Sunday, November 23, 2008

How does your Garden Grow?

I found this new site where you can track your garden progress. I've already put in this fall's plantings and my wishlist for this spring. I'm a bit geeky so this is right up my alley. Check it out for yourself!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Happy America Recycles Day!

This is obviously an industry funded 'holiday', but it's a good cause. So if you don't normally recycle your stuff, find a Texas event near you. There's one in Ft.Worth and Carrollton.

Plus, the national site has places where you can make recycling pledges and a "Conversionator" - a cute drag and drop game where you find out how much you save by recycling.

So, go forth and RECYCLE!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

More plastic news

A friend sent this link asking me for my opinion. My response was "Well, As far as anyone can tell those are safer. The problem comes in a couple things: 1) you don't really know – I mean the FDA still says BPA isn't an issue. 2) even if they are safer, they still break down over time and we don't know what they are breaking down into."

I did more research, the link was from 2003. I found this article from just this last week. It says the FDA is criticizing its statement about BPA safety. Studies have come out linking BPA to diabetes and heart disease. The article refers to a finding of BPA in the blood of "92% of American over the age of 5" (this wasn't attributed to anything in the article, but it doesn't seem too far off to me).

Then I saw this on Enviroblog from yesterday. (BTW, if you don't visit EWG and Enviroblog often – run don't browse! your way there now {well after you finish reading this}). Recently a university lab group discovered chemicals leaking from plastic lab equipment and ruining a drug experiment.

BPA? Nope! Quaternary ammonium – an anti-microbial agent and oleamide – a plastic softening agent. And they didn't come from #7 plastic, either. Rather from polypropylene or #5 plastic ( a previously "safe" plastic). How much #5 plastic do you have? I have (soon to be gone) a ton.

Like the article writer I am getting pretty darn tired of hearing about things that are in products that is being kept from me. Tell me what you're making the stuff from and what its risks are and I'LL decide if it's worth the risk for me and my family.

I think the FDA and other governmental agencies need to get to doing their job of protecting the public and start paying attention to science. We've had an 8yr drought of scientific thought and I for one cannot wait until it's back! Hopefully, we can get past the damage done.

So I'll be getting rid of most of my plastic, even the none #5 stuff, my view is why risk it? We got rid of a ton of stuff with the BPA issue, but I kept the random sour cream containers and such. I just felt it was wasteful to recycle those right away without reusing them. Now, I'll just put them in the recycling bin as I try to think of other sources that don't include plastic.

Wish me luck.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

BPA-Free Organic Pumpkin Puree

It's Pumpkin Time!
And what better way to celebrate than to make some BPA-free pumpkin puree for the holidays?

We got an organic sweet pumpkin in our co-op delivery this weekend. Since we split the deliveries with a friend, we really got a half a pumpkin - but it was plenty.

And what do you do with half a pumpkin? My friend is making soup, but I'm not really a soup girl. But I do like me some pumpkin pie, mmmmmmmm. So, I roasted it - see instructions below. You can actually do this with other kinds of pumpkins too - like the one you carved, but that brings in some sanitary issues for me.

Pumpkin Puree

Heat oven to 450 degrees.
Scoop out the seeds and stringy pulp. You'll want to save this for toasted pumpkin seeds later. DO NOT THROW this goodness away!

Cover with foil - no spices needed, but I think if you're using a carving pumpkin you'd want to add some sugar. They aren't raised for flavor, you know.

Roast until insides are soft. It took mine 1.5 hours. I took it out at 1 hr and started to scoop it out, but the meat closer to the skin wasn't quite ready I think. I noticed it was a bit stringy, so I put it back in for 30 mins.
Scoop out pulp with an ice cream scoop. Puree with a blender or a food processor until smooth. You don't want any strings so you may have to strain the puree to get these out - I didn't have that issue.

I got about 3 cups of puree with my half of the pumpkin. Enough for a pie and maybe some of these pumpkin muffins.

I've always heard that canned pumpkin puree was as good as the fresh, but since this was so easy and with all the nasty BPA lurking in those cans - Why not just do it yourself? Plus you get some yummy seeds to snack on.

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Separate seeds from pulp. I cover the seeds with water in a bowl, they kind of float to the top and I get my hands in there to remove the yuck and then put the seeds on a cookie sheet.
Toss with olive oil, enough to coat. Season with your preferred seasoning. Shinerman prefers All-Purpose Season Salt, yes I know it's made of horrible chemicals - oh well. I think a good combo would be cayanne and salt. What about you?

Toast in the oven with the pumpkin for about 15-20 mins.
I tossed the stringy pulp and shell into the compost pail so this was NO Waste project! WOOHOO!