I like to think that I'm pretty Earth conscious and environmentally friendly these days. I do my best to recycle everything, I try to reuse items I already have instead of throwing them out, etc. I never really thought about the way I ate though and how that could impact our planet.
Lucky for me and other busy moms like me, Aviva Goldfarb, author of SOS! The Six O'Clock Scramble to the Rescue: Earth Friendly, Kid-Pleasing Dinners for Busy Families, has thought about it. She's penned a terrific cookbook which is unique in the fact that she teaches busy moms how to cook wonderful family dinners which have a lower environmental impact on our planet. How cool!
Eating green is not just about consuming more spinach, peas and lettuce. In her latest book, SOS! The Six O’Clock Scramble to the Rescue; Earth-Friendly, Kid-Pleasing Dinners for Busy Families (St. Martin’s Press, April 2010), renowned meal-planning expert Aviva Goldfarb takes her signature meal planning strategies a step further by advising families on how to also reduce their personal environmental impact through smart dinner-time choices.
Here are some quick tips from the book that everyone can follow to make dinnertime more green:
- Eat Seasonally. Eating fruits and vegetables that are in season not only tastes better and is smarter for the pocketbook, but it eliminates the carbon emissions caused by shipping foods thousands of miles. One of the most cost effective and environmentally friendly options is to support your local farmer’s market or Community Supported Agriculture program.
- Eat Organic – But Only When it Matters. We know that organic produce is better for your body and the earth, but since organic products can sometimes cost 50 to 100 percent more, families need to understand when it’s most important to choose organic. Refer to the Environmental Working Group’s list of the produce highest in pesticides on page 108. These items are worth the extra expense of buying organic to avoid ingesting those potentially harmful chemicals.
- Eat More Veggies and Sustainable Seafood. Incorporating more non-meat proteins such as beans, tofu and eggs into recipes and eating sustainable seafood not only helps families do their part to preserve the planet’s resources, but it also is economical and healthy.
- Eliminate Food Waste. According to the New York Times, a family of four will throw out an average of 24 pounds of fruits and vegetables per month, or by another estimate, 15 percent of their groceries. By planning a weekly menu, creating and sticking to a grocery list and making only one supermarket trip per week, families will greatly reduce food waste and spoilage.
- Grow A Garden. Even if it is only a small planter, take the time to plant a small garden. It is a sustainable source of food, is a fun activity for all ages and will save money on produce.
- Reduce Supermarket Trips. Aim to shop at the supermarket only once per week. Less trips means less fuel burned, less money wasted and more precious time to enjoy with family.
- Buy in Bulk. Buying in bulk reduces the amount of plastic packaging. Avoid buying individual “snack packs” and package the goods instead in reusable containers. Buy meat and cheese and freeze into individual or family serving sizes. And like many environmental strategies, buying in bulk is a great way to reduce the weekly grocery bill!
- Reuse and Recycle. Recycling and reusing is about more than just recycling newspapers and plastic bottles. Keep a stock of reusable canvas or nylon bags in the car at all times. Reuse extra plastic or paper shopping bags for other tasks. Pack lunches in reusable containers. Rinse and reuse or recycle aluminum foil, along with other cans, bottles and plastic containers.
- Composting is a Cinch! Composting is one of the easiest things the average family can do to reduce their footprint and help the environment naturally. Turning everyday organic waste (like grass clippings, raked leaves, veggie peelings, and fruit rinds) into rich soil not only reduces the amount of garbage picked up curbside by fossil fuel-operated trucks (then dumped into landfills), but also creates 100-percent natural, organic fertilizer.
In order to facilitate my product review, I was sent the SOS! The Six O'Clock Scramble to the Rescue: Earth Friendly, Kid-Pleasing Dinners for Busy Families cookbook. The first thing that caught my attention was that this cookbook was chocked full of recipes and they all used very few ingredients and could be prepared in under 30 minutes! SWEET! This was up my alley already! I also saw several recipes that piqued my interest right away such as:
- Mexican Lasagna with Avocado Salsa (p. 162)
- Mango and Black Bean Salad (p. 80)
- Spice-Tossed Shrimp with Parmesan Grits (p. 46) ~ Just the mention of grits to a Texas gal can send my mouth to watering!
- Beef and Broccoli Teriyaki (p. 103)
Next, I noticed that this cookbook was divided not by dinner courses (main course, appetizers, etc.) but by SEASONS! Aviva goes on to explain how eating food in the appropriate season that it is readily available, helps lower our negative impact on the planet. She also stresses the importance of eating locally grown food. Now being thoroughly intrigued, I decided to find a yummy recipe to cook from the Spring section of the cookbook for dinner tonight.
I happened upon the Spaghetti Carbonara recipe on page 61. It sounded like the perfect thing to try since it only contained 7 ingredients and took 25 minutes to prepare. My daughter is also having some troubles with eating here lately and the ingredients in this recipe were all some of her favorites, so I figured that this was a sure bet!
I followed the recipe, which was well-written and easy to follow. True to its word, twenty-five minutes later...VOILA! Dinner was served! Everyone enjoyed dinner tonight...even my very picky toddler! And best of all, it was super easy and environmentally conscious too!
- Plenty of terrific, easy to follow recipes with few ingredients required, which take 30 minutes or less to prepare.
- Dozens of wonderful tip pages geared toward the busy, yet environmentally conscious, mom.
- Weekly menus planned for your family which are based on the seasons. Forget menu planning, this cookbook does it for you! You can also print out the shopping lists for each of these weeks at http://www.thescramble.com/SOS
- Each season is also divided into the typical food types (poultry, fish, beef, pastas, soups, etc.) so that you can plan your meal the traditional way if you prefer.
- Every recipe contains recommended side dishes so that you always have a COMPLETE meal option at the ready.
- Each recipe contains the nutritional information per serving, both with and without the recommended side dish(es).
- A free trial subscription to the six o'clock scramble online menu planner is included with every cookbook purchase!
WEAKNESSES: Because this cookbook was so thick, it was a little hard to keep it open while I was preparing dinner. If it were to have the kind of spiral binding that would allow it to lie flat, it would be a perfect cookbook!
I have no doubt that you will thoroughly enjoy this cookbook and the great tips and recipes it contains. I plan on incorporating this cookbook into my family's regular meal routine. SOS! The Six O'Clock Scramble to the Rescue: Earth Friendly, Kid-Pleasing Dinners for Busy Families gives us a fresh new way to look at our food choices and what we are preparing for our family. It also tries to take all of the guesswork out of preparing these meals and even gives us pre-made weekly meal plans and shopping lists for all of us busy moms out there!
Disclosure: I received the SOS! The Six O'Clock Scramble to the Rescue: Earth-Friendly, Kid-Pleasing Dinners for Busy Families from the author, Aviva Goldfarb, in order to facilitate my review. No other compensation was received. This product review is based on my own personal experiences with this item and is completely honest and objective.
I'm a former 7th grade Science teacher turned stay-at-home mom that lives in Houston, Texas. I am married to my college sweetheart and have a beautiful daughter named Riley, who definitely keeps me on my toes! I am also involved in starting a small business which would both manufacture and sell an invention that I've patented, called Toothpaste 2 Go. I love interacting with my readers and hope to learn as much about you as you learn about me!