1. Perfect pumpkin recipes

    Love pumpkin? Here are 5 delicious autumn-inspired recipes from MNN featuring this yummy seasonal ingredient.

    Want even more pumpkin recipes? Check these out.


  2. MNN’s vegan recipe collection

    MNN has launched a Pinterest board full of delicious vegan recipes. Check out some of our favorite vegan dishes below, and be sure to follow us on Pinterest for more recipes, as well as green-living tips, DIY projects and lots of adorable animal photos!


  3. Q&A with MNN’s Kimi Harris

    Kimi is a mom who shares nourishing recipes and sustainable-living tips.

    1. What inspires you to live a green lifestyle, and what kind of things do you do to go green?
    A lot of things inspire me. My children inspire me to go “green.” They provide the motivation to take care of myself (so I can be the energetic mother they need), and I desire to nourish them with good food and to minimize toxins, when possible. We eat mostly homemade food made from whole foods, grass-fed beef, and quality seafood and chicken. We minimize packaged foods, and we try to use the least amount of plastic as possible.

    2. How did you become interested in eco-friendly food?
    It started with health concerns of my own, and then my desire and interest in healthy foods grew as I had children. That naturally lead me into thinking how I could make wise choices in how I cooked and what I bought at the store.

    3. What’s one of your favorite healthy summer recipes?
    I love salads year round, but especially in the summertime. I really like sweet onion poppyseed dressing when paired with chicken and peaches over green lettuce.

    4. What food issue are you most concerned about?
    Hmmm… That’s a hard one. I am concerned about conventional meats, GMOs and a loss of traditional foods in our diets. By traditional foods, I mean foods and cooking/farming methods that we’ve been using for thousands of year that are sometimes being replaced with inferior “modern” foods: Packaged, frozen, refined foods with little nutritional value.

    5. What’s a good way to start greening your diet?
    Make your own food at home from scratch. You will eat better, avoid many preservatives and packaging and save money too.

    Check out Kimi’s blogs here.

  4. MNN’s Thanksgiving potluck

    We had an office potluck today with desserts and sides and decided to turn it into a little competition among the staff. Although all the dishes were delicious, there could be only one winner, and the prize went to Hope’s hazelnut tri-cherry stuffing! Check out her yummy recipe below

    Hazelnut tri-cherry stuffing

    Ingredients
        •    1 large onion, chopped
        •    4 tbsp butter
        •    2/3 cup hazelnuts, roughly chopped
        •    1/2 cup fresh or dried cranberries
        •    1 loaf rustic bread (a 1 lb. size)
        •    A handful of parsley, chopped
        •    2 cups chicken or turkey broth
        •    finely grated zest of 1 lemon
        •    olive oil, for drizzling
        •    salt
        •    pepper
     
    Time Estimates
    Prep time: 30 min  
    Cook time: 1 hr  
    Total time: 1 hr 30 min  

    Directions

    1. 
If using dried cranberries, put the cranberries in a bowl and cover with hot water for about an hour.

    2. 
If you’re cooking the stuffing outside the turkey, heat the oven to 375°F and oil a 9x13-inch baking dish.

    3. 
Remove the crust from the bread and cut the bread into 3/4-inch chunks.

    4. 
In a large bowl, combine the bread, olive oil, salt, pepper. Arrange the bread cubes in a single layer on baking sheet and toast them until lightly browned.

    5. 
Melt the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until softened, 1 to 2 minutes.

    6. 
In a large bowl mix the bread, cranberries, onions, hazelnuts, parsley, and lemon zest. Stir in the broth. Toss well to combine; the bread should absorb most of the broth.

    7. 
Season to taste with salt and pepper.

    8. 
If cooking separately, spread the stuffing in the prepared dish and cover with foil. Bake for 25 minutes; then remove the foil and bake until crusty and golden, about 35 minutes more.

  5. Q&A with Snack Girl

    Lisa Cain, Ph.D., writes about healthy snacks on Snack-Girl.com. She is a published author, mother of two and an avid snacker.

    Why did you create the Snack Girl website?
    My husband and I created Snack Girl in May 2009. It was originally called “Snack Snoop,” which everyone thought sounded like “Snack Poop,” so we changed the name to Snack Girl in November 2009. 

Snack Girl was inspired by the fact that many packaged snack foods are not as healthy as you might think. In fact, the best snacks aren’t found in the snack aisle of the supermarket at all, but in the produce aisle.

 Also, many people treat their snack as a time for a treat and not a healthy choice. With the prevalence of obesity in the country, I thought tackling snacks would help people. Eating healthy snacks can aid people in losing weight and feeling better.

    How did you develop an interest in food and healthy eating?
    I started paying attention to what I was eating when I had children. I realized pretty quickly that I could not raise them on meals of doughnuts and Chinese takeout if I wanted to be a responsible parent. I began to evaluate my own eating habits and making better choices to become a good role model.

    Also, there is something about having children that makes one want to live a LONG time. So, I became motivated to become much healthier so I could meet my grandchildren.

    How do our food choices affect the environment?
    Clearly we are voting with our dollars whenever we shop at the supermarket. For example, by choosing fresh produce, we are making a choice for less packaging. There are so many ways in which our food production effects the environment. My top three are:

    1. Choosing organic means using less petroleum fertilizer and pesticides.

    2. Buying less meat is important because as you move up the food chain you use more resources.

    3. Buying local when possible saves all that transportation energy by supporting local sources.

    What advice would you give someone who’s looking to develop healthier eating habits?
    I would say take baby steps. So many times we want to make a big change and we go to an extreme that isn’t sustainable. Evaluate your diet and pick one thing that you really need to fix. Change one small thing and then work on the next thing. Hopefully, these small changes will snowball into a BIG change.

    What is your favorite snack? What are some of your family’s favorites?
    My favorite snack is a sliced apple with a little peanut butter spread on it — boring but tasty.  My son likes banana with peanut butter and my daughter loves popcorn with maple syrup and — you guessed it! — peanut butter. I guess we all love peanut butter — even my husband who is from Australia.

    Check out some of Snack Girl’s deliciously healthy recipes on MNN!

  6. Q & A with MNN’s Robin Shreeves

    Robin is a stay-at-home mom who blogs about finding eco-friendly food options.

    What inspires you to live a green lifestyle, and what kind of things do you do to go green?

    My biggest inspirations are my family and my faith. I want my children to grow up with an environment that’s not harmful and for their children to have the same. As a Christian, I believe God created this world for us and we’re to take care of it.

    When I first started going green, I did common things like using reusable bags, switching to cloth napkins and buying a Prius. It all had a lot to do with buying things. Now, I realize that what my family consumes is directly related to the Earth’s health. So being green for us often means not buying things or buying used things. Of course, we do a lot of organic and local food and grow a garden. It’s an imperfect combination of things that I believe help us be greener, but there’s always room to be a little greener every day.

    How did you become interested in eco-friendly food?

    The connection between food and the environment was actually one of the last pieces to fall into place when I started to change things for my family. Reading Barbara Kingsolver’s “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" made all the difference. By the time I was through I was planning an organic garden and Googling the dates of local farmers markets. I knew organic was better for my family’s health, but it had never occurred to me that it was better for the Earth.

    What’s one of your favorite healthy summer recipes?

    In early summer the New Jersey sea scallops come in fresh every day. They’re incredible. I love to get bacon from the farmers market and grill the scallops wrapped in bacon. I’m not sure that’s the healthiest thing, though. A few recipes that I love that use lots of seasonal vegetables are honey chicken kabobs, sourdough panzanella with summer vegetables, and fresh salsa.

    Do your kids have a favorite recipe you make for them?
    It would be wonderful if I could say that my kids’ favorite dishes were quinoa salads, raw vegetables and smoothies, but they’re not. Until four years ago, my boys were fed the typical American diet of chicken nuggets, mac and cheese, and a handful of green beans. I now bread and lightly fry natural chicken pieces, and they love that. We still do spaghetti and meatballs a lot, but now it’s made with whole wheat pasta and organic sauce, and I make the meatballs using grass-fed, local beef.

    I’m trying to introduce new foods, and I talked about The Great Sweet Potato Fry Experiment I’ve got where I’m going to introduce the food 12 times to my boys over six months to see if they develop a taste for it. I’m fortunate that they’re both very good vegetable eaters. I can’t get either of them to put a mushroom in their mouth, though. Someday…

    What food issue are you most concerned about?

    If you go by the stack of books in the “to read” pile right now and the number of times I’ve mention it in my blog posts, the biggest issue for me is family meals — gathering my whole family around the table for healthy meals and intimate conversation. My boys are almost 9 and 12 now, and my husband and I make it a priority to make sure we connect with them every day and teach them how to have face-to-face conversations with people where screens (TV, phone, gaming systems) are not allowed. With all of the evidence that exists about the benefits of family meals, I feel like I need to be writing about this a lot. I heard Laurie David say recently that there isn’t an environmental problem that doesn’t cross her family’s dinner plate, and she’s right. In addition to being important for my family’s relationships with each other, the dinner table is a great place for environmental topics to naturally come up.

    What’s a good way to start greening your diet?

    Start with what you consume most of. If you go through a lot of milk in your house, buy organic. If you drink a lot of coffee, make it yourself and buy fair trade, organic coffee.

    Get familiar with the dirty dozen, the fruits and vegetables with the highest pesticide load on them.

    Grow something. I think the biggest bang for your buck is herbs, and they can be grown anywhere. Parsley, basil and chives are great ones to start with, and you’ll save a lot of money by not having to buy them every time a recipe calls for them. If you can grow a whole garden, figure out which vegetables you eat the most of, and grow those.

    Eat less meat and eat better meat. Animals raised for meat consumption take a huge toll on the environment. When you do eat meat, eat less of it and get it from animals that were raised humanely and fed the right food.

    Get rid of soft drinks, and drink water from the tap — use a filter if your tap water isn’t up to your standards. There’s no need to buy one-time-use water bottles either. Purchase BPA-free reusable bottles and make them a habit.

    What do you like best about blogging for MNN?
    I just returned from a food-blogging conference, and when I told other bloggers about my job, they wanted to know how to get a job like mine and I realized just how rare an opportunity I have. I’m given the freedom to chose my own topics, and MNN has given me a voice beyond my community. Plus, my editor, Benyamin Cohen, and everyone else at MNN, is very supportive. I could go on and on about why it’s perfect fit for me, but I don’t want to make it sound so great that people will try to steal my job…

  7. Robin Shreeves, our food blogger, dropped by the office this afternoon. She’s in town for the BlogHer Food 2011 conference, which is taking place down the street from the MNN office at the Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel. Be sure to check out Robin’s blog where she writes about eco-friendly food — and shares plenty of delicious recipes!

    Robin Shreeves, our food blogger, dropped by the office this afternoon. She’s in town for the BlogHer Food 2011 conference, which is taking place down the street from the MNN office at the Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel. Be sure to check out Robin’s blog where she writes about eco-friendly food — and shares plenty of delicious recipes!