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How to Reduce Food Waste

Food waste is a big problem that is costing us a lot of money and is bad for our planet. There are some easy ways to reduce this waste and save money.

Reduce food waste, save money, go green

In the US, 30-40% of the food supply is wasted! That’s more than 20 pounds of food per person, per month. Not only does that waste contribute to pollution, it also is wasting us a lot of money.


Things like meal planning, labeling and dating leftovers, planning your shopping trips, and even once a month grocery shopping can help prevent food waste.

There are so many other great tips to help you reduce food waste. Below are some bloggers’ top tips. They are sure to help you stop the food waste and save money.

Top Tips for Reducing Food Waste

Reduce food waste, save money, go green

We’ve all had lettuce go bad. Sometimes it seems like the day after you bring it home it’s already going bad. Victoria at A Modern Homestead used to deal with this issue but not anymore. She learned a tip that can help keep lettuce fresh for up to 5 weeks.

Reduce food waste, save money, go green

Merissa at Little House Living shares a lot of great tips for helping make your produce last. Produce is something that gets wasted a lot because of improper storage so be sure you are storing your’s correctly

Reduce food waste, save money, go green

It’s never fun to be craving guacamole and go to the fridge and find it brown and gross. Paula at Dinner with the Rollos find the secret to keeping guacamole green longer and it’s simple!

Reduce food waste, save money, go green

No one likes a soft apple but don’t throw them out just yet. Habiba from Craftify My Life has an apple sauce recipe for using up old apples.

Reduce food waste, save money, go green

All food waste is bad but there is something extra sad about throwing away desserts that have gone bad. Thankfully Jennifer at The Jenny Evolution has tips on freezing cookies and desserts.

Reduce food waste, save money, go green

You don’t even have to waste your citrus peels. They are great for cleaning your garbage disposal. Over on Retro Housewife Goes Green you can learn how to deep clean your garbage disposal with citrus peels.

Reduce food waste, save money, go green

You can also use lemons that are past their prime for cleaning. Bren at Bren Did has 15 all-natural homemade lemon cleaning products that are perfect for those lemons you need to use up.

Reduce food waste, save money, go green

Another way to prevent wasting lemons and limes is by juicing them and freezing the juice. Kalyn at Kalyn’s Kitchen shares how to properly freeze fresh lemon and lime juice. She also has great tips for freezing fresh basil.

Reduce food waste, save money, go green

Did you know you can also freeze kiwi? Stock up when they are in season and freeze them for smoothies later. Pam at Sidewalk Shoes shares an easy way to freeze kiwi.

Reduce food waste, save money, go green

Garlic scapes are a food that is often wasted before we can ever end up with it. They are often cut off to allow the garlic bulb to grow larger. If you garden or can find some at a farmers’ market Ellen at Confessions of an Overworked Mom has some tips for preserving garlic scapes.

Reduce food waste, save money, go green

What about once you have cut fresh fruit, can you still keep it fresh? Yes, there are ways to prolong the life of cut fresh fruit as well. Kim at Two Kids and a Coupon has great tips for keeping cut fruit fresh.

Reduce food waste, save money, go green

Did you know you can also freeze milk? Spoiled milk isn’t something any of us want to deal with so Victoria at A Modern Homestead shares how you can freeze milk and thaw it perfectly.

Reduce food waste, save money, go green

If you have chickens or just don’t always get around to eating all of your eggs, you may be wondering what you can do to avoid wasting them. Karrie at Happy Money Saver shares how you can freeze eggs.

When Food Does Go Bad

Even following the above tips you will likely end up with some food that is forgotten. For non-animal products the best way to deal with this is by composting. It helps keep more food waste out of the landfill and creates useful compost that can be used in food or flower gardens.

Helpful Composting Supplies


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What is Blue Green Algae?

Blue green algae is often found in lakes around Oklahoma during the summer. What is blue green algae and what do you need to do when it’s found?

Blue green algae, what it is and why you need to avoid it

The Grand River Dam Authority has reported that the Fly Creek area of Grand Lake has high levels of blue-green algae.


When the GRDA first reported the high levels on Friday, June 16, BGA densities were at more than  100,000 cells per milliliter with more than 20 micrograms per liter of microcystins is considered toxic.

There is currently a public advisory to avoid bodily contact with the water in the Fly Creek area of Grand Lake. Testing will continue daily as long as conditions warrant.

You can find the condition of other lakes around Oklahoma by visiting the Travel OK lake condition page. And if you see algae play it safe and avoid the area.

What is Blue Green Algae?

Blue Green Algae in Oklahoma

Photo property of the Tulsa District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Blue-green algae consists of tiny bacterial organisms. It can be found in all types of water including lakes, streams and pounds. Usually it’s found in low numbers but things like warm, stagnant water, heavy sunlight, and phosphorous or nitrogen can cause it to become abundant. Phosphorous and nitrogen can end up in the water from fertilizer and some household products.

Why is it Dangerous?

Some blue-green algae produces neurotoxins or hepatotoxins (live toxins), as well as toxins that can be harmful to the skins and gastrointestinal tract.

Exposure to these toxins can cause upper respiratory problems, vomiting and diarrhea, eye irritation, and a number of other health concerns. These toxins also can impact animals.

What to do if Blue Green Algae is Found?

  • Don’t drink untreated water.
  • Don’t swim, water ski, wade, or boat in areas where the water is discolored or where you see foam, scum, or mats of algae on the water.
  • If you swim or wade in water that may have blue green algae present, rinse off with fresh water and soap. This is also an effective method of reducing exposure for pets.
  • Don’t let pets or livestock swim or drink where water is discolored or where you see foam, scum, or mats of algae on the water.
  • Respect all water and beach closures.

You are also asked to please report any potential algae blooms to the local project office or the Oklahoma Dept. of Environmental Quality at 1-800-522-0206.

If you or a pet experiences nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, eye irritation, skin rays, respiratory symptoms or other unexplained illness, call your doctor or veterinarian.

For more information on blue green algae, visit Travel OK Lake Conditions

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Natural Red, White, and Blue Recipes

It’s almost 4th of July. It’s a great time to spend with friends and family, and of course eat some delicious food. These red, white, and blue recipes are not only delicious but are natural and dye-free. You don’t have to feel as guilty with these treats!

Natural 4th of July Recipes, red,white, and blue recipes, no dyes

It’s fun to make red,white, and blue themed food for patriotic holidays and parties but that often means a lot of artificial dyes. Artificial dyes have been linked to behavioral issues in children and a host of other health concerns.


You can still have fun themed treats without all of the dyes. These treats use natural dyes and ingredients that are naturally red, white, and blue. They are perfect for any patriotic parties like 4th of July, Memorial Day, etc…

Natural Red, White, and Blue Recipes

Natural 4th of July Recipes, red,white, and blue recipes, no dyes

Natural 4th of July Recipes, red,white, and blue recipes, no dyes

Natural 4th of July Recipes, red,white, and blue recipes, no dyes

Natural 4th of July Recipes, red,white, and blue recipes, no dyes

Natural 4th of July Recipes, red,white, and blue recipes, no dyes

Natural 4th of July Recipes, red,white, and blue recipes, no dyes

Fun Red, White, and Blue Supplies


Encourage healthy eating habits for your kids by teaching them how to cook. The Kids Cook Real Food eCourse can help your kids learn the skills they need to eat and cook healthy food.

Delicious Smoothie Recipes

Smoothies are a quick and easy breakfast, snack, or even a light lunch. It’s a great way to eat more fruit and veggies. 

Smoothie Recipes, Delicious Smoothies, Green Smoothies, Healthy Smoothies, Vegan, Organic, Low Carb, Dairy Free

Fruits and veggies can help fuel your body and give you natural energy. Many of us also struggle to eat enough produce. Smoothies are a great way to get some extra fruits and veggies. Also great for picky kids.


Another great thing about smoothies is you can use up produce that is about to go bad. Overripe bananas, slightly wilted greens, and any produce that you don’t really want to eat raw but is still good can be used up in smoothies.

Smoothies don’t have to be fancy, even if Pinterest makes us think they should be. The Produce Mom has a great infographic with easy smoothie ideas for when you don’t have all the fancy ingredients laying around. Basically you need some fruit and liquid. You can also add veggies, healthy protein powder, yogurt, and even some nut butter. The options are endless and it’s fun to experiment.

If you are getting bored with the smoothies you’ve been making or want some inspiration here are some delicious smoothie recipes. Remember you can easily replace ingredients in these recipes, it’s not baking so nothing needs to be very exact.

Delicious Smoothie Recipes

Smoothie Recipes, Delicious Smoothies, Green Smoothies, Healthy Smoothies

Smoothie Recipes, Delicious Smoothies, Green Smoothies, Healthy Smoothies

Smoothie Recipes, Delicious Smoothies, Green Smoothies, Healthy Smoothies

Smoothie Recipes, Delicious Smoothies, Green Smoothies, Healthy Smoothies

Smoothie Recipes, Delicious Smoothies, Green Smoothies, Healthy Smoothies

Smoothie Recipes, Delicious Smoothies, Green Smoothies, Healthy Smoothies

Smoothie Recipes, Delicious Smoothies, Green Smoothies, Healthy Smoothies

Smoothie Recipes, Delicious Smoothies, Green Smoothies, Healthy Smoothies

Smoothie Recipes, Delicious Smoothies, Green Smoothies, Healthy Smoothies

Smoothie Recipes, Delicious Smoothies, Green Smoothies, Healthy Smoothies

Smoothie Recipes, Delicious Smoothies, Green Smoothies, Healthy Smoothies

Smoothie Recipes, Delicious Smoothies, Green Smoothies, Healthy Smoothies

Find More Smoothie Recipes

Looking for even more smoothie recipes? Check out these great cookbooks.

 


Encourage healthy eating habits for your kids by teaching them how to cook. The Kids Cook Real Food eCourse can help your kids learn the skills they need to eat and cook healthy food.

Mason Jar Upcycled Crafts

Mason jars come with endless possibilities. Reuse them for food storage or turn them into a beautiful new item that would make a great gift.

mason jar crafts, glass jar crafts, diy mason jars, upcycled

We are learning more and more why we should avoid plastic. With this knowledge comes more glass in our homes. One kind of glass you likely end up with a lot of is mason jars.


While glass recycling is great not all towns offer it and it’s even better to reuse things. Glass is great for reusing because it doesn’t hold on to odors, stain, or break down over time.

Mason jar crafts are becoming very trendy and while you can buy new mason jars it’s even better to use ones you already have on hand. You can make some really cute crafts for yourself or gifts.

Benefits of Upcycling

Recycling is the process which breaks down products so they can be remade into newer consumer products. Many of these products, especially plastics, are lesser quality than the original item.

Upcycling on the other hand is taking a material and turning into something of more value than the original product. This is a great way to extend the life of products and keep them out of our landfills.

Upcycling also requires a lot less energy and resources, in general, than recycling. It really is the best option when it comes to keeping products out of the trash.

Mason Jar Crafts

mason jar crafts, glass jar crafts, diy mason jars

mason jar crafts, glass jar crafts, diy mason jars

mason jar crafts, glass jar crafts, diy mason jars

mason jar crafts, glass jar crafts, diy mason jars, upcycled

mason jar crafts, glass jar crafts, diy mason jars, upcycled

More Homemade Gift Ideas

These all would make wonderful gifts. If you are looking for even more gifts to make? Check out these posts.

homemade gifts

DIY Gifts, Eco-Friendly

Free Handmade Upcycled Gifts

 

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Creating a Paper-Free Home

We use a lot of paper and waste a lot of paper as well. Creating a paper-free home can help us reduce our impact on the earth and save money!

Creating a paper-free home, reusable products, paperless home, waste free, zero waste

Paper accounts for 25% of landfill waste and considering 93% of paper comes from trees that’s a lot of trees. All of this paper we are wasting also is costing us money, money we are throwing in the trash.


Reducing your paper use can save you money, reduce clutter, and of course help you live more sustainably. It can seem overwhelming at first because we use paper for so many things. We have paper towels, napkins, mail, and the list goes on and on.

Tips for Reducing Paper Use

Start slow, pick one or two of these tips to start with. Trying to do everything at once is overwhelming and can cause you to quit due to frustration. And while you are reducing your paper waste don’t forget to recycle the paper you do end up with and purchase products made from recycled paper. Doing this helps keep the cycle going and prevents the need to cut down as many trees.

Create a Paper-Free Kitchen.

We use a lot of paper in our kitchens. Using rags in place of paper towels, cloth napkins in place of disposable, and real hand towels in place of paper towels is a great place to start. You’ll be surprised how much less trash you have when you do these things!

Additional Resource: How to Have a Paper-Free Kitchen

Stop the Junk Mail

I’m always amazed how much junk mail I get. Catalogs, credit card offers, random sales ads, it gets to be a bit crazy. There are some great ways to reduce this though. There are several great websites that help you get off of mailing lists. One of my favorites is DMAchoice. It’s an easy way to get off of those lists.

Additional Resource: Stop Junk Mail

Create a Digital Filing System

We all have mountains of paperwork and unorganized filing cabinets. It’s overwhelming and creates so much paper waste. Going to electric bills and getting as much of your paperwork online as possible can really help cut out a lot of paper. I highly recommend checking out, The Paperless Home. I can help you get organized and at the same time reduce your paper usage.

Useful Products



 

Encouraging Kids to Eat Healthy

Worried about your kid’s eating habits? Want them to eat healthier foods and make better choices on their own? There are some easy ways to help encourage healthy eating habits for your kids. 

Encouraging kids to eat healthy, healthy eating, kids gardening, kids cooking

Childhood obesity is on the rise and we are seeing more and more illnesses in children which are linked to weight and nutrition. It’s a problem that often follows them to adulthood.


Teaching young kids to eat and enjoy healthy foods is very important. They are tempted by sweet treats more than ever with ads targeting them everywhere. It can be hard to get them to make the right choices.

Thankfully there are some ways that have been proven to help encourage healthy eating habits. Sure your kids will likely still want a candy bar from time to time, don’t we all, but overall they can learn to make better choices.

Encouraging Kids to Eat Healthy

There are several ways that have been shown to encourage healthy eating habits in kids. By instilling healthy habits at a young age you set your child up for a healthier adulthood.

Encouraging kids to eat healthy, healthy eating, kids gardening, kids cooking

Gardening

Gardening with kids helps encourage them to try new foods and also helps instill green living habits. Christina of Little Sprouts Learning runs a daycare and teaches the kids to garden, she has wonderful success with this. Kids at her daycare and now trying and enjoying more healthy foods.

“When introducing a new food, I let them decide when they want to try it and if I like it, I let them know.  I never pressure them to try anything.  I just let nature take its course.  Lots of healthy fresh foods are being eaten here that just a few years ago I would never have imagined kids even trying much less begging for.” – Gardening With Kids, Why It’s Important

Encouraging kids to eat healthy, healthy eating, kids gardening, kids cooking

Cooking

Teaching kids to cook is another great way to get them involved with food. A review done of eight studies on cooking education programs for kids between 5 and 12 years old, showed in increased consumption of fruit, vegetables, dietary fiber, as well as a greater willingness to try new foods.

“We found that it is particularly important to expose kids to healthy foods on a number of occasions. This makes them feel comfortable with the new foods, which helps them build healthy habits,” said Derek Hersch, the lead author of the study.

WebMD lists a wide range of short-term and long-term benefits to teaching your kids to cook.

  • Encourages kids to try healthy foods.
  • Kids are more likely to sit down to a family meal when they helped prepare it.
  • It can increase self-confidence.
  • Kids that learn to eat well may be more likely to eat healthy as adults.

A great place to start is by teaching your kids how to make healthy snacks. You can find great snack recipes in this download 10 Snacks Your Kids Can Make.

Kids Cook Real Food

It’s also easier than ever to teach your kids to cook with the Kids Cook Real Food eCourse. Even if you aren’t the best cook with the help of this course you can teach your kids valuable lessons.

Doing these fairly simple things will help your children for the rest of their lives. And who knows, maybe you will get the benefits of not having to cook every night.

Is Your Makeup Putting Your Health At Risk?

Do you know what’s in your makeup? Do you even know if your makeup is safe to be using? You may be surprised what’s hiding in some makeup.

safer makeup, natural makeup, organic makeup, safer cosmetics

When we buy something we assume it’s safe. We have regulations and laws to help protect us, right? Sadly, in the case of cosmetics we may not be as protected as we think.


EWG’s site Skin Deep shares some myths about cosmetic safety, including this kind of frightening one-

Myth – If it’s for sale at a supermarket, drugstore or department store cosmetics counter, it must be safe.

Fact –  The Food and Drug Administration has no authority to require companies to test cosmetics products for safety. The agency does not review or approve the vast majority of products or ingredients before they go on the market. FDA conducts pre-market reviews only of certain cosmetics color additives and active ingredients that are classified as over-the-counter drugs (FDA 2005, 2010). – Myths on Cosmetic Safety

If they aren’t required to be tested for safety, how do we know if they are safe? Well the honest answer is, we don’t know they are. There are many possibly harmful ingredients in the products we use everyday and they could be putting our health at risk. Here are just some of the chemicals commonly found in cosmetics.

Parabens

Parabens are used widely as a preservative. They are used because they have bactericidal and fungicidal properties. You can find parabens in everything from shampoo to toothpaste. Parabens mimic estrogen and have been identified in biopsy samples from breast tumors. Some commonly used parabens are methylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben.

Phthalates

Phthalates are commonly used to soften vinyl plastics. You know that smell your new vinyl shower curtain gives off? That’s phthalates. They are a common ingredient in fragrances used in cosmetics and household products. Like parabens, phthalates are thought to disrupt the hormonal system. Unlike parabens, you aren’t likely to see phthalates listed in the ingredients. To help avoid phthalates, skip products that list fragrance in the ingredients.

1,4-dioxane

1,4-dioxane is a known animal carcinogen and probable human carcinogen. It’s found in shampoos, soaps, bubble bath, and more. You won’t find 1,4-dioxane on any label. Avoid products that contain ingredients like sodium myreth sulfate, PEG chemicals that include the clauses “xynol,” “ceteareth” and “oleth.”

Ethylene Oxide

Ethylene oxide is commonly found in fragrances and is in many popular shampoos. It is a known human carcinogen. As with phthalates, avoid products that list fragrance in the ingredients.

Lead

You most likely remember the news stories about lead in our lipsticks. Well it can also be found in sunscreen, foundation, nail polish, and even whitening toothpaste! Lead is a neurotoxin which can cause developmental problems as well as miscarriages and reduced fertility. Since lead and other heavy metals are in many products and aren’t listed in the ingredients, it’s hard to know what’s safe.

Safer Cosmetic Brands

EWG’s Skin Deep database is a great place to check to see if products you are using are safe. There are also some more natural brands out there committed to using better ingredients.

Making the switch to safer cosmetics is a great way to reduce your exposure to harmful chemicals. There are many great safe brands out there making wonderful products you can feel good using.

Organic Food on a Budget

Eating organic food doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. These are great tips for eating healthy food on a budget. 

Eating organic food doesn't have to cost a lot of money. These are great tips for eating healthy food on a budget.

Eating organic food is better for us and the planet. Organic food is grown without harmful pesticides and usually is better for the environment. Some studies have shown some organic food to have higher nutritional value as well.

Cost is often what stands in people’s way when they want to eat more organic food. While organic food doesn’t always cost more it often does. While the increased cost may be worth it not everyone is in a place where they can add the added cost to their budget.

As organic food has become more popular the cost is down and there are more ways to save. Now more people can afford to add organic food into their budget.

How to Eat Organic Food on a Budget

  • Eat at home more often. This will help you save overall as eating out can be very expensive. This is also better for your health.
  • Buy grains in bulk. Stores like Native Roots Market, Whole Foods, and Sprouts have a great selection of bulk foods.
  • Eat less meat. Meat can be very expensive and most of us eat too much of it. You don’t have to go vegetarian just try adding more meatless meals to your diet. One great way to do this is, Meatless Monday.
  • Check out the Dirty Dozen to find what produce is most important to buy organically.
  • Eat seasonally. Produce is cheaper when it’s in season so learn to eat in season produce. Frozen fruits and veggies are a good choice when the food is out of season in your area.
  • Be careful not to waste food. American’s waste around 27 percent of the food available for consumption. Making sure you aren’t throwing away food will help you save. Meal planning is one way you can reduce waste.
  • Grow your own food. You don’t have to have farm land to grow your own food. Even a few pots with some favorite produce can help you save.
  • Check out local CSA’s, farmer’s markets and co-ops. You can often get better prices by going straight to the source.
  • Buy less packaged food. Packaged food almost always costs more than making it yourself. This also helps cut down on waste.
  • Use coupons. There are a fair number of coupons out there for organic food. Check out Saving with Organic Coupons for more.
  • Use apps to save money. There are some great apps that you can submit your receipt to and earn cash back. It’s a great way to save a little extra money.
  • Use online services like Thrive Market and Amazon Prime Pantry to find good deals on organic food.

Following these tips can help you buy more organic food without breaking your budget. Do you have any tips to share on saving on organic food? If so please share them in the comments below.

EPA Nominee Scott Pruitt Takes a Hands-Off Approach to Earthquakes in Oklahoma

Scott Pruitt's Role in Oklahoma EarthquakesOklahoma attorney general and President Trump’s nominee to run the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt’s environmental record is currently under a microscope, including his role in Oklahoma’s earthquake increase.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) questioned him about his role in the earthquakes, which scientist have linked to disposal wells used in the oil and gas industry.

Sanders asked what action Pruitt had taken to which he said he was very concerned, Sanders then said, “and therefore you must have taken action. I guess, can you tell me who you fined for doing this?” To which Pruitt replied, “the corporation commission in Oklahoma is vested with the jurisdiction and they have actually acted on that.”


 

Oklahomans have dealt with a record number of earthquakes that have caused damage and injuries around the state while waiting on the Oklahoma Corporation Commission to act.

In states like California and New York, attorney generals have been quick to step in on issues like this, while Pruitt took a hands off approach.

The Sierra Club issued a statement about the Pruitt nomination calling out his inaction on the earthquakes in Oklahoma.

“When a 2015 report from the Oklahoma Geological Survey found a direct link between oil and gas mining and increased destruction and property damage from earthquakes, Pruitt did nothing even though as Attorney General he is responsible for protecting Oklahomans. As the costs of earthquake damage pile up, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Geological Survey have urged action, Pruitt has done nothing as families have been forced from their homes. Scott Pruitt is also leading the legal challenge against the Mercury and Air Toxics Standard, passed by President Obama in 2011 to protect families from dangerous levels of mercury and arsenic, pushing to have it thrown out by the courts and allow coal-fired power plants to again dump tons of mercury into our environment.”

With his hands-off approach on this issue and many others impacting Oklahoma, it’s hard to know what action, if any, Pruitt will take on environmental issues plaguing the country.

If you are concerned about Scott Pruitt’s nomination for the head of the EPA tell your Senator