Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Shopping for a New Truck? Factors to Consider

A pickup truck is a very versatile driving machine that can be used for a variety of different purposes. However, all pickup trucks are not created equal. Not only do pickup trucks vary in size and strength, but they also differ in cost. Here are some important things to consider when shopping for a new pickup truck.

In most instances, pickup trucks are available in full-sized and compact sizes. Although full-sized trucks typically provide more interior room and a greater towing capacity, compact trucks are usually able to deliver better fuel efficiency.

Cab Design
There are basically three cab designs: regular, extended, and crew. Regular cabs are most suitable for the drivers who only need to carry one additional passenger. Although extended cabs provide an additional seat in the rear, some adults will find the available room to be relatively cramped. On the other hand, crew cabs offer plenty of room for the entire family.

Power Output
Pickup trucks are equipped with a variety of different engines. Due to the fact that four-cylinder engines typically have the lowest power output, they are only suitable for light-duty tasks. On the other hand, a six-cylinder engine usually provides the best combination of fuel efficiency and performance. Although an eight-cylinder motor consumes more gas, its enhanced horsepower and torque comes in handy when hauling hefty loads. Diesel-powered trucks are great for pulling extremely heavy loads.

Operating Costs
Before selecting a truck, be sure to research the reliability rating and resale value. Expensive repair work and maintenance can cause the total cost of ownership to rise dramatically. It is also important to research the long-term fuel costs of the truck. Sites such as toyotacostofownership.com enable shoppers to view side-by-side comparisons of each truck.

Safety Rating
Do not forget to research the pickup truck’s safety rating. While some trucks are very stable on the road, there are others that are prone to experiencing a rollover. It is also a good idea to inquire about the available safety features before making a final decision.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Warm red cabbage salad

right before we picked it... isn't it beautiful? 
Our Daily Green knows it's fall because the red cabbage has beautiful tight little heads, and is ready to harvest. We have patiently watched it forming, waiting for one of our favorite fall recipes. It's simple and delicious, you'll want to add it to a list of permanent recipes. 

According to the World's Healthiest Foods website, red cabbage is a nutritional powerhouse.
While green cabbage is the most commonly eaten variety of cabbage, we highly recommend trying red cabbage because of it added nutritional benefits and its robust hearty flavor. The rich red color of red cabbage reflects it concentration of anthocyanin polyphenols, which contribute to red cabbage containing significantly more protective phytonutrients than green cabbage. Interest in anthocyanin pigments continues to intensify because of their health benefits as dietary antioxidants, as an anti-inflammatory, and their potentially protective, preventative, and therapeutic roles in a number of human diseases.
...The vitamin C equivalent, a measure of antioxidant capacity, of red cabbage is also six to eight times higher than that of green cabbage. Red cabbage is one of the most nutritious and best tasting vegetables around.
This dish is complemented with pecans, which are another nutritional powerhouse, according to Pecan Nutrition Facts:

  • Pecans are one of the very few sodium-free and fiber-rich nuts in the world.
  • Pecans are a rich source of gamma tocopherol which is a chemical compound derived from vitamin E. It supports heart health, prevents heart diseases, promotes respiratory health, helps in blood circulation and is very good for your brain.
  • Pecans also contain some of the phytochemicals.
  • 90% of the fat content in pecans contain unsaturated fats.

RECIPE: Warm Red Cabbage Salad

  • 1 medium-sized head of red cabbage, halved
  • 1/2 cup of coarsely chopped pecans (I like to toast them)
  • 3.5 oz. crumbled white cheddar cheese
  • 4-6 slices of diced and cooked bacon
  • 1/4 c. olive oil 
  • 1/4 c. vinegar (apple cider, red wine, or balsamic)
  • salt and pepper to taste

the finished salad... colorful and delicious
Place cabbage halves flat side down on a cutting board. Starting at the top of the head, slice across in very thin strips. Do not use the thick white core portion. Toss the cabbage and the pecans in a large bowl. In a large pan, cook bacon until crispy and brown. Drain the bacon and discard the grease, but don't wash the pan. Heat olive oil in same pan, until warm, but not smoking. Reduce the heat and stir in the vinegar, salt and pepper. Add cabbage mixture and toss for a minute to warm the salad. Transfer to serving bowl and toss with bacon & cheese.


Friday, September 5, 2014

Changing your furnace filter

Many people forget that their furnace has an air filter just like that of their air conditioner. The air conditioner is run so often during the year that people forget to handle their furnace filter when the weather turns cold. The best furnace filters do the same job as a good air conditioning filter, and they provide the same benefits to the family.

Air Cleanliness

Most families will notice that they have musty air coming through their vents when they turn on their heaters in the winter. This is likely due to a lack of service to the furnace during the warmer months. Items like 3M furnace filters need to be changed regularly to make sure the furnace is always putting out clean air.

Changing In The Summer

The best time for a family to maintain their heater is the summer. When the weather is warm outside, there is no need for the family to use the furnace. This is the perfect time to have a technician clean and service the furnace. The technician can change the furnace filter, and the family can make a change to a stronger filter if they need.

Air Quality

The service technician may complete an air quality survey in the house, and the homeowners can make changes to their furnace system as a result. The furnace filter may need changing, but the technician may also need to service the unit. The air quality that is brought about by a simple filter could lead a family to making greater changes in their home. Changing the air quality in the house can lead families to healthier lives.

Changing During The Winter

Every family should plan to change their furnace filter at least once during the winter. Harsh winters can be especially hard on furnaces, and families need to make sure they take extra steps to keep their furnaces clean. Simply changing the air filter in the middle of the winter can make a big difference for the family's health while they are trapped inside by the cold weather. Making just one proper filter choice will go a long way for the family.

A special thank you to today's sponsor for this timely reminder to change our furnace filters while the weather is still warm. 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Seven reasons people don't recycle

waste balers
photo from: Easi recycling

From time to time, the topic of recycling will come up in a casual conversation with friends. Recently, someone had saved some cardboard tubes for a project for me, and when I had a surplus, I said, well I can always recycle the rest. The person commented, "I know it's bad, but I just don't recycle."

It got me to wondering "why not?", and how to overcome those "why nots". While the reasons differ from person to person, there are some common themes among those who do not recycle. 
  • They cannot be bothered. For some folks, they just don't want to think about what to do with each piece of garbage they generate. 
  • It is easier to clean up if everything just goes into one garbage bag and is tossed. 
  • They have no financial incentive. In the days when there were can and bottle deposits, it was a common sight to see folks walking back into the store with empty bottles and cans and getting their deposit back. 
  • Out of sight, out of mind. Unless someone lives next to a landfill or remembers the days of floating garbage barges because there was no landfill space available, there is nothing unsightly about throwing out garbage.
  • Time consuming to wash out empty containers and separate them. 
  • No recycling offered at work or school, without a large scale buy-in, it seems futile to try at home. 
  • Inconvenient recycling locations. Confusion about what can or cannot be recycled. 
It is estimated that nearly 75% of the material in landfills could be either composted or recycled. Landfill fees increase annually, so the financial incentive could be about cost savings from generating less trash. Another consideration is to rethink any single serve or disposable packaging, which reduces the number of times/daily that a consumer even has to think about where and how to throw something out. 

In whole, it seems that for many people recycling just is too much work. So we'd like instead to propose a proactive approach where instead of having to think about how to recycle items, creating a climate where fewer items even need to be recycled. 

Our Daily Green wants to reset the way our readers think, so we move away from the idea of having to recycle and instead think how to reduce or reuse. If reduction and reusing are taken more seriously, there is less to recycle and therefore less barrier, but also less waste. 

What are some ideas you have for reducing or reusing? 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Lacto-fermented pickles

The most successful plants in my garden this summer have been my cucumbers and dill. The universe clearly was hinting that dill pickles were in order. Actually, every summer, I make dill pickles, but I typically make them with store-bought vinegar

I have read quite a bit the past year about the health benefits of lacto-fermentation. The process is actually the old-fashioned way of preserving foods. With growing concerns about factory processed food safety, many folks are making their own food from scratch and rediscovering what our previous generations knew.

Growing up on the farm, we always had a big crock of dill pickles in the basement. While times have changed from plunging my hand right into the crock and fishing around for a pickle, I thought it would be fun to resurrect pickles I remember growing up. I had a lot to learn, but you'll see the results are quite amazing. 

Some very important things to understand about making pickles this way. You need to use either oak or grape leaves to keep the pickles crisp. I sent my young nephew stomping off through the woods to find the oak leaves for me. My little naturalist didn't return empty handed, although I do apologize to his mom & dad for the poison ivy and thank them for their continued indulgence of borrowing their children for my reviews

Oak leaves contain tannin and without them in the layered crock, the pickles will not stay crisp. The other key is that the water must not have chlorine, which inhibits the growth of the healthy bacteria. To dechlorinate tap water, just boil and cool it, which will cause the chlorine to evaporate. You also can leave the water sitting out for 24 hours and the chlorine will dissipate.

layers of cucumbers, dill, garlic, oak leaves, and pickling spices

pickling spices include: 
mustard seed, peppercorns, red pepper flakes

The cloudy water of the finished batch

Yesterday, we happily munched on the lacto-fermented pickles as we enjoyed the last summer barbeque. The crisp dill flavor was well worth the wait. I think I may try to make one more batch before the weather changes.

I based my pickles on a recipe from Cultures for Health. Check it out and enjoy! Happy September!

Tell your friends!