Saturday, September 29, 2012

Farmers Market Fettuccini

Yesterday we took a trip to the farmers market.  It is a little late in the season, and we have had a horrible drought in the midwest, non the less there was one family with an awesome selection of produce.  I bought some baby purple egg plants and some beautiful red peppers and purple peppers.  This inspired me to make dinner!  That made my family happy :)
I made a basic fettuccini, but added a bit of Tilimook sharp cheddar as well as some farm fresh Asiago from our local creamery.  I love the Tilimook cheese as it is always made with hormone and antibiotic free milk.  The Asiago we get at Skyview Farms, if you are local you should look them up.  She makes some really nice cheeses.  We also buy our milk there.  But I digress… My inspiration for this meal came from those lovely vegetables.  I sliced up the eggplant, and bell pepper and sautéed it with some fresh garlic and some zucchini that I already had.  I plied all that on top of the fettuccini and viola…. add a little salad, and we had dinner.
Farmers Market Fettuccini Alfredo Recipe:
1 small Package Fettuccini Noodles
1/2 stick butter
1 cup cream
1 Cup cheese of your choice-grated, I used Asiago and Sharp Cheddar Mixed.
Farm fresh vegetables of your choice-chopped, I used:
Eggplant, zucchini, red peppers and some garlic.
1 Tbs. Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
Garlic Granules -Optional
Cook pasta according to direction, drain and set aside.  In large sauce pan melt the butter and then add the cream, gently heat up and reduce the cream so that the mixture thickens a little.  Pour the cream butter mixture over the pasta and toss well, add the cheese and toss well and allow the fettuccini to sit and blend together as the cheese melts.  In the mean time heat the oil in a saute pan and saute the vegetables together, salt and pepper to taste and add some garlic granules or powder if you like.
Toss the fettuccini one more time to blend it up and distribute the cheese, spread out on a platter or shallow bowl.  Top with the hot sautéed vegetables and tada, time for dinner !

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Do You Know What’s Hiding in your Clothes?

This article is from Natural News, I am giving you the abridged version, for the whole article go to Natural News
Recently Greenpeace announced at the launch of its report “Dirty Laundry 2″ that traces of toxic chemicals have been detected in products made by 14 big brand top clothing manufacturers.
These chemicals, called nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs), are commonly used as detergents in industries including the production of natural and synthetic textiles. NPEs break down to form nonylphenol, a dangerous toxin that has persistent and hormone-disrupting properties. This toxin has been proven to mimic female hormones, alter sexual development and affect reproductive systems.
Greenpeace said it purchased 78 different branded clothing samples (most of them made in China, Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines) from 18 countries around the world and subjected them to careful scientific analysis. NPEs were detected in two-thirds of the samples the group tested, including popular brands such as Calvin Klein, Adidas, Converse, Ralph Lauren, Abercrombie & Fitch, Bauer Hockey, Cortefiel, Uniqlo, Gap, H&M, Lacoste, Nike, Phillips-Van Heusen Corporation (PVH Corp) and Puma. During the course of the past year, Greenpeace has found that all of these commonly purchased brands are linked to two specific manufacturers.
The issue of toxic chemicals in clothing is not only a problem for the developing countries where textiles are made. Since residual levels of NPEs are released when clothes are washed, these chemicals are now inching their way into countries where their use is banned or avoided.

The danger of NPEs

Certain components of NPEs have been involved in the widespread “feminization” of male fish in parts of Europe and also in the disruption of hormone processes in some mammals, according to the campaign group WWF. Even at low levels, this toxin represents a big threat to the environment and to human health. It is no coincidence that use of NPEs is completely restricted in Europe.
Our skin is our largest organ and what we put on it our bodies literally drink in. Everything we consume – including the chemicals that linger on and in our clothing – either gets assimilated or eliminated. Chemical toxins we expose our skin to through our clothing and skincare/body products can tax our bodies in a major way.
NPEs can certainly contribute to the increasing incidence of health problems linked to hormonal disturbances.
All of our modern-day toxic overload concerns should be considered against the backdrop of a monumental biological shift. Only 150 years ago, girls got their first period at around age 15 or 16 and went through menopause in their late 30s and 40s. However, in modern times girls often begin puberty as early as 9 and menopause generally does not occur until around 50.
Not only have we increasingly begun pushing and trifling with our bodies in ways we never did before, but our environments are also becoming increasingly toxic in ways we are often not fully aware of. This is evident when noting the fact that the period in which women’s bodies go through a series of significant hormonal shifts has extended over a much longer period of time, increasing not only their fertile years, but also their chances of getting breast cancer. Toxic chemical exposure through household products, our modern food supply, beauty/care products and clothing certainly all play into this.

The alarming truth about clothing factories

In the past, Greenpeace became concerned by the amount of water used to make the majority of our clothing. On average, fiber for one cotton t-shirt requires 713 gallons of water to make, and traditional wet-dye methods for clothing use from seven to 75 gallons of water per pound of fabric. All this adds up to trillions of gallons of water each year passing through textile factories merely for dyeing alone.
Now Greenpeace has gone on to prove that the water leaves the factories polluted with heavy metals and toxic chemicals that cause serious health problems to animals and people. Recently “Dirty Laundry” has outright accused the manufacturers of well-known textile brands such as Adidas of polluting major rivers in China with chemical waste.
The practices of two of China’s major textile dye factories were closely examined within the details the company released of its year-long investigation. To gather the information Greenpeace campaigners wore protective suits and collected water samples from outside the factories being carefully analyzed. The results clearly showed that toxins are spilling into China’s rivers on a daily basis.

Clothing companies respond — or do they?

Most of the international brands found to be tainted with these toxins have denied using the dye services at either of the two guilty factories, saying that they are only “cut and sew” customers for these locations. However, that does not change the fact that the practices of these two factories are typical of what you’ll find all over China – where most of our clothing is made — and anywhere else wet-dyeing is used in the production of clothes

These toxins are unnecessary harm to our lives

The Greenpeace report is an important step toward educating people about just how hazardous the textile industry is. It’s also a good method of putting necessary pressure on big name brands who claim to want to be eco-friendly (and have the resources available) to move the apparel industry into a non-toxic future. You can sign the Detox Now! petition here:…
Synthetic textiles don’t need water in order to absorb dyes properly. The high temperatures these textiles require to get the fibers to take on colors can be achieved without using water at all. This means that these popular apparel brands DO have choices in the matter and could easily eliminate the toxins used to dye their shoes, shirts, and other products.
Read more about toxins in clothing here:

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Why Buy Local?

Why Buy Local? I asked myself that question the other day after I heard someone comment about wanting to buy a ‘big store’ name brand product rather than one made local. Sure there are always things that you may only be able to find online, or from a big box store, but many products can be found locally and are even better quality.
A vintage photo of local shoppers at Christmas time. 
 Lets look at some good reasons to buy local.

1. Benefit Yourself- Studies show that buying from locally owned business benefits the local economy more than buying from the big box chain. Local business give more back to the local economy. One study showed that locally owned businesses put an average of 52% back into the local economy compared to big chain rivals only contributing 14% back to the local economy. On the same note non-profits receive an average of 250% more support from locally owned small businesses than from larger business. That is a big difference that gives me some incentive to make the extra stop to buy local rather than stop at the big box.
George Peppard and Audrey Hepburn on their local shopping date in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” 

2. Better Service and Better Local Economy- Local businesses have a much more vested interest in providing good customer service, and hiring people that will do the same. Small businesses also are the largest employer nationally, check out this statistic from SBA; “Fully 99 percent of all independent enterprises in the country employ fewer than 500 people. These small enterprises account for 52 percent of all U.S. workers, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.” 

3. Buy what you want-Local business taylor their products to what their local customers want. Their product line is not dictated by a national sales agenda, but by their local market. This can also help ensure more innovation and lower prices over the long-term. Local businesses will strive to have the best products at the best possible prices, as that is what is best for their business.

4. Eat Local-local produce is fresher, as it gets to you quickly after being harvested. This makes it not only taste better, it can also have better nutritional value, as this will decline with time. This study shows that broccoli out of season that traveled from a warmer climate lost 50% of its vitamin C content compared to broccoli harvested locally in season. The same benefits of supporting local businesses also apply to local farmers. Eating local and seasonal produce can even save you money on your grocery bill, as foods in season are generally less expensive that imported foods bought out of season.

 5. Improve your community-Local businesses are owned and operated by people who live in the community which makes them less likely to leave, and more invested in the community’s future. After examining these reasons for shopping local, it did give me incentive to try and spend my money with local businesses when I can. The big box store, and online purchases in most communities cannot be entirely replaces by smaller local businesses, but it is an obvious benefit to the community and ourselves to try and support as many of our local businesses as we can. What are some of the ways you try to shop local? I would love to hear your comments below!

One of our local farmers markets 

Sustainable Connections was a great resource for these ideas.