Monday, October 31, 2011

Suspiciously easy raw applesauce recipe, or: Why isn't applesauce always made this way?

Spoiler: To make applesauce, all you have to do is blend apples in a blender.

This recipe takes about 15 minutes to make about 1-3 large servings.

Raw applesauce with cranberry and cinnamon


1. Chop apples into eighths, approximately, removing the core. I recommend a big knife like the one pictured, because it makes this step very easy.

2. Put apple chunks in blender.

3. Add raw, rinsed cranberries to blender. (optional)

4. Add ground cinnamon (not too much!) and real maple syrup. (optional. Also, this stuff probably isn't raw.)

5. Add a little bit of water (if necessary to make it blend. My blender doesn't work well unless I add the water.)

6. Blend. You might have to use a spoon to move the stuff around in order to make it blend. Be very careful if you do this because it can easily hit a blade and that can result in you getting seriously hurt or making a mess.

7. Let it blend for about a minute once it starts blending smoothly. Then taste it to see if you want to add anything else.


Also, I'm thinking of making cranberry sauce using the same technique, except I would use more cranberries, less apples, and more maple syrup. And maybe no cinnamon.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Wooden glasses: My eyes' dream come true

A combination of brilliance and distaste for most glasses gave me an idea: Glasses made out of wood! So I googled it and it turns out that they exist!

Besides being seductively earthy, wooden glasses are said to be less harmful to the environment than conventional glasses, as they are made from a renewable resource. Some companies that offer wooden glasses are also more environmentally conscious in other ways (i.e. some plant trees).

On the other hand, many companies that sell wooden glasses are expensive and difficult to buy from. I have included a variety of wooden glasses companies in this list, including some that are affordable and easy to find.
Herrlicht of Germany has 8 styles of wooden frames. I called 10/10 Optics, a NYC store that sells these, and they said that the Herrlicht frames start at $600
Urban Spectacles of Chicago custom makes exclusively wooden frames, starting at $850
Proof of Idaho offers wooden frames, starting under $100. They are even sold in Massachusetts!
W-Eye of Italy offers 10 styles of wooden frames with nickel-free aluminum on the inside to make the frames flexible. I'm not sure if they are sold in any English-speaking countries.

M.A.D.E. of Denmark makes wooden frames that include metal details.

Sire's Crown of California makes wood frames with wood pulp fronts. They plant 20-100 trees for every pair of glasses they sell. The frames pictured above are $300.

ROLF Spectacles offers wooden and bamboo glasses frames, which are made completely out of natural material and with no metal parts.
ICU Eyewear of California offers a few frames with bamboo temples (search "bamboo" on their homepage). The above pair is only $52. They're actually reading glasses, but I assume that you can have prescription lenses put in them.
Amy Sacks offers the "Bamboo Masa" frame with a plastic (cellulose acetate) front and bamboo temples for $125.

Here is an article with more information about wooden glasses frames.

Other places to buy wooden glasses:

Kayu Design (under $200, but only sell sunglasses)
Barbara Creations, Inc.
Waiting for the Sun
Schwood (affordable and relatively easy to find, but only sell sunglasses)

Coming up next: A post on recycled & secondhand glasses.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Do glasses create less waste than contacts?

After mending my glasses with masking tape, I figured why not cover the whole frame in tape. But that got boring so I didn't finish. And it turns out the tape "hinge" is weaker than the real hinge, so the left side sags. So I've decided to buy new glasses.

I have only worn glasses in public a handful of times. When I found out that I had bad vision at the age of 10, I began wearing contacts.

Contact lense solution, contact lense boxes, contact lense packages, contact lense cases (not pictured: actual contact lenses, cardboard box that solution comes in)

Recently I became worried about all of the waste involved with wearing contacts. So I began waiting two months instead of one month before switching to a new pair of contacts. And I put clean contact solution into my contact case once every few days instead of daily. But this is probably very unhealthy, so I want to try something else.

Which brings me to glasses!
Do glasses really create less waste than contacts?

Some numbers:

A year's supply of contacts (12 pairs of monthlies, with 12 contact cases and 12 bottles of cleaning solution):
549 grams of plastic

A pair of glasses lenses (not including frames):
35 grams of plastic

(statistics from this article)

Well, I probably use about 1 contact case and 5 bottles of contact solution each year (much less than the 12 cases and 12 bottles factored into the statistic above).

On the other hand, everyone I know who wears contacts also owns a pair of glasses (for use late at night, etc.). But the people I know who predominantly wear contacts usually buy a new pair of glasses every 5 or 10 years. I bought my current glasses around 8 years ago.

How often do glasses-wearers buy a new pair of glasses? I'm hoping to replace my glasses no more than once every 5 years.
I'm estimating that buying a pair of glasses every 5+ years is less wasteful than wearing monthly contact lenses.

Also, there are glasses available that are made out of recycled and renewable materials.

I will soon post about the best places to look for glasses made out of recycled materials, and glasses made out of wood!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

4 minute "apple pie," or: the product of my menstrual cravings


Today my hormonal body said to me, "Go to the kitchen and eat apples with butter and cinnamon."


1. Chop up an apple into pretty thin slices. Take out core.
2. Spread a thin layer of butter onto one side of each apple slice.
2. Sprinkle generously with ground cinnamon.

I actually liked this more than I like apple pie.

The process

A delicious contrast between nourishment and heart attack fuel


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Trying out democracy: The first days of Occupy Boston

I've been spending a lot of time at Occupy Boston. I am very enthusiastic about this movement and hoping to do what I can to support it and keep its energy up.
Here is a podcast in which 3 participants of the Occupy movement give eloquent explanations of their involvement in the movement:
NPR's On Point with Tom Ashbrook on the Occupy movement
Some photos I took at Occupy Boston during the first days of the movement in Boston:
Marching outside of Bank of America

Marching outside Bank of America

One protester, Nikki Sauber

Inside the spirituality tent

A view of the occupation, located outside of South Station

A general assembly meeting at the tent city

Many occupiers find these numbers very concerning