Thursday, June 30, 2011

The First Garden Goody

Last week we got to pick our first garden goody, this beautiful yellowish green pepper (you all know I am a pro at technical gardening terms).  To be more specific, it came from a hybrid pepper starter plant courtesy of my local nursery.

There was a lot of debate on what to do with this beauty.  Finally it was decided that she would adorn our weekly movie night pizza.

We use Bob's Gluten Free Crust Mix, made with flaxseed meal and water in place of egg.  Usually I just throw on some Eden pizza sauce (Eden makes just about the only BPA free lining cans on the market right now and they are a Michigan company) and Daiya mozzarella cheese.  Today I added my lovely pepper (after saving the seeds) and diced sweet onion.  I ate a few pieces pepper raw (yum!) and roasted it with the onion before placing it on the pizza.

The result was a vegan/home-grown masterpiece!  What is your favorite way to use your garden's bounty?   What is your favorite way to do home-made pizza?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Innovative Economies :: Ant and Weed Control

Meet my patio blocks.  I like them.  I don't like the weeds and ants that gather between them.  So I recently killed two birds (or a whole lot of ants and weeds) with one stone.  I weeded the space between blocks, put some pure white vinegar in my watering can, and went to town.  Then I put in some more fill rocks.  Good-bye ants.  Good-bye constant weeding.  Thank you (again) vinegar.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Website Wonders

We've come to the end of food awareness week!  Do you feel more aware?  Fear not, we aren't done just yet.  Today we talk websites.  In my experience, books and movies are great for raising the awareness and websites are very helpful for keeping it going.  Here are some I have found most useful:

The Kind Life:  The community forum and blog component of the The Kind Diet, this is a place for people to get advice, share recipes, and find support.  Alicia Silverstone blogs regularly and shares not only information on companies, recipes, her next movie, but a lot of animal rights and activism info if that is more your style.

Crazy, Sexy, Life: Kris Carr has done a great job creating an online space for people to come together, improve themselves, and help others and the world.  On her blog she has contributers that tackle all kinds of topics.  On the community message boards, one can find the most comprehensive community I've discovered for support on eating vegan, raw, juicing, and anywhere else you might be on the healthy journey.

Oh She Glows: One of the ways I get recipes is not by purchasing cookbooks, but by printing off online recipes and creating a cookbook of my own.  Oh She Glows provides many of the recipes in my homemade cookbook.

Manifest Vegan:  Recipes and resources for vegan, gluten free, and dining out!

XGFX: A power house of all vegan, all gluten free recipes.

What are your favorite websites for food awareness/veggie recipes?  Did you read, learn or see anything new this week?  How did it effect you?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Food for Film

The week of eating awareness continues with an adventure into film.   Movies about sustainable food, eating for health, etc...make the topic much more accessible.  Many people who wouldn't sit down to read one of the books I recommended (or at least have to work up some major motivation mojo for the task) enjoy catching a movie.   Plus movies provide something special for visual and/or auditory learners.

Here are some food flicks that got me thinking...

Food, Inc.:  As I mentioned on Monday, it's not just about the food we eat, but how it is grown and harvested.  Food, Inc. takes on factory farming, genetically modified seeds, and other industry giants and standards in need of serious questioning.  This isn't just for vegetarians, it's for anyone who eats.  The website also has great resources for getting more info on the issues and taking action as well as a reading list.

Supersize Me:  With at least 1 in 4 of American meals being fast food, it is necessary to take a serious look at what that industry does to the planet, the animals, and our health.  Also, good for anyone who has ever eaten or plans on ever eating fast food.  Supersize Me is available for viewing on Hulu.

Forks Over Knives: I've talked about this one before.  It is a must see for anyone with serious health problems (high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, cancer, etc...) and anyone seriously looking to improve what health they have.

Food Matters: Another one for those with health problems or looking to significantly improve their health through food.  This movie also talks a lot about vitamins.  What I enjoyed most about it was the emphasis on personal responsibility in health.  We must demand that nutrition be used in treating health and we must be willing to do the work to let nutrition heal us.  I am told this is available on Netflix instant stream, but I got it from itunes.

Earthlings: I must warn you by saying that this movie is not for everyone.  It is very, very graphic and difficult to watch.  However, it is reality.  This film focuses on animal rights in everything from pets to entertainment to food production.  It will force you to remove your head from the sand and look at your lifestyle habits and how they effect the world.  You can view it for free on the movie's website.

What food flicks changed your eating habits?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Sustainable Eating Book Shelf

One of the ways I began my foray into sustainable eating was through books.  This was a natural path for me as I love books and never fail to find time for reading those things that interest me most.  The more I read about changing the world and my health through food, the more I wanted to read.

Here are some books that taught me so much and helped move me toward change:

Crazy, Sexy, Diet: I have told you about this one before.  Kris Carr has a super-fun and accessible writng style.  Don't let the word "diet" fool you.  This is all about making a lasting total life change for the better.

The Kind Diet: Quick, simple, and easy to follow.  Again less about dieting and more about life changing.  Alicia Silverstone emphasizes the importance not just of going vegan (or eating less animal product), but of eating whole plant foods.  This book also includes baby step recipes to work your way up to super hero eating status.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life: Barbara Kingsolver wrote this with her family about their efforts to eat local for a year.  It's a fascinating and inspiring look at what is possible.

In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto: I wasn't lying when I said I love Michael Pollan, and this book is my favorite.  I love his manifesto ("Eat food, mostly plants, not too much.") for its simplicity.  I love even more that he goes on to elaborate on exactly how one might live the manifesto (eat at a table, eat slowly, eat meals).  I wrote it out in bullet points and put it on my fridge.

Kathy Freston's books: She wrote Quantum Wellness, the book that first made me decide to go vegan.  She now has out a great one for people just approaching the idea called, Veganist: Lose Weight, Get Healthy, Change the World.  I haven't read Quantum Wellness Cleanse: The 21-Day Essential Guide to Healing Your Mind, Body and Spirit, but plan to in the fall before my next cleanse.

What else?  What did you read that totally changed your relationship to food?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Why Food?

If you are a regular reader, you may have noticed how Green Gracious focuses increasingly on food.  As this isn't a food blog, but an environmental one, you may find yourself asking, "Why so much food?"  The reason my friend and faithful reader is that I am learning more and more that the two are inseparable.

What we eat, how it is grown, and gets to our plate, effects our planet on every level.  Some of the most significant changes one can make are in one's diet.  Now, I am vegan and that works for me because it is a lifestyle change I am happy to make for my own health and the health of planet.  Veganism may have the most significant impact, but it isn't a requirement.

Mark Bittman understands this and I love this TED talk where he explains why we must change and how.  

The other thing about eating this way (real food, mostly plants, local, in season) is that it makes people healthier.  And guess what?  Healthier people have less of an impact on the Earth.  It is all beautifully connected.

That's why this week I am going to have a food awareness week on Green Gracious.  Starting today I will be sharing resources for learning more on the issue and how to make changes in your life.  Later this week I will post on books, movies, and websites.  For now, feel free to check out more fascinating and inspiring TED talks on food.

Michael Pollan (one of my favorite authors as you will see this week) challenges us to take nature's point of view.

Jamie Oliver talks about his Food Revolution and how we can, and must, save our kids.

Ann Cooper talks about food as social justice and practical ways to save our kids.

Have you changed your eating to help the planet?  What inspired you?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Farmer's Market Report :: June 17, 2011

I think we are coming into our bounty here in Michigan.  Look at those beautiful berries!

I've now got a fridge full of broccoli, cucumber, and chinese cabbage for juicing, summer squash and zucchini for dinner this week.

There are also some parsnips in there which I am going to pair with these quirky little kohlrabi to try veggie chips.

Finally, I picked up a curly parsley for my herb garden.

What did you find at the Farmer's Market this weekend?
Linking to: Farmer's Market Report

Friday, June 17, 2011

On My Mind :: Weekend Eating

The season's last asparagus (cooked on the skillet with olive oil and sea salt) + carrot raisin salad ("Clean Food") + cranberry wild rice pilaf ("Clean Food") + cornbread ("The Kind Diet") = Delicious.

What are you eating this weekend?
Linking to: Down to Earth

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Decorating With Old Books

That's my loft.  Sorry for the horrible picture.  Not only am I the furthest from stellar photographer, but even I know the lighting up there is horrid.  Anyway, the loft serves as a spare bedroom/computer room/tv room space.  A while back we moved this piece of yellow wicker furniture up there.

Said piece of furniture was the changing table my mother-in-law used with her kids and I used with mine.  But, since I am all about reusing useful (and in this case cute) things, it is now doing time as a side table in the loft.  Who knows, maybe someday I will be able to let my kids use it with their own.  Back to decorating-it is cute but it needed a little floral contact paper and something to sit on top of it.

This is where the books come in (so the title of my blog is not completely misleading).  My library had a book sale this weekend.  As I am a big fan of supporting the library and books, I was there the first day with bells on (or at least cute sandals).  I found these great classic books, "Treasure Island," "Pride and Prejudice," "Jo's Boys." The only problem was that they were $2 each.  Surely a steal, but too much for me to take 22 in one swoop.  I returned this week on the big bargain day and was in luck.  No one else had bought any and I scooped up the rest of the bunch, plus Nancy Drew and some Hardy Boys, and a few beauties for beside the globe for $2 total.

They are super affordable table toppers, entertainment for sleepover guests, and mostly literary masterpieces.  Welcome to my home Tom Sawyer, Jack and Jill, and Davy Crocket.  We are happy to have you.

What are some creative ways you have decorated?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Innovative Economies :: The Clothesline

You are probably well aware by now of my affinity for sun-drying laundry.  The clothesline was enjoying daily use until recent rains showed us a big problem with our home-made design.  Notice how those sticks in the ground hold up the line?  Turns out that days of rain turn that yard into mud, the sticks fall loose in their holes and my clean clothes fall onto the muddy earth.

Luckily I have a husband well versed in innovative economy.  He took cement blocks that were sitting without purpose near our shed and used them to create a new and improved clothesline.  Now if the sun is out, so are my clothes, without problem.

How have you used innovative economy in your home lately?