Today was a good day for cycling. I reveled in the sunshine while happily supporting the local economy (Farmers Market and BookPeople) and gladly answering questions from passersby about my trike. The icing on the cake was picking up the weekend edition of the Moscow-Pullman Daily News to find that the article I for which I was interviewed this week, “A more bike-friendly Palouse“, made the front page! Kelli Hadley’s article is a well-written overview of what’s in the works to make Moscow and Pullman more bike-friendly. Check out Geoff Crimmins’ awesome photos of folks cycling on Sixth Street.
On Tuesday night I went to see a screening of “The Tipping Point: The Age of the Oil Sands” at the Kenworthy. If you are unfamiliar with the push to extract oil from the tar sands in Alberta, then visit TarSandsAction.org or watch The Tipping Point. If the Keystone XL Pipeline gets approved, if the tar sands continue to be exploited, then it’s “game over” for the climate. It’s already game over for the native people who are sick and have died of cancer because of pollution from the tar sands. This is why I have signed the petition asking President Obama to deny permission for the Keystone XL Pipeline, why I am sending this message of support to anyone engaged in peaceful protests against the pipeline in Washington, and why I pledge to keep cycling instead of driving. I hope you will join me.
I’ve been having some interesting discussions this week about why, even when faced with the facts, people continue to engage in activities that are harmful to themselves and the environment. It’s so easy to get demoralized when those around you insist that there is nothing we can do, that individual actions don’t make a difference.
Quite honestly, I fail to see the logic in this argument. First, every single thing you do actually does make a difference – the current state of the world is precisely the result of our individual actions. Whether you like it or not, every choice you make brings us closer to, or farther from, a world that is healthy, peaceful, safe and sustainable. The question is not whether or not your actions make a difference, but what kind of difference they make.
Yes, the world is full of people who don’t give a damn, who think what they do doesn’t matter, or think it’s too late to change anything. You can either listen to the naysayers – or you can choose to act in ways that support your vision of a better world.
Focusing on action instead of results is one of the best ways to stay positive in a world seemingly gone mad. Every act in alignment with your values will make you feel better. When negative thoughts threaten to swamp your boat, surf the net for inspiration – there are more success stories out there than you can possibly count! Connect with others who share your hopes and dreams – locally and globally.
Above all, be sure to have fun each and every day! Enjoy each opportunity to tap into your creativity. Balance action with rest, passion with humor, determination with detachment from results. Connect with those you love and support and those you love and support you. Learn about issues but don’t let dire predictions paralyze you. Again, action, connection, balance and humor are the best antidotes for paralysis and burnout.
Now, stop reading and go recharge those batteries!
This recipe is modified version of my mother-in-law’s recipe for “Rührteig“. It makes an excellent snacking cake (no frosting needed!) and makes enough extra for freezing or sharing with one’s coworkers. I use organic/local for most of the ingredients.
You can make a wheat version by replacing the flour mix with wheat flour, omitting the xanthan gum and using less milk.
NOTE: This recipe is wheat-free but not gluten-free. According to Health Canada, “the majority of people with CD can tolerate moderate amounts of pure oats, uncontaminated with other cereal grains such as wheat, barley and rye.” They go on to add that “there are limitations in the available scientific literature regarding the safety of pure oats for individuals with CD” and that “individuals with CD have proper follow up by a health professional, including initial and long term assessments.”
Grease a bundt pan and a loaf pan (or 3 loaf pans) with butter or margarine. Dust with white rice flour.
Pre-heat oven to 350°F.
In one bowl, combine the following flours (makes 4 cups of flour):
- 1/2 c. sorghum flour
- 1-3/4 c. oat flour
- 1-3/4 c. tapioca flour
- 4 tsp baking powder
In a large mixing bowl, beat 1/2 pound (1 cup or 2 sticks) of butter (or margarine). Beat in eggs and sugar alternately (add the vanilla at any time):
- 4 eggs (we get ours locally)
- 1-1/2 cups of sugar (organic evaporated cane juice)
- 1 tbsp vanilla
Alternately beat in flour mixture and milk or water (about 1-1/2 cups), a little at a time. I haven’t tried a dairy-free version yet but I think any milk substitute would work fine.
Add 1 tsp xanthan gum with the last addition of flour. We want the batter to be thick (kind of like a wet dough) but not so thick that the batter “climbs” the beaters which it will do with a vengeance if you add the xanthan gum too early.
To make the chocolate part of the dough, put half of the cake batter in another bowl. Beat in:
- 3 tbsp organic cocoa powder
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp milk (or more if needed)
Spoon most of each batter into the bundt pan and the rest into the loaf pan (or divide evenly between 3 loaf pans). Swirl the chocolate and plain batters together in each pan (I use a fork). It doesn’t have to be pretty – it’s going to taste yummy no matter what you do!
Bake 55-65 minutes.
Cool on cake racks for a few minutes and then remove from pans to cool completely. Can be frozen.
I have always loved butter. A few years ago, in an effort to avoid dairy, I switched to non-hydrogenated margarine. Now I’m back to butter. I blame Michael Pollan. After reading about the harrowing effects of the corn industry on our health, the economy and our environment in “The Omnivore’s Dilemma“, I resolved to eliminate corn and it’s derivatives (at least the non-organic versions) from my diet as much as possible. Turns out my favorite margarine contained non-organic corn products . It also turned out that, unlike milk and cheese, butter doesn’t seem to affect my fibromyalgia symptoms.
Hence my return to butter – with some caveats. I only buy organic butter (for the sake of the environment, animal welfare and my health) and I try to buy it on sale and in bulk (butter can be stored in the freezer for months). I also make it go a bit further with the following recipes:
Delicious butter taste but much easier to spread straight from the fridge.
- 1 cup (2 sticks) organic butter (softened)
- 1/2 cup organic oil (I use sunflower seed oil)
- salt to taste
Beat the butter then beat in oil a little at a time until fully blended. Refrigerate.
One of my favorite snacks is a toasted gluten-free waffle with butter and maple syrup. Invariably, I pour too much maple syrup over my waffle so this recipe helps with portion control and still tastes amazing!
- 3/4 cup organic butter (softened)
- 1/4 cup organic oil (I use sunflower seed oil)
- 1/2 cup organic maple syrup
- salt to taste
Beat until creamy. COLD-WEATHER HINT: Put the bowl inside another bowl containing a little warm (not hot) water. This will make it easier to fully blend the butter and maple syrup. Store in refrigerator.
Neither a borrower nor a lender be? While that may hold true for financial transactions, borrowing and lending are excellent ways to green up your media consumption and keep more green in your wallet, especially if you use your local library.
While most of us think of libraries as a place to borrow books, most libraries also carry magazines, CD’s, DVD’s and talking books. The Moscow Public Library is no exception. I love watching movies and tend to rent them from Howard Hughes Video in downtown Moscow (they have some great specials like $5 for 5 videos for 5 days). While I knew that the Moscow Public Libary carried DVD’s as well, I had never looked at their collection before. So Friday after work I decided to take a closer look – and was pleasantly surprised. I ended up renting several episodes of the Vicar of Dibley (which I had been unable to rent elsewhere) – and all for free*!
So take some time this holiday season to love your local library – and the environment.
*Library cards for the Moscow Public Library are free for residents of Latah County – you just have to show proof of residency, such as a utility bill.
This just in! Paradise Creek Bicycles (513 South Main Street in Moscow) is now carrying my favorite ear warmers for cycling – Rox Black Dog Earz. I love these because they exert no pressure on my ear cartilage and protect my ears from cold and wind.
What do ear warmers have to do with going green? Cycling is a terrific way to reduce fossil fuel consumption but most of us won’t cycle unless we’re comfortable – and believe me, there’s nothing more off-putting than an earache because your ears got cold!
While some cyclists prefer to wear a thin beanie under their helmet in cold weather, I find my head gets too hot. I’ve also seen cyclists wearing a toque (that’s Canadian for knitted hat) in place of a helmet in cold weather – yikes! Not safe at all! So the helmet ear warmers are a perfect solution – safety and warmth in one neat little package.
To read more about clothing for cycling comfort, visit my web page Dress for Success.
Happy Cold-Weather Cycling!