02 January 2008

guest blog: the reluctant treehugger

This is the second in a series of guest blogs. Jason Lowell lives in South Florida, where he works as a website producer. He also spends entirely too much time watching baseball and makes a very respectable grilled cheese sandwich. Jason can be reached at jasonlowell35 at gmail dot com. Please contact me if you are interested in writing a topical guest blog.

Hi - my name is Jason, and I think I'm going green.

I'm trying to cut down on waste. I bring a fork and spoon to the office, instead of using a plastic set I'll throw away later, and I'll put my lunch in reusable containers instead of wrapping it up in plastic wrap or foil. No more coffee cups in the office either. I've got a mug that I keep there and wash on a (semi-) regular basis. I carry a backpack instead of bringing my lunch in a bag I would throw away anyway. And I don't buy bottled water anymore.

I harass my family incessantly about recycling. I read my news online (Google Reader -- it might change your life), and if I do pick up a paper or a magazine, I always make sure to toss it in the recycle bin. I also stopped asking for receipts at the gas pump and ATM.

I've replaced all of my regular light bulbs (or as many as I can reach without a ladder) with compact fluorescents. I now turn off lights and fans when I leave the room, and I'm *trying* to start to unplug things that I don't use very often while they're off. When I leave work, I always power down my computers, instead of just flipping the monitors off. I only wash clothes when I have a full load (probably too full a load).

Yes, it's a little more expensive, but I'm trying to eat organic when possible. I've even taken up eating more soy over the last few years, and I generally feel much healthier when I do. I've gotten funny looks from family and friends for the stockpile of chick'n patties and portobello burgers in the freezer, but those brave enough to try them are now just as addicted. I recently found my carton of Silk empty on the counter, and my brother sitting on the couch, large bowl of cereal in hand.

I bought tofu once. I think it lived in the back of my fridge for a while before I ended up throwing it away. I wasn't ready for that kind of commitment just yet.

Right now, I live in a city where public transportation isn't a reliable option (not unless I want to wake up at 5am to get to work by 9). Though I'm somewhat stuck with driving to work, I've cut back on excessive driving. I also own a pretty fuel-efficient car, and I'm planning on making my next one a hybrid. I also try to go without air conditioning when possible (which, yes, is rare since I live in South Florida).

No, I don't own Birkenstocks. None of my clothing is made out of hemp. I don't have a small shrine to Al Gore in my closet, because you don't need to be obsessive about all of this to make a difference. For me, I've started to pay more attention to the habits I have and doing my small part to break some of the bad ones. If you do a lot of little things, sooner or later, they'll add up.

And then maybe someone will ask you to be a guest blogger.


Aja Tahari Marsh said...

Jason, have no fear of the 'Fu! Here is a very easy and tasty intro to tofu. I hope you like it! - Aja

Baked Tofu
Serves 2-4
This tofu and sauce duo that I adapted from Moosewood’s “Celebrations” cookbook is a winner at all of my potlucks and is great for a quick meal. In the time it takes for the tofu to bake, you can cook up some rice and veggies or salad. I like the sweet and nutty flavor of the almond butter in this adaptation of the more traditional peanut sauce.

1 lb extra firm or firm tofu, drained
2 T olive or canola oil
2 T tamari/shoyu

1. Preheat the oven to 425ยบ.

2. Cut the tofu into 3/4”-1” cubes. Toss with the oil and tamari. Let sit for 10-15 minutes to overnight.

3. Line a sheet pan with foil or parchment. Place tofu cubes on the pan, with a little bit of room between each one.

4. Bake for 20-25 minutes, tossing once, halfway through cooking. Bake until golden and crispy on the edges. If you’d prefer them still firmer, bake for a bit longer.

Serve with Tangy Almond Butter Sauce (below).

Tangy Almond Butter Sauce
Makes about 1/2 cup

2 T unsweetened almond butter (or natural peanut butter)
2 T warm water
2 T lime juice (or vinegar – rice wine, apple cider, and red wine vinegars work well)
2 T tamari
1 t agave or honey (omit if using sweetened nut butter), to taste
1 t Asian chili paste or 1 small minced hot pepper(optional)
1 T minced cilantro (optional)

Whisk together the almond butter and water until well incorporated.
Add the remaining ingredients and whisk together.
Add more liquid to adjust consistency or flavor, as necessary.

This will keep for up to 5 days tightly covered in the refrigerator.

sly said...


congrats on making positive changes not just for yourself but for the environment. its amazing the little changes we can all make that make a huge difference. true that our aja will urge you to do the right thing and those of us who listen are the better for it. you should try the baked tofu ... i was like you ... not ready for the tofu ... however, it is wonderful!!!

great job!

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