Health (Photo credit: 401(K) 2013)

As New Year’s Eve descends upon us, and we give serious thought to resolutions, we should try hard to commit to live green.  The best reason to resolve to live green is that by doing this, so many of the other items on our “usual” lists will happen as an offshoot.  Considering that most people’s list of resolutions include exercising, losing weight, eating healthy, reducing clutter, reducing stress, being more spiritual, and spending wisely, you will find that with the adoption of green initiatives, all or most of these goals will be accomplished in the process without the anxiety and trepidation often felt when focusing on these goals directly.

To get you started, we here at LGBG would like to offer some tips on green living.

Buy local to eat greener.

Buying local is important because it gives consumers more immediate access to fresher food, particularly fruits and vegetables.  Additionally, local farms often are governed by very restrictive ordinances in terms of fertilization to prevent runoff of chemicals into rivers and streams.  These farmers are members of the communities that they serve and are expected to endorse sustainable practices.  On the other hand, large corporate factory farms are invisible to communities and often can obtain favorable legislation for their practices through lobbying efforts.

It also is important to note that locally grown food reduces the need for extended transportation to markets, thereby reducing the carbon footprint.  You also will find fewer additives to maintain color or prolong freshness of the food products.  Finally, buying from local businesses promotes reinvestment in the community.  The big payoff here is that the consumer gets healthier, less expensive food and his/her purchases benefit the community.  So for the New Year, make sure your green resolution starts with your diet.

English: Healthy Food For Life logo

English: Healthy Food For Life logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Resolve to clean green in 2014.

Now is a great time to switch from toxic cleaning chemicals to eco-friendly products.  There are so many green cleaning products on the market that will help you make your house spotless without contaminating the air in your house.  Also, try stocking up on baking soda, vinegar and even castile soap for daily cleaning, along with reusable cleaning cloths.  You can breathe easier and reduce spending on cleaning products.  Simultaneously, you can apply some elbow grease and burn extra calories.

English: The carbon footprint as it is underst...

English: The carbon footprint as it is understood by people. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Walk, run, bike, play– Resolve to get moving.

Make this the year that you get off the couch and get moving to burn calories.  Exercise, along with a healthy diet, will aid in weight reduction, healthier joints, lower blood pressure, improved heart rate, improved food digestion and improved sleep.  This is a great chance to use the features of a smartphone.  Download your favorite songs and create a playlist for exercise routines, reduce stress with motivational music and audiobooks or engage exercise apps to track your dietary record or exercise progress.  Join a bowling league, softball team, tennis club, etc.  Physical exercise is great for family time or to engage socially and make new friends.  Make 2014 the year that you get moving.

English: Exercising outdoors is healthier than...

English: Exercising outdoors is healthier than working out indoors. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Make green living a habit.

Unlike past years, this time around plan to make healthy green living a habit.  Do not overload yourself or set a specific date to achieve a goal.  Plan a lifestyle change.  Be creative and involve the entire or family in green initiatives.  Have fun, save money, and enjoy the health benefits that follow.

From all of us here at LGBG, we wish all of our readers a healthy, happy and green New Year!




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After a brief hiatus I’m happy to be back and cooking for the LGBG faithful. in the spirit of the holiday season, I’m proud to present this recipe created with the goal of sustainability. As we all know, and if my family is any indication, this time of the year awards us with a gluttonous amount of food, and more importantly leftovers. This recipe allows you to take your leftovers and efficiently transform them into a new and delicious meal. Side dishes such as peas, carrots, and corn are transformed into a great filling for the pot pie and affords you the ability to spend more time with the people who matter the most. So without further ado I present to you my recipe for leftover chicken pot pie.


  • 3 cups leftover chicken
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 cup white wine of your choice
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups yellow onions, chopped (2 onions)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 half-and-half milk
  • 2 cups medium-diced carrots, blanched for 2 minutes
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas (2 cups)

For the pastry:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/4 pound cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup ice water
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
  • Flaked sea salt and cracked black pepper



In a small saucepan, heat the chicken stock, white wine and dissolve the bouillon cubes in the mixture. In a large pot add the hot chicken stock and the flour and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Simmer over low heat for 1 more minute, stirring, until thick. Add 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and half-and-half. Add the cubed chicken, carrots, and peas.

For the pastry, mix the flour, salt, and baking powder in a bowl. Add the shortening and butter and mix quickly with your fingers until each piece is coated with flour. In a food processor pulse 10 times, or until the fat is the size of peas. With the motor running, add the ice water; process only enough to moisten the dough and have it just come together. Dump the dough out onto a floured board and knead quickly into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic and allow it to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Divide the filling equally among 4 oven-proof bowls. Divide the dough into quarters and roll each piece into an 8-inch circle. Brush the outside edges of each bowl with the egg wash, then place the dough on top. Trim the circle to 1/2-inch larger than the top of the bowl. Crimp the dough to fold over the side, pressing it to make it stick. Brush the dough with egg wash and make 3 slits in the top. Sprinkle with sea salt and cracked pepper. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour, or until the top is golden brown.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! (Photo credit: Kelvin Servigon)

The Christmas season is in full swing, and we here at LGBG wanted to weigh in with some helpful tips in planning a really green Christmas.  We feel that it is important to address the topic  of a green Christmas because so often in this age of mass consumerism, we witness the holiday season losing its true meaning and getting buried under an avalanche of all types of excess, ranging from uncontrolled spending, overindulgence in food and beverages, and even careless disregard of established principles of green living habits, thereby sabotaging all the advances we previously made and all in the name of a happy holiday.  These negative actions can lead to feelings of guilt, remorse, anger and depression once the holidays are over.

The first step in planning a really green Christmas is to ignore the lure of television, Internet and email advertising that encourage extravagance at all costs and entices us to run out to the malls or to log on and get the deal of the day.  After all, Christmastime is a monumental merchandising opportunity, and retail businesses want to secure their “numbers” as early in the season as possible.  To that end, it is important that we resist the urge to feel that we are letting the best deal get away or to buy impulsively without doing the necessary homework to really find the best buy.

A great way to guarantee an affordable and really green Christmas is to start with a realistic budget to make sure you know exactly how much money is available for holiday spending.  This budget should include everything for the holiday, such as gifts, decorations, meals, activities and travel expenses, particularly if a trip is part of the holiday plan.  Make sure that all regular financial obligations are covered first.  You will not feel happy or merry when the New Year arrives if you missed December’s bill payments.  Also, consider this budget approach as an opportune time to set up a Christmas savings account to routinely and painlessly save for next year’s holiday.

Once the budget is finalized, the next step is to make a gift list, noting each person who will receive a present and allocating a dollar amount for each individual.  This function really is the heart of a green Christmas.  Whether your holiday tradition is religious or secular, the task of devising a gift list takes you back to the true meaning of the season.  With each name listed, you can reflect on that individual and decide on a gift that shows that person that you appreciate him or her and your present represents something that you feel he or she would enjoy.  Here you will find that the gift is not about money, and it does dot have to be expensive.  Rather it is about an emotional connection.  It could be a homemade gift, a special dish, a picture, a donation to a cause important to the person or a commitment to spend time in some particular activity at a later date.  This truly is green because it is about investing in each other or social capitalism.  It is a wonderful way to invest in the ownership of experiences as opposed to the ownership of “stuff.”

Now you are ready to shop.  Make sure you compare prices for retail gifts on the computer or through paper advertising prior to going out to shop so that you do not waste time and gas going to different stores.  Also, note that if you have the store list and pricing of articles that you want to buy, many brick and mortar establishments will give you the lowest price.  This practice developed in response to savvy shoppers doing their homework before going out, but who want to physically inspect an item before purchase.  Some stores feel it is best to secure the sale while the person is standing there, ready to purchase.  That being said, make sure you retain receipts and also that you are informed of store return policies, refunds, final sales notices, etc.  Sometimes you will be surprised to find further price reductions on items already purchased in the final days before Christmas that present the opportunity to save even more money.

Green Xmas

Green Xmas (Photo credit: nhi.dang)

Decorations are a major aspect of the Christmas season, and here green practices can make a really big difference.  While natural trees, wreaths and roping are better than artificial selections that often are made from petroleum and other toxic ingredients, it is important to be wary of having natural greenery inside the home, particularly in instances where family members have allergies.  Also, if you insist on having a natural tree, keep in mind that cutting down a tree is green and sustainable only if the tree is harvested from a forest or farm created for that purpose.  Additionally, check to ensure that any Christmas tree farm that you consider is managed in an eco-friendly fashion, specifically without the use of industrial chemicals.  An alternative option is to use a living tree.  When decorating your Christmas tree or your home, please avoid cheap dollar store decorations.  Cheap decorations have a high environmental impact, and they also contribute to household clutter in terms of storage.  To have a green Christmas, think simple, healthy, effective and elegant when decorating.

Christmas lighting is one of the highlights of the season.  Think green here and use LED lights to reduce the electricity burden.  Be very careful with candles to avoid fires.  Turn all lights off at bedtime or better yet, put indoor and outdoor lights on timers.  Another option for outdoor lights is the use of solar lights, a big energy saver.

Clifton Mill in Clifton, Ohio is the site of t...

Clifton Mill in Clifton, Ohio is the site of this Christmas display with over 3.5 million lights. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Finally, to really have a green Christmas, invest in yourself and your loved ones.  Take the time to sort out relaxing activities that bring the family together.  Take advantage of free community events, such as tree lightings, caroling, school plays and holiday concerts.  Prepare wholesome, healthy meals, taking care to avoid overindulgence in unhealthy sweets, saturated fats or alcohol.  Try using ingredients with properties that help your body to reduce stress. [3]  Also, this is a great time to support local merchants to find the freshest fruits and vegetables.

Christmastime can be a wonderful, magical experience for you and your family, and it also is a great time to recommit to a green, sustainable lifestyle.  As you plan your Christmas celebrations, we hope that you embrace the season from a green perspective and enjoy a really green Christmas.  To do so is to live green, be green.