Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Lights Out

Alright I will admit it, we here at A Happy Green Life are dorks. There is at least one weekly conversation about the zombie apocalypse.  Alright, I will come totally clean, it is usually my family talking about it and the Wards are just playing devil’s advocate to add to the conversation (Let me just say, so that you don’t all stop reading our blog because you think we are insane, that none of us really think that we are facing a zombie apocalypse).  We have created our plan, in case we ever have to face this horrendous event, I will first mutter “I told you so,” under my breath and then we will all ban together and create an off grid, sustainable community. We all laugh about how the green skills we have acquired in the last few years will aid us in our survival.
One day Kristin came over to do some work and showed me (bum bum bum) REVOLUTIONS!!!! Oh my goodness, talk about a green eco show. No electricity, living sustainably, now that is our kind of show. I guess the militias, crossbows, and swords are kind of a downer, but hey at least there aren’t any zombies!
The show will be premiering Monday, September 17 at 10 pm on NBC. Check out the above link to watch the preview!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Meatless Monday

Meatless Monday

Its Meatless Monday! Tonight we have cheer practice so we need something quick and easy so we can all head out the door. Tonight we will be having Vegetarian Chili!

If you are living anywhere near us you are probably thinking to yourself, “Chili in this 105 degree weather?!?!” I know it might be crazy but we would eat this recipe in a million degrees, it is one of our favorites!
Vegetarian Chili

  • 1 (12 ounce) package frozen burger-style crumbles

  • 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained

  • 2 (15 ounce) cans dark red kidney beans

  • 1 (15 ounce) can light red kidney beans


  • 1 (29 ounce) can diced tomatoes

  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can tomato juice

  • 5 onions, chopped

  • 3 tablespoons chili powder

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin

  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder

  • 2 bay leaves

  • salt and pepper to taste


1.     In a large pot, combine meat substitute, black beans, kidney beans, diced tomatoes, tomato juice, onions, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cover. Let the chili simmer for at least 1 hour before serving.

That is it!! I told you it was easy! We like to pair it with some cornbread muffins and a nice crisp green salad! I hope you all enjoy. We are off to practice, go team Green!!

Thursday, July 26, 2012


CSA, Community Supported Agriculture is an AMAZING invention.
I wish that someone had told me what a CSA box was years ago, since I wasn't privy to this amazing information for most of my life I am making it a point to share this fabulous idea with everyone I know. Community Supported Agriculture (or CSA) is a way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from the farmers growing it.  Instead of going to the grocery store and buying food that has been shipped from who knows where, and is who knows how old, fruits and veggies (and sometimes other natural farm products) are picked and then made available to you.
It is an amazing opportunity for consumers to get fresh food and meet the people who grow it. The farmers have an opportunity to meet the people buying their products and they earn money that will help support the farm.
Our family is lucky enough to live in an area that offers multiple CSA programs. We have had the opportunity to try out some amazing programs, we tried one that delivered a box of fresh fruits and veggies to our door every other week, one that had a pick up right at the farm, and our current favorite from Feeding Crain Farms offers buyers the chance to not only get fresh fruits and veggies but custom made products such as marinara, bbq, jellies and jams, and 100% organic household cleaning products!
It is amazing, my house is always full of fresh produce! I have the ability to request more or less of different items and I know that it is totally organic, completely fresh, and it tastes great!
So here is what I want you to do:
Visit http://www.localharvest.org/csa/  look for the map of the USA that is covered in green-those are the farms that offer CSA (there are a lot of them!) type in your zip code and see what is available in your neighborhood.
Look at your grocery bill, do the math and see how much you spend on produce. Wouldn’t you rather be spending that money on FRESH produce? Yeah I think you do! Visit the websites of the CSA’s in your neighborhood and see how much they charge-I bet it is less than you are spending monthly at the store.
Sign up! Even if you only do it for a month it is a great opportunity for your family to try produce straight from the farm. Many of the CSA farms will even allow you to visit to see where your food is coming from.  We have our own garden year round so we request food that we can’t get at home, we also only do it in the spring and summer, the great thing is you can adjust your box to your family’s needs!
Last but not least, enjoy!

If you live in the local Sacramento area check out some of our families favorite CSA programs:

Soil Born Farms

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Meatless Monday

Last year I had one sad little bell pepper plant, I only had one little pepper on it and  it didn’t grow larger than a silver dollar. This year I have12 giant plants all full of peppers  and they are finally big enough to stuff!! So for Meatless Monday we shall have meatless stuffed bell peppers!!!
Vegetarian Stuffed Bell Peppers

Serves 6
6 large sweet peppers
2 cups cooked brown rice
3 small tomatoes, chopped
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 small sweet onion, chopped
1/3 cup canned red beans, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup cubed Monterey Jack cheese
1 can (4-1/4 ounces) chopped ripe olives
4 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3/4 cup meatless spaghetti sauce
1/2 cup water
4 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese, divided
1.       Cut tops off peppers and remove seeds; set aside. In a large bowl, combine the rice, tomatoes, corn, onion and beans. Stir in the Monterey Jack cheese, olives, basil, garlic, salt and pepper. Spoon into peppers.
  1. Combine spaghetti sauce and water; pour half into an oval 5-qt. slow cooker. Add the stuffed peppers. Top with remaining sauce. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese.
  2. Cover and cook on low for 3-1/2 to 4 hours or until peppers are tender and filling is heated through. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Go green this 4th of July

 Its almost the 4th of July!! I have been looking around the web for different ‘green’ ideas for Independence Day to share with you guys, and everywhere I kept seeing, buy local!

I know we have talked about why it is important before but I just wanted to go over it again (I want you all to remember this).
The average produce in the US is picked 4 to 7 days before being placed on your shelf, there are some reports that say it can be up to 60 days. There are even reports that say vacuum-packed meat can be up to 112 days old in the supermarket! This is all after it has traveled an average of 1500 miles to reach the store-and that average is for American grown products, it is definitely longer if it is coming from Mexico, Canada, South America, or Asia.
To me that is gross! I like my food to be fresh! I also like to know exactly where my food is coming from. Am I buying it from a pesticide using corporate farm or the organic farmer who lives here in town? Is my meat the product of hormone fed cattle, or organic free range raised and butchered here in town?
It isn’t just about knowing how old your food is and where it is coming from. By buying locally you are helping the planet. Shipping goods across the country equals tons of toxic emissions. Transportation by shipping produces emissions of 1 billion metric tons of Co2 and uses 11 billion gallons of fuel per year!
 It requires more packaging which equals more buildup in the landfills and more toxins in our planet. The EPA estimates that the US produces 11.9 million tons of plastic packaging each year, 90% of this ends up in the landfill after its first use.
So when you are shopping today or tomorrow for your bbq, take the time to look up your local farmers market or butcher or even your local brewery (I am pretty confident that more than one of you will crack open a beer to celebrate the 4th!), I bet you have one closer to you than you think. I also bet the food will be fresher which means it will taste better! Not only will you be getting a better product but you will be supporting your neighbors and putting money into your own community!

I hope you all have a happy and green 4th of July!!!!

Monday, July 2, 2012

A Happy Green Life Book Club: Michael Recycle

I LOVE Michael Recycle books! That is why the original Michael Recycle by Ellie Bethel is our book of the month! Let me start off by saying that this book and the rest of the series (Michael Recycle Meets Litterbug Doug, Michael Recycle Saves Christmas, Litterbug Doug: In the Missions of Michael Recycle, Michael Recycle and the Tree Top Cops) are children’s books, but they are fun for the whole family to read!
Sometimes its hard to teach the kids how important recycling is (and how cool) this story about Michael Recycle and his adventures as a superhero whose power allows him to teach people about recycling make recycling and doing things for the earth, fun and cool!

 The kids will have a fun time hearing the story and learning different ways to keep their town clean. After cleaning up a town, the people declare: “To Michael Recycle! The green-caped crusader, our super-green hero, the planet’s new savior!”

After you read this great story check out the back for helpful tips to keep your community clean!

Don’t forget to check out the rest of Michael Recycle’s books!!



Disneyland a great place for a green vacation

Well hello fans! Long time no see! We must apologize for our month long absence, June was full of family vacations for the Happy Green Life team so we all took a little ‘vacation’ from the blog. But don’t worry, we were working hard at being green while we were away!

The Aller family took ourselves our first family vacation with all three kids to the most magical place on earth, Disneyland! While there I began to wonder if Disneyland is Green, so I stuck my poor hubby with two strollers, and three crazy kids and I ran off to do some investigating!

Disneyland actually has an environmental program called Environmentalist. Their program aims to keep Walt Disney’s conservation legacy alive through diverse environmental policies. Did you know that the lagoon scenes in Nemo’s Submarine Voyage are made from recycled glass bottles? Even cooler the submarines themselves are propelled by a zero-emission magnetic coil system.
The railroads are all run on fuel 98% derived from soybeans, and the floats are all electric-NO EMMISIONS!!
They have also begun replacing ALL of their lighting with energy efficient alternatives, and work with conserving air conditioning and heating. They are saving two megawatts every day-that is enough energy to power 400 homes.
There are recycling bins throughout the park, and all bags are made from 100% recycled products!
My favorite is Disneyland’s thermo energy storage tank. It provides and energy efficient way of cooling air for the park, and cools water at night so that less electricity is used in peak hours!