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WIP Wednesday: greening up 2 ways...well, actually 3

Posted Mar 19 2009 6:27am
I feel bad about using plastic shopping bags.  We all should, really.  I couldn't really afford to buy a bunch of reusable bags though, so I decided to make some.  Out of my old tshirts that will probably never fit again because I'll probably never be a size extra small ever again.  I have all these old shirts that I love...but never wear, so this is a way for me to use them again and help out the environment.  The funny thing is that most of these shirts are from a store I worked at for awhile, and I had a major Volcom obsession for awhile and now all my shopping bags (except for like...2) have their logo.  Fun.   Psssst....these were really, incredibly easy to make.  Like ridiculously easy.  If you have a sewing machine (or just a shitload of patience), you can do this.  Looky here:
amazing how those xsmall tshirts stretch 

They hold so many groceries!  That's only three of around ten that I made.  Here's what you do:  
1. Find a tshirt that you don't wear anymore.
2. Cut off the sleeves, but keep the seam that holds them on intact (for stability)
3. Cut out the neckline so it's wider.
4. Turn it inside out.
5. Sew together the bottom hem (I did it twice for extra sturdiness).

That's it.  Go make your own grocery bags!  You no longer have an excuse not to.  Also, as you can see in that photo, Kroger is now carrying these Tasty Bite Indian dinners that you just microwave up and the ones that are vegan say vegan on them.  Which is pretty much unprecedented in West Virginia.  I was so excited that I had to buy one!  Haven't tried it yet, but they seem good.  Added bonus?  They're lower in fat and calories than most of those microwave meals, so you don't feel all gross after eating it (I'm assuming).  You might have also noticed these:
even greener

What's the point of using a reusable shopping bag if you just fill it up with your produce that's in those silly plastic produce bags?  If you're like us, you buy a lot of produce, either at the store or at the farmers market.  Well...fret not, my friends.  There is a way around it!  Some people, like our buddy Amy at Tahinitoo, make their own out of lightweight nylon.  There's no fabric like that at my fabric store, so I ordered some bags from Etsy from a girl who is making these (at $2 a bag) to pay for her college education.   Go check it out!  They are as light as the plastic bags so they don't screw up the scale, plus you are (yet again) helping out the environment.  And helping a kid pay for college.  Where can you go wrong?  They come in sizes small, medium, and large with these nice little ribbons to pull everything shut.  Rad!

Another way we are greenifying our house is by starting an indoor garden.  We made a trip up to Lowe's on Monday to get's our seeds:
so many exciting veggies and herbs!

Last night Michael and I started planting the seeds that specified March for our region.  It was some work (and some money spent...), but well worth the effort (assuming we get loads of veggies out of it).  We have a sunporch on the front of our apartment, so all the containers are going out there.
do you see our garden owl?

Those are the ones that don't need to be transplanted.  Lids on top to keep the kitties out.  Now I really need advice on how to keep cats OUT OF THE PLANTS!  It's a big problem, because our cats are curious to the max and like to destroy things.  If you have any advice, let me know!  

My mom gave me a growlab that I can start seeds in for things like peppers and tomatoes.
happy plantlings

I can't find the list ofallof our seeds, but here's what we planted last night:  brussels sprouts, cayenne peppers, chili peppers, scallions, golden beets, red beets, kale, red radishes, watermelon radishes, regular lettuce, mesclun, rainbow chard, and sugar snap peas.  Should be an adventure, eh?  This is all due to a book my brother got for Michael for Christmas calledThe Bountiful Containerby Rose Marie, Nichols McGee, and Maggie Stuckey (thanks, Jonah!).  We highly reccommend this book for anyone with a small space that would be interested in gardening (indoors or out!).

Stay tuned for progress throughout the spring and summer on how our little plant buddies are doing!

The final way of going green is our St. Patrick's day meal.  As soon as I saw the colcannon puffs on Fat Free Vegan Kitchen, I knew I wanted to make them.  And I'm so glad I did!
nice little potato balls

These were seriously tasty.  I'd say you should make them all the time.  Not just on St. Patrick's day.  They are lightly crispy on the outside and nice and soft on the inside, with loads of flavor.  The recipe made more than I could fit on my cookie sheet (which was 30 puffs), so we put the rest in a loaf pan so Michael (the potato lover) could have colcannon loaf as snacks.
tato loaf

To go along with these loverly potato puffs, we seared some tofu according to a sort of tofu recipe that some lady behind us in line at the Healthy Life Market gave us.  Basically, you don't press it, just cut it into steaks (we got 4 out of our cake), salt both sides with sea or kosher salt and leave for awhile to sweat the water out.  Then heat up some olive oil in a nonstick pan and sear both sides until brown.  Adding cracked black pepper to both sides beforehand makes them extra yummy.  
i had no idea this would work so well

They came out with a great texture, but still pretty flavorless (which we figured would happen) so we served them up with some gravy, also via Fat Free Vegan Kitchen.  Mushroom gravy.  And it was freaking amazing.
gravy in the back, croissants in the front

It all turned out so well...  Which made us and our tummies mighty happy.
how can you resist?

I was going to make some soda bread to go along instead of the croissants, but I got some really sad news right when I started cooking and it just didn't happen.  I will make some soon though.  It was all in all a very successful meal, with all the right awesomeness to make vegans happy.

And I don't want to end this post on a sad note, but I do want to say....  Please, if you are depressed and thinking of taking your own life, don't.  There are always other options out there.  Your friends and family will miss you when you are gone, and their pain after that fact outweighs the pain you are feeling now.  I've been in the same position a few times in my life, but let me tell you...  life is a better choice.  You never know what it holds for you.  Please, get some help instead.

In loving memory of my brother's and my friend, Shane.  Please keep his family and friends in your thoughts.

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