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Monterrey Stew with Persian Lime and Chili Balsamic February 22 2019

 

 

 

Aloha, 

As this winter carries on, it begins to get difficult to come up with fresh ideas for meals. Oh it’s easy to slip into the same rut of repeated meals. And I for one get very bored with cooking the same thing week after week.

Due to the rut I found myself in, I came up with a fresh, bright and original recipe using Persian Lime Olive Oil and Chili Balsamic to create a Monterrey Stew. Serve with a fresh citrus slaw and lime cilantro rice and warm corn tortillas!

INGREDIENTS:

1 med. onion, diced

1 bell pepper, diced

1 jalapeno pepper, minced

4 cloves garlic, finely minced

1/3 cup + 2 tbsp. Persian lime olive oil

1 lb. stew meat

4 tbsp. Lime juice

1/4 c. Chili balsamic

1 bag Slaw mixture

DIRECTIONS:

Season stew meat with salt mix (below) thoroughly and set aside.

Place 2 tbsp. oil into medium skillet and heat over low heat to warm oil. Add onions, peppers and saute until onions are tender and transparent. Add garlic and continue to saute 2 minutes. Place mixture into a separate bowl and set aside. 

Place remaining oil into skillet and heat on med high. When oil is sizzling add meat and stir to brown on all sides. Lower heat and add lime juice to mix. Cook covered 10 minutes. Add 1/4 - 1/2 bag slaw mix and stir in. Drizzle chili balsamic over the mix and let sit 5 min to rest. 

Salt mixture: 

1 tsp. Lelani’s smoked salt 

1/2 tsp. Garlic granules 

1/2 tsp dried minced onion

1 Hawaiian pepper, dried

Place all ingredients into pestle and grind to a fine powder. Set aside

 

 

 


Spicy Russian Pork Chops with Potatoes & Mushrooms February 08 2019

 

 

 

Aloha all!

I was asked a couple of weeks ago about if I had ever cooked Russian pork chops. I had never even heard of anything like the dish. In fact, i’d never even knew anything about Russian cuisine, other than beef stroganoff, which I make from scratch with gourmet mushrooms from the area. Sadly to say this has been my only excursion into Russian cooking.

With that said, I found myself a challenge and began searching my good friend google for a good recipe to give a try. And as a true friend, Google gave me more than I needed! So being a true risk taker, I picked one recipe that sounded tasty from www.geniuskitchen.com and the husband loved it. In fact he thought I was trying it again when I mentioned putting the recipe on the blog!

This is a warm wintery one skillet meal that the only ingredients I had changed was to substitute plain olive oil for my new go to favorite, Harissa. Harissa is a Middle Eastern spice that is mainly used in many of the dishes found within the cultural foods and flavors of that part of the world and imparts a warm spicy flavor to meals. Also, because the recipe called for pork and sour cream in the ingredients, I added sage and tarragon to my rub of garlic, onion, salt and pepper. I also used two thick bone in pork chops that were about an inch thick. The recipe called for center cut pork chops, but the friendly butchers at Sunnyside Meats did not know what it referred to and guided me to my selection.

Another substitution I used with this recipe was I increased the sour cream to half a cup and a quarter cup of milk. One other item I would suggest that others do if you choose to try this recipe is to pre-boil your potatoes. Raw potatoes don’t cook in 10 minutes even if they are sliced. It took about half an hour to cook those potatoes and not burn everything else. Below is the recipe with the new additions.

Happy eating and stay warm!

Spicy Russian Skillet Pork Chops

Ingredients

 1⁄4 lb. Potatoes, sliced

 1⁄2 tsp. garlic powder

 1⁄2 tsp. onion powder

 12 tsp. Black pepper

 1⁄2 c.mushrooms, sliced

 2 bone-in pork chops, 1” thick

 3 tbsp Harissa olive oil

 1/4 c. milk

 1⁄2 c. Sour cream

 DIRECTIONS

Put oil into skillet. Heat it over medium heat. Add potatoes and brown lightly. Set aside.

Season chops with powders and pepper. Put a little more oil in skillet. Cook chops for one minute on each side. Drain fat if necessary. Add milk. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.

Add potatoes and mushroom. Cook for 10 more minutes. Add in sour cream and heat but not to boiling.

 Serve with fresh local greens, hot crusty bread and a good bottle of wine. Enjoy!

 

 


Spicy Coconut Syrup Shrimp Stir-Fry January 02 2019

Coconut Syrup – Not just for Pancakes anymore!

Mele Kalikimaka Hau’ole Makahiki Hou to all! May your new year be bright and full of wonder and joy!

During this time of year, cooking and baking take center stage, and it’s now wonder with all the smells and flavors of comfort. I love the smell fresh baked cookies. The cinnamon and nutmeg enticing all to the heart of every home.

Bakers shine during holiday with good reason. Think of all the amazing sweets and breads bakers produce! And let’s face it, baking is an exact science. I wish I could whip up sweet desserts and goodies like they can but, I also FFI (fails to follow instruction) as Mr. Baker informed me of on several occasions!

All kidding aside, it is true I find the step by step instructions for baking, confining and restrictive, where as I love the freedom of experimentation of cooking. And that is where I have my creative breakthroughs! For instance, someone challenged me to find a recipe that uses coconut syrup, other than pancake syrup. I searched and found that most recipes used the ingredient in baking. Not a promising start but, I wasn't defeated yet. After thinking and consulting with Sunnyside Meats, I settled with shrimp to experiment with.

I got home and began peeling and deveining the shrimp. Once completed I poured coconut syrup over the shrimp, added a few spices and herbs and let marinate for about an hour. In the meantime, I readied my rice and chopped my veggies. In this case, onions, peppers, celery, carrots etc. you can use any veggie you desire, but this is what I had on hand along with a pomegranate.

To make a long story short, the recipe below is my version of a spicy Thai inspired coconut shrimp stir fry. Things to keep in mind while pulling this together; start with a good oil, in this case a roasted chili lime. Next cook the hardest veggies first and allow 3 minutes before adding next ingredient. This allows for the melding of flavors and keeping veggies from over cooking. Finish up heated cooking with shrimp in center of pan with marinade stirring often.

As you pull off the pot from the heat add pomegranate seeds and stir in. Allow to rest 5 minutes and serve in bowl with fresh rice or desired grain. Enjoy the recipe is below!

Coconut lime shrimp Stir-fry

Ingredients:

1 lb. large shrimp, shelled and deveined

1/4 c. coconut syrup

2 Tbsp. lime juice

1 Tsp. bamboo salt

1/2 Tsp.  garlic

1/2 Tsp. onions

1 Tbsp. fresh chopped lemongrass

1/2 Tsp. crushed Hawaiian chili pepper

1/2 Tsp. celery seed

Veggies:

3 stalks celery cut diagonally in to 1- in pieces

10 Baby carrots quartered diagonally

1/4 onion sliced thin

1/4 pineapple sliced in chunks

Two pineapple hearts cut in chunks

Two peppers sliced into thin strips.

12 Green beans washed and topped

1/4 cup fresh pomegranate seeds

Directions:

Peel and Devein shrimp and set aside in medium sized bowl. Mix shrimp with first nine ingredients. Set aside and let marinade for up to at least 1/2 hour.

Once all the veggies are sliced, heat large pan with roasted chili lime olive oil. Add celery and carrots. Sauté two minutes. Add pineapple chunks, peppers and peppers. Sauté and additional five minutes.

Create a hole in the center of the pan with the veggie mix on the sides of the pan away from the heat. Add shrimp and marinade into center of pan. Lower heat to medium and continue to cook an additional 5 to 10 minutes stirring often to ensure that the shrimp gets cooked and mixed in with all the veggies.

Turn off heat and add pomegranate seeds on top cover up make sure and let sit for five minutes. Serve with rice quinoa or any other grain you desire. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 


Nutrition: Swimming through misinformation in the age of research. January 02 2019

 

 

It is now 2019. We are living in the age of accessibility to so many resources, yet we are still getting mixed messages about what we should eat. Every day there are new articles about what is healthy and what is not. One day we are told to stay away from saturated fats and the next week we are told that we should be adding more to our diet. Then to add to it all we are bombarded with ads, false articles, and quick fix remedies to try to confuse you even more.

Then the big one, lobbyists. Big agriculture, the meat industry, dairy industry, sugar industry, etc are paying big bucks to make sure that we are getting constant ads, and cheap prices on poorly grown & raised foods. But the good news is that eating well isn't hard. It may take some time and cooking lessons but will benefit you farther than some lean shake, proprietary blend cocktail. 

So here we go! The secret to eating healthy is to eat...real...quality...food. With the emphasis on QUALITY!

Real food usually isn't in a box, and does not contain "enriched ingredients". It is normally perishable with a few exceptions. It does not contain corn syrup, artificial sweaters, nitrates, msg, and sodium benzoate. There are many more ingredients in fake food but I do not have the time nor do you to go through every single one. 

So this leaves us with fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy, some grains, and some canned goods.

One way to shop is to only stay on the parameter of the store. These sections usually are produce, meat, dairy & grains. You still need to beware of the ingredients and check all your labels until you fully understand which brands to stay away from. But most whole foods do not even have labels. Also a good rule of thumb is to buy as local as you can.

When buying meats look for grass fed, hormone free and organic. 

Be wary of the bakery section as most of those breads are a combination of bad ingredients. If you still want to eat bread it shouldn't have more than 3 ingredients in it. Those are unbleached flour of some sort, salt, and water. Try to find a local bakery that makes bread the old fashioned way or if you can make it yourself. If you look at the label of commercially made bread there are up to 30 ingredients. No wonder we are all of a sudden having problems with gluten... this isn't the same bread that we started eating hundreds of years ago. 

Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Avocado Oil, and Coconut Oil are some great healthy fats to use when cooking.

When using Extra Virgin Olive Oil make sure you are using it at low heat (no more than 325 degrees) This is EVOO's smoking point. The oil can break down and actually become carcinogenic if used at high heat. EVOOS are great used raw on veggies or salads, in slow cooking, or as a finishing oil. EVOO's are high in polyphenols and are amazing for your heart...as long as its the real stuff. That being said 80-85% of the olive oil you buy at the sore is cut, rancid, or fake. Its hard to know what brands are legit but we will help with that too (stay tuned for another blog about olive oil quality). Here at the Durango Olive Oil Company we have 100%, triple tested, third party tested, EVOO. We have flavors you couldn't even image of, and can transform a bland dish to a healthy meal bursting with flavor.

We also carry coconut oil & avocado oils (both of which are for high heat cooking). 

Now remember if you have food sensitivities please keep those out of your diet at all costs. We will also be posting healthy and easy meal ideas and recipes so stay tuned for more. Heres to a healthy 2019! 

 

 

There are some great literature and docu-series that can help you learn more about eating healthy, cooking tips, and how to get back to basics when shopping for real food. 

What the Heck Should I eat - Mark Hyman

Cooked - Michael Pollen- Netflix

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat - Netflix (if your new to cooking check this out)


Our Infusion & Flavoring Process November 05 2018

 

This is a question we get asked on the daily. How do you flavor your olive oils? Most people think we let the herbs soak in and then drain them out. However that is not how it works. If we soaked lets say rosemary in the olive oil it would take a lot of rosemary to give it the strength of flavor you taste in our oil. 

So how do we do it?

The flavorings are extracts and essential oils made from plant based products. Therefore they are natural flavors and are added to the oils and stirred in. Our chili olive oils are actually soaked in the oil for about 3-8 weeks. 

All of our flavorings are all natural, vegan, and allergen free! How exciting is that? So if you are allergic to oregano you can still have our oregano olive oil. There is a huge upswing in people who cannot eat garlic due to stomach pains. This is difficult because come on..garlic is so good and is a staple in most recopies. Good news you can use our garlic oil still without the stomach pain.

The next question we get a lot is well is there dairy in the butter olive oil? 

Nope. This one is a little more scientific. Scientists have figured out that a molecule called Diacetyl is what gives butter its butter flavor. This can be obtained artificially and naturally. One natural source of this molecule is the sweet potato which is what we use. So therefore all of our parmesan oils are dairy free as well. 

Our balsamic vinegars are flavored similarly. The only difference is we use an alcohol base like vanilla extract for example. However our Chili & Spicy Mango do have chili powder in it. 

I hope this brings come clarity and helps answer some questions about our flavoring process. 

 


Warming up for the Season October 25 2018

Hey all! What the heck happened to our weather?!? When Autumn officially hit, Mama Nature turned down the temps, YIKES!

But with the cool weather, the creativity and need to cook begins to bubble over! By that, I mean exploring flavors that bring the season into our homes. Aromas of roasting meats, veggies and of course warm gooey fruit pies fresh from the oven! I mean the aroma, flavor and love that pours out of our homes this time of year. Scents of ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg that makes us all warm and fuzzy and long for home.

This need has lead me to use our abundant local fruit harvest in making desserts using Durango Olive Oil Co flavored balsamic vinegars to bring the essence of the fruit to the palate. Also, I am not a baker, but I have given it my best, with good results! I made the pie as easy as possible, because baking is really a lab experiment that you need to follow exactly. The only thing I had changed in a basic pie recipe was to swap out the amount of sugar and replace it with a balsamic that complemented the fruit.

I had over the years tried several recipes of apple pie with varying degrees of success. So, after scouring some of the better recipes, I found a good guideline for this venture as most of the recipes were about the same with minor differences. Of course, every other recipe, I had to improvise and after two successes here is my version of a deep-dish apple pie that came from epicurus.com (https://www.epicurus.com/food/recipes/deep-dish-apple-cobbler/5855). I like this one as it was easy to use and less prep and bake time were needed. Plus, because the dessert is in a deep dish, not bottom crust needed!

As I had access to plenty of apples, I had to think of the flavors that would bring out the essence of the fruit without being over powering. Of course, certain flavors jumped to mind like traditional (safe flavor) to chili or spicy mango (wilder). I decide to play it safe and used Durango Olive Oil Co vanilla and caramel balsamics in the following recipe.

Deep Dish Caramel Apple Pie

Filling:

5 - large apples, ¼ inch sliced and cored

½ c. cane sugar

3 tbsp. vanilla balsamic vinegar

3 tbsp. caramel balsamic vinegar

1 tsp. cinnamon

¼ tsp. nutmeg and all spice

1 tbsp. flour

2 tbsp. melted butter

Topping:

1c. cane sugar

2 lg eggs

1 tbsp. Vanilla balsamic

1 tbsp. Caramel balsamic

1 c. flour

1 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp. nutmeg

½ tsp. pink salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut and core apples into ¼ inch slices and place into medium size bowl. Mix sugar, balsamics and spices into bowl and mix well to coat all the apples. Add flour and butter and mix well before putting into a lightly greased deep sided pan.

Set aside.

In another bowl, beat eggs and sugar until well blended. Add balsamic vinegars. Add flour, baking powder and spices into the mix and beat until creamy smooth. This mix will be gooey but spread mix over the apples as well as possible.

Bake until golden brown about 40 minutes. Serve warm with a scoop of your favorite ice cream and enjoy! 


Cooking with Lavender Olive Oil October 17 2018

Cooking with flavored olive oils for success

Using Coffee in Main Meal Dishes July 13 2015

Aloha!

Sorry folks! Too a bit of time off and had a hard time getting a blog done, but what you all have been waiting for – a new blog that looks at recipes that use coffee as an ingredient.

Every morning is the same pattern; get up, go into the kitchen, turn on the waster kettle, pour coffee beans (Maui grown) into the grinder and nap on the counter until the kettle is done. After grinding and putting into a French press I have coffee soon after! But sometimes we don’t use the entire pot, so I usually have chilled brewed coffee in the fridge for iced coffee later. If I don’t use the cold brew in a bout a week, I have to toss it.

So I began searching the web for ideas to use up that coffee in recipes other than the aforementioned – iced coffee.

Coffee is considered a spice and I thought that there must be recipes for main course meals because coffee is a savory spice. I other words it adds a richness because it is subtle and doesn’t overpower the other flavors like tarragon, garlic, onion or oregano.

Have you thought of a mouthwatering So getting back to my topic, I found 14 recipes from epicurious that use coffee in main meal dishes as well as desserts such tiramisu or coffee crunch bars. Here’s the link to the site: http://www.epicurious.com/archive/howtocook/dishes/recipeswithcoffe

I have also added the following recipe of Coffee Rubbed Cheeseburgers with Texas Sauce (below). As a note I have tried this with Lelani’s Durango Fajitas Beef Rub with great success and it too has coffee!

Coffee Rubbed Cheeseburgers with Texas Sauce

Ingredients

Coffee rub:

1 tablespoon freshly ground coffee

2 teaspoons (packed) golden brown sugar

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

Burgers:

8 slices applewood-smoked bacon

1 pound ground chuck (preferably grass-fed)

1 pound ground sirloin (preferably grass-fed)

8 slices smoked provolone, smoked caciocavallo, or smoked Gouda cheese (about 8 ounces)

8 potato-bread hamburger buns

Toppings:

8 slices red onion

8 slices tomato

Texas Barbecue Sauce

Preparation

For coffee rub:
Mix all ingredients in small bowl. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 week ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

For burgers:
Cook bacon in large skillet until crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Break in half. Gently mix chuck and sirloin in large bowl. Form meat into 8 patties, each 3 1/2 to 4 inches in diameter and 1/3 to 1/2 inch thick. Using thumb, make slight indentation in center of each burger. DO AHEAD: Burgers and bacon can be prepared 8 hours ahead. Cover separately and chill.

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Sprinkle 1 teaspoon coffee rub on top side of each burger. Place burgers, rub side down, on grill rack. Grill until slightly charred, about 4 minutes; turn.

Place 2 bacon slice halves atop each burger. Cook 3 minutes.

Top each with 1 cheese slice. Cover and cook until cheese melts, about 1 minute longer. Place burgers atop bottom halves of buns. Top with onion slices and tomato slices. Spoon dollop of Texas Barbecue Sauce over. Cover with bun tops and serve, passing additional sauce alongside.

Again at lelanis.com we have many different dry rubs including Lelani's Durango Fajitas Beef Rub to help in your kitchen adventures. Call us and we can help your next meal! Until next time, Mahalo and Aloha

Reference:

http://www.epicurious.com/archive/howtocook/dishes/recipeswithcoffee



 

 


Matcha, Matcha, Matcha - Whats all the hype about? May 07 2015

Aloha!

This morning as I was slowly waking up by drinking a cup of joe I was catching up on the news and I heard the show discussing matcha. Matcha is a powdered green tea that contains an incredible amount of health benefits. Drinking one cup of matcha is equivalent to consuming 10 cups of green tea alone.

Matcha has historically been the tea used in Japanese tea ceremonies which focus upon the preparation, serving and consumption. I was lucky enough to witness the ceremony on several occasions, but my mom knowing that I am a klutz never let me partake of the event. This is a very beautiful tradition and if you get a chance to observe or participate, enjoy!

Anyway, getting back to matcha, I’m sure you’re wondering why matcha is so great. It is because you’re drinking the whole leaf and not just steeping leaves which then are thrown in the compost pail. That is the big difference.  

Matcha tea bushes are grown and processed differently than other green teas. The tea bushes are covered for several weeks to prevent contact with direct sunlight. This causes the bush to slow down it growth and increases it the growth of chlorophyll levels which in turn causes the leaves for turn a darker green. Why would one want the darker green in the leaves from higher chlorophyll levels? L-Theanine that’s why (among other health benefits) (wikipedia.org/wiki/Matcha)!

L-Theanine is an amino acid and can be found in all green and black teas, but one cup of matcha will provide over 5 times of the amount of this vital amino acid! Plus L-Theanine has been show to aid in mental clarity and relaxation and has been used for centuries by Buddhist Monks for meditation (matchasource.com). The function of this amino acid is to increase the brain’s alpha waves – which promote calmness and relaxation. Stress causes a slew of negative health impacts like high blood pressure and brain beta waves increase. Drinking or consumption of matcha will counter act these beta waves by increasing alpha waves. Hurray for alpha waves!

Other studies conducted on matcha, it has been tested and shown that the higher chlorophyll levels help the body to detoxify. Chlorophyll helps to rid the body of contaminants that we are exposed to daily. Contaminates like chemicals and heavy metals that are harmful to the body and the mind. As a former water scientist, I can attest to this! Everyday we ingest minute amounts of heavy metals and chemicals in our drinking water. Although water treatment is great and removes almost all contaminates, it cannot remove all pollutants. Matcha’s higher levels of chlorophyll bind with these to expel them from our systems. Hurray for higher chlorophyll levels!

Now on to other benefits of matcha such as L-Theanine. This is an amino acid which has been tied to improvements in energy, mood and mental clarity. Although matcha does contain caffeine it will increase energy without the caffeine jitters. It helps in improving metabolism which in turn burns more calories! A great way to help those who are dieting to reach their weight loss goals (matchasource.com).

Finally, matcha also contains higher levels of antioxidants that prevent premature aging and disease. ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) testing has shown that consumption of matcha is higher in antioxidants then goji berries, acai berries, broccoli and spinach! Another benefit from increased antioxidants include those great catechins which help to fight effects from free radicals from sources that are hard to control such as, chemicals, UV radiation and pollution (matchasource.com).

So now you're informed about the benefits of drinking matcha the next piece of information you will require is which grade of matcha should be purchased? There are several different types of matcha available for specific purposes such as “Ceremony’, “Classic”, “Café” and “Kitchen” (matchasourcecom). This should be pretty self explanatory, but what you want to look for is matcha that is vibrant green and has sweet grassy aroma. Ceremony matcha is an excellent grade of tea because this is composed of only the tender young leaves of the tea bush. Flavor is superior to the other grades and this grade is pricey.

Café, classic and kitchen grades are the mature leaves that have been harvested. The more mature the leaf is courser and contains veins and stems. It will also be slightly bitter than the ceremony grade and the color will be darker. The cost of these grades of matcha will be less expensive which can be a benefit to the budget.

Although there are obvious pros to purchasing lower grades of matcha, this type of matcha can be used in smoothies, ice cream and main entrees as well as for sipping. Lelani’s has several recipes for smoothies on Pintrest.com that matcha can be added to for additional health benefits. If interested please find us on www.pintrest.com. Lelani’s will also be posting recipes using matcha in the future. Please check out our website store. Until next time, I have added a smoothie recipe below to start you out in your exploration of matcha!

Coconut Vanilla Matcha Smoothie (coupleofcooks.com)

 

What You Need

  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon Aiya cooking-grade matcha
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 ½ tablespoons agave nectar*
  • ½ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1 cup frozen pineapple
  • ½ ripe banana
  • ½ cup ice
  • Small pinch salt

What To Do

In a blender, blend all ingredients together on high-speed, stopping to scrape down the sides if necessary.

Reference:

Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matcha

Matcha Source, (http://matchasource.com/health-benefits-of-matcha-tea/), (matchasource.com/buyers-guide/)

A Couple of Cooks, (http://www.acouplecooks.com/2015/03/coconut-vanilla-matcha-smoothie/)

 

 

 


Earth Day Ideas April 22 2015

Aloha!

Today is Earth Day and instead of blogging about recipes, teas or spices, this article will be as a tribute to the most influential person in my life – my mom. She was the one who instilled environmentalism into my life as a small kid. She made taking care of the Earth an everyday priority in our family’s life by making it fun and magical. She told me that the water percolating through the soil was the plants saying thank you for the cool drink of water. At 5 years old that was magical and the first step down the road to helping to protect the Earth.

Dr. Seuss also helped me along with his book “The Lorax”. Most, if not all school children have read his book about a boy who finds the Lorax. The Lorax warns this boy about taking from the land without consequence in that his world is dark and bleak. Dr. Seuss’s words of wisdom I took to heart and am happy to say I am a card carrying member of the Tree Hugging, Earth loving, dirt worshipping granolies!

We are all aware that the Earth is in crisis. Everyday we are informed of the impending doom about Climate Change, droughts and ocean acidification. Although there is more than enough to focus our attention and because I am a water scientist (really) I chose to talk about how we as individuals can do our part in conserving our water by reducing our usage on a daily basis. We need to change our habits and lifestyles and do what we can to conserve water for today and into the future.

Let’s think about rivers, streams and wetlands. As National Geographic points our “Rivers are the veins of the planet, pumping fresh water into wetlands, lakes and out to sea”[1]. I believe that the Earth is a living being and to me, this makes sense. Think of the rivers in your community and region. How different would you community be without a river? Could your community grow and prosper without a river.

But rivers play a vital role in how our communities are created. Here in SW Colorado, we are in the midst of a multiple year drought. Even though we are not facing the situation as California, we need to begin planning and developing policies that help to protect our water and aquifer resources. But I am sure your saying to yourself, “I am only one person and how can I conserve when others are not”.

Although you may only be one person, when everyone does their part in conserving that will add up to vast amounts water that can be returned to rivers, wetlands and aquifers. To begin, National Geographic[2] has a handy tool that can measure your “water footprint”. I took the questionnaire and felt that it did not capture all my information; it did give me a general idea of my annual water consumption. By making me aware of the amount, I became more conscience of usage and made me think of ways to reduce that amount. For instance, instead of washing a small load of clothing, I now wait until I have a larger load. I reuse my dish water (wash and rinse) to water my plants. The dogs and cats water also goes for plants. Baths are now out of the question as that takes a huge amount of water. And when the irrigation begins, I will not allow the water to run into the street as I am not growing asphalt.

There are other ways to reduce water usage. If you need to wash your car, do it on the lawn. Replace your shower head with a low flow faucet. This doesn’t reduce the pressure, only the amount of water used. When cleaning the house use a large pail of soapy water for all your cleaning tasks. If you use a mild soap, you can use that water to water your plants for instance.

My gardens will not be as extensive as prior years, and plants that are not drought tolerant will be replaced with others that can go without for longer periods. Sorry Pansies – but your out. I have taken the Nat Geo pledge to reduce my personal usage and do my part to return water to the Colorado River Delta. Please visit http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/freshwater/  to learn more about water issues and please visit changethecourse.us and take the pledge. If each person reading this blog, then the possibilities of saving the Colorado River Delta can become a reality!

Mahalo!

 [1] Fresh Water – Why it Matters, National Geographic, 2015, http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/freshwater/rivers/

[2] Change the Course, National Geographic, 2015, http://changethecourse.us/