Saturday, November 28, 2009

Soul Food Farm

Great article on small-scale farming.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Fall Pumpkin Salad

Fall Pumpkin Salad

1 sugar pumpkin
2 pears
2 cups quinoa, cooked
1/2 cup walnut pieces, toasted
5 cloves garlic
1/2 lemon
apple cider vinegar
olive oil
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp honey
6 ounces feta

1. Peel and cube pumpkin. Clean and roast seeds.
2. Toss pumpkin in 1 T olive oil and 1 tsp. cinnamon and put on baking sheet.
3. Separate 5 medium garlic cloves, do not peel. Toss in olive oil and place in one corner of baking sheet.
4. Roast at 375 about 20 minutes for garlic and 30 for pumpkin.
5. Cut up pears into bite-sized pieces.
6. In nice serving bowl stir together quinoa, pear, pumpkin and walnuts.
7. In small mixing bowl squeeze out garlic.
8. Juice half lemon.
9. Add honey, whisk together.
10. Drizzle in about 3 T vinegar, whisk.
11. While whisking pour in about 1/3 cup olive oil.
12. Season with pinch of salt and taste.
13. If too vinegary add a touch more olive oil, balance for desired flavor.
14. Pour over quinoa and mix to combine.
15. Crumble feta on top.
16. Serve warm or cold.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Welcome to My World

So up to now I have pretty much ignored my writing life with this blog. It's a shame, really, because writing is what I spend most of my time thinking about. As of now this space will be for my writing experiences as I try to finish my first YA novel. Today I am in a resting place with the story. I've been taking a break for the last several days to let it all sort of relax. I'm currently a bit over half way done with the very first draft (and let me tell you it's rough). It's only about half the number of words it will eventually be, but I'm ok with that. I'm a big picture kind of girl. I need to see it all out on the page before I can go back and add description and setting and sub-plots. I am an outliner and that's ok.
Over the next few days I will post some of my favorite go-to blogs about writing and children's books. As well as write about my favorite new software. So, get ready!

Monday, August 10, 2009

NY Times article

A sobering look at mental illness in juvenile detention centers. What about the grandmother afraid to be identified because of stigma? The same situation is happening in adult prisons too. And these kids will reach 18 and most likely end up in the adult prisons.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Introvert's Bill of Rights

As an introvert I find this amazing. I claim my rights.


~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
1. Introverts have the right to claim a sacred space of their own for recharging, rebalancing or simply enjoying a single, solitary activity.

2. Introverts have the right to leave social events "early" as needed.

3. Introverts have the right to explore and choose the marketing and promotional activities that feel best suited to their unique style and preferences.

4. Introverts have the right to abstain from any marketing (or life) activities that result in boils, a resting heart rate > 120, and/or loss of any bodily function.

5. Introverts have the right to marry other introverts and bear children.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

My Great Grandmother's Throw in Anything Banana Muffins

I recently tasted my Aunt's version of my Great Grandmother Jesse's banana muffins. It was a revolution. Never had I tasted such a delicate, moist and flavorful muffin. (I'm not exaggerating.) I promptly got the recipe and the next day made my own version. I substituted for the sugar and switched out flours. I also changed up the extra fruit and added nuts. They lost sweetness and a bit of moistness, but still are wonderful. Here's my new and healthier version:

GG Jesse's Banana Muffins

4 TBSP soft butter or Earth Balance
2 c flour (I used WW pastry)
1/2 c jaggery (can use sugar or try other sweeteners)
2 mashed ripe bananas
1 egg
6 TBSP buttermilk (what's the vegan replacement?)
1 t vanilla
1/2 t salt
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 c oats
1/2 peach
1/4 c blueberries
1/4 c slivered almonds, toasted

- Using an old wooden spoon (makes it taste better) mash up the butter and sugar.
- Sift together the dry ingredients.
- Add in the egg and vanilla.
- Alternate between adding the flour, mixing lightly and the buttermilk until incorporated (should do in three turns)
- Fold in the oats, fruit and nuts.
- Spoon into 12 muffin cups
- Bake at 350 for 12 or so minutes.

Grilled Veggies

Last night I grilled for the first time. I'm bro-in-law took care of the delicious mint-lamb burgers while I handled the veggies. We also grilled lovely corn on the cob. Here are the super easy recipes:
(Both compliments of Gardeners' Community Cookbook, with my changes of course)

Corn without the husks:
4 ears of corn, remove husks and silks
butter (I used a compound basil butter I kept in the fridge)
s & p
garlic powder

- Break the corn in half. Place 2 longwise inside a piece of tinfoil. (wastes less foil)
- Break up about 1 TBSP of butter for each packet and place around corn.
- Sprinkle on s & p and garlic powder.
- Roll up tight. Place on grill over med-hot coals and turn frequently. Should take about 12-15 minutes.

Grilled Veggies

1 1-inch piece of fresh ginger (I keep mine in freezer.) peeled and minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup bragg's aminos or soy sauce
2 TBSP sesame oil

- Mix all together in big ziploc.

1 medium eggplant, peeled and sliced in 1/4" rounds (could go up to 1/2")
2 medium zuchinni, sliced longwise 1/4"
2 bell peppers, sliced in big pieces

- Place all in ziploc and shake to coat.
- Place on grill one at a time and turn once grill marks are on.
- The eggplant will cook the quickest.
- Don't fret about the charring on the peppers as it easily comes off at the table.

And tonight I'll be chopping up the leftovers and making couscous. Yum!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

I Like This!

Of all the food philosophies I've heard this one makes the absolute most sense.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Still here!

This is a really interesting post about vitamin d and mental health. It is not totally out of the blue. Look at SAD or seasonal affective disorder. I experienced this significantly when living in Olympia, WA. I finally realized that I had to move back to sunnier climates or I would continue to be miserable.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Five on Friday

I know it's Sunday, but I've noticed other blogs that post five good things for the week on Fridays. I like that idea quite a lot.

1. Saw Star Trek last night. It is amazing and no I'm not a Star Trek fan, well I guess I am now. The best character is the Scottish actor who plays Scotty. Simon Pegg from Shaun of the Dead.

2. My niece turned two. Watching that child grow is one of the highlights of my life.

3. I went to BookPeople and managed to walk away with only a book for my niece. Her first cookbook. Next weekend we're going to make the pizza recipe. That brings me to #4:

4. Baking scones with my niece. Two year olds can help in the kitchen. Scones were perfect because the little hands can squish the butter into the flour, stir int he milk and even brush the milk onto the scones. She did some rolling with her kid-size rolling pin and sprinkled on cinnamon and sugar. They were the most delicious scones I've ever made.

5. And finally I'm reading a great book about zen. It's called Hardcore Zen, written by Brad Warner, an ex-punk rocker turned monk. If you grew up in the 70'8 and/or 80's it's the perfect book to being learning about zen buddhism. Easy to read with great music references.

Whew, that was easy. And, this practice may very well help me pay better attention to little joyful things in my life.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Thirteen Reasons Why

I finished Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher a few days ago. I haven't written yet about it because I can't figure out how I feel. Here's the synopsis from amazon:
When Clay Jenson plays the casette tapes he received in a mysterious package, he's surprised to hear the voice of dead classmate Hannah Baker. He's one of 13 people who receive Hannah's story, which details the circumstances that led to her suicide. Clay spends the rest of the day and long into the night listening to Hannah's voice and going to the locations she wants him to visit. The text alternates, sometimes quickly, between Hannah's voice (italicized) and Clay's thoughts as he listens to her words, which illuminate betrayals and secrets that demonstrate the consequences of even small actions. Hannah, herself, is not free from guilt, her own inaction having played a part in an accidental auto death and a rape. The message about how we treat one another, although sometimes heavy, makes for compelling reading. Give this to fans of Gail Giles psychological thrillers.

Well written: yes
Creative: yes
She is clearly a very depressed girl with few coping skills or anyone she trusts to really listen. Number 13 on the list should be shot. If he existed in real life and the tapes became public I would hope that he would lose his job and any credibility. To me, this book belongs up there with Speak (one of the most important young adult books of the last 10 years). This book should be taught in schools if only as a way to begin real discussion. If you are a suicide survivor it will probably be painful to read. Read it anyway.

I would like to interview the author. I want to know why he wrote this book.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble

It's thundering! Oh! There it goes again. How I wish these days stuck around more.

70 and ECT therapy finally needs trials

This is insane. 70 years? How is it possible that such an invasive and serious "treatment" was administered for 70 years with no clinical trials?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Joy of Smoothies and Where Have I been?

Smoothies are one of my favorite pick me ups. People out there love to extol the benefits of greasy food after an evening of drinks, but seriously smoothies are way better. When you pee while you drink you are actually losing more nutrients than you normally do because alcohol flushes you out. Losing all those nutrients like potassium makes headaches and nausea among other ickiness. A nice fruit and protein powder smoothie gives it all back to your system quickly and yummily.

And where have I been?
I have been:
having successful surgery
applying to two great grad schools for mfa in children's writing programs
giving into temptation way too much at work
spending as much time as possible with my niece

Where have you been lately?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Psychotic Creativity

Check out this article about this link between creativity and mental illness.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Lessons Learned in gluten-free, sugar-free, vegan baking: volume 1

1. My mini food processor is not powerful enough to turn tapioca pearls into flour.
2. When substituting liquid sweeteners for granulated ones reduce other liquid in recipe.
3. Tapioca pearls partly ground do not act like flour.
4. Adding flour that you just discovered you had after all after brownie-like substance has already been cooking for 20 minutes doesn't help.
5. Carob brownie sludge likes to stick to the pan.
6. I should buy ener-g egg replacer and stop wasting my delicious organic Central Market brand applesauce.
7. Why didn't my $30k patisserie education prepare me for alternative baking?
8. Number seven was not a lesson, but I like this numbering thing.
9. These mistakes are expensive.
10. I'm still craving carob brownies. No I'm still craving gooey, chocolatey brownies, but I can't have those so I'll crave carob ones instead.
11. Sigh.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Date Sugar

Why is date sugar so hard to find int his town? With four seemingly good all-natural grocery stores you'd think one of them would sell it, but no. They've had 'a ton' of requests, but for some stupid reason this doesn't mean anything to them. Ugh! I suppose I'll add that to my list of food stuffs ordered over the internet. Anybody have a favorite website to buy natural food items like date sugar and coconut oil?

Gluten free Sugar free and Vegan Oatmeal Cookies

Sounds disgusting right? They are actually quite chewy and yummy. It's not my original recipe, but I did adapt it to get rid of brown sugar. Here's a link to the original recipe by Karina, the gluten free goddess, and below is my version. Enjoy!

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine in a bowl and beat until smooth and creamy:

2/3 cup Spectrum Organic Shortening
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 + 1/6 cup brown rice syrup
1/2 cup unsweetened organic applesauce
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup agave

In a separate bowl whisk together the dry ingredients:

1/2 cup rice flour
1/2 cup oat flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch
1/4 cup vanilla rice protein powder
1 teaspoon xanthan/guar gum
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

Slowly add the dry ingredients into the creamed mixture, beating to combine.

When the dough is smooth, add in the following, by hand, and mix well:

2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup carob chips (raisins might be better. Ooh or even dried cranberries.)

Use a spoon or ice cream scoop to measure out the dough. They will spread so give them plenty of space.

Bake in the center of a preheated oven for about 9 to 13 minutes, until they are golden. They will be quite soft until they cool.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

New Love

I have a new love. Her name is Rebecca Wood. I found her sight when I was looking for almond butter recipes. The recipe list is small, but looks so yummy. I can't wait to make the honey fried pears.

Diet Day 2

I didn't cheat today. I thought about it, but I held off. I need help. I need recipes for baked goods that are gluten-free, vegan and sugar-free. It is a tall order, but I know good recipes are floating around out there. Please pass them along if you have any. I'm desperate.
I have noticed what difference protein makes. For lunch I had a salad and soup from last night. The only protein came from a 1/4 cup of kidney beans on my salad. After two hours I was starving and grumpy. All I could think about was chicken. I didn't realize how much my body relies on the protein from the dairy I normally eat with each meal.
I went shopping and bought some chicken thighs and organic turkey breast. I am also going to experiment with making almond butter. Buying it already pureed was twice as expensive as buying bulk almonds. I just put it in a blender and whir, right?
Oh, dear.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Diet Day 1

I've decided to just take the plunge. If I don't do it now when will I, right?
My day began with my smoothie. One scoop of this powder, a small banana, 1/4 cup of frozen pineapple, 6 oz. apple juice and a tsp. olive oil. The olive oil adds much needed fat I guess. It's pretty tasty. Really. To finish off breakfast I'll have one serving of Bare Naked granola with hemp milk.
I tried hemp milk yesterday for the first time. I was nervous, but it is delicious and now I'm convinced. I'm not a fan of soy milk. I don't like the taste and it makes me bloated, plus all that info about mimicking estrogen spooks me. Rice milk doesn't have enough nutritional value for me so (and this was before my acupuncture appointment) I decided to give hemp milk a chance. It's loaded with omega 3's, very helpful for mental health.

Snack: cinnamon Lara bar

Lunch: mixed greens salad with kidney beans, roasted red pepper, carrot & avocado

Dinner: Potato, carrot & pea soup with millet. Millet is quite easy and pretty good too, bland and fluffy.

For dessert I'm having almond sunset tea.
Not bad so far. Tomorrow I must go grocery shopping.

Ancestral Diet

My acupuncturist talked about how it isn't easy to correct blood sugar when you are vegetarian. She talked about how our bodies need animal fat and protein to function properly. Lately I've been seeing articles about an ancestral diet. This is a diet mimicking what we as a species ate before industrialized agriculture. We mostly subsisted on what we could gather and hunt. It certainly correlates with eating locally and seasonally, but not with being a vegetarian.
I remember when I was in college the first time around. I was a vegetarian who was sick all the time. I know other factors were involved, but I remember quite well going home and eating meat that my Mother cooked. I always felt better. I felt stronger and healthier. I would return to school and go back to being a sickly vegetarian. As part of my elimination diet I will be eating meat, mostly chicken, but I'd like to try some locally raised lamb and even bison. If you've got good recipes for lamb or bison please pass them along.

Thanks Sis!

My big sister, author of Yarn Unravelled, gave me a Kreative Blogger award. Here I go to try to pick my favorite blogs.

The rules are

1. copy the Kreativ Blogger award to your blog

2. put a link to the person from whom you received the award

3. nominate 8 other blogs

4. and link to them

5. then leave a message on the blogs you nominated

It's going to be hard to pick just 8 but I'm going to try. And if I've left you out it doesn't mean I don't love your blog too!

1. On Fiction
2. Writing Companion
3. Cabinet of Wonders
4. Mind Freedom
5. The Trouble With Spikol
6. Wellness Writer
7. Beyond Meds
8. This Mama's Dharma

Texas wants to drug its children

I found this article today about a couple of disturbing bills in the Texas legislature. At the end of the article there are links of who to contact in case you want to help.

May not be feng shui

I love rearranging furniture. It still amazes me what a difference moving furniture around can make. I was starting to become very unhinged by the state of my space. It was cluttered and busy and full, but I need every piece that's in here. Two desks may seem a bit much for some people, but when one is entirely taken up by a computer it is hard to do any work on it. It would be nice to have more space, but that isn't going to happen anytime soon so last night around 9:00 pm I started moving. If only I had a few elves who could come round and clean for me.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


I had my first real acupuncture appointment today. It was pretty amazing. We talked for over an hour and then she did some bodywork, which did include needles. I went with a few specific ideas:
1. That I sleep too much
2. That I know something is screwy with my blood sugar
3. That I desperately wish my moods would reach equilibrium.

She looked over my paperwork and said that absolutely everything off about me is related. She validated my own beliefs in the connections between food and mental health and went on to talk about the neurotransmitters in the gut. Here's an article explaining it in more detail.
She is putting me on an elimination diet so we can figure out what's causing my sluggishness and general malaise. I'm a bit freaked out by this diet. It will last three weeks and be devoid of dairy, wheat, corn, tomatoes, eggs, shellfish, soy & peanuts.
Now for a person with a normal job this might not be as hard, but I'M A BAKER! I get paid to mix huge batches of sugar and butter and flour and then slather the results with cream cheese icing. I eat this stuff everyday. I know this is a huge part of my problem, but trying to stay away from it completely for three weeks? I'm scared.
She gave me a smoothie mix based on rice protein and some bovine glandular pills that help balance blood sugar. She did mention that the bovine extract comes from Argentinian cows who are grass-fed and antibiotic & hormone free. Phew. The labels on the bottles look like they were designed for Star Trek.
I'm not sure when I'll start the diet. I'm not ready to jump in tomorrow as I need to write a meal plan and go shopping. I will keep you posted.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

This makes me so Happy!

It's about time the White House got a garden.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Easy Potato Tomato Soup

I've just thrown together a yummy and simple soup. I thought I would pass along the recipe.

Potato Tomato Soup:

1 small yellow onion, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, smashed
2 medium potatoes, peeled & diced
1 small can diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp sage
1/2 tsp thyme

- saute the onion in olive oil till very soft.
- add the garlic, saute 2-3 minutes.
- add potatoes & tomatoes.
- flavor with s & p and herbs.
- simmer until potatoes soft.
- puree about half.

I served it with some roasted garlic bread slathered in local hummus along with a salad of greens, avocado & Texas goat cheese. Mmmmmm!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Jade Leaves Teahouse

I have just found my new favorite restaurant. The Jade Leaves Teahouse on Guadalupe is warm and cozy with delicious food. We started by ordering tea. I picked the house chai and my Mom went with ginger. The chai was a wonderfully spicy blend of black leaves, ginger, cardamon, cinnamon, milk and sugar. If you've ever had yogi tea at Yoga Yoga it's very similar. The ginger tea took a bit longer coming out as it is prepared fresh by the chef. It was as you imagine, hot water with fresh ginger steeped in. It was light and spicy.
Next we had hot & sour soup and dumplings. Their hot & sour is a bit different from the usual. It had a delicate and fresh flavor. In fact those adjectives describe everything there. They really do walk the walk. The produce is fresh and organic as are the meats (local too!) The dumplings were not heavy at all. They were packed with finely chopped veggies and accompanied by a black vinegar sauce.
For our entrees we ordered pad thai and lettuce wraps. The pad thai was unlike any I've ever had. It was so different because it was full of vegetables: bell pepper, asparagus, carrot and purple onions. Again the flavors were subtle and spicy.
At the back of the cafe sits a tiny gallery/gift shop. The walls of the gallery are lined with antique cabinets which are full of stones, jewelry, taoist items, tea pots and other things. One of the waitresses followed us in to find a box. The key she pulled out to open the cabinet she needed was the strangest key I've ever seen. It looked more like an old metal whistle. I wanted to take it home with me.
I am so happy to have found healthy, vegetarian asian food in such a great environment. And now I have the perfect place to celebrate my 30th birthday.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

This is scary.

It's only going to get worse.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Go First Lady, Go!

Here's one more reason to love the Obamas.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Lightening Thief

I'm currently reading the second book in the very popular Lightening Thief series. It's fun and fast paced, but I'm becoming disappointed. The idea is clever, resurrect old Greek myths and modernize them, but then the writer has it pretty easy. He doesn't have to create a new world from scratch like other fantasy writers. All he really has to create are his characters and so far they're pretty one dimensional.
I will say that the books have two things going for them: the heroes are dyslexic and ADHD and they're great for learning about Greek mythology. But as a writer I'm not terribly impressed.
They do bring me back to a couple of thoughts that have been circulating in my head for a while. The first is related to another book called the Goose Girl. This book pissed me off because it reinforced the old idea that those in power should stay in power. In a way the Lightening books are doing the same thing. Yes it's for everyone's good, but I'm sick of all these books telling kids that they can rebel, but only within safe parameters so that ultimately nothing really changes. The Goose Girl sparked a character and story in me about a young baker helping to overthrow the government a la the French revolution.
The second thing it does for me is make me think about how mental illness is portrayed in books. I have a character in my head that I sort of pilfered from someone else's terrible story involving fairies and lots of superfluous words. There is a girl in my vision who cannot control her emotions to the point that she is disrupting the world around her. I see her walking and quietly seething anger through a crowded market with a path leading behind her that involves waves of her emotion rippling away from her and destroying or rearranging everything it touches. She is oblivious to this at first, but then learns to harness her powers and becomes a heroine. She is, of course, bipolar and this is a story about acceptance and healing.
If you know any kids struggling with dyslexia or ADHD give them the Lightening Thief. It might help ease some of the negativity they feel about themselves.


It's amazing how much can change in a week. You can decide to go back to school, find a new spiritual path (or name the one you were already on) and accept that you can't change your circumstances. As you can see I've changed what my blog is about. I will still talk about food, but my life is consumed by so much more. I read so constantly that the words I read and write are starting to dominate my thoughts. Food is in there, but it isn't so much in the front right now.
I've attempted to make my living with food and due to my own desires and the job options out there it isn't working out so well. I'm going back to my other first love: books, specifically books for youth (I hesitate to say kids because teens don't think of themselves that way and I hesitate to say teens because I also read and write the stuff 9 year olds like).
So a new face on my blog, but now it feels more organic, more like a reflection of the inner workings of my mind. Now you will find book reviews and story ideas as well as the random reference to mental illness in the world and the delicious dish I cooked last night.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Bye Bye Greenling

I have a very sad post. I joined this great website called Mint. It's a financial site that helps show you your shopping trends. I have come face to face with how much I spend on food and Greenling. Until I gain better employment I will be stopping my Greenling deliveries. This saddens me tremendously, but it's best right now. I will, however, continue to eat as seasonally as I can and shop at Wheatsville where they sell local produce & the triangle farmer's market. So, bye bye Greenling for now.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Structured Chaos

Structured chaos. It sounds like an oxymoron, but for me it's actually a very important tool in daily sanity. As an incredibly creative person I cannot live with complete structure. However I have learned that in order to thrive both creatively and as a normal member of society I need some organization. I really don't think very many people do well under completely chaotic circumstances. I like routine. I like how grounding and soothing it is, but within routine I need some craziness otherwise I get bored very quickly. Right now I'm struggling with scheduling crazy creative time. It sounds ridiculous doesn't it? But many writers and artists say that coming to the page at the same time everyday gives your brain an invisible on/off button. It knows that from 5-6 or whenever it is it's time to play and it begins to work accordingly. But, how, in a life lived with so little control do you actually settle on a time and stick with it? It's so much easier with work, that you have to go to on time each day or you're out on the street and out of health insurance. But survival doesn't depend on that creative schedule, does it? I'm beginning to suspect that in fact it does, but it is so much easier to act as if it doesn't and just suffer. So structured chaos is what I'm after. Any suggestions for how to actually achieve this?

Anything can work

You know, nobody else can tell you what will work for your body. For me it's cutting down on alcohol, meat, sugar and super fattening cheeses. For Mark Bittman it's about being vegan till dinner. it's all about you and what you need to be healthy. Here's short article about his part-time vegan life and a link to the radio show where he discusses it.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Dinner Tonight

Tonight I flipped through one cookbook and threw things in pots. It ended up being pretty delicious.

First up I adapted a recipe from Fresh From the Farmer's Market by Janet Fletcher.

Cauliflower and Sweet Potato Soup with Cilantro

2 T olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 head cauliflower, chopped
1 medium sweet potato, peeled & chopped
2 small dried chilies, diced
2 cups vegetable broth
3 cups water

- Heat the oil on medium-low heat and then add the onion. Cook until clear and soft, about 10 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cilantro and cook another few minutes.
- Add the last ingredients and simmer until the vegetables are soft.
- Puree and return to pot. Season with salt & pepper.

Next up I used most of last week's green onions and collards in a lovely fritatta.

Collard & Sun-dried Tomato Fritatta

1/2 bunch collard greens
3 green onions, diced
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, diced
5 eggs, whisked
1/4 grated parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp coriander

- De-vein and chop collards.
- Preheat broiler.
- In a cast iron skillet heat 1 T olive oil.
- Add the onions & collards and toss to coat.
- Cook about 4 minutes over med-low, turning greens constantly.
- Add the tomatoes and toss to distribute.
- Pour the eggs over the greens and season with s&p & coriander.
- Cook on low until center almost set.
- Sprinkle the parmesan over the fritatta and place whole pan under the broiler.
- Cook until golden. Remove and serve.

Greenling Delivery

I didn't have time to take a picture this week as I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off. But here's the list of what came in the local basket.

# Arugula bunch--Acadian Family Farm
# Cilantro--Acadian Family Farm
# Herb--Pure luck
# Green garlic--Green Gate Farm
# Mixed Salad Greens w/ radish--My Father's Farm
# Broccoli--Texas Natural
# Chioggia Beets--Animal Farm
# Oranges--G&S Grove
# Tomato--Reliable
# White mushrooms--Kitchen Pride
# Bok Choy--Naegelin Farm

I also got something unrecognizable to me. It's a large-ish green globe with greens attached. I do feel a bit stupid for not knowing what it is, but what can you do?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Ronettes

Here's a sad story about one of music's great girl singers. She fell out of the spot light and seemingly into mental illness. I grew up listening to the Ronettes music. Their song Be My Baby was one of my favorites when I was a kid.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

This week's food ideas

Ok, so I'm going to try this a different way. I'm going to propose a few main recipes, a few sides and one dessert all using or complementing the stuff in the local basket. This will all be things I plan on making or doing with my bounty.

I eat a ton of salads. I eat one almost every day with lunch. I will wash and bag my spinach and greens so that they are ready to place in a tupperware to cart to work. I also put a small bit of spinach in my smoothies each morning. So you won't find a spinach recipe this week. As for those grapefruits i plan on slicing them and adding them to my daily salads. On top of this I might throw in a handful of sliced almonds and a bit of goat cheese.
I don't know about you, but I can't use that whole bunch of cilantro this week so I plan on making it into a compound butter. About an hour before you plan to work take a stick of salted butter out of the fridge to soften. Once it's soft put it in a bowl or in a food processor. take that bunch of cilantro and chop it up as fine as you can. Add this to the butter and mix thoroughly. Once mixed placed it in a pile on a piece of parchment. Now use the parchment to form a log of butter. Stick this, parchment included in a ziploc and freeze. The butter can be used as a topping on corn or just on a slice of toast in the morning, anything you'd normally use butter for. I have a good friend who makes compound butters and then uses them whenever he cooks fish. MMMMM.

Main Dishes:

Tofu Pot Pie

1/4 cup frozen peas
1 yellow onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 lg. red potatoes, diced
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp olive oil
4 T flour
1 cup veggie broth
3 cups milk
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
8 oz tofu, diced
1 tsp basil
1 tsp thyme
1 store-bought pastry crust or 1 sheet frozen puff pastry

* Preheat the oven to 300

1. Heat a large skillet or saucepan and add the olive oil.
2. Add the onions and cook on med-low till clear.
3. Add the garlic and cook a few more minutes.
4. Add the carrots and potatoes and cook till soft.
5. Stir in the flour, cooking about three minutes.
6. Whisk in the broth and bring to a simmer.
7. Turn to low and add the mushrooms, milk, tofu and spices.
8. Cook over low until thickened and potatoes are soft.
9. Pour the mixture into a large baking dish.
10. Unroll the pie shell or puff pastry and lay over the dish so that the surface is totally covered. It can drape over the sides, but press it against the dish.
11. Pop in the oven and bake about 15 minutes until the crust is golden.

French Onion Soup courtesy of The Vegetarian Bistro by Marlena Spieler

2 1/2 pounds onion, thinly sliced
3 T olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
a pinch of sugar
8 cups vegetable stock
6 slices thick bread
3 cups or 12 oz shredded gruyere (or mixed parmesan & gruyere)

1. In a large heavy pot, slowly cook the onions until lightly goldena nd soft, about 30 minutes. Season the onions with salt & pepper and the pinch of sugar to help caramelization.
2. Pour in the stock and bring to a boil. reduce heat and simmer about 30 minutes.
3. Preheat the broiler.
4. Ladle the soup in 6 bowls and top with a slice of toasted bread. Divide the cheese among the bowls.
5. Place the bowls on sheet trays and broil 3-5 minutes until the cheese is golden.

I don't know about you, but I have a really hard time eating the soup the traditional way. One way to go is to toast the bread and cheese alone and then dip into your soup as you eat it. You could also eliminate the bread altogether and broil the soup with just the cheese on top. And another version would be to have simple grilled cheese sandwiches on the side.

Sweet Potato & Squash Lasagne, adapted from Gardeners' Community Cookbook

1 pound no-bake lasgne noodles
2 med sweet potatoes, peeled & sliced into 1/4" thick rounds
2 T olive oil
1 egg
2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 t salt
3 cups ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1/2 pound butternut or delicata squash
1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced

- Preheat the oven to 475*
- Spread the sweet potato slices on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, toss to coat.
- Bake about 15 minutes until light golden.
- Turn the oven down to 375*
- Mix together the egg, basil, oregano, garlic, salt, ricotta & parmesan cheese.
- Add the squash and mix.
- To assemble lightly oil a 13*9" baking dish.
- Line the bottom with the no-bake noodles.
- Spread 1/2 of the squash mixture on the noodles.
- Add 1/2 of the potatoes.
- Top with half of the mozzarella.
- Repeat.
- Cover with foil and bake about an hour.
- Remove the foil and continue baking until the mozzarella is golden and the mixture is bubbly.
- Cut & serve.

Braised Cabbage with Apple

1/2 large or 1 small cabbage
1 large apple
2 T butter
2 T balsamic vinegar

- Slice the cabbage into thin strips and place in a large pot.
- Peel & grate the apple and add it to the pot.
- Add the butter and the vinegar to the cabbage.
- Cook the cabbage over medium-low heat, stirring often until the cabbage is tender. This should take about 30 minutes.
- Sprinkle with salt & pepper and serve.

Kale & Potato Soup

1 T olive oil
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 bunch kale, stemmed and cut into 1 inch chunks
1 medium potato, diced
4 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup milk or soymilk
1/4 cup white cheddar cheese

- Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat.
- Add the kale and garlic.
- Using tongs turn kale in pan as it wilts, about 6 minutes.
- Add potatoes & stock.
- Lower the heat and simmer, covered until the potatoes are soft.
- Puree the soup with an immersion blender or in a standing blender.
- Return the soup to the pot and whisk in the milk and cheese. Season with salt & pepper.

Brussel Sprouts with Walnuts

1 pound brussel sprouts
1 T butter
1/4 cup chopped and toasted walnuts
2 T finely chopped green onion
2 T finely chopped rosemary

- Trim the ends of the sprouts.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
- Add the sprouts and cook until just tender, about 10 minutes.
- Add the butter, walnuts, onion & rosemary into a serving bowl.
- drain the pot and cook the sprouts another minute to evaporate all the water.
- Toss into the serving bowl and serve.

Dark Chocolate Orange Pudding

3 T cornstarh or arrowroot powder
1/3 cup agave syrup or maple syrup (this will change the flavor slightly)
2 T cocoa powder
2 cups milk (soymilk, or coconut milk can be substituted)
1 t vanilla
zest from 2 oranges

- In a pot combine the cornstarch, cocoa & agave.
- Add the milk and whisk.
- Heat over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until it begins to boil.
- Lower the heat and simmer continuously for 3 or 4 minutes until the mixture thickens.
- Turn off the heat and whisk in the vanilla & zest.
- This can be served warm or it can be poured into serving bowls and chilled until ready to eat.
- For a fancier dessert top each serving with whipped cream and an orange supreme.

Greenling Delivery

Here's my lovely delivery for the week. I did add on a few extra things that I wanted like cauliflower & sweet potatoes. Everything except for the cauliflower is locally grown.

  • Brussel Sprouts -Montesino Farm
  • Spinach--Acadian Family Farm
  • Cilantro--Acadian Family Farm
  • Herb--Pure luck
  • Green shallots--Acadian Family Farm
  • Kale--Montesino Farm
  • Mix Lettuce--Montesino Farm
  • Grapefruits--G&S Grove
  • Yellow onions--Naegelin Farm
  • Cabbage--Naegelin Farm
Now what am I going to do with all this stuff?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

alcohol & depression

You know how sometimes you know something, but you haven't accepted it? That's how I've been with alcohol for the last couple years. I've known that it was uniquely bad for me, but I've continued to drink, sometimes beyond a healthy limit. Recently I drank 4 1/2 beers over a few hour period. The next day I felt awful, not really physically, mostly emotionally. I was depressed and anxious. I did a tiny bit of research and came across some interesting information. The first bit is that people like me (family history of alcoholism & depression as well as my own issues) should not drink, ever. This was not entirely surprising, but like I said I'd been ignoring this.
The second bit of info was far scarier. It was about suicide statistics. Basically if you are older and you suffer from depression & are an alcoholic you are at a much greater risk of committing suicide. What are you suppossed to do with this information when you love people who fit this description and you know they won't seek help?
As for myself I'm cutting down on drinking. Ideally I would like a drink to be a special occasion thing only. I'm sick of being around people who have to have a drink especially in a date situtation. If you can't have fun together sober than perhaps something is wrong.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Week 1 Results

It took me two weeks but I finally made it through my first meal plan. Not everything was a success, but it all was healthy and got eaten.
The favorite dish was definitely the fritatta. In fact I'll be making another with some of the spinach I got today. It was incredibly easy and much healthier than a traditional quiche. The only thing I'll change this time other than the vegetables is that I'll add some fresh herbs, probably a bit of rosemary.
The least successful dish was the peanut sauce. It was pretty terrible actually. I even added honey and twice as much peanut butter, but I couldn't get the flavor right. I'm not sure what it was missing, but I'll figure it out. I love a good challenge.
Last night I made the quinoa stew. I found it hearty and filling. Quinoa is a complete protein and an excellent source of iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and B vitamins. Quinoa is classified as a grain, but is actually a member of the spinach family. It has been a staple of the diets of the Incas and other Andean peoples for over 5,000 years. I find that amazing. It's like eating history.
If you've made any of the dishes please let me know what you thought.

Greenling Delivery

Here's a list of the lovelies I got from Greenling today.

Broccoli - Texas Natural/Acadian Family farm
Escarole - Acadian Family Farm
Radish - My Father's Farm/Acadian Family Farm/Naegelin Farm
Rosemary - Pure Luck
Avocado - G&S Grove
Oranges - G&S Grove
Portabella Caps - Kitchen Pride
Arugula Microgreens - Bella Verde
Green Onions - Monotsino Farm
Spinach - Acadian Family Farm
Arugula - Acadian Family Farm

When I received my order I cleaned and put everything away. I always wash my greens and place them in damp paper towels in ziploc bags. The best way to wash greens (and berries) is to fill a large bowl with cool water. Place the greens in the bowl and let them soak for a bit. This is done so that all the dirt and sediment can sink to the bottom of the bowl. It also doesn't damage the greens the way running them under water can. Pull the greens out and run them through a salad spinner. Next I lay a piece or two of paper towels on the counter and wrap my greens up in them. Into a large ziploc bag and you're good.
In order not to waste too many ziploc bags I wash them and reuse them. People make fun of me for doing it, but it saves me money and keeps a few extra plastic bags out of the landfill. I would love to find a better method for saving my greens, but I haven't done the research yet. Any ideas?
Wrapping fresh herbs in a damp towel and placing them in ziploc bags keeps them much longer as well.
For lunch I made myself a lovely salad of greens and orange segments. I also had an avocado flour tortilla taco and a poached egg. yumm!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


No I haven't posted anything in a week. And no I haven't written recipes for the week. No, I didn't get the job I wanted. It's my Saturday and I feel blah. I have things I'd love to be doing like writing interesting and thoughtful posts on food and mental illness or sewing my new bag, but all I can manage is to sit here and right this while I watch What Not To Wear. Have I fizzled out from a period of bursting creativity or is this mild depression?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Redemptive Power of Music

And here's a wonderful story about a journalist in LA helping a homeless schizophrenic musician. Apparently the book that was written has become a movie.

Comfortably Numb Interview

I just listened to a great and concise interview with author Charles Barber about his new book, Comfortably Numb, and his own experiences with mental illness.

Morning Pages

This is what I wrote first thing this morning:
Last night after I finished reading and as I was daydreaming into sleep fingers of self-doubt began to crawl up my spine. I began to wonder if my high had worn off. I woke up at 7:46 to the morning sun coming through my faux wood blinds. The last few days have been a bit manic. I don't feel sad or self-loathing today, but I also don't feel as I need to do a million things.
My days usually being around 7 am. I get a large glass of water and then sit down to write my morning pages. For those of you unfamiliar with morning pages they are a daily task from The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron.
I first began working with this book my freshman year of college. My creative writing teacher assigned parts of the book along with other writing assignments. To be honest the morning pages are the only thing I really took from the book.
The idea is that each morning before you do anything else like check your email or take a shower you sit down and write three pages. The rules include that you write with pen and paper (no computers allowed) and you not read the pages when done. The point is just to write: to jump start you brain and get all the cobwebs out from the night before. And you write about absolutely anything even the fact that you may not have anything to say. Eventually you break down and actually start writing about things, typically things you hadn't realized you'd been thinking about. It is cathartic, surprising and part of my saving grace. While I have not written steadily for ten years I have gone back to it periodically. And this time around has lasted about seven months. The only days I've missed were Thanksgiving, Christmas and the day I had a tooth pulled at 8 am. And when I miss a day I notice.
I've included my words from this morning because they help represent cyclothymia, my cyclothymia. Cyclothymia is characterized by mood swings in the same vein as bipolar, but much less severe and faster than a typical bipolar. Cyclothymics can have swings weekly or even daily whereas bipolars tend to cycle over longer periods of time. (This is all my understanding of this, if I mis-write I apologize.)
But there are things that can be done to keep oneself more consistent (I hope anyway). That is where I'm at. I've only missed one day of work because of this in the past 6 months and I'm not manic enough to really warrant medication, but consistency and productivity and confidence are big issues. My ritual of writing each morning helps. It gives me perspective, a place to vent and a routine. I love routines.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Way Off Topic

I know this is way, way off topic, but I have to say that opening the Ny Times and reading about President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton makes me grin from ear to ear. It's incredible and the shock has still not worn off.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Coconut Curry

Yesterday marked day 1 of the weekly menu. I am really late as I was working out computer bugs and celebrating birthdays and being lazy, but I'm on track finally. I have to say it was quite delicious. Spicy, warm and hearty and very simple to throw together.

I did make a few changes to the original recipes (I can't ever seem to just follow a recipe). I only used 1 red onion and I used Bragg's amino acids instead of the fish sauce for the curry. For the wild rice I used a combo of brown and wild rice. The organic wild rice in the bulk section was $10 more so I went with the combo. I halved the recipe and used pecans instead of walnuts as that was what I had. I also replaced the green onions with a stalk of early green garlic from Greenling. Even though I followed the package instructions on my bulk rice it was a bit overcooked. That is probably my only real complaint, but in the face of how delicious it was it's not a big deal. if you made it please let me know what you thought and if you made any changes.

Sense Memory Lane

I went back to Eastside Cafe last week for the first time in many years. I worked there in the little gift shop, Pitchforks and Tablespoons, for 2 1/2 years when I was quite younger. I enjoyed working there, but some gossip I've heard since made me stay away from the place. I finally trekked over to see if it is as good as my memory.
I got out of the car and the first thing I noticed was the smell. It smelled exactly the same, triggering a cache of memories and feelings. It was incredibly strange, like walking into my past (yes I know that's cliched, but it was true).
The food is as good as my memory. I even tried something I hadn't tasted before, the pesto ravioli. I had always avoided it because that much pesto is too much for me, but this pesto was varied and nutty. Along with it I had one of my favorite side dishes: squash with soy ginger glaze. It did not disappoint. And for dessert we had a decent buttermilk pie. I know they are somewhat famous for this pie, but honestly it did not compare to my own or my mother's I should say, a recipe I have co-opted as mine. The filling was tasty, but the crust was raw in the middle. I am not a fan of raw pie crust, salty and floury without any flaky.
Despite dessert being less than great I am happy to have re-discovered this classic Austin gem. And I will definitely return to eat there while sitting uncomfortably in my past.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Meal Plan 1

And here is my first attempt at making a week of meals that are healthy, vegetarian and use much of the Greenling local basket produce. Some of these recipes are mine entirely and some are adaptations of others. I have notated which come from books and have links to the book or authors site. I have not necessarily tried these recipes so it will be an experiment for everyone. Please let me know how they go if you try them. Also if you prefer to add meat feel free. I tried to make each recipe easy and without any exotic ingredients. Don't feel constrained. If you don't like an herb try a different one. If you hate bell peppers try eggplant instead. I'm also giving links to the pdf files of both the recipes and the shopping list. Enjoy!

DOWNLOAD FILE of the recipes
DOWNLOAD FILE of the shopping list

This Weeks' recipes:

Day 1:

Curried Coconut Sweet Potatoes and Cauliflower with fake Beef Strips - Adapted from a recipe in Spices of Life by Nina Simonds
Wild Rice with Walnuts & Apples – Adapted from Smith & Hawkins’ Gardeners’ Community Cookbook

Curried coconut sweet potatoes:

3 sweet potatoes
½ head cauliflower

curry seasonings:
1 tsp chile flakes
1 tsp ginger
1 ½ tsp cumin
1 ½ tsp coriander
½ tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt

1 ½ T olive oil
2 med red onions, diced

1 ½ cups coconut milk
3 T fish sauce

1 package fake beef strips like Lightlife’s
½ cup fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips

- Cut the vegetables into bite-size pieces.
- In a large pot heat the oil until hot.
- Add the curry seasonings and red onion, stir over medium-low heat about three minutes until the onions are tender.
- Add the sauce and bring to a boil.
- Add the veggies and stir to coat.
- Reduce the heat, cover and cook till the veggies are soft, about 20 to 25 minutes.
- Once the veggies are done remove 1 cup and put aside for the next day.
- Add the beef strips and continue to simmer about 7 minutes until strips heated through.
- Add basil and serve.

Wild Rice with Walnuts & Apples

1 apple, cut into ¼” dice
1 cup chopped walnuts
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 cup raisins
lemon juice from 1 lemon
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup olive oil
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
2 cups wild rice *any rice will do

- Cook the rice according to package instructions
- Toast the walnuts in a skillet over medium about 5 minutes until fragrant.
- Combine the apple, walnuts, onion & raisins in a large bowl.
- Combine the juice, garlic, olive oil and seasonings in a jar. Shake to emulsify.
- Pour the rice into the apple mixture.
- Pour the juice mixture on top and stir to coat.
Day 2:

Lentil Loaf – Adapted from The Six O’Clock Scramble
Roasted Veggies

Lentil Loaf

2 cups cooked lentils
1 cup mashed veggies from night before
½ small onion, diced
¼ tsp pepper
1 cup bread crumbs
1 egg beaten
1 T olive oil
1 15 oz. can tomato sauce

- Mix all ingredients together minus the tomato sauce.
- Pour into a sprayed or buttered loaf pan and cover with foil.
- Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes.
- Heat the tomato sauce and pour over the loaf to serve.

Roasted Veggies

2 carrots
2 parsnips
2 potatoes
1 yellow onion
6 cloves garlic
2 T olive oil
1 T balsamic vinegar
½ tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
½ tsp rosemary

- Preheat oven to 400.
- Dice all veggies, except the garlic and place on a baking sheet or in any large roasting pan.
- Cut each garlic clove in half and place on the baking sheet.
- Put oil & vinegar and spices on veggies.
- Toss to coat.
- Roast until tender, about 30-45 min.
Day 3:

Roasted Veggie Fritatta with mixed greens

Roasted Veggie Fritatta

Up to 2 cups of veggies from night before
2 tsp olive oil
8 eggs
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1 cup mixed greens per person

- Heat a large oven-proof skillet until hot.
- Add the olive oil.
- Add the roasted veggies.
- Lightly beat the eggs and then pour over the veggies.
- Preheat the broiler.
- Cook on low until the eggs are set and the bottom was golden.
- Place under the broiler for 3-5 minutes until the top is golden.
- Slice.
- On top of each serving place the mixed greens. Serve with your favorite vinaigrette
Day 4:

Seitan and Bell Peppers in Peanut Sauce & Sauteed Bok ChoySeitan & Bell Peppers in Peanut Sauce

Peanut sauce:
1 leek or small white onion
1 serrano chile (remove seeds for less spice)
2 garlic cloves
2 tsp peeled ginger
¼ cup cilantro
1 ½ tsp tomato paste
¼ cup peanut butter
1 T soy sauce or Bragg’s amino acids
¼ cup water

2 bell peppers, any color
1 package seitan
1 T olive oil
2 cups cooked brown rice

- Blend all sauce ingredient except for the water in a food processor.
- Once blended turn on low and stream in the water. Set aside.
- Slice the peppers into thin strips.
- Heat a large skillet and add the olive oil.
- Add the peppers and sauté about 2 min till soft.
- Add the seitan strips and heat through.
- Pour the peanut sauce on top and bring to a simmer.
- Serve over warm brown rice.

Sauteed Bok Choy

1 bunch bok choy

1 T olive oil
2 T minced garlic
1 tsp chile flakes

1 T rice wine vinegar
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 T soy sauce or Bragg’s

- Clean and cut the bok choy into 1 inch chunks.
- Combine vinegar, sesame oil & soy sauce
- Heat a large skillet until hot and add olive oil.
- Add the bok choy, garlic and chile flakes.
- Toss slowly until wilted but still toothy.
- Add the vinegar mixture and toss for another minute.
- Serve.
Day 5:

Quinoa Vegetable Stew – Adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites, fresh spinach & crusty multi-grain bread

Quinoa Vegetable Stew

¾ cup quinoa
1 ½ cups water
1 cup chopped onions
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 T olive oil
1 chopped bell pepper
1 chopped zucchini
½ head cauliflower
28-ounce can chopped tomatoes
1 T fresh basil
salt & pepper to taste

grated parmesan
loaf of multi-grain bread

- Rinse the quinoa and then combine with the water in a saucepan.
- Cover the pan and simmer the quinoa until fluffy, about 15-20 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350. Wrap the bread in foil.
- In a large skillet sauté the onions and garlic in the oil until soft, about 5 minutes.
- Add the pepper and zucchini and sauté 5 more minutes.
- Put the bread in the oven to heat.
- Add the tomatoes, basil and s & p and simmer till the veggies are done.
- In each bowl place a handful of spinach.
- Spoon out a serving of quinoa on top of the spinach and then ladle the stew on top.
- Add grated parmesan to taste.
- Pull the bread out of the oven and slice.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


You might ask why a food blog is so encompassing of the rest of my life. Because in my mind everything is connected to everything else. What we eat and drink and smoke and take does not just go through us. It stays with us. It effects all aspects of our bodies and, I believe, our minds.
Food was my first love. My complicated relationship with food is one of the most important relationships in my life. I spend probably too much of my time thinking about, reading about and preparing the food that I eat and feed to others. But to not give in to these needs would be torture for me. And I closely monitor how what I eat and drink effects me. Perhaps this is because I am overly sensitive. Perhaps I have become a hypochondriac of sorts or perhaps I am more in tune with my body.
I try to use food to heal myself and sometimes to hurt myself, but I use it possibly more than I enjoy it. I am even learning to enjoy foods that I once deplored. I know they are good for me so I am learning to cook them in ways and with spices that make them taste better.
If my therapist and I are right and there is something in my brain that controls my moods/depressions/non-depressions (cyclothymia) than I would rather use food to feel better than ingest some little blue pill. There is something wrong with our society that we shove pills down our throats to solve so much of life's problems. Sometimes it's OK to feel sad. And sometimes we know deep down that we have very little control over whether or not we feel sad.
I have tested myself enough to know that sugar, white flour, alcohol and caffeine make me feel worse. My energy levels go down, my weight increases, my mood darkens and my cravings for carbs and sweets sky rocket. When I eliminate these things from my diet wonderful things happen.
I can't write about food and not write about all of the things I associate with food, which for me is a very long list.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Pantry Staples

Everyone has their idea about what should always be found in their cupboards. The idea being that you always have enough staples to make a healthy meal no matter what can be found in the fridge. I'm working on compiling my list both so I can always know what I need to pick up at the store and also so anyone else can get ideas for their own stocks. It may seem like a lot, but I would rather have what I need to make any base recipe and just have to buy the produce for a recipe. I also tend to bake randomly and get frustrated when I don't have everything I need for whatever I'm craving.

Dry Goods:

Brown rices (short grain and long grain)
Wild rice
Various shapes and sizes of whole grain pasta
Whole wheat pastry flour
Whole whole regular flour
Rolled oats
Cocoa powder
Baking chocolate
Turbinado or organic sugar
Agave syrup
Brown rice syrup
Chocolate chips
Pancake mix
Canned tomatoes in various states
Jarred tomato sauce (Barilla is my fave)
Vegetable broth in cartons, preferably low sodium
Canned corn
Canned pumpkin
Various kinds of canned beans
Various kinds of dried beans
Lentils in several varieties
Olive oil
Vegetable oil (for baking)
Vinegars (balsamic, white wine, apple cider, rice wine)
Baking soda & powder
Cream of tartar

Sea salt
Black Peppercorns
Fresh nutmeg

Dry perishables:
Onions (any kind)
White potatoes
Sweet potatoes
Dried chiles like chile pequin

Long-lasting fridge items:
Maple syrup
Tomato paste in a tube
Dijon mustard
Frozen berries
Peanut butter (the all natural no sugar kind)
Jams of various flavors (also no sugar added)

More perishable fridge items:
Salad greens
Roasted red peppers in a jar
Goat or Parmesan cheese
Sliced loaf of hearty bread

Greenling Delivery

My bountiful Greenling delivery arrived on my doorstep today. It's about my 7th delivery and the excitement hasn't worn off. Here's a lovely picture of the basket as it was delivered:My official delivery voucher gives the contents as such:
Green Garlic (4) - Green Gate Farms
Chioggia Beet - Animal Farm (I didn't receive these. Instead I got a dark green bunch of collards.)
Spinach - Acadian Family Farm
French Breakfast Radish (8ish)- Acadian Family Farm
Sweet Potatoes 2 lbs - Naegelin Farms
Yellow Onions (2) - Naegelin Farms
Tomatoes (2) - Reliable Brand
Tangerines (4) - G&S Groves
Bok Choy - Naegelin Farms
Herb (cilantro & oregano) - Pure Luck

And here's the basket after I rearranged for a better view:
I do think that $35 is not a bad price for the amount of food and knowing exactly where it came from. I have not, however, researched or visited any of these farms. I know Pure Luck makes delightful goat's milk products, but as for the rest I'm going on faith that they are equally reputable and organic. I plan on using all of this bounty, but am not sure yet as to how I will.
Most of my menu for the week is planned and shopping listed, but I need to make a final few changes to adjust for the collards. And radishes. What to do with those pesky radishes?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Hello World!

It is a historic day, one of the most historic of my almost 30 years: today we inaugurate the first black American president. I can say that I never believed it would happen and I am deliriously happy that it has. That said I'll move on to what really brings me here today.
My older sister recently started a wonderful knitting and crafting blog. She has asked me to join her as a blogger in solidarity. At first I scoffed. I really didn't know what my blog would be about or if I could make the time to do it, but this morning I had an epiphany. For Christmas I gave my sister and her family a copy of the book The 6 O'clock Scramble, by Aviva Goldfarb. They absolutely love it. I am a little jealous.
This book is not right for me, however, because it is meat centric. Rather than try to adapt her recipes for vegetarianism I have decided to do my own version without meat. I will also use the local box I receive from Greenling Organic Delivery along with pantry staples and other organic, seasonal produce from the local co-op. I plan on posting a weekly menu with shopping lists each weekend, including desserts. I will also reveiw the recipes and throw in bits about my mood, my writing and anything else that comes to mind. So, here goes.