How to freeze food with out using plastic!

Posted on January 6, 2016 by The Zero-Waste Chef

When I post pictures of my jar-filled freezer on social media, I get lots of questions about it, usually along the following lines:

Is it safe to freeze food in glass? (Yes)
Do you use special glass for the freezer? (No)
Don’t your glass containers break? (Only that one time…)

I have had little trouble freezing food in glass. I do however take a couple of precautions:

Always leave headspace when freezing liquids. I prefer wide-mouth jars for freezing or at least jars without shoulders (i.e., straight sides all the way up to the top). I have broken only one glass container in the freezer—it’s one of those things you do only once. I filled a narrow-neck milk bottle with liquid (likely broth, I forget exactly). Even though I had left head space, when the liquid froze, it expanded and snapped the narrow neck cleanly off the (very nice) bottle. Oops.

Occasionally I’ll use pyrex round or rectangular containers with plastic lids, which I bought before I went plastic-free. I don’t use these very often in the freezer because I like to keep the glass portion of them free for roasting food.

Don’t overstuff your freezer with jars stacked all over the place willy-nilly. When you open your freezer door, jars might fall out onto the floor and break.

How to DIY Decorative Tree from Old Newspaper

How to DIY Decorative Tree from Old Newspaper

Posted from: iCreativeIdeas.com

Here is a super cute idea to recycle old newspaper and make a decorative tree. It looks so unique and beautiful. It’s very easy to make and doesn’t require weaving skill at all. Just some twisting and wrapping will do. You can work with your kids on it and they can learn the concept of recycling. I am sure they will have fun creating this beautiful piece of craft with their own hand. This decorative tree is a nice decoration for your home. Happy crafting!

Follow these eight easy steps to creative your finished newspaper tree!!!

How-to-DIY-Decorative-Tree-from-Old-Newspaper

 

Here are the supplies you may need:

  • Old newspaper;
  • Wire;
  • Glue;
  • Paint and brush;
  • Paper.

What Makes Pope Francis’ Environmental Activism Different

Published by Good on June 17, 2015  Written by Mark Hay

What Makes Pope Francis’ Environmental Activism Different

On Monday morning, the Italian magazine L’Espresso leaked a copy of Laudato Si’, Pope Francis’s eagerly awaited encyclical (a non-binding and fallible, but weighty papal teaching) on climate change, its effects on have-nots, and the role of the Catholic Church in supporting a green, sustainable future. A 192-page letter compiled by Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana, this Thursday the document will be sent out to 5,000 bishops and 400,000 priests around the world so that they might share the pope’s thoughts on these weighty topics with the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics. The Vatican, irate over the violation of its press embargo, has stressed that the leaked version may not be the final or authoritative draft, and the just-rushed translations are suspect and likely inferior to the coming official release. But from what we’ve seen so far, it looks like those expectant masses can look forward to some compelling environmental sermons.

While the turns of phrase in the text may be powerful, its basic message (support renewables, recognize climate change’s costs to the poor, etc.) probably won’t cover any truly new ground for the Pope, the Church, or climate change activists at large. In fact, the true power of this document—and the thing sending supporters and detractors into various tizzies—is less the encyclical’s content and more the Pope behind it, his mode of delivery, and the wave of effective advocacy he’s using the encyclical to portend.

A cursory scan of the Italian text’s limited available translations reveals it to be a forceful, lyrical document, bidding Catholics to “enlighten the masters of power and money so that they should not fall prey to the sin of indifference,” amongst other calls to action. Personifying the Earth, it makes pleading moral cases for a beneficial stewardship by man over the planet.

“Today we can’t avoid stating that a true ecological approach must always become a social approach,” the current draft loftily claims, “integrating justice in the debate around the environment, so that we listen to the cry of Earth as much as we listen to the one of the poor.”

But though this encyclical is the most concentrated and authoritative declaration on such issues to date, the Catholic Church has been making strong, progressive statements on the environment for about a quarter century now. The last two popes were especially vocal on issues related to climate change, although often in highly intellectual and abstract ways. In fact as early as 2008, members of the church indicated that we might see environmental degradation as one of the modern seven deadly sins. Pope Francis’s new encyclical refers explicitly to this precedent quite often, painting itself as if it were a document of continuity and clarity rather than novelty or innovative ideas. And those within the Catholic Church have long joined representatives of other faiths in making outright and explicit theological arguments about the need to stem pollution and save the environment, tying a usually dry scientific argument into the language of morality and brining a sense of incumbent duty into their pulpits.

Despite this ample and vocal precedent, ever since Pope Francis announced his intent to produce an encyclical last December, the world has been awaiting it with bated breath.

That’s probably in part because it’s the cornerstone of a year of intense activism, starting off in January with powerful statements about man’s definitive role in climate change, moving through a spring summit on environmental issues, and culminating with a speech before the United Nations General Assembly in September. His world tour will wrap up just before the globe’s leaders convene in Paris from November 30 to December 11 in an attempt to negotiate legally binding treaties that would stabilize greenhouse gas emissions and prevent catastrophic temperature rises—a process which he hopes to influence and help shepherd towards fruition.

But a pope going on a social campaign, encyclical in hand, is not necessarily cause for excitement in and of itself. For every influential encyclical-based campaign, like Pope John Paul II’s march against dictatorships in the 1980s, there’s a resounding dud like Pope Paul VI’s 1968 Humanae Vitae, which attempted (and in much of the world failed) to convince Catholics to reject birth control. Humanae Vitae especially made it clear that it’s pretty easy for Catholics to ignore papal teachings they disagree with, silencing social campaigns into irrelevance. And we might have expected, given the strong base of climate-skeptical Catholics in countries like America, that they might have tried to just ignore Laudate Sii as well (or at least brush it aside with minimal concern)—especially as Pope Francis’s previous pleas and first encyclical on morality seemingly had little effect on the agendas of most Catholic congregations in America.

Yet instead of just ignoring the now-leaked encyclical, opponents of the established messages contained within it have gotten their knickers all in a twist, crawling out of the woodwork to refute the document even before its release. Some have attacked the pope, saying that by accepting climate change as a dangerous reality, he is arrogantly trying to tout himself as a climate science expert. Others (like the Heartland Institute, a prominent Koch-backed anti-encyclical force) have softly tried to suggest that the pope’s intentions are good, but his facts are deeply flawed and his scientific advisors have misguided him. Some even approach the encyclical from a theological stance, picking a fight with the pope on what the Book of Genesis means when it refers to man’s stewardship over the earth and our responsibilities to the environment.

“Though Pope Francis’s heart is surely in the right place,” Heartland Institute president Joseph Bast recently cautioned, “he would do his flock and the world a disservice by putting his moral authority behind the United Nations’ unscientific agenda on the climate.”

“The pope ought to stay with his job,” a more blunt and less charitable U.S. Congressman (and climate change skeptic) James Inhofe later added.

Opponents probably felt that they had to engage aggressively with the document beyond a cursory refutation or rejection because climate change activists (even the secular ones) have painted it as a divine artifact of salvation for the movement. To get a sense of the level of enthusiasm and anticipation, just check out the epic preview trailer created for the document by some Brazilian activists. Many have stressed the document’s potential to speak about climate change to the whole of the Catholic world from a position of authority, using simple but compelling language to transform a dry debate on practical economics and scientific fact into a moral issue. Environmentalists see that the pope’s clout could instigate a potential sea change within his flock, jump-starting conversations the world over and significantly swaying the upcoming Paris talks.

“The expectations for this document are huge,” Neil Thomas, advocacy directory of the Catholic aid agency Cafod, wrote in The Guardian last month after attending the Vatican’s recent summit on climate issues. “Regardless of their faith, every single person who attended the meeting, alongside the general public, is looking to the Pope to drive momentum and create an atmosphere where world leaders will act on climate change, looking beyond national borders and our immediate generation.”

Proponents are certainly at least right about one thing: The encyclical is being delivered by someone in a place of trust and perceived integrity. Previous popes have been far less charismatic, direct, and popular than Pope Francis (whose global approval ratings were 60 percent in 2014, 84 percent amongst European Catholics). Since coming to power in March 2013, the present pope has proven himself a bold man, a savvy negotiator, and a smooth political operator, playing a major role in the ongoing reconciliation between America and Cuba and sneakily recognizing Palestine as a state for the first time in Vatican history—and that’s just within the past half-year.

In a sense, the encyclical was slated to start a beneficial conversation no matter what it held, just because it was so effectively teased by a charismatic salesman-pope and embraced conceptually by so many advocates, even before its release. Long before the leak, ecological Catholic groups reported that they were already getting more requests for information. In the face of this hype, opponents felt compelled to react. And in their reactions they’ve only wound up delivering more and more attention to the document, creating a virtuous (or vicious, depending on your viewpoint) cycle to the hype and generating a self-fulfilling prophecy for the encyclical and its contents.

It helps that we can now see that within the document (or at least its provisional translations) that it’s a text of some artistry and moral fortitude. It’s likely been crafted to be the ultimate global book club read, full of quotable bites and passages crafted to inspire thought and discussion. Take this gem, full of lamentation, personification, and bold assertions, for example:

“We have grown up thinking that we were [the Earth’s] owners and dominators, authorized to loot her. The violence that exists in the human heart, wounded by sin, is also manifest in the symptoms of illness that we see in the Earth, the water, the air and in living things.”

The encyclical really can jump-start climate change talks in the lead-up to the Paris negotiations, as advertised. But while many have sold the text itself as the groundbreaking juice needed to get things moving, the document is merely a jumper cable, conducting the power of an energetic leader and his campaign. What we’re counting on now is less the power of the encyclical than the potency of papal influence—the charismatic magic a man can work from a position of trust to create global conversations, name and shame world leaders, and promote righteous viewpoints. That’s not a bad thing for supporters to put their hopes into; Francis is an exceptionally popular figure with an established track record of moving his global agenda forward.

 

About Mark Hay Author:    An over-educated ex-grad student turned freelancer living in Brooklyn, Mark Hay has a background in history, sociology, and religious studies / theology. Nowadays he writes about anything under the big tent of culture, faith, and identity

How to Stop Wasting Money at the Grocery Store

19 Ways You’re Wasting Money at the Grocery Store
by Euna Park 6/10/15

Are you still spending too much money at the grocery store even with coupons and after reading tips on how to save money while shopping? Maybe that’s because some of your own shopping habits are making you buy and spend more. Take a look at our list of bad grocery shopping habits, and get rid of them once and for all!

1) Not checking what’s left in your pantry and fridge: Before you head to the grocery store, do a quick inventory of what’s left in your kitchen. Maybe that half-gallon of milk will last you through the week and you don’t need to buy another gallon after all. Not checking what’s left in your kitchen can make you buy more things than you actually need.

2) Not making a grocery list: Having a grocery list can help you shop faster and, of course, get everything you need. Forgetting to buy something is not only annoying and wastes time, but it also wastes money. When is the last time you went to the store to pick up that one thing you forgot to buy and ended up with a few extra things in your basket?

3) Avoiding crowds and shopping earlier in the week: Shopping on weekends or during busy hours can be really hectic — we get it. But not only do you buy more when you’re leisurely strolling through the aisles, but also retailers put out more coupons and deals during the latter half of the week when they know there will be more customers.

4) Bringing your kids to the store: While grocery shopping might seem like a fun family activity, it’s not helping you save any money. Kids will inevitably beg you for that candy bar or sugary cereal, and you’ll eventually give in.

5) Going to the store hungry: We’ve all made this mistake. Going to the grocery store hungry is a surefire way to buy things you don’t really need. Try not to shop with your nose, and avoid the freshly baked section if possible.

6) Using a large shopping cart: Using a spacious shopping cart can trick your mind into buying more things than you need. Try grocery shopping with a basket or a smaller cart, and you’ll be less inclined to pile things on.

7) Buying overpriced “convenient” foods: We’ve all heard the saying, “time is money.” But is it really? While it might save you a couple extra minutes to buy shredded carrot, sliced apples, and peeled garlic, let’s compare the prices: at Safeway, peeled garlic costs $5.49 a pound, whereas unpeeled garlic costs 79 cents a pound. That’s almost seven times more expensive. And with this garlic-peeling trick, you can peel a whole head of garlic in just 10 seconds, so why pay extra for convenience?

8) Buying meat or cheese from the deli: Buying fresh meat, seafood, or cheese from the deli is usually more expensive than buying prepackaged. Unless you need a specific cut of meat that isn’t in the meat section, try to avoid the deli.

9) Not buying generic: Oftentimes, grocery stores will sell generic brands or store-brand versions to your favorite brand goods, and they will be much cheaper.

10) Buying things fresh instead of frozen: There are some things that are worth buying fresh, but there are others that are just as good frozen. If you’re buying fruits to throw into your blender for a smoothie, they don’t need to be fresh. Frozen blueberries, strawberries, etc., are picked at their peak of ripeness and frozen immediately, so they taste just as good and will last longer (and keep your smoothie ice-cold!).

11) Buying disguised water: If you’re buying things like quarts of chicken stock and bottled tea, you’re essentially paying extra for water. One bottle of green tea can cost between $1 and $2, whereas 20 bags (therefore, 20 servings) of green tea cost $3 to $4. An even more drastic example is chicken stock. One quart of chicken stock can cost anywhere from $2 to $4, whereas a jar of chicken base costs $3 to $6 and can make 10 quarts of stock. Plus you can also save fridge and pantry space if you buy less disguised water.

12) Buying organic when you don’t need to: Buying organic can get pricey, especially if you’re buying everything organic. Knowing when to buy organic and when not to buy organic is crucial if you want to save some money. Fruits like avocado, pineapple, and watermelon don’t need to be organic because their thick skins protect the flesh from pesticides, while vegetables like onions don’t attract many pests at all. See the full list of foods you don’t need to buy organic.

13) Not buying seasonal goods: Buying fruits and vegetables that are in season will help you save so much money. Use this app to figure out when certain produce is in season, and plan your meals around that.

14) Not comparing prices: Not only should you be comparing prices between different brands, but you should also be comparing the price of different sizes within a brand. Should you buy in bulk or individually? Should you buy the larger, family-sized bottle or a smaller one? Try calculating the price per pound or ounce to see which is a more frugal choice. Also retailers like to put the most expensive products at eye level, so try looking at the top or bottom shelves for better prices.

15) Not using coupons for household essentials/staples: We’re often told to use coupons with caution — buying something we don’t need just because we have a coupon does not save money. But for household essentials like laundry detergent, paper towels, toilet paper, etc., keep an eye out for coupons and stock up on those staples when they’re on sale.

16) Not taking things out at the last minute: If you’re standing in line at the cash register and realize you don’t really need that bag of pretzels you impulsively threw in, don’t hesitate to take it out. You can either return it to the aisle or ask the cashier to take it.
Impulse buying at the cash register: Oh, those candy bars and sweet snacks will forever tempt us at the cash register. But be strong and try not to grab anything at the last minute! 17) Not only are you impulse buying, but those candy bars are often not the best price compared to buying in bulk at the candy aisle.

18) Not bringing your reusable shopping bag: Many states are moving toward charging customers for grocery bags, and while paper bags are only 10 cents each, they sure can add up year after year. If you don’t have reusable shopping bags, try making your own with a t-shirt.

19) Not checking your receipt: Start a habit of checking your receipt to see if there were any mistakes. You can even use that time to really think about whether you need everything you just bought. Most grocery stores will accept returns for a full refund.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Jae Payne

Apple serves up social conscience with its shiny gadgets

By Seth Feigerman  – June 8, 2015  interview posted to Mashable.com

On the eve of Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, CEO Tim Cook sat down with Mashable for an extensive conversation — not about flashy gadgets and vanity sales statistics, as one might expect in the lead-up to one of Apple’s major media events for the year, but about the need for greater diversity in the technology industry.

“It’s the future of our company,” Cook said in the interview, when asked about Apple’s attempts to improve diversity within the company. “I think the most diverse group will produce the best product. I firmly believe that.”

Talking about diversity instead of products ahead of a developer conference? File this under the long list of things Steve Jobs would probably never have done.

Cook’s interest in diversity, in climate change, in gay rights, in a long list of social issues that most CEOs rarely touch, shows that the Apple CEO is as interested in the company’s moral standing as in its innovation

Since Cook took over as CEO following Jobs’ death in 2011, he has differentiated himself from his famous predecessor by staking out moral ground on issues ranging from diversity to renewable energy to philanthropy.

In the process, he has arguably helped polish and modernize the Apple brand. Indeed, he may just prove that Apple’s most powerful new product of the Tim Cook era may be Tim Cook himself.

Where is the business world’s North Star?

In speeches and interviews during the last couple years, Cook has spoken about his experience growing up in rural Alabama at a time when segregation was still sanctioned. He quotes Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, citing their work for social justice. At Apple, he said in one commencement speech this year, he found a powerful platform to exert change.

His inspiration, he said, was Jobs.

“I always figured that work was work. Values had their place. And yes there were things that I wanted to change about the world, but I thought I would have to do that in my own time, not in the office,” Cook recalled during a speech at George Washington University. “Steve didn’t see it that way. He was an idealist.”

Jobs’ idealism, if one can call it that, appeared to be focused on the power of technology and innovation. He was not particularly outspoken on social issues, nor was he an active philanthropist in public.

Cook, in contrast, appears to be pushing Apple’s towards an image of charity and compassion — through speeches, yes, but also by allowing Apple to match employees’ charitable donations, issue transparency reports on diversity and encourage employees to march for social issues like gay rights. He recently revealed plans to give away all of his Apple fortune.

“Steve would never have taken this kind of vocal position. It was just not in his nature,” says Tim Bajarin, an Apple analyst who covered Jobs and the company for 35 years. “Steve was so focused on technology and changing the world through technology, whereas with Tim, I think he sees his role in technology as one where you can actually exact specific change.”

Cook has rallied with Apple employees for gay pride and emerged as a prominent face in the LGBT community when he proudly declared himself to be a gay man last October — making him the first Fortune 500 CEO to do so. The CEO has put more emphasis on renewable energy and made headlines for telling a shareholder to get out of Apple stock after suggesting the company forfeit environmental efforts.

In an interview with Charlie Rose last year, Cook laid out his personal values with conviction: “Treating people with dignity. Treating people the same. That everyone deserves a basic level of human rights regardless of their color, regardless of their religion, regardless of their sexual orientation, regardless of their gender. That everyone deserves respect. I’ll fight for it until my toes point up.”