U.S. – China Greener Consumption Forum: Power of the Purse to Protect the Planet

I strongly believe in the expression that we vote every time we choose how we spend our money – whether that is buying one product over another or opting to not buy anything at all. We vote on public and private policies. We vote on belief systems. We vote on integrity. We vote with our purses, and I mean that literally since most of the consumer purchasing power in this country belongs to women.

US - China Greener Consumption Forum

U.S. – China Greener Consumption Forum

On March 22, for the first time, people – leading consumer advocates, green entrepreneurs, scientists and public policy specialists – from the United States and China will come together at the World Bank in Washington D.C. to demonstrate the power of their collective purse through the U.S. – China Greener Consumption Forum. Why is this so important?

  • In the U.S., women influence at least 80% of all consumer decisions.
  • In China, women contribute about half of all household income and influence more than half of all purchasing decisions.
  • Two two “consumer super powers” who rely heavily on women to make purchasing decisions. What better way to reach those who can make a real difference on climate change and the environment through their power of the purse?
  • This event brings women together to lead the way for positive change and a healthier planet for us all. Participants in the forum are not only ready to make change happen, but they are ready to inspire and motivate others to do so as well!

What Will This Conversation Around Harnessing the Power of the Purse Look Like?

It begins with the impressive list of speakers that will be attending the forum. From the Director of Product Marketing for EPA’s ENERGY STAR Program to the Coalition Manager for the Plastic Pollution Coalition to the most recent former Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, all speakers have power and experience behind their names to bring to the table.

Speakers will be targeting certain topics, including:

  • Highlighting the need to include gender equity in sustainability strategies.
  • Review innovative campaigns that achieved significant changes in consumer behavior, including those that have helped reduce consumption.
  • Showcasing companies that have successfully launched new green products in response to consumer demand.
  • Explore opportunities for women to emerge as the entrepreneurial engine behind the global green economy.

How Do I Join In The Conversation?

What Can I Do Outside the Forum?

  • Educate yourself and others with the best resources available.
  • Like the official Facebook page and join in the continued the conversation there after the event.
  • Become conscientious buyers. Think about the imprint a purchase makes on the world through its production, use, and after it no longer has any.
  • As always, share, share, share. If we can all touch one person, think of the impact this event could make!

What do you hope comes from this forum?
Were you aware that Chinese women share the burden to do better by our planet the same way we do?
Are you concerned about the horrific pollution in places like Beijing affects our own weather patterns?
What is one question you would like to ask the speakers of this forum if you had the chance?

The Ancient Supergrain: 500 Best Quinoa Recipes


Quinoa, the ancient supergrain, has had it’s share in the spotlight lately. It has been a staple in the Andes (Bolivia and Peru) region of South America for thousands of years, but has only recently found it’s place in the mainstream of Western culture and food trends. This is where problems can lie.

Our sudden desire to be “healthy” and try the “next big thing” in food drove prices of quinoa through the roof. This potentially could have led to the farmers, and other Andean locals, no longer able to afford the staple of their diet so they began to eat less healthfully. The real crux of the issue is much more complicated than some recent articles make it sound.

Quinoa farmers deserve fair trade wages. Many receive them and are thrilled with the new prices. This doesn’t mean they are spending their own money on their old standby crop. My response to all of the criticism is to pay attention to the sourcing of your quinoa, but keep eating it. Keep buying it. And keep trying to find new ways to enjoy its deliciousness.

500 Best Quinoa Recipes

500 Best Quinoa Recipes

Excerpted from 500 Best Quinoa Recipes by Camilla V. Saulsbury © 2012 www.robertrose.ca Photos by Colin Erricson. May not be reprinted without publisher permission.

This new cookbook by Camilla Saulsbury, 500 Best Quinoa Recipes, has some amazing recipes all with quinoa. From breakfast to dessert and everything in between, there is something in here (and most likely multiple somethings) to please everyone.

Peanut Butter Quinoa Granola

Excerpted from 500 Best Quinoa Recipes by Camilla V. Saulsbury © 2012 www.robertrose.ca Photos by Colin Erricson. May not be reprinted without publisher permission.

Peanut Butter and Quinoa Granola (page 35)

I have fond memories of my mother’s homemade granola, rich with nuts, honey and toasted oats. My version ups the flavor and nutrition ante with quinoa, peanut butter and dried cranberries. Spoon it up with milk, sprinkle it on yogurt or pack a handful in a small plastic bag for a mid-morning boost.

Any unsweetened natural nut or seed butter (such as cashew, almond, sunflower seed or tahini) may be used in place of the peanut butter.

• Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C)
• Large rimmed baking sheet, lined with parchment paper
2 cups large-flake (old-fashioned) rolled oats 500 mL
(certified GF, if needed)
3⁄4 cup quinoa, rinsed 175 mL
3⁄4 cup lightly salted roasted peanuts, coarsely 175 mL
1⁄2 tsp fine sea salt 2 mL
1⁄2 tsp ground cinnamon 2 mL
1⁄4 cup natural cane sugar or packed light 60 mL
brown sugar
1⁄4 cup liquid honey or brown rice syrup 60 mL
1⁄2 cup unsweetened natural peanut butter 125 mL
1⁄3 cup vegetable oil 75 mL
1 tsp vanilla extract (GF, if needed) 5 mL
2⁄3 cup dried cranberries 150 mL

1. In a large bowl, combine oats, quinoa, peanuts, salt and cinnamon.
2. In a small saucepan, combine sugar and honey. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly. Turn off heat and stir in peanut butter, oil and vanilla until blended.
3. Pour peanut butter mixture over oat mixture and stir until coated. Spread mixture in a single layer on prepared baking sheet.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes, stirring twice, until golden brown. Let cool completely on pan.
5. Transfer granola to an airtight container and stir in cranberries. Store at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

Makes about 4 cups (1 L)

Excerpted from 500 Best Quinoa Recipes by Camilla V. Saulsbury © 2012 www.robertrose.ca Photos by Colin Erricson. May not be reprinted without publisher permission.

Shepherds Pie Sweet Potato Mash

Excerpted from 500 Best Quinoa Recipes by Camilla V. Saulsbury © 2012 www.robertrose.ca Photos by Colin Erricson. May not be reprinted without publisher permission.

Shepherd’s Pie with Sweet Potato Mash (page 262)

Drawing inspiration from the shepherd’s pie my mother made (and I loved) throughout my childhood, I developed this newfangled vegetarian “pie.” Meaty mushrooms and quinoa comprise the filling, and a sprinkle of sharp Cheddar cheese tops all.

Storage Tip
Store the pie tightly covered with foil or plastic wrap in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat individual-sized portions in the microwave on Medium (50%) for 11⁄2 to 2 minutes or until warmed through.

• Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C)
• 8-cup (2 L) baking dish, sprayed with nonstick cooking spray

2 tbsp unsalted butter, divided 30 mL
11⁄4 cups chopped onions 300 mL
12 oz cremini or button mushrooms, halved (or 375 g
quartered if large)
3 cloves garlic, minced 3
2 tsp dried thyme 10 mL
1 can (14 to 15 oz/398 to 425 mL) tomato purée 1
1⁄2 cup dry red wine 125 mL
3 cups hot cooked quinoa (see page 10) 750 mL
Fine sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
11⁄2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks 750 g
1 cup shredded white extra-sharp (extra-old) 250 mL
Cheddar cheese, divided

1. In a large saucepan, melt half the butter over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until starting to soften. Add mushrooms, garlic and thyme; cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until mushrooms release their liquid.
2. Stir in tomato purée and wine; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in quinoa. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon into prepared baking dish.
3. Meanwhile, place sweet potatoes in a large pot of cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-high and boil for 15 to 20 minutes or until sweet potatoes are very tender. Drain, reserving 1⁄4 cup (60 mL) cooking water. Return sweet potatoes and reserved water to the pot, along with the remaining butter; mash until smooth. Stir in half the cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spread over quinoa mixture and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted and golden brown.

Makes 6 servings

Excerpted from 500 Best Quinoa Recipes by Camilla V. Saulsbury © 2012 www.robertrose.ca Photos by Colin Erricson. May not be reprinted without publisher permission.

Quinoa Almond Butter Blondies

Excerpted from 500 Best Quinoa Recipes by Camilla V. Saulsbury © 2012 www.robertrose.ca Photos by Colin Erricson. May not be reprinted without publisher permission.

Quinoa Almond Butter Blondies (page 482)

The brownie has legions of loyal fans, but the blondie has equally steadfast enthusiasts. The reasons are clearer than ever with this quinoa interpretation: a chewy, nutty butterscotch bar, enriched with cashew butter and highly transportable to boot.

Other natural nut or seed butters, such as peanut, almond or sunflower, or tahini, may be used in place of the cashew butter.

Storage Tip
Store the cooled blondies in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

• Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C)
• 8-inch (20 cm) square metal baking pan, sprayed with nonstick cooking spray

11⁄4 cups quinoa flour 300 mL
1 tsp baking powder (GF, if needed) 5 mL
1⁄2 tsp fine sea salt 2 mL
1⁄2 cup unsweetened natural almond butter 125 mL
1⁄4 cup unsalted butter, softened 60 mL
1 cup natural cane sugar or packed light brown 250 mL
1⁄2 cup brown rice syrup or pure maple syrup 125 mL
2 large eggs 2
1 tsp vanilla extract (GF, if needed) 5 mL

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together quinoa flour, baking powder and salt.
2. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat almond butter and butter until fluffy. Beat in sugar and brown rice syrup until blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla until smooth. Using a wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture until just blended.
3. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 28 to 32 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Cut into 16 squares.

Makes 16 blondies

Excerpted from 500 Best Quinoa Recipes by Camilla V. Saulsbury © 2012 www.robertrose.ca Photos by Colin Erricson. May not be reprinted without publisher permission.

I was sent a copy of 500 Best Quinoa Recipes for my review. My opinions are my own as they can never be bought.


Which of these recipes look the best to you?

Hyatt at Olive 8 – Eco-Friendly Luxury Hotel in Seattle

Hyatt at Olive 8 - Eco-Friendly Luxury Hotel

Hyatt at Olive 8 – Eco-Friendly Luxury Hotel

So imagine this… You get it into your head to visit a city where you have never had the pleasure to spend a night in a hotel, but know it well enough to have plans for your days. Where do you begin to search for where your weary head may rest at night?

There are always a few considerations that are priorities for any individual, couple, or family – which may depend on what the reason for your travels may be. When I travel with one or more of my children, I look for convenience to daily attractions, eco-friendly amenities and business practices, and comfort.

This is what I scoured Seattle for when planning my 6-year-old’s birthday experience. What I found in the Hyatt at Olive 8 exceeded my expectations on all accounts and once I found it, I knew we must stay there.

I like secrets, surprises really. I like to meticulously calculate arrangements on the sly and surprise my friends and family with the unexpected. I like the romance and intrigue of an artfully executed event. I love the look on a little face when all my work pays off and the dreams he never even knew he had come true.

Don’t tell me that looking toward that magnificent building you heart doesn’t go just a little pitter-patter.

We entered a land where Eloise was a boy prince and a grateful, gracious, and excited one at that. He marveled as I checked us in. I marveled at how well the staff treated my boy. Nothing makes a mama happier than to see her child treated like a person, with thoughts and feelings of his own. That was a continuous theme throughout our stay and it made it all the more sweeter.

The Hyatt at Olive 8, An Eco-Friendly Luxury Hotel

Almost All The Truth - Hyatt at Olive 8

Arriving at The Hyatt at Olive 8

Almost all The Truth - Eco-Friendly Energy Usage Olive 8

Eco-Friendly Energy Usage Olive 8. This was an ingenious use for your room card to reduce energy usage while you were away. If the card wasn’t in the slot, then the lights would turn off!

Almost all The Truth - Entryway Olive 8

Gorgeous entryway to our room at Olive 8.

Almost all The Truth - Lounge Chair at Olive 8

Lounging. He was ready to go, I was ready to kick off my walking shoes for a wee bit.

Almost all The Truth - The Sitting Area at Olive 8

The sitting area of our room. Perfect for when he was ready to go to bed a little early (or wake up a little early). With large windows of light and views!

Almost All The Truth - Wet Bar at Olive 8

The wet bar. Otherwise known as the most enticing place I have ever made coffee in a hotel room.

Almost all The Truth - A Bathroom I Could Live In Olive 8

This is a bathroom I could probably live in. With an enormous walk-in glass shower, a tub fit for a very fat king, we thoroughly enjoyed relaxing in this room.

Almost All Truth - Relaxing Bathroom Olive 8

Why yes that is a tv inlaid into the mirror in the bathroom so I could watch the presidential debates while getting ready and kid could watch cartoon in the sitting room. Definitely enjoyed the eco-friendly touches in how they care for their customers and their employees in this room too.

Almost all The Truth - My Boy Resting at Olive 8

Loving his cartoon watching time while I am getting ready in the bathroom.

Almost All The Truth - Luxurious BEdroom at Olive 8

Ah, the bed. Luxurious comfort after a day’s activities.

The Hyatt at Olive 8 - Saline Pool

The saline pool was one of the best features of all. We spent hours in the pool and, probably because it was October, had almost the whole thing to ourselves. So fun and without the nasty chlorine!

The Hyatt at Olive 8 Green Roof

This 8,355 square foot green rooftop, is one of the largest in downtown Seattle.


The Hyatt at Olive 8, Eco-Friendly By The Numbers

  • Hyatt at Olive 8 is the first LEED certified hotel in Seattle and the first for Hyatt Hotels Corporation.
  • 2.4 million gallons of water are saved each year by low-flow plumbing fixtures, a low-chemical mechanical water system and other LEED-driven efforts.
  • 20 percent of the building materials are made of recycled content.
  • 29 percent less waste water is used by the hotel’s dual flush toilets, as compared to traditional, single-flush toilets.
  • 36 percent less water is used overall as compared to a non-LEED certified building of similar size and scope.
  • 95 percent of construction waste was diverted from landfills.
  • 100 percent of the paint, solvent and carpeting contain low- or no-VOC.
  • Committed to green housekeeping practices with Green Seal-approved low-VOC cleaners and offers guests 100 percent toxin-free dry-cleaning services.
  • Hyatt at Olive 8 employs comprehensive programs to minimize its environmental footprint, including food composting, in-room recycling containers and food bank donations.
  • Innovative environmental extras like room key-controlled Watt Stopper, Inc. light switches keep lights on when the room is in use, and off when it is not.

Do we have your attention yet? Just wait until I tell you about their on-site restaurant tomorrow. You will be on the next train to Seattle in no time!

Join the conversation:
1. Which aspect of the Hyatt at Olive 8 is most striking to you? 
2. What eco-friendly practices are most important to you when traveling?
3. What do you look for in a hotel?

Hyatt at Olive 8 graciously extended a reduced room rate and I was asked for nothing in return. All opinions expressed here are my own. I really loved our stay here and can’t wait to go back some day.

Other Links That May be of Interest About Our Seattle Travels:

Eco-Friendly Seattle Trip – The Beginning
Give Experiences Over Things
Making Eco-Friendly Memories
The Train is Part of the Journey
Great Eco-Friendly Summer Road Trip