My new Instant Pot!

I’m not sure how many of you already use an Instant Pot, but I just jumped on the bandwagon, and I’m loving it. I bought myself this one for my birthday this week during Amazon Prime day. Now you won’t get the same deal I did ($42), but it’s still a great item. There are so many reasons why this appliance is one of the best, but here are just a few reasons why I bought it:

1. It replaces so many other appliances, you can stream line your kitchen. If you are on the minimalism path like I am, this is good news. You can use the Instant Pot as a crock pot, pressure cooker, yogurt maker, saute pan, steamer, rice cooker (I don’t eat grains, but for those that do), just to name a few.

Here is mine:

2. This appliance is great for hard boiled eggs. How many of you have had trouble peeling eggs you cooked on the stove? Well, you won’t have that problem when you steam them in the Instant Pot. It’s also much quicker to make them, so you save time.

Instant Pot-BEST.INVENTION.EVER! Click To Tweet

3. How often do you forget to thaw out your meat for dinner? I do it too often, but with the Instant Pot, you don’t need to worry. You can cook meals whether the meat is frozen or thawed. Wonderful idea and a great time saver again!

For those of you eating healthier, this Instant Pot is for you. I eat grain-free, so this has helped me tremendously.  And, you can convert your crock pot recipes too.  BEST.INVENTION.EVER.

 

4 easy steps to get your garden ready now

4 steps to get your garden ready now

 

gardening process, compost

**This post contains affiliate links**

Yes, I know, it’s only February 5th, but now is the time to start thinking about getting your garden ready, depending on what zone you live in. I live in zone 8, North Texas, so I have already started some seeds indoors.

Start your seeds indoors

I have started my tomatoes and spaghetti squash seeds already. The best time to start your seeds is to find what zone you live in, and what your approximate last frost date is. Just count backwards from that date, and start your seeds. Depending on what you plant, different seeds need different lengths of time before planting outside. Some seeds should be planted directly outside, in your garden. My last frost date is around the middle of March, and the suggested time to start my tomato and spaghetti squash seeds said 6 weeks prior to transplanting outside. I may keep my tomatoes inside a little longer, to make sure the last of the cold weather is gone.

Where do I get my seeds?

All my seeds come from seedsnow.com.  I only plant non-GMO and heirloom seeds, and they have a huge selection. I have never had any problems with them, and they always send a free, sample seed packet with all their orders. This company dates all their seed packets when the seeds were tested, and even states the germination %, purity %, and how many days to sprout.

Getting your garden ready

While you are waiting for your seeds to grow, and for winter to go away, you can take steps to get your outdoor garden ready. You need to decide if you are planting directly into the ground or using raised beds. I used raised beds, and bought them at Home Depot. It was easy to assemble. I put a layer of cardboard (to help keeps weeds out and to compost), then a layer of mulch. Finally, I added soil along with compost material. I also ran string across my raised bed, and made 1-foot squares within each bed (square-foot gardening).

Is your compost started?

This is the time to get your compost ready, while waiting for your seeds to sprout. I have a kitchen compost bin, along with a bin near my garden. Your outside bin needs to be turned every couple of days, so I bought one that is round and is easy to turn. It’s black plastic, so the sun gives it the heat it needs to turn scraps to soil. Don’t forget to add your compost starter.

That’s it! With a little elbow grease and some preparation, you should have a successful, organic garden all summer long (and maybe even into the fall).

Happy Gardening!

Cindi

Composting starts in the kitchen

compost bin

To compost or not to compost…..

**This post contains affiliate links

Having a Master’s degree in Environmental Studies, I am always looking for ways to help the environment, and to avoid GMO’s. I discovered GMO’s while in grad school and the more I learned about them, the more mad I became. They are so bad for us, so I decided to start my own garden last summer. Wow, did I have a lot to learn!

I planted a lot of different heirloom seeds with high hopes. There were 4 different types of tomatoes, spaghetti squash, cucumbers, radishes, lettuce, and 10 different types of hot peppers. Well, my spaghetti squash took off like crazy, but I had to hand pollinate tons of flowers in order to get fruit to grow. I discovered there weren’t any honey bees around to pollinate for me (watch for a future article on the disappearance of bees).

Adding a kitchen compost bin makes a great addition to your garden Click To Tweet

How a compost bin fits into your kitchen

One thing I realized was that I should have used compost. I invested in a kitchen countertop compost bin, so that I could start saving kitchen scraps to add to an outside compost bin. I bought this compost bin (affiliate link) and love it. It sits on my counter, so it’s easy to add my egg shells or coffee grinds. Even my husband uses it. It doesn’t smell, which was a something I was concerned about when I first got it. It comes with filters, and I added these biodegradable bags (affiliate link). Just empty it once a week, and you won’t have any problems. If I can compost, then so can you!

Here is my compost bin on my counter (and the bags I use).

Happy composting!!

It’s been a while….

I’m back! It’s been a few years since I’ve posted anything on here. I’m getting my blog back up and running, concentrating on the environment and food safety, including green products that I love. Thanks for following and hope you enjoy my new and improved blog!

How bottled water is destroying our environment…..

Everywhere you look, you can see people carrying plastic water bottles. They have become a staple of our lives, but unfortunately they are not safe for humans or the environment. The US consumes 30 million bottles a year, out of 50 million worldwide. That equals 60% of bottled water by only 4.5% of the world population. Another scary fact is 1500 bottles are consumed every second.

Food safety news: First off, bottled water is not tested or treated like the water that comes out of our faucet. So you don’t know what you are drinking, and it could make you sick. Secondly, the process to make the plastic bottles is wasting water. It takes 3 times the water inside one bottle to make one plastic bottle, and that water is contaminated with chemicals and is no longer usable. Most people don’t realize that plastic bottles are made with petroleum, and it takes 17 million barrels every year to produce them. Add to that the transportation and refrigeration of bottled water increases the yearly oil consumption to 50 million barrels. It takes 40,000 18-wheelers to just deliver bottled water to your store.

**affiliate link**

And lastly, our environment is being destroyed by plastic bottles that are not discarded of properly. Water bottles are made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic, but they don’t biodegrade. They just break down into smaller pieces over time, but those pieces absorb toxins that continue to make animals sick, pollute our water, and contaminate the soil our food is grown in. These plastic bottles contain BPA which is known to poison people. The damage to the animals is dangerous. Whales eat those bottles, thinking they are food. 10% of plastic made ends up in the ocean, where it will never break down or degrade.

We need to implement more recycling programs, starting with the kids. When they learn at an early age to recycle, it becomes 2nd nature and they will continue to do so as adults.

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/norm-schriever/post_5218_b_3613577.html

Remembering 9/11 and my coworker Joe DeLuca

I can’t believe it’s been 12 years since our world changed forever. I know, many people are tired of hearing about it, including my daughters, who were 5 and 3 at the time, so they don’t remember it.

Well, I knew someone that died in Flight 93, and lived in North Jersey at the time, so this is very real to me and will always bother me. I was only 40 miles from ground zero, working at Warner Lambert Pharm. in Morris Plains, NJ. My mom called to tell me about the first plane, thinking it was a little Cessna. I got on the Internet at work, and soon that went down as word spread around the world.

Slowly, we all watched as both towers were on fire and then the unthinkable happened….they both collapsed. We were watching at work when the plane hit the Pentagon, and even remember hearing rumors that 8 planes were being used by the terrorists. My oldest had just started Kindergarten, and her school was in lockdown. As a parent of a new student, I really didn’t know what to do. We left her there and waited for her at the bus stop. The rest of the day, all I could do was watch the coverage on TV.

The next day at work, word slowly got around that we lost our coworker, Joe DeLuca. He and his fiancé were heading to San Francisco for vacation. Their plane left from Newark Airport, and was reportedly heading back to the White House when those passengers took it over and saved many more lives.

We will never forget and we must never forget. To all of those that don’t think this is worth remembering, I feel sorry for you. Maybe one day you will understand how life changing this terrorist attack was. It also means more to those of us that lived close to ground zero and knew someone that died.

Social issues ARE at the root of our environmental problems-part 2-US gov’t not protecting its citizens

In part 1, I spoke about the lack of community as a contributing factor to the deterioration of our environment and planet. To continue on that path, why has the public lost interest in protecting the environment? Most people get their information, most of it misguided and wrong, from their local news. The news gets their information from our government. Ahhh, there lies the problem.

Contaminated US government

The EPA, USDA, and FDA were all created years ago to protect the citizens of our country. The EPA is suppose to protect human health and the environment, USDA watches over our food and agriculture, and the FDA’s job is to protect our food supply and medicine, making sure they are safe for people to consume. However, over the years, the leaders of these agencies have come from one of the worst companies in our history…Monsanto.

 

 monsanto-gov

 

As you can see, the list is long. It’s a sad reminder of just how much of a stronghold Monsanto has on our own government. Here is another article that covers it beautifully…

http://www.globalresearch.ca/monsanto-controls-both-the-white-house-and-the-us-congress/5336422

Monsanto is a multinational agricultural biotechnology company. Besides being the one of the biggest manufacturers of chemicals (like Round Up), they also own over 11,000 patents on seeds. Yes, a chemical company is in charge of the food we eat. I will go into more about how Monsanto is ruining our food supply and poisoning the American citizens, all while our government watches from the sideline, at a later date.

We are not doomed!

Despite the fact that it looks like we are doomed, we aren’t. So many people, many in grassroots organizations, are standing up and fighting back against Monsanto. They are telling our government that we are fed up with this and won’t stand by as our food kills us.

Right now, the government isn’t even protecting us. The EPA, USDA, and FDA have gotten so corrupt from the infiltration of former Monsanto supporters that they are only protecting their stocks in Monsanto. Why would anyone in their right mind want to knowingly poison people with their own food supply? The officials running these agencies don’t have a conscious and are only in it for the money.

We must continue our fight against our own government, to get them to stand up to corrupt corporations and start protecting the American citizens. Our founding fathers are rolling over in their graves….

Have a wonderful, GMO-free day J

 

Social issues ARE at the root of our environmental problems-part 1-no more sense of community

Why don’t people care anymore?

I want to concentrate my posts on this blog in the environmental area, especially because this is where my passion is, and it’s also my area of expertise with my Master’s degree. In my last post, I wrote about bullies, both adults and kids, and how they feel the need to exert their power over others. Bullying is a major social problem, and some would say that our environmental problems stem from social issues.

No more sense of community

I agree. If you look at our social problems, they all result in people not caring about their surroundings. For instance, a bully doesn’t care if he hurts others, therefore he doesn’t care about his surroundings. I see small acts around me that show defiance toward others. So many drivers here in Texas don’t want to obey the speed limit and drive faster. This shows that they don’t care about the law and will do what ever they want. Also here in Texas, I see so many cars NOT slowing down while going through school zones with flashing lights. This may seem like something small and not important, but all these small defiant acts add up, hurting everyone.

Why? What happened over the years that lead to people not caring? What caused the shift in our thinking that is now destroying our environment and our planet?

By people making the conscious decision to not care, it has a detrimental effect on the environment that affects everyone, not just them. We have lost that sense of ‘community’ where everyone looked out for everyone else.

Social class is another factor. Many times, the division between classes has a negative effect on the environment. In many instances, lower class populations don’t take care of their surroundings due to several factors, like being poor and not seeing how protecting the environment would benefit them. Underdeveloped countries, for example, don’t have the same advantages and resources as first world countries, and can’t picture how conservation would help them or their country. Unfortunately, these third world countries are not the worst polluting countries…it’s the first world.

Food for thought….

“The domination of nature by man stems from the very real domination of human by human”

‘The Ecology of Freedom’, page 1. Murray Bookchin

To stop bullying, you need to start at the top

Everyone knows that bullying is bad, and it seems to be getting worse now that social media is involved. However, in order to stop bullying in schools, you need to start at the top of the food chain, the principal. That person should be setting an example of how to behave in a non-bullying way, and that should trickle down to the students.

Well, things hardly ever happen the way they should. In a local school, I have witnessed and been on the receiving end of bullying by a principal. In fact, the entire world can read about how he bullied a recent graduate by threatening to end his Naval career before it even started….(http/::trailblazersblog.dallasnews.com:2013:06:texas-school-district-apologizes-after-muting-valedictorians-speech.html:) Long story short, this incident involved the school not following federal laws for freedom of speech. They say they were not aware.

This is not hearsay, it actually happened and the district had to apologize for his outrageous remarks. So how is any student going to learn how to stop bullying when the principal is doing it too?

One thing bullies like to do is intimidate and push people around, in order to get their way. When a parent voices a concern about the safety of their children in school, a principal should take those concerns seriously and not falsely accuse that parent of false information and slander. Aren’t principals supposed to protect the children at their school? That behavior is bullying, not helping.

My concern is: why is this man still a principal? It is way too hard to remove bad teachers and administrators, especially when they need to be removed immediately. I am a certified teacher, and know that there are always 3 sides to every story. Teachers should also not be fired for complaints by parents that don’t parent (that is another issue for a later date). However, when there is an obvious pattern of bullying behavior, something must be done to stop it.

I am not going to stand by and let this little man make me feel bad for protecting my kids. Never, ever get in between a mama bear and her cubs……