Saturday, December 20, 2008

My Culinary Adventure!

To a certain extent, I do have an adventurous palate. Due to scarcity of interesting recipes, boredom of eating everyday food and diminishing drive for adventure, I have decided that this winter break, I will try different foods everyday. No more Dal, rice, roti, subzi, chole, rajma, etc.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Recycle This website has information on recycling a lot of stuff from computers to cellphones to clothes to crayons .... even plastic bags!!
There is even a link to stop receiving the phone book -( I signed up for it!! The phone books that I received for the last two years are still wrapped in the plastic bag, sitting somewhere in my storage closet outside my home - that's how important it is to me right now. Every time I need to find a phone number for a local business, I just go online. Then, where's the need for the hard copy when a soft copy of everything is so easily available and accessible. I think we should all sign up for this.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

IP7's green birthday!!

To begin with, I am so proud of my soon to be seven year old!! He has decided to have a green birthday and not only that, he has also announced that he will pass on the gifts from his friends this year. Instead, he will tell them to bring in a donation for local charities.(aaawwww :))) He does not want decorations either because according to him, after the party it will be thrown away and this will just create unneccessary garbage!

We have contacted Little Friends- an organization that runs 14 different programs including a preschool for kids with special needs. We have gotten their wishlist which we are going to attach to the invitations. We have also contacted a national charity called Loaves and Fishes and gotten their wish list also. We are doing this just so that his friends and their parents have a choice!

My friend, NG33, from Troy, Michigan was the first to know about IP7's plan. She gave a very positive response and told him, "I am so proud of you!" This really gave him a lot of encouragement. However, not everyone has been so supportive:((((
IP7 was at the dentist's and the dental hygienist was the first person to bring his spirits down. When she came to know about my son's plan for his birthday, she said, "Oh! I am so sorry... you will not have toys to play now. You will have to give it away to charity." I don't know if she even understood what my son's plans were! I managed to keep a smile on my face without letting my anger show up, but if I had it my way, I would have slapped straight in the face followed by a tight blow in the gut. That's how furious I was!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I tried to calm myself down thinking that the dentist will have more brains than her and will know what to say to a 7 year old kid for such good thoughts. But I was wrong again! The dentist said, "Well, what can I say... it's your decision." Now, I was ready to blow up. I thought the whole place was crazy... money minded and insensitive. I pitied them for pitying my son's noble cause. I hope they learn a good lesson from a 7 year old kid who has a bigger heart and giving spirit than them!

My son's mind was slightly shaken up. I tried my best to make him see the brighter side, but he was not able to. I think he thought it's going to be a lose lose situation for him. Frustrated, confused and sad, we come home to a good dinner of homemade tacos and burritobowl. Our spirits were still low when my all time saviour PM30 came to the rescue!!! I told her about what had happened at the dentist's. So, she talked with my son and gave him and me a super boost! Now we are back on track. Phew!!!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Reduce, Reduce, Reduce!

It is very well said by Gandhiji that "You must be the change that you wish to see in the world."

I think I have become more serious about going green after reading this. I just can't sit on my sofa cribbing about global warming and do nothing! I have to get up and take the necessary steps. So what if I take baby steps. At least I am starting somewhere!!!

Have you ever looked at the packaging materials in a toy? It took us good 25 minutes and 3 tools- a pair of scissors, pliers and a screw driver- to open a toy that I bought for my kids. Is all this packaging material really needed? I have started looking at the packaging material in any item that I purchase. I go for the one with the least amount of it.

This takes me back to buying in bulk! Can't we just buy snacks in bulk and then come home and create individual servings? Do we really need 100 calorie snack packs? Why create extra litter when we can do it on our own in yes, you guessed in right.... reusable containers!! This even makes it easier to just grab a container and walk out of the door in the morning. Not only snacks, we can do so for vegetables and fruits also.

My efforts towards the 3 Rs:
1. Bought pretzels in bulk and made individual servings in reusable containers for my kids to snack on later on.

2. Bought strawberries in bulk. Washed and stored some in the fridge and froze the rest. Now I won't have to buy frozen strawberries when they are not in season.

3. For at least 5 minutes in a day I talk to my kids about the 3 Rs. I guess my younger one went overboard with it. I offer jaggery to Lord Ganesha everyday and my son loves it. He saw it lying on the counter and ate it. According to him, it was his contribution towards going green- he ate it (reused according to him) otherwise it would be wasted!

4. On an unplanned trip to the grocery store, I was caught without my reusable bags. I had no option, but to use a plastic bag because I had to buy mint leaves and cilantro. So, I put both in one bag and told the cashier. Then, I did not get it rebagged. This way I used just one bag and saved one bag from coming in my home.

5. I bought a used office desk from someone who did not need it any more. It is a very sturdy desk and I just paid $50.00 for it.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Going Green!

No seriously... I am trying to go green!!

Global warming is really worrying me. What kind of an earth are we going to leave for our children and the generations to follow?

I have started carrying my own shopping bags to the grocery store. As much as possible I try to avoid the use of plastic bags. If I forget to take my reusable bag, I walk out of Walmart with things overflowing .... but I still try to make it to the van without a plastic bag. This also helps me buy less (read: spend less money) because I stick to the necessities only (on my shopping list) that I will be able to carry to the van in my hands.

I have reduced my Ziploc bag usage by 95%. Whenever the need arises, I just think of what would I have done if I were in India(I am talking about the India in which I grew up, not the present India)? Believe it or not... you find a solution.... containers! That reminds me I try to stick to glass containers only because of the harmful side effects of plastic!
The keyword over here is TRY! Life does not come to a standstill if you don't use Ziploc bags.

I even pack my kids' lunch in reusable containers. This includes the juice also. Yeah..... the food manufacturers are coming up with convenient, individual packets for juice but what happens at the cafeteria at school? Does a child finish it all? Chances are he or she finishes it half and then is out of time or wants to go and play. So, what happens to the juice box?
You guessed it right - in the trash it goes! Now, though the juice carton has a 'recycle' (Triangle) sign on it, did it get recycled? Probably not because the child did not toss it in the recycling bin. Moreover, it had some juice left in it and anything with food in/on it cannot be recycled!! There is one more contribution to the landfill!! Instead, if the juice was packed in a reusable juice cup, all that the child would have to do was screw on the cap, return it to the lunch bag and take it home and finish it while having snack or dinner! This saves a juice carton from going to the landfill and also waste of food (juice) is reduced! Thereby, enabling us to save more money. It is retail industry's rule of thumb... anything in bulk or bigger sizes is cheaper than individually wrapped/boxed items. Then, why not save money by buying a bigger juice carton and filling the juice cup from home? Why pay someone for the convenience when you can create the convenience on your own?

In my quest to do so, I even thought of buying the 'Laptop Lunch Box'..... but it is way too pricey for a first grader! If he loses a container... there goes my $10.00 bill to buy replacements. Instead I designed my own Laptop Lunchbox at home! Luckily, I found a lunch bag with a removable tray at Meijer's. This became the body of the laptop that I had to fill in with individual containers! Now if my son forgets or loses a container it doesn't bother me at all.
I gave myself a pat on the back for this!

Something that does not exist

'Something that does not exist' in the previous post will give my biotechnologist friend something to think about. Wait till an Agricultural Genetic Engineer (does something like this exist?) reads this.... we will have an option at Michael'ss or Jewel or Dominicks - Green Cilantro 5 for $1... Red Cilantro 2 for $1!!
I say why not? If they can come up with Plouts, brown apple (cross of apples and pears) then why not red cilantro?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Why 'red cilantro'?

Well... no particular reason!! I came up with lots of names, but they were all taken. Sitting at DH's business I even used names of wines... but believe it or not they were all taken! Guess too many wine lovers. So I thought of coming up with something crazy.... something that did not exist. Hence, Red Cilantro!!!