Recycled wrapping paper?

November 18, 2014

I love Wrapsacks, the 100% cotton, reusable giftbags. The thing I like the most about them is the website where you can track where your wrapsack goes, because there is a unique ID code in each one. The recipient will need to enter that code into the website in order for it to be tracked. I love the idea in theory so much, but in reality, I gave away a total of nine gifts in wrapsacks, and only 3 were passed along (and tracked). And none of those three were tracked after that.

If you’re looking for recycled paper gift wrap, I only found one that was both recycled, AND was made in America. The brand that I found was called Waste Not Paper, and not only was it 100% recycled (30% PCW – Post Consumer Waste), and made in America, but it also seems like a good company, doing things right (see their “green story).” I found it at The Container Store.

Recycled Gift Wrap

I found recycled wrapping paper everywhere when I was looking for it last year, but almost all of it was from India. Wow, it was gorgeous paper, and I loved that it was recycled, but I wanted to cut down on the carbon footprint of the paper as much as I could, so I wanted to minimize the transport, and also support American jobs. (I only wrapped one present in actual wrapping paper last year – all the rest were in outdated subway maps, some of the kid’s art projects or newspaper/packing paper we decorated.)


Paleo dining in downtown Manhattan?

March 30, 2014

I wrote a dining guide to help you find great paleo / grain-free options around downtown Manhattan!  Enjoy!

 


What do I do with old batteries and fluorescent lightbulbs?

February 12, 2014

You can search for a place that recycles them by using the search tool at Earth911.

If you’re in NYC, you can also check out the NYC Department of Sanitation’s website for Household Special Waste Drop-Off Sites.  Just make sure you look at the bottom of the page for the days they’re open (because it’s a strange schedule), what you’ll need to be allowed to drop off (such as ID and proof of address), and what the limits are for each type of special waste (you’re only allowed to bring two compact fluorescent lights per visit, for example).

Thanks in advance for recycling!

Just a cool pic I took this morning.  Only with some creativity can you even try to relate it to this post.

Just a cool pic I took this morning. Only with some creativity can you even try to relate it to this post.


How do you make yogurt?

June 5, 2013

Yogurt and Granola

Homemade yogurt with Healing Home Foods Honey Citrus Granola.

Those of you who didn’t ask me this question are wondering why the hell would I make my own yogurt.  Here is why.

You’ll need

  • whole milk  – preferably: organic, from pastured cows, low-heat pasteurized or raw, not homogenized
  • yogurt starter (I use this one to be compliant with the Specific Carbohydrate Diet) – I believe this starter can also be used for coconut milk yogurt and nut milk yogurt!  Check it out!
  • some jars with lids (I use 5 old 16 oz almond butter jars with lids)
  • a dehydrator (or some way you can keep the yogurt around 100°F for 24 -30 hours)
  • a food thermometer (I use an Oxo Digital Instant Read Thermometer)
  • a ladle (or some way to pour the yogurt into the jars)
  • a pot and stove to heat up the milk (make sure it’s big enough for all the milk, with room left over)
  • a large bowl in which the milk can cool (make sure it’s big enough to fit all the milk you are using!)
  • a slightly larger bowl with ice in it that the bowl above can sit in to cool faster (optional, but really helpful)
  • ice (two ice cube trays full or 40-50 cubes is usually good)
  • 1/4 tsp measuring spoon
  • a whisk to stir in the yogurt starter after the milk is cooled
milk

I always use Grazin’ Angus milk. They’re at the Union Square Farmers Market on Saturdays.

Heat the milk over medium heat until it is 180°F.  Do not let it boil or get hotter than that, because it will very likely boil over the top of the pot and make a huge mess all over your stove.

Heat the Milk

Heat the Milk to 180°F.

While the milk is heating up over medium heat on your stove, sterilize your jars, lids, ladle, milk-cooling bowl, measuring spoon and whisk.  You can do this by dipping them in hot water (= or > 180°F), or steaming them for 3-4 minutes.  [Since the cooling bowl will be big, you might want to just put it in the sink and pour in the sterilizing water and empty it after a few minutes.]

When the milk gets past 175 or so, shut off the stove.  It will go up a few degrees by itself (plus, you don’t want to take the chance it will boil over!).  Get your cooling area ready (preferably in the sink so you can catch spills – as long as nothing will splash in and contaminate your yogurt).  Put the largest bowl in first, with the ice in it, then put the cooling bowl on top of that.  Pour the milk into the cooling bowl.

Cool milk in an ice bath.

Place ice and water in the bottom bowl and sit the “cooling bowl” in that. Pour your hot milk in this cooling bowl. Cover is optional.

When the milk gets down to around 100°F, get out your yogurt starter (it is supposed to be kept in the fridge) and put in the required amount and whisk it through.  For the type of starter I use, and the amount of milk I work with (half gallon), it’s only an 1/8th of a teaspoon!

Tiny amount of starter

Seriously, you don’t need a lot of starter. Read directions carefully!  And make sure that milk is not more than 105°F or you will kill your starter!

Fill your jars with the milk/starter and put the lids on.  Put them in the dehydrator or whatever appliance you have that will maintain the 100°F heat, and let them sit, undisturbed for 24-30 hours.  You want the yogurt to ferment for that length of time so the bacteria eats almost all of the lactose in the milk.

Yogurt

Covered yogurt jars in the dehydrator. 24-30 hours. 100°F.

At the end of the 24-30 hours, take out your yogurt gently (bacteria don’t like to be disturbed), and place it in the fridge.  The delicious fat layer will be on the top.  Mix it in if you want it more homogenous.  The yogurt will be fresh for about 10 – 14 days.  Enjoy!

yogurt

Here’s a spoonful of freshly made yogurt. The rich layer of fat on the top can be mixed in or removed, based on your preference. The fat should be nice and yellow if the milk comes from a pasture-raised cow.


Alert: Mattress Sale!

April 24, 2013

I apologize for the conceptual bankruptcy I am demonstrating this month by only posting alerts instead of the fascinating and incisively witty (humor me) blog posts to which you have been accustomed.  But Lifekind is having a 40% off sale on some of their mattresses, and as you can see, I absolutely love their stuff, and highly recommend their mattresses.  They are NOT CHEAP, but they are the REAL DEAL in organic mattresses.  No artificial flame retardant (which is carcinogenic, BTW) – they achieve compliance with flame retardant standards through natural materials like wool, cotton and natural latex.  Read up on this, and school yourself, fool.  Their customer service is incredible, their products are high quality, and they do the right thing for the environment.  And, I have never received anything from them (no discount, no perk, no anything) in return for reviewing them or saying anything about them.  I just love them.  I’ve been a customer for probably 10 years now and I cannot say enough good things.  If you are in the market for a mattress, now is the time.  Sale goes until Friday, 4/26/13.


Alert: Electronic Recycling at Union Square this Sunday!

January 3, 2013

See?  There are also events this Saturday in Brooklyn and the Upper East Side.


Gift for a coffee-obsessed freak?

November 7, 2012

Coffee Joulies are a genius gift for someone on your list who is not only so freakishly obsessed with keeping their coffee at the perfect temperature that it’s worth $50 to help them do that, but is also someone for whom you have no other gift ideas whatsoever.

Coffee Joulies

Enter Coffee Joulies, elegantly unnecessary luxury.

These things cool down your coffee if it’s too hot and allegedly keep it just hot enough for hours.  Plus, they’re PRETTY.  And, I have to admit, I love the story.

Two dudes from New Jersey invented them and made their dream a reality via Kickstarter, and they are produced at Sherrill Manufacturing, the only place in the entire United States that still manufactures flatware, and manufactures it out of domestically-produced steel! (That is how I found out about these Coffee Joulie things.  I was looking for American-made flatware and followed a link on the Sherrill site.  I do not know anyone associated with this project/product).  And, oh yeah, not only are they made in the USA, but they’re made out of 85% recycled steel using hydro-power from Niagara Falls.  YEEAAUHHH!


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