Saturday, February 14, 2015

Seattle Tilth March Edible Sale!

It's that time of year! Spring!!! Yay!!! One of the truest signs of spring is the Seattle Tilth's March Edible Plant Sale. It's happening Mar 14, 2015 from 09:00 am to 03:00 pm; only a month from now.

It has been a favorite outing in our family for several years and I've always had great success with their starts.

Who knows, maybe we'll see you there while we pick up some Walla Walla onion starts!

We were cooking scrambled eggs all wrong! Are you?

A few years back we started watching The French Chef with Julia Child.  It has been the best cooking show I have ever seen. I've learned more from Julia about basic cooking than anyone else ever. Her style is very approachable and unintimidating; she builds confidence. Whenever I watched Martha I always felt inspired but also like I was going to end up on a Pinterest Fail blog.  There's something very calming about Julia, even if she just stuck her spatula into a turning mixer.  I'll admit I watched a CRAZY amount of her show last year. I need my Julia zen even if I never, ever, need to make an aspic.

By far the biggest impact she has made in our household is around eggs. All things eggs but most importantly around how we cook scrambled eggs. I had learned to mix up eggs with milk and then you put them in a pan and stir them around for about 4-5 minutes until they are cooked.

Well! No more! If you haven't made eggs like this then I'm guessing you'll be pleasantly surprised how tender and rich they are. I prefer the black and white, season one, version  but here's what I found for you:

Besides the better taste and texture it is also waaaay faster. I can cook up eggs for the kids start to first bite in less 5 minute. Hope you like them too!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Talking Trash - Yogurt Edition

Like many people, we've been thinking of more ways to eliminate our consumer waste; specifically around weekly groceries. Anyone who used to read my blog knows this is nothing new.

Lately, Nick and I have been trying harder to not only reduce our trash but our recycling too. There's been a lot of talk and effort around the big three R's: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. We've been thinking more and more about that fourth R - Refuse. Refusing to buy things because of their packaging or origin isn't something that is new to our family; considering that that whole "local" thing and all. But slowly, over time, little things have crept back in, especially in the middle of winter, like those bags of arugula from Trader Joe's.

Recently the kids and I got back to making homemade Yogurt again. Except we now use a yogurt incubator I received for my birthday several years back; it's a nice upgrade but totally not required.

You might wonder, doesn't it take a long time to make yogurt? Well, it takes me about 20 minutes to prep the yogurt and start the incubation. After which, I come back 7-12 hours later (depending on what I'm making) and pop it into the refrigerator.  TaDA!! Additionally, we can control what goes into our yogurt and the kids love the individual glass containers.

This rebirth sparked a challenge: how much waste can I cut from a single pipeline: our yogurt consumption? My initial thoughts centered around working harder at only ever buying glass bottled milk and streamlining the the yogurt making process.

Beyond just waste and quality, making yogurt yourself is cheaper! Right?? Hmmmmmm. At least that's what I theorized.  Nick challenged me with a casual, " it really? Even after you buy starter yogurt and milk?"

To the whiteboard I flew! I scribbled down some numbers and voila!
It IS cheaper! Ha! there! But that wasn't enough for me. I needed to break it down; think it through...perhaps even obsess over it a bit.

So here's the data I put together:

Based on that data, here is a visual on the cost per year:

While cost is definitely an important motivating factor, I think the more interesting chart is the amount of waste (recycling vs. trash):

Homemade yogurt is the clear winner; in all categories. But I'll admit I was a bit surprised that the glass milk containers actually produce TWICE as much trash that the plastic jugs. But this totally makes sense! Duh! You have to buy twice as many jugs and the lids aren't currently recyclable.

So it's twice as much trash but no recycling vs. half the trash and a fair amount of recycling. Which is, overall, worse for the planet when you take into account transporting waste and the inputs to recycle?

What do you think?  

How are you reducing your consumption on single use items? 

This is not a scientific report (hahaha not even close).  I tried to get as accurate data as I could for my table; I even weighed the various items. I received some odd looks from my oldest as I dug through and weighed garbage.  Savory! All that said, I may have made some calculation mistakes and your mileage (or yogurt prices) may vary. :)  Also, this wasn't meant to be a beautiful excel presentation, just food for thought.

Additionally, it isn't a completely fair comparison in my above table because I haven't added the cost of energy to make the yogurt (which is low) or that I need to buy yogurt culture every couple of months (also very low).

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Retail therapy? How about Denim Therapy??

Nick use to love nice jeans…fancy pants even. By fancy I mean stylish, quality and made in America or Italy. But snazzy pants are not made to handle long term bending, squatting, magic rocket rides and all the other stay-at-home dad abuse.

I’ll cut to the chase here…I mean why sugar coat it? He rips out the crotch in his jeans pretty consistently. It is a problem that now afflicts almost every pair of his jeans. It got to the point that he would need to color coordinate his boxers with his t-shirt if he wore many of his jeans.
Nice American or Italian made denim is very expensive. Replacing his tattered and aging denim fleet will run us on the order of a mortgage payment.  I should mention that some of these pants are very old. It’s a collection more than a wardrobe. In fact, he has a couple pairs of jeans he bought back in 1998, that’s quality.

A while back, 4 years ago?  He exchanged some Photoshop labor for a patch repair job on several pairs of his jeans. While that breathed new life into his wardrobe, many of those patch jobs have too worn through. His crotch is apparently a busy place. Smile with tongue out

I went searching for solutions to this problem and came across Denim Therapy.  You mail them your jeans, they give you a quote and they fix them up!  So if you have some jeans that you love you should check them out!
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