Meatless Monday: Healthy Pumpkin Muffins

Fall is my favorite season for a lot of reasons, but one of the biggest is because I love the food associated with fall. It’s warm and cozy and delicious. My family goes a little apple crazy. They always dedicate a weekend to apple picking and then baking apple pies and making homemade apple sauce. Don’t get me wrong, I love my aunt’s homemade apple pies and sauces, but I also love pumpkin. Pumpkin pies, cookies, muffins. Okay, I admit, I haven’t met a pumpkin recipe I don’t like.

Our not-so-secret Garden – Prepping the Gan Emunah on Olam Ha Mitzvot

Yes, there were ten people who actually were glad to see the rain this past week! These people were Temple members, young and old, who helped prepare the garden for spring during Olam HaMitzvot. Branches were removed, compost spread and two new pots near the bench were planted with Rosemary, Lavender and Pansies. For his bar mitzvah project, Miles Hart planted herbs in seven large pots to be used in the Monday Meal. Plants are starting to push up through the ground. Every day in the garden will be changing with the warming weather.

Mixing in the Air

Recently, at Temple Sholom we have installed faucet aerators throughout the entire building in efforts to improve sustainability. In doing so we learned a few things so we thought we’d share.

Did you know that for a few bucks you could cut water and energy costs by 50% by installing aerators in your faucets? A faucet aerator is an inexpensive, easy-to-install circular metal device with a screen that screws onto the end of the faucet. As the name implies, a faucet aerator adds air to the stream of water coming out of the faucet by breaking the water into fine droplets

Were you at the Indoor Farmer’s Market? When’s the next one?

An indoor winter farmer’s market was something I had to check out. Not only because I’m a new member of Temple Sholom’s Eco Chavurah, but because I really couldn’t think of what in the world could be grown during this “chiberia” winter. Coming from Miami, when winter is the growing season, I knew that Chicago and the surrounding area was going to be quite different. I was pleasantly surprised by all the goodies at the market, and it was great to see so many people enjoying the offerings of the vendors.

Acknowledging Others

On our trip down south, my husband and I stayed in 2 completely different types of establishments. The first was a bed and breakfast. We arrived late so I did not begin to notice some of their environmentally friendly efforts until the next morning. The first thing was the card in the bathroom reminding me just how much energy and water it takes to wash the towels daily and did I want to opt for a more planet friendly approach. Now that is pretty standard today in hotels and inns so that was not what impressed me but it started me looking for other things that they were doing. First, although it was a Victorian home converted to a B&B, they were using compact fluorescents. Kudos to them. Then I noticed there were no Styrofoam cups or plates. China only. Again kudos to them. There was coffee offered all day long but it was kept hot in thermos containers. There was bottled water for the guests to take with them but they recycled all the bottles that were used on premise. Now these were only the things I noticed on first glance so then I began a conversation with the manager about any other things that they were doing. In our conversation, I planted some seeds of my own, asking about rain barrels for use in irrigation and composting. Something may come of it or maybe not. I probably will never know. But the conversation itself was fun and interesting and hopefully fruitful.

E-Cards…a great way to be green

60 something …wife, mother and grandmother of 2 beautiful boys

I have to admit that when e-cards started showing up in my in-box, my first thought was that my friends were cheaping out. And granted e-cards can run the gamut from free (where there is advertising attached) to moderate in price. Hallmark, American Greeting and Jackie Lawson to name a few sell you a year’s subscription for less than $15 and with that you can send as many cards to as many people as you want.

Then there is the convenience factor. If you are pressed for time or are unable to get out, then the last thing you want to be doing is running to the card store and the post office. Again e-cards save the day. There are literally hundreds of styles and messages to choose from. And you can actually take an afternoon and input all of your friends and families important dates and what card you want to send and it will be done automatically.

New & Improved Recycling Program Arrives at Temple Sholom

When Eco Chavura was first formed, we conducted a survey with respect to the top issues at the temple that members thought we should address. The number one response: RECYCLING; and for understandable reasons. For years, although the Temple may have had blue bins placed randomly in different areas within the building, there were no signage indicating what could go in them. Exacerbating the situation was the fact that if one came upon a blue bin and there was no accompanying trash bin, people simply threw their trash in the recycling bin. What does that do? It contaminates the recycling bin’s integrity and everything ends up going to the landfill. Landfills are BAD!

Temple Sholom’s Meatless Monday: Let’s take this dip to the next level!

Have I ever mentioned that Pinterest is both the best and worst thing that ever happened to me? It’s true, and I doubt I’m the only one who feels that way. I don’t even want to admit how much time I can spend there on what is supposed to be just a quick visit. I saw somewhere (maybe even on Pinterest) the following statement: for every diet plan on Pinterest there is at least two delicious dessert recipes. It really is a very accurate statement. For me it isn’t really the dessert recipes that trip me up, because I have to be in a specific mood to attempt baking, but rather it’s the ooey gooey cheesey recipes that get me to ignore my diet and pin away for future use.