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No Waste Beets & Earth Day Green Challenge

22 April 2010 8 Comments

Two weeks ago, Katie of Making Food and Other Stuff announced …

I thought this was a great idea and wanted to give it a go. Unfortunately, I couldn’t do a few items on her list, at least not right now, but I did conquer several of the items, and perhaps you will like my beet recipe idea and strawberry almond smoothie … 


Challenge #1 – Wash clothes with cold water – This is something I pretty much always do. I was reading that you should always use a cold rinse, there really isn’t a point to a warm or hot rinse, but when you need that something extra, use warm  or hot on the rinse cycle. For most of our clothes, cold works fine, so this is my usualy setting and was for Green Week too …

Challenge #2 – Drink a green smoothie – Even in winter (okay, that snowy picture below was actually taken this morning!), a breakfast smoothie is my morning wake up call. Sometimes they are green, sometimes purple, sometimes chocolaty, and sometimes pink …

But they all have at least one or two “green” components in them … a tablespoon of hemp protein powder, a scoop of Amazing Grass, some avocado (yep, avocado!), and/or a generous handful of organic baby spinach.

The smoothie above is a Strawberry Almond Smoothie with a generous handful of organic strawberries, 1 medium frozen banana, some unsweetened almond milk, 1 tablespoon of vanilla hemp protein from Manitoba Harvest, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (I love cinnamon!), 1/2 oz of freshly ground almonds, and a wee dash of stevia (I was craving a little sweet). I was out of spinach, otherwise that would have gone in too!

Challenge #3 – Eat a vegetarian or vegan meal – Since I am dairy-free, I eat quite a few vegan meals each week. The one below is a green challenge I have added to my efforts, a no waste recipe. I loved the concept from Vegan Soul Kitchen, and am now trying to use up rather than tossing previously unloved parts of veggies.

I roasted some beets and carrots in some olive oil, a drizzle of maple syrup, and a dash or two of salt at 400 for about 45 minutes or so. While those were roasting, I cut up the beet stems and greens and sauteed them in that same mixture (oil/maple/salt). The resultant dish was (not photogenic) delicious and filled with nutrients.

Green Challenge #4 – Use cloth napkins – This is one I really, really need to do more often. I remembered to use cloth napkins twice this past week thanks to Katie’s challenge and will make an effort going forward more. Sorry Katie, no photo, I really didn’t think a used cloth napkin was appetizing!

Green Challenge #5 – Make and use your own cleaning products – We started doing this a couple of months ago and continued through this challenge of course. Our dish and hand soaps are all now diluted Dr. Bronners, I used baking soda and vinegar to unclot our sink last week, and my husband reused an old Earth-Friendly spray bottle to make a vinegar concoction for cleaning the inside of our car. It worked great and the car is soooo clean! And yes, I love that he reuses old spray bottles too.

Green Challenge #6 – Use a canvas, or reusable, grocery bag – For several years now I have been using reusable bags for both groceries and regular shopping. They are so much easier to carry, especially since I walk to the stores. As you can see, mine are quite loved!

I could probably use some new ones, but these are still holding up. All except for the Earthbound Farm bag. You would think an organic produce company would make a decent reusable bag, but it actually ripped!

Challenge #9 – Shop at your local farmers market/buy local for the next week – Thanks to our new CSA membership, this one was very feasible! For the other fruits and veggies we buy at the store, I made a conscious effort to only buy local. Here is just a fraction of the organic local bounty I picked up yesterday …

Challenge #13 – Walk, bike or take public transportation to work for the ENTIRE week – I work at home, but did walk all week to the store, restaurants, post office, wherever I needed to go. I only hopped in the car three times the entire week, twice to go skiing and once for a girls night out that was about 15 miles away. A bit much to walk, but we did carpool!

Challenge #14 – Carpool to work/store/gym – As mentioned, I work at home, and have an at home gym, but I walked to the store, does that count?

Challenge #15 – Make an Earth inspired meal using only whole foods – This is pretty much every day for me. We only use a few “convenience” foods, and those are mainly things like soy sauce and mustard. See the beets above, or meals like steamed or roasted veggies topped with poached organic eggs …

Challenge #16 – Get in touch with the Earth– try a yoga class, go for a walk without distractions such as your Ipod, meditate – I took two big walks just for the heck of it this past week. Since it couldn’t involve distractions, I didn’t take my camera, so no photo! Plus, a little strange to take a picture of myself walking, no?

Challenge #18 – Bring a reusable coffee cup on your next cafe run – We don’t actually make cafe runs, but when Starbucks was giving out free coffee on April 15, we walked up with our reusable mugs and gave them a fill. Does that count?

Challenge #19 – Hang laundry to dry – Always! I do dry some clothes, but most get this treatment (including during green week) on a dedicated drying rack I have in the closet …

Still to Do: Green Challenge #7  – Plant a tree/herb/vegetable (indoors or out) – Unfortunately, we are still getting snow and freezing temps here, so even my usual indoor herb garden can’t survive that chilly window. I am planning to add some tomatoes too this year, but it looks like not until next month.

I think I earned 16 points for the challenge, with room for improvement. Thanks for the challenge Katie and Lori!

Photo Note: Sorry Katie, I am still not used to walking around with a camera and photographing everything, so you will have to take my word on some of these!

What earth-friendly living ideas do you have?


  • Katie said:

    GREAT job!! I m so impressed and I love hearing that you were already doing some things, but that this challenge made you try some new things. Honestly, that was the whole point. Even though I can’t win, I tried to do as many of the things as I could too, and felt the same way! I feel funny about the camera thing too! I took a photo of the local produce store and felt really funny about it!

  • Lori said:

    THAT IS AWESOME. You win on the best looking Green Day post FOR SURE!
    Oh I love this! Such great pictures! And that kitty… I’d use it for my bag. (can I have it?) Super cute.
    Oh and the beet salad looks delicious!

    Thanks for playing along!!!

  • Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) said:

    Wow. Alisa…amazing!!!!!! The produce with the cauli, carrots, etc. it looks so perfect that I can’t even believe it’s real!!! That’s a CA CSA for ya!

    The kitty..too cute! And the beet salad, oh, i love beets and that looks divine!

    And Katie, the girl who orchestrated the challenge, I told her that I love your book, GDF, and she ordered it 🙂

    Have a super nite!

  • Julie @ Pickley Pear said:

    Love the ideas and happy to say I do about 80% of these things already. With no public transit in the Detroit suburbs, a car to work is a must. Great ideas and I love this site!!

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  • Sara said:

    If you’re going to buy more grocery bags, I HIGHLY suggest Trader Joe’s red canvas bags. I’ve bought another one rather recently so I think they’re still stocking them consistently. They fit over your shoulder and are tough as heck, AND only cost $2.50 or something like that. I always cringe at the overpriced, cheap quality bags that I often see at stores, or the high quality ones that cost $10. Ridiculous!

  • Dairy Free and Fit » Blog Archive » Un-Beetable Sugar-Free Smoothie said:

    […] my No Waste Beets for an idea on how to use the leaves and stems […]