Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Change the World Wednesday Challenge - Make wraps and foils a No-No in your home!

So here we go for another challenge! It's been a few weeks since I've posted, but I wanted to do my share.

So this week's CTWW challenge is as follows :

This week ... for the entire week ... don't use plastic wrap or foil. No plastic wrap to cover food while microwaving, no foil to line a pan, and neither to cover leftover food. No plastic wrap or foil ... none ... for one week.

Or ...

If you never use plastic wrap or foil, identify one area of your life that could be a little more Eco-friendly. Tell us, in the comments section, what that one thing is and commit to "greening it up".

So what are we gonna do? Well, we are already practically wrap and foil free. It"s not really something we use. One thing we do use is paper towels. We are horrible at it sometimes. We buy the "select a size - made from recycled material" ones, but that is no excuse.

So here is my pledge : To stop using paper towels for a week!

What is your challenge this week? Chime in!

Day 15 – 100 mile Diet : A good night…

I'm a little late posting today... ran out of time this morning.

Yesterday (Day 15) was a very good night. Why you may ask? Because we took care of the first of many points I had on my list of things we were missing and getting used to from yesterday :

We cooked in big quantites!

Now lets be fair, that meant dinner, a 2 liter (64 onces) container of tomato sauce, enough vegetable broth to make 2 soup recipes and our first 2 loaves of bread, but for me, that was huge!

Another thing that I ommited to talk about yesterday was the difficulty of breakfast. Although I LOVE eggs, eggs every morning was getting a little hold and aside from fruit and cheeses, without cereal and toast, morning were hungry ones.

Well, we had a flas of genius : crepes keep in the fridge for quite a few days! So we decided to make a big batch of them so we could reheat them every morning.

Our first bread :

After following the sour starter recipe we had found on line and getting it to froth, but not double, we decided to give it a try anyway and see what would happen. We now know that we probably didn’t do something right because our bread stayed pretty flat. We waited for hours for it to rise (at least 3 even though the recipe said 2) but gave up after it having only plumped up about 25%.

What was the worse that could happen? We have hard or massive bread? We thought, “you know what? IT’S BREAD!” Our first in 15 days and we will love it and eat it with enthusiasm and pride. It does have the texture of pound cake though. LOL!

Here was the result :

We will be trying a different starter and bread recipe this time around.

We will keep you posted!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Day 14 – 100 mile Diet: 2 weeks already?

Time sure does fly! We realized last night that we had hit the 2 week mark of our NOW 64 day venture.

(Our new end date now being November 18 because of a few social life amendments taken.)

We started talking about how we felt so far and came up with a small list of things we miss, things we love or things we’ll never go back to again.

Things we love:

  • Visiting the people and places where our food comes from: Every time we stop at a stand, we talk to the farmers and share with them in our experiences. We love knowing the people that grow and produce the food we eat.
  • Going for rides for the purpose of food: We have taken to simply choosing a road and driving for an hour and seeing what we can find. It makes for wonderful week-end drives and we have discovered the coolest little stands, shops, orchards… This is something we will continue doing for sure even after the diet.
  • Being able to function without caffeine: Although the first 4 days were head splitting and horrible, now that the caffeine is out of our system, we enjoy the way we feel. We have actually decided together that coffee (in small quantities) will only be a week-end thing. And when we do decide to buy coffee, it will at least be fair trade, organic and locally roasted.
  • The weight factor: We have both shed at least 5 pounds in the last 2 weeks. We are thinking it’s not only the lack of simple cards and refined sugar, but the lack of salt in our diet. We feel great!
  • I love how together my husband and I feel. We have always been a very close couple, but this has brought us even closer. All the time spent in the kitchen together means less TV, less internet, less chatting online… We talk, we laugh, and we share. It's been wonderful.

Things we are getting used to:

  • We miss cooking in huge quantities to have things on hand for the week: We were never that big into pre-packaged foods, but when I would make a spaghetti sauce, a chilli or a soup, I would make enough to have lunches and freeze some! Now that a spaghetti sauce means stewing, peeling, seeding and crushing tomatoes by hand, I make what I need. Which means we rarely have something quick to just make coming home from work? Every meal takes at the least an hour to make now. We have the time, but we sometimes wish it could be easier.
  • We miss the convenience of saying “feel like a bottle of wine? Lets go to the Wine store.” Or “We are out of this; let’s walk to the grocery store that is opened until 11pm.” Everything has to be planned. The farmer’s markets have been closing earlier and earlier with the days getting shorter so if we are without at 7pm, we are without until the next day.
  • I will say it: I miss spices. Not really salt. Honestly, I’m doing well without it and was never a big salt person, but I do miss spices.
  • Smoothies are great, but I miss fruit juice! I nice big glass of fruit juice would be really great right now. LOL!

So, that is my 2-week wrap-up. Our sour starter is ready and we will be venturing into bread tonight so wish us luck! Here is a great site for starting your own sour starter.

Thank you to everyone for the support.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Day 11-12-13 – 100-mile Diet: Humdrum, canning and football without beer.

Hello to everyone. I hope everyone had a wonderful week-end. I’ve been so little at home this week-end, I didn’t have the time to write anything so I thought I’d jumble it all together.

Friday (Day 11) was pretty uneventful. We went to the farmer’s market and bought a case of big tomatoes and a case of roma tomatoes for canning. We also bought some wine for dinner at my parents’ place the following day (my mom had promised a 100-mile dinner prepared for us) and a few veggies. It was a beautiful day to be downtown so we took full advantage of it. We made Greek salad (we get local goat and sheep milk feta) with potato wedges and mint yogurt sauce.

Saturday (Day 12) was a BIG day.

The beginning of canning season was always a celebration at my house. Since I’ve been little, my mom has made her own stewed tomatoes, fruit ketchups, pickles, beets… Something she passed on to me and my sister so every year, fall for me means yummy foods for the long winter to come.

I spent the whole day at my parents. My mom was helping me upstairs; my dad was peeling tomatoes and manning the actual canning boiler in the garage. We made 28 jars of tomatoes and 2 jars of tomato juice. Not too shabby!

My mom, who is used to having us to dinner every week-end, had not had us over for a meal in 2 weeks. We didn’t want to impose our challenge on her, but didn’t want to apply the social life amendment every week either (what’s the challenge in that?) So it was understood we would spread out our dinner visits.

Well, she surprised us with an almost 100% 100-mile dinner of market garden vegetable, tomato and aged gouda frittata (all local) with a modified Asian warm veggie salad (replaced the honey-ginger-soy dressing by a raspberry-maple vinaigrette) and for dessert : baked local brie topped with home made, maple sugar strawberry compote.

Why ALMOST a 100% you may ask? There were croutons to eat the brie. Although the bread was from a local bakery, the flour was probably from the prairies. But after ALL the effort she put into it to serve us the most wonderful dinner. We ate the croutons and added a day to out challenge. We are now at November 18th, 2009.

But it was all worth it! It was a wonderful meal!

Sunday (Day 13) was all about brunch with friends and football. And not television football, but my husband’s first university football game live since he’s moved here from Pennsylvania.

We went to my friend and brought everything we needed for buckwheat crepes and maple syrup, cheeses and apples, local fruit smooties with bee pollen clusters and local sparkling cider.

Then we all bundled up and headed in to the rain for what would be a very cold day. Good thing too. Made it not too hard to not have beer. Yes, football without beer! That one took a bit of motivating. But we held strong and came home frozen, but un-cheating.

All and all, a very good week-end.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Day 10 – 100-mile diet : Revelations and Amuse-bouche!

Good evening to all.

Today was a good day food wise! Not only did my mayonnaise turned out great and we found a celery the size of a small grocery bag and I was able to make egg salad, but we had an important realisation about this challenge while walking through the mall after work.

Let me explain…

For the longest time, my husband and I have had one tradition on Thursday night, every 2 weeks, when we get paid: We go for pad Thai before doing all of our grocery shopping and all. Now, this may not sound like very much, but pad Thai is one of my husband’s favourite things and tonight was the first Thursday we got paid and there we were running errands and no pad Thai. Actually, there will be no pad Thai for 4 payday Thursdays.

My first reaction, as I looked at my husband’s slightly antsy face making “jokes” about the fact we had only forgotten one thing, that being PAD THAÏ, I found myself going through the ingredients and trying a find a way to fake pad Thai for my hubby. That’s when it hit me:

Trying to find substitutes for things will only make this harder.

My egg salad was good at lunch, but without salt and onion powder, it just wasn’t the same. Tomato sauce without spices is just not the same, fries without ketchup just doesn’t taste quite like what I’m craving.

So WHY try to slightly comfort ourselves in “pretend” foods when we could just create a whole new thing or try something completely outside of the box!

I remembered one of the first recipes that James and Alisa write in their book:

Potato Amuse-bouche

All they are really are slices of beets topped with blue cheese mashed potatoes. I thought to myself: “Now, THAT is something you have to think outside of the box to think up!” So simple, but of all my cookbooks and all my dining experiences, I’ve never heard of something like that.

So we made them for dinner:

Local Blue-Brie cheese, melted in yummy waxy yellow mashed potatoes pilled high on top of slices of boiled beets 2 inches in diameter and ½ an inch think. Sent them in the oven at 250’F for 15 minutes to double-bake the potatoes and roast the beet and VOILÀ!

Paired with a tossed salad (complete with my own raspberry-maple vinaigrette) and two glasses of amazing local red wine, we had a meal!

Funny enough, neither of us missed the pad Thai after this.

So new mission: CREATE! Look at what you have and make something.

I send the challenge out to all of you:

One night soon, look in your fridge and create something with what is there! It’s a wonderful feeling. Share it here. I would love to hear of your experiments.

Day 9 – 100-mile Diet: Bringing out the books.

After the slight slump that my hubby and I had early in the week about food choices and stuff we could not have, we decided to try our hand at making a list of things to make sure we wouldn’t feel like we are eating the same thing all the time. (I was inspired to do this buy James and Alisa’s book where they mention having eaten borscht and potatoes for weeks on end: “war veggies” they called them.)

The internet was way to vague and wide and frustrating of a place so I decided to bring out my cook books ad we started looking through the pages. Funny enough, we were happy to find that a lot of the recipes could be made 100-mile by simply substituting or removing some ingredients. We spent the better part of an hour pouring over the books, putting little page holders on all the recipes we could make with vegetables that are in season right now.

It gave us hope and I’m looking forward to trying them out and sharing them with you!

Also, we bought our pasta maker last night. Excited we whipped it out of the box and looked over the recipe for pasta. It was SO easy: 1 egg for ½ cup of flour! Wonderful! Triple the recipe and we have a big huge dinner.

Well… NOT so easy. Turns kneading pasta dough is like kneading bread dough. Too much, it breaks in the machine and not enough, it gets stuck in the machine. LOL! The machine is a mess! We ended up having pasta, but nothing was worthy of pictures. We will need to refine our technique!

Have you looked through your cookbooks?

How can you transform your favourite recipe into a local recipe?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Day 8 – 100-mille Diet : Don’t know what you got ‘til it’s gone…

Since yesterday morning, I’ve had that song stuck in my head. *Cues the 80s soundtrack*

It started with being upset with myself in the morning for having problems concentrating enough to read my school notes. That made me miss coffee.

Then someone at my office had a peanut butter sandwich. Made me miss peanut butter. Although, keep in mind, we had NOT bought peanut butter in over 3 months, but now that we can’t go and buy some, it’s been what we’ve been craving.

Then my co-worker had a sandwich for lunch… My tummy lost it. I emailed my husband in despair and said “I’m having a weak moment, tell me to toughen up and call me a PUNK okay?” And I resisted… Funny enough, he was having day dreams of pasta…


  • Start our sour starter to hopefully be able to make bread in a week or two.

We had been stewing and fermenting fruit in water (to use as natural sugar for the yeast) for going 4 days to start it and decided it was time yesterday. Equal parts fruit water and flour and a nano-drizzle of maple syrup and in the fridge we go. We’ll be feeding it water, flour and sugars for the next few days and seeing if we can’t make it rise. *fingers crossed*
  • Go out and buy a pasta machine this week and make our own pasta.
Now we don’t mean a big fancy electric one. We want a good old fashion hand operated pasta maker. Kinda like this one:

One of my favourite recipes in the world is fettuccini with a sour cream and shallot sauce. Now, given, no black pepper, but I think I’ll survive. We are also thinking stuffed pasta and perogies. Mmm… getting hungry again.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Day 7 – 100 mile diet : Why can't mustard seeds grow in Québec?

So, we are almost at the one week mark and I must admit, a few things are starting to gnaw at me. I guess the novelty wearing off a tiny bit (or maybe it's the chocolate chip cookies they had in a meeting this morning that I didn't touch) and being a few days before we get paid, going out and buying fancy cheeses and such isn’t a possibility right now.

The first thing that set us back a bit is trying our hand at a yeastless bread recipe and having it go bust. We were really hoping to eat a bit more than pitas this week, but we may not have a choice until our sour starter is ready… *fingers crossed*… I will post about that IF and WHEN we get it right!

The second thing would be sweets. Yes, my husband and I are sweet freaks and we have really been missing our after dinner desserts. There is just so much maple syrup and fruit will do and we are itching for an honest to goodness cupcake! We are on a mission to rectify this soon.

The last thing would be condiments and spices. Now, as much as I was never a “salty” person per say, I must admit I did use a lot of spices. I love exotic ethnic cuisine. Curries, salsas, chilis, Moroccan couscous, these were some of our staples and they have all been put on the shelf (or taken OFF the shelf) and we have been left with herbs, garlic and vinegars. I will be a 5 year-old about it and say I want ketchup with my hash browns in the morning!

But that is the point of the whole adventure…


So what to do? Make mayonnaise of course!

Started with the basic ingredients and decided I’ll see how that is and go from there:

  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup of sunflower oil.

In the food processor, beat the egg and vinegar. Drizzle the oil while the processor is beating until it’s fluffy.

Now, the recipe I found also had lemon juice, salt and mustard powder. But they were in such small quantities (1/4 to ½ teaspoon each) I thought “we won’t miss them”! WRONG!

What now? I added basil, a bit more balsamic vinegar and garlic. It should keep for 2 weeks, but I don't trust raw eggs that long so I'll most likely make potato salad or cole slaw soon with it.

Hopefully, the night in the fridge will help out with the flavour kicking in.


Let’s calculate my food mileage using the original recipe:

  • 1 egg: 30 miles – 49 km
  • Balsamic vinegar from Italy: 3800 miles – 6115 km
  • Olive Oil from Italy: 3800 miles – 6115 km
  • Mustard seeds (if I was to buy Canadian grown in Saskatchewan): 2100 miles – 3400 km
  • Sea Salt (We used to use gray salt from the Baltic Sea): About 3500 miles – 5600 km
  • Lemon juice from Florida: 1600 miles – 2600 km

Total for home made mayonnaise: 14830 miles or 23879 km

Now my alternate recipe:

  • 1 egg: 30 miles – 49 km
  • Balsamic vinegar from a local winery: 23 miles – 37 km
  • Sunflower Oil from Les fermes Champy: 98 miles – 158 km (barely but YAY!)
  • Garlic from Montmagny: 45 miles – 72 km
  • Herbs from home: 0 miles – 0 kilometres

Total for 100-mile home made mayonnaise: 196 miles – 316 km

This is NO WAY meant to make anyone feel bad. On the contrary, I do it to remind myself of why I do it, but I will probably buy olive oil again one day. I don't think the diet is meant to make 100% locavores out the participants. I really think it is made to open our eyes to the impact we have in every little thing we do.

Have you tried calculating your food miles?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Day 5 and 6 – 100-mile Diet: The social life amendment and goat cheese!

So this will be a double post as the week-end was filled with good friends, good food, a great fall afternoon hike and great local discoveries. But what a wonderful week-end it was.

Saturday was our day of full on realisation of what the 100-mile diet was. First off, we hadn't really taken the time yet to fully pack away all the non-diet foods that we had in the house so we started with that. Needless to say the pantry was very empty by the time we finished.

Having started on a Tuesday, right after coming back from vacation, the challenge had been a time cruncher. Although we cook mostly for ourselves, we have rarely had to make everything from scratch which meant nights filled with long hours of dinner preparations and planning for the lunches the next day. Finally a week-end where we could cook in huge quantities and have food to carry us through the week and hopefully, having a few minutes to breathe.

Saturday morning was busy making more bread, our first attempt at crackers (not such a success!), making a big quantity of veggie stock in preparation for slow cooker split pea soup which we will be making tonight as we sleep and creating a new recipe for white bean hummus 100-mile style (see recipe further in the post).

Another Grande adventure that day was that last night was our first dinner party with friends at our house since on the challenge so everything had to be perfect! The dinner was not 100% vegetarian since I was the only one at the table, but my husband took care of the meat.

The social life amendment

One of the first things that you read about when reading Alisa Smith & J.B. MacKinnon’s book is the fact that, although truly serious about having every ingredient in everything they ate for that year come from within 100 miles, they also knew there would be some times when it was going to be hard for them to do it and still have a social life. So they created the social life amendment and it went a little like this:

“Should friends have us over for dinner, or working life lead us to a business lunch at a Thai restaurant, we would not hesitate. We were off the hook also when we travelled (…) unless we were able to buy our own groceries and prepare our own meals. When travelling, we were also free to bring home products from 100 mile of wherever we were. That being said, we could not plan a trip to Hawaii because of a pineapple craving.”

So when our friends asked what they could bring, they mentioned that during their trip to the Niagara region of Ontario, they had picked up a few bottles of wine at a winery. So we said why not! I know… cheating a bit. But it was in good spirit and my husband and I have decided on a new rule:

When ever we apply the Social Life Amendment, we add a day to our challenge. Which means our new finish date is now November 16th.

Here is the menu we served:

  • Moose (roast beef cut) seared in goat milk butter and in which my husband had pushed in cloves of garlic and fresh rosemary leaves. (The moose was a gift from a co-worker and was hunted inside our 100-mile.) The roast was slow cooked for an hour and a half.

  • Boiled red potatoes.
  • Honey glazed carrots and beets.
  • Garden salad with balsamic vinaigrette.
  • Strawberry-Blueberry-Cantaloupe sorbets sweetened with maple syrup for dessert.
  • Wines from Niagara and local berry port wine with dessert.

And then of course, we did what we said we would: We put the salt and pepper shakers on the table for our guests... And went through dinner without having one person at the table touch them! we were thrilled!


Today was also a very wonderful day. We decided to go for a hike in a regional park about 1 h 15 minutes away. While driving up, we had seen a little blue sign that read “Fromagerie 4 km”. Huh? A little cheese shop? Wonderful! we thought, we’ll hit it back on the way home.

To our surprise, we found the most adorable little independent goat farm that had, annexed to their home, a little store in which they sold some of the best goat cheese we’ve ever tasted.

Cassis et Mélisse is situated in Saint-Damien-de-Buckland, Quebec Province, and had a wide selection of cheese (fresh, soft and hard) in addition to having sausage, pâté, and ready made meals and desserts such as goat cheese quiches and goat cheese cheesecakes. We left with amazing cheeses for this week and will absolutely be taking a drive in their direction again soon.

Okay… that’s it for my week-end. My husband is busy making a 100-mile version of his cream sauce simmered Brussels sprouts with sharp cheese. Should be a great dinner. I hope all of you had a great week-end.

100-mile White Bean Hummus recipe

  • 1 cup cooked white beans
  • ¼ cup fresh basil
  • A few table spoons of both veggie stock and oil (we used sunflower since it’s the only oil we have in our radius)
  • 1 big clove of garlic
  • Whatever fresh herbs you have. (We put thyme and oregano).

Blend everything in the food processor, transfer to a container and let sit in fridge over night for the flavors to truly sink in. eat with home made yeast-free flat breads!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Day 4 – 100-mile Diet: Trip to the downtown farmer’s market and home made PIZZA!

Yesterday, right after work, I took the bus and met my husband downtown for a discovery trip of the farmer’s market. We found so many things:

  • Fresh veggies
  • Fruit port wine
  • Fresh cheese
  • Legumes (red and white beans, split peas)
  • Live herbs (so we could repot them at home for the fall)
  • Strawberry flower Honey
  • Bee pollen (which apparently is a very energizing supplement so we thought GREAT!)
  • The season’s first pears

Came home and decided to make home made 100-mile pizza. How? Here is our recipe:

Crust: My husband’s flat bread recipe with a bit more oil, rolled out a bit thicker and kneaded with fresh basil, thyme, oregano and rosemary. Roll up the sides and bake in the oven for about 15 minutes at 350’F. Just enough to have it rise a bit and firm up.

The sauce: I made a quick little blender sauce with 5 roma tomatoes, fresh herbs, garlic and a splash of oil. Then I simmered it until the liquid was mostly evaporated.

The pizza: We topped the whole thing with red and green bell peppers, red onions and fresh mild cheddar made right there at the market cheese shop!

We sent everything in the oven for 20 minutes at 350’F.


Oh, we also made oven baked garlic fries.

I will be honest; the one thing that has been hard is seasonings and spices. You don’t realize how much you depend on them to flavour your foods until you can’t use them anymore. And how I missed ketchup for the fries! For npw, we decided to go with sour cream that we had in the fridge. But I’m planning on trying my hand at home made mayonnaise here soon so that could be a great alternative! I will let you guys know how it goes.

Hope all of you are having a great Friday night! Thanks for stopping by…

Friday, September 18, 2009

Day 3 – 100-mile Diet : A wonderful discovery!

Yesterday was day 3 of our little 60 day venture.

During our preparations, we have been very good about getting all the information we can about staples and things we know we need everyday from local producers through our farmers markets (we have access to 2 wonderful ones) but sometimes, the short hours aren’t always easy on our schedules so we decided to take a peek inside the big store…

We arrived at our local supermarket (IGA Coop in Sainte-Foy, Quebec) and were immediately assaulted by smells, sights, and cravings that we are not to satisfy for quite a while.
Automatically thinking that this was a terrible idea, we headed to the produce and cheeses, which were the purpose of the trip, and tried our best not to let it get to us. You just don’t realize how much you love Asian, sushi and pasta until you can’t have it!

Back to the mission : We were looking for a local cheese, hard enough that we could grate and have be a replacement of parmesan. As we were looking through the counters, we started seeing a small logo appearing on many of the products :

“Saveurs d’ici” in French means “Flavours from here” and the lady at the cheese counter explained that all the products in the store (whether it be produce, cheese or prepared products) come from less than 100 kilometres (60 miles) and have come straight from the producer to the store. So no transit mileage.

We were THRILLED! Now of course, some of the prepared products have ingredients that are not 100-mile, so that will have to wait, but to be able to walk into our local grocery store and pick our cheeses without having to wonder is a wonderful gift! We stepped out with two cheddars (aged 6 months and 1 year) and wonderful goat milk brie. And it only cost us a few dollars ore than it would have for more commercial cheeses.

Truly, a wonderful little treasure of a big box grocery store we have! Who would have known…?

Have you been around your grocery store? How locavore friendly are they? I’d love to know…

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Day 2 – 100 mile diet: Making bread without yeast!

So, day 2 was a bit better. Caffeine headaches are slowly going away and we had a bit more to eat today than yesterday so that always makes us happier. The day was filled with fresh eggs, cheese, milk, fruit, soup, fresh cut veggies. Dessert tonight was the best: Strawberries with granulated maple sugar.

But we were in the mood for a bit more tomorrow so we made bread! Okay, maybe they look more like a cross between a tortilla and a pita, but they smell so good. (We are planning our starting a sourdough strain this coming week-end. More on that later!)

My husband’s recipe was easy:

2 parts flour to 1 part water and a few table spoons of oil.
Make a ball and let sit for about 1 hour.

Roll them out into thin tortilla looking disks.

Then pop them in the oven at 400 degrees for 6-7 minutes.


We used local organic whole wheat flour (about 100 kilometres / 60 miles). We made them plain today but are planning on trying to mix some flavours in the next few times: Maybe basil and garlic, green onions, rosemary or even leeks.

Tomorrow means bread with 100-mile jam I made a few weeks ago for breakfast and lunch will be salad and bread with local goat milk brie. Not sure what dinner will be yet.

Off to bed!

Day 1 – 100-mile diet: Back from vacation and going locavore

So yesterday (September 15) was the first day of our 100-mile diet challenge. Having just gotten back from vacation helped a lot since we had pretty much emptied the fridge before we left for 10 days so very little temptation there. Unfortunately though, having had very little time to prepare more filling foods, our first day was a bit of a sparse one. We had tons of veggies and fruit from the local farmers market, so our lunches were really pretty much that. I had a simple cabbage and veggie soup with a tomato broth, tomatoes and cucumbers cut up and a nectarine for a snack. Okay, the nectarine was local when we bought it in Virginia, but we thought throwing good food out wasn’t very green either.

Dinner was wonderful though : My mom (being very supportive of our decision to do this) had prepared for us a yummy spaghetti squash, stuffed with all local produce like carrots, peppers, zucchinis, onions, garlic, etc. She was honest with us about the butter, although local, being salted. But we thought that on the grand scale of things, that was alright until we get ourselves organized. We bought amazing local sharp cheddar and top the spooned out spaghetti with it and had a feast!

We went shopping for supplies last night, so our second day should be a better fed one for sure!

Hardest challenge of Day-1 for both of us: No caffeine… Not that we drink that much coffee on a day-to-day basis, but we do drink a lot of tea and neither are 100-miles. You don’t realize the effect caffeine has on your system until you are trying to get through your day without it at all. Hopefully our bodies will get used to it soon and the rest of the week will not feel so sluggish.

If any of my readers have ideas and suggestions about herbal coffee and tea replacers, I’m all ears! We are planning on going wild chickaree hunting tonight (they grow all over the field by our house) and will hit a local Amerindian herb garden this week-end.

So that was our first day. I will try and keep a daily diary of our experiment in local eating. I will be better about posting images as well. Hope to ear from you guys for ideas, encouragement and comments. I’d love to know what you think.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Change the World Wednesday Challenge - Say NO to Styro!

So here we go for another challenge! Thank you to my readers (TC and Daisy Soap Girl) that stopped by and shared their eco-friendly ways!

So this week's CTWW challenge is as follows :

For one week, say "NO" to polystyrene foam (commonly known as Styrofoam). This means ... don't buy it (no Styrofoam coolers, cups or toys), don't use it and don't buy anything that comes in it. At restaurants, should you have leftover food to take home, ask the server to put it in something other than Styrofoam. At fast-food establishments, refuse to buy any products which come in it. Just Say No!

Or ...

If your life is already Styrofoam free, then write a post about why Styrofoam is so bad for the environment.

Although we are living pretty much Styrofoam free a lot of the time, the one time it's really hard is when you are eating out. Just last night, we took home leftovers and Tada! we have a nifty little Styrofoam plate in our fridge. Leaving on vacation in just 2 days, this week's challenge will definitely be a challenge, but we are ready.

So why is Styrofoam so bad for the environment and for us?

  • Well first, of course is the obvious : It does not biodegrade. It will stay in landfills for hundreds of years.
  • What about the ones with recycling symbols? Well, most of them carry the number 6 symbol which is very rarely recyclable by municipal facilities. So people put them in the recycling bins thinking they are doing a great thing. But they will end up in the incinerators and release ridiculous amounts of toxins into the atmosphere.
  • Polystyrene leaches which means that food and drink in contact with it will absorb toxins that we then eat and drink.
  • Styrofoam is very light which means that as it breaks down into small pieces; it gets blown away into water systems and the ocean. It costs millions in clean-up for cities and kills fish and marine wildlife who see it floating and eat it, thinking it is food.

Here are a few facts I found on :

" According to the French ministry of ecology, more than 14 million tonnes of polystyrene are produced every year around the world. Given its light weight --Styrofoam is 95 per cent air -- the volume it represents is huge.

Americans throw away an estimated 25 billion Styrofoam cups every year, or about 82 cups per person.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says of the three million tons of polystyrene produced in the U.S., 2.3 million tons end up in landfills, with much of the remainder finding its way into waterways. "

Will you take the challenge? So sounds off here! How do you say no to Styro?