10 ways to use up mushy, overripe bananas

November 20, 2018 by  
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Bananas linger on the counters of many kitchens throughout the world, because they are a perfect snack and a healthy companion to things like yogurt, peanut butter and cereal. But it doesn’t take long for them to move past peak ripeness and start getting covered in brown spots before turning black. Just because they are past their prime doesn’t mean that overripe bananas need to be tossed in the trash. To reduce your food waste , try some of these creative and delicious ideas for overripe bananas instead of throwing them away. Bread and muffins Banana bread and muffins are the perfect options for overripe bananas. Believe it or not, dark and ugly bananas bring a ton of flavor. Simply put your blackened bananas in the fridge, and when you are ready to bake, smash them up and try recipes like flourless peanut butter banana muffins , banana bread  or  chocolate chip and banana muffins . Cakes Bananas add sweetness and a springy texture to cakes, and there are amazing banana cake recipes out there that are surprisingly healthy . This recipe for chocolate chip banana cake with cream cheese frosting  doesn’t have butter or oil, but you would never know it. The bananas and light cream cheese frosting bring amazing flavor, and this sweet treat is still low in calories. Brownies You can make amazing vegan brownies with just four ingredients: overripe bananas, peanut butter, protein powder and cocoa powder. The bananas make these guilt-free brownies sweet and moist. They are also full of protein , making them the perfect, quick breakfast. If you prefer, you can sub almond or cashew butter for the peanut butter. Smoothies and milkshakes When your bananas get ripe and mushy, try adding them to a smoothie or milkshake. Bananas will make your smoothie or milkshake super creamy and add loads of flavor. Try this frozen banana, peanut butter and chocolate chip milkshake for a nice light treat, or you can opt for a smoothie like this banana oatmeal breakfast smoothie . Related: Fight food waste with these 11 ways to use leftover greens before they spoil Pancakes You can either slice some banana onto your pancakes while they cook or smash them up and add the bananas to the batter. Either way, the bananas will make your pancakes so sweet , you will probably have to cut back on the syrup . Cookies Adding bananas won’t necessarily make your cookies healthy, but they do make them delicious. Try this recipe for Mindy Segal’s banana Nilla cookies or these three-ingredient banana chocolate chip cookies from Curls ‘N’ Chard . Banana chips One of the quickest and easiest options for overripe bananas is to make sweet, guilt-free banana chips. This is an extremely healthy snack to have on hand, and all it takes to make this treat is ripe bananas and some fresh lemon juice. Oatmeal Another quick and easy option for your overripe bananas is to add them to oatmeal. Simply smash up an overripe banana, and then stir it into a warm bowl of oatmeal. This will give your oats a naturally sweet flavor, and if you add some cinnamon and chopped walnuts, it will be even more delicious. You can also use overripe bananas for baked oatmeal, like in this recipe from Live Well Bake Often. Banana bread batter This idea from The Big Man’s World is an easy, gooey, healthy treat perfect for any time, day or night. It will take you less than five minutes to make, and it is naturally gluten-free and vegan . It is also full of protein and comes with a paleo and grain-free option. Fro-yo With just three ingredients, you can make amazing banana frozen yogurt . Throw your overripe bananas into the freezer. When you are ready to make this dessert, simply peel two bananas and cut them into chunks. Put them in a food processor, and add a half-cup of plain, 2-percent Greek yogurt and one-and-a-half tablespoons of peanut butter. Puree all the ingredients until they turn into a smooth, fluffy paste. Then, freeze your fro-yo for about 15 minutes before serving. Images via Jeffrey W. , Green Guavas , Marco Verch , Theo Crazzolara , Cara Faus , Ella Olsson and Shutterstock

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10 ways to use up mushy, overripe bananas

5 tips for beautiful, sustainable Thanksgiving decor

November 16, 2018 by  
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November marks the season of Thanksgiving . With Halloween decor packed up and Christmas trimmings still in totes, it’s time to focus on unveiling the essence of Thanksgiving in your home. Shelves of decor line the store aisles, but many of those options contribute to the destruction of our environment. By making some small, conscientious decisions, you can reduce transport emissions, eliminate plastic consumption and give used items new life while giving your home the holiday flair you envision. While pulling together the look for your Thanksgiving decor, keep sustainability in mind with these tips. Emphasize natural elements The truly wonderful thing about the fall months is the abundance of natural materials you can find and use in your autumn decor. Skip the retail purchases and head outside for organic finds nearby. Curve those grapevines into a circle, and use this as a base for a fall wreath. Adorn it with the colorful red berries that dot the landscape this time of year, and embellish the wreath further with dried leaves or flowers, pine cones or nuts. You could even glue on small apples or pumpkins. Related: How to host Thanksgiving dinner in a tiny home or small apartment Similarly, the same materials can be used to create centerpieces for your Thanksgiving table or as seasonal decorations for your coffee table. Lay out pine boughs and top them with colorful gourds. Grab those still-firm pumpkins, carve them into a bowl and stuff them with fresh greenery. Use clear glassware, jars, vases or water pitchers to hold pine cones, leaves, berries, nuts or colorful rocks. Fresh citrus or apples make a gorgeous centerpiece when placed in simple clear or white bowls. Make a statement by placing a votive candle inside a carved-out mini pumpkin or apple. Set bottles around the house, and fill them with fresh-cut lavender, rosemary or mint. Surround that centerpiece with a eucalyptus ring. Your mantle is another perfect place to add some visual appeal. Thread together orange and red leaves to make a swag, and add small pumpkins painted different colors. Also, remember that Thanksgiving is represented by the colors and products of fall, so take advantage of hay bales, corn stalks and gourds to decorate your front porch. Avoid plastic Anyone who’s spent more than a few minutes considering steps toward sustainability knows that plastic is petroleum-based, which causes problems for the environment — and plastic never goes away. If you decide to purchase decor for your home, look for materials that are eco-friendly and will give you the gift of longevity, resulting in less waste. Find a wrought-iron turkey or hunt down ceramic pumpkins. Buy glass platters and real fabric tablecloths instead of the single-use versions. Upcycle With very little effort, you can find decor that allows you to reuse something that’s already been produced rather than buying new. For example, take those mounting canning jars and etch them with festive designs. Alternately, you could decoupage them with leaves. Fill with orange candles and display them on your mantle or table. Look around your house for a bucket or rusted watering can, and dress it up with bundles of wheat or corn stalks. Hit up the local thrift shop for table runners, used decor and themed dishware. While upcycling might involve plastic items and is not always a zero-waste initiative, the more life we can give to existing products, the less production pollution and post-consumer waste we will have — a win-win for the environment. Get crafty The long, dark evenings of fall are the perfect time to get crafty. Take the kids for a nature walk and collect acorns, leaves, twigs and other natural elements. Once you return home, glue the materials onto fall-colored paper, forming letters on each sheet to spell out, “Give Thanks,” or something similar. Punch holes in the top corners of each paper and thread yarn or rope through them to create a banner for your wall. Crafting can also overlap with upcycling. For example, paint a wine bottle, add a twist of twine to the top and embellish with words. Make a few and group them together. The kids can use toilet paper or paper towel rolls to make hanging turkey decor, place markers or napkin rings. Related: Six yummy, organic pumpkin recipes you can make for Thanksgiving! Turn food into edible art Most people associate Thanksgiving with food, and many would agree that food can be art. Why not give your edibles dual purpose by designing munchable masterpieces? Start with that cornucopia you’re dying to put out and fill it with candy, grapes, apples, pears, satsumas, chocolate, pretzels, bread or nuts. You can carve a watermelon into a boat or basket and fill it with fruit. Head over to Pinterest, and look for ideas that will transform your veggie tray into a turkey pattern. Don’t forget about dessert — make some cookie turkeys or cut out a leaf pattern from your upper pie crust. Remember that the goal is to express the spirit of the season, which is gratitude. Nothing shows gratitude for your home and yard more than using natural elements. Hosting a sustainable Thanksgiving also shows gratitude for the planet and those you love that live on it. Images via Shutterstock

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Sarah Barbo, on corporate strategy and planning at CMS Energy

November 5, 2018 by  
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The largest electric and gas utility in Michigan is planning for the future. With science-based targets set on reducing emissions (and saving money), the company is trying for the perfect mix of cogeneration sources to amid a changing energy landscape. 

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Sarah Barbo, on corporate strategy and planning at CMS Energy

EcoLab’s sustainability VP, Emilio Tenuta, on circular water management

November 5, 2018 by  
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The circular economy’s focus on keeping materials and chemicals at play extends to one of the basic elements of human life: water. But localized water systems present certain challenges to maximize water’s “quantity, quality and value,” as EcoLab’s vice president of sustainability, Emilio Tenuta, said.

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EcoLab’s sustainability VP, Emilio Tenuta, on circular water management

Earth911’s Gift Guide For Dad

June 8, 2018 by  
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Still haven’t found the perfect present for Father’s Day? We’ve … The post Earth911’s Gift Guide For Dad appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Earth911’s Gift Guide For Dad

The Perfect Green Grad Gift: A Refurbished Laptop

May 7, 2018 by  
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The fateful day finally arrived. My trusty computer bit the … The post The Perfect Green Grad Gift: A Refurbished Laptop appeared first on Earth911.com.

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The Perfect Green Grad Gift: A Refurbished Laptop

LEGO Commits to Sustainable Packaging

May 7, 2018 by  
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LEGO bricks have been around for nearly 80 years and … The post LEGO Commits to Sustainable Packaging appeared first on Earth911.com.

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How to design the perfect vegetable garden for any space

April 12, 2016 by  
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With winter just a memory in the northern hemisphere, and spring in full swing, it’s time to think about your summer vegetable garden . Whether you’re planting your first-ever vegetable garden or you’re an old hand looking for some new design ideas to spruce up your landscape, you don’t have to be stuck with a basic rectangle of dirt in your yard. These design ideas will give you inspiration and help you create the perfect garden for any space – even if you don’t have a yard. Read the rest of How to design the perfect vegetable garden for any space

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Two solar power plants usher in “the birth of large-scale solar in Australia”

January 25, 2016 by  
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Australia isn’t known as a ‘sunburned country’ for no reason. The sun-drenched continent is the perfect place for solar power generation. For some time, the land down under has boasted the highest rate of residential solar panel installations, but it’s been lagging behind in the development of large-scale solar projects . All of that is set to change as two solar power plants have officially opened for business . Read the rest of Two solar power plants usher in “the birth of large-scale solar in Australia”

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Two solar power plants usher in “the birth of large-scale solar in Australia”

Go Green (And Red) With These Holiday Gift Tips

December 1, 2015 by  
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Although gift giving is really an act of generosity, it can also bring up anxiety to find the perfect present. Adding a green touch to the holiday season can show thought and consideration, and that you are trying to make a difference in more than…

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Go Green (And Red) With These Holiday Gift Tips

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