by Angie Scheu and special contributer, Jeannie Seabrook
Angie Scheu is the owner and founder of Green Haven Living, an eco-friendly home, gift, and zero-waste store in Uptown Westerville Ohio. She lives in Westerville with her husband and 3 daughters. Before she began her retail adventure in 2016, she was a lifelong environmentalist, a corporate Human Resources Professional, and a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force. Angie loves watching her daughters play softball, spending time in the great outdoors, traveling with her husband, trying new plant-based recipes, gardening, and collecting books that she "will get to eventually".
Last month, we wrote a blog post highlighting Totally Do-able Sustainable Resolutions. One of those resolutions is to reduce your intake of meat products. This isn't beneficial only from a sustainability standpoint, but also from an overall health perspective. And, you don't have to give up meat completely to make a difference. Here are a few interesting facts you may not know:
So, we decided to compile some of our favorite meatless, vegetarian recipes for you to try. These are easy, family-friendly dishes that your kids will actually eat. We think you'll also find them versatile and quick enough to become a regular part of your weeknight rotation.
Skillet Mexican Rice and/or Quinoa
(From Glass Rooster Cannery)
For this recipe, we used rice, but you can also swap rice for quinoa for a little extra protein.
1 can of black beans or pinto beans,
drained and rinsed
Tofu, cut into 1" pieces (optional)
4 cloves garlic
2 tbsp oil
2 cups rice (Basmati or Brown)
1 - 16 ounce jar
Glass Rooster Cannery Mexican Corn Salsa
1 - 16 ounce jar
Glass Rooster Cannery Heirloom Salsa
4 cups vegetable broth
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
Sliced avocado, if desired
1 Tbsp. Cilantro, for garnish
salt and pepper, to taste
In a large skillet, saute garlic in oil for 1 minute. Add beans and/or tofu and saute 4-5 minutes, tossing with garlic. Add rice and saute 2-3 minutes to toast rice. Add salsas and vegetable broth, stir and turn down to simmer for 20-25 minutes or until rice is cooked. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese, avocado, cilantro and plain Greek yogurt, if using.
Quick Pizza Casserole
(From Green Haven Living)
1 16-oz jar Glass Rooster Cannery Tomato Basil Marinara Sauce
1 16-oz package whole wheat penne noodles, cooked al dente
1 16-oz tub cottage cheese
1/2 white sweet onion, minced
3 large basil leaves, chopped
1 tsp. dried oregano
4-oz package shredded mozzarella and/or provolone cheese
Grated parmesan and/or romano cheese
salt and pepper, to taste
Pour marinara into large sauce pan and simmer sauce down to thickness you desire. Gently combine next 5 ingredients in same sauce pan, leaving some pieces of herbs for garnish. Heat through. Sprinkle cheeses and herbs over your hot pasta just prior to serving.
(From Green Haven Living)
6-8 Yukon Gold Potatoes
1/2 stick butter (1/4 cup)
1/4 cup Flour
2 cups Milk
1 cup Gouda Cheese
Garlic Salt, to taste
Freshly Ground Pepper, to taste
Fresh or dried parsley, as garnish
Chop potatoes into bite-size pieces. Add to large pot of boiling water for 10 minutes. Drain in a strainer and rinse with cold water. Return to large pot and set aside.
In the meantime, make your roux. Melt 1/2 stick butter in a separate sauce pan. Stir in flour gradually. Pour your milk in and heat on medium until thick and bubbly. Remove from heat. Add Gouda cheese and stir until melted. Season with garlic salt and pepper. Sprinkle with fresh or dried parsley.
Cheesy Basil Squash Bake
(From Green Haven Living)
1 medium zucchini squash
1 squash (yellow, butternut, acorn, or delicata)
3 Tbsp freshly chopped basil
2 Tbsp thinly sliced green onion
1/2 tsp dried thyme
3/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a glass baking dish with olive oil. Cut squash and zucchini in half moon slices. Thinly slice basil and green onion. Combine all ingredients and bake for 25 minutes.
Apple Walnut Grahams
(From Green Haven Living)
8 oz non-fat plain Greek yogurt
8 oz fat free cream cheese
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 cubed or shredded gala apples, divided
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
2 Tbsp sugar
8-10 graham crackers
Combine Greek yogurt, cream cheese, cinnamon, walnuts, sugar, and one apple in a mixing bowl. Cover and chill for about 20 minutes. Split graham crackers in half. Arrange on a flat platter. Spoon yogurt mixture over graham cracker halves. Top with remaining diced or shredded apple. Finish with an extra shake of cinnamon, if desired.
Roasted Dijon Mixed Vegetables
(From Green Haven Living)
1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 - 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
honey, to taste
Sea salt and pepper
Whisk together all dressing ingredients and set aside to allow flavors to combine.
3 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 lb fresh green beans, trimmed
1 15-oz can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 medium sweet yellow onion, sliced
2 stalks green onion, thinly sliced
1 medium carrot, chopped
1/2 lb baby gold potatoes or fingerlings, halved
4 tsp. minced garlic
1 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
1 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp dried rosemary
Sea salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 425. Line a cookie sheet with foil and lightly spray the foil with non-stick spray or olive oil. Coat potatoes with garlic and 1 Tbsp olive oil in a bowl. Spread evenly on cookie sheet and roast for 25 minutes, turning once. While potatoes are roasting, add remaining olive oil to bowl with herbs, green beans, garbanzo beans, onions, carrot. Salt and pepper to taste. Add remaining vegetables to cookie sheet and roast for another 10-12 minutes. Transfer while hot to a serving dish and drizzle with Dijon dressing.
by Angie Scheu
Angie Scheu is the owner and founder of Green Haven Living, an eco-friendly home, gift, and zero-waste store in Uptown Westerville Ohio. She lives in Westerville with her husband and 3 daughters. Before she began her retail adventure in 2016, she was a lifelong environmentalist, a corporate Human Resources Professional, and a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force. Angie loves watching her daughters play softball, spending time in the great outdoors, traveling with her husband, trying new plant-based recipes, gardening, and collecting books that she "will get to eventually". ;o)
Typically, I scoff at the idea of a New Year's Resolution. I am skeptical of the concept of a "new me" or the idea of making huge lifestyle overhauls every January. No matter how motivated we are, it's just not realistic for most of us.
Instead, here are 10 actionable "resolutions" that are totally do-able. Even if you don’t attempt each one, you’ll make some easy eco-friendly changes in your life and stand to benefit from each of them in different ways. And, that's something great to look forward to this year! No need to follow them in the order presented here. Just pick what seem like good places to start and pencil them into your calendar or planner each month.
1. Upgrade your skills.
There are innumerable ways to gain sustainable knowledge and skills. Seek out classes that teach practical skills in your community (such as what's offered at this local school). Find great thought leadership and inspiration in sustainability by reading a good book (you might want to check out our collection here). Finally, if your city has a group of volunteers that are committed to sustainability (like this one), attending events or meetings can help you meet like-minded people, teach valuable skills and give you the satisfaction of getting involved locally.
2. Reduce your meat consumption.
You don't have to become vegetarian or vegan. Giving up meat is HARD. Trust me, I understand. Simply lessening your meat consumption is impactful in several ways. It's easy to replace meat a few times per week with other satisfying, more nutrient dense options like beans, grains, nuts and/ or tofu. Our global animal agriculture systems have damaged the environment in numerous ways. Here are just a few of the immediate effects reducing your meat consumption will have: health benefits, saves money, saves water, lessens pollution due to transport, and that's not all. Pssst...Here are 6 delicious meatless recipes that even the kids will love.
3. Switch to a sustainable bank.
Make sure your bank and investment choices reflect your values. Find a financial institution that invests in ethical industries, and do your banking and/or investing there. Many of the largest institutions build revenue off of the money you've deposited with them by investing in fossil fuel companies, weapons companies, the tobacco and vaping industries, and the like. These are banks that fund clean energy, sustainable development, and operate with environmental impact in mind.
4. Walk or bike whenever possible.
If you live in a walkable (or bikeable) community, choose to leave your vehicle at home. Not only will you save on gas, you will certainly reap the health benefits of the additional exercise too. It helps that electric bikes (eBikes) are all the rage now too. eBikes have an electric motor to assist you when you want to ride a longer distance or if you get tired.
What if you live in a rural area? Or if the weather isn't cooperating? If you live in an area where it's not feasible to walk or bike consider public transportation or safe carpooling options with family members or friends. If you must drive, combining errands with other necessary trips will cut down on emissions and save fuel.
5. Divide your restaurant meals.
When food ends up in the landfill, it lacks the oxygen required to decompose properly. Methane, a greenhouse gas, builds up from the decomposition and is eventually released into the atmosphere, which traps heat from the sun. What can you do? Keep a lidded container on hand (or ask for a compostable container) to divide your meal in half for later. Since most restaurants tend to serve large portion sizes anyway, it's also a great way to keep calories in check! Also, food scraps from your home-prepared meals can be composted or buried outside. Keep a compost bin on your countertop to collect the food scraps until it's time to take them outside. You might want to use a compostable liner to keep the inside of your bin clean.
6. Switch to a reef-safe sunscreen.
Millions of people flock to the shore every year wearing toxic sunscreen that is creating an inhabitable environment for the oceans and for marine creatures. Plenty of us also wear daily sunscreen to help minimize the effects of ultraviolet rays on our skin. There have been recent commercial sunscreen recalls due to carcinogenic ingredients (likely to cause cancer) finding their way into the products. If these toxic commercial sunscreens are unhealthy for us and our families, they are also unhealthy for our inland waterways and oceans. What goes down our drains matters! Can you imagine the massive difference it would make if each person switched to a reef-safe sunscreen?
7. Use eco-friendly "swaps" in your home.
There are some really clever eco-friendly swaps for everyday items you use in your home. The key is to look for items that are easy to reuse, are compostable, biodegradable, or infinitely recyclable. For example, you can lessen or eliminate your paper towel usage by using cloth paper towels or napkins. Instead of using bleached tree-fiber toilet paper, try switching to unbleached bamboo toilet paper. It's biodegradable, renewable, and non-toxic. Choose package-free cleaning and personal care products or those that are in infinitely recyclable glass or aluminum containers (which can be reused). Look for more information in an upcoming blog post about package free options!
8. Rethink your lawn and garden routine.
Out with the old, in with the new! There is a lot of conversation about the harmful consequences of today's "landscaping" practices. Herbicides and pesticides are bad news for our health, our families, pets, and wildlife. Plus, they're not necessary. The new trend is to replace lawn with low-maintenance native plants or "meadow plants" that don't require fertilizer or much maintenance at all. Embrace plants (some are considered "weeds") that feed important pollinators and birds - such as dandelions and milkweed. Instead of raking, allow the fallen leaves to remain on your lawn and beds, which helps maintain soil health. Extend soil health to your vegetable and flower gardens by researching "no-till" gardening methods. Check out our blog post: What Native Plants Can Offer You.
9. Schedule a home energy audit.
This is so worth your time. You will be surprised how much energy your home is losing, but there are also some easy ways to stop it. Having a qualified professional provide a home energy audit can give you a complete and accurate picture of how your home uses energy every month (how much, what type, etc.). It can uncover areas for improvement (inefficient appliances, etc.) or more budget friendly options. This can also give you information that is helpful if you want to invest in greener sources of energy now or in the future.
On a related note, there is a growing global movement, called Earth Hour, that challenges people to switch off their lights for one hour annually in March. This year, you can participate on Saturday, March 26 at 8:30 pm your local time. Not only does it lead to massive energy savings across the globe for one hour, Earth Hour has come to symbolize something much greater - that through unity and collective action, there is hope that we can reverse the climate crisis. Take part in it this year! Here is a list of 20+ fun things you can do during Earth Hour!
10. Cut down your paper junk mail.
Some sources say we waste around 70 hours (!) per year opening and deciding what to do with junk mail. Almost half of the timber harvested in the United States annually ultimately becomes junk mail. This equates to heavy deforestation and billions of gallons of water used every year. You stand to save millions of trees, conserve water, and save time with just a little effort. For a fee, there are companies that can remove you from thousands of mailing lists. Those pesky credit card offers are usually mailed from mailing lists maintained by the consumer credit reporting agencies. You can call a number (1-888-567-8688) or visit the official consumer credit reporting website to limit those offers. You can also sign up for paperless statements from your credit card companies, banks, mortgage companies, and utilities. Contact catalog companies directly to opt out.
Ultimately, a more sustainable life means a healthier you, a healthier family, and a healthier planet. Let's make this the year we simplify and make sustainable strides! Share your progress and ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org! We'd love to hear from you.
The days are counting down. Need last minute stocking stuffers? Are you bored with the same old stuff - year after year?! Read on for 18 great - and unique - ideas! Better yet, all of the options are natural, sustainable, or eco-friendly options. You cannot go wrong. Green Haven Living has eco-conscious gifts for everyone on your list.
Ready? Here you go!!
Film plastic, such as plastic bags, can be really tough for most recycling facilities to process. But, Westerville and surrounding communities can utilize a special recycling program by dropping off those items here at Green Haven Living. We have partnered with Westerville Lions, who have organized this program, to collect 500 lbs of film plastic waste every 6 months. Drop your plastic off at Green Haven Living during normal operating hours -- our bin is just inside the door. In return, the plastic waste is provided to Trex Company, which recycles it into benches for our community!
If you visit our store, you will see our community's very first special benches outside of our building (20 W. Main St. Westerville, OH 43081). You have earned these special commemorative benches, Westerville. So, please take a seat and enjoy them! We are continuing this program to earn additional benches, so bring your plastic and let us take it off your hands!
Please donate only clean items from this list:
Plastic Store Bags (any)
Pallet Wrap and Stretch Film
Dry Cleaning Bags
Ziploc and Other Resealable Bags
Cereal Box Liners
Plastic Ecommerce Mailers
Plastic Overwrap of Water Bottles, etc.
Bedding or Linen Packaging
Pet Food Bags
Prewashed Salad Bags
Vinyl Shower Curtains and Tablecloths
**Please bring your recycling in clean plastic only. No cardboard, glass, or other materials.**
A million thanks for supporting this project. As of the date of this post, we have managed to divert more than 1,000 lbs of film plastic from the landfill - a huge win for both our community and the environment. Let's keep it going! Click here to check out our sister website for more products that can help you live and give sustainably.
A Guest Blog by Wendy Kaiser
Hi! I’m Wendy, owner and formulator of HANDS Organic Skincare located in Clintonville, Ohio. Thanks for reading my guest post for Green Haven Living this month.
I am passionate about making accessible botanical skincare for those that are mindful of both clean personal products and the planet. The list of ingredients I will use is probably shorter than the list of ones I won’t, so I just say, “Nothing outside of nature.” Real organic ingredients in their least processed state, no preservatives or artificial ingredients. I am inspired by and have learned so much about natural ingredients and their ability to influence our wellbeing. My products are available both in-store and online at Green Haven Living.
Allow me to introduce myself. I am a stay-at-home/ work-from-home/ homeschooling mom. I have all the hats on --- just as I assume many of my readers do too! Because life is so busy, we have to stay mindful to allow ourselves dedicated time each day for self-care. We talk about sustainability...but, we have to be able to sustain ourselves as well, right? So, let me share my self-care ritual with you. I hope you’ll allow yourselves the time you deserve to unwind.
Have you ever heard of “bookending''? I choose something in the morning, maybe as short as 5 minutes of heart-focused breathing, or as long as a 20-minute walk, depending on our day.
Then I go about doing all the things, of course. At the end of each day, I bookend it with something special, like skin care. And for this, I’ll grab several of my toxin-free, plastic-free products for some dedicated time.
A quick shower will help start my self-care time, usually followed by my Clary Sage & Mandarin Body Powder. This body powder avoids troublesome talc as well as plastic packaging, and smells insanely comforting. It’s the linalool and linalyl acetate in the Clary Sage that has such powerful calming and grounding abilities, and will take the feeling of your long day down quickly!
During those dry, cold Fall and Winter months, I like using body butters to calm and hydrate my skin. I would recommend either the Tangerine Lavender Chamomile Butter or the Cardamom Ginger Night Butter, which I love because it has a warming effect.
Before dressing in something comfy, I will apply one of my organic solid deodorants (Jasmine Grapefruit or Bergamot Blood Orange) or the beeswax-free Tangerine Turmeric Vegan Deodorant Cream. All of my deodorants are formulated to prevent odor without interfering with the normal function of our bodies (perspiration).
Next, I will absolutely go for one of my botanical face masks. Choosing one is the hardest part, but one of my favorites is the Brightening Mask. Packed with orange peel, rhassoul clay, local turmeric, raw cacao, coconut milk and sandalwood, it is cooling, gentle and smells so good. While your mask works its wonders, you’ve got a good 10-15 minutes to watch a show, read a book or listen to music. Mask tip: don’t let a clay mask dry on your face! Rinse it off when it’s still damp so all the goodness and moisture you’ve just applied doesn’t get removed.
After the mask, I love using my Calendula & Chamomile-Infused Glow Face Oil. In another sustainable win, this oil can be used three different ways. First, most simply as a face moisturizer. Second, for use as your face massage or Gua Sha oil. Third, it can be used as an oil cleanser, which is a great way to transition your skin for fall and winter protection. It also saves product, as often you won’t need to reapply moisturizing oil or cream in the morning! This oil is also essential oil-free and completely safe for babies and kids. That calendula and chamomile infusion can help with boo-boos, bruises, dry or irritated skin for them as well! So, I guess that’s four uses! For dewy soft skin, you can also seal in the moisture with Helichrysum Radiant Face Cream. You will love the whipped consistency, as well as all the anti-aging and hydrating benefits this cream provides.
Fewer ingredients, less packaging, more care and mindfulness all around. I sincerely hope you take a few minutes out of your day to care for yourself. It’s worth it. Your health and happiness depend on it. And, feeling a sense of wellbeing requires only minutes a day.
Founder of Green Haven Living, a Veteran of the United States Air Force, former Human Resources professional, and Environmentalist.