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Saturday, January 21, 2017

In case you haven't been in the know about food trends lately, the Instant Pot is taking the world by storm. It is popular with moms who need to get dinner ready fast (and may have forgotten to thaw meat before they left to go to work) as well as healthy lifestyles advocates because it is free of non-stick coatings like Teflon (read more about health concerns related to non-stick coatings here). Maybe you even have one in your kitchen.

I recently bought an Instant Pot for myself and love it. This weekend I had the chance to work with my friend and lead safety advocate, Tamara Rubin, to test my Instant Pot for heavy metal contaminants including lead. Wondering if your Instant Pot is really as non-toxic and lead free as you thought? Read on!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Have you been wondering what all the fuss is about chia pudding? In addition to it being a magical science experiment, chia pudding is pretty rad because it gives you a big boost of both fiber and calcium. When you eat it for breakfast, it's like starting your day with a fancy dessert - you can't go wrong with that can you?

Be sure to keep reading after the recipe because 20 of my blogging friends and I have teamed up to bring you even more great breakfast recipes at the bottom of this post!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Whole 30 is a fabulous way of getting yourself back in gear for The New Year.  Whether this is your first time through it, or your fifth, a tasty new recipe is sure to help you out.  

This dish is gluten-free, paleo, vegan, and vegetarian.  Perfect for all your dietary needs, and absolutely amazing!  You can add meat to it if you like, or eat it just like it is!  Trust me, it is plenty filling without the meat!  


Saturday, December 24, 2016

Last year my Christmas decorating was really limited to having a tree and doing up my mantel. This year, I expanded my holiday decor to match my modern farmhouse look and set up a few new things including this JOY sign. 

I have a massive wall behind my couch which needed a large decor piece and this worked perfectly. I didn't happen to have any huge pieces of barnwood on hand so I used a faux barnwood treatment to get this look and paired it with milk painted letters and a pretty wreath. Even though my finished piece is 24" x 48" this whole project scales up or down beautifully to be any size you need for your space. 

Here is how I made it:

Friday, December 16, 2016

One of my favorite Christmas traditions is to make ornaments with our kids throughout the month of December. I love having new ornaments made by little hands every year.

Kid-made ornaments are like mini time capsules that bring you back to a snapshot in time. I never understood why my mom kept using the "ugly", ratty ornaments we made as small children even into my teens - until I became a mom. I love those little sloppily painted, crooked, wonky ornaments so so so much. This year, we did personalized wood ornaments with the kids. These are easy enough that any baby big enough to scribble with crayons can make them but big kids will still have fun, too.

Make a few for your tree but don't forget the grandparents - they will love these sweet little scribbly ornaments, as well!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Have you been hoarding wine corks because you're sure that you'll do a craft with them some day? Well "some day" has arrived my friends - Tata from EggoMache is here to do a special guest tutorial teaching you how to make an adorable sled ornament with wine corks! If you're not feeling terribly crafty at the moment, you could also buy one straight from the EggoMache etsy shop here and support an artist turning trash into beautiful treasures. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

I have always had a soft spot in my heart for hot cocoa.  My mom used to make it for us on cold winter nights, and would always tell us how when she was a teenager, her dad (my grandpa), would get up with her before school and make her hot cocoa and cornbread on cold winter mornings.  I think the world would be a better place if more dads made hot cocoa for their kids on cold mornings, don't you?

This delicious hot cocoa is not the recipe my grandpa used, but it is rich and sweet, with a light peppermint flavor to make it a little extra special for the Holiday season. It will be perfect for Santa on Christmas Eve, a holiday party or a cold winter morning with your family.

Monday, December 5, 2016

photo credit: Emily Carlin on Flickr
Last year, after spending a weekend with Tamara Rubin, the founder of consumer advocacy nonprofit, Lead Safe America, I came home and wrote an article on lead in vintage Pyrex. And I struck a nerve. This article has been shared thousands of times now--both from people who love it or hate it. 

Then the trolls came. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

This post brought to you by Schneider Electric . The content and opinions expressed below are that of Creative Green Living.
Our farmhouse makeover hit a bit of a hang up this year. All for good reasons, fortunately, but it was a hang up nonetheless. You see, I've always wanted to write a book so when an editor at Skyhorse Publishers asked if I would be interested in writing a cookbook about smoothie bowls I was so excited to get on board (psst, you can order your copy here!). Great for me. Unfortunate for my house. 

Let's just keep the fact that I have lived here for a year now and I still don't have my baseboards installed between you and me, ok? 

One of the things on my very. very. long upgrade list was to get a better thermostat. The thermostat that came with the house was probably extra fancy in the 90's but was not nearly as responsive or easy to use as I wanted it to be. So when Schneider Electric asked if I would be interested in working with them and trying their Wiser Air thermostat in my home I was game!

Wiser Air

The Wiser Air thermostat is available on Amazon (you support this site when you use that link) as well as the Microsoft Store, New Egg, Best Buy and Home Depot. It comes in both black and white and unlike my old clunky thermostat from the 90's, it's smart.

In this case, that means it is capable of learning your schedule and preferences and adjusting its behavior automatically to balance comfort with saving energy (and money!). It has an easy to use smart phone app that can control it as well as a Windows app for use from your windows tablet or computer (it's the only smart thermostat on the market that can say that!)

Set Up

When shopping for smarter thermostats in the past, I got really overwhelmed with the installation instructions - some thermostats even require an electrician to get involved. Luckily, Wiser Air was surprisingly easy to install - no professional help needed!

Please note: This is an overview of the installation process and not intended to be a step-by-step guide. For actual installation instructions of a Wiser Air unit, please see the print instructions or their helpful website for simple installation and setup directions and FAQ.

After turning off the power to your HVAC system (safety first!), Wiser Air has you start by taking a photo of your current thermostat wire set up so you can refer back to it later. 
Then you attach the easy-to-use labels to each wire to help minimize any confusion about what goes where. 
You can either mount the adorable little square unit directly to the wall or if you are like me and upgrading from a dinosaur unit that was big and ugly and left an ugly hole (ahem), you can install the backplate to go with it and cover up any wall damage, paint lines, etc.
Once that's installed you follow the directions to put all the wires in their correct spots. We did have a little confusion with the paper directions regarding the "jumper" portion but luckily Wiser Air has an extremely helpful website and after consulting that, we were no longer confused and finished the install right up.

Using Wiser Air

While you do set some initial parameters for it, the Wiser Air thermostat is a bit like a pet and needs some training and feedback for the first week or so that you are using it - and any time after that if you become uncomfortable with the temperature.

All you have to do it push the up or down arrow to tell it if you are too cold or too warm. You can also tell it to do a "comfort boost" where it will blast warm or cold air for fifteen minutes without changing the self-learned program. You can do that either right on the unit or from the app.

When Wiser Air is working, it will put out a colored, pulsing glow. Blue is for cooling, yellow is for heating and green means the Eco IQ software is working to save energy.

Overall, it's been really easy to use and I'm excited to compare our energy bill from last winter to the bill from this winter (info from my electric company was not yet available at time of writing - I'll keep you updated, though!).

If you're interested in a Wiser Air thermostat, pick it up on Amazon or go here to purchase.

About the Author:

Carissa is a green lifestyle expert and mom of two boys. The owner and lead writer for Creative Green Living,  she is also the author of two e-books including the best-selling beverage cookbook, Infused: Recipes for Herb & Fruit Infused Water, Tea and More and the forthcoming cookbook (spring 2017), Beautiful Smoothie BowlsYou can also find her recipes featured in periodicals like Urban Farm Magazine. Her goal is to empower families to make healthier choices that are easy, taste great and are fun! Follow her on PinterestInstagramTwitter or join the Creative Green Living community group.
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Friday, November 18, 2016

This post is brought to you by Cost Plus World Market.

I had the best Italian grandmother. One of the things my grandma excelled at was making holidays special. She was amazing in the kitchen and often made way more food than we needed. While Grandma was great at cooking all the best traditional Italian foods, she also wasn't afraid to experiment with new recipes.

One of my favorite updated Christmas recipes is Panettone French Toast. Panettone is a traditional Italian bread filled with raisins, candied orange peel and other fruits and it is delicious. This year, Cost Plus World Market asked me to partner with them to show off the recipe - so it's up over on the official World Market blog this week!

When you are in World Market stocking up on great Christmas items this month, be sure to pick up one of the huge variety of panettones they have so that you can make this recipe for your family. They'll be glad you did! 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

This adorable snow globe soap pump is the perfect way to add an unexpected dash of Christmas to the kitchen or bathroom sinks in your home. Throughout the year I keep most of the decor in my home fairly neutral and then swap out accessories like this for different holidays. It makes me smile every time I go to use the kitchen sink!

Bonus: You need ZERO crafting skills to pull off this project!

Monday, November 14, 2016

I made this sign for a friend's daughter after she saw and loved the "Be Creative" sign I made for my office last year. The quote from Cinderella's mom and the words on this sign: Be Kind were what started echoing through my mind following the chaos that came with the results of the 2016 presidential election. These are good words to remember for everyone all year but they seem extra appropriate now.

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to My posts may contain affiliate links to products on Amazon. Thank you for supporting Creative Green Living.
Carissa's Creativity Space ( became Creative Green Living in February 2013. As such the watermarks on many of our old posts may reflect the previous site name.