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Monday, November 26, 2007

RAIN

OK it is finally raining here. I understand that it rained just a little bit here while we were on vacation in Hawaii, that was the end of October. Since then it has rained twice but each time for only like 5 minutes. You know enough to wet the pavement then it stopped. So nothing that amounted to anything. And we are in such dire need of water here. We have really started to conserve in our house. Other than the usual, don't let the water run while you are brushing your teeth, we are saving the water we used to waste while waiting for it to turn hot for a shower etc. This water is saved in a rain barrel (since we haven't had any rain, LOL) and we use it for our chickens and rabbits.

It is amazing how much water is wasted just waiting for it to get hot. I was shocked. Enough to water our chickens and rabbits and have water left. But today it is raining, hopefully all day, I have never been so glad to see the rain. YAY!!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Sweet Potato Bread

OK I have made sweet potato bread before but this is a savory bread instead of the one I usually make, a sweet quick bread. And it is delicious. The recipe came from Christy's Farm Dreams blog and I altered it a bit. Here is the recipe:






water - 1 cup
Unbleached white flour - 2 3/4 cup
Instant Yeast - 1 tsp
mashed sweet potatoes - 3/4 cup
softened butter - 1 tablespoons
Unbleached white flour - 1/2 cup
salt 1/2 TBS


I altered it by using about 1 1/4 cup hot water, and about 3 1/2 cups total flour with about 1 1/2 cups being whole wheat. I also used 2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast, 1 cup mashed, cooked sweet potato, about 3 tbsp honey, 2 tbsp olive oil, and 1 tsp salt. Cook for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Actually I guess I altered the recipe quite a bit but it has the same feel to it, LOL. And it was delicious, a nice bread that has a bit more substance than just plain bread. We all loved it here.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Amazing what some companies are doing!

CASA GRANDE, Ariz. — At Frito-Lay’s factory here, more than 500,000 pounds of potatoes arrive every day from New Mexico to be washed, sliced, fried, seasoned and portioned into bags of Lay’s and Ruffles chips. The process devours enormous amounts of energy, and creates vast amounts of waste water, starch and potato peelings.


Now, Frito-Lay is embarking on an ambitious plan to change the way this factory operates, and in the process, create a new type of snack: the environmentally benign chip.

Its goal is to take the Casa Grande plant off the power grid, or nearly so, and run it almost entirely on renewable fuels and recycled water. Net zero, as the concept is called, has the backing of the highest levels of corporate executives at PepsiCo, the parent company of Frito-Lay. For the Full story.

Friday, November 16, 2007

German Knitting


Also, known as Continental knitting or European knitting. Someone had asked to know more about this "faster" way of knitting. So I did a Google search and found that wikipedia had some great directions with pictures of every step. VERY NICE. It is much faster, but I know a friend of mine has had a hard time switching because she has been knitting for some time. So if you are already a knitter it might take some getting used to.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Christmas

OK I know it is early for that post. My mom showed me how to knit years and years ago, when I was probably around 8 or 9 years old. But for me it took too much time, so while I knew how to knit, how to read a pattern, how to show others to knit, I chose not to. Crocheting was my yarn craft of choice. And I do love crocheting but it isn't knitting, and you can't really crochet socks, I have tried many times with many patterns, just not the same.



Last year a friend showed me how to knit a different way, she said everyone in Europe knits like this. It was so much easier, and it was easy for me to switch. I think that is because it had been so many years since I had picked up knitting needles, LOL. So I have been knitting up a storm SOCKS!! Yes, the one thing I have always wanted to do, knit socks. So everyone this year is getting socks for Christmas, hand knit by ME.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Is Fiji Water going green

Fiji is making progress toward going green.


Here is part of the Fiji plan:


Specifically, the company says it will install a windmill in 2009 to provide energy to its bottling plant in Fiji in the South Pacific; it will ship bottles of water intended for sale on the East Coast to the Port of Philadelphia, rather than truck them east from Los Angeles, as it does now; it will use biodiesel and other alternative fuels in its trucks and as a backup at its plant when the winds are calm; and it will reduce the amount of plastic and paper it uses for bottles and cartons.


But you have to question as Terrapass does:

Understand that the carbon community holds Fiji Water in roughly the same regard they do Hummers. That is, with a disdain that borders on the irrational. (“You mean to tell me you’re taking a product that can be produced locally and is available for free virtually everywhere on the planet, and replacing it with an expensive version that is packaged in tiny plastic bottles before being shipped 10,000 miles on emissions-spewing cargo boats and trucks? Kill me now.”)





For the whole article please visit the terrapass site blog.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Sweet Potatoes

Yesterday was sweet potato day, LOL. We still have sweet potatoes from our garden, actually we are storing them in the garden. We don't get much of a freeze here in NC and we don't have a root cellar so we figured leaving them in the ground would be the best way of keeping them as long as possible, and it has worked. So yesterday I baked a double batch of bagels, enough to last us the week, and then Jackson and I went down to the garden to dig up sweet potatoes.

We dug up just two plants, enough for what I needed. I also used tomatoes I had from my garden and parsley still growing strong, LOL. I did an online search for sweet potato bread (knew there had to be a recipe out there) and some kind of main dish using sweet potatoes. This is what I came up with, and both recipes were delicious:









Sweet Potato Bread
1/2 C sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 C oil (I used melted earth balance)
1 C mashed sweet potatoes
1/2 C chopped nuts (optional)
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 2/3 C flour (I used about 1 3/4 C but I also had large eggs)
1/2 C water
2 eggs
1/2 tsp nutmeg
cook in loaf pan at 325 degrees for 75 minutes.

Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie
1 pound ground beef (I used crumbles as we are vegetarian)
1 large onion
vegetables or your choice (I used a bag of frozen mixed veggies)
1 can chopped tomatoes with juice
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce (I left this out)1 tsp brown mustard
1 cup fresh chopped parsley
S&P to taste
6 sweet potatoes mashed with butter and milk for the top (I used vegetable broth and earth balance to mash)

Cook up the onion and ground beef and place that in the bottom of an over proof casserole dish. Cook up the vegetables, add tomatoes, S&P, w. sauce, mustard, parsley, add this on top of the ground beef. Spread the mashed sweet potatoes on the top and cook at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until hot through.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Banana Bread


Ohhh, I made my mom's banana bread yesterday. So yummy. I loved it as a child and every time I make it I think of her. My boys love it too. Although they were not around to have my mom make it for them, maybe when I pass the recipe on to them and they are making it, they will think of me. We had some bananas, actually a lot of bananas and some were starting to get over ripe. They just smelled delicious, and the boys love it fresh out of the oven, so they were hot and wonderful. Here is the recipe, I know my mom wouldn't mind sharing:


3 mashed bananas-4 if they are small
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup melted butter (I use earth balance to keep it dairy free)
2 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups flour
1/2 cup walnuts (optional) (I usually leave these out)
1 tsp vanilla
bake for 1 hr 15 min on a low 300 degree oven

Friday, November 9, 2007

Winter chill

Although we don't really have "winter" here in western NC where we live, it does get a little chilly. And the last few days have been chilly. We have a fireplace in the house but do not use it for heat. Anyone that owns a fireplace knows what I mean, they just are not efficient as a heat source. We do have some acreage here and use any fallen trees for the wood. So I do have some wood available, what the termites have not used up already, LOL.



So the last couple of days I have started a fire in the fireplace. The dogs love to snuggle up in front of it, and it just makes the whole living room feel warm and cozy. It is nice to sit and knit and rock in front of the fire, or read all snuggled up by the fire. A friend sent me some wild crafted tea about a week ago, so brewing up a pot of that adds to the whole atmosphere. Do I miss the cold winter of Maine?...not really. Do I enjoy the fire, tea and cozy feeling of being all snuggled down in the winter?....yes. Can you have one without the other?...certainly. LOL

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Carbon Footprint

I just finished purchasing our Terra passes. I know some think this is the "easy" way out of being responsible for our carbon footprint. And around here we are very aware of what we do and how it affects the earth. But there are a couple of things that are not very earth friendly. One...we like to travel. LOVE to travel. Our last trip was to Hawaii so I just finished purchasing terrapasses to balance out that flight. I also have a BIG vehicle. We travel a lot, so when we purchased our vehicle we needed something that was SAFE, top priority, and can carry all our stuff. Thus we have a not so fuel efficient vehicle. To balance that out I have purchased a terrapass.



Basically you are donating money to efforts that are green such as wind/solar power, to offset your "not-so-green" living. And while I do believe we are doing all we can here at our house, I recognize that there are areas we are not compromising on. Living consensually we really needed to find a way to make it all work so, for us, terrapass has been the key.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Dream People of the Amazon

I just finished watching the short movie Dream People of the Amazon. An amazing little movie. About the Achuar tribe of Ecuador. It is cool to see how these people have lived for years. Now there is the threat of big oil companies drilling for the valued oil that is in the ground under their homeland. Ecuador has given oil companies the go ahead to "research". The people of the region are fighting back. One interesting thing is that they are not only fighting to save the valuable rain forest that is their home but also to preserve their culture and way of life. In fighting this battle, it seems to me, they have already lost some of their culture and way of life. The demands of fighting a BIG company have forced them to modernize, although they seem to be adapting well, it makes you wonder what has already been lost forever.

RAIN

Well for this post I have no picture of the rain because we don't have any rain, haven't had any rain in a long while. It is so dry here. We are doing all we can to conserve water, my fall/winter garden is now all dried up, I stopped watering. We are taking quicker, fewer showers. Trying our best to conserve. I don't think some people really have a balanced perspective sometimes. I was on line last night and the TV was on, although I am not sure what channel. But it was some kind of talk program. The host was talking saying how she felt really bad for the people in the East who were experiencing a drought. Yeah, yeah. Then she said "they won't have water to wash their clothes, wash their dishes or water their lawns". What...did I just hear her right...did she say we won't have water to water our lawns. OK the lawns were gone a long time ago, we are under water restrictions now. It is so bad some counties are OUT of water and are buying water from elsewhere.

As if watering a lawn is a top three priority right under dishes and laundry. I think watering the grass and washing the car were two of the first things that we were asked to give up, way back some time ago. Although we do neither, LOL. It is becoming desperate around here, we NEED water. So if you know a rain dance...please do it...think of us.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Organics

I was writing a response to a comment on my "bagels" post but it was getting wayyyy too long so I turned it into a post itself. I was commenting that I am so hesitant now with the use, by companies, of the word "organic". Since the government made it's changes to what the word "organic" means and what can be done to food and still use the term "organic", I have seen so many companies coming out with their own "organic" line of products.

Are they "really" organic or do their foods just meet the guidelines now that the threshold has been lowered. It is REALLY confusing for the consumer and I have chosen not go by the little "certified organic" label anymore. I am trying to cook more for myself and buying my bulk items, and non bulk items, from companies I have known and used for years (before the changes). Not sure if those companies have changed their practices as well, I guess that is a possibility. But really, who has the time to research each and every company that they buy products from? And I know that I don't have the time or skill to make everything myself. It is frustrating.


We do the best we can, we think we are giving our families healthful foods, but are we? Can we ever be sure? I guess I have to do what I can and let go of the rest.