Whole Living Daily

Meatless Meal: Garlicky White Bean Stew

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When I was in school for nutrition I went back home to live with my mom. (Understatement of the year to say she was happy about this.) This is when I began really cooking for the first time in my life. Every night was an experiment: knives blazing, spices flying, pots and pans getting some serious exercise. We always sat down to something special and, despite my insanely busy schedule, I found that cooking dinner for us was the most relaxing moment of my day. Read More...

Eco-Friendly Holiday Gift Wrap Ideas

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I love a beautifully-wrapped present, but I feel some serious guilt when the trash bags fill up with gift wrap on Christmas morning. But you don't have to resort to the "close your eyes while I put the present in your hands!" method of eco-friendly gift presentation. Instead, try these reusable, recycled, and upcycled gift wrap ideas. Read More...

Planning a Green Wedding: The Decorative Details

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I've covered the venue, the invitations, the registry, and the welcome bags, but now I'm finally able to show photos of all the small, pretty details. Because we wanted to keep things simple and waste to a minimum, we cut out a few things off that bat: programs, escort cards, bridesmaids dresses, aisle runners, etc. We let nature do a lot of our decorating for us and were careful about the local vendors and materials we sourced. We also came up with a gameplan for everything after the event. Certain items we've incorporated into our home and others we've sold second- (or third-hand!) on Krrb and 100 Layer Cake. We even sent the centerpieces home with guests.

Check out the photos and see links to our vendors after the jump.

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1 My bouquet included eucalyptus, dahlias, ranunculus, and other local, seasonal blooms and was tied with rope.

2 Charlie's boutonniere incorporated wax flower, berries, and a beautiful feather.

3 Instead of having flower girls throw petals, my mom made this banner that my little cousins carried down the aisle.

4 Entering the creekside ceremony site by walking down a path of wood chips.

5 Our readers placed (Veriflora-certified) berry branches on the ground around us to form a circle.

6 Because we knew the fall foliage would put on a show of its own, the only other decorations we added were two flower-topped columns made of reclaimed pallet wood and a local mossy stump.

7 The stump was the perfect place for our rings. (Mine was vintage 1930s from Doyle&Doyle in New York City.)

8 Our lemony angel-food cake was made using organic ingredients and decorated with fruit and a few teeny local blooms. The hand-turned salvage wood cakestand I found from the Wood Expressions Etsy shop.

9 Having a seating board instead of escort cards saved a ton of time and paper. This particular reclaimed wood chalkboard and stand were also Etsy scores.

10 Our florist used the same reclaimed pallet wood for centerpiece flower boxes, and each seasonal arrangement was slightly different. The wooden numbers also came from Etsy. And the wrapped chocolate favors with wooden nametags served as both placecards and favors.

11 We encouraged our guests to leave notes on small cards that we plan on turning into a piece of artwork for our house.

12 And I know this isn't exactly an eco point, but who can resist a sparkler exit?


The Clean Plates Special: Jimmy Nardello Peppers with Chef Jessica Koslow

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This installment of the Clean Plates series features an interesting variety of pepper: the Jimmy Nardello, a member of the Capsicum family. It's originally from the Basilicata region in Southern Italy, and was named for Jimmy Nardello, an early seed preservationist who brought the pepper seeds with him when he immigrated to America in the late 1800's. This sweet and delicate pepper becomes almost creamy when sautéed, and is an excellent source of vitamins C and A, plus calcium, phosphorus, iron, thiamine, riboflavin and niacin.

We spoke with Jessica Koslow, a Los Angeles chef, SoCal guru of natural preservation and fermentation, and founder of SQIRL jam. Her company has redefined preserving in L.A. and been heralded for its organic, local (within 350 miles of the kitchen) jams made without commercial pectin. She dished about her passion for lacto-fermentation, the joy of discovering a new pepper and how she came to create the word, "SQIRL." Read More...

Naturally Sweet: Pumpkin Brownies

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I am grateful for pumpkin. I adore it. Roasted pumpkin, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin pie, you name it. Coming off the holiday where pumpkin pie is practically a requirement on the menu, I love to think of healthier ways to incorporate the orange stuff. These brownies are cakey, moist, and downright delicious. With these you can have your cake and eat it, too---any day of the year. Read More...

Ask Mindy: A Green Bathroom Cleaner That Actually Works?

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I have terrible soap scum and hard water stains and am looking for a more natural way to clean it. I hate having to use the harsh chemical cleaners, but good old elbow grease is just not doing the job! —Renee Skrodzki

I hear you!  Following unusually heavy use by houseguests using all manner of shampooing, conditioning and shaving potions, we recently faced an bad attack of shower scum complicated by mildew.

Although the black and orange (really!) crust looked daunting, my asthma precludes even thinking of using harsh conventional products, which generally contain toxic ammonia, chlorine, 2-butoxyethanol, formaldehyde, and other solvents that release unhealthy, caustic fumes.  In addition to chlorine-based powders, even some cleaners claiming to be green have been found to house dozens of toxic chemicals in studies by the Environmental Working Group.

Being frugal as well as green-minded, I mixed up a least-toxic soft scrub that would remove stains and slime without scratching the tiles. Read More...