Saturday, March 27, 2010

Turn OFF Your Lights Tonight!

For One Hour on March 27, 2010 at 8:30 p.m. EST

What will YOU do with that hour?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Saturday morning, I happened into the living room in time to watch a cooking segment on the CBS Saturday The Early Show. This young hunk was cooking, and it sounded as if he might be cooking semi-healthy stuff, so I sat down to watch.

He was the author of this book. (Okay, I'm apparently very behind the times, but I really don't watch prime time television - he's a celebrity chef? he's been on Dancing With the Stars? (yes, I do know there's a show by that name, but I haven't watched it! shhhh)

I was so impressed with the fact that the entire premise of the book was recipes for comfort foods that had been redesigned to be less than 350 calories, that I RAN to the computer and searched online for it. I had a holiday gift card at Barnes and Noble, and the order was placed forthwith.

It arrived today. And I made the sweet potato fries on page 195. One serving is 1 WW point.
Because I was exhausted tonight, I also just tossed a black bean burger in the microwave and combined it with a sandwich thin for a bun (3 points), then heated up some frozen kale from last fall's CSA share (1 point with the olive oil and red wine vinegar).

This book is choc full of many recipes I want to make...1 point brownies and chocolate chip cookies, 4 point mac and cheese, a 7 point turkey Reuben!!

I may have just fallen in love with a man 1/2 my age.

(I suspect Rocco Dispirito's not interested in anything more than my spreading the word about his book, huh? But you seriously want to check this one out - it's worth it!)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Baby Steps...

If you didn't see this on
David Letterman the other night, you should go here and watch it now. And yes, it's a tad bit on the side of overwhelm, so you're forewarned.

However, I'm willing to take baby steps toward making a difference. Our municipality has curbside recycling. And yes, I took their survey recently and suggested that instead of continuing the pickups every week - with alternating weeks for paper products and glass/plastic/aluminum - we could reduce the frequency of pickups in an effort to save the City a bit on the cost of those collections. Like most local governments they're looking at every possible way to reduce costs, and I'd a lot rather see fewer pickups than a lost teacher! I also suggested to one city office my agency deals with that we could stop the snail mail hardcopy notifications on certain stuff we do and just use email (lordy the postage, trees, and time that saves!!).

I also discovered a business that will accept plastic 5 for recycling: Preserve Products

I'd already decided to collect my #5s and ship them (at my cost) to Preserve. Then tonight, after yoga class, I dropped by the Co-op to pick up a couple of things and found they carried their products...

This one came home with me. I think it's the perfect size for lunchtime salads. It's cute, too!

I am not the sort to become overwhelmed by the enormity of the problem. And I'm certainly not capable of eskewing all plastics (I'm afraid with Lupus and heart disease, I'm dependent on one too many prescriptions for example - but my Rx's come in #2s at least!).

But I'll do what I can do, as much as I can do. Starting with this of course:

A couple of handknit dishcloths...the yarn is organic cotton. I know now that's not necessarily a good thing...Ecological Intelligence is a very enlightening book (and another source of potential overwhelm, fair warning!)...

Reduce, reuse, recycle, repurpose...The more of us who try, the better off we are. If you can do one thing? it!

Saturday, March 13, 2010


I'm up to my eyeballs in stuff I want to absorb...

these are on the "short list" of my stacks. Since I love to knit, and sew, and need to keep my house one step ahead of the dust bunnies (oh who am I kidding, that's a lost battle!), not to mention work a couple of jobs to keep the wolf from the door, and cook healthy food, and practice yoga? Well, I'm suddenly realizing that books to READ should really become books to LISTEN TO. I have two on request from the library now (in a similar vein as those above).

I finished Food Rules last night, thankfully a small book, but with a huge message. If you've not read it, try to check it out from the library (tho' at $11 USD, it's certainly worth the price!).

I like that Pollan admonishes that these are rules but not laws, policies to try to live by. There are 64, many of them are similar, and you can pick and choose those that will work for you, obviously.

The best general guideline is on page xv of the Introduction: Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly plants. The remainder of the book elaborates on that. It's the main premise.

And extraordinarily wise.

Tonight's menu? Frozen beets and greens from the CSA - via my freezer - and a wonderful White Bean Chicken Chili from Secret Garden Gourmet. A bag of their Cream of Wild Rice and Asparagus soup mix was in a gift basket when I arrived at the Mayo Clinic's Leadership Symposium for Women with Heart Disease in 2002, and I've been a fan of their soups and mixes ever since.

(I know, they're not local to Virginia, but sometimes, we just have to support good companies, even if they're a few hundred miles away)

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Challenges - Personal and Public

As you know, I'm doing everything I can think of to live more lightly, to save energy, and money, and my sanity, too! Well, last night, in knee-jerk "I've always done it this way" fashion, I was tossing a smallish load of laundry into the washer (I have small and medium load settings) and I suddenly thought: I don't have to put this in the dryer, I can use my drying rack. Ok. That seems silly right? Not when you realize I don't have a clothesline and have used a dryer for probably close to 15 years non-stop. Needless to say, the load was dried on the rack.

Now to be fair, I always dry my handknit socks that way. And I always put my tops on hangers and air dry them to keep them looking good longer. I just hadn't made the next leap that much of my personal laundry did not need the dryer! Everything was dry this morning, too, and that's with the thermostat set on 60!

Then a week or so ago, I joined a Facebook Challenge in association with The Red Tape Chronicles blog on MSNBC's website. The issue surrounding the challenge was high (and unfair) fees and charges such as those on credit cards and such.

As soon as I read about it, I joined up. I read an article on the Chronicles about cable company charges: you know they charge the same price for long-time customers with only one or two services as they charge new ones for new "promotional" bundled rate. Well, I don't have a landline phone but was paying the same price as the advertised phone/cable/internet promotion.

Today I phoned them, and very nicely asked if they couldn't do something about that. And they did! For the next 12 months I'll be paying approximately $15 less per month. And when the rate goes back up (as I expect it will) I'm going to contact them again. Of course, by then? I may decide finally to rid myself of the television, as I'm watching less and less of it (I'm not mentioning the Olympics - *wink*).

On the heels of that success, I happily headed home tonight and immediately pulled out boneless chicken thighs and one of the remaining CSA's butternut squashes. I froze about 1/2 of the butternut, but roasted the remainder of it with a touch of olive oil and maple syrup. The chicken was roasted with lots of CSA garlic, onion bits and dried rosemary. I did pick up asparagus at the grocery store, as when I saw it this week, I simply could not resist (it's like a breath of spring, and it's still awfully cold around here - we had snow last night, too!). Added to that plate down below is a small serving of Artisan olive bread and olive oil with herbs.

Weight Watchers points: 8 for the entire plate. LOVE IT!

Especially since 3 months after the CSA ended, I'm still happily eating the fruits of that membership. I have a lot left, in fact, in the freezer, and in the "root cellar" that is my unheated, closed "pantry."