Archive for February, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Source: LiveScience.com

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Meatless Monday

This recipe from Ambitious Kitchen was sent to me by Ms. Kellye King. She says that “It’s pretty easy to make and you can cut up most of the ingredients in advance, except the avocado.  I made a double batch of the dressing so I can just pour it in my to-go salad dressing gadget and go.” Thanks Kellye for being a loyal supporter and for sharing this recipe with other readers.

 

 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa, cooled (cook according to package directions)
  • 1 1/2 cup edamame beans, cooked and cooled
  • 3 cups finely chopped Tuscan kale, ribs removed
  • 1 cup sliced grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 mango, pitted and diced
  • 1 avocado, pitted and either sliced or diced
  • 2 tablespoon toasted almonds or pumpkin seeds, if desired
  • For lemon vinaigrette:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 large basil leaf, chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • fresh ground pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. To make dressing: place olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, sugar, basil, and salt in blender or food processor. Blend/process for 10-15 seconds; set aside.
  2. In medium bowl toss quinoa, kale, and edamame together; add lemon vinaigrette and toss so that the salad is fully coated. Place in refrigerator for 20-30 minutes to let flavors soak in.
  3. Before serving, toss salad again and add tomatoes, onion, mango, and avocado. Garnish with toasted almonds or pumpkin seeds if desired.

 

Make Your Office Green

 

Going green at the office infographic

Source: Mnn.com

Solar Energy In Georgia

File:Solar panels on house roof winter view.jpg

Last week a student on campus asked why solar energy was so limited in Georgia. At the time I really didn’t have an answer for him. I knew that Georgia had plenty of sunny days but was unsure as to why there was so much unrealized solar potential in the state.
Around the same time I received an invitation to attend a conference on supporting the economic and environmental benefits of solar energy in Georgia. Perfect timing! It was at the event that I read a surprising fact: Georgia spends $33B per year to purchase energy from other states, mainly Texas. This equates to roughly $30B on petroleum, $1B on natural gas from the Gulf region and $2-3B on coal. To put this into perspective the entire budget of the state of Georgia is only $19B!

So why don’t we use other forms of renewable energy available to us, including solar? Well its because of the 1973 Georgia Territorial Electric Service Act (GTESA) which makes it illegal for anybody but Georgia Power to sell electricity to a Georgia home or business. It also prevents anyone who buys solar panels or any other form of energy generation from selling their excess energy to anyone except Georgia Power. This means business and homeowners cannot enter into a popular solar agreements found in other states.

A Solar Power Purchase Agreement (SPPA) is a financial arrangement in which a third-party developer owns, operates, and maintains the solar system, and a host customer agrees to site the system on its roof or elsewhere on its property and purchases the system’s electric output from the solar services provider for a predetermined period.

So rather than financing and owning the solar system yourself, you pay a pre-determined rate for the electricity produced by the solar panels on your roof, to a solar services provider. The provider will take care of installation and maintenance, while providing clean, green, solar-powered electricity to your home or business for years to come—all at a cost less than or equal to your current electricity bill.

If you are deadset on solar energy on your property, you can do it but this DIY route presents an obstacle for many people and businesses because it can be cost-prohibitive to buy the solar panels outright. In addition, it reduces the incentive to make the investment because the excess energy cannot be sold to anyone but Georgia Power, which limits its solar energy purchases.

This conference was sponsored by the Georgia Solar Energy Association (GESA) so I didn’t get to hear Georgia Power’s side of the story. I am sure in 1973 there was a reason that lawmakers voted for the GTESA but times have changed and so has our environment. I would love to see property owners have a way to get affordable solar energy at their homes and businesses.
If solar power purchase agreements were legal in Georgia would you consider solar panels on your home?

 
Source: EPA.GOV, Residential Solar 101, Atlanta Progressive News

Photo: Wiki

An Attitude of Gratitude

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As you know we have a toner recycling program on campus. From the sampling of toner cartridges received in a given month, a winner is randomly chosen to win a snack to share within the department. Well one of the latest winners was the Human Resources Department. Without any prompting from me the ladies assembled in the lobby of their office suite to celebrate their win and to take a photo with their snacks. Not only did they win the prize, but as an added bonus were excited that it was delivered on Valentine’s Day (this was unintentional on my part).

With all that these ladies do for LIFE, I was so happy to have made their morning. They go about their daily activities with a smile, no matter the circumstances and continue to keep an attitude of gratitude. This is an example we can all follow.

Meatless Monday

There is a lot of talk about steel-cut oats and how they’re healthier than rolled oats. I wanted to find out if this was true. Do you prefer oatmeal made from steel-cut oats? If so, why?

File:Oatmeal.jpg

 

 1. What is a Rolled Oat?

Rolled oats originate from something called groats, which are the hulled cores of the grains. The oats are then formed into flakes via a rolling mechanism. You can easily recognize rolled oats by their flat, flake-like shapes.

2. Study Steel-Cut Oats

Upon a quick glance at a bag of steel-cut oats, you’ll see that they are noticeably smaller than rolled oats and are similar in appearance to cut-up pieces of rice. A whole-grain oat, the steel-cut variety, is made of the inner kernel (groat) and has been split in two to three sections. Other names you might encounter for such oats include coarse cut, Irish and pinhead.

One primary difference between the two foods is that it takes longer to cook the steel-cut oats than the thinner, rolled flakes. Understand that cooking such oats will take at least 50 percent more time than it would with the flakes. Still, this does depend on the cut of the oat and the recipe you are following.

3. Understand the Uses for Both Oats

You can make oatmeal with both rolled and steel-cut oats. Some people prefer steel-cut oats in their recipes because they have a more substantial texture or a bit of a crunch. Additionally, steel-cut oats have a nuttier flavor over rolled or regular oats. This can lend a toasted quality to an otherwise ordinary bowl of oatmeal.

As far as the nutritional content of rolled and steel-cut oats is concerned, you’ll find that they are both healthy. Oats possess vitamin E, iron and a wonder antioxidant known as avenanthramide. As published in “The Journal of Nutrition,” this unique oat compound helps to prevent damage to LDL cholesterol, making it a very heart-healthy choice.

As of late, it’s been the popular opinion that steel-cut oats have more health benefits than rolled oats. However, experts say that these grains have equal amounts of fiber and nutrients. In a nutshell, both add to a healthier diet and can help lower your cholesterol. Simply put, the primary difference between these two oats rests more in what you use them for and what taste you prefer.

Source: Livestrong.com

Time is Winding Down

Don’t forget to comment on this weeks Wordless Wednesday photo for your chance to win a $25 gift card to Whole Foods. Comments must be received by Today, Friday, February 8, 2013 to be eligible to win.