Wednesday, September 02, 2009


What is free cycle? For those who don't know free cycle is an organization created to help people recycle, reuse, and reduce. The way it works is that you become a member of a free cycle group near you. You want to join a group near you because if you are going to pick up something and its free, you don't want to drive across town to get it unless of course it is something really worth your while like a piano, or a dining room table. Definitely someone else's trash can be your treasure. Frankly you would be surprised the things people are willing to throw away, especially things they don't want to move.

I don't have to tell you, you can get really neat things. This summer a man was cleaning out a house that had just been vacated, and he posted a patio furniture set with umbrella, etc. Whoever got that, really got a steal. I've seen clothing, children books and toys, old telephones, beds, mattresses, a 21" analog television set, school supplies, notebooks, binders, and today, someone was giving away a Classic Car coffee table book. This may not sound like much, but if it is what you need, it's great.

How has freecycling worked for me? Well I have learned some lessons. First you have got to get in your groups email list. At first, I was hesitant to being deluged with my groups emails, so I opted to get my group's late afternoon summary email. When I would get this daily summary, I would basically miss my chance of getting anything worthwhile because someone would inevitably contact the donor on the spot or soon after. Then I switched to getting an email from those making offers or those expressing a need. Yesterday was my lucky day! A couple of days ago, I had seen someone offer some day lilies. I don't know if you know how valuable these beautiful yellow and white flowers are, but I knew. They are out of my budget right now. So I emailed the lady, and she said she was sorry but someone else was going to get them. I was naturally disappointed, but guess what happened? The person didn't show to pick up the day lilies and she contacted me. They are now securely in my back porch until I figure out the best place to plant them. I am so excited. Do you know how pretty day lilies are?

I am placing a link to my area's freecycle. If you would like to join a group outside my area but in yours, you can contact the ReUseItNetwork The more people that join the better. You might be surprised by something you can use coming your way, not to mention meeting and interacting with really nice people.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Thai Jasmine Rice

Saw this beautiful little rice the other day and decided to try it. It's wonderful. Aromatic and cooks just as well as any other rice, and tastes delicious. Not that I have gone over board with it but to say I like it would be an understatement. For some reason it reminded me of the short grain rice my mother would always make growing up. I bought the Goya brand, basically because I liked the way the grains looked, so clean and shiny. When I made it the fragrance filled the house. And it brought an air of nostalgia.

The next day, I took some to school to have for lunch and when a teacher who was just strolling by, stopped in my classroom and said "there is Jasmine rice here." I had forgotten it was the jasmine rice, and she detected it from the hallway. Don't get me wrong, the smell is subtle; some people just have a better sense of smell than others. She says, that now that she has tried it, she won't cook any other type. I don't know that I would go so far, but... it might happen.

Next I am going to try the Mahatma brand and see if it is just as good. You cook it just as you would any other rice. Puerto Ricans like their rice a bit more fluffy and not as mushy as American style rice, so we put less water. Other than that it is a matter of preference however you cook it. I encourage you to try it, you just might like it.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Finally, First Watch

First Watch has come to East Orlando! When I go to Northland a Church Distributed in Longwood, it has always been my routine to get a nice sandwich or omelet at First Watch, one of my favorite restaurants. It is a bit out of my way to say the least, seeing that I live in East Orlando near UCF. As I was doing some research on how to make their delicious Poppy Seed Dressing that I so much enjoy, I accidentally came across the fact that they have expanded to many other states. Not only are they in Florida, but also in Arizona, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Virginia, Kansas, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Oklahoma! Oops, I left out Charleston, South Carolina, right there in the heart of the South. No wonder I was able to find the Poppy Seed recipe on line written by Rita Heikenfeld of Cincinnati.

Now I don't have to travel 30 miles to enjoy their cuisine. Yea! Let's hope the service and ambiance will be just as nice on University Avenue.