Posted in recipe for a green life, recipes

Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe (Dairy Free, Egg Free)

CS Sherin, April 27, 2018, updated 3-29-2019

This recipe keeps it simple, relatively healthy (for a cookie), and delicious. My daughter and I have been tweaking and playing with different peanut butter cookie recipes for a while now, and have finally figured out proportions that work with our health and sustainable living goals in mind, as well as our high expectations for flavor and consistency. We got rave reviews from our last batch. Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Cookies (no dairy, no eggs)

  • Servings: about 16
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
    Credit: recipeforagreenlife.wordpress.com
  • Other recommended sweeteners in place of honey include: organic maple syrup, ground dates, or turbinado sugar.
  • If you use a dry sweetener in place of the honey, reduce the flour to 1 cup.
  • Ways to make this recipe more sustainable: bring containers to your local grocer, who provides bulk options, and refill your containers with sugar, honey, flour, and flax (as available). Buy ingredients in paper or glass containers when bulk options are not available. Choose organic, local or Fair Trade whenever possible. If your grocer includes the option, grind peanuts there to make your own peanut butter. Or, buy organic, shelled, skinned peanuts to grind at home.

Ingredients


  • 1/4 C coconut oil, Fair Trade
  • 1/2 C peanut butter; unsweetened, unsalted, organic
  • 1 flax egg (2.5 T water and 1 T ground flax seeds)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 C brown sugar, organic
  • 1/4 C honey; organic, local
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/4 C whole wheat pastry flour, organic

Directions


1.Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2.Make the flax egg in a small bowl and set aside.
3.In a mixing bowl, add the coconut oil, peanut butter, and vanilla. Blend well.
4.Add the flax egg in, and then the sweeteners. Blend well.
5.Add the baking soda, stir in well.
6.Add the flour in gradually, and blend well into a dough.
7.Take a heaping tablespoon of the dough at a time to form a ball. Place on a baking sheet.
8.Use a fork to press the criss-cross pattern into the cookie dough balls.
9.Bake for 10-13 minutes, or until they have a golden brown appearance.
10.The cookies may still be soft when they first come out of the oven. When they cool, they will harden.
11.Cool for 10-15 minutes before eating.

*CS Sherin, Recipe For A Green Life 2018© Please feel free to share this article–in its entirety with author, source credit, and this copyright notice–on social media and for non-commercial educational purposes only.*

Posted in recipe for a green life

Earth Day 2018: The Unintended Legacy Of Pollution

Earth Day 2018: The Unintended Legacy Of Pollution
By CS Sherin
April 22, 2018
updated April 27, 2018

Over on my website, WildClover.org, I have been posting weekly summaries of my daily poetry in honor of poetry month. Today, Earth Day converged with that practice, and it resulted in a poem for Earth Day in the form of a sonnet (a format I haven’t really explored before), and photos from our walk on the marsh trails in our city today. The photos are not the pretty ones I took of all the life teeming there. Rather they were photos I took out of frustration at seeing pollution in the marsh in places that I could not easily reach, or could not reach at all in any way. I realized that documenting this pollution is as important as documenting all the diversity of wildlife that depend on the marshes and surrounding ecosystems.

While at the marsh trails, I took a photo of one of the educational stands there. This one, in the featured photo and in the photos below, educates about the “unintended legacy of pollution” in the form of lead bullets used by the local gun club from the 1920s till the early 1960s. That legacy is a perfect example of what we deal with on so many levels with the unintended consequences of consumerism, waste, single-use mindset, and so on. Along with this, we must build up our hearts and strength of mind to peacefully go forward to actively work for a more sustainable present and future.We do this with self-care and creativity. At least, that is what I do. 😉

The Good News: We all need to work together to make things better and brighter. Next Saturday morning I will be joining Friends of the Marsh in cleaning up the marsh! That is something to look forward to! 🙂

April 22, Earth Day 2018
Over twenty years ago, I walked the graveled marsh trails alone.
Today the paved marsh trails were teeming with people and each phone.
People with big cameras waited to capture the beauty there.
Wood ducks, coots, great blue herons, geese, teals, egrets, and turtles fair.

Earth day for some means a business ploy.
Or to enjoy being out in Nature spotting birds so coy.
As we walked past countless active people, I saw beyond the brambles to down below,
so much garbage—styrofoam, plastic, and an entire garbage can in the water’s flow.

I looked with frustration as it was out of my reach.
All the toxins in our marsh, with chemicals that leach.
Noticing the joy of us all enjoying warm weather, and at the same time,
so many ignoring the signs of our negative impacts that just don’t rhyme.

Earth day is every day as long as we live and breath.
I hope we each can awaken to a daily Earth day before we leave.
~CS Sherin

CS Sherin, Recipe For A Green Life 2018© Please feel free to share this article–in its entirety with author, source credit, and this copyright notice–on social media and for non-commercial educational purposes only. 

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The good news is this: On Saturday April 28, 2018 hundreds of people will gather at Myrick park to clean up garbage! I am so thankful that so many people want to show up and make a positive difference! Here is the flyer:

download

Posted in recipe for a green life, recipes

Discover The Ten Steps For The Recipe To Your Own Green Life That Your Body Will Thank You For

 

Discover The Ten Steps For The Recipe To Your Own Green Life That Your Body Will Thank You For

By CS Sherin
April 16, 2018
Updated June 5, 2018

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Photo by: Pablo Heimplatz

You want to make your lifestyle more sustainable and conscious. You want to make a difference for your health and that of your loved ones. You want to contribute to protecting and creating healthier resources and ecosystems. You want to reduce your exposure to toxins, and learn how to reduce waste. But, where do you start? And, what is going to make the biggest difference?

Start with one recipe–something that is interesting and makes you feel excited. Give yourself room for mistakes. Allow yourself to have fun. Make sure that you pat yourself on the back for trying and promise yourself you won’t give up. Keep using that recipe, adapt it to your needs, and keep going! Then, add another recipe and another–as you gain confidence and get a feel for what you are doing. Keep going like that.

Start with items you use daily, like: deodorant, toothpaste, shampoo, and soap. Zero in on items that use single-use plastics, toxins, and other unnecessary waste. Some changes won’t need recipes, only different choices in product. Replace other items with fast, easy, affordable DIY recipes.

Most DIY sustainable recipes will save you money, and if you make a good amount of it, can save you time too. The best DIY recipes are simple, easy, sustainable, and affordable. Below you will find the top ten Green actions to create your own sustainable lifestyle. These kinds of changes will make your whole body and heart feel good, in one way or another.

Please note: the following recipes were first published in Recipe For A Green Life.

CAUTION: Research ingredients for your individual health needs. Read labels on ingredients before using. Make sure that the recipes and ingredients are safe for you and your loved ones. Stop using anything that causes  irritation or other issues or concerns. 

1. DRY SHAMPOO. Using dry shampoo conserves water and eliminates unwanted ingredients, as well as ongoing waste/pollution. The recipe is simple: non-GMO cornstarch or arrowroot powder. Look for it it in a bulk section of a health food store, and refill it in a container that you bring with you. Put it in a spice jar with a lid for shaking it out. Before bed, apply to your scalp in small amounts. Apply only to dry hair. Brush or comb it through. This dry shampoo can effectively absorb dirt and oils. Upon waking, rub your scalp and hair with a dry towel, brush it, and style as usual. Please note: I do not use styling products, so I am not sure how well dry shampoo can work with styling products. You may want to research this further.

2. HOMEMADE TOOTHPOWDER. Making your own toothpowder eliminates waste and unwanted ingredients, and saves money. Toothpowder is simply a powder version of toothpaste. Once you blend the dry ingredients you dip a wet toothbrush into it and brush as usual. Take 1/4 cup each of baking soda, calcium carbonate powder (found in supplements section of stores), and ground sea salt. Optional: add a 1-2 teaspoons organic cinnamon spice powder. Optional: add 10-15 drops of a tooth and gum oil blend (the brands I use are Uncle Harry’s and Veriditas).

3. A BAMBOO TOOTHBRUSH. Using a bamboo toothbrush eliminates ongoing plastic waste/pollution. I recommend the Brush With Bamboo brand toothbrushes. They are sustainably sourced and biodegradable. The bristles are a form of bio-plastic which has to be thrown away. However, the level of plastic-waste reduction created by this choice is huge. If dentists chose to give out bamboo toothbrushes instead of plastic ones, that would be inspiring!

4. HOMEMADE DEODORANT. Making your own deodorant eliminates toxins, ongoing waste/pollution, and saves money. Store it in a glass or stainless steel container, or reuse an empty deodorant container you have.  You can find the recipe here.

5. HOMEMADE PLANT-BASED LUNCHES IN REUSABLE CONTAINERS. Make lunch for yourself the night before. Or prepare a plant-based meal you enjoy that can last a few days, like soup. Commit to making your daily lunches totally plant-based, and keep them in reusable containers with reusable silverware. Look for easy, delicious recipes that make you excited for lunch.

6. REUSABLE CONTAINERS FOR DRINKS. Whether it is water, coffee, tea, smoothies, or some other beverage–opt for reusable containers that are made of ceramic, glass, or stainless steel. Biodegradable containers are okay too, but they still are not as good as a mug you can reuse every day. Choose restaurants, delis, and coffee shops who also support reusable refills. While you are at it: choose coffee makers at home that have reusable and washable parts rather than single-use (same for tea).

7. REUSABLE DRINKING STRAWS. Refusing plastic drinking straws eliminates plastic waste/pollution. If you need to use straws on a daily or regular basis, choose stainless steel drinking straws, which are washable/reusable.

8. REUSABLE COVERS AND WRAP FOR FOOD. Instead of using plastic wrap, use plastic wrap alternatives, such as: reusable containers, cloths, eco-friendly parchment paper, a plate on top of a bowl, or Bee’s Wrap (or something like it).

9. BIODEGRADABLE DOG WALK BAGGIES. Daily walks with the dog can lead to copious amounts of plastic waste/pollution added to the environment. A metal pooper-scooper is ideal because it doesn’t involve any plastic waste. However, a lot of dog walkers aren’t in a situation where that is practical. Biodegradable bags are a great answer until we can find something better. Bio-Bags brand is the only one available where I live, so that is the brand I know and use. That brand also sells bio-garbage bags. Search for the best options in your region. Also, if your local shops and groceries don’t carry it, ask them to. Let businesses know you want sustainable choices.

10. REUSABLE BAGS FOR PRODUCE, GROCERIES, AND ALL OTHER SHOPPING. Bringing your own bags, baskets, and boxes to carry your produce, groceries and other shopping trip purchases in eliminates single-use plastic waste and pollution. It also eliminates the need for paper bags, which saves trees and resources. Keep bags in your car, on your bike, in your purse or backpack, so that you are prepared. Don’t give up when you forget. Keep at it. New habits take time to establish. (While you are at it, take advantage of stores that sell items in bulk. You can bring your own containers and refill and reuse them by utilizing the bulk sections. This saves money, and eliminates packaging, and waste.)

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Some items for travel that don’t involve waste or toxins. From left to right: lunchbots tin holding a hemp cloth and natural soap bar, homemade toothpowder in small jar, bamboo toothbrush, wood comb, diva cup, apple cider vinegar and water sanitizing and toning spray, glass pump of moisturizing oils, homemade deodorant in a jar, eco-dent floss, salve for sensitive skin in a tin.

Get started today. Pace your self. Set yourself up for success by leaving room for backwards and forwards movement as a part of the process. Don’t give up. Keep going! And talk to others about what you are doing so you can be on the journey together.

Please note: Specific brands were mentioned in this post. There is NO affiliation or sponsorship between the author and any brands mentioned. They are provided as examples only, based on the author’s opinion and experience.

CS Sherin, Recipe For A Green Life 2018© Please feel free to share this article–in its entirety with author, source credit, and this copyright notice–on social media and for non-commercial educational purposes only. 

Posted in recipe for a green life

Using Essential Oils On Animal Companions, Like DIY Insect Repellent

Using Essential Oils On Animal Companions, Like DIY Insect Repellent
CS Sherin
April 9, 2018
Updated April 10, 2018

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Our sweet little dog, Samantha, is an Italian Greyhound/Terrier mix. She is the same size as our Maine Coon cat! Photo by: CS Sherin


Whether it is for homemade insect repellent, a more holistic approach to health concerns, or simply for therapeutic reasons, it is so important to know how to responsibly and safely use essential oils for you and your animal companions. Something I noticed when I was researching this is that there is a lot of confusing and conflicting lists of what is safe and what isn’t! It takes time to sort through it all to determine who to trust, and what is fact.

For instance, lavender oil is a recommended ingredient for a DIY insect repellent on dogs, however, the lavender plant is considered toxic to cats, dogs, and horses, according to the ASPCA. Other ingredients, such as lemongrass, geranium, and eucalyptus can possibly cause a toxic response in cats. If I apply the repellent to my dog, I must take great care to see that the cats do not groom themselves after coming in contact with the dog, as well as refraining from applying it to the dog near them. I also need to make sure the repellent is diluted enough to be safe for my dog, taking into account her weight and suggested dilution. Dilution can make the difference between safe and dangerous.

All your animal companions (birds, hamsters, rabbits, cats, dogs, horses) require special consideration related to what oils are safe, and what level of dilution is needed for their size. Today we will talk about essential oils, but remember that this kind of awareness extends to other products, and house plants and cut flowers (pollen, petal, and stem), which can be deadly to your animal companions, as well. They are depending on you to research about their needs and what is dangerous to them. And, each animal can have special needs, that make essential oils needed or prohibited.

While cats (and other smaller animals) are seen as more vulnerable than dogs in some ways, it is important to make sure that you are utilizing the healing power of essential oils in a way that keeps all members of your household safe. Here is a guide to get you started:


What You Need To Know

1. Using undiluted essential oils on cats, dogs and other animals can be harmful, even fatal. Some oils are more dangerous than others. Even a safe oil can be harmful when applied straight from the bottle, undiluted. An example of safer dilution is one drop of a safe essential oil per tablespoon of carrier oil.

2. When animals groom themselves they ingest whatever is on their bodies. This includes what they walk in, what is applied to them, fabrics they lay on daily, and sprays and diffusers that place particles in the air.

3. Smaller animals are more vulnerable, like: cats, birds, rabbits, hamsters, and baby animals. There are essential oils that are toxic to horses as well. It is crucial to research from unbiased sources and consult with your veterinarian before using essential oils on animals.

4. The quality of the essential oils that you use can determine whether they are safe or not, despite the oil it contains. Only use unadulterated, high quality essential oils that are verified as pure and safe by a third-party.

5. Diffusing certain essential oils can be toxic to animals (and people). Do not diffuse for long period of times. Do not diffuse in a closed room that an animal cannot exit from. Do not diffuse oils that are toxic to you or your animal companions. Research thoroughly to determine what really is safe. If an animal has respiratory problems, diffusion is not recommended at all. Diffusion is not recommended at all for birds and small animals.

6. Other remedies for fleas and other insects include: apple cider vinegar  or diatomaceous earth

 


An Idea of Dilution Ratios
0-25 pounds: 1 drop in 1 tablespoon of carrier oil
26-45 pounds: 1-2 drops in 1 and 1/2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon


Essential Oils That Are SAFE To Use For Cats Or Dogs–IF
You Dilute Well & Use On Short-Term Basis Only:

Basil
Cardamom
Cedar (Juniperus virginiana)
Clary Sage
Chamomile
Fennel*
Frankincense
Lavender*
Marjoram
Myrrh
Sandalwood
Spearmint
Spikenard
Vetiver


*Essential Oil Toxin Risk Even When Diluted:
Eucalyptus
Fennel
Geranium
Lavender
Lemongrass
Peppermint (the plant is okay)
Tea Tree


Essential Oils To AVOID For Dogs And/Or Cats
Anise
Basil (for cats, the plant is okay)
Birch
Camphor
Cassia
Citrus (for cats, and cats dislike citrus)
Cinnamon
Clove
Garlic
Hyssop
Juniper
Oregano
Pennyroyal
Pine
Rosemary
Thyme
Wintergreen
Wormwood
Yarrow
Ylang Ylang

Possible Symptoms Of Poisoning: drooling, tremors, wobbliness, respiratory distress: labored breathing, panting, coughing, wheezing; depression, low heart rate, vomiting.


RESOURCES

ASPCA, Pet Care, Animal Poison Control:
https://www.aspca.org/search/node?search=essential%20oils

Pet Poison Helpline, “Essential Oils and Cats,” by Kia Benson, DVM:
http://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/blog/essential-oils-cats/

Savvy Pet Care, “Is Lavender Toxic To Cats?:”
http://savvypetcare.com/is-lavender-toxic-to-cats/

Dogs Naturally Magazine (online), “Essential Oils For Dogs,” by Dana Scott:
http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/essential-oils-for-dogs/

Daily Treat, “Are Essential Oils Safe for Your Dog?:”
https://www.rover.com/blog/essential-oils-safe-dog/

All Natural Pet Care, “30 Essential Oils That May Not Be Safe For Pets,” by Melody McKinnon:
http://allnaturalpetcare.com/blog/2013/12/05/30-essential-oils-may-safe-pets/

Tisserand Institute, “Cats And Essential Oil Safety,” by Robert Tisserand:
http://tisserandinstitute.org/cats-essential-oil-safety/

London Alternative Veterinary Services, “The Science Behind Cats And Essential Oils,” by Dr. Melissa Shelton:
https://londonalternativevet.com/2018/01/12/essential-oils-with-pets-dr-melissa-shelton/

SitStay, “The 411 On Essential Oils And Your Dog:”
https://www.sitstay.com/blogs/good-dog-blog/essential-oils-for-dogs

The Hippy Homemaker, “DIY Natural Flea & Tick Spray:”
https://www.thehippyhomemaker.com/diy-natural-flea-tick-spray

Earth Clinic, “The Many Uses of Diatomaceous Earth For Pets:”
https://www.earthclinic.com/pets/health-benefits-of-diatomaceous-earth.html

Earth Clinic, “How to Use Apple Cider Vinegar for Fleas in Pets:”
https://www.earthclinic.com/apple-cider-vinegar-for-fleas-in-dogs-and-cats.html

ASPCA, “Toxic and Non-Toxic Plant List—Cats:”
https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/cats-plant-list

ASPCA, “Toxic and Non-Toxic Plant List—Dogs:”
https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/dogs-plant-list

Antigravity Magazine (online), “Paw Talk: Pets vs. Plants:” http://www.antigravitymagazine.com/2013/03/paw-talk-pets-vs-plants/

The Pet Professional Guild; Blogs by the Guild, “What Does Citronella Really Do to a Dog?” by Theo Stewart:
https://ppgworldservices.com/2015/07/20/what-does-citronella-really-do-to-a-dog/

Wagwalking, “Lemongrass Poisoning In Dogs:”
https://wagwalking.com/condition/lemongrass-poisoning

The Herbal Academy, Herbarium: https://herbarium.theherbalacademy.com

National Association For Holistic Aromatherapy: https://naha.org


CS Sherin, Recipe For A Green Life 2018© Please feel free to share this article–in its entirety with author, source credit, and this copyright notice–on social media and for non-commercial educational purposes only.