Everyday Environmental

The Scramblog

Easy appetizer: Queso Dip and Homemade Tortilla Chips

At the grocery store, my son Solomon asked if we could buy some cheese dip for tortilla chips. I took one look at the ingredients (ewww!) and told him that it would probably be fun (not to mention healthier) to make our own snack or easy appetizer.It makes me so happy when my kids realize that we can easily make something ourselves with a few simple ingredients rather than buying more processed, and often expensive, versions at the store.Here’s the creation that we made that day.  With only three ingredients, it’s such an easy and rewarding recipe for kids to make. If you have a little more time, you can make your own tortilla chips, too. Queso Dip1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese 1/4 cup milk, any variety 1 Tbsp. salsa (optional)Heat the Cheddar cheese and the milk in a microwave-safe bowl, loosely covered, at full power for 1 - 1 ½ minutes (depending on your microwave's power), stirring at 30 second...
  Dec 10, 2015   Everyday Environmental 1

How Can We Cut Our Use of Disposable Grocery Bags?

A few years ago, our county, Montgomery County, Maryland, like many other counties and cities around the U.S., including our neighbor, Washington, DC, passed a bag tax to encourage consumers to bring their own bags to the supermarket.The controversial law requires that grocery stores charge customers 5 cents for a disposable bag.  While many of my neighbors grumbled, I celebrated this new law. Since it passed, I have seen a dramatic increase in the amount of customers at the grocery store who bring reusable bags. In fact, it’s almost an anomaly now to see the grocery checkers filling plastic or paper bags.My friend Allan Shedlin, who works at Trader Joes in Bethesda (in addition to being a writer, parenting advocate and longtime educator), said that since the law passed, “Many more people bring their own bags; those who don't often apologize for forgetting. Often the bags they bring provide an opportunity to engage in conversation, e.g., ‘Oh, you've been to TJ's in...
  Mar 10, 2015   Everyday Environmental, Recipes

Is It Spring Yet? Just 2 More Days!

Buh bye, winter! You only get two more days to torture us, right?If you live in the Midwest or Eastern US, I imagine you are as sick of this nasty season as I am.  This was the winter of snow storms, ice storms, and school, meeting and flight cancellations.  It was brutally cold, of course, but it was also slippery and crunchy.  Every morning I take a hike in the woods with our dogs unless there’s a dangerous or torrential storm.  I bless my Yaktrax for keeping me upright as we tromped through snow and ice.  I walk in nature in no small part because of the peace and quiet I enjoy before a day that is too often chaotic.  But this year, with layers of snow and ice underfoot, it was so loud and brittle in the woods that I couldn’t hear my walking partners talk, or if I was walking alone, I’d have to stop at times just to enjoy a moment of silence.If you try to eat seasonally, aren’t you getting tired of eating...
  Jan 15, 2015   Everyday Environmental, Recipes

Avoid Food Waste: Salvage SupperClub Recipes

If you cringe at the idea of wasted food, check out two recipes that you'll likely embrace.  Not only are they delicious and full of healthy ingredients, but also they will use up every last bit of the carrots and the kale you may have languishing in your fridge.  These recipes come from holistic chef Celia Lam who works magic with ingredients that might otherwise go to waste.  She is the culinary braun behind the Salvage SupperClub.  After preparing these tasty recipes, you'll likely think twice before tossing produce that you assumed was no longer good to eat.  What a scrumptious way to avoid wasted food!Roasted Carrot Hummus Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 30 minutes Total Time: 40 minutes Yield: 6 servingsIngredients: • 4 medium carrots (keep peels intact, if organic) • 2 cloves garlic, peeled • 2 Tbsp olive oil + additional to drizzle • 1 ½ cup chickpeas, cooked (or 1 can of chickpeas) • 3 Tbsp tahini • 1 lemon,...
  Oct 6, 2014   Everyday Environmental

One Bag of Trash

How many bags of trash do you typically fill in your kitchen each week? Ever since we started composting, combined with weekly meal planning and vigilant recycling, we fill less than 1 tall kitchen bag of trash each week.  Why does it matter?• It means we’re wasting less food• We’re saving energy because less trash has to be hauled from our curb• We’re saving ourselves effort because we only take the trash out once a week (then again, we’re sacrificing steps to help us reach our Nike Fuel or Fit Bit goal…)• I suppose we’re saving a few dollars a year on trash bagsIf you’re a devout meal planner and Scrambler, you may have noticed that you are wasting a lot less food now that you shop with a list and a purpose. Hopefully you’re also finding that you’re saving money by wasting less food and eating home-cooked meals more often.Scramble member Amy Westcott also has minimal waste: “We do a lot of recycling here and I compost as...
  Sep 9, 2014   Everyday Environmental

I Have a Healthy EGO—You Can, Too! EGO Mower Cuts the Grass and Pollution

I was surprised to learn that mowing our lawns with gas mowers is a big source of air pollution, which is a significant factor in climate change. I suspect that in the future, many of us may move away from lawns altogether, as families in drought-prone states like California and Arizona have already done, toward more water-efficient landscaping.  However, in my neighborhood, as I’m sure in many of yours, the hum of mowers fills the air on weekend mornings as we all try to stay a cut ahead of our growing grass.After our old gas mower broke, Andrew and I searched for something more efficient and less polluting. First we bought an old-fashioned manual reel mower. But after one sweaty go around the lawn, we returned it because it was laborious to use, jammed easily, and didn’t cut the grass evenly.After consulting neighbors, friends and searching online reviews, we finally invested in an EGO cordless...
  Jun 22, 2014   Everyday Environmental 6

Can I Share My Environmental Pet Peeve? Turn Off Your Car!

As some of you Scramblers know, I’m a bit of a nutty environmentalist. I worry all the time about what we can do to protect our fragile planet, and I obsess over things like people taking 2 paper towels instead of 1 in a public restroom, kids taking 3 pieces of chicken from a buffet then only eating 2, our daughter Celia‘s long showers, and people throwing out plastic utensils at a picnic rather than washing and reusing them. I realize I can be pretty irritating, but I usually keep my thoughts about these things to myself.But the thing that lately makes my blood boil the most is when people idle their cars for long periods, polluting the environment and wasting resources, including the money in their own wallets!We spend a lot of time at soccer fields watching our daughter and her team play.  We have had one of the most beautiful springs I can remember in the DC area, with plenty of sunny, breezy days with temps in the 70s. ...
  Apr 9, 2014   Everyday Environmental 1

Why I Only Drink Organic Tea

Do you try to limit the chemicals and pesticides you and your family consume? Of course, chemicals are ubiquitous and there is no way, short of enclosing ourselves in a bubble (I just hope there are some raspberries, dark chocolate, good books and Netflix in there), to avoid them completely in the air we breathe, what we apply to our skin, or in our diets.But given the choice, I always opt for pesticide-free or certified organic products. My hope is that it will protect my family’s health, the health of the people who grow and produce them, and ultimately will positively impact our fragile environment.I drink green tea every morning and in the past I wasn’t too particular about the type I bought. That was, until I learned from my friend Seth Goldman, founder of Honest Tea (seriously, the absolute best organic iced tea on the planet other than homemade), that tea leaves are normally sprayed with pesticides in the fields and NOT rinsed before being dried and packaged and...

Fish Substitutions When you Can’t Fish your Wish

Fish is an excellent lean protein source.  It is brimming with nutrients and is a natural source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which is vital because our bodies cannot make omega-3s on their own.  Some seafood has also been shown in scientific studies to give us a feeling of fullness or satiation after eating it, which can help us avoid overeating later. It’s also quick and easy to cook if you have the right recipes.I’m sure we’ve all been in the grocery store before and found the fish we were planning on preparing that night for dinner is unavailable, too pricey or just not looking its freshest.  That’s why we’ve compiled this handy list of potential fish substitutions for a variety of fish grouped by texture and color.  Even better, we’ve kept the most eco- and people-friendly fish at the top of each list (fish that are good for you and good for the planet!)White, Lean and Firm:  Catfish, Pacific Halibut, Alaska Pollock, Haddock, Pacific Cod, Pacific...

How to Make Fruits and Vegetables Last Longer

Each Friday morning, while I’m still sleeping, we get a basket of fresh and delicious local fruits and vegetables delivered to our doorstep.  No, I don’t have an incredibly generous (and sleep-deprived) secret admirer, but I do belong to a local service called From the Farmer that delivers fresh local produce throughout the year.What makes this service better than any CSA I’ve tried is that I know in advance what will be delivered and can swap out things I don’t want or skip weeks when I’m traveling or just don’t need a delivery.  Also, the produce is delivered to us, instead of me picking it up at a central (but never quite convenient) location each week, and almost all the food that comes are things I will actually use instead of obscure or bitter vegetables or greens. (By the way, if you are in the DC area and want to give From the Farmer a try, use the coupon code “THESCRAMBLE” to get 20% off your first 4 deliveries [new customers only.])Do you hate...