The Cyril tiny home has space for everything including the cats

December 18, 2020 by  
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Tiny houses are intended to feel cozy, so when clients Summer and Jason told the designers at Build Tiny that their house couldn’t be a home without space for their two rescue cats , the team worked the couple’s needs into the design. The Cyril tiny house, a project name inspired by Summer’s grandfather’s love of tiny homes , was originally going to be a labor of love for the couple themselves. However, once working on the details with Build Tiny, they decided to have the company take over the building process. The clients did contribute heavily to the 13-plus revisions and are thrilled with the end result. “Living in Cyril is like being on holiday every day,” Summer and Jason said. “We couldn’t be happier with what the team has built for us and will always remain friends and fans of the company.” Related: Tiny House Sustainable Living blog documents life in an off-grid tiny home Cyril is a two-story tiny house with plenty of space for an office, full kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and living room stuffed with few material possessions and a ton of amenities. Bamboo countertops, room for a washing machine and copious cabinetry in the kitchen appropriately take center stage in the middle of the tiny house . This area also connects to an outdoor dining counter through a fully-retractable passthrough window. Above the sitting area is a loft bedroom with a queen bed, cubicle and drawer storage on both sides, plus enough room to stand up. Across the tiny home, a loft office has a wall-to-wall desktop and chairs perched in front of a long window. Between the two spaces, the two cats can explore wall-mounted ramps at varying levels. The bathroom also accounts for the kitties, leaving room for a litter box amongst the various storage shelving and drawers. In addition to creating a welcoming space for the two-human, two-feline family, the goal was to use sustainable materials and systems. In alignment with that goal, solar panels produce enough power for the Cyril tiny house, and battery storage (tucked inside the sides of the home near the bathroom) holds any excess power that is produced. Another energy-efficient addition is the dome surrounding the shower, which holds in heat. The Natureshead composting toilet reduces water consumption. A gas water heater provides hot water, and there are plans to add a small fireplace to the living room, too. + Build Tiny  Via Yanko Design Images via Build Tiny Limited

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The Cyril tiny home has space for everything including the cats

Your guide to sustainable holiday gifts for parents

December 16, 2020 by  
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Our parents give us so much, and the  holidays  present the perfect opportunity to give them something back in return. Read on to learn about the best eco-friendly and sustainable holiday gifts of 2020 for parents. Organic pajamas There’s nothing better than a pair of comfortable pajamas once the weather turns for the holiday months. Gift your parents a matching pair of jammies made from sustainable fabrics like organic cotton to keep them warm (and give them an excuse to take cute holiday photos).  This set  from Hanna Anderson comes in a ton of different festive patterns and colors with sizes for the whole family, and they’re super affordable as well.  Related: The sustainable wardrobe: it’s more accessible than you think Hand-woven baskets Help your parents decorate with a cute artisan gift like Lola & Mawu baskets made from upcycled vintage indigo fabric and natural undyed straw. The baskets are hand-woven out of indigo shawls made from locally grown cotton, handspun and dyed with natural vegetable pigments. Some of the fabric is 30 or 40 years old, so the textiles have varying shades and textures from age. All are woven in Bolgatanga, Northern Ghana. Low-flow showerhead If you have a little extra money to spend, why not help upgrade your parent’s home with an environmentally-friendly appliance?  Nebia , for example, makes low-flow showerheads that feature atomizing nozzles. Or, splurge for the Spa Shower 2.0 with re-engineered spraying nozzles for optimal temperature and coverage. Apart from saving up to 65% of water when compared to standard showers , they look super sleek and futuristic, too. Bamboo bathrobe Go along with the above shower theme with a fuzzy bathrobe made from  sustainable materials . Make your parents feel like they’re at the spa with one of  Cariloha’s  unisex robes, made of a super-soft blend of bamboo viscose and Egyptian cotton. The bamboo fabric is naturally moisture-wicking, odor-resistant and allergy-resistant. Or, try these waffle robes from  Coyuchi , made from organic, GOTS + Made Safe Certified cotton sourced and woven in Turkey. Loungewear Quarantine made 2020 the year of loungewear, so it only makes sense to end the year with some too.  GALERIE.LA  prides itself on high-quality sustainable loungewear made with Fair Trade principles and eco-friendly materials. Customers can even use a badge system to designate and search for purchases based on individually sustainable values such as recyclability and  vegan materials.  Matcha kit Inspire your parents to stay healthy with a superfood latte blend like the options from Golde. Cacao Turmeric offers a sweet and savory alternative to hot cocoa, with added health benefits thanks to its blend of seven essential  superfoods  that support skin, debloating and stress balance. Drink it on its own or add it to smoothies for a powerful antioxidant punch. The popular  Make Your Matcha Kit  includes everything you need to whip up a delicious and healthy Matcha latte, including a tin of powdered pure Matcha and a bamboo whisk. Fancy composter Composting  is usually reserved for those living in cities that support curbside compost bins or people with room in their yards for a bulky spinning composter. Enter Vitamix, the company that brought us one of the world’s most powerful blenders, and its compact  FoodCycler FC-50 . This high-tech composter only needs about one cubic foot of space and a power outlet to work. A carbon filter lid eliminates odors (meaning you can keep it conveniently inside your kitchen), and the removable waste bucket makes it easy to transport your newly-processed nutrient-rich fertilizer from the composter to your garden. Personalized wood cutting board Give a gift that is both decorative and functional for the holidays, like a personalized wood cutting board.  Etsy  offers plenty of beautiful options to fit any budget, with options to personalize anything from names to family recipes and even skylines. Not into personalization or don’t have time for a custom order? Check out  Totally Bamboo’s  cutting boards, shaped into different states with laser-engraved cities, sights and attractions. Wine and cheese set For parents who love a good cheese board, opt for this  Wine & Cheese Set  made completely from upcycled wooden chopsticks. Perfect for couples, the set includes a stylish 11-inch charcuterie board with two matching wooden coasters. The company is carbon negative, so you can feel even better about your sustainable purchase! Face masks Since everyone needs face masks these days, go for one that supports a good cause! Proceeds from sales of  these masks  go toward animal conservation thanks to a partnership between WNC Nature Center and Wildlife Artists. If you’re more into the ocean,  these  ocean-themed masks are made using recycled ocean plastic waste and sold at-cost by PADI to help raise awareness for ocean pollution. Vellabox Candles aren’t just perfect for housewarming gifts, they’re also a hit around the holidays.  Vellabox  offers a gift that keeps on giving with monthly subscription boxes delivering artisan candles made from natural materials, with options for one-month, six-month or twelve-month packages. The candles contain lead-free wicks, use phthalate-free fragrance oils and are made using sustainable 100%  soy , coconut or vegetable waxes. Images via Hanna Andersson, Lola & Mawu, Nebia, Coyuchi, GALERIE.LA, Golde, Foodcycler, Totally Bamboo, ChopValue, Pexels, PADI and Vellabox

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Your guide to sustainable holiday gifts for parents

Treat Fido and Fluffy with these eco-friendly holiday gifts for pets

December 3, 2020 by  
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Our  pets  constantly give to us, from a morning lick on the forehead to a bedtime purr. They bring out our best, most loving selves, and inspire us to get exercise in all types of weather. Even when they’re naughty — climbing the Christmas tree, zooming around the house when you’re trying to sleep, begging for a taste of your food — they’re so dang cute. They deserve to be number one on our gifting lists, so here are some eco-friendly gifts they’ll enjoy this holiday season. Wool toy Does your  dog  love a good game of tug-of-war? These 100% domestic wool  LooHoo Wooly Tug Toys  are soft enough not to hurt Spot’s teeth but easy to get a grip on. The 14- to 16-inch length gives you extra space between your hand and those powerful doggy teeth. Related: Keep your cat safe with these eco-friendly cat toys Zero-waste pet kit As those with canine companions know, walking Fido serves multiple purposes, not just exercise. In addition to quality time together, walks provide an opportunity for your dog to … um … let loose. With the  Zero Waste Fur Baby Kit , you won’t have to worry about  plastic  bags sitting in the landfill for the next few centuries. The kit includes biodegradable dog waste bags, plus a dog brush, conditioning dog shampoo bar and a toy. Fido will look his best while also saving the planet. Organic catnip During the recent election results, was Tigger showing signs of great cat interest — such as opening her eyes, or even blinking — when state measures on recreational marijuana passed? She’s clearly trying to tell you something. Sprinkle this USDA-certified  organic catnip  on toys or scratching posts, and your kitty will soon be rolling around on the floor in all sorts of silly positions. Dog shampoo bar Every dog owner believes (incorrectly) they have the world’s cutest dog (sorry, I do!). But we don’t always like to admit that sometimes our dogs can be a little smelly. This organic  natural shampoo bar  combines cedarwood and lavender with organic shea butter, castor oil, soap nuts and calendula. The castor oil and shea butter softly penetrate even the coarsest fur. Your dog will love the skin-soothing feel and anti-inflammatory benefits of calendula. Endorsed by cats that want the dog in the household to smell better. Cat basket Many people who live with cats notice that their little friends can get crabby if they aren’t allowed to sleep about 16 hours a day. All this sleeping should take place somewhere that befits your elegant cat. This  fair trade cat basket  is made of recycled saris , recycled plastic and hogla grass, which grows abundantly in Bangladesh, where this basket is made. The pillow and pillow cover are washable. At 13 inches in diameter and 11 inches high, this basket best fits the petite feline. Wood pet tags Rover can proudly wear this attractive  pet tag , and if/when he roves, it will be easy for somebody to direct him home using the tag’s info. Choose from natural, chestnut or black wood in various sizes of bones or circles. These tags are handmade in Palo Alto,  California and promise to be “water/drool and tear resistant.” Pet bowls These  bowls by Whom  artistically blend  wood  and metal in a way that will enhance the corner of your kitchen floor far more than an ordinary, plastic food bowl. As the website promises, “Each is manufactured to order and handmade by our expert craftsman. No warehouse full of these!” It’s kind of like getting Mr. Whiskers a bespoke suit instead of buying him something off the rack. There are even double and triple bowls for pets that enjoy eating next to each other. A word of warning, though — once you buy a beautiful custom bowl, Mr. Whiskers might expect you to fill it with filet mignon, not kibble. Paw rescue balm Do your hands dry out on those cold  winter  days? Well, dog and cat paws can, too.  Organic Winter Dog Paw Rescue Balm  eases the pain of chapped noses and rough paw pads. It uses natural ingredients like coconut oil, beeswax, shea butter, olive oil, calendula, vetiver and rosemary. While this treatment will feel divine for many pets, always check with your vet before applying any new topical products to your fur friends. Magical malachite Friendship Collar Paws down, this is one of the cutest  gifts  you can give this holiday season: matching vegan, cruelty-free, scratch-resistant bracelet and collar sets for human/canine duos. Buy a set for you and your dog, and extra sets to give as gifts to all your dog-loving friends. For every  Friendship Collar  set you buy, the maker will donate six pounds of food to shelter animals. Eco-friendly treats Is your best friend food-motivated? V-Dog makes  cruelty-free treats  that include pumpkin, carrots, broccoli and spinach in the ingredients list.  Pet Naturals of Vermont  has a whole line of treats that do double duty: tasting delicious while cutting down on Fluffy’s hairballs and easing hip and joint pain. Images via Unsplash, LooHoo, Package Free Shop, Pixabay, Eco Girl Shop, WoodLeon, Whom Home, BestFriendBeauty, Friendship Collar and V-Dog

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Treat Fido and Fluffy with these eco-friendly holiday gifts for pets

Submit your vegan recipes to win this sustainable chef’s kit!

November 23, 2020 by  
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Calling all foodies! With so many of us turning to our kitchens for comfort this year, we’ve decided to put together a kit to help you become the best sustainable chef you can be! By submitting your own vegan holiday recipe to Inhabitat’s Vegan Holiday Recipe Contest, you can enter for a chance to win this bundle that includes the Ninja Foodi 2 Basket Air Fryer, Farberware Knife Set with Bamboo Block, Freshware Bamboo Cutting Board Set and Stasher Bag Bundle! We love a good vegan dish, so now’s your chance to put those cooking and baking skills to the test. Even if you aren’t vegan, this is a fun challenge for everyone. Simply submit your vegan holiday recipe in the form below by 11:59 p.m. PT on December 14, and you could win this incredible bundle of goodies. Nearly everyone you know has been obsessing over air fryers lately, but now you can one-up the crowd with a two-basket air fryer from Ninja. Ninja is a top kitchenware brand with products built to last, and this air fryer lets you cook in two separate baskets at once! So yes, you can cook your veggie nuggets and tater tots all at the same time. This is an extra-large model, too, so you can easily cook dinner for the whole family. No chef is complete without the proper knife, which is why you’ll be able to conquer the kitchen with the Farberware Knife Set. These premium, all-metal knives are set in a minimalist-chic bamboo block for safe storage. You’ll get a chef’s knife, a bread knife, a slicing knife, a Santoku knife, a serrated utility knife, a paring knife, six steak knives and kitchen shears, plus sharpening steel to make sure your knives withstand the test of time. Of course, we’d prefer you chop your produce on a sleek bamboo cutting board instead of plastic, and this prize includes a set of three cutting boards made from organic, sustainable bamboo. These bamboo cutting boards are perfect for serving up cheeses, slicing potatoes and even cutting meat, if that’s your thing. And finally, no prize bundle is complete without Stasher bags. These reusable silicone bags are a staple for Inhabitat staff members’ kitchens, and our prize pack includes a bundle with four microwave-, freezer-, dishwasher-, and even heat-safe silicone resealable bags in various sizes. We love to store leftovers in these bags for easy reheating. So what are you waiting for? In the time it takes you to whip up a quick dinner or dessert, you can enter to win all of these amazing kitchen tools. To enter: Submit your entry to Inhabitat’s Vegan Holiday Recipe Contest by 11:59 p.m. PT on December 14, 2020. Winners will be notified by December 18, 2020. The recipe must be your own original and vegan holiday recipe. Recipes must include an ingredient list, measurements, and step-by-step instructions to be eligible to win. The contest will be open to the 48 contiguous states and D.C., and applicants must be over 18 years old to enter. We will feature the winning entry as well as honorable mentions on Inhabitat.com and Inhabitat’s social media channels. Entrants will be signed up for Inhabitat’s weekly newsletter automatically. Full list of rules for entry available here .

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Submit your vegan recipes to win this sustainable chef’s kit!

Startup Phood tackles food waste at the top of the food chain

October 29, 2020 by  
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Startup Phood tackles food waste at the top of the food chain Jesse Klein Thu, 10/29/2020 – 01:00 Picture your local salad bar either at your school, grocery store or office. There are many options between the greens, toppings and dressings. At the end of each day, it’s the job of a kitchen worker to perform a “shrink analysis” on each ingredient — manually identifying, weighing and recording the leftover volume of each item. By comparing that number to initial inventory amounts, the kitchen tracks its food waste.  The process is a big hassle for the prepared food sector, but food waste is an even bigger problem for the planet, accounting for 8 percent of greenhouse gas emissions according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization. Phood CEO Luc Dang hopes to solve both.  Phood’s main product, PhoodX, is a combination scale and camera that uses artificial intelligence and enhanced analytics to cut down on the time it takes to record data about the leftovers. The system uses that information to recommend changes within foodservice operations aimed at reducing food waste.  The technology is most appropriate in places where items are sold by weight, such as dining halls or the prepared food sections of grocery stores. The Phood system is integrated directly with the inventory system so it can use the data to calculate waste compared to the sold volume. Phood’s devices have been used in dining halls at Yale and Rhode Island School of Design, and in K-12 cafeterias. The company also has devices installed at 10 Whole Foods locations in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island.  Even before Dang was infiltrating the foodservice industry of the North Atlantic region, he had a deep understanding of the agricultural supply chain from growing up on a small Connecticut farm. After working a few years in the financial sector, he read a statistic estimating that 40 percent of food is wasted. Dang couldn’t believe that headline: During his childhood on farms and near restaurants, he hadn’t noticed anything like that kind of waste. But when Dang called friends and restaurants that used to buy from his family farm, they told him they composted everything but didn’t and couldn’t actually track waste empirically.  Is it an operational management issue? Is it overproduction? Is it a weekend or weekday issue? Or expiration issues? Or a spoilage issue? We can identify each of those key areas and really drill down and cut back. According to Dang, the time-consuming, arduous and convoluted traditional method of tracking food waste is standard in about 85 percent of foodservice operations. The headline was right: According to data from Phood, most foodservice organizations throw away between 35 and 65 percent of their ingredient purchases.  According to Dang, Phood can reduce that food waste by 50 percent with a bonus of saving the kitchen staff time. The company said the algorithm, trained using millions of food items recognized by Amazon Rekognition and Google Cloud Vision, can identify food items with 98 percent accuracy in two to three seconds.  Aside from the relationships mentioned earlier, Phood recently started a partnership with two large food giants, Cargill and Gordon Food Service, which will see the system used in more kitchens, giving it access to more data to improve its artificial intelligence. The real value of Phood’s device isn’t the time-saving AI, it’s the data harvested from the device, which helps uncover habits that contribute to a business’s food waste issue, Dang said. “Is it an operational management issue? Is it overproduction? Is it a weekend or weekday issue? Or expiration issues? Or a spoilage issue?” he said. “We can identify each of those key areas and really drill down and cut back.” Many foodservice businesses tout their composting policies and donation rates for leftover food, but that doesn’t really address the bigger issue — wasting food in the first place. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency , composting isn’t much better than sending food to the landfill. Phood is helping companies attack the problem at the top of the food chain — source reduction — by helping operations become better informed about consumption habits. According to Dang, many parts of an industrial kitchen are siloed. The person ordering ingredients is different from the chef doing the cooking, which is not the same person recording the leftovers at the end of the day. And rarely are these individuals informed about the details of each other’s step in the process, so the purchasing and production habits never get adjusted.  Phood becomes a centralized system that connects each step. Dang suggests a three-week period of baseline analysis when customers first start using the system, but often they start making changes to their ordering earlier, he said.  “They start leveraging those insights and changing their ordering by week two,” Dang said. “We’ve seen waste reductions occur from the first week.” The food and restaurant business has extremely thin margins, and few companies have had access to this degree of detail before. Aside from cutting back on waste, Phood can help operations save money, which is often the impetus for an investment. Because source reduction has such strong economic benefits, the sustainability aspect gets to tag along. According to Dang, Phood can save up to 10 percent on annual food costs.  Pull Quote Is it an operational management issue? Is it overproduction? Is it a weekend or weekday issue? Or expiration issues? Or a spoilage issue? We can identify each of those key areas and really drill down and cut back. Topics Food Systems Food & Agriculture Information Technology Food Waste Food & Beverage Artificial Intelligence Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Phood’s all-in-one scale and AI can identify food waste and make recommendations to kitchens to save money and reduce waste.  

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Startup Phood tackles food waste at the top of the food chain

Plant a unique indoor garden with this modular living wall kit from Horticus

October 22, 2020 by  
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Designed by Horticus, these modular living walls offer a stunning way to reconnect with nature by creating a vertical hanging garden indoors, no matter how small the space. The flexible system is completely adaptable, with a modular, hexagonal steel frame with room for customized terracotta planters. The instructions are easy enough for even beginner gardeners. Simply soak the terracotta planters, assemble the modular frames into your desired layout, place the planters onto the frames and start planting. You can water without flooding the roots through a grid of watering holes on the side of the planters. Don’t worry, the website goes much more in-depth in terms of instruction, with additional maintenance tips and optional steps to keep your plants as beautiful and healthy as possible. Related: The all-natural ‘Wellness Kitchen’ includes a beautiful living herb wall Plants can be rearranged and replaced according to the customer’s preference. Users can lift the terracotta planters out to rearrange or repot. Planters come with little feet on the bottom for added circulation and finger gaps for lifting, so you can easily place them on a table for things like kitchen herbs or centerpieces. The company offers kits that provide owners with everything they need to get started on their personal indoor living walls. Kits range from three planters to up to 24 planters, with options to include a humidifier (great for tropical plants ), a light or a speaker inside. The website also includes a detailed plant guide with a list of tested plants that work best within the system. The guide designates plants in terms of growing difficulty level, from the “super easy” Zebrina plant to the “medium/expert” orchids. The smallest kit includes three planters and one frame and will set you back about $310, while the largest kit costs over $1,350. These planters are certainly an investment, but if you can swing it, Horticus will help bring a stunning garden oasis right into your home to help you improve your indoor air quality with style. + Horticus Via Dezeen Images via Horticus

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Plant a unique indoor garden with this modular living wall kit from Horticus

Vegan apple recipes for fall

October 13, 2020 by  
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October is the heart of apple season, so now is the time to pick or buy fresh apples and get baking. Did you know that apples are part of the rose family, and that more than 7,000 varieties are grown around the world? Maybe 2020 is the year to expand your repertoire of vegan apple recipes . Picking the best baking apples What makes a good baking apple? You need a variety that keeps its structure while baking and retains a bit of the acidity, which lends tartness. Otherwise, you wind up with a soft, flavorless dessert. Bon Appetit recommends six top varieties: Granny Smith, Jonagold, Honey Crisp, Braeburn, Mutsu, Winesap and Pink Lady. Granny Smith is a top option because it’s widely available and affordable in most ordinary grocery stores. Related: How to make your own organic caramel apple treats for Halloween Spicing up your apple desserts Cinnamon is the most common spice to pair with apples. But you can get creative with your fall flavors. To spice up your pies and muffins, try adding extra nutmeg, ginger, cloves or cardamom to the recipes below, depending on your taste preferences. Adjusting the spice levels let you make these recipes your own. Vegan apple recipes Here are some of the most popular ways to make the most of the season’s harvest. Apple fritters Cooking apples instantly gives your home a delicious autumnal smell. And when you’re frying apple fritters, this is doubly so. School Night Vegan has an easy fried fritter recipe that combines nutmeg, cinnamon and cardamom with apples for a breakfast or brunch treat. You don’t need special equipment to make these vegan apple fritters — an ordinary high-sided saucepan works fine. Ice them with cinnamon- or maple-flavored frosting for extra decadence. Vegan apple cobbler The fewer the dishes, the easier the cleanup. This apple cobbler recipe from My Darling Vegan requires a single skillet and features a caramel sauce. In case you’re wondering about the differences between a cobbler, a crumble and a crisp, here’s how Chef Sarah McMinn, creator of My Darling Vegan, explains it. All three involve sugary baked fruit and pastry. But the difference comes down to toppings. Crisps and crumbles are both topped with streusels. A crisp’s streusel contains oats and a crumble’s doesn’t. Cobblers, on the other hand, are covered with a sweet drop biscuit. The biscuit rises as it cooks, creating a bumpy look reminiscent of a cobbled road. Vegan apple cake What’s even better than vegan apple cake? Apple gingerbread cake. This simple recipe from Minimalist Baker requires one bowl and only about an hour before you’re eating a delicious dessert. Oats lend it a hearty texture. Eat it unfrosted for breakfast, or add a thick layer of vegan cream cheese frosting for dessert. Vegan apple pie As every American has heard a million times, apple pie is the quintessential dessert. No autumn is complete without a few. The trickiest thing about apple pies is making the crust. If you’re a serious baker, you’ll pride yourself on the flavor, flakiness, consistency and aesthetic quality of your dough lattice work or other artistic flourishes. For those of us who aren’t up to making a crust from scratch, store-bought crust or a crumble-top pie are easier and still delicious. If you’re going for store-bought, read the ingredients to be sure the crust doesn’t contain butter or lard. Connoisseurus Veg offers this vegan apple pie recipe featuring a coconut oil crust. Vegan apple muffins Eating a couple of vegan apple muffins can be a healthful way to start the day. Chunks of tart, diced apple will give your muffins more texture. Or if you prefer a smoother, more uniform kind of muffin, use applesauce. This recipe from Lazy Cat Kitchen includes healthy ingredients like oat flour, almond flour and cardamom pods. For extra taste and beauty, top each muffin with a fresh blackberry. Vegan apple crisp This vegan apple crisp recipe can be made with several different types of flour, so it’s easy to adapt for your friends and family members who follow a gluten-free diet. Walnuts give the crisp extra protein and flavor. Top it with a few apple slices and it looks festive enough to bring to a holiday brunch . Applesauce Sometimes, the simplest desserts are the best. If you’ve come into a small fortune of apples, why not make applesauce? According to this recipe from The Stay at Home Chef , the best applesauce relies on a mixture of apple types. Golden Delicious, Fuji, Granny Smith, McIntosh and Jonathan all work well and are easy to find in most supermarkets. You can use the conventional stovetop method of cooking applesauce in a saucepan, or you can put the apples in a slow cooker or pressure cooker with some lemon juice, water and a cinnamon stick. Your refrigerated applesauce will stay fresh in an airtight container for up to two weeks, but the sooner you eat it, the better it will taste. If you don’t think you’re going to eat all that applesauce that fast, freeze it in freezer bags. Images via Joanna Sto?owicz , Sarah Gualtieri , Pixel1 , Conger Design ( 1 , 2 ) and Rachel Loughman

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Tiny House Sustainable Living blog documents life in an off-grid tiny home

September 22, 2020 by  
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In her home country of Australia, Jennifer lives with her 20-year-old daughter on a 42-acre farm along with horses, sheep, goats and alpacas. She designed and built her shipping container -turned-tiny-home herself, documenting the whole process on her blog to give everyone a look into her everyday sustainable and off-grid lifestyle. The Tiny House Sustainable Living blog has been live since July 1, gaining over 13,000 reads within the first month to overwhelmingly positive response. The home, which is completely self-sufficient, features an off-grid , ground-mounted solar power system with battery backup, rainwater collection tanks and a full underground septic system. Related: This DIY off-grid home in Hawaii includes a permaculture farm Jennifer says that her decision to go tiny came after a transition from a corporate lifestyle, igniting her desire for a more simple way of living and financial freedom. When she bought her land in 2016, she found herself with a completely blank canvas. Armed with knowledge about animal husbandry, Jennifer’s daughter uses her experience from her job as a wool classer for a major fleece producer to help out with the animals on the farm . Thanks to Jennifer’s touch, no one would ever suspect that this cute farmhouse cottage was once an industrial shipping container. The exterior is complemented with large windows to let the natural light shine through, modern porch lights and a charming stone path that leads up to the front door. There’s a large refrigerator, convection oven and four-burner stove inside the kitchen, with a roll-away island to allow for additional counter space. A wood-burning stove keeps the entire home warm and cozy on cooler days. Additional amenities include a rainwater showerhead and a washer/dryer unit in the bathroom. The blog itself outlines the week-by-week journey of her tiny home construction, highlighting what worked well and what she would have done differently. Readers can follow Jennifer’s articles, photos and videos, learning about everything from budgeting for construction to building a sustainable lifestyle . It doesn’t stop at her tiny home, either; she also discusses farm animal management, beekeeping, agriculture and more. So what’s next for Tiny House Sustainable Living? Jennifer says she is planning on doing step-by-step video blogs about growing her own food so that her fans can come along for the ride and maybe even learn a thing or two themselves. + Tiny House Sustainable Living Images via Tiny House Sustainable Living

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Tiny House Sustainable Living blog documents life in an off-grid tiny home

Maven Moment: Kitchen Gloves

September 16, 2020 by  
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Mom always kept a pair of brightly colored kitchen gloves … The post Maven Moment: Kitchen Gloves appeared first on Earth 911.

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Maven Moment: Kitchen Gloves

A quiet cabin and outdoor adventures in Montana’s Seeley-Swan Valley

September 14, 2020 by  
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As Andy Aldeen strides across his Montana land, a can of bear spray stuffed in his back shorts pocket, you’d never guess the Midwestern-born hay farmer had spent 25 years working in finance in Hong Kong and Tokyo. Now, his three-generation family is rooted here in the Swan Valley, haying and running three VRBO units for visitors craving clean mountain air far from cities. A homesteader cabin That’s what brings my husband, dog and me here. With COVID-19 numbers rising, we hesitated to plan ahead. Then, we got lucky and snagged a last-minute reservation for a socially distant getaway at what was described as a pioneer homesteader cabin . So here we were, briskly touring Aldeen’s land with his black lab, Sis, acting as hostess and leading our dog Rudy through bushes and brambles. Related: 5 cozy getaway cabins that are perfect for fall The cabin has been thoroughly redone since a Norwegian fur trapper built it in the early 1900s. He surely didn’t have a hot water shower, a full kitchen and such a comfortable bed. Aldeen decorates in what he calls “Victorian explorer” style, which means a fun mix of cheery and unpredictable items, including a red-and-white-checked table cloth on the kitchen table downstairs, a cow-spotted plant stand and a sequined rainbow pillow on a daybed in the cabin’s attic library. Aldeen has scoured used bookstores all through the valley, furnishing his VRBO units with thousands of books of all genres. Best of all was the big front porch strung with Christmas lights. You can sit on an easy chair with a view of hay bales sitting in front of the Mission Mountains. In the morning, you may hear migrating sandhill cranes purring as they hunt for critters or see deer bounding by. Down the road, the ranch’s horses congregate under their favorite shade tree. With two bedrooms and a small, cozy living room, the homesteader cabin is the mid-range option among Aldeen’s VRBO units. The Lazy Bean is a 2,000-square-foot cabin that sleeps up to eight and has the most extensive library . Then, there’s a more primitive, 300-square-foot cabin with twin bunk beds. The Seeley-Swan Valley The cabins sit in the Seeley-Swan Valley in northwestern Montana, on the edge of the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex and just off of Highway 83. This is known as one of Montana’s most scenic roads and is a popular route to Glacier National Park . But it’s also a destination in itself for people seeking outdoor adventures. Seeley and Swan are actually two back-to-back valleys. We were in Swan, the northern of the two, near the tiny town of Condon. The Mission Range of the Rocky Mountains towers to the west, the Swan Range to the east. This is an unusually wet part of Montana, with significantly higher rainfall than most of the state, which accounts for the greenness and abundance of water. Rivers, lakes, ponds and bogs left by long-ago receding glaciers cover about 16% of the Swan Basin — compare that to only 1% wetland habitat for the rest of the state. This is the part of the state to visit if you want to get in the water or if you like scenic hikes with dazzling lake views. With average July and August highs in the mid-80s, the lakes and rivers get lots of summertime use. “Be Bear Aware” One of the things I hadn’t realized until I got to Montana was how many bears call it home. “Greatest concentration in the Lower 48,” Aldeen told me proudly while I shook in my hiking boots. As we set out one morning for the Glacier Lake Trailhead , our route took us on a long stretch of gravel road. When we finally arrived at the parking lot, I was relieved to see other cars. Wilderness is great, but sometimes I gravitate toward safety in numbers. Still, there’s no guarantee that the presence of humans equals the absence of bears. Bears are big, and they go where they want. Signs at just about every trailhead exhort visitors to “ Be Bear Aware .” As we followed the Glacier Lake Trail, I took the information to heart. Bear spray on front backpack strap, check. Talking or singing before turning blind corners, yep. The mountains were gorgeous, and the trail was lined with huckleberries ripe for the picking. I relaxed and enjoyed it, as long as I didn’t think too much about who else loves huckleberries. Paddler’s paradise Bears swim, too. But at least it’s easier to see them coming over open water. This part of Montana is an absolute dream if you like to kayak , paddleboard or swim. Highway 83 has signs for lakes every couple of miles. If you favor motors on your watercraft, a big lake like Seeley will give you lots of space to explore. But if you prefer human-powered vessels, you can also find a quiet lake without motor traffic. The most touristy lake we visited was Holland Lake. This 400-acre glacial lake is popular for good reason, with its well-used campground, Swan Mountain views and easy access to the Holland Falls trailhead . You can rent a canoe, kayak or SUP from the Holland Lake Lodge . My favorite thing about Holland Lake was the cordoned off swimming area. Some of the lakes we visited were nice for paddling but mucky for swimming. Not Holland. You don’t have to worry about putting your feet on the bottom and having them disappear under questionable slime. Van Lake is too small to be of much interest for those with fast boats. A leisurely paddle around the perimeter took less than hour, including stops for wildlife viewing. From my SUP, I saw a bald eagle dive down and nab a fish off the line of somebody fishing from a rowboat. Watching bald eagles swoop, fish and fly above your SUP, and loons swimming alongside you, is a dream come true for any wildlife-enthusiast. The most remote lake we visited was Clearwater. It’s about a 0.7 mile walk from the road. The trail is mostly flat and would be easy an easy trip, if not for dragging an inflatable SUP. But it was worth it, as it was the only time I’ve ever been the only watercraft on a lake, accompanied only by electric blue damselflies. September average high temperatures for Seeley-Swan are in the 70s. There’s still time to get your Montana lake fix before the temperatures dip down and the snow begins falling, although that is another trip full of nature’s beauty. So if you get the chance to escape to a remote Montana cabin, grab your bear spray and go. Images via Teresa Bergen / Inhabitat Editor’s Note: We recommend taking the utmost care to keep those around you safe if you choose to travel. You can find more advice on travel precautions from the CDC and WHO .

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A quiet cabin and outdoor adventures in Montana’s Seeley-Swan Valley

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