Everyday Environmental

The Scramblog

5 Ways to Quickly Clean Out the Clutter in Your Kitchen

A wise friend of mine recently pointed out that fall is the perfect season to shed things that are no longer useful—just like trees shedding their leaves. I have noticed that this is a time of year when I tend to want to clean house and decrease the clutter (maybe it has to do with preparing for the winter when we will be inside more). If getting rid of clutter in the kitchen sounds appealing to you, here are some simple steps you can take to let things go.5 Ways to Quickly Clean Out the Clutter in Your Kitchen1) Pantry Check: Take 10 minutes to go through and pull out the half-full boxes of pasta, crackers, and who knows what else and divide them into two piles: food you will use and food you won’t. Put the items you will use back into the pantry (maybe even in a more organized way than before) and toss or donate the items you won’t be using. An important note, Rose Clifford, a RDN who manages the food and nutrition program at a senior services non-profit told...

How My Vanity Got Me Drinking More Water and 4 Tricks That Helped the Habit Stick

How My Vanity Got Me Drinking More WaterI have never much liked water. It tastes bland and uninspiring to me, so staying well hydrated has often been a challenge. There are so many reasons why drinking enough water is important—from decreased cravings and mindless snacking to better health and better skin. But none of these was really enough of a motivator for me… until recently. This is embarrassing to admit, but the thing that really motivated me was a sign of aging that suddenly sprung up on my face. Yup, my vanity got the better of me when I realized that when I drank enough water each day, the lines on my face disappeared (or at least dissipated), but when I slacked off, those little lines started showing up again.4 Tricks That Helped the Habit StickSo, I’m working on drinking more and there are a few things that have helped a lot. I thought that I would share them with you in case this is a challenge for you too: 1) Flavoring the water with some fruit,...
  Apr 10, 2017  Everyday Environmental

Happy Earth Day (April 22nd): Top 5 Ways to Reduce Your Environmental Impact at Home

Did you know that the US population is 4% of the planet but generates 15% of greenhouse gas emissions? I know we can do better as a country and as individuals, starting in our own homes and lives.  If you're wondering how you can contribute, there are many ways you can reduce your environmental impact. What better time to start than this Earth Day, April 22nd? Read below for some simple steps we can take in our daily lives to reduce our environmental impact.5 Ways to Reduce Your Environmental Impact at Home1) Eat less meat: Am I the only one that gets dismayed every time I see another steak or burger joint open in my neighborhood? By eating a vegetarian diet, you can cut the contribution to CO2 emissions from your diet by 50%! If your whole family of 4 goes meatless even 2 days a week, you can have the same impact. We could use more tempting veggie-centric restaurants like Beefsteak by Jose Andres instead of more...
  May 10, 2016  Everyday Environmental

Do You Ask For a Doggie Bag? An Easy Way to Reduce Food Waste

Do You Ask For a Doggie Bag? An Easy Way to Reduce Food WasteHave you ever been in this situation? You’re out at a great restaurant with friends and you’re sharing a bunch of small plates.  You ordered too much food and there’s still about half a portion of that delectable cauliflower with peas that you were just too full to finish.  There are also a few slices of that chicken that would go so well with the cauliflower for lunch tomorrow. But you feel a little funny requesting a to-go box when you’re out with friends. Who would get the leftovers? Would they think you’re gross taking home leftover food from plates you all shared? It’s one thing to request a “doggie bag” if you’re out with your family - that’s easy.  But many people find it embarrassing or tacky to do so when out with a group. I know I’ve felt that way in group situations, and have sometimes left perfectly good food sitting on the table because I felt embarrassed to take it home or...

Wheat Berry Salad with Grapes and Feta

I’m a fan of wheat berries because they are high in fiber and vitamins and cook as quickly as rice, but you can certainly make this recipe with another whole grain. You can sometimes find parboiled wheat berries that only take 15 minutes to cook which would reduce the total time for this recipe to 30 minutes. My whole family loves this combination of flavors, and we think this would also be a good dish to bring to a potluck or picnic.

Wheat Berry Salad with Grapes and Feta

Prep Time: 20 minutes    Cook Time: 60 minutes    Total Time: 1 hour and 20 minutes

1 cup wheat berries, or use farro, orzo or other grain, or use 3 – 4 cups cooked lentils 1/2 lemon, juice only, about 2 Tbsp. 1 tsp. honey 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil 1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar 1 1/2 cups red grapes, halved 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced 1/4 cup pecans, coarsely chopped, or use pepitas 2 Tbsp. fresh mint, finely chopped 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese Cook the wheat...

Great Make-ahead: Light and Fluffy Spinach and Cheese Strata

It took me a few attempts, but I finally made the strata of my dreams. In case you aren’t familiar with it, strata is an Italian baked egg and bread dish. Recipe tester Alexandra Taylor said, “Even my spinach hating son ate a piece and gave it a thumbs-up.” This is a great dish to serve at a brunch, especially because you can make it in advance, but it also makes a nice change for a family dinner.


This recipe can be found in my latest cookbook, The Six O'Clock Scramble Meal Planner. Take the stress and guesswork out of planning healthy and delicious dinners, whether you are cooking for 1, 2, or your whole family, including kids. The book, featuring color photos for every dish, includes 160 delicious recipes that require 30 minutes or less to prepare, and 32 weekly menu plans complete with main dishes and sides—and an organized grocery list for each week!

Light and Fluffy Spinach and Cheese Strata

Marinate Time: 4 hours   Prep Time: 15 minutes  ...

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 Dip 1 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 servings Ingredients:• 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,...