The Cloud Makers Problem

by holli on April 11, 2014

The sugar plantation "Cloud Makers" we saw on Maui.

The sugar plantation “Cloud Makers” we saw on Maui.

When we were in Hawaii, my daughter saw a sugar processing plant billowing out large plumes of what looked like white clouds against the bright blue sky. She asked,”Are those cloud makers?”

I wanted to tell her yes, because it was such a sweet observation. The plume did indeed look like clouds. But, the truth is almost all industrial plants produce plumes that are not clouds. Not even close. They put particles of heavy metals and poison into our air, and we don’t think twice about it.

The sad truth is that we have had an industrial revolution that polluted our country in the beginning. Those industrial plants from 100 years ago have introduced toxic metals into our air that lands on the soil and into the water. They can never be removed. They don’t evaporate. But they are less harmful if they aren’t vaporized into the air. So, once they land on the soil, they do not do as much damage to the body as when you breathe them in during the processing plume. As I’ve been researching air pollution in Seattle, I’ve found that each individual plant is up to EPA standards. But, what I have yet to discover is whether or not they are up to standard combined. How much do we take a step back and look at the landscape?

I’ve been seeking that answer, and it’s a balancing act of being amazed at how much we can handle and angry at how much we don’t know as consumers. So, it’s time for me to take another step away from the trail of information. Instead of posting a dozen ways to decorate for Easter, or recipes to get your sweet tooth satisfied, I’m taking a week off blogging.

My hope is that I can come back with useful information and data from our soil tests. I am eager to share what I’ve been learning. And, it’s helpful for me to take breaks in between so that I can avoid the trap of sounding alarmist!

Happy Spring,


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While my mind has been consumed by tracking down the source of my son’s mercury and lead contamination, I have had little to no room for inspired recipe creations. During our visit to Port Angeles, I found myself with enough distance between my personal research and had a light-bulb moment while catching up with an old friend. She’s addicted to coffee, and as a new Mom, depends on it to keep her going through the day.

When I learned that she’s also using cheap coffee creamer that is chocked full of bad fats, I was inspired to create a recipe for a natural version. We chatted briefly about how some in the Paleo community simply add a tablespoon of butter or coconut oil straight to their black coffee. As we drove home to Seattle, I wondered what makes a coffee creamer so addictive. I realized it’s the sweetness and flavor it adds to the coffee…

I remembered, it’s the fat that holds the flavoring in frosting, for example. So, I played around various levels of coconut oil, vanilla and sugar. So, this recipe was inspired by my friend and my desire to get good fats into a Mama and her baby boy.

Coconut Oil Creamer PhotoRecipe: Vanilla Coconut Oil Coffee Creamer


- 1/4 Cup Coconut Oil

- 1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar

- 1/4 Cup Sugar

- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla

Place all of the ingredients into a mixing bowl, blend well with a hand mixer, then store in an air tight container. Keeps at room temperature. Makes just over 1/4 cup of creamer.

This amount was as much as I could make with the ingredients I had on hand. I used a teaspoon to enhance a strong black cup of coffee, which is my preference. So, since I don’t LOVE creamers or usually add sugar to my coffee, I want to know: is this recipe sweet enough?

Variations: You could create an Almond or Peppermint creamer by simply replacing the Vanilla with Almond or Peppermint flavoring.

Feel free to send recipe suggestions my way: either recipes you love or the kinds you want to see more of on here by comment, facebook post or contact form!



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Learning About Lead In West Seattle

April 3, 2014

There’s this huge void between what I thought I knew about air pollution and what I have learned in the past week. Ever since I found out my son has lead and mercury in his blood, and was told to find the sources and eliminate them as best I could, I feel like it’s a […]

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Stepping Back To See Clearly

March 31, 2014

Today I lost 2 hours. I was reading up about Mercury and Crematories and suddenly I realized that I had lost 2 hours of my day and wasn’t any further along in understanding if they are something to be worried about. On Saturday, our family went to visit an old friend who lives off the […]

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