Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

Green Christmas… Ho ho ho!

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Change the World Wednesday – 17th Dec

Yes, there is a CTWW today.

Don’t buy it, make it!

Do something extraordinary, totally outside your box.

An example, ham, a traditional seasonal meat (yes, I know you veges and vegans won’t like this, but there are still a few normal people left).

Everybody who does, rushes out at this time of the year to buy the expensive traditional foods for Christmas and the New Year. Prices are bumped up because the shops know you’ll buy it.

Loevly ham

Loevly ham

Well, DON’T!

Make it.

Oh, I can just hear you all now, “make ham, don’t be stupid, that’s too hard!”

I can assure you it’s not.

Ham can be made from almost any piece of pork, big or small. I’m not suggesting that you buy a whole 20lb leg of pork, maybe half if you have a big family gathering planned, maybe a smaller piece of loin. I have made it from inch thick pork chops before.

Basically, the fresh raw meat needs to be pickled in brine. A big piece, two or three days, smaller pieces a couple of hours. Washed, dried, and baked off in the oven or simply in 170ºF water until the inner temperature reaches 155ºF; if your pork piece is about 3lb it will take about 3 hours. You’ll need a meat thermometer to measure this. There is the option of smoking, but not evryone has a smoker.

You'll need one of these

You’ll need one of these

Many recipes call for a cure, to me that just complicates things, you don’t need a cure. Other recipes call for juniper berries and others, you don’t need them, use whole cloves and bay leaves.

Check this site out for some tips and a brine recipe. Remember forget the cure.

Maybe ham isn’t your thing, try something else a traditional Christmas cake, or a steamed fruit pudding. There are plenty of recipes on the net, you just have to look.

Part of the secret of this challenge is returning the spirit to Christmas, taking power back from the companies and commercial interests.

Have a Merry Christmas, and I’ll be back next week… maybe I’ll have a surprise.

Change the World Wednesday – 26th Nov

A sure sign that it’s Christmas… Small is taking a break until the New Year.

It’s been a quiet week, not a lot has happened.

We’ve had some rain since last CTWW, and are expecting more today, possibly a storm. The weather change over the weekend left me all stuffed up, but getting over that now.

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This week’s CTWW is not so much a CTWW as a plea for help by Small.

What would you like to see on Reduce Footprints in 2015?

Pop on over to see the rest on her blog and add some ideas.

Me, I don’t have much. I rather like her blog. I don’t follow product reviews, nor Special offers, not on any blog. Some of the recipes I like, even though they tend toward the vegan. Meet & Greet, I think that needs a facelift. I must admit since it was reduced to once a month, I have been rather lax about participating because I forget it.

However, I am going to throw out a challenge.

Once Thanksgiving is over people begin thinking about Christmas trees.

deadtree

A slow Christmas death

The last thing the world needs is another dead tree.

Please don’t do it. Don’t kill another tree.

If you must use the imitation tree you saved from last year, but don’t buy another.

Think outside the box; in fact you can use the box, or just branches, or just your imagination.

Alternative-Xmas-Tree-281x375If you don’t like this, search ‘alternative christmas tree’ on Google, there are plenty of ideas there.

But please don’t fall victim to commercial products, or become a serial Christmas tree killer.

Change the World Wednesday – 19th Nov

Is it too early for seasons' greetings?

Is it too early for seasons’ greetings?

Christmas is just five weeks away. Somehow, I don’t seem that excited any more.

We finally had two days of rain, not torrential stuff, but it wet the ground and brought some new life to the praça.

The plants I donated to the botequim are doing nicely, better than they did alongside the house where they only got sun for half the day. They are all showing new growth.

My herbs are also doing well. The guava tree is full of fruit and I have harvested three lots of chillies. The passion fruit vines are growing prolifickly and I watch each day for signs of the first flowers

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With the silly season nearly upon us CTWW is seasonally appropriate.

Cheers!

If you are planning to entertain friends and family this season, and plan to serve “adult” beverages, do a little research and plan an Eco-friendly bar. Here are some things to consider:

  • Wine is the most Eco-friendly alcoholic beverage. Choose organic varieties which don’t include preservatives. While boxed wine may not look classy, it is the most earth-friendly of wine packaging options. Glass bottles would be the next choice.
  • If you’re serving beer, cans are better than bottles because they weigh less which gives them a lower carbon footprint.
  • Opt for liquors and wine with natural cork instead of synthetic corks or metal tops.
  • Avoid frosted bottles. Chemicals are used to create them.
  • Look for beverages which are distilled locally and check that the company uses minimal energy and water to create their libations.
  • Serve drinks in glass rather than plastic and use glass straws.
  • Use cloth cocktail napkins instead of paper.
  • Use local, organic fruits and herbs in mixed drinks. And don’t forget organic “munchies” to go along with the cocktails.
  • Make ice in an ice tray rather than use the automatic ice maker in the refrigerator. You’ll use less energy.

The idea, this week, is to plan ahead to ensure that your home bar is “green”.

OR …

If you aren’t including alcohol in your celebrations, make plans to “green” any get-togethers you are hosting or attending. Consider local, organic foods and reusable serving pieces. If you are traveling to an event, share a ride with others. Use natural elements to decorate. Supply visitors with comfy slippers or socks so that they will feel comfortable to remove their shoes at the door.

 

OR …

If you’ll be spending quiet time at home this season, plan to make the experience green. Use all the ideas above, on a smaller scale, to make your personal time fun and Eco-friendly.

Well, the purple bit doesn’t apply, that’s just plain silly. Imagine Christmas and New Year without a tipple ot two, takes all the fun out of it.

I’m not planning on anything extravagant, so I’ll do the blue bit with the green bits added.

Screw tops I leave on the shelf

Screw tops I leave on the shelf

Yes, wine will be included. Some orgnic wines are appearing here in Brazil, but they are invariably stoppered with synthetic corks or screw-tops, both of which I try to avoid, particularly the latter; I hate them. When I buy wine, it sometimes sits for years before I get to drink it, so cardboard is out; besides, I think that is so tacky. Boxed wine also has a plastic bladder, so I wonder at the environmental value of boxed wine.

I refuse beer in cans, mainly. With the exception of three options; Guinness, Murphy’s Stout (both imported as cans) and a São Paulo beer that is only available in cans. Beer cans are lined with BPA or BPS, and for that reason I avoid them.

Non-alcoholic drinks, soda, etc don’t feature in my celebrations, unless for the kids, that’s unavoidable. But I do make fresh fruit juice with no added sugar.

There are some beers here in Brazil that are made with GMO corn, I refuse to buy them as well.

Plastic, wouldn't consider it.

Plastic, wouldn’t consider it.

Plastic cups… I continue in my crusade at the bar to get the regulars to return to glass. Even at work, I encourage my students to drink from glass rather than the disposable cups provided by my bossette.

At the botequim, if there is a spill, we use cloths to wipe up. Generally speaking serious drinkers don’t spill their drinks, but it does happen, and there is the condesation that drips of bottles and glasses, that also gets the cloth treatment.

Pestiscos (bar snacks, munchies), I prefer to make my own at home and take to the bar, which I share around of course; they are always welcomed. Organic they may not be, but they are better than the flour-based commercial ones.

I wouldn’t consider using an auto-ice maker, all my ice is made in ice trays. Domestic appliances like this I consider a waste of resources that panders to consumerism.

So within limits, I do adhere to green principles, even for the silly season; and beyond.

Not a CTWW Post – 25th Dec

Day off…

BBQ for ex and kids today.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas.

I Boobed

Yesterday was Monday, need I say more?

The above is a hypothetical question, it doesn’t need an answer.

With PC problems, internet problems, best part of two days with almost no access I got confused and posted today’s post instead of Monday Moaning

😦

So today you get…

cartoon-epa-santa-claus

Not a CTWW Post – 18th Dec

This was me yesterday

This was me yesterday

OMG, now it’s Thursday.

I had so much on yesterday. Read Not a Damned Thing and you’ll see why.

I didn’t even get the dishes done! Oh, wait, that’s normal.

The plants only got watered because it rained overnight.

I got some blogging done, mostly minimal posts with a single, but pertinent, image. By the time it got to 11pm, I ran out of steam. I typed in the title, and stared at a blank screen for several distraught moments and decided the best place was bed; as I wasn’t in bed, I rectified the situation.

Do you ever have those days?

So, what does one do on a CTWW, that’s not a CTWW on a Wednesday,  but a Thursday?

Does it even qualify?

We are all gearing up for the Silly Season, heck it’s only a week away, and I haven’t been near a shop. I don’t intend to go near a shop until after New Year.

My thoughts are on how we can recycle for Christmas.

I saw this lovely image that represents recycling, so a quick plug for the site from which it was purloined.

If you are lucky enough to live near Buxton Market Place they may be doing the same thing as last year, check the link, and offering to accept your unwanted presents in return for something you want.

A Bit of History

Many people are under the impression that it was Coca Cola who turned Santa Claus red. Certainly from the 1930s Coca Cola has capitalised on a red Santa as it suits their corporate colours.

But Santa was based on Saint Nicholas of Myra, Turkey, who was a bishop in the 3rd century. The red and white comes from the colour of the bishop’s robes.

My Not a CTWW challenge this week, is to avoid any product that uses a commercialised form of Santa Claus. Now in today’s commercialised world that is a hard one.

Leave a comment tell me the about what you hate about the commercialisation of  Christmas, or the worst advertising you’ve seen.

Mine, here in Brazil, is a TV ad that implies, in fact brainwashes you into thinking that only Coca Cola can bring you happiness and joy. Every time I see that ad I want to puke.

carolseverywhereOh, and Christmas carols in shops and stores…

Don’t get me started.

 

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