Eco-Inspirations: Homemade Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is a grad student’s best friend. Raise your hand if you’ve got a big ol’ jar of it at your desk. Raise the other if you’ve ever eaten it straight out of the jar with a spoon (or your hand, Winnie the Pooh style, we don’t judge). It’s there when we’re stressed. It’s there when we need a bit of extra fuel. It’s especially there when we’ve got an apple that needs a nice glob of PB on every bite. Peanut butter definitely deserves a shout out in my thesis acknowledgements.

Peanut butter as it’s meant to be is quite healthy (low cabs, high healthy fats, etc). It can become problematic when companies add sugar, excessive sodium, full or partially hydrogenated oils, or even non-hydrogenated oils like palm oil. It’s also often packaged in plastic. As part of my efforts to live a healthier lifestyle for me and our planet, I started searching for products that had limited ingredients and came packaged in glass. You may have guessed these were a bit more expensive! The game changer for my husband and I came with the purchase of a new, mondo-powerful blender! We’d tried making our own peanut butter before and nearly destroyed our hand-me-down blender.

But now there’s no holding us back. Our homemade peanut butter is way more delicious than store-bought. We find the ingredients in bulk and in glass so there’s no plastic waste. If you’d like to try and make your own you can follow the general recipe below. Get creative! Let us know how it goes!

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An Ode to Rhudes Creek

An Ode to Rhudes Creek (and all the intimate natural places that call us home).

I don’t remember the first time I saw you or splashed my feet in your waters. I was too small.

I don’t know your history before my family. The Shawnee, Cherokee, and Osage people knew you then. You were probably tumbling down a slightly different path, but I bet you were filled with crayfish and turtles. Your banks were lined with reeds and trout lilies.

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#ENVR2018: A Recap

It’s been a bit now, but last month from October 11 – 13, I traveled to Asheville, NC with the Hanks Lab and several other PSU statistics students to attend the 2018 ENVR Statistics for the Environment: Research, Practice and Policy Workshop. This densely packed workshop (really it was both workshop and conference…workonference? confshop?) offered a day of workshops, two days of 30 minute invited talks, and a poster session. I like that the American Statistical Association (ASA) Section on Environmental Statistics (ENVR) is a relatively small group of researchers, which allows for students to quickly meet people (future colleagues!) in this field and learn about what sort of research is happening right now.

What is ENVR?

Unless you are a statistician who does environmental/ecological related research you probably haven’t heard of this workshop. I’ve been doing this sort of work for 4 years now and it’s the first time I had really heard about it too! (Two years ago I was still taking classes and working on research so I probably didn’t have time to attend.) The Statistics for the Environment: Research, Practice and Policy is a biennial workshop of the section on Statistics and the Environment (ENVR) of the American Statistical Association. The overarching goal of the workshop is to bring together environmental statisticians working in academia, government research labs, and industry to present and discuss research ideas and methods to address important environmental and ecological problems. Funding for students, postdocs, and junior researchers within 2 years of terminal degree (travel costs + stipend) was available and easy to apply for thanks to ENVR, NSF, the North Carolina chapter of ASA, and Dr. Andrew Finley.

Typically social media is a great way to extend the conversations of conferences and workshops online. Often organizations publicize a preferred hashtags (e.g. #ESA2018, #JSM2018, #ISEC2018) to encourage posting. This workshop may be a little too small to have gotten on board with with a social media push, but I still posted a few times with #ENVR2018 just in case anyone else did too.

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