I know many people purchase toaster ovens because they want to be more "green." They love the energy efficiency a toaster oven can provide. With that in mind, I will be sharing some tips with you on how to "go green" without spending a ton of money. These tips may not be directly related to a toaster oven, but rather to the lifestyle many toaster oven owners are looking for. Enjoy!
There are lots and lots of good reasons to make the switch to organic food. It is clearly the best choice for your health and the health of the environment. So why doesn't everyone switch to organic food? It usually comes down to money; there is a higher cost associated with purchasing organic food. It costs more to produce food naturally and that cost is passed on to the consumer buying the organic food. There are, however, some things that you can easily do to make the switch to organic less costly.
There are four basic things you can do to switch to organic food for less money: 1- grow what you can, 2- spend your food dollars wisely, 3- make most of your food from scratch and 4- don't waste anything. Each article in this "go green and save green" series will address one specific change you can make in each of the four areas.
Grow What You Can
There is a very good reason garlic is used in the cuisines of many different and varied regions all over the world: garlic is very good for you and full of flavor yet it is very easy to grow. In fact, the garlic I grow comes from seeds my Great Grandmother brought over from Slovenia a century ago. Although the climate where I live (the midwestern United States) is quite different from that in Slovenia, the garlic grows very well for me.
To grow garlic, simply plant a garlic clove with the pointy side up one inch deep into the dirt in the fall, about two weeks before the ground is expected to freeze for the winter. The garlic plant will begin to develop but then become dormant for the cold winter. When the ground begins to warm in the spring, the garlic plant will start to grow again. The garlic will be ready for harvest in the summer, when the above ground stem points straight up. If you live in an area that never freezes, you can plant your organic garlic at any time.
Spend Your Food Dollars Wisely
The best option is clearly to eat only organic foods, but this will not always be possible on a tight budget. Whenever you must make a choice between organic meats with conventional vegetables or conventional meats with organic vegetables, go for the former. Animals raised conventionally consume non organic feed for their entire lives and many pesticides and other poisons are stored within their bodies. When you consume the meat of those animals you are consuming a much higher chemical load than you would with the conventional vegetables.
Make Your Food From Scratch
Yogurt is unbelievably good for you. Yogurt is packed with calcium, probiotics and so much more that is incredibly good for you. But good, organic yogurt can be very expensive. Making the yogurt yourself cuts the cost by half or more, and it is very easy if you have a yogurt maker.
I own a very basic yogurt maker. It has no timer or heat settings, just an "on" and "off" switch, but it gets the job done. It only cost me $25 brand new and the yogurt is made right in single serving size glass jars. I have also seen similar yogurt makers at my thrift store for less than $5, which will save you even more.
I have seen some complicated yogurt recipes; many involve heating milk to a very specific temperature then stirring in a dried culture before switching to a yogurt maker. My way is much easier. You do need to start with a good, fresh organic yogurt with live cultures (it will say it has live cultures on the label.) For each 5 ounce jar, put 2 tablespoons of yogurt in, top with organic milk and stir. Place the filled glass jars into the yogurt maker, turn on and wait 12 hours. That's it! Your organic yogurt is done. After you have made it once, you can use your own yogurt to start the next batch. Freeze some to make sure you'll always have starter on hand.
Don't Waste Anything
When you use the delicious organic garlic you grew, save the skins. They have strong oils which are a natural deterrent to many garden pests. Boil the skins in water for 20 minutes, strain and put in a spray bottle. You now have a natural pest deterrent that is safe for all plants. Spray problem areas of your garden; repeat as necessary.I hope I have shown you a few new tricks for going organic on a budget. Thanks for reading, see you in "Go Green and Save Green" Part 7!