Ooops, didn't get this up yesterday.
Here are 3 things that I do to help the environment when I'm in my kitchen.
The first is that I'm currently in the middle of a project of re-purposing our empty beer bottles into water bottles for parties. I'm using these dishwasher safe paints and writing both Water and Tea is various languages. I can then fill them up before parties with either filtered water or iced tea. I'm going to recap them using home-brewing supplies.
We usually go through lots of water when we have people over and plastic bottles are bad, bad, bad for the environment. Peter Gleick (a water expert) claims that each bottle requires so much energy to produce, fill and transport that "It would be like filling up a quarter of every bottle with oil." We do put out pitchers of water and that is good, but these bottles are kind of fun and I think it would get some people thinking about how bad plastic bottles are for the environment.
The next environmentally friendly thing we do is use our pressure cooker. Lots.
I love this thing. Really and truly I do. It can cook anything (like this Indian vegetable soup) in almost half the time. I cook whole chickens and pot roasts that turn out really moist and tender. It works wonderfully for all dried beans and lentils and stuff like that. I even cook brown rice in there (because I cook it like pasta and drain off the water). It is the best money we've ever spent on anything.
We use it at least twice a week. Sometimes twice a day. I use it to cook Kitchari, which is made from brown rice, red lentils and Indian spices. You can find the recipe here, but I double the amount of dried spices; it's a bit bland otherwise. I just made this for craft day and everyone loved it.
Which leads to another thing we do... eat low on the food chain. The more of your diet that is grains, vegetables and legumes, the smaller your impact on the earth. It just takes more energy to grow a cow than a soybean. We aren't vegetarians, but we do try to make the majority of our meals plant based, not animals based. Speaking of, here is another one of my favorite recipes that's super easy to do with a pressure cooker (and not too bad without one, if you're interested)... Enfrijoladas by Rick Bayless. We do the version that doesn't use the avocado leaves, but uses the chipotles in ancho sauce instead. This uses chorizo sausage, which I absolutely love, and they carry at Whole Foods. It adds so much flavor, but doesn't make up the majority of the meal.
Because we cook this way, I have lots of mason jars filled with various grains, pastas and legumes. I'm currently writing the weights of these jars on the bottom of each, so I can use them to fill directly from the bulk bins. The cashier can tare them and ring me up. No bags wasted in transporting it from store to my kitchen.