Sunday, November 28, 2010

Hiatus

I think it's safe to say that I've gone on hiatus and I have no idea when I will be back. I love this blog, and love what I have learned and shared along the way.  However, I just don't know what else I can do to be GREENER. Right now. Ha! If the inspiration strikes me, I'll be back.  I am sure I will be back.  But without formally saying adieu for now, the pressure of the blog is driving me nuts.  So.  Here we go. Until we meet again.

Monday, August 16, 2010

His and Hers


My new favorite thing right now is over night oatmeal in a jar.  I'm hesitant to call it oatmeal (even though it is clearly made from oats) as you don't cook it and it's served cold.  It's more like how I imagine porridge.  But don't be dissuaded by either name because whatever you choose to call it it's delicious.

I started out making this dish with banana.  The ultimate variation would be peanut butter and banana.  But tonight I made a peach version to use the beautiful fresh peaches we picked up from a local orchard this weekend.  

Overnight Peach Porridge (cause "porridge" just sounds better here)
The basic:
1/2 cup raw oats (I use traditional Quaker Instant, because that's what I have)
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (regular milk or half and half would also be delicious)
1/4 cup yogurt (I've been using Fiber One Vanilla and it's wonderful! The perfect amount of sweet.)
1 tbsp ground flax seeds

The add ons:
1 tbsp. peach butter (like apple butter, dark and tangy, but I bet peach preserves would work too)
1 fresh peach, diced

Combine first 5 ingredients in a jar or resealable container.  Mix well.  Top with fruit.  Cover and refrigerate over night.  Eat and enjoy!  I just can't express how fresh and delicious this is.  I've been taking it to work for lunch and look forward to it all morning.

And like I mentioned above, you can vary your add ons - like, 1/2 banana mashed into the oatmeal and 1 tbsp of peanut butter.  Or honey and walnuts.  Or blueberry preserves and fresh blueberries.

Tonight- I made one for me and one for my husband.  For his, I doubled some of the portions- the oats, milk, and yogurt, and peach butter, but left everything else the same.
Mmmmmm.  I'm already excited for tomorrow!

Summer Harvest


I never got to use any of the cilantro I planted this year as I was too inexperienced to know that it didn't last long.  I looked up, "how and when to harvest cilantro leaves" only to learn that they had already bolted and I was better to sit tight and wait for seeds.  Who knew.  Tonight I googled, "how and when to harvest cilantro seeds" and learned that how was pull them off, and when was right now. 

Cilantro seeds, for those of you that may not know as I did not, are ready as soon as they start to turn brown.  That seemed a little abstract to me but when you look closely enough there is a definite lightening of some of the seeds and those lighter ones come off much more easily than the bright pea green seeds.

I am sure I will smell like cilantro for days. But I did get a little bag full, and there is still at least half as much that was not ready to come off.  Those stalks I placed in a vase with some water as I had already chopped them down.  




Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Renovation Teaser!

Got a new light installed today (thank you loving husband!) This will go above my art table.  Yeah!  Step by step we are getting closer. 

Monday, May 17, 2010

And On SECOND Thought

Since I'm feeling on the defensive about the great city I live in, and I was, indeed, horrified by the Forbes ranking (boooooooo FORBES!!)  here is a list from whattheforbes.com explaining just a few things that make this city so great. (For the full list please visit Happy in CLE by clicking on the blog title.)

The Burning River:
The burning of the Cuyahoga River was not the first industrial river to burn and certainly not the last. It WAS however, the one the got the most attention and led directly to the creation of the Clean Water Act of 1972, still the most “influential water improvement measure on the books.” “The water quality of the Cuyahoga River has improved dramatically since the late 1960s,” says Tinka Hyde, U.S. EPA Regional Water Division director. “More than 40 species of fish were found in the river in 2008, including steelhead trout, northern pike, and others. This shows how powerful a tool the Clean Water Act can be when the public, government, and industry are committed to restoring an important waterway.” Today the Cuyahoga River is one of 14 American Heritage Rivers in the United States and the centerpiece of Ohio’s only national park (the Cuyahoga Valley). It runs through beautiful rural burgs like Cuyahoga Falls and Kent, provides water access for rowing clubs, boaters and commerce.

The Market:
Cleveland’s West Side Market was name one of “10 Great Public Spaces in America.”  Its collection of handmade pastas, crusty breads, spicy falafel sandwiches and fresh fruits and veggies makes for a singular Cleveland culinary experience.
 
Restaurants:
The Greenhouse Tavern is the first green-certified restaurant in Ohio with a rooftop greenhouse, reclaimed wood, high-efficiency lighting and, of course, proteins and vegetables obtained from local farms or grown by chef and owner, Jonathan Sawyer.

Beer:
Our beer says something about us. Great Lakes Brewing Company in Cleveland was Ohio’s first microbrewery. The brewery is an eco-friendly business that explores alternative fuels, recycling, vermicomposting, organic gardening and energy efficiency. A Cleveland favorite, the pub in Ohio City operates a “fatty wagon” run on fryer grease offering safe, $1 rides to and from big games at Progressive Field (and, occasionally, Quicken Loans Arena). They name many of their beers in honor of Cleveland.

An Economic Engine:
The Cleveland Plus region is home to 13 of Ohio’s 88 counties, but our 13 counties generate approximately 40% of Ohio’s economy. 

We're Smart:
The Cleveland Plus region has more than 30 universities and colleges that produce more than 27,000 college graduates annually.

We're Growing:
The City of Cleveland has had $7.3 billion in infrastructure development completed or underway since 2006.

Location:
Northeast Ohio is situated within a 500-mile radius of half the population of the United States. This region reaches the largest number of consumers within a 250-mile radius of any metro market in the United States. A central U.S. geographic location provides easy access to Midwest, East Coast and Canadian destinations.

Rapid Transit:
Our “HealthLine” (new rapid transit line) not only connects to our hospitals, but it is actually healthier for us and for the planet. The RTA’s HealthLine vehicles are powered by hybrid technology, resulting in 97% lower particulate emissions and 75% better fuel economy.

Theater:
PlayhouseSquare, the second-largest performing arts center in the nation, (only second to New York's Broadway) draws more than 1 million theatergoers a year.

Art:
The Cleveland Museum of Art, one of the world’s premier art museums, is visited by more than a half-million people per year, all of whom get in to the permanent galleries for free.  The museum has opened the second of three new wings designed by architect Rafael Viñoly. The 139,200-square-foot East Wing marked a major milestone in the museum’s renovation and expansion project.

The Cleveland Orchestra:
Consistently ranks as one of the top 10 orchestras in the world.

Film:
The Cleveland International Film Festival is a ten-day festival acknowledged by Time magazine as a "must-see" and by the Academy Awards as an automatic qualifier for shorts. 

Parks:
Northeast Ohio has more acres of parks, rivers, streams and lakes. In fact, Cuyahoga Valley National Park is the sixth most visited national park in the nation. The Ohio & Erie Canal Reservation features 325 acres of parkland. Towpath trails along the historic canal offer scenic links to Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Those are just a few things.  And if I had to add on my own, I am sure I could come up with a few hundred more.  Did you know that kayaking is a common sport here in Cleveland?  And fly fishing?  And hiking?  Ok people.  We have a guest bedroom.  Come and visit any time.

Oh Forbes

Forbes ranked Cleveland the Most Miserable US City. 

Here are the other 2009 lists that Cleveland made:

• Cleveland was ranked among the “Top 25 Most Fun Cities in the Country” (Ritz Cracker FUNomenal Places Study)

• Cleveland was 14th in The Economist Intelligence Unit’s “Business Travel Index”

• The Greenhouse Tavern on East Fourth Street was named one of the “Top 10 New Restaurants” by Bon Appetit

• Cleveland Clinic was #1 in the nation for heart care for the 15th year in a row as ranked by U.S. News & World Report  (and number four in the list of best hospitals overall)

• Cleveland was on the list of best cities for new college graduates compiled by Apartments.com and CBcampus.com

• Cleveland was recognized as one of “the most affordable cities for dating” by Match.com and the 14th best city for singles by Forbes.com.

• Cleveland was included in Forbes.com’s list of “America’s Safest Cities” (#10)

• Cleveland made Travel & Leisure’s “America’s Favorite Cities” list (ranking particularly high for theater, museums, classical music and affordability).

• The Cleveland suburb of Lakewood was recently named by Business Week magazine as “Ohio’s Best Place to Raise Your Kids.”

Composting Cleveland

Rust belt, Steel City, Burning River... all names that conjure up a decaying and disintegrating city.  In the 1920s, Cleveland stood in the ranks with New York City and Chicago and boomed with industry and promise.  But nowadays, she has a world wide reputation for being a joke and a hot bed of pollution of decline.  Even Forbes ranked her as the #1 most miserable city to live in.  (Clearly no one from Forbes have ever visited this city.) 

However, all of these rumors couldn't be further from the truth.  Few outside the city limits, and even limited numbers here recognize that Cleveland is a constantly evolving city that continues to reinvent herself.  She is on the front lines of becoming a leader in green city building and environmentalism. It's shocking, I know.

Take a look at this most recent article from Cleveland.com in city wide development:  (for the full article, click the blog title.)

Large-scale downtown food-waste makers like The Q, Tower City and the Browns, along with restaurants like the Great Lakes Brewing Co. and the Greenhouse Tavern, are heading a new effort to keep tons of biodegradable food scraps out of the landfill. 

Instead, they dump their own unique combination of post-meal slop into biodegradable bags (often made out of potato starch) and a composting company hauls them away to be turned into a high-quality soil additive. 

And there's plenty of compostable waste to be had: A recent study by the waste industry found that organic materials made up half of all household solid waste -- and up to 75 percent of that can be composted and re-used.


In a three-week pilot program in November 2009, eight downtown businesses, with the help of the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District and sustainability group Entrepreneurs for Sustainability (E4S), combined to collect 9 tons of food waste.
Most of that came from food preparation work in their corporate kitchens or restaurants, not from the vast amount of leftover fan food at the sports venues.

That's the next level: The Browns and Cavaliers expect to be collecting and composting fan food waste -- possibly including biodegradable plates, cups and cutlery -- by next season. The Indians are also working on a plan for Progressive Field but haven't yet settled on a contractor to pick up the material. 

All of this makes Cleveland a part of the new movement toward zero waste, said Beau Daane of the county waste district. "We're very excited to see the number of companies downtown and elsewhere who are taking the lead on this," he said. "This is a movement catching on here and around the country."

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Monday, March 15, 2010

Oh, Andrea!


This is pretty amazing, I have to say:

"ANDREA is the first award-winning designed air filter capable of absorbing toxic gases, such as formaldehyde, from home and office environments by enhancing the natural absorptive properties of living plants."

The air filtration properties of plants are widely known, but by using the ANDREA, gas removal rates are increased more than 1,000 times faster than by using plants alone.  It is completely natural and requires no replacement filters.  Instead, it has a fan system that pulls dirty air in through the holes at the top of the plastic unit, swirls the air around the leaves, and then sucks it down through the soil, roots, and water. Cleaner air is released through the vent at the back.  And any type if household plant can be used.  ANY. Which means you can pick your favorites.




  • Transforms any household plant into an
    effective air cleaner for your home or office
  • Cleans air locally and rapidly, therefore can
    be turned on and off throughout the day
  • Uses any household plant (sold separately)
  • Absorbs and metabolizes noxious chemicals
  • Biochemically transforms waste
  • Ozone-free operation
  • Low power consumption
  • No replaceable filters
  • Complements any décor

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Earth Day Cometh

Earth Day this year is April 22nd. It is a day in which we celebrate our beautiful Earth and take part in activities that are beneficial to the environment.  At the heart of it, it's about creating an awareness and an involvement in greener practices and environmental policies.  The more we know, the more we can do to initiate change and the bigger a role we can each play in shaping our own futures!   It's deep, I know.


Many of you may have memories of planting a shrub in grade school or picking up liter as a high school student.  I do.  It's a wonderful thing that our schools have done over the years to get students involved in Earth Day.  However, few of you may know that this is the 40th Anniversary of the original Earth Day, which was conceived in the early 1960s and organized in 1970 by Senator Gaylord Nelson. A Senator. One politician who looked at the state of the environment and knew that a change had to happen.  He took the necessary steps and started a grassroots movement that organized over 20 million demonstrators, schools, and communities around the country to stand up and say for the first time, "We care about the health of our planet." That was a pretty big deal.


Without the advent of Earth Day in 1970, environmental issues would likely still be in the background, and the mess that the planet is in now would likely be ten times worse.  I know it's easy to think that Earth Day is just another calendar day and doesn't really matter, but today, in 2010, it matters now more than ever.


Forty years later, what will you do to recognize this symbolic day?  I encourage you to check out your own local communities to see what events are being held and participate! Get involved!    


Here are 50 little things we each can do to start, that actually make a difference: 
(from the Department of Environmental Conservation)



  • Set the refrigerator temperature between 38 F and 42 F.
  • Set the freezer temperature between O F and 5 F.
  • Microwave whenever you can.
  • Don't wash dishes with the water running.
  • Use napkin rings and cloth napkins.
  • Use washable plates, cups and silverware.
  • Serve condiments from recyclable containers.
  • Provide personal glasses for soft drinks.
  • Wash and dry only full loads.
  • Wash with warm water instead of hot.
  • Rinse with cold water instead of warm.
  • Hang wash out to dry.
  • Shut off the sink while brushing your teeth.
  • Shut off the shower while soaping or scrubbing.
  • Install a low-flow shower head.
  • Reduce the volume of water in your toilet tank.
  • Switch off unnecessary lights.
  • Dress warm: don't turn up the furnace.
  • Dress cool: don't turn on the air conditioner.
  • Raise shades on winter days; lower them in summer.
  • Reverse your fans for summer and winter operations as recommended.
  • Compost leaves and grass clippings.
  • Avoid pesticides, use nontoxic alternatives.
  • Apply only as much fertilizer as the lawn needs.
  • Water the grass early in the morning.
  • Plant a tree.
  • Recycle motor oil, antifreeze and car batteries.
  • Drive at the speed limit.
  • Avoid sudden starts or stops.
  • Don't overfill the fuel tank.
  • Check the tire pressure monthly.
  • Change air and oil filters regularly.
  • Send electronic copies whenever possible.
  • Copy reports and memos on both sides.
  • Circulate rather than copy paperwork.
  • Reuse tubes and envelopes for mailing.
  • Recycle.
  • Carry out what you carry in.
  • Hike, row, sail, ski or paddle - don't motor.
  • Build campfires with care.
  • Observe, don't disturb wildlife and plant life.
  • Share books, cds, magazines and dvds with friends, hospitals and prisons.
  • Copy bulletins and exams on two sides, make notes and drafts on scrap paper.
  • Reuse textbooks and school supplies.
  • Serve reusable trays, dishes and silverware.
  • Compost cafeteria vegetable wastes.
  • Recycle!






Sneak Peaks!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to all of you, my dear friends and family, and friends of friends, and family of family. (I don't think my readers stretch far beyond that, but if they do-- Happy New Year to all.)

2009 ended up being a decent year, not one to brag about or write down for the books, but definitely not one we are joyous to see gone.  Life doesn't seem to get much easier in our neck of the woods, but we do seem to be happier and happier with our selves and with our lives.  So, lemonade out of lemons? Not that we even have lemons of a life.  I am sure many of you know what I mean. Anyhow.

This year, I feel like a lot of lessons were learned, some growing up was done, and now... drum roll!!  It's time for some New Year's Resolutions.  (I LOVE resolutions!)

1.  Plastic water bottles be gone!  My biggest concerted effort this year will be to STOP using, buying, ordering, or in any way shape or form supporting plastic water bottles. I carry a reusable bottle, but if I don't have it with me, I fall back on bottled water since water is my preferred drink.  Option A is of course to be better prepared and have my water bottle with me.  Option B is NOT to fall back on the plastic. Period.  Right now this is for water..  I need to monitor what else I can get rid of and then I may amend this post and resolution to be ALL plastic bottles.

2.  Dedicate one plastic clam for lunches.   At work they have these hard plastic to-go containers for salads, sandwiches and what not.  I don't regularly eat at the cafeteria, but when I do, I have to get the plastic "clam."  I have lately been bringing them home, rinsing them out, and then recycling them, but from now on my new game plan is to bring them home, WASH them, and then take the same one back to use again and again.  It's worth a shot. I think I'll even put my name on it.  Maybe even a star or two.

3. Sleep.  On a more personal note, I just plan need to sleep more. I don't know what it is about me, but I require immense amounts of sleep.  I feel that if I could get regular amounts of quality sleep, then I would on the whole be much more productive and happier.

4. Exercise.  Yuck. I mean really.  But I get these ideas in my head- these big lofty goals (like running a marathon) and now if I don't succeed then I have let myself down.  So in this case, regular exercise, 4x a week is a must. 

5. Renovation Resolution.  Last January I started renovating my orange room.  It's the room intended to be my new (only) studio.  And until I complete the project, everything else is on hold. MUST FINISH.

And 6. Get my new project off the ground.  I have a little something I've been working on for a while now that is getting closer and closer to fruition.  Eventually... I'll announce it, so keep checking back.  That's all for now, just know that this is the year.. 2010.

Again, Happy New Year to all of you!  May each of your years be filled with only the best that God has in store for you, and all the happiness that will fill your hearts. 

Merry Christmas... from above!

Right now, Northeastern Ohio is covered in snow. 

Some of it is beautiful and soft and other parts of it crusty and gray. No matter which type of snow you are getting here the cold blanket of winter has definitely set in. 

I was driving home from work the other day in this dreary after-Christmas-before-New-Years-no-man's-land. The roads were sooted and iced over, and the clouds were dark and threatening more snow, when I happened to look skyward and notice for the first time something that truly made me smile.

High above the whistling cars on the interstate, that towering windmill stood still (as it sometimes does,) and almost camouflaged white against the wintry sky.  But twinkling ever so quietly was a tiny green Christmas wreath complete with tiny colored lights strung along the topmost railing. 

I still haven't figured out the origins of the windmill, nor has there been any press.  But someone up there, or down here, and occasionally up there, was wishing me a Merry Christmas. 

I thought about the many cars zipping along beside me, in front of me, and behind me, and how many times a day we all take this road to and from wherever we are going, and I wondered how many of them happened to look up and see this wish of merriment in the sky, this sign of goodwill to the city and interstate below.  Seeing as I drive that road every day and had only just now seen it, I doubted that many others had. 

But for me, one tiny person in comparison to the traffic and numbers along 480, what a wonderful and surprising Christmas moment.