Monday, August 30, 2010

Spicy BBQ Chicken Marinade

If to you the thought of eating low-fat poultry meat is bland and boring, try this out - your taste buds will be in for a treat!

This marinade recipe is based on a Portuguese specialty called “piri-piri” chicken, utilizing ground native piri-piri peppers (originally from Africa but now the pride of Portugal) rather than cayenne or other ground peppers. Not sure if piri-piri is available here in North America in grocery or specialty stores but if you can find it, try it out – it adds a nice flavour.

The marinade is absolutely marvelous for BBQ chicken pieces, but I imagine it would taste equally yummy on other grilled or baked meats or seafood (I've done it with shrimp and it was fantastic! Will have to try it on scallops).

1 cup EVOO
1.5 TBS piri-piri pepper or cayenne pepper or ground chili pequin / Thai chilies
.5 TBS paprika
4-5 cloves minced garlic
2 tsp sea salt
.5 tsp ground oregano
2 tsp lemon juice
.5 tsp ground pepper
.5 tsp sugar
Put the above in a tightly sealed jar, shake briskly, and keep in the fridge for a few weeks to meld flavours. Take out every day or two for a couple of hours to un-congeal (is that a word?) the oil, so you can shake and mix the ingredients more.
Recipe based on 1 cup of oil should cover 25-30 pieces of chicken. I usually use only 1/4 cup at a time, for 6-8 pieces of chicken. 8 hours is enough to blend the flavors in the jar, but the longer the better. Marinate the chicken or other meat in the fridge at least 8 hours or longer for the most intense flavour.
Be sure to remove the extra fat and skin from the chicken pieces before marinating or the grill could flare up and burn the chicken.
Grill on medium-high heat for about 45 minutes (based on thick breasts or thighs) or until juices run clear. 

For chicken Tandoori, you may add 1 TBS Turmeric, 1 tsp. gharam marsala, a small amount of red food coloring (optional), and increase the lemon juice to 1 TBS. Turmeric is full of cancer-fighting anti-oxidants.
I haven't tried it yet, but might some time add tequila and use lime juice to make tequila-lime chicken; or some bourbon and brown sugar to make bourbon chicken.

You could also try this oven-baked, with the chicken pieces coated with seasoned bread crumbs after dipping in milk, for a “Fried” chicken that would make the Colonel come back to life.

Feel free to modify as you wish.

Bom apetite!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Smile in the Sky

Yesterday around 5:00 pm, as Jason and I were chillaxin' in the pool, we were treated to a rare sight in the hazy Phoenix sky - an upside-down rainbow. Never in my *mumble* years on earth have I seen such a thing.

No, our eyes weren't playing tricks on us, and we hadn't had four-too-many frosty beverages. Apparently, this was an optical phenomenon that happens when atmospheric pressure, the angle of the sun, and the ice crystals in cirrus clouds have a party.

According to (from where I copied this photo), "It is rarely noticed because it occurs so far overhead, but in fact is relatively common. Cirrus clouds which cause a sun dog can cause a circumzenithal arc when they reach the zenith, if the Sun is low in the sky."

True, I probably wouldn't have noticed the arc, had I not been wearing polarized sunglasses. It wasn't nearly as bright, colorful, or perfect when they were taken off. The Technicolor arch faded in and out for about an hour, sometimes showing only two colors, sometimes more brilliant than a regular rainbow.

Yet another spectacular masterpiece by the world's greatest artist, Mother Nature!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Dry Heat

A phrase heard often in Phoenix is "But it's a dry heat". Dry heat or not, that's little consolation for those of us who inhabit the desert city. Today it's going to be around 112F degrees (~ 45C). Tomorrow it is going to be a degree or two hotter. If you can't imagine what that kind of heat is like, picture this:

You know that blast of hot air when you open the oven door, that's what it feels like when you open the door of your air conditioned home to go outside.

You will walk all the way across a parking lot in order to get the space with the tiniest bit of shade to park under.

You conserve your body temperature by walking very slowly.

You keep oven mitts in the car so you can touch the steering wheel.

Hot water comes out of both taps, no matter how long you let it run.

You have to drink water constantly to maintain hydration. If you see someone in public without water, you know they are either a tourist or an idiot.

Many people leave their garage doors open a foot to let the hot air escape.

The cute puppy in the right margin of this blog refuses to walk on the sidewalk and demands to be carried.

The temperature gauge on the BBQ reads 180 before it's been lit.

Ice cream for breakfast sounds like a good idea.

You can brew sun tea in the shade.

Never mind frying eggs on the sidewalk - you can grill hamburgers and roast marshmallows over the hood of your car.

Your summer electricity bill surpasses your mortgage payment due to A/C use.

You take two (or three) showers a day. And go through 21 pairs of undies a week.

The weatherman talks about a refreshing break coming when it is going to "cool down" to 105.

You jump in the pool to cool off, but it's more like a warm bath.

But it's a dry heat. We live with it. The heat is long forgotten when winter comes and we have the most lovely weather imaginable! In fact, I'm imagining it right now.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tofu Lasagna

I love lasagna - it's one of my favorite foods - but traditional versions tend to cause some grief around the mid-line, if ya know what I mean. Ground beef, heaping piles of Parmesan and ricotta cheese, eggs, etc. are full of artery-clogging saturated fat. I recently made a more healthy version - with tofu. Tofu is a highly nutritious, protein-rich food that is made from the curds of soybean milk. It doesn't have much flavor of its own, but when the water is squeezed out of it, it readily takes on flavors of anything it is cooked with. This recipe uses tofu to replace the ground beef in typical lasagna.

Before you say "YUCK!", try it - you might like it! Here's how it's made:


9 uncooked lasagna noodles
1 12oz block of extra-firm tofu, thawed from frozen, drained well
2-3 19oz cans of Italian style Diced Tomatoes (I used  fire roasted with garlic, and only used 2 cans. When I make this again I'll use 3)
1/2 medium onion, diced 
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs. lemon juice
1 Tbs. dried basil leaves
1 tsp. ground oregano
1/2-1 tsp. crushed dried chilis
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg or allspice
1 large bottle of your favorite red wine
6oz frozen chopped spinach, drained well
2 egg whites, beaten
1/4 cup fat-free grated Parmesan cheese topping
2 cups low-fat part-skim mozzarella cheese

(feel free to use fresh ingredients if you have them!)

Here's what the Italians do - soak the noodles in hot water in the same pan you'll use for the lasagna. You'll have no need to boil them!

Squeeze as much water as you can from the tofu. With very clean hands (or use plastic gloves) crumble the tofu to a ground beef-like consistency, squeezing as much water out as you can. This will keep the sauce from being runny.

 Sauté the onion & garlic in a small amount of olive oil (not too hot!) until almost translucent, then add the crumbled tofu. Sauté a few more minutes, then add the spices, lemon juice, 1/4 cup red wine, tomatoes, and tofu. Simmer for about 10 minutes or longer, letting the flavors combine.

Beat the egg whites into a small bowl, and mix in the drained spinach and Parmesan cheese. Pour yourself a glass of wine and take in the aroma of the sauce as you sip it.

Spray the bottom of a 9x13" pan with olive oil or cooking spray, then line with 3 softened, expanded noodles. Evenly spread the spinach/egg mixture over them. Add a 2nd layer of noodles.

Spread 1/2 of the tofu/sauce mixture over the noodles. Sprinkle with one cup of mozzarella.

Add another layer of noodles, sauce, and cheese. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. (175c) Pour yourself another glass of wine.  Tune your satellite radio to the Frank Sinatra station.

Cook the lasagna, uncovered, for 30 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and just starting to brown. Finish off the bottle of wine and open another.

After cooking, let stand for 10 minutes. Get help cutting it into 8 servings and serve with red wine.

buon appetito!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Canadian Snowbird in Arizona

A rusting mini-van with foreign license plates sits stopped in a Phoenix home-improvement store parking lot. Inside is an elderly man who is chatting through the van's open window with several men wearing work clothes, who are standing in a small group in the lot.

Along comes a police officer who breaks up the conversation to question the van's driver. "Sir, may I see your license please".

"Sure," says the grey-haired man, who digs the requested card out of his wallet.

"Sir, this is not an Arizona-issued document. I also see that you have plates that also are not Arizona issue. Can you explain."

The man replies "I'm from British Columbia".

"Where in Mexico is that?"

"It's actually in Western Canada."

"Then why were you speaking Spanish?" The officer asks, becoming less polite.

"To communicate better with these young men. I spend a lot of time in Mexico, in fact, I've been granted Permanent Residency there, so have picked up the language."

The officer peaks through the window into the back of the vehicle, where there is a pile of floor tile and grout. "I see you have been purchasing home improvement supplies. Are you planning on exporting them to Canada or Mexico?"

"Neither. Last Fall I bought a condo here in Phoenix, where my daughter lives. I'm doing some fix-ups. I live here in the winter."

"You LIVE here? Sir, I have reason to suspect you are here illegally. You were speaking Spanish, and attempting to pick up day-laborers who you should suspect are also here illegally, which is also a crime. Not to mention your outfit is strange for Arizona - nobody here wears short pants and a T-shirt when it is 40 degrees. I am required by the articles of SB 1070 for these reasons to determine your legal status."

The old man raises his eyebrows and replies "Well here's my Canadian passport, and my Mexican ID, if that helps, but I was just asking for directions..."

"Sir, Arizona law SB 1070 makes it illegal for you to be in Arizona without immigration papers. Without federal-issued documentation, and a lack of Arizona Driver License, I am required to take you to jail until your status becomes determined by a federal authority. You will be required to pay for the jail time until such time, plus a minimum $500 fine. This vehicle will be confiscated, and impounded as evidence. You will be deported if it is found you do not have legal status."

"But I'm a TOURIST!"

"Sir, you claimed you live here, and have not produced a travel Visa which you would have if you are really a tourist."

"Actually, Canadians are exempt from having Visas, officer!" The old man states.

"Sir, don't make me add 'resisting' arrest to your charges. SB 1070 does not make special provisions for Canadians. We are to treat all immigrant aliens equally, not based on race or country of origin. Step out of the vehicle, please."


The above story is a (admittedly a bad) work of fiction, but it is a scenario that really could happen based on the way the controversial Arizona SB 1070 is written. I really hope that the provisions of the law that were stricken out by Judge Bolton are not placed back on the November appeal. I fear for my father (the very real snowbird with the mini-van) and all other tourists from out-of-state, and also for all legal immigrants, especially if they "look or act like an illegal alien."

We need immigration reform and badly. But SB 1070 is not the answer. I beg all Arizonans and visitors to Arizona to plead with Governor Jan Brewer to not appeal the provisions that were struck down as being unconstitutional. We do not need Arizona to be a "police state". I hate being political in a blog, but this is a very important issue which is close to my heart. Arizona is financially broke and doesn't need to lose any more much-needed tourist dollars! 

Arizona immigration law SB 1070 - Judge blocks some sections

This legal immigrant will get off the soap-box now. Please take a look at the cute puppy on the right of the page, and have a great day!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

D.I.E.T results

Jason and I recently went on an experimental carbohydrate-restricted, high protein diet for a week (see last 2 blogs). As someone who is fascinated with the science of nutrition, the results didn't really surprise me.

After just the first day, both of us felt like we had swallowed a billiard ball whole, and that feeling lasted throughout the week. Jason complained daily about his disruptive bowel movements (thank me for not elaborating). Although we found it not-too-difficult to come up with satisfying meals, it did seem redundant to eat so many meat products (turkey, turkey-bacon, turkey-kielbasa, and ham - we do not like eating beef, in fact we usually don't eat red meat at all) and the same sides of cabbage, green salad, or broccoli. We also missed our high-fibre bread & cereal. I originally thought we may adhere to this diet for 2 weeks, but we weren't feeling very good, and knowing that restricting carbohydrates may be tough on the liver and other internal organs, we quit after one week.

So was it worth it? I lost .45% of my body weight and Jason lost .48%. He attributes his weight loss to exercising more that week, and mine could very well be normal fluctuation. In fact, in the few days since we resumed eating our usual low-fat, low-meat diet, I've lost another .8 pounds! So no, I'd say the diet was not beneficial in any way, and as predicted, I wouldn't recommend a long-term low-carbohydrate diet to anybody.

So much for the miracle diet. We're happy to be back to our usual way of eating!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

D.I.E.T. Day 1

I received a really cool scale from my sister for Christmas. It not only tells you what you weigh, but also your BMI, fat/muscle ratio, how many calories you need a day to sustain your current weight, and what your "body age" is. I have no idea how it works, or how accurate it can measure these things by the sensors under your feet and in the hand grips from which it gleans information, but it's cool, none-the-less.

So, today being the first day of my experimental low-carb diet,  I stepped upon my cool scale to set the base mark. 113.2 pounds, BMI around 20, and I'm only 32 years old! Not bad. I'd still like to lose the muffin-top, though. Almost-daily exercise and eating a nutrient packed diet hasn't done it. Jason has weighed himself as well, but he won't tell me what the scale said.

We've already survived a bread and cereal exempt breakfast of egg white scrambled with freshly chopped green onion, green chili, and tomatoes. Lunch will be lean turkey kielbasa and sauerkraut with spicy mustard. Supper: leftover dark turkey meat & a romaine lettuce, celery, tomato, and cucumber salad with home-made olive oil & vinegar dressing.

We'll see what several days of complex-carbohydrate deprivation will do when I stand on my scale in a week or two.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Me? A D.I.E.T???

Those who know me best know that I am a freak when it comes to nutrition. What the same people don't know is that I think most fad "diets" are downright dumb, if not dangerous.

But lately, there's been a couple of pounds that just don't want to leave my hips despite regular exercise, and for the most part, eating right. My husband has a few pounds or thirty he could stand losing, himself.

So, starting Sunday, I've decided that we are going to try healthy variations of a couple of different diets, for only a week or two at a time, to see how we feel and look by changing things up a little. The first will be a healthy low-carb diet.

This diet will allow:
  • sautéed, baked, steamed, lightly stir-fried or BBQ, LEAN meats, fish & seafood, poultry and their products, barbecued, (such as lean lunch meat, turkey bacon), in MODERATE PORTIONS. None of that "all-you-can-eat steak, bacon, and ribs" from a popular fad low-carb diet. I'm talking like a deck-of-cards size.
  • egg whites and no more than 2 yolks per week.
  • low-fat dairy and soy products (including skim and sugar-free soy milk, & tofu)
  • cheese in small amounts for flavour
  • healthier non-processed vegetable oils such as olive & canola
  • green vegetables such as Romaine lettuce, spinach & other greens, green onions, parsley, cabbage, & broccoli
  • tomatoes: fresh, cooked or canned without sugar
  • peppers of all kinds - the spicier the merrier
  • all herbs & spices, and fresh garlic
  • beer or wine in same moderation as usual diet, no hard liquor drinks or coolers.
  • salsa & sugar free hot sauce, horseradish, sugar & fat free mustard, smoke flavoring, sugar-free soy sauce, lime & lemon juice in small amounts
  • sugar free pickles & unsweetened sauerkraut
  • tea & coffee
  • no more than 4 ounces of unsweetened orange juice per day
  • a multi-vitamin/mineral supplement
  • home-made oil-and-vinegar dressing
  • plenty of water
  • artificial sugar-free sweeteners
  • grapefruit, lemons, lime

What it won't allow:
  • Fatty meats or dairy products including wieners, bologna and hamburger; whole milk & high-fat cheese
  • Fried ANYTHING!
  • beans, including soy beans (edamame)
  • nuts & seeds
  • berries
  • rice, cereal, breads, corn, pastries, cakes, cookies, granola, pasta, crackers, or any other grain products

  • sugary condiments such as ketchup, barbecue sauce, sweet-and-sour sauce, mayo, whipped dressing, store-bought salad dressing, store-bought spaghetti sauce, sweet pickles
  • high complex-carb veggies such as potatoes, carrots, yams, beets (don't even THINK about french fries!), cauliflower
  • processed meals (like I ever eat those anyway)
  • canned vegetables
  • juices besides 4 oz of OJ/day
  • anything with sugar or corn syrup in it including jams & jellies
  • more than 2 egg yolks a week
  • peanut, soy, saturated, or tropical oils or anything with those in them, including butter or margarine.
  • brown, yellow, white, or red onions in large amounts
  • candies, chocolates (it should go without saying, but...)
  • fruit except for grapefruit, lemons, and lime
We'll follow this for a week, two if we can handle it. My husband is reluctantly willing - we don't enjoy eating meat all that much - and will miss the high-fibre bread and cereal products, as well as the rice & beans, for sure. After this trial we are going to try something altogether different to compare results.

Feel free to try along with us, and I would love to hear your results - good or bad. There's a great web site that will let you know the carbohydrate, protein, and fat content of most foods at Let me know if you have any questions.

Bon appetite!

photos courtesy of

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Let me tell you 'bout the birds and the bees, the flowers and the trees...

Yesterday, we took a day off to spend my birthday at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum near Superior, Arizona. The weather was perfect, and the timing couldn't have been any better, as most of the desert wildflowers and trees on display there were in full bloom.

 Hundreds of cars were in the parking lot, indicating how popular this State Park is on a fabulous Spring day.

Pictures and words can only begin to describe the kaleidoscopic show of flowers throughout the park. So much for a barren desert! You couldn't turn your head without being amazed by yet another bush, cactus, herb, succulent, or tree in bloom.

One of my favorite birds seen here in the Sonoran Desert, a Phainopepla. Jason thinks its name sounds like a disease.

 This clever fellow ran away from Jason as he tried to photograph it, but for some reason it found refuge on my foot. I think he might have wanted to clue me in on how I could "save hundreds on car insurance."

Please forgive the chipped nailpolish & ugly sandals (they're COMFORTABLE! :-)  )


This is a carpenter bee. Like June-bugs, they are quite large and imposing, but at the same time, non-aggressive. They are ubiquitous in the Sonoran desert in March/April.

One of the many trails in the park. This is so funny... just as I was about to caption this photo, Jason asked me how to spell "chihuahua" (he's writing the pets portion on a rental home contract)

The park has several different geological and geographical zones, such as the Chihuahuan, Upper Sonoran, Eucalyptus forest, Australian Outback, herb garden, Magma Ridge, and South American exhibits.

This is the clever silky trap of a funnel-web spider's spiny cactus lair. Insects can go in, but they're not likely to re-emerge!

We didn't go past this point.

 One exhibit was of a small forest of different eucalyptus (redbark) trees from around the world. Some of these trees were huge!

 Enjoying a beautiful day amidst the birds and the bees, the flowers and the trees, was an awesome birthday present! If you are in the Phoenix area, especially in Spring, I highly recommend visiting the Boyce Thompson Arboretum! Even if you're not a "nature person" you will enjoy it.  You are welcome to view the complete photo album of  of the spectacular flowers & scenery from yesterday's trip by clicking here

Monday, April 19, 2010

A Trip to Nowhere and Back

Yesterday, in honour of Jason's Birthday, we took the day off and took a road trip to nowhere and back. Where's nowhere, you ask? Well, it's near Nothing. Nothing is a place where there is literally nothing to see, and we've "been there, done that" on many trips past it on the way to more interesting places.  Unlike Nothing, what we thought was the middle of nowhere actually had a few populated central Arizona towns in which we've never been. I guess to call them nowhere is a bit misleading and insulting to their residents, so although they might not be somewhere most people go, they ain't nowhere.
To get to these towns we headed east from Highway 93, just a few miles south of Nothing, and just a few miles north of the Santa Maria River.  We went in and out of the thriving metropoli of Bagdad (not a typo), Hillside, Skull Valley, Kirkland, Willhoit, Peeples Valley, Yarnell, and Congress. We saw a lot of amazing scenery on the way. The rocky hillsides dazzled us with greenery and wildflowers. This was mostly high desert and rangeland that you can easily imagine is brown and dreary at most times, but not this Spring. In fact, the Hassayampa and Santa Maria Rivers, as well as their tributaries were flowing with snowmelt runoff. We also saw lingering snow on the hills, from the pass south of Prescott. You can click the following photos to enlarge them:

 This is the Hassayampa River in Wickenberg, which is usually dry. "Hassayampa" comes from the Yavapai Indians, for "River that flows upside-down". The water literally flows underground most of the time. A local legend has it that anyone who drinks from the river can never again tell the truth.

These things flying by are Joshua Trees, in the Joshua Tree Scenic Parkway on Highway 93. These members of the yucca family can grow up to 50 feet tall and live for hundreds of years. They got the biblical name Joshua from Mormon settlers.

This is the Santa Maria River south of Nothing. Not exactly raging waters, but refreshing-looking just the same.

This quaint 50's style diner appeared to be the focal point of the town of Bagdad, a small mining town, but one of the larger bergs on this trip. Bagdad's non-descript houses all looked the same - white stucco with red roofs - probably because they were built by and are owned by the mine.

This is the Santa Maria River again, but several miles upstream. We'll have to camp here some time.

This rather precarious double-wide trailer was about the only thing that was hillside in Hillside Arizona. I just realized - we never saw a soul in either Bagdad or Hillside - maybe everyone was in church?

The only business in town, the Hillside Country Store, was closed of course.

I was hoping to see some famous painted rocks on this trip, such as the skull over Skull Valley, and the Frog Rock over Bagdad. We missed those, but this one really quacked us up.

Skull Valley. Notice the age of the gas pumps.

The approach to Skull Valley's thriving business district.

Peeples Valley. Kind of picturesque, but there's not really all that much there but horse grazing land.

This is where all the action is in Kirkland.

There was a cool overlook at about 6000 feet elevation. We could see for miles.
Here's the birthday boy!

There were lots of scenic rocky outcroppings and hoodoos along the route.

Congress was an interesting town. If you're in need

of something extremely odd, chances are you can buy it here.
 Such as an elephant wearing a pony saddle,

 ... or a nine-foot rooster. Pulling an antique tractor. I'm sure there's a very good in-joke about this that's well-known in town. Or perhaps the shop owner is just nuts.

This concludes our enjoyable road trip to nowhere and back. We didn't see any famous landmarks, but most of the towns we saw along the way were better than Nothing.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

10 Things to Make Our Wallets (and Mother Earth) Happy!

Every time my birthday comes around, I'm reminded of a slightly more important event that happens around the same time every year.

Two days before my first birthday, April 22nd, 1970, the environmental movement was kicked off with about 20 million Americans attending peaceful demonstrations in favor of environmental reform. Now April 22nd is observed by half a trillion people, in scores of countries around the world.

You can google Earth Day's history if you're interested. What's more important is to pay attention to what it stands for today. That is, that we need to be responsible to our environment. Back in the first Earth Days, being environmentally responsible used to equal inconvenience and price, but today that that is far from the case. In fact, there are several tiny changes we can easily adapt into our lifestyle to actually save money.

Here's a few:

1. Change your light bulbs to CFL's. An ENERGY STAR qualified compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL) will save about $30 over its lifetime and pay for itself in about 6 months. It uses 75 percent less energy and lasts about 10 times longer than an incandescent bulb. See more about this

2. Turn off your computer and/or laptop when you're not using it. A screen-saver could aptly be called an energy-waster. Unplug your accessories when convenient. Same goes with your phone charger - it sucks juice even when the phone isn't being charged. Unplug your A/V equipment when you go on vacation. Find out energy output on various computer equipment

3. Switch to a Time-of-Use power plan if your utility provider has one. You can save a lot of money by doing your high-energy activities at low-demand hours. Buy a timed thermostat if you don't have one...

4. Turn off your thermostat (or at least change it by a few degrees). On cooler days, adjust by putting on a sweater. On warmer days, sleep with fewer blankets. Use ceiling fans (but only when someone's in the room!) Did you know your computer throws off a lot of heat? (turn it off...)

5. Water your plants/lawn when it's coolest outside. If you don't have a timer, now is a great time to buy one. If you live in the desert, utilize low-water-use plants in your landscaping. Instead of a hose or blower to control the leaves on your patio or lawn, pick up a broom or rake and get some exercise.

6. This one's obvious - walk or bike instead of driving if you can. Carpool or take public transportation. Not so obvious - keep your tires inflated to the proper psi - this will increase mileage!

7. Use inexpensive natural products such as vinegar/baking soda to clean your home. Vinegar removes hard-water stains better than a lot of commercial bathroom cleaners. Baking soda is a great non-abrasive cleanser.

8. Don't run your dishwasher or washing machine if you don't have have a full load. Save time and money.

9. Re-use and re-cycle. Instead of buying bottled water, use a safe-alloy bottle and fill it with water from your tap or fridge. Save your old jars, pails, and margarine containers - they have lots of uses. Donate your good used clothes and re-usable items to charity.

10. Eat right. Buy more fresh vegetables and fewer pre-packaged dinners. Buy what's in season and prepare meals accordingly. Buy staples such as rice and beans in bulk, and when they're on sale. It's amazing how much better you, your wallet, the environment, and especially those of the bovine or porcine persuasion, feel if you limit your meat intake.

It takes very little effort to do incorporate the things mentioned above into one's life, but every little bit makes a difference. Have a happy Earth Day!