28 September 2008

September Newsletter: Make Change!

Hey Y’all, Happy Fall
One morning very, very recently, I woke up and realized it was Fall. "Fall?! Already?!" I certainly wasn't ready to give up summer, but I guess the time of year has other ideas-- wind, rain, cooler temperatures, and the hint of change in the leaves.
Change. A small word with many different meanings and I think this time of year is the perfect time to reassess, and do things differently. And different doesn't have to be drastic, but it can definitely be important.

What kind of change are you hoping for?
Personally, I'm hoping that the people of the United States are feeling awake and motivated, because this is the year that we can make change together.
How's that? you ask? By VOTING. So I am pulling this directly from one of my most recent blog posts, but it is that important, it's worth mentioning again.

If you are a US citizen and 18 or older, you really, really need to be registered to vote.
I can't say I'm overly patriotic, but I do generally like living here, and the U.S. needs our support and voices. Does it strike you as odd that in some countries (many in Europe), that the government fears their people? That a simple and strong uprising of voice and opinion can invoke... change? Imagine that!
We live in a democracy. We have that power.

The main problem is that not enough of us are taking advantage of the system we live in. And sure it has its own issues, but ignoring it is not going to make anything better is it? Could even make it worse. I'm urging you not to stand idly by!
Make your voice heard. Stand up for something. Vote for action, for change, for a better future, and a happier now. What issues move you? Health care? Global warming? Sustainability? War in Iraq?
Let's not just focus on what's not right, what should be better, who we like and who we don't. Let's not just stand there. Let's not be all talk and no action. Do something.
You can make change. We can make change. We can change. We can be better and stronger and healthier. And happier.

Voter registration deadlines are coming up as soon as October 4th in some states, so NOW is the time to take action. 
Check the deadlines in your state
.
And if you're already registered, take this opportunity to ask your circle of family, friends, and colleagues if they are, and if not, help them get registered.

A few resources:

Vote411 - Everything you ever wanted to know about voting
Rock the Vote - Because voting is cool
VoteGopher - Excellent issue-centric election resource so you can get educated on candidate views
Caucus - New York Times Politics Blog

NEWS FROM AJA  
A Committment to Composting.
I recently adopted the phrase "upping my game" and as a part of that upping, I am committing myself not only to composting my own household scraps, but also the scraps from clients, and other catering jobs as much as possible. Some of the other residents of my building are also into composting and we've discussed getting a vermicomposter, which I hope happens!
I'm also super psyched about the fairly new North Brooklyn Compost Project happening in my neighborhood.
Learn more about composting here.

ANNOUNCEMENTS
In Season:
September is Harvest Month! Get the market and chow down on the best of the summer and early fall: yellow cauliflower, apples, pears, summer AND winter squash, broccoli, late berries, hearty greens, and you can still even get melons, nectarines, tomatoes, and peaches. Make the most of and with it!
Cool Recent Blog Posts: Check out Sabrina's Guest Blog on Carbon Footprints and Offsets. 
Things I Made This Summer: Here are a handful of things I made and photographed this summer. The item with the most requests via blog comments will earn a recipe post!
Guest Blogger Opportunities: I’m always looking for interested individuals to write guest blogs for Stem+Leaf about green and
healthy-lifestyle related subjects, from your own perspective. No need to be an experienced writer-- just enthusiastic with something to say!
Please contact me for more information.
Spread the Word: If you know of anyone who would enjoy this newsletter, please feel free to pass it far and wide! Or, they can sign up here for the
for the monthly mailing list.
Live your dreams wide awake.

26 September 2008

product placement: midel honey grahams


I've used these Midel Honey Grahams a couple of times to make low-sugar graham cracker crusts for clients, which is when I first discovered their tastiness. Okay, let me not give you the wrong idea... I love these, but I tend to like sweets that are not very sweet. These are sweetened only with honey and unsulfered molasses, which gives them a faint sweetness that goes great with tea, fruit, nut butter, or just on their own as a snack or dessert-- which is how I usually eat them! They are also made with 100% whole wheat, which gives them a heartiness that I find, unless I am especially hungry, prevents me from eating too many. So really, with it's high fiber, decent protein, and low-sugar counts, it's almost like a healthy cereal in cracker-cookie-biscuit form. Maybe I'm not selling it hard, but I'd be right to say they're probably not for everyone. But they are very much for me. Yay.

*Midel also makes really yummy gluten-free cookies. I love their Gluten Free Ginger Snaps.

24 September 2008

things i made this summer.

I'm just beginning to get caught up with my summer and it's already over! I had a lot of food projects in mind for the summer, but as it always goes by faster than you anticipate, many didn't (yet) get accomplished. However, here are a few photos of a handful of things I made this summer. If I get enough interest via comments, maybe I'll even post a recipe for the crowd favorite.

sweet organic vegan cornbread with homemade fig&thyme jam and consider bardwell's vermont chevre.

fire-roasted tomatoes.


vegan lavender cornmeal local nectarine upside down cake.
(inspired by the cover recipe of july's martha stewart living.)


my version of angelica kitchen's 'dragon bowl': steamed sweet potatoes, kale, and broccoli atop short grain brown rice with a little salad of sprouts, mint, and cilantro on top. dressed with a mixed herb-lemon-sesame-shoyu dressing.

corn tortilla 'pizzas' with homemade roasted tomatillo and poblano salsa, black beans, roasted corn, cilantro, and raw milk white cheddar. and a side market greens salad.

doughnut plant canapes with vanilla bean ronnybrook creme fraiche and local berries.


rafetto's fresh basil-parsley and lemon parpadelle with sauteed local organic fava beans and maitake, crisped natural proscuitto, in an orange olive oil, orange juice, and orange zest 'sauce'.

all farmer's market salad of local purslane chopped salad with heirloom cherry tomatoes, kirby cucumbers, sugar snap peas, fresh corn, red onion, lemon juice and segments, pomegranate molasses and love.

23 September 2008

vote. register to vote.


If you are a US citizen and 18 or older, you really need to be registered to vote.
I can't say I'm overly patriotic, but I do generally like living here, and the U.S. needs our support and voices. Does it strike you as odd that in some countries (many in Europe), that the government fears their people? That a simple and strong uprising of voice and opinion can invoke... change? Imagine that!

We live in a democracy. We have that power. The main problem is that not enough of us are taking advantage of the system we live in. And sure it has its own issues, but ignoring it is not going to make anything better is it? Could even make it worse. I'm urging you not to stand idly by!

Make your voice heard. Stand up for something. Vote for action, for change, for a better future, and a happier now. What issues move you? Health care? Global warming? Sustainability? War in Iraq?

Voter registration deadlines are coming up as soon as October 4th in some states, so now's the time to take action. Check the deadlines in your state.

A few resources:
Vote411 - Everything you ever wanted to know about voting
Rock the Vote - Because voting is cool
VoteGopher - Excellent issue-centric election resource so you can get educated on candidate views
Caucus - New York Times Politics Blog

22 September 2008

guest blog: on carbon footprints

Sabrina Hu is a yuppie working the corporate world in Atlanta, GA. She thinks that Bill Gates should run for some office and work his “creative capitalism” edge on sustainable enterprises. In her free time, she sits and ponders about her environmental footprint as well the as the internally displaced children and child soldiers in Uganda, while dreaming about blue skies and white beach sands.
Please contact me if you are interested in writing a topical guest blog.

Way back in July, I hopped myself from my current residence of Atlanta, GA to Honolulu, HI to attend my roommate’s wedding. Okay, it wasn’t quite a hop, a skip, or even a jump. In fact, the distance between the two places is a grueling 9-hour direct plane ride to cover some 4,494 miles. I think this flight was harder to get through than my trans-Pacific experiences and thankfully, I had my good friends Harry, Hermonie and Ron to keep me company.

Throughout the planning phase and the actual vacation, I noticed many discussions about conservation of island resources, and the in-some’s-opinion, lack of efforts in environmental preservation of the beautiful state of Hawaii. Since returning back to the Mainland, I’ve been mulling in the back of my mind what to do about my very large carbon footprint. During my vacation, I tried to be conscientious of my water and electricity use. After all, the signs in Maui’s NorthShore hostel were right… I didn’t need to have the water running when I lathered up. And who really needs AC when the temperatures are a pleasant 70 degrees in the evening? So I began to think about how big of a carbon footprint I had left. After all, I did fly from Atlanta to Honolulu to Kahului and back-- not to mention the rental cars, hotel room AC, and laundry. I decided made a quick visit to TerraPass.com to calculate the impact of my plane flights alone. Oh. My. Take. A. Look.


And Carbonfund.org had this to say about my trip:


Dare I add in my business trip to Boston from the week before? Or last summer’s trip to Beijing, Shanghai, and Taipei. I. Think. Not. (Though having corporate support for carbon offsets based on employee travel is an interesting idea, but I digress.)

Sabrina to Hawaii = A LOT OF CARBON lbs.

Stunned, I furiously put my fingers to work to hunt down a suitable way to offset my carbon footprint. Along the way I came across some articles that made me ponder: “Where is my money going?”; “How are these companies really offsetting my carbon footprint?”; “Is there a DIY way?” and finally, “How are they calculating my footprint anyways?” I decided to focus on the first question: “Where is my money going?”

Carbonfund.org uses funds for carbon offsetting in three ways: by planting trees, subsidizing wind and solar power, and purchasing credits on the Chicago Climate Exchange. It is a not-for-profit organization and allows users to choose which method they would like to use to off-set their carbon footprint. To offset my trip, I would have to spend a total of $16.76 on Carbonfund.org.

TerraPass, a for-profit organization offers similar options to those looking to purchase carbon offsets. My carbon offset on TerraPass would run me $17.85. All these websites of blue skies and lush green fields… would I take the plunge?

Not convinced, my attention turned towards a search for news articles discussing the concept of carbon offsets. A 2006 New York Times article summed it up best. Was it fair for me to just buy my way out of the pollution I had collectively helped to create? The articles I read all seemed to have the same conclusion: It is currently unclear how much of an impact carbon off setting programs create.

Ultimately, I decided not to make a carbon offsetting donation. I haven’t convinced that donating my money through a website was going to do any good- and it definitely was not going to bring me any personal satisfaction of becoming carbon neutral for my plane rides. Instead, I decided that there were more tangible and immediate ways through my day to day activities for me to make my impact-- from recycling to limiting electricity usage to general conservation-- which is more than I can say for watching yet another electronic transaction load in my browser.

Editor's Note: Sabrina mentions her CarbonFund offset would be about $17 though the image shows roughly $45. She says this is because she had checked 'Radiative Forcing' option, which is to compensate for the different effect on greenhouse emissions at higher altitudes, and increases the suggested cost to offset carbon emission.

21 September 2008

a technological vacation

I just wanted to quickly write to apologize for my lack of blog presence. I attempted to keep you satiated by 'Green 1 Things' and 'Product Placements', but they ran out before I got back around to the computer. Chalk it up to the compulsory August business vacations that are rampant in New York, or to moving and working a heck of a lot so that my time on the computer was essentially nil.

So enough of the excuses, but I'll just say... I didn't miss being on the computer all the time. This is only the third time I've been on the computer in a week, and you know, I kind of like it. I'm going to consider this an experiment in energy and productivity efficiency, as well as allowing myself more opportunity to interact with other humans face-to-face, and spend quiet time alone that doesn't involve the LED glow of a monitor or cell phone screen. Try it for a day, a few hours... you might like it.

That being said, I still intend to keep this blog happy and alive. So don't you worry!
(But if you're interested in writing a guest blog for Stem+Leaf, I probably won't say no.)

08 September 2008

green1 thing: pay bills online

Still getting those annoying and bulky monthly statements in the mail from all of the assorted entities that say you owe them money? It's highly probable that you can reduce that to zilch in just a few minutes by signing up for online statements-- most banks, credit card and utilities companies are urging you to do so. They'll email you your monthly statements, you can pay online, or still mail in a check if you need to, and you can save all that paper. Do your filing on your computer and you don't even need to print out records 'for your files'. Easy peasy.

01 September 2008

green 1 thing: fetch the e-paper

Read the paper online!
Personally, I love taking a leisurely 15-30 minutes to read the paper online with my breakfast when I can, and am glad my attempt to buy and read the Sunday New York Times every week was a passing phase. Yes, I used to complain about the difficulty of reading long articles online, and even now I still only skim or read about half, but, with many papers featuring boosted online interactive content, it's more fun to get your news on your desktop, and easier to find the news you're interested in reading. Sign up for your favorite paper's email alerts or daily headlines and skim the paper in your email.

In addition to saving trees, gas from shipping trees, manufacturing the paper, printing the paper and delivering it to your doorstop or corner store, you'll also save money, dirty fingertips, and can 'clip and save' your favorite articles by bookmarking them or adding them to your delicious account.

More reasons to read the paper online.
If you have a lot of old newspapers sitting around the house, you should of course recycle them, or first reuse them in one of these ways!

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