Vegetarian Thanksgivukkah Recipes

November 25, 2013

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As a vegetarian, Thanksgiving is never about the turkey for me. Fortunately, the friends’ I go to every year are vegetarians as well so I don’t have a problem having to turn down meat dishes. If you are hosting Thanksgiving this year, you may have two dietary restrictions to consider….the vegetarians as well the Jews.

For the record, I am not a cook nor do I pretend to be one on this blog. Just click on the links to grab the recipes listed here. Alls I did was research the internets.

Let’s start with latkes. THE traditional Hanukkah dish is the potato pancake. Latkes are indeed vegetarian but if you want to go vegan, you can substitute the egg whites with a product called “Egg Replacer“. Alternatively, blending flax seeds with water will do the same trick.

Chopped liver is not necessarily a Hanukkah food, maybe more of a Passover dish. But what Jewish vegetarian wouldn’t be impressed with an attempt at Grandma’s chopped liver minus the liver? Here are 22 different recipes for the famous dish. It’s more of an appetizer. Think fois gras. Speaking of….you can always pick up some containers of Faux Gras and save yourself the trouble.

Soup time! Both matzoh ball soup and hot borscht will go over well for the double holiday. I just want y’all to know that my mother bought borscht from a jar. Yeah, the ones you see at the supermarket. And you wonder why I don’t cook?

Another food that may not be associated with Hanukkah…ok, I have to admit something here. I don’t know my Hanukkah dishes. I’m the worst Jew ever. We never celebrated Hanukkah. We celebrated Christmas by going out to a Chinese restaurant and a move. So, let’s just say these are “Jewish” foods and not “Hanukkah”.

So, where was I? Oh yeah, stuffed cabbage! Healthy, tasty and gassy. You can sit around and recreate that scene from Blazing Saddles after dinner.

What about the main course? The turkey substitute? You can go with a nut roast or pastry dish. Here’s a homemade tofurkey recipe. Make sure you’re not dealing with any celiacs on that one as it’s made from wheat gluten.

Dessert? I just learned over the weekend from my goy friend that there is a Hanukkah donut called sufganiot! Who knew? Apparently everyone but me. It’s kind of like a jelly donut (Blech!) but you can do pumpkin or something equally disgusting.

Any traditional Thanksgiving dish other than the turkey is easy to make as a vegetarian dish and Jews like to eat, so no problem there. Stuffing, cranberry sauce, potatoes, veggies. Never underestimate the power of the side dish as long as there are enough of them.

Oh, while we’re on this subject, if you are entertaining vegetarian friends, beware the cheese! FYI, not all cheese are vegetarian. Look at the label for “rennet” which is the lining of a calf’s stomach. Yup. Microbial enzymes and vegetable rennet are cool. All kosher cheeses are fine because kosher folks don’t mix meat with dairy, so if it’s a dairy product, it won’t contain any dead animal. Look for the kosher “U” or “K” on the package and you’re good to go. You learn something new every day.

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Eco Red Building Products

November 19, 2013

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So, I walk into Home Depot the other day looking for pressure treated wood and see all of this red colored wood in it’s place. I sez “Wah? It’s red!” Turns out this is the new eco friendly alternative to pressure treated lumber. Yes, Home Depot still sells toxic pressure treated. It was just moved elsewhere in this particular store.

The Eco Red lumber is said to be moisture, mold, fire and insect resistant, all without the use of those hazardous chemicals that have made pressure treated the lumber of choice for certain projects. It’s also supposedly lighter. Have you ever filled your van with a bunch of pressure treated 4×4′s? I have. They are heavy!

After checking out the website, I’m still not really sure what that red coating is, but the company is Greenguard Gold certified for low chemical emissions. Furthermore, the product is made in America. Again, slightly confused as to whether or not it’s actually grown here. The site does say that the lumber is sustainable because it lasts longer, but doesn’t fill us in on the growth process. It’s all a bit vague or perhaps it’s just over my head.

In any case, this seems like a better choice than good ole’ pressure treated. Also costs a bit less!

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Are You A Shower Hog?

November 1, 2013

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Are you a 20 minute shower person? Do you even know how long you stay in the shower running the heated water? How much water is consumed during your shower? Well, now there’s a way to find out.

The Sprav meter attaches to any shower head. It’s not a water conservation filter but rather a guilter. The concept is pretty simple. Green light means you’re not a water hog. Go into yellow and maybe your showers are a bit too long. Red light means “WTF, dude?”. If you are consistently a red light shower person, then it may be time for you to change your ways unless you’re a very filthy person.

Check out the Sprav Kickstarter campaign below.

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Goodbye Planet Earth

October 9, 2013

Planet of the Apes (1968)

It’s not everyday that I can blend my favorite musicians with the subject matter of this blog, but today is my lucky day! File this one under “green”, “treehugger”, “environment”, thank you.

Recognize this guy? It’s Carl aka Chas Smash from Madness, the ska band that has been around since the 70′s but people in this country only think of them as the one hit “Our House” wonder. Quite a shift from the danceable nutty tunes we usually see him doing.

It’s beautiful, no?

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Recycling Events

October 4, 2013

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If you’re anything like me, you have about four defunct Macbooks sitting in a closet somewhere taking up valuable space. And if you’re anything like me, they’ve been there for years and what I’m about to share with you won’t change that.

But I’ll try.

Hey kids! Gather up your old electronics for the eWaste Recycling program taking place all month throughout the city (mostly Manhattan and Brooklyn with a touch of Queens). You can recycle not only computers but they are taking TV’s, video games, cell phones and “other” as well. Click on the link to see locations and dates.

If you’re a lungeyelander (translation: Long Islander) or live in parts of Queens blessed with LIPA service (and when I say “blessed” I mean “cursed”), you can actually get some bucks for recycling your old appliances. They are paying $50 for each working fridge or freezer including free pick up. No need to deal with Craigslist crazies! $20 voucher for working air conditioners and dehumidifiers as well. There are some guidelines to follow. Click that link to find out!

Check out Grow NYC for swaps and other recycling events. They are da bomb! Do people still say that? What do you want from me? I’m 48 years old.

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Shatter Proof Wine Glasses

August 28, 2013

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This household does not have a good history of retaining wine glasses. In fact, we go through them as if they are disposable. Luckily, a six pack of Ikea wine glasses cost only a bit more than a grande latte, so it hasn’t put us in the poor house just yet.

But let’s face it, breaking glass is not only annoying, but going through so many glasses is not eco-friendly. So, I’m thinking of foregoing the Ikea and investing in proper unbreakable glasses. When I say proper, I don’t mean plastic. And when I say plastic, I don’t mean party glasses you get by the package at Costco. They do make high end shatter proof wine glasses out of plastic that look gorgeous online, but I just can’t.

So, glass. Not many options, but I did come across a couple.

Hercuglass claims to be five times more shatter resistant than regular glass. Notice that nobody is saying “unbreakable”. The glass making process is related to that used to strengthen aircraft windshields and iPhone covers. Prices are not bad at all. Well under ten bucks per glass. I can live with that. Plus, many of the styles are made in the USA.

The Korin Ion Strong wine glasses are manufactured in Japan and meet European standards. There is only one distributor in the US which is probably why a set of six will set you back $150. Still, if they last a good many years and offer prevention of slitting your big toe on a piece of broken glass, perhaps it’s worth the splurge.

Priced right down the middle is the Schott Zwiesel series of wine glasses. This Tritan lead free “crystal” design uses titanium in the strengthening process. This is a German based brand and let’s face it, those Germans know how to make a good product. Priced at $60 for a set of 6 online, they also sell for slightly more dough at retail outlets such as William Sonoma and Pottery Barn. The wine tumblers are under $50 and they will probably last twice for those clumsy folks who knock over the stemware.

Check out this Dr. Vino article for some more options and reviews.

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Eat Fish to Benefit Fish?

August 16, 2013

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I don’t get it. I love the NY Aquarium. Of course I want to see what’s best for them and especially their cute aquatic inhabitants. So, there’s this benefit, right? Sip for the Sea on September 12th.

Here’s the catch (pun intended). The fundraiser is a tasting of sustainable wine and food. SEAFOOD!! Maybe it’s because I’m a crazy animal rights vegetarian, but why serve seafood at a benefit for sea creatures? I guess an aquarium isn’t really benefiting sea creatures but I’d like to think it’s educational and they want the best for our underwater friends.

Am I the only one who thinks this is wrong?

Anyway, click on image above if you want to attend. I’m sure it’s for a good cause. Just let them know that you have a buddy who couldn’t come because there was nothing for her to eat.

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Farmer’s Markets for Everyone!

July 25, 2013

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There really is no comparison between grocery produce and freshly picked, organic harvest. The problem with organic is that it’s pricey and not always so convenient to buy. Well, there is hope for ALL of NYC yet, including low income earners.

I heard it on NPR (actually read it) that Grow NYC has created an initiative called Health Bucks for underprivileged New Yorkers to purchase farm fresh foods with vouchers from markets around the city. It’s actually a medical program for overweight patients to obtain prescriptions to buy healthy food.

For the rest of us with middle income and black thumbs, we still have to buy with cold, hard cash. Personally, I’ll have to drop the convenience excuse because I just found this handy schedule on the Grow NYC website. No more guessing where and when these farmer’s markets will take place. It’s probably been there all along for people who actually took the time to look.

BTW, peruse the site. It’s like the bible of green living in NYC.

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Every Day is Earth Day

April 22, 2013

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Earth Day is just another day to anyone who cares about the environment the other 364 days of the year. The truth is, today should be no different. Here are 10 things you should be doing all the time to help your Mother Earth. They are so obvious that it’s nuts anyone needs to be reminded. Yeah, I mean you!

1. Turn off lights when not in the room

2. Shut off water while brushing your teeth. Water should be left on for rinsing only.

3. Same goes with washing dishes.

4. Laundry and dish washers should only be run with a full load.

5. Recycle! Recycle! Recycle!

6. Vintage clothing is way cooler than that new made-in-China crap. Second hand thrift shopping is the way to go.

7. Unplug electric “vampires” that suck power even when electronics are off. That means all battery chargers, TV’s, power strips and pretty much anything else that’s plugged in.

8. Take public transit instead of your car.

9. Stop overlooking the impact of your meat based diet. You don’t want to think about how animals are tortured and killed everyday? Do you realize the natural resources that go into producing that bloody hamburger? Grains and water for feed crops, land and deforestation, methane gas produced by animals and fuel for production and transport. Yes, all that is needed for vegetable crops too, but research how many people can be fed on the resources it takes to feed one single cow.

10. End the paper trail! Does anyone still get paper bills that they pay by check? If so, you’re a total dinosaur. It’s 2013. Everything is online, man.

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Disposable Dishes

April 9, 2013

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Forget Spring. Summer is here. And with summer comes backyard barbeques and poolside entertaining. (If you have a pool, invite me.) Since this is a green blog, the use of disposable anything should not be promoted. However, some of these products are biodegradable or can take a good few uses before crapping out.

The VerTerra palm leaf plates above are made from fallen leaves. They are biodegradable and chemical free as well as microwave safe. The 6×6 plates as shown run about $152 for a 300 count. The company makes matching cutlery as well.

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Wasara makes some beautiful products from bamboo and recycled paper. Love the cutlery! A party kit as shown would run $249 for service for 50 people.

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Non-eco friendly plastics can look nice too. The 9″ wavy plate from EMI Yoshi costs 68 bucks for 120 plates over at Wasserstrom Restaurant Supplies.

As for the bargains, check out Amazing Savings and National Wholesale Liquidators first. Also, never forget your local dollar store! And of course, y’all know that Ikea and Target have fun outdoor dining option. Oh, and you can always buy inexpensive vintage wares at any second hand thrift shop. I know, I know. Then you have to wash it.

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Green Brownstone

March 5, 2013

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Curious about green building technology and home maintenance? Well, here’s your chance to learn more! City Tech is offering their “Anatomy of a Green Brownstone” course this Saturday. Four hours for sixty bucks. It covers green roofs, solar and more.

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Green Screen

February 28, 2013

This is a few years old, but I’ve just discovered it so it’s new to me.

Hollywood is full of environmentalists. So you would think the movie industry should be green, right? Well, a film production company tried to shoot a movie that was entirely green and it didn’t go so well. Check out the trailer for “Greenlit“, a documentary on the eco-filming of “The River Why”.

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Is Salvage Overdone?

September 12, 2012

Of course I don’t really believe that recycling old building materials can ever go out of style. It’s just that….I’m having difficulty finding my own materials this time around!

I’ve been hitting up the usual suspects religiously and have come up with bupkas. Build it Green’s inventory in both Brooklyn and Queens is low. Shite, in fact. Vaccaro’s has some decent stuff, but none of it worked for me in regards to this reno. I only found some louver doors at Eddie’s to make a wall out of. He told me that a lot of new restaurants and bars come by to shop.

Which brings me to the point that every new restaurant opening in Brooklyn is decorated with salvaged materials.

Enough already! Leave some for me.

Oh, even Upstate was a bust. Hoffman’s Barn was packed when I was there on Saturday. No lie. Totally Hipsterville. WTF?

I used to do well on Craigslist too. Now? Nah.

The good news is that I’ll be exploring new places to shop this week or next. I’ll head over to CT, NJ and PA.

So take that, people stealing my reclaimed thunder!

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