August 19, 2016

Reduce, Reuse, Repair, then Recycle



I consider recycling the “R” of last resort.

In an ideal world recycling is what you do with stuff at your home or office that you end up with, in spite of your efforts to reduce, reuse and repair. Recycling is important, to be sure, and we still have much room to improve. (According to a Fundy Solid Waste Commission waste audit conducted in late 2014, more than 21% of our household trash still contains recyclables.)

But if we backtrack to before those recyclables made it into the trash and focus on the other “Rs” then we wouldn’t have to worry so much about trash making its way into landfills and the environment.

Reduce, Reuse, Repair, then Recycle:


  • Reduce: Thinking before you buy is a good habit for many reasons, and it doesn’t just have to be for major purchases. We have all ended up with clothes and other items gathering dust in our closets, never having been worn or used. The good thing is that these items can be given away instead of tossed in the trash but the better thing is to learn from our hasty purchase decisions.


    • The “reduce” mindset can extend to the grocery store as well. According to Clean Water Action, plastic food containers and packaging is the largest form of municipal waste in the U.S. (no data for Canada) and amounts to 80 million tons of waste every year. And that doesn’t include plastic bags.
    • Taking packaging into account when we shop means we’ll have less to put in the trash, or the recycling bin and it may leave more money in your pocket.
    • Leave single serving items like yogurt in the cooler, and grab large containers instead (simply make your own single servings using reusable containers). Look for larger sizes in other products you use often as well, or search out brands that have eco-friendly packaging. Some cereal brands have eliminated box board, and package in plastic bags only.


  • Reuse: “Disposable” isn’t necessarily a good thing. Sure, it’s convenient but how often is it necessary to buy single-use items? From plastic cutlery to your morning coffee there are reusable options for many of our daily needs. (According to the Fundy Solid Waste Commission, when you purchase one cup of coffee in a disposable container every day, you create about 23 lb of waste each year.) Buying second hand is ecofriendly too.
  • Repair: From clothing to shoes to furniture, consider having something repaired rather than throwing it out. Clothing can be stitched, shoes can be glued, stitched and resoled and furniture can be glued, screwed, refinished, painted, reupholstered or slip covered, and cushions can be replaced.


The four “Rs” are all important rules to live by, but they aren’t equally important. Reduce, reuse and repair come first and after that “recycle” should just be a given.

August 11, 2016

Zucchini Crust Pizza Recipe

Zucchini crust pizza has great flavour and texture and is a great alternative to bread-based pizza crust. It takes just minutes to mix up. The crust can be made several days ahead and reheated with the toppings.

Zucchini crust pizza has great flavour and texture and is a delicious alternative to bread-based pizza crust. 

When I was eight I had my long wavy hair cut boy-short so I wouldn’t have to wear a bathing cap in my cousins’ pool. My thinking at the time was that bathing caps were for the old ladies at the beach who swam in their sneakers and never put their heads under water anyway. Plus, it took a lot of effort and pulling of hair to get a bathing cap on over very long pony tail. When I came back from the Rothesay Corner barbershop sporting my new haircut mom said it looked like the moths had got me.

August 5, 2016

Did you know: Some Cell Phone Cases Increase Cell Phone Radiation

Some cell phone cases cause your phone to emit more radiation.


This tops my list of the things I didn’t know I didn’t know:

Some cell phone cases cause your phone to emit more radiation.


Cell phone use and radiation has been a much studied topic. The World Health Organization considers the radiation emitted by cell phones to be a possible carcinogen and recently published findings from a multi-yearstudy by the federal National Toxicology Program (U.S.) found that rats developed tumors when exposed to radiation similar to that emitted by cell phones.

In the past I have written about ways to use your cell phone more safely to reduce your radiation exposure and I’ll share them again. The knowledge that you cell case could amplify your radiation exposure is something more people need to understand.

This is the root of the problem: 
Cases partially block the phone’s antenna, causing the phone to work harder and as a result emit more radiation. And the more durable the case the more the antenna is blocked. Cases containing metal affect the antenna even more.

Wild Rice Lentil Salad with Spiced Vinaigrette

Wild rice lentil salad is a great salad for summer. It’s tossed with a fragrant vinaigrette that’s seasoned with coriander, cumin, turmeric and cinnamon and sprinkled with currants and toasted almonds. Wild rice lentil salad is great with fish and chicken but also works on its own as a meatless meal.

Kara’s wild rice lentil salad is a great salad for summer. It’s tossed with a fragrant vinaigrette that’s seasoned with coriander, cumin, turmeric and cinnamon and sprinkled with currants and toasted almonds. 

It has become a tradition for us to spend the August long weekend with friends at their cottage on the Northumberland Strait. Since they now live out west we try to cram a years’ worth of visiting into a couple of days. We have a great feast, take long walks and delight in watching our kids pick up where they left off at the previous year’s visit.

This wild rice lentil salad recipe is one my friend Kara served on our visit a few years ago. It was the year she and I got caught in a dramatic lightning storm while on a morning walk.

July 18, 2016

11 Tips For Healthier Grilling


There’s something liberating about barbecue season. Enjoying a meal outside on a lovely summer evening always feels like the ultimate in relaxed eating. But not everything is rosy when it comes to using a backyard barbecue. Cooking over a flame is about the least healthy way to prepare food.


The less time your meat spends over a flame the better. This is why:

When meat is cooked at high temperatures, carcinogenic compounds can form in the fatty juices. Called HCAs, these compounds have been associated with higher rates of colorectal, stomach, lung, pancreatic, breast, and prostate cancers. Flare ups caused by dripping fat can coat your meat with another family of carcinogens, called PAHs.

Although this sounds a little scary, it doesn’t mean you need to stop grilling. There are some simple ways to reduce these unwelcome compounds and get the great barbecue flavour that you love.

July 17, 2016

Homemade Cooked Mayonnaise is Better Than Store Bought

Creamy, thick and a little tangy, mom’s homemade cooked mayonnaise is a summer treat. The recipe makes a good-sized batch and it lasts at least a couple of weeks in the fridge. Once you make this recipe you might never go back to store bought mayonnaise again.

Creamy, thick and a little tangy, mom’s cooked mayonnaise is a summer treat. 

When my twin brother and I were three my eldest brother Geoffrey walked us through the woods to a cousin’s house to choose a kitten. We came home with Charlie and he had the temperament of a barn cat. He liked to jump out from under things and grab your ankles, disliked being petted and brought dead birds into the house. I suspect his tough edge came, at least in part, from being raised in a house with seven kids between the age of three and thirteen. Still, as kids we thought he was a very cool cat.

July 6, 2016

Jumbo Trail Mix Cookies Recipe

Jumbo trail mix cookies are perfect for summer hikes, picnics and road trips. Made with stone ground flour and flavoured with orange zest.

These jumbo trail mix cookies are just right for summer hikes, picnics and road trips. 

As soon as school was over the summer I was eight we moved into an old home in Rothesay. The property had an old fashioned garage and suspended from its rafters was an enormous birch bark canoe. The canoe was too long for the garage so the owners had cut a hole in the back wall to let a foot or two poke through. The canoe stayed with us for the summer because nestled into its curved belly was a mother raccoon and her brood. No one wanted to disrupt them so they were left until they moved out.
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