Friday, September 28, 2012

Photo Friday

Happy Friday everyone. Hope you had a fantastic week. It's been a great week to spread compost on your garden or field, and this week's photo shows it! Have you started your fall gardening yet?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Our Favorite Apple Recipes for the Fall

It's officially fall, which means apple picking season has begun! While you may be tempted to take the easy way out and just eat your apple plain and raw (though still delicious), these recipes might just sway you. Here are some of our favorite apple recipes for the fall, and we even have one for every meal time!

Find the Recipe Here
 These apple, chicken, and sage sausage patties are a little strange to think about, but the taste will blow you away! It's a great way to incorporate apples in an unusual way! Yum. What a great addition to the breakfast table.

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 This Apple Cinnamon bread braid has us drooling at first site. Great for a Sunday morning breakfast that's sure to please the whole family!

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 Apple sauce is great for all meal times, and homemade apple sauce is even better! This easy recipe will have you making all the applesauce you could eat, and it only takes 30 minutes!

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 Few things can sate a crunchy urge like chips, but these oven baked apple chips will do the trick without the negative impact on your waistline! It doesn't hurt that they're pretty tasty.

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 What apple recipe would be complete without a pie? This pie isn't just a plain apple pie, it's a toffee apple pie! It's sure to please both new and old apple pie lovers!

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 Few things start a chilly morning off as well as homemade oatmeal. This blueberry apple pie spice oatmeal is sure to do the trick!

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Granola bars are great, but how many of us take the time to make them at home when you can easily pick up a package at the store? Well, these granola bars may have you trying your hand at homemade. These are sure to be popular with even a picky eater!

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 Cider is another recipe that is a must have on this list. This recipe is easy, you just pop everything into your slow cooker and let it do all the work! Yum.

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 Cinnamon-Apple Pork Chops are a bit of a favorite in the area of Iowa that we're from, and once you've had one you'll see why! They're delicious! This recipe even uses reduced-fat butter for everyone watching their waists.

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This caramel apple cake is another one that's sure to please, as it looks simply decadent.

Do you have any great apple recipes? Be sure to link them in the comments for us to check them out!

Monday, September 24, 2012

5 Tips for Meal Planning

Globally, 40 percent of all food created is wasted. This amount is huge and can greatly affect households. One easy way to limit food waste in your own home is meal planning. Meal planning allows a household to choose their meals for a week, shop for those meals and greatly reduce the amount of food they toss each week.

Food planning is easy and fun, so why not start it with your own household? Here are a few helpful tips to get your started.

1) Pick a specific day and time each week to plan your meals: Meal planning works better if it becomes a habit. Find a time that everyone has free to sit down and plan. If everyone is always free 3 p.m. on Sunday that would be a perfect time. Once you make meal planning a part of your routine it becomes second nature.

2) Include everyone who will be eating: This may sound daunting for parents with young children, but including everyone in the meal planning process can be beneficial in several ways. Picky eaters may see it as their choice to have a food they may not have previously liked, and they get to help pick other meals that they know they love. This allows everyone to have a say in the meals and learn about meal planning themselves.

3) Make an ingredient list for every dish: This may sound basic, but finding a couple meals with the same key ingredients can save a lot of wasted groceries. It’s common sense that if you have 2 recipes that call for half an onion you will use the whole onion that week, but it also makes a huge impact on eliminating food waste.

4) Pre-make meals if possible: Let’s face it, there are some nights when ordering a pizza sounds a lot better than making a home cooked meal. That is where pre-made meals come in. There are lots of recipes for meals that you stick in a casserole dish or freezer bag and then just dump and bake. These recipes can be a lifesaver after a hectic day at work. If you plan at least one of these pre-made meals a week you can adjust your schedule for whichever day you need it.

5) Be adventurous: Meal planning offers a great opportunity to try new recipes without having to make last minute after work shopping trips. Embrace the ease of this and try a new recipe! 

Last but not least, remember don't throw those left over food scraps in the garbage to get landfilled- compost them!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Photo Friday

It's friday and so that means it's time for another photo. This week's photo was taken on a worker's cell phone, and it's too gorgeous to pass up. One of our employees caught the sunrise at our site in Dodge City, you have to check it out!

Did you get any great shots this week? Make sure you share the link in our comments!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Featured Article: Walmart's Plan To Fight Hunger In The U.S.

Today's featured article is an interesting one. It's not about a new technology or fabric, but about a social good campaign being run by Walmart. Many people view Walmart as a big bad, but it's actually awesome how much social good the company has been working to provide. Currently the chain is #1 in solar energy and they compost food waste, along with many other programs that are good for the environment and the communities they are in. This social good campaign takes on the other side of the register. While Walmart has been working on making their own company good, this one helps their customers and potential customers.

The truth is Walmart is doing a real service to these communities by trying to make sure that no one goes hungry. According to Feeding America, 14.5% of household were food insecure (roughly 17.2 million households) in 2010. Families with children were more likely to be food insecure. While those numbers aren't as bad as those in 3rd world countries, it is astounding when you realize how much hunger there really is in the United States. It is especially daunting when you realize that the last couple years have only caused those numbers to grow due to the rising price of food and continued unemployment.

Given that the cost to feed a family of 4 for a month is $45 for Feeding America, the $50,000 that Walmart is donating to 40 communities could do a lot of good. The company is also encouraging their employees to volunteer at food banks.

We applaud Walmart for their efforts and we encourage our readers to get involved in feeding America's hungry in whatever way they can.

Read the article here.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Top 15 T-Shirt DIYs

With the seasons changing it is a lot easier to go through our closets and find items we no longer wear. Whether it's due to a change of taste or a change of fit, we eventually have to let go of old articles of clothing. While donating is also a great option, DIY with t-shirts is fun and can create some pretty cool things! We've compiled our top 15 t-shirt DIYs here for you!

DIY instructions
Making an old t-shirt into an iPod holder out of an old t-shirt is great for running or working out with your iPod, and it's easy to do with this simple tutorial! What a great way to encourage yourself to stay active during the winter months!

DIY instructions
Throw pillows are a great way to brighten up a room or throw some fun colors on a neutral colored couch. These throw pillows memorialize your old t-shirts while giving them a new purpose.

DIY instructions
 This cute and functional ruffle skirt looks dressy enough to be business casual, but since it's made out of your old t-shirt you know it will be very comfortable.

DIY instructions
 It can sometimes be hard to pack shoes, since you wear them on your feet they can often get dirty. This fun shoe travel bag looks cute, is machine washable and you can make it from your old t-shirts! How great!

DIY instructions
 If you simply adore an old t-shirt because of the print on it, and your home is lacking in decorations, then framing your old shirt might be the best option for you! It's a fun way to display the old shirt, and if you get a frame at the right time it can be very cheap!

DIY instructions
 This fun, cute vest is extremely simple to make and looks great on! What could be better?

Link to original
These t-shirt neck ties are great! The only bad thing is that the original article we found links to an esty account that you can send your shirt to for someone else to DIY a tie. However, there are a couple different images so we'd like to think that our crafty readers will be able to figure it out (if you can you should let us know)!

DIY instructions
Remember shag rugs? Super comfortable, shag carpeting was a staple in the 70s', but you can still find shag rugs at major stores. This tutorial shows you how to take your old t-shirts and make your own! How great is that?

DIY instructions
An old t-shirt can make a great apron, and this one even shows you how to make one with pockets!

DIY instructions

Washable diapers are coming back into popularity right now, and what better way to show Mom and Dad's style than by reusing one of your old t-shirts for the little one's diaper? This is a fun way to get a large variety of reusable diapers while still making to reuse some of your own wardrobe!

DIY instructions
 Summer tank tops are great, but if you have one that you're just not wearing anymore a new purse could be even better! This DIY takes an old tank top and makes a great new bag that you can use year round!

DIY instructions
 Scarves are great, whether they're just accessories or necessary for keeping warm. This DIY shows you how to create a fun, fashionable scarf from an old t-shirt. It's quick, and it's no-sew!

DIY instructions
This is another t-shirt turned skirt, but it's a little more casual and simple than the other skirt we have on here. It also allows a lot more room for imagination. The original poster embellished her finished skirt with some cute buttons to dress it up a little bit more.

DIY instructions
 This fun scarf offers another method of reusing the shirts without losing the images you loved from the original shirts. It would be easy to make a themed scarf from old shirts to keep warm and cozy while still remembering why you love your old shirts.

DIY instructions
 Finally, a t-shirt quilt. This is another idea that makes it easy to keep the memory of the old shirt alive while creating something new and functional. They're also very cozy, so it's great to keep warm once the winter months set in.

Do you have any other favorite t-shirt DIYs? Leave them and your thoughts on these ones in the comments!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Photo Friday

It's another photo friday and so we have another photo for you! Did you get any great shots this week? Let us know in the comments!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Featured Article: Wax Walls Keep The Temperature In Your Home Comfortable, Without Using Extra Energy

We're all about the new and sustainable, but this new product could save you some serious money during the winter and summer months as well. Today's featured article comes to us from Fast Company, all about new wax walls!

When you live in the midwest it is easy to see the benefits of better insulation. Our summers are hot and our winters are cold, we get the full effect of every season, which means we like our walls well insulated. These new materials would replace current drywall and be much more efficient, because the heat and cool temperatures are stored in the walls, so that during cooler nights the heat captured during the day will be released, and vis versa.  

Imagine the impact that boards like these would have on your energy bill. Combined with some well placed windows you could be paying much less a month to heat and cool your house. 

These products are just beginning to enter the construction market, so we'll see how they do when put to the test of actual use. 

What do you think? Would you use these boards in place of traditional drywall? 

Read the full article here.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Featured Article: Sprout Pencil Grows Plants When You Plant the Stub

This monday we're doing a featured article on a new sustainable product- pencils that you can plant! 
These pencils have seed caps at the end filled with a plant of your choosing, including herbs, vegetables and flowers. These pencils are currently in the fundraising stage, and have a kickstarter project that allows you to fund the project with the promise of receiving a package of the finished project. 

This concept is definitely interesting. As many of our readers know, wood is compostable, however often times the lead may not be. The idea is definitely innovative, and it can help kids to realize the environmental implication of a pencil. 

What do you think? Do you like the idea of planting your pencil? Are you a pencil chewer who may have trouble not chewing on the seed capsule at the end? Let us know in the comments!

Read the original article here.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Photo Friday

Well, it is Friday again. We didn't have any Cy-Hawk photos to share, so we thought we'd share something beautiful with you- a big handful of compost!

Who are you rooting for this weekend? Our office is divided! Did you snap any great photos this week? Share the link in the comments!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Top 10 Fall DIYs

With labor day and a 3 day weekend starting our week, it's easy to get in the spirit of fall, even with the 100 degree weather! If you're ready to start prepping your home for fall look no further! We have a special blog with our top 10 fall DIYs!

View Tutorial Here
This DIY is Pottery Barn, with an original twist! The original DIY-er found something similar to this in Pottery Barn, but decided to make her own and put her initial on it as well! How fun!

View Tutorial Here
This is another tutorial that someone saw in a store and decided to give it a go on their own. This burlap  tablecloth tutorial is a fun and edgy twist to traditional turkey day decor, and you can personalize it all you want this way!

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These candles are a subtle and trendy way to pay homage to the fall classic- candy corn! Plus, you could easily use this tutorial with different colors to create all sorts of fun candles!

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 This is another tribute to candy corn, but this time the candy corn is a little more involved! This fun display can easily be changed to fit the season. Let's face it, lots of our holidays are associated with sweets and colors, so you could easily change out the candy for something appropriate for the season (If you can manage to keep it in the container the whole season)! Plus this could easily be a recycling craft if you used bottles that you already have.

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 This craft is obviously a recycling craft for all of your left over glass bottles. The original DIY-er did another ghost with a soy sauce bottle as well, although she added that the top was not as nice looking as the wine bottles. These fun decorations are cheap and chic and can easily spice up your home for the fall.

View Tutorial Here
We're a sucker for planters, and with how warm it's staying outside, maybe we'll have warmth all season long. This pumpkin is a stylish and fun way to show your fall spirit and keep your plants going!

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This is a quick and easy DIY that is sure to leave your house smelling fantastic! It also proves to be a cute decoration, so it's a win on all fronts!

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 This tutorial is for some fun seasonal coasters! Light stitching required, but it's worth it for these adorable coasters!

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Modge Podge got extremely popular this summer, and it looks like the trend will be continuing into fall, especially with this cute modern looking wreath!

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This last tutorial is a little more artsy, it's a DIY for some accent artwork especially for this windy season. This DIY perfectly captures the feeling of a windy fall day!

Those are our top 10, what are yours? Which DIY is your favorite?