Eco-conscious

Total Fan of Adaptive Reuse!

Today, while reading one of my million daily newsletters, I was inspired to find my readers some stories about Adaptive Reuse. What exactly is adaptive reuse, you might ask? In my opinion, it’s when people ingeniously utilize a space or building for something other than its original intention. This usually requires a change in codes and zoning of course, but how can one not love something so….sustainable? Here are a few examples I’ve found in my search today:

1. The Bemis Building – right here in Seattle’s SODO neighborhood! A very old (by American standards of course) burlap factory that was turned into incredible artists’ live/work lofts.

2. Ruined Georgian Church turned into Home in England – thank you Freshome Blog! GORGEOUS example of how a couple turned an ancient church into a new home. Definitely an appreciation of history here!

3. 7 (More) Amazing Adaptive Reuse Architecture Projects –  WebUrbanist’s list of some incredible examples of this GREAT topic!

These are just a few of the myriads of examples available to you on the web. I love that there are designers and architects out there who are willingly thinking completely outside the “building it new is always better” box!


Pasta with Low(er) Fat Garlic Cream(y) Sauce and a few SURPRISES!

ToTD: Cooking Experiments! (And shopping at a Seattle landmark)

The adventure started a couple days ago, when I was Stumbling-Upon (what an amazing idea BTW!). I came upon a recipe on a website called Kathy Maister’s Start Cooking. The recipe was quite peculiar: Sauteed Fiddlehead Ferns. I was so excited and couldn’t wait to visit my local Trader Joe’s, because honestly, I’d never heard of these little treasures! Unfortunately, upon visiting my trusted grocery store, they were no where to be found! I continued to think about these baby fern fronds the next two days. However, a friend of mine also happened to be visiting Seattle for the first time, which means that she naturally wanted to visit the world-renowned Pike Place Market. Here I continued my search for for FF’s, dragging my friend along on the pretense of “showing her the market” of course! The first grower I asked was perplexed, asked me what the devil I was talking about, and upon hearing my explanation said, “Lady, that sounds like something you’ll have to go find in your own backyard. Nothing like that here.” Fail. The second grower we strolled past DID have these little beauties, and my friend was the first one to see the sign! (Thanks Mary!) Upon returning home, with mon petit chou of grocery items in hand, I created the following with the beginnings of Kathy Meister’s recipe, along with many more additions of my own. It was delightful and it only took about 30 minutes TOTAL to make including prep!

Fiddlehead Ferns and Mushrooms with Pasta in a Garlic Cream Sauce (serves 2, with leftovers)

1 lb Fiddlehead Ferns

2 cups sliced white button mushrooms

2 large cloves of garlic

1 Tbsp olive oil

salt, pepper to taste

juice of 1/2 a lemon

1 cup non-fat milk

1/2 cup plain non-fat yogurt

2 Tbsp cornstarch

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

2 cups whole wheat pasta (any variety)

1. Fill a large sauce pan with salted water and set on the stove to boil. Prepare the fiddleheads just as Kathy suggests on her website: rinse, boil in the pot on the stove, and then rinse in a chilled bowl of water AFTER boiling. Strain and set aside.

2. Refill the sauce pan with salted water and set to boil. In the meantime, in a frying pan, begin to heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. After a couple minutes, add the garlic. Once lightly browned on the edges, add the mushrooms and the fiddleheads and sautee, sprinkling with the lemon juice. Do NOT over cook! After 2-3 minutes, add the milk, yogurt and salt and pepper. Stir together and allow to boil. Add most of the Parmesan cheese and all of the cornstarch; stir together again, reduce heat, and let the sauce simmer while covered. Stir occasionally to keep from burning.

3. Add the pasta to the boiling pot of water. Cook til perfectly al dente, approximately 7-9 minutes (for my pasta). Strain and add to the sauce, which should now be nearly perfectly thickened. Stir together and allow to cook, covered, for no longer than 5 minutes.

4. Plate, garnish with some of the remaining Parmesan and pepper, and ENJOY! MMMMMmmmm!!!!


Earth Day Tribute

Today, was Earth Day 2011. I had to work all day at my part-time job, so I want to at least leave you all asking yourselves some questions about what WE can do to help the Earth.

I’ve posted a few interesting links (care of Mother Nature Network) here:

Earth Day turns 40 – a great animated video about the last 40 years of Earth Days,

15 Most Toxic Places to Live – this will make you thankful if you DON’T live in these places but also sad and frustrated that they exist,

and, boatloads more on their community site!

Being a Greenie, myself, I think we should all try and understand what kind of an impact we have on our planet. Right now, for example, there are no lights on in my apartment. 🙂 I’m still striving to live up to my New Year’s Resolution about only eating locally and organically – which is decidedly difficult on a college student budget. BUT – NOT IMPOSSIBLE! Also, I’m trying to eat less meat, which is probably one of the easiest yet most impacting change that one can make for the Earth. Just for kicks, all those interested should also consider supporting Green Genius and they’re INCREDIBLE biodegradable trash bags!