Saturday, June 30, 2007

a perfect day for banana peppers

local food month is nearly upon us, and it's caught me with an empty pantry! eek! better get cracking on the grocery front pretty soon. i seemed to be too late for eggs or berries at the farmer's market this morning, but was able to procure: peaches mushrooms mushroom patties tomatoes kerr's pink potaotoes fresh goat cheese baby crookneck squash AND banana peppers i already have an idea up my sleeve for the little squashes, courtesy of lolo over at veganyumyum. mmm, basalmic glaze. but what the heck do i do with banana peppers? they were totally an impulse score. my 3 minutes of googling tell me you can stuff them, or pickle them to make pepperoncinis. great. and all the recipes i found use sausage. huh. well, i've never been too shy about experimenting, but if you're bursting at the seams with great recipes for banana peppers, let's hear them! also, for those in the area, i'd love to hear any tips you might have for u-pick berries. i know they're out there, but where? i don't get out of bloomington too often, but would love to do so in order to score a lot of berries for a good price. anywhere between indianapolis and french lick would be fantastic, but within monroe county would be even better. thanks, pals!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

bloomingfoods news

hey! the westside bloomingfoods is having their "soft" opening on july 4. dare brave the crowds? no, seriously. the parade will be right there. crowds are bound to be had. too bad i can't send you to the herald-times article about it. apparently, they're planning on putting outdoor fruit stands under the new awnings, and there's plenty of room to spread out and eat your blackened tofu sandwiches. pictures here. yay!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

easy does it.

o, sweet siren song of convenience foods! i've fallen prey to your cursed lure. last night, with "nothing" in the house for dinner, i took a swing by the old sahara mart to pick up a few fixings to make up a nice tomato salad (tomatoes we had - thanks tuesday market!). boca chicken patties were on sale. mmm, fake chicken patties. a girl, after another 10-hour workday, will sometimes succomb to convenience foods lately abandoned. yes, they're encased in plastic. yes, they have food ingredients not found in nature. oh, well.
when i was a kid (before the age of 19 or 20, when i went vegetarian), my parents used to get chicken patties from costco and i would eat those suckers UP. with barbeque sauce. tonight i slathered a little barbeque sauce on and took a tasty, vegetarian, trip down memory lane.
potatoes are really starting to come back out. last weekend at the market, i found a potato vendor who just beamed with pride at his tubers. when i asked which of two varieties would be best for pan-frying, our favorite potato preparation, he said either one, so i chose the pink. the farmer himself said he preferred them "just steamed," but that seems like crazy talk to me. bring on the fat and the crispy brown bits!
had no idea they'd be pink in the middle, too. there's a lot to learn in the world of potatoes.

Monday, June 25, 2007

and a one and a two...

...just a short note here before i carry myself off to bed. we've been getting the sopranos from the library, so we watched an episode around 10, then i had to make a reasoned and measured comment on another blog, and time slips byyy so quickly when you have to get up eaarrly. see? i'm getting a little punchy anyway. we decided, after working with a $70/week budget for groceries for a few months now, to go to $80/week. it only makes sense. with the lower budget, if i'm not right on top of things, there's nothing in the house for quick lunches and snacks, and that means spending more money elsewhere. better to have something on hand, and to not worry about stretching that money for the last half of the week. it takes some work to feed two people on $70/week, and time is running short right now, with the 50-hour weeks i'll be putting in until mid-july. i love my work, and it's worth it, but i'm tired! and it's too hot to bake! wait, did i mention it's hot here? ah, yes. i believe i did. my participation in local food month shouldn't suffer too much from the workload, but it might include a lot of local bagels from the shop across the street. and, when it comes down to it, a little local-ish bourbon doesn't hurt, either. that's after i get home, of course. news to me: seagram's gin is located, partially, at least, in lawrenceburg, indiana. if only there was hoosier tonic...

Saturday, June 23, 2007

pasta is easy.

my favorite comfort food, when i'm all alone with no one to judge the carb intake, is buttered noodles with a bunch of chopped garlic thrown in. mmm. and cheese. and maybe with some buttery garlic bread. or bread with pesto. fat + carbs = delicious! tonight we went a little above and beyond naked noodles. have to make up for our lack of veggies last night, after all. first, a green salad with lettuce from the garden. lettuce, we got. then, pasta with broccoli and grilled portobellos.

and garlic bread. mmm....garlic bread. the above would have been really delicious with a grilled red pepper as well, but the time for peppers has not yet arrived around these parts.

rotini with broccoli and grilled portobellos

1 big head broccoli

enough pasta to give you an acceptable broc:pasta ratio

a few cloves garlic

2-3 large portobello mushroom caps

1 cup grated hard cheese of your liking. or soft cheese. it's your dinner.

the usual: olive oil, salt, pepper, red pepper flake

chop broccoli into little trees and tree rings. chop 1-2 cloves of garlic. heat 1 tablespoon oil (i guess - i never measure) over medium-high heat. when hot, throw broccoli and garlic inside. season with salt, pepper, and pepper flake to taste. cook until crisp-tender, or just before. set aside.

put water on to boil. clean portobellos. heat grill to over medium heat. when water comes to a boil, salt and drop pasta. place portobellos on grill, and let cook 4-5 minutes on each side. your pasta should be done about the same time. place broccoli pan back on medium-high heat and add a small ladle of pasta water. add most of your cheese. drain pasta, toss with broccoli, and place sliced mushrooms over the top. mmm!

for the garlic bread, i just toasted up some slices and rubbed with a cut garlic clove. then buttered. you don't need to slather on the butter for this to really satisfy.

the garlic, broccoli, and mushrooms were from the farmer's market. the bread is local.

Friday, June 22, 2007

lovely lavender

it's been a long week. next week will be a longer one. i perked myself up from a nap, however, to make a little dinner.
readying potatoes and turnips for the pot
smashed with tofu
i did the laziest tofu preparation ever, and it turned out good. first, i cut it into 8 fillets, and put in a hot skillet to remove some moisture. then, cubed and thrown into a pot with soy, hot sauce, maple syrup, sesame oil, nutritional yeast and a little water. just before the potatoes/turnips were done, i drained it in a sieve and tossed in breadcrumbs right over the top. then, back into the skillet with hot peanut oil. mmm. simple, but good. we love tofu and mashed potatoes with caramelized onions, greens, and/or mushrooms. inspired by the farm cafe, in portland. i love that on their website, the picture on the very top is of someone holding a couple palmfuls of dirt. soil. you know. where food comes from. i (heart) the farm. next time you're in pdx, check it out. or the next time i'm in portland, we can go together!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

it's the newest game sensation!

here are the rules: you have a group of ingredients and half an hour to make dinner. you don't have to use them all, but the leftovers MUST be used soon! standard pantry items apply. you have: leftover cooked quinoa 4 egg whites (cracked a few days ago) leftover cooked zucchini turnips cauliflower romano cheese cheddar cheese orzo whole eggs sourdough bread leaf lettuce my entry is submitted below.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

a time to bake

thought i'd take advantage of the forecasted lows in the low 50's tonight and make a loaf of bread. this whole wild yeast thing is mystifying. after the second rise, everything got all sticky and weird, and it hardly rose after that. now it's in a hot oven and will end up as food of some kind or other, i suppose. we're not picky about homemade bread around here. i finished animal, vegetable, miracle, and really enjoyed it. it's a good and different perspective on local eating. the longish section on the merits of meat-eating were valid, if a little off-putting for this vegetarian. still, this family is pasture-raised-itarian, which is something i can get behind. though i decide not to eat meat, for my own varied reasons, the rhetoric of "meat is murder" doesn't ring true to me. how can you tell an inuit not to eat animal flesh during the winter? are you going to ask tibetans in the himalaya to give up their yaks? nope. but we don't need to eat cheap chickens raised in misery, either. *edit the next day: what i really mean is that i don't get the moral absolutism that says that using an animal for food (flesh or byproduct) is always wrong.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

hooray for tuesday market!

last night, i started out feeling kind of badly about our evening meal. i got home at 6 after a rousing 10-hour day of work (3 hours of which i spent walking around rapidly, in heels), and it seemed like we had "nothing to eat." after a quick perusal of the cupboard and fridge, i made quesadillas and big salads. about halfway through the salad i wished were a little smaller, it dawned on me that if salad and quesadillas were our lazy route, that we weren't doing too badly overall. you can't beat yourself up over little things like this, people. kelley says: enjoy your cheese.
today, a boon to the crisper drawer with the tuesday market:

no turnip greens because these are the last turnips of the season, and according to the farmer, turnips greens and hot sun don't mix too well. these crayola-yellow zucchini seem new to me - they're the color of a patty pan, maybe. the flavor is a little different than green, though it's hard to say how. maybe a little more refined?

and i got a big bag of peaches. oh, peaches. so far this season, i'm running on ignorance when it comes to fruits. this big freeze we had late in the season killed a lot of stone fruit and berries, so a lot of what's left may be sprayed or trucked in for all i know. because i haven't asked. i just scoop them up and eat them with homemade yogurt, and it doesn't get much better than that. what to do with this big bag? that remains to be seen. peach sorbet? some sort of baked peach dessert? if all else fails, i'll just freeze them. or eat them all. a girl can't be blamed.

but sooner or later, questions will need to be asked.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

i'm hot.

well, it's cooled down in the house from 87 to 86 at 11:30pm. the house is normally cool in the mornings, and traps heat in the late afternoon. we put our little window air conditioner in the bedroom, and i was loathe to leave that comfort. indiana summers and portland summers (you can't really lump all of oregon together, climate-wise) are two completely different seasons. in portland, you get a few muggy days thrown in, wherein everyone walks around with wrinkled-up noses: man! it's MUGgy today! here, you get about three months straight of heat and humidity that would send the average portlander straight to the air-conditioned movie theater. likely an air-conditioned movie theater that serves beer.

excuse me while i feel homesick for a moment.

...okay, thanks.

gee, what can a girl do to beat the heat?

chocolate-covered cherry ice cream? don't mind if i do!

i skipped the cream with this one, and made a custard with 2% milk. there's enough of a difference that you can tell the texture is more coarse, even in this picture here. full-cream is definitely a lovely and decadent thing, but you can't eat that stuff all summer long. especially if you feel the need to break out the ice cream maker twice a week or so.

for dinner, i made fake fried chicken from scratch (vital wheat gluten, mixed with water, kneaded, and simmered in broth, breaded, pan-fried, voila!) from la dolce vegan. served it with a spicy portobello gravy and couscous. baking powder biscuits would have been perfect.

maybe we'll have a break in the weather so i can bake. come on, thunderstorms! do your stuff!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

what else?

what did the vegetarian bring to the barbeque?

salad, of course! here you see bulk orzo, imported pecorino romano, local basil, tomatoes, onions, garlic, and peas, and stupidly un-local carrots. oh, well. still, it should be pretty tasty!

just a tip to you practicing omnivores out there: when we say don't go to any trouble for us, we mean it! all we really need to know before coming over for a meal at your house is if we should bring anything. really. it's fine. and tell us if there's bacon in the baked beans.

at the market this morning, i got a chinese cabbage that's a lot like bok choi, but i can't for the life of me remember the name. it was similar. tok choi? there are about 2 references to tok choi when googled. anyways, it's spread wide, with smaller leaves in the center. the seller told me it has more nutrients. well, all right! looks like bugs got to it before i did, but that's never really deterred me before.

a couple quotes for you from animal, vegetable, miracle:

In a country where 5 percent of the world's population glugs down a quarter of all the fuel, also belching out much of the world's waste and pollution, we've apparently made big choices about consumption. They could be up for review.


But sticking it to the Man (whoever he is) may not be the most inspired principle around which to organize one's life....Food is the rare moral arena in which the ethical choice is generally the one more likely to make you groan with pleasure. Why resist that?

in other words (by kelley): wait! the tomatoes will come!

Friday, June 15, 2007

local food challenge

so! our friend over at crunchy chicken has double-dared her readers and low impact week-ers to another challenge: local food month. here's the official blurb: During the month of July you're going to increase your consumption of locally and sustainably grown food and decrease your consumption of imported and packaged food. You choose the level of participation you want to do. cool! this comes just as animal, vegetable, miracle came up in my library hold queue. it should prove to be a great inspiration as my busiest time of the year comes up at work, and leaves me with a little less willpower, i'm sure, than usual. this book is a non-fiction work by barbara kingsolver (author of the poisonwood bible, notably) about a year their family spent in touch with their own food, eating locally, producing as much of it as possible, and...i guess i'll find out what else. i've only finished the introductory chapters. next? "march: waiting for asparagus." my new vegetarian times came in the mail today, and i threw it on the table and went for this book. that's saying something. what level of "local" will i be shooting for within the challenge? let's see. the "100-mile" provision is kind of out for me, because i have no idea where these small towns in indiana are. i'll do my best to research a little when i get home from the farmer's market, though. let's make a list! excellent: monroe county. counties immediately surrounding or at least close: lawrence, brown, martin, morgan, greene, owen. see how good i'm getting at counties? all right, i totally google imaged a map. but i'm getting better. good: surrounding states: anywhere in indiana, illinois, kentucky, or western ohio. pushing it: great lake states. naughty: the eastern united states outside a day's drive. no way: anything from outside these united states. how's that for local? i may not be completely strict on all of these points. right now, i will absolutely NOT commit to skipping coffee. nooooo. we will buy fair trade, locally-roasted beans. if all else fails, we'll buy from local businesses. and we'll do it all on $70/week. and the new bloomingfoods will be open! oh, be still, my beating stomach! i can't wait to see the bulk section! yeah, i'm a nerd.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

sports are terrible.

if you like sports, you're really in for heartache about 99% of the time. luckilly, my number one team, the portland trailblazers, is in for a heckuva year coming up with the first draft pick in a few weeks. that doesn't have anything to do with food, but i'm just saying. my heart is heavy right now. poor lebron. he, and his team, just aren't there yet. stupid lousy spurs. i got la dolce vegan from the library today and should be testing a few recipes soon. but, alas, for now, my dear husband is waiting for me to get ready for bed. and i won't disapoint. because i am ti-red. or ti-erd. love and smooches, kelley

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

another bloomington coffee roasters update

before i forget... they were at the tuesday market today, so i asked if they would be coming each week. answer: yes next week, no to the next two weeks after that, and yes after that point. follow? same thing for the big market on saturday. in other words, seems she won't be around the last week of june or first week of july, but will be at tuesday and saturday markets other than that. yay for coffee!

Monday, June 11, 2007

now we know they work.

i was just sitting down to my special blog time, without much knowing what i was going to blog about, when my dear husband called from the other room. it's garbage/recycling night, and he was doing his trash-gathering thing, including the removal of our very first biobag. (yes, we have chores divided up very much along traditional gender roles. he takes out the trash. i do the laundry. we're okay with it.) fortunately or unfortunately, the biobag was already partially disintegrated inside the trash can. we had to double-bag. now, that's a troubling thought: we either have to double bag, or take the trash out twice as often. if the bag is disintegrating before a week is out, the raccoons are just going to have a field day with what they knock over. we only put the garbage out for pickup every 3 weeks or so. hm. well, it's better than plastic entombing our garbage forevermore. biobags are still pretty cool in my book. just be forewarned. now that the oven is back in action, i've been trying out a few new things i've seen on the internets in the meantime. case in point: oreo-esque cookies from smitten kitchen.

note the spot where a "trial" cookie came from. sometimes a girl can't wait to perform a quality check.


there are really no beauty shots of these, because i wasn't really paying much attention to aesthetics while frosting. it was halftime of the cavs-spurs game, and i had heavy thoughts hanging over my head. then i ate cookies, and life was a little better!

these didn't add up to my ideal due to a pre-heating snafu, but, heck. they taste good. actually, i might go have one right now. maybe. i. will.

another update for local folks

check out this event promoting local food in bloomington june 16th. it includes a sneak peek of the new westside bloomingfoods, which i am VERY excited to see. here's the body of the e-mail i just got: The City of bloomington commission on sustainabilitypresents the innaugural LOCAL FOODS TOUR! Saturday, June 161:00 pm - 5:00 pm The Bloomington Commission on Sustainability promotes sustainable economic development, environmental health, and social equity in our community for present and future generations. We are organizing a series of "Sustainability Tours" modeled after the popular Garden Walks to educate and illustrate sustainable practices and policies. The goal of this event is to educate, demonstrate and raise awareness that growing, consuming and supporting local food contributes to the sustainability of Bloomington. What are some of the benefits of local food production? Local food production provides income: purchase supports local business with money retained within the community with people you know. Growing your own food is cheap, or free, even if you don’t own land (e.g. community gardens). Gardening and farming provides exercise, relaxation and recreation. You can more easily know where your food comes from and how it is produced, increasing your connection to the land and your community. Local foods provide a connection to local history, local crops and the human experience. Locally produced foods are fresher, more nutritious, flavorful and healthy. Since many foods don’t ship or store well, you can often find a greater variety of foods when you buy goods grown and sold locally. Production and transport of local foods require less energy and fertilizer inputs, and produce fewer carbon emissions. Local foods help mitigate the social, economic and environmental costs of industrial farming. The inaugural tour (Saturday June 16, 1:00 - 5:00 pm) showcases 10 community sites and focuses on Local Foods. Our goal is to increase the production, demand and consumption of local foods, producing economic, environmental and social equity benefits for the our community. Click here for the flyer (pdf) and map of the Local Foods Tour. More information on Local Food sites: 1. Bloomingfoods Near West Market & Deli (New Store, Pre-opening Tour!). 316 W. 6th St. (former Encore CafĂ© near Farmers Market). Contact: George Huntington (339-4442, 2. Butler Winery (Vineyards and Winemaking Operation). 6200 E. Robinson Rd. (Take Walnut North to light near Griffy Dam/Lower Cascades Park. Turn right on Old 37. Go 3.2 miles, turn right on E. Robinson Rd. Go 2.8 miles to Butler Winery). Contact: Jim Butler (332-6660, 3. Chickens in the City (Urban Chicken Coop). 1001 S. Washington Street. Contact: Judith Sylvester (333-9223, 4. Complex Urban Polycultures (Permaculture). 5421 Kings Road (take first left heading east on 46 (just past Long’s Landing) and it is the 3rd house on left. Garden in front is obvious). Contact Peter Bane or Keith Johnson (335-0383). See 5. Crestmont Community Gardens (Local Community Garden). Crestmont Park, W. 16th St. (head W on 17th St. from Walnut, pass Tri-North on left and take next left on Monroe St. Turn Rt. On 16th St. in Crestmont Park and wind around uphill and gardens will be on left parallel to gravel road). Contact: Michael Simmons (349-3737, 6. MiddleWay Food Works (New and Old Kitchens, USDA grant). At First United Methodist Church, 219 E. 4th St. Contact: Donna Storm (320-9217). 7. Musgrave Orchards (Community Supported Agriculture). 8820 Old State Road 37 (From intersection of Old 37 and Robinson Rd. (see Butler Winery), go north on Old 37. Orchards are on right. Contact: Andy Hamilton (360-3328). See 8. Solar Powered Energy Efficient Home Greenhouse. 134 N. Overhill Dr. (Take East 3rd past High St., left on Overhill (across from Cheeseburger in Paradise) and several blocks in on right, in Green Acres). Contact: Ann Kreilkamp (334-1987 or 337-0192). 9. SPROUTS (IU Campus Community Gardens). SE corner 8th and Fess (just South of IU Memorial Union). Contact Danny Atlas (219-5761, 10. Wylie House (Heirloom Gardens and Seed Saving Project). 307 E. 2nd St. (just east of Lincoln). Contact: Sherry Wise (855-6224). See www.indiana.ed/~linwylie

Sunday, June 10, 2007

bloomington roasters update

hi bloomington coffee fans. i know you're out there! the bloomington roasters girl was back at the market on saturday. she was busy talking to someone else, so i didn't think to ask her about the hiatus. also requested her beans at bloomingfoods, so maybe they'll make room for her if she can keep up with demand.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

sourdough woes

what am i doing wrong with my sourdough? i've been trying to use just my wild culture, which seems to have some bubbly get-up-and-go to it. should i not put the sponge in the fridge? does slow-rising not apply here? i figure, if you're supposed to let the sponge hang out for 8-24 hours, what harm does it do if part of it is in the fridge? maybe i already have an answer. i just hate to leave things out unattended during bug season. the oven is back in commission after more than two weeks (!), and i was raring to bake. last night, i did the long-awaited seitan of greatness. it was good, but not exactly exuding greatness. a little bland. it may be true that i didn't follow the recipe to the letter, however, and i'll definitely try again. if you can handle gluten, seitan is a great option to have in your back pocket. next time i try making bread, i'll put a few tablespoons of vital wheat in the mix as well. ...speaking of the post punk kitchen, (kind of), i made a completly un-veganized version of their vegan soy ice cream recipe last night. tofu was involved. but instead of soy milk, i used regular milk. organic milk, though, vegan friends! that's better than nothing, right? um, yes. so anyways. tofu, milk, sugar , strawberries, (milk) chocolate, and graham crackers. good in theory. not that good with tofu. sorry. it's just not in the cards. tofutti cuties i absolutely love, though, so maybe there's a secret i need to unlock to make it taste like delicious, not like delicious with a tofu aftertaste. until then, i have other flavor delights to try.

Friday, June 8, 2007

cook them burgers real good

enjoying a barbeque this weekend? check your ground beef. it may be recalled. and tahini. i hear tahini burgers are real big right now.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

low impact week day seven: somewhat bummed.

okay, this has nothing to do with low impact week, but the cleveland cavaliers just lost. that's all right. they'll get the next one. but i'm still a little bummed. tonight we went to our favorite pizza place for dinner. they normally serve their salads with a side of dressing in a little lidded plastic cup, which just won't do when you're shooting for NO NEW PLASTIC. i was all ready to explain that a little dollop of dressing on top would be fine, because i'm trying not to use plastic, sorry to bother you, all this business. i really was. then, after we sat down, the waiter swung by to make a confession. "i have to tell you. it's my last day, and i'm hammered." and he was. then he tried to figure out which one of us gets diet coke (neither) (we're regulars.) he remembered our salad orders, though. "one ranch, one blue cheese?" "yep!" after your waiter confesses to being drunk, you just don't make him go out of his way for any reason. you just hope he remembers to bring you your pizza, and with the correct toppings. you don't make a fuss out of how your dressing is served. i asked for a cardboard box, specifically, for the leftovers, and he brought two styrofoam boxes. "oh, sorry, i'm a hippie, i need cardboard," i self-depreciated. "i'll just leave one here," drunk waiter said. that's nice. split the middle. a minute later, he delivered cardboard. good luck in chicago, drunk waiter!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

low impact week day six: plastic-free!

hooray! you know, it's not so hard. you just bring bags with you to the store and shop in bulk. seems simple enough. why can't i do it all the time? it's cheap, too. i got 8 oz. of organic lotion from the bulk section for $2. come on. that's very reasonable. also got a smoothie from a shop that usually only gives out styrofoam cups by asking for a cup "for here." the girl thought i was weird, but that didn't bother me. what bothered me was paying four bucks for 16 oz. of overly-sweet smoothie, when i'd rather just have 8-12 oz. too big! a chatty fellow gardener invited me to a potluck for the center for sustainable living this saturday. if i can remember, i'll try to make it and learn a little more about what they do. apparently, it's an umbrella organization. one of those organizations is BTOP, or, bloomington transportation options for people, which is smack dab in the middle of the biggest bloomington controversy right now. it involves a parking garage. i can't get that excited about parking garages, but the BTOP people are very nice! we had a conversation at the step it up! event about asking for sidewalks. girl can't walk in a ditch.

cupcakes rule.

i would be remiss in my duties if i didn't direct you to click over to my favorite vegan blog (linked at right) to check out her latest entry. wow.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

low impact week day five: progress.

no new plastic today. whew. that meant not getting as many items as we needed at the store, which just translates into another lunchtime walk tomorrow. unless it's pouring. tomorrow i also have to make an unpleasant trip to a local bakery to complain to a manager about the day-old loaf that was sold to me at the market today. $2.50 for a day-old baguette? no thanks! and if they tell me it's not a day old, they'll just be telling me their bread is worse than i thought. so i thought it would be good with some fresh tomatoes. the tomatoes were great. also got some yellow cauliflower. wish i could remember what word the farmer used to describe it. he was very proud of himself for disseminating the word, too. "it means they stay the same color when you cook 'em!" tuesday afternoon farmer's market is a much smaller affair than the saturday market, but i appreciate it. got a beautiful quart of strawberries. the strawberries have been out for a few weeks, so they ought to be gone soon. goodbye strawberries. i ate you while i could. you were tasty. we're using our first biobag for kitchen trash, which gives me vague and troubled warm fuzzies. so, is plastic made from corn any better than plastic made from anything else? who cares if it theoretically can be composted if i'm using it for my non-compostable trash? does anything decompose anymore? now i'm off to have a little positive impact on my poor husband, who's been weathering my crazy moods ever since i got off work. work's a little crazy. did i mention that? it makes me a little crazy in return.

Monday, June 4, 2007

low impact week day four: victory!

the arrival of the electric bill is not normally awaited with bated breath around here, but i was very excited to see it in the mail today. how did we do with conserving last month? we saved 6 dollars off the previous month. that's 86% of the energy used in april. hooray! and hooray for google, with its built-in calculator! we can sure do a lot better, but that's a start. i don't forsee that total dropping during the summer, however, because the air conditioner will need to go in the bedroom window before long. all things considered, one window unit isn't too bad, for the midwest. we'll use it sparingly. work was too crazy today to accidentally buy plastic during my lunchbreak, or to take anything more than a lunch-chomping break. i'm never too busy to skip lunch entirely. just pressed the "forward to voice mail" button and took 10 minutes to stuff some leftovers. so now we're about halfway through low impact week. how am i doing on those goals? line dry your clothes instead of using the dryer check. we actually need to do another load, but i'm not sure that's happening this late in the evening, considering that i need to wash dishes and make lunches as well. take shorter showers and/or use a water saving showerhead shorter showers are happening, to the best of my knowledge. it's hard to judge, as we only have one clock. i'm not timing myself. minimize pre-packaged foods and make more of your own from scratch (NO NEW PLASTIC.) i've had my troubles with the plastic issue, but have thwarted plastic as well. keeping strong for the rest of the week. scratch really isn't an issue in this house, because scratch is cheap. compost your food waste and soiled paper products i'll wave the white flag on this. the compost bin at the garden is making progress time. in other words, there has not been any progress that i can tell since i heard the bins would be done by the end of last week. when they're done, and the buckets are available to take home, i will do so. not buying a bucket for this purpose when communal ones are coming "soon." take the bus or other public transportation to work and on errands hmmm...haven't done well on this, but not terrible, either. i need a scooter. sign up for an alternative energy plan if available in your area haven't brought this up yet. good thing we saved $6 this month. that's leverage to spend $5 a month on green power. don't use paper towels; when you can, use cloth napkins or towels instead we've discussed this, too, below. we've used kitchen towels for napkins, which is a good start. once again, i don't want to buy a lot, but maybe i'll look around for napkins. so, um, halfway through, i'm doing about half the things i should be doing. that's okay. i'll just do better from now on. noimpactman blogged about plastic today. it really can be nasty stuff. let's try to use less of it, all right? cool!

Sunday, June 3, 2007

low impact week day 3: lazy sundays

lazy sundays. don't you love them? the NO NEW PLASTIC pledge took a couple of hits today - the cap on the glass milk jars i get are plastic, for one thing. for another, i needed provisions for a morning meeting. mostly, hand-eating fruits aren't appropriate for meetings. who's going to wolf down a peach while making notes on the agenda? so i got a few bananas, caved and got grapes in a plastic (reusable!) bag, and resigned myself to paper plates wrapped in plastic. non-coated paper plates. no plastic utensils should be necessary. also bought a sweet pepper plant and two basils, both in plastic containers. geez. should be able to reuse those, too. i've gotten a few comments down below about paper vs. cloth for hand-drying in the bathroom. we're not going to get into paper vs. cloth for any other bathroom purposes (imagine trying to talk your partner into THAT). this leads me to another paper towel question i'd love to get an opinion on: what about using paper vs. cloth for oily cleanup jobs, i.e., spills or wiping up a cast iron cooking implement. you aren't supposed to put oily things in the washer/dryer, correct? or is it just the dryer? (i could just take 5 steps into the kitchen and look. let's see.) my washer says not to put any flammable liquids in the washer or dryer, and no oils at all in the dryer, including cooking oils. so if you don't use paper towels, how do you clean off your cast iron pot? just don't dry those towels? another question: if i can buy a quart of local indiana milk, or a half-gallon of iowa milk, what's the most eco-friendly option? with the half-gallon, it's traveling farther, but i'll use half as many containers. the local company does not take its bottles back. speaking of dairy. check out the successful product of my first ice cream making session yesterday! it was as good as it looks. i tend to be a little dramatic about my cooking, so i waited until we were done to tell brian that it was homemade. he was impressed, then said, "that explains why you were taking pictures of it." he thought i was just being especially weird. i don't blame him.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

low impact week day two: not too shabby.

soon after arriving at the farmer's market and punting a plan of attack for the week's produce around my brain, i had the lovely revelation that i didn't need to buy absolutely everything for the week, because the tuesday market is starting next week! hoooray! and i work, literally, overlooking it! hooray! i'll tell you: when the tuesday market is running and the new co-op opens between my office and my house, which it should be before july, i will be in food shopping heaven. so i putzed around, and was completely at leisure to choose greens that weren't in plastic bags. most of the places i stopped, the seller pre-emptively pulled out a plastic bag. "i brought my own bag," i say. they say, "you're prepared!" yes. i AM prepared. also announced my NO NEW PLASTIC pledge to a few of the growers, and thanked them for not having everything pre-bagged. they appreciated my appreciation. got some green garlic tops thrown in for saving the grower a bag. i chopped part of one up very small, and served it like one would chives on scrambled eggs and tomatoes. yum. haven't driven today, though tomorrow i'll need to drive to the garden. in this heat there's no way i can walk the hour roundtrip and do any gardening besides. maybe in the dark, but this girl is not walking over there in the dark all alone. oh! geez! almost forgot that i made ice cream for the first time today! the only problem with making ice cream, other than the time it takes, it that you can't lick the bowl. you can, however, lick the beater. and it is good. tonight we might have a couple people over to watch basketball, and there should be enough homemade organic strawberry ice cream for everyone. mmmmmmm. ice cream. if i find a less time-intensive method, i'll be making it all the time.

Friday, June 1, 2007

low impact week: day one one's perfect, right? i bounded out of bed, and right as my hand went up to turn on the kitchen light on my way to shower, thought, "nope, it's low impact week. i can see just fine." good for me. pat pat. congratulations. i put my face wash on while letting the water heat up, and realized at the end that i was just enjoying the shower and not getting cleaner, so i got out. walked to work. got my lunch out of my bag to put in the fridge. spilled tomato juice from leftovers all over my leg. decided to throw out the tomato-sauced plastic bag i'd used to protect my bag from potential leaks (smart, huh?). plastic wasted before 8:15. not great. at lunchtime, i walked on over to the small downtown co-op and got some whole-wheat flour for tonight and a lovely organic cookie. got five steps out the door and groaned at the realization that i'd just blown my "NO NEW PLASTIC" pledge with my bulk bag and plastic-wrapped treat. just wasn't thinking. must atone. but how? that's the problem with plastic. once it's made, there's no going back. we can only move forward. luckilly, i had one plastic bag stashed in my bag so i didn't need TWO bags to double-bag the flour. flour ruptures are unhappy incidents. made it through the rest of the workday without accidentally clubbing any seals or spraying pesticides on my co-workers. went out for a cocktail with my sweetie, and didn't think to ask for my vodka-cran without the stupid stirry sticks. two stirry sticks are now on my conscience as well. but we didn't drive! and i didn't use the dryer! my newly-washed jeans kind of smell like a damp towel on its 4th use, but, hey. it's humid today. things just don't dry that quickly. i can live with this. tomorrow: farmer's market PLASTIC-FREE. for reals. and trying not to drive.