Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Greenmarket Summer Dessert

Red, White and Blueberry Dessert

It’s the season to buy local strawberries and blueberries, fresh from the farm, at greenmarkets. Buying locally grown food also helps reduce emissions of the global warming gas carbon dioxide (CO2)—and air pollution—released by jets and trucks that transport food long distances. Shipping 30 pounds of groceries cross-country consumes about a gallon of gas and releases almost 20 lbs. of CO2.

Find a farmers’ market near you at If you’ve got room, freeze berries whole, and you can enjoy these colorful local treats in winter, too.

I made these quick, easy blueberry muffins for breakfast, and later that day the Green Man brought home a quart of succulent strawberries from the farmers’ market. After dinner, the muffins had a second act as strawberry shortcakes with whipped cream.

Blueberry Muffins

--adapted from the Mark Twain Library Cook Book, Mark Twain Library Association, Redding, CT, 1988.

1 and ¾ cups all-purpose unbleached flour
¼ cup raw demerara or turbinado sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 egg, well-beaten
¾ cup milk
scant 3 tablespoons butter
1 generous cup fresh blueberries, rinsed and drained

Let butter soften at room temp; blend in sugar, egg and milk. In separate bowl, combine dry ingredients, then fold into butter mixture, stirring quickly until just moistened. Add blueberries. Fill greased muffin pan 2/3 full. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. Yield: 12 muffins.

Correction for yesterday’s blog: For correct urls, plus prices for beach bags, plse go to

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Bird-friendly Beach Bags

Dig it, Beach Birds!

Wherever you beach it, you can leave a smaller dent on the Earth with these greener bags:

Organic Cotton Beach Totes (Organic agriculture keeps synthetic pesticides and fertilizers out of our fresh water and our seas):

Cuteness with a Conscience: Volcom organic cotton Chirp Tote, natural color silkscreened with baby blue bird, with outer pocket, $23.99 at,,4176098,00.html or, 1-877-DOG-FUNK.

Make a Statement with a capacious organic cotton bag that says “Clean Your Beach” in pink. With nautical rope handles, #23.99,from Roxy,,1-800-620-2951.

If the bag moves you, learn about your local beaches and how to ensure cleaner conditions, at

Recycled Tote:

Gecko Traders Recycled Wave Tote, made from reused rice and feed sacks, in choice of 3 bright colors (love the fish in orange/pink). $35.95, from Cambodia, Fair Trade Federation certified, 888-707-3873

Top Totable: Chemical-free Sunscreen. Don’t forget it!

Talk about adding insult to injury: If hormone-disrupting phthalates also cause proliferation of fat cells, as recent research suggests (, I really don’t want them in my sunblock, or anything else that goes on my thighs!

Rule to Remember: Avoid products with ingredients lists including the general disclaimer “Fragrance (Parfum),” without specifying that it’s made of natural plant essential oils. Phthalates are widely used in synthetic fragrances.

Choose a least-toxic sunscreen from our list at Or grab one of the following phthalate- and paraben-free best picks at your drugstore.

Baby Avalon Natural Mineral Sunscreen SPF 18,
California Baby SPF 30+ Sunblock Stick,
Jason’s Natural Earth’s Best SPF 30+, price reduced now at

The companies above have signed the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (CSC) pledge to remove phthalates, parabens and other toxic ingredients from their products. See Dr. Haushka, below, has not signed the CSC pledge because “We have already met, and surpassed their standards,” says Michelle Van Landingham, the company’s ingredients representative, explaining that the signatories have promised to phase out toxins but some are still in the process of doing so. “We’ll sign when the CSC adds a preface stating that a lot of the companies have met the standards,” Van Landingham says.

Which leads us to recommend an evergreen favorite: Dr. Hauschka Sunscreen Lotion SPF 15,

Speaking of recommendations, please send your friends to! And keep sending your great questions.

Happy Fourth!


Caution: When considering a new product, try a test sample first to make sure the feel and fragrance don’t irritate.