Earlier this month, Smock was excited for the opportunity to contribute some of our fun letterpress greeting cards to goody bags handed out to guests at the recent Rubie Green event at Calypso Home in New York City. Rubie Green, a line of incredibly stylish organic upholstery textiles and bedding, was created by Michelle Adams who is the former editor of Domino magazine so it was a thrill for us to contribute to an event that was both fabulously chic, but also wonderfully eco-minded. This was such a great opportunity to introduce Smock to some new friends!
First of all, it has to be noted that the Calypso store provided a beautiful backdrop for this event…
Good is an eco magazine, one of my favorite eco reads. Subscribe to this magazine and 100% of your subscription is donated to nonprofits doing good. And if that isn’t convincing enough, this magazine has amazing photography and really cool graphs (“the most used subways in the United States and the world, showed in graphic form”), as well as inspiring profiles of people who are helping change the world for the better. Though I wish they trusted their readers to have a longer attention span (lots of short 1/2 page or 1 page articles), it’s a thought provoking read that nudges you to live your life better – not in the self-development sense (10 ways to look better, etc.), but living your life in a way that helps others and the world. One of the most recent issues was devoted to transportation, and by the end of it, it was hard not to say “okay, okay, I’ll ride my bike more, I’ll look at bus routes differently, okay, I’ll do it!” This issue included drawings from grade school students on transportation of the future (including “traveling legs’), a neat article on “casual carpooling” in the Bay Area, and the cool buses of Bogota. Good is just that, good, and one you should definitely check out.
Taking our commitment to the environment and green living seriously, Smock happily subsidizes CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) memberships for all employees through a local organic farm, Grindstone Farm. We receive weekly deliveries of fresh, organic veggies and herbs that are typically picked within just hours of reaching us – and they’re incredibly delicious, too! Because the old warehouse we call home, the Delavan Center, is the Downtown Syracuse drop-off location, our CSA deliveries literally come right to our door. We love seeing what awaits us as we fill up our bags and head home to cook. Tuesday becomes our favorite day of the week during CSA season!
Usually we can count on receiving an assortment of great lettuces, kale, fresh herbs like cilantro and dill, broccoli so delicious you’ll never want to eat anything other than organic broccoli again, garlic scapes, cool daikon radishes that resemble white carrots, and lots and lots of beautiful red radishes. As the season is progressing, so are the crops, but radishes have continued to greet us every week, which led a few of us to start looking into recipes that use radishes and ideally the radish greens too. After a while, we’ve found ourselves at a bit of a loss as to what to do with them other than slice them up for salads. After some hunting around, one of our letterpress printers, Carrie, who is one of the finest artisans we know to ever run an Original Heidelberg windmill, found and tweaked the following recipe that was so good, we just had to share it in the event any of you are at a loss as to what to do with radishes. If you like food with an Asian flair, you will love this recipe.
Asian Hamburger Skillet
- 1lb lean hamburger (although many of us are vegetarians so we substituted the Morning Star ground “meat” instead)
- 1 medium red onion, sliced about 1/4? thick then cut into 2? lengths
- 1 bunch of radishes, cut in matchsticks
- 1 bunch of radish tops, cut roughly into 1? pieces
- 4 carrots, julienned or cut into 1/4? slices
- 1-1/2 tsp ginger paste
- 2 tbsp fish sauce (although we’ve also tried General Tso’s sauce and it was delicious!)
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 lime (optional)
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
In a large sauté pan, cook hamburger (or meat substitute) over medium high heat, until just beginning to brown, breaking into small bits with spatula. Stir in onion and radishes and cook another 2-3 minutes. Stir in carrots, radish tops, ginger paste and fish sauce and cook 5-10 minutes until onions are softened and hamburger is cooked through. Sprinkle with lime juice (if using) and pepper, to taste. Serve immediately…and feel free to share your CSA-inspired recipes with us and we’ll post them here on the Smock blog!
Today we are thrilled to welcome a guest to the Smock blog, Seana, who recently hosted the most incredible first birthday party for her daughter Madeline. Inspired by the Smock letterpress party invitations she sent to guests, Seana crafted a beautifully handmade, eco-friendly party that has us dreaming up any number of excuses to host great parties. Without further ado, Seana shares with us more about Madeline’s fabulous birthday celebration…
A couple months after my daughter Madeline was born, I was perusing the web for eco-friendly paper companies who had cute birth announcements. I came across Smock and fell in love with the Horsey stationery suite. I decided right then and there they would be the invitations for my daughter’s 1st birthday party. Needless to say, I never actually sent out birth announcements (I know, bad mom!) but as Madeline’s June thirtieth birthday was approaching, I went back to Smock and bought the invites along with the matching Delft correspondence cards for thank you notes. They became my inspiration for her party! I went with an aqua and coral color scheme and started planning the decorations, cake and menu.
It is very important to our family that we make as little impact on our environment as possible so Madeline’s party was planned with that in mind. On my home computer, I designed and printed the happy birthday banner and the party favor nametags. I bought some scrap fabrics and ribbons in coordinating colors in order to make the flag banners and “doilies”. One of my favorite projects was the picture banner. I made a fabric flag banner but left some extra space between the flags, there I used graphic clothes pins to hang home printed pictures of Madeline starting at birth and on through her first year. There won’t be a birthday party for Madeline every year but I will continue to hang the birthday banner, I’ll just change out the number. I will also continue to hang the picture banner, switching out photos for ones from the year we are celebrating. It will become a birthday decoration tradition and it’s much better to re-use than to buy new every year.
The cake, cookies and mini smash cake were fantastic! I went to this really great bakery right down the street from our home in Chicago, The Bleeding Heart Bakery. It is an organic bakery known for their innovative designs and the environmentally responsible way in which they operate their business. I brought in the invites and thank you cards for inspiration and they came up with a delicious carrot cake with the invitation horsey on it. They also made the bird cookies to look like the bird sweetly perched on the horsey’s back. Madeline’s mini smash cake was actually sweetened with agave nectar instead of sugar, a request I made so as to curb that sugar overload for such a small body, and they were happy to oblige.
I will admit that if there is a way that I can get out of a lot of clean up after a party, I am all for it. One way is to use disposable utensils, plates and napkins. Unfortunately using all of that plastic is just not good for the earth so I set out to find some environmentally ways to make the party easier without compromising quality. After doing my research I found some great alternatives. We used disposable, compostable bamboo plates made by the company Bambu and we used disposable, biodegradable utensils made from potato, yes potato! Called Potatoware, these utensils were strong, in fact a lot less brittle than your regular plastic kind. I really couldn’t justify using paper napkins, so we went with cloth, but that was ok, it gave me another excuse to add some color by tying the rolled utensils with ribbon.
The simple menu consisted of:
• Green salad made from our CSA lettuce, organic cherry tomatoes, onions and artichokes all topped with a goddess dressing.
• Fruit salad made up of our CSA strawberries, in-season organic blueberries and in-season cantaloupe.
• Cheeseburgers with condiments also coming from our CSA.
It’s amazing how you can have a fairly simple meal taste SO good just by using fresh, in-season local food.
It was not a very large party, just a few of our close friends and their kids but it was such a nice way to get together to celebrate our little girl’s first year. Madeline is the joy of our lives; she is such a happy one year old and she thoroughly enjoyed her party. We look forward to many more birthdays in the future!
Thank you, Seana, for sharing Madeline’s party celebration with us – we are so completely inspired! And, a big Happy Birthday to Madeline from all of us at Smock!
Here at Smock, we are avid believers that small changes are the first step toward making a big impact so we wanted to share some tips on incorporating a little green into your life. In honor of Earth Day, our office manager Carrie, one of the most eco people we know, has shared some of her tips for adopting a greener lifestyle. Little steps can add up to big change, especially if you continue looking for ways to be more eco-friendly in your habits.
– Substitute 1 car trip a week by walking or biking instead
– Opt for paper egg cartons as they can be used to sprout seeds and then planted directly into your garden in the spring
– Recycle your plastic bags, whether they be from the grocery store or the bag that comes with your newspaper to keep it dry in the rain. These days, most every grocery store accepts shopping bags for recycling.
– Switch to reusable shopping bags. Not only is it more eco-friendly, but an increasing number of stores actually offer a small discount for providing your own bags, although you may need to ask for it when you checkout.
– Try to buy products of a high recycled content and/or look to make sure you’re choosing items that are recyclable in your area
– If certain kinds of plastics can’t be recycled in your area, reuse the contatiners around your home as storage containers or as planters
– Instead of tossing junk mail, reuse the backs of paper for scratch paper, making shopping lists, or even to use in your printer for everyday printing at home or at the office. At the very least, recycle junk mail instead of throwing it away.
– If you’re in the habit of doing so, quit buying bottled water and instead buy a reusable BPA-free aluminum or plastic bottle, some even come with water filters to remove the taste of chlorine
– Avoid large grocery purchases that might lead to wasted food – most people would be surprised to know how much energy goes into food production. Make smaller trips more often so you can use what you buy, which also saves money!
– Look into local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs. Smock subsidizes CSA memberships for all employees through a local organic farm which means we get to enjoy delicious produce that doesn’t have to be shipped to us during the summer months.
– Try to make purchases that incorporate recycled or reused materials. These days you can find a ton of options for handmade jewelry, clothing and accessories either locally or via Etsy and similar online marketplaces
In addition to these great first steps, Carrie will be sharing more insight on how you can make green living a greater priority in your life as a part of Smock’s latest blog feature, Green Living. Let us know if you have any specific topics you’d like us to cover and we’d be happy answer your questions!