Friday, September 28, 2012

A Plastic-Free Food Wrap Set - for Free!

We're giving away a set of our  Flat Wrap Covers for Food to one lucky person, if we can hit 5, 570 facebook fans this weekend! These new reusable food covers are amazing. Made of beeswax, tree resin and jojoba oil infused into a hemp/cotton fabric, they're a great plastic-free alternative for wrapping up cheese, bread, fruit, vegetables, bowls and platters. We're so excited about these food covers, we want to send a set – for free – to someone who likes them too! (Or at least likes our post about them on Facebook.) We'll do this Monday as long as a few more people 'like' our Lavish & Lime Facebook page between now and then. What would you wrap in a set of new food covers? Check out the Facebook post now – and share, share, share! If you've liked the post, feel free to tell us in a comment below.

Our plastic-free Flat Wrap Covers for Food are ideal for Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

5 Eco-Friendly Ideas for Thanksgiving Dinner

This Thanksgiving why not include Mother Nature when giving thanks and choose planet-friendly alternatives for your holiday dinner? It's easy – with just a bit of planning – and will make this day of thanks even more special. From buying locally produced, organic foods to setting the table with reusable napkins, there are plenty of eco-friendly ideas for Thanksgiving. Here are five of our favourite ways to green your Thanksgiving table.

Prepping food with natural flat wraps reduces waste and the potential for chemicals leaching into your food.

1. Plastic-free food prep. There’s no talking turkey when it comes to food and plastic. Avoid the use of plastic wrap and you'll be avoiding potentially risky chemicals leaching into your Thanksgiving dinner, not to mention reducing waste heading for the landfill. For reusable, plastic-free food prep and storage, these Flat Wrap Covers for Food tick all the boxes. Natural, non-leaching and compostable, these innovative Canadian-made covers are easily molded to wrap up fruit, vegetables, bread, cheese, bowls, platters and even your cooked turkey! They also make a useful and unique hostess gift.

2. Add eco-chic colour to your table. Add a splash of colour to your Thanksgiving table with these stainless steel dishes hand painted by Kashmiri craftspeople. These beautiful cups and bowls are non-leaching and unbreakable – perfect for some festive eco-chic decor and ideal for withstanding any potential damage done at the kids’ table!

3. Nature makes for easy, elegant eco-friendly decor. Decorate your table and beyond with colourful fall leaves, branches and nuts. Go chestnut picking and fill tall vases and glasses with these richly hued autumn gems for seasonal accents on the dining table, mantle and throughout your dining and living room. For warm ambiance, place a candle inside the vase first and chestnuts around and up about a third of the candle's height.  For eco-friendly place cards, write guests' names on leaves or stones with a felt tip pen. A gold metallic pen works well on yellow/green leaves and silver is ideal on dark grey stones. You can even have a few extras on hand and ask guests to write down what they're thankful for, then place these thanking stones on display in the centre of the table.

4. Leftover layaway plan. Plan for leftovers and avoid unnecessary food waste. Storing them in stainless steel is a smart choice, not just for the planet but for you too. Stainless steel is highly durable so any stainless steel food storage containers you use, will probably outlast you. Stainless steel is also non-leaching, so there's never any worry about nasty chemicals leaching into your leftovers, whether wet or dry. This sleek trio of leak proof, square stainless steel nesting containers is long on practicality and short on taking up storage space. For smaller quantities of food, perhaps cranberry sauce, try these round leak proof steel containers and if leakage is less important, the Lunchbots eco food container with a steel lid is ideal.

5. Be sure to use your leftovers. Sometimes the best laid plans... Keeping leftovers doesn't always translate into eating leftovers and trust us, the result can turn out to be something akin to a science experiment. Keep an eye out now for recipes you want to try. With them on hand, you'll be more likely to use your Thanksgiving dinner leftovers post-holiday. For starters, check out this collection of 5 Must-Try Thanksgiving Leftover Turkey Recipes.

Monday, September 24, 2012

5 Must-Try Thanksgiving Leftover Turkey Recipes

Leftovers were always a mainstay in our family fridge, especially at Thanksgiving. Lattice turkey pie and turkey on toast dowsed in gravy were meals enjoyed almost religiously the week following the big turkey blowout. Food waste was simply not an option in our household of six reared by parents of The Depression. Nor should it be in this era of waste-free living. With a little planning, Thanksgiving leftovers can be a godsend – take them out of their food storage containers and put them to work for a quick answer to a weekday meal or something a little more involved. Here are some of our favourite recipe picks to help you enjoy your Thanksgiving turkey post-holiday.

Turkey croquettes and slow cooker soup are great ways to use Thanksgiving leftovers.

Hot Turkey on Toast
(Serves 2)

1 cup chopped turkey
1 cup gravy
2 slices whole wheat bread
Cranberry sauce (optional)

Place turkey and gravy in a saucepan and simmer until heated through. Toast bread. Place toast on plate and top with turkey/gravy mixture. Spoon cranberry sauce on side or top, as desired. Serve immediately, steaming hot.

Here's a traditional turkey soup recipe adapted for the must-have slow cooker from Canada's trusted cooking authority, Canadian Living: Slow Cooker Smoked Turkey and Noodle Soup.

For something different, try a taste from the South with these Turkey and Mashed Potato Croquettes. Great as a meal or make them slightly smaller to serve as appetizers.

Great for filling wraps, rolls or spreading on crackers is this Festive Fall Turkey Salad recipe.

From here's a tried and true classic casserole recipe with a curry twist all the way from 1965: Casserole of Turkey with Rice.

Do you have any favourite leftover turkey recipes to share?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Keeping Cheese Fresh: Plastic-Free Cheese Storage

We love cheese. Besides the ridiculously high prices we pay for it here in Canada, the only other thing that can potentially affect the moment when a wave of rich creamy brie rolls over our taste buds is when we think about how to store the remainder of the round – until now. A plastic container? Ziploc bag? Plastic wrap? Foil? They've all come up wanting in one way or another for keeping cheese fresh. Not so with our newest eco find: Abeego Flat Wrap Covers for Food. This innovative food storage idea ticks all the boxes - and not just for cheese. Wrapping up fruit, bread, vegetables, dishes and more has never been easier, or healthier. Made of beeswax, tree resin and jojoba oil infused in a fabric of hemp and cotton, these all natural food storage wraps do not leach chemicals into your food, on contact or otherwise. With the heat from your hands and a little pressure, they mold to cover any food or dish you want to store plus they're fluid resistant and breathable so they keep food fresh. Compostable and easy to clean, they'll last well over a year with cold water washing and eco-friendly dish soap. Another big plus? Abeego flat wraps are made by hand, in Canada. No more bits of nasty-smelling, moldy cheese within what often seems like mere hours of putting your cheesy leftovers in the fridge - just tasty remnants to enjoy another day.

Abeego flat wrap covers for food are a plastic-free way for keeping cheese fresh.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Top 3 Eco-Friendly Ways to Store Thanksgiving Leftovers

Cranberries and pumpkin filling are front and centre in the grocery stores which means Thanksgiving isn't far off. Much time is spent planning and cooking our spectacular turkey meals, but what about post-feast? Historically, we've not given this aspect of Thanksgiving dinner too much thought until lately, when we've started considering the downside of storing food in potentially toxic plastic containers, using oodles of disposable plastic wrap and far-from-eco-friendly tin foil. This year, why not try a few reusable eco-friendly food storage alternatives? Instead of covering bowls with plastic wrap or foil during food prep, try these flat wrap covers for food. Made of beeswax, tree resin and jojoba oil infused in a washable hemp/cotton fabric, these innovative compostable covers are ideal for wrapping vegetables, fruit, bread, cheese, bowls and platters. Glass containers are one of our favourites for leftovers. Not only is glass 100% recyclable, non-leaching and easy to clean, but you can actually see what's inside - and the state it's in. These smaller glass cube containers with leak proof locking lids are a great option for small quantities. Finally, for durability you can't beat stainless steel food storage containers. These too are non-leaching, recyclable and they'll probably outlast you!

Natural Flat Wrap Covers for Food are a great alternative to disposable plastic wrap.

Monday, September 17, 2012

5 Eco-Friendly Travel Tips for Off-Season Whistler, BC

Whistler, BC may have established itself as a world class ski destination during the 2010 Winter Olympics, but it's still a great place to visit during the off-season. A two-night stay over Labour Day Weekend provided a relaxing last kick at the summer can before the school rush began. Always open to green ideas, we discovered a few ways to make a short stay in the village as eco as possible.
Picturesque Whistler village is a pedestrian haven.
Here are five eco-friendly travel tips to help keep Whistler, BC as beautiful as Mother Nature intended.

1. Park your car and leave it parked. Whistler village offers everything you need for an enjoyable weekend stay, from restaurants and shops to grocery stores, spas, cinemas and playgrounds. The great thing is they're all within walking distance of the major hotels, resorts, condo complexes and other accommodations.

2. Bike it. To go further afar, travel sustainably by bike. If you don't bring your own, there are loads of bike rental outlets located in the village. The gorgeous walking/jogging/biking/rollerblading - friendly networked Valley Trail links 40km of paved pathways from the village to picturesque lakes and parks. For the more adventurous, there's the Whistler Bike Park with trails to suit a variety of tastes and abilities.

3. BYOB. Be sure to bring your own bottle. Cut down on landfill waste and carry your own reusable water bottles. Of course you can buy filled plastic water bottles at the hotels and stores to keep you hydrated when you're walking, hiking or biking but use your own bottle and not only will you be guaranteed a non-leaching, BPA-free drink but you'll be able to enjoy some safe, clean and great tasting Whistler water.

4. Enjoy local events. From the busy Whistler Farmers Market in the Upper Village where you'll find an endless assortment locally-produced fresh, organic goodies to runs, races, sales and fundraising dinners, check out the schedule of local Whistler events. Many of these support local farmers, artisans, environmental or animal-focused organizations.

5. Take out what you pack in. Whether you go on a hike up the mountain or take lunch to the lakeside, the golden eco rule - take your garbage with you - applies here, especially with the co-existence of bears in and around the village. Bear-proof garbage bins are generally available at the more popular venues and bear safety is always something to keep in mind while at Whistler, as well as the environment. Reusable food and snack containers are a smart option to throw in your suitcase, just in case.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Healthy Cleaning, Healthy Home Q&A Event Sept 19

The kids are back at school, fall's almost here, perhaps now you can focus on all those messy nooks and crannies that have been staring back at you all summer. But are you tired of chemical cleaners? Worried about the impact on your family's health?... Find out how best to clean your home naturally and safely with tips and tricks from the experts at Vancouver-based AspenClean during our Healthy Home Q&A on Wednesday, September 19th, 10:00am to 8pm PST. AspenClean are makers of the only line of Canadian-made natural household cleaners with the esteemed EcoCert 100% natural certification from Europe.

We're kicking off at 10:00am PST and you're welcome to post any questions and comments concerning cleaning your home throughout the day on our official Lavish & Lime Facebook page here. Separate posts to our page work best and help keep the Q&A flow clear. Our friends at AspenClean will be checking in periodically throughout the day and posting responses to all your questions, so keep checking back.

We'll wrap up at 8pm PST with a prize draw for some great natural products to help you keep your home clean, safely. Ask a question or post a comment and you could WIN. Prizes will be awarded to winners randomly drawn from all Q&A participants who post on our Facebook page.

We hope you can drop by at some point - and get answers to all your cleaning questions!

A Guide to Natural House Cleaning

While many of your average cleaning products may describe themselves as “green” that may not always be the case. Many manufacturers are jumping on the bandwagon and there are no set guidelines as to what constitutes a “green” product. Below are some handy hints on things to look out for.
Natural household cleaners are safe alternatives to traditional chemical cleaners.
  • Be informed. Make sure that all ingredients are listed and avoid products with only partial listings.
  •  Look out for “Poison”, “Warning” or “Danger” labels and avoid, avoid, avoid!
  • Make sure your product is “readily biodegradable” rather than just “biodegradable” which means it could take several lifetimes to break down.
  • Ingredients ending in “-ene” or “-ol” indicate the presence of a petroleum based solvent (eg: benzene and xylol) that could cause illness.
  • Are there any warnings that the product can cause skin irritation or should be used in a well-ventilated area? Give any products with these statements a miss!

Did you know, the human body can absorb chemicals left behind by household products or that on average there are more than 150 toxic substances linked to cancer that float around our homes? The decision to stop using synthetic chemical cleaners and instead use natural house cleaners may be one of the most important ones you will ever make for the health of your family and home. Extra chemical ingredients such as fragrances and dyes contribute nothing to a products cleaning ability and only add to chemical contamination around your home, children, pets and food.

A great alternative to the common chemical cleaners is making your own cleaning products instead. Effective cleaning products can be made from items commonly found around the home – why not try these easy natural household cleaners recipes?

Glass Cleaner Recipe

Mix 1/4 cup vinegar or 1 tablespoon lemon juice with 1 liter warm water for sparkling windows or glass tables.

Furniture Polish
Mix two parts olive oil or cooking oil together with one part lemon juice for an effective and incredibly fresh-smelling furniture polish.

Drain Cleaner
Pour 3/4-1 cup of baking soda in the drain. Pour 1/2 cup vinegar in the drain and immediately cover the drain with a plug or set a plate over it to keep everything inside the drain. Leave it to sit and work for about 30 minutes. Don’t use the sink during this time. After 30 minutes, remove the cover and let hot water run through the pipes for about 2-3 minutes. 

Microwave Cleaner 
Put lemon slices in a bowl of water and heat in your microwave for 30 seconds to a minute then wipe out the microwave. Stains will be easier to remove and any old food odours will be neutralized. 

Cookie Sheet Cleaner
Try useing tee tree oil mixed with dish soap to shine your pans!

Guest post by: AspenClean with additional natural household cleaners recipes contributed by Lavish & Lime. AspenClean are the only EcoCert certified natural household cleaners in Canada.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The One Thing All Kids Should Have for Breakfast

Guest Post: Dr. Cameron McIntyre ND, Naturopathic Doctor.

Did you know what your child eats for breakfast sets their brains and body for the day. I’m sure you have all heard the saying “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”.  Well it most certainly is true and particularly for children! Breakfast is the meal that sets the metabolic (energy) rate and the blood sugar for the day.  It is very important that your child receive a source of protein for breakfast in order to stabilize the blood sugar but also fuel the body and brain for a day of learning.  

When your child eats white toast and jam or fruit loops for breakfast, the blood sugar spikes and crashes very quickly. As such, kids are hyper to start the day and have their heads on their desk before recess.   Protein encourages an even distribution of blood sugar to the brain and will allow for balanced energy to sit, focus and concentrate on the tasks at hand.

Good protein suggestions for breakfast include (barring any allergies of course):
Yogurt, cottage cheese, eggs, almond milk, almond butter, peanut butter, turkey sausage or perhaps a fruit smoothie with a protein powder of choice.  My daughter does not like “traditional” breakfast and would rather have soup or leftovers from dinner for breakfast.  No problem as long as they contain a good source of protein. There is no rule that says breakfast has to be certain foods only. So try this out with your kids and watch their energy, mood and academics rise to new heights.  It really makes a big difference!

Awesome “Day Starter” Smoothie:
1 cup frozen berries of choice
1/2 cup yogurt
1/2 scoop protein powder

Blend and enjoy – great for on-the-go breakfast for the whole family!

Speak to Dr. McIntyre online at our Facebook Q&A September 12th

Monday, September 10, 2012

What's in Your Lunch Box? The Link Between Nutrition and Learning

When I am speaking to parents about nutrition for their children, I always ask if their food choices pass two basic tests. The first test I call the “grandmother test”. This means would their grandmother recognize the food they are serving? Is it something simple and wholesome that would have been around when she was a child? If yes, this is likely a good food choice. The second test I call the “chemistry test”. If you purchase pre-packaged snack or lunch foods where the ingredients list requires that you need a PhD in chemistry to understand what is inside, it is again not a good food choice. All of these chemicals are not food and have no nutritional value whatsoever. While the packaged food industry has certainly tried to make packing lunches easier, it doesn’t mean the box of snacks from Costco is the best for our kids!

Here are my top food ideas to consider placing in your child’s lunch box.

RECESS – has to be “grab and go”, right? It’s just too exciting to get out there.

Whole fruit:  take advantage of the gorgeous new crop of Okanagan apples, plums or nectarines available at your local fruit stand – no prep required!
Home-Baked goods:
make a batch of oatmeal cookies or their favourite muffins, and toss in 1/4 cup of ground flax seeds while you are making them!  They will never taste the difference and you’ve just added fibre and omega-3 brain food. Toss extras in the freezer – they will easily defrost by recess time.  Send them in a reusable snack bag – just be sure to check their pockets at the end of the day!

LUNCH – take advantage of the creative lunch containers available – they promote a waste-free lunch and will save you lots in the long run! Pop in a cool pack when sending yogurt or eggs.

·      The “Classic” Sandwich: with whole grain bread and organic chicken or turkey – the key here is a source of protein which fuels the body and the brain. Whole grains contain B vitamins and minerals while the white gluey breads have little nutritional value and convert to sugar in the body very quickly, causing a spike and then crash in blood sugar.  Organic chicken is a great source of protein and free of chemicals from regular poultry products. For a twist, swap out the bread for a whole grain tortilla wrap.
      Hummus with veggies, whole grain crackers and turkey “roll-ups” – About the 3rd week back to school, kids get really tired of sandwiches. Try this – the kids love the variety and dipping anything – so this option is packed with protein and a little more interesting.
·      Leftovers – don’t discount that pasta or soup from last night’s dinner. Invest in a great thermos and send them to school with something warm for their tummy (especially in the cool days ahead).
·      Omega 3 eggs – taken hard boiled to school, these pack a protein punch and have the benefit of also having the omega 3 source at a rate over 5 times higher than a regular egg. Eggs have taken a bad rap in the media for cholesterol, but they needn’t be cautioned for children unless there is an allergy on board. A wonderful brain food. Peel them in advance for the little ones!
·      Yogurt – one of the best sources of protein and calcium in addition to that good bacteria known as “probiotic” which aids in healthy digestive and immune systems. Look for Greek yogurt (even higher in protein) and if sending yogurt “tubes”, choose those with no artificial sweeteners or colours.

Also try involving your kids by asking them what they like.  They may just surprise you with some creative, healthy options they have seen at school that you haven’t thought of.

Guest Post: Dr. Cameron McIntyre ND, Naturopathic Doctor 


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