Information, seasonal offerings and commentary on eating local foods, living a sustainable life and saving the planet.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies

This recipe is from Barbara Kingsolver's book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.

I haven't made these yet, but I plan to bake some tomorrow in honor of my horse's tenth birthday. (Carrots for him; cookies for us.) Happy BD, Tio!


  • 1 egg, beaten 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup finely shredded zucchini
  • 12 ounces chocolate chips


  1. Combine egg through vanilla in a mixing bowl.
  2. Combine white flour through nutmeg in a medium bowl and add to liquid mixture.
  3. Stir zucchini and chocolate chips into other ingredients, mix well. Drop by spoonful onto greased baking sheet, and flatten with the back of a spoon. Bake at 350°, 10 to 15 minutes.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Hang On!

Laundry day is one that I love and look forward to. Every weekend for three seasons out of the year, I rendezvous with the clothesline. My beloved old clothes poles, freshly painted to match the house, stand a bit out of plumb next to a row of spruce and pine trees in our yard. As I listen to the wind hum through the needles and branches, I can ponder deep thoughts while I neatly hang damp tee-shirts and pillow cases on the line. Even the clattering sound of the wooden clothespins, as I dig around in the tote bag, adds a visceral charm.

My clothes come off the line sanitized by the sun and freed of wrinkles, as if someone secretly starched and ironed them. Any fragrant flowers blooming nearby freshen them naturally. Some folks like their beds made up with sheets that have been chemically-softened and scented. (In fact, chemical fabric softeners pollute the air and are downright harmful. Don’t use them, whether you dry indoors or out.) I’ll take the crisp, starchy feel of fresh sheets off the line any day.

Hanging laundry does more than simply dry the clothing and reward the senses. There are, of course, environmental and economical benefits as well. Hanging clothes on the line can be a simple but significant way for an individual to help fight climate change, not to mention save a little money. According to the Department of Energy, dryers are second only to refrigerators in energy-consuming home appliances. The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers reports that the approximately 88 million electric dryers in the U.S. consume 1,079 kilowatt-hours of energy, consuming enough electricity each year to generate 2,224 pounds of carbon dioxide per household.

It’s mind-boggling that some neighborhood associations and communities actually ban clotheslines, considering them eye-sores that lower adjacent property values. Read more about the Right to Dry movement, which thankfully, has resulted in many of these foolish bans being lifted around the country for obvious and practical reasons.

I could hang clothes on the line and watch them dry all day. It's partly because it's therapeutic, like watching a campfire, but I also see it as connecting with our past. I see my grandmother hanging laundry as part of her day's work and wonder if she found it as satisfying as I do. But maybe there's more to my satisfaction than she could relate to. I view my sheets, fluttering and snapping on a lively breeze, like a flag proclaiming one tiny step closer to moving off the grid; the symbol of a future that is independent of fossil fuels. Now that's patriotism.