Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Earth Day is coming, time to eradicate your yard of everything living!

Warning: Sarcasm Alert!

I got a flyer in the mail the other day from Lowe's. "EARTH DAY SAVINGS AT LOWE'S" was proudly emblazoned across the top with a picture of an woman with immaculate garden gloves holding a plant.
It starts off pretty well on page 1 ("Make Every Day... EARTH DAY!"), with a coupon/ad for an "Eco" sprinkler and hose nozzle "designed to save water and money".  Page 2 ("Innovative, Ergonomic, Earth Friendly"), has a Reel mower and a coupon for lawn and garden products. Still pretty good. Then it starts to go downhill ("Never Use a Broom Outside Again"), with a cordless sweeper that looks like a mini leaf blower and promises to clear your patio and sidewalk with "less effort than sweeping with a push broom". Next, there are 7 pages of various weed and insect killers ("Inspired By Nature, Enhanced By Science"), including Spectracide; "Kills the toughest weed types" "Specialty formulas designed to meet all of your lawn weed needs" "Won't harm lawns when used as directed".  I had to laugh when I flipped to that one. At least they aren't trying to say that it's environmentally responsible. I do think it's an interesting choice for an Earth Day ad though, especially since the product website states the following instructions for disposal;
     If partly filled:  Call you local solid waste agency or 1-800-CLEANUP for disposal instructions.  Never place unused product down any indoor or outdoor drain.
So spray it all over your lawn, but don't even think about pouring it into a drain. Having a green lawn counts as being "green", right? 

To finish off Lowe's celebration of eco-living, they've so thoughtfully included an ad for "Freedom" Vinyl Fencing". How kind. After pouring poison on my lawn, killing all the bugs, scaring away the wildlife, and dumping chemical "food" on my plants, it makes perfect sense that I'd want to surround it all with lead, phthalates, and dioxins. Of course, without that fence, the kids might wander off and get into something dangerous.

Want to read more?
Grist loves Earth Day too
Reusable Bags Blog has been talking about cheap reusables and garbage giveaways
Treehugger's Best of Green 2010 awards
Watch The Story of Bottled Water

Monday, April 19, 2010

Fun with Recipe Modification

I'm not a big recipe user, I usually prefer to fly without navigation in the kitchen. I do get Vegetarian Times though (free subscription, yay!) and the Cabbage Casserole with Leeks, Ricotta, and Pine Nuts recipe from the March 2010 issue (pg 73.) looked really appealing. It is already a gluten-free recipe as written, so all I had to do was mod for dairy. Easy enough.
To replace the ricotta, I pureed a bag of frozen organic peas, about 3/4 cup of organic raw cashews, and a bit of salt in the Vita-Mix until it was the approximate texture that I remembered ricotta to have. Since I added the cashews in there, I omitted the pinenuts from the original recipe. I also sprinkled about 1/3 cup of mozzarella style Daiya cheese on each layer between the leeks and the pea mixture. The peas and cashews were great texturally, and added great color to the finished casserole. They were a teeny bit sweet, which was a nice complement to the flavor of the cabbage, leeks and tomatoes. It held together very nicely, and with the wonderful colors it looked great sliced. I think this would be a recipe that would work well with non-veg friends and family, and it's both tasty and filling. Now I'm curious how it would freeze.
I couldn't find a link to the original recipe on the VT website, but I did find it on RecipeZaar. 

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

No more bleach!!

I just read an article on Science News Online (that I found because of an article on Grist.com) about a non toxic cleaning method for countertops that I found really interesting. I'm not a huge bleach user, but I will begrudgingly resort to it for really stubborn germies. I do, however, use vinegar and peroxide all the time for cleaning, just not together. I'm pretty impressed at the exponential disinfecting power acheived when using them at the same time. I will be retiring the bleach immediately, and making up a bottle each of vinegar and peroxide, and using them with the cloth wipes that I keep in an easy to reach place in the kitchen. 

I've also been so into the cleaning recipes that can be found in Make Your Place (affordable, sustainable nesting skills). It's a really sweet little book, written in a very familiar and comfortable tone. I found it at my local library, but now that I've seen what a great resource it is, it's on my list. If you can't find it locally, it's available at amazon.com, where it can be found for just $7, about the same price of a container of Clorox wipes (that you will never need to use since now you know how to make better ones for less!).

Monday, April 12, 2010

I'm an Ambassador!

I've been such a huge supporter of companies and organizations that are dedicated to providing safe products and information about reducing waste and toxins in our home. When I heard that one of my favorite sources of green gear, Reusablebags.com, was looking for people to join their ambassador program, I wrote them right away.
I'm proud to be teamed up with such a great company, and hope that as part of their program, I can help spread the word about reusables just a little bit further.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Mmmm, this is good! And Yummy! Can I have some more please?

We've been incorporating more raw foods into our diet, and I've also been trying to change the cold cereal for breakfast every morning routine. So, when a friend talked about the Raw Chia Pudding that she's been making, I decided to make it for this morning's breakfast. I made the recipe exactly as written, except for adding a tiny bit more sweetener and about an inch long piece of an organic vanilla bean.
It is so good, and super quick to prepare. The kids were thrilled, they ate two bowls so quickly that I didn't have time to grab the camera to catch their huge smiles. Henry asked me to make it every day, so I'll be sure to have the camera at the ready next time.
If you've ever thought about trying a raw recipe, this would be an excellent one to start with! Chia has tons of antioxidants, amino acids, and EFA (especially omega-3). It also is full of fiber! I'm looking forward to trying some more new recipes soon!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Oh, the things I can do!

Highlights of my past week's accomplishments;
Typed with both hands, ate with a fork, cut my own nails, cut the kids nails, folded laundry, used a key to open the front door, scratched an itch on my left shoulder, put Juni's hair in a ponytail. But, the one that I was most excited by is something that I haven't been able to do in quite a while...
I used chopsticks!!
With no numbness, pain, or weakness!
I still can't fully straighten my arm, and have a lot of strengthening to do, but it's amazing how much more I can do now. I started physical therapy this morning, and will be going twice a week for a while. Over a year of reduced function will take a while to rebuild, but I've seen so much progress in just the past week that I'm fairly certain that I'll be where I want to be before long.