1. Whether or not you are a vegetarian, eating less meat is a good way to reduce your carbon footprint. Here's my recipe for Brown Tofu, which is one of my top three all-time proudest tofu achievements & which I use in all sorts of things: over brown rice, with brown gravy; chopped & mixed with mayo + pickle for tofu salad sandwiches; tossed into any sort of asian noodle salad; tossed with cooked curly noodles, diced avocado, & Annie's Goddess Dressing for easiest pasta salad ever. Basically, my family will eat it at any temperature, at any time, in any dish. Maybe yours will too.
- 1 20 oz package vacuum-packed extra firm tofu, cut in 1" cubes (I use Wildwood extra firm; you can use as little as 16 oz tofu without having to adjust your liquid amounts).
- 1-2 tbs olive oil
- 1/4 c Bragg's Liquid Aminos (can substitute soy sauce, though the end flavor will be sharper & saltier)
- 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 3/4 c water
Over medium-high heat in a nonstick pan, heat the olive oil & then add the tofu cubes, stirring occasionally until the tofu starts to turn golden. Meanwhile, fill a glass measuring cup to the 1/4c mark with Bragg's, add 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil, & then fill to the 1 cup mark with water. (If you're going to make tofu salad, you can add 1/2 tsp poultry seasoning or 1/2 tsp Spike to the liquid at this point). When the tofu has some good golden color, add the marinade & simmer, stirring now & then, until all the liquid is gone -- then keep cooking, stirring more frequently, until the tofu is as brown & crispy as you like.
2. Around the time I got pregnant with my first child, which not coincidentally was around the time that my normally sensitive sense of smell became ridiculously epic (like the worst superpower ever), I started having a really difficult time coping with the chemically perfumed or bleachy smells of conventional household cleansers. Happily, my nose & I were saved by Better Basics for the Home, which is a fantastic book of natural recipes for home cleaning & maintenance. Since then, the selection of readily available "green clean" products has just exploded, & while these days I often just grab a bottle of Method off the shelf, lately I've been noticing that some of their scents are starting to weigh a little heavily on me too (I love the new "go naked" line, though). I haven't quite committed to mixing up all of my own cleaners again, but the soft scrub recipe from BBftH has been my favorite for years. You can find the official recipe at that link; I find that starting with 1/2 cup baking soda produces more cleanser that I can use at one time, so I usually just put a few heaping tablespoons of baking soda in a bowl, then add enough peppermint Dr. Bronner's to make it the consistency of stiff frosting. Sometimes I add a drop or two of lavender oil, sometimes I don't. Use this anywhere that you can rinse off -- sinks, counters, tubs, tile.
3. Also around the time of my first pregnancy, I came across a magical diaper wipe solution recipe in a parenting forum (if you are wondering if nesting turns me into a kind of DIY anti-chemical commando, the answer is yes). When my son was a baby, we used this exclusively, with homemade flannel wipes. By the time my daughter was born we were overwhelmed by the number of tiny bottoms in our care & started using packaged wipes, but still kept this mix around for "freshening up" & also as a truly excellent anti-rash spray.
Diaper Wipe Solution
- 1/2 tsp liquid Dr. Bronner's baby soap
- 2 drops tea tree oil (anti-fungal)
- 2 drops lavender oil (soothing, anti-bacterial)
- 1 1/2 cups distilled water (you can use regular water, but distilled is better for long-term storage)
Mix everything together, store in a spray bottle. Use freely on bottoms in need.
(Inspired by Blog Action Day: environment)