Saturday, February 27, 2010


Did you hear that GM is going to stop making the Hummer and they were not able to find a buyer?  Check it out here.  Does that mean an end to the site as well?

Friday, February 26, 2010

Saying bye-bye to Tuna

As much as it saddens me to say it, I'm no longer eating tuna.  I have been hearing about how the Blue Finned Tuna is quickly becoming extint for some time now but I've finally heard enough to convince me to stop eating it.

A few months back I heard an interview with Daniel Pauly on the NPR show FreshAir (which you can listen to here or see my other post here) in which he said the following:

“Eating a tuna roll at a sushi restaurant should be considered no more environmentally benign than driving a Hummer or harpooning a manatee.”

The first time I went to sushi after I heard this, I stayed away from anything with tuna on it.  I even went on a quest to find a sustainable sushi restaurant and found Mashiko in Seattle.  (We planned on going on our next Seattle trip but we never went while we were there.)  Over the next 3-4 sushi trips I slowly convinced myself that the tuna I was eating was NOT the same kind of tuna that was becoming extinct. There is of course NO way for me to know what kind of tuna I'm eating.

So after much debating (mostly internal) I've decided that they only way I can know for sure that I am not eating Bluefin Tuna is to simply not eat tuna.

There is a lot of information online about this and I hope you will take some time and do some reading on this subject.

Here are some sites I suggest:
Not eating any tuna might be a little excessive, but it feels right for me.  What are your feelings? 

Do You Supplement?

Thank you Good for can play with the interactive version here (

DO Lectures

If you like TED talks, you're gonna love DO lectures.  You can read more at treehugger or go straight to the DO website

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Hot Jalapeno Artichoke Dip

Firefly and I walked down to the store today to buy some munchies for another evening with friends and wine.  I have been craving some artichoke dip for a while now but I was bummed by the selection...everything was in plastic :(  To make it worse, the label wrapped all around the container so I couldn't even see if it was recyclable or not.

So instead of buy the plastic coated dip, we decided to make our own.  Here's what we did:

Hot Jalapeno Artichoke Dip

2 medium Jalapeno peppers
2 jars of artichoke hearts
1.5 cups mayo (more or less can be used)
Parmesan cheese
garlic powder

First I cut the jalapeno in half and de-seeded them. (I should have saved the seeds so we could plant them) Next I cut them up as fine as I could and set them aside.  Then I drained and cut the artichokes hearts.  I cut them into smallish chunks.  I then mixed the artichokes, jalapenos, and 1/2 the mayo in a sauce pan.  I decided to use the rest of the mayo because I wanted a lot of dip.  I then mixed in a generous amount of cheese and heated it till hot.  As it was heating, I added a little dill and garlic powder for a bit more flavor.  Serve hot.  Should be good for about 6-8 peoples (or two)

We are having it on fresh bread (just pulled it from the oven) but would be great on crackers as well!

The Rice has been Milk'd

I was surprised at how easy it really was to make our own rice milk.  I decided that I really didn't want to let the rice cook for 3 hours! (see last post) so I used my own recipe.

Rice Milk
1 cup organic brown rice (Long or Short, I used short)
4 cups water
Honey (Local of course!)

Rise the rice. Boil the water.  Add the rice to the water once water is boiling.  Turn heat down and let simmer for 30 min.  Remove from heat.  Using a ladle, fill a blender half way with the rice/water mixture.  Fill the rest of the blender with cold water and blend until smooth.  Pour through a mesh strainer into another large bowl.   Once all the rice/water mixture has been blended and strained, fill the blender with the rice milk.  Add honey (or sugar, maple syrup, ect) to taste (I added 1 tablespoon honey per blender batch) and then blend again to mix in the sweetness.  Pour into mason jars and secure with lid.  You can add more water if milk is thicker then you like. (you can also add vanilla, or anything else, as well if you'd like)

Ours was thinner then cow's milk but thicker then store bought rice milk and the yield was 2 quarts.  
I still wasn't able to find on storage other then most people agree that it will keep in the fridge, with a good lid, for about 5-7 days.  I put one quart in the fridge and two pints in the freezer.  My plan is to make the quart last 7 days and then use the frozen milk in 2 weeks and 4 weeks to see if it keeps.  I'll let you know how it turns out. 
I now understand the saying about teaching a man to fish... We are no longer dependent on the supermarket for our milk.  
We went from these ingerdients:

Filtered water, brown rice, expeller pressed canola oil, tricalcium phosphate, natural flavor, sea salt, guar gum, xanthan gum, carob bean gum, carrageenan, vitamin a palmitate, vitamin d2, and a non-recyclable container.

to these:
Water (snow melt), organic brown rice, local honey, and reusable mason jars

Friday, February 19, 2010

Rice Milk Update

I did a little more poking around this morning and I found a slew of rice milk recipes.  I like these one a lot better because you don't have to cook for three hours, most of these are about 30min or less.  Also, these recipes have yields on them of about 2qts. 

I have yet to find a way to store for long then a week...most recipes I've read say that the milk will keep for about a week in a refrigerated air-tight container.

People say the problem with canning the milk is that it is so low in acid.  I'm going to make a batch this weekend and I'll post my results.

Here is the website with more recipes

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Make you Own Rice Milk

Have you ever noticed that once you start thinking about something, its hard to stop?  A few days we were talking about milk that comes in bags and/or plastic jugs and I think we can all agree that we would rather have the good ol' days of glass bottles.  I think I might have been on a high horse at the time thinking I was doing a better job saving the world because we don't buy milk in plastic.  Now I realize I'm doing even more harm...

Neither Firefly or myself can drink cow milk so we buy rice milk in small boxes that keep well in the pantry.  I just realized that we throw every milk container away...the small boxes cannot be recycled! The containers are a mix of paper, cardboard, and wax and as far as I know, recyclable. 

Now lets compare that to the milk drinker we know around here.  Every milk drinker I know in Reno drinks Model Dairy milk.  Model Dairy is a local company with local cows and the milk comes in plastic jugs...jugs that can be recycled.

What are we going to do now?  Should we make the switch to the local, plastic jug milk?  Nope.

I found a recipe online for rice milk so I am just going to start making it here at home.  I found the rice milk recipe at a site called the Vegan Reader.  I have never heard of them before but I like what I've read so far.  The page with the recipe also talks about the milk Rice Dream and the changes in the company over the years.  The parent company of Rice Dreams now has some major share holders that I don't really want to support...Wal-Mart, ExxonMobil, Philip Morris and Monsanto. 

We actually use Pacific Rice now instead of Rice Dream (we switched for flavor reasons) but there are alot of questions the Vegan Reader asks about Rice Dream that I can't answer about Pacific Rice.

I'll let you know what I think of the new recipe once we try it, I also report back on the easy of the recipe as well.

How To Make Rice Milk – The Recipe
Ingredients and Supplies:
1 cup uncooked organic long grain brown rice
8 cups water for cooking
More water for diluting
1 teaspoon salt
Glass mason jars for storage
A Blender
Mesh strainer
Thoroughly wash the rice.
Put 8 cups of water in a big pot and bring it to a boil over high heat.
Pour in the rice.
Cover the pot and lower the heat to let the water simmer.
Cook for 3 hours.

You will end up with something that looks a bit like a soupy rice pudding. Add the salt.
In batches, fill your blender halfway with the rice mixture and halfway with water. Blend until very smooth. Strain twice through a fine mesh strainer into a mason jar. Continue on with the rest of the milk until you’re finished, filling jars and screwing the lids on good and tight.

Even with the extra water, the homemade rice milk ends up thicker than the product you might be used to if you’ve always purchased Rice Dream Rice Milk. It’s more like rice cream! You may want to dilute it further at the time of serving it. Just add a bit more water until it’s the desired consistency.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Just for fun

Just in case you're looking for a fun little project...

The fun folks at the Curiosity Group post this printable art project.  All you do is print it out (on reused paper of course!) cut it out, fold and glue.

Have fun!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Trader Joe's wine #9 Novella

2007 Novella Synergy from EOS Winery, Paso Robles CA

The first thing I noticed about this wine was the spicy smell.  I was actually surprised how strong the first taste was.  This wine is dry, strong, and fruity.  

I think I would give this a 2.5/5 if I were to rate it...however, I keep going back for more.  
This wine is another blend: 37% Petite Sirah, 25% Zinfandel, 20% Merlot, 18% Sangiovese

We had this wine with Firefly's spice vegetarian tacos (recipe coming soon!) and I think the spice from the wine went well with the spice from the tacos.

I think I would save this for a spicy dinner for a multi-bottle night.

Down and dirty info:
Price: $5.99
Average rating ( 84.6/100
Drinkability: 2.5/5
Next Day:
Length: Med-long
Dry?: Medium+

Friday, February 12, 2010

Barter and Trade

What happened to the good ol' days of barter and trade?

Well, that depends on who you ask.  Some people might say that it was to loose of a system and thankfully was replaced by our current monetary system where we all agree on the value of the form of payment.  Others might say that it is a system we need to return to so that the individual is not required to give a portion of said payment to the Federal Government.

There is however a third group of people who instead of just talking about returning to a barter and trade system, have actually done so.  These people include members of time banks and the teachers and students at the Trade School.

Time banks are so simple but they are changing communities all around the world.  You can find them in 22 countries and on six continents.  Once you are a member of a time bank, every hour that you spend helping someone else earns you an hour of help from another member.

The Trade School idea is another very unique system.  At this school, the students and teachers trade items and/or services for education.  So if you want to take a class on composting, maybe you would bring the teacher a loaf of homemade bread.

Check it out, bring it home, change the system, and save the world

Recapturing Bike Energy from Gyms

Why are we not using gyms has power plants?

I first came across this the idea of gym power plants at and then recently here at

The basic idea is so simple...

  1. People go to gym
  2. People ride stationary bikes (spin class anyone?)
  3. Bike is hooked to a generator
  4. Gemerator creates power
  5. Power is push out into the grid
  6. Earth is saved!
What do you think?  I know it wouldn't be gobs of electricity but I think if we can tap into more of these simple unused sources, we'll be better off in the long run. 

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Milk in bags?

The other day I found this post on asking, "Is drinking milk from bags weird?"

My answer: Yep, sure is.  Milk is bags?!  That's weird.  I quickly sent an email to Amber over at Unstuffed (she's Canadain)  who confirmed that in Canada, milk is in fact available in bags. (She also added that the organic milk she buys comes in returnable bottles).

The point of the treehungger article was to say that milk that comes in bags uses 75% less material then the jugs that American's buy.  The article goes on to say that the UK is expected to keep 100,000 tons of plastic out of landfills by switching to bagged milk.

Firefly and I drink rice milk that we buy in small 1/4gal boxes.  These are sadly not recyclable.  I have however been thinking that about learning how to make our own rice milk here and thus eliminating this source of trash.
How do you get your milk and what kind of container is it in?  Anyone have a recipe for rice (or almond) milk?

Trader Joe's Wine #8 Ménage à Trois

If you are looking for a good standby wine, this might just be the wine for you.

While there is nothing uber-special about this wine, I think it is a great everyday table wine.  This red wine has a very easy mellow taste with a nice hint of fruit.  I actually think it might make a great after dinner outside-with-friends-summer-breeze wine.

This wine is not snobby in anyway so if you have so friend over who think they don't like wine, I'd pull this one off the shelve and see what they think.  Like I said, it's nice and mellow with a smooth, short finish. 

The name, Ménage à Trois, comes from the fact that it's a blend of three different grapes: Zinfandel, Merlot, and Cab.

A delightful blend based on three varietals- Zinfandel, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon - Label

Down and dirty info:
Price: $10-12
Average rating ( 88/100
Drinkability: 4/5
Next Day: No Change
Length: Short
Dry?: Nope

*side note*
I really enjoyed the fact that this wine tasted the same the second day as it did on the first.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The dark side of flowers

Ignorance is bliss...

Once you know the truth, can you really go back?

Firefly and I were just talking about how after we learn about another way we can save the earth, it drives us crazy when we don't do it.

What did we learn? This time our eyes were opened to the little plastic baggies next to the bulk bins at the grocery store.  Firefly has decided that she is going to make some little baggies this weekend so that we NEVER again have to use the LPB (little plastic bags).

I joking said that I should post a blog talking about all the things we now dislike thanks to so-and-so...

 Such as:
I now dislike straws thanks to The Green Phone Booth ... ect.

Now for the darker side of flowers:

Today on my way home from work, I stopped by Trader Joe's and bought Firefly some flowers (no special reason...I just hadn't bought her flowers in a long time). As I was paying for the flowers, the cashier automatically reached for that plastic flower baggie that they always put the flowers into.  I kindly told her that I didn't need a bag (earth 1, plastic bag makers 0) and that was that, or was it?

This got me thinking...

Why do flowers always come wrapped in plastic?  I remember buying plastic free flowers! I've bought flowers that were wrapped in paper...when did the switch to plastic happen? How did I miss that?  Did the change happen one night while we all slept?

As I headed home, I asked myself the following questions:

  1. When was the last time you bought flowers not in plastic? - No idea (Firefly later said Pike Place market  two years ago)
  2. When was the last time you bought flowers not from a grocery store? - High school? (Firefly: Pikes!)
  3. Where did these flower even come from? It's not spring time in Nevada!? -Next state over: California
Originally I was going to do a simple post asking where you buy flowers from, if you do, and what are they wrapped in, if they are.

However, while searching for a flower picture to use I stumbled across this, a website called Greenopia asking me if I was really green?  Did you know that there are fair trade, organic,  and/or sustainably grown flowers?  I do now!

You should check it out....

P.s. I am PWW (posting with wine!)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Why Trader Joe's, Why?

I don't remember where I first read about organic foods at Trader Joe's being in plastic but I can't get it out of my head.  I recall Firefly telling me about it but I guess at the time, I didn't think much about it.  However, now that I know about stores such as the packaging free store, it really is starting to bother me.

What do you think?  Have you noticed this as well?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Trader Joe's wine #7 Oakley fiveReds

Here we go with wine number #7 2007 Cline Oakley fiveRed

From the bottle: "Oakley fiveReds is a smooth blend of red grape varietals and other flavors of spice berries. An excellent accompaniment to spicy western grub or tomato-based dishes."

The first thing I noticed about this wine was the strong fruit smell.  It took me a little while to place the smell but then it hit me...strawberry puree.  The smell reminded me of making jam.

We had this wine over two nights...the first night with friends and the second with chocolate.

The first night: The wine started with a sweet and syrup-like taste that quickly thinned as the spice level increased.  It finished with a subtle dryness that felt like some of the wine was evaporating as it hit the back of my throat.  The wine was a rich dark red color that was thin enough to see through.

The second night, I hated the wine.  Okay, hate might be to strong of a word but regardless, this wine was definitely not as good the second night as it was the night before.  Thankful we had plenty of chocolate. 

First we tried it with pieces of a Hershey's milk chocolate bar and suddenly the not-so-good-the-second-night bottle of wine was excellent!  The wine enhanced the creaminess of the chocolate so much that it tasted almost like drinking a milk chocolate moose.    

We then tried it with a Chipotle Chili dark chocolate bar from World Market (64% cacao) and wow! 
If you thought the chocolate was too spicy by itself, then maybe you shouldn't try it with the Oakley fiveReds.  This wine is really good at bringing out the flavor of whatever you are eating it with, in this case, the spicy chocolate.  Our spicy, bitter (the high the cacao content, the more bitter the chocolate) became even spicier and more bitter.