Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I'll have me some of these

Chocolate chip, oatmeal, coconut cookies

As much as I love to cook I have never been able to find the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe. So I decided to adapt one today and make it my own. I actually squealed with delight when I took the first bite.

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. hot water
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups chocolate chips
1/2 - 1 cup of oatmeal
1/2 - 1 cup coconut

Cream butter and sugars until smooth
Beat eggs one at a time, stir in vanilla
Dissolve baking soda in the hot water
Add butter along with salt
Stir in flour until well mixed
Add chocolate chips, coconut, and oatmeal

Spoon batter onto oiled cookie sheet and bake for about 10 minutes on 350.

This made about 3 cookie sheets full for me.

The coconut and oatmeal measurements are approximations. This was the part I added but I don't measure when I cook my own stuff so I don't have an exact measurement.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

I did it!

I signed the family up for a gym membership yesterday and today I went for my first work out. I only lasted about 30 minutes but I feel AMAZING!

I have never been a gym person so this is going to be very challenging for me. I am committed to making the effort. I have to. I feel terrible.

Monday, January 21, 2008

I'm sick of it

I am sick of making up excuses
I am sick of feeling like a stuffed sausage everyday when I try to get dressed.
I am sick of wearing baggy clothes
I am sick of looking like I just had a baby even though it has almost been three years
I am sick of saying I don't have time to work out
I am sick of pretending I can eat how I want and get away with not exercising. That only happens in your 20's.

We have decided to get a family membership gym membership

No more excuses

This is it!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Resusable Bags - Fashion & Function

If you thought carrying around a reusable cloth shopping bag had to be a fashion nightmare think again. Not all the bags are white cotton or hemp. These stylish and colorful reusable bags from Baggu are anything but ordinary.

You can buy in packs of one, three and six. You can pick your own colors and add a storage sack to your order too. Stuff them all in the storage sack and away you go.

Find these bags at Baggu

Some facts on plastic bags from the baggue website

PLASTIC BAGS & THE PLANET The average family brings home 1,000 bags every year. Most of those bags end up in land fills. That really adds up - 100 billion plastic bags are sent to landfill in the US each year.

In landfills, it can take up to 1000 years for a bag to decompose. Plastics don't biodegrade, they photo-degrade, breaking down into tiny toxic pieces that contaminate soil and water or harm wildlife.

Every time you use your Baggu bag instead of plastic or paper you are doing something Good.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

the Green Movement

me circa 1991 - high school talent show

I believe I was born an activist. I cannot remember a day when I wasn't questioning authority or pushing for change of some sort. I am sure my parents can attest that this frame of mind was born in me. My earliest memory of resisting rules was in school. By the time I hit high school it was clear to me that I was like a square peg trying to fit into a round hole. I did understand nor agree with the bell system. Why was I sent to the office if I came in a minute after the bell rang but a teacher could walk into class late? Why did I need a pass to go to the bathroom? Why couldn't I eat during study hall if I was hungry? I felt and still do that young adults need some freedom to grow and ready themselves for adulthood. When I was in school Martin Luther King day was not observed. My junior year of high-school I participated in a protest at our school fighting for the school to observe this day. We held a sit in outside the school's office and did not attend classes all day. Half way through the day we moved the sit in to the library where one by one we got up and spoke about why we felt the day should be observed. We spoke from out heart, read excerpts from books and I even read one of my own poems.

The school responded. They could not change the fact that the state did not at that time recognize it as a state holiday but they promised to recognize it within the school by having an assembly the next year and doing other in class activities. I felt proud at that moment. I still remember the feeling of accomplishment. We stood up for what we believed in and we were able to make change. The school stayed true to their promise.

I then became increasingly interested in the environment. I was a "hippy" of the early 90's if you can believe they existed at that time. The Grateful Dead was still going strong and by the time I graduated from high school I had already seen more than a handful of shows. In fact my father took me to my first show when I was in 8th grade. It was the Grateful Dead and Bob Dylan playing together. It was amazing. The book that changed me was How to Make the World a Better Place by Jeffrey Hollender. In case you don't know Jeffrey Hollender is the president of Seventh Generation. A company I would end up working for 4 years after I graduated from High School. This book basically opened up my eyes to the need for making small changes in our every day lives in order to help clean up our planet. I became an activist for recycling back when it was not mandatory for most towns to recycle. Our town at the time certainly did not. This was 1991.

In college I became a vegetarian. At first I ate nothing but pasta and bagels with cheese. I can remember going into the small health food store that existed in my college town and I would just stare at all the shelves not knowing what to buy and what to do with it once I did buy it. I have now been a vegetarian for 15 years. My knowledge of health, food and nutrition has grown so much over this time. I still choose to not eat it for animal rights issues but also for environmental reasons.

In no way am I living the ideal environmentally friendly perfect life. We certainly do a lot to contribute though. Here are a few things we do:
-Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
-Buy local when possible
-Own only one car
-Use cloth bags
-Use only environmentally friendly household products
-Use energy efficient light bulbs
-Grow a garden
-Buy our vegetables from a local organic CSA Farm-share (summer & winter)
-Use rechargeable batteries
-Teach our children about all of the above
-Do NOT use lawn chemicals or fertilizers
-Use a push lawn mower

The funny thing to me is that most of these things I have been practicing for many many years. To me it isn't about who is right regarding global warming. I don't think anyone can dispute the fact that our landfills are growing and growing fast with products that do not biodegrade, I don't think anyone can argue that most mainstream house hold cleaners are not only bad for the environment but especially bad for the health of our families. I think it would be hard for anyone to dispute the fact that it cannot do anything but help the environment to implement some of these changes.

Yes these changes impact the earth, but I also believe they can make changes in a person. In a way becoming green forces a person to look at their life. How they buy, how they horde or dispose, how they live their daily lives. Going Green is a catch phrase that sometimes makes me squirm. It is not a fad. It is a way of life that many people have been doing for a long time. But in the same breath as much as I hate the fact that it is becoming a fad I am also pleased it it bringing awareness to many people who might not have had the knowledge to make these choices. Perhaps making it mainstream will be what it takes for companies and people to start making small changes. I hope it can.

There are so many small changes a person can choose to make. If you can't seem to agree that any of these changes would somehow benefit our earth, at least do a few because they could possible save you some money, improve your health and just maybe make you feel like a darn good person.

This is my third attempt at crocheting a hat. I am actually quite happy with how this one came out. I made it a bit longer than I wanted though. I am going to take a break from hats and move back to scarves for a while. Scarfs help me practice my stitches. And they are just so addictive to make.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Menu planning

Every week I kick myself because I end up spending more at the grocery store than I wanted too. One thing that has really helped me keep a cap on it though is by menu planning. Each week I actually plan out what meals I am going to make. I try to always have at least 6-7 days worth of meals. Now I know this sounds harder but it really does help. I found that once I broke the meals into types or categories it helped. For example I knew that once a week I made a pasta, pizza, soup meal etc. So I start my list knowing in my head the basic categories of foods I generally make in a week. Mine typically looks like this:

Veggie Burgers

Those are my basic categories. Then when I plan my menu for the week I make sure I have the basics to make a meal in that category. Sometimes I have specific recipes I am using so I will write down detailed ingredients that I need for each one. So my next step would look like this.

Pasta - Stuff to make sauce, pasta of choice, parm. cheese, bread, salad
Pizza - dough, sauce, cheese
Burrito - tortillas, salsa, refried beans
Soup - whatever ingrediants I need for the soup I have chosen
Veggie Burgers - veggie burgers, potatoes, frozen veggie
Other - I do try to make something new at least once a week. I save these meals for the weekends when I have more time.

So that becomes my basic list. At least by filling out this basic list I know I have enough stuff to make 6-7 meals that week. I have found by doing it this way I save money because I am buying exactly what i need to make the meals that week. It is also less stressful because I don't have to frett about what I am making each night. I keep the menu plan on my refridgerator so each day I can just pick from the list.

It has really helped me save money and time. Now if only I can get better about all the other stuff I end up buying.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Bring it on 2008

I am ready. I am ready for change. I am ready to slow down, smell the roses, drink tea, say no more, say yes to change, reduce the clutter in my life, buy handmade as much as possible, and decide wisely how to spend my money otherwise.

I look forward to practicing yoga and not just for the physical piece of it but also spiritually. I also look forward to a new business relationship I just formed. I am so excited I found a company to work with that has the same standards as I do, the same beliefs and dreams. I can't wait to share the details. More coming soon . . .