The leaves are changing to radiant hues and crisp air is flowing in, it is finally Fall! What a wonderful season for baking! The harvest of fall fruits and veggies has begun, as everyone is beginning to gear up for the eventual coming of old man winter. But winter is not quit here and it is still time to celebrate autumn! There are so many great fall foods: apples, pumpkins, cranberries, walnuts and so much more! One autumn staple that doesn’t come so frequently to mind is squash. For years in my family, we have baked and cooked with our favorite squash all fall and into the holidays: zucchini. One of my favorite recipes is zucchini bread! The recipe below works great as a dessert, breakfast, with coffee or tea, and as gifts. Celebrate the fall harvest and enjoy a bit of my family tradition!

Vegan Organic Zucchini Bread

Prep: 15 Minutes  Bake: 1 Hour  Makes: 2-3 medium loaves

3 Cups Organic Zucchini, Grated

3 Cups Organic Unbleached Flour

2 Cups Organic Evaporated Cane Juice (or sweetener of choice)

1 1/2 Cups Organic Unsweetened Applesauce

1 Cup Organic Vegetable Oil (or oil of your choice)

1/2 Cup Organic Walnuts, Chopped

3 Tsp Organic Vanilla

2 Tsp Organic Cinnamon

1 1/2 Tsp Organic Baking Soda

1 Tsp Organic Salt

3/4 Tsp Organic Baking Powder

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees. Using a cheese or vegetable grater, grade zucchini, enough to fill 3 Cups. Chop up walnuts and set both ingredients aside. Mix all ingredients in the following order: applesauce, cane juice, flour, salt, cinnamon, walnuts, vegetable oil, vanilla, baking soda, baking powder, and finally zucchini. Mix until ingredients are well blended but careful not to over-mix. Rub a little extra oil in loaf pans (two should be enough). Pour batter into loaf pans and bake for an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes at most.

Wow! This summer’s heat and humidity has sure been oppressive. With reports this is the hottest summer in New England, we have definitely felt it around the AP office. With sweat dripping and fans roaring, we are constantly looking for a way to cool down.  A good friend of ours recently introduced us to the perfect thing! Our friend Jackie, who loves the culinary arts, found an amazing recipe online! Now we have all heard of mango salsa but how about watermelon? Watermelon, a delicious summer treat, always pulls off the cooling trick and when mixed with tomatoes is surprisingly delicious and refreshing. To beat the summer heat, try something a little unique and thirst-quenching. Thanks Jackie!

Organic Watermelon Salsa

Prep Time: About 10 Minutes

  • ½ Cup Chopped Organic Watermelon
  • ¼ Cup Chopped  Organic Tomato
  • 2 Tbs Chopped  Organic Red Onion
  • 1 Tbs Chopped Organic Jalapeno
  • 1 Tbs Chopped Organic Cilantro
  • 2 Tablespoons Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice
  • 1 Clove Organic Garlic, Minced
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste

Chop watermelon, tomato, and onion in small cubes. Finely mince garlic, jalapeno, and cilantro. In a medium mixing bowl stir all ingredients, including spices together.  Serve with tortilla or pita chips.

This weekend is America’s birthday and people around the country will be celebrating in good ol’ American fashion: grilling, drinking, and blowing things up! The 4th of July is a joyous holiday spent celebrating our independence from the colonial power of England. Whether you spend the day soaking up history, being patriotic, or simply drinking and watching fireworks, this holiday can create a lot of waste. But never fear, we have compiled a quick list of helpful tips to “green” your 4th of July. However, you spend your holiday, enjoy your day and Happy Birthday America!!

How to Have An Eco-Friendly 4th:

1)Green Your Menu: Traditionally 4th of July is all about the BBQ, thus burgers and hot dogs. But there is a greener way to celebrate the day! Try and cut back on meats or turn to vegetarian options. If meat is a must try to only purchase local, sustainable, and organic types. However, there are plenty of vegan options out there including soy meats or bean burgers. For some ideas on recipes, check out our backlog. Also, purchase your veggies and fruit from local and organic venues such as Farmer’s Markets, CSAs, and Natural Foods Stores. Additionally, look into grilling with a greener grill, such as solar or hybrid models or even natural and organic charcoal.

2) Keep the Party Outdoors: The weather is warm and the natural landscape is gorgeous, so why not party outside? Avoid partying inside, as to cut down on energy waste. If you are outside, you won’t have to worry about fans, lighting, or the air conditioner. Plus you can add more to your celebration such as outdoor games like boccie ball, badminton, or croquet. Why not spend your 4th soaking up the sun, instead of hiding in the air-conditioned house?! Here in New England, we only have a few months of warm weather, so be sure and take advantage of it.  If you really enjoy soaking up that sun near water, try to stay local.  If possible consider taking public transportation, buses, or even your bike to the beach, lake or river to celebrate the day. The less you drive or closer you stay to home, the less your 4th of July carbon footprint will be!

3) A Greener Firework Display: Although fireworks are beautiful and a 4th of July tradition, the truth is they are not so eco-friendly. Gun powder, accelerants, and heavy metals are thrown into the air when fireworks explode! These chemicals create poor air quality which affects our health and the environment. Instead of using fireworks at home, try decorating with recycled paper, re-used decor, or even newspaper. Since your city will likely put on a show using conventional fireworks, propose to the city or community that they use Sekon biodegradable or Disney’s gunpowder free fireworks instead.

4) Drink Responsibly: Alright we have to admit when celebrating our nation’s birthday, Americans LOVE to drink! What is a 4th celebration without the booze? Luckily, there are all sorts of great options out there. Local micro-breweries and organic beers are a great alternative to conventional types. If you are wondering why pay more for organic beer, check out our write-up on the benefits of organic beers. Organic and vegan wines are also readily available! But if you prefer the hard stuff, almost every type of liquor from tequila to vodka are now made sustainably and organic. We have compiled several tasty cocktail recipes which include organic spirits. Be sure this holiday that you not only be responsible and leave your car at home, but also drink with earth responsibility!

5) Re-Use, Re-Use, Re-Use: We know when throwing a party, washing dishes can be a pain. However, it is far less polluting and wasteful to use re-usable settings such as plates, cups, and silverware. Paper and plastics, even the recyclable kinds, take an incredible amount of resources to make and recycle. Therefore, it is best to use the dishes you have around the house. If you don’t have enough for your party guests, consider picking some extra settings up at your local thrift store or investing in sustainably made dinnerware. If you must use paper products, be sure you purchase biodegradable items such as corn or soy.

-Gina Williams

There is nothing quite like cold strawberries to feel like summer! As summertime quickly approaches, you can almost taste the sweet, delicious, and cool berry. Although, eating plain strawberries can be satisfying, why not make a delicious dessert! What strawberry dessert feels more like summer than Strawberry Shortcake? We say nothing! This great American summer tradition is perfect to serve on a hot day, take on a picnic, enjoy at a family cookout, or just enjoy at home after a long day. The best thing about Strawberry Shortcake is that it can easily be made with vegan and organic ingredients!

Vegan & Organic Strawberry Shortcake

Prep Time: 15 Minutes    Cook Time: 15-20 Minutes   Cool Time: 30-60 Minutes

1 Pint Organic Strawberries, Sliced
2 Tbsp Organic Evaporated Cane Juice (or other sweetener)
2 Cups Organic All Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Organic Soy Milk
4 Tbsp Organic Earth Balance Margarine
1 Tsp Organic Baking Powder
1/2 Tsp Salt
Garnish with Soyatoo Organic Soy or Rice Whipped Cream

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degree F. On a cutting board slice the strawberries into thin slices and remove green leaves. In a mixing bowl, add all sliced strawberries and 1 tbsp of evaporated cane juice. Mix up with a spoon and place in the fridge for 30-60 minutes.

In another large mixing bowl, add the flour, 1 tbsp evaporated cane juice, baking powder, and salt. Cut the Earth Balance into small pieces and pinch into the dry ingredients (this works best by hand). Pour in the soy milk and mix with a large spoon. On a cutting board or counter, knead the dough a little(add more flour if it is too wet) and roll out flat(about 1 inch thick). Cut into small circles, using a cookie or biscuit cutter. Place on a greased or parchment paper on a cookie sheet. If you would rather use cupcake sheets to make rounded shortbread, it will also work. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until they have a golden crust. Remove and allow them to cool. Make sure the strawberry mixture is creating a glaze and mix up.

When serving, place one shortcake on a plate, with a spoon add strawberry glaze and garnish with a little bit of Soyatoo Organic Soy or Rice Whipped Cream or another vegan whipped cream. For an added treat, add chocolate shavings to the top of the whipped cream.

Summer is right around the corner and cool dinners are perfect to help you cool down in the heat. There is nothing better than eating a cold salad on those simmering days.  Also, side salads are a great item to bring on a picnic in the park, to a BBQ, or to serve at a party.  Everyone loves Coleslaw and we have put together one of our favorite recipes for you.  This is a quick and easy salad to throw together which makes it that much more appealing on a hot day. So sit back, relax, and cool off with our Vegan Coleslaw Recipe

Organic Vegan Coleslaw

Prep Time: 10 Minutes    Cool Time: 20-30 Minutes

2 Cups Organic Green Cabbage
2 Cups Organic Red Cabbage
1 Cup Organic Carrots
1/4 Cup Organic Onions
2/3 Cup Organic Vegenaise
2 Tbs Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Tb Organic Olive Oil
1 tsp Organic Black Pepper
1 tsp Organic Salt
1/2 tsp Organic Celery Salt
1/2 tsp Organic Garlic Powder

Shred both types of cabbage into thin strips and set aside in a large mixing bowl. Grate the carrots and onions and add to the mixture. Toss the salad with prongs or just your clean hands. Add in the oil, apple cider vinegar, and Vegenaise. Next add in all spices and mix until all ingredients combine. If the mixture looks a little oily or too wet, add a more cabbage and carrots in until it looks nicely mixed.  For a fun twist and a little crunch add in 1/2 Cup Sliced Almonds. Once you have mixed up the salad, place in the fridge to cool for about 20-30 minutes and serve.

Memorial Day traditions have become just as American as Apple Pie. And while we are supposed to be honoring those who have died serving in our many wars, most people use the day for cookouts, parades, camping, the start of summer, and of course the American tradition of drinking on holidays.  All these traditions are  a blast and an exciting way to start your summer off with a bang. They also can all be done with the environment in mind. We celebrate our Memorial Day as green as we can and here’s to hoping you will too. Let’s start a new American tradition of making a smaller imprint on the Earth, while still indulging in our fun! To help this new tradition along, we have put together some helpful tips on how to make sure your Memorial Day is red, white, blue, and green!

1) Green that Grill: BBQ is a true Memorial Day and summer tradition and it is easy to green your grill.  Replacing your chemical laden charcoal to more earth friendly means such as wood briquettes or natural organic charcoal. For that smokey BBQ taste, we recommend the wood briquettes! Either of these choices will leave your food without the burning of coal, petroleum products, sawdust, or limestone, which are all toxic. If you want to take it one step further, invest in a new clean burning grill. This will emit far less pollution into the air and your food. It may not be traditional but electric grills, put out 99% less carbon monoxide. If you have the money, the Hybrid Grill is a great way to go, although a tad pricey! For more tips on how to have a green grilling experience, refer to our blog from last summer: Green Your Grill: Eco BBQ Tips.

2) Hold the Meat: Although traditional American BBQs include tons and tons of meat! To truly green your BBQ, we suggest you hold the meat. The meat industry consumes more than a third of the fossil fuels in the US and contributes 18% of greenhouse gases, which is even more than the transportation industry! And those figures are just the beginning of how the current factory farm meat industry is adversely affecting our world.  Environmentalists have long been promoting a veggie based diet as a way to green your life, so why not make the switch for your BBQ this year! There are hundreds of great veggie based “meat” style products on the market such as Veggie Burgers, Soy Dogs, Soy Sausage, Veggie Ribs etc. For some great recommendations check out our Vegan BBQ Tips and Product Battle: Hot Dogs. If faux meat is not your thing, you can always grill veggies straight on the grill or drizzle them with balsamic vinegar and olive oil! For more ideas on veggie recipes look no further than our backlog of delicious vegan recipes. Also, don’t forget to purchase your veggies organic and local if at all possible!

3) Organic & Fair Trade Drinks: Even if we try, we can not deny that many American holidays revolve around drinking! And Memorial Day is no stranger to this rule. Luckily more and more organic beer, wine, and spirits are on the market these days. Try your best to support your local micro breweries when selecting beer, however, if no organic beer is available try a couple of these brands: Peak Organic, Samuel Smith, and Fish Tale Organic Ales. Green America has also put together a list of recommendations for organic beers that we found helpful. For wines look no further than Frey for organic and Etica for Fair Trade. If you like the hard stuff there are also a number of organic and Fair Trade spirits on the market such as Square One Vodka, Tru Organic Gin, 4 Copas Organic Tequila. Also, FAIR Vodka, the first Fair Trade vodka on the market is now available in the US. For ideas on Fair Trade and Organic Cocktails, check out our recipe backlog.

4) Stay Local: We know, we know, a “staycation” is nowhere near as exciting as traveling far away to go camping. However, traveling by car for long distances or by plane is not so eco-friendly. Now we aren’t saying you should camp out in your own backyard literally (although that can be an adventure), we just mean look for destinations close to home. Stay within 20-50 miles of your own home! You may find that there are wonderous campgrounds, beautiful hiking trails, or a pretty lake nearby that you never noticed. You can even do a search on Reserve America to find campgrounds near you or look into the National and State Park systems for local ideas.

5) Alternative Transportation: If you must travel this Memorial Day weekend, we suggest you look to other means besides planes and cars! Bike travel is catching on quickly and is a fun and healthy way to travel. There are plenty of companies that put together tours or you can do it DIY style. Here are some tips on traveling by bike! If traveling by bicycle is a little too intensive for you or if you are traveling with a larger group, you can look into traveling by bus or rail. There are bus companies that will take you and your family to beautiful destinations for camping or hiking. Traveling by public transportation or by bike makes your entire journey an adventure and while you won’t get control of the radio perse, you can experience a whole other world of travel. And really do you ever get control of the radio on family trips?

April showers bring May flowers and May brings the start of BBQ Season! Alright, so maybe we adjusted the childhood song, but one can not deny that the month of May starts off the summer BBQ season, especially with Memorial Day right around the corner.  Although there are a million and one recipes for great BBQ foods, we thought this year we would start with dessert. We know, we know, your Mother wouldn’t approve, but we think you will approve of our delightful Vegan Key Lime Pie Recipe! The pie is great any time of year but is perfect for Spring and Summer cookouts as well as dinner parties, and to top it off, this recipe is easy as, well, pie….get it? Ok, we are pressing our luck with the puns. You don’t have to take our word for it, try this recipe today.

Vegan Organic Key Lime Pie

Prep Time: 10min    Bake Time: 30min    Chill Time: 3-4 hours

4 Fresh Organic Limes
2 8oz Vegan “Cream Cheese” Containers (Tofutti or Follow Your Heart)
1 Cup Organic Evaporated Cane Juice (or sweetener of your choice)
2 Tbs Organic Cornstarch
1 tsp Organic Vanilla
1 Organic Graham Cracker Crust (Arrowhead Mills)

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Peel the limes for zest and set aside. You will want to juice the limes in a small cup and set aside. You will want to use either a food processor, blender, or hand-held mixer. In a large mixing bowl combine the “cream cheese,” lime juice, evaporated cane juice or other sweetener, vanilla, and cornstarch. Blend these ingredients until fully combined and smooth. Pour creamy batter into the pie crust and bake for 30 minutes. Move the pie straight from the oven into the freezer for 1 hour. Remove from the freezer and garnish the top with the lime zest. Set in the fridge for 2-3 hours before serving.

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