Happy Earth Hour!

Where and when on Earth did Earth Hour become a thing? The first ever Earth Hour was called The Big Flick and was held in Sydney, Australia on March 31st, 2006, at 7:30 pm. The idea soon got legs and had caught on in 35 countries around the world by 2008. By 2017, 170 countries were participating.

Climate change is the big disaster of the decade, with 97% of active climate scientists agreeing that the climate warming in the last 100 years are likely due to human activity. The evidence is convincing, and the long term effects will be devastating. This is going to be the fight of our generation, humanity versus ourselves.

So today, let’s take a small step together in the right direction, and celebrate Earth Hour! Other than educating yourself and others about your own impact on the environment, take real action by turning off all your electricity for an hour.

Because I knew I was going to eat lunch at noon, I decided to practice Earth Hour from 10:00 am to 11:00 am today, when there’s plenty on sunlight. During this hour, I chose to pick up a sewing project I had been working on, changing an old t-shirt into a crop top for the summer! The fashion industry produces so much waste and carbon monoxide emissions, from the factories to the transportation of goods. A few years ago, I made the choice to only shop locally second-hand for everything except underwear. It was actually an easy transition to make, and I highly recommend it. Because of this, I tend to recycle old clothes into new things, I save the buttons and use the fabric for other projects. I try to mend broken pieces when I can, rather than throwing them out.

This morning, I made myself a tea and set up my sewing next to a big bright window. I was going to hem the shirt. I don’t have a sewing machine, so it’s hand sewn all the way. I normally watch TV while sewing, so I’m hoping I won’t get too bored.

So bright!

I then went around, turning off lights, unplugging my laptop, and when I was done, only some kitchen appliances were plugged in and on. When my phone screen showed 10:00 am, I gave it a little goodbye pat and turned it off too.

The sewing itself started out a bit wonky, but then I got the good idea to draw a line down the hem, which made the stitches a whole lot straighter. I was so focused, I was in such a flow, that when I finally remembered to check the clock, it was 11:50 am! I had spent an extra hour on this than I meant to! I could’ve continued too, if my stomach wasn’t trying its hardest to convince me I was a second away from dying of starvation. I spent the last few minutes before noon sipping my room temperature tea, watching a light drizzle meander down the window pane.

For the rest of the day, I decided to consciously use less electricity. I have a bad habit of preferring light bulbs over natural light, and maybe it’s time to change that. Maybe it’s time to implement more small changes into my life, to reduce pollution as best I can. If I can do any small thing to help the world out, maybe I should.

As for the shirt, here’s how it turned out:

Ta-dah! Halfway done!

Happy Earth Hour!

Happy Spanish Paella Day!

On March 27th, celebrate Spanish Paella Day! Paella is a rice dish originating from the Valencia region in Spain, in the mid-19th century . It was the preferred lunch of laborers who would cook their rice in a large pan over fire, adding in whatever was on hand. Paella is the Valencian word for pan. On a side note, I looked up the Spanish word for pan and it’s sartén.

If you hadn’t guessed yet, I decided to celebrate today by making Paella! I went online and found this recipe from Allrecipes, advertised as “Easy” Paella. I’m not a great cook, so I often seek out the easiest recipe I can find. Upon reading the recipe, it seems like something I could do. There’s one glaring issue though…

I don’t know about all of you right now, but where I live, we’re being told to practice social distancing. In the midst of this corona virus pandemic, I’ve been laid off from my job, businesses are closing, and grocery stores have reduced hours. This means I do not have all the ingredients to make a Paella. But I won’t let this stop me! I’m going to celebrate Spanish Paella Day no matter what!

What do I not have for this recipe? Chicken is out, saffron, white rice, chorizo, shrimp, bell pepper and fresh parsley too. Err… it seems like I don’t have the bulk of the ingredients. Luckily, I think I have some pretty good substitutions. No chicken, chorizo, or shrimp in sight, unfortunately. Instead of white rice, I’ll use brown rice and hope it cooks similarly. I have mini sweet bell peppers, and dried parsley instead of fresh. I took to google and found that apparently you can substitute saffron with tumeric, though the taste isn’t the same. I really hope this works!

Here’s a picture of all the ingredients laid out, minus the chicken broth:

Mmm… organizing…

I like laying out my ingredients and any special equipment I’ll need, and pre-portion the amounts when I can, so I can easily grab anything when the cooking inevitably moves too fast for me, and I’m left running back and forth from the recipe to the stove like a headless chicken.

Just prepping to make the paella was such an ordeal. Five minutes into cutting the peppers, I sliced my finger and spent twenty more minutes trying to stop the bleeding. It took another thirty minutes to zest the lemon with a pairing knife. Making lemon zest was maybe the most grueling part of this ordeal.

When I finally got to cooking, everything went so fast. I realized coming up on step 3 that some of the herbs were meant to marinate the chicken, so I just threw them in with the onions. I also added baby spinach to buff up the topping a bit. I should’ve added more peppers and onion to make up for the lack of meats, but I didn’t think of it. All in all though, I believe it came out alright.

I’ve never had spanish paella, so I have nothing to measure mine against. However, the rice part tasted a bitter to me, that might’ve been the tumeric substitution. The topping was delicious, but obviously there wasn’t nearly enough! I’ll definitely be using that paprika, black pepper and oregano combination to cook vegetables in the future.

Happy Spanish Paella Day everyone!