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DIY Holiday Gift Guide

Handmade gifts can be fun and help you gift a truly unique gift. We found several great ideas for eco-friendly DIY gifts for everyone on your list.

DIYChristmas

Magnetic Story Board
eReader & Tablet Case
Soap Pouch (Great with soap from Theraganics or Soap for Goodness Sake)
Rosemary Mint Shaving Cream
Lip Balm
Pancake Mix in a Jar
Framed Family Recipe
Body Polish
Rose Petal Lemon Balm Jam
Rosemary Napkin Rings
Gluten Free Lemon Poppy Seed Bread
Salt Scrub

If you have any DIY ideas share them in the comments below or share on our Facebook page


Natural Thanksgiving Recipe Roundup

thanksgivingroundup

 

Thanksgiving is almost here. We have searched for some tasty natural recipes to use this Thanksgiving and here are some of our favorites.

  • Buy a pastured turkey this year? They need to be cooked differently than conventional store-bought turkeys. Mommypotamus has some great tips for cooking a pastured turkey so you can have the perfect turkey.
  • Looking for a unique side dish this year, check out Creative Green Living’s recipe Broccoli Romanesco Parmisagna.
  • Canned shaped cranberry sauce has become a staple for many American families. Why not skip the BPA can and HFCS this year and make your own? This cranberry sauce recipe from Retro Housewife Goes Green is surprisingly easy and delicious.
  • Looking for a canned soup-free green bean casserole? Dee’s Kitchen has a green bean casserole recipe that will keep your family coming back for seconds.
  • Have people with milk allergies or lactose intolerant coming to dinner? Check out this recipe from the Lazy Budget Chef for a soup-free and lactose-free green bean casserole.
  • If you want something a little different for your cranberry sauce this year, try Creative Green Living’s cranberry sauce which features apples.
  • Another great vegetable side dish is Healthnut Foodie’s Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon.
  • Pumpkin pie is another dish often containing ingredients from a can but Jen and Joey Go Green has a recipe for a pumpkin pie using a real pumpkin.
  • Want something a little different for dessert this year, check out An Organic Wife’s 5 Layer Pumpkin Bars.
  • Trying to stay healthy this Thanksgiving or on a Paleo diet? Check out this Paleo-friendly Autumn Apples recipe.
  • And don’t forget about leftovers, Surviving and Thriving on Pennies gives tips for using up all of your Thanksgiving leftovers.

What are you making this Thanksgiving? Share in the comments below or on our Facebook page. 

Celebrate Thanksgiving with the Oklahoma Food Cooperative

Thanksgiving is fast approaching and it’s time to be planning your menu and doing your shopping. This year you can support Oklahoma farmers and make Thanksgiving grocery shopping easier by doing your shopping with the Oklahoma Food Cooperative. Orders opened for the Oklahoma Food Cooperative today and will be delivered on November 21st, in plenty of time for Thanksgiving.

turkey

We went through what is for sale this month and found many great items. Here are some of the items we found.

  • Free Range Turkeys
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Cranberry Pear Jam
  • Pumpkin Butter
  • Yeast Rolls
  • Mushroom Gravy
  • Bacon Wrapped Dates
  • Pear & Sausage Stuffing
  • Smoked Gouda Mac
  • Cinnamon Apples
  • Pumpkin Muffins
  • Pumpkin Pie
  • Apple Crumb Pie
  • Pecan Pie
  • Pie Crusts
  • Pumpkin Puree
  • Pumpkin Rolls
  • and so much more!

With so many great options, including prepared dishes, the Oklahoma Food Cooperate can help make Thanksgiving easy this year. This is the perfect way to thank our farmers and ranches this Thanksgiving! Be sure to hurry and place your order, many items may run out and orders close on November 14th at midnight.

The Oklahoma Food Cooperate is also celebrating it’s 10th anniversary and to celebrate they are giving out a lot of great door prizes. It’s a great month to order from the Oklahoma Food Cooperate.

Photo Credit:  Ruocaled

How to Have a Waste-Free Party

Many of us are trying to cut down on or eliminate the waste of disposable products. Some do so to save money, some for environmental reasons, and some for both. I’m in that last category. I’d rather spend my grocery money on organic produce, good coffee, chocolate and wine than on paper towels or plastic wrap.

Over the past few years I’ve done really well. I never buy plastic wrap or baggies anymore. I’ve had a roll of Seventh Generation paper towels way up in the cupboard for a few years and I buy perhaps one roll of foil every year or two.

But what about parties, you might ask? Don’t you have to use disposable plates, cups and napkins? Well, not really. Now, I’m not going to tell you that you shouldn’t buy cute plates and napkins that match your kid’s birthday party theme. I don’t have little kids anymore so I’m going to just by-pass that potentially controversial topic. What I’m referring to are adult parties. Even though adults aren’t likely to throw a party with a cartoon theme, most still end up buying disposable plates, cups and napkins. I used to, as well.

Here is how I got away from having to purchase disposable party ware. My first purchase was quite a few years ago when I was still shopping at Walmart. We were having a party and would be serving dessert and coffee. I really detest styrofoam and didn’t have enough coffee cups so I bought 16 matching clear glass dessert plates and coffee mugs. They were not very expensive but clear glass looks nice even if it’s cheap. We’ve used these many times since.


wastefree

Our next purchase was two dozen wine glasses from the dollar store. We were having a large party and even if I weren’t opposed to disposables, who likes drinking wine from plastic cups? Yuck. But I certainly didn’t want to risk breaking our expensive wine glasses – and we didn’t have enough anyway – so for a buck a piece we had plenty for our party. Over time we’ve had a few break but because they were only a dollar it’s no big deal and I can easily replace them. Each time it happens I’m glad I can tell my embarrassed guest that I bought it at the dollar store and not to worry about it.

We also have plenty of silverware. Several years ago we were still using the set I bought for my hope chest when I was in high school despite the fact that we were down to only 4 or 5 spoons. (What the heck happens to spoons??) After about 25 years of marriage we decided we deserved a new set. We have a store here in town which sells all manner of stuff which they’ve bought in truck loads from department stores and such. They had some nice quality silverware for an exceptionally good price. I was just going to buy one set which was a service for 8 but fortunately my smart husband encouraged me to buy two sets. I put one set in the silverware drawer and put the other away. Whenever we have a party I pull out the extra set.

I have 16 large dinner plates which I’ve used for parties when I served food which needed plates but I was lacking enough bowls when we recently had a party to celebrate Mardi Gras. I was making gumbo and that needs to be served in a bowl. Initially I was going to have my husband go borrow some from our church but he decided to check the dollar store first. He was able to buy 20 plain white bowls for a dollar each so we have now added those to our party supplies.

The one item for which I still resorted to disposables was napkins and we did so at our last large party. We use cloth napkins ourselves but didn’t have enough for big parties. Plus I found that guests are often reluctant to use our cute cloth napkins with roosters on them, or the pretty red and white check napkins. Then one evening when we were out to dinner at our favorite local Italian restaurant, I noticed the napkins. They were black. Stains don’t show on black. Perhaps our guests wouldn’t be as reluctant to use them. So I did a bit of online shopping and found some large, all cotton, black napkins. I bought one set of 6 so I could see if I liked them. This was fairly recently and yes, I like them quite well. Of course, being 100% cotton they do need to be ironed but I was already in the habit of ironing our other cloth napkins so that’s not an issue for me. However, I do understand that many don’t like to iron so a no-iron fabric is certainly another option. I’ll be ordering a couple more sets soon.

At some point I’d like to buy 16 plain white or glass dinner plates. Something a little smaller than our regular dishes which would coordinate with the white bowls and glass dessert plates we currently have. I’ll keep my eye out for some.

You don’t have to buy all of these things at once. I’ve been adding to our party stock for several years now. If you stick to something plain (like clear glass and white like I’m doing) it shouldn’t be difficult to add to your collection slowly. They don’t have to be exactly the same. In fact, you could also take the opposite route and collect unique, one-of-a-kind dishes for a quirky, eclectic look. In addition to discount and dollar stores, check out your local antique, junk and thrift stores.

Another idea is to borrow some of these items. One of my close friends has glass dessert plates and mugs similar to mine. In fact, seeing them at her house is what gave me the idea to buy mine. Between the two of us we have a LOT of these so if either of us has a larger party we can borrow additional ones. Many years ago our local grocery store had one of those deals going where you could buy individual pieces of inexpensive china with points from shopping. My mom, aunt and I all did this and at one time, between the three of us, we had enough plates for our very large holiday family dinners. If you have a relative or close friend nearby who doesn’t mind sharing, perhaps you could each purchase several pieces with the idea that you can borrow from one another for parties.

Now, I’ll bet you’re thinking, “That’s all fine and dandy but someone is going to have wash all those party dishes”. And you’re right. That is the downside. But I haven’t found that to be enough of an issue for me to go back to disposables. Most of the time at least a few of my guests will take it upon themselves to rinse and stack plates. You could set out a large bowl with hot, soapy water for silverware. Personally, I’m happy if people just bring their dishes to the kitchen. We have a dishwasher, although I do hand wash the wine glasses. But even doing them all by hand isn’t a big deal if you approach it right. I generally try to make sure everything is rinsed and stacked, food put away and counters wiped down before I go to bed. If it’s a late party, that’s all I do and then I tackle the dishes in the morning. Sometimes my husband is around to help and we chat about the party and how much fun we had. If I’m doing it alone, I put on some good music and sing along while cleaning up. It rarely takes more than 15-20 minutes even after a large gathering and I consider that a small price to pay in order to not have a huge bag of trash to take out.

With a little creativity and forethought you can easily avoid wasteful, expensive disposable items for most parties. It’s easier on the wallet, better for the planet and honestly, wouldn’t you rather eat from real dishes?

Do you have tips for having a waste-free party? Share them in the comments below or on our Facebook page


deannapiercy

 

 

Deanna Piercy is a hippie married to a pirate, trying to live green in a red state. She blogs at The Well-Groomed HippieTea With Dee and Dee’s Kitchen.

 

 

 

Naturally Dyeing Easter Eggs

dyeingeggs

Naturally dyeing Easter eggs is a fun and simple project to do with children.  We searched our home for fruits, vegetables, and spices that would produce color.  We also took a trip to the produce section at the grocery store and talked about the various plants that dye our fingers when we eat them.  We skipped the bananas and looked at raspberries and blackberries.

There are two ways to naturally dye Easter eggs.  You can dye them after the eggs are hard boiled or dye them while the eggs are cooking.  Because my children are young, we chose to dye the eggs after they were hard boiled.  It was more fun for them, and it kept them away from the hot stove.  However, using a hot method does tend to provide a deeper color.


For the cold method:

  1. Boil eggs and let them cool
  2. Cover the boiled eggs with water
  3. Add the dyeing material
  4. Add one tablespoon of vinegar
  5. Let the eggs soak for a couple hours or even overnight in the refrigerator

For the hot method:

  1. Place the uncooked eggs in a pan and cover with water
  2. Add one tablespoon of vinegar
  3. Add the dyeing material.  Use more dye material for more eggs or to darken the color
  4. Bring water to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. Strain water and let eggs soak longer if a deeper color is desired

For our dyeing material, we used fresh raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, steamed spinach (blended), coffee, turmeric, steamed carrots (blended), and grape juice.

eggs2

 

The coffee, turmeric, and grape juice worked well and produced even color.  The berries (smashed and placed in glasses) and the steamed carrots did not produce color.  However, my three-year-old was able to paint an egg with smashed berries and a paint brush.  That was fun for her.

eastereggs2

We left our eggs to soak overnight.  Because we did not strain our material, we made speckled eggs.  The kids thought these were fantastic.  I was disappointed none of our eggs turned bright pink, so the next day I tried the hot method with dried blackberries and cherries.  The eggs turned a peachy brown color which was not the effect I was hoping for.  Next time, we will try cooking beets.

Experiment with the following to see what colors you can create:

Red / Pink BeetsBoiled red onion skinsCanned cherries CranberriesPomegranate juiceRaspberries
Orange Boiled yellow onion skinsCooked carrots Chili PowderPaprika
Yellow Boiled carrot topsBoiled orange peelsGround cumin  Ground turmericVarious teas (chamomile, green tea)
Green Boiled spinach leaves
Blue Boiled red cabbage leavesCanned blueberries Grape juice
Purple / Lavender Grape juice (smaller quantities) Red wine
Brown CoffeeBlack Tea Boiled freeze-dried cherries

 

Have you tried dyeing Easter eggs naturally? Share your thoughts below or join the conversation on our Facebook page.  

Local Valentine’s Day Restaurant Guide

vdayfood

Looking for a great local restaurant to take your sweetheart to this Valentine’s Day? We have selected just a few great options Oklahoma has to offer and would love to share them with you. Any of these restaurants are sure to please your date.

Ludivine
Ludivine is located in Oklahoma City and is a local favorite. They work to bring food from local farms to your table in their wonderful seasonal dishes.


Matthew Kenney
Matthew Kenney has restaurants all over the country, including Oklahoma City. The restaurant has a wonderful raw vegan menu sure to please even the meat eaters.

Palace Cafe
Palace Cafe is a fine dinning restaurant located in Tulsa. The menu features several local ingredients and amazing food that is sure to make your mouth water.

Local
Local is our featured business right now and for good reasons. They have a wonderful menu and are working hard to be as sustainable as they can be. Local is located in Norman and even offers a children’s area if you are babysitter-less.

These are just a few places we recommend checking out for your Valentine’s Day dinner. We would love to hear your suggestions as well, be sure to share them in the comments below on our Facebook page.

 

Local Valentine’s Day Gift Guide

valentine's day gift guide

Valentine’s Day will be here before we know it. Since it’s the holiday of love, why not show some local businesses a little love by doing your shopping locally? There are some amazing options out there and below is just a small sampling. Be sure to check out our business directory for even more great stores.

cupcakes

Who doesn’t love cupcakes? Pick up a box at Green Goodies by Tiffany for your significant other, kids, friend, anyone that you want to give a sweet treat to on Valentine’s Day.

soap

Does your special someone like to take relaxing baths? Check out Therganics for some great, natural bath products that are sure to make someone’s day even better.

peanutbuttercup

What’s Valentine’s Day without chocolate? Backyard Bounty Bakery makes homemade peanut butter cups using many local ingredients. This treat is sure to be a big hit with any chocolate lover on your list.

cheese

Wine and cheese is another Valentine’s Day favorite and Forward Foods has almost any type of cheese you can think of. It’s the perfect place to pick up several cheese and make your own cheese platter for a romantic night at home.

nativeroots

Native Roots Market has a wide range of products that would be great for Valentine’s Day. Everything from gummy sweets for the kids, local chocolates for your significant other, and so much more. You can also pick up some nice local meats to make a romantic dinner at home.

cellar

Speaking of wine, Cellar Wine and Spirits is a great place to pick up some local wine, organic champagne, local beer, or some organic spirits. You are sure to find something perfect for a romantic night.

We would love to hear about your great, local green finds in the comments below or on our Facebook page. Locally owned businesses feel free to share as well!

Photo credits: All photos are property of the stores.

DIY Christmas Gift Ideas

Christmas will be here before we know it. A great way to save money this year and give unique gifts is to make DIY gifts. There are so many great ideas all over the web. Here are just a few ideas to get you started.

Raspberry Coconut Cakes– Is someone on your list missing Hostess? Why not make them this homemade version of Raspberry Zingers?


Upcycled T-Shirt Wreath– This is a great reusable wreath that is easy to make and very eco-friendly.

Homemade Salt Scrub– This DIY scrub is easy and contains easy to find ingredients.

Three Different Sugar Cookies– Want to make several different cookies but don’t want to be baking for days? Why not try these recipes? They all use the same simple sugar cookie dough with just a few changes you can make three different cookies.

Cranberry Pecan Granola– This great gift is easy and uses a local favorite, pecans.

30 Homemade Gifts– This post has 30 different gifts, you are sure to find several great ideas.

Pine Scented Burlap Ornament– This cute ornament is sure to be a hit.

Chai Latte Mix– Drink mixes are a fun gift to give, why not make your own?

Salt Dough Ornament– This ornament couldn’t be a lot easier. It would be a great craft to do with your kids.

Are you going to make any gifts this year? If you have an idea to share just post below or on our Facebook page.


Oklahoma Eco Gift Guide

It’s hard to believe that Christmas will be here in less than a month! Holiday shopping can be stressful so we put together a few gift ideas to help you out. All of these gifts come from locally owned stores and many are even locally made. What better way to share some holiday cheer than to shop local and help support our state?


Soap for Goodness Sake has many great holiday scented soaps that would make great gifts. Some scents you will find are peppermint, pumpkin spice, fir and peppermint, and more. Many are even currently on sale.

Theraganics has all kinds of wonderful natural bath and body products that would be great for anyone on your list. One that is sure to be a hit is their Foaming Sugar Scrub. Their products can be found online or at their store in Tulsa in the Farm Shopping Center.

Native Roots Market in Oklahoma City has a lot of great items for gifts. Including the beautiful, local poinsettias seen above. Native Roots Market is located in Deep Deuce in downtown OKC.

Green Bambino in Oklahoma City is known for cloth diapers but they carry so much more, including great gifts. You will find gifts for moms and kids, like the super cute Ergo Baby Doll Carrier.

Someone on your list into vintage clothing and accessories? Check out Muse Studio Vintage for cute pieces like the 60’s vintage sweater above. Shop online or in store if you are in the Ardmore area.

SHOPGOOD in Oklahoma City is full of great gifts like the “Can’t Steal Our Thunder” shirt above. You can shop online or at their store in OKC.

Did you know we have our own store? We do and we have great shirts like the one above to show your support for shopping local.

These are just a few of the options you can find locally for your holiday shopping. Be sure to check out our business directory to find more shops near you. And share great green finds you have found locally in the comments below or on our Facebook page. Locally owned businesses feel free to share as well!

 

 

Natural Thanksgiving Recipes from Around the Web

Thanksgiving is this week! It’s hard to believe it’s already here. If you haven’t figured out what you are making yet, you are in luck. Below are lots of yummy recipes to try out this year. All of these recipes are natural and easy to make organically.

Garlic Lime Roasted Turkey with Cornbread Chorizo Stuffing, this turkey looks quite tasty. And the stuffing is sure to be so much better than a boxed stuffing.


Simple Roasted Turkey, this is a very classic roasted turkey recipe. It’s a great recipe if you are new to cooking the turkey.

Green Bean Casserole, no canned soup found on this ingredient list. In place of soup it uses homemade alfredo sauce for a unique twist on this classic Thanksgiving dish.

Mashed Potatoes, you will ban instead mashed potatoes in your house after making the real thing. Don’t forget the homemade gravy.

Company Sweet Potatoes, this recipe sounds quite easy and tasty.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Lemon and Parmesan, this recipe has been getting rave reviews.

Cranberry Sauce, canned cranberry sauce has become a staple for many families but did you know making your own is super simple? It can be quite impressive to bring homemade cranberry sauce to your Thanksgiving dinner and you don’t have to tell anyone how easy it really was.

Cran-Applesauce, another great option for homemade cranberry sauce.

Pumpkin Bread, don’t feel like making a pumpkin pie but want a pumpkin dessert? Why not try this quick bread? The recipe makes three loaves so it’s great for a crowd.

Pumpkin Brownies with Maple Glaze, here is another tasty looking pumpkin dessert that just screams fall.

Toasted Pecan Butter Cake, pecans are in season and a local favorite. Pecan pies are common around here but why not try something different this year with a Toasted Pecan Butter Cake?

Butternut Squash Pie, this award winning pie is sure to be a hit at your Thanksgiving meal.

Apple Cranberry Crumb Pie, a unique take on an apple pie that is even more festive.

And don’t forget your dogs this Thanksgiving, some leftovers will make your dogs tummy hurts. Skip table scraps and give them there own dog friendly treat, homemade sweet potato chew treat.

What’s on your Thanksgiving menu this year? Share below or join the conversation over on our Facebook page.