Friday, February 8, 2013

Brooms: Synthetic or Natural?

corn broom

 How often do you think about brooms? I just bought a new one which got me to thinking. Which is better synthetic or natural?  Natural brooms are made from a type of grain called broomcorn or Sorghum vulgare. These flat bristled brooms in use today were apparently invented by the Shakers in the 19th century. Before that, brooms were more round, made with courser material and were less effective. However, the popularity of these so called corn brooms have decreased dramatically in recent years and much of the broom corn crop is now used to make more decorative items such as wreaths and baskets.  Although much of this broomcorn is grown in Kentucky, apparently a majority now is grown in Mexico. I’ve found that these brooms come in different qualities with some having very few bristles and so sweeping in inefficient. I look for the more dense brooms. Some other natural fiber brooms including yucca.

Synthetic brooms are becoming much more popular. They are made from nylon or polypropylene and are often chemically treated to allow them to attract more dirt. I didn’t realize that till now but I’ve found that dirt indeed does stick to these brooms and doesn’t come off. I never liked them because it seems like I am putting a lot of dirt away in the closet when I put the broom away.

My guess would be that the natural brooms are more ecological than the synthetic brooms. And I make it a point to support farming whenever I can, so I’ll stick to cornbrooms.

Which do you prefer?

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Good for You SuperBowl Food

Even though I don't care much for football or the Superbowl I sure enjoy having any kind of party and preparing food for it. Here are some things we'll be having for Superbowl.

Good For You Superbowl Snacks

Butternut Squash Fries
I’ve grown very fond of roasted butternut squash fries. Cut a butternut squash into strips like French fries. Place on a cookie sheet greased with olive oil and then sprinkle the strips with a small amount of olive oil. Cook at 400 F for about 40-50 minutes until cooked. Eat with catsup and salt just like you would french fries! We actually got some nice butternut squash from our garden during the summer so I'll be sure to save seed and plant lots more this summer.

Roasted Baby Peppers
It is easy now to find bags of miniature sweet peppers that are red, orange and yellow. These are great roasted as described above. Roasting makes them taste very sweet too, delicious.

Greek Yogurt Dip
Add dried mixed herbs to a cup or so of Greek Yogurt. Read the label and make sure you are getting just nonfat milk and cultures as opposed to additives like gelatin, pectin, or other polysaccharides, which just add calories and carbohydrates. For herbs, try parsley, dill and marjoram. If you don’t have these, try whatever herbs you have on hand. Use this as a dip for raw vegetables.

Enjoy the Super Bowl, I hope your team wins.


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