Saturday, November 27, 2010

Meet kohlrabi

As my Thanksgiving food offering this year, I arranged a raw veggie tray that included sliced kohlrabi.  More than one of the dinner guests had never seen it or heard of it before, so as a public service, here's some information about the humble kohlrabi.

Ever since kohlrabi first appeared in a CSA delivery from our local One Straw Farm, I've been a fan.  It looks like a UFO with leaves and tastes like raw peas.  A quick Google search tells me that yes, you can eat the leaves, and stems too.

Excerpted from the FarmgirlFare blog link below:

Kohlrabi, from the German words kohl (cabbage) and rabi (turnip), is not actually a cabbage or a turnip. Cultivated in Europe since at least the mid 1500's, this cold loving member of the brassica (cabbage) family is low in calories, high in fiber, and a good source of several vitamins and minerals. Although kohlrabi has been grown the U.S. since at least the early 1800's, it still has yet to become very popular.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Nissan Leaf gets 99mpg

Nissan Leaf Runs Equivalent Of 99 Miles Per Gallon
by The Associated Press
The Associated Press - November 22, 2010
The Nissan Leaf, an electric car aimed at attracting environmentally conscious motorists, will get the equivalent of 99 miles per gallon in combined city and highway driving, based on government testing.
Nissan Motor Corp. said Monday the Environmental Protection Agency's fuel efficiency window sticker, which provides information about the car's energy use, would estimate the electric car will achieve the equivalent of 106 mpg in city driving and 92 mpg on the highway.
EPA's tests estimate the Leaf can travel 73 miles on a fully charged battery and will cost $561 a year in electricity. Nissan has said the Leaf can travel 100 miles on a full charge, based on tests used by Californiaregulators.
Nissan and General Motors Co. are both releasing electric cars within weeks in the auto industry's most prominent attempt at mass-producing vehicles that shift away from petroleum. The Leaf does not have a gas engine and must be recharged once its battery is depleted.
The tests show equivalent fuel efficiency of nearly twice the Toyota Prius, which gets 50 mpg in combined driving.
GM's entry, the Chevrolet Volt, uses an electric battery for the first 25 to 50 miles and a small gasoline engine to generate electricity once the battery runs down. The gasoline engine can generate power to run the car another 300 miles. GM has not yet revealed the mileage rating for the Volt.
Mark Perry, Nissan North America's director of product planning and strategy, said the vehicle's range would vary based on driving conditions. Tests conducted by the Federal Trade Commission, which regulates advertising claims, had estimated a range of 96 to 110 miles per full charge and the company's internal tests had found a broader range of 64 to 138 miles, Perry said. The California Air Resources Board estimated a range of 100 miles.
"As we've said all along, your range varies on driving conditions, temperature, terrain and we've talked about, very openly, this idea of a range of ranges," Perry said in an interview.
The Leaf's label will indicate the vehicle is the best in class in fuel efficiency and tailpipe emissions.
Nissan will start selling the Leaf in California, Washington, Oregon, Arizona and Tennessee in December with a sticker price of $32,780. The Leaf will go on sale in other markets through 2011 and be available nationwide by the end of next year.
The Volt will have a sticker price of $41,000 and GM will sell it first in California, then make it available inNew YorkNew JerseyConnecticut; Washington, D.C.; Michigan and Texas. The car will be sold nationwide in 12 to 18 months.
Both vehicles qualify for a $7,500 federal tax credit. Some states and communities are offering additional tax breaks that will lower the price further.
GM spokesman Greg Martin said the automaker was working with EPA and expected to announce details of the Volt's mileage estimates soon.
EPA calculated the Leaf's fuel economy based on a formula that says 33.7 kilowatts per hour holds the energy equivalent of one gallon of gasoline. The label estimates a charging time of 7 hours on a 240-volt charge. Cost estimates were based on 15,000 miles per year at 12 cents per kilowatt-hour. [Copyright 2010 The Associated Press]

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Swap your stuff online

Today's news from Debt Proof Living (see below) reminded me of a swap event I heard about in Philly:

Swap till you drop!  Enjoy the article...

You can shop online without spending a dime. No, I’m not talking about some kind of devious Internet rip-off scam. A quasi-cashless society has grown up on the Internet over the past couple of years where you can swap for all kinds of great goods. If you're willing to pay for shipping, you can find almost anything, all brand new or gently used, and all completely free. Talk about recycling! is a reliable website where you can swap the DVDs you no longer want for ones you do. Register for a free account on this site and decide which of your DVDs you want to swap. You must have the original cases; simply list your DVDs by UPC Code. Full descriptions and cover art are supplied by the SwapaDVD database so you don’t have to upload or scan anything.

When someone wants one of your DVDs, you mail it out (postage averages about $2 per package via first class mail; SwapaDVD members can print postage and a combo mailing label and wrapper for sending movies). When the other person indicates receipt of your DVD, you get one credit per disc deposited into your account. List 10 DVDs that you're willing to send out, and you can immediately request a complimentary DVD. With a library of nearly 200,000 DVDs currently available to be sent to your mailbox, think of the possibilities: Cancel your cable TV service, cancel your NetFlix account. lets members trade books, movies, music, and video games for free. With about 3.5 million items up for swapping, this site offers “shopping” opportunities galore! Unlike other sites, where you have to earn points in order to start trading, at you make one-for-one trades or three-way trades, and can start as soon as you sign up. When you join, you list "Items I Have" and "Items I Want." Then the site does its matchmaking to find you a trading partner, saving you hours of potential Web-surfing time. is a swapping site in its infancy, with currently about 1,000 listings from brand-new items to gently used. is set up for one-to-one swaps (you find someone who has something you want and who wants something you have). Then, you can regularly swap clothing for coupons and other things as your collective kids outgrow. is a virtual mall jam-packed with stuff for kids, like Game Boy cartridges, Old Navy clothes, Stride Rite shoes and more. Here is how it works: You use "zoints" as your currency. You get 25 zoints for joining the site, and more as you send off your unwanted gear. The site includes an integrated FedEx and U.S. Postal Service shipping tool that lets you print out a prepaid and preaddressed shipping label, and schedule a pickup. That makes it so much easier than schlepping to the post office.

Monday, November 8, 2010

TV news: watch your energy

FTC Will Require EnergyGuide Labels for Televisions

Televisions manufactured after May 10, 2011 must display EnergyGuide labels, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said on October 27. A recent amendment to the FTC's Appliance Labeling Rule will require the familiar yellow-and-black labels on new TVs. The removable labels, which have long been used on home appliances such as washing machines and refrigerators, are designed to provide energy cost information.

In March 2009, the FTC sought comments on whether EnergyGuide labels should be required on a range of consumer electronics, including televisions. Based on the response, in March 2010, the agency proposed requiring the labels on televisions sold in the United States. The FTC is requiring a label with two main disclosures on new TVs: the television set's estimated annual energy cost and a comparison with the annual energy cost of other televisions with similar screen sizes. The new rule requires that the new labels be visible from the front of the televisions. Beginning in July 11, 2011, the amended rule will require Web sites that sell televisions to display an image of the full EnergyGuide label. See the FTC press release, the Federal Register Final Rule notice, and examples of the FTC labels.

Also, the FTC is proposing revisions to the guidance it gives marketers to help them avoid misleading environmental claims about their products. The agency announced on October 6 that it is seeking public comments about changes to the Green Guides on such topics as renewable energy and carbon offset claims. The FTC, in its proposed revisions, notes that general "eco-friendly" claims are difficult, if not impossible, to substantiate. The agency will accept public input until December 10, 2010, after which it will decide what final changes it will make to the guidelines. See the FTC press release, which includes an electronic link for comment submissions, the summary of proposed Green Guides changes, and the full list of proposed changes.

More info at