Saturday, September 23, 2006

The Ultimate Sandwich

This was an amazing sandwich...oh the deliciousness!

Rudy's Organic Honey Whole Wheat Bread
Organic heirloom tomato and tapestry salad mix from Blue Gate Farms
Avocado with lemon juice and salt

I will be eating this several more times this week. But I'll be adding cucumber and sprouts. Even more yummy.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Buy Bulk

I love the bulk bins. I could stand there and stare at them for hours. So many pretty things. Beautiful organic package-free goodness. Have you ever tried to focus on buying things with minimal packaging? It's crazy how much cardboard and plastic companies wrap around their products!

I also love putting them in my jars when I get home (see photo). For those of you who are bulk dry foods challenged, from L to R (top row): red lentils, split peas, garbanzo beans, quinoa. Bottom row: Raisins, popcorn, long-grain brown rice, and pinto beans.

Buying bulk is cheaper, healthier and better for the environment. One of my favorite webistes (New American Dream) wrote up a nice little ditty. Here you go:

One useful piece of advice I've heard is to "buy bulk." This can mean one of three things, all of which can save money.

Firstly, there's the bulk bin section of the grocery store - the bins with loose flour, rice, etc. that you scoop into a bag and pay for by the pound. Not all grocery stores have a bulk bin area or carry organic items in it, so you may need to shop around. At my local store, I've realized big savings by purchasing staples like organic flour, dried beans, pasta, cereal, peanut butter, and cooking oil from the bulk bin section. An eco-friendly bonus is that less packaging is used for foods sold in the bulk bin section. I sometimes go the extra mile and bring my own clean, reused plastic bags to the store so that no new packaging is required.

Secondly, you can "buy bulk" by buying organic foods in bulk packages. These big packages often have a lower price per pound than smaller packages and also generate less packaging waste. In my case, I like to buy the 25-pound sack of organic brown rice. It costs less per pound than a one- or two-pound package and lasts forever. Single people, small households, or those with limited storage space can team up with one or more friends and split a bulk package between themselves. (A helpful side note: stores with bulk bin areas probably carry 25- and 50-pound bulk packages - that's what they use to fill the bins. Ask your friendly organic grocer if they will sell the bulk package to you directly, at a discount.) I've read that certain commodities like organic coffee and chocolate can cost the same as their conventional counterparts, if you purchase a year's supply at a time and then store it in individual airtight containers. And this strategy isn't limited to dry goods, either - I've also read about several families who realized savings by splitting a side of organic beef. Some possible sources for bulk packages are Costco, ShopNatural, Azure Standard, Ozark Organics, and Door to Door Organics.

A third way to "buy bulk" is to buy large numbers of organic items, especially when they are on sale. Organic canned soup on clearance? Don't stop at 5 or 10 cans - think big - buy a case or two and keep them in your closet or share with friends. Fresh produce is a good candidate for similar treatment. If you can't eat all that discounted organic produce at once, items like berries or chopped bell peppers can be frozen in plastic bags for later use. A chest freezer, especially an energy-efficient model, may come in handy for doing this on a bigger scale. These freezers come in all sizes, from ones small enough for single people, to large models for big families. Just make sure that the operating costs for your freezer don't cancel out the savings from your bulk buys! Another option for preserving large batches of discounted organic fruits and veggies is to dry or can them, if you have the time, equipment, and know-how.

Thanks New Dream for putting my thoughts into words at this late hour. Just say NO to excessive packaging!

Good Food

Here is today's CSA goodness. I don't have the list right in front of me with all the exact names and what not, but here is the quick run down.

*Apples! Yay!
*Green beans
*Tomatoes...big and little
*Tapestry salad mix...yum!

There was one more apple and TONS more little yellow tomatoes...but Bella and I were really hungry on the way home.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Tea Perfection

I love tea. It has so many qualities...refreshing, healing, cleansing, warming, cooling. I prefer loose leaf teas...but I have found several "full leaf" bagged teas that I enjoy. If you've never tried loose're missing out!

The teas that I drink the most are:

*Ancient Happiness from Gong Fu and Apricot Green from Adagio.
*Rooibos...Vanilla Rooibos is the best.
*Evening in Missoula
*Pacific Breeze from Gong Fu...or Citron Oolong by Rishi Tea.

One of my favorite summer teas is Passion Tea by Tazo. You can get it at Starbucks (they make it daily). If you want to get a little wild, try their Passion Tea Lemonade. Yum. Tea is where it's at.