Going Green: Eco-friendly Valentine’s Day Ideas
Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and while roses and chocolate are popular gifts, there are some eco-friendly ideas that are just as delicious and delightful for this February 14.
Editor-in-Chief of Green Living Magazine, Tishin Donkersley, shares some great ideas:
1. Set the mood – Whether it be dinner by candlelight or drinks at sunset, soft lighting affects our emotions. Studies suggest that soft lighting evokes a calm feeling throughout our body and can also send the message of beauty, tranquility and romance. To set the mood, start with soy candles by Gold Canyon. Soy candles are healthier than regular candles as they are made from soybeans, a natural, renewable source versus paraffin candles made from petroleum. Using soy candles supports local agriculture, and when burned, doesn’t release chemicals into the air. Beeswax is another example of a healthier alternative than paraffin. Or go solar! Try a set of solar glass mosaic mood lights fromhayneedle.com for your outside setting.
2. Flowers or herbs – Nothing says you are my valentine like a bouquet of flowers, but if you want to give a gift that lasts, how about an herb plant? If you and your mate like to cook, what better gift than to use herbs for your special dinners together! If you are going to go traditional and purchase flowers, go to your local farmers market and choose in-season flowers. You might get a better deal than the flower shops and you are supporting local growers.
3. Use local in-season food for your dinner. When planning your special meal, take a look at your local farmers’ market and create your dish out of the in-season selections! Some of the wonderful in-season winter foods include: all types of lettuce, citrus, broccoli, carrots, cilantro and many more.
Here is one recipe that will warm your heart from Chef Gabe Bertaccini of Il Tocco, his Garfagnina Farro soup is filled with delicious vegetables of the season!
MINESTRA GARFAGNINA DI FARRO | Garfagnina Farro soup
Preparation time: 15 minutes + overnight soaking (optional)
Cooking time: 2 – 3 ¾ hours
– 1 cup dried borlotti beans, soaked overnight in water to cover and drained and 3 cups fresh borlotti beans
– 2/3 cups olive oil plus extra for drizzling
– 1/3 cup finely chopped lardo (pork fat) or pancetta
– 2 ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
– 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
– 1 small onion, finely chopped
– 1 carrot, finely chopped
– 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
– 1 sprig sage, finely chopped
– 1 spring rosemary, finely chopped
– Scant 1 cup faro, rinsed
– Salt and pepper
If using dried beans, put them into a large pot and add water to cover. Bring to a boil and boil vigorously for 15 minutes, then drain. Return the beans to the pan, pour in water to cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 1 ½ – 2 hours, until tender. If using fresh beans, bring a large pan of water to a boil, add the beans, reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour or until tender.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a shallow pan. Add the lardo or pancetta, tomatoes, celery, onion, carrot, garlic, sage and rosemary and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
When the beans are tender, drain them, reserving the cooking liquid. Add the beans with a little of the cooking liquid to the pan of vegetables and puree the mixture with a stick blender. Alternatively, press the beans through a sieve before adding them to the pan.
Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, then stir in the reserved cooking liquid and bring to a boil.
Add the faro and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally for about 1 hour, until render. Taste and season with salt and pepper, then transfer the soup to a warmed tureen. Drizzle with 1-2 rings of olive oil and serve immediately.
Recipe courtesy of Gabriele Bertaccini | iltoccofood.com
4. Chocolate, an absolute for Valentine’s Day, but purchase the dark and cacoa chocolate for the health benefits! Cacoa comes from the cacoa tree grown in the topics. The cacoa beans (or cocoa beans) are packed with health benefits – the beans contains flavanol antioxidents, has anti-clotting effects, can help lowering blood pressure, it has a low glycemic index and stimulates our brain – even Dr. Weil suggests a bit of chocolate to be incorporated into your diet.
5. Aromatherapy in a bottle – If you are looking for some bath and body products to top off the gift list, how about some certified organic lotions infused with essential oils fromwww.concon.org. These products by Intimate | Organics were developed with your health in mind as they are paraben-free, DEA-free and vegan. Parabens are a synthetic preservative used in foods and cosmetics. According to Livestrong.com, “Cornell University reports that a high lifelong exposure to estrogen can increase breast cancer risk. Estrogen, and synthetic chemicals that act like estrogen, play a role in stimulating the division of breast cells and affect other hormones that stimulate breast cell division.” With every purchase from concon.org, proceeds go directly to help underserved communities domestically and foreign.
6. Skinny cocktails – for the girls night (using agave nectar)
Image Source: rollinoatstampa.com