No cook couscous

I’m melting!  Or at least wilting — I do not like this heat one bit!  With almost a month until summer officially starts, we broke down and turned on the A/C before bed two nights ago (not green, but the reality of living in a brick oven).   GRRR!

Mixed greens with radishes, sugar snap peas, garbanzo beans, onions, cucumbers, homemade vinaigrette, and sunflower seeds

With all this heat, ’tis the season for low- or no-cook meals.  Great big garden-fresh salads rounded out with a side of no cook couscous.  Couscous is technically a pasta, wheat-based and cut into tiny pieces.  Because the pieces are so small, you can “cook” couscous by simply adding the appropriate amount of water and waiting for it to absorb.  The golden ratio for couscous is 1 cup of grain to 1 1/2 cups of water.  I prepared a single serving: 1/4 cup dry grain + 3/8 cup water.  The couscous absorbed the water in about 15 minutes.  When the water was absorbed, I simply added a bit of olive oil and salt — one side of couscous, ready to go!

Notes:

  • Look for whole wheat couscous in bulk bins.
  • Couscous tastes great simply prepared, as suggested above.  Try adding chopped fresh herbs (parsley comes to mind) to spice it up a bit.
  • Couscous also works well as a grain base for vegetable stir fries.
  • I would never prepare a single serving of a grain that requires boiling (as most do), because it is much more efficient to cook multiple portions at once.  However, with the no-cook method, it doesn’t really matter, since it requires no energy.

Carrot rack

Room for one

I stopped in to Local Harvest Grocery yesterday, where I snagged the coveted carrot rack parking spot.  A couple of weeks ago, I discovered that they carry bulk (organic) rolled oats.  I eat oatmeal for breakfast pretty much every day.  I recently switched from quick oats to rolled oats — I now strongly prefer the texture and taste of rolled oats.  As part of the switch, I buy the rolled oats from bulk containers (compared to buying the quick oats in the cardboard canisters), so I reap the added benefit of less waste!

Weekend warrior

Friday: 10-mile round trip (RT) to the doctor, followed by 9-mile RT for a lunch date.  I underestimated that second trip — I estimated it at 6-7 miles until I mapped it to write this post.

Saturday: 4-mile RT to the last of the “winter” indoor farmers’ markets.  I bought some gorgeous early spring greens: spinach, arugula, red-leaf lettuce, plus green onions.  A flat tire stopped Matthew short of the market.  He replaced the tube and pumped it up, only to find that the tire itself was shot.

Fortunately, he was only two blocks from our local bike shop.  I caught up to him locking his bike up there on my way back.  We hung out in the park for fifteen minutes, waiting for the shop to open.  While I’m glad to have a bike shop within a mile or so of our apartment, I’ve often found the owner a bit gruff, which he proved again on Saturday (given my hubby’s tale of the encounter).  Compared to our experience later the same day with another bike shop, “Neighborhood Bike Shop,” as I’ll call it, has a thing or two to learn about customer service.

Anyway, new tire in place and ready to roll, we headed set out on our 22-mile RT ride to our commuter garden.  I rode the garden-to-home half of this trip back in August, when we sold my car, but this was the first time we rode it full circle.  We enjoyed a lovely lunch and a bit of (thankfully) light gardening in the middle.  We made it back home to rest up for Sunday . . . .

Sunday: 3 miles to church, 6.5 miles to brunch, 5.5 miles home, and done.  Moratorium on biking for the weekend!

Surprisingly, my legs feel pretty good for cramming 60 miles into the weekend.  Our car enjoyed it’s weekend rest period, sitting parked on the street from Thursday night until Monday morning 🙂

Carbon fast fast

If you’re asking yourself, “Is that a typo?  Did she mean to type “fast” twice?” the answer is, “No, it is not a typo.”  (Grammar and spelling errors in published writing — and this includes blogs — are one of my pet peeves.  I strive (with occasional lapses) to hold my writing to the same high standard to which I hold others’ writing.)

So, yes, I meant to type “fast” twice.

A couple of weeks ago, I gave up on my daily “Carbon Fast” posting.  It just didn’t seem to fit in with my regular posting/writing style, and, to be honest, the carbon fast posts failed to generate much discussion.  I wondered, “Will anyone notice that I’m not posting a daily carbon fast action?”

The answer?  A resounding, “No,” although I felt guilty for quitting (ah, the good old Catholic guilt).

However, in observing most of the carbon fast, I tried some new things, and have others on my “to do” list, so some good came of the venture, and Easter is almost here, so I won’t have to feel bad about not posting the carbon fast tips anymore!

Tiny choices success

I frequent the Tiny Choices blog for their green living insights, and as a fairly regular reader, I completed their survey.  Tiny Choices featured my survey last Thursday.  In it, I mentioned my struggle to speak up in a constructive way when I notice others making less than green choices.  In the comments, Nupur of One Hot Stove said, “My suggestion for encouraging others to change their behavior- simply modeling the behavior sometimes triggers others to think about it, more than saying anything about it.”

During a recent work gathering, someone pulled styrofoam plates out for the cake.  Knowing that we had a full cabinet of dishes right behind me, I hesitated for a moment, then grabbed a stack of real plates.  I swapped them for the styrofoam plates on the table, saying that I would take dish duty.  Everyone seemed happy with this arrangement.  I plan to look for opportunities to model greener choices, with a hope that over time they will spread.