Sustaining Your New Year’s Resolutions

This Word by: Emily Holden

We are officially one week into 2011! Have you kept up with your New Year’s resolutions? Among the most popular New Year’s Resolutions this year are to lose weight, be happy, eat, drink, learn, or try something new, and a New Year’s resolution trend in Houston, to live in a green and clean house. If one or several of these objectives sounds familiar to you, then you might consider how sticking to just one or two of these goals can actually help you achieve all of them.

Studies show that people who commit to fewer resolutions and approach old problems in new ways are more likely to stick to their goals. Due to such research and an OMPP obsession with high quality, delicious, and local foods, we feel compelled to focus on how resolving to consume good food and drink may help you lose a few pounds, be happier, and keep a green household. And what a relief it is to know that food and drink are still essential ingredients in your 2011 recipe for success!

Drink local wines to optimize personal health and environmental benefits. According to Ron Saikowski, Texas wineries are producing more and better quality wines than ever, with some like Red Caboose Winery leading the way in green and organic viticulture. So, chose local wines and you can boost the Texas economy while funding environmentally sound wine production.  Also, this is good news for you ladies, research reveals that drinking a glass of wine each day may actually prevent weight gain over time in women and provide other health benefits like lower glucose levels and more optimal kidney functioning. Why not resolve to drink one glass of local red wine a day (moderation being the key of course) in order to lose weight, boost your mood, and maintain a green lifestyle?

If changing this one behavior is not quite enough to satisfy your New Year’s declarations, make grocery shopping a part of your fitness routine by walking, jogging, or cycling to your local markets. By taking this step towards change you can control many aspects of your life in a single errand. Aim for local markets and you’ve set an achievable destination for a day’s workout.  Surround yourself with local and organic foods and you’ll be faced with an abundance of smart, healthy food options to pick from. Limit the amount of items you can carry and you’ll buy only what you need for dinner or for the next few days, and you’ll be forced to make another fitness filled grocery run at least a couple of times a week. Stop by the Rice University Farmers Market every Tuesday, where we get the best organic, local goods for our menu!

Keep on ringing in the new year with us by making the little choices count for a lot. We’re right here with you working to make some big changes in 2011 through fundamental choices, choosing to serve local and fresh foods to keep our community healthy, happy, and green.

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New Vendor Spotlight!

All the secrets of another vendor, revealed. Scott Tycer, of Kraftsmen Baking – check his deets in our newest Vendor Spotlight!

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Are your holiday traditions sustainably outdated?

This Word by: Ginny Torok

Holiday traditions are an important factor in creating holiday cheer. Does your family have a tradition? For as long as I can remember, Santa has left apples by our beds Christmas eve. In the morning, we awake, ecstatic for the huge red apple left mysteriously on our bedside table. When I think about this now, what a rip off – where’s the candy?! But hey, that’s one way to get kids to eat their fruit!

Family traditions have been in effect so long, no one notices their dihar need for an update, sometimes a sustainable one. We all look forward to piles of gifts under the tree, making this one of the most needed areas of a sustainable re-do. Just as you always should, think about where your gifts are coming from. The holiday season generates almost $500 billion from Americans alone. Think of how much economic growth you could create in your community if you contain most of your gift shopping within city limits. Every dollar you spend locally is more likely to get recycled through the community, resulting in a $5 to $14 value in that community!

Oh, the sweet smells of the holidays. Fresh baking pie, cinnamon apple cider, pine needles and sweet, sweet…landfill? One million extra tons of waste are accumulated nationwide during each week of the holiday period. Check out Green Solutions Magazine for some tips on holiday season recycling.

Remember, your Christmas tree doesn’t have to turn into a wasteful post-Christmas lawn decoration. Buy a live Christmas tree with roots and plant or pot it when you’re done. If you must get rid of your tree, make sure you find a place that recycles trees in your neighborhood. You can use Earth911 to find places to recycle your tree, along with all other types of recyclable materials, in your area.

Do you compete with your neighbors for the best looking decorations? This year, impress them with the best and brightest lights, when you use sustainable LED or solar powered lighting! LED lights use up to 95% less energy than regular bulbs and last up to 100,000 hours. Solar powered lights shine beautifully with no use of electricity. Also, try making your own decorations out of recycled, biodegradable, and reusable materials. See About.com Green Living for some sustainable Christmas decoration ideas.

Last, but never least, holiday food! As always – think local. Cater your holiday parties from local vendors. Leave it to us at OMPP to make your holidays delicious with an assortment of warm seasonal pies. If you wish to make your own holiday meals, remember to source ingredients from local vendors and farmers markets. See our Thanksgiving post for some tips on local holiday meals. And stay posted for an upcoming local vendor spotlight, who we think will ROLL right into your heart. ;)

Happy Holidays!

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Homemade for the Holidays



This word by: Emily Holden

Do you spend more of the holidays in your car or in stores than with family and friends? If the answer is yes, you might like to bring this Christmas closer to home by making your own cards, decorations, and gifts. A do-it-yourself Christmas will cut costs and time spent driving, and reduce the amount of trash accumulated during the holidays.  According to recycleworks.org, household waste increases by 25% between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. This has OMPP food artisans rethinking their holiday strategies and bringing their craft skills to the holiday table.

Let’s start with the essential detail for spreading sustainable holiday cheer, the Christmas card. Holiday cards are a useful way to share your love with family and friends, and when made at home, are a simple way to lessen environmental impact. For some examples of tasteful, homemade cards, check out Martha Stewart’s tips on card crafting (Not to be cliché, but the woman knows her stuff!). As for buying the materials you need, check out stores in your area to find recycled card stock, glitter, or anything else that you can’t find at home. Or better yet, send a personalized or animated Christmas card to your friends and family using commercial sites like hallmark.com or bluemountain.com.

Next on the do-it-yourself Christmas list are holiday decorations. Here are five ideas to get you started on your homemade decoration enterprise.

1) Use your own two hands to make Christmas stockings from old or recycled fabric or felt. 2) Reuse branches from your Christmas tree to make colorful holiday wreaths and garland using a coat hanger base. More Eco-friendly wreaths. 3) Construct the perfect centerpiece for your holiday dinner table using a bowl filled with multi colored fruit from your local farmer’s market. 4) Make Christmas ornaments from natural and recycled materials. String popcorn and cranberries drape them across the bows of your Christmas trees. Or, use old greeting cards to make ornaments and even gift boxes and tags. 5) Use the pine needles from your Christmas tree to fill sacks in order to make tree-scented sachet bags.

To successfully create more sustainable, homemade holiday trimmings, here are some tips on how to reuse household items for cool holiday accessories.  Give yourself the guilt free gift of celebrating the holidays sustainably and with a little extra cash in your pocket!

When it comes to presents, one good alternative to store bought items is home baked treats. Apples are in season right now, so how about whipping up a batch of candy apples for gifts? There are many different candy apple recipes to choose from (like these recipes) and endless ways to decorate and present them. Giving the gift of homemade goods made from locally produced ingredients (and ideally served on recycled or compostable dishware) is the ultimate way to say I love you to friends, family, and the environment. Visit the Highland Village Farmer’s Market or Midtown Farmer’s Market every Saturday to get the foods you need for your homemade holiday treats.

For more homemade holiday gift ideas check out mother nature network. We at OMPP think that the best present comes from the heart of the individual and the community they support. That’s why we take care in our daily activities, as well as holiday affairs, to think local, sustainable, and inspirational.

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Local 3: Your Houston Thanksgiving Feast

This word by: Ginny Torok

I bet when the Native Americans and Pilgrims celebrated the first Thanksgiving they didn’t imagine that in almost 400 years 79% of seafood, 39% of fruit and 13% of vegetables would be imported from other countries. This Thanksgiving, show your pride for America, and support local businesses. We have found the best vendors for three of the most important parts of the Thanksgiving meal.

1. Let’s just start with the obvious: Turkey! One awesome Houston turkey-wrangler is located just north of the bustling city, in Waller, TX. Georgia’s Texas Grassfed Beef and Natural Meats also sells grass fed beef and lamb, pork, pastured poultry and of course, free-range turkey. You can even order your meat online and have it delivered to you house. If you don’t need to stock up for an order, track them down at several local Houston farmer’s markets. To find another source of local meat and turkey anywhere in Texas, use Eatwild’s farm and ranch search.

2. We all know what is next on the list of Thanksgiving celebration importance. We’re talking about booze, folks! 16% of wine and beer is imported from other countries. Are we not proud of our settlers’ hard work? Let’s be serious – you can’t rightfully toast the Mayflower with glasses full of imported goods. When you shop any grocery or liquor store for wine, always take a look at the Texas selection. You can order wine online from Messina Hof Winery, with vineyards located just outside of Houston in Bryan, TX. Our always favorite choice for local beer, St. Arnold’s Brewery, sells pretty much any beer you and your guests could dream of for the perfect Thanksgiving feast compliment. For a more complete list of Texas-made wine, beer and spirits check out the Texas Food and Wine Gourmet.com.

3. Last but certainly not least, carbs and dessert! Our number one artisan bakery Krafts’men Baking, located in the Houston Montrose neighborhood, serves up fresh breads and pastries that, if Thanksgiving weren’t exempt from all caloric intake, would go straight to your thighs. Their products are made from high quality, often organic, ingredients and are never mass produced! You can stop by retail cafe to pick up your grain-goods, or visit them at the Midtown Farmer’s Market every Saturday. For your huge family feast, order Krafts’men products for wholesale delivery by phone or email. Slow-made, freshly baked bread at your door with the click of a button or dial of a phone? Bet the Pilgrims didn’t guess that one either!

This Thanksgiving, remember how lucky we are to live in America – don’t outsource your American celebration! Houston has some pretty amazing vendors. Let them put the food on your table, and you’ll have the best Thanksgiving on the block. Remember, the more you support Houston vendors, the more Houston’s economy will flourish. Money out is money in (and some good food in – your belly – too!) Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!

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Fall – in Love with Food

This Word by: Emily Holden

Whenever the seasons change, I get the urge to do something different. Sometimes a change of wardrobe or scenery is enough to fill the void left by the seasonal transition. But this fall, I’m looking for a meaningful and sustainable change that will keep that warm feeling in my tummy year round by rethinking the basics of my day-to-day life, starting with, yes you guessed it…food.

If you are looking for ways to incorporate the new season into your daily activities, why not start with the basics? A change in food may be just what you need. And we at Oh My Pocket Pies are right there with you, searching for happiness from the inside out. George Eliot summed up this craving for seasonal change when she wrote “Delicious autumn!  My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.” Except, these birds know that you don’t need to travel the globe to find love. Step out into your own city to find a new, healthier bond with your food.

Farmer’s markets across Houston offer everything you need to rekindle your passion for food and life. From local produce and fresh cheese to locally roasted coffee and grass-fed beef, these markets have what you need for fresh, flavorful fare. Visit us every other week when we join the friendly folks at the Highland Village Farmer’s Market, selling local foods every Saturday from 9:00 to 1:00 PM . Another great new Houston market on the scene is City Hall Farmer’s Market, open every Wednesday from 10:00 to 2:00 PM. Buying food locally ensures not only that your food will be fresh and flavorful, but also that the money you spend will go directly to local farmers.

Another important part of buying locally is knowing what kinds of fruits and vegetables are in season in your area. Winter squash, beets, broccoli, spinach, blackberries, and pumpkins for example, are in season right now in Texas, which means they will be extra tasty, and you can be sure they are locally grown. Check out this chart to get a better idea of which fruits and veggies to purchase at market. Once you learn what produce is in season, you can incorporate these fruits and veggies into daily meals and family feasts. Savor the flavor of this delicious beet and goat cheese salad, made from locally produced beets, cheese, spinach and nuts.  Make room for winter squash at the Thanksgiving table before serving a delicious pumpkin or blackberry pie.

Why not fall in love with food this season by rethinking your relationship with your groceries? Say goodbye to a tired affair with food and hello to local, seasonal produce. Connect with your environment and find the authentic flavors that your community has to offer – like here at OMPP! This fall we’re cookin’ up Thanksgiving inspired pies for a limited time only. Check out the menu (www.ohmypocketpies.com), and come by before you miss out on your taste of fall, y’all!

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