Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Oi! You Gotta Try Oikos - Organic Greek Yogurt

Drizzle - for 40 days already.

I remember when Oikos first came out. I figured it was just another good yogurt product by Stonyfield Yogurt to add to their variety. You know how manufacturers need to keep adding things. I've been eating yogurt since it went mainstream in the 70's and even made my own. Most yogurts have a similarity to them - but some are a little out there and resemble some gelatin fake pink "pudding", for lack of a better word. Still, there is a thread of taste and consistency that makes them,well, yogurt.

Until now.

Oikos Organic Greek Yogurt
is in a class by itself. This isn't just a yogurt. Well at least it doesn't even come close to anything I have tasted before. I'm not sure what the heck Stonyfield did to make this very different animal called Oikos yogurt, or what new magical cultures they are using, but believe me, this is different and it is not just good, its better than great...it's outstanding.

Since I am not a food connoisseur, I can't really tell you why it is so different and so good. It is thicker, creamier, almost like a sour cream. In fact, this is the perfect replacement for sour cream on potatoes or in guacamole. (I never did buy into the yogurt on potatoes) It is just delicious. Not sure I can even go back to regular yogurt.

Okay, enough already. You'll just have to try it yourself. You can get coupons for a free Oikos by going here: http://www.oikosorganic.com/Coupons/

And in case you are wondering, I was not paid to do this. But I did use some free coupons!

Let me know what you think. Was I right? Is Oikos the most amazing, unique yogurt you have ever tasted? Oi, enjoy.

("Oi" is a British term used when saying "Hey")

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Recycling - There's Always Room for Improvement

Beautiful still morning with a hot air balloon on the horizon coming towards me.

"But I recycle", "My recycling bin is full", and "I recycle everything". Sound familiar? Myself included - there's always room for improvement.

I had the luxury of a gourmet birthday dinner last night with a friend who is on the fringe of recycling. The City of Concord is switching to "Pay as You Throw" and many are kicking and screaming to the curb, including my friend. After P&Ming about having to pay for "those purple bags", I assured her that there was indeed room for improvement and I would prove it to her when I came over for dinner. Not only would I show her how to recycle more, it would also mean she would save money.

So after fig and goat cheese bruschetta, layered Mediterranean salad, marinated/grilled natural chicken with asparagus and whole wheat gnocchi, I went trash can diving before dessert.

What I didn't expect was all the plastic in the trash can. It turns out she had no idea what the triangle meant, never mind what the numbers mean. Easy for her, Concord accepts 1-7. So out comes 4 plastic bottles from the small kitchen trash can. In her favor, she had saved the plastic containers the fruit came in to ask me; they had the number 1 on them, which I had to point out.(yes extremely small so get the glasses out) Kudos for her effort.

What I also found in the trash can of my friend who says she recycles everything, was paper, lots of it, from envelopes, junk mail and toilet paper rolls. "What's this?" I said. "Oh, I usually only do the big stuff." And "Here's a baggie you can rinse out and reuse, looks perfectly good."

Since she was being a pretty good sport thus far, I decided to go for the kill...the refrigerator. Opening the door revealed what is probably pretty typical in many households. Lots of containers, many plastic, covered with a clingy kind of plastic wrap or aluminum foil. I gently (I knew I was beginning to over do it) pointed out that containers with their own lids will save on waste (plastic wrap) or recycling (aluminum) and her lots of money. I also mentioned that the only thing that probably could not be recycled from the fridge were the cartons, but she had to check because they actually might even take those. (which means I'll have to check)

I really was shocked that there seemed to be no knowledge of the triangle number rating on the plastic. Now these are educated folks, activists, old fringe hippies. This is a great example of why "Pay as You Throw" is a good idea. There is still too much going to the landfills or incinerators and we need to "encourage" folks to recycle more. My friend, bless her cotton pickin soul, is a prime example.

Seventh Generation has a great posting on the plastic numbers and what they mean and some tips for plastic use safety. This just takes things one step further. And, yes, I did send it to my friend.

And after all that, we sat down to fresh black raspberries, red raspberries and blue berries, drizzled with smooth ricotta and almond, and a chocolate covered biscotti for dipping. I think she forgave me.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Tips for Getting the Public to Use Recycle Containers

Cloudy day waiting for some rain to spin through.

Getting the public to use recycling containers may sound like a boring or futile subject but it definitely has some merit. I was at the Shaker Village in Canterbury yesterday, all day in one of their glorious barns. I had saturated a napkin with strawberry juice and headed to the trash can to dispose of it. I saw lots of recyclable items in the trash and I wondered why the Shaker village didn't recycle. My goodness, of all cultures, the Shakers would have been leading the recycling movement, had they not believed in celibacy.

I asked one of the volunteers if the Shaker Village recycled and she didn't know. (So far, this wasn't going very well with lots of room for improvement.) I asked the person in charge of the event, and she didn't know either nor had she planned for it even with the outdoor food offerings. I asked if Canterbury had "Pay as You Throw" and the answer was "yes". So what's wrong with this picture so far? Shaker Village doesn't appear to recycle and they have to pay for their trash based on weight. So much room for improvement.

On my way out, I stopped in the Museum Shop (beautiful shaker items) and asked if they recycled. "Oh yes, we have 2 bins at the front of the property." That's it? (I said that to myself) A couple of acres of property, over 10 buildings to stroll through, a museum, a restaurant, a shop and they have only 2 recycle bins? Then she went on to say that it wasn't very successful because people throw their trash in it and the staff has to sort through it. I asked if there was a trash can next to it, and the answer was no. There in lies the problem.

Last summer the City of Concord had 20 recycle containers at their annual Market Days event for the first time. They were randomly placed by the waste management team and the results were interesting, and important. When ever the recycle containers were buddied with a trash container, people did the right thing and there was almost zero contamination in the recycling bin and very little recyclables made it in the trash. However, when the containers were only 6 feet apart, people didn't bother to look around, they trashed what ever they had, recycling bin or not.

Back to Shaker Village... and this is true for any new place, when all you see is a trash can, most people assume that the facility does not recycle. Some people might look around for a recycling container, and only fanatics would hold on to their recyclable items for proper recycling. The take home message is, the lone trash can sends the message that there is no recycling.

So here are some tips for getting people to use recycling containers.

1 - Always buddy your recycling container with a trash can to prevent contamination.
2 - Clearly display what is considered acceptable recycled items...glass? plastic? metal? paper?
3 - If only a trash can, have a sign directing people to a recycling container. (for folks who want to do the right thing)
4 - Never have a recycling container alone - it will definitely be used for trash.
5 - If you do not have single stream, have a bin for each category clearly marked with words and graphics. (little kids can recycle but might not be able to read)
5 - Thank people for helping to keep waste to minimum.

If you adopt these tips, I predict you will have a very successful recycling program.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Canvas Bags Is the Only Answer to Paper or Plastic

Clouds and fog beginning to lift. I think I see sun.

Canvas Bags by Tim Minchin is one of those You Tubes that will bring a smile to your face. Sometimes I think we're finally catching on about bringing canvas bags when we go shopping. And then other times, at the check out counter, when all 22 lanes are loaded with loaded plastic bags, I get a sick feeling in my stomach. We clearly still have a long ways to go. Collective ugh.

So despite knowing that the Pacific garbage patch continues to grow beyond the size if India, that only 1% of plastic bags are recycled (I don't even want to gander what happens to the other 99%) and 500 billion (that's with a "b") are used per year, there is hope based on the enthusiasm and passion behind this video.

So enjoy, giggle and ...pass it on. http://realgreengirl.blogspot.com/

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Food Inc. the Movie - You'll be Hungry for Change After This

Just a perfect June day.

The movie Food Inc. hasn't even shown yet but the mud slinging has begun. Most of the mud is coming from Monsanto who has a full page response tearing apart the movie. Sort of like the naysayers of Inconvenient Truth. And yes, you'll be hungry for change after you see this.

Either way, you'll want to make up your own mind...so see the movie. Videos of factory farming don't lie and whether these farms are few (and they are not) is irrelevant since the not even one should be aloud to function or exist. It's like Monsanto saying GMO's can co-exist, which it can't, (how do you stop seeds blowing to another field) and a factory animal farm saying it's a practical alternative to grazing. Practical? For whom? Cruel? Absolutely.

We as a decent society need to know where our food and all products come from, who makes them, and how they are made in order to have compassion for our earth and all who inhabit it. It's called knowing the supply chain.

We are the food we eat. Our children grow from the food they eat. The movie Food Inc. has a campaign to help improve the food in schools. (remember those awful lunches?) Food inc. supports healthy choices in schools. You can too by going to the website and signing on.

We are judged by how we treat the people who depend upon us.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Congress Investigates BPA Thanks to Digging Duo

Soft clouds, cool and slight breeze - I'll take it.

This is a follow up to the previous rant on BPA and the Corporates, behind closed doors, trying to rework its tainted image. Meg Kissinger and Susanne Rust of the Journal Sentinel have been relentless about investigating BPA and we owe our future to them. They have brought the science to the headlines for all to see and exposed the deal making that can happen in DC and elsewhere. Because of their article, Congress has a committee now investigating the FDA and its position on BPA.

Here for you to read : HOUSE PANEL WANTS REVIEW OF BPA
sanne rust
Thank you , merci, gracias.