Three things I love about Meghan’s sprouting video

January 21, 2009

My friend Meghan, a fashionista-turned-nutritionista, has been posting lots of How-To videos on her blog, Making Love in the Kitchen. Most of them I just like to watch, rather than actually attempt myself (I’m thinking specifically of the sauerkraut demo that requires 10 minutes of massaging cabbage and the chicken soup that involves raw bones and scum). But her most recent video, called Sprout, Sprout, Let It All Out, is very cool. You can watch it here:

There are three things about this video that I love:

  1. The costume changes. On most cooking shows, if the host makes something that requires a few hours to sit or cool or whatever, she will have conveniently made a previous batch ahead of time to pull out of the fridge (and will usually say something like, “… I have one ready, here,” and suddenly presto! It’s done and there’s no actual waiting required. But Meghan has clearly produced this sprouting demo over the span of three or four days, and we get lots of variation in her wardrobe and hairstyles to prove it. Actually, I think there’s a direct correlation between the growth of her sprouts and the curliness of her hair.
  2. The I’ve Been Re-Used sticker on her kitchen soap dispenser (which I designed, and which you can order online over here. Stick them on anything you refill at the bulk store and let the world know you’re not consuming more plastic).
  3. The Sprouting! It actually does seem very easy and it’s probably the most nutritious, eco-friendly thing a Canadian girl can make in the comfort of her own home during this heinous winter.

Do you guys make your own sprouts, too? Any favourite beans or seeds?

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I’d rather be lickin’ than stickin’ (Day 360)…

February 23, 2008

green stamp

I went to buy stamps the other day, and because I’m at the point where I start going postal at the mere prospect of waste, I felt outraged that the stamps came as stickers, not the paper tear-offs you can lick. This of course meant that the set included a non-recyclable wax paper backing.

I went online, trying to find out if there was any way possible of getting the licky kind instead of the sticky kind these days, but it was hopeless.

However, I then saw that Canada Post had this site where you could design your own postage stamp, which gave me an idea.

If I came up with a stamp that had a green message on it, it might at least encourage others to not waste as much. So I created the one you see above — I was going to put ‘reuse’ instead of ‘recycle’ but I figured most people wouldn’t be willing to make that commitment — and will now be able to spread eco-awareness as far as the postal system can carry it.


Rain, rain, don’t go away (Day 341)…

February 4, 2008

rainbarrel

TerraCycle is a very cool company — not only do they reuse milk jugs and pop bottles to package their Worm Poop plant food, they also turn old wine barrels into compost bins and rainwater collecting systems.

Now that I’m in a house with a garden, front yard and two decks, I’ll definitely need more than just leftover pasta water to keep all my greenery hydrated. So I’m getting a rain barrel like the one above and rigging it up to the bottom of my drain pipe, as this video demonstrates. I’m not sure where I’m going to find some extra cinder blocks to prop it up, but I do think I have some of that quarter-inch mesh wire leftover from when I constructed my compost bin (Um, OK, also, I think I can it’s safe to say that I never in my life thought I’d have extra quarter-inch mesh wire lying around the house … seriously, what have I become??).

Image from TerraCycle


The sound of Evian flapping (Day 323)…

January 17, 2008

mudbuddy

OK, so technically, I haven’t done this change, but I am trying to do it. Here’s the deal: I’ve been riding my bike through winter as much as possible, and thanks to global warming it hasn’t been so bad. In fact, there’s been more rain and sleet than there has snow. However, what sucks about this is that while Quentin has a basket on his rear end to protect my behind from getting slushy, Deni‘s got nothing. He needs a fender or some mudguards, stat.

I’ve been putting off buying any, though, mostly because I think they look kind of ugly, but also because a lot of them are plastic, which would mean going against my pledge. But then, as I was coming home the other night, I saw this bike locked outside my building with a funny improvised fender — it was basically one of those 1.5L plastic bottles of Evian, sliced vertically in half and fastened to the frame with an elastic.

Genius!

So, this is what I’m trying to do. I don’t have any plastic water bottles, of course, but I rummaged through my recycling bin and found some other things I could use. I tried to cut an old plastic bottle of Cab-Sauv ’cause I thought that could be kind of wino-chic, but it was too tough. Nothing glass will do and my leftover vinegar bottle was too lopsided.

I was thinking of going a little rectangular and using one of my old Tetra Paks of soy milk, but part of me is also scared to slice any of them open, lest any stale soy odours come flying out — I really don’t need more dry heaving right now, thanks. So I might have to wait until another plastic container of something runs out.

My other problem is that I can’t see where I should attach this contraption — how does it not interfere with the back brake cables? I’d have to hook it up to the seat post or something, but that’s really high up.

Ideas? Suggestions? Help?


Recycling my cycling (Day 319)…

January 13, 2008



This is Mike, of Mike the Bike. I discovered his underground repair shop the other day while in Kensington — poor Deni was suffering from a squishy front brake and some rust spots, and I figured I should tend to these ailments now before the Springtime rush of tune-ups.

Now, I usually go to Sweet Pete’s for all my cycling needs because I love Pete and he knows what he’s doing. But his shop is also somewhat out of my way, so when I drop Deni off, it’s a long, lonely walk home. Mike, on the other hand, is right around the corner.

But more importantly, he specializes in recycling bikes, and has a whole wall full of used parts and equipment. Plus, he even gave me a loaner to keep overnight (it was single-speed, bright blue with red handlebars and back-pedal brakes — I felt like some sort of hipster Mary Poppins on it!).

Aaaand, get this: Turns out, he also has this delivery company, where for as little as $5 you can get your take-out food, laundry, office supplies, etc. dropped off right at your front door, courtesy of Mike and his custom-made bicycle with two honkin’ baskets on either end — so there’s no carbon guilt attached! (Well, except for the Styrofoam container holding your curry roti; you should definitely feel guilty about that).

Finally, you’re guaranteed service with a smile, maybe even a few jokes, too. When I got home yesterday, I looked at the bill he gave me, and instead of writing “half tune-up” as he said he was going to do, he had written “1/2 tuna” — cute!

So from now on, I’m greening my bike maintenance by only getting used parts and tune-ups from someone who understands the importance of recycling and refurbishing.

Photo courtesy of torontofotobug on Flickr


I’m gonna frame that another way (Day 317)…

January 11, 2008

mona lisa

Although artists and hippies often go together, bonding over a shared love of wheatgrass and a shared loathing of capitalist swine, it’s not always easy to find eco-friendly art, let alone an eco-friendly way of displaying it.

My friend recently gave me this cute little poster designed by a local artist, and I wanted to frame it. The problem was: I felt guilty standing in Black’s, staring at all these brand new picture frames, surely made from virgin wood covered in toxic paint, with glass shipped in from China and, of course, everything was wrapped up in plastic and Styrofoam.

I just couldn’t do it. But then, as I was walking home, I noticed in the window of Victor Gallery — an art store that unfortunately doesn’t have a URL — a pile of old-looking frames. Sure enough, they turned out to be made from reclaimed barn board, nice and bare. They could be purchased solo, or with glass already in them, and there was no packaging.

Woohoo! Of course the problem with already made frames is that you’re at the mercy of whatever size they come in. But my poster looks to be pretty standard, so my fingers are crossed.

Photoshop madness courtesy of Yours Truly


An organic cotton nut sack (Day 316)…

January 10, 2008

produce bags

All right, now that I’ve gotten all box-related issues out of my system, it’s time to get into bags. No, not tote bags — I already wrote about those ages ago. I’m talking about these reusable organic cotton produce sacks.

In my various pledges not to use any new plastic and to buy as much in bulk as possible, I’ve run into a problem: Transporting things like nuts, seeds, dried fruit, beans and so on requires a ridiculous amount of preparation if I’m going to avoid using the disposable plastic bags. I don’t have any of my own and I hate reusing the flimsy ones from the store because they get all dusty and gross. I’ve tried bringing my own containers too, but they’re so bulky and often require weighing beforehand.

I really, really needed a better alternative. My friend Meghan told me a while ago she was going to make her own cloth produce bags, but it wasn’t easy finding material that hadn’t already been bleached up the wazoo, so I’m not sure what she’s doing now (Meg? Comment?).

Either way, when I found these cute little sacks online, I decided it was worth the splurge. And I can even write the code numbers for the produce on the bags themselves so I can avoid having to use those fussy twist-ties.

So the real question is: Who double-dog-dares me to ask the next cashier I meet if he can hold my nut sack for a second?

Image from ReusableBags.com