Wednesday, April 21, 2010

No Recycling at the Sport Center?

My son has been playing basketball for 3 years now.  His games are at a nearby sport complex with 15 basketball courts.  I am sure that on an average week-end a thousand+ kids come thru there to play basketball.  But, something is missing at this sports center.....recycling bins!  And what does every kid bring with them when they play a game, a plastic bottle.   A plastic bottle which ends up in the regular trash can!
That is what the trash bins are full of...plastic bottles.  They even have a wall of vending machines selling only plastic bottles full of liquid.
The first year my son played here we e-mailed the manager inquiring why they don't have recycling available and got some story about the city.  So, we e-mailed the city. A few e-mail later we had a promise from both that they would set up a meeting and discuss the issue. We were so excited that we had made a difference. Summer came and went and we couldn't wait until the first game so we could see the recycling bins that we had a hand in putting there.  We got there, but there were no bins.  We went to the front desk and asked about it and again got the run around about the city and how it is cost prohibitive.  Our frustrations gave in and we gave up!  But, I don't want to give up.  It angers me every time we go to a game and see tons of plastic bottles filling up the trash can or discarded on the benches.  What are these people thinking? OK, fine there is no recycling bin available at the center, but can't these people bring their plastic back home with them and recycle?  Or, do what we do and bring a reusable water bottle?  I have started to pay attention to other public places I frequent, like restaurants.  No public businesses recycle!  Last Friday night we went out for dinner and sat on the patio.  It was still "happy hour" so others were having a drink.  All of the beer bottles went in the regular trash!  I am determined to find out what is holding these businesses back from recycling, why don't they care?   I will let you know what I find out......

Sunday, April 18, 2010

What's in your recycling?

I have been recycling for so long now that it just feels natural.  We have 2 cans in the pantry. One for trash and one for recycling. We are fortunate that our city allows us to mix our recycling into one container.    We also have 2 trash bins provided by the city.  In a week our recycling bin is fuller than our trash bin.  We typically only have 1 bag of trash a week. But, I started to think, what is in our recycling bag?  So, I decided to pull it all out and take a look!
Here we have a pile of papers and junk mail, juice container, milk jug, cardboard boxes from pasta, beans/rice, tylenol, medicine and toilet paper roll.  A plastic lotion jar and an empty tylenol container.  So, I started to think about how can I reduce my trash, even if I recycle it.  I just automatically put the items in the recycle box and think I have done a good thing, but isn't it even better if I can eliminate this stuff in my life altogether or reuse it myself?  So, I googled ways to reduce to my junk mail and signed up for that....that will eliminate a lot!  I saved the tylenol container to use for traveling or a craft project.  I also saved the lotion jar to use for something else.  Would be great to hold small things or put almonds in my purse for a quick snack.  I also saved the milk jug to use for my veggie garden.  I am going to commit to being more conscious of the packaged things I buy.  I do use the bulk bins a lot, but want to do more to eliminate waste at home!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

My Veggie Garden!

Yeah!  We finally finished getting our veggie garden planted. It was a ton of work!  First we dug out the grass in a 4x8 section.  Then we built up the box planter and filled with dirt.  A ton of dirt.  Luckily my neighbor had some dirt delivered in the driveway and had leftovers that we could have......thanks neighbor!  After filling it with dirt, I mixed in some organic veggie fertilizer and then we put in the plants.  Since, we started so late we couldn't put in seeds and had to start with little plants.  We planted tomatoes, chile pepper, squash, bell peppers, broccoli, cucumbers, arugula and herbs.  I can't wait to pick something out of my garden and eat it!  This is my first time planting a veggie garden and I am sure I will have some failures, but I will learn along the way!

Isn't it cute?  Added the fence to keep our dogs out.....I hope it works!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Yoga and the Environment!?

I have made it to yoga 2 nights in a row!  I haven't been in about a month and it feels great to get back to class.  Now, how can yoga help the environment?  Well, for me it is about refocusing and reflecting back on what is important.  As I get busy with the demands of my, kid, husband etc.... I can easily lose my focus.  Also, living in suburbia and being tempted by all of the consumerism that is out there, you tend to get sucked in.  It is so easy these days with a shopping mall or strip center on every corner.  Just on my 25 mile commute to work I pass 2 malls.  I start rationalizing why I need that new whatever.....but, as I get back to the simple act of breathing and going thru the rythm of the poses all feels calm again.  I start to realize that it is the simple things that matter.  The simple act of recycling, probably the easiest thing you can do to help the environment, but yet I am amazed by how many people don't participate in this simple act.  My simple vegan diet that focuses on simple whole foods, not complex processed junk.  And the simple rythm of breathing and poses in my yoga practice.  All of these things that are important to me have one thing in common, simple!  Life can get so crazy and hectic as we become slaves to the "to do's", it is nice to step back, breathe, recycle and focus on the simple things that matter.  Ten years from now you won't remember that new shirt you bought, but the environment will!

Speaking of recycling I am taking on a recyling challenge!  This month in honor of Earth day I am going to really take a hard look at recycling.  More to come...

Monday, April 5, 2010

Recycle, Redirections and wRiting!

Yesterday got together with the family for Easter.  Whenever you venture out to someone else's house and they don't have a recycling bin available, what should you do?  Luckily, it was a family member and I just pulled out a box and set it by the trash for all the guys to recycle their cans and bottles.  I checked it occasionally and did have to pull out a few cans and wash them out, but it was worth the extra effort.  Took the box home with me and put in my recycling bin.  But, it made me think.....why wouldn't you recycle?  We have been doing it for so long, it just seems so basic now.  And, what should you do when faced in that situation at a friend or acquaintance's house?  Hide it in your purse or say something?  I believe that this is a great opportunity to bring up the subject to someone that may not be educated.  However, there is a fine line between having a open conversation about how recyclying can benefit the environment and offending your friend.  Hopefully, it is an open discussion that everyone can particpate in and it can be productive without shaming the host. I also thought about my efforts, can I do more?  Can I put in a little more effort at home, if I am willing to dig in someone else's trash?  Think about it!

I spent my first week mostly blogging about what I ate everyday.  I have realized that is really not the direction I want to take this blog, but it was the only thing I could think to write about if I was going to blog everyday.  My life just is not that excititng!  So, I have decided to change directions....make this what I really intended for it to be about......the environment!  While, I truly believe that my vegan diet has an environmental impact, that is not what I want it to be all about.  I will still talk about what I eat, just not everyday.  I will share special meals or new recipes I have tried.  Like the vegan cheesecake I made for Easter.  It turned out great!
It was sooo delicious and creamy with tofu and tofutti cream cheese!  I also made homemade croutons and salad dressing for the salad.
Whole wheat and pumpernickel croutons with rosemary....yummy!
Salad dressing was a take on ceasar, but veganized.  It had dijon mustard, tahini, almonds and olive oil mixed together.  This was much tastier than any processed dressing you can buy and it was so easy.  Just poured it into this cute apple juice jar.  I love it when I can re-purpose stuff I saved from the trash!

The last "R"!   As I continue on my journey with this blog my writing will reflect my moods and passions at the time.  I hope to entertain, but mostly I hope to learn more about myself.  Keep reading......

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Easter Eve

To conserve energy for both me and the planet I am trying to go to the store bi-weekly.  Since I did a big shop last week-end at Whole Foods (you don't want to know the bill) I was going to try to make it without having to go to the store this week-end.  However, tomorrow is Easter and we are going to a potluck dinner.  So, I had to make another trip for a few things only!  So, here is how my day went:

Started with breakfast.  Had a cup of coffee as I prepared pancakes for my boy and his friend.  After I got them fed I mixed myself up some Amazing Grass with almond milk and ate half a bagel with soy butter and Crofter's fruit spread.

After my boy's friend left we headed out to run errands.  Priority number one was lunch at the park.  There is a great park by Whole Foods, which rationalizes another trip.  So, we stopped for some sandwiches and headed to the park for a picnic.
I had a veggie sandwich with lots of tomatoes and avocados!
When we were done with lunch, my boy played on the playground for a bit and then we walked on some of the park's many trails.
My boy climbing on the slide.

Cool pic of the sun while I was laying in the grass.

Me heading down the trails.....
Wildlife really do see lots of wildlife on these trails.  In the past we have seen snakes, rabbits, turtles, frogs and many types of birds.  
My boy doing some exploring by the creek.

After the park we headed to Whole Foods to pick up some groceries for the Easter potluck tomorrow.  I am bringing a salad and a vegan cheesecake.  Since, I am the only one in the family that has these dietary restrictions I have to make sure I bring something I can eat.  The salad can be my meal and I don't want to leave out desert.  I have never made a vegan cheesecake before I hope its good!

Dinner was my Pei Wei leftover from lunch yesterday....sorry, no pic.  The oven timer just went off for my cheesecake, gotta run.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Veggies n' Rice

Don't you just love some good veggies n' rice.  That was the theme today.  It all started at lunch.  Every Friday I try to get out of the office with my best girls.  We usually end up going to Pei Wei.    It is actually one of my favorite places to go.  I know it is a chain, but I can always find something vegan to eat there.
On their menu by the entree if it has a leaf that means it is vegetarian.  You can get the other dishes with tofu and veggies, but the sauce might have chicken or beef broth in it.  So, I always stick with the dishes with a leaf by it.
Today I had the Spicy Korean with tofu/veggies and brown rice.
It was so delicious!  I can never finish it all and knew I would have leftovers, so I remembered to think ahead and brought a container for my leftovers.
I got these fabulous Tupperware containers at a party at my neighbor's house.  She was having the party as a fundraiser for her daughter's college could I not buy anything?  So, I got these great bowls that when empty are flat.  They fit perfectly in my purse which is great to tote along for restaurant leftovers.
I was a little nervous pulling this out at first.  I am sure I embarrassed my friends a little, but they are used to my ecocentric ways.  One of the staff actually gave me a thumbs up!

After work I raced home, my son had a friend come over after school and they were anxious for me to get home so we could go to dinner.  We chose Jinbeh (japanese place).  I am thankful that my family is flexible to going places where I can find something to eat.  This place is great, they have a hibachi grill where the chef prepares the food right in front of you.  It was very entertaining for the boys.
I ordered some veggie sushi rolls and the hibachi veggies which came with a salad and soup.
Can't go wrong with a day full of veggies and rice....I will go to bed tonight with a full tummy!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Get a Life

Everything about today was boring!  From what I did to what I ate....nothing exciting.  I haven't been posting anything about my breakfast, mainly because I am so busy in the morning's.   Since, I work in an office and have to be at work by 8 am, I am usually in a rush.  My breakfast routine is a small cup of coffee as I get ready.  On my drive into the office I drink Amazing Grass mixed with almond milk (love this stuff)!  Would like to make a super green smoothie with real veggies, but time gets away from me and the Amazing Grass is fast and taste great.  When I get to work I eat a piece of fruit as I read
e-mails and plan out my work day.
See, proof that I ate an orange.  I remembered to take a pic after I only had one piece left.  Today was a busy day at work, so I ended up just eating lunch at my desk...boring!
Lunch was an Amy's organic bean/rice/veggie burrito + baby carrots + celery/almond butter + banana.  I actually saved the banana and had it later as an afternoon snack.  About the cloth napkins:  I bring 2 clean napkins to work every  Monday and use them all week.  I am not that messy!  This work great and really eliminates a lot of unnecessary paper waste.  After a busy day at work I headed home for dinner.  Dinner was spaghetti and toast...carb heaven!  

After dinner took the dogs for a walk while my boy was at basketball practice.  He carpools with the coach which works out great.  Coach has to go to practice anyway and this keep us from wasting a drive there and back.  Think about, there are 10 kids on the team and if everyone drove their kid there and back that is 20x round trip.  But, if you can work out a carpool schedule with some of the other parents that can significantly reduce the number of round trips.  Practice is not far, but every little bit helps!