The latest buzz making waves about Greek yogurt isn’t about innovative flavors or fresh products. Unfortunately, as of the last few weeks, internet chatter about the trendiest of foods has been focused on how companies are disposing of acid whey, a natural bi-product of the Greek yogurt production process.
I’ve talked on this blog, from time to time, of my fondness for fresh produce. I volunteer at my local farmers’ market. And I make use of what little sun I have on my deck for a potted garden of tomatoes, herbs, and new this year, peppers (their success is yet to be seen).
My interest in gardening is new – only within the past six or seven years – and has grown progressively. And my interest in vegetables, well let’s just say that still shocks my parents after all these years. I was that picky of an eater as a child.
For Father’s Day weekend, my dad, sister and I took a little road trip down to Washington D.C. to do some museum hopping. With the immense heat, we had committed to air conditioned activities only, until my sister decided that we couldn’t leave town without stopping by the White House. Since this wasn’t my first trip, I was less than excited (not much changes on the outside), until I spotted the White House Garden.
From the sidewalk, it appeared smaller than I would have expected (even though it is actually about 1,100 square feet). Last year, the garden produced over 1,000 pounds of food, feeding not only the Obamas, but dinner guests and local homeless shelters as well. This year, the size of the garden has been increased. And in the garden you will find everything from broccoli and rhubarb to tomatillos and Japanese eggplant.
Even though I had stood at the White House fence before, and gazed at the South Lawn (playing spot the Secret Service men), seeing the new garden was extremely exciting. After all, the White House hasn’t housed a garden since Eleanor Roosevelt’s Victory Garden during World War II.
In fact, the whole thing got me motivated to consider a plot in my community garden next year – something I had written off this year as too time consuming. (They have a lot more sun then I’ve got in my yard!)
But I’m not the only one. According to the Christian Science Monitor, W. Atlee Burpee & Co (a seed company) saw a 30% jump in vegetable seed sales in 2009 over the previous year. That’s pretty impressive.
And I haven’t even gotten into the real purpose of the garden, which is to encourage more consumption of fresh foods. What started out as a personal mission for her family, has become Michelle Obama’s platform – demanding healthier options and fresh food for our country’s children. This mission is winning favor with parents, and food manufacturers have responded with plans to cut sodium, sugar and more.
I managed to get a picture of the garden, before the Secret Service began to shoo us away. Others in the crowd were certain this meant the presidential motorcade was coming through, or that President Obama was coming out onto the lawn. But, since it was late in the day, I’m certain that it that the high alert was to allow the First Lady, and her girls, a chance to water their garden undisturbed.
Today, I’m gazing longingly at a new addition to my dream vacation list – the CuisinArt Resort & Spa, a Greek inspired resort in Anguilla. Brought to you by the man that founded CuisinArt, the resort boasts organic gardens and a hydroponic farm, partially housed in an 18,000 square-foot greenhouse, which supplies its restaurants and spa with everything from lettuce and tomatoes to chervil and bok choy.It’s foodie mecca meets ultra-lavish Caribbean vacation. Not too shabby.
Of course, it will cost you, which is why it’s on my dream list for now. But, according to e-newsletter Tasting Table, the resort is currently running a summer special that makes things a bit more reasonable. A girl can dream…
On a quick lunch-time shopping trip to Target today, I found the coolest thing! Terracycle has partnered with Frito-Lay to make back-to-school supplies for little tikes out of old chip bags. Determined to break a certain 12 year-old’s “cool kids don’t recycle” theory, I picked up some Wavy Lay’s folders for the nieces and nephew, and a Rold Gold pencil case for myself (why should they have all the fun).
Terracycle itself has a cool story, but the products are even cooler. Beyond the composters, rain barrels and natural cleaners, they have a number of fashionista-friendly accessories made from repurposed food packaging – Capri-Sun lunch box, Oreo messenger bag – the list goes on!
A few months back I wrote about the comeback of head-to-tail eating. Inspired, but not quite so adventurous myself, I’ve attempted a little total utilization on my own, sans-animal innards.
More and more, I’ve been breathing new life into leftovers – not just reheating, but creating new meals from them. When recipes called for egg whites, I tried desperately to find something else to bake that would use the yolks. But a few weekends ago, my practiced methods came together like kismet!
On Mother’s Day weekend, I decided to bake an Angel Food Cake for mom – her favorite. My first, and successful, attempt (thank you Good Housekeeping cookbook!) used a dozen(!) egg whites. I sat the yolks aside, determined to find a use for them as I prepared my next concoction – limoncello.
The making of limoncello is a weeklong endeavor, and with a friend’s birthday the following weekend, it was time to peel the lemons to steep in grain alcohol for his homemade present. Of course, once the lemons are peeled, they must either be juiced and used immediately, or trashed. So, I juiced the lemons, initially with plans to freeze said juice, and again, set it aside.
With the cake baking, and the booze brewing, I flipped through my favorite cookbooks for an idea, and found the answer in my ever-trusty Magnolia Bakery Cookbook. Huzzah – lemon curd!! The recipe called for exactly 12 egg yolks (hooray) and a cup of lemon juice, along with lemon extract. With no lemon extract in site, I figured the 1¼ cups of lemon juice would suffice. It could not have turned out more perfect!!! For Mother’s Day, we indulged in Angel Food Cake with Lemon Curd…but my story is still not quite over.
The following weekend, while finishing the limoncello recipe and getting ready for the party, I realized I still had some residual lemon curd that needed to be consumed STAT! Well, I had just enough left, combined with exactly the amount needed of heavy whipping cream from my husband’s Tres Leches birthday cake (also from the week before), to make a Lemon Icebox Pie to bring along. Thank you again Magnolia Bakery!
Phew! Yeah, it was a lot of work. And while I realized why I probably hadn’t conducted a kitchen marathon such as this before, I felt such a sense of accomplishment and pride that not one ingredient went to waste in my refrigerator, and I made a lot of people happy.
Campbell’s Tomato Condensed Soup is an iconic American brand. But sadly, when we think of the brand, we may imagine factory lines rather than farm fields.
Campbell’s is trying to change that with a new program called “Help Grow Your Soup.” For a limited time, consumers who purchase a can of Campbell’s condensed soup will receive a code to enter online to receive a free pack of tomato seeds. And these are not just any ‘ol variety of tomato – but in fact the very same variety used in their tomato soup!
At HelpGrowYourSoup.com, consumers can learn more about Campbell’s commitment to sustainable agriculture. Visitors can also get helpful tips for their own gardening efforts. For example, did you know that a condensed soup can is the perfect size for nursing small tomato seedlings? Reduce, reuse, recycle!
For every seed packet they send out, Campbell’s will donate 100 tomato seeds to the National FFA Organization, and web visitors can click daily to donate 50 more.
Since consumers are increasingly seeking foods that not only have “heart,” but that also help to better the earth, this promotion could not come at a better time.
Check out Frito-Lay’s Earth Day surprise – a soon to be released compostable bag for the Sun Chips line. It seems that empty chips bags on freeway on-ramps aren’t quite in line with the brand’s image.
What an exciting package innovation! The company vows to launch the new bags, which reportedly compost in 14 weeks, on Earth Day 2010.
To learn more about the new bags, and to see a simulation video, visit Frito-Lay’s website. OR, pick up this week’s copy of People Magazine for a sample of the packaging to try out in your own compost bin!
I love green. It’s been my favorite color since I could identify one. And now, green is very “in.” From fashion, to housewares, to bridal magazines – it’s this year’s IT color. But, green’s popularity has more to do with what the color represents, than simply a pleasant appearance.
Lately, an interesting question has been raised to me on more than one occasion. And that is whether, with the state of the economy, “this green thing” will stick.
Well, let me first state, that as an avid-as-possible environmentally-minded gal, it just plain has to! There is just too much waste going on out there. But, I’m sure you’re looking for real facts. Well, here we go…
In a recent survey by SCA Tissue, results showed that despite current economic conditions, purchasers of “green” products are staying put! Sixty-seven percent are buying the same, and 26% are buying more. In fact, only eight percent are reportedly buying less “green.”
In an Advertising Age article from earlier this week, green marketing was reported to be “recession-proof,” and it is theorized that new growth is attributed more to less traditional users. The article also notes that despite a lack in double-digit growth in organic foods, as we’ve seen in years past, there was still a 5.6% year over year growth in December.
These are just a few of the helpful tidbits you’ll find in the news this week. Add “green” to your Google Alerts and you’ll get plenty to fill your inbox! What are some other ways you can keep up on the latest “green” developments? One great e-newsletter that we’ve found is Ideal Bite - “bite sized ideas for light green living.” And remember, it’s not too late to start living greener. Check out EarthDay.gov for ideas.
Happy Earth Day!!!!