ECO-FRIENDLY FRIDAY: Reducing energy use in the winter.
With all the snow we’ve been having here lately and the temperature continuing to drop I thought a post about regulating the temperature in your house would be appropriate for Eco-Friendly Friday… Errr Sunday… Also I really wanted to share this TED talk! It brings up some really great points and I love the idea of using behavioural science to find more and better ways to motivate people to reduce their energy use.
The best way to lower your energy use in the winter is to have a strong insulative barrier for your house. This includes windows and doors. At our current rental property this is a huge issue. We lose so much heat to the windows and doors. I can actually feel the cold air when I get close to them. Last year we tried to put plastic sheeting over all our windows. The kind you tape on then use a hair dryer to shrink to trap in the heat. It didn’t work out too well. What plastic didn’t fall off on its own got shredded by our cat.. So now I have heavy fabric curtains in front of the windows and keep them drawn 90% of the time. It makes for a gloomy living room but at least it’s semi warm. We also keep an abundance of cozy blankets in there at all times. Plus we kinda got used to wearing sweaters, long johns, and wool socks most of the time (not that it’s freezing in our house but I like being warm).
I also recently set our thermostat to lower during the day while we’re at work hopefully that will make a difference in our energy bill as well. A programable thermostat is a must for energy savings! As the days get shorter we also tend to use more energy lighting our homes. One way we try to reduce this is by both being in the same room. This is easy since our house is so small that our living room is also our computer room/office. By both hanging out in the same area we only need one light on in the house instead of two or three. It also means we spend almost all our time together when we’re home even if we’re doing different things. Although this doesn’t work when I’m in the kitchen cooking or sewing/crafting in the basement.
It’s been snowing like crazy all weekend and it’s making me wish I were in the mountains right now. A weekend trip is in order stat! For now, I’ll just go play in the snow outside. Snow fort!!
Our yard last winter. So pretty!
Happy Remembrance Day Everyone 🙂
For easter this year I wanted to have a nice sunday brunch full of veggie goods. I decided on:
- gluten-free garden pasta salad
- tomato basil crostinis
- baked spinach dip with corn chips – I replaced the shredded and cream cheese with a vegan ones but used the real parmesan.
- lots of fresh fruit with strawberry dip
- vegan lemon cheesecake with a lemon curd topping – (veganized of course with earth balance and no food colouring.. who needs neon yellow food..)
**Click on the link to see the recipe I used!
Easter brunch eats!
Plus my mom brought some super cute bunny buns which looked adorable on the table.
She also spoiled us with loads of chocolate and candy.. We’re pretty much stocked for the year.
I thought I’d also share the recipes that don’t have links as I made them up!
Gluten-Free Garden Pasta Salad
- 2 Cups cooked gluten free rice bran pasta (I used Tinkyada brand)
- 1 carrot peeled into ribbons
- 1/3 cup diced cucumber
- 1/3 cup diced red pepper
- 1/4 cup diced purple onion or shallots
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 1/3 cup mayo
- 1/3 cup vegan sour cream
- 1 Tbs apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tbs sugar or honey or whatever sweetener you prefer
- a squeeze of lemon juice
- salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- dash paprika
- a few fresh basil leaves chopped (optional I just had some on hand)
- Put everything in a bowl and mix well. I like to keep things simple when they can be and use the lease amount of dishes possible.
Tomato Basil Crostinis
I discovered an amazing recipe for pizza sauce from thebrookcook and I couldn’t wait for a pizza night to try it out! Toasted herb bread topped with fresh basil leaves and vegan mozza seemed like the perfect combination to satisfy my margarita pizza obsession I spoke of before.
- 4 Slices of a round herb loaf cut in half
- homemade tomato sauce (canned tomatoes pureed with olive oil and salt)
- fresh basil leaves
- vegan mozzarella cheese
- Preheat oven to 400 celsius.
- Pop bread into oven while it’s preheating remove when the edges start to brown.
- Remove bread slices from oven. Top with tomato sauce, basil and mozza and return to oven until cheese is melted. About 5 mins but keep an eye on it!
- Serve right away while still warm.
I’m not even sure why I’m posting a recipe for this one, it’s so simple I really just took 1/2 cup of organic greek strawberry yogurt (delicious on it’s own) and added about 1/3 cup vegan cream cheese. Blend them together and voila!
You’re probably wondering why I used vegan cheeses for some of the recipes yet not for all.. My mom also thought this was very strange and started trying to pick out which were real and which were not. But I can explain I swear! After doing the dairy free challenge I discovered that some things were easily substituted for vegan alternatives and that cheap grocery store brand cheese is something I can really do without. Yet I still love the flavor of real cheeses. Now I get the expensive real cheese, real parmesan, real mozzarella but I buy and use less of it. By replacing most of the cheese in recipes with a vegan alternative at least I’m putting slightly less demand on the dairy industry. Some of the recipes also call for mayo which I’m still a sucker for. I’m going to buy an immersion blender and start making my own from scratch at home because even though a bottle of mayo will last me almost half a year I’d still rather make it from the eggs from my chickens then from who knows where.
Since it was such a beautiful day out we took a trip to Sandy Beach and went exploring on the still frozen lake. A very good Easter sunday all around =)
Canadian spring lol. Even though it looks super sunny out I still layered up with tights, thermals, long sleeve shirt, sweater and vest.
Hope everyone is having a fantastic Easter sunday!