Friday, April 22, 2011

Making every day Earth Day

If we could leave all the political rhetoric out of it, Earth Day should be about making a change to preserve and minimize our impact on the environment. We shouldn’t need a government mandate to tell us to be more conscience of our gluttony, and I don’t want Rush Limbaugh calling me a flaming liberal because I think people should recycle, reduce, and reuse. So much in life is about common sense, and sometimes I wonder if we are so consumed with getting what we feel we deserve that we loose sight of what just might be best. Yesterday, the Today Show said that the United States was the number one trash producing country, and that the average American produces 1600 pounds of trash per year, and that a good amount of that trash could be recycled. That is almost 4 1/2 pounds per person per day.

Just as New Year’s resolutions give us the opportunity to make a goal to improve our health, Earth Day should be about making a change in our habits to improve our environment. If you don’t already use cloth bags at the grocery store, make a commitment to do it. If recycling is your weakness, start small and make improvements. If you purchase plastic water bottles, buy a reusable container.

Did you know that U.S. consumers purchased enough water bottles last year to stretch around the earth 190 times? And that 38 billion of those bottles ended up in a landfill?

For me, I think my goal this year will be to start purchasing napkins made from recycled materials and save a few trees! :)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Things I simply cannot understand . . .

Barbara Walters. Why is this woman considered a great journalist? All I know is she takes herself way too seriously. Barbara, when David Letterman makes a funny about you, there is no need to explain that you didn’t have plastic surgery while recuperating from your heart surgery, everyone knows it is a joke.

The Royal Wedding phenomenon. It seems as if I can’t escape the current “news” about this event. I really don’t care who designed the gown. And now tonight, Barbara Walters will enlighten us on this modern day fairytale. If it takes you eight years to decide if you really love the person enough to marry them, is it really a fairytale?

Tax day. Okay, I understand that April 15th is tax day, but if it is also another holiday, will it be permanently moved to another day? I didn’t realize I had a few more days to hold on to my check.

School lunch. Apparently a school district in Chicago is outlawing brown bagging. The reason – homemade lunch is not as nutritious as the school lunch. The only way I see that this is even possible is if the parents are sending a package of Twinkies, a bag of Cheetos, and a Mountain Dew to wash them down.

Time. My grandson turns a year today, and it seems like he was born just yesterday. And yet, my brother-in-law was killed in a car accident nearly two years ago, and it seems like an eternity since he was with us.

Puberty at age seven.  How do you explain menstruating to a little seven year-old girl? Two of the reasons for this crazy occurrence – obesity in children and all of the hormones in the meat we eat. And that is two reasons to skip the tax relief offer of the second Big Mac for a penny at McDonald’s today.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Thursday Thoughts

Once the game is over,
the King and the pawn go back in the same box.

Monday, April 11, 2011

To beef, or not to beef

To beef, or not to beef, that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the diet to remove
And save the cows from outrageous fortune,
And to take arms against mine carnivores,
And by opposing madden them? To cook, to eat,
No more; and take a stand to say we end
The heart-ache, and the thousand unnatural shocks
That their flesh is heir to: 'tis a consumption
Devoutly to be avoided. To cook, to steam;
To eat, perchance a veggie – ay, there's the rule:
For in that meatless meal what delights may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal custom,
Must give us pause – there's the respect
That Meatless Monday makes of so long life.

 No Chicken Pot Pie

3 large red potatoes, scrubbed and diced
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
2 cups chicken or veggie broth
1 cup half-and-half
1 1/2 cups each frozen corn and peas
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 pie crusts

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Saute onion, carrots, and potatoes in butter for 10 minutes. Add flour and cook one minute, stirring constantly. Add broth and half-and-half. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thick and bubbly. Stir in salt, pepper, corn, and peas. Pour into 2 pie plates and cover with pie shells. Cut slits to allow steam to escape. Bake 40-50 minutes or until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly and cooked through.

If your home is like mine, you may have a few carnivores, vegetarians, and some who eat meat in moderation. So I constantly ask myself should I beef or not beef. Yesterday I made this pot pie. One was made with chicken and one without. It was pleasing to all. To answer the question: I say save yourself some time and money and go no meat.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Make a change

Change is the most powerful word in a political race. It isn’t even necessary to articulate your plan for change but to simply imply you have one.

Change can be confusing. Like why the footwear I wore as a teenager is now called flip-flops. When my mother-in-law would tell one of her granddaughters that their thongs were cute, I knew what she meant, but it sure would bring an uncomfortable feeling in the room. Her granddaughters have now educated her on the change to that word’s definition.

I wish Alison Sweeney, the host of Biggest Loser, would make a stylist change. She is a cute, but her clothing choices make her look awkward and goofy.

You would think that scientific experts wouldn’t need to change their opinions as often as they do. I can never remember the recommended sleeping position for a newborn because it changes so frequently.

If American Idol wants the best singers to stay in the competition then they need to make a change. I recommend a cumulative voting system. When someone falls into the bottom three and doesn’t go home, their fans rally behind to make sure they don’t go home the next week. They will then be safe, and then someone who has never been in the bottom three ends up going home.

Making a change to eating healthier can be overwhelming if you try to do it all at once. Replacing white flour with whole grains in many recipes is an easy change to make. Cakes and quick breads with spices work quite easily to exchange the entire amount of white flour with the same amount of hard white wheat flour. I made this carrot cake for a family party and it was a hit.

Carrot Cake
2 cups sugar
2 cups hard white wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3 cups shredded carrots
2/3 cup applesauce
1/3 cup oil
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
walnuts and/or raisins (optional)
Mix dry ingredients. Add carrots, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Stir till all is wet. Add nuts or raisins, if you desire. Place batter in a greased and floured 9x13 pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 50-55 minutes. Cool. Frost with cream cheese frosting.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Eat your veggies!

Just a little pop quiz for you to enjoy on this Meatless Monday! Match the animal with the amount slaughtered per day for American consumption:

     1. cattle           a. 85,000
     2. pigs             b. 90,000
     3. turkeys        c. 26 million
     4. chickens      d. 270,000

     answers: 1-b; 2-d; 3-a; 4-c

So that would be 182 million per week, 806 million per month, and almost 9 ½ billion chickens killed per year in order for us Americans to have our chicken fix at KFC. Our mothers have long encouraged us to eat our veggies, and it is probably time to start doing it. And lay off the meat for a day. We could save 26 million chickens in just one day! Need a little something to make your veggies appealing? Then try this dill dip. It makes veggies a treat. :)

Dill Dip

1 cup sour cream
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon dried dill
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 tablespoon dried onion
1 teaspoon season salt

Mix all ingredients. It is best chilled overnight to blend flavors.