Thursday, April 30, 2009

Herb Garden: Beginning

For this spring/summer I plan on converting 1 of our existing flower gardens into an herb garden. It is in the backyard against the house. I am just going to do a few of the most commonly used herbs. Maybe some basil, oregano, thyme, chives and rosemary for this year. We will see how we do.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Weeds, Weeds and more Weeds

We live across from a park and field which is overrun by dandelions. Every year when they go to seed you can imagine how many blow into our grass and gardens. So I spent yesterday afternoon weeding our front gardens. Dandelion roots go quite deep so they can be a pain to remove. We don't use herbicides so we have to dig them out. If there aren't plants in the immediate area I will use vinegar and water to kill them but it will also kill anything else it hits so you have to be careful not to hit your good plants. Although it doesn't matter how often I weed them, there are always more within a few days.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Sushi's for Dinner Tonight

One of my favourite foods is sushi. I love the flavour combinations, different textures, sauces and to be totally honest, its quite sexy to eat with your partner. The idea of eating raw fish may not seem very delightful for some people but is definitely good for you. This meal is high in protein, low in fat and contains Omega-3 fatty acids. The Benefits far out weight the risks of eating sushi. Its not difficult to make at home if you are wanting to eat sushi but can't afford the cost of eating out/take-out.
Here are some great sites with methods and recipes to make your own sushi: favourite (best viewed with firefox)
or sushi-guide

So don't be afraid to try something new and different. You may be surprised, it really is delicious, whether you eat out or make it at home.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Going Green: Some of Our Efforts

The cost of big changes such as solar panels are far too expensive for us right now, but we have made many small affordable changes. Many of the small changes also save you $money$. If everyone on the planet made three small changes imagine the impact it would have on our environment.

As for the Lock household so far we have:
-changed to compact flourescent bulbs around the house $
-turn on lights only when needed $
-washing clothes in cold water $
-use reusable water bottles and a water cooler $
-using cloth diapers rather than disposables $
-reduce, reuse, recycle (of course)
-use non toxic cleaning products (such as Method)
-purchase organic produce (when prices reasonably)
-if its yellow let it mellow (only flush when necessary) $
-car pool when possible $

They may be small changes but over time they make an impact. Earth day is on the calendar one day of the year when it it really everyday!

Aaron's Rant - Grass

It was 30ºC yesterday; that's right, it's not even may and we're at 30º! Even with all the pirate attacks of late, I suppose it hasn't been enough to mitigate the effects of climate change and global warming. Yesterday was actually the climax of a series of ever warming days, which means that the grass had become very green and prolific, and of course, needed to be cut.

The typical urban lawn must be, in my estimation, the bane of the worlds "greening" efforts. Sure, it is a plant, and does convert some carbon dioxide to oxygen, but really, it required ludicrous amounts of water, fertilizer and maintenance to keep it up to the Jones' standards.

We as a society, in an effort to be more sustainable and eliminate our dependence on the huge agri-business conglomerates, should convert our yards to food producing gardens. If, as communities, we converted out yards into food producing gardens, we could teach our children important skills, eliminate our resource draining grass and of course provide ourselves with a locally grown, organic, and delicious meal.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Homemade Baby Food

In order to save some extra cash and optimize health for our 9 month old son, we have been making his baby food rather than buying the canned food. We purchase only organic food, when available, and usually steam or roast the food to maximize nutrition and taste. Hopefully when our vegetable garden is up and growing we can use our own organic foods for Owen but store bought organic will have to do for now. So far it has been a great money saver and has taken very little time and effort. If you are considering making your own baby food all you will need is a good food mill or processor and a few ice cube trays. A good baby food cookbook is a great addition and they are typically loaded with nutritional information as well as guidelines for age appropriate foods.
I suggest: Cooking for Baby -wholesome.homemade.delicious By Lisa Barnes, available at Although, as I said, there are plenty of great books out there so just find one that best resembles the types of foods you would usually have in your home.

Recipes: Crispy Chicken Wings...not fried

We have found it difficult to find a recipe for chicken wings that are tasty and not fried! Aaron's brother then told us a way to cook them in the oven while achieving optimum crispiness. We gave it a try and they were delicious.

The way to do it is to wash chicken and pat dry. Then toss them in some all purpose flour. Place them on a rack on top of a baking sheet (cover baking sheet with tin foil for drippings) and spray them lightly with some olive oil or your choice of cooking spray and pop them into a preheated 400 degree oven for 50-60 minutes. No turning is necessary. Then toss with your favourite sauce...mine being Franks Red Hot dipped in ranch.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Recipes: Marinated Flank Steak

I recently discovered the low cost of flank steak. When cooked properly, this steak is tender and juicy. To feed a family of four would cost less than $10.00 for the steak, not too shabby for steak.

I simply marinated the steak in equal parts soy sauce and balsamic vinegar and a bit of honey and minced shallots for 4 hours. It was delicious. Served with some broccoli and lima beans, it makes for one tasty and healthy dinner.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Gardening 101

Aaron and I are planing on putting in a vegetable garden this summer. We feel this will be a great way to save money, eat healthier all while taking a step in a greener direction. We decided to transform a section of our yard, about 10'x10', into a wonderful vegetable garden. We purchased a book called 'The Canadian Edible Garden' and will use that as our main source of reference while deciding what to plant and how. This year I imagine we will only get the garden put in and there won't be time for planting. Hopefully this winter we get our seedlings started and are ready to go the spring of 2010.

As for our flower gardens around the yard, we have major work to do. We plan on totally revamping the entire style of the gardens over the next 2 years. We have plenty of work ahead of us but we are both excited to get started. This year we plan on gutting the gardens and deciding on a design and game plan.