RIPE festival

It’s been quite a year, all across the globe, hasn’t it? Beauty and destruction, births and deaths, political upheaval, social responsibility, breakthroughs in science, medicine and ecology, people across the globe banding together to help each other live better lives.

What are your most remarkable moments of this last year? Did you try anything new, make any major life changes, overcome a personal challenge or connect with others in a meaningful way?

What will you do to make your life, your neighborhood and your world a happier place in 2012? Please share in the comments, we could all use a little inspiration!

Here’s to 2012!

(written for the eco etsy blog, saved here for me…)

Pecan Pie with Agave Nectar

This year, I made my first ever pecan pie, and it only took 6 months!

Heh, just kidding, but it did start in June with a visit by a hrududu:

Under all that insanely overgrown wisteria, were three glorious old pecan trees. We’ve been here 5 years though, and never gotten any edible pecans. Well, apparently the largest of the three trees was sending us a thank-you for rescuing it from the vines’ stranglehold, because I must have picked up close to 15 pounds of pecans in the last month:

So, of course there had to be pie.

However, I couldn’t find any corn syrup I felt good about using, so I decided to see what would happen if I subbed agave nectar for it. The answer? Well, it tasted fantastic, but in the next round I think I might add another egg or chop the pecans up smaller, as the ability of it to maintain a “slice” shape was a little pathetic. Yes, we had pecan cobbler =D

(which is why you only get a photo before it was sliced into, lol)

However, here’s what I put into it, if you bake and have suggestions, I’m all ears for a consistency helper!

1 1/3 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup agave nectar
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp grand marnier
2 1/2 cups pecans

and on this note, I think I’m going to go get another slice! Merry Christmas y’all!

last minute decorating

If you’re as behind as I am on Festivus-Izing your house, here are a couple quick ideas to help get you in the spirit!


Ok, I have to admit, that one isn’t entirely quick, but it WAS somewhat satisfying to nail thru all those bottlecaps! You don’t even have to spraypaint them first, but DO put a pile of magazines or something under them while you’re hammering a nail thru the center if you don’t want to ruin your table. String a coathanger thru the nail holes, make a circle, twist the ends of the wire, then cover it with a little ribbon! Voila! easy peasy recycled wreath.

And then there’s this awesome little piece on tabletop trees seen on Curbly:

I think I have time for a couple of those! Too Cute, check em out!

Gifts that Keep on Giving

(this post was originally written for the ecoetsy team blog)

This time of year can often be a little crazy, with people feeling pressured to buy the “right” gift for everyone on their list, the crowded shopping centers, angry traffic, consumerism run amok. It’s enough to make me want to hibernate by a fire with a giant plate of cookies.

Buying handmade on Etsy, especially from EcoEtsy team members, is one way to avoid much of that guilt and pressure, however, there are a few other gifts you can give that will make a difference in someone’s life long after the tree comes down or the menorah burns out. Whether you do it in the name of a friend or loved one, or just for your own good karma and peace of mind, here are just a couple of things you can do that will not just make someone’s day, but might just save their life:

Giving Blood: Blood is needed year-round, but with the increase in travel accidents that often occur over the holidays, donating this time of year is always a good thing. You can click your state on this handy map and find the center nearest you. If you are outside the United States, here is a list by country of places to go for donation, thanks to Wikipedia.

Donating Platelets: Platelets only have a shelf life of 5 days, so it’s even more crucial that there is a constant supply. One donation of platelets can help up to a dozen patients, whereas donations of whole blood do not provide nearly as much aid.
The process is a little more complex than just giving blood and does take a little longer, but is not detrimental to the donor in any way. Basically, they take out your blood, filter out the platelets, then put your blood back into you. You can learn more about the process and find a donation center here.

Putting yourself on the Bone Marrow registry: According to the Bone Marrow Registry site, over 10,000 patients nationwide need bone marrow to save their lives, but fewer than half get what they need. Bone marrow donations can save the life of a patient with leukemia or certain other types of cancers.
These days, donating bone marrow is often not much more complex than donating blood. Even when the more serious type of donation is needed, the process is nowhere near as scary as it once was, sending the donor home the same day.
Getting tested and typed only involves a simple blood test, and then you can put yourself on the registry to be called when a match is found.
For international registry, check here, and for registry inside the United States, go here.

Thank you for reading, and may you all have a wonderful and safe holiday season!

Rosemary sugar cookies???

Umm. Yes please.

photo by "the year in food"

I just discovered the blog “the Year in Food” and if the rest of the blog is anywhere near as good as this cookie looks, I think I might have a new blog crush. Her suggestion to eat them with a tidbit of dark chocolate might just be sending me over the edge… oof.

ingredients listed here for shopping ease, the entire recipe and instructions are HERE, go check her out!

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons rosemary
2 teaspoons orange zest
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg

eggnog cheesecake bars via brown-eyed baker!!!!

so I’ve been eyeing SoDelicious’ new coconut-milk based eggnog for a while. Sadly, my local stores don’t carry it, but I have heard I can get it with a short drive. If I can manage to not drink the whole carton in the parking lot, I’m totally going to make some of these:

photo by browneyedbaker

(ingredients listed here for shopping ease. Full recipe and instructions are on BrownEyed Baker blog. Please go check her out!)

16 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
¾ cup eggnog
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon brandy
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon + 1½ teaspoons all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, plus extra for dusting
¼ teaspoon salt