Ardent Eden

Ardent Eden is a place to explore my thoughts about the interdependence of life - humanity and nature - and to engage with others for collective problem-solving.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Weekend Habits

Simple Katie wasn’t the only one who had a productive weekend. I am incredibly jealous of her quilting talent though. Yesterday was filled with the kind of home projects that make me feel like I am accomplishing something tangible. And I really need that satisfaction to counteract the equally tangible feeling of despair that I sometimes feel about what we’re doing to our children’s world. So in the spirit of accentuating those real, positive actions, here are the steps we took on our path to sustainable living this weekend:
  • Bought CFLs. We made one of our fairly rare trips to a big-box store this weekend. While trying to navigate through Target as quickly as possible with the Bean’s stroller, I stumbled on a display of GE CFLs in two-packs on sale for $4.88. We picked up two packages. For under $10, four compact fluorescent bulbs seemed like too good of a deal to pass up. I already replaced the bulb in the lamp in the Bean’s nursery. I’m thinking that we'll get the most bang for our buck by putting the other three bulbs in a bedroom lamp, our kitchen overhead, and the lamp in our den.
  • Baked bread. Thanks to breadchick, we are officially addicted to homemade bread! I’ve also been spreading the gospel about her no-fail recipe, and I see that OrganicVegetarian and SockknittingMama are getting on board too.
  • Drafted weekly meal plan. It’s the fourth week that I’ve been committed to planning out the week’s meals in detail on the computer. It makes the grocery shopping smoother, we save money, and I actually stand a chance of executing healthy, vegetarian meals after a busy day at the office.
  • Made yogurt. Yep, I finally broke out the yogurt maker and made my first batch yesterday. I was getting discouraged about the fact that I couldn’t find a single health food store in the Boston area that sold yogurt starter, and I was too impatient to order it online. Armed with online recipes, I used a container of organic plain yogurt from Trader Joe’s as my starter. It's delicious! And so easy!
  • Prepared granola. This week’s variation on my granola recipe includes almond extract and some ground ginger for flavor along with walnuts and chopped almonds. It tastes pretty darn good with the yogurt!
  • Tried 2 new yummy veggie recipes. Norene’s cabbage soup was a great Sunday night dinner paired with some chickpea veggie burgers with melted cheese served on fresh from the oven bread. A little slice of heaven when eaten with a smiling baby starting into my eyes.
  • Purchased book. I ran into one of our good local independent bookstores and picked up this book about making and storing your own baby food. The Bean had Earth’s Best organic rice cereal for the first time last week, so it’s time for me to start learning about freezing those organic pureed sweet potatoes!

I'm happy that some of these steps are becoming habits for me. As Norene said in one of the comments last week, "It's one thing to start something, but it's another to sustain the effort. " So true. My next steps on the homefront are to learn to add some flavoring to the yogurt and to make some of my own non-dairy milks. The packaging and price of nut, rice, and soy milks (not to mention the additives in some) are making me think that there's a more sustainable way to support my habit. If anyone has recipes, tips, or suggestions, send them my way please!

Last night I fell into bed with that tired, satisfied feeling that I usually get after spending a day working in the garden. A good honest exhaustion that was rewarded with an excellent night’s sleep with nary a peep from the Bean until I woke her up at 6:30 this morning to nurse before I left for work. No complaints here this Monday morning.


  • At 11:00 AM, Blogger Katie said…

    You did have a productive weekend. I too have thought about making my own non-dairy milks. I've done lots of research - soymilk makers use electricity, but make the process easy. I haven't bought one because I don' know that I'm committed enough to use it and because I don't want another electric appliance. I do have the groovy "The Farm Cookbook" - the farm as in the commune in Tennessee. It was published in the 70s and has detailed instructions for making soymilk from soybeans. If interested let me know - I can copy those pages and send it to you if you can't find it in your Library.

  • At 1:47 PM, Blogger Melissa said…

    Our loaf of bread from last night is gone, and there are two more rising in the oven! Thanks for the link to the cabbage soup. I'm off to the store tomorrow and am in need of new recipes. Like you, I find it much easier to shop when you know what you'll be fixing for the week. I think I will give the corn chowder a whirl too!

  • At 4:46 PM, Blogger lauren said…

    Hey Katie: I've had the same thoughts about getting a soymilk maker. They are expensive and it would be yet another electric appliance. I'm interested in rice and nut milks because it seems like you can make them without any special equipment. I'm going to go online and see if I can get the book that you mentioned from our library. Thanks for the suggestion!

    Hi OV: Yep, the bread recipe is a keeper! I'm looking forward to having some with the baked spinach/white bean/pasta that we're having tonight. Yum!

  • At 6:11 PM, Blogger breadchick said…


    I'm so delighted you are loving baking bread and are enjoying the recipe. Now that you have that down pun intended ;-) You are ready to move on to some more complex breads (multigrain, etc). They are a bit more tricky because they are wetter breads and multigrain flours don't have as much gluten so require lots more kneading (I make them when I'm feeling particularly stressed or have skipped arms at the gym for a few days). I'll be happy to send you a recipe for a fairly easy but very tasty 5 grain bread. And, now I'm off to make this weeks batch of your granola. MBH surprised me with some hazelnuts and I can't wait to add them to the vanilla laden recipe of yours!

  • At 6:52 PM, Anonymous Dogfood Daniel said…

    I would be interested in your thoughts:

  • At 8:13 PM, Blogger lauren said…


    If you think I'm ready for it, bring on the multigrain recipe!! I'd love to expand my repertoire. :)

  • At 8:43 PM, Blogger breadchick said…

    You'll do fine. Don't worry if the first few loaves a bit heavy. It will take two or three to get the right feel for the dough. Tell you what. I'll post it as I need to post a recipe tonight anyways. Good excuse!

  • At 12:08 AM, Blogger Norene said…

    wow, lauren. you made my soup! not only am i honored, but i feel like a minor celebrity.

    i'm impressed that you made such good yogurt your first time. i tried multiple times in the past to make yogurt with a prepared yogurt starter, but i had texture problems every time. i'm wondering if it was my recipe. i would love it if you could post the recipe you used, or a link to it...


Post a Comment

<< Home