My husband Richie is a pretty great chess player.  He first played when he was a kid but took it over again when someone gave him a box of chess boards to use in his GT classroom.  Richie started playing himself and has really done well the past few years.  Right now he is playing in the Arkansas Chess Association State Championship! Good luck Richie!

A website, a contest, a book

I love crafting and I am always hunting the web for crafty goodness.  Recently I came across a site called Cut Out + Keep.

Cut Out + Keep, a Scotland based site, is full of great craft projects, recipes and all kinds of great stuff.  Their online magazine has some interesting articles about indie business and music.  Recently the site hosted a competition to create a piece of artwork using garage sale items.  The prize was a book titled Garage Sale America.  I entered a photo of a wind-chime I had made earlier this spring for a swap on Mary Janes Farm.

My wind-chime is made out of an old pie plate and old silverware.  My wind chime was actually selected as one of the winners in the contest!  Last week I received my book!

Garage Sale America is a great little book showcasing many different garage sale finds.  Bruce Littlefield does such an excellent and thorough job of describing his garage sale adventures you feel as if you are traveling right along with him.  Along with great finds there are tips, tricks and hints to making the most of garage sales and finding the greatest deals.  A resource section in the back of the book will direct you to some of the countries greatest, longest and largest sales.  This book is a must have for any serious garage saler or thrifter!

Thanks Cut Out + Keep!

Guidelines For Eating Well

Many cities are lucky to have an abundance of resources for local and organic foods.  Many, my city included, do not.  Typically Local Food refers to food found within 100 miles of your home.  I am not in an area where this is always possible and I suspect many of you are not either.  I have two great resources I would like to share with you.

Eat Local Food

www.localharvest.orgis a great website.  Search-able by state or product this database will point you in the direction of local food, produce, products, CSA’s and farmers markets.

Eat Local Food

This is a great site for general information about eating local. I found the following Guidelines on their web-page. I think these guidelines offer a great wrap up to my Eat Local series.

Guidelines for Eating Well

If not LOCALLY PRODUCED, then Organic. This is one of the most readily available alternatives in the market and making this choice protects the environment and your body from harsh chemicals and hormones.

If not ORGANIC, then Family farm. When faced with Kraft or Cabot cheeses, Cabot, a dairy co-op in Vermont, is the better choice. Supporting family farms helps to keep food processing decisions out of the hands of corporate conglomeration.

If not FAMILY FARM, then Local business. Basics like coffee and bread make buying local difficult. Try a local coffee shop or bakery to keep your food dollar close to home.

If not a LOCAL BUSINESS, then Terroir, which means ‘taste of the Earth’. Purchase foods famous for the region they are grown in and support the agriculture that produces your favorite non-local foods such as Brie cheese from Brie, France or Parmesan cheese from Parma, Italy.

Hit the farmers’ market before the supermarket. Plan your meal around local ingredients you find at the market.

Branch out. Maybe your usual food repertoire could use some fresh ideas. The farmers’ market provides a perfect chance to try a new ingredient when it’s in season, and lets you talk to its grower to find out the best way to prepare your new food. Flirt with your food producer!

Feed the freezer. Can’t cook every night? Worried about your fresh produce going bad? It’s easy. Make lasagna with local tomatoes or a soup packed with fresh veggies and freeze it! You can also make personal size meals for a brown bag lunch.

Thanks for taking the time to read about Eating Local.  Remember it’s not about building a city in one night but about laying the foundations one brick at a time.  So go out there and support a local farmer.  Many of us receive praise and thanks in our daily jobs.  Most farmers do not.  If you can’t buy from a local farmer, at least say “Thank You!”

Looking for more of what I have been up to {In the Kitchen}? Click the logo below for more!

Eat Local – Part 3 {In the Kitchen}

Eat Local

How Far Food Travels

Did you miss Part 1 and Part 2? Hop on over and read them first.

Nowadays a real concern for many american families are the increases in fuel prices to remarkable levels.  While gasoline prices have dropped significantly in the last few days the country as a whole has seen gas prices averaging around $2.80 a gallon for most of the summer.  I can recall just 10 years ago, during my first year of college,  gas only being .94 per gallon.  That is a far cry from where we are now.

Changes in economy, political issues, wars, conflict with the mideast, and demand have all caused an increase in fossil fuel costs.  One resource states that growing and shipping the American food supply uses approximatly 100,000,000,000 gallons of oil per year and the food we eat travels between 1,500 and 2,500 miles (2,500 and 4,000 kilometers) from farm to table.

Food travel does not only use up fossil fuels but causes many other damages as well.  Rural economies such as farmers and small food business are overlooked and lose profits.  Farther distances means increased risk for contamination thus increasing the need for the use of preservatives and additives to keep food from spoiling.  Because of the amounts of fuel being used food transportation is a large contributor to global warming.  A tpical meal purchased from your local chain grocer consumes between 4 and 17 percent MORE petroleum than if the same meal was prepared using local foods.

Eating local is really about what we can do to help our planet and help our selves.  Many of us avoid “being green” because we think it takes too much work and costs too much money.  You don’t have to drive a Prius and provide power for your house using solar panals to be green.  You don’t have to live in a Yurt or hug trees eaither (though that is fun every once in a while).  Living Green can be achieved through the small things and choosing to eat local is a choice that is relatively simple to implement and can potentially do a lot for our planet.

Here are some of the resources used to comprise this article.

Looking for more of what I have been up to {In the Kitchen}? Click the logo below for more!

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