April 2017

Earth Day

Little Changes for Earth Day

Next Saturday, on April 22, we will celebrate Earth Day.  If you are looking for some small way to make a positive impact on our beautiful Earth, here are 10 suggestions for little changes that you can make in your life in honor of Earth Day.  None of these changes will take much time or money.  But even little changes add up and can make a big difference!  So pick one or try all 10…whatever feels right to you!

 


1.  Purchase a set of cloth napkins and keep them in a basket on your dining room table so that you can grab them at mealtime instead of using disposable napkins or paper towels. 

 

2.  Purchase a reusable water bottle for each member of your family.  Keep them on your kitchen counter to remember to use them.  Or get in the habit of filling them each night before going to bed and setting them near your door so that you can easily grab them on your way out the next morning.

 

3.  Each time you go to the grocery store, buy one of the reusable grocery bags at the checkout counter and use it for your groceries.  Repeat until you have 5 or 6 bags and can easily fit all of your groceries in reusable bags to avoid using plastic or paper bags.  Keep the reusable bags in your trunk so that you always have them available when you decide to stop at the store.

 

4.  Commit to only buying the organic variety of fruit or vegetable for each of the Dirty Dozen.

 

5Choose one food item that you buy regularly and find a local source for that item.

 

6.  Purchase one or two sets of glass storage containers to add to your collection.  Prioritize using these dishes when you are putting away hot food or when you know that you will be heating up the food in that container in either the microwave or oven.

 

7.  Bring along your own reusable to-go containers when you go out to eat at a restaurant.  That way you can avoid being given the single-use and non-biodegradable Styrofoam containers.

 

8.  Bring along your own reusable travel coffee mug when you stop at your local coffee shop to grab your morning pick-me-up.

 

9.  Turn down the heat in a room or area of the house that you are not using.  Or turn down the heat when you leave your house for the day.  Another option is to install a programmable thermostat where you can set the heat at different levels for different times of the day.  For example, you can program the thermostat to a cooler temperature overnight or when you are gone during the day and a warmer temperature for the morning and evening when you will be awake and at home.

 

10.  Start a compost pile in your backyard (or buy a small, compact compost bin or tumbler if you don’t have the yard space for a compost pile).  Start collecting your food scraps – you can include pretty much everything other than meat, seafood, and dairy products.  Even if you never use the compost as a gardening supplement, it will still reduce your amount of trash to be taken to the landfill each week.

 

homemade buckwheat granola

Buckwheat Granola

 

Since I recently learned about the astounding nutritional benefits of buckwheat and many of you expressed an interest in trying it out in your kitchen, I thought I would follow up with another post for a recipe that I created by combining the granola recipe on the back of the bag of buckwheat groats with my tried and true homemade granola recipe

 

This recipe uses buckwheat groats, as opposed to buckwheat flour, which we discussed in my previous post and which was used in the recipe for buckwheat cornbread.  Buckwheat groats are the hulled seeds of the buckwheat plant.  You can also find “kasha”, which are roasted buckwheat groats.  Once again, buckwheat groats are a great option for anyone who is following a gluten-free diet and can be used in lots of whole grain recipes in place of other grains that contain gluten, such as barley, couscous, or farro.

 

roasted buckwheat groats

 

This recipe for buckwheat granola will give you a crunchier granola with a different texture from the regular granola but I kind of enjoyed it as a switch from the same old stuff that we’ve been eating for years.  So I will definitely be making it again as a way to mix up our granola options. 

 

As usual, you could easily substitute honey or another sweetener for the maple syrup and you could substitute your oil of choice for the coconut oil (and skip the shredded coconut) if you don’t like the taste of coconut. 

 

Happy Baking!  🙂

 

Buckwheat Granola
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Ingredients
  1. ½ cup maple syrup
  2. ¼ cup coconut oil
  3. 3 cups rolled oats
  4. 1 cup buckwheat groats
  5. ½ cup raw pumpkin seeds
  6. ½ cup raw sunflower seeds
  7. ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  8. ½ teaspoon sea salt
  9. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  10. ¼ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 300°F.
  2. In a small saucepan, warm the coconut oil and maple syrup over medium heat until combined.  Do not boil.  Remove from heat.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix the oats, buckwheat groats, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, cinnamon and salt.
  4. Once oil and maple syrup have cooled slightly, stir in the vanilla.  Pour over the dry mixture and stir gently to mix well.  Spread granola onto two large baking sheets.
  5. Bake for 30-35 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.  Allow to cool and then stir in coconut.
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