Posts Tagged ‘chocolate’

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By Erica Meier

For children and adults alike, Halloween is all about the treats. Fortunately, we’ve got a few tricks to share about how to find delicious eco- and animal-friendly treats. We’ve even got a few ways to turn your pumpkins into treats for everyone to enjoy, including our wildlife friends!

Buying healthy treats – for us and our planet

This time of year, stores are loaded with Halloween treat options – however, many of them aren’t healthy choices for our bodies or our planet. To find healthier and greener treat options, take the time to look for foods, candies and treats that are produced locally.

Also, be sure to check labels to see if chocolate and sugar come from sustainable sources. Or you can go online to purchase all natural, sustainable options, including pumpkin-shaped chocolates from the Natural Candy Store or chocolate bites from Sjaak’s (check out their pumpkin spice bites!)

All those candy wrappers…

Creating a zero waste Halloween can be challenging because most candy wrappers aren’t considered recyclable.

TerraCycle offers a Candy & Snack Wrapper Zero Waste Box. How does it work? You order the box, fill it with all your wrappers, send it in, and TerraCycle takes care of the rest for recycling or upcycling. (The program is free if you send in wrappers from energy bars, such as Clif Bar or Lara Bar.)

You can also minimize waste from individually wrapped items by looking for foil-wrapped chocolates from the bulk bin at your local co-op. Lollipops with paper sticks (instead of plastic) are another good option — a few to consider include Yum Earth Lollipops, which are non-GMO, no artificial colors or flavors, and produced in a LEED-certified facility, or Zollipops, which are are sugar-free and tooth-friendly, and Amborella Organics lollipops, which include seeds in the paper sticks that can be planted!

Offer treats without the sweets

Non-candy treat ideas include clementines decorated like jack-o-lanterns, halloween pencils, blooming bugs (recycled paper embedded with seeds, available in other shapes),  animal finger puppets, or friendship bracelets.

Make your Halloween bash eco-friendly

Throwing a party for family, friends or neighbors? Serve your treats with glassware and washable utensils or look for recyclable or compostable plates. Remember to put out recycling bins for bottles and cans.

And before you run to the store to buy more treats, try whipping up these fun and simple ideas that will satisfy the sweet tooth of any ghoul or goblin: Halloween apple bites, made with three ingredients, are easy to make; pumpkin pie pop tarts are a pocket of pumpkin, perfect for making everyone smile; and mushroom stuffed eyeballs are spooky, savory snacks, sure to catch everyone’s eye!

Pumpkins can be treats too

And, of course, it wouldn’t be Halloween without pumpkins. If you’re carving Jack-o-lanterns, be sure to save those pumpkin seeds — they’re edible! All you need to do is wash them, spread them on a cookie sheet, drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt (plus other seasonings you might like, such as nutritional yeast), bake them for about 20-30 minutes and – voila! You’ve got fresh roasted pumpkin seeds. Or, simply dry the seeds on a paper towel and save them for planting in your garden. You can also toss them outside for birds and other wildlife to enjoy.

What about the rest of the pumpkin?  If you’ve carved your pumpkins, you can leave them outside for the squirrels to continue eating (since they probably already started anyway).  Once you’re ready to move on from Halloween décor, move your pumpkins into your backyard, under a bush, or near your compost pile. Breaking them into pieces will help them disappear faster.  Another fun option: Turn your jack-o-lanterns into a snack-o-lanterns by hanging them and filling them with seeds!

If your pumpkins are still whole and you’d rather eat them yourself, here a few different recipes to consider – for Halloween or Thanksgiving:

Looking for more ideas to green your holidays? Check out our guide to DIY Halloween Costumes from Your Closet!

Live in the DC-area? Here are some spooky sightseeing tips!

No matter how you celebrate, we hope you have a horrifyingly, happy Halloween!

Erica Meier is a DC EcoWomen board member. She is also the president of Compassion Over Killing, a national animal protection organization that hosts the annual DC VegFest and promotes plant-based eating a way to build a kinder, greener, and healthier world for all.

 

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Below is a post by guest blogger Dawn Bickett.  Dawn is our newest blogger and we look forward to reading more from her soon!

The holidays simply do not feel complete without the smells and tastes of traditional meals and sweets. But if you or your friends and family are vegetarian or vegan, the typical holiday spread can be slim pickings at best.

Worried about what to make your vegan friend, or what vegetarian dish you can prepare that your loved ones will enjoy? Here are six quick and easy vegan or vegetarian holiday recipes guaranteed to lower your carbon footprint and satisfy even the most skeptical carnivore.

Breakfast: Pumpkin Waffles
For a cheerful holiday breakfast, try this vegan golden pumpkin waffle recipe from Isa Chandra at the Post Punk Kitchen. Don’t forget to top them with pecan bits and maple syrup for extra flavor.

Drinks: Apple Cider
The classic holiday beverage, eggnog, is not exactly vegan-friendly. However, brewing up some hot cider is a great alternative that has the added benefit of filling the room with the scent of cinnamon and clove.

Tip: You can keep the cider simmering on low heat for hours to enjoy the smell, as long as you add more water or juice as water evaporates. Really want to warm up? Add an ounce of dark rum to each glass just before serving.

Side Dishes: Spicy Chipotle Butternut Squash
If you still have a butternut squash or two left from your fall CSA, consider this simple and spicy roasted squash dish. It can be a side dish for either brunch or dinner.

Main Course: Not Just a Nut Roast
For an exciting alternative to ham or turkey at Christmas, consider one of the many vegetarian main courses from the recipe finer of The Vegetarian Society of the UK. Their nut loaf, a common British replacement for a meat dish, is exceptional.

Dessert: Peppermint Chocolate Cookie Sandwiches
This tasty combo of chocolate and peppermint is perfect to bring to a party, or to keep all to yourself!

Tip: For mini-cookie sandwiches, make the cookies half the size suggested and cut the baking time down to 6 minutes. Also, consider throw a handful of chocolate chips into the cookie batter, if you have them.

Dessert: French Chocolate Bark
Of course, there is always room for more sweets. For another quick vegan or vegetarian treat that doubles as a gift, try this delicious chocolate bark recipe. To make this recipe vegan, substitute semi-sweet vegan chocolate chips for the chocolate the recipe calls for.

Tip: Not a fan of dried fruit and nuts? For a peppermint variation, take out the fruit and nut combination, and add 1 tsp. of peppermint extract. Then crush peppermint candy and sprinkle it across the top before it cools.

Happy holidays from DC Ecowomen!