Green your 4th

Here's to a fabulous 4th of July Holiday - we hope you take the time to enjoy the joy of summer this Independence day weekend! For some easy ideas how to make your holiday red, white and green consider this:
  • Buy local produce from farm stands and green markets.
  • Eat less meat. Try the Portobello mushroom burger recipe below in lieu of that hamburger.
  • Make a bonfire using old docks, broken tree limbs or other wood trash.
  • Get an eco-friendly cooler, a great product to keep food cold.
  • Use biodegradable plates and utensils for your picnic or bbq at home or at the park.
  • Turn off the AC indoors while your party is going on outdoors. Doors will be opening and closing - save the energy and money.
  • Recycle! There will be cans, bottles, plates and all the fun stuff to go along with that fabulous fete - recycling is a no brainer, but it's the greenest thing you can do this 4th!
  • While you can't escape them - those oh-so-festive fireworks are decidedly un-green. Noxious chemicals, gunpowder and fall dust are definite no-no's. Opt for festive fabric or paper streamers. Maybe even try to talk your neighborhood organizers into Sekon biodegradable non-gunpowder "air launch" fireworks for next year's show.

Grilled Portobello Burgers with Piquillo Pepper Aïoli and Watercress
via epicurious

1/2 cup chopped drained piquillo peppers or roasted red peppers from jar
1 tablespoon Sherry wine vinegar
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup purchased mayonnaise
Cayenne pepper

6 large portobello mushrooms, stemmed, dark gills scraped out
1 sweet onion (such as Vidalia or Walla Walla), cut into 1/3-inch-thick slices
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 large garlic clove, minced
8 ounces Idiazábal or smoked Gouda cheese, rind trimmed, thinly sliced
6 sourdough rolls (each about 4 inches in diameter), halved horizontally
1 bunch watercress, stems trimmed


For aioli:
Puree first 4 ingredients in mini processor. Transfer to small bowl. Whisk in mayonnaise; season with salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. DO AHEAD: Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover; chill.

For mushrooms:
Arrange mushroom caps and onion slices on baking sheet; brush both sides with oil, then sprinkle with salt, pepper, and thyme. Turn mushrooms, gill side up, and sprinkle with garlic. Let stand at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Place mushrooms, gill side up, and onion slices on rack. Cook until grill marks appear, about 4 minutes. Turn vegetables over, transferring to cooler part of grill. Cover and cook until mushrooms are very tender and onion slices still retain some texture, about 8 minutes. Turn mushrooms, gill side up; top with cheese. Arrange rolls, cut side down, on grill. Cover; cook until cheese on mushrooms melts and cut sides of rolls are golden, about 1 minute longer.

Arrange roll bottoms on plates; spread with aioli. Top each with mushroom, onion slice, and watercress. Spread cut side of roll tops with aioli; press onto watercress.

And of course, a few diy ideas to spruce up your holiday table. Clockwise from top left: ring tones napkin rings , easy sand candles , fourth of July votives , and can-do cans

Heading to a party this weekend? Don't go empty handed...download this fab freebie 4th of July inspired gift tag at Vale Design. Thanks Erin!

However you may celebrate this year - enjoy with family and friends!

Images via flickr, Branch, Martha Stewart Living, Vale Design

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