Weekly Column

Last Minute Gift Ideas (And A Vegan Muffin Bread)

I feel like we have all had that dreaded moment, days into December and we are suddenly surprised with a gift exchange or remember the kid’s teacher or the piano instructor or even the nice neighbors. There are a hundred reasons we need a last minute gift and all of them elicit the moment of panic and the rapid roll of ideas through your head. What should I get!?  I’ve compiled some quick and easy ideas for small last minute gifts (and a blessed easy vegan recipe at the end too). Best yet, this list isn’t December holiday specific and can be used all year long for birthdays or teacher/staff appreciation days that creep up on you.

Nik Jameson's Favorite Party Drinks With Or WIthout Alcohol

I look around and can’t believe it’s the middle of November and the last two weeks have flown by. Now that the holiday party season is going to be in full swing, it’s time to get the table ready. With all the main-dish and side-dish recipe compilations going around, I got the idea to do my own recipe list but with the most forgotten party necessity. The drinks! 3 of my favorite Aguas de TemporadaHibiscus (jamaica) JuiceSour Orange JuiceHorchata (from scratch) My recipes are low sugar versions, most that you get in restaurants or from the store will be much higher in sugar. You can use your best personal judgment on how much sugar you would like to add. 

Nik Jameson's Tip On Container Landscaping in Yucatan

One thing I love about los Yucatecos are their clever ingenuity. One of the best methods of gardening in urban areas is containers. Los Yucatecos have been container gardening since before it was a cool fad. They have always lined their garden and balcony with plants to filter out the hot sun and because of the extremely rocky soil growing in pots has always been easier to manage. Not to mention the ability to move more delicate dry weather plants when the heavy rainy season begins.  Let’s start with the shortest and work our way up. In the case of container gardening the shorter the plant naturally is, the smaller a pot it will need. Sometimes, but not always small plants are a good place to start, especially for new gardeners. However, the biggest exceptions are if your balcony or patio is very sun-scorched, you will need some taller shade cover first. I’ll explain later how to use palm trees but other shade options include building a small roof, buying a sun cloth (medio sombra) or growing a vine over trellises.  All containers should have a good drainage hole on the bottom. The only alternative is a good clay pot that will naturally release extra water through pores. If you don’t have good drainage you will see water pooling at the top of containers after the rain. A plant left in this condition will rot. 

Reducing waste While living in Merida,Yucatan

I’m a self-described eco-warrior, so you probably knew this post was coming sooner or later. I’m not here to judge you or your actions, but only ask you to make small changes you are able to leave a better and cleaner world for the next generation.  While the politicians continue to debate climate control and emissions, the world has started to see the shock of the great pacific ocean garbage patch, the rivers filled with plastic bottles and the birds caught up in balloon strings. While I am not here to debate climate control, it is clear we have a trash problem.  The only way to deal without amount of trash is to reduce it. Lucky for us we already have a lot of the things we need right in our house.  Take out I love to take out food, but I dislike styrofoam.  This is a place we can all improve. With the delivery apps easier and easier each day the environmental impact is not being well considered. Luckily it’s also the easiest place for improvement. 1. You can start to eat at restaurants. 2. You can order carry out and bring your own Tupperware from home instead of using styrofoam. 3. You can learn to cook some staples using my wonderful recipe archive. ()4. You can pressure your favorite local businesses to use paper, bio-cardboard or other proven eco-friendly materials instead of styrofoam. 

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