Thanksgiving is a time to give, what else, but thanks. It’s in the name. We are thankful for our families, friends, the food on the table, the clothes that we wear and the heat in our homes.

But it also should be a time to thank Mother Earth. She provided all of it, with her wondrous, mysterious ways.

For Thanksgiving, think green, to thank the Earth. But how can you do that? A few ways:

No. 1: Food!
This is the most important section of greening for Thanksgiving. You can do this in a variety of ways, all dependent on the size of your crowd for the day.
* Is it just non-meat eaters? Perfect! That is the best way to go green. Create dishes from the earth, using vegetable proteins to substitute meat. It doesn’t have to be that packaged Tofurky, but that’s a lot better than the real turkey (for greening purposes.) Visit Planet Green’s Web page for cooking ideas.
* You have meat-eaters? Get an organic and local turkey. Many farmer’s markets are selling a lot of meats during this time of year in preparation for winter, and turkeys should be abound. If not, go to your local grocery store and check the meat section. Ask the workers in charge of the meat section. Read every label and look for key words: “organic” and “farm raised,” to name a few.


* What about those sides? It is so easy to get them out of a box, but don’t do that! Go to your farmer’s markets and get all the supplies you need! Don’t be scared of the squash, whole pumpkin, different leafy greens and radishes. These are the real harvest bounty this time of year, so celebrate it!
Three key side dishes you can make-over include: cranberry sauce, green bean casserole and sweet potato souffle. Visit this Web page from Green Planet for recipes.
* Take the 100-mile green challenge from Tree Hugger. Visit their holidays Web site for more details, but it is what it says: Gather all your food within 100 miles of where you reside.
* Serve as much organic and local as possible, even the wine!
* Use scraps for compost!

No. 2: Your Home
* Don’t use those paper plates, no matter how bad you want to! Stop buying those disposable items and bring out the beautiful china! That is what it’s for, when you first bought it. Scared to let the little kiddies use it? Then, take out your everyday china for them, as to not have your set ruined by one smashed plate.
* Break out the good linens, including napkins! For this one and the one above, it’s clear that the reason we use disposable is to throw away the mess. However, doing so throws away millions of the Earth’s resources. A simple spin in the washer, the dishwasher or cleaning by hand never hurt anyone. And I bet that gorgeous tablecloth you bought on sale a few years ago, but “never got around to using” will be perfect.
* Clean house. Use non-toxic cleaning agents, either bought or made by yourself (second one preferred.) Make sure when you are


cleaning (and cooking), to stuff the appliances so you are getting the maximum benefit, and saving energy and time by needing another load to run.
Then, decorate! Buy organic, local flowers and use the decorations you already have instead of buying new ones. As far as candles, get non-toxic soy. And if you are dying for a set of orange lights, look for LED so you can save energy.
* Need sheets and towels for guests? But organic! Get quality, earth-friendly products for them to use, including the soap on the bathroom sink!

No. 3: Your car
* Not hosting? Well, carpool to the relatives! We wouldn’t want you Skyping on this holiday just to save gas, but pile everyone in and take one vehicle.
* Invite neighbors and friends, so they aren’t alone on the holidays. If someone isn’t traveling, for a variety of reasons, invite them over to enjoy the bounty.

One final fun activity:
* Adopt a turkey! Many people do this for the holiday, which preserves one turkey from being killed. It’s a wonderful idea. Read this Planet Green article on how to, and read how to celebrate the turkey, not eat it, here. (Did you know that turkeys are older than us, and can run faster than us?)

There are many sites about how to green your Thanksgiving, two with extensive resources are Planet Green and TreeHugger (scroll to the bottom.)

The dinner table

Have a happy Thanksgiving, and remember to not eat too much tofu!

Skinny Bitch, have you read it? I discovered this no-nonsense book after a friends of mine gave me “Skinny Bitch in the Kitch,” a recipe book that complements the New York Times bestseller.

Whereas it’s a tough-love approach to changing the diets of the human race for their health and the sake of animals, I will admit it can be hard to translate into their way of life, no matter how bad you want to.

The books offer a new way to look at our everyday food and how it is negatively affecting our health. But how does this affect our ecosystem and planet? Well, for starters, buying organic and local to get away from pesticides and using even more fossil fuels to transport out-of-season foods to your area. With the popularity of organic and all-natural taking a swing up in the past year or two, the prices of these expensive items makes it more manageable now for everyday families (I can’t call them expensive anymore, huh?)

Many stores are creating their own organic lines, which are less expensive then the name brands’ versions of organic. For example, a 15-oz. can of O organic black beans (O is Safeway’s organic line) is $1.05, while Whole Foods’ 365 label organic beans are 99 cents. On the shelves of Safeway, Bush’s Best beans cost $1.39 per can, according to “Go Green, Live Rich.”

What about just buying local, or growing your own? Nowadays, food travels about 1,500 to 2,500 miles to reach our plates, which includes gas, fumes, and fossil fuels for pesticides, tractors, processing, cool storage and packaging, according to the book.

A pack of seed can range from 50 cents to $3-5, but that is how much we pay for the vegetables and fruits in the grocery store for one time. The seeds can yield many more times that single purchase, lasting months. The same goes for local farmer’s market food, which saves on food miles just as well as growing it yourself.

Now, for first-time gardeners, the total price can be steep at first to buy the gardening tools, etc. Look to see what you have in your basement or garage that you can use (you may already have the stuff!), or just think of what a good investment it will be and how much money you will really save after a few seasons.

There are many resources on the Web for newbies at here, here and here ; or if you live in an apartment (like me), try container gardening. If gardening isn’t your thing or you can’t wait to sink your teeth into a juicy, homegrown apple, search for farmer’s markets on Local Harvest.

So, now on to the goodies.

“Skinny Bitch” talks about carbs, and how certain carbs are actually good for you and a vital part of a vegan’s diet — complex carbs. These include fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes, which should be eaten every day. The book also states simple carbs should be avoided, i.e. white bread, white flour, white pasta, white rice and white sugar. That just makes me cry.

But the authors state that readers can still enjoy the good life: “So what’s a pig to do? Have her cake and eat it — just make the cake with good ingredients. Duh!”

I’m not going to lie: for these “Bitchtastic Brownies,” I use white flour, white sugar and any vegetable oil I have (except olive oil.) I have bought beet sugar in the past, but at $5 for a large sack, I can’t justify all the time.

Whereas I still battle with the simple carbs (and the bulge around my tummy because of it), you can go above me and use the ingredients as prescribed. No matter what, these brownies are surely “bitchin'” and definitely worth going veg for.

Makes 9 to 12


5 oz unsweetened vegan chocolate, chopped

1 & 1/4 cups Sucanat (or other dry sweetener)

3/4 cup silken tofu

6 tablespoons safflower oil, plus more for the pan

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon refined sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil an 8×8 inch baking pan; set aside.

In the top of a double boiler or in a medium metal bowl set over a pot of gently simmering water, melt the chocolate, stirring just until smooth. Transfer the chocolate to the food processor and add the Sucanat, tofu, oil and vanilla; process until smooth.

Add the flour, cocoa powder and salt, pulsing until just combined. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, spreading it evenly.

Bake for 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Thoroughly cool on a cooling rack before cutting into squares.

I definitely recommend reading “Skinny Bitch” and “Skinny Bitch in the Kitch”:
Skinny Bitch: A No-nonsense, Tough-love Guide for Savvy Girls Who Want to Stop Eating Crap and Start Looking Fabulous Skinny Bitch in the Kitch: Kick-Ass Recipes for Hungry Girls Who Want to Stop Cooking Crap (and Start Looking Hot!)

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