Getting into Hot Water

October 18, 2008

Whilst doing some dishes in my sink, my friend Teresa was commenting about how hot my hot water was and that in her house she can’t get her bath hot enough. How hot should our water be? This brings up questions we’ll need to consider. In my house, I love to take a hot bath and do not want to run out of hot water or deprive someone else of a hot shower, either, so we keep our setting high. 

According to there are a few important issues to consider: Setting a lower temperature can help avoid serious burns. Temperatures above 125 degrees can seriously burn a child. The suggested safe temperature for hot water setting is 120 degrees. Dropping the water temperature setting by ten degrees typically saves approximately 4% on one’s cost to heat water each year.

It seems that the factory setting for water heaters is 120 degrees. says: “120 degrees seems low for a family of four, so I recommend setting the temperature between 130 and 140 degrees. This will make the water hot enough so you are forced to mix it with cold water to achieve a comfortable temperature. Mixing it with cold water will also help make the hot water last longer.”

Natural has some interesting ideas on energy saving, including turning off your water heater when you go away and yet points out that to really disinfect with your dishwasher you’ll want the water to be as hot as 140 degrees. “Lowering the temperature too much can have unintended consequences as you will need to use more heated water to obtain the same temperature at the faucet or shower.  Thus, if your tank currently gives your family three showers in the morning, you might find the last person screaming!!” This site does give good step by step directions to determine your tap temperature and how to adjust your gas, oil or electric water heater.

Tankless water heaters are a wonderful energy saver as are solar panels-and that is another post as is water conservation and the therapeutic nature of hot baths for women.


Best Flights, Right Price

October 18, 2008

Do you know that the average flight price fluctuates 400%?  It’s crazy work trying to find the lowest prices-what to do? If the price of your ticket dropped after you bought it wouldn’t you want to know about it? Yapta is a cool site that was created to make it easy for you to find the best flight at the right price. Yapta will track prices on your trips, and alert you when prices drop so that you can purchase tickets when they’re most affordable. Yapta also will track the ticket price and if the price drops below what you paid, and you’re eligible for a refund or travel credit from the airline, Yapta can help you claim it. My friend Arthur says he has saved hundreds of dollars this way and has accumulated credits with airlines.

Via: Arthur Greenwald, savvy friend

Breast Health

October 16, 2008

Here is a link to a short and sweet article from Jeannette, who has put tremendous thought into what is healthy eating for breast health.

When I made the choice to eat simply, locally, organically I had to begin to look at my buying habits as well as my eating habits. Happily for me it was a fairly easy job because I had just moved into a house with roommates who already kept a macrobiotic kitchen.  The pantry was stocked with large glass jars (old mayo jars from the deli) filled with grains, beans, seeds, nuts and seaweeds. In the ’70’s, natural food stores did not have frozen meals, rice dream, soups in a box or good quality cookies. Pretty basic, simple and clean. 


In my cooking classes the first thing I ask my students to think about is what is in their pantry and refrigerator? My rule of thumb is to read the label and if there are more than 8 ingredients and if there are words you can’t pronounce, then give or throw the package away. If the ingredients include sugar, chemicals, food coloring, additives, MSG, over 180 mgs of salt per serving or any cholesterol- pitch it. If anything is past its “sell by” date- throw it out. Making choices about what we eat is a daily practice. This is the first step to creating a healthy and natural kitchen.


October 15, 2008

We have apple trees on our land which have never put out fruit until last summer. The crop was so abundant that huge branches broke under the weight. This year I had promised myself I’d prune the trees but the garden got much more attention than the apple trees. Again there is a bumper crop. There are apple trees hidden around our property that I didn’t even know existed. Picking one’s own fruit is very rewarding. My freezer is stocked with blueberries and strawberries from the summer. Here are some things I’ve discovered great info about “picking your own” and where you can go to pick. has everything you want to know including how much to pick, what to pick and why and even how to make jam and pickles. Of course, making apple sauce or an apple pie is by far the easiest thing to do. Here is a recipe for a gluten- free crust that you can use with your favorite fruit pie recipe:

Nut Meal Crust:

2 cups (heaping) nut meal- try almonds- just blend until meal

1/2 cup non-gluten flour ( try Red Mill)

1/2 cup safflower or grapeseed oil

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon, if desired

Combine all of the ingredients to form a ball of dough

Press the dough oiled pie dish. Makes 2 pies.

Bake the crust at 350 degrees F. until firm- 10-15 minutes.

Cool before filling

M Cafe LA

October 13, 2008

Okay, this is the kind of nourishing experience I could repeat daily, or twice daily. The clean cuisine at the M Cafe is not only good looking it’s also good tasting and good quality ingredients and good people serving you. I had the most scrumptious Corn and Lotus Root chowder, it was so sweet (but not from sugar) and filling I hardly had room for the beet quinoa salad and the kale with peanut sauce and the salmon nori roll. It’s comfortable deli style: place your order at the counter after looking over all the mouth-watering selections in the display case. Take your number, sit down and within a minute or two your meal is in front of you. There are 3 locations and they are open all day until 9pm. Tonight there were people of all ages- even a few children one of them eating with chopsticks! I love that this hip cafe is introducing people to the delights of Macrobiotic cooking. 


Like a street fair, crowds flock to the San Luis Obispo Thursday Night Farmer’s Market which involves more than 120 vendors. Farmers park their trucks in the center of the street and restaurateurs wheel out massive barbecue pits for grilling ribs, chicken, sausages, tri-tip and even barbecued calzones under the evening sky. There are various food booths that offer everything from pizza-by-the-slice to warm-from-the-oven cookies. As an east coaster, my eyes feasted on the produce ranging from dozens of varieties of apples and beautiful fruit, organic as well as unsprayed, to greens, and squash and hand-harvested nuts. Fresh walnuts are a taste sensation and there are gorgeous bouquets of garden-grown flowers, hand-pressed cider and other seasonal treats. A very inspiring turnout- throngs of families on an evening outing. Smokey the Bear was on hand to teach kids about fire safety. Loved this event.