Green City Living

Buying Local: Week 15 & 6th CSA

We have really been rolling with our box this week.

K made a tasty veggie ragu Saturday night, then we used the cucumbers in a tangy yogurt sauce Sunday, and we also tried our hand at cooking green beans two different ways.

CSA week 5

We are going to attempt to finally get through an entire box without any of it going to waste. I will keep you updated if we accomplish that. Fingers crossed.

What We Bought:

  • Bell peppers
  • Red thumb potatoes
  • Mix tomatoes
  • Jersey mac and pristine apples
  • Mira sweetcorn
  • Candy onions
  • Newhall Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Assorted cucumbers
  • Green Beans
  • Jalepenos

    veggie sauce

    veggie ragu sauce

What We Learned:

  • Thank goodness we have compost because we are creating a lot of food waste when we don’t get to something on time.
  • To use up some of the veggies from the previous week and a couple of the new ones, K made a fantastic red vegetable sauce. We ate some and then froze the rest.
  • You can freeze corn! We got 6 ears of corn in our box so we are going to save a few by cutting the kernels off the cob and freezing it for later.

Buying Local: Week 14

CSA week 4 (2)

We have eaten just a bit of everything so far, but haven’t been able to fully get through any produce from last week’s CSA box. I had a couple beet smoothies and made a big batch of roasted veggies to take for lunch this week. For dinner the other night, K made some omelets with a mish mosh of veggies folded inside.

week 14

As usual, I ate most of the fruit from last week, so popped over to the farmers market to get some more this weekend.

What We Bought:

  • Dozen eggs from Benton Harbor, MI
  • Raspberries from Benton Harbor, MI
  • Blueberries from Bangor, MI

What We Learned:

  • We are getting better at incorporating our produce into basically all of our meals. A piece of my breakfast, lunch, and dinner, can easily have something from our box in it.
  • Basically, any vegetable chopped up and added to an omelet is delicious!

5 Reasons Why I Love Living in the City

I have lived in two major cities in my life so far.

mall

The nation’s capital, Washington, DC

Planetarium

and the pride of the Midwest, Chicago, IL

While living in the city does has some setbacks (so many sirens), city life has become a part of me in many ways.

Without further adieu, here are

The 5 Reasons Why I

Love Living In the City

1. Being able to walk everywhere

I can pretty much access all of life’s necessities via my own two feet. Within just a few blocks are my gym, the mailbox, the bank, the pharmacy, a grocery store, tons of restaurants, a farmers market, a zoo, and Lake Michigan.

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Just steps away is Lincoln Park Zoo

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A few steps more and I can dip my toes in the Lake

In DC, I had the ultimate luxury of being able to walk to work. The 20-minute walk to and from was my favorite way to begin and end the day. In the year and a half I lived there, I never once took the Metro to work. I walked rain or shine.

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Not many people actually live in downtown DC, but I lived smack in the middle in Chinatown

2. If I can’t walk, public transportation is always an option

Yes, there are some things that are a bit farther outside the radius of the distance I would casually walk to. But there are also some times I will make a day of it if it is nice out, like the one time in DC where I decided to walk 4 miles to and from Trader Joes.

Our location here in Chicago is right near the L and many bus lines heading into the Loop. In DC, I lived a block from the one Metro stop that could connect me to all other lines.

3. Never far from something interesting

Living in a city basically means there is ALWAYS something going on, much to the chagrin of drivers and people trying to go about their daily lives without getting stampeded by Lollapalooza attendees.

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See a movie in Millennium Park

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Go to antique and vintage markets

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Play softball on the National Mall

 

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Attend a march for a good cause

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See your favorite sports teams play

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Pick up your produce from a farmers market

4. So many spaces to exercise & explore

A lot of people think that when you live in the city it becomes harder to exercise. That is absolutely not true. While I am a bit further away from acres of undeveloped green space, I do have access to some of the greatest spaces to work up a sweat.

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Go for a run along the Lakefront Trail

Not only are there so many cool places outside to go work out, there are also so many different kinds of gyms that everyone can find something they are interested in. Aerial yoga? Got it. Trapeze lessons? Got it. American Ninja Warrior gym? Got it.

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Running the steps of the Lincoln Memorial

 

I became a part of a great fitness community while I lived in DC called November Project. It’s free and we worked out all over the Capital. From the Capitol building steps to underneath the cherry blossoms, we were everywhere. Now in Chicago, I meet up with November Project at the Bean and everywhere else in between.

5. Being able to be a part of so many different things

I am involved in almost way too many things. I serve on a non-profit associate board, regularly volunteer at beach clean ups, and participate in numerous environmental functions.

 

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Election day didn’t turn out like I thought, but I was able to serve as an election judge at my district’s polling place.

 

 

 

 

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Last year, I became a Chicago Conservation Corps leader. I can partake in projects that better my community and environment.

 

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Marching with thousands on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington DC’s March for Climate

 

 

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Cleaning up Montrose Beach

 

So that’s it! Do you have any additional reasons for why you love living in the city? Obviously, these are not all the reasons, and city living has some downsides, so let me know! What did I miss?

Keeping Food From the Landfill: ’17 Totals So Far

We are now in the 8th month of the year! Yikes!

And once a month I have been putting my food scraps out by my front door to be picked up by Healthy Soil Compost.

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Before I put it on our stoop in the morning before pickup, I weigh my bucket with a hanging scale and mark down the weight in a spreadsheet (nerd status over here).

Here are the totals from the past few months:

January 15.5 lbs

February 17.22 lbs

March 12 lbs

April 18.74 lbs

May 8.8 lbs

June 20.44 lbs

July 22.84 lbs

So far this year we have diverted 187.66 pounds of organic waste from the landfill!

Buying Local: Week 13 & 5th CSA

market saturdays

It was a CSA week this past Saturday and we got a pretty amazing box. My bag was exploding with produce as I lugged it home. It had to be the heaviest one yet!

CSA week 4

What We Bought:

  • Boone Green Beans
  • Cappuccino SweetCorn
  • Yukon Gold Potatoes
  • Pristine apples
  • Cauliflower
  • Red Beets
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Eggplant
  • Green Peppers
  • Napa Cabbage
  • Summer Squash
  • White Onions
  • Oberweis milk from family farms around IL and WI
  • Turano bread from Berwyn, IL

What We Learned:

  • K does not like Napa cabbage. We chopped some up for a slaw with our BBQ chicken tacos and after a taste, he promptly refused to ruin his taco with it.
  • Shelling peas is intensive work and that is why they sat in the back of the fridge until they were finally composted.
happy sunfloer

Besides our CSA box, I picked up a vibrant sunflower at the farmer’s market. She’s so pretty.

 

How I Pack My Lunch

Back to the days of packing my lunch for work!

I pretty much never buy lunch and I never did even in my school days when we could purchase “hot lunch.”

 

 

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Locally produced turkey sandwich

 

Not only does this practice save me money, but it also saves on food packaging and waste. Ziploc bags are never on my shopping list because I use SnackTaxis to hold all my snacks and lunch essentials.

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I have had them for a number of years and I love them. They are machine washable and I just let them air dry over night. They even stand up to a PB&J with a bit too much jelly. Just wipe it off and toss in the washer!

Their fun designs also can make a boring lunch a little bit more exciting! And my lunches are pretty boring (see the turkey sandwich with just bread and turkey above).

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My handy lunch bag has also been hanging around since my college days and it too is machine washable. So when I leave something in there just a little too long and it starts to get a bit funky, that can easily be fixed.

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For foods that cannot go in a SnackTaxi, I just use Pyrex glass containers for everything from yogurt to soup. Yeah, glass is heavy, but whatever, bring on the muscles!

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Our regular silverware from home comes with me to work when necessary and then I just bring it home every day to pop in the dishwasher. I don’t find it to be any extra work.

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On top of all the other necessary pieces, I keep a napkin in my drawer at my desk! It definitely comes in handy when I am eating a juicy peach or there is a snack to grab in the break room.

How do you keep your work day lunches package-free?

Buying Local: Week 12

It was not a CSA week this week and I eat fruit pretty fast, so I had to run over to the farmers market to get some supplemental fruits (and a giant sweet potato).

peachers

What We Bought:

  • Oberweis milk from family farms around IL and WI
  • Greenridge Farm lunch meat from Elk Grove Village, IL
  • Turano bread from Berwyn, IL
  • S. Rosen French rolls from Chicago, IL
  • Peaches from St. Joseph, MI
  • Blueberries from Marengo, IL
  • Sweet potato from Marengo, IL

CSA4 week 2

What We Learned:

  • I tried the beet smoothie K made last week, unfortunately, I think I used a little too much beet and not enough berries…
  • We got almost got through the rest of our CSA box this week!

 

beet smoothie

So beety.

 

Herb Garden Failure

I have something to admit.

I have now failed twice on our herb garden. First, we tried growing kitchen herbs from seedlings and they never made it.

Then we tried starter plants.

The cilantro was the first to go.

cilantro

Slowly others followed suit.

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Our apartment just does not get enough direct sunlight. Between the 3 story buildings and the leaves on the trees, there was only a very tiny bit of time where we got any real sun.

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At one point I started transferring them all outside to our fire escape when the sun started to lower in the late afternoon. It was not enough sun, but it was the best we could do with our location.

After a while of attempting that, I had to come to the conclusion that our second attempt at starting an herb garden was not successful either.

Unfortunately, our herbs destination will not be on our dinner plates, but instead in the compost bucket. Womp womp. I just had to accept that our space is not conducive for growing herbs that require good sunlight.

There will not be a third attempt at an herb garden. Now I need to focus on the other plant issues I have…

 

pokey failure

I am pretty sure this guy is suffering from a drainage issue

 

Buying Local: Week 11

K picked up our CSA box this week and he took a page out of my book by bringing a bag to transfer the produce so we don’t have to bring the box home. He also purposefully did not bring any cash to the farmers market so he would not be tempted to make any impulse buys.

 

CSA4

This is K’s attempt at taking a cool artsy picture for me.

 

What We Bought (From the CSA):

  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • New baby yukon potatoes
  • Bok Choi
  • Red Beets
  • Parisian Market Carrots
  • Raspberries
  • Blueberries
  • Summer Squash
  • English Peas

What We Learned:

  • Since we failed on using the beets from the last box, K instantly used some of the gigantic beets we got to make a beet and berry smoothie and absolutely loved it
  • Blueberries and raspberries disappear just way too fast!
  • This may be the first box we actually fully finish!

Buying Local: Week 10

I am back in the workplace now and no longer working from home, so it has been a bit of an adjustment. Unfortunately, I can’t just pop over to Green City Market on a Wednesday unless I go at 7 AM before work.

My biggest challenge right now is incorporating all our produce into my lunches.

CSA3 week 2

What is left from last Saturday’s CSA box

What We Bought:

  • Oberweis milk from family farms around IL and WI
  • S. Rosen bread from Chicago, IL
  • To be honest, I don’t even remember what else (It’s my second week at a new job, give me a break!)

What We Learned:

  • Cherries are not the easiest snack to eat at work, but I do keep all the stems and pits in my glass container to bring home and compost. I’ve been eating them everyday.
  • Did not eat those beets fast enough, into the compost they went