Friday, July 30, 2010

The Wonders of Biking

Hello Everyone!!

Hopefully you had an exciting month of July considering that August is right around the corner. Most of us understand what August entails...a new session of school. Now how can one go about starting off their school year in the most eco-friendly way possible? By biking to school!

I plan to start off this year right, and by that I mean living a more environmental lifestyle. By biking to school everyday, you will receive countless benefits for not only our Earth, but for ourselves too. Here are some of the many advantages that come with riding a bike...

1. A bicycle has virtually NO carbon footprint. Unfortunately, we generate massive amounts of carbon dioxide which enter our Earth's atmosphere and meddle with the natural balance. Interested in comparing your carbon footprint from before you begin your biking lifestyle with after? Then Click Here.

2. Regular bicycling helps with personal weight management -- new full-time bicycle commuters can expect to lose an average 13 pounds their first year of bicycle commuting if they maintain the same eating habits.

3. Bicycles are a great means to see the world. Ever truly notice the architecture of a building you pass by everyday when you're driving? When you slow down your life, you get a better chance of experiencing every single moment to the fullest. Riding a bike will open your eyes to the little treasures our world offers.

4. Reduces deforestation for planting of rubber plantations and bio-fuel crops, because bicycles use very little rubber and fuel/lubricants. :)

5. Reduces noise pollution -- even without a muffler bikes are quiet, creating a quieter community.

6. Reduces water pollution -- bikes don't drip brake fluid, anti-freeze, transmission fluid, toxic dust, etc.

There are so many more qualities a bike can offer that a car can not. These are only a few of the countless benefits, and if you're interested on reading more on these advantages, then go to the link in the Works Cited section of this blog to check them out! :D

Dr. Green T

Works Cited:
Mozer, David. "60+ Benefits (Advantages) of Bicycling." International Bicycle Fund. ThinkHost, 2010. Web. 30 Jul 2010.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Red, White & Blueberries!

Hello everyone,

What's coming up in about 3 days? Independence Day! That wonderful holiday that reminds us every year of how lucky we are to live in a free country. With this in mind, what do you believe will be a great way to celebrate this festive occasion? With some delicious treats made with in-season fruits, an eco-friendly idea because it allows you to utilize local produce which reduces CO2 emissions from the travel.

A fun dessert to create for your Independence Day experience is the Food Network's "Red, White, and Blue Trifle" and "Flag Cake." Both of these treats consist of raspberries, strawberries and blueberries, in season summer berries for your liking.

Red, White, and Blue Trifle

● 1 box red velvet cake mix, about 18 ounces (if you can't find red velvet cake use 1 box chocolate cake plus a bottle of red food coloring)
● 1 (16-ounce) tub whipped topping
● 2 pints blueberries
● 1 pint strawberries, tops removed

Prepare the Red Velvet Cake mix as instructed on the packaging, and allow to cool afterwards. With a knife, cut the cake into 1-inch square pieces and line the bottom of the trifle bowl with half of the cake squares.

With a spatula, spread about a 2-inch layer of whipped topping on top of the cake squares. Layer about 1 1/2 pints of the blueberries on top of whipped topping. Layer the remaining cake pieces on top of the blueberries forming a second layer of cake.

Using a spatula, spread remaining whipped topping over the cakes pieces. Decorate the perimeter with the strawberries; placing the strawberries cut side down. Sprinkle the remaining blueberries on top of the trifle inside the strawberry perimeter. Voila! A decadent treat for the whole family to enjoy. :)

Flag Cake

● 18 tablespoons (2 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
● 3 cups sugar
● 6 extra-large eggs at room temperature
● 1 cup sour cream at room temperature
● 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
● 3 cups flour
● 1/3 cup cornstarch
● 1 teaspoon kosher salt
● 1 teaspoon baking soda

For the icing:
● 1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
● 1 1/2 pounds cream cheese at room temperature
● 1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted
● 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

To assemble:
● 2 half-pints blueberries
● 3 half-pints raspberries

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour an 18 by 13 by 1 1/2-inch sheet pan.

Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on high speed, until light and fluffy. On medium speed, add the eggs, 2 at a time, then add the sour cream and vanilla. Scrape down the sides and stir until smooth.

Sift together the flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking soda in a bowl. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the butter mixture until just combined. Pour into the prepared pan. Smooth the top with a spatula. Bake in the center of the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool to room temperature.

For the icing, combine the butter, cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mixing just until smooth.

Spread three-fourths of the icing on the top of the cooled sheet cake. Outline the flag on the top of the cake with a toothpick. Fill the upper left corner with blueberries. Place 2 rows of raspberries across the top of the cake like a red stripe. Put the remaining icing in a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and pipe two rows of white stripes below the raspberries. Alternate rows of raspberries and icing until the flag is completed. Pipe stars on top of the blueberries.

I serve this cake right in the pan. If you want to turn it out onto a board before frosting, use parchment paper when you grease and flour the pan.

Hope you all enjoy these wonderful 4th of July treats!! Happy Independence Day. :)

Dr. Green T

Works Cited:
Garten, Ina. "Flag Cake." Food Network, n.d. Web. 1 Jul 2010.

Lee, Sandra. "Red, White, and Blue Trifle." Food Network, n.d. Web. 1 Jul 2010.

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