Monthly Archives: April 2013

Happy Earth Day!

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Hope everyone is having a lovely Earth Day! Unfortunately I don’t have any exciting Earth Day plans since I have to work tonight but I spent the morning outside enjoying the sun and potting some flowers to transplant outside once it’s warmer! 

 

 

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The chickens have also been out enjoying the sun! 

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That’s all for now! Hope you all have a great day! 

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Random things I’m liking right now.

I always love when other bloggers do favorite things or what I’m loving lately posts. I get to see new products/sites/ideas that I wouldn’t normally and it’s just fun to read the reasons why they love these things. Not really knowing what else to talk about this week I decided to do a favorite things post of my own! (Maybe it will become a regular appearance on the blog).

My list of favorite things right now is pretty random.

  • First off, this green veggie hot plate.

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Is that what it’s even called? Shadoe and I both think that’s what it’s called but the internet does not lol. Anyways, my mom and aunt found this awesome hot plate at a thrift store and put it in my Easter basket. I use it all the time. Works way better than a folded dish towel for foods I want to serve straight out of the oven or off the stove, which was my makeshift method before having a real hot plate.

  • Ginger Beer!

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Honestly I’m just loving any kind of ginger lately. I usually make ginger tea (grated ginger and boiling water) to sip on after dinner but I discovered this amazing beer at the liquor store and we just can’t get enough! It’s still alcoholic so obviously we try to limit our intake but it just tastes sooo good and refreshing!

  • Happy Herbivore Abroad cookbook.

I’ve been following her blog for some time now and finally decided I wanted to try out some of these recipes that everyone has been raving about. I was pretty skeptical of fat free/oil free vegan recipes, as I normally add earth balance or olive oil to almost everything but the first recipe I made, Taco soup, was insanely good! I honestly didn’t even miss the oil. At the beginning of the cookbook Lindsay talks about her reasons for eating a vegan, fat-free, oil-free diet. The reasons behind cutting out the oil have really stuck in my head. I never really thought too much about oil or that cooking oils are just overly processed, concentrated versions of the natural oils found in food. Since they are so concentrated they contain a ton of calories, 120 calories and 14g of fat in one tablespoon, that’s a lot of calories that could be easily left out.. So, I’ve been trying to cut oil out of everything lately, sautéing tofu in soy sauce and water, scrambled eggs with no earth balance, caramelizing onions with no oil.. It’s definitely been tricky so far, especially with having stainless steel pans instead of no-stick Teflon ones. My scrambled eggs turned out kind of rubbery, but I’ll keep working on it. Just being more conscious of added oil I think will make a difference.

  • Toffuti non-dairy sour cream and cream cheese.

I’ve finally found perfect replacements for more dairy products. I tried Tofutti cream cheese and sour cream after a couple recipes online called for them and was pleasantly surprised. I honestly could not tell the difference, which is huge because I love cream cheese and sour cream! It also has much less calories and fat per serving than the dairy stuff. Unfortunately, the processing and ingredients required to make these non-dairy products is sometimes scary and not something I’d want to eat all the time, but it’s nice to know I have great substitutes whenever I want a treat.

One thing I’m not loving today is that we woke up to a blizzard.. Really winter.. Just go away already. Yesterday was beautiful and sunny and I got to finally wear a dress with tights, sweater and flats and today it’s completely white outside and I’ll be wearing winter boots, thick pants, winter jacket, toque and mitts if I leave the house.

What are some things that you’re loving lately?

Spring fever!

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I snapped a pic on my run this morning to show you what I mean by not looking like spring outside yet.. Go away snow!

Even though it does not look like spring outside I’ve definitely got spring fever! I’ve been cleaning, organizing my house, and making piles of stuff to give away on my days off. I also keep forgetting it’s still cold outside and started dressing for spring. I usually end up freezing and running as fast as I can from my car to the store/work or wherever I’m going. I have a ton of energy lately, probably due to the excitement of summer getting closer! I went for another run this morning, layered with tights, leggings, thermal shirt, sweater, windbreaker, and a touque but I forgot my mitts and froze my hands.

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Hopefully I’ll have a longer harvest this year by staggering the planting by a few weeks.

 

Afterwards I decided to get a head start on gardening this year and planted most of my veggies in little pots to grow in front of the window. I can’t wait to transfer them into the garden once it gets warm enough, but it’ll be another 2 months at least.. I’ve got big plans for my garden this year, I learned a lot through trial and error last year and feel much more prepared this time around. I’m going to plant my main veggie garden, a small herb garden and a strawberry patch! Plus I want to plant some nice flowers that I’ll be able to make into bouquets for around the house. I’m going to try to lengthen the harvest time by staggering the planting so I’ll have more time for freezing, and preserving. Now I just need the snow to go away and stay away this time!  

Are you planting a garden this year? What are your favorite veggies to grow? 

My rant on living in “oil county”.

I’m Canadian. I live in Alberta (the province that produces tar sands oil). I was employed by the oil industry for many years. In fact between my summer job and help from my mom, almost my entire education was funded by oil. I drive a gas-powered car, albeit a very small one. I live in a tiny house, yes heated by natural gas and obviously I use electricity most likely derived from the burning of fossil fuels. I eat food that requires energy to be planted, harvested and transported, yet I choose organic so as to use the least fossil fuels possible. Yet does using fossil fuels mean I have no right to speak out about the oil industry? Does it make me a hypocrite to not want another pipeline yet still drive a car? No. It doesn’t and I’ll tell you why. 

People love to use these arguments. I hear them all the time. Anytime someone speaks out about the dangers, health or environmental, of the oilsands the people who work in the industry get outraged and look to discredit anything that person has to say. I lived in Fort McMurray for many years after moving there with my mom from Nova Scotia. I remember when a group of Greenpeace activists chained themselves to a 797 heavy hauler and all anyone could talk about in town was how they had got there. That’s right, they had driven to Fort McMurray. In vehicles. Therefore they could be criticized for lacking any environmental credibility and made out to be hypocrites. All I could think at the time was really? Are you serious? These people were so passionate about preserving the earth that they chained themselves to a machine and got arrested for it all to spread awareness and all you can say is “Yeah I heard they drove up here in a truck.”

The problem with this argument is that there is no other alternative available. Therefore these people are not hypocrites. Do you really think that if we had better options for vehicles, electricity, sources for heat and fuel that these environmentalists would still be using fossil fuels? Even if you have a hybrid or electric car, unless you have your own solar or wind energy source to recharge it you are still using either hydro or fossil fuel powered energy. The fact is everyone is forced to be dependent on fossil fuels. It’s inevitable. Unless you are a millionaire and can afford a self-sustaining home, or you want to live in a cabin in the woods, away from society it is just not possible to avoid fossil fuels. The fact that there is no other choice is exactly what environmentalists are trying to change. We wish there were other options. We want the government to invest in developing new technologies for harnessing wind and solar energy. To create better systems for composting and recycling. To eliminate the use of plastic where possible. To put limits on pollution and increase regulation of industries that pollute the air and the water.

Another argument I usually hear when talking to Albertans about this issue is “well that technology is just too expensive”. Here’s the thing, as soon as you start investing into a technology and further developing it the cheaper it gets. Instead of subsidizing the oil sands we could invest that money into new technologies.

Or I hear “well it’s easy for you to say, you live in the wealthy province with lots of jobs and opportunities.” What people don’t realize though is that developing sustainable energy sources won’t eliminate their jobs. It will just relocate them to a different industry. If the government were to actually invest in green alternatives there would be so many jobs created! Canada could become known for it’s advanced development of sustainable energy instead of gaining notoriety from pipeline spills carrying our tar sands oil.    

I guess what I’m trying to say is that this practice of denouncing environmentalists as hypocrites needs to stop. It just doesn’t make any sense. Just because these people do more in their day to day lives to help the environment and that makes you feel defensive of your job you do not need to attack/discredit them. I, for one, do not condemn anyone for working the in oil industry. I realize that in Alberta, that is the industry that provides jobs.  Just like if I lived in BC I would not condemn someone for working in the forestry industry. So don’t condemn me for caring enough to speak out against it and wanting change. I’m not a hypocrite I’m doing the best I can.

Just wanted to add this rant was spurred by reading this article on TreeHugger.com:

http://www.treehugger.com/corporate-responsibility/exxon-wont-pay-cleanup-fund-because-arkansas-oil-spill-isnt-oil.html

As if there weren’t already enough reasons to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline.. It seems nature has found a way to prove it’s point, oil is not the way to go. Also, due to a legal loophole Exxon will not be held liable and will not pay for the cleanup since it’s not “convention oil”. Unbelievable.