Celebrate Earth Month by Shopping Local!

made in the usa shoesLooking for an easy way to celebrate Earth Month? Use your purchasing power and shop locally!

With spring in the air, farmers’ markets are popping up everywhere, teeming with fresh produce grown locally. These fruits, veggies and meats come from farms within mere miles of the markets, decreasing the miles these goods have to travel (and therefore using less energy and creating less pollution).

Buying locally doesn’t have to stop there though. Many shoes, bags, clothing and accessories are made overseas, a drain on our earth’s resources due to the long trip it all needs to take to get over to this side of the globe. Luckily, we have a solution: our Made in the USA shop.

Filled with the best shoes, bags and accessories, this shop is filled with products hand-crafted in the USA. Even better – shopping with local pride in mind does wonders for the earth, and we guarantee you’ll be super impressed with the beautiful quality.

Enjoy perusing the aisles of this American-made shop, and let us know your faves! Be sure to check out the blog posts and Pinterest boards for more shop-local inspiration.

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Spring Farro Risotto with Lemon and Tahini

Spring-Farro-Risotto-with-Lemon-and-Tahini-22_thumbIt’s finally starting to feel like spring up here in Boston, and we’re celebrating by cooking up all of our favorite in-season produce! Asparagus is one of our favorites, along with peas, fresh herbs and crisp radishes.

These veggies are super versatile, tasting great in everything from salads to pasta dishes, oven-roasted sides and filling soups.

Thanks to Sarah from Making Thyme for Health, one of our favorite food blogs, we’ve come up with a new way to use our favorite spring veggie in this delicious risotto! Different than your normal risotto, this one (shockingly) doesn’t use wine or cheese.

Spring-Farro-Risotto-with-Lemon-and-Tahini-2_thumbBelieve us, we were skeptical too… risotto without wine and cheese? After trying it though, we agreed with Sarah; this dish is great without it!

Packed with protein from the farro and chickpeas, this yummy risotto is great for you – definitely more so than a regular risotto – and just tastes like spring. On top of this, it’s vegan, making this dish one of the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint this earth month (while still having impeccable food)!

Try it out for dinner tonight and let us know how it goes.

Ingredients
1 and 1/2 cups dry farro, soaked*
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large shallot
2 and 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 bunch asparagus, chopped (approx. 2 cups)
1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil

Lemon Tahini Dressing
3 tablespoons tahini
2 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon olive oil
juice and zest of 2 lemons
2 tablespoons water

For full recipe instructions, visit Making Thyme for Health!

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5 Easy Ways to Green Your Kitchen for Earth Month

green your kitchenWe’ve been all about going green this month on the blog, finding ways to lessen your impact on the environment just one small change at a time. This week, we’ve decided to delve into greening a place you may frequent most of all… the kitchen!

With how much we love to cook, we’re in the kitchen almost every night. For something we use so frequently, it seems as though there would be some fairly concrete ways to make those hours a little more eco-friendly. After a little brainstorm and some research, we realized there were plenty!

We picked the top five simplest changes you can make right away to make your April that much greener. None of these ideas even focus on the food in your kitchen; if you need ideas to green your eating habits, see last week’s post!

Switch to natural cleaners. Making your own quick cleaners from the natural ingredients you already have in your kitchen is an incredibly easy way to keep nasty chemicals from getting into waterways. Soaking lemon, orange, or lime in white vinegar for a couple hours makes for a great kitchen cleanser. Add a little baking soda or cream of tartar and your kitchen will be the cleanest it’s ever been… naturally.

Add some greenery. Having fresh flowers and herbs around the house doesn’t only smell great: they may also clean the air. Herbs like lavender, rosemary and basil are said to purify the air and repel insects. Growing your own food also has substantial environmental benefits (decreasing food miles, pollution and energy use).

green your kitchenRecycle that plastic. Try making the switch to glass storage containers and eliminating plastic from the kitchen. Not only do these containers last longer and look beautiful storing all your kitchen goodies, they’re free of harsh chemicals (like BPA) that can have a negative effect on your health.

Green your waste. Create the ultimate green waste receptacle, with one side for compost, one for recycling, and one for trash. Learn what items can be composted here and recycled here. To make your waste a little more fun, make a game out of it; try to produce less and less trash each week (until you’re almost down to practically nothing!). 

Say goodbye to paper. Paper towels are certainly convenient, but are the definition of a one-use disposable product. Reduce paper waste and forest clearing by switching to cloth towels. Hand towels are also the perfect way to spice up your kitchen with a little fashionable flair…. so don’t be afraid to get creative!

How will you green your kitchen for Earth Month? We’d love to hear your ideas!

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The Meaning Behind the Fair Trade Label

fair-trade-certified-definitionAs we all know, the supermarket is full of labels. Many of them are placed on our packaged goods for marketing purposes, and don’t mean too much. There are a couple labels we can really get behind; “certified organic”, for example, is a USDA-regulated label that can only be used when food has particular characteristics.

Another label we trust? “Certified fair trade”.

A social and environmental movement with the goal of bettering lives and reducing poverty, Fair Trade advocates work for fair wages, prices, and improved farming practices. Essentially, the label allows consumers to reduce poverty with their purchasing by identifying products that were produced in a socially and environmentally ethical manner. By giving farmers around the world fair wages, Fair Trade companies allow farmers and workers around the world to improve their standard of living for themselves, their families and their community at large.

According to the Fair Trade website, this certification is present on a variety of worldwide goods including “coffee, tea and herbs, cocoa, fresh fruit and vegetables, sugar, beans and grains, flowers, nuts, oils and butters, honey and spices, wine and apparel, and certified ingredients are now used in ready-to-drink beverages, body care products and spirits.” You can essentially buy anything you’re looking to ingest in a Fair Trade manner thanks to the immense efforts of Fair Trade groups around the world.

One thing to remember: Fair Trade doesn’t necessarily mean organic or non-GMO. While goods that are certified Fair Trade can be those things, it isn’t guaranteed. If these are priorities, look for those specific “certified” labels in addition to the Fair Trade label.

Many wonder if Fair Trade goods are more expensive. The answer? Not necessarily. Yes, Fair Trade goods will be more expensive than mass-produced goods and foods. In comparison to your typical specialty foods, however, they’re comparable.

Everyone has different priorities and preferences with how they purchase; the key is to making informed decisions regarding where your food comes from.

Interested in learning more? Check out the Fair Trade USA website, or feel free to ask us any questions you have in the comments below!

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Our Spring Lookbook: Delighting in the Details

planetshoes-spring-magalogThe sun is shining, the flowers are in bloom… and all of our spring shoes are here. Sandals, wedges, flats and casual sneakers have arrived, and we’re feeling super inspired by the intricacy, beauty and comfort behind each and every pair!

planetshoes-spring-lookbookWhere do these shoes shine best? Our new spring lookbook

Flying down to the South Carolina coast with bags full of shoes, we set out to make this magalog the best one yet. As you flip through our spring lookbook, we hope you find yourself traveling with us: through rolling fields and warm sandy beaches, from cobblestone streets with an iced coffee in hand to a small art gallery to admire the work of local artisans.

Better yet… we hope our shoes can take you there. All of the shoes, bags and accessories featured in the magalog not only look intricate and unique – they feel the same way. We chose only the most comfort-driven styles, infused with fashion, to make absolutely sure that you feel as wonderful as you look the whole day through.

We hope our magalog inspires you as much as it does us to be your best, healthiest self, to explore new heights and to see all this world has to offer. Whether you do that in strappy, flat sandals, sky-high wedges or fashion-forward casual sneaks is up to you!

planetshoes-spring-lookbookOf course, we’ve made this magalog for you, so we’d love your feedback. What are your favorite shoes and bags? What are your favorite trends this season? We’d be honored to know what you’ve fallen in love with this spring!

Enjoy your travels through spring’s pages… and let us know how the adventure goes.

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Dress Up Your Spring Salads with Homemade Dressing

With springtime comes the emergence of salads. Crisp, fresh and delicious, spring salads are chock-full of nutrients and energy to get you through the day with ease. Add a little protein and you’ll be full for hours!

Grabbing some extra flavor from a delicious dressing can bring your salad to new heights, making you absolutely crave them each and every day. To our chagrin, however, many dressings come loaded with fat, calories, sugar and salt that make our salads even more unhealthy than a fast food meal.

There are ways to pick healthy salad dressings; it’s all about portioning and looking at the ingredient label. Another tactic we adore? Making our own!

It may seem daunting, but it’s one of the easiest things you can make. Even better, you can adjust the spice or sweetness to your liking, experimenting with your ingredients until you get a dressing that’s simply to die for.

Thanks to Andrew Olson from One Ingredient Chef, we’re sharing three diverse, delicious dressings to try when you’re first starting out. For these recipes, you’ll just need a blender, magic bullet or food processor to mix all the ingredients together. Throw a couple ingredients in your appliance of choice and your dressing will be as “dressed up” as you are!

orange mustard vinaigretteOrange Mustard Vinaigrette
This one is low in calories, sweet, and adds a bit of tangy freshness to any salad you’ve concocted. It would taste especially great on a salad with a bit of fruit inside.

Ingredients
2/3 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
salt, to taste

peanut dressingPeanut Sesame Dressing
This Thai-inspired dressing adds body and flavor to your salads. Try with an Asian slaw or top on your favorite veggie-packed mix.

Ingredients
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

smoked cashew dressingSmoked Paprika Ranch Dressing
Blended cashews make this dressing super creamy and adds some smoke to your favorite salad mixes. A little more prep goes into this one (you should soak your cashews in water for 1-6 hours before blending), but believe us, it’s worth it!

Ingredients
2/3 cup raw cashews
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
salt, to taste

About One Ingredient Chef
One Ingredient Chef is a healthy food blog run by Andrew Olson. His goal is simple: he wants you to become healthier than ever before while cooking the best food of your life. As he says, “The One Ingredient Diet is my simple answer to a world of processed foods. But this isn’t about munching on lettuce! My job is to show you (step-by-step) how to cook deliciously healthy food with only *real* ingredients.”

Connect with One Ingredient Chef
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Check out his original post for some beautiful garden photos!

Do you make your own dressings? What do you use? We’d love to hear your ideas!

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