Tag Archives: organic

Bike Basket Pies

I am officially the worst Jew ever.

Ok, maybe not the worst ever. But, Passover started last night, and today I’m blogging about…pie. I ate two pies today. Sweet pie, and savory pie. Cupcake-sized pies, made with organic, local (backyard-local whenever possible!), and seasonal ingredients, and – get this – delivered via bike. God, I love SF. Sorry, fellow Jews. If you’re looking for a more Passover-appropriate recipe, check out this delicious Matzo Brittle from my friend Kasey at eating/sf.

Back to pie. Oh, this delicious Bike Basket Pie. I know Natalie of the pies and baskets though my sister, who used to work with her and is now helping her grow delicious pie-ingredients, like onions and leeks, chard and spinach. She pays her in pie, and tips in beer. I wouldn’t object if my employer wanted to start paying me this way.

What is a Bike Basket Pie, you ask? It’s just the most delicious cupcake-sized treat you can imagine. And I say this as huge lover of the cupcake . Natalie has perfected her crust – it’s perfectly flaky, and flavorful, and… perfect. Perfectly perfect. I’ve only tried three flavors so far – shaker lemon, apple, and potato, leek & cheddar, and I’m dying to try more (see the full menu here). The shaker lemon is made with Meyer lemons grown in Natalie’s neighborhood, and the way the sweet, candied lemon settles into the crust is just out of this world. Natalie delivered me that goodie today, and it was all I could do to save it for after lunch. And for dinner? This little guy, packed full of leeks, cheese and potato. I paired it with a simple salad of spring greens, walnuts, tangerine and goat cheese, drizzled with California Olive Ranch Arbequina, which I discovered via my friend Allison. It was such a nice meal. Even if I did eat it while watching American Idol.

Natalie delivers via bike throughout the flat areas of San Francisco, and can be found at events like Taste the Mission Tour. Pies are $5 when delivered, $4 if you find her on the street. She has a variety of vegan or butter-filled treats available every week. San Franciscans, you’re missing out if you haven’t tried them yet. Get on that.


Photo credit: Andy Smith

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I heart MyFarm

I’ve mentioned before that my sister works for MyFarmSF, an awesome urban farm that installs gardens in people’s backyards, and harvests the produce for their CSA. Unlike other local CSAs, which get a lot of their produce from the Central Valley, MyFarm grows everything within SF, which I find totally amazing! I like to take the credit for my sister finding this job, since I read an article about them in Sunset magazine a year or so ago and let her know about it!

Anyway, she just dropped a big box of extra produce for me, and I’m psyched! Check it out – there’s braising greens, turnips, radishes, squash, potatoes, arugula, baby onions salad greens with edible flowers and a delicious smelling herb for tea. I can’t wait! I was out of town all weekend (for my roommate’s amazing wedding), and like always when I get back from traveling, I am craving vegetables like nothing else!

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This summer has been insanely busy for me, and last weekend marked the last one I had booked! I hope this means you’ll see many more blog updates from me in the near future – I’ve missed it! I also am thinking about a NY/Boston/VT trip, so East Coasters, stay tuned!

I forgot to add – if you’re looking for a CSA, MyFarmSF is always looking for new members! I think they’re a great and really unique organization and encourage you to check them out!

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Buy Fresh, Buy Local, Buy Organic

Articles like this one, “Organic food is no healthier,” frustrate me. The gist – “Our review indicates that there is currently no evidence to support the selection of organically over conventionally produced foods on the basis of nutritional superiority.”

Ok, maybe organic produce is not “healthier” in terms of actual nutritional content, but what about taste? What about those chemical pesticides you’re ingesting? What about the environmental impact of those pesticides and chemicals? What about supporting your local farmers? If “healthy” was only about “nutritional content,” couldn’t we all just take a vitamin-packed food pill and go on our way?

I’d also like to know how fresh the food used in this study was. We all know the fresher your produce is, the more nutrients it retains. And the best way to get fresh produce? Head to the Farmers Market, and chat up your local farmer. Produce doesn’t have to be “certified organic” to be pesticide-free. Ask! Talk to your farmers or the person in charge of produce to your grocery store.

Articles like this bug me, because I feel like people use them as an excuse to not buy organic or local foods, because they’re “expensive” and “not even better for you.” Call me paranoid, but I can’t imagine how ingesting chemically-coated produce is healthy for your body. Isn’t the “expense” worth it?

Besides, being healthy is about more than just magnesium, iron or vitamin C – it’s about the delicious food on your plate, the person who grew it, how it tastes, and how it makes you feel. Compare an organic, local heirloom tomato or farm-fresh peach with their conventional store-bought counterparts and you’ll know exactly what I mean.

buy fresh buy local
And buy organic!

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What Have You Given Up?

***Have you entered the WholeSoy & Co giveaway yet? Get your entry in to win free soy yogurt & fro yo!***

I was watching Oprah last night and the topic was “What Can You Live Without?” I only watched the first few minutes and am saving the rest to watch later (man, I love TiVo), but it got me thinking about what I can and do live without and have given up for environmental, health, ethical and other reasons. Some things have been harder than others – bananas, for example, which I’ve (somewhat guiltily) started to incorporate back occasionally. Coffee, tea, coconut and chocolate are all staples in my life, and I can’t give them up completely, but I do look for organic, fair trade, shade-grown, sustainable, and all the other green buzzwords. Other things have been easy – using a Sigg water bottle instead of bottled water, walking or taking the bus or working from home when I can (I still have a car but would LOVE to get rid of it some day), ditching high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners. I’m trying to cut back on individually packaged items, and need to work on some recipes to better replicate my favorite bars. I also try to buy meat that is sustainably and humanely raised, though this can be quite difficult at times and I’ve actually been tossing around the idea of cutting back on meat a bit. It’s not always being “pretty green,” but I feel good when I make these choices!

And now, on a totally unrelated note, a picture from my friend’s wedding last weekend. Wait! I think this demonstrates that I can’t give up champagne (though it was a delicious semi-local one). I’m in the middle. πŸ™‚

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What have you given up for environmental, health, ethical, etc. reasons? Are there any things you’d like to give up but just haven’t been able to yet? What could you never give up?

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Whole Soy & Co: I’m in Love!

Though I love tofu, I’ve never been a big fan of soy milk. At least not of Silk, or the unsweetened kind from Trader Joe’s. Just not my thing. I’ve tried a few different soy frozen yogurts, and found them to have that same funky taste I think soy milk has. Until I discovered the perfection that is Whole Soy & Co. frozen yogurt.

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I was first drawn in by their Chocolate Hazelnut flavor, and OMG, this stuff is good. It has an absolutely amazing flavor and only 120 calories and 2.5 grams of fat per serving. I have a container of their Swiss Dark Chocolate at home right now, taunting me as I try to cut a little bit back on sugar this week. We’ll see how that goes. πŸ˜‰ I had some the other night and it seriously was better than some full-fat ice creams I’ve had. A few weeks ago, I had some of the Mocha Fudge, and later that night, I was literally so happy that I wasn’t sure if I could sleep. I don’t know if it was the caffeine or what, but seriously, I was giddy. I had a small scoop in my coffee the next morning (hey, people put cream and sugar in their coffee, right?) and I was totally in love with life that day, too. I don’t know if I can account it all to the frozen yogurt, but I think I will so I can eat it more often. πŸ™‚ They have a few other delicious-sounding flavors – Vanilla Bean, CrΓ¨me Caramel and Black Cherry – and their products are certified vegan, Kosher and dairy-, casein- and gluten-free. I have yet to try their soy yogurts, but I definitely plan to in the near future, especially after learning more about the company.

Whole Soy & Co. is locally based here in SF, but that’s not the only that makes them pretty green. Check out their Sustainability Statement for some amazing facts about what they’re doing!

Some highlights:
* They are independently-owned
* Their products are certified organic
* They source their fruit locally
* They pay livable wages
* They encourage their employees to take public transit (and almost all of them do!)
* They give back to the community
* They source their sugar and cocoa from socially and economically responsible cooperatives
* They participate in a CSA
*They got rid of their plastic lids to keep them out of the waste stream, but will send you one if you want to reuse your yogurt cup (which I recommend you do!)

There are too many wonderful things to list here, so please take a look at their website, and definitely try their products if you see them in stores!

A socially and environmentally responsible company that makes an outstanding product? I’m in love!

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Mmm, Cookies

I don’t often buy packaged cookies, but occasionally a treat is in order. I picked these Eco-Planet cinnamon animal cracker-style cookies up at Whole Foods the other day to crumble over my soy frozen yogurt (Whole Soy & Co Chocolate Hazelnut is the bomb) and was so pleasantly surprised. These cookies are super delicious, and how freaking cute are they? They come in the cutest shapes – a hybrid car, a windmill, the sun and the Earth.

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Cute, huh?

According to the company website,
Our cookies are baked in our own organic certified bakery, where, with the support of Renewable Choice Energy, we support wind energy by off-setting all fossil fuel usage with non- polluting wind power. And, we donate a portion of our proceeds to non-profit organizations committed to protecting our fragile ecosystem, including 1% For The Planet

They are also organic and kosher and are vegan and low fat with no trans fats, hydrogenated oils or HFCS. The website says they are sold in local Whole Foods Markets and in other fine natural foods groceries and specialty food stores across the USA.

Love ’em! Whenever I need a little cookie fix, I’ll definitely pick these up!

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Musings on Green Fashion, Part 1: Buy Used!

As much as I care about being green, focusing specifically on green fashion is relatively new to me. In recent months, I’ve started trying to reduce my purchases – buying less, and repurposing what I already have. However, I’m definitely a girl who loves clothes, and I often get sick of what I already own. Don’t we all? In fact, I’m planning on organizing a clothing exchange party for my girlfriends soon, because I know we all have cute stuff in our closets we’ll just never wear again and might as well pass along to a better home!

Anyway, I’ve started looking for clothing that is made from sustainable materials and/or made in America – extra points if it’s made locally. This is quite a daunting task, as you might expect. It is so, so difficult to find clothes that aren’t made in China. Now I haven’t done tons of research on this subject, but I’m willing to bet the working conditions in many of the places where this clothing is made are not the best, nor are the wages. Caring about the environment also means caring about the people on it, and I don’t want to support sweatshops. Again, I haven’t done extensive research on this, but in general, I am steering away from clothing and other products made in China, whenever possible.

In addition to being hard to find, eco-fashion tends to come in two different options: affordable and hideous (think hemp, hippie-style), or cute and trendy, but expensive. Now, I don’t mind paying a bit more for well-made clothing that’s in line with my values, but ya know, the economy is not doing so well right now. We’re all broke, and it’s simply not an option for many of us to buy fancy green fashion, even if we want to.

One solution I’ve come up with, that I’m liking a lot, is to buy used. Sometimes when I think about how much “stuff” is already in the world, I freak out. It’s pretty disgusting, actually. Buying used is a great solution, leaving a very small carbon footprint. I’ve been shopping at Crossroads lately (locations in CA, Seattle, Portland and Chicago), which tends to have current, cute, trendy fashion. I’ve also recently discovered Plato’s Closet, which I’m loving! I’ve picked up some great stuff in the past few weeks – a few dresses (for under $10), cute sunglasses (LOVE that I don’t have to buy “new plastic”), a zip-up hoodie that I’ve got tons of compliments on, a Weston Wear shirt (made in the USA, a local company AND used – triple score), and Joe’s Jeans that were $40! It looks like they have locations all across the country. I highly encourage you to check them out – you might have to do a little digging through a lot of teeny-bopper stuff, but there are some great deals to be found! Today, I’m wearing this cute dress I got there for $10. I haven’t checked out Buffalo Exchange yet, but they’ve got a ton of locations as well.

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I feel really stupid modeling this, but cute dress, right?

Some stuff I’ve picked up thrift!
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Velvet shirt (the brand Velvet, not the texture, which I hate, ha), C&C Organic hoodie shirt, Weston Wear shirt, Zip-up hoodie, “I Need a Hug” shirt, Joe’s jeans, the dress from the picture above, Little Black Dress ($8!)

I’ve also been doing a lot of eBay window (heh. Windows?) shopping. One problem with eBay is it seems to have been taken over by the resellers, which defeats the purpose of trying to buy used! But you can look under the Conditions filter and choose “used” or “pre-owned.” Sometimes “New w/o Tags” is also an option, but make sure they are not resellers. You’ll be able to tell if they have multiples of the same item. I bought the C&C California Organic striped-shirt in the picture above for $8, including shipping. It retailed for $98 – ridiculous! There are also some great eBay consignment shops that sell lots of cute, gently used clothing. If I find an item I like, I’ll check out the seller’s other items, again making sure they’re not a big reseller. One thing I like to do, when I’m not sure what I’m looking for, is search for a term like “Anthropologie,” which will serve up lots of clothes in the style I like.

I definitely encourage you to try thrift if you’re looking to be green while saving some cash. You – and the planet – deserve it!

Coming in Part 2: Shopping online for ecodeals, and buying American-made!

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