Archive for April, 2010

Unhappy Meal

April 26, 2010

I know I have been going on a bit about unhealthy foods, but this one is just too amazing not to share.

One year ago, Joann Bruso, author of “Transforming a Picky Eater Into a Healthy Eater” bought a Mc Donald’s Happy Meal, and placed it on her office shelf.  After several days, the scent of the food abated, and the meal sat innocuously in her office.

She photographed it exactly one year later. The conclusion? The meal did not decompose at all. While the bun did get a bit dry, the rest of meal looks virtually the same! No mold, no odor, no disintegration at all.

Food is meant to break down in our bodies, and our landfills. Do you really want to eat something that won’t decompose for a whole year (and counting)?

Earth Day Report Card

April 22, 2010

Today marks the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day first celebrated in 1970. This was also the year the Environmental Protection Agency was created. We have made significant strides in some areas, other areas; not so much. According to an article in Newsweek Magazine, here are the cold hard facts regarding our environment:

Acid Rain: Regulations of certain emissions have reduced the acidity of our rain up to 77% since the 70’s, but our precipitation is still more acidic than it should be.

The Ozone Layer: From 1970- 1990 ozone depleting gasses more than doubled in our atmosphere. Due to a global treaty, those levels have been declining. However, we are not expected to see levels comparable to those in the 1980s until mid-century.

Climate Change: Atmospheric levels of CO2, the main contributor to greenhouse gasses, has been rising steadily since the 70s. Our inconsistent weather with erratic rises and falls in temperature speak to this first hand.

Endangered Species: The number of animals on the US endangered species list has more than quadrupled since 1970. Due to the attention they have gained from being on the list, 15 species have recovered, including the bald eagle and the grizzly bear. However, 7 have gone extinct.

Solid Waste: Americans generated 250 million tons of trash in 2008. This equates to about 38% more per person than in 1970. Although our recycling rate has increased fivefold, 47% more trash ended up in landfills in 2008 than in 1970.

Toxic Substances: There is no health and safety data on about 85% of the industrial chemicals in widespread use. The trackable substances use has decreased by 65%.

Air Pollution: The Clean Air Act has helped us see a 60% decline in pollutants. Still, California sees about 18,000 pollution related deaths per year. Energy Use: Energy use per person in the US has hardly changed since 1970 despite substantial increases in energy efficiency of homes and appliances. US energy use per person is twice that of France and Germany.

It’s not too late to do our part to help the Earth recover from our many years of abuse.The world’s future is in our hands. What will you do to help?

photo: Eric Schwortz/ Glasshouse Images

Double Down Melt Down

April 21, 2010

KFC introduced it’s new Double Down sandwich this week, featuring a bacon and cheese filling placed between 2 pieces of fried chicken instead of a bun.

(Excuse me a second while I make an editorial comment: “EWWWW gross!!!)

This sandwich packs 1228 calories, 81 grams of fat and 317 mgs of cholesterol!

What does that equate to?

Well, we did a little internet research and here are a few ways you can burn off those calories through your regular day to day activity:

packing and unpacking suitcases for 561 minutes (yes, that is more than 9 hours!!)

stocking shelves at a supermarket for 374 minutes

doing power yoga for 212 minutes

farming and grooming the animals for 187 minutes

tread climbing at the gym for 128 minutes

food shopping for 353 minutes

playing the horn for 561 minutes

The average 145 pound woman ( who is considerably larger than I am) only needs about 1200 calories PER DAY to merely exist. At my size, I would need to take a spinning class for over 240 minutes (more than 4 hours)  to atone for that sinful indulgence.

Is it worth it?

Event Horizon

April 18, 2010

The Madison Square Park Conservancy is currently presenting  a unique street art installation entitled Event Horizon, by acclaimed artist Antony Gormley.

Event Horizon, consists of 31 life sized body forms cast in iron and fiberglass. The sculptures inhabit paths in Madison Square Park, as well as the rooftops of surrounding buildings in New York City’s Flatiron district.

Part of the pleasure in viewing this work, is finding the sculptures themselves.

Says Gormley,” The field of the installation should have no defining boundaries. The gaze is the principle dynamic of the work; the idea of looking and finding, or looking and seeking, and in the process perhaps re-assessing your own position in the world. In encountering these peripheral things, perhaps one becomes more aware of one’s status of embedment.”

Event Horizon will be on exhibit through August 15, 2010.

Madison Square Park begins at the corner of 5th Avenue and 23rd Street and is 6.2 acres in size. The work can be found within the park itself, but most of the sculptures are on surrounding rooftops.

photo: James Ewing


Happy Anniversary

April 7, 2010

Wow, I can’t believe it’s been 26 years since we got married! It isn’t always easy, and it isn’t always bliss, but I can’t imagine life any other way.  The last couple of years have challenged our vows: “for better or for worse, in richness and in poorness” and somehow we have indured. I am grateful for the love and companionship, and for our beautiful daughter who brings joy to our lives everyday. Happy Anniversary!!!

photo: Glasshouse Images

Unrecipe of the Week

April 3, 2010

One of my favorite desserts is from The Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins.  Although it is called Easter Cheesecake, I make it so often that the book automatically flops open to it’s page. It is not really an “unrecipe” but it is easy and always gets rave reviews.  Happy Easter!!

Easter Cheesecake

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees

Crust:

1 cup graham cracker crumbs

¼ chopped walnuts (* I usually substitute pecans)

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ cup (1 stick) melted butter

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Add melted butter and toss. Reserve 3 tablespoons of the mixture to top the cake later, and press the remaining evenly into the bottom and about 1 ½ “ up the sides of a 9” round spring form pan.

Conversely, I break a few graham crackers into the bowl of the food processor, toss in the whole nuts and brown sugar, and  coarsely chop it all up. I add the cinnamon and the melted butter and mix it again to blend. This isn’t necessarily easier, but it does take away the need to buy the graham crackers and the nuts pre -chopped. Confession: I don’t actually measure this part either!

Filling:

2 cups sour cream

3 – 8oz. packages of cream cheese

3 eggs

1 cup sugar

½ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Finely grated zest of one orange

Process the sour cream, cream cheese, eggs, salt and sugar in the food processor until smooth. Add the vanilla and the orange zest and mix to blend.

Pour the mixture into the crust filled pan and bake 50 minutes.
Sprinkle the reserved topping on the cake and bake another 10-15 minutes more. The top may crack, but should not become overly brown.

Cool the cake completely and then remove the sides and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Enjoy!

photo: Glasshouse Images

(Dis)Organized Living Update

April 3, 2010

I promised to provide an update to my post on organization (Organized Living 1/29/10) and how I am faring with my attempt to re-organize my life.
I have been working like crazy (yeah!) and I have been absolutely exhausted. The month long “Fashion Weeks”: New York, London. Milan and Paris were filled with long hours and Friday night marathons that often lasted until 11:00 pm. and totally wrecked havoc in our lives.

I followed my own advice, and managed to keep it together somehow.

I am now (grudgingly) up at 6:00 am trudging through the dark morning gloom to get to the gym before 6:30 am. I return home to shower and get ready for work, eat breakfast and get a child to school. This week, due to a special Spring break program, I have been fixing 2 different breakfasts and packing 2 different lunches in the morning as well. This helps me eat healthfully, inexpensively, and on some semblance of a schedule. The rest is necessary maintenance.

Dinners are not always cooked at 7 pm, especially when I am still at work at that hour. Thankfully, I had the unexpected luxury of a few gentlemen who came by and cooked dinner for us during the last month. (Someone’s in the Kitchen with Jonesie). It was an unanticipated pleasure to say the least, and something that is not likely to become commonplace.

I try to get the cleaning done over the weekend. Remember the section about prioritization and “have to do’, want to do” and other?
I have to clean the kitchen and bathrooms. I have to vacuum and mop the floors and the main floor needs to be tidy. I confess: my closets are a disaster and the upstairs master bedroom is not always the way I would like it to be. While I am not thrilled about it, I am not beating myself up over an extra pile of magazines or some laundry folded and not yet put away.

My daughter always comes first. Last month I paper mache-ed, attended school functions during the worst of the deadlines and always took her to school and put her to bed. In between, others, mostly her father, had to pick up some slack, but they all survived. Paris fashion shows proved to be slightly less of a priority than Prairie Day for some of us, and I did my best to juggle both, albeit at the expense of clean laundry. (Let it be said that we were always clean, but not always chic that week!!)

Much of my to-do list of “want to do’s” gave way to “other” but I know some day I will get those things back.

Sometimes, Saturday afternoon chores get waylaid by a nap. By the time I had edited and documented my way through Milan, those naps became critical and allowed me to recover just enough to get through the rest of the “must do” list.

The most important lesson I learned through this is that we can’t do it all alone. We are not superhuman, although somewhere along the line we were taught that we needed to be.

I have learned to live a less than perfect life  (whatever that fairy tale was) and now live a very realistic one. In the on-going pursuit of a balanced life, the scale often tips to one side or the other. Accepting that and prioritizing what is important to YOU is the best route to an organized life.

Gotta go…I’m organizing that messy closet this morning!!

photo: Glasshouse Images


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