Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Happy Earth Day

Yesterday was world earth day. Over the past years 'saving our planet' and 'going green' has gained prominence but beyond the big words and fancy jargon is a simple concept of using your share of the earth. This link contains the bigger picture the ugly turn of events perpetuated by us, the dwellers of planet earth.

But question is how can we help, what can we do and how will it help ? Most people associate being environmentally friendly with fancy organic products at exclusive markets or high priced green products, but the problem can be tackled at an even more basic level than that. Take a look at this you tube video which simply demonstrates little changes we can make and also see what Oprah has to say on this.

Here are a few on my suggestions for being kind to the environment.

1) Use a tap fitted water filter, its so much better and cheaper than buying water jars at the grocery store. Trust me its really worth it, the cost and convenience aside the water is safe pure and available to you as desired.

2) Recycle plastic,metal,paper,fiber,cloth and anything reusable. Recycle jam and sauce jars to store spices, grocery bags to throw out trash, old worn out fabrics to wipe surfaces, aluminum foil can be used more than once, the list is endless.

3) Plan your grocery shopping is such a way that you don't end up wasting food. Have a good idea about your consumption to buy and cook only as much as you consume.

4) Do away with the extras while eating out, share meals to avoid wastage, do away with accompaniments that you never eat ( like sticky rice in a Chinese restaurant). Use your disposable crockery with discretion ,you don't need 5 sets of plastic spoons for two people and why bother take those chopsticks when you are never going ot use them.

5) While doing laundry try to do a full load and try to be judicious with what goes for laundry (that scarf you wore for 2 hours need not be washed).

These are just a few of the little changes in our lifestyles that can go a long way in creating a better planet for tomorrow.We have been using up more than our share of resources so its time now to give back to the environment.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Chocolate cake for someone special

It was my darling husband's birthday three weeks back and I decided to bake him his favorite - chocolate cake. I went to the local grocery store and picked up all that I needed only to forget the main ingredient chocolate powder ! So there I was with roughly two hours to bake a chocolate cake with no chocolate. I turned to my food guide the food network website and found this cake recipe which used hersheys' syrup instead of powder. And since it was a Paula Deen recipe I took the liberty of using only half the original quantity of syrup. The cake turned out to be yummy, nice and moist but firm and the chocolate content was just right. I used store bought frosting to give it the birthday look.

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
8 ounce hershey's chocolate syrup (the original recipe asked for 16 ounces)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 13 by 9 by 2-inch pan.

Baking the cake
Using an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together in another bowl. Add to creamed mixture, continuing to beat. Add vanilla and chocolate syrup to batter and mix well. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Just before cake is done, prepare frosting.