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Does your skin sometimes feel like this dry and cracked image in winter? Ours can. Did you know that drinking plenty of water is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to combat dry winter skin? Our bodies are made up of more than 60% water, and it’s important to make sure to stay well hydrated for healthier skin. Sometimes drinking enough water is easier said than done. Here are a few strategies that may help…

Tips for making sure you stay well-hydrated this season!

Add Flavor

The beverage world is exploding with new products and flavors every day, each of these drinks vying with the plain old bottles of water in the refrigerator cases. One of the most common reasons people say they don’t drink water is because they don’t like the taste (but if you water doesn’t taste good, consider a good water filter – see below!). It’s ok to want a little flavor, so try adding fresh fruit. Whether you want tart, think lemons and limes, or sweet, think strawberries and melons, keep some sliced fruit on hand to quickly liven up your next glass of water.

Get Bubbly

Some people need a little more pep in their water. If you prefer carbonation, try sparkling water, seltzer water, or mineral water. Many of these also come in a variety of fun flavors. For those looking to save a little cash or just go green, you can make your own seltzer water at home with a soda siphon or soda machine.

Use an App

These days, there’s an app for literally everything, including drinking more water. A quick google search reveals dozens of apps that let you track your water intake. You can set them up to remind you to guzzle throughout the day. Some apps will even calculate exactly how much water you need based on your size, gender, and exertion levels.

Try Filtered Water

While it’s easy enough to turn on the faucet for a quick glass of hydrating water, sometimes tap water isn’t safe or just doesn’t taste good. It may even look cloudy or have a funny odor. City water is often the same quality as the bottled water you are purchasing (in fact some bottled waters come from the same source as tap water). Bottled water is NOT the answer, so for healthy, safe, better tasting, more eco-friendly AND economical water, please consider filtering your own water. You’ll have to do some of your own homework on which system is best for you, but the first thing is to understand the quality of the water, so a great idea to invest in an at home water analysis kit.

Fill a Bottle

One of the easiest ways to make sure you are drinking plenty of water is to fill up a bottle in the morning and sip throughout the day. The standard recommendation for daily water intake is eight 8-ounce glasses a day. Find yourself a 64-ounce water bottle to keep by your side and you’ll never go thirsty again.

This post is sponsored by Test Assured Water Testing Kits and Supplies

The post Hydration is key to avoiding dry winter skin appeared first on The Green Divas.

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  I tell the crew that we’re not making movies,
we’re starting movements,
and movements don’t end until the issue ends.

~ Louie Psihoyos, Director Game Changers

 

As a lover of documentary films, I’m in heaven these days. There are more eco-documentaries to watch than ever before, and I’m glad the audience for these types of films is growing as are the distribution channels. There are so many powerful voices emerging and stories being told, it is downright impossible to keep up. But, we’re on a mission this year to spend more time watching these fabulous documentaries and talking to the talented and dedicated folks that make them. 

This year’s first episode of Season 11 is our first in a series of eco-doc features. We had a chance to talk to some of our favorite filmmakers to hear about their latest films, why they made them, the nuances of making these docs and about films they’ve been watching. We spoke with Jamie Redford, whose latest film is being featured on HBO — Happening: A Clean Energy Revolution; Jessica Wolfson on her series, Hot Grease; and our own green diva Dayna Reggero on her award-winning film The Wood Thrush Connection. Please listen to this episode, then see below for more eco-film and series recommendations…

12 eco-documentaries (or series) we recommend 

not in any particular order… 

Chasing Coral 

Chasing Coral | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix - YouTube

Dominion  

Dominion Trailer

Water and Power: A California Heist 

WaterandPower

The Age of Consequences 

TheAgeofConsequences

 

The True Cost 

TheTrueCost

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power

 

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power (2017) - Official Trailer - Paramount Pictures - YouTube

Before the Flood 

BeforeTheFlood

The Game Changers 

TheGameChangers

Years of Living Dangerously

YearsofLivingDangerously

Two films from Roger Sorkin

reviews by Green Diva Lisa McWilliams

The Burden is a documentary told through voices of those who have been carrying the burden in our military, of which it’s dependence on fossil fuel is our greatest long-term security threat. There is no ambiguity about the need to transition to clean energy from an organization that uses more oil than any other organization in the world. Regardless of one’s political view point, no one cannot deny the myriad of reasons for making this transition and the long-term benefits of doing so, including making the US leaders in the global clean energy economy of the 21st century. Oh, and it looks like you can watch it for free from the website.

Speaking of the military….

Tidewater is another documentary that shows us that there is no denying that when the waters rise, and they already are, it will put our national security at risk. This story takes place in the little-known Hampton Roads in Virginia where we have our highest concentration of military assets with 14 installations that are vulnerable. They need $1 billion of infrastructure repair. Once again illustrating that can-do spirit of American innovation, this time with civilians and military partnering for the success of the plan.

Please check out our YouTube channel to see short, funny and useful 1 GD Minute videos with recipes and DIY tutorials. Here’s a recent one…
1 GD Minute: Healing Vegan Mineral Broth - YouTube

And if you want to learn more about the content of this video, please read the corresponding post!

The post Jamie Redford & other filmmakers on making eco-documentaries appeared first on The Green Divas.

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My mind is occupied with thoughts of peaceful warriors like Martin Luther King, Jr., on a morning that is meant to honor him.

Could he have imagined that his words would become even more relevant as we watch a season of hope give way to a white house administration and president who overtly support, promote and espouse racism and many variant forms of bigotry? Creating a culture that seems to invite and permit more violence and negativity towards anyone considered “other.”

There are a thousand meaningful quotes by him rolling and scrolling through all my social media channels. But I stopped scrolling when I saw the lead to this poem written by a very dear and extremely talented friend Kerri McCaffrey, whose poetry always zaps me like an arrow straight into my third eye with a magical bend down into my heart. How does she do that!?!

This is a poem from her book, In the Valley of Glow Trees, which I HIGHLY recommend. If you love nature and wildlife and a sparkling description of the heart, you’ll want this book handy . . .  

The vase was cobalt
and the flower, yellow
sunlight streaming explosions
on iridescent things–
a butterfly crafted
of peacock wings.
And love is light
and light is fair
so I have been crossing
ruby bridges
pondering
Rosa Parks
and Martin Luther King, Jr.
wondering—
did they sit in their kitchens
clay cup of bitterness

turned to coffee light and sweet
trying to stomach despair?
Federal Marshals, high pressure hoses, shots fired
from grassy knolls.
Or did they sit quietly
and linger
a tad longer
in the filtered light
the glitter dust
whispering, “deliver us”
from evil
as they sunk daffodils in blue vases
went out and placed themselves in harm’s way
tamped with equality
willing to be exploded—
scintillant slivers and silver shrapnel—?

Christ!

© Kerri Nicole McCaffrey 2013

Please check out our YouTube channel to see our short, sometimes inspirational, funny and useful 1 GD Minute videos with inspiring messages, recipes and DIY tutorials. Here’s a recent one…
1 GD Minute: Art & Inspiration ~ John Lennon Quote - YouTube

And if you want to learn more about the content of this video, please read the corresponding post

The post Coffee, Cream, Poetry & Martin Luther King, Jr. appeared first on The Green Divas.

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Happiness is a warm puppy.

~ Charles M. Schulz

Our sweet Gracie loves to romp in the snow, but winter is rough on dog paws, and much like human skin, their pads will get dry and cracked from exposure to cold and snow and wet cement. But in case you didn’t know, all the stuff we use to minimize ice for our safety can be extremely hazardous to dogs.

Did you know that dogs can actually be poisoned by rock salt and chemical deicers, and in some cases can actually die!? Holy Moly! 

Keep in mind, it is one thing for the dog to have issues with dry, irritated paws, but if they get salt or chemicals in their pads that are irritating, they will lick them and work to remove the irritant, thus ingesting some of it.

Symptoms of rock salt poisoning in a dog:
  • burns to mouth
  • dehydration
  • liver and kidney failure
  • pancreatitis
Symptoms of antifreeze (chemical deicer) poisoning in a dog:
  • sudden lack of coordination
  • very thirsty and excessive urination
  • gastrointestinal irritation
  • coma
  • seizures
  • death
Ok. Let’s quickly move on to things we can do to help reduce the danger and the general irritation that winter can wreak on our poor woofs.
 
1. Stop using rock salt and chemical deicers in your own walkways and driveways!
 
There are pet-safe, non-toxic ice melt products like Safe Paw, which we’ve used… 

 

or non-salt, traction granules to make icy surfaces less dangerous, but safe for woofs, kids and the environment, like this EcoTraction made from volcanic rock … 

2. Keep your dog’s paws groomed

It’s important to keep their paws well groomed as too much fur or claws that are too long can collect ice and/or rock salt or chemical deicers, which will prompt them to lick their paws after being outside.

3. Wipe their paws when they come inside 

We keep an old towel by the door and wipe Gracie’s feet after she’s been outside for a walk or playing in the woods, especially if it is muddy or of course in these winter months.

4. Get booties for your dog?

Not for all dogs obviously, but if your dog will tolerate it… 

Dogs in Boots Compilation - YouTube
4. Use a healing and protective salve to help protect paws

Before and after going out to play in the winter (or anytime really), make sure your dog’s paw pads are clean and well-groomed, then apply some protective salve. Apply again after wiping clean when you come in.

Here’s a 1 GD Minute video tutorial showing an easy-peasy recipe for making your own healing paw salve. We gave GD Gracie a pawdicure! 

 

1 GD Minute: DIY Dog Paw Remedy Salve - YouTube
 
GD pawdicure salve recipe what you need

2 8oz. containers (widemouth if possible)

1 cup beeswax pastilles
1/2 coconut oil
4 tablespoons shea butter
1/2 cup almond oil (can substitute olive oil or use 1/2 of each)
1/2 teaspoon vitamin E oil
20 drops essential oil (optional – we love lavender, but you can also use some oils that are bug repellent for summertime)

what to do
  • find a large mason jar or wide-mouthed glass container for creating double-boiler effect
  • use a medium saucepan
  • fill saucepan 1/3 with water and bring to boil
  • put jar in the water and lower heat a little
  • add beeswax pastilles and stir till melted (we used an old chopstick for stirring)
  • then add coconut oil and stir till blended
  • then add shea butter and stir till blended
  • then almond oil and stir
  • remove from heat, but before it cools…
  • add 1/2 teaspoon vitamin E oil
  • 20 drops of essential oil of your choice (if you are using any)
  • stir completely
  • pour into your two containers and let stand till solid (doesn’t take that long, maybe half hour)
  • give your dog a pedicure!

Gracie was so happy after her first GD pawdicure, she presented my husband with his slippers when he came in the door that night…

GoodDog - YouTube
Please check out our YouTube channel to see short, funny and useful 1 GD Minute videos with recipes and DIY tutorials. Here’s a recent one…
1 GD Minute: Healing Vegan Mineral Broth - YouTube

And if you want to learn more about the content of this video, please read the corresponding post!

 

The post Winter is ruff on dog paws: give your woof a pawdicure! appeared first on The Green Divas.

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All I want is … mac and cheese

~ Kurt Cobain

I love cheese. There, I’ve written it out loud. I’m a cheese whore who struggles to let go of this savage and luscious addiction, to this gift of the cruel gods. I’ve had a love-hate thing going on with cheese my entire life, but the bottom line is that it just isn’t good for me. My body tells me so in many unpleasant ways. I’ve tried only eating super duper organic stuff from happy cows outside, raw, cave aged, from especially magical goats… none of it really works. 

When I’m eating clean (for me), it doesn’t involve dairy cheese [heavy sigh]. Consequently, over the years, I’ve developed some great vegan cheese and dairy alternative recipes that satisfy me and those I cook for quite well. I’ve not had as much luck with store-bought cheese alternatives, but I keep trying. 

Mac and cheese is like the comfort food of the gods. Seems juvenile, but 50-something years into this incarnation, and it still calls to me. My husband makes the best to-die-for mac and cheese that involves 3 different types of cheese, a large onion, some tomato soup and a pound of freaking bacon. Yea, not what this gluten-free, vegetarian (mostly vegan) should be eating. And now for a bit of macaroni and cheese history…

Who knew? 

I was sitting here wondering who started this macaroni and cheese thing and was shocked to see that there are references and recipes dating back to 14th century Italy and England. One early recipe shows up in the “dishes for the rich” chapter of the  medieval Italian cookbook in the 14th century, Liber de Coquina

If it seems to be a particularly American infatuation, we can thank Thomas Jefferson. He became obsessed with pasta and macaroni back in the late 18th century and after an unsuccessful attempt to build a pasta-making machine, he decided it was best to just import the pasta and the cheese from Italy. He turned on his American friends to an early version of mac and cheese at a state dinner, and it has been a popular dish in the US since that time.

I’ve had a few mediocre attempts to create a vegan macaroni and cheese alternative, but hubby’s recipe always gloats above them all. Until last night. Oh boy. I think I might’ve stumbled upon the magic formula.

It all started with the Instant Pot I got for Christmas. I had been hearing so much about these things and figured it was time to add it to the GD kitchen arsenal. 

I LOVED my first two recipes in the Instant Pot. One was a delicious quinoa thing and the next was this creamy plant-based smokey gouda sauce. This cheese hound just couldn’t resist it. This is where my idea for the vegan macaroni and cheese began. I woke up in the middle of the night thinking about how good this stuff might be on macaroni and decided I would try it. Here’s exactly what I did…

Best vegan macaroni and cheese recipe!

If you don’t have an Intant Pot, I’m sorry. I highly recommend getting your hands on one. 

 

What you need…

1 cup plant-based smokey gouda sauce (if you don’t have an Instant Pot, I’m reasonably sure you can convert this to a stove top method, but not really sure how that works.)

8oz. good gluten-free elbows (I used Ancient Harvest)

1 – 2 tablespoons of good olive oil

NOTE: veggies are of course optional and you can switch it up to whatever veggies you enjoy most in this kind of thing. maybe carrots or peppers or kale or whatever. I used what I had handy and what seemed like it might be yummy. 

half a red onion (thinly sliced and chopped)

8 – 10 mushrooms (sliced)

2 cloves fresh garlic (crushed)

1/4 cup sliced sun-dried peppers (these are hard to come by, but we’ve stumbled upon them at an italian deli and also at Wegmans. If you don’t have any, you don’t really need them, but if you find them, they are excellent in this dish)

a cup or two of raw spinach

salt, pepper seasoning to taste

 

What to do…

Prepare the smokey gouda goodness as per the Instant Pot recipe.

Cook the pasta.

Saute the onions and mushrooms in olive oil. When onions are translucent and mushrooms are cooked, add the sun-dried peppers and garlic and saute for another minute.

Add salt, pepper, seasoning to taste.

Lower the heat and add the spinach and then turn off the heat after a minute.

Add drained pasta to large sauce pan, add the smokey gouda goodness, the sauteed mixture and heat on low till mixed and heated through. 

Enjoy!

Please check out our YouTube channel to see short, funny and useful 1 GD Minute videos with recipes and DIY tutorials. Here’s a recent one…
1 GD Minute: Homemade Vanilla Cashew Milk Recipe - YouTube

And if you want to learn more about the content of this video, please read the corresponding post!

The post Best vegan macaroni and cheese ever appeared first on The Green Divas.

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AND manifest what you need in 2018!

 

My loathing of New Year’s resolutions is probably in direct proportion to my consistent lack of success with them in the past—the distant past.

I haven’t avowed any new year proclamations or transformations for a long time. Don’t get me wrong, I have developed my own rituals for celebrating this time where big people get to silently scream, “Do over!” and we allow ourselves to hit the reset button. 

I feel some alliteration coming on . . . so, instead of “resolutions,” my rituals involve reflection, re-focusing, renewal, remembering, reclamation, reconnection and revision. It’s an “R” thing I guess. I’m not sure I resolve anything, but I have found that taking time out each year to reflect helps to set a positive tone for the next 365 trips around the sun.

Here’s how it goes most years . . . 


Reflect

I take a week or two at the end of the year (which is easy to do because of the other holidays that precede the New Year’s stuff) and do a deep surrender of everything—all my petty plans and earthly goals. I consciously try NOT to make plans about work or travel or family or personal goals. I stick to healthy routines as best I can and pick up my meditation time a LOT. I ask for additional spiritual guidance on what I need to focus on for my highest good, rather than try to dictate what I think it should be.

A higher perspective always yields far more insight than I could ever possibly achieve in my physically-focused, ego-driven mind. I find that writing reveals even more interesting surprises, and I highly recommend doing some serious journaling during this type of reflective timeout. 

When my mind wants to “figure it all out” and starts to plot and plan (which it always does), I have to pull it back and gently remind it (my mind, as if it were a puppy on crack sometimes) that we aren’t doing that right now and give it something else to chew on. My goal is to be as present as possible between bouts of reflection—thus staying out of the future (planning).

The world and the people in it sometimes try to convince me that this is not a good idea and I need to “strategize” and plan and visualize and all kinds of important things. And my answer is, yes, but not until I’m done with the reflection bit. I have to gain some clarity on where I’ve been and get a higher perspective on what’s next before I can do any type of effective strategizing, visualizing and/or (ultimately) manifesting. Patience, grasshopper.

How do you practice reflection?

Re-Focus

Once I’ve given myself the gift of time and space to reflect and gain some perspective on my current reality—that tricky beast that’s enhanced by spiritual practice and mindfulness, or warped by being too embedded in the earthly drama—it’s a constant battle of balance and the cliche of keeping my feet rooted here on this earth and my mind in the proverbial clouds of higher perspectives. I fail frequently, but I keep at it, and wallow as long as I can in the balance when it happens. I suspect that in some cruel spiritual scheme we decided it would be no fun to be in balance all the time. Heavy sigh.

Regardless of my state of perfect balance, I’ve learned one thing about manifesting anything—whether a change in behavior, shift in perspective or creating cash flow—whatever we focus on tends to become reality. I’m not going to try and explain this one as there are those that do a far better job than me—Abraham Hicks, The Lotus and the Lily, The Secret,  and many other variations on this theme.  

So, once I get some clarity on what is, I can begin to visualize what’s next. What do I want to manifest in this coming year? Probably not sickness, debt, drama, etc. In order to avoid manifesting these fun challenges, I have to constantly re-focus my mind (remember the puppy on crack?). I have a tendency to get caught up in the rat-wheel of worry, doubt, anxiety and fear, which leads NOWHERE, but exhausts me. My biggest challenge is to say “no” to these thoughts and replace them with positive concepts like gratitude, joy, love… and when all else fails, just shut it all down and be present with WHATEVER is going on and invite spirit to help shine some light on the moment.

It helps me to create some simple affirmations based on my recent reflections that re-direct my puppy mind from destructive thoughts to more productive thoughts like the stuff I want to manifest. I can say these little affirmations or mantras quietly in my head or out loud or write on sticky notes and decorate my little world with them until they become new neuropathways to change. I do this until I’m spending far more time in my mind on what I want to see and create rather than all the crazy rationalizations why I can’t. Stuff is like magic. Really. Try it on something simple for 30 days and see what happens.  

What helps you re-focus your attention?

[read my post “musings from a midlife green diva“… it might be relevant]

Remembering

As I skim the surface of this world trying to get it all done (whatever “it” is), I tend to forget what’s important. My heart mission seems to be blotted out by the gravity and density of this planet. I forget what I’ve learned over the years about who I am, what makes my little light shine bright. I need to remember and get deeply honest with myself about how well I’m taking care of this true self.

This of course is different for each of us. We’re all at varying stages of understanding our true selves and what our mission—should we choose to accept it—is here in this particular earth plane. Wherever you are in this soul-searching-knowing, learn more, go further, and expand on this human experience. Then, as you remember what you already know, it will become clear where you need to place your attention to grow or change or take action or whatever.

Meditation, nature, journaling, laughing, yoga, reading something meaningful or well-written, experiencing great art, holding babies, playing in the garden, talking to animals, a tender kiss, a tragic moment, sappy movies… these things evoke remembering for me. They bring me to the present in a way that reminds me of what’s real, enduring, love… and the rest—the fear, the doubt, the drama—drifts into the fog.

Whatever works for you. Do it. Take stock as you remember and you’ll know what you need to do to make this next year rock.

What helps you remember what is important at your core? Renewal

I don’t know about you, but my world is a busy one—some of it meaningful and productive, more of it manufactured silliness. It’s taken me a half century to begin to understand energy conservation, and to be clear I’m not talking about electricity, but finding ways to keep my personal energy at a sustainable level. Whether it was being a mother (and a single mother for a few years) of three girls or just my personality perhaps, I have a tendency to work in unregulated fits and bursts. These fits and bursts tend to lead me to a low point, where I’m always shocked and the last to know just how burned out I am. Again with this balance thing!? I’m slowly discovering my own rhythm and how to swing, jive and sway like a dance marathon, rather than the deadly Elaine dance

[Watch this Chakra Balancing Meditation led by Rainbeau Mars]

Making room in your world for retreat and renewal is critical to sustain your personal energy flow. I have some strategies for making this happen in the course of a day, but creating a string of days where I retreat from the din and chaos to “do” or “be” less in the busy world is an absolute necessity for this green diva. The end of the year is one of those times where I specifically work on renewing my energy and recharging my inner batteries, which goes well with the reflective time mentioned above.

Renewal for me also means renewing commitments I have to myself. Like affirming those little and big agreements about how I interact with myself. For me it’s about less fear and doubt, more yoga, better choices in food, being the best wife, mother, Ya Ya, sister, friend, etc. 

How do you find time to renew your energy / recharge your inner batteries? What commitments to yourself do you want to renew? Reclamation

In this process, I always realize there are parts of me that I lose touch with. I neglect playful inner meg, and although I write way too many words in emails and social media posts, my creative writing muscles atrophy a bit. So, I like to take stock of the parts of me that I need to reclaim, and visualize a plan for working them back into my consciousness.

There can also be toxic relationships that syphon off tiny bits of our soul. This is a great time to inventory relationships and reclaim your power in any that aren’t nourishing you, and find ways to lovingly take appropriate actions, if any.

What parts of yourself have been dormant or what relationships need balancing,
and what are you going to do to reclaim them? Reconnection

The post Screw New Year’s resolutions: 7 ways to reconnect to your awesome self appeared first on The Green Divas.

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Okay. This recipe may not be the healthiest most sustainable, seasonal, vegan dessert or even what most people would consider traditional holiday fare. However, it has become a regular christmas staple in our household and like most traditions, it has a story attached to it.

Nothing dramatic really, but about 20 years ago, I was experiencing one of those ‘blue’ christmases that Elvis sang about – all lonely and weepy and not much fun. My friends took turns trying to keep me from total despair and I found myself slumped on a stool in my dear friend Roberta’s kitchen a couple of days before christmas. I was a bit like a dry sack of flour so she put me to work as she was busily preparing her family’s favorite holiday dessert, strawberry squares.

Maybe it was the sugar, but I perked up and my entire holiday spirit shifted to one of good cheer from that moment on and without much discussion or fanfare, we have gotten together in her kitchen every year (none missed so far!) a few days before christmas. Now we make a double batch of these delicious treats and my family has adopted a love for them now too.

Cheer-Up-Any-Scrooge Strawberry Squares Ingredients

1 c. flour
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
1/2 c. butter (melted)
1 c. whipping cream
2 egg whites
2/3 c. sugar (1 c. if using fresh strawberries)
10 oz. frozen strawberries (or 2 c. fresh)
2 Tbs. lemon juice

Instructions

Crust & Crumbly Topping
Preheat oven to 350. Combine the first 4 ingredients to a nice semi-dry crumbly consistency (add flour if needed), which is best done by using your hands to mix. Then spread on a large cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until crumbs are golden brown. Put 2/3s of the crumbs in the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish. (my family LOVES the crumbly bits, so I usually increase this part of the recipe so I have a lot more for the top)

Filling
Whip up your cream. In a separate bowl whip egg whites, sugar, strawberries and lemon juice for about 10 minutes till you get stiff peaks. (yes, strawberries can still be frozen – they usually break up)

Fold the whipped cream into the strawberry whip and then put into pan. Even out as best you can and distribute rest of crumbs on top.

Cover and freeze. It keeps nicely for a week or two. 

Please check out our YouTube channel to see short, funny and useful 1 GD Minute videos with recipes and DIY tutorials. Here’s a recent one…
1 GD Minute: Healing Vegan Mineral Broth - YouTube

And if you want to learn more about the content of this video, please read the corresponding post!

The post Cheer-up-Any-Scrooge Frosty Strawberry Squares appeared first on The Green Divas.

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“Sharing the holiday with other people, and feeling that you’re giving of yourself, gets you past all the commercialism.”

~ Caroline Kennedy

The irony of the season is not lost on me. How did we get from a symbolic meal of abundance, sharing, community, gratitude and family to people literally shoving anyone in their path to get in the doors of a store on Thanksgiving Day?

It’s not the magic of the season I recall. We were definitely spoiled with a lot of gifts at Christmas, when I was a kid, but being together with family remained the central theme. Little rituals like football with dad, or trying to help my frantic mother with the Thanksgiving dinner, or wrapping gifts with big bro at midnight on Christmas eve, while listening to cool tunes and getting educated on various nuances of rock history (listen to my brother’s excellent, entertaining AND educational radio show, Uncle Buggy Radio Show). These are the things I look back on with that gooey, tingly, warm and fuzzy glow. Do I remember the gifts? No, not so much. 

I knew the gift was being with my family, even if we were at odds or snarking at each other or someone was too drunk. I knew this for sure after my father died and the magic went kind of dark, then many family members evacuated the planet in rapid succession, which demolished the holidays for me — for a time.

My well-meaning older sister fought hard to keep us all together and recreate the scenes of our youth, but it never really worked. As my children appeared (as if by magic in this story), I knew it was up to me to create meaningful holidays for them (and for the purpose of this post, “holidays” = Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years). 

Maybe try some yummy vegan eggnog? spiked or not, it’s easy, healthy & delicious!
1 GD Minute: Vegan no-egg egg nog - YouTube
see recipe link here!

It was my turn to become the standard bearer of this season and set the backdrop of great memories for my offspring. Daunting task. It has evolved over the 30 years since my first was born (wow, can you imagine what I was like as a teen mom? just kidding . . . but I don’t feel as old as all this makes me sound!). Now I have a new role as a Ya Ya (grandmother), and as a green diva, it’s also about making the most eco-friendly holiday possible.

My motto now is buy less, make more, and when I have to buy, I buy local and if I can’t buy local I make for damned sure it is sustainably made, recyclable, and as eco-friendly as possible!

Here are a few ways to create magic and meaning in the season while
reducing the impact on momma earth
    1. Peace starts within ~ if I want to have a more peaceful and fun holiday season, I have to take darn good care of myself from the inside out. It’s a marathon not a sprint, so take good care and it will be a lot easier for you and those around you! Read my post about personal energy conservation for the holidays. 
    2. Remembering the Reason for the Season ~ whatever holiday you celebrate, try not to be sucked into the commercial marketing aspect of it or the expectations of those that ARE sucked in. Be who you are and shine your love on those around you. No really. I’m not going to get too philosophical, but I’m not sure if there is any religion or belief system (that is a positive one) that being kind and loving and generous isn’t a theme. 
    3. Make stuff ~ I do a lot of holiday preparation with my kids now. From Thanksgiving dishes to holiday crafts, and at least one of my daughters has begun her own creative traditions. Spending time with them coming up with crafty and creative ideas and then sitting around making stuff is probably my very favorite thing to do over the holiday season. Make this amazing vegan hot cocoa gift for friends and family (and yourself). It’s always a huge hit!
    4. Buy less ~ I stopped buying crappy plastic stocking stuffers and filler years ago, and I spend a lot of time coming up with USEFUL and cool items, many of which are locally crafted (by real artisans as opposed to my goofy attempts). As a family, we decided years ago to give up the multi-gift crazed thing for Christmas and just focus on handmade items and stockings. We spend less money, consume less packaging in store-bought items, and use much less wrapping paper, but we all have a great time getting creative. I prefer getting a few meaningful gifts than a mess of haphazard (even expensive) gifts. Consider these awesome specially designed GD Glass Straws that help support our independent media efforts while offering one way to #stopsucking! Plastic straws are a huge contributor to the plastic pollution plaguing our oceans. Give a few of these away and everyone wins! 

       
    5. Regift ~ seems like a cardinal sin or something, but honestly, we just have way too much stuff and there’s no reason to generate more stuff! I have jewelry to pass down to my girls, or books or special things from my mother and grandmother that have infinitely more meaning to them than anything I could buy at the store (well almost anything).
    6. Buy local ~ I rarely go into a shopping mall EVER, but I have not stepped foot in a mall between Thanksgiving and New Years in many years now. I have my favorite local shops I go to for the few gifts I don’t make or regift. I am fortunate that I live an an extremely cool little town and I enjoy visiting the store owners and sharing my dollars with them, especially during the holiday season.
    7. Stick to healthy routines ~ it’s a wonderful season to visit with friends and family and attend all those fun parties, but it’s not necessary to toss out all your healthy ways (or become the super annoying vegan drag at the party). There are a lot of ways to maintain balance even if your friends and family are not. Here’s a fun Green Divas Foodie-Philes featuring Jerry James Stone about how he has a healthy vegan/vegetarian holiday season:
    8. Ease up on the decorations ~ for the love of whatever god you believe in (0r none at all), PLEASE don’t create a blow-up doll village on your lawn! I’m sure I’ve offended someone (sorry), but they are probably manufactured in China of questionable plastic fabric, and they use up more energy than we should be wasting on this stuff. Minimize the blazing lights not only for the energy savings, but there is a thing called light pollution, which is serious and we could light up the sky with some neighborhoods that compete for who can be most creative with their holiday light extravaganzas. Listen to this Green Dude segment featuring Dark Ranger, Kevin Poe who talks about light pollution.
    9. Gratitude & giving always works ~ even if your family sucks and the world seems bleak for you this season, I bet there is someone who has it worse off than you. Get your gratitude on and go out there and be generous with your time, love, kindness, energy, whatever you have to give. You don’t have to spend money to give amazing gifts, and nothing gets me out of a funk like helping someone who has less. Read my post from last year on how to Be the Light during the holidays. 
Please check out our YouTube channel to see our short, sometimes inspirational, funny and useful 1 GD Minute videos with inspiring messages, recipes and DIY tutorials. Here’s a recent one…
1 GD Minute: Art & Inspiration ~ John Lennon Quote - YouTube

And if you want to learn more about the content of this video, please read the corresponding post

The post 9 Ways to have a fun, mindful and eco-friendly holiday season appeared first on The Green Divas.

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Coffee is like a warm hug for my brain

~ Green Diva Meg

I’ve tried to quit coffee many times. As of this morning, I’ve failed every single time. I love my brain on coffee. It functions so much better [sigh]. 

I’m generally not a fan of single-cup coffee pods, but when we got one of these brewers as our only wedding present from my husband’s well-meaning family, what could I do? My husband is more of a coffee hound than I am and is attached to his coffee equipment. Hence our need to create extended kitchen space to host our vital coffee bar.

Lately, I’ve been attached to my coffee press. I rarely use single-cup coffee pods, but the compromise when we got the one from the family was that we only use the reusable pod inserts and grind our own coffee for it, which has worked fairly well. 

Enter Intelligent Blends. I was approached by this company to check out their “super righteous” single origin, organic, fair trade, recyclable coffee pods. At first, I was hesitant, but I was seduced by the Sumatran pods. I’m a sucker for a good organic, fair trade cup of Sumatra coffee! 

I’m on cup #2 as I write this and I’m impressed (and my brain is feeling warm and buzzy and well hugged). I pulled apart the first pod to put grounds in the compost and the pod in the recycling bin and noticed that it also has a paper liner, which I’m hoping minimizes the plastic that enters my coffee from the heated process. 

Honestly, I will still primarily use my coffee press, but if we have the machine and someone absolutely, positively has to have a quick cup of coffee, I’m happy to have this in the coffee making arsenal. Not a bad option as single-use coffee pods go!

And while we’re on the coffee topic train, check out my yummy recipe for better butter coffee

Please check out our YouTube channel to see short, funny and useful 1 GD Minute videos with recipes and DIY tutorials. Here’s a recent one…
1 GD Minute: Healing Vegan Mineral Broth - YouTube

And if you want to learn more about the content of this video, please read the corresponding post!

 

The post When you absolutely have to use single-cup coffee pods appeared first on The Green Divas.

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