Friday, April 27, 2012

Seafood Watch {for sustainable fish eating}

Environmental Awareness Class:

As a consumer, you are responsible for what you purchase and consume. If you are an informed and health, environmentally and sustainability conscious consumer then you should be congratulated for realizing your power to choose what you support and what goes into your body.

So...I eat a lot of fish. I'm still on the Whole30 diet and fish and veggies is my new best friend. In an effort to approach my frequent fish purchasing with some accountability and knowledge, I downloaded a great app called Seafood Watch {it was free on Google Play Store and it's already been really helpful}
Seafood Watch lets you type in a type of fish and find out what is the best region and type {wild caught, farmed, etc.} and where you can find the best option locally...even at restaurants! It looks like this...

So I was at the grovery store the other night and found myself staring into an icy box filled with frozen fish of all sorts and brands. I wanted salmon so I typed in salmon. The "Best Choice" is US farm raised or wild caught salmon from Alaska. That was not an option in this icy fish box so I moved on to other fish varieties. I just typed in a fish and an easy to read ratings list popped up to guide my decision. I settled on this wild caught Alaskan Halibut shown above. The picture on the front looks tasty and the packaging is good job, OrcaBay. But it was $15. That's a lot of dough. I still went with it because in time, I will find out what fish is the most sustainable, that I like the best, and where to get it cheapest. In time...

In the meantime, I should learn how to make fish like a professional chef because when you spend this much on delicious and sustainable fish steaks, they better taste amazing. One thing I've tried with my fish cooking adventures is baking the fish in coconut oil with veggies, then pulling the fish out to finish on the skillet so it gets a nice golden brown skillet singe. I love that crispy outer edge.

Check out Seafood Watch: Monteray Bay Aquarium to learn more! Like...why is farm raised good for some fish types but not others and some regions are better than others...but WHY??? Ask questions and look for the answers. As a consumer, you have the power to choose what you support and put in your body! We are responsible for helping our consumption move towards healthier and more sustainable practices.

Homework: Download the free app: Seafood Watch and put it to work this weekend!

Class Dismissed!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Peacock Feathers {they're sneaky}

Biology/Science {kind of} Class:

Hello Minties!
Today's class is a fun and quick Science class about peacock feathers! Now, buckle up for this one cause it blew my mind when I found out...
{thank you, Josh for knowing all the random things about animals from reading ZooBooks as a child.}

Ready? Peacock feathers are not really in pigmented. Nope. Their plumes seem vibrantly colored due to their structure and the way light reflects off their surface. Mind. Blown.

Below are some close up shots at 100x and 200x.

Pictures borrowed from the genius over here: Peacock feather colors

Aren't these just beautiful? The iridescence is what gave it away to scientist that the plumes hold little actual color. How sweet would it be if there was a hair treatment to make our hair shine like that?! I'd do it...

Ok, smarties, now you have some more knowledge to put in your "Trivia Night" files.

No Homework! You did so good today!
Class Dismissed!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Spring{time} Gardening...for beginners.

Home Gardening Class:

Hello Minties!
It's about that time of year when the threat of an overnight frost is past and the sun is starting to stick around a bit longer. Which's time to plant our garden!
Josh {boyfriend} studies environmental sciences and anthropology and he's always had a love for all things sustainable and efficient so he has decided to grow a garden this year. In the long run you can save money by growing your own veggies or fruits and you'll be sure to eat organic non-GMO produce. Woohoo!
I am a big fan of organic and local produce so I need to get on the home garden bandwagon too.
My parents and my sister have pretty extensive vegetable gardens in their yards and have for a few years so they know the tricks of the trade, but let me tell you, for newbs like Josh and I...there is a lot to learn! So here are just a few simple tricks and bullet points for beginners so you'll sound like garden geniuses when talking to other gardeners, the folks at Lowe's, and those green thumbs at the local gardening supply store.

1.) Seedlings are very young plants that are usually sold in a small container of soil that you can grow and nurture in your home until it's time to plant it outside.
2.) Tomatoes like to climb and can be very heavy so you put a cage around the plant to support it's vertical climb! And tomatoes needs TONS of water.
3.) Rabbits don't like marigolds so plant a perimeter of them to keep them away from your ground veggies.
4.) Rabbits also don't like onions. See #3.
5.) You will need compost to start a garden. Manure in a bag to spread out on the tilled ground.  It prepares the ground, fertilizes it. It's poo. You're going to want some gloves and a shovel.
6.) Tilling your soil is pretty much just breaking it up and making rows. You have to wait until you are SURE that the soil is warm enough and dry enough to till or you'll just make a big compacted mess of things{compacted soil limits growth}. Some people use a tiller some people use a shovel and some other things...i'm not too sure...just read this article... Tilling By Hand
7.) Tools. There is a shovel spading fork, a garden fork, and a trowel. Also a hoe. This picture should help.
gardening tools

8.) Some plants like a lot of water, some plants don't need a lot. Same goes for sun exposure. It would be good to read up on the plants/veggies/fruit you want to enjoy and make sure you can commit! Also check your zone {a.k.a. ask a professional} to make sure you are purchasing appropriate plants for your climate!
9.) Some veggies are better garden bed mates than others. To avoid conflict, read up on what pairs well with what. It's technically called Companion Planting...but that's really just a fancy name for a vegetable dating horoscope.
10.) If you are talking to a real garden expert and they use a garden genius term that sounds super helpful and beneficial to you, but you have no flipping idea what it means...ASK. Because when you're standing in front of a pile of manure/dirt holding a seedling in one hand and a trowel in the other, you'll wish you had just let your pride down for a minute and asked that person what the heck they meant when they said Square-Foot Gardening

So that should at least get you started. And if you're still a little hesitant, just look at how happy gardening can make you!!!

He's my favorite gardener ever.

Alright class, Homework: read up on some garden tips and then head to your local supply store!
Class Dismissed!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Baked Apples: Whole30 Approved

Cooking Class:

Last night my dear friend Dionne came over to a.) chat b.) consol me after getting a root canal and not being able to feel half of my face for 5 hours and c.) to make smoothies and BAKED APPLES!!!
It was so fun to be baking with a friend in my kitchen. We even put on my aprons and felt even more domestically savvy. The apples were quite simple and here's what we did...

4-5 Organic red apples
2 TBSP Organic Ghee: infused with cardemom and cinnamon by Pure Indian Foods
1/2 cup Golden Raisins

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. You'll need a tiny little baking sheet handy. Cut up the apples into chunks. Dionne decided on "like, hash brown sized apple chunks" and I think that is a great size:)
Then put them in a bowl and melt the ghee over the apples. Then add a dash of nutmeg, a pinch of cardemom and a happy helping of cinnamon. Now toss in your raisins and mix all the ingredients together.

Then bake in the oven until golden brown (for Dionne) or slightly blackened (for Emily).

Then you can put them in a cute bowl to serve!

SUPER yummy and the whole house smelled like autumn!
And of course why not  add an organic banana cacao smoothie to the evening? More on smoothies later!
Hope you enjoy baked apples while we're having this little cold spell.
And if you're also doing the Whole30...keep it up! The best is yet to come!

Homework: Bake some know how!
Class Dimissed!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Diet: Begin something that can change everything...

Self-Improvement Class:

Today marks day 3 of a new diet. It is extreme. There are no counted calories and no portion control...just a really great de-tox diet full of natural, healthy foods.
I am so fortunate to have girlfriends that are doing this diet with me {and that shared these lovely macaroons in Chicago over the weekend} because doing it with built in moral support and even some healthy competition is priceless! So if you are reading this and want to join forces with me and my girlfriends, please do! Let me know if you need more info after reading about the diet.
It is the kind of diet that is meant to be a lifestyle. I did this in 2010 and it CHANGED me. Inside and out.
So maybe think about doing it with us.

PS: no more macaroons:( But I have discovered the awesomeness of dates!
Homework: READ about the Whole30 diet and consider it for yourself.
Class Dismissed.