Composting in the City
Nature Mill – Composting Made Easy!
Living in New York City can be a tough place to execute more extensive recycling programs. True, most everyone I know recycles, but those same friends do not compost, reduce, or reuse. I found a really great way to get composting started in the Big City via Nature Mill’s Pro Composting Box. This product is not only easy-to-maintain but it’s also incredibly stylish within the industry of recycling components.
Compost is organic material that can be used as a soil amendment or as a medium to grow plants. Mature compost is a stable material with a content called humus that is dark brown or black and has a soil-like, earthy smell.
Natural composting, or biological decomposition, began with the first plants on earth and has been going on ever since. As vegetation falls to the ground, it slowly decays, providing minerals and nutrients needed for plants, animals, and microorganisms. Mature compost, however, includes the production of high temperatures to destroy pathogens and weed seeds that natural decomposition does not destroy.
Did You Know That Composting Can…
- Suppress plant diseases and pests.
- Reduce or eliminate the need for chemical fertilizers.
- Promote higher yields of agricultural crops.
- Facilitate reforestation, wetlands restoration, and habitat revitalization efforts by amending contaminated, compacted, and marginal soils.
- Cost-effectively remediate soils contaminated by hazardous waste.
- Remove solids, oil, grease, and heavy metals from stormwater runoff.
- Capture and destroy 99.6 percent of industrial volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) in contaminated air.
- Provide cost savings of at least 50 percent over conventional soil, water, and air pollution remediation technologies, where applicable.
With all that you now know about the great benefits and how easy it is… don’t you think you should start composting today? I do…!
Eco Clean., a NEW line of eco-friendly cleaning products from Denmark.
As much as things to be clean, the noxious odor of cleaning products is enough to make me sick. That is, until I realized that I don’t have to offend my olfactory receptors (my nose) to get my home guest-ready.
I was recently asked to try an eco-friendly glass cleaner from Eco Clean. Loved it! Not only does it make everything sparkle and shine… it smells of white tea & sage.
There are three other great cleaning products in the line that I would recommend giving a try;
ALL PURPOSE with spicy lavender
BATHROOM with lavender and mint
KITCHEN COUNTER with orange and rosemary
Eco-Clean home cleaning products are:
- Good for the eco-system and the people who use it
- Non Toxic – no toxic fumes or gases released upon contact with water. Safe to use around children and pets
- Works as well as traditional cleaners
- Amazing fragrances that are allergy-friendly
- Special foam option nozzle that minimizes vapors
- and… Beautiful packaging
It is going to be awfully hard to find a cleaning product that is as pleasant and effective as Eco Clean’s Glass Cleaner. The act of cleaning is now a joy again! OK, I’m getting carried away…
Available at Duane Reade.
As Earth Day blows out 40 candles today (smokeless, scentless bio-degradable candles.. of course!), I wanted to showcase a few items that are a perfect match for an eco-friendly birthday. Often times with organic or eco-friendly products, user have to sacrifice either a beautiful design or reasonable price to have a first-rate eco product. However, these next three items are sure-fire winners in the eyes of the eco-aware.
I often find myself not amused by having to eat with silver cutlery when I’m eating out, camping or just too lazy to open the silverware drawer. And plastic cutlery doesn’t serve me any better. It often breaks, cracks or the knife proves itself useless against the almighty power of the chicken breast.
So imagine my delight when I came across Bamboo Veneerware’s Bamboo Dinnerware They are made with 100% bamboo – which, as you know is a highly durable and sustainable material. Set includes flatware and chopsticks which are heat- and stain-resistant, safe to use on non-stick surfaces and won’t impart or absorb flavors.
With Father Winter on the outs and the sun shining brighter than ever on New York City (the high today is 68!), it’s a great time to plan a “Welcome to Spring” party, host a themed picnic for friends in a local park or enjoy a spa day with family at home with friends. Pull out your lucky pen and start the invite process. I’m currently loving the variety of patterns and colors that Chicago-based company Waste Not Paper offers. Not only the colors are appealing, but also the company’s strong stance on sustainability.
On their site, they say,
Our paper comes from mills that practice responsible, sustainable forestry as certified by objective 3rd parties. Much of our product is created using renewable energy sources, such as hydro power or wind power.
Our entire line of solid cards, envelopes and paper is produced without elemental chlorine (PCF). Our printers operate with reduced volatile organic compound (VOC) emission and recycle their ink waste. Many of our note sets are handmade from renewable content, usually cotton or bark fiber.
We have nearly completed the bulk transition, offering our line of exclusive solid colors with recycled content containing at least 30% PCW (post-consumer waste). Beginning this year, our luxe papers are also made in the USA and contain recycled content.
We have swapped out all of our packing materials to reduce waste (and peanuts), and continue to look for creative ways to reuse packing materials.
With January dubbed as “One Pot Meals Month”, it’s only natural that this week’s must-have be none other than a crock pot, or slow cooker as it’s otherwise known.
Slow cookers are a staple for any household, especially a busy one. A lot of us don’t have time to sit around to cook a meal, so a slow cooker comes in handy when you can throw your ingredients in and go. You have the ability to make a variety of items like black-eyed peas, french-inspired cassoulet, or try a delicious tequila-infused chili! All of these recipes and more are possible with a slow cooker!
Here, I’ve dissected three of my favorites that fall into a variety of budgets:
1. High Range – All-Clad 6.5 Quart Electric Slow Cooker with Ceramic Insert 99093 – $139
All-Clad is a brand to be reckoned with in the kitchen appliance industry. The All-Clad Slow Cooker is no exception to this rule. This behemoth slow cooker does everything you need and more. Some of the great features that the 99093 brings to your table are:
• Programmable electronic timer with 4 cooking settings provide users with the flexibility to cook with adjustable times on either Low or High settings.
• Cooker switch automatically to Keep Warm mode after program timer expires.
• 400 Watts of power and electronic temperature sensor deliver accurate temperature setting and a rapid warm up of food for safety.
This All-Clad slow cooker was recently reviewed by Good Housekeeping…
“Our top pick, this stainless steel unit has electronic controls that can be programmed to cook on either high for two to eight hours or low for four to 20 hours. In our tests, it delivered a delicious fork-tender beef stew, with none of the dryness or stringiness that are the signs of overcooking. After the program is completed, the All-Clad automatically switches to “keep warm” for up to six hours or until you turn it off. While the manual offers basic instructions, we would have liked more suggestions for cooking specific foods; a small five-recipe booklet is included. The dishwasher-safe black ceramic insert can only be used for slow cooking, not in the oven or microwave like some others. At over 17 pounds, this unit is heavy; you’ll want to move the bowl and base separately. When we contacted All-Clad’s customer service department, it took just over a minute to speak to a live person who offered to repair the unit if we sent it at our own expense; if the factory found the product defective, they’d refund the shipping cost.”
2. Mid-Range – Crockpot SCVP600-SS 6-Quart SmartPot Programmable Slow Cooker – $80
Crockpot has made a name for itself in the land of slow cookers, so much so that it’s brand name has almost become synonymous with slow cookers. Good Housekeeping recently listed this cooker among it’s top rated slow cookers saying,
“This six-quart model tied the All-Clad for supreme slow cooker, and is the only one with a temperature probe to automatically cooks meat at either high or low (you select the heat level) until it reaches the right internal temperature before switching to a simmer setting. This makes using this cooker practically foolproof, especially if you don’t have a recipe—tell it what type of meat you are cooking and it does the rest. We used this feature to prepare excellent braised pork tenderloin. The Smart-Set can be programmed not only to cook for specific time periods on either high or low for up to 20 hours but also to switch from one setting to another, so that you might choose, for example, to start a pot roast on high for two hours and then switch to low for an additional 8. The panel displays the cooking time as the unit operates, and a hinged lid means less mess. You can safely place the crock in the oven, microwave, and dishwasher.”
3. Low Range – Hamilton Beach 33956 Stay-or-Go 5-Quart Slow Cooker – $40
For the budget-conscious slow cooker, this Hamilton Beach version is a steal at only $40! Not only is the price enticing, the white-casted frame shows off the sleek design of the product.
What’s really great about this product is in its ease. You can easily prepare soups, casseroles, pot roasts, curries, and more with this 5-quart oval-shaped slow cooker. The appliance comes equipped with flat-panel digital controls and a precise temperature probe for large cuts of meat–no more over cooking or under cooking food.
Also, you can choose to slow cook in one of three ways–manually, pre-programmed by time, or pre-programmed by temperature with – get this! – the included meat probe.
If any of my slow cooker picks interest you, check out my Amazon.com store below for more information…
New Years Resolutions are a thing of the past.. they are rarely kept and are rather self-gratifying.
The new New Years tradition will be to make a New Year Wish (personal, global or otherwise). Use this great recycled corrugated cardboard wishing wall idea to make your resolutions official.
Cut up small slips of colored paper for your party guests to write a wish for the New Year and place it snugly into one of the wishing walls many cubby holes. It will be a testament to the power of positive thinking to see how colorful your wall gets as it fills up with the wishes of your friends and family.
Keep filling the wall in the coming year as personal, national or international events unfold as a symbol of faith that this will be the “Best Year Yet”!
Besides, new year resolutions are so 2009!
This is what New Yorker’s nosh on while waiting in line for broadway tickets at TKTS in Times Square, or sharing a Sunday afternoon in Central Park’s Sheep Meadow. Two silky lox and cream cheese sandwiches on kettle-boiled hearth-baked New York bagels, Zabar’s famous cinnamon rugelach, and an I Love NY cookie. This is the perfect walk down memory lane if you’ve been away from New York City and feel a little homesick.
Best of all, the Simply New York gift set comes with a gorgeous signature Zabar’s canvas tote. Nothing says “I LOVE NY” like this great gift set…
What do art and your sense of smell have in common? On the surface, they seem to be distant opposites. That is, until you’ve tried one of Alora Ambience’s scent diffusers. It’s like having a Monet original in diffusion form. Bred out of the Lake Como region of Italy, these scent monsters will liven up any space. The best part is that no matter the size of the room, the diffuser won’t oversaturate your room with aromas.
Alora uses only the freshest ingredients to formulate their signature scents. And let me tell you, the combinations are out of this world! Two of my personal favorites are the uno (muguet, sandalwood, musk and lemon) and the agrume (grapefruit, orange and eucalyptus). These diffusers make excellent gifts for yourself or a special someone. The price is balanced by the diffusers longevity – for $80 your 16 oz. diffuser will last up to 6 months! You can’t beat that.
Travelers, don’t think Alora left you out! They have Alora To Go, which includes a leather satchel that diffuses when placed in your luggage or hotel room drawer.
Be sure to check out Alora’s full collection of scent diffusers on their website. For candle lovers, they have a wide selection just as potent as if they were handmade by an artisan in your own kitchen.
One on my all time must-have condiments is hot sauce! From spicing up boring morning egg whites (yes I am a health freak) to adding depth to sauces, soups and dare I say again The Classic Bloody Mary – a dash here, a dash there, a dash everywhere! What is the best hot sauce? That is a “heated” debate… my favorites don’t only bite you on the tongue, but give depth of flavor as a condiment. On a trip to Belize, Central America, I encountered many exotic things and one included my all time favorite hot sauce, Marie Sharp’s Green Habanero Pepper Sauce.
I put it on every meal while I was in Belize and retuned to The States with several bottles in tow. The heat of the Myan habenero peppers and depth of flavors from prickly pear to key lime juice, makes this secret homemade pepper sauce the ultimate condiment. I thought I would have to travel back to Belize to smuggle more back to the state, but my to my relief we all can buy it online. Marie Sharp’s is featuring many more new varieties of hot sauces from mild to “No Wimps Allowed” and exotic flavors as Grapefruit Habenero and Orange Pulp Habenero.
With at total of ten different levels of heat and exotic flavors, Marie Sharp’s Habenero Hot Sauce is my fiery pick of the week!
An immersion blender, or hand blender is the most versatile kitchen tool I own that I use on a daily basis. It saves time and effort: no need to blend in small batches, no need to wash a food processor—just rinse it off and toss it back in the drawer. But which brand is best? I really like this Braun as it comes with a whipping attachment as well as a chopper. The blender tool is the most used attachment in my kitchen, but the other attachments are equally handy. I use my Braun immersion blender in the morning for a quick smoothie/protein shake, in the afternoon to puree easy soups for lunch, and in the evening for everything from frothing and blending to making a frozen drink. I will refer to it often in future posts as it is an indispensable must have tool for just about any level of cooking, healthy living and whips up a margarita in a minute flat.