Going Green

We have been working hard here in the Dine & Dish household to lessen our environmental footprint. We have been taking small steps and are easing our way into the habits that will hopefully help our future generations to live in a thriving environment.

All this green business can be very confusing and it has taken us awhile to catch on. We are trying though and hopefully with our efforts we will continue to build an interest in our children about the significance of how an even small step can make a big impact.

  • About a year ago, we purchased reusable fabric tote bags for our grocery shopping trips. 9 times out of 10, I forget to take them into the store, and only remember when I am checking out. So, I tell the clerk to just put my groceries in the cart and I will bag them at the car. When I do actually remember to take them into the store, I feel like I have accomplished something big that day. Yay for me… remembering my fabric tote bags.
  • We have replaced almost all of our light bulbs with those ugly energy efficient compact florescent light bulbs. Why do they have to make those things so darn ugly? Still, I feel a little burst of pride every time I see my little ugly light bulbs.
  • We have attempted to stop the junk mail. We get so much crap in the mail that immediately gets tossed (or recycled if applicable). Hubby doesn’t get to browse the Victoria’s Secret catalogs anymore, and I don’t dream shop out of the Pottery Barn catalog anymore. Sacrifices…I tell ya’.
  • Recycle. We do recycle. Our town has a great curbside recycling program and they make it so simple to take part in recycling. It is a bit of a challenge among my family members to see who can recycle the most things during the day. Sometimes I’ll open things up just so I can win in the daily recycle race in our house. Shhhhh!
  • Freecycle. How many of you know about Freecycle? This is the most fun I have ever had helping the environment. When I get on my decluttering binges, I almost always choose to Freecycle the items I am decluttering. Now, you do have to watch out for your serial Freecyclers/Freebie Hunters… those people who respond to each and every item you post. I can only imagine the fire hazard their homes are with all their freecycled goodies stashed around. The truth is, they are probably becoming millionaires Ebaying and Craigslisting all of the stuff they have received.
  • Reuse. This is where I have to draw the line. My mother-in-law is probably the best “reuser” I have ever met. We will often drive up to the farm to find ziploc bags and tin foil hanging on the line to dry. She doesn’t have Tupperware. Instead, in her cabinets, you will find butter containers, sour cream containers, ice cream pails, etc. She hand washes all of her disposable flatware and plates. To do my part, we are trying to limit our use of disposable things. Napkins are now cloth, we try to not use disposable plates/flatware. I, however, cannot get into washing my tinfoil, plastic wrap and ziploc bags. Heathen as I am, I just can’t do it.

So there you have it… just a few of the small things we are doing to go green. We implement new things all the time. I know we aren’t as accomplished about this as some of you, but hopefully with each baby step we take, we are making a difference.

Speaking of green, I have to tell you about this meatloaf from the now infamous Table Talk Cookbook by Carol McManus. Yes, I’m still completely and totally loving this cookbook! Carol told me via email that she has been making this meatloaf to serve to her family for the past 25 years. This is a time tested recipe that I can now attest to being the very best meatloaf recipe I have ever tried. My children, who can be somewhat persnickety about hidden veggies, didn’t even complain about the “seaweed” in the meatloaf. In fact, I was preparing to sit down when my six year old said “Mom, you had better try this giant meatball. It is so good!”.

Go green. Green is good, people. Really good.

Hide-the-Spinach Meatloaf from Table Talk by Carol McManus

1 Tbs olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 8oz package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and with water squeezed out

2 lbs ground chuck or sirloin

2 eggs

½ cup dried Italian breadcrumbs

½ tsp salt

Fresh ground pepper, to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a small skillet, warm olive oil over low heat. Add onion and sauté until soft but not browned. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds more. Add spinach and sauté for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the ground beef, eggs, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper. Add the cooked spinach, mixing thoroughly.
  4. In a 9×13 inch baking pan (glass is preferred), shape the meatloaf into a rectangle. Bake for about an hour, taking care not to overcook or the meat will dry out. The meatloaf can be a little pink in the middle.

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  1. says

    That’s a lot of great steps!! I only have one reusable bag right now, but it usually works just great because I only shop for 1 or 2 days at a time. I love it because it folds up in a little bag and I can carry it in my purse.

    I wish my husband liked meatloaf. Maybe I’ll have to make him learn to like it!

    Deborahs last blog post..Cheesy Garlic Bread

  2. says

    Bravo for great leaps forward! I forget my bags more often than not too – though I always keep a compact rolled-up one for the little trips. I’m hoping to eliminate those plastic produce bags too…but that’s been tougher.

    Small steps still move forward, so keep it up :)

    Claires last blog post..One Egg At A Time: Pound Cake

  3. says

    That’s great. I really need to start recycling. We do a few other things, but that would be a biggie in our house.

    Last week I was at the grocery store and the woman behind me started to tsk tsk me about not having fabric bags, so I then pointed out how each of her veggie and fruit selections had their own platic produce bags. Seriously, a produce bag for one lemon? I pointed that out and how when I get home I do reuse the platic grocery bags but how her flimsy produce bags could probably not be reused. She got real quiet and I kinda felt like an a-hole. Was that tacky of me to poke my finger back at her?

  4. says

    I try to keep the totes in the car, even taking one with me no matter where I am shopping from the convenience store, drugstore and up. I am seeing on lots of my receipts that companies are offering a .05 discount when you bring your own bag.

    I also re-use the plastic produce bags as much as possible, placing them back inside my grocery tote and pulling them out as needed. They also work well to collect refuse when you cook- meat wrappers, produce trimmings etc- just keep one in the sink and gather it all up, tying it closed when you’re done. I keep the produce one separate, then it gets carried outside and emptied in the compost bin or sometimes just dumped right on the garden to be turned under. I wish the USA would follow in the footsteps of the dozen or so countries around the world that have banned the use of these types of bags.

    I can see your point about washing the baggies, but also strongly encourage you to try it, or gradually phase them out of use. I will wash, re-wash and re-wash them time and again until the seal quits working or they break apart, and many have lasted for months. At such a steep price, both in the pocketbook and on the earth, it’s one step more you can take to insure less trash in the landfills that will never break down. Many environmental reports state that plastic of every kind is the Earth’s worst offender in terms of pollution, plastic bags and bottles being at the top of the list. Just don’t re-use ones that have held raw meat.

    All right….that’s about enough out of me!

    Kates last blog post..Sorrow in the Blog World

  5. says

    Hi! Thanks so much for your comment on my blog, it really, really is my DREAM! So thanks for being supportive of it, I truly appreciate it.

    I had kind of a rocky start on Recipezaar {WAY not as big of a deal as I made of it!} but I love it now and am so happy to be a member. I just paid my dues and became premium.

    Anyway, the contest has such a fantastic prize I am floored that more people aren’t entering! Does every one not dream of cooking it up in the Food Network Kitchens?! I think the contest deserves more attention with a prize like that. I guess it means more to me because I live in Australia so I have to pay my own way to get there so I want it to be worth it and something people care about. And again, because it is my dream to work in food entertainment.

    Anyway, thanks again, that was really nice of you to say. I love your blog, I’m so glad you found me so that now I found you! I smell a new site on my links list…!

    Hot Garlics last blog post..Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

  6. says

    Cloth napkins are great; but have you taken into account the energy used to make them, ship them, and launder them? Probably the most “green” practice would be to use your shirt sleeve – but I don’t recommend it. Do you have to pay to have you recycles picked up? Our town does. Seems crazy to pay someone to pick up something they will get money for. Just some thoughts…

    MAYBELLINEs last blog post..A Very Important Moment

  7. says

    You have beautiful food pictures! My daughter was traumatized by spinach cooked into food once, so I may skip this recipe. Looks good to me, though!

  8. says

    Kristen—Great post! We’ve gotten much better about remembering our canvas totes, to the extent that sometimes when we need a plastic grocery bag [usually for some messy clean up], we’re hard pressed to find one. We also recycle, but our Chicago neighborhood makes it a chore. The city is rolling out blue bins, but we don’t have them yet. For our soda cans, we’ve started hanging a bag of them [those plastic grocery bags!] out by the alley. Within a day, they’re always gone, taken by someone who will not only recycle them, but make a little money doing so.

    Terry Bs last blog post..Black-eyed pea salsa, big-flavored steaks

  9. says

    I must make that meatloaf! The Husband makes very few things that don’t involve the grill and he’s supposed to be making his Turkey/Spinach meatloaf this week. Oh, it’s so good- and I’m going to have to try yours now!
    As for the recycling. You totally just convicted me. I was thinking about the pile of newspapers sitting on my living room floor and wondering if it was really that big of a deal to throw them away this week instead of taking them to recycle. I was running late to church on Sunday and forgot them. Now they sit on my floor mocking me.
    I have a friend who claims that she’s “gone green” because she does the whole compost and reusable tote thing… as she sucks down 6 bottles of water a day and throws the bottles in the trash (can’t be bothered to recycle). Nevermind the fact that she bought her totes because they hold more than plastic bags. It’s all about convenience for some… but at least they do something.

    ~The Cat’s Pajamas

    The Cat’s Pajamass last blog post..Morning treats

  10. says

    We can always do more to be green, but I think it’s great that you’re doing what you do. If everyone had that awareness, it would make such a huge difference. I can’t believe how many people don’t recycle at all… I just couldn’t imagine not doing it.

    Meatloaf sounds good, too. And the ‘giant meatball’ comment… too cute!

    Erins last blog post..Daring Bakers: Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream

  11. says

    We’re trying to do our part here, too. I’ve started riding my bike to work and hubby rides his motorcycle. Our cars (a MiniCooper and an Xterra) sit in the driveway every day unless it’s raining. I’m thinking about taking the bus during the winter to see if we can swing the one-car-family thing. I even went so far as to walk the recycling down to the neighborhood center when I took our dog on her a.m. walk. Kind of feels good to be so environmentally conscious, doesn’t it?

    The meatloaf sounds yummy. I’m pretty happy with my recipe, but I think I’ll give the spinach a try. Couldn’t hurt!

    Les in NEs last blog post..Capellini with Shrimp and Creamy Tomato Sauce

  12. says

    Many thanks for creating the effort to talk about this, I feel strongly about this and love learning a great deal more on this matter. If possible, as you

    • says

      Hi Jolene – I’m honestly not sure as I’ve never doubled it. 4 pounds of meat in a loaf pan would take quite a long time to cook. Do you have 2 loaf pans that you could maybe use instead?

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