Sunday, February 24, 2013

It's okay to indulge once and a while.

Since I took a hiatus from blogging through the holidays, I never got to post pictures of recipes from what I made over the holidays, so I will talk and share pictures about some of the things I made. Now before I start this blog, I will warn you, what I used was not in season (really) and was not produced at a local store, but I did purchase most of my products at small family owned businesses, which is equally as important as buying local, because you are helping a small business...and ALWAYS keep that in mind.
So, over the holidays there were plenty of parties to attend and as I was brought up, you never show up to a party empty handed, unless absolutely directed to (i.e., party was catered). For one party we (my mother and I) made stuffed bread or garbage bread as some know it...We did two kinds for that, the first was spinach, garlic, and oil...the second was broccoli and sausage (with seasonings of course). Those are always the first to go at parties...and the spinach was fresh and purchased at the local farmers market. The dough that we bought was from our local italian bakery, this was another way to support a small,local, family owned business. We also made french bark which has dried fruit, chocolate, nuts, and crystallized ginger. I had a picture of it, I was going to post, but I cannot find that picture. For another party I made a tuscan white bean dip, even though the ingredients were imported from elsewhere, the products were purchased at a local family owned italian imports store.This was a simple thing to put together, all that is needed is cannellini beans, lemon, garlic, parsley, olive oil, and salt, pepper, and extra's not local, but it is a light and delicious snack...especially if you cut up some veggies (for those of us who have to follow a gluten free diet)...or you can make homemade pita chips (I didn't have time to do that for this particular one).  I also made drunken figs dipped in chocolate...and I took pictures of these too. While figs are neither local, nor in season, they are delicious and they were dried figs, so they can be multiseasonal. I purchased both the wine and the figs at local family owned stores, not big grocery store corporations. I will walk through the steps of this snack...and encourage you to try them, not everyones cup of tea, but basically the food of the Gods.
First get your dried figs and take provocative pictures of them. Use Williams and Sonoma mixing bowls for best results.
Then you soak your figs in a nice port wine- make sure it's a port wine for best results- then take another picture....These have to soak for at least 24 hours...and if you have enough time on your hands you can let them soak for almost a make them really drunk...They will plump up and absorb most if not all of the wine.
So then they kind of look like you murdered ET, but that is normal. At this point you put out paper towels and let that soak up the excess moisture...because you don't want them to be too moist...or else the chocolate won't stick.
So after you take pictures of the million other tasks you just completed, you get two bags of Ghirardelli chocolate chips, I used one bag of semi-sweet and one bag of bitter-sweet. Also get some good butter to used, I used Amish butter, which is local butter, which helped make this chocolate silky smooth...even though it kinda looks a little unappetizing in this picture. So make sure you do this step in either a double boiler or in a proclad or all clad pot, or in the microwave, but the stove is best...and keep it at really low heat. Warning: YOU WILL BE STIRRING A LOT! You will get a great arm workout with this step, it's all in the arms.  Make sure you don't burn the chocolate, because it will ruin everything and you should just give up after that, just kidding, you can salvage it...note: I actually did not burn the chocolate, I am just warning you of the consequences. So, once you see that it is silky smooth, you can get your figs prepared for dipping, I suggest using a fork or a bamboo skewer. Then dip the fig in chocolate and smother the fig in chocolate, push it, push it real good. Make sure you lay out a cookie tray and parchment or wax paper to set the dipped figs on. Once you have dipped the figs, place them in a cool place for the chocolate to harden, I suggest sticking it in the refrigerator....and then....
You've got the finished product, well sort of, the chocolate wasn't hard on these when I took the make sure you let it get hard...seriously! Once you have followed all of those steps, place them on a nice tray, I used bamboo...and indulge.
I know this wasn't a focus on local food, but I did support local businesses during this endeavor and also used products from the local farmers market. It's okay to indulge once and a while, especially around the holidays, but always try and support something local, whether it is local food or local businesses, the more you do, the bigger difference it will make. I hope to add more food and recipes to my future posts!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

So fresh and So clean....

I'm back, I'm back, I'm back. I apologize for being on an 8th month hiatus...I kind of laid low this summer and just had no ambition to write ANYTHING. I did, however, complete the Warrior Dash in New York State in's that for a girl who had open heart surgery? I was proud of that moment. After that I went on vacation and indulged in local raw oysters...because ones from the DelMarVa area are just, simply wonderful. Aren't they? I am a little bias. I went kayaking on vacation too in the Assawoman Wildlife was amazing...and I saw mussel beds...and a couple getting engaged under the moonlight (so romantic...that would be such a darling engagement). Anyway...after that I came back and started 14 grueling weeks of student teaching to finish my graduate degree. My first placement was with 27 first graders in an urban school district...they were amazing kids. My second placement was with 22 fourth graders...also amazing kids...who LOVED to learn about keeping the environment clean (maybe I'll upload the flyer they made).I just love when kids start with caring and compassion at such a young age, I think it's important for building good character. Anyway after I was done with student teaching it was christmas time...and then I got really really really sick with bronchitis (again...I had it in sept and october...and it got me again in december) now it brings us to January...the month I love to hate... the month when things are new again, but then something happens...and leaves you sitting there dumbfounded as to what you did and why it hopefully that goes away real soon.
So on the food front, I hope you are all working to support your local economy, especially now...especially in the winter when some businesses struggle. I think it's great to hear when local restaurants, businesses, and bakeries support each other. It warms the cockles of my heart. The other day my mother and I were chomping down on crawfish etoufee and alligator bites (not local), but we were talking to the owner and chef who have a stand at the local farmers market, which we go to every sunday...and they were telling us about the ingredients they purchase at the local farmers market to put into their dishes at the restaurant, which is a relief, because then you really get to know where the food your eating is coming from. I love seeing chefs, restaurateurs, etc, at farmers market and makes me want to go to those restaurants more, because I know where the ingredients came from and know they will be fresh. I just think fresh food-vegetables, poultry, meat, game, so much better that way.
So next time you go out to eat at a non-chain to the owner or chef, and see where they are getting the ingredients from. Freshness matters. That is all.
Oh also, when you are out dining...look at the wine list, see if they have a wine from your state...I always like seeing NYS wines featured on wine list at a restaurant in NYS. Props to the President for having a Finger Lakes Wine on the menu for the Inaugural Luncheon.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Knowing where it came from.

Hey there. So I was just thinking about knowing where something came from, it's a great thing to think about in any instance, but we should always be thinking about it when it comes to food. Don't you think????

How many times have you gone to a restaurant and have no clue where your food came from? I mean think about the big chain corporations, do they ever post where the chicken came from, the out season tomatoes came from, the chemically packaged salad came from? I could go on and on...and I'm not trying to bash large corporation chain restaurants, but think about it...we have no clue where that food originated from or how many preservatives and chemicals were put into it....or how much gas was used to transport it from point A to point B. I mean, let's be realistic, for convenience, price, and usually tasty desserts those chain restaurants are really the way to go...especially in this economy, but they don't have to be the way to go...if we just thought about smart ways to economize and help the small businesses, instead of the large corporations.

This idea has weaved in and out of previous blog posts, but it's an issue that is still occurring. Yesterday, my sister, our friend Jenn, and I went to New York City and we made a pit stop on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx. We went to lunch at Zero Otto Nove and on their menu, they listed where their meat came from, which listed the butcher across the street, there were indications of where food and pastries came from, it was comforting to know where it came from and the fact that the businesses on Arthur Avenue were supporting each other. That is supporting local economy and neighbors put into action. The Arthur avenue area is it's own subculture and while there is of course competition, there is also a sense of community, where you will see the pastry shop bringing in cannoli filling to a restaurant next door or down the street. You don't need to be crazy and find only farm to table restaurants, organic restaurants, vegan friendly restaurants, or new-aged oats, sprouts, peace and love restaurants to help our earth and our economy, you just need to find restaurants and communities that pull together and help one another, using local meat and local products, which have virtually no preservatives, if any and are all home made. Besides, it's a big fuss to find places that only serve organic this and organic that. YOU DON'T NEED ORGANIC ALL THE TIME or even most of the time to live a healthy lifestyle, purchase locally, eat locally, and support local business. If you do that and take the time to ask or look at where your food came from, you will be more satisfied with what you're putting in your mouth.

I always here people complain about how expensive farmers markets are, how expensive farm to table restaurants are, how expensive locally owned and operated restaurants are...well think about it...when a restaurant tries to support the locally economy the purchase local meats, local produce, local desserts, and other local products from small businesses and farms like themselves,but the farms and small business cannot sustain themselves with cheap prices while competing against major corporations, so they have to have higher prices to sustain themselves. However, if more people thought about sustainability and about ways they could help those small businesses and farms, by purchasing their products, then perhaps their prices would go down, because they would have a steadier cash flow, higher demand, and larger customer base...Food and finances kind of go hand in hand. Just think about that and let it settle's a really interesting concept to think about and then you would get to know your farmer and where you're food is coming from! Personally I love that feeling.

For me I take comfort in knowing when and where my fish was caught, where my oysters came from, where my chicken, beef, pork, rabbit, and wild game came from, where my fruit and vegetables came from, and what type of business I am supporting. I mean we all need to go to the grocery store out of necessity some times, but now that spring has sprung and summer is fast approaching, try and buy locally--not even organically (because as I said, it's usually conventional and not many pesticides, if any are used), talk to the farmers and butchers and really get to know the origin of your food or take note at restaurants to see if the menu lists where the items came from (this will always be on the menu at a farm to table restaurant). You can enjoy great food and support the local economy, not enough people are, so take a stand and make a move! I hope that after reading this, you will try and do this at least once or twice this summer!!

Oh and another thing, instead getting fancy shmancy wines from Napa Valley, etc...look to see if your state has any vineyards and purchase wine from there. New Yorkers, we have the finger lakes and some good vineyards in LI, so always try and purchase their wine!

Hope you enjoy this post and take a while to think about this easy concept and then go out and do it :)!!

 It's always good to know where your food came from...I always know where my oysters come from!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Spring has sprung

Hello...I guess it's time I update my blog. I do enjoy doing it, it's just finding time and being inspired to write something meaningful are hard to find sometimes.

Can I just is pretty sweet right now. I had to hit alot of bumps in January and February, but March and April have been pretty splendid and even though nothing extreme has happened, I can't help but smile. I am just really happy! Anyway...enough about me, now on to food.

I am seriously excited about spring, it's always a season of re-birth and growth...which means flowers and planting!Yay! Luckily, we had a pretty dry, warm, mild winter, which may not be great for many plants or even the environment, but I'm no fan of snow! I am excited about the flowers blooming, I always see it as a sign of goodness and hope :)

So anyway, I apologize for the scatterbrained thoughts in this post. Now I want to talk about some kewl things. Yes I spelled cool "kewl", because well frankly it's better than "cool".  I will now talk about fooooood and  helping out the local economy.

To begin...back in January, when a whole bunch of nonsense and negative things happened, I decided I was going to turn my life around and make the best of every situation (and boy has it helped!!) . So, I decided to organize a supper club with my friends, which focused on bringing in homemade and local products to a dinner. After long facebook exchanges, a group of about 7 or 8 of us got together at the end of February and brought a whole bunch of wonderful foods, as we tried new things and expanded our palates.

Each person made something different, we had a homemade pizza that I made, using perecca's pizza dough (which is a local bakery in schenectady), items such as the olives and prosciutto were also purchased from there, which although they were imported, helped a local business. The arugla that topped the pizza was purchased at the Troy's Farmer's Market, the fresh mozzerella was also made locally!  If you'd like my recipe, let me know...I'd be happy to share.

Other items that were present at the supper club included meatloaf cupcakes which were made from scratch, they had a mashed potato frosting and bacon crumbles on top, those were made by Angela. JT made a delicious pesto from scratch using fresh basil and also made crostini. Kaitlyn made a shredded vegetable lettuce wrap with a homemade sauce (Kaitlyn you'll have to give me the full name), that was something that I had never tried before and when I tried it, well my mouth was never the same, it tasted so clean and delicious! My mom came and made prosciutto and hatch chili pepper (from New Mexico) quesdillas, she also made lamb lollipops with a great crusting. Jenn, who was doing the Paleo food challenge at the time, made Paleo friendly deviled eggs, which I heard were delicious...I didn't have any, simply because I am not a big egg fan, sorry Jenn!! Jess brought cookies from the cookie factory, which is a local bakery located in Troy, NY...All items that were brought were purchased from local markets, companies, and farmers markets and some of the products were organic. Mary also brought Kentucky Fried Chicken, which is a chain, but you know we all love our fried chicken! Fried chickpeas, homemade iced tea, and water with lemon, mint, and lime also accompanied the dinner. It was a great success and we plan on doing it again really soon. You can see some of the food below!!

Having a supper club is a great way to think about our environment, we used all recycled products!! It's also a great way to open up to new flavors and new treats. We often don't think about the food that we consume or what is included in it, so it was great to share our prep stories, where we bought it from, and all the love and pride that when into making it. We planned on having NYS wine too, but we didn't get a chance to enjoy that.

I think that with the change in seasons you should try something like this. Think about ways you can support your local economy and eat, drink, and be merry with friends in a healthy and environmentally friendly way.

I love cooking, baking, planting, helping the local economy and growing food. I think it is something that brings us together. I hope that you'll consider doing a supper club and organizing different themes while thinking locally.

Enjoy spring and have a fabulous day!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The seasons are what a symphony ought to be....

The title of this post comes from a quote by Arthur Rubenstein...he states  "The seasons are what a symphony ought to be: four perfect movements in harmony with each other". This quote highlights the topic of this post, as I want to address the issue of eating seasonally.

As I peruse through a variety of social media sites and watch commercials, I see people post, talk about, our record themselves talking about the benefits of eating organically and how much healthier they feel. You know, that's all fine and dandy, eating organically and whatever, but you know in some ways the organic food that you eat, is not exactly environmentally friendly, nor is it seasonally self-sufficient. That's why it's important to buy locally and have access to your local farmers, and even more importantly, it's important to buy seasonally so that farmers don't have to use products to keep produce growing out of season for your convenience. Seriously, there is nothing I hate more than having an out of season tomato, I think they're disgusting and purposely won't order tomatoes on sandwiches and burgers, until I know that they are locally grown and in-season...I am very picky about that and you should be too. Each season gives us great things to cook with, granted winter leaves us with boring ol' root vegetables and such, but if we try to learn about seasonal eating we can create a sustainable lifestyle that is not only good for our farmers and local economy, but healthy clean and good for us.

I just picked up a copy of Clean Food by Terry Walters and there are so many great resources as it guides us through seasonal eating and offers some great information. Something I will definitely be mentioning in future posts!

 It also makes me think that we should really start thinking about where our food is coming from and if it is organic, how much gas is it using to travel to where we purchase it? Is that really environmentally friendly? Another fact about organic foods, there is a USDA standard for organic foods in the USA, but did you know that other countries have different standards of what  qualifies as organic farming, so think about that before you purchase an organic mango, papaya, pineapple, etc from a country other than our own. Look, I'm not saying that we can't indulge in tropical fruit or out of season fruit once in a while, but the difference between a fresh in season fruit and an imported out of season fruit is remarkable...nothing beats a sweet plump blueberry, raspberry, or strawberry in the summer or a fresh picked apple in the fall, the taste is just that much better and you can feel better knowing that you picked it or if you go to the farmers market, you know that you talked to the person that picked that fruit. Then there are the vegetables...oh vegetables. Summer always seems to offer the most abundance of delicious vegetables, tomatoes (which could technically be filed in the fruit category), zucchini, beans, corn, cucumbers, summer squash, peppers, etc...then autumn comes and there is squash and the remaining and lingering vegetables of summer, the beginning of the harvesting and canning that will last you through the winter, then there's winter and we are left with root vegetables, but alas there are leafy greens and mushrooms and wild rice that we can use in a sustainable way to make a hearty winter meal, and of course winter is the perfect time to pull out those canned vegetables you delicately put together in the summer and fall, and then spring begins a new life of fruits and vegetables and flowers and happiness and the cycle begins again. Really all it takes to be sustainable is to be locally conscious and conventional, eat the way our parents, grandparents, and forefathers did, support each other, support and know your farmers and restaurants, ask where your food came from and adopt a mindset that will help you to think about the seasons, consider the environment, and give you the ability to really savor your food.              

So the next time you eat something think about how much love went into growing it, feeding it, and preparing it. How far away did it come from. Is this supporting my neighborhood. Is this from a farm and does the restaurant know where it came from. Is it in season. Lastly, you want to think about how clean it is for you & the environment, after all those questions, because even if it's organic and it traveled from California to new York, you are not eating something that really is clean and good.

So what I am saying is, try to be sustainable by eating seasonal, sure you can stray once in a while, but adopting a sustainable lifestyle where you support your local economy (local restaurants, local farmers, local breweries) will definitely be a good contribution to society and to yourself...and to those who live around you :)

Next post, I will be discussing the supper club my friends and I are starting, where we create dishes using as many local ingredients as possible and drink wine from NYS and just savor the tastiness of the delicious food we will be indulging in.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Ain't no use to sit and wonder why...

Hello to my faithful blog followers (if there are any left),I am sorry for not blogging for over 2 months, my life kind of became crazy after that last blog post. So this post will be more of a personal one. Let's see, we will start from october. So October, started out to be a promising month...or so I thought, then about the third weekend in October, RPI's alumni weekend rolls around, hopes were high-disappointments were higher, but out of great disappointments stemmed closure from others, closure and peace that I had needed for quite some time (3 years to be exact)...but the disappointment of others still lingered. Why was I disappointed? Because I expected something from someone that I should've known not to expect, because as I found out...and as it turned out I was disappointed, yet again, by the lack of effort and action of another person. After that weekend my head was going in a million different directions, with my "Diamonds and Rust" encounter and with the BIG Disappointment, but it taught me something. I learned that life always has a twist, that my path has not been defined, and that I should never ever ever make someone a priority, when they only make me an option-even if they were the one to contact you in the first place...really it means nothing. I learned that you have to be your own best friend at the end of the day and answer to the woman staring back in the glass (Taken from the poem "Man in the Glass")...because in the end all you will have is yourself...and that's the gospel truth. Somewhere between October and December I grew up. The disappointment has subsided and I have learned to not expect anything from anyone. I've learned that words (the good kind) are true when they are spoken...but it doesn't necessarily mean they'll be true 2 months from then. I've learned that in the moment a person is making a promise, they are intending to keep that promise at that moment, but again that promise may be broken 2 months from then. People will say all the right things at all the right times, but it's the ones that are truly there for you in your time of need, that deserve a special place in your heart. I've learned that family is important, family is not just blood, it's those that support you through thick an thin. I learned that there will always be obstacles in your way and you have to make the decision to overcome them, find another way around them, or give up...but giving up should never be an option. I've learned a lot in the past few months and the past few months have been the most hell-ish for me. Everything really began to go down hill at the very end of October when Tweetie my grandmother, went into the hospital, she was discharged the very next day and everything was fine for a few days until she started having hallucinations on Halloween. A few short days passed and she was back in the hospital with a broken wrist and hallucinations started again, she'd started to become so weak at that point. After a 4 night stay in the hospital she was discharged, she could barely walk and was very immobile. My mom, my stepfather, my sister, and I took turns taking care of her and staying over night with her. It was tiring, the entire month of november was tiring, and heartbreaking. It was tough to watch someone who helped raise you, slip away, hallucinate and suffer day in and day out. After thanksgiving I began to feel dissociative, as if I was not in my own body, but rather spectating from above, I felt something bad was about to happen, I felt an undescribable pain in my heart. Only a day or two later, that bad feeling came into fruition, as we came to my grandmothers from running errands, we thought we'd be going in to sit down and enjoy a nice meal that my sister had prepared, but instead we found my grandmother passed out on the floor of the bathroom. I called 9-1-1, thinking nothing of it, as she was starting to get better, then they started asking questions such as if she had a DNR(which she did) and if she was on hospice (first red flag), when angela and I got to the hospital they didn't let us in right away (My mom had gone in the ambulance with my grams)-(second red flag), the third and final red flag was being told that my grandmother was in the midst of a massive heart attack. Her small body laid there half alive-half dead, it broke my heart to see this final slip. It was the 29th of november when she was brought to ELLIS hospital (at around 8pm), she lingered until 1:05 am making her date of death November 30th. She was surrounded by her girls and other family supports, I was able to get her to squeeze my finger, and just a few moments before she died, the nurse was able to tell her we were there and my grandmother acknowledged our presence and even mustered a few words. My mom began to doze off, ange was looking at the commotion of the nurses, and I watched one of the final breaths my grandmother took, we all saw her final one and in the finite moment another life had left this world. It was tough because it happened in an already tough period of time (My father passed away on December 13, 1993), but it was comforting to be there with her in those final moments, knowing she was finally done suffering.

See, these past few months have changed me. Seeing someone die changes you. being ignored changes you. finding out your supports changes you.  Watching people loose everything changes you. I have been through a lot in these past few months, I have had good days and I have had bad days. I have had days where I just want to quit everything, but I don't I keep pushing through and keep putting one foot in front of the other heading towards that path of a brighter future. I know that some people have been through far worse than I have and I do not look for sympathy, but I know what it is like to face tragedy and I know that by facing fear and tragedy I have only become stronger.

So I am going to impart some wisdom....that I gained over the past few months.
-Don't question everything, it doesn't do well for your mind or your body
-Don't sit and wonder why, it doesn't matter anyhow( thanks bob dylan or waylon jennings or joan baez or which ever version you prefer)
-Do set out to make a difference in someone else's life
-Do not expect anything from anyone, then you'll never be disappointed
-Do know that people can change and that they'll surprise you all the time
-Do not hate someone because they aren't what you expected
-Do not throw away a possibility, just because it hasn't happened in the time you'd like it to
-Don't sweat the small stuff
-Do believe in the good of people and the good of the world
-Do look fear in the face and conquer it
-Do cry every once in a while, it really does help

Do whatever you need to to make yourself happy, to make yourself unique, to make yourself you. It's a new year and new possibilities are around every corner. So don't sit around wondering why something didn't happen or did happen or happened in a way that was unexpected, don't question it, don't dwell on it, just keep your head up, move forward, and enjoy life the best way you know how!

And with that being said, I'll get back to the environment in my next blog post.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Put a little love in your heart...and your food.

Would you look at that...I am blogging 2 months in a row! I feel so bad that I don't do more blog entries, but I feel like no one really ever reads what I have to say, except for maybe a few faithful friends (Thanks :) ). But I hope that others are reading this too...thanks to the others too!

So anyway, let me just touch base on my previous entry. It has now been a little bit over a month since the tragic weather hit much of the northeast. Now is the period of relief and rebuilding, but it is still going to take quite some time to recover! The areas that were severely impacted still have a long road a head of them, and still many are left with much of nothing, so continue to keep those people in your thoughts and prayers and if you have been helping out and volunteering, keep up the good work. I believe that paying it forward is a very rewarding concept, helping those most in need without anything getting or expecting anything in return is a great gift, one we often seem to take for granted! Your help, your kindness, and your compassion will speak echoes and thanks for all you do and have done...I'm sure those who were greatly impacted by this weather appreciate your kindness and compassion more than you will ever know...but we must remember kindness and compassion doesn't stop at rebuilding it continues through words and checking in, just smiling and talking, and even asking the simple question "how are you doing today?".
 "Kind words are short and easy to speak, but their echoes are endless"-Mother Teresa. onto the new stuff.

Recently, I have been struggling with digestive issues...and unfortunately have had to go through a whole bunch of medical test....only to be back at square one waiting for a diagnosis. However, my GI doctor has suggested I follow a gluten free diet to ease some discomfort, which I have started doing and I do have to say it is really helping. However, I have a dilemma! I have the worlds biggest sweet tooth, in that, I would have ice cream for dinner over a regular meal (which I did the other night and I'm lactose intolerant too!) I prefer strawberry or mint chocolate chip--though I do love Ben and Jerry's Phish food too, but low and behold...chocolate my one steady and stable relationship has gluten in it too! There are so many things with gluten in it, it is really hard to keep track...sometimes, I'll even sacrifice my stomach and intestines so I can have my marvelous chocolate...chocolate bars, oreos, brownies...I honestly LOVE chocolate, so now I begin my quest to find a delicious delicious delicious gluten free chocolate! My friends are helping me with this gluten free adventure and passing along recipes, which all are great...but finding the time to make a whole bunch of stuff, is like finding a needle in a haystack. Supposedly there is a great gluten free/vegan bakery in Troy, which I will definitely have to try out! I just wish I didn't have to give up so much, but on the bright side-cutting out lots of foods, especially super processed ones has helped me to slim down a little :).

So, being gf has also forced me to up my vegetable intake, which I'm fine with...because I love vegetables...though, I honestly get really sick of potatoes more often than not, my sister is obsessed with them, I could take them or leave them (except fingerlings). But back to the vegetables...they are so great and delicious and I am sad that my favorite kinds of vegetables are going out of more fresh,juicy, wonderful tomatoes from our back yard, no more long, smooth, delicious zucchini or summer squash, no more eggplants, no more peppers...of course you can get this at the nearest supermarket, but honestly it's not the same. I think vegetables from your own back yard are full of love, sunshine, and deliciousness, and you really can taste the difference...It is possible to still get some good fresh vegetables from your local farmers market too, but supplies on those will soon come to an end and then we will be stuck with those boring and hideous root vegetables...yes that is right I am hating on root vegetables and acorn squash, but to each his own...right? Regardless, vegetables are great! They serve so many great purposes and you can really reap many benefits from them...and if you are gluten free like me, well you better learn to start loving those veggies :).

I plan on documenting my journey into the land of gluten free and can't wait to incorporate it into my blog! I think that it will also help me focus on more natural foods, because honestly I don't know why I pollute my body with processed snack foods- oh wait, yes I do...the processed snack foods are made in an evil labratory with no love, only special chemicals to make you become addicted and fall in love with them...yes I am talking about you oreos (among others), but maybe there's a way to make gluten free oreos with out products or chemicals...maybe in the future.

All i'm saying is, that we should look at what we eat, where it came from, and how much love was put into planting it, harvesting it, or making it, because when lots of love is put into something...that taste is always magical.

So, until next time, think about what I said and feel free to leave me suggestions for a new entry!

Below is a picture of a bundle of love aka our vegetables:

Monday, September 12, 2011

We cannot do great things, but we certainly CAN and SHOULD do small things with great LOVE

It has been awhile since I last posted, I know I am slacking. No excuses.

Anyway...a lot has happened since July 29th (my last post) and much of it has to do with good ole Mother Nature. On August 23, much of the east coast from Virginia to New York felt the earth shake, which was later revealed as a 5.8 earthquake originating in Virginia...with a very shallow epicenter.

Most of us came out unscathed or thought nothing of it, and so we all carried on with our lives...until word got out that a could be category 3 hurricane, was expected to hit the East Coast from Thursday-Sunday...and hit it did. It may not have been a category 3 or even a category 1, but Hurricane Irene did hit and she hit hard, she hit places that never even prepared or expected to be hit, and as a result flooding and severe devestation occurred. Rotterdam Junction in New York State was washed away and flooded badly, Scotia was hit, Schenectady's historic stockade was partially underwater, and Amsterdam and beyond experienced devestating floods,that even destroyed a historic building. Troy, NY and the hudson swelled and emptied it's flooding waters up to river street and momentarily put buildings paritally under water. States such as Vermont, NJ, and Pennsylvania, also experienced massive flooding-of epic proportions. These floods devestated the local economy and have left many people with out homes, belongings, and meals. People were with out power and things were destroyed...and they were never expecting it to be this bad!

People had just started to think all was clear until the National Weather service announced the development of tropical storm Lee, but that was only supposed to bring some rain and not really bother that Sunday when hearing about Lee, we thought we'd all sit and wait and see. However, amidst the waiting a tornado touched down  in Amsterdam, NY, something we'd never think would happen in the wierd week of weather events, did. Everyone went about the rainy week in New York, until about Wednesday night, where we learned that much of the southern tier, parts of the capital region, parts of central NY, and parts of the mid-huson valley would be impacted by more flooding, because remmnants of TS Lee, would be dropping off excess moisture...EXCESS MOISTURE?! In both the Southern Tier and in Pennsylvania they experienced serious flooding. The floods were quoted as being historic and some were the worst floods the areas have ever seen.  The other areas that had been recovering from Irene's flooding such as: Rotterdam Junction, Amsterdam, Scotia, Schenectady, Schoharie, Prattsville, etc (All in NY), also experienced more flooding bringing those areas back to square 1.

It has been a few days since Lee struck and clean up efforts have begun, it's been about 2 weeks since Irene left her mess, yet people are still in shock and disbelief and are left to pick up the pieces, from these natural disasters that have occurred. I will get into the helping out in a moment, but can I just say...DO YOU BELIEVE IN GLOBAL WARMING AND CLIMATE CHANGE YET? If these weather events weren't a warning sign of what's to come over the next several hundred years. I don't know what is.

Anyway. I have been helping doing psychological first-aid for disaster relief as part of the clean up efforts for hurricane Irene in Schenectady County, and it is just unbelievable to see the number of people that were and are directly and indirectly impacted by the damage that hurricane Irene caused(I hope to be able to do the same for victims of Lee). People's spirits and well being were at an all time low, some have gone without food, and are staying in hotels, because they lost everything. It really is a devestation. The floods that were brought on by Lee, have created more devestation and the need for disaster relief, this is the moment where we must reach out to our friends, loved ones, and even perfect strangers to help get them through their hard times. We should help in anyway possible, the smallest act of kindness and caring can go a long way, especially in these trying times. So I am asking everyone, if you live near an area that was impacted help out, if you have a friend or a loved one who was impacted by these natural disasters, help them and offer support and kind words, if you know no one and just generally care, help out.

All help counts, no matter how big or how small. As Mother Teresa once said: "We cannot do great things, but we can do small things with great love". Having compassion in a time where there is not much, is important, be compassionate and contribute to your community or there community  in any way you can.

If you want to make a monetary donation, here are a list of websites I have found, but also contact local agencies to see what they are doing:

**Above are just some of the many places that are seeking donations.**
If you can't make a monetary donation or want to do something more, look up local volunteer efforts! Disaster relief efforts are needed around the impacted areas and even just helping a friend or family member speaks volumes.

I apologize if I did not cover every area, if I did not cover your area or a specific donation site you'd like to mention, feel free to post it here. States along the eastern seaboard were impacted by the hurricanes and tropical storms and the need is great. Help in any way you can.

and for those who have been impacted: Do not lose hope, things will get better...maybe not today, or tomorrow, but they'll eventually get better. Don't be afraid to ask for help you should not have to go through this alone.

If you are feeling desperate, lost, and alone through these tragic times and feel like you cannot go on and you are thinking about suicide...PLEASE CALL: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Press 1 if you are a veteran or active duty soldier.

Remember: He who saves one life, saves the world entire (Schindler's List).