Archive for March, 2010

During a day in the kitchen, gallons of water and food will be wasted, chemicals will be sprayed and disposables will be used. Follow this tips to become more eco-savy and saver-savy.

  • Chemicals should be kept at a minimum. We have become a germ obsessed society as we are addicted to bleach, ammonia and other toxic cleansing solutions in order to keep our kitchen clean. I guess we have forgotten that human civilization has been able to survive without the help of Clorox. And that by killing all the germs, we maybe doing more harm than good. It might be advised to those who are sensitive to chemicals or have a condition such as asthma, use alternative natural cleaning supplies. My favorite cleaning product is Method because of their all-natural  products. Because they are friendly to my lungs, I recommend the all-purpose spray for the counters, outside of refrigerator,  stove top and inside the trash can. The sprays come in different scents including lavender, grapefruit, cucumber and sea minerals.
  • Run the dishwasher with a full house not an empty one. Running a full load will save energy and cut down on wasteful washes. Make your load more eco-friendly by using a biodegradable dishwasher liquid.
  • Missing a fork? Instead of spending some money to buy an expensive new  flatware set, purchase a more affordable set at your local thrift store.
  • Use cloth napkins or forgo the paper ones. I would rather forgo the paper napkins because of the cleaning involved with cloth.
  • Oven cleaner sprays not needed! Sprinkle some baking soda into your oven and wipe clean with a damp cloth.
  • Before you throw out these veggies, cook them in soup. Tops of celery, onion skins, and stalks of herbs can be added to water to make broth.
  • Compost is not a landfill’s best friend. Compost is simply decomposed organic material made from plant material or animal matter which ends up as rich and fertile soil. Potential compost belongs in a garden and not in a landfill.

Further reading:

http://www.ecogreenarticles.com/top-environmental-issues-that-concern-a-chef/

http://www.methodhome.com

http://www.rd.com/advice-and-know-how/extraordinary-uses-for-baking-soda/article23745.html

http://www.composting101.com

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Our society has become addicted to disposable products, especially in the work place. The convenience of disposable are hurting us in the long run. It hurts  not only our landfills, but in our wallets too. Natural resources such as water and petroleum have a limited supply, so we must learn to conserve as much as possible.  Change  your bad manners by starting with these few tips:

  • Flatware is used at home, so why not at work too? Plastic utensils are disposable and convenient, but are not biodegradable. By bringing that fork  along with a mug and plate,  Mother Earth will be very happy.
  • Those damn soup cans with the special microwavable plastic lid. Sure this innovative  soup can is convenient but, so is a can with the  easy to open lid. So purchase a the can without the fluff  and use a bowl. And don’t forget to recycle the can.
  • Small garbage bins at work do not need pretty bags. What a waste of money to buy bags that will be thrown out anyway. Save some cash by using  shopping bags instead.
  • Water cooler cost money but filtering water is so much cheaper. Companies and homes could save lots of money but investing in a water filtration system. If you use Brita filter pitcher at home, recycle your filter at Whole Foods. The filters are then used by company Preserve to make products such as cutting boards, toothbrushes and bowls.
  • Bring a box of snacks and not a bag of it. The box is a better idea especially if you eat a particular snack often Plus you can save money, bring it home and recycle the box. Eco-licious!
  • Coffee grounds are reusable. Instead of throwing them away, use them as an organic fertilizer in your garden. The grounds can also be used to remove food odors from your hands.

Further reading:

http://www.preserveproducts.com/recycling/gimme5locations.html

http://www.recyclinggarbage.net/Aluminum_Recycling.html

http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/community-news/recycle-used-coffee-grounds-55010401

Attention Earthlings: Earth Day is on April 22, 2010.

Some will debate that global warming is having a serious effect on our Earth, while others deny its existence.  This article is not about to debate this issue because playing the blame game won’t get us anywhere.

I will not just stand along the sidelines and do nothing as we hurt our planet with our wasteful modern ways. My plan is to educate my fellow readers, because I have always believed that education is the key element to solving problems. So I will provide you with information on recycling, cost saving tips and ways to reduce waste. During my senior year of high school, I took an Environmental Science (ecology) class, which changed my life forever.

I did not want to wait till April to celebrate Earth month because every day on this planet should be a celebration. Please drop by as much as you can and leave comments and YOUR tips on how we can save our planet. My thoughts and suggestions might be hard for some to swallow, but I believe in tough love. We need to change our ways now, so that we can treat Mother Earth better now.

We need to curb our waste – big time! I won’t go into statistics about how much garbage is created by a person each day or each year. Plain and simple… A LOT! There is just too much need to stop  producing so much garbage and because landfills are hard to come by, landfill leaks can contaminate our groundwater and because we are using precious natural resources which can be used elsewhere. Make a commitment to:

  • Be familiar with your town’s recycling laws. If you don’t know what they are… ASK! Ask your local sanitation department, a neighbor or your town’s website. Be mindful that there are some plastics that your town might not handle.  If not, reuse the product. Some yogurt cups are not recyclable but they are perfect containers for art projects. Art school and artists might take your hard to recycle plastics.
  • Buy refillable products! Refillable products are usually cheaper and bigger than the original packaging, which reduces waste. A lot of water is also used in the plastic making and paper packaging process. If  the product does not have a refillable,  do something! Change your product to a more eco-friendly one or call the company to request a more eco-friendly option.
  • Stop trying to build a library of DVD’s! There is no longer any reason to be afraid that you won’t be able to get a copy of “Titanic”. Stop it.  With today’s instant viewing movies with Netflix, DVD’s pickup with Redbox and even your local library, we can save money and natural resources. Did you know that plastics are used in making DVD’s. To reduce our need, donate it to your local library, thrift store or even to organizations which send the DVD’s overseas to our troops. By lowering our demand for DVD’s, the demand for manufacturing of the DVD’s will decrease in the long run.

Links to get you started:

http://www.amvets.org/taskforcedvd

http://ecoble.com/2009/04/27/extraordinary-reuse-projects-10-amazing-ways-to-recycle-plastic-bottles/

http://www.greenlivingtips.com/articles/245/1/DVD-and-CD-Recycling.html

St. Patrick's Day Corned Beef with vegetables

In honor of one of my many heritages, I prepare corned beef each year for St. Patrick’s Day. This year I decided to try a new recipe, which includes turnips. The recipe has quite a few spices and the corn beef needs to sit in a brine for up to two weeks. This recipe makes 4 servings.

Corned Beef and Veggies

To create the brine:

  • 1 qt water
  • 1/2 c. sea salt or pink curing salt
  • 1 tb table salt
  • 1/3 sugar
  • 1/2 tsp crushed coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tsp crushed mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp crushed black peppercorns
  • 1 crushed cinnamon stick
  • 2 crushed dried bay leaves
  • 4 whole cloves

Preparation of corned beef

  • 2.5-3 lbs. flat-cut beef brisket
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped in half
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped in half
  • 1/2 lb turnips, peeled and cut in quarters
  • 1/2 lb of carrots, peeled and cut in quarters
  • 1/2 lb red potatoes cut in quarters
  • horseradish sauce, spicy mustard or Dijon mustard
  1. To create the brine, boil water in a large pot. After boiling, add spices listed under for the brine list and remove pot from heat. Stir until salt and sugar dissolved. Allow the brine to cool.
  2. To prepare the corned beef:  Put the brisket in glass container and pour cooled brine over it. Place weight on the brisket by using small plates, to keep the brisket submerged.  Cover and refrigerate brisket for up to 2 weeks.
  3. After the desired time period, remove brisket from the container and rinse. Discard the brine. Place the brisket in a large pot of water until the brisket is covered by two inches. Add halved onion, celery and carrot and bring water to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours until very tender.
  4. After about 45 minutes into cooking, steam turnips separately for about 10 minutes and transfer to a bowl. Steam carrots for about 12 minutes and set aside.
  5. After the corned beef is ready, remove the beef from pot and cover with a foil, to rest for 30 minutes
  6. From the large pot, discard the halved onion, carrot and celery from the broth and bring to a boil. Add potatoes and simmer until tender for 25 minutes. Add turnips and carrots and cook until warm.
  7. Trim excess fat from the beef and slice thinly against its grain. After transferring to plate, add vegetable and add some broth.
  8. Serve with condiments.

After tasting the corned beef, I found that this corned beef has a wonderful spice flavor to it. To get the best flavor, leave the meat in the brine covered for 14 days. The meat does not have to be turned at any time. Surprisingly, the broth gives the vegetables a wonderful buttery flavor. This is a perfect slow-cooking weekend meal. How did you celebrate your St. Patty’s day?

Bon Appetit

Deemakesjewelry

A very special thank you to Tracy Renee Jones for giving me a shout out! Tracy Renee Jones, a juggler of 3 blogs and a co-host of a weekly online radio show, recently had an interview with whohub.com. In this informative interview, she explains her reasons for blogging and provides the reader with inspiration to start their own blog.  Click on the link to read the interview.

http://www.whohub.com/tracyreneejones

U.S. Census Bureau

I just received the short 2010 Census form which has only 10 questions to complete.  The form has a Hispanic origin section, which is broken down to Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban and other Hispanic/Latino or Spanish Origin. This section also includes a fill-in section, where you can give your Latino country a shout out!

About 20 years ago, a census taker asked my sister and I,  what race/ethnicity did we consider ourselves? At that time, we did not understand the differences between Spanish, Latino or Hispanic, so we called ourselves Spanish-American.  Growing up, my family never addressed themselves as Latinos or Hispanics. We actually referred to ourselves as Spanish, because that is what my family saw themselves as when they were living in Latin America.

To my surprised, the term Negro was listed in the survey alongside Black and African-American. The term Negro is still used in the Spanish and Portuguese language since it means the color black and a person who is black. At one time the terms were also commonly used in the U.S. until the American Civil Rights movement of the 1950-1960’s. During that period, African-American leaders no longer wanted this word used because of its association with slavery, segregation and discrimination.  This term is still used for some older organizations such as the United Negro College Fund.

The Census Bureau reported that Negro was added to the surveys because the older generation still identify themselves with that word.

However, if the survey takers were in their 20’s during that time period (like my American grandparents were), they would be at least 70 + years old now. I have never heard my grandparents or other people of that age group use that term.

Dear Census Bureau,

In case you didn’t receive the memo, negro is no longer used in this country. Your agency should have been on top of their game, especially after spending billions of taxpayer dollars to create the surveys. So your statement is weak. How about next time adding gringo alongside white?

Sincerely,

Deemakesjewelry

P.S. What do you think of the Census’ decision to use Negro?

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