Thursday, August 30, 2007

Rock News

* Not bad for the man formerly known as Haggis and Kid Chaos (of Four Horsemen, The Cult and Guns 'n' Roses fame). This is old news, but it's new to me.

* Talk about a Rock Doc! Like we needed one more thing to make Queen an even cooler band.

* Founder of CBGBs dies following complications from lung cancer.

* White Trash Reunion! Playing Don Hill's in NYC tonight! Click here to see their videos. The Crawl was directed by Paul Rachman.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


After a morning of weeding the garden, then running errands (hardware store, Trader Joe's), I thought I'd tackle the screened-in porch. Doesn't look as if it's been cleaned in quite some time. I dragged a water hose to the backyard, took everything out of the porch (giant dog crate, six chairs, fake ficus - no, seriously - big blue bucket), then with the hose on low, started spraying the floor down. As soon as I started sweeping away the water, I hear the lawn guys start working out front. UGH! I've been hoping they'd show up because the lawn is really tall, but it figures they'd show when I just piled a bunch of junk back there. I quickly threw the stuff back into the porch area and as I dragged the hose off the back lawn I think I startled one of the guys.

Now I'm back at the kitchen table after pouring myself a glass of water. If you know me, you know I usually like my water in the form of a cup of strong coffee. Not a big water drinker. Hey, I know half your body weight in ounces of water is good for you* (*the average, healthy you. Some folks don't need that much water. I'm not dispensing advice here, I'm actually about to request it), but I have a hard time remembering to drink it throughout the day. Usually I remember right before bed and I chug a glass or two and then have to pee in the middle of the night. Hate that!

I just Googled helpful hints to drinking water and some of the ideas I already follow. Here are some tips - especially useful today because it's supposed to get to 93° today in Portland!

* Add lemon or lime juice to your water to make it taste better - I totally do that. Put a big hunk of lemon (when I remember to buy lemons) right in the glass.
* Drink through a straw - yep, do that too. Makes it go down faster, smoother. Love straws. Plus all that acidic lemon juice isn't touching the old choppers.
* Keep filling the same bottle of water to track how much you drink - I have my favorite glass that I use (tall Luminarc tumbler) and I think it's about 16 ounces.
* Refrigerate water with some mint leaves to make it taste better - oh, that sounds good. I also like the way cucumber water tastes. But I never remember to buy cucumbers.
* Use a water filter for better tasting water - I do! Expensive, R2D2 looking water filter. Won't mention the name because it's one of those multilevel marketing things that I hate. But if you buy one from an NCNM student rep when they have vendor fairs at school then you can get one at a decent price. Actually, I think I'm supposed to be a rep (how I got mine at a discount price), but I've never sold one (hate multilevel marketing schemes, no matter how great the product).
* Use a digital watch that beeps hourly to remind you to drink a glass every hour - ooh, the wear a digi watch thing is not for me. I did once downloaded a program for my Palm Pilot that is supposed to do the same thing. That is, if I used it...

Okay, your turn. Tell me how you remember to drink water daily. Lawn guys are gone, I'm back to porch cleanin'...

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Grow Fresh Air

One more reason to toss that fake ficus:

I remember reading an article forever ago about houseplants that reduce indoor air pollution. There is a book that was referenced in the article, listing the top air cleaning houseplants. NASA even did a bunch of research on this subject!

Who knew pothos were actually useful (and not just indestructible)?

Here's some more info from National Geographic's The Green Guide:

Formaldehyde: The Boston fern (Nephrolepi exalta "Bostoniensis"), Florist's mums (Chrysanthemum morifolium), the Gerbera daisy (Gerbera jamesonii) and the Dwarf date palm (Phoenix roebelenii) are all highly effective at reducing indoor levels of formaldehyde, a contaminant present in many household items (including particleboard, carpet backings, some grocery bags, facial tissues, paper towels and permanent-press clothing) and released by gas stoves.

Toluene/Xylene: Add an Areca palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens), the Moth orchid (Phalenopsis) and the Dwarf date palm to your indoor greenery, all of which are effective at removing xylene and toluene, harmful volatile organic chemicals which can be emitted from gasoline, adhesives, ceiling tiles, computer screens, paints, inks used in photocopiers, stains and varnishes, and upholstery among other common household products and materials.

It's not just our material things, but our breath contains bioeffluents--such as ethyl alcohol, acetone, methyl alcohol and ethyl acetate--that also contribute to poor indoor air quality, particularly in a crowded classroom. The beautiful peace lily is remarkably effective at addressing these problems.

Other hardworking and beautiful indoor plants include bamboo palm (Chamaedorea), Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema), English Ivy (Hedera helix), the indoor dracaenas (Dracaena "Janet Craig," D. marginata, D. massangeana and D. warnekii), and the snake plant or mother-in-law's tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata laurentii).

Monday, August 27, 2007

I want to say one word to you. Just one word.


According to WebMD, there is still some question whether bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical found in plastics (baby bottles, food containers, water bottles, Nalgenes, etc.) poses a health risk.

BPA acts like estrogen, this effect first noticed back in the '30s on rats who had oopherectomies. DES came along and was found to be more powerful than BPA, and well, we all know the rest of that story. Apparently, BPA is not all that stable and over time is released into food, water, nature, sippy cups...whatever it comes in contact with.

Although the "jury is still out" on the actual effects of BPA on humans, there is definitive proof of it's estrogenic effects as well as it's ubiquitous presence due to constant exposure.

I won't quote the entire article, click on the above link and read for yourself. I am posting these bulletpoints from the WebMD article:

A panel of 38 BPA researchers recently issued a report saying they are "confident" that:
• Low doses of BPA have biological effects.
• BPA is everywhere -- in the water, in the air, and in the ground. Estrogen-like effects now seen in wild animals are similar to those seen in lab animals exposed to low doses of BPA.
• BPA levels commonly seen in humans are higher than those that cause adverse effects in lab animals.
• BPA has different effects at different stages of life.
• BPA "reprograms" genes -- meaning that toxic effects may show up long after exposure.

It goes on to say that expert panels have minimal to some concern with regards to the health risks of BPA.

We learned in school (and it's also on the EWG website - see link below) that if plastics cannot be avoided to reduce exposure by not heating plastic containers (like hot water in Nalgenes or nuking leftovers), removing foods (especially high fat content foods) from plastic wrap and storing in alternative wrappings (wax paper) or glass containers and avoiding containers with the 7 recycling code (1, 2, & 4 are safer). Also look for plastic wraps that are labelled BPA free.

Another reference
Link to Environmental Health Perspectives
BPA's official MySpace page - 'cause this is fair and equal blogging
Environmental Working Group's BPA info page

Friday, August 3, 2007

Oven-fried chicken

This blog is turning into the Gluten-Free Food Network, I swear.

This is what I made for dinner tonight. Gillian's Italian Bread crumbs rock, they are made from rice (and what I use to top my baked mac & cheese). Haven't eaten dinner yet, but the chicken looks and smells gooooood! Made a side of roasted potatoes, broccoli, onions & garlic. Next time I'll make some mashed potatoes, I think. Mmm, potatoes...

Also found this awesome looking G-F bread online. They don't deliver, but are available on the east coast, but not as far south as Virginia (not yet). Here's the link. The bread looks so yum and crusty!

1 cup buttermilk (or 1c milk with 1 tablespoon vinegar)
1/8 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons Frank's Hot Sauce
1 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves, minced (or 1 teaspoon crushed garlic)
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)

8-10 chicken pieces (breasts, thighs and drumsticks) with skin and bones
1 cup Gillian's Gluten-free Italian Breadcrumbs
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup millet flour
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 tablespoons melted butter mixed with 2 tablespoons olive oil

Whisk buttermilk, oil, hot pepper sauce, mustard, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in large bowl to blend well. Add onion, then chicken and turn to coat. Cover; chill at least 3 hours or up to 1 day, turning chicken occasionally.

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Place racks on a large rimmed baking sheet or two. Mix breadcrumbs, parmesan, flour, paprika and cayenne in large baking dish to blend. Remove chicken from marinade, drip excess off and dredge chicken in bread crumb mixture, coating both sides. Arrange chicken, skin side up, on racks on baking sheets. Let stand 30 minutes or until room temperature.

Drizzle butter/oil mixture over chicken. Bake until crisp, golden and cooked through, about 40-50 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

To make this recipe dairy-free, substitute a milk alternative to make the marinade, or just use an oil and vinegar based recipe. Also, delete the parmesan cheese from the bread crumbs.