Archive for October, 2008

A Vegetarian Halloween

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

On October 31 as we celebrate Halloween, we also celebrate the last day of world vegetarian month.  If you haven’t given the vegetarian diet a try yet this month, here are some festive recipes to give it a try.  After all, with all of the sweets floating around on the 31st, it wouldn’t hurt to make an effort to prepare some hearty, healthy, meat-free meals for your family.Here are a few idea’s…… Super Easy Pumpkin Soup from

Cook Time: 15 minutes


  • 1 tablespoon margarine
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 16 oz can of pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/3 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 cups soy milk
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste


In a large saucepan, cook the onion in the margarine for 3-5 minutes, until onion turns clear. Add remaining ingredients, stirring to combine. Cook over medium heat for another 10-15 minutes. Enjoy!   A Little More elaborate (and Vegan Too!) From Vegan Lunch Box “Lunch Box of the DAMNED”



Cue the scary music and ghost sounds, because it’s time for theHalloween Lunch Box! It’s a ghastly Mummy Calzone on a bed of mummy wrappings (torn paper towel), with a bucket of blood(pizza sauce) .Two gruesome shrunken heads (a baked apple with clove eyes) rise up from a swamp of blackberry applesauce, and a little paper pumpkin holds dessert.




I saw this clever calzone in a Halloween recipe booklet at the grocery store. I veganized it by using my recipe for Broccoli Calzones inVegan Lunch Box. I divided the wholegrain pizza dough into five pieces instead of eight, in order to roll out each piece and trim them into triangle shapes. I used a pizza wheel to cut the sides into strips, then filled the center with broccoli and tofu “ricotta”. I rounded the top strip of dough into a head and overlapped the dough strips all the way down to form the mummy body. Bits of black olives are the eyes.For dessert, a little pumpkin filled with candy and confetti is a nice way to make a small amount of candy feel like a very special treat. Just wrap one or two pieces of candy and some Halloween confetti or toys in a circle of orange tissue paper. Twist the top and seal with a bit of green floral tape.








Conserving Resources: Grey Water Recycling

Sunday, October 5th, 2008

Fall is upon us.  This time of year as the air grows colder, we are easily reminded that our homes may not be as energy efficient as we would like.  This fall we will be discussing the many ways to male our homes and lives more effiecient and less wasteful .


As those of you who were at our January “green Resolutions” meeting know, one of my goals this year was to start reusing our grey water in the yard.  Well, summer  has passed and I am no closer then I was then at this time last year.  For anyone else out there who has also thought about committing to conserving water while beautifying your surroundings, I hope that you will find this information helpful.  This makes a great fall or winter project.   When you are itching to get back into the garden, but it still or too early (or too late )to do anything worthwhile – this is a great way to prepare for the Spring and Summer.  When the time comes for planting, and water , we will already have a system in place.  So here are some basics that I have found.  Please comment with your ideas, questions, or plans.


What is greywater? 

Greywater is the water that goes down plug 

holes inside the house. This is distinct from 

the ‘brown’ or ‘black’ water from toilet 

flushing and the storm water that flows off 

rooftops and streets into gutters and storm 

water drains.   


Kitchen waste water is generally not 

recommended for reuse as it tends to 

contain high levels of fats, food residue 

and other contaminants, which can 

block plumbing and cause odours. 


Bathroom greywater is sometimes used 

on gardens provided it is not heavily 

tainted with soap, bubble bath and other 

toiletries. However, bathroom plumbing 

can be difficult to access in order to set 

up greywater diversion systems. 


Laundry water is most commonly 

reused on gardens. Raised laundry 

sinks make pipes accessible and allow 

gravity to help the water flow into the 

garden. The use of eco-friendly laundry 

powders, ensures that the greywater has 

relatively low chemical content, 

protecting the health of the garden. 



An average of 45,668 gallons (per 3 person household) of grey water is wasted down the drain each year.  Reusing this water reduces the amount of freshwater that gets drawn upon.  Utilizing grey water also decreases energy consumption. A substantial amount of energy is expended to pump and treat the water for our use.  The power used to supply Americans a year’s worth of water is equivalent to the amount needed to supply 4.5 million homes with energy for a year.   Reducing pollution is yet another benefit.  Pollutants in grey water are redirected away from streams, rivers, and lakes.  While substances found in grey water can do damage to aquatic life, when used to irrigate soil breaks down these would be pollutants and transforms them into nutrients for the plants.  BENEFITS for Your Wallet: Some states offer tax credits for installing gray water systems.  Be sure to look into it prior to installation because some states require an application before the system is put in.  There is also savings from the reduction in your water use. Depending on the system you opt for though, the total savings may not offset your expenses.  BENEFITS for Your Plants: Grey water may contain detergents with nitrogen and phosphate and can be beneficial to your plants.  In addition, if you use a subsurface irrigation system (required in California), it forces plant roots to reach downward to obtain water making them stronger.  For those of you in areas prone to droughts, the availability of grey water can be a lifesaver for your plants. Cost: VariableThere are do-it-yourself options that can be fairly cheap, but as far as having a system installed they are almost all upwards of $1000.  In addition, there may be maintenance and water treatment costs.  Time and Effort: HighLaws regarding the reuse of grey water can vary from state-to-state, county-to-county, and city-to-city, so finding out what is applicable in your area may take a bit of research.  Once you determine the codes you must abide by, planning and installing will take additional time and effort.  Here is a good website site to start with regards to grey water policy: Installing a Grey Water SystemThings to ConsiderLegal issues: The reuse of grey water is prohibited in some states.  Find out its status in your state before investing time and money in planning a system.Health and Hygiene Issues: Although there has yet to be health issues associated with the use of grey water in the U.S, there are still some general precautions that should be taken.    All contact with it should be avoided as it can contain microorganisms, chemical contaminants, and physical contaminants.  Avoid surface contact with plants and with edible roots.  Do not irrigate using a sprinkler system or in sloping areas that can lead to runoff.  If someone in your household is suffering from an infectious disease discontinue the reuse of grey water.  Storing untreated grey water beyond 24 hours can lead to bacterial growth, don’t do it.Complexity of Your System: It is important to determine the best system based on the set up of your home and the way you use your water.  This is where some professional consulting can come in handy.  Systems vary from the storage of water from the washing machine in a barrel to dual-piping systems throughout the house leading to a filtration system and holding tank.  How will you reuse the water: While most gray water is reused for irrigation purposes, if the water is treated it can also be used indoors for flushing toilets.  This can make a huge difference when you consider that at 30%, toilets use the most water in the home.  There are some issues of debate as to whether setting up a system and using chemicals to treat grey water would do more environmental harm than good in the reusing of water.  Switching to a high efficiency toilet may be a better investment.  Other issues: Not all plants can be watered with grey water nor can all soils handle it.  You can locate a list of plants that are grey water intolerant and ones that may be able to tolerate grey water.  Because what goes down your drains is being reused, be sure to select more eco-friendly cleaners and detergents.  Try to find low sodium products because too much sodium can be fatal for plants.    


(taken from