Yearly Archives: 2012



G is for Giftwrap

Being eco means not buying and wrapping everything up in sight without thought. According to the Use Less Stuff Report, wrapping paper and shopping bags alone account for about 4 million tons of trash annually in the US. Even the production of it all causes harm – think of all of that ink and paper. Gift wrap is used for only such a brief time, and it’s not even recyclable! Some may think reusing old gift wrap or giving an unwrapped gift is being lazy and cheap, but you can just use being “eco” as an excuse (to save money and our planet). Get creative with wrapping by using reusable bags, old newspapers or magazines, tea towels, scarves, shoelaces to tie, old buttons or cut up textiles, and tree-free cards or make your own. The bonus is that you are giving so much eco-ness along with each gift!    TAKE ACTION Tempered glass containers are perfect to hold your homemade cookies and jams. It’s the gift package that keeps on giving. www.weangreen.com  Wrap up your presents in a reusable, durable, foldable, machine washable bag made from 99% recycled content- it’s gorgeous gift wrap and a gift, all in one www.chicobags.com Instead of throwing yesterday’s paper in the recycling bin, why not use it to wrap today’s present?   This blog series is created from The Alphabet of Avoidance by Lisa Borden. Lisa is a champion for change, mom of 3, and owner of Borden Communications, and she believes, “If you aren’t outraged, then you just aren’t paying attention.” You can follow her on twitter @LisaBorden for rants, raves, inspiration and information.

Tomato Sauce Plus

I often find parents come to me with many challenges in regards to feeding their children. One of the biggest is vegetables! For some reason their children won’t eat them. I offer many suggestions to make vegetables more appealing – involving your children in food preparation, serving just a taste of a vegetable they don’t like, serving new vegetables alongside favourite foods. And while these are all great suggestions, sometimes it is necessary to get some vegetables into our children a little faster than these suggestions might work. I will admit up front, I am not a big fan of hiding vegetables, but sometimes you need to do that while you are in transition. This is a great sauce to serve over pasta that your children will gobble up. I do suggest serving some other whole vegetables on the side, but you can feel good if they only eat the sauce, knowing just how many vegetables they did eat. Tomato Sauce Plus 1 cup red lentils, rinsed, picked over and cooked in 3 cups of water for 15 minutes (bring to a boil and then simmer), drain and set aside 1 small onion, chopped 1 clove garlic, chopped 1 small zucchini, chopped 1 small or ½ large cauliflower, chopped 1 large carrot, chopped ½ red pepper, chopped 1 tbsp basil 1 tbsp oregano 1 small can diced tomatoes 1 jar of tomato sauce 1 small can tomato paste Pasta of your choice   Heat olive oil in pan; add garlic and onion and sauté until soft.  Add zucchini, cauliflower, carrots, red pepper, and stir for a few minutes.  Add basil and oregano, mix well. Add tomatoes and sauce bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.  Add tomato paste to thicken sauce if necessary. Remove from heat, add red lentils and mix well. Using a hand blender, blend sauce to a smooth consistency. Serve over pasta of your choice. Enjoy!

5 Quick Holiday Tips

I love the holiday season! The friends, parties, traditions!! The one thing I don’t love is the over indulgence that we often see during this time. Here are my 5 tips to stay eco-chic this holiday season: 1. Creative Wrapping: Get creative! Wrap in something that people would also love to be gifted, like a Lunch Cube or a dish towel! 2. Portion Control: The easiest way for me to use this is to grab a ‘real’ plate at a party. I find that if eating off disposable dinnerware you are often tempted to go back for more, even after you have trashed the first plate. If you are using a real plate the chances of you refilling or grabbing a new plate will be lower… 3. Give Activities: Instead of giving material gifts this year try giving ‘activities’. Like park passes, swimming lessons, truffle classes (that will be used asap;), rock climbing memberships, etc. 4. Help Out: Donations and volunteering are a great way to help even out this now consumer driven holiday season. You will notice that it is almost difficult to get in to volunteer in the month of December so instead of going in for a 1 time show, sign up to volunteer for the year. Get some friends together and take over Tuesdays Soup Kitchen duties. There are tons of ways to help those in need and tons of us to do it so lets all pitch in and brighten someone else’s holiday season. 5. Decorate Wisely: Thankfully a lof of our decorations are family heirlooms that will never be thrown away or replaced. Really think of what you are buying just to use for a few weeks of the year. Try making your own decorations with your families. Surprise them with some cool homemade advent calendars! Have a safe & happy holiday season!

Holiday CONTEST!!

Now is the time for all you Do-It-Yourselfers to SHINE! We love watching everyone’s DIY gifts on pinterest and wanted to share some of our faves….and offer some holiday gift suggestions that won’t break the bank or fill the landfills. To Enter: Post your picture on our facebook wall OR email them to us at info@weangreen.com to post for you. We will be pinning these on pinterest as well under our DIY Holiday Gifts board! Submissions with Wean Green in the picture will be given double entries!! If you need some ideas don’t forget to flip through our gift guide above! Winners will be drawn randomly on midnight December 15, 2012. Prize: The winner will receive $50 gift certificate for Babybot and a set of Wean Green!

Warding Off The Flu & Colds This Winter

Welcome to cold and flu season! Besides being active, getting enough sleep and activity, and reducing stress, here are some dietary measures to help you and your families fend off viruses this winter: 1) Eat at least 7 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. They contain antioxidants like beta-carotene, vitamin C, and phytochemicals. Choose a wide variety of colors, as each color has different nutrients. For vitamin C and betacarotene, choose lots of orange products: squash, carrots, yams, cantaloupe. 2) Choose organic produce, as it contains more phytochemicals than conventionally grown produce. Phytochemicals can act as antioxidants, boosting your immune system and fighting free radicals. One theory behind why organic produce contains more phytochemicals is because the plants naturally need to defend themselves against pests without pesticides, and phytochemicals may help to do this! Of course any fruit or veggie is better than no fruit or veggie at all. Non-organic produce is very nutritious too – so eat up! 3) Probiotics are healthy bacteria that help make the intestinal environment strong. They are showing promise in boosting the immune system, as a large part of your immune system is located in your intestines. Eat yogurt daily, or supplement to get probiotics every day. 4) Some researchers link low levels of vitamin D in the winter, to increased rates of winter viruses. In a large study, people with the lowest blood vitamin D levels reported having more colds or cases of the flu. Vitamin D is not widely distributed in our food supply, but can be found in fish liver oils, fatty fish and fortified milk. I recommend everyone take a Vitamin D supplement in the winter: about 1000IU for adults and 400 IU for children daily. 5) All types of tea may boost your immune system. Also make sure you get enough fluid period – preferably water. Offer children water throughout the day and up to 2 cups of milk and maximum ½ cup of juice per day with meals. There are also certain things to avoid in your daily diet, as they can reduce your immune system’s ability to fight off viruses. These include: alcohol, sugar and trans fat. So here’s to a happy & healthy winter for you and your family!

D is for Disposables

When you throw things away, where do you think away is? One place it absolutely shouldn’t be is here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnUjTHB1lvM).  Buy cloth napkins to replace paper napkins.  Buy a set of stainless steel chopsticks instead of wood ones in paper sleeves. Buy food safe and leak-proof storage instead of using tin foil, plastic baggies and disposable containers. Ditch the plastic water bottles for a tried, tested and true refillable one. Give litterless lunches a try – not just for our kids at school, but at work also. School and office lunches contribute significantly to our huge stream of waste. Keep in mind it takes a while to get used to any new routine, but once established, it’s your routine. The choices are endless. You’ll find reusables that suit your style and lifestyle…guaranteed. TAKE ACTION source the best tools for eating on the go FREE Downloadable Litterless Lunch Guide  (scr.bi/MXRFE1)  Lisa Borden, champion for change, mom of 3, and owner of Borden Communications believes, “If you aren’t outraged, then you just aren’t paying attention.” You can follow her on twitter @LisaBorden for rants, raves, inspiration and information.

Herbed Olive Oil Cubes

Wondering what to do with the last bit of herbs from your garden? Luckily there are some creative ways to store and preserve these fragrant gems into the winter months. Of course you could dry them out and crush them for teas or a dried powdered version or better yet why not submerge them in some extra virgin olive oil! This technique is called an infusion – as you are basically infusing the herb with the oil and it’s precious oils disperse in the base of olive oil. What you are left with is deliciously intense fragrant oil that can be used for anything from marinades, to sauces or even salad dressings. Choosing from herbs such as thyme, rosemary, oregano, basil or parsley these are some great ones to start with. Here is what you need: 4 wean green cubes 2 tbsp – 8 tbsp of herbs cut into small pieces, leaving them whole (attached to stem) 1 cup olive oil, divided into four –       Place individual herbs in a glass container or do combinations of two or more herbs for even more flavour. –       Then pour in the olive oil to submerge the herbs. Be sure to leave enough room at the top incase you decide to freeze the cubes (as theys will expand) –       Allow to “infuse” for 24-48 hours. Then use right away or freeze for use later in a delicious recipe!

C is for Corn

Go corn-free…we don’t mean corn-on-the-cob, we mean corn-fed meat, corn-sweetened juice and pop, corn-oiled salad dressings, crackers and cereals with corn, corn syrups, corn solids, corn starches and more GMO, processed food product! Corn-stuff is in way too much of our food and everyday products, especially from packages and restaurants. Corn has many ways of disguising itself, so get familiar with its different names and look for it on ingredient lists. Corn has been found in dryer sheets, instant coffee, contact lens solution, different cheeses and even some toothpastes! It may be challenging to steer clear from it all, but you won’t believe how avoiding it will change your life (and our world). TAKE ACTION  watch a great documentary that will change your relationship with corn forever www.kingcorn.net read a little Marion Nestle, it goes a long way www.foodpolitics.com  Lisa Borden, champion for change, mom of 3, and owner of Borden Communications believes, “If you aren’t outraged, then you just aren’t paying attention.” You can follow her on twitter @LisaBorden for rants, raves, inspiration and information.

Happy Holidays! 2012 Gift Guide

B is for Batteries

Powering up all the gadgets in our lives with conventional batteries and then dumping them in landfills creates a toxic mess. Instead, try rechargeables. They are 20% less harmful than tossing out a one-time-use one and if stored properly – you can get a lot more charge out of the battery life.  Read up on how rechargeables are better for us and our world, and tips on how to get a long lasting charge here. Also take a look at wind powered, solar powered or hand crank eco-gadgets coming on the market with great force. If you do use batteries, make sure they are put in the right place when you are done with them.  TAKE ACTION find out how and where to recycle batteries in your area, and why throwing them out does more harm than good http://earth911.com Lisa Borden, champion for change, mom of 3, and owner of Borden Communications believes, “If you aren’t outraged, then you just aren’t paying attention.”. You can follow her on twitter @LisaBorden for rants, raves, inspiration and information.    

Making Change

Are you ready to make a change in your families eating habits? Are your children resisting your efforts? Here are some steps I often suggest parents take when they are trying to change family eating habits: Take a look at your child’s current menu and pick out the healthiest foods they eat, incorporate these foods as much as possible in their meals. Begin to offer new foods with the favourite healthy foods. When you offer new foods, offer small portions…just a “taste” to begin, and expect your child to make faces, silly sounds, etc. as they make a drama out of tasting it. If they don’t want to try it, don’t force them. If they don’t like it, don’t worry. Just smile and say thanks for trying. And then…try again next week J Slowly reduce the “junk” foods you are bringing into the house, replacing them with healthy foods. If the “junk” foods are not in the house, they can’t eat it. Make the healthy alternatives easy to get so your child has options when hunger strikes. Get your children involved. I know your trip to the grocery store is much quicker without them, but involving them is important.  Let them help decide what is on the menu for dinner, let them help with meal preparation, and so on. Involving them in the process means they are more likely to enjoy eating it. These are just a few first steps to take when you are working to change family eating habits. Keep in mind changing habits is never easy. You have to keep trying. Know this when you start, set small steps for your family and change only a few things at a time. It is a process, a journey; it does not have to happen overnight. And remember your children are always watching…so make sure to set a good example. What steps have you taken to change your family’s eating habits?

Wean Idea-iPod Shuffle Holder

Keep your iPod’s safe in a Wean Bowl.

A is for Anti-Perspirant

This blog is part of a series based on Lisa Borden’s book, The Alphabet of Avoidance. Each time Lisa writes, she will highlight one thing we all should avoid (and rant about it a little bit to bring awareness to things that we need to consider changing). She will also include (what she takes great pride in) solutions to those problems. A is for Anti-Perspirant Do sweat the small stuff…that’s how we can change the world. You may even perspire as you consider how much you need to avoid! So, before you roll on, read the labels and ingredients on your deodorant. There are plenty of safe, healthy options on the market, and for the DIY’er at heart, you can make your own personal deodorant with ingredients that you probably already have in your kitchen cupboard!  Read these helpful suggestions by Environmental Defence’s very own Communications Manager for tips on how to beat the stink – naturally.  Don’t just stop at your anti-perspirant – check the ingredients on all your other personal care products too. Do you know what they are? Can you pronounce everything? Are there parabens in there? Is there even an ingredient list? Remember, if it’s on you, it’s in you.   TAKE ACTION shop for safer personal care products using this “wallet” sized guide evaluate what you use, and research safe alternatives   Lisa Borden, champion for change, mom of 3, and owner of Borden Communications believes, “If you aren’t outraged, then you just aren’t paying attention.” You can follow her on twitter @LisaBorden for rants, raves, inspiration and information.

Wean Green – Grown Up Style

I love things to be planned, organized and…well…pretty.  Every Sunday I (mostly) plan out my meals for the week, it motivates me to make good choices, and it takes the thinking away in the craziness of my days.  I always plan dinners, but this week I decided I was going to plan my meals AND prepare snacks for a few days at a time.  I get so busy that I forget snacks…and for me, eating every three hours keeps my energy up during the day and my cravings down in the evening. I portioned out the first four days and on the fourth day will do it again for Friday-Sunday. Now here at Wean Green we love to show off how we are using these cubes in fashionable and functional ways.  I love this..I should have taken a picture of how great it looks hanging out in my fridge.  Motivation, yes.  Inspiration, for sure.  I am pumped to go through this rainbow of goodness as my week progresses.  No thinking, just grab and go. I have a small lunch cooler if I venture out.  Perfection. I bet you are dying to know what some of the snacks are that I have planned right?  Here is what I have in the picture (other than the coffee): Morning Midday Monday Strawberries, Blueberries, Raspberries & Almonds Raw Veggies & Hummus Tuesday Watermelon & HB Egg Cucumber, Ham Slices and Spreadable cheese Wednesday Strawberries, Blueberries, Raspberries & Almonds Coffee meeting! Latte & Mini Treat      

Wean Idea-Candles

Create a romantic ambience with tea lights in Wean Cubes.

Happy 4th Eco Birthday!!

Talia is 4! I love throwing a good party packed with good eats, tons of friends and even some treats…eco style. This year was no different. Top 5 Tips to Throw an Eco Friendly Birthday Party 5. Rethink Gifts This is harder on your guests than it is on your little ones, especially at 4 years old when she hasn’t been to enough birthday parties to witness the gift giving tradition. Work with your kids to decide if they would like to collect donations, completely omit a present or maybe you can buy them a great gift so they are fulfilled and don’t require anything further. 4. Trash the Disposables Regardless of the material disposable party supplies (plates, cups, utensils, decorations, etc.) are such a burden on our landfills. Use your regular plates, bowls, cups and utensils. Try making some really unique birthday decoration pieces that you can reuse for each party. 3. Make the Food buying a large premade veggie tray from the grocery store is not only way more expensive than doing it yourself but chances are that the grocery store is not picking the best produce to throw on the tray. How about the birthday cake? I love using organic ingredients in the kids birthday cakes and finding great recipes that don’t call for excessive amounts of sugar. 2. Rethink the Loot Bag My favorite loot bag at one of our shindigs was the homemade playdough in Wean Cubes. My second was the first year when we painted planters and planted plants. Last year was fun when we decorated our bird feeders (ours are still bringing birds to the yard). This year I did gift cards. Ha, not exactly my most creative moment but it got the job done with no lead filled dollar store toys. 1. Offer Healthy Food This year I cheated and used the new weelicious cookbook. The table was filled with all gluten free homemade snacks and niblets including taquitos, chicken fingers, dips, veggies, fruit and more! Check out her first, second and third eco birthdays for more ideas. 

Autumn Apple Recipes

We live a few hours away from some amazing apple orchards. Every autumn we gather up a bunch of apples and bake some of our favorite recipes. It has always amazed me to see how much sugar people add when baking in their own homes. These two traditional recipes are fantastic and sweet enough without sugar. The cinnamon gives them a little added flavour and the kids will LOVE them! Apple Sauce 8 apples peeled, cored & sliced 1/4 cup water 2 tsp cinnamon Add all ingredients into a pot. Cover. Boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Puree (you can use a fork or potato masher or throw it in your blender) Apple Chips 4 apples 2 tsp cinnamon Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Thinly slice apples (I cored them but then made them again and you can just remove the seeds). Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle Cinnamon over apples. Bake for 1 hour.  Carefully turn the apples over and bake for another 30-60 minutes until the apples begin to brown and the moisture is gone. DISCLAIMER: I don’t know how these taste once they have cooled off. We have never managed to have any leftovers after taking them out of the oven! Some other Wean Green’s favorite apple recipes: Wean Green’s Slow Cooker Applesauce, savvymom.ca’s Leek, Potato & Apple Soup (which I have made so many times, a family Autumn recipe!), savvymom.ca’s Apple & Brie Stuffed Chicken, Marni Wasserman’s Sweet Apple Cider Dressing, Food Network’s Baked Apples with Fennel 

Wean Idea-Nuts, Bolts & Tools

Add a little organization to your work bench!

Wean Idea-The Baby Guy’s Rum Punch

The Baby Guy NYC’s wicked rum punch ” Using 4 oz cube: split spiced&coconut rum in one. Fill another w pineapple. Fill another w OJ. Pour over ice w splash of grenadine. #Enjoy”

Wean Idea-Fish Bowl

When your cleaning your regular fish bowl make sure you use a glass container to make sure there are NO harmful chemicals!