Posts Tagged ‘sciencey matters’


last friday when i mentioned how i’d be experimenting in sauce and salsa jarring this past weekend… wowz, can i look back now and admit how naive i was or what!!

the bona fide researcher in me thought it could be as simple as following the directions on the back of the Ball mason jar box – HEH! who was i kidding?!

one thorough hands on lesson by Farmer T later and i think i can now say i feel a lot better about the whole process, and even more sure that i’m not creating a recipe for disaster months down the road when i decide to eat from these jars

i stuck to just making and jarring tomato sauce, instead of the sauce and two versions of salsa that i had planned on… there are more tomatoes a’growin away in the garden as we speak and always another weekend to get my creations just right.

so… how’d we do it?!

well, i highly suggest picking yourself up one of these kits if you are even thinking about canning/jarring
its got all of the picker-uppers, funnels, magnet thingies and whatnot that you need to keep your process sanitary and complete

thankfully T had a set on hand to bring over… what was i thinking when i thought i could use my kitchen tongs to pull scalding hot jars out of the pots?! yeah… i dont know either :0)

anyways… so the next step was to sanitize the jars and the lids/bands that would be used

then you carefully use the jar tongs to place them on a cookie sheet with the rack in it – this helps from getting your counter-top a sloshy mess and – again – everything sanitary

use the handy dandy funnel to carefully fill ’em up

wipe the rims off so the seal can be created correctly

use the even cooler magnet stick to pick up the lids and bands from the vat of hot water to – againverrry carefully place on the tops, btw having a partner to do this totally helps!

screw on the bands – just finger tight – you can’t fully tighten them until 12 hours after they’ve been processed

use the jar tongs to place them back into the water bath… and yes, you can see, i had to improvise to create a make-shift grate for the bottom, who knew you can’t place glass right on the bottom of the pan?! ya learn something new every day! so one power drill, a broken drill bit and a scrapped cake pan later – viola:

i checked a couple of sauce recipes online to figure out these needed to be boiling for 35 minutes in order to be fully processed… so we watched the boiling pot and waited for these to complete

and when they say a watched pot never boils, they ARE NOT kidding! it felt like it took for-ev-errrrr!

T left after the jars went into the water bath for the processing and told me to ‘wait until they dink and you’ll know they’re good to go’ – 6 out of the 8 ‘dinked’ and i stuck the other two in the freezer knowing i’d be putting them to good use soon enough in a recipe.

i think all in all my first canning/jarring experience was a wonderful afternoon of learning and the next day i ordered myself one of these
to use on my salsa experiment – hopefully next weekend!

pure water bottle

speaking of fresh water … Core77 is highlighting award winning projects and ideas for this year’s Design Awards and the other day spotlighted this dude – Timothy Whitehead

he designed the Pure Water Bottle which filters and sterilizes water from almost any source within two minutes – using no power at all, just a wind up mechanism

he’s currently working on making his idea a reality and has been trying to get funding and exposure… pretty sick idea huh?! i know i’d buy me and my loved ones some of these to get his funds rolling, especially to use when we’re out hiking and camping!

towing the ‘bergs

iceberg towing – the newest in extreme sports?!

not so much… it’s actually an ingenious idea that a French software firm has been working on to bring fresh water to drought ridden places around the world, particularly Africa.

check out this article for more of the deets

i think this is such a great idea… icebergs break off and melt into the ocean all of the time anyway, so why not use the ocean currents, a tugboat and a kite sail to divert them on over to an area that could use this valuable resource to save lives?!

rippin currents

perhaps you have read about this in the news:

Last Friday afternoon – August 5th – in Long Beach, Washington, 12 year-old Dale Ostrander was lifelessly pulled out of the waters off of Cranberry Beach by rescue swimmers Eduardo Mendez and Will Green after being stuck underwater for 25 minutes due to a rip current.

Paramedics tried to revive him for about 10 minutes on the beach, once back at the hospital the were finally able get him breathing again and hear a faint pulse. On August 9th, after the breathing tubes were removed once he came out of an induced coma, he was breathing on his own and speaking in complete sentences….

i got all welled up just reading the articles about this absolute miracle

hit up THIS BLOG to follow along on his recovery

how do rip currents form?

gathered from NOAA:

Rip currents can occur along any coastline that features breaking waves. As waves travel from deep to shallow water, they eventually break near the shoreline. As waves break, they generate currents that flow in both the offshore (away from the coast) and the alongshore directions. Currents flowing away from the coast are called rip currents.

Rip currents are a result of complex interactions between waves, currents, water levels and nearshore bathymetry. A rip current forms as the narrow, fast-moving section of water travels in an offshore direction. Rip currents can also result from a wave’s natural variability or when a current traveling along the shoreline encounters a structure such as a groin or jetty and is forced offshore.

how to escape a rip current:

STAY CALM! most people’s first instinct is to begin thrashing and swim against the current back to the shallow waters, closer to the shore line. even if you are the world’s strongest swimmer, you are going to wear out, the current is far too strong to fight head on.

you can first try to swim parallel to the beach, this will get you out of the outward current. but if that is too hard, simply let the current take you out to calmer waters. you will clear of the rip soon enough and can make your way back in, or if that feels like its too much for you, begin to tread water, call for help, signal to people on the beach or if your other options aren’t working, wait for the waves to carry you in.

if you see someone stuck in a rip current, don’t be a superhero and dive right in to save them, you’ll probably end up just as stuck as they are. instead, alert a lifeguard or the police. if there are none around and you really do have to go in after them, make sure you have some sort of flotation device with you like a boogie-board, raft or life preserver.

and the number one rule all of us shore kids learned at a very young age

hold the cheese please

a dear friend and fellow blogger sent in a request which gave me some great material for todays post… THANKS T! {P.S. if you are ever wondering about something and looking for someone to digg up some info for you, hit me up!}

did you know between 30 and 50 million north american adults suffer with some degree of lactose intolerance?! holy cheese batman – that’s a lot of people!

so what is it really?

found right on the good ol’ government’s website:

Lactose intolerance is the inability or insufficient ability to digest lactose, a sugar found in milk and milk products. Lactose intolerance is caused by a deficiency of the enzyme lactase, which is produced by the cells lining the small intestine. Lactase breaks down lactose into two simpler forms of sugar called glucose and galactose, which are then absorbed into the bloodstream.

Not all people with lactase deficiency have digestive symptoms, but those who do may have lactose intolerance. Most people with lactose intolerance can tolerate some amount of lactose in their diet.

People sometimes confuse lactose intolerance with cow milk allergy. Milk allergy is a reaction by the body’s immune system to one or more milk proteins and can be life threatening when just a small amount of milk or milk product is consumed. Milk allergy most commonly appears in the first year of life, while lactose intolerance occurs more often in adulthood.

hmmm… pretty inneresting stuff huh?!

maybe you are a little worried that by cutting out your milk consumption you won’t be getting the calcium your body needs? don’t be… leafy greens, oysters, sardines, canned salmon, shrimp, and broccoli are just a handful of the other sources you can consume for calcium intake, in addition to calcium supplements and products like OJ with added calcium.

most people with low levels of lactose intolerance can handle about 2-4 ounces at a time without experiencing symptoms, lactaid can also be taken before consuming milk products to alleviate the usual symptoms

these items are a little easier to digest, as they have lower levels of lactose in them:
fermented milk products, like yogurt
goat or buffalo milk
almond, rice, & coconut milk don’t have any lactose

this part is especially for you T–>

Low-Lactose Cheeses:
Monterey Jack

High-Lactose Cheeses:

some food for thought – mammalian milk contains casein, whey AND lactose… i wouldnt jump the gun thinking your digestive issues and discomforts are stemming strictly from being lactose intolerant. one way to try to get to the bottom of things is by experimenting with an elimination diet which has the possibility to provide some useful evidence

and to finish off the deets – keep a close eye on the ingredient list of the products you are consuming

things that contain milk powder, milk protein, milk solids, nonfat dry milk, whey, whey solids or proteins, and casein, often contain some level of lactose in them

even crazier… things like baked goods, cold cuts, frozen meals, vitamins and a slew of other things you never really thought twice about having milk products in them actually do!

READ CAREFULLY if you want to feel better!!

from elephants to ninjas

after putting in – what felt like – a very long 12 weeks this past winter to train for my FIRST half marathon (which i completed in may!!) i had a little chat with the inner-Mel and decided it was time to make a change…

a little back info – just a few days into my training period i hit up a podiatrist with plantar fasciitis issues and ended up needing to wear orthodics in my sneaks because of my high arch – he actually had the nerve to tell me ‘maybe you just weren’t made to run’… obviously i DID NOT listen to him 🙂

in addition to the inserts, i would hit up my aunt on a weekly basis for her ever popular ‘poppy foot rubs’, was constantly using the stick and a foam roller to ease my banjo string tight IT bands and hamstrings, sporting compressions sleeves after the long runs to stop the shin splints from aching… but i trucked on, like a true CAPRICORN – even though my head and heart were there, my body was – in its best way possible – telling me otherwise

now… some athletes like to live by the motto ‘no pain, no gain’,
i on the other hand prefer the ‘there’s got to be a better way’

i told you about this book and these sneaks that i picked up days after the half to ‘go about my change’, but i never really followed up on it all (sorry about that – gardening got in the way!)… so since im am heading into my first triathlon of the season this weekend, and {knock on wood} have been running pain free for the past 3 months, i guess its time to fill you in on how i went from a heel striking elephant to a graceful mid-foot striker, ninja-ing my way through the streets of the ‘sink

the book was really the one that put this idea in my head… 304 pages later, i felt like i couldnt finish it quick enough. it was funny and captivating and kinda had a sciency aspect, but had this story line that just kept calling me back for more. i wanted to know all of it RIGHT NOW!

a couple of points that really stood out to me from reading it:

said so eloquently by THE BOSSbaby we were born to run‘… IT IS SO TRUE! just look at a toddler bounding along on the balls of their feet, no shoes required

when and why did we start to need these decked-out running shoes anyway, with their uber support mechanisms and insoles that provided enough cushion to make you feel like you were running on marshmallows?!

i havent felt lighter or stronger in my runs since i started wearing my ninja sneaks – ie Brooks Green Silence and focusing on landing on my mid-foot versus pounding my heel into the ground…

now granted, i didnt just pop these babies on and head out for a bunch of miles. i worked into them over the course of a couple of weeks, slowly building up the miles with them after coming back from a run in my ‘usual’ sneaks, until one day they actually became my ‘usuals’!

in that time i could literally feel the muscles in my feet getting stronger and stronger. gone are the days of needing my prescription orthodic inserts and NOW are the days of treading a little lighter, running a little faster and feeling like im almost gliding over the earth – instead of pounding into it!

WHAT a concept?! really!

really, you can compost that?!

my first friend was over last night for her pre-bday-celebration-dinner… and i say ‘first’ because our friendship’s history can be traced alllllll the way back to toddling around my family room floor in our diapers… i may not have known at the time that this wonderful woman would still be by my side today, but its hella cool to know she’s dealt with me for this long and still loves me :0)


okay… so the trip down memory lane segways me into my composting post idea because after she got done chopping up the avocados (yes, i put my guests to work!) for the fresh guacamole to accompany our fajitas, she asked if i had a container to put scraps into for my compost barrel. why yes i do! i actually started to keep a container in the fridge that i empty once a week… keeps it from getting all stinky

which brings up a common question:
what exactly can you put into your compost pile?!

planet green has saved the day – and lots of time researching – by putting together this list of 75 items you probably didn’t think you could compost, but actually CAN!

fruit and vegetable scraps, grass clippings and leaves are the norm… but did you know you can also toss in coffee filters, tea bags, stale bread, paper products, fur from the dog/cat brush … i dont want to spoil the surprise of the other items you can stick in there – so check out the rest of their list HERE you will probably be just as surprised as i was to learn about some of these items!