By Kim Dannies
It’s the end of January and you know what that means: cravings are running rampant in the post-resolution phase. I have broken down and started baking sweets again, darn it, but at least this time I’ve been using alternative flours and fillings that are a bit kinder to the waistline. (That’s progress.) I’m delighted to report that you CAN have your cake, and eat it, too, with maple banana and gluten-free applesauce carrot cakes. These hearty cakes are perfect for a tea-time break or the lunch box, and they won’t knock you too far off of the resolution runway.
Maple banana cake
Pre-heat oven to 350 degree. Spray an 11×7-inch baking dish with Pam.
Using a potato masher, mash three over-ripe bananas together in a mixing bowl. Mash in: 3/4 cup of maple syrup; 1 egg; 2 tablespoons coconut (or vegetable) oil; 1 teaspoon baking powder; 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1 teaspoon powdered ginger.
With a wooden spoon, lightly stir in 1.5 cups whole wheat flour, 1 cup unsweetened coconut, 1 cup oats until just combined. Pour mixture into pan. The lumpier it looks, the better. Scatter 1 teaspoon raw sugar over the surface and bake for 40 minutes.
Applesauce carrot cake (gluten free)
If you are lucky enough to have pals who make amazing applesauce, like I do, definitely use some in this recipe. Otherwise, make a batch yourself, or choose a high quality chunk-style from the store.
Pre-heat oven to 350 degree. Spray an 11×7-inch baking dish with Pam.
In a mixing bowl combine 1.5 cups gluten-free flour with 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum. Blend in 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
In a small bowl combine 1/2 cup maple syrup, 2 tablespoons melted butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 egg, 1 1/4 cup applesauce and blend well. Add to the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Fold in 2 cups grated carrots. Pour into the prepared pan. The lumpier it looks, the better. Scatter 1 teaspoon raw sugar over the surface and bake for 40 minutes.
Kim Dannies is a graduate of La Varenne Cooking School in France. She lives in Williston with her husband, Jeff; they have three twenty-something daughters who come and go. For archived Everyday Gourmet columns go to kimdannies.com.
Homemade lunches can be healthy and affordable, but they can also be wasteful. Consider the materials used to pack your or your child’s lunch each day, and how much is thrown out at the end of that midday meal. A 2008 EPA study found that 31 percent of all household waste was from food packaging and containers.
A brown bag lunch with a single serving yogurt, individually wrapped granola bar, packaged snack and sandwich packed in a plastic baggie can amount to a lot of trash—the EPA estimates that the average school-aged child disposes of at least 67 pounds of lunch waste per year, most of which ends up in the landfill. Items like juice boxes cannot be recycled due to their composition of inseparable cardboard, plastic and foil. The EPA estimates that Americans threw out about 2.8 million tons of aluminum in 2011, mostly sourced from food and beverage containers.
Consider switching out single serving snacks, granola bars, and yogurts for bulk supplies packaged in reusable material like Tupperware or reusable cloth bags. Swapping out a disposable brown bag with a reusable lunch box can reduce waste and save your family money. Reducing food packaging and disposable lunch wastes can eliminate literally tons of trash, and an estimated $246 per child per year. Transitioning to waste-free lunches for you and your family can make lunchtime healthy, affordable and sustainable.
—Becka Gregory, Observer staff
By Becka Gregory
Just because temperatures have dropped below zero doesn’t mean your home can’t lessen its waste production this winter. Composting is an easy and effective way to reduce landfill waste. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average U.S. citizen produced 4.4 pounds of garbage per day in 2011, with organic materials being the largest component.
Composting breaks down organic materials into useful products and diverts that waste from the sole landfill in Vermont, located in the Northeast Kingdom—reducing CO2 from landfill-bound truck trips in the process. Throwing organic wastes into the landfill will not lead to the same decomposition as composting does. In fact, it is almost the opposite. Processes for managing the smell of the landfill prevent organic wastes from breaking down as they do in a compost pile, since landfills are covered daily to reduce the smell and sight of waste, which prevents oxygen from entering the waste piles. Organic materials in landfills often mummify, and if they do decompose, they do so in the absence of air, which produces methane gases.
Though not a quick process, the end game of composting is a nutrient-rich, environmentally friendly soil mix that can be used in outdoor gardens and landscapes and reduces the need for chemical fertilizers.
COMPOSTING AT HOME
Backyard composting is an option for those who have space for a compost pile or pit. Pre-fabricated Soil Saver compost bins can be purchased at Williston-based Green Mountain Compost, operated by Chittenden Solid Waste District, to easily get you started, or you can find other compost container options at local hardware stores and more sophisticated indoor composting options online. Generally, an outside pile of one cubic yard or more is best for the insulation needed in chilly Vermont winters.
No matter what the season, make sure your pile is getting the right balance of materials. “Materials that are higher in nitrogen (greens) or carbon (browns), are what makes composting happen, and the microbes that break down waste need both — ideally two parts carbon to one part nitrogen. Add two to three buckets of browns to the pile for each bucket of food scraps,” said Jennifer Baer of Green Mountain Compost.
To keep a backyard compost pile active in the winter, it needs to be insulated, which can be done by covering your pile with a tarp, or using foam or hay bales to prevent the elements from penetrating the pile. Keeping the pile static and adding new material without turning the pile in the winter will also help microbes munch down through the chilly months, as turning your compost breaks up the natural insulation created by the outer layers of the pile.
Moisture levels are important—make sure the pile doesn’t get soaked through from rain or snow, or get blown dry by wind. The worst thing that could happen is that your pile freezes through this winter, but that will not ruin the microbial action happening inside, it just pauses it until spring.
DROPPING OFF COMPOST
If you want to compost but don’t want to take care of a compost pile at home, Green Mountain Compost offers drop-off composting at its facility at 1042 Redmond Road, as does CSWD at 1492 Redmond Road. GMC provides free four-gallon buckets for storing your compost in between drop-offs, complete with a guide on what can and can’t be composted.
If you store your drop-off bucket outside in the winter, try spraying it with a little cooking oil before filling it up. Then, if the food scraps freeze, they will easily slide out of the container at the drop off center. If you store your bucket inside, “something that can help with mitigating odor can be mixing in some of the browns, like leaves, sawdust and paper. Adding some once in a while, such as taking a piece of newspaper and shredding it in there, or soiled napkins or paper towels, can help, and you can compost those items and bring them to the drop-off center,” said Baer. Outside or inside, chopping down materials into smaller particles aids the composting process.
Whether in your backyard or at a drop off center, the most crucial element of successful composting is understanding what can and can’t be composted.
The commercial facilities at Green Mountain Compost and its “arriated static pile” composting process can break down materials that backyard bins can’t handle, such as meat and bones, oils, dairy and soiled paper items, because its piles get to 160 degrees, which is much hotter than backyard piles. GMC is “sort of like a luxury resort for microbes, we give them everything they need to make great compost,” joked Baer. The facility can handle most “compostable” products, but not their plastic counterparts. “There is confusion about certain items, especially now that we have all these compostable products that are being developed. We accept compostable trash liners, plates, cups and clamshells,” said Baer. The facility does not, however, accept compostable utensils due to the difficultly of telling them apart from their plastic counterparts on sight.
For residents and businesses in Williston, composting will become legally required in the near future. Act 148 introduces waste reduction techniques in a step fashion by staggering compliance dates between 2014 and 2020. Changes applicable to Chittenden county include: introducing “Pay-As-You-Throw” pricing structures for trash pickup by 2015; forbidding clean wood from landfills by 2016; mandatory offerings of compost pick-up by trash haulers offering trash pick-up by 2017; and by 2020, all food waste will be banned from landfills.
By Stephanie Choate
January 30th, 2014 [Read more…]
REB-HAWKS LATE SEASON RUN
The Champlain Valley Union High-South Burlington High girls’ hockey team took a three-game unbeaten string and a 6-6-1 record into its Wednesday home contest against Colchester High.
Coach Mickey Toof’s Reb-Hawks will meet 2-10-1 Missisquoi Valley Union for the second time in five days Saturday (3:25 p.m.) at home Cairns Arena.
Courtney Barrett fired a pair of goals Monday as the Reb-Hawks scored a 6-2 triumph at Missisquoi.
Sarah Fisher tallied a goal and added two assists while Molly Dunphy contributed a goal plus a helper. Kyla Driver and Josie Toof also popped goals.
Courtney Peyko and Erin Church shared net minding chores, combining for 19 saves.
The Reb-Hawks lashed visiting Harwood Union 6-1 Saturday at Cairns with Fisher notching a trio of scores plus two assists. Barrett had two lamp lighters and Casey Johnson a single tally.
Dunphy has three assists Saturday in coming off Wednesday’s 5-5 tie in Barre against 7-3-2 Spaulding High in which she potted four goals and assisted on the Reb-Hawks fifth.
Barrett had the other goal and two assists.
GYMNASTICS TEAM AT SOUTH BURLINGTON TUESDAY
With just two more meets before the Feb. 22 State Championship showdown, the Champlain Valley Union High gymnastics team will test South Burlington High Tuesday (7 p.m.) at the Rebels’ house.
The Redhawks were in action against Harwood Union this past Wednesday, after the Observer’s deadline.
CVU was coming off a 125.75 to 79.75 triumph Saturday over U-32 in East Montpelier.
Veteran Sarah Kinsley captured all-around honors with victories on the bars and in floor exercise plus a third on the vault.
Teammate Jessie Johnson, a sophomore, was second all-around with runner-up finishes on the balance beam, bars and vault.
Sophomore Jackie Casson was third on the bars and senior Taylor Underwood took third on the beam.
A TIE AND WIN FOR NORDIC SKI TEAMS
A deadlock from the Champlain Valley Union High girls and a victory for the boys came last weekend at The Rickert Touring Center in nine-team Nordic ski competition.
This weekend, the top CVU skiers will be testing their regional credentials in the New England Nordic Ski Association (NENSA) events at the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe.
The next interscholastic event is Tuesday at the Morse farm in East Montpelier.
At Rickert, CVU’s Autumn Eastman stormed to first place in the girls race by more than a full minute over runner-up Amy Bruce of Mount Mansfield Union. Eastman’s time was 15 minutes and 14 seconds.
The girls tied Mount Mansfield with 21 points, with Rachel Slimovitch taking fifth place followed by Tatum Braun (seventh) and Anna Franceshetti (eighth).
In winning their event, the boys outpaced runner-up Mount Mansfield 24-31.
The Redhawks’ Charlie Maitland took second place behind winner Ethan John of Essex High. John finished in 13:34 to Maitland’s 13:38.
CVU’s Thomas Clayton was third and Casey Silk sixth.
CVU ALPINE SKIERS AT MAD RIVER FRIDAY
A slalom event at Mad River Glen is coming up Friday for the Champlain Valley Union High Alpine ski team.
This past Saturday, the Redhawk boys and girls teams finished a combined third in a nine-team slalom race at Sugarbush Resort’s Lincoln Peak.
CVU had 86 points while Harwood Union won the team tally with 43 points.
The Redhawks girls were led by third place Emma Putre and 10th place Alison Kahn.
The CVU boys leading skiers were in a seventh-eighth-ninth tandem: Skye Golann, freshman Caden Frost and Trent Smith.
WRESTLERS AT MT. MANSFIELD UNION SATURDAY
Last Saturday for the Champlain Valley Union High wrestlers brought an eighth-place finish at the Colchester High Invitational.
This Saturday, coach Gunnar Olson’s Redhawks travel to Mount Mansfield Union High for the annual Jason Lowell Tournament that gets underway at 10 a.m.
At Colchester, CVU’s Alex Legg triumphed in the 132-pound class. Kienan Kittredge took third place in the 195-pound division.
—Mal Boright, Observer staff
Redhawks coming off overtime loss Tuesday
By Mal Boright
January 30th, 2014 [Read more…]