Fur-less Furniture

Scarlet, Parker and Skyler

Between Jackson, our cat, and Skyler, our lovable but very furry dog (shown here, with Scarlet and Parker), we have a bit of a “fur”niture problem.

While a Magik lint brush works great for getting pet hair off our clothes, our couches are a different story. I know how wasteful it is to use the those sticky paper lint rollers, but I didn’t know what else to do when it was time to de-fur the furniture — until now. Hello, Pet Hair Magnet!

I was skeptical of this product when I saw it at Petco, and even asked if I could return it if it didn’t work. But lo and behold, when I tried it out on our couch at home, it is no wonder that it gets so many good reviews. It quickly and neatly pulled up all the stray pet hair on the couch. So, while it might not be made from the most eco-friendly materials, I know that I will be saving a LOT of paper waste by using this instead.

Posted in At The Market by Rhaya on October 14, 2007 | Permalink | 1 Comment

Fall, Football, Food


I decided to wait until the weekend for my weekly “going local” meal so I could make a local version of our favorite chili, which is a weekend staple in our house when the weather starts to turn cool and college football starts to heat up. So, I adapted a healthy chili recipe to incorporate more in-season and locally available ingredients. The red pepper may seem like a bit unusual but it adds some “chunkiness” along with loads of vitamin C.

Red Pepper & Black Bean Chili

1 lb. ground grass-fed beef*
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup onion, coarsely chopped
1 cup red pepper, coarsely chopped
2 tsp. paprika
1 tbsp. gound cumin
1 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
3 tbsp. chili powder
salt & pepper to taste
2 lbs fresh tomatoes, peeled** and chopped
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup black beans, soaked and cooked
1 bay leaf
(all the above ingredients were found locally except the spices)

Heat a 3 quart, nonstick saucepan over high heat. Add ground beef, salt, pepper and garlic. Cook until browned all over breaking up meat into pieces. Remove to bowl, and cover with foil to keep warm.

Return saucepan to burner and reduce the heat to low. Add peppers and onion and cook for 3-5 minutes until the vegetables begin to soften. Add the chili powder, cumin, paprika and cayenne pepper. Cook, stirring for 1 minute.

Increase heat to medium, and add the tomatoes, stock, black beans and bay leaf. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes, uncovered. Add meat and simmer for another 5 minutes.

Remove and discard bay leaf. Served topped with shredded cheddar cheese. Makes about 4 servings.

*For a vegetarian version, experiment with other vegetables to replace the meat, maybe a chopped zucchini or chopped carrots.

**Before “going local” I would have just used canned tomatoes for this recipe. However, this week I found a new farm stand and picked up some slightly “dinged up” local tomatoes for $1 per pound! To peel tomatoes easily, boil a pot of enough water to cover the tomatoes. Score each tomato with a large “X” on the bottom and submerge tomatoes for 30 seconds. Once cool enough to touch, the skin should peel right off and they are ready to chop up for the chili.

Posted in Going Local,Recipes by Liz on October 13, 2007 | Permalink | No Comments

Farm Fresh Delivery

Farm Fresh Delivery

I was so excited when my friend Meg told me about Farm Fresh Delivery, an Indianapolis company that delivers organic, natural foods directly to your doorstep! I signed up that night, and can’t wait to get my first delivery (there is currently a one month waiting list).

In addition to fresh fruits and veggies, you also have the option of getting other groceries, such as my favorite Traders Point Creamery products, and Endangered Species Chocolate.

Interested in having the convenience of healthy (and local) foods delivered to your door? Check if there is a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) in your area. Some only deliver from spring until fall, but depending on where you live, you might have one available that delivers year-round.

Posted in Living Green by Rhaya on October 12, 2007 | Permalink | No Comments

Girls in Motion

Kids In Motion

It’s no secret that childhood obesity is on the rise in this country.  According to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, since 1980 obesity in children ages 2-5 has more than doubled, and has tripled in youth ages 6-19!  The latest National Heath and Nutrition Examination Surveys indicate that of kids ages 2-19, a whopping 17.1% are overweight and another 16.5% are at risk for becoming overweight.  

Because of these alarming numbers, the Junior League of Albany has developed a community project called Kids in Motion which focuses on engaging young girls in fitness and nutrition based activities to increase knowledge regarding the importance of being physically active and making healthy choices.  The host of the program is Girls Inc., a national nonprofit organization who inspires girls to “be strong, smart and bold” by offering free programs to girls in 1st through 12th grades that embody these values.  The JLA will provide fitness and nutrition related programming once a month over the course of six months working closely with the girls in various activities from basketball to yoga, and of course a little healthy snack making.

As a member of the JLA, I have volunteered to be the designated personal trainer for the program and will deliver the physical fitness information via a curriculum developed by the American Council on Exercise.  We kicked off the program in September and it was really a great time working with the girls, they were engaged and excited to learn and participate.  You can see how much fun they had during one of our fitness activities in the picture above.

For more information and links to resources check out Action for Healthy Kids, the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute We Can and the Junior League’s Kids in the Kitchen program resources.

The Junior League of Albany is a member of the Association of Junior Leagues International, an organization of woman committed to promoting volunteerism, developing the potential of women, and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. 

Posted in Get Moving by Liz on October 11, 2007 | Permalink | No Comments

Soup Weather

Squash Soup

On Monday, when Indianapolis was having record high temperatures, I thought a cool soup would be a good local meal this week. However, two days later, it was 40 degrees colder outside, and nothing sounded better than a warm fall-inspired soup.

We fired up the oven and roasted some butternut and delicata squash. Following this simple recipe for Butternut Squash Soup, we added the squash and some water to the blender. After it had reached a good consistency, we moved it to the stove top and added some whole milk, thyme and nutmeg.

I cheated a little, by having the soup with some locally baked bread (with out of state ingredients) from the farmers market, and for dessert had some tasty dark chocolate from Endangered Species Chocolate. Not all local ingredients either, but nothing beats chocolate with a conscience!

Posted in Going Local by Rhaya on October 10, 2007 | Permalink | No Comments

Local Celebration

Local Harvest Dinner

To celebrate my week of ”going local,”  I attended the 100 Mile Diet Celebration Dinner at the Albany Pump Station Monday night and it was fabulous!

I took Rhaya’s advice on beer and kicked off the evening with a locally brewed Hefeweizen and then made my way to a table of fellow locavores to settle in for some good conversation and fresh local food.  The dinner started out with some congratulatory remarks from one of the organizers of the Capital District’s 100 Mile Diet Challenge, Cheryl Nechaman, who announced 76 people participated in the challenge;  and comments by Karissa Centanni, from Honest Weight Food Co-op, who recognized a few of the area’s pioneers in sustainable living and one of the local farmers who provided a great amount of the food for the evening. 

Table Setting

I admit that I wanted to try a little of everything for dinner as it all looked so good but some of the highlights include the Curried Butternut Squash Soup, the Roast Loin of Pork with Apple Chutney and Cracked Pepper-Cider Glaze, and the Apple Crisp topped with Brown Cow Ice Cream.  Everything tasted incredible, but the best part was meeting and chatting with some of the like-minded individuals in the area who share the same passion for making the right choices when it comes to food. 

Posted in Going Local,Living Green by Liz on October 10, 2007 | Permalink | No Comments

Green Drinks

Tip Top Tavern

Green Drinks is a casual get-together that allows people with an interest in the environment to meet, socialize and have a few drinks with other like-minded individuals. Green Drinks meet-ups are taking place around the world, including here in Indianapolis.

My friend Susie and I went to Tip Top Tavern for tonight’s meeting (which was also celebrating the one year anniversary of the first Green Drinks Indy). Topics ranged from Pocket Parks to flatware made from potatoes. The next meeting takes place on November 13th.

Want to attend (or start) a Green Drinks meeting in your area? Visit GreenDrinks.org.

Posted in Living Green by Rhaya on October 9, 2007 | Permalink | No Comments

Spray & Wash


It’s recommended that even if you are getting organic fruits and veggies, that you still clean them before eating them. Many people tend to just use water, or to really get your veggies clean, there are 100% all-natural solutions such as Veggie Wash.

Want a DIY solution that is not only inexpensive, but also incredibly effective? Try out this tip I received from my friend Missy in Atlanta (who heard it on NPR). Mix 3 parts water with 1 part distilled white vinegar in a spray bottle. After spraying the fruit or veggie with the solution, rinse it with cold water. According to the study (conducted by editors of Cook’s Illustrated) the diluted vinegar rinse removes 98 percent of the bacteria.

Do you have a great tip? Send it our way!

Posted in Living Green by Rhaya on October 9, 2007 | Permalink | No Comments

A Tale of Two Brews


During our Going Local challenge, I found a local mead that didn’t break any of our rules, but as adult beverages go, that was about it. However, certain occasions call for a beer, so why not enjoy one with an environmental conscience?

LOCAL: While local breweries don’t get all their ingredients from in state, you should still consider getting your beer from a local brewer. Not only are you supporting your local economy, but the distance it travels to get to your fridge is minimal. My favorite local beer comes from Upland Brewing Company in Bloomington, Indiana. I emailed Caleb, the head brewer at Upland, and he was more than helpful in letting me know that their wheat beer (my favorite) is vegan, and gave me a run-down of the ingredients. (Apparently, brewing depends upon certain agricultural ingredients that are region-specific — such as hops, which are domestically grown almost solely in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States.) As for the rest of the ingredients in the wheat beer, the barley and wheat come from Chilton, WI, the hops are from Yakima, WA, the organic coriander, chamomile and orange peel are from a co-op in Norway, IA and the yeast is from Odell, OR. The water, which makes up about 80% of beer is very local, coming from Bloomington city water.

As for their environment impact, Upland Brewing Company supports the Sycamore Land Trust, and as they continue to grow and expand, a common focus will be to utilize greener building materials and electric/heating energy alternatives. Also, all of their spent grain is used to feed buffalo at the Buffalo Nickel Ranch in Ellettsville. In turn, Upland serves buffalo burgers at their restaurant, in addition to other local foods that they receive via their involvement with the local growers guild.

ORGANIC: Organic beers carry the same benefits that organic fruits and veggies have — no toxic insecticides, fertilizers, and other things that aren’t great for you or the environment. My choice for organic beer is Lakefront Brewery’s Organic E.S.B.. This beer is one of the few in the world that uses 100% certified organic ingredients. Meanwhile, Lakefront Brewery is also making big strides towards helping the environment, including donating their spent grain to Growing Power, “a non-profit organization and land trust supporting people from diverse backgrounds and the environment in which they live by helping to provide equal access to healthy, high-quality, safe and affordable food” and making an effort to use green energy in their facilities. They are also working with organic farmers to revive the once thriving hops growing industry in Wisconsin.

So next time it’s B.Y.O.B, think about bringing a beer that is local and/or organic. After all, it doesn’t have to be St. Patrick’s Day for you to enjoy a “green” beer.

Posted in Chew On This,Living Green by Rhaya on October 7, 2007 | Permalink | No Comments

Teens Going Green Challenge

Going Green Challenge For Teens

Ah, to be a teenager again — getting your first car, going to senior prom,
… winning $10,000?

On Tuesday, By Kids For Kids (BKFK) announced the “Going Green Challenge.” This challenge is “designed to stimulate the creation of new products or services that could help the global environmental crisis. With an unprecedented $10,000 grand prize, the “Going Green Challenge” seeks solutions to some of our most pressing environmental issues, including; global warming, drought, famine and flooding.”

Anyone under the age of 19 is allowed to participate, and the contest will run from October 1 to December 31. All entries must be received via the BKFK website, www.bkfk.com.

Posted in Living Green by Rhaya on October 6, 2007 | Permalink | No Comments

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