31 December 2011

What Is Your New Year Eco Resolution?

By: Laura Trotta (BEng(Enviro), MSc(Enviro Chem))

New Years Eve is a time when many of us reflect on the year that’s ending and establish goals for the year ahead. Spending more time with family and friends, weight loss, getting fit, getting out of debt or quitting smoking or drinking are top of the list for many Australians.

With the growing need for more people to take action to improve the environmental health of our planet (and our families), the time to add an eco goal to your New Year’s resolution list is now.

It doesn’t need to be anything grand like switching your hot water service to solar or installing rain water tanks (although these measure sure do help). Simple measures like better meal planning to reduce your take away meals, removing your family’s dependency on plastic bags and cling wrap, starting a family vegetable patch, repairing clothes when they are damaged rather than buying new ones, or simply drinking tap water in a decent water bottle rather than buying bottled water, all help to improve your environmental footprint .

The past few months my husband and I have made an effort to reduce clutter in our home and develop systems to improve the efficiency of our household. It sounds a little boring, but my New Year Eco Resolution is to continue with our process of organisation to enable us to live more sustainably.

Being more organised allows us to plan our meals and shop once a week to a list. This reduces unnecessary (time wasting) trips to the shops and the likelihood of us buying and having excess food and waste in the house. Decluttering our belongings has enabled us to donate many functional items to charity while providing more room in our home. And having a clearly defined list of who does what job on what day has enabled us to create more family time on the weekends.

We still have a long way to go to achieve our efficient home but keeping this goal number one on our New Year’s list will ensure we’re well on top of things when our new family addition arrives in about five months time.

I would love to know your New Year eco resolution!


About the Author: Laura Trotta (BEng (Enviro), MSc (Enviro Chem)) is an eco mum, environmental engineer and founder of Sustainababy. She lives in regional South Australia with her husband Paul and son Matthew.

CATEGORY: environment, new, resolution, year, eco | POSTED BY: Meg Supel |

29 December 2011

Christmas Leftover Recipe Ideas

By: Laura Trotta (BEng (Enviro), MSc (Enviro Chem))

As delicious as our Christmas Day feast was, it only took two days for me to become sick of eating cold turkey and ham. Freezing much of the surplus to enjoy over coming months, I also transformed some ham into this delicious, and oh-so-easy baked risotto recipe.

Leftover ham is also great in meals such as fried rice, omlettes, soups, fritters, pizzas, baked potatoes and toasted sandwiches. If you're looking for further inspiration to turn your leftovers into yummy recipes click here.

Easy Ham and Parmesan Baked Risotto

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 5 cups boiling stock (chicken or vegetable)
  • 1 tbl organic butter
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbl  chopped chives
  • Leftover Christmas Ham ~200g chopped (or more or less if you like)

Method

  • Rinse rice in cool water until water is clear
  • Combine rice, stock and butter in large ovenproof dish with tight-fitting lid
  • Bake in hot oven, 200°C, for 30 minutes or until rice is tender
  • Cut ham slices into preferred size and shape (eg 1cm squares)
  • Once rice is cooked, stir through Parmesan cheese, chives and ham.
  • Enjoy!

Note: if you have fresh mushrooms on hand, you could also add 3 cups sliced mushrooms to the ovenproof dish and cook with the rice.

About the Author: Laura Trotta (BEng (Enviro), MSc (Enviro Chem)) is an eco mum, environmental engineer and founder of Sustainababy. She lives in regional South Australia with her husband Paul and son Matthew.

CATEGORY: ham, leftover, recipe, Christmas | POSTED BY: Meg Supel |

13 December 2011

Our Christmas Tree Story

With our son’s December birthday now behind us, I’ve started to turn my focus to our household’s Christmas preparations. Assembling and decorating our Christmas Tree was naturally first on the list.


I always enjoy decorating our modest tree. Every ornament has its own story and brings back memories of when it was given to me, the person who crafted it or where I was when I made the purchase. It makes our tree unique and special to us, a feeling I’m sure most families have about their Christmas Tree.


With the exception of a few baubles, all the ornaments on our tree are handmade. Here’s the story behind a few of my favourites:


Stuffed Santa Star
Crafted for me by my late Nan, this is my favourite decoration. It always gets placed at the top of the tree to signal its sentimental value.

  


Handcrafted Wooden Banksia Bauble
Purchased at an art exhibition near the country town I grew up in Eastern Victoria, this bauble reminds me of the lovely Banksia trees that are plentiful in the Gippsland Lakes area, one of my favourite holiday destinations. I love the character and smell of this piece.

 


Beaded Bauble and Snow Flake
Crafted by my talented 90-something year old Great Aunty Bet, these ornaments are intricate, detailed and the snow flake in particular is so exquisite!

 


Soft Drink Can Bells
While working in a mission in the Philippines last year, my younger sister purchased these ‘Crafts for a Cause’ ornaments. By turning rubbish into sellable items, the men and women of Maricaban, Pasay City are able to make a livelihood.


Wise King
Crafted from New Zealand Paua Shell, I purchased a set of three Wise Kings while on holiday in the Bay of Islands with my husband. This ornament brings back the lovely memories of that holiday – our last holiday before we became parents!

 


Quilted Christmas Tree
While this decoration is not technically on our tree, I wanted to include it in this list as it is displayed every Christmas in our household and was crafted for me by my mother.

 

What ornaments on your Christmas Tree are special to you? Do you also cherish reliving the memories when you put your Christmas Tree up every year?

 

About the Author: Laura Trotta (BEng (Enviro), MSc (Enviro Chem)) is an eco mum, environmental engineer and founder of Sustainababy. She lives in regional South Australia with her husband Paul and son Matthew.
 

CATEGORY: decorations, sentimental, story, Christmas | POSTED BY: Meg Supel |

2 December 2011

An Afternoon at the Beach

Living in Outback Australia, we rarely get to the beach. While there's plenty of sand around our home, it's the deep red of ancient lands, not the pure white of recently eroded coastlines (well, recent in the geological timeframe).

The combination of a spare afternoon in Adelaide last Sunday and beautiful weather was the perfect excuse to treat our family to an afternoon at the beach.
 

We all delighted in paddling through the water. Matthew particularly loved collecting shells to decorate the sandcastle we built.

Given the hectic pace of life lately, this simple outing was a pleasure and rejuvenated us all. And to top it off, we followed it with dinner at our favourite organic pizza bar in North Adelaide - Good Life. Yum!

About the Author: Laura Trotta (BEng (Enviro), MSc (Enviro Chem)) is an eco mum, environmental engineer and founder of Sustainababy. She lives in regional South Australia with her husband Paul and son Matthew.
 

CATEGORY: family, outing, beach | POSTED BY: Meg Supel |