For some people, the idea of going totally “green” seems overwhelming and inconvenient. But it shouldn’t be – there are lots of easy, simple things you can do to benefit the environment. One little thing I do is save all kinds of scraps of paper – envelopes I get in the mail, parking stubs, receipts, etc. I store them in a junk drawer at home and the center console in my car. Whenever I need to make a note, take down a phone number, or make a grocery list, I just grab one of these instead of wasting a whole new piece of paper. It’s a small thing, but hey, every little bit helps!
Monthly Archives: November 2008
I tend to avoid buying plastic products whenever I can, but there are some things that can’t be avoided – like toothbrushes and razors (even reusable ones are made of plastic). I figured there had to be a more environmentally friendly option, so I did some research and found Preserve’s Recycline Products. Their products are made from 100% recycled plastics and 100% post-consumer paper – they actually use plastic from Stonyfield Farms Yogurt for their toothbrushes, tongue scrapers and razors! Additionally, you can return the toothbrushes and razors after you’re done with them, and Preserve will use them for “plastic lumber for park benches, decks and more!” I just checked out their site and it looks like they are also making tableware, food storage and other kitchen items. Awesome! If you have to use plastic, this is a great way to go.
I was a vegetarian for a long time, starting when I was 13. My friend, Jen, said that she thought if she couldn’t kill an animal herself, she shouldn’t eat it, and I was easily influenced. My Dad also went vegetarian around the same time for health reasons, so it was an easy decision, and my little sister (now a pescetarian and my go-to sustainable resource) followed suit. Finally, when I was a junior in college, I started craving chicken. I don’t know if I needed the protein, or what it was, but I made the decision to end my vegetarian days. I’d be making plans to go out to dinner with friends, and when asked where I wanted to go, I’d say, “Somewhere that has chicken.” My friends were like, “Janet… everywhere has chicken.” Heh.
But until recently, I never thought that much about where my meat comes from. I eat red meat rarely (heh, no pun intended), though I like it. Mainly I buy chicken and turkey, but I had no idea about the horrendous conditions many of these animals were raised in. Honestly, it took the media attention around California’s recent Prop 2 to really enlighten me and make me think about where my meat is coming from. I’d been buying organic, “free range” chicken for awhile, but usually from Whole Foods, who sells Rosie Chicken, and I’d heard from friends who read The Omnivore’s Dilemma that the chickens are not actually living such a lovely life. What’s a meat-eating girl to do? I’ve been trying to research humanely-raised meat lately, and it can be really frustrating. I came across this great site, The Ethicurian, which is a good resource for finding sustainable, ethical food. Still, it’s not easy. I’ve been shopping at Bi-Rite for the last few weeks, as they carry meat from Marin Sun Farms, which produces pasture-raised livestock. And I’ve been buying chicken breasts there that come from Fulton Valley Farms after reading this post about their chicken farm. For turkey, I’ve been buying Diestel or Applegate Farms – Applegate has a few products that are Certified Humane, though they seem to only be their pork products – and I’ve been buying Niman Ranch Bacon (which Bi-Rite sells by the slice – sweet!). I also ordered a special heritage turkey for Thanksgiving – though it has to come all the way from Kansas. The great local/organic/humane debate rages on. I’ve been trying hard to research all these companies and farms, but there isn’t always perfect information out there. My sister says a good thing to do is to ask if you can visit a farm, but I haven’t gone this far at this point. I’m still not totally sure how I feel about the whole situation. Just because they aren’t certified, doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t humane, but there are also a lot of places that claim to be humane and ethical, but really aren’t. I don’t really know enough yet. I’m not willing to give up meat at this point, because my body craves it, but I’m doing my best to make smart, ethical decisions. I’ll continue to research and post about this topic and I’d love to hear from others who also care about this issue! Any great resources out there that I don’t know about?
Three cheers for pomegranate season! I’ve been obsessed with getting the sweet-tart fruit on my original tart frozen yogurt lately, so I picked one up at my favorite market, Bi-Rite, yesterday. I don’t think I’d ever seeded one myself before, and it actually was so much fun! I Googled instructions, and it’s pretty easy. First, start by wearing all black clothes so you don’t stain yourself! I cut off the top of the fruit, and then scored it in about 6 places, like you’d cut an orange (ie wedge shapes). Then I submerged it in a big bowl of water and pulled it apart. So fun! The seeds are seriously beautiful, and I couldn’t help sneaking a few as I was prepping it! For lunch today I had a big salad with romaine and spinach from my CSA, feta cheese, a generous sprinkling of the seeds, and half a seared Fulton Valley chicken breast. On the side: plain yogurt with more pom seeds and ground flaxseed. SO delicious, and a super food to boot! I love eating by the seasons!
I’m in the habit of bringing my own bags to the grocery store (yay for SF for banning plastic ones), but I have a lot of friends and family members who say they’d like to do so, but never remember to bring their bags with them. Enter Envirosax. I first found them at a travel store in my neighborhood, but I’ve since seen them in grocery stores (in Mendocino at least) and various other locations. They are totally cute, come in tons of fun patterns and colors, and, best of all, they roll up super small to fit in your purse, glove compartment, etc. I’ve got the Flora Bag 1, and keep a bunch of them in my closet to give as gifts! They roll out pretty big, so you can fit a ton of groceries, or other items (I use mine at Target – no plastic bags!), and are pretty sturdy. There are a lot of other companies who make similar bags that fold or roll up, but I think Envirosax makes the cutest ones.
I have tons of veggies right now from my CSA, so last night I decided to use up my cauliflower. I never was a big fan of the vegetable (though broccoli is my favorite food) until I discovered roasting it. So good – it really changes flavor in the oven, getting all toasty and caramelized and burnt in places. I searched one of my favorite cooking blogs, 101 Cookbooks, and found a delicious looking recipe for Roasted Cauliflower “Popcorn.” Yum! I used panko and crushed red chile pepper instead of fresh, but it was still great.
Adapted from 101 Cookbooks
~10 g panko
1 medium head of cauliflower, washed
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt (I added more, but I looove salt)
2 cloves garlic, minced
Crushed chili pepper (to your liking)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Cut cauliflower into small pieces.
Toss the cauliflower with olive oil and salt in a bowl until cauliflower is coated, then place it in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Try to spread the pieces out so they aren’t touching. Put in oven for 15ish minutes, until tender when poked with a fork.
Meanwhile, use the leftover olive oil in the bottom of the bowl you used to toss the cauliflower and add the bread crumbs, garlic, and chile pepper. Mix.
Pull the pan out of the oven after the 15 or so minutes are up and flip each piece of cauliflower over, then sprinkle the entire pan with the breadcrumb mixture. Return the pan to the oven for another ten minutes or so. The cauliflower should be browned in spots, tender and crispy.
As my main side dish, with scallops sauteed in garlic, and sliced heirloom tomatoes with sea salt, it was great!
On tonight’s menu: I’m thinking eggplant szechuan. I’ve got an eggplant from last week’s San Rafael Farmers Market, as well as a bunch of zucchinis, onions and broccoli to use up! I also have some “super firm” tofu and half a Fulton Valley chicken breast. Details to come
For those interested in eating organic and local foods, a CSA is a great option. While I love going to the Farmers Market, sometimes I can’t make it there every week, so this provides me with another way to get fresh, local produce right from the farmers who grow it. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, and they work a few different ways. My CSA, Eating with the Seasons, sends me a list of what produce they have each week, and I fill out an order form and pick up my bag of produce the next week. Other CSAs select for you, based on what their farm/farms have that week. I like the option to choose my own, and I’m trying lots of stuff I’ve never had before – parsnips (love them! Who knew?), collard greens, kale, rainbow chard. Many do drop-offs at volunteers’ houses (I pick mine up at a house right near my gym) or community centers, while others will deliver directly to your door. I personally pay by the season, so the farmers know they have that money coming to them, but there are many different payment options. Through mine, I can also order local products like Certified Humane eggs, olive oil, spices, granola, jam, etc! To find a CSA (or farmers market!) near you, check out Local Harvest.