Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Eco-Friendly Easy Summer Party Ideas

Planning a summer party? You don't have to spend big bucks on fancy centerpieces and place settings. Reuse what you have (and go easy on the earth!) with these environmentally friendly party ideas and simple decor projects. Here are a few projects that I thought were interesting and fun to do.

A simple shopping bag can be recycled into a charming paper basket with just a few snips of the scissors.that I always save and pile up. Really wonder what am I going to with them. I know what your thinking, "I save those and I reuse them can be recycled into a charming paper basket with just a few snips of the scissors. Choose small, colorful paper bags and snip the left and right top corners off; leave a strip about one inch wide and the middle intact. Use double-sided tape or glue to attach the two tabs together to make a handle. Place small containers inside the bags (used plastic deli containers, for example), fill with water, and then arrange some fresh flowers in them. Choose flowers and greenery that complement the colors of the bags.
What a great way to reuse something that we all have. Plus I'm always looking for things that my children can do with me.

Many of the paper plates found in supermarkets are now made from recycled materials, including the chartreuse one (pictured) which is made from recycled yogurt cups. The large charger plate on the bottom is from Bamboo and is made from sustainable bamboo; it looks like a wooden plate, but it is actually made from a fast-growing grass that is surprisingly durable and good-looking. To dress up these plates, use hole punchers of varying sizes to create a pattern around the edge of the plates. Alternate large holes with smaller ones, going around the plate. Use other decorative hole punchers as well, to add stars, hearts and other pretty shapes to your eco-friendly dinnerware. Be creative! You can also use a hole puncher with recycled paper towels to make them into prettier napkins.

Whether the cause is a gust of wind or clumsy hands, terra-cotta pots can break, but that's no reason to throw them away. Recycle the shards into charming ID tags for your next party. They look great on a cheese plate, vegetables, or different dips. Letting guests know what all the treats are. Either use a permanent marker to write directly on the shards or get crafty with a set of alphabet stamps and a permanent-ink pad. Shards can also be used as place cards on tables.
Please let us know the environmental friendly ideas you have used to dress your table that have kept your family and friends talking about as they leave your party.

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Easy Chicken Pasta

Easy Chicken Pasta

What's For Supper Ya'll?

White Beans, Pasta and Chicken
8 ounces dried cavatappi, fusilli, rotini, ditaloni, or other short pasta tubes
1 15- to 19-ounce can cannellini (white kidney) beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chicken broth
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped (about 2 cups)
12 ounces cooked chicken, shredded
1/4 cup snipped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
Fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley sprigs (optional - I usually skip it)
Olive oil (optional - but I recommend at least a little for moisture)
1. In a large saucepan, cook pasta according to package directions; drain well and set aside.
2. In a blender or food processor, combine 3/4 cup of the beans and the chicken broth. Cover and blend or process until smooth. Place bean puree in pan used for cooking the pasta; bring to boiling. Return pasta to pan.
3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook garlic in 1 tablespoon hot olive oil for 1 minute. Add tomatoes; cook for 1 minute. Add the remaining beans, shredded chicken, snipped parsley, pepper and salt. Heat through.
4. Add the tomato mixture to hot pasta; toss to cost. Top with parsley sprigs and additional olive oil. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.
Posted by Stacy Nelson, Easy Dinner

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