Is it Easy Being Green?

My daily adventures in attempting an environmentally-friendly lifestyle

Is it Easy Being Green’s first giveaway! May 30, 2009

Filed under: Green Foodie — isgreeneasy @ 4:36 pm
Tags: , , ,

cookiesIn honor of my 20th post and 1,500th view I thought I would do a fun giveaway. Now unlike other high-powered blogs, I’m still a little indie blog. So, that means I don’t have any hot “swag” or “merch” to give away. I’m going to do a DIY giveaway of my favorite thing to make–cookies!

I’m a big baker and cookies tend to be my speciality, so I thought why not make someone’s day with homemade cookies? I use all organic, quality ingredients, so you can be sure you’re getting a worthwhile prize.

Here’s how it will work: just write a comment to this post telling me:

  • 1. your favorite kind of cookie (within reason for an amateur home baker to make)
    2. what you love about eating organic
    3. your e-mail address.
  • The winner will receive two dozen of your favorite cookies! The deadline to enter is June 13, 2009. You can only enter once, except you get an extra entry if you subscribe to my blog. Just say you subscribed (or already subscribe) in your comment. The winner will be chosen randomly in a non-high tech fahion. I’ll contact the winner to make arrangements to send the freshly baked goodness to your home. Good luck!

     

    Whole Foods, you had me at the first sample May 25, 2009

    Filed under: Green Chicago,Green Foodie,green shopping — isgreeneasy @ 6:40 pm
    Tags: ,

    There’s a new Whole Foods in town, and it’s bigger, more enticing and more fun than any Whole Foods I’ve ever been in. It’s the new Lincoln Park Whole Foods, and I had the chance to go to their sneak preview party last week. I gawked at the store while munching on way too many (in quantity and variety) samples–it was like a foodie Disneyland!

    Whole Foods definitely knows what they’re doing, and how to suck my dollars from my wallet as quickly as I can say “organic vegan gluten-free faux barbeque”. Fortunately at the sneak preview nothing was for sale, so I worked my way through the sushi, mushroom tamales, organic sangria, curry ice cream, chilli pepper truffles, Goose Island brews and deep dish pizza. I know, sounds like a bit much, but what can I say? Gladly, my stomach made it through just fine. Plus, I was glad to know my donation went to Common Threads.

    If you dare, it’s definitely worth visiting this store. I’ve already been back twice! I need to take it easy on the Whole Foods shopping though; I’m so easily manipulated by the good-smelling, fun music-playing, great-looking natural foods mecca!

    Salad bar extraordinaire

    Salad bar extraordinaire

    Bulk foods section includes a DIY trail mix station

    Bulk foods section includes a DIY trail mix station

    Cheese anyone?

    Cheese anyone?

    Really? A bar with Goose Island on tap.

    Really? A bar with Goose Island on tap.

    View from the parking lot level

    View from the parking lot level

     

    Beautiful Green Thing #5 May 19, 2009

    soyeonlee-090213110623When I came across the news that pianist Soyeon Lee’s new cd is made of reused potato chip bags, it reminded me of the cool things that the company TerraCycle is doing. TerraCycle has found ways to reuse a number of items that would normally become garbage (because they can’t be recycled) and turn them into bags, school supplies, office items and now, cds!

    TerraCycle started out as a worm composting company, but has evolved into much more. While they still make their worm poop fertilizer, they also sell cleaners, bird feeders, rain barrels and fire logs, all of which are in reused bottles and boxes.

    They also involve the public in their eco-capitalist efforts through several projects. TerraCycle invites groups to sign-up for a “brigade” to donate wrappers and in exchange receive money (usually about $.02 per wrapper) to donate to a school or non-profit organization. The packaging is then “upcycled” into a variety of fun items like backpacks and notebooks. There’s a Cookie Brigade, Energy Bar Brigade, Drink Pouch Brigade, and even a Cork Brigade (I need to look into that one because I’ve been saving corks for months without knowing what to do with them). It looks like TerraCycle has partnered with several companies like Clif Bar, Kashi and Frito-Lay for the collection and upcycling efforts. Just about anyone can sign up and once approved, they send free shipping supplies to help get you started.

    Now of course I have to interject that the goal should be to not have any of this non-recyclable stuff around at all. But, it appears that drink pouches and chip bags are here for the indefinite future so why not do something creative and useful with them? I have a drink pouch lunch box and it’s quite the conversation piece. These upcycled products may help open people’s eyes to the possibilities of using our resources creatively and wisely. And maybe we’ll change the perception of what “waste” really is.

     

    Attack of the Clinging Laundry: The Sequel May 4, 2009

    laundry2Spring seems to finally be peeking through the clouds here, and I’d like to forget the relentless winter we just made our way through. But before I go into my winter amnesia, I must revisit my post written in the dead of winter about wanting to get off the dryer sheet habit. I promised to report back my results from my tests with dryer sheet options, and after experimenting for three months, I think I’m ready to share my findings, even if they’re not that conclusive.

    First of all, here are the combinations of things I tried (these are in addition to detergent):

    • baking soda in the wash cycle/reusable dryer sheets in the dryer
    • baking soda in the wash cycle/nothing added to dryer
    • vinegar in the wash cycle/reusable dryer sheets in the dryer
    • baking soda and vinegar in the wash cycle/reusable dryer sheets in the dryer
    • vinegar in the wash cycle/nothing added to dryer
    • nothing added to wash cycle/nothing added to dryer
    • nothing added to wash cycle/reusable dryer sheets in the dryer
    • nothing added to wash cycle/old school dryer sheet in the dryer (just to compare!)

    Yes, this was confusing. But I felt that I needed to try every combination I could think of (several times each) to really tell the difference. The thing is, overall there wasn’t a ton of difference in any of these, except for maybe the time I tried using nothing in the wash or dry cycles. None of the things I tried were completely as cling-free as when using dryer sheets, but they also weren’t that bad. When clothes were initially clingy, I just shook them out and rubbed them a bit and then they were fine (or as fine as anything is in the super dry winter environment).

    The combo I found that just edged out the others was using 1/4 cup of baking soda in the wash cycle and the reusable dryer sheets in the dryer. I’ve been happy with the results from these items enough to make them part of my laundry habit. Using these helps with the static, and the baking soda provides some softness that I thought the other options didn’t achieve. (Even though I’m continuing to use them, I’m still kind of on the fence about the reusable dryer sheets so I don’t know if I can recommend buying them. I would suggest first trying just baking soda and see what you think.) I found out that vinegar is good to use in the rinse cycle to help get rid of any residue, so I’m doing that monthly.

    Thus ends my dryer sheet replacement laundry experiment. I’m glad to be rid of the sheets and have that many less chemicals in my life. I do need to go to Costco and buy a giant container of baking soda; I’ve been going through those tiny boxes really quickly!