Caring for the Planet

SodaStreamI am the daughter of an environmentalist who always made it clear to me that we could all take steps to be kinder to our world. We share the planet and need to take individual steps to make as small of an impact as we possibly can.

SodaStream SodaStream SodaStreamHere are some ways all of us can help to improve the planet:

  1. Turn off lights when you leave a room. You can also lower the brightness of your bulbs and save energy – and the great thing is that you’ll save money!
  2. Use reusable bags when you shop. I keep a stack in my trunk. It’s easy to do and you won’t be wasting paper.
  3. Consider buying items in bulk. You won’t be wasting packaging and you will need fewer trips to the grocery store.
  4. Try to make a habit of buying produce directly from the farmer. There are arrangements you can make to have boxes of produce delivered once a week or if you don’t do that, consider visiting your local farmers market.
  5. Finally, avoid buying drinks in plastic bottles. They often end up in landfill and are also a key factor in the pollution of our oceans.

SodaStreamOne solution I have found for my love of mineral water is to use SodaStream. No more heavy bottles to lug up my stairs and then back down to the recycling bin. I can have my mineral water and not harm the environment in the process. It’s a simple way to take tap water and make mineral water in an eco-friendly manner. I usually add a slice of lemon or lime (I pretty much use them in everything) to my mineral water for a perfect way to keep hydrated. Check out SodaStream video Shame or Glory. And consider a SodaStream for yourself or to buy it as a gift this holiday season!

This post is a partnership with SodaStream. All opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting sponsored posts that keep Sacramento Street doors open.

Photos by Andrea Posadas for Sacramento Street

Friendsgiving: How to Organize the Perfect Gathering

American Express - Friendsgiving It must be something about the shorter days that has me thinking of ways to gather with friends to celebrate and spend time together. I can’t think of a better way to do this, than to host a Friendsgiving. As a host, organization is a key element in having a good time yourself.

american-express-friendsgiving-1 american-express-friendsgiving-4 american-express-friendsgiving-5Here are 5 ways to host a flawless gathering:

  1. Set the table ahead of time. I will often set the table the day before we are having friends over. You can get it completely set up, with the exception of flowers and greenery. Prepare those closer to the event – especially if you are using greenery directly on the table!
  2. Consider having a potluck where everyone brings something. That way you aren’t stuck in the kitchen for days!
  3. If you don’t like the idea of a potluck but you’re still short on time for preparation, you can always buy some items prepared and then make others yourself. I often buy some parts of a meal already prepared. Let’s face it: we are all busy at this time of year! But the last thing you should do is be stuck in the kitchen and your guests left to fend for themselves!
  4. Consider a signature drink. You can have wine and mineral water as alternatives, but a fun cocktail can break the ice.
  5. Finally, choose your outfit ahead of time so you don’t have to think about it the day of your party.

american-express-friendsgiving-2 american-express-friendsgiving-6I always do my shopping, buy my flowers and anything else including my outfit, well before the day I host the event. I have loved using my American Express Blue Cash Everyday Card to purchase everything I need. And the great thing is that it gives you cash back on what you care about, including 3% at U.S. Supermarkets, 2% on Gas and Department Stores, and 1% back on everything else. This is the only card to add “epic” into your everyday, whether it’s your own Friendsgiving or a night on the town! Go to American Express Epic Holiday Hosting, for a collection of holiday recipes (my fav!) and DIY inspiration!

All opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting sponsored posts that keep Sacramento Street doors open.

Photography by delbarr moradi

On the Menu: Smashed Cauliflower

Smashed CauliflowerThe last recipe before Thanksgiving arrives. Jessica is sharing an alternative for mashed potatoes. When I tasted this Smashed Califlower I could barely tell that they weren’t potatoes. You can even dress them up a little by adding cheese or herbs. Hope you’ve enjoyed Jessica’s cooking tips and recipes  – she’s quite the chef.

 Smashed Cauliflower

Smashed Cauliflower


Ingredients

1 Large head of Cauliflower
1/2 cup chicken or veggie broth
1 tablespoon of butter or Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon of Worchestire sauce
1-2 Teaspoons of salt
1 Tablespoon of Chives
Cracked Pepper

Directions

  1. Remove green leaves from cauliflower and wash head well. Cut into 8 wedges, leaving the core and stem intact.
  2. Place cauliflower and stock of choice in pot and bring to a boil. Immediately turn to a simmer, place lid on pot and let cauliflower steam until completely soft, about 12-15 minutes.
  3. Drain access liquid, and using a potato masher (or a large whisk) mash the cauliflower until it’s the consistency of mashed potatoes. Season with butter or oil, worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper.
  4. Sprinkle with chives before serving.

Serving Size: 4

Tip: This is a great ‘blank canvas” recipe that people can dress up however they want. I love to add goat cheese, charred scallions or crispy sage. Obviously, a much lighter alternative to mashed potatoes and I have had people tell me they can’t taste the difference.

Photography by delbarr moradi | Food by Jessica Robertson

On the Menu: Roasted Autumn Squash w/ Pomegranate Relish

Roasted Autumn Squash with Pomegranate RelishThe grocery list is made and this weekend I’ll be fighting the crowds at the store buying everything we need to host Thanksgiving. I asked Jessica to share a few new dishes readers could make this season. I’ve actually made this several times since taste testing it and I almost ate the entire platter. I see squashes at the store all the time, but for some reason I never buy them – that all changed after eating this dish. So add all the ingredients to your grocery list and make room for it at your table.

Roasted Autumn Squash with Pomegranate Relish

ROASTED AUTUMN SQUASH


Ingredients
3 Squash, assorted kinds (I used Hubbard, delicata and acorn)
2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
2 Teaspoons Kosher Salt
1 Tablespoon of Chili Powder
1 Tablespoon of good quality honey

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut Squash into a variety of shapes. I like some wedges, some coins and some dice. Just try to keep them roughly the same size.
  2. Toss the squash in the bowl with everything but the honey. Spread onto a sheet tray and roast for 20 minutes, until you can pierce with a pairing knife and it slides in easily.
  3. Depending on the power of your oven, you may want to put the tray under the broiler for a minute or 2 to achieve little blistered spots.
  4. Remove from oven and drizzle with honey. Serve hot.
  5. If you can get your hands on Hot Honey (an ingredient that’s trending right now) you can skip the chili powder. Or, you can even make your own hot honey.

Serving Size: 6 – 8

Tip: There are so many beautiful types of seasonal gourds, and lots of people don’t realize that the skin is edible, delicious and nutrient dense. If your unsure the Squash you have has an edible skin, ask your farmer at the weekly market or do a quick google search.

POMEGRANETE RELISH


Ingredients
1/4 red onion, small dice
2 lemons, zest + juice
Zest of 1 orange
1 Tablespoon of pomegranate molasses
1 Teaspoon of Kosher Salt
Pom seeds of 1 large pomegranate
1-2 Tablespoons of quality finishing olive oil
1 Tablespoon of chopped parsley

Directions

  1. Combine first 5 ingredients and let sit for 5-10 minutes. Fold in seeds and stir in oil. Taste and add more salt or lemon if needed. Stir in parsley just before serving.
  2. This is a great stand in for cranberry sauce and a pint size mason jar makes a killer hostess gift!

Be sure to check out Jessica’s tips on cooking a fool-proof turkey.

Photography by delbarr moradi | Food by Jessica Robertson

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