Archive for the ‘Good Ideas’ Category
When the weather is like this, most of us want to stay indoors. We aren’t getting as much fresh air as we’re less inclined to open windows when it’s so cold outside. Did you know that the air quality indoors can be up to ten times worse than the outdoors? This is due to the chemicals found in common household (and workplace) cleaners, furniture and more. These objects emit toxins that pollute the air, and with nowhere to go, the levels of indoor pollution rise.
Don’t panic, just get yourself a houseplant. These plants help filter out common volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Their foliage purifies the air and helps remove the toxins found in common household chemicals. Some of the biggest indoor pollutants are formaldehyde, benzene, acetone, ammonia and VOCs.
We found a list on Mother Nature Network of houseplants that improve indoor air quality. You can call your local garden center to see which of these plants they have available, and add some greenery to your indoor landscape. Here’s a short list of some plants that caught our eye.
The first plant on our list is aloe. This plant is easy to grow, and loves the sun. It helps clear formaldehyde and benzene, which are byproducts of chemical-based cleaners and paints. Aloe is also great for healing cuts and burns, which makes it an ideal plant for a sunny kitchen window.
Next up is the spider plant. If you lack a green thumb, this is the plant for you. Hard to kill, it has lots of foliage and tiny white flowers. The spider plant helps reduce the levels of benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and xylene. It’s lovely AND resilient, making it one of the most popular houseplants.
If you’re feeling like you want an indoor plant with a lot of color, try the gerber daisy. This bright, flowering plant is effective at removing trichloroethylene, a toxin commonly associated with dry cleaning. The daisy is also good at filtering out benzene that is found in inks. This plant loves sun, so keep it in a bright bedroom window.
Or if you’re looking for a conversation starter, try the mother-in-law’s tongue (how can you not be interested in a plant with a name like that?) This plant is one of the best for filtering out formaldehyde, which is common in cleaning products, toilet paper, tissues and personal care products. You can put one in your bathroom, as it will thrive in low light and steamy humid conditions.
Our last plant is the chrysanthemum. This popular plant does more than add color to your living room, the bloom also helps filter out benzene. The plant thrives in bright light, and if you want the buds to open, you’ll need to find a spot near an open window with direct sunlight.
For the complete list of indoor house plants, visit Mother Nature Network, and check out the image below for additional air purifying houseplants.
It’s no big surprise that we love DIY upcycled projects. Especially when the project uses something where there isn’t a no-package option. Perhaps you’re a recent home owner, have felt the need to redecorate, or simply have been carting around your old house paint. If you do fall into one of these categories, you probably have some left over paint cans lying around. Instead of tossing them, we found a creative way to upcycle them.
If you haven’t come across Ready Made, get ready to be blown away. Ready Made makes the DIY-er in us drool. You can find endless project ideas as well as recipes, travel ideas and more. It’s the kind of website where you’ll be browsing and when you look up at the clock you’ll realize a couple of hours have gone by.
Now back to the paint cans. You can find the original instructions here, or follow the steps below.
- Containers (for storing excess paint)
- 3 almost empty paint cans, 2 small and 1 large
- Chalkboard paint
- 1 wall-mountable rod (find them at hardware stores or Ikea)
- 3 s-hooks
- White chalk
- Small paint roller
- Drill and 1/4-inch bit
Save any left over paint by pouring it into jars or containers. You can also donate if for reuse, or dispose of it properly by checking the regulations in your area. Or you can see if your local hardware store has any empty paint cans. Allow the paint cans to dry out. To remove the labels, soak in hot, soapy water for several hours and scrape off.
Using the paint roller, paint the exterior of the cans in desires colors. Allow the first coat to dry and apply another until the color is even. Set aside to dry. On the smaller cans, measure 2 inches up from the bottom with a pencil and ruler. Mark along the perimeter of the can for a painting guide. On the bigger can, allow about 3 inches.
With a paint roller, apply the chalkboard paint to the bottom portion of the cans. Follow the pencil marks as guides for painting. Allow to dry and apply another coat to finish.
With a pencil, mark the back of each of the small cans half an inch from the top. Using a drill with 1/4-inch bit, drill on your mark. Mount rod against wall following the manufacturers instructions. Hang the paint cans from S-hooks and fill them with whatever you wish. (Use a liner if you use as a planter for edibles.) Use chalk to label each container.
(image from: Ready Made)
Between black Friday and cyber Monday falls small business Saturday. Started back in 2010, the new shopping holiday is focused on bringing consumers back to the businesses that support their local community.
If you’re someone who braves shopping this weekend, consider supporting your favorite local business(es) and economy. By shopping local, a larger portion of your dollar stays in your community.
Come by in.gredients for great holiday gifts from our fantastic local vendors.
Shop local, shop small.
It’s almost Thanksgiving! By now, the meal planning is probably in full-force and you’re prepping yourself for a few days of serious family time. While out shopping for your holiday dishes, challenge yourself to go local. And if you’re feeling up especially adventurous, consider shooting for a 100-mile Thanksgiving.
A 100-mile Thanksgiving means you’re aiming for all your ingredients to be sourced from within 100 miles of your dinner table. Thanksgiving is a holiday based around seasonal feasting, so it seems like a good idea to shoot for fresh, local food.
If a completely local meal seems daunting, try to source one dish locally, or get your turkey from a local farm. If you’re at a loss of where and what’s available to you, check out Local Harvest, a website where you enter in your zip code and get a map of farms and local food sources nearby.
Live in Austin? The produce available to you will range from kale to poblano peppers. You can stick with traditional dishes, such as honey roasted sweet potatoes, or think outside the box and whip up some jalapeno cranberry corn bread. Being in the height of cold-weather crop season, we’re lucky to have an abundance of produce at our fingertips. Filling your menu with local veggies will not only highlight the local food, it will also up the nutritional value of your dinner.
If you’re shooting for local and can’t find the traditional Thanksgiving foods in your region, consider shaking it up. We all live in a unique landscape with a food history all its own. Perhaps take this Thanksgiving as an opportunity to showcase the foods that symbolize where you live. Check out these unique menu ideas from five regions of the United States.
We also found this fantastic infographic that maps out localizing your Thanksgiving. There are plenty of resources out there to help you plan a local Thanksgiving. Have a fantastic holiday, and happy eating!
We’re lucky (for many reasons) to live in Texas. We get to plant, grow, and harvest leafy greens all winter long. And who doesn’t love fresh kale, spinach, and swiss chard in December?
With our produce fridge filled to the brim with kale, it’s time to get creative. One of the beauties of this green is you can sautee it, pop it in a pasta dish, eat it raw or bake it.
A favorite around these parts is the kale chip. Salty, crunchy, and SUPER easy to prepare, it’s a snack go-to that won’t leave your stomach feeling like a hot mess.
The best part about this recipe is you need four ingredients. That’s it. Kale chips are the ultimate lazy snack food that is simultaneously healthy.
If that isn’t a win/win, we don’t know what is.
- 1 bunch curly leaf kale
- 3 teaspoons olive oil
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 3/4 teaspoon nutritional yeast
- Cracked pepper to taste
- Pinch of ground cayenne pepper (optional, but gives the chips a little bit of spice)
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Wash and remove the stems from the kale. The stems, while not part of the recipe, are good for composting, or if you have chickens, they love these. Rip up the kale into desired chip size pieces, and once dry place in a large mixing bowl. Mix in the rest of the ingredients, making sure that the leaves get evenly coated.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, spread the leaves in a single layer, making sure to not overcrowd so the chips will dry evenly. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the kale ‘s crispy. After they’ve cooled, serve or store in paper bags. If you own a vacuum sealer, you can store the chips for longer – just make sure to wait until they’re cool. Don’t refrigerate, as this’ll make the chips extra soggy, extra fast.
If the chips do start to lose their crunch, you can re-crisp them by baking them again at 350 degrees for 5 minutes. They’ll crisp up as they cool.
It takes hundreds of gallons of water to produce a day’s worth of food. That’s a huge problem for countries like India, where “scientists say nearly a third of that country’s underground aquifers are already in critical condition and worry that the country is headed for a full-blown water crisis” (Marketplace).
In the 1980s, Rajendra Singh, trained as a doctor, “decided to move to the poorest, driest, most godforsaken place in his area and build a health clinic and school.” Soon, an old man approached him and told him that they didn’t need medicine and education – they needed water. The government had encouraged farmers to tap into the groundwater for decades. While this caused a rise in food production, the water level dropped drastically and soon, farmers couldn’t reach water or maintain a livelihood. So Singh began digging a pond to catch rainwater.
The three-and-a-half acre pond not only stored water, it recharged the aquifer, filling nearby wells and “greening” 500 acres of surrounding land. Now, over a thousand villages have built rainwater harvesting structures. While harvesting rainwater has immensely helped the area, Singh has “fought to keep out water-guzzling industries, like breweries and mines,” as well as convinced villagers to “change the way they manage their crops,” in some cases using ollas for irrigation. The next challenge? To scale-up and serve the needs of over half a million villages.
Since we’ve been busy setting up the store, we’ve been relying more on local eateries for meals and snacks! So we snapped a few shots of how to go zero-waste when eating out or picking up food to avoid throw-away wrapping or single-use bags…
Here’s a Pyrex baking dish in action at Quack’s 43rd Street Bakery – holding croissants, scones, and a couple cinnamon rolls. Perfect way to avoid small paper bags and wax wrapping!
We’ve also used a Pyrex baking dish for large orders of breakfast tacos and sandwiches. Makes for a great display.
Reusable Produce Bags
Here we are again at Quack’s – this time with produce bags. Each mesh bag worked great for different types baked goods, and all the bags fit nicely into a larger bag for easy toting.
If you’re dining on-site or nearby, a plate works great. We regularly bring plates across Manor Road to Taco-Mex for breakfast tacos, and have some foldable plates to bring with us for an easy zero-waste solution.
This particular sandwich came from Jimmy John’s on Red River; they’re not local, but it was nice to see a larger chain be happy to accept a zero-waste alternative. Every time you precycle by bringing reusables, you show folks how easy zero-waste is (and have some great conversations!).
Jeans made from beer bottles… sounds… uncomfortable? According to Tree Hugger, I Am Not A Virgin has not only made them a reality, they’ve made them fashionable and, believe it or not, comfy. Utilizing non-virgin materials (those that have been previously used/consumed), the company also makes shirts from recycled food trays and other super unconventional materials. Awesome!
(image: Cool Hunting)
Why pay $3 if you can get water for a penny? Here’s another awesome infographic (via TapIt) laying out the hidden costs of bottled water. As though we needed more reasons to love tap water!
Wondering where your food comes from? At in.gredients, we believe you deserve to know the source of your food and understand how it gets to your local grocery store – and take a transparent approach when giving product information to customers.
However, in.gredients isn’t everywhere – and we want all of you to be able to make informed buying decisions at your local food markets. Real Time Farms provides a pretty cool interactive, crowd-sourced food guide allowing you to figure out where your food’s sourced, whether it’s kale or antibiotic-free meat, from a restaurant or farmers’ market. There’s no support for grocery stores yet, but the website’s already a great resource for food-conscious consumers. Check it out!
(image: Eclectic Recipes)