The Cost of Oil

I know we’ve all realized the price of gas these days. I know that when the price of gas started getting towards $5 a gallon we freaked out and pushed for new modes of transport, “greener” fuels, and new technologies. I also realize that when the price per gallon started to decline, people stopped their eco-push. When the price was more manageable, people once again hopped into their SUVs and put their hybrids into the garage.

Let me tell you why the cost of gas is not the only factor that should be determining how hard we push for eco-friendly variations in fuel and technology… oil has a really large cost that cannot be seen by looking at the price at the pump.

If you don’t believe me, just check out this Times article and read some about the devastation happening in the Gulf of Mexico. The devastation is worse than anticipated. This oil spill is the largest oil disaster ever.

Oil also has a large carbon footprint which makes it a factor in the climate change.

This site talks of other effects oil can have on the environment… and let me tell you… none of them are good.

So… what are we supposed to do?

  1. Push for change. Our votes elected the government representatives. Let’s tell them what we would like them to accomplish.
  2. When you’re driving, try running all of your errands at once. This allows you to get your errands done quicker, and you use less gas!
  3. Carpool.
  4. When you’re cooking, use one appliance. Try not to grill one thing, bake another, and boil a third. If you’re going to boil things, boil them all (you can even reuse the water that way). And if the oven or grill are on, it’s less cost for you to use that for everything!
  5. In the upcoming summer months, invest in a screen door and keep your door open. Or (if you’re in a humid place), try only turning on your AC when you’re at home–>there’s no use paying for unused air conditioning.

As I’ve told you all, one of my goals for this blog is to teach myself about “greener” eating. Therefore, I’ve been researching a ton. I’ve learned so many interesting things that I hadn’t even thought about (that I promise I’ll share with you). For instance, did you know that “The average American diet creates 2.8 tons of CO2 emissions each year per person, which has now surpassed the 2.2 tons generated by American driving” (Go Green Get Lean, Kate Geagan). This includes the “production, transport, processing, packaging, storage, and preparation” (Geagan) of our foods. That’s CRAZY! 2.8 TONS of CO2 per person just for eating! “The amount of fossil fuel going into our food choices has outstripped the actual amount of energy in the food itself” (Geagan).

Well, today I’m giving you a couple of recipes that will hopefully get your diet to a “greener” level.

  • For today, each of these recipes are going to be using local, organic produce –> if you do not have a local farmers market or food co-op to find these at, check out Whole Foods (they have signs telling where your produce is coming from–> get something coming from the closest location if you are not in a produce-farming location).
  • If you would like to have meat in your dish, try buying lower on the food-chain. This is an easy way to tell which meat has more energy going into it–> more on that in another blog post.
  • Each of these recipes is going to use one appliance. It saves energy!
  • Take a hint from Kate Geagan’s Go Green Get Lean: Use the acronym L.E.A.N: Is the food local or global? (Local is greener), Energy used to bring it to your plate? (This includes transport, processing, packaging, and temperature food must be kept at–> having to use your refrigerator v. freezer), Animal or Plant? (Plants are the greener choice), Necessary? (Is it critical for you to eat this for your health?–> i.e. If you refuse to eat soy/tofu/nuts, you’ll probably need some sort of animal product in your diet to get enough protein).

Bulgar with Sun-dried Tomato, Feta, and Kalamata Olives

  • Find the original recipe here
  • I’ve cut it down since I’m just one person.
  • 1/4 cup bulgar wheat (find in the bulk section of your local supermarket–>cuts down on packaging!)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, sliced (take it out or buy pitted)
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled  (if you want this recipe to be vegan you can withhold this ingredient)
  • 1/4 shallot, minced
  • 1/2 bunch of parsley, minced (I love this flavor and found it locally grown so I added extra. You can add less if you don’t love parsley)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar (the recipe called for red wine vinegar but I had a local balsamic vinegar at my hands that I lovvvve)
  • juice of 1/4 lemon (add zest for extra lemony goodness)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Bring the water to a boil, add the bulgar and cover (turn down to a simmer) for 30 minutes. Combine the sun-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, parsley, shallot, and feta in one bowl. Whisk together the remaining ingredients in a separate bowl. Drain the water from the bulgar and pat dry. Add the sun-dried tomato mixture and cover with the liquid dressing. Stir it all together and you have a delicious lunch!

Local Produce Stir-Fry

  • This year I became involved in a movement called “Food Not Bombs”. It’s an all-vegan group that cooks for local houseless people (or whoever would like to eat for free). The local farmers market donates all of their extra produce at the end of their Sunday market and we use it to cook for these persons.
  • One thing this has taught me is how easy it is to make a delicious veggie stir-fry regardless of the greens given to you.
  • All you need is some veggies, a little bit of extra-virgin olive oil, and a pan with a top to help steam and cook the veggies.
  • My newest love is this map from epicurious that tells you (by location) the seasonal produce in your area.
  • My stir-fry was an asparagus, mushroom, cauliflower, sugar snap pea, kale, red bell pepper stir-fry but you will find different local produce wherever you go.
  • I added some extra flavor with a kick of cayenne and some cumin and paprika, but that is up to you.
  • I also used soy sauce instead of salt for this dish. It gives it a little extra liquid and I think the flavor adds to the dish nicely.

I’m telling you this dish is idiot-proof. Turn on some heat, coat the pan with your EVOO, and then put in your veggies (time for cooking varies on how hard your veggies are and how little they have been cut so put in your hardest and largest veggies first–> add the others after those have cooked for a while), place the lid over your pan to help steam the veggies and VOILA, deliciousness.

Throw together some locally grown, organic, in-season veggies for a quick easy DELICIOUS dinner!

If you’d like some added protein, I suggest adding some peanuts to this dish (but make sure to cook them for a little as well). YUMMY!

Lessons Learned

  • Food is adding to climate change more than driving! This is due to the production, transportation, processing, packaging, storage, and preparation of the food.
  • There are ways to make better choices!
  • Use the acronym L.E.A.N when choosing your foods.

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One response to “The Cost of Oil

  1. Terry Coleman

    LOVE your blog!!!! Your writing is a like the farmers market — fresh, accessible and memorable. Thank you C, your efforts are hugely appreciated!

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