Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Planning For The End of Oil.

I know some eco-bloggers who concentrate on getting ready for life after oil's been depleted. I'm not one of them, which is why I have on my list of other places of interest Peak Oil Debunked and Wrong Tomorrow because the people doing these predictions typically don't have experience in the fields they're discussing.

Here's a few minutes by Richard Sears on Planning for the end of oil.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Not my year for gardening.

I'm starting to treat it as the gamble that some farmers know it is. I had about a .02% germination rate on EVERYTHING. I was successful only in growing mold. Now, I have hundreds of pots sitting around with NOTHING growing in them.

When we go to casinos to play slot machines, we give each machine only three tries at giving us more money than we put into it before we move on to the next machine. What's the sense in beating a dead horse? So, gardening is my dead horse this summer and I'm tired of beating it already. Hot weather has already set in and my next chance is fall.

I don't even have the interest to go outside and pull weeds ... for what? Even the beans I planted only have two plants starting. It's like the yard has been cursed! In addition, there's some kind of insect that crawls all over me when I go out there. Not fireants (at least not MOST of the time). Might be fleas; don't know.

So, I've ordered a pool float for Astrid and intend to spend my summer doing exercisey fun stuff with her and No. 1., reading more, relaxing more. Garden vegetables are always cheap at the store during the summer and I refuse to waste any more time or money on this failure. So, take that, garden!

My berry bushes are starting to fruit, so I guess THAT's one positive this year. Sugar ants are crawling around them as soon as they get sweet, though, so if I pick them I get ants crawling all over my hands. Meh.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Home-made sun-screen and Bon Ami.

The experiments with replacing portions of ground beef with cooked, mashed, brown lentils and cooked bulgur were totally successful. Em didn't notice any change in taste at all either in hamburger patties or his beloved hamburger helper. I should mention, however, that I season pretty much everything these days with Montreal Steak Seasoning. There was a sale at Kroger one day and I got about 8 of these. I use it on pretty much everything because it's got pretty much everything in it. I sprinkle it on vegetables, too!

My dandruff is back ... with a vengeance, so I'm gonna need to go through the whole routine I went through before to get it to go away again. PITA, but at least I'm getting a feel for how long I can go between "treatments" to keep my scalp healthy.

So, here we go with today's topic:

Like most envirowackos, I'm interested in ways to make non-toxic products that actually work like the toxic ones. I haven't yet tested these two, but now that I have a teensy granddaughter, I've been thinking about the impact of the world around her. To take her outside for any length of time, she's gonna need some sun screen. She's a pale-face like her dad.

Sun Screen:

I've never purchased products like Bon Ami. Em takes a more gentle approach to everything in life, so HE has, but I'm more the "shotgun it" type, not wanting to take any more time on cleaning than is truly necessary to get the job done and get away from it. If I make something, though, I have an investment in it so I'm more inclined to use it and make it work. We've got baking soda all over the place, for instance, because it's SO helpful in keeping our kitchen stain-free. Em had some problems with digestion for a while that seems to have been resolved with daily yo-chs (a combination of yogurt, cottage cheese and frozen berries). Berries love to stain anything in which they come in contact, so it's baking soda to the rescue.

Non-toxic cleaners:

Finishing up with a pic of the world's cutest baby (in MY opinion, of course):

Thursday, May 06, 2010

My Husband's love for hamburger helper.

We went grocery shopping yesterday for the first time in over a month. It had been much longer than that since we'd had any hamburger or tuna or chicken helper on hand and Em loves to make it when it's his turn to cook.

Yesterday, our local Kroger finally had a sale that corresponded with coupons on HH that also corresponded with a sale on Angus chuck.

Thing is, since we've not had hamburger helper, I've been mixing bulgur in with ground meat dishes to both try and get us to eat less meat and add healthier foods to our diet, and Em has LOVED the substitutes ... so I'm hoping he loves the substitutes here.

I bought 6 pounds of ground chuck, to which I'll add 1 lb (dried) brown lentils (cooked and smashed) plus one cup of dry bulgur (cooked and mixed with the lentils). I'm hoping to end up with 10-12 (roughly 1-lb) piles of meat & stuff.

I think he chose 10 HH and 2 tuna helpers, but my lower back went out this week and I really didn't pay too close attention, anxiously awaiting the end of the grocery experience so I could sit down. Point is: I think 10 would be enough.

Lots more work involved over just separating and wrapping the meat for freezing, I learned. First, the lentils needed to be cooked and an attempt made at mashing them.

Then, the bulgur needed to be cooked and added to the lentils.

Separating and wrapping the meat is always a chore in itself and one that is never measured on the meniscus. As Rachael Ray is fond of saying, "I eyeball it." Here's the 1st half of meat mixed with 1st half of non-meat mix (eyeballed).

Close-up, you can see that the mix definitely doesn't resemble 100% meat.

After I finished wrapping the 2nd half of that, I went on to wrap 4 boneless primes that Em and I will share.

I know some folks eat less/no meat all the time, but this is the first year I've been actively engaged in cutting back on our consumption of animal products. Will we give up meat altogether eventually? I kinda doubt it. We've spent over 60 years eating animals, starting before they were given hormones and antibiotics. Will I feed Astrid the kind of meat we've bought for years? No way!

Still have 40oz of bacon to cut and package. I freeze 4 pieces of bacon separately. That can wait until tomorrow, however. As I said in the beginning, I've had problems with my back this past week and today's the first day of fluidity, so I want to spend some time hooping.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Garbage - the Movie.

The First Tuesday Social Action Film Festival at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Oak Cliff will be showing Garbage tomorrow night. We won't be going to see it. Even though I hate to pass up an opportunity to get even more envirowacko than I already am, we're going to Winstar tomorrow and we're always way, way too tired to do anything on Winstar evenings because we go in the middle of the night and wear ourselves out walking ... which is why we're going because I did something to my lower back taking a nap this week and I need to walk it out.

Also, I really think I need to tone down this envirowackiness of mine. You can get carried away. We went to the Fort Worth Museum a week or so ago to see Sharks (which sucked as a movie), but on our way to the Omni we passed a display of plastic stuff made into a display. It was designed to bring public attention to the pacific and atlantic plastic garbage patches, but I told the woman that I probably shouldn't see it because I'm envirowacko enough as it is.

For instance, I'm thinking ahead to Astrid eating something besides breast milk and after watching Food, Inc., I don't want her to eat anything but organically grown food, and the decision isn't mine to make, not to mention that No. 1 may not be in a position to afford such a proposition.