Saturday, January 30, 2010
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Sunday, January 24, 2010
- the eggs you receive will be fresher and more nutritious for you and your family,
- you will be supporting your local farmers and your local economy, and
- the carbon footprint of your egg-consumption will be lower since they only have to be transported a short distance to reach you.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
If you can't find them in your local grocery store, you can always buy them online from Amazon - they appear to carry them all.
Monday, January 18, 2010
Thursday, January 14, 2010
So far, the hoopla has all centered around BPA (Bisphenol A), an organic compound that serves as a building block of several common plastics. Unfortunately, BPA also happens to be an endocrine disruptor which can mimic the body's own hormones (estrogen, specifically) and leads to negative health effects including cancer, diabetes, heart disease, infertility, and developmental problems. And, sadly, babies and kids are the most sensitive to its disruptive and harmful effects. Pretty scary stuff...
Although my husband and I ditched our Nalgene bottles in favor of stainless steel water bottles quite a few years back and I seek out BPA-free plastic products when I am buying, I knew there was more we could do to keep these nasty toxins out of our home.
One easy step I took recently was to invest in glass storage containers since the idea of toxic chemicals leaching into our food (and our baby's food) gives me the heebie jeebies. In addition to avoiding the toxic chemicals, there are a couple of other side benefits to using glass instead of plastic/Tupperware.
- Glass is easier to clean and more hygienic than plastic. Since glass does not degrade like plastic, your glass storage containers will not get stained by tomato sauce, nor will it retain food odors.
- You can heat food up directly in it in either a regular or microwave oven. Although I'm kind of anti-microwave, when I do use one, I always transfer my food out of the plastic container and into either glass or ceramic since heat causes plastic to break down and leach chemicals into your food more readily. You can also put tempered glass into the oven without needing to transfer it to another dish which saves time and washing.
- It's pretty! I love the look and feel of the glassware -- it's got a much nicer aesthetic than the crappy plastic that gets stained and pitted fairly quickly.
Some of these companies make containers with glass lids but most of the products you'll find have plastic tops, some of which use safer plastics (no BPA or PVC) but you should check to make sure when you buy.
I'd also recommend removing the plastic top before heating anything up, regardless of how "safe" the plastic is supposed to be as I suspect pretty soon we'll be hearing that all plastics leach toxic chemicals of one type or another.
- Anchor (plastic lids are BPA free)
- Kinetic Go Green Glassware (lids are silicon)
I recommend making this switch ASAP. The glassware will last a long time (longer than the plastic) and it will help to keep you and your family safe from the harmful effects of plastic as well as keeping a little more junk out of our landfills.
In case you missed the earlier entries in this series, see below for more ways to Green Your Kitchen.
Saturday, January 9, 2010
Although I loved winter as a kid, I have not been a big fan since my teens. Chapped lips, dry skin, and an inability to stay warm make it hard for me to like the season. But winter does have at least one saving grace -- it acts as the perfect foil for comfort food. The cold and dark make one appreciate hot, rich meals that fill you up and make you happy, no matter how few hours of daylight there may be. Meatloaf with mashed potatoes is one of them...In addition to being refreshingly unpretentious and very tasty, meatloaf is also quite fun to cook. To quote the Joy of Cooking, "Part of the pleasure of making meatloaf is that it is entirely unfussy and open to interpretation."
The recipe below is cobbled together from a bunch of different recipes to create a perfect combination of savory meat, flavorful herbs, and sweet glaze. But you should feel free to take the Joy of Cooking's advice and adapt this recipe to meld the flavors to your liking.We are fortunate to have easy access to excellent, locally-raised, free range, grass-fed, organic beef. I used a mix of ground beef from Bear River Valley Ranch (I actually met Hugo, the rancher, when I went to buy the ground beef for this recipe -- he was giving out samples at our local butcher shop) and Niman Ranch ground pork. I served this meatloaf with mashed potatoes, sauteed spinach with garlic, and butter-braised new turnips - delish!Stay warm!
Maple-Glazed Meatloaf With Rolled Oats and Fresh Thyme
For the meatloaf
* 1 medium onion, finely chopped
* 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
* 1 cup rolled oats (or 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs - you can also do half and half if you prefer)
* 2 tsps fresh thyme, chopped
* 1 1/2 tsps freshly ground black pepper
* 1 tsp sea salt
* 1/4 cup ketchup
* 1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
* 2-3 ribs of celery, finely diced
* 2 tsps Worcestershire sauce
* 1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
* 1 1/2 lbs free range grass-fed ground beef
* 1/2 lb free range organic pork (or Italian pork sausage)
* 2 Tbsp butter
For the glaze
* 1/4 cup maple syrup
* 2 Tbsps Dijon mustard
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a large heavy skillet cook the onion, carrot and celery in butter, over medium heat, stirring, for about 5 minutes. Cover the skillet and stir occasionally until the carrots and celery are tender, about 5 more minutes. Stir in salt and pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and ketchup. Cook for 1 more minute.
3. In a large bowl, combine the meat, eggs, vegetables, oats and/or bread crumbs, and herbs. Use your hands to mix thoroughly (but do not over mix as this will hurt the texture of the finished meatloaf). Pour the mixture into a glass loaf pan and mound in the center slightly to make a traditional loaf shape.
4. Make the maple glaze and cover the loaf liberally with the mixture. Bake the meatloaf in the oven for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until the middle of the loaf reaches 160 degrees.A few more recipes you might like:
Monday, January 4, 2010
This recipe is incredibly simple but so tasty that I'm writing about it just in case it has not yet occurred to you to make spinach this way as I would hate for you to miss out on it.Fresh spinach, lots of garlic, some shallot or onion, olive oil, salt and pepper - that is it! It's delicious and super good for you, too.You can also create a variation on this recipe by adding some dried currants, toasted pine nuts and a splash of balsamic vinegar if you feel like getting wild (though it is plenty good without those additions, too.)Simple Sautéed Spinach With Garlic
* 2 bunches fresh spinach leaves, washed thoroughly
* 4-6 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed (you can use less if you prefer, I just really like garlic)
* 1 large shallot or small onion, chopped
* 3-4 tsps olive oil
* Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
* 1 Tbsp butter (optional)
1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over a medium flame then add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes until it begins to soften. Add the garlic and sautée for another 3-4 minutes, stirring often, until the onions are translucent and the garlic releases its fragrance.
2. Add the spinach to the pan in small batches, stirring to help expose all the leaves to the heat. As it wilts, add more handfuls of spinach until it is all wilted. Season with salt and pepper and add the (optional) butter - stir to combine and serve.
A few more recipes you might like:
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