Dearest Boo – I can’t help it…………this is one of my all time favorite videos on YouTube
And this is a close second
Today is the first day of the rest of my life and how will I spend it? Cleaning the garage! Ugh…..there are things in there that may have never seen the light of day. Clearly they are things that I no longer have need for and I need to find them a good home. Tomorrow is garbage day, so whatever I cannot donate or give away will find it’s new home in the city dump. I am trying to be responsible, so I will make sure that whatever I send to the trash will not harm the environment. Just thinking about that makes me wonder what people will say about our society when they uncover our trash. Will they be put into a museum, like Egyptian ruins? Or will they use it in some recycled project, much like people are doing today? What value will future generations find in our trash? Since Earth Day is this Thursday I am thinking about being better to this big blue ball we call home.
To help out old Mother Earth I went to www.epa.gov for the Earth Day ideas and found five that I will work this year. One is to reduce the amount of “stuff” that goes into the land fill. Yeah! Check. Another is to plant a tree. Since we don’t have space or need in our yard, I am going to find a place where I can donate a tree. Check two. Another one is to not litter. Heck, if you just take a peek into my car you will see that it is a rolling Pig Pen – gotta get that cleaned out this week. But hey, I am not littering Mother Earth – so, check three! I am on a roll. The fourth one is to buy energy star appliances – cheating check four. We have been doing that for several years ( I needed something to make me feel like I am making progress. Much like when I make out a “to do” list. The very first thing on the list is “make a to-do list”. I always feel so much better when I am able to cross something off right away. ). The last one is one that I have been working on, but I fear it will be the hardest one to break. Using more environmentally friendly cleaning products. That one I know I have to do for both of our health. The toxic fumes are just so harmful to the both of us, but especially to you with your asthma. So far I have not found any commercial products that I feel get the job done, so I am looking online for home made remedies.
In following the idea of being better to Mother Earth I did sign up to be a modern day “share cropper”. In an effort to buy more locally sustainable foods I joined a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm. I thought about putting in a garden in our yard, but I know that I have been putting down all kinds of pesticides to make our yard lush and green (yikes, hurting Mother Earth!). Not sure that our soil is healthy enough for food that I want to eat. It will be fun, as weekly we will get a supply of vegetables. In looking over their “supply menu” there are some vegetables that have not found their way to our table, so this will be a good experience for us. I do have my cherry tomatoes started indoors that I will transfer out to the large pots on the patio. And I do have some strawberry plants that I will have outdoors. It is not much, but every little bit will help.
On my night stand is Michael Pollan’s book “Food Rules”. The central theme, so easy to understand, is to eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. I am not very far into the book, but the little bit I have read is making sense. He states that “the degree to which a food is processed gives us a more important key to its healthfulness. Not only can processing remove nutrients and add toxic chemicals, but it makes food more readily absorbable, which can be a problem for our insulin and fat metabolism.” His goal in this book is to help us avoid heavily processed foods. It’s only been within the past fifty years that ready-made processed foods have become big business. As more and more families become two-income families or as more and more homes are single parent homes where that parent is the sole provider and must work we looked for easier ways to get food on the table. Children are more and more active in athletics or music or drama or a myriad of after school activities that just does not allow sitting down at the dinner table for a home cooked meal the nightly ritual it once was. Family meals are now a luxury. Because of time constraints and hungry kiddos you will find carloads of families turning into a fast food restaurant. I am not judging, as I, too, am guilty.
The first idea I am going to work at implementing is to cut down on our sugar consumption. The basic rule is that if one or more of the first three ingredients are refined sugar in any form……bad news. Sugar is very addictive and most of us were started on the path as babies in our formula. Several studies report that Americans eat over 115 pounds of sugar per year! Not only does this cause damage to our teeth, but sugar is the main cause of diabetes, hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia. It is either a significant or contributory cause of heart disease, arteriosclerosis, mental illness, depression, senility, hypertension, cancer. It has an extremely harmful effect in unbalancing the endocrine system and injuring its component glands such as the adrenal glands, pancreas and liver, causing the blood sugar level to fluctuate widely. It has a number of other extremely damaging effects on the human body.
Some of the other effects of sugar on the body are:
- Increases chronic fatigue
- Can trigger binge eating in those with bulima
- Increases PMS symptoms
- Increases hyperactivity in about 50% of children
- Increases anxiety and irritability
- Can make it difficult to lose weight because of constantly high insulin levels, which causes the body to store excess carbs as fat
Wow……..I was reading all that while I consumed what I thought was a healthy breakfast. I had a bowl of Greek yogurt with blueberries. Blueberries are good for your eyes, your stomach, your brain, you veins, and helps decrease chances of several different cancers. And the yogurt is a good source of calcium and potassium, while it’s live bacteria help with our digestive system. Yeah! Then I looked at the ingredient list – milk, cream, SUGAR…..! Ugh………..guess I need to do a much better job at the store. They say it’s never too late to teach an old dog new tricks. I have my fingers crossed that this is true. Dear Boo, if you find that I am a bit crabby over the next month, please be patient. I am working to get that old “sugar monkey” off my back. Joy Rising???
Jaden’s Chinese Beef Broccoli
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
- 1# top sirloin or flank steak (place in freezer for 20 minutes, makes it easier to cut), cut into 1/8″ strips
- 1 1/2# broccoli, cut int bite-sized florets
- 1 T high heat cooking oil
- 1 T minced garlic
- 6 T tsp soy sauce
- 2 T cornstarch
- 1 T cooking oil
- salt and pepper to taste
for stir fry sauce:
- 15 T oyster sauce
- 10 tsp chinese rice wine
- 10 tsp balsamic vinegar
- In a bowl, combine the ingredients for the marinade.
- Add the beef and let marinate for 10 minutes at room temperature.
- In another small bowl, mix together the ingredients for the stir-fry sauce.
- In a wok or large skillet, add 1″ of water and bring to a boil.
- Add the broccoli and cover to steam for 3 minutes. The broccoli should be bright green, crisp tender and you should be able to pierce the stem with a fork. Drain.
- Discard the water in the pan and dry the pan well.
- Set the pan over high heat and when hot, add the high-heat cooking oil and swirl to coat.
- Add the garlic and fry for 15 to 30 seconds, until fragrant.
- Add the steak strips, keeping them in one layer and fry for 30 seconds. Flip the strips and fry the other side for 30 seconds. Fry remaining batches of steak strips.
- Pour in the stir-fry sauce and stir to combine.
- Simmer until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about another minute.
- Add the cooked broccoli back into the pan and toss well to coat.
- Serve on bed of rice.