Archive for January, 2008

A green home can still be traditional

Sunday, January 27th, 2008

I have been meaning to post this article that was in The Seattle Times on Jan. 20.  I really liked how they used rain water in the bathroom.


100% Wheat bread recipe (from Chris)

Monday, January 21st, 2008

Thanks for sending this along Chris!  I hope to try it this week.

Hi, Melissa,
Here is the bread recipe.  I have always used the quick method and rarely use any of the optional ingredients.  We really enjoy this bread and hope you do too.

100% Whole Wheat Bread

4-1/2 teaspoons (2 packets) active dry yeast
3 cups warm water or 3 1/4 cups milk, divided (110-115 degrees F.)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons oil or 4 teaspoons fat
4 teaspoons salt
5-6 cups whole wheat flour, divided

Optional: any or all of the following optional ingredients may be added to the recipe, with excellent results:

1 egg (decrease liquid by ¼ cup) or (1 T. lecithin in place of 1 T. oil)
3 T. vital wheat gluten
50 mg ascorbic acid or 1 T. dough enhancer
½ cup whey
2 T. molasses or honey
½ cup mashed potatoes

1. Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water. Add a pinch of sugar if desired.
2. In a large bowl, combine remaining water, sugar, oil, salt, optional ingredients, and 2 cups whole-wheat flour. Stir mixture until smooth.
3. Stir in yeast mixture until smooth.
4. Slowly add 3-4 cups more flour, mixing each cup in before adding more flour.
5. Turn out onto lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth, shiny, and satiny. Only add enough flour to keep dough from sticking to board and hands (10-15 minutes or about 300 kneadings). Dough that is a little stiff is ideal. Dough that is too soft will fall over the sides of your loaf pans as it rises and bakes.
6. For the quick method, shape dough into 2 loaves, place in greased pans, cover, and rise until double. Bake.
7. For more flavor and lighter texture, place dough into sprayed bowl. Lightly spray the top of the dough. Cover and rise until double. Punch down in center, pull edges in. Let dough relax for 10 minutes.
8. To have uniform loaves, either weigh dough (one loaf takes 1 ½ to 1 ¾ pounds of dough), or break out ½ cup size pieces of dough (standard size pans hold 3 cups dough; baby pans hold 1 cup).
9. Shape into loaves in either of two ways. (a) With fist, pound dough into a tight ball to eliminate air bubbles, then place in center of sprayed pan. OR, (b) Measured dough can be rolled into a rectangle the same width as the bread pan. Roll dough up, jellyroll fashion, pinching seam together. Place dough in center of pan, seam down.
10. Allow to rise until double (cover while rising with warm, damp towel). Bread is ready to bake is a slight dent remains when touched.
11. Bake in a preheated oven at 400 F for 10 minutes, then lower temperature to 350 F. for 25-35 minutes.

January News

Sunday, January 6th, 2008

With the new year comes resolutions. Hopefully, many of you have had some time to think about what changes you can commit to this year to lower your families’ impact on our planet. There are so many simple changes that we can make that will not only benefit our environment but our bodies, families and communities as well. This month we will be discussing ideas for changes in our homes to lessen our environmental impact, while supporting a healthy home life for our families.

Along with resolutions, our focus for this month is the environmentally conscious home. Of course, this is an expansive topic. We can consider our impact by what we eat, what chemicals we use, how much energy we consume, and the values we teach our children.

Below are some facts and ideas for simple changes that we can all commit to:

Action: Be a conscious consumer. Buy from locally owned businesses when you can. Know what you are buying. Learn where it comes from and what it contains. Just because something claims to be organic or natural, doesn’t mean that it is. Read your labels and do your research before buying. Ask your local retailers about products that they should or shouldn’t be carrying.
Reward: Using your consumer power will bring about change.

Action: Take steps to end junk mail. Visit to learn how you can get off of some of the major junk mail lists.
Reward: Cut 108 pounds of carbon.

Action: Recycle your gray water (water from bathing, laundry, non kitchen sinks) See for more information on installing an advanced gray water system.
Reward: Water your spring and summer landscape free of guilt and cost.

Action: Make a nontoxic Cleaning kit from 7 simple ingredients
visit for instructions.
Reward: Save money, plastic and have a healthier home. 

Action: Wrap up your water heater in an insulation blanket.
Reward: Save 1,000 pounds of CO2 each year.

Action: Remember to bring a reusable bag.
Reward: Less environmental impact. For an update on the even growing number of bags consumed every second and the impact this has on the environment visit

I hope that many of you will join us for our two events this month. The first is Thursday, January 17 for play, snacks and discussion of our ideas for “green resolutions”. Our second event will be a tour of Tacoma’s Envirohouse on Saturday, January 26. The Envirohouse is a “hands on showcase of green building and natural landscape,” designed to provide ideas and inspirations for efficient, healthy and sustainable living. As the new year begins, this is the time to take action in turning our ideals into progressive steps. This year, let us all make a commitment to changes that will help protect our environment.