Live Green!Be Kind to the Earth
Okay, here is a not-so-happy idea: the older I get, the more unwelcome changes my body presents. Perhaps, you’ve had similar ideas as the years have passed. We can whine and pout, but I think it would be more productive to face maturity head on—embrace the wisdom of age with gratitude and don’t let those growing-old cliché’s get us down. Because, while aging is inevitable, growing “old” is not. My grandma was a young—very young—97 when she left this world for a new one.
Heather promised to help me start a native plant garden. She and her dad did the grunt work in the fall, removing turf, turning soil and establishing a well-mulched patch that would get me started in the spring…all I had to do was fill it.
I let a lot of things go in Summer: the garden is happier with native weeds; just ask it. The house is usually empty because we are outside, so if no one’s there to see the dust fall, is it really dirty? The kitchen is due for a rest, too, I think, though there is the issue of healthy food and market goodies. OK, not everything is “let go.” But my grip is certainly more relaxed.
Success begins with a sound foundation. How many times have you heard that sentiment? Whether we are talking architecture, education or parenting, a strong foundation is the common denominator to success. This is also true of one of my favorite places on Earth: the Goshen Community Market.
I was at Dayempur Farm near the end of April, learning about this self-sufficient Sufi community’s sustainable spin on farming and living in Southern Illinois. The journey took me to the edge of the Shawnee National Forest, onto 60 acres of pristine land, some cultivated, some left wild and wooded, but none sprayed by pesticides and herbicides that mar most modern commercial agriculture.
Last December, we talked about the new wave of CBD oils that have hit the market in a HUGE way, highlighting one of my favorite companies, Barleans. Since then, the CBD conversation has only grown because of hemp’s change of status within the 2018 Farm Bill from a controlled substance to an agricultural product.
As I came to the end of the Confluence Climate Collaborative Challenge of 40 Days of Loving What I Have, my cupboards were starting to become a little bare. Now, really there was plenty of food, but just exactly what to make out of all that stuff was the question.
My friend Sally Burgess is a fellow environmental activist—a member of my new group of comrades, the Confluence Climate Collaborative, and a student working quickly toward her PhD. But today, she’s somebody else: Today, Sally is the Green Gal guest chef for March and has developed a delicious Protein Recovery Ball, using the featured New Hope Influencer Product Natural Factors CurcuminRich Muscle Recovery & Growth Optimizer.
Home is my best way to describe the cooking class out at beautiful La Vista Ecological Learning Center a couple of Saturdays ago. We were nearly a room full of strangers when we started. There were some familiar faces, but many people I’d never met. I just knew right away that I belonged.
It started with two requests: I was asked by a Sierra Club member to bring my Grandma’s Pumpkin Pie to the next meeting, which happened earlier this month. Having one beautiful blue pumpkin left in my basement, I thought it was a great idea. Then, my sweetie asked for tuna casserole, not his typical ask. I guess he was in the mood for comfort food, and anytime he asks for a fish dish, I try to oblige. And then, of course, I realized that I had stumbled upon the perfect opportunity for a pot pie. What else was I going to do with that second pie crust and the last little bag of market peas waiting in the freezer?
Remember Project Drawdown— and the Eco-challenge issued through the Northwest Earth Institute to take small everyday actions that were proven to mitigate climate change? Well, I’m happy to report Project Drawdown continues and is gearing up for another round of challenges this spring beginning April 3 and running through April 24. You can register your team or just join as an individual to begin your own drawdown on climate change. But why wait! I have an immediate suggestion….
How homemade can you go? If we are really committed to eating a diet of REAL food and promise to know exactly what is in our food and how it got there, we have a lot of work to do before breakfast, don’t ya think? Is there a simple approach to health and wellness that includes sustainable decisions and foods we actually like?
Well, OK. Don’t we all love real food, especially when our favorite dishes are on the table? Mmmmm….what are those dishes? Did you prepare them or did you open a box of stuff prepared by someone unknown…in a laboratory…for a major corporation?
Well here we are once again—saying goodbye to the old year and ushering in a new one, promising to never to “that” again and vowing to change all our evil ways overnight. Good luck.
Or better than luck, why not go with “healthy curiosity and personal-best strategies”? Make your new start into 2019 an exploration rather than an ultimatum. Start with a few small changes and keep building. I know, you are rolling your eyes and thinking: “There she goes again with her anti-New Year’s resolution stuff.” Well, ok, I hear ya. So I thought this year, I’d let someone else share her success and hopefully inspire you to find yours—meet my friend Jane, an accomplished educator, master baker, beautiful woman (inside and out) and recent convert to a Ketogenic way of life.
One of the most important ideas I try to impart here at Green Gal of the Midwest is to buy responsibly—to buy local and green whenever possible—and to choose carefully when products come from far away. There is a greater impact on the world than you might think when you speak with your hard-earned dollars. And, of course, buying less big stuff and spending more on simple and healthy gifts from local artisans, business people and my wonderful farmers is echoed all the time in these posts—but particularly at this time of year when the shopping frenzy reaches an all-time peak and grasping for the best deal, not matter what the cost to your health and wellbeing—not to mention the planet’s wellbeing—can be downright toxic.
So just guess… how many dishes do you think I got out of this one 20-pound fairy tale pumpkin? If my calculations are correct, from this one stunning squash I made one batch of Pumpkin and Black Bean Soup, one pot of Pumpkin Curry, a plate full of Pistachio-Encrusted Pumpkin Wedges for four, two loaves of sweet bread and two cheesecakes. Pumpkins store well in a dry cool spot; the flesh can be frozen and even canned. And while it made a huge Halloween statement just sitting pretty on the front porch, this pumpkin was the superstar of my kitchen the entire month of November. Its versatility and economy cannot be overstated. Don’t waste it!
I often wonder if the next generation will take up these causes because, let’s face it, I’m old. This Earth and these rights I’m fighting for belong more to the next generation than they do to me at this point. So when my friend Sasi asked if I would share my activism with his Environmental Anthropology class, how could I refuse? Of course, the first thing I did was bake up some Granola Bar & Pumpkin Pudding Squares because food closes the generational divide pretty quickly, in my opinion.
Last January, I was all about lemongrass, specifically a lemongrass stock recipe from favorite chef Annie Somerville of the famous Greens Restaurant in San Francisco. I was offering a recipe for winter salad that made use of the few greens we have in the Midwest during winter. But the showstopper ingredient was lemongrass stock from Somerville’s bestseller Fields of Greens. This freezable stock has been a staple in my kitchen ever since. So when Frank Biver out at Biver Farms said he had a BIG plant, I was at the ready with my shears.