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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Follow-up on Sustainable Gift Baskets and a delicious Hummus

An interesting thing happened over the holidays....I gave out my sustainable baskets (the kids got gift cards too....I'm not insane!)...and as I was pointing out some parts of the basket, my oldest son asked me a question:  how is that sustainable....I don't get it.  Now, you'd have to know this guy....he's bright....very frighteningly bright.  So I was caught off guard for a moment.  I realized he really didn't know! 
I realized how much I automatically assume people know.

My kids have been exposed to me living the life of sustainability (at least on some level; granted not nearly well enough).  They grew up with me baking my own bread, sewing a lot of our own things, and putting things together out of this and that, re-using, repurposing.  We shopped garage sales and they've been exposed to recycling since it was a half a day affair consisting of carting them off to the recycling plant, which was an industrialized warehouse, and then, with a toddler in tow and a little one on my hip, dragging the bags of recyclables in the one free hand over to this dumping area that looked like one needed a hard hat to was a noisy, dirty mess, but we did it.  The point being, they were raised with the mind-set that we should not waste, we should reduce, reuse, recycle, think globally, act locally.  On Earth Day, we would walk the sides of our little country road and pick up trash, get the picture.

So when my adult child honestly did not understand why this basket represented sustainability, I was stunned. 

I took the example of the cloth napkins to make my point.  "If I want to turn you and your roommates onto using cloth napkins as an alternative to paper napkins, I could go out and buy some for you (or make some with newly purchased material).  This action would still be good for the environment, but in taking something NEW from the goods offered, I am encouraging more production.  If I instead, go to the resale store, and purchase these very nice napkins (which looked like they had been used maybe once), launder them and present them to you, I have now chosen something that has already been thru the buy/sell/inventory/manufacture-produce/replace process and the act of my purchase does not then stimulate more napkins to be produced, which in turn continues the over-pollution and massive over-use of planetary resources that is occuring".  Of course he got it.

He said, "you're such a hippie".
I said, "thank you".

So there was that....conversation sparked.  I realized that I had actually put up something out there in the universe about sparking a dialogue and here it had happened.  Awareness had been raised.  Something to break up the constant drone of commercialized pressures to buy, buy, buy and our hynoptic trance of just going to the store, buying something, never thinking about where it came from and where it will end up, was lighted in that moment.

Later on in the weekend, my husband brought up the whole sustainability concept and we had a very good conversation about it and how we could work harder in 2012 to make even more changes.... we discussed alternative power sources.  Is there something we can do with solar or wind?  How can we reduce our CONSUMPTION footprint?  We discussed our committment to grow more of our own food and how fun it was to do that this year.  It was good stuff.

I got to thinking.....all I wanted to do was make a small difference....and indeed, here I had.  Mission Accomplished, Tom Cruise!  (Hey, if you haven't seen M.I.'s really good :-).

Me with my genius son

Black Bean Hummus

There are all kinds of wonderful hummus recipes out there, and I usually make the standard garbanzo bean rendition, but I had some leftover black beans and decided to sub out the garbanzos for the black beans in the name of using up what I have.  Big Goal in 2012 is not to be wasteful of food.  I tend to forget about things and then I am upset to find something coagulating into a new life form in the back of the fridge, when I could have at least put it in the freezer for later use.

So here is the black bean version....I gotta say, this was wonderful.  It's my new favorite hummus for sure:

Black beans, cooked and rinsed (I used about one half of a can)
2 T tahini (Woodstock makes a non-oil version if you can find it)
2 T fresh lemon juice
red pepper (I used about one and a half-fresh or you can find the jars of them-stores now carry them without oil, but you have to always check the label)
2 cloves garlic (I like a little extra---can cut this to one clove)
1 t ground cumin
pinch salt, black pepper

Process in food processor or high-speed blender.  Serve with veggies or crackers.  Yum.
(Note:  this also works great with cannelini beans, or the original version, with garbanzo beans)

Black Bean Hummus - large bowl one of my resale store finds  .50

Sue, making the tiniest bit of different, in Ohio


  1. I love the idea of the sustainable gift basket! My new favorite thing to do (besides visiting farmer's markets) is going to good will to find my props for food photography. I feel good and it's good for the earth. Thanks for inspiring me to take it further.

  2. Thanks, Wendy. I know what you mean about the food props...just getting into that a bit myself. And I figure that if I get some things and then don't want them anymore, I'll just donate them back to the Good Will! It does feel good. Happy Sustainable New Year!