Monday, June 21, 2010

ROSEY RED RUSSIA

Здравствуйте ("zdra-stvooy-tye" Hello) and good morning to all my друзья (friends) out there in blog land! How are you doing this first day of hot summer work week? I’m good… a little stiff and a few ant and mosquito bites, but other than that… ok!

I grilled yesterday for the DH for Father’s Day and I did some additional batch grilling to use in dishes the next couple of days. I grilled some Chicken legs in 3 different flavors (Buffalo, Oriental, and Cajun) but DH ate all the buffalo ones LOL… he loves my homemade sauce! But man did he pay last night for it LOL! Ok, then I grilled a pack of brats and a pack of hot dogs. Grilled some different flavored marinated steaks and then a T-Bone for DH. Grilled some fresh jalapenos too and some homemade veggie burgers! MOM… you are trying these… you cannot tell the difference from beef! Even DH was really liking them! I made them using… well I am not telling you LOL! Gonna make some for DD’s party as we have at least 1 child I know of that is a vegetarian! I really liked it- and I’m the kinda girl that you don’t play with my burgers! LOL! SOOOO…. Gonna make a bunch more and freeze the patties so I have plenty! Even DD thought they were pretty tasty! DS wanted nothing to do with anything but the hot dogs LOL!

Ok, I have got a kitten update for you all… they are doing much better. I got them both to eat some dry cat food YAY! And they drank some pedialyte. They have also pottied in the litter pan DOUBLE YAY! 1 little oops on the floor but it was near the pan so I think he just couldn’t make it in time. ALSO (and this is a doozy LOL) I think Miracle might actually be a boy… still kinda young, so rather hard to tell… I gave them another bath last night and tried some home remedies for flea treatment (cause lets face it “au natural” is better than chemicals anyway PLUS who has that kind of money to spend on that stuff that may or may not work? NOT ME!). I am happy to report that I have gotten rid of almost all of the fleas!!! YAY!!! I used a homemade rosemary spray on Gizmo and a Lemon spray on Miracle. I also used a few drops of Tea Tree Oil in their bathing and I used Johnson’s baby shampoo to wash them and drown those pesky fleas! I’m going to give them a break in the baths today (as it takes a lot of energy out of them LMAO) and maybe 1 more treatment tomorrow and they should be completely flea free! YAY! (Insert the happy dance here! LOL) I will keep you all updated.



Ok, so I got a question… do you think it’s worth it to “go green”? How green are we, really? Well what if someone told you they saved over $10,000 going green? Would you consider it then? I sure would… so I brought you this article I thought some of you might find interesting!

New York Woman Shifts to Green, Saves More Than $10,000
by Diane MacEachern

Our latest One in a Million member is Nancy, an Episcopal priest and practicing psychologist who lives in central New York state. The One in a Million campaign encourages people to shift $1,000 of their household budget to greener products and services. I was amazed to learn that Nancy shifted so much she actually saved more than $10,000 without feeling deprived. Here's her story.

What inspired you to make so many "green" changes in your life? My doctoral studies were in MindBody medicine and holistic healing...which led directly to my first change: become a vegetarian(1991)—which reversed bone loss. In the intervening years I continued to study, teach courses, and give lectures and workshops on holistic healing and spirituality. My studies and workshop presentations expanded in 2005 after I learned about the known health risks associated with land fills at a meeting of the local chapter for the League of Women Voters. The local land fill had expanded despite opposition and was (and is again) asking to expand.

Troubled by the evidence, I began reading about recycling, which led me to studies about plastics, cleaning agents, bath and body care, cosmetics, and, surprisingly, food safety and how they affected human health and the environment. The readily available evidence was, and remains, shocking and deeply distressing. I believe that all of us need to be more conscious of the factors which affect our health and over which we can chose to have control, with our voices, pocket book, and votes. As a person living with a life-long disability I felt that, based on this new learning, I had a responsibility to act on it by making conscious choices about my life and health as I move toward retirement and continued aging!

That led to my second change: I became a vegan, eating only organic foods at home, and have reaped more health benefits than I imagined possible. No more antibiotics and hormones I didn’t chose, need or want; no more insecticides and pesticides bred into Genetically Engineered foods—as far as I can determine and choose; reading labels to avoid corn derivatives and high fructose.

All of this learning, alongside continued growth and new learning in my spirituality and prayer life, led me to my third change: a decision to become conscious and present to the world and nature around me, as well as to family, friends, and neighbors. All of life breathes the same air, is exposed to the same water, and shares the consequences of toxins in the land fill. The very least I could do was to avoid adding toxic, disposable, meaningless stuff or organic garbage, leading to my fourth change: changing my patterns of consumption, understanding the what and why of every purchase. Suddenly you see the stuff that clutters home, office, car and life. Stuff that wastes financial resources and generally obscures the meaning or purpose of one’s life. De-cluttering is a lesson in letting go and led to my fifth change, saving money as my shopping habits changed.

Are your choices for you alone or for a household? I live alone but children and grandchildren visit often. They know the routine -- I have posted a list of what items go in the paper basket, the compost pail, the small garbage basket, the shredder and the recycling can (in kitchen). The cleaning woman, handy man, and lawn person know what goes where in garage containers each week.

What was harder than you thought? Eating out with NO dairy products. My experience has been that the majority of restaurants, chefs, and cooks in small cities are not well-informed or prepared to serve vegetarians and vegans.

What was easier? The absolute easiest thing was simply adding each new change as I came to it and then living into it. I have a savings account for my ‘annual savings,’ which I use for life-giving organic foods, addressing needs (recreation, retreat, play) instead of wants, and enjoying a healthier and more purposeful life!

What's next? These changes are part of a spiritual journey that I hope will continue to evolve and deepen. I hope my example or words will save at least one person and one child from the toxic effects known to exist in our environment, water, food, and products we consume or purchase in blind faith. My greatest hope is that in the near future, Americans will take to the streets and demand accountability of corporations and government agencies for safe food and water, and non-toxic, renewable and sustainable products. If we dream GREEN, we will become GREEN!

Nancy's Green practices explained with savings:

Switch to natural cleaning agents - saving $800-900/yr. By natural, I mean: vinegar, baking soda, lemons, castile or natural soaps, peroxide, salt. NO BLEACH.

Create zero waste - saving $180/yr. The zero-waste effort led to canceling my trash service. In addition to a monthly fee, they charged per bag beyond 2 bags, which can happen if your put leaves and grass clippings out. All organics, wet garbage, yard waste, and shredded paper, compostable picnic table ware (rare) go into compost. I have two piles so one is in use while second matures and gets used up. I use the simple layer method which Cornell advocates. I take my recycling to the municipal solid waste transfer station every 3 months. I also take one (1) $3.50 large plastic bag with non recyclable, non compostable garbage once a year.

Water faucet- Drink and carry tap water - saving $500+ annually. I don’t want plastic toxins leaching every minute into my water. Plus, I want to eliminate CO2 emissions and costs of plastic bottles and transporting water world wide, often at the expense of poor people with little or no access to their own water supplies.In addition to saving money, I am expressing my personal values and beliefs in the face of big corporations that bottle and sell for profit water at the expense of poor people whose right to it has been stolen.

Buy $.99 reusable grocery bags, eliminating real costs of using and disposing of plastic bags - savings $100/yr. These bags are also often used for giving small gifts rather than purchasing gift bags or wrapping paper, tape, ribbon, bows.

Limit gift giving - saving $500. My gift giving is generally limited to a small gift to open and a donation for relief of poverty in some way (e.g. mosquito nets; poultry to raise, feed, sustain income for a family; building a school in Sudan; and now, for Haiti.) There's no over-spending for “just one more gift.” No environmental costs.

Drive fuel-efficient car less - saving an average of $100-$150/month, or $1200 - $1800/yr. As often as possible, I plan errands, appointments, and work travel so I can drive in a circle and save extra trips to buy food. There are always the unexpected trips but planning cuts down on fuel costs. If I need something at the home improvement store/mall I wait, if possible, until I have a list of everything I need from stores in that area (12 miles away). This has cut shopping trips to the mall area to 4 or less per year. I generally work from a home office, which also cuts fuel consumption.

Buy no fragrances: no perfume, scented candles, or air-freshners - saving $500+ annually. I open windows or doors; use all natural cosmetics, limited to foundation & rouge (see Cosmetics Database). Bath and body products are w/o fragrance and generally cost less. The health benefits are related to avoiding carcinogens, nano particles, phthalates, and asthma-causing ingredients.

Avoid plastic wrap -- saving $150 annually. I use brown wax paper in microwave (limited use) and re-useable plastic bowl covers or lids for food storage in glass kitchen ware. I never purchase plastic food containers.

Minimize paper -- saving $300. I use compostable picnic ware for those few times I am unable to use washable ware. I read newspapers online. When purchasing subscriptions to journals or placing catalog orders I request my contact info not be rented or sold. I am registered on the Mail Preferencing services and have a note on my credit records. This effort dramatically reduces junk mail and the amount of recycling I need to do. All loose paper goes through my shredder and is added to compost pile. Magazines and journals are generally saved or shared.

Use compact light bulbs & other efficient appliances - saving $200/yr. CFLs, which last 708 years and use less electricity, power all light fixtures. I replaced my old refrigerator 4 years ago and purchased an energy-saving dishwasher recently. I turn off my computer when away from my desk for more than two (2) hours and overnight. I turn off and unplug all electronics not in use, including the flat screen TV. I only turn on lights in rooms being occupied by a person and have attractive night lights in rooms which we may need to visit briefly after dark. My TV use is limited to evening news and occasionally a PBS special.

Buy used, refurbished goods - saving $2,000/yr, plus gas, energy and time to shop. My purchases, beyond health and house maintenance, are generally confined to gently used, repurposed, or refurbished items.

Grow own food -- saving $450-$500 on food, garden chemicals. I have two “square foot garden” boxes in which I grow organic produce every year, and share with a daughter and family. I figure I save $700.00, of which I use $350.00 for a CSA share for fruits, potatoes, and other or, unusual, vegetables I don’t grow.

Conserve water -- saving $100/yr. I installed two free rain barrels, offered by our county storm water management for attending a course on storm water. The rain barrels collect roof water run off, which I use to water front and back, including vegetable, gardens. I have a small home but collected enough water to keep both barrels full all but a few days last summer, watering daily.

Installed gravel driveway -- saving $4,000. My paved driveway was torn up to install a dry ditch four years ago (for run off from a side hill). Hard surfaces cause storm water flooding and permit toxins to reach water supplies. Without hard surfaces, ground water is filtered by soil before it reaches water supplies. Consequently I choose not to repave the drive and instead have crushed stone. (I live in a traditional, residential neighborhood.)

Feeling inspired? Take the One in a Million challenge yourself.

So tell me… as far as crafts go, is there anything you would like to see more of? And is anyone going to take the 150 day Christmas Countdown challenge with me?? I would love to hear from you guys and girls out there! As for a craft for today, well… with summer here, and my love of fruits… I saw this cute idea and had to bring it to you! You can do them in all kinds of colors, etc. Check them out!



Craft Idea of the Day: Fruit Slice Placemats

A fun and quick craft you can vary just by changing the fabrics.

Approximate Time: 1 hour

Supplies:

1/4 yd of each fabric
fleece for backing
sewing machine
scissors
pins

Instructions:



Either enlarge my pattern or draw a wedge shape. By changing the fabrics, you can have a watermelon, an orange, lemon, apple, or whatever fruit you like.

For the watermelon, cut enough strips of various widths of several red fabrics, narrower at one end than the other to cover the pattern. Sew them together putting one narrow end together with a wide end until you have enough to cover the pattern. Cut out the base of your placemat.

Measure from one point around the bottom and up to the opposite point, add 2 inches. Cut this measurement from a white and a green for your outer rind and inner rind on the bias of a piece of fabric.

Sew your inner rind fabric on, being sure not to stretch the bias, iron flat. Repeat with outer rind, press flat.

Lay right side to right side with your fleece, pin and cut out. Sew a quarter inch seam leaving a 5 inch opening to turn your fruit. Turn and sew the opening shut by hand.

For the watermelon, sew "seeds" with embroidery floss. For the orange slice, divide the bottom edge into segments and draw a line from the center of the top to those segment marks. Sew with a zigzag just to the white fabric. Leave the rinds unsewn so they puff up a bit.

By Ann from Loup City, NE

OK are you ready cause today starts your new FOOD week! After thinking about what interested me, I thought about heritage… parts of my father’s family comes from the area of Lithuania/Ukraine, etc. so I decided that I would bring you some flavors from the largest country in the world… Russia! A great choice of soups in Russian cuisine is explained by the folk habit to have a soup meal at least once a day. Schi, borsch, rassolnik, botvinia, ukha, okroshka, solianka and many others has been a peculiarity of Russia since ancient times. Soups can be made on meat, fish, mushroom, vegetables or milk stocks. Russian appetizers (in Russian, they are called “zakuski”) were meant mainly not to provoke keen appetite but to have them with strong drinks. So, most favorite Russian appetizers were all kinds of pickles and cold meats which go best with ice cold vodka. But not only vegetable pickles were used in Russian cuisine, the abundance of sea and river food provided cooks with a wide range of various fish appetizers. So, we shall start the week with a soup and an appetizer to begin to tempt your taste buds… Eat & Enjoy!



Ukrainian Borscht

Borsch is the best known Russian dish beloved all over the world. To cook borsch is not an easy thing, you should know specific details to get this unforgettable sour-sweet taste and rich red color. Borsch can be made on meat, mushroom or vegetable broth. Another very important thing is to prepare beet rightly - it can be stewed, boiled, balked or steamed. Just find your way!

Ingredients:

1 qt Water
2 qt Beef stock
3 tb Sunflower oil
2 c Beer (not Lite)

-or-

2 c Beet kvass
2 ea Beets, lg. peeled & juliened
4 lb Beef, chuck w/ bone
3 tb Red wine vinegar
1/2 lb Smoked pork butt
2 tb Butter (NOT margerine)
1 ea Carrot, lg. scraped, diced
1 ea Onion, med. coarse chopped
1 ea Cabbagehead small shredded
3 tb Tomato paste
1 1/2 tb Salt
Black pepper to taste
4 tb Parsley, minced
1 c Potato, peeled & diced 1/2in
1/2 c Sour cream

Method:

In a large stockpot bring the beef to a boil in 2 1/2 qts. water with 1 tb of salt. After 10 minutes of boiling reduce heat & simmer for 30 minutes more, then remove meat, cool and remove meat from bone & cube 1/2". In a large skillet on heat the oil on medium heat. Saute the onion, beets, & carrot until they are soft. Add the potato & butter then cook for 2 minutes more. In the mean time bring the beef stock, water & beer (or kvass) to a boil in the stockpot. Add salt & pepper, vinegar, & meat. Drain the beet-carrot-onion & potato mixture & add to stockpot. Reduce heat & cook for 20 mins. then add cabbage, tomato paste & pork butt. Cook another 30 to 45 minutes. Remove from heat & allow to cool to room temperature. Refrigerate overnight, re-heat and serve. A large dollop or 2 of sour cream in the soup is mandatory when served. Allow each person to stir it in themselves.

*NOTE: You may add 1 1/2 cups of cooked white beans to this soup if you wish but if you do so soak them in the vinegar then add them to the soup.



Russian Meat Balls In Vodka

Ingredients:

2 1/2 pounds hamburger,
2 eggs, slightly beaten,
2 cups cracker crumbs,
1/2 pounds ground lean pork,
1 cup milk,
1/2 teaspoon lemon rind,
1/4 teaspoon nutmet,
1 teaspoon salt,
1/4 teaspoon pepper,

Method:

Mix well and let stand for 1 hour, then form into small balls. Brown in a skillet in drippings along with 3 cups thinly sliced onions for about 15 minutes. Remove from pan. To the drippings, add 1 cup sour cream and thicken with 2 tablespoons flour and 1 can condensed beef bouillon; cook until blended, then add onions and meat balls. Blend in 1/2 cup dry vermouth and 2 ounces vodka.

Well there you have it folks… the start to another rather interesting week. I think I am gonna go sew me some more totes and other crafts and see what other kind of trouble I can get into! Thanks for stopping in and I hope to see you again tomorrow! HUGS!

2 comments:

  1. Lots of great info and food today. Thanks. I wanted to let you know that you are so cool and you bring us the greatest stuff. I signed up for the One in a Million challenge. I think its a great idea. And I am happy to hear about your kitties. Can you please explain more about the flea treatments? Those placemats are adorable and I want to tell you I am taking the Christmas Challenge with you. It should be fun.

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  2. Debbie "MOM"June 21, 2010 at 1:18 PM

    I am definitely going to look into that One in a Million Challenge. I think that article was very interesting and the author had some very valid points. Going green and being sustainable is a lifestyle not a past time and needs to be taken seriously. I already do a lot to be green but I definitely can see from that article that I have not even scratched the surface of the multitude of ways to "BE GREEN".
    Russian foods sound like they are dishes that are passed down through many generations and not altered from the original way they were made years ago. Borscht is a soup I have heard of before but never tasted, but since its made with beets and I like beets, this dish is something I might definitely try to make. I'm not sure about the meatballs. Do you just eat the meatballs or are there usually several other appetizers along with it? They look good but I think I would find myself wanting a bread or veggie along side of it, but thats just me. OK, hope you all have a good day and til next time....

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