otrdiena, 2011. gada 18. oktobris

Buying Local vs. Fair trade

Recently I was helping my mom to do grocery shopping for business. Great part of the food items for business is coming from a chain store. Of course, we used the opportunity to do grocery shopping for ourselves as well in this single visit. I was browsing through the vegetable and fruit section to realize how little of local produce is offered. And also produce from far away- very little is marked organic or fair-trade. I really wanted several things.. But when I read that tomatoes are from Holland, egg plants from Spain etc, it makes me sad. Actually I don't even have a choice there to buy veggies from my own country in the store! Good that very often we're going to local market to buy lot's of things- meats, vegetables, berries in season etc.. but when you walk into a chain-store and want to have something to eat on your way home.. You don't have the options you want to have.
Then today was infographic day on green carpet, and I wanted to share the one I was reading with everyone:
Local vs. Fair trade from Ethical Ocean. These are two options I would like to bet increased also in big stores. But for now it's up to us to go that extra mile to get both Local and Fair trade. Oh, so good that many things are still available local from our own gardens!

pirmdiena, 2011. gada 17. oktobris

Autumn delights II- fresh juices!

Fresh squeezed juice has been a tasty booster on green carpet every day no matter of the season. When summer berries are gone the autumn vegetable juices come on the stage and I must say- I absolutely love them.
Simple one veggie juice or mix of several- all fantastic to boost your energy, vitamin and mineral substance levels. This is especially important now when a little one is eating all the vitamins from me. Fresh juices are also balancing acid levels, which are out of balance especially after bigger physical (I think also mental) loads, illnesses and not eating right. And to be honest- most of people today are not eating right.. So juices renew the balance and also clean the organism by showing out the toxic substances from our bodies. Interesting fact is also that nitrates somehow doesn't find their way from fruits and vegetables into the juices.  But another reminder is to drink it right after squeezing, then it's the best. If you have to save it for later, even in the fridge, add a little lemon juice to preserve.

And since I am a little more tired now, I have moved juice time from first thing in the morning to the afternoon to have more energy in the evening. So, here are my favorite ingredients to the lovely autumn cocktails:

  • carrot- my favorite basic all year round ingredient, but right now it's the harvesting season! Carrot juice is fantastic source of A pro-vitamin carotene, but for our bodies to take it in better, you should add a bit of vegetable oil to the juice. I usually add olive oil . It is one of the most valuable veggie juices, it loads you with energy, strengthens heart and blood circulation, cleanses liver. It boosts immunity to infections and is also powerful antioxidant. Carrot juice improves vision, tooth structure and gum health. It regulates metabolism and digestion, so it is good for people with indigestion problems and piles. Carrot juice also protects cells from malignant tumors. It also helps in cases of avitaminosis and anemia and is also anti-inflammatory. For us, ladies, a glass of carrot juice every day will improve the skin tone! And a bonus point- you can use the leftovers for carrot pancakes/ fritters! (I will share the recipe later on)

  • beetroot- contains a lot of vitamin C, carotene and iron, natrium, also folic acid. Beetroot juice is wonderful after illnesses or when the body is weakened after great physical load like giving birth. And this was exactly what I was drinking in the second day after my little one was born- huge cups of beetroot juice that my husband brought me! It increases levels of hemoglobin and improves blood composition, helps in cases of anemia. For it to work better, it is suggested to drink it together with carrot juice. Beetroot juice enhances protein fission and better intake for body. Beetroots are also rich with magnesium, it lowers the blood pressure. Beetroots contain high levels of iodine so they are very good to elderly people and those who suffer from atherosclerosis. It is suggested that beetroot juice also improves memory, mind working capacity and helps in cases of insomnia. It is super sweet by taste, so it's best in mixes, not pure. However, if you want it to help insomnia, drink beetroot juice with a teaspoon of honey. But if you want to have an interesting cold drink- add ice cream! Another advice- the darker the color of beetroot, the more valuable it is. And remember that you had some, when going to the WC, don't feel surprised about pink colors!!

  • apple- autumn apples are now falling from the apple trees, so I add more than usually! Apple juice contains iron, but our body can only take it in as oxide, so it is suggested to cut apples quite before juicing and leave them oxidate (become brownish). Fresh apple juice is rich with also vitamin C, organic acids and pectin substances. It is effective prophylaxis for heart, blood vessels and lung health. Apple juice shows out toxins and slag. It is wonderful to renew energy and especially great for those working with their minds, if tired! It also is great to improve metabolism. Apple juice lowers levels of cholesterol. It is also rich of potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and calcium. Just like beetroot, it is a wonder-juice for those who suffer from atherosclerosis and other illnesses, including obesity. Apple juice shows out toxins and slug. It is often suggested to smokers to improve breathing functions. Also very good in cases of great mental workload, so take some extra when exams approach. But- do not peel the apples before juicing, because peels contain most of the good stuff! 

  • pumpkin- oh, we got so many huge, orange, yellow and green pumpkin-balls from the garden this autumn, I just must add it to my mix! It is one of the most valuable again- it contains all mineral substances needed for our bodies- copper, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, silicon, cobalt and also B, C, E, PP vitamins and carotene. And all of those elements are in perfect balance for our metabolism. Pumpkin juice is rich with pectin, so it is very good for those who suffer from guts and intestine tract illnesses. Pumpkins are also great for those with heart and blood-vessel illnesses and obesity. This juice  improves functions of gallbladder, great for liver and kidney sick people. It is also good for bones and gristle. Pumpkin juice also treats diabetes, indigestion, insomnia (again- when mixed with honey). For those suffering from hepatitis, it helps renewing liver tissue. And a little secret- for men it helps to keep their lower parts working well! Ain't that a wonder juice? And since pumpkin juice improves body condition overall, it is also suggested to kids in their diet! I also must remember to give some to my little one when teeth are coming, it should help! 

  • nettle- there's still some fresh nettle around, so I just throw couple of these nasty weeds in the juicer with all the rest of ingredients. Nettle is a super source of iron and vitamin C (contains 4 times more than lemons!), and it has much more vitamin K in its leaves than spinach and cabbage. Nettle juice improves blood composition, cleans the liver and blood, improves vision. You can treat anemia with it. Nettle juice also reduces allergic sympthoms and sugar levels in blood in cases of diabetes. It is recognised to be a great treatment for piles and impotence. And finally- it just makes you feel better by giving an extra boost. Just be aware that it has a very strong taste and may make your throat a little sore if added too much. However, in this mix, you should not feel it that way!

  • spinach- this is more a summer ingredient, but we still have some fresh ones in the garden that are our second harvest of spinach (it is crazy taking into account that it's middle of October in Latvia!!!). Spinach contains a lot of carotene and great vitamin combination- biotin, niacin and others. Spinach juice is also rich with calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, potassium and proteins. IIt contains so much iron and chlorophyll that it resembles hemoglobin in our blood, therefor it is great to treat anemia and spring fatigue or weakness after illness. It cleans the intestine tract, treats skin problems, also dental and oncology illnesses, tuberculosis, diabetes. It also strengthens  the nervous system. Spinach juice also reduces risks to get heart and blood vessel problems and improves vision. It contains very high levels of vitamin E which in its turn balances uterus functions and treats infertility for both men and women. Spinach juice also treats bleeding gums and dental inflammation. So you see why Popeye the Sailor was eating them so much!

Every day the proportions are different and not all ingredients are there all the time, but most of the time these are fantastic for autumn mixes. They are full of everything we need to strengthen our organism before winter and take the advantage of what this season provides! Cheers with a green mix on green carpet! 

Rose coffee for those sweet mornings..

It's been almost two months already since that little wonderful girl has also been "walking" the green carpet, and it was yesterday when I realized- I have to get back to some beauty routine. Of course, I still take showers (super-quick ones now), use some organic toners and Weleda face cream, body oils or lotion in a super-speed application.. But what about that very delightful part of being a woman- massaging scrubs, sweet smelling masks etc? It's been a while since I made something for myself and just recently my last bit of scrub was over.. It was time for some feminine indulgences on green carpet!

You already know my favorite basic ingredients, but this time I added something more from our garden..

So what goes in:
  • pure sea salt 
  • ground fair-trade Bio-coffee (used from family breakfast coffee press)
  • organic olive oil (same I use for cooking, salad, facials etc)
  • dried flowers and herbs- lavender, calendula, rose petals- all crushed a little with fingers and mixed in the scrub
  • just enough drops of rose essential oil to make it smell more "rosy"   
Proportions: how ever you like, I made this one a little more liquid than usually and this morning I realised that part of the salt had melted.. next time I'll press that coffee a bit better!
I placed my new scrub again in a nice screw top container and it will now last for quite a while and the beautiful girl will have beautiful mommy!

Rose coffee scrub gives you a nice massage in the shower, smooth skin and a moment of aroma therapy that gently wakes you up in the morning for another day on green carpet..

pirmdiena, 2011. gada 10. oktobris

Autumn delights I- cow-berry ice cream

It is always nice to treat your guests on green carpet with something super-tasty, seasonal, local and home made. One such treat on the table today was cowberry ice cream. I just cannot keep this a secret!

If you have such options, do the following:
First- go to the nearby forest to pick cowberries. Wonderful "job" to do in fresh air of the forest.
Second- arrange some eggs from your grandmom's hens.
Third- get some single or double cream from nearby countryside dairy.
Or else you can get all this in the markets or store shelves of organic food!


  • 2dl cowberries
  • 1dl sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 0.5 dl powdered sugar
  • 3dl whipping cream
Then do this: 
  • Smash the cowberries with sugar
  • Whip egg yolks with powdered sugar to light froth. Whip the cream.
  • Mix all ingredients. (I must say- this is already super tasty!!!)
  • Put the unfrozen yet ice cream in box and place it in the freezer for 3-4 hours. During the freezing time you must stir the ice cream several times to make sure it freezes evenly.
It is a must every autumn on green carpet!

ceturtdiena, 2011. gada 6. oktobris

Frozen goodies VI- save that basil!

Freezing on green carpet continues as long as possible. During the summer we have enjoyed lots of fresh basil and fresh home made pesto. I am going to miss this taste in winter.. But wait.. freezer on green carpet still has some space in it!
So if you also want to save that basil from autumn colds and have fresh pesto in winter, do the following-

  • collect the green or purple (depending on the plant) and healthy leaves of basil
  • cut the leaves in peaces
  • crush them in a puree with a blender
  • put the basil puree in freezing bags in portions you will need
And when the winter comes and you want to surprise your friends with "zero miles" fresh basil or pesto for holiday table- defrost it, gather your organic olive oil and nice Italian Parmesan, nuts and make one! 

My suggestion when trying pesto- don't be shy and experiment, not only pine nuts are good for it, but also cashews and walnuts! Mmmm....

Unavoidable single use things? Avoidable!

With the baby on green carpet some more single use things had arrived as well.. Diapers, liners, breast pads, cotton pads, wet wipes etc... Wait.. are all these going to be single use -> throw out  -> pollute the planet stuff??? We found out- not at all, you just have to keep looking! Some of these are available multi-use washable items. And those that are still single use- welcome on the internet era, you can buy the organic/eco friendly version online if not available in your closest stores.
The story of diapers was already covered on green carpet. But apparently just as baby needed diapers, mommy needed liners and breast pads to avoid milk shots on your tshirts all the time. Well, feminine stuff like liners you can find now also in eco-friendly versions with organic cotton like Natracare in local health stores and online .
Since our little girl surprised us a little earlier than we expected, I didn't manage to make research on breast pads, so my dear husband first brought us the regular ones to hospital. Horrible. They were night ones which were supposed to have wonderful 8hr durability. Well, the feel in them was not good, my breasts felt wet all the time and that was no good. And I really hated that I had to throw so many single use stuff in my trash. So I went looking for other options and I found these wonderful Disana washable breast pads made of organic cotton. They are sold in pairs so I bought one to try first. They are fantastic! So I wash them every night to wear them again next day. This week I noticed that amount of milk is growing, so they get wet earlier than night comes. So now I am planning to buy another pair when I get to the store! And I suggest Disana washable breast pads to any breast-feeding mom!

A while ago I also bought some large washable organic cotton pads for removing make-up. Since I live mostly at home and give my face a rest from cosmetic stuff, I found another use for them. They are great for washing that tiny baby face in the mornings, cleaning underarms and other parts of my little friend! That reduces use of single use cotton pads greatly!
So we have managed to avoid these single use items that are very neccessary at the moment by choosing washable multi-use things. Good luck to everyone changing the single use habits!

otrdiena, 2011. gada 4. oktobris

Frozen goodies V- last of courgette

Time to collect the last courgettes on green carpet! We have enjoyed these whole summer and we still do in various ways- sliced and pan fried, sauteed with other garden goodies, steamed, fried in pancakes.. but now we have the last few, which I would like to save for later in the winter so I could go on eating local instead of buying the ones coming from who knows where in the chain stores!
So this is what we are doing-

  • take them home from the garden

  • wash them and if they are large you might want to peel them and take out the seeds
  • grate the courgettes and squeeze out the water
  • put the grated courgettes in freezing box containers (I chose boxes over bags because they are taking less space in the freezer when you have to fill it full). 
  • Suggestion- leave a little space unfilled before closing the box, they expand while freezing! 
And when the winter comes and you look at the nice green courgettes in the chain store coming from somewhere far away- go to your freezer and take out one of the boxes. 
Here's my favorite courgette pancake recipe: 

  • large grated courgette
  • about 6 spoons flour
  • 1 large egg
  • salt, pepper, whatever spices you like
  • make small pancakes or you might want to call them fritters and pan fry in olive oil! 
I just read a suggestion that it might taste wonderfully with some Parmesan added to ingredients..  Will try in winter! Enjoy the some last of freezing season! 

pirmdiena, 2011. gada 3. oktobris

Best bank for the baby :)

Autumn season on green carpet- harvesting and preserving time.. Well, already a while ago we did some baby food freezing for the spring.. But it is still a long time to go till she starts to eat foods like apple purees etc. Until then- the best of course is the breast-milk.
I really love to be a full-time mom, it's so amazing.. feels so natural to me just to be around all the time and take care of her.. But I already miss yoga classes... And I already have some plans to attend circus in December with my love.. And probably some other moments when I just will have to be away for this one feeding time.. And I would really hate to give my precious darling some infant formula..
So I am making the best bank for the baby- a milk bank!  Almost every day I collect the rest of the breast-milk after she's done eating. Best time for me is morning since she doesn't eat much at night and even after she's had breakfast- I still get quite a lot of milk left there. So I collect the milk and put it in the freezing bags, write how much is in there and the date, and that's it! When her dad or granny will have to feed her, they can just take it out, defrost, warm in the bottle and feed her with what's best for her.
My friend suggested to buy quite expensive reusable zipper freezer bags, made specifically for breast-milk. But I somehow didn't want to throw that money out for it. I use the regular small freezing bags. And in our home we open them carefully later on and reuse them, so it's greener than single use anyway. And at least I'm sure what my baby eats, since nothing is better or greener than milk!

Diaper trouble..

Trouble on green carpet! Of course, just shortly after how I bragged about my diaper choice, how my baby hasn't seen any of the "regular" chemical, bleached etc diapers, we ran out of our Moltex ones. And guess what- in our nearby little town you can't get any eco-friendly ones. Neither in next city.
So I had to go for regular brand, I took Huggie's that claimed to have organic cotton in it. Well, it looked very bleached anyway, but at least something. Not sure whether I can believe the claim though. I just hope I can.
When this pack was coming to an end, I asked my husband to get some eco-friendly from the capital, where he was that day. Since he had something to do in central and he was coming by train, I suggested couple of big stores near the station or drug stores. My surprise was huge, when he called in slight despair that there are none of the nappy brands we used. Actually- no eco friendly nappies at all. I was shocked.. So how can one live a greener life till that little bum grows a little till cloth nappies fit if you actually do not have any better choice?
Good news- Wednesday we're going to see doctors and I will have time to go our city apartment where we already have 3 huge packs of Moltex, and I will also have time to visit a specific store which I know has Moltex just to buy some more in advance... Till then I had another option- buy regular diapers in our small town store by piece, so I bought just few to get through these days. They are terrible and it hurts in my heart to put them on my little one, so I try to have more "bum loves air" time in between.
I know that with a lot of green things you have to plan ahead- buy in advance many things which are not widely available. But I just could not imagine that the eco-friendly diapers will be so rare!

Moving Planet Latvia- Uzlādē pasauli!

Last Saturday Moving Planet shaked the whole Planet and it was also here on green carpet. We visited the action organized by Homo Ecos:  "Uzlādē pasauli" at Kalnciema kvartāls. °

There were information desks about renewable energy, posters about how to reduce our impact on Planet and climate and other topics, there was also Eco Catering cafe offering very tasty creme brulees and other yummies, animation workshops for children, poster workshops for adults. If you came earlier you could have listened the lectures on how to take care of your bicycle, but we missed it. Indoors you could watch some videos on environment and climate with a nice cup of herbal tea in your hands.

Few other very entertaining things were testing hydrogen car, "cycling music"  and "cycling milkshakes", where you could either listen to the music or make your own milkshake by powering everything by cycling! These two were most popular in the event.

The big finali was the "wedding" of those who ride bicycles and those who drive cars with the promise of eternal friendship and respect to each other on the road. I must say, that is still a big issue here in Latvia and I am happy that quite many people attended this event. Even though, we can always wish for more, right? Well, at least I went home with the white ribbon attached to our car!

Someone in the public on the event said something like "green movement in Latvia is doomed".. I do not agree. It's just very new and our society is learning about green stuff quite slowly.. But we do need those baby steps! And such events are tiny little steps which will bring the society closer not only to "I'm green in my own way at home" but also to public actions, involvement, saying it out loud. Here in Latvia people tend to keep their good practices to themselves, they do not go around telling others- I switch the lights off, I cycle, I recycle, I eat local, I have solar panel etc. They are shy in a way. I believe the problem is the society at the moment- all about money, consumerism, "easy" lifestyle that uses whatever they have available not thinking about the impact on the planet. That is the reason "green people" do not tell. Because their parents, friends, colleagues are all sucked in this consumerism lifestyle that says "I do it because I can. I use every resource  just because I can. I buy whatever I want (not need!) because I can. I drive 2min to the shop because I can. etc". So we are kind of scared of what people will say or think of us. But that is the main problem of green movement in Latvia. And maybe in more places in the world than we think.. To change the mindset of the world we have to share these practices, our habits, ideas and suggestions. We have to meet in such events and discuss it, see other people doing the same thing. Only then we can really Move the Planet! So good luck to organizations creating space for such events! And to all of us- sharing our ideas not only with like minded people, but also with those who do not agree and those who do not care!