Sunday, April 18, 2010
We used a lot of our organic co-op food to make tonight's dinner. The photo doesn't do it justice...but the meal looked great and tasted even better. We had yams (ok, maybe sweet potatoes...they were the reddish ones), Indian spiced beets with the juice and zest of the lemon we got, sauteed swiss chard with green onions and parmesan, curried chicken salad using the red bell pepper and cilantro, and strawberry protein shakes. It was awesome, healthful, delicious!
Last night (not photographed), we had chicken asada tacos with the fresh cilantro, avocado, and green onions, and a romaine salad with orange slices.
I made a cake using Fondant. It is my first try, and it is imperfect, as you can see at the base of the cake, but was fun (and I haven't even taken a class - can you believe it?). It is a chocolate devil's food cake with milk chocolate filling and raspberry/cherry glaze under the fondant, a la Bonne Maman. Here is proof. If you are good at using fondant, please don't point and laugh at my first effort.
We joined an Organic co-op, where you can get baskets of fresh, organic fruits and veggies each Saturday morning...most locally grown. Here is what we got this week: oranges, tangarines, bananas, romaine, cilantro, kale, green onions, leeks, tomatoes, swiss chard, yams, avocados, lemons, strawberries, red bell peppers, and even some white irises. All this for only $22. The previous week had cucumbers and other varieties - whatever is in season locally is what you get.
The more people who join, the more buying power. You probably don't save a ton of money over spending $22 at the grocery store, but you get much fresher produce that is helping a local farmer. There is a Beaumont pick up location and a Redlands one. For more info, check out http://www.meetup.com/organicproduce/
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Friday, April 2, 2010
You cannot lose with this recipe for Pineapple Angel Food Cake!
1 20 oz. can crushed pineapple, undrained
1 pkg (4 oz.) instant vanilla pudding
1 cup thawed Cool Whip topping
1 pre-made Angel Food Cake
Strawberries or Blueberries to garnish
1. Mix pineapple and juice with the dry pudding mix in medium bowl. Gently stir in Cool Whip.
2. Cut cake horizontally into three layers. Place bottom cake layer, cut-side up, on serving plate. Spread 1/3 of the pudding mixture over bottom layer. Cover with middle cake layer and spread with 1/3 of the pudding mix. Top with remaining cake layer and spread the rest of the pineapple mixture on top.
3. Refrigerate at least 1 hour. Top with strawberries or blueberries just before serving.
Two cool things about this cake: 1) you can use the low-fat or low-sugar pudding and cool whip, if desired, and 2) if you don't want to build a whole cake, serve individual Angel Food cake slices on dessert plates with a dollop of the pineapple cream on top.
As you can see in my photo, I just threw it together (no Martha Stewart perfectionist cooking around here!). So far, it has kept in our fridge for 3 days and is still GREAT. It is sOOOOO easy and sOOOOO seasonal!! Enjoy!
I have to start with a warning, because some things I say might be offensive. If you truly know us, it probably will come as no surprise. Also, if you are friends with us, this shouldn't change our friendship.
Walt and I are not religious. We are what you would call "non-believers". The reason is that we subscribe to the laws of science, and they are different from the beliefs of religion. Science relies on observation...and the steps of the Scientific Method. Religion relies on faith. It is impossible to be both scientific and religious...that would be like playing golf but using basketball rules.
However, we strive to live our lives seeking wisdom wherever it can be found. My dad was a very wise man. He showed me that religious texts and Star Trek plots have a lot to teach, but he thought organized religion was losing the message. My philosophy teacher at CSUSB told me that he had problems with a religion that would accept a murderer who asks forgiveness on his deathbed, but won't allow Ghandi into heaven because he wasn't Christian. These people have influenced my life, caused me to think, and to reach the conclusions that I have reached.
Why am I telling you this? Because I've recently encountered wisdom and compassion and wanted that to be the message of this blog:
1. We were invited to a baptism of a beautiful girl I know from school. She was baptised at the LDS ward. Her parents did not think we would come, because we don't believe, but we wanted to go to show our support for the family. Just because we are atheists doesn't mean we don't value family, traditions, and other people's celebrations. So, it was an amazing hour filled with talks about the importance of family. That was wisdom! The family is the core unit that hopefully supports each of us unconditionally. I enjoyed being there for Amanda and sharing in what was important to her. Thanks, Amanda!
2. We went to LA to see the Dalai Lama for the second time. Each time I see him, or read his books, I am reminded that much about my lifestyle is damaging - the materialism, the hurried days, the lack of contact with others, etc. The Dalai Lama talks about compassion...not just feeling sorry for others, but truly believing that we are all interconnected and that love and compassion for our fellow human beings are the most peaceful, productive choice...not war, not hatred.
He was speaking on behalf of a charity that goes around the world finding orphanages that have no color, no hugging, no support for the children. Can you imagine being all alone in the world and laying in your grey bed for 23 hours per day, looking at grey walls and only being touched once in a while when you get your grey dinner and perhaps a quick, cold bath? The group is teaching orphanage caretakers to hug, cuddle, sing, and bringing colors into the orphanage so kids now eat from a pink cereal bowl, looking at colorful wall decorations, playing with bright toys and puzzles. They said these kids often arrive with no names...and if no one knows your name, who will you become?
With or without religion, we all have the same desire - we want a happy day, a happy life. We all want a good night's sleep and inner peace.
The Dalai Lama talked about the importance of motherhood - your dad doesn't have to be present, but your mom is at your birth. In those first few minutes, if your mother wraps you and holds you and feeds you, you immediately start to have feelings of attachment and affection for others. If your mom does not do that, you have instant feelings of abandonment. Without attachment, a person can easily speak harsh words, squash a bug, hurt a dog, or kill a human. Compassion, initially taught by moms around the world, means that we know our survival depends on the care we give ALL others, animals or humans.
So, I will stop the lecture for now, although I reserve the right to talk about wisdom when and where I find it...a church, my dad's memory, a religious or political figure. Being atheists does not mean we are bad, or backsliding, or anything else. It means we are looking for evidence. Walt and I are always looking. Just keep this thought in mind, offered by a simple Tibetan monk...Have You Been Kind Today?
Thanks for listening.