The Adventures of Frying Tofu

 

The Before ShotImage

After

ImageHello, two people reading this blog. I know I’m awful for not updating, but-.

*At this point, I realized I was channeling my 18 year old self by apologizing for my lack of posts. I also realized I shouldn’t be doing it because I post what I want, when I want and not that many people read it anyway. I’ll save being sorry for when someone besides me cares*

Anyway, Fried Tofu is awesome. I don’t make it that often even though I’ve become less lazy and more excited about cooking through my vegetarian journey. Sometimes I am scared off simply by the idea of frying anything. But I faced my fears TWICE in the same week to satisfy my craving for something fried. It came out great.

I eyeballed everything, I didn’t really measure anything, so instead of a recipe, I’ll just tell you guys what I used and hopefully you’ll be as awesome as me and get it right just by instinct.

I used extra firm tofu, drained it and went from there.

For the batter, I used

  • Flour
  • Milk
  • Club Soda
  • Whatever seasonings you want.

And then season the other bowl of flour with whatever seasonings you like.  Fry a few pieces at a time for about three to four minutes and enjoy. I ate my finished tofu with ginger wasabi, chilli paste and soy sauce, since it was a sushi restaurant that turned me on to the idea of frying tofu in the first place. It’ll get a little messy with the batter, but it’s generally quick (if you don’t have a two year old running underfoot or an infant on your hip) and it’s amazing. Have fun :)

 

This is another piece of My So-Called Organic Life

 

The Tea For Today

Tea. A boost of energy. A shot of flavor. A drink to warm up the body (or to cool off the body, depending). From using green tea bags for under-eye circles to having healthier plants, the possibilities are great for better living.

I only recently started saving my tea bags and I’m excited to start finding household uses for them. Probably to keep my skin looking good. (It’s vain but it’s honest).

Hot tea in the morning, iced tea throughout the day. This beverage is a huge part of my life. I’ve literally prayed that my daughter will want to host tea parties when she gets older because either way, I plan on buying an exquisite tea set. This is just a short appreciation post for tea. It isn’t meant to be terribly informative. In fact, you’ll probably enjoy the photos more than anything I’ve written. (When I read over this, it looks like something a 12 year old wrote when asked to write a paragraph about their favorite drink). But since I hadn’t posted in a while, I felt the need to share this with you guys.

Stay gold, guys.

Here’s another piece of My So-Called Organic Life

My Current Love Affair: Food, and how becoming Vegetarian started it.

A while ago, I read a post on EcoSalon about how food was a luxury. The author went on to talk about how cooking was therapeutic for her. How so many people were hungry in the world. The importance of gardening. And she was right. The article helped me realize many more reasons why I should be appreciative of food. But I had already begun to realize these things months ago when I made an important lifestyle change.

I was falling in love with food. Cooking once seemed like a chore and now it was something I looked forward to (I don’t even mind clean up as much). I can’t help but notice that I started feeling this way after I became vegetarian. I felt like Dorothy, exiting her house in Kansas and stepping into Technicolor Oz. The colors of fresh vegetables made chopping them a new experience. In the quiet of my kitchen (this was a rare time when neither of my children were around me) with the natural light pouring into the kitchen, right on to my cutting board, I felt what the author of that article felt: Therapy. Peace. Appreciation.

When I first made the blackbean, mozzarella salad recipe I found on Pinterest (shout out), I felt like I was tasting food for the first time. For the first time in a long time, I was eating something fresh, homemade, and filling. It was as if I was dining in the looking glass. (Please bear with me. My metaphors are all I have). And all this started with cutting meat out of my diet.

It also changed my mind about my future. In a few years, I plan on moving to New York. I’d always envisioned myself and my children in an apartment in Manhattan. But since this relationship started, it made me want to grow my own food. No pesticides, more money in my pocket, an activity that I could be proud of. I couldn’t do that in an apartment. I wanted a home where I could grow a garden. I also wanted the space of a house. A backyard…All of these things came into play when I changed my mind, but it started by wanting to continue my liaison with food.

What is the point of this post, some may ask. It isn’t to convince you people to be vegetarian. It isn’t to brag about how much more I am enjoyig life and food now (although what I’m experiencing is brag-worthy). It is simply to share my happiness. For a single mother, any sense of passion is important. And I want to talk about it. I also think trying to make a drastic change in the way you eat…could change your life. And change is good.

This is another piece of My So-Called Organic Life.

Bottega Veneta’s Sustainable Bag

ImageI finally got around to reading my October issue of Vogue a few days ago. (I also have to note that this was a great issue. I felt the need to say so because I have been having an on-again, off-again love affair with Vogue for the past year and a half. So when I come across a good one, I have to say so). Flipping through the glossy pages, I found a short article called Style Ethics. It talked briefly about how Italian design house Bottega Veneta has responded to their customer’s pleas for more sustainable, non-leather goods.

Everyone familiar with the house knows that they are famous for their leather products. However, they are trying in a very meaningful way to connect with the consumers who are trying to become more ‘green’ (download the PDF here). A PR ploy? Maybe in some facets. But their efforts are commendable in the sense that the process in which they responded to the outcry was thoughtful. ( I also thinks this speaks to the kind of consumers Bottega Veneta has in comparison to a chain like H&M who has taken on a commitment of sorts to conservation, but it still somewhat guilty of green-washing: when a company tries to convince the public that they are being sustainable, but really are not).

The famous fashion house debuted a line of bags that are vegan. They are made from the bark young kozo trees. The art of paper making is a delicate and highly respected art form in Japan.Using these materials and being handcrafted, because it is an art that so few people have mastered makes this business venture not only smart in terms of sustainability, but in the sense that they are employing people who have true talent – not exploiting people to manufacture their products.

I did a little, not a lot, but a little research on young kozo paper making. I was delighted to hear about Bottega Veneta releasing a product that was sustainable, but I was naturally curious and yes, skeptical. How was this a more sustainable alternative? Animals were not harmed to create this bag, which is awesome…but the fight on cutting down trees been going on for awhile. I came across an article in the New York Times that was published in February of this year, talking about a craft man of young kozo paper making (you can read it yourself here).

As I let the facts and the message in the article sink in, I realized that this was not a match between saving animals and saving paper.  A commenter noted that in Europe, paper is being made out of recycled clothing, which I found to be interesting. (I haven’t researched that just yet, so don’t take my word on it). Another scoffed at the luxury of owning a piece of paper that was so obsessed over and retorted that they would rather “see ten thousand actual picture books in the hands of ten thousand children than one sheet of this paper and 100 rich babies with i-pads”. Touche. However most of the other comments were more or less appreciative that the delicate art had received some shine.

Image

I reached something of an impasse on the matter of the Bottega Venetta bags. They were sustaining animals by not using them to make this product. I also read in Vogue that the dying process was more ‘green’. However, the truth is, the bags are not sustainable, paper-wise, which in the environmental aspect, is huge. But I look at it this way: to create art, something is always used. There has to be a medium in order for it to exist. If not, it stays in the mind of the artist, neglected from being shared with the world.

To be honest, I am a patron of the arts first and an environmental activist second. This may be morally absurd, but it’s the truth. I respect the thought process and the workmanship behind the bags. This is one of the truest forms of sustainable artistry in high fashion right now, and it deserves to be treated as such. Whatever your views are on fashion and the environment, this is a step in the right direction: both artistically and sustainably.

This is another piece of My So-Called Organic Life

photo(s) source: http://bottegaveneta.com

Raising Conscious Kids (And Other Things Our Great Parents Didn’t Teach Us)

Thank you, Kelly Cutrone for inspiring the ending of this post’s title. And inspiring me to take a deeper look into my life and contribution to society’s horrific obliviousness. Before this becomes a Kelly Cutrone fangirl post, let me start writing about what I decided to post about today. And that’s raising conscious children. It’s not enough to have recycling bins in your house anymore. We are in a day and age where everything is digital (a blessing and a curse) and the media is even MORE so in the business of driving sales for crap we don’t need. There’s really no getting around it. It’s everywhere. We could take our kids, go hide under a rock and be cave-people. But instead, I suggest we try a new way of thinking.

If you read my first post, you know a little bit about my stance as far as consumerism goes. Where that comes in to raising children is what I’m talking about now. If my kids grow up to be jerks who don’t care about their impact on the environment and the people who inhabit the world, I can at least say they spent a good portion of their lives doing it because they were in my home. By the time they grow up, some animals that we see in the zoo today may be extinct. Maybe because they are being poached for unacceptable and cruel reasons. Maybe because of the waste and pollution ruining the world and in turn the habitat of those creatures.

There will be less clean drinking water. Maybe because of all of the waste factories dump into our water sources. (Here’s lookin’ at you, fashion industry). I could go on forever. And believe me, I will. In the mean time, here are 3 ways you can teach your kids to be conscious individuals.

1. Eat Less Meat

Why it’s Good for them and the World

  • Obviously, buying less meat reduces animal slaughter
  • Less meat in their diet means less hormones which is good for them and their development
  •  Buying less meat means your affect on the shipping process (which in itself isn’t green) won’t be as high

How To Do It

  • Introduce more beans, potatoes and grains. These are filling and healthy alternatives.
  • Take your children to a farm. I wouldn’t go so far as explaining the whole slaughter process to a small child. However, kids are very smart. If you tell them that bacon is made out of the piglet they are visiting, they are more likely to understand why eating less meat is a good thing when they get older.

2. Buy/Use Second-Hand & Donating

Why It’s Good For them and the World

  • Donating your kid’s gently used clothing teaches them to be thoughtful and kind.
  • Using second-hand clothing reduces the need to shop and therefore your impact on supporting companies that manufacture what we call “fast fashion” (a lot of times they don’t pay factory workers living wages, are oblivious to human rights, dumps factory waste into water sources, etc.).
  • Buying second-hand clothes, if they are from an independent con-signer means you are supporting a small or local business.

How to Do It

  • Pretty self-explanatory. Find Second-hand stores. And don’t rule out Etsy for supporting a small business or entreprenuer.

3.Unplug

Why It’s Good for them and the World

  • Being unplugged for any amount of time in a day teaches children to appreciate their surroundings and be innovative.
  • All of our computers, iPads, cell phones, etc are connected to coal energy plants, a very unsustainable way of making energy in many facets. Since there is no quick fix for this issue, we can do our part by unplugging devices when they aren’t being used, and just cutting down on our usage altogether. Instead of entertaining the kids with an hour of T.V., shut stuff off and go outside (this is a biggie for me since I’ve moved to North Carolina. Flowers, trees, mountains…the kids love to be outside and so do I!).

How to Do It

  • Plug mutiple electronics into a power strip and use that to turn them all off (find more green tips like this here.)
  • Invest in good (eco/socially responsibly made) gym shoes!

Even if you just do one out of three, the world will be a better place because of your influence on your spawn – I mean kids. Well, that’s all for now.

Here’s another piece of My So-called Organic Life.

The Journey Begins

Hello all (none)

I’ll start this by introducing myself. I’m young. I’m a writer. I’m a single mom. I’m a student of life. I like medium length walks in the woods, every facet of the arts, photography, beauty, decor, television & film (this blog’s title was inspired by the 90s T.V. drama starring Claire Danes, if you hadn’t guessed). I’ve spent the past 8 or so months funneling meat and un-healthy foods out of my family’s diet (I am completely vegetarian, while I’m still phasing meat out of my kid’s eating regime) as well as chemicals from of the products we use in our daily lives (no parabens allowed!). I also am curating my shopping experience as to not contribute to companies that are oblivious to human rights, environmental consciousness and those who test on animals (no lanolin allowed!).

 
Now, it may be hard to believe, but I am a bit of a glamazon. I even studied fashion for a year. It can be hard being fabulous AND leading a life of consciousness when the majority of companies are more concerned with what’s easy and what will make them the most money. It’s even easier for them to get away with it because as consumers, most of us are concerned with what’s faster, cheaper and easier. But as a people, we’re becoming more conscious. And there are the few of us who do care about what’s best for us as well as our impact on this planet.

And if that’s you, you might enjoy this blog documenting my attempt at leading a meat-free (maybe gluten-free, too), chemical-free, lifestyle. I’ll post recipes, DIY projects, and my hilarious adventures as a working mom as it relates.  Here, you will also find the other changes I make in my life as my life evolves. They may not have anything to do with the bodily health or environmental/social responsibility aspects, but as I grow and change, other things in my life will, too. And I wanna share that with you guys (wherever you are).

So if you can agree you want to care a little more, then like the pop singer Robyn says, you can hang with me.

Here we go. This is my so-called organic life.