Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Pig's Ass

As long as I'm on the topic of filling out petitions and urging you to sign letters, here's a link to a pretty alarming story from Sustainable Food.

A private agency that assigns foster children to homes in Baltimore has refused to place children in a Muslim woman's home because of her beliefs against eating/buying/serving pork. It is illegal for such an agency to discriminate against someone on the basis of religion. The article points out that plenty of value systems prohibit pork consumption--Judaism, vegetarianism, even some sects of Christianity. I work in interfaith cooperation at my day job, and sadly, it does not surprise me that this agency's "policy" is only affecting a Muslim family.

In conclusion:

A Real Life Conversation at my Parents' Dinner Table:

Mom: Mmm, delicious. Where did this ham come from?

Wacky Uncle: A pig's ass.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Do You Know What You're Eating?

Not for long. It soon may be illegal in the U.S. to label foods as free of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). This would eliminate all avenues for consumers to seek out food that is not genetically modified.

Go and sign the petition at Food Democracy Now if that makes you angry.

They're not asking for GMOs to be banned--or even labeled. They just want organic growers to maintain the right to label their products as GMO-free.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Smoothies (Happy, Mom?)

At my mother's request (which cannot be ignored), I will post a few smoothie recipes today. I have a smoothie for breakfast a few times a week--sometimes with oatmeal on the side, sometimes alone. I mainly use a fruit+yogurt+milk+occasional extra flavor formula.

I make them with an immersion blender, which I'm afraid is on its last legs, but you could use any blender. If I had to make a recommendation (and I don't have to, but I will anyway), I think the Magic Bullet blender is particularly drool-worthy. However, it has some drawbacks. It is pricey, especially considering that it only blends small portions at a time. It seems useful mainly for drink blending--so it may be worth it if that's your primary blending need. I do a LOT of blending/food processing, and I have a kitchen policy against singular-task items (think: melon baller, panini press, avocado slicer). My current blender consists of a hand-held motor piece which attaches to three different components: a food processor, electric mixer, and the immersion blender. It's versatile, simple, small, and gets a LOT of use.

On to smoothie recipes! If you still have local summer fruits in your freezer, bless your frugal heart. If you are getting fresh local fruits already where you live, I hate you. I've moved on to Wegman's frozen fruits. Here are some of my favorite recipes:

Mixed Berry Smoothie
Combine and blend:
1/2-3/4 cup frozen blueberries, raspberries, strawberries
1/3 cup yogurt
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp honey (Make sure your honey is local and organic! Bees are dying, people!)
Dash of salt (and I really mean just a dash)

Peach-Blackberry Smoothie
Combine and blend:
1/2-3/4 cup frozen peach slices and blackberries
1/3 cup yogurt
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
dash of salt

Cucumber Melon Smoothie
Combine and blend:
1/2-3/4 cup sliced frozen cucumber and cantaloupe (honeydew would work, but I like cantaloupe better)
1/3 cup yogurt
1/3 cup milk
dash of salt
(Add some fresh dill for a more savory treat)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie
Combine and blend:
2-3 tbsp homemade chocolate syrup
3-4 tbsp peanut butter
3/4 cup frozen yogurt
1/3 cup milk

And when it's late April and it snowed this morning and you've totally given up on eating locally until the asparagus comes up...

Shamefully Tropical Smoothie
Combine and blend:
1/2-3/4 cup frozen mango, pineapple, strawberries
1/2 cup orange juice
dash of salt
tiny splash of hot sauce

These make about one serving each, but they are very approximate measurements, so feel free to play around with them--adding more of what you like and eliminating what you don't. What are some of your favorite smoothies recipes? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Earth Day Eating

Earth Day was this week, and in addition to organizing a group of kick-ass teenagers at an interfaith recycling drive this weekend, I've been thinking about how to practice earth-friendly eating. (Step one: blog more often, slacker). We seldom think about the impact of our eating habits on anything but our own bodies, but this week I'll be posting about how the way we eat affects the world.

There's a great post on Design*Sponge (a site I love to drool over) about "earth day eating, every day." Ashley put together a great list of ways to be earth conscious in your own kitchen.

Some that I'm already doing include:
*Composting kitchen scraps
*Keeping a kitchen garden
*Canning & Preserving
*Making my own dairy products
*Recycling all paper, plastic, glass, and aluminum products
*Repurposing used glass bottles
*Supporting CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture)
*Patronizing farmer's markets
*Carrying my own shopping bags to the market
*Reusing plastic food bags
*Seeking out locally grown and processed foods
*Buying/eating foods in season
*Running the dishwasher only when full
*Using homemade and/or non-toxic cleaning supplies
*Seriously minimizing the use of paper towels
*Storing foods in glass, ceramic, or metal containers instead of plastic

She had some suggestions that I'd love to do when I have more space--like keeping bees and chickens. She also had some suggestions I haven't been doing, but should--like bringing my own containers to the market for meat and fish and buying biodegradable trash bags.

These are pretty simple practices that someone like me can implement while working (more than) full time and living in a tiny city apartment. For those of you who have a little land or maybe a kitchen that fits more than one person in it at time (seriously, my kitchen is that small), think about what kind of impact your food habits can make!