Dirty Gourmet Granola

Posted on October 24th, 2011 by emily

Granola- Helping Hand

I’m sure you remember that Aimee and I also have a website of our own called Dirty Gourmet. A lot of excitement has been revolving around it lately, as we’ve gotten our butts in gear and started forming it into a real live business. We are jumping at every opportunity, and one of the biggest opportunities we’ve had consistently was to get people some fresh baked granola! We’ve attempted to sell lots of our recipes in the past, but the one we constantly sell out of is our granola.

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Sacramento Bicycle Kitchen 5th Anniversary

Posted on June 15th, 2011 by emily

Sacramento Bike Kitchen

I met my roommate and very good friend John when he was working at our local farmer’s market doing something he called Bike BBQ. It is a small stand where you can take your bicycle and he’ll help you learn to fix it yourself. He operates on donations only, and has gotten a lot of farmer’s market frequenters to start riding their bikes instead of driving there.

John started Bike BBQ as an extension of his previous work with the Sacramento Bicycle Kitchen that he volunteered for the year before when he lived up there. This weekend was the 5th anniversary of the Sacramento Bike Kitchen, and I invited myself to go up there with him to celebrate with him. Most of Saturday was spent doing a huge bike scavenger hunt of the city, where we had to find random objects on our way to local bike-friendly businesses, and also had to participate in challenges such as throwing a kid’s bike a certain distance for points. We didn’t think we’d get as enthusiastic about it as we did, but we ended up circling the city about 20 times trying to hit all the checkpoints. In the end, we were maybe top 10 and were amazed at how bad we were beaten, but it didn’t take away from the fun at all. I couldn’t believe how bike friendly that town was. If you live in Sacramento and don’t ride bikes everywhere, you should start.

Sacramento Bike Kitchen Band

The night ended with a big party at the Sacramento Bicycle Kitchen which was sponsored by New Belgium Brewery, a very bike friendly brewery best known for their beer Fat Tire. They had beer and great bands and a huge group of very cool people who were super fun to meet and hang out with. One lady was in charge of helping guests operate a silk screen set up with a cool graphic. People were taking off their shirts right and left to silk screen them. I had a fancy shirt on so I made all my roommates and friends take theirs off, and I got to do one myself.

I hope more bike kitchens and BBQ’s continue to pop up in more cities as people realize how practical, energizing, and fun biking is, especially compared to driving in traffic. If you are interested in starting your own, contact us and we’ll help you with some advice of how to get started.

Harold Washington Green Wall

Posted on June 9th, 2011 by emily

A green wall is basically a wall covered in plants. They are also known as vertical gardens and are a beautiful and effective trend that’s sweeping the world. Green walls are becoming more popular now that there is more evidence of the negative effects of the urban heat island effect. This means that very urban environments experience higher air temperatures than the areas around them, which happens due to the amount of people, asphalt, and energy use in that concentrated area. Green walls help mitigate the effects of heat islands by providing better insulation to buildings and using the plants’ natural ability to actively cool the air around them. This helps to reduce energy use from things like air conditioning, and also includes health benefits such as pollution reduction and providing beauty to areas that otherwise appear neglected and dirty.

There is a group of architect students at Harold Washington College in Chicago that are focusing their efforts on building temporary beautiful green walls in obvious parts of their city in order to promote the idea of them. I would like to see more businesses and buildings continue the trend in every city. They have a Kickstarter project started with only a few weeks left to donate, and would love your support! is a very cool website, by the way. There are a lot of people out there doing a lot of cool things, and this is a way to find out about local projects going on in your area and support them. Go support the Harold Washington Green Wall, your local community, and build yourself a green wall!

Community Garden Party

Posted on June 4th, 2011 by emily

friends working in the garden

This year we moved into a house with a very large backyard, fully of gardening potential. There were already four raised beds, a few fruit trees, and a greenhouse the size of a barn when we moved in. We broke down big shelves that were in the back of the property and turned them into ten raised beds. We added chickens and planted out the existing beds, plus two of the new ones. Then my gardening partner moved out. And I was on my own. Luckily, I realized I have a lot of friends who are interested in gardening and local organic food. I decided to turn my backyard garden into a community garden.

Child picking fresh peas

Last night, I had my first community garden work party. Twelve very cool people showed up and got four more beds filled with dirt, and a lot more seeds planted. We planted corn, pumpkins, more beets, herbs, carrots, and garden beans. The weeds that I’d neglected for a month were fought off and I can maintain them at this level on my own for a while.

Vegetables collected from the garden

Once dusk set in, we transitioned from working the garden to eating it. We made Ginger Peach Juleps, a hearty grilled salad, corn with herb butter, and cilantro butter rice with fresh peas. We sat around the fire for a while enjoying the night, and then all of the hard workers were sent home with some bounty including onions, greens, carrots and peaches. It couldn’t have been a more perfect evening.

Amy enjoying the campfire

I’m excited to have turned the garden into a group project. Its so much more satisfying to eat what you personally work for, and to work together with friends. I’d love to continue to have more little garden parties like this as the seasons go on and new vegetables are available for the sharing. If you’re interested in joining in, let me know and I’ll keep you informed.