20 September 2011

McDonald's, are you listening?

Garbage in the streets drives me bonkers. Ask my kids how often I've picked up coffee cups, straws and foam containers during my walks or bike rides. There is just so little justification for producing it most of the time. Plastic trash is the main reason why I usually avoid McDonald's. I broke down tonight because I'm a  broke student who needed a place to study with internet access for cheaper than a Starbucks coffee (ALOT cheaper). Also, they have lattes now. Yay.

I brought my own cup in (actually I forgot it in the car and had to go back and get it :S) The girl preparing the latte got the order but didn't notice I had my own drink container. I had them pour the drink into my cup and they threw the plastic one out. It got me thinking again of an idea I've had for a while. 

Outside Thunder Bay is Cousins restaurant, who will sell you a pie in a 10inch aluminum tin which you pay a small deposit for. Bring it back the next time and get your next pie in a new tin, leaving the dirty one behind and paying for just the pie. 

What about applying a similiar concept to McDonalds for coffee or other drinks? The Happy Meal toys were a huge collectors hit with the toys, but the last thing our plastic-ridden world needs  is more of the stuff or even the cute little TY animals (although I still have one because I can't part with Chocolate the Moose). 

My idea is for McDonald's to produce Happy Drinks which are actually just the container, a stainless steel container for hot drinks or recycled plastic "bike water bottle" style. The customer pays for the container on deposit and voila, less garbage and less new plastic that ends up on the street. If you happen to find one on the street, return it to any McDs and make a couple bucks!

Yes, they would have to have enough clean containers and more storage, but the transportation system is already in place to deliver the disposable cups, right? Why not deliver clean, sanitized cups  from a washing depot of sorts? Ok, that part I haven't quite figured out yet but this next element of the idea might make up for it.

In addition to creating "collectible" Happy Drinks you could also offer customers who bring their own cups in the chance to change the music If they are staying in the restaurant. They could have a selection of music stations to choose from up there with the menu choices. Seriously, I'm sitting in a McDs right now and I would dearly LOVE to change the tunes they are playing.  McDonald's would have to completely eliminate having disposable cups eventually but they may be gutsy enough to revolutionize the takeout industry they created to begin with.

So. Happy Drinks. Happy for you, the individual. For the company. And, (most importantly in my books) for the earth. That's pretty freakin Happy :) 

I actually pitched this to Starbucks on twitter awhile ago but they never called. LOL 

 Michelle Aura 

leave a deposit to use one of yours. Have similar stock available at each store. You could even have amazing store-to-store designs to vie 4

 Michelle Aura 

 I tweeted about your stores recently. What if you did away with plastic altogether? Use a real cup, bring your own mug or

 Michelle Aura 

 I do ask and get a real cup but I am so often the only one in the entire coffeeshop - it makes no sense to me...

 Michelle Aura 

Dear Starbucks or Tim Horton's: be the first coffeeshop to actually be a coffeeshop and NOT offer "paper" cups. Imagine!

18 September 2011

Niagara Fruit Bread

Big crop of Bartlett pears to use up. I'm starting with a couple loaves of the fruit bread for the freezer and then trying other recipes. :) 

Niagara Fruit Bread 

Ripe Ontario Pears give an incredible natural moistness to this aromatic fruit bread. Spread with cream cheese for breakfast, sandwich Havarti cheese between slices for a portable lunch, or simply serve with tea. An added bonus: This is a fast stir-together version -- no mixer needed.

Preparation Time: 20 Minutes 
Cooking Time: Not Available 
Baking Time: 55 Minutes 
Servings: 16 slices


2 large ripe Ontario Pears
2 cups (500 mL) all-purpose flour
2 tsp (10 mL) baking powder
1 tsp (5 mL) baking soda
1/2 tsp (2 mL) each salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice
1 1/2 tbsp (22 mL) finely chopped crystallized ginger
2/3 cup (150 mL) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (125 mL) butter, melted
2 eggs
1/3 cup (75 mL) milk
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla


Oil or butter 9-x 5-inch (23 x 13 cm) loaf pan. Peel pears; coarsely grate and drain well. In bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and ginger until evenly blended. Make a well in centre.

In medium bowl, whisk together sugar and butter; whisk in eggs until evenly blended. Whisk in milk and vanilla. Pour into flour mixture; stir until moistened. Stir in 1 cup (250 mL) grated pears until evenly distributed. Pour into prepared pan and smooth top.

Bake in 350°F (180°C) oven 45 to 55 minutes or until cake tester inserted in centre comes out clean. Let cool in pan on rack 10 minutes. Turn out of pan and let cool completely on rack. Store well wrapped in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or freeze. Makes 16 slices.


Simple harvest pear recipes from Canadian Living:


and from Simply Recipes:

Pear Butter

Preserved Pears

Pear Ginger Maple Pie