Local(ish) Earth Day Events

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This year’s Earth Day falls on a Monday (this April 22, to be specific). Taking the time off to properly celebrate our communal home may be difficult because of that. However, with the Easter weekend taking place directly before Earth Day, finding the time may be easier. In fact, many of the events celebrating Earth Day will be held during this upcoming weekend.

So, if you’re out of ideas for things to do for Earth Day, here are a few highlights to give you a head start.

Local Events:

Metro Events:

Many Statewide Locations:

  • Saturday, April 20-Monday April 22. 167 State Parks Across MN. Any Time – One of the best things about living in Minnesota is the variety of landscapes we have. To the forested areas to the North to the plains to the South, you can find a location that speaks to you. Dotted throughout Minnesota are 167 state parks. From historical locations to sites that celebrate our state’s natural beauty, there are so many to choose from. You’ll be sure to find one to your liking. All you gotta do is get outside!

 

 

 

Turtle Talks Podcast – Episode 21 (Part1): Foraging 101, a Q&A With Travis Grimler

A few weeks ago, we were able to sit down with local news reporter Travis Grimler, who is fanatical for foraging! We chatted with Travis for over 90 minutes and picked up so much good information, we were able to split the recording into two episodes. This is the first part.

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Travis brought a bunch of foraging books and examples to the recording.

In this episode, we talk about proper foraging safety, nutrients vs calories, and even The Walking Dead.

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Earth Day, a History

In 1969, Americans were preoccupied with the divisive Vietnam War. But another battle was occurring on the home front, with rivers and lakes polluted, cities like Los Angeles blanketed in smog, and litter a common sight everywhere.

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US Senator Gaylord Nelson was instrumental in the creation of Earth Day.

Meanwhile Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson had witnessed the effects of the 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. Nelson, a Democrat, decided a “national teach-in” about the environment was in order, and he asked Pete McCloskey, a northern California Republican, to serve as co-chair. Groups representing causes including oil spill prevention, air pollution, toxic dumps, wilderness destruction and endangered species began to realize they were all part of a greater movement.

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Turtle Talks Podcast – Episode 20: Water Scarcity and You, a Q&A With Bob McLean

We are very fortunate at Happy Dancing Turtle to have leaders who aren’t afraid of getting their hands dirty. In this episode, we were able to sit down with our very own Principal Executive Officer, Bob McLean, who is also the District Governor Elect for Rotary District 5580.

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The Bob and Colin Show. We’ll see how long it takes to get into syndication. 

We were able to talk about the looming problem of water scarcity, which is troubling many parts of the world, but we also talked about the many people and service organizations that are working very hard to help solve that problem.

We also talk about how you can act locally to help these water stressed areas.

 

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Conserving Water in Your Garden

One of the most difficult problems that gardeners face is proper use of water. They either use too much or too little. The ones that use too much will set a sprinkler on and forget about it during the day (wasting way too much water) and the ones that use too little simply forget to set the sprinkler out (for those keeping track, I’m one of ’em!)

So, what do you do if you are either of these bad examples? Do you simply wait for the rain? No! You prepare your garden with a drip irrigation system.

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HDT has their gardens hooked up with hundreds of feet of drip irrigation hoses. Easy to monitor and maintain.

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Cold Weather Comfort Foods

As a lifelong resident of the Midwest, I’ve come to the realization that there is no escaping winter. It will have it’s way with you. Some people have chosen to embrace it, like our beloved Nora, who can be seen, even on the most cold and daylight deprived days, out frolicking in the ice and snow.

Other, more rational, people have made the choice to fight against the oppressive, bitter winds and the unrelenting below-zero temperatures by turning to the kitchen. There, they’ve fortified themselves through the magical art called “Comfort Food.”

I’ve asked the staff here at HDT if they have a food or recipe they use that combats the onslaught of red noses and frosty feet, and I got a bunch of goods ones. If you have any you’d like to share, please comment below!

Gluhwein

gluhweinAllison R. talks about her favorite comfort food and reminisces a bit about when she first experienced it. She says she first tried Gluhwein (“Glow Wine”) while walking a Christmas market in Germany while visiting her husband, while he was on leave. She loves the hot, citrusy, and spicy flavor. She claims it makes you warm from the inside-out.

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 medium orange
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup turbinado or granulated sugar
  • 20 whole cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 1 (750 milliliter) bottle dry red wine
  • Rum or amaretto, for serving (optional)
Directions:
  1. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the zest from the orange in wide strips, taking care to avoid the white pith; set aside. Juice the orange and set the juice aside.
  2. Combine the water and sugar in a large, nonreactive saucepan and boil until the sugar has completely dissolved. Reduce the heat and add cloves, cinnamon, star anise, orange zest, and orange juice. Simmer until a fragrant syrup forms. Takes about 1 minute.
  3. Reduce the heat further and add the wine. Let it barely simmer for at least 20 minutes but up to a few hours. Keep an eye out so it doesn’t reach a full simmer.
  4. Strain and serve in small mugs, adding a shot of rum or amaretto and garnishing with the orange peel and star anise if desired.

Shepherds Pie

shepherdspieIn my book, for a recipe to be considered “comfort food” it has to fulfill two requirements: 1) Is it warm? 2) Is it filling?

This shepherds pie hits both of these criteria in stride. After you’ve had a long day of either slogging through the ice fields on Greenland or the green fields of Iceland, you’re going to be happy to dig into this bad boy.

Ingredients:
  • 2 lbs freshly ground burger
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 carrots coarsley chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1-2 tablespoons Worchestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 10 oz frozen peas
  • 2-1/2 lbs russet potatoes peeled and quartered
  • 1 cup milk
  • 6 tablespoons butter
Directions:
  1. Preheat over to 425F. Heat a large skillet over high heat. In two batches, cook burger until no longer pink, about five minutes each. Transfer burger to a colander set in a bowl; let fat drain off and discard.
  2. Add 1/4 cup water to the skillet, scraping up browned bits with a wooden spoon. Reduce heat to medium; add onion and carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened (about 5 minutes). Stir in tomato paste. Add flour, cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
  3. Add Worchestershire sauce, 2 cups water, and burger. Season with 2 teaspoons salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Simmer until thickened, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Stir in peas; cook 1 minute. Divide among eight 8-oz ramekins; or two 9-inch glass pie dishes.
  4. Potato Topping: In a medium saucepan, cover potatoes with salted water by 1 inch; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer until fork tender (about 15-20 minutes). Drain.
  5. In pan, bring milk and butter to a simmer, remove from heat. Return potatoes; mash. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Spread potato topping over pies; use a fork to make peaks. Bake on a baking sheet until tops are browned, 25-30 minutes. Cool slightly, serve.

 

Cornish Pastie

I asked around the staff and our resident chef, Chris G. came up with this neat little recipe. He said it reminded him of gatherings, church basements, and the way that a good meal can bring people together, which he claims is the true meaning of comfort food.

Ingredients:
  • pasty1-1/2 lbs pie crust
  • 1 lb chuck steak cubed
  • 6 oz potato cubed
  • 6 oz rutabaga cubed
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp savory
  • 1/2 tsp sage
  • pinch salt & pepper
  • 1 egg (beaten)
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 425F. Divide dough into 6, roll out into round shapes
  2. Mix steak, veggies, herbs & season. Then spoon equal amounts onto crusts
  3. Brush edges with water then pinch together firmly, (it must seal!)
  4. Transfer pasties to a lined baking sheet. Brush each pasty with egg, then place in oven.
  5. Cook for 15 minutes at 425F, then reduce heat to 325F and then cook for an hour.

Turtle Talks Podcast – Episode 19: Reconnecting Indigenous Cultures, a Q&A With Sean Sherman

Jim, Allison, and Chris went to the MDA Organic Conference last month and Sean Sherman was the keynote speaker. Jim took a shot and asked if Sean would be interested in speaking on Turtle Talks and to our surprise, he said yes!
So, we’re very excited to have Sean Sherman on this episode. More famously known through his food production company, The Sioux Chef, Sherman talks about his mission to bring indigenous foods back to indigenous communities, helping to grow opportunities and create successful micro food systems.

You can learn more about Sherman’s non-profit organization, NATIFS (North American Traditional Indigenous Food Systems) by going to https://www.natifs.org/. You will learn about his mission to help native communities reconnect with traditions and native cuisine that has been lost over the centuries due to the colonization and aggressive expansion of European settlers.

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Outdoor Adventures Await, Even in Winter

We’ve gotten through the “most wonderful time of the year” and now the cold realities of living in Minnesota are starting to set in, again. Instead of curling up in your favorite blanket and hugging your cup of warm cider (which is something you can do after!), we recommend some of the more adventurous OUTDOOR activities that are available in Minnesota.

Following the old Scandinavian saying, “There’s is no such thing as cold weather, only inadequate clothing,” we can surmise that there are some people who might take this saying to the extreme, even in the coldest of weather. However, for those that are just looking to get their feet wet (figuratively, of course, because wet feet in the cold winter is just crazy), here are a few ideas to get you started:

For a Date Night

Look, nothing can beat dinner and a movie for the traditional way to treat your significant other, but we live in Minnesota. We can do that anywhere. If you’re looking for something to do with your sweetie for Valentine’s Day, here are a couple ideas:

1) Snowshoe by Candlelight – February 22 – Nothing is more romantic than huffing around in your snowshoes. Taking the front 9holes of The Legacy golf course, Cragun’s is lighting up a mile long loop from 5-8pm. With a halfway pit stop offering hot chocolate & cider, and a bonfire at the end of the trail with cookies, this looks to be a really fun way to spend time with your sweetie. Plus, the event goes to support Habitat for Humanity.

2) Snowshoe Class at the Northland Arboretum – If you’re looking for more of an outdoor date, that the entire family can enjoy, the Northland Arb is holding snowshoe classes on Saturday, February 23 at 9:30am.

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Back to Basics Presenter Spotlight – Chris Glassmann

*For complete event details including workshop descriptions, vendor list, and to register and pay online, visit www.happydancingturtle.org. If you’d like to register now, you can go to our online registration site.*

 

There are 45 workshops at this year’s Back to Basics and over 50 vendors in the giant vendor fair. A lot of these focus on food, nutrition, and making meal time a better expereience for participants. I pulled one of the presenters aside to talk on what he’s excited to talk about.

Chris Glassmann (who also works as the campus chef here at HDT), will be doing a workshop titled How to Use Those Weird Fruits and Veggies. He wants to focus on making his workshop attendees more comfortable in the kitchen using the produce that is less popular than more other produce.

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Chris G. in his habitat

I got a chance to pick his brain.

CM: The Midwest has gotten along pretty well with dinners made primarily from “meat and potatoes”; it’s pretty brash, wouldn’t you say, to start introducing other more unique veggies?

Chris Glassmann: Local grocery stores, markets, are bringing in different fruits and veggies into their produce section because they hear that people are interested in trying them. But, what’s happening, is that people that go into the market look at that odd looking fruit and walk on by because even if they wanted to buy it and take it home, they still don’t know how to make a meal with it. My hope is to make a difference for not only the people eating the new type of produce, but for the markets that have taken the leap away from “meat and potatoes” basics. There’s room for both!

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