Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Local Climate Change Forum

The Denton County Dems are hosting a climate change discussion Saturday March 28 from 9-12. Dr. La Point, Biology Professor from UNT, will be leading the discussion of issues and an overview legislation.

Earth Hour 2009

This upcoming Saturday is Earth Hour. Earth Hour started in Sydney in 2007, last year it had spread across the globe, and this year looks even bigger. All it takes is turning off your lights at 8:30pm local time for an hour. And don't forget to let the folks at Earth Hour know you're on board! Turning off your lights will not just save energy, but will let our leaders know that we care about our planet and they need to act to protect it.

There is a whole section of the site for kids and schools. I think I'll print out some pages for the littlest man to color.

Last year, Shinerman went a step (or two) further and turned the electricity off at the panel. The house was so quiet! We were babysitting a little girl and we all had a candlelight dinner and even did some crafts by candlelight. We left everything off for more than the hour, so after crafts we read several books by candlelight and the kids fell asleep on the couch. All in all it was a very fun and relaxing night. I'm excited about this year's Earth Hour. I think we'll play a board game this time as well as the crafts and coloring.

What will you be doing this Saturday at 8:30pm? I hope you join us in turning off the lights and giving the Earth your Vote!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Night of From-Scratch Cooking

I am super excited!

We've been trying to cut back our grocery bill here at the Green H. January's bill was outrageous! But I don't want to cut back on the quality, I told Shinerman I refuse to compromise on that. That was essentially the end of that argument. But, we DO need to watch the amount we spend. Especially in these times when it seems the economy is falling down around our ears. No layoffs here, knock on wood, but I did just lose half my team. NO FUN. my solution? Make more from scratch. I made my first pot of dry beans last week, pretty good. We ate some that night and I froze the rest in a mason jar. I'll use them this week in some Taco Soup. I've also started making bread, but I did buy some organic frozen biscuits and whole-wheat rolls the last time I went grocery shopping. I think it'll be the last time, though; those frozen biscuits are YUMMY, but expensive. More than $4 for 7! I'll definitely be trying to make those before I buy the frozen ones again! The bread's another post for another day, though.

The reason I'm so excited is because I made CRACKERS! From Scratch! Did you know you could make your own crackers? It never occurred to me until I read my latest blog discovery. The internet black hole led me here to a Rosemary Garlic Crackers recipe. I mentioned to a woman at work that I was making some crackers tonight and she matched my surprise that you can do this on your own.

The recipe as I made it is below, but I recommend visiting her site. I really like it!

Rosemary Garlic Crackers
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 tbsp milled flax seed
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp rosemary, chopped
1 rounded tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper, optional
1/2 cup water
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
more salt for the tops

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. In a bowl or food processor, mix together the flours, milled flax seed, baking powder, rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper. Add the water and oil, stirring until dough comes together. If dough is too dry to mix, add another tablespoon of water or as needed. Divide dough in half.
3. Roll the dough out very thin, cracker thin. They will puff and rise a bit while baking, but not a lot. Roll them thin. Transfer the dough to a
Silpat or parchment-lined baking sheet. I used a pizza cutter to cut the crackers into squarish shapes. Sprinkle salt over the tops of the crackers and lightly press into dough.
4. Bake crackers in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, or until golden and crackers look crisp. Check them at 12 minutes! They will crisp up a bit as they cool. If crackers are still soft after cooling, place back in oven and bake for another couple of minutes.

They turned out really well. Although, I will say it takes a lot of pressure to get them thin. I pushed as hard as I could and they were still not as thin as you'd expect. I think next time I'll roll them out in smaller batches. I only changed a little from the recipe I found. I didn't have the nutritional yeast or granulated garlic she used. I'm glad this called for rosemary, because we are always trying to find a way to use the rosemary we have in the herb garden. Two plants that never die back produce a ton of herbs! I think I'll try this with the thyme and sage from the garden, too. Oh, and I was cooking with the littlest man and accidentally doubled the recipe; I guess it's a good thing, now I have some dough in the fridge to make tomorrow.

This took about 15 minutes, even with the kid helping, plus the time in the oven. I came out with yummy crackers that I know what's in them and how they were made, saved money AND had a fun time with my son. And really, it doesn't get much better than that.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Energy Rebates

According to the DRC, the Denton Municiple Electric will be explaining the GreenSense energy rebate program this Saturday . The DME reps will be at the South Branch library at 1pm.

Go, Learn, and save some GREEN!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Open Eco-House

Starting this weekend the Colleyville Eco House will be having open house hours. The house will be certified LEED-H Gold, Energy Star, and a list of others certifications and acronyms. The house is enormous. Honestly, I'm not sure how I feel about such a huge house but it does have something I'm really looking at in a new house. A huge open kitchen that can accommodate large groups. I would say two thirds of the first floor is the kitchen/dining/living open area. And the pantry? Nice!

The house is open every weekend this month, and with everything else we have going on, I'm hoping we'll be able to make it.