are some ideas for what you can create for a tasty Thanksgiving appetizer:

 

 

Roasted Broccoli Hummus via Tasteseekers Kitchen
Ingredients
12 ounces fresh broccoli florets (3 cups)
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 can (19 ounces) chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons tahini
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 to 3 tablespoons water

For Roasted Broccoli
Heat oven to 400°F. Place broccoli florets and garlic on large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil and stir to coat evenly. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Roast 20 minutes, stirring once, until broccoli is slightly charred around the edges and garlic cloves are golden brown. Cool 10 minutes.

For Hummus
Place chickpeas, roasted broccoli, 2 tablespoons olive oil, lemon juice, tahini, red pepper flakes and 1/2 teaspoon salt in bowl of food processor. Process until almost smooth. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons water to thin to desired consistency. If desired, drizzle with additional olive oil to serve.

 

Fig, Gorgonzola and Honey Tartines via Tartelette Blog
Ingredients
8 slices of bread (your choice – you can choose a gluten free baguette)
1/2 cup (4 oz) crumbled gorgonzola
8 figs, halved
1 teaspoon fresh chopped thyme
2 1/2 tablespoons honey
salt and pepper to taste

Directions
Turn the oven to the broiler setting or 400F.  Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Place the slices of bread in the pan. Top each slice with about a tablespoon of gorgonzola. Top with two fig halves. Sprinkle a little thyme. Repeat for the remaining tartines. Salt and pepper to taste.

Bake or broil until the cheese starts to melt. Remove from the oven and drizzle each tartine with about a teaspoon of honey.  Serve at room temperature.

 

Talk to us:  What is one of your favorite appetizers to share during Thanksgiving?

We will be sharing more great Thanksgiving recipes every Wednesday in our blog.  You can also checkout other Thanksgiving feast ideas on our Pinterest page.

 

 

Brooklyn Change Makers IceStone Sustainable Materials

Change Maker: IceStone

Change Maker:  IceStoneThe Change: 
Co-founders Miranda Magagnini and Peter Strugatz set out to create a business that integrated sustainable practices from process to product, and to provide a high design solution that would address a real problem—transforming waste glass into something beautiful.

The Story:
Founded in 2003, IceStone is a leading producer of sustainable durable countertops and tables.   Available nationwide, each IceStone slab is made from recycled glass, non-toxic pigments and cement and is cast in the historic Brooklyn Navy Yard, a site that was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy.

According to an article in the New York Times, “Every last motor in the building, all 70, had been under five feet of water. Some 5,000 electrical relays were ruined. Much of the equipment had come from European sources, and even if anything could be salvaged, the parts were on the other side of the Atlantic.” After his early survey of the damage, Dal LaMagna, who took over operations in 2011, estimated that it would cost as much as $3 million dollars to replace everything.

But thanks to the efforts of employees—each owns 10 percent of company stock—IceStone was able to rebuild for less than a million and is now back in full production. “Since the storm we’ve hired new employees, invested in facility upgrades and new equipment, and debuted new products. It’s a testament to the dedication of the employees, and the support of our community.”

The Commitment:
IceStone is a triple bottom line company. Environmental stewardship and social responsibility are as important to company stakeholders as a profitable bottom line. Creating high performance products that are healthy and safe for people and for the environment is at the core of everything they do.

  • Healthy products for healthy people: IceStone’s core ingredients are the simplest on the market: recycled glass, portland cement, and non-toxic pigments. It’s free of plasticizers and resins, and therefore won’t emit any carcinogenic fumes or other endocrine disrupters in your home or office.
  • Cradle to CradleCertification: IceStone is certified at the Silver level of the Cradle to Cradleprogram, a framework that assesses material health, material reutilization, renewable energy and carbon management, water stewardship, and social fairness.
  • Green facility: Their day-lit factory is a repurposed 19th century warehouse and production is powered with a water recycling system and electric forklifts. In 2012, 97% of waste generated at the IceStone facility was recycled.
  • Made in the USA: IceStone is entirely sourced in the USA and every slab is cast in the historic Brooklyn Navy Yard, New York City’s premier site for innovation and industry. We believe in empowering all employees, and full time workers receive a living wage, health care, and on-site job training.
  • B Corporation: IceStone is a founding member of B Corp, a group of companies dedicated to improving social and environmental problems through smart, sustainable business practices.

 

Strategies You Should Steal:

Treat Employees Like Partners
It was the employees of IceStone that made it possible for the company to rebuild after Hurricane Sandy.  Even if you cannot afford to give employees part ownership of your company, offer them partner perks such as progressive health care, job training and professional development classes (IceStone actually offers ESL classes).  Empowering employees—both professionally and personally—goes a long way towards building a team that shares your passion and supports your corporate mission.

Become a B Corporation
If you are a socially responsible company like IceStone and GreenHouse Eco-Cleaning, you might want to consider becoming a B Corporation.   A “Benefit Corporation” (B Corp) is a company that engages in socially beneficial practices and considers how their business decisions will impact their employees, suppliers, community, consumers and the environment. We believe a company doesn’t have to be exclusively a nonprofit or a for-profit and a B Corp is the perfect hybrid of the two–a company structured to make a profit while also providing social benefits. Click here for more information.

The Details:
IceStone
Brooklyn Navy Yard
63 Flushing Avenue, Unit 283, Building 12
Brooklyn, NY 11205
718-624-4900
www.icestoneusa.com
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

Talk to us:  Do you have an earth-friendly, socially conscious business you would like us to profile?  Send us a note via Twitter or Facebook!

Things to do in New York City Veterans Day Veterans Day Parade NYC Veterans Day Week NYC

5 Things to Do in NYC during Veterans Week

Veterans Week in NYCVeterans Week is a special time here in New York City—there are so many opportunities for each of us to honor those who have and who continue to serve our country.  During this week in November, we encourage you to enjoy the best that NYC has to offer while also supporting our men and women in service.

Go to a Concert
Band of Pride Tribute
Times Square
Monday, November 10th
7:30 AM

Kick-off Veterans Week with this unique high-energy performance event.  Held in the heart of Times Square, the Band of Pride Tribute features all the high school students who will be marching in the Veterans Day Parade.  It’s a mass band rally honoring those who have and who continue to serve our country.

Take a Tour
Revolutionary Era Walking Tour
Lower Manhattan
Monday, November 10th
10:00 AM

The perfect way to—literally–walk in the footsteps of those who built our NYC foundation. This walk through historic lower Manhattan will give a compelling look at NYC life in the 1770s including stories about real people like the Sons of Liberty. You will visit historic landmarks such as St. Paul’s Chapel, Federal Hall National Monument and Fraunces Tavern.  You must purchase tickets for this event.  Click here for more information.

See a Show
AITAF’s 6th Annual Veterans Day Benefit
Studio 54
Monday, November 10th
7:00 PM

A cast of professional actors will perform a staged reading of “Our Lady of 121st Street”.  Immediately following the reading will be “A Year in Service” reception open to everyone in attendance. All proceeds will benefit AITAF’s holiday tour abroad to US bases in Japan and Korea this December. Tickets for both the reading and reception are FREE for all active duty and veteran service members and their families and are $200 for civilians. $100 of the ticket price is tax deductible.

Enjoy a Parade
America’s Parade
Tuesday, Nov 11th
11:25 AM

Known as the largest Veterans Day event in the nation, America’s Parade honors all eras and branches of service, with the U.S. Marine Corps as this year’s Featured Service Branch.  The parade starts (rain or shine) at approximately 11:25 AM on Tuesday, November 11 and concludes around 3:30 PM.  Spectators are encouraged to line the parade route that goes up Fifth Avenue, from 26th to 52nd Street.  Click here for more information.

Attend a Gala
IAVA’s Heroes Gala
Cipriani, 42nd Street
Thursday, November 13th
6:30 PM

As IAVA’s (Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America) largest annual fundraising event, the Heroes Gala ensures that IAVA continues to provide innovative programs to its veteran members and their families. This year, IAVA celebrates its 10th anniversary and recognizes the historic turning point for the country.  This year, the event will honor Admiral Mike Mullen, 17th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Travis Kalanick, Uber CEO and co-founder.  Click here for tickets.

Talk to us:  What will you be doing to celebrate and honor our veterans this week?

 

 

image courtesy of flickr/MarineCorps NewYork