Monday, September 28, 2009

What's in your candy dish???

Trick Or Treat? Smell my feet give me something good to eat! what do you give to the little hobgoblins who come around asking for candy???
Plain and simple - I give cash! Coins to be exact. I usually have two or three mason jars full of coins- I just pick out the quarters and give them to the little beggers. LOL. No one is ever gonna call me a scrooge at Halloween.
I actually started this the year my dad died. We came home from the hospital and realized it was Halloween and had no candy to give. Luckily I remembered I had two rolls of quarters in my closet- so out came the quarters. I started to like this so, it slowly had become tradition. Kids seem fine with it as well- at least my windows don't get soaped! I think it is healthier for them too- OK I aint fooling my self- I know damn well they will just walk down to 7-11 and get a slurpee or something. But I feel better about it as there is no plastic to worry about, no high fructose corn syrup to worry about. Dentists think I am great am a jerk!

What, if anything, do you give out on Halloween as an alternative to candy? Or do you give in to the little demons, give them some sugar and send them home to their parents?Muwhahahaha!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sustainable fair in Ballard

This group powered bicycle gives a new meaning to car pool

I took a little trip up to Ballard to attend the sustainable ballard fair. Didn't see Crunchy (as Ballard is her home base, and I never arranged to meet up) They always do it right in Ballard. I was talking to the folks who raise goats right in Seattle and got the impression they think of Burien as a little country town in South King County. Well I had to tell him that there aren't too many little country towns in South King County, just small-towned minded city council members who like to make rules on what you can and cannot do (like raise goats or chickens)-Anyway back to the fair- Romeo decided he didn't like goats- chickens where okay in his books but he just don't trust those goats. I thought I would see lots of electric cars up there- but I don't know what happened to the Green Car Company- they were a major sponsor and even donated an electric bike for a raffle but were not there! But Pacific EV was there and we had a good discussion on converting my MGB to electric. Imagine plugging in your car and taking off to the car shows with no gasoline! I was still disappointed in the green car company not being there so I could look at an NEV close up. Oh well,another time I suppose- Other activities included a bicycle built for six,

pressing fresh apple cider, making your own shopping bags (you actually were to make two one for yourself and one to donate to the Ballard Food Bank)

I am a little light headed at looking and discussing solar power, too. I dream of lining my roofs with solar arrays and then am told I don't want to go off the grid- Apparently all the rebates and stuff are for grid customers only. Stifle my dreams but don't kill them!

Larry Hagman's Solar Power- An array of panels that
even would put a smile on J.R. Ewing's face

Shit I want Larry Hagman's solar array system, of course I will have to buy a house with a football field to house them. So another dream stifled, but not gone.

Anyway I had a great time up at the Sustainable Ballard fair. Great group of folks they got up there.

Spoons, forks and Knives- Weekly Challenge Update

Sharon's Independence Days Challenge- Year two, week 21

1. Plant something: Chard, lettuce, mesclun, kinnickkinnick ( a local ground cover that produces neat little berries)
2. Harvest something: Some lettuce, more tomatoes, pumpkins, spaghetti squash
3. Preserve something: Pureed and froze pumpkin
4. Reduce Waste (recycle, reuse, reduce, repair or compost something): Cut some old t-shirts for hankies;
5. Preparation and Storage: Made “camping cutlery”- simply drilled some holes through some cheap flatware bought at the thrift store and ran shower rings through them; bought a spare tank of propane for emergency cooking; bought a patio drip irrigation system to water the hanging garden (and just to play around with it)
6. Build Community Food Systems: Did my watering duty at the community garden
7. Eat the Food (cook or eat something new): Roasted Pumpkin Seeds, Roasted Spaghetti Squash Seeds,

Melinda’s Growing Challenge: Started building a greenhouse using a canopy frame I happen to have; No seeds saved this week

Meat Free Mondays: I had a “Morning Glory” Muffin and coffee from Burien Press, lunch- had macaroni and cheese, beets and cantaloupe; lunch at work - A “Naan” Pizza (pizza sauce and cheese on naan bread; Dinner- Almond Butter/Banana stuffed French toast.

Easy Cutlery to go!

Ditch The Disposables -Drilled some holes through some flatware and put them on shower rings so I can take my cutlery with me. Bought the flatware at Thrift store. Cut up some t-shirts to make hankies.

Buy Hand challenge: Making up Movie Baskets for my cousins and their kids- was going to buy gently used DVD's from Silver Platters a local Used DVD/CD store,but found I had 50 award points at work (Safety Award for not maiming myself too seriously for the past 6 months) so was able to order some Blockbuster gift certificates, that will allow them to rent what ever they want, then I will put them in a cardboard popcorn box, with some candy, a bag of organic of microwave popping corn , this is easier than trying to buy dvd's that will interest little kids- I don't think they would be too crazy for the ones that interest me. I know their parents wouldn't! Of course the bonus to this gift is getting my cousins' kids all hyper on candy!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

But is it art???

This weekend marks Oktoberfest in Burien. I took this pic when they where constructing the rides. The Passage (the mother and child statues) seem to be fitting in with a carnival. Don't piss mama off though, she will swing her mighty arm and knock you off your ferris wheel! Manuela Horn, Burien's own Yodeling Dominatrix (an America's got Talent cotestant) will be performing today at 5:30. Don't know Manuela? here is a short vid of her act:

Also this weekend is the sustainableballard festival. I went last year and had a real good time.

Friday, September 25, 2009

One of my Favorite things- "Cheap Like Me" Oatmeal

Do you read the "Cheap Like me" Blog? If so you know she has a lot of great things for the more frugally minded (cheapskates). A lot of things she writes about are great. But one of the best things I have found on that blog is her version of an Instant Oatmeal recipe. Cheaper than store bought instant Oatmeal, It taste just as good, and is just as easy to make. I keep mine in a container used for little Beef sticks (don't look at me like that- I won it in a raffle- and they were tasty). I wondered how I was going to recycle that jar! Around my house, my favorite breakfast is known as "Cheap Like Me Oatmeal. I eat it almost everyday! Anyway here is the recipe

"Cheap Like Me" Instant Oatmeal
6 cups rolled oats, divided use
1/2-1 cup light brown sugar (or to taste)
1-2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
Generous pinch table salt
1 cup powdered milk (optional)
Process 2 cups oats to a powder, then set aside in a bowl large enough to hold all 6 cups. Combine 4 cups of oats with remaining ingredients except powdered milk and process in two batches with two or three 1-second pulses, just so oats are slightly broken. Add to bowl with powdered oats. Add powdered milk. Stir or shake it up.
(Rob's Note; I don't add the powdered milk to the recipe: I use real milk when it is made- just a personal preference)
To serve, place about 1/2 to 1 cup of oatmeal in a bowl and stir in enough boiling water to get the consistency you desire (it may need a minute to thicken). Add any fruit, nuts, maple syrup or other flavorings you want.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Buy Hand for Christmas Ideas

Buy Hand for the Holidays Challenge - 2009
Getting into the spirit of the Crunchy Buy Hand Challenge(and an easy post for Rob!) here are some Easy to make gift suggestions for y'all to make:
Gifts to make you the Hit of the Christmas Party! Christmas Poop!

Reindeer Poop- Sherri Osborne (not Ozzy's wife but a craft blogger) Shows how to make all sorts of "Christmas Poop" gifts
and has templates on her blog for the tags. I plan on making my poop by melting some chocolate, adding nuts and raisins, and "hand molding" the poop! Or you can use raisenettes, chocolate Covered peanuts or any array of things.
Grinch Poop- Green Jelly beans
Snowman Poop- marshmallows and some coconut

Make a Dog Sweater
While this would not fit Romeo (I have big feet but not that big!), maybe fit Condo Blue's Blitzkreig, an easy sweater to make from an old Argyle sock, or use a wool sock

Make your own dog toys: Here is a collection of Dog Toys to make from every day objects. And of course, And here are the Cat toys! And what pet wouldn't want a fabulous 4 Poster Pet Bed?

Hot Chocolate Cones
I first saw this on Oprah- On her "payless holiday" show last year- these are super easy to make- step it up a notch and put them in a Christmas Cup (Of course I have dozens of Christmas Cups- people feel the need to give them to me every year- Here is a use for them!) And here is a recipe to make your own Cocoa Mix!

If Grandpa or Grandma like a little something stronger than cocoa, Make them some "Brandy" This is nothing more than infusing fruit into vodka, for Brandy, just add a cup of sugar. I am told that makes it Brandy. Not being a drinker I will take folks word on it.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Rave: The Weather

It is too nice to work- that’s my motto- we have been having nice warm weather- got up to 85 today- suppose to get to 86 tomorrow.
I don’t know how, in grey Seattle, they can expect folks to work when we have inclemently warm weather-Indian summer what have you.I managed to do a little gardening this morning- planted chard, mesclun and lettuce seeds, I did. Then go and have a nice little breakfast with my puppy. I just love nice days like this.
I propose a new bill in congress that we all get Sunny Days Off. So we can blow work off. For Me. We can call it The “It’s Sunny so I don’t have to go to work so blow me bill”! Or the "Blow Me" bill for short.
Think of it- people will feel so good they will go out and shop and frequent sidewalk restaurants and caf├ęs and the economy would be healed! I is a geniuos. Screw Ben Stein. Vote for Rob for Head Geniuos. Maybe then he will even learn to spell genious right!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

New Challenge

"Santa Crunchy"

Buy Hand for the Holidays Challenge - 2009

Never one to back down from a challenge or a chance to paint a beard and mustache on Crunchy's picture, I accepted her new challenge, Buy Hand for the Holidays
Shouldn't be too hard as I did this last year, via Bean-Sprouts Make your own Christmas gifts challenge. Last year I made and gave away homemade brandy, jerky, cocoa, and made lots of great stuff for my mom, martin, friends etc. I expect to do no less this year with the exception of snuggies blankets for a few. If I could sew decently I could make them, but that is out. So either I come up with something else or just buy the damn things. Now ain't that a nice holiday sentiment? "Here is your damn snuggie. Merry Christmas!"

Ed Begley Jr's Guide to Sustainable Living Review and Giveaway

REVIEW "Ed Begley Jr’s. Guide to Sustainable Living" and Giveaway!

I really really wanted to love this book. I loved Ed’s book Living like Ed, and hoped this book would get into more tips of “harvesting the low hanging fruit” as Ed puts it.
However this book unlike "Living Like Ed" is a long drawn out text book style book. No humor or interpersonal stories in this one. Just a straight up “How To” book on everything form solar panels to higher efficiency heaters and hot water tanks. Great for a technical geek like Cheap Veggie Gardener, not so great on the easily distracted like me. Anyway, I rate this book 2 CFL’s out of five, and hope Mr. Begley understands- it’s not him or the message but the delivery.
Now don't take that to mean this isn't a good book- If you are interested in lowering your carbon footprint this is a great book to learn from; clear precise intstruction on how to do things like add solar, or make your home a more effecient ship on earth.
On the bright side, It is Giveaway time- One gently used copy of Ed Begley Jr’s. “Guide to Sustainable Living" for one lucky reader out there. Rules are simple- just post a comment and You are entered. And hopefully you can leave an email or your comment has the obligatory Blogger info so I can get back to the winner-
Winner will be picked by the Random Number Integer art at random .org. Good Luck! Contest runs until October 2 at midnight, PST.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Ditching the Disposables- The Weekly Challenge Update

Sharon's Independence Days Challenge- Year two, week 20

1. Plant something: Planted the last of the Dutch Corn Salad plants I started; Planted Garlic; Planted Garlic in the community garden as well
2. Harvest something: Basil, Tomatoes, Spaghetti Squash, Pumpkins; Out of the community garden- Tomatoes, cucumber,
3. Preserve something: Pickled Hungarian wax peppers; Pureed and froze pumpkin
4. Reduce Waste (recycle, reuse, reduce, repair or compost something): Don’t know if it counts but I got a replacement for my beloved commuter mug through eBay. Used some old recycling bins as planters;
5. Preparation and Storage: Made a couple of planting beds for next season, converted some recycling bins into planters (when the city changed to different service the Garbage company said to keep your old bins, for free! Never had a use for them until I started thinking about it. Found some old Milk Crates to use to store crap; Figured out a plan to make a green house using the Canopy frame I have with no top, will make it moveable
6. Build Community Food Systems: Took this weeks donation of food from the community garden to the food bank- Tomatoes, cucumbers
7. Eat the Food (cook or eat something new)-Ate pickled cherry tomatoes and onions, Pickled Hungarian Wax Peppers; Started eating the food in the freezer- ate Game hens and corn (from last year)

Melinda’s Growing Challenge: Am planing on building a greenhouse using a canopy frame I happen to have; saved the seeds from pumpkins, spaghetti squash

Meat Free Mondays: I had a “Morning Glory” Muffin- (Raisin, Mango and Carrot) and coffee from Burien Press, lunch- had TVP “chicken”, beets; lunch at work - A flatbread pesto and tomato Pizza; Dinner pickled onions, pickled tomatoes and an omelet.

Ditch The Disposables- Yes Ms. Amy, or rather Crunchy Domestic Goddess to you and me is starting this one up again, For the love of me I don’t remember what I ditched last year; But Oh well this year I am going to concentrate on Plastic Cutlery and Drop the tissues for Hankies- I mayhave done one or both last year but need to try harder if I did as I am getting sloppy about both!

A new favorite thing!

My latest favorite thing is something called Dryer Balls. They are these cool little spiny balls that have obvious benefits- no dryer sheets needed, no fabric softener(not that I use either of those). But I discovered a Bonus benefit- They actually cut down my drying time by 10- 15 minutes. I have heard you can put two tennis balls in the dryer and get the same effect, but hell I don't play tennis and Romeo wouldn't give up one of his tennis balls- (just mentioning taking one of Romi's balls is sensitve- he still remembers the "snip" incident with the Vet I suppose), so I can get my own balls for the dryer. Besides Romeo slobber on my fresh laundry? Blech. I also have read where you can make your own wool dryer balls. Wouldn't know how to felt them. So, anyway I bought the dryer balls at Ace for about $10, and they seem to work, and like I say- 10 to 15 minutes less dryer time per load is pretty cool!The electric bill saving will pay for those balls in no time! And yes I know that line drying is cheaper and better, but this is the rainy Northwest and often not an option. I suppose I could put up a line or get a dryer rack in the garage. But if I am going to use my dryer, I might as well use it less I say!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Muffin Envy

Ever have one of those days? I did. I started out this morning taking some produce from the community garden to the food bank, Then ended up at the community garden from where Romeo and I walk to the Burien Press. Since I did some gardening, I thought I should go in to the bathroom and wash my hands. Which I did- While I was in there the Barista whom I call Pinky (for no reason other than I can’t remember her name and she often wears a shocking pink stocking cap) made my coffee in my mug-
There was another customer there ordering his offices morning coffee, so I waited for him to finish until I paid for mine. There was one morning glory muffin in the case. I thought “I should have ordered that before washing my hands”. Sure as shit, Mr. "Office Latte Mocha Frappacino and 1 Soy Vanilla Frappacino Boy" finished his order with "I’ll take that muffin". What???If he could only hear what my mind was saying-“Don’t you know I did good deeds this morning and that muffin is my reward? Just put down the muffin Mr. and nobody gets hurt”.
Anyway he just took his order, paid and left. Guess he couldn’t feel the daggers that I was throwing with my mind. Or the flames of rage.
Now you think I would have a great Moral to this story of some deep seeded lesson in letting others have the muffin or don’t expect Rewards for good Deeds? Sorry- ‘Ceptin to say, If you are in the espresso shop Order your muffin before washing your soiled hands OR Train your cock-a-poo to grab the muffin and bite the guy in the ass before he leaves.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

What I did last weekend

Well You already know that I attended the Arts Aglow Festival, but earlier in the day (4:30AM Earlier) I drove out to Enumclaw, Washington where my Car Club, Stratocruisers South, was holding it's annual Car Show- well attended it was with around 300 cars and Motorcycles from all eras. All the money raised goes to Charities. And we horn the Enumclaw Senior Activity Center into holding a pancake Breakfast which raises them a good amount for their account as well.
A quick Video of what it is like at 8 AM and every one and their brother with an old car is cruising in to sit around in the hot sun all day:

Here is a slide show of the 8th Annual Cruise Into Fall Carshow

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Look who came back!

Just like a dog who runs off, you don't see for days, and comes back after you get adjusted, get a new dog.. well... Look who came back:


When I was walking the dog this morning, One of the Landscapers at Town Square Park stopped me and said "I think I have something that belongs to you- reached into his truck and brought out Muggsly! The landscaper said that he was working where I parked my truck on Friday, said he saw something shiny roll of my truck and found Muggsly. He also said he knew I walked here everyday so he picked Muggsly up and kept him until he saw me today.

The only damage to Number 1 was part of the lid broke off- still useable, just the part where you grab it for removal.

You know, it's silly, but there are some differences between Number 1 and Number 2- the handle on number 1 is a rubber type material and has a different feel than Number 2-which is a plastic type material. No. 1 fits my hand better it does.

So now I have two Muggsly's- I guess they will be all right together.

Hope they don't breed- or maybe I do- then I can sell Muggsly's all over the place.

"Scuse me- you look just like my Milk Man"

I haven't heard that since I was a little kid.

Since the city muthas (my term for The City Council) wont let me keep a goat or two or a cow in my back yard, I have resorted to Milk Delivery. Locally produced hormone free milk from local happy cows. You see the Smith Brothers Dairy, a local milk dairy, delivers milk to my doorstep, along with other products that I use and like. Saves me those last minute trips out the door as well. And I figure since Marty, my milk man is going down the road anyway (he delivers to the school up the street) He may as well stop in here on the way. Along with milk I can get get Tillamook Cheddar Cheese(Made in Tillamook Oregon), butter, local free range organic eggs, Coffee (Tully’s, another local company), yogurt and butter. I was raised on Smith Brothers Milk Delivery as a kid- glad to see they deliver to my address.
Now, if I could get my morning coffee delivered to me, with a danish...Hmmmm....
Do they still have Milk Delivery in your Area? Do you use it?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Some more Arts Aglow pics

The Arts Aglow Festival in Burien is an annual Lantern Festival put on by the city Parks Department and the Arts Commission. There were probably over 700 people participating in the evening procession from Town Square park to the B/IAS

I recorded some Vids that I posted late Saturday, and thought I should share these pictures:

Some of the lanterns, like this seahorse are very intricate
Cool salmon swimming
This isn't a tree but a cool sculpture;
Tree Spire description from the B/IAS website:
"Tree Spire" is one of the first collaborative pieces by the
Iron Monkeys. It is a 15' tall tree with a circular bench around the base of the
tree. There were four trees made, one is in Rainier Vista and another is in
Reno, Nevada as a temporary art installation."

One of the stilt walkers dancing with the Belly Dancers

I couldn't get enough of the salmon!

Big lantern!

Now you know I couldn't resist adding some lanterns to the community garden- Of course mine were made frrom reclaimed materials- no fancy tissue here!

On of the "solig" Lanterns I made in the community garden

A Flower made from a plastic cup from a Sno Cone vendor
(ok- a little tissue)

A coffee cup lantern!

Another coffee cup lantern, This one from Burien Press


Drum roll, please.......................


He was on my doorstep when I came home from work tonight in a box and wrapped in paper. He came all the way from Yarrow Point, Washington (Bellevue) so didn't travel far- I will use him first thing tomorrow!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Not much to report- Weekly Challenge Update

I don't have much to report on this week, didn't plant anything, blew meat free monday (although not too bad); no major reuse projects or anything

Sharon's Independence Days Challenge- Year two, week 19

1. Plant something: Not a thing
2. Harvest something: Basil, Tomatoes;From the community garden- Basil, tomatoes, Chard
3. Preserve something: Made some Basil Cubes; Dehydrated basil;
4. Reduce Waste (recycle, reuse, reduce, repair or compost something): Made some lanterns out of recycled materials for the Arts Aglow festival in Burien; other than that just general recycling, composting
5. Preparation and Storage: Filled my Gas cans for the generator with gas, starting to read up on propane conversion for generator
6. Build Community Food Systems; took Tomatoes, Basil and chard to the food bank from the community garden; did my watering day at community garden
7. Eat the Food (cook or eat something new)- Ate tomatoes and Basil in my Portobello Parmesan;

Melinda’s Growing Challenge: Nothing new to report

Meat Free Mondays: Well I blew it- after months of successfully watching myself on meat free Mondays and no meat Wednesdays; I totally forgot about my pledge when I went for lunch at my favorite Deli and ordered a Philly Cheese steak- I remembered halfway through, quit eating my sandwich, ate the delicious potato salad instead. I saved the other half of the sandwich for lunch the next day and got back on the horse. I suppose since it is Labor Day I forgot and thought it was Sunday. I don’t know- but I am not going to beat myself up over it. So Lunch was ½ philly cheese steak, 1 cup of potato salad; Dinner was Portobello Parmesan,, a vegan brownie for a snack,

Arts Aglow Videos

Some Videos form the Arts Aglow festival in Burien, staaring with "The Yellow Hat Band" and ending with the procession through Town Square Park to the B/IAS.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Review: The Real Dirt on Farmer John

I figure I review books and since I do I should review some movies. There are a lot of good documentaries out there. Here is one of my favorites:
Well okay, I expected from the trailers, an expose on a farmer who wore funky clothes. What I got was a well done documentary on the problems with farming and the victories of CSA farming.

Starring John Peterson, who could of been any one of my cousins in North Dakota, and his struggle with the family farm which became his responsibility following the death of his father. It chronicles the challenges with the farm and his community throughout the years, the suspicion of devil worship, just because he was a little different. Because he was a little different is why he succeeds in building a nice little CSA.

I give this movie four and one half tomatoes out of five. Highly entertaining, it grabs you and you want to see what happens next. I would definitely recommend it.
PS I added the trailer to entice y'all!

Goodbye Muggsly

Well after over ten years it has finally happened... I left Muggsly on the box of the Pick Up and he fell off while driving. Snnnnf. When I went to get my coffee this morning at Burien Press... It felt so odd not to have my mug with me. I feel like part of my body is gone, But not to worry I have a line on a new Muggsly, hopefully.
Good Bye Old Friend. You have served me and the earth well. I only hope someone finds you and uses you faithfully.
PS FROM ROB: I just found out I won an ebay auction for a new muggsly! Phew, I won't be dislocated for long!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Arts Aglow and Cruise Into Fall

Trying to squeeze one last weekend out of summer? The City of Burien will be hosting an "Arts Aglow" featuring many cool lanterns and entertainment at the Town Square and the B/IAS. An opportunity to go on an "art walk", kids can make lanterns, enjoy what's supposed to be nice weather and generally goof off.

And if that ain't enough to tickle your fancy, My car club, The Stratocruisers South will be hosting a car show on Cole street (the main drag) in Enumclaw, WA. All proceeds from the car show go to local Charities.
Yup, Saturday will be a full day for old Rob- car show at 6am, leave and hurry to the B/IAS to set up my lanterns in the garden! Phew! I am showing my 67 Vespa this year, and am going to "light" my "solig" lanterns made out of Crystal Light containers in the gardens.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Plant A Row

Well once again, I heard of a great program a little too late to join in. The garden writers Association, started a campaign "PLANT A ROW FOR THE HUNGRY" Good Idea, and something I can do next year. Of course those of use who practice Square foot and container gardening don't plant in rows but the gest of the idea is there.
To qoute the GWA:

"Launched in 1995, Plant A Row is a public service program of the Garden Writers
Association and the GWA Foundation. Garden writers are asked to encourage their
readers/listeners to plant an extra row of produce each year and donate their
surplus to local food banks, soup kitchens and service organizations to help
feed America’s hungry.

There are over 84 million households with a yard
or garden in the U.S. If every gardener plants one extra row of vegetables and
donates their surplus to local food agencies and soup kitchens, a significant
impact can be made on reducing hunger."

So Next year, plant a row, a square, or a planter for the hungry. Plant a tomato plant or two. Plant an extra zuke or pumpkin vine!I can say with humilty that the food banks love donations of fresh produce and it is well used. We at the community garden donate the produce we raise there. We are at about 30+ pounds of fresh produce- not a giant start but, a good baby step!
EDITOR'S NOTE: made this comment to this post:

"We would like to invite your readers to visit

to learn about a nationwide campaign to diminish hunger in America by
enabling backyard gardeners to share their crops with neighborhood food
pantries. Over 865 food pantries nationwide are already on and
more are signing up daily.

Your readers can help both by encouraging
local food pantries to register as well as encouraging gardeners to use the site
to help find local food pantries (see

Please contact for additional information."

Tuesday, September 8, 2009



Not being a big fan of eggplant, or veal (Okay I lie, I love veal, just not how its raised) I resorted to making Portobello Parmesan years ago. I saw it somewhere on TV. I like this as much as veal. Really!
(You can use Canned tomato sauce or fresh- it works either way)
4 portobello mushrooms
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Tomato Sauce either 1 jar canned or one and a half cups fresh sauce
1 cup of fresh, shredded parmesan cheese
Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet, the kind you can put in the oven. Remove the stem from the portabellas. Brown the portabellas on both sides when browned, dump the sauce on top, Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Then cover with parmesan cheese. Put the whole pan in the oven at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until cheese is a bubbly brown. Serve

A Recipe for Fresh tomato sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
6 tomatoes, chopped
3 onions, minced
2 green bell peppers, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat; add tomatoes, onions, green bell peppers, garlic, salt and pepper to taste. Mix ingredients well; cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Easy Enviormental Choices

I would not call myself an environmentalist. But I would call myself cheap. Or rather Thrifty. It’s funny how the two can intertwine. Many things I and others do to help Mother Earth are done not so much as for their so called “green” effects, they are done because we are cheap.
Ed Begley Jr. Likes to talk about starting by picking the low hanging fruit as a way to “green” up your life, by Low Hanging Fruit he means the simplest things to do to save money and energy. The underlined words being saving money.

10 “Low Hanging Fruit Suggestions” that are painless, simple and even a 5 year old can do:

1. Take a commuter mug or a reusable water bottle everywhere. I take my “muggsly” everywhere; can use it for coffee, water and any beverage. I figure I have not thrown away over 1,000 paper cups and plastic lids in a year’s time this way. Romeo even has his own “Kleen Kanteen” type water bottle, kept on his leash as well as a portable water bowl- Savings: I drink at least three mugs of water a day, which are 16 oz so on a 365 day X 3 calculation- $456.25 over buying bottled water at work. And as Condo Blues points out there are many alternatives to “Kleen Canteens” out there. Cost of a mug or water bottle- $0- $20 depending on the mug. Muggsly is priceless but you can find his brothers and sisters on ebay for around $45-50, I have had him so long that I figure he cost $13 when I bought him. You gotta love a commuter mug that appreciates in value! Many places give commuter mugs for free, and as for water bottles, old jars are free. Or check the thrift stores- I have seen acceptable water bottles and commuter mugs for as low as .69 cents. BENEFITS- some coffee shops give you a discount for using your own mug, less waste
2. 5-Minute Shower- I get wet, turn the water off. Lather, shampoo my hairs (both of them) then rinse.
Save the shower warm up water in a bucket, and reuse for watering plants or flushing toilet. Estimate savings-120 gallons of water a month or 1440 gallons per year Cost to do- Nothing, Benefits- Lower energy and water bills and usage
3. Take my own bags to the store- I have many shopping bags but that’s okay as I use them- I keep two in every car, and one on Romeo’s leash. Cost- 2.95 and up, but many stores have them for as low as $1. Or you can make a donation to to your local NPR fund drive and probably get one. My KPLU Premium Bag cost me a $45 donation- but I would have made that anyway. And I refuse the premiums as a rule. Benefits- lower prices (some stores give you a nickel to a dime discount for using your own bags, less plastic in the waste stream
4. Plan your trips wisely- Chile would suggest getting on a bike and parking the car at home. Nice thought and even though public transportation is all the rage, the true fact is that it is not usable for all of us. One little trick I do to save on gas is plan where I need to go- then park at one central location and walk to the rest. I have been seen parking the car (or truck) and walking all over Burien for things like trips to the post office, restaurants, the farmers market, the grocery and the pet supply stores. Cost to park and walk- Nothing, Lower gas costs, lower carbon emissions
5. Buy local produce- of course a “Farmers’ Market” is the easy way to do this- but most stores and green grocers are getting in on the Buy Local campaign and at least telling you were your produce is coming from. Pick local apples over Chilean apples, for example. Local means Local, within 200 miles at best. And if possible, pick organic local produce. The savings are the petroleum used to ship the produce; organic means that pesticides where not used to control bugs, etc. Cost to implement- nothing, maybe a few cents more for organic local produce, But I find it costs the same or less Benefits- better produce, lower carbon emissions sue to lower gas useage to deliver goods
6. REUSE - reuse those glass jars. They make great containers for leftovers for lunches, I even take the one quart jars and make Sun Tea, by the glass. The advantages to making sun tea in smaller jars is you can drink out of them as well! Cost to Re-use contaniers- nothing- benefit - Less trash, less plastic
7. Turn Down Your Hot Water Thermostat- despite what you think there is very little difference between 120 degree water and 140. Turn it down- you will save a great deal on your electric or gas bill - Cost to do- $0 Benefit- less energy costs

8. Heating and cooling - 65 is a great warming temperature. A/C can be kept at 80 or higher. And try using fans to re-circulate your air. Ceiling fans are a great way to do this. And try a programmable thermostat. I have two, making a poor mans attempt at "zone" heating- 1 in the dining room/kitchen area, one in the living room (since I have “electric” fan forced wall heaters) and it lowers the temperature setting automatically when I go to work or go to bed.Usually leave the heat off in the bedrooms. Cost to lower the thermostat- $0, Benefit- lower heating costs! Cost to add a programmable thermostat- $45-100, depending on the thermostat. And yes, they have them for baseboard heaters now, too! Benefits- lower heating cost, automatically controls the temperature of your house.

Motion Detector on my laundry room light
9. CFL- Compact Fluorescent Lights- a great way to save on electricity. LED lights are better but damn they are expensive. Another energy saving trick to lighting, if you are like me and have areas where CFL’s just wont work is to install motion activated light timers- I have one in my Laundry room that just screws in to the socket, turns the bulb off after a few minutes, or in the bathroom a wall motion activated timer will work fantastically Cost to add CFL's the cost of the bulbs which are coming way down- probably as low as $2 a bulb although I have gotten my last four free from City Light at different functions, motion activated timers- $20- $50 depending on the timer. Benefits- lower electrical bills
10-Wear a Sweater- Mr. Rogers cant be all wrong- well minus that pretend neighborhood- since fall is upon us and the temps are starting to drop, you feel a chill- Put on a sweater. Or wrap up in a snuggy blanket. Cost- A sweater or a sweathirt bought a thrift store costs a couple of bucks- payback- warm body. Benefits- warmer body, lower energy bills

There now I can step off my personal soapbox- what low cost tips do any of you have for greening up your life?