i’ve been thinking about food a lot this week.  as you might guess, this is not entirely unusual for me — as i am a major food lover and, obviously, blogger.  but this week, i’ve been thinking especially hard about food for a few reasons.  the first is that i began reading the book in defense of food, by michael pollan.  i labored my way through his first book, omnivore’s dilemma, perhaps because i am not an omnivore (there are long chapters about killing wild pigs and the beef industry that are slightly nauseating), or perhaps because it seemed too close to something i might have read in one of the many sociology classes i took in college – assigned but not thoroughly enjoyed reading.  the second book, however, is my first suggestion to you – i am tearing through it, and taking a lot of what he says to heart.  what’s really resonated for me is his discussion of the importance of real, whole foods (not the store) – avocado, bananas, carrots, etc – instead of eating filler foods chemically designed to taste good and supply nutrients deemed important by the fda (think most commercial breakfast cereals and packaged frozen dinners).  pollan questions whether food scientists have figured out what’s important for people to consume yet, and notes that food is about so much more than nutrients – it’s about the act of cooking with friends and family, interacting with them, savoring the taste of the food, and yes, there are nutrients in whole foods, but they are only part of the process. (thanks for hosting this “process” aka dinner this week, linn!)

fixings for green pizzazucchinispreading the pestolaying out the zucchini

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unless you’ve been living in a cave for the past several months, i’m sure you’re all quite aware of the economic crisis facing our country.  while mike and i are lucky enough to remain in our excellent places of employment, and the majority of our friends are still working and not impacted by the tough times, it has brought up a new awareness for me about finances.  now, mike and i are no financial gurus, but we’ve been using the website mint.com to set budgets and watch where we’re spending our hard earned money.  it’s been eye opening to see how much of our money goes directly to food.  and while this amount spent on food isn’t exorbitant, there are definitely a lot of take out sushi expenditures, and we often throw uneaten produce into the worm compost bin.

this is going to make some great soup

recently, a good friend sent me an article from cnn.com with ideas for $10 meals and challenged me to “better and more vegetarian friendly version.”  so i am responding to the challenge with my own twist on saving money in the food realm, because i got frustrated quantifying how much money i spent on a specific meal, mostly since i pull lots of ingredients from my stocked cupboard (spices, flours, bouillon cubes, canned beans, etc).  let’s just say this post was inspired by the article above, but does not direct speak to it…and i promise to hone my pricing skills and get back to you.

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hello, dear readers! my fabulous cuz sent me this link about the slow food movement and i thought i’d share it with all of you.  have you heard of the movement?  what do you think about it?  what do you think about this article?  does the slow food movement make sense in our current global economic times?

while i agree with most of the article’s points, what really made me think was the statement: “We’re all full of gastronomy, recipes etc. Turn on a TV anywhere in the world and you will see an idiot with a spoon. And every newspaper and magazine has recipes and a photo of the dish taken from above like a cadaver…We must normalise food rather than put it on a pedestal far out of reach.” ok, so i am most certainly full of recipes, i may just be another “idiot” with a spoon, and i definitely take tons of pics of food, but my goal with this blog is to share with all of you how much fun i have cooking with seasonal and simple ingredients. i also try to convey my personal belief in the importance of enjoying the process of taking care of yourself by making healthy and delicious meals instead of eating calorie laden and nutrient deficient fast foods.  so stay tuned for many, many more recipes!

i don’t know about the rest of you, but i am extremely excited about our 44th president! the night before his inauguration, i was driving home and listening to npr when this story played over the airwaves. in case you’re the kind of person who won’t click on that link (meaning that you and i are more alike than you know!), an NPR correspondent interviewed members of the DC Central Kitchen. DC Central Kitchen is a charity organization that has grown in the past 20 years from collecting leftovers from previous inauguration dinners and distributing them to homeless shelters, into a culinary arts program for people who have been in prison or homeless. thus, instead of feeding people with challenging circumstances, the DC Central Kitchen now trains them and places them into jobs as the complete the program so they can feed themselves. for this inauguration, the DC Central Kitchen made over 8,000 shortbread cookies from Michelle Obama’s own recipe. i haven’t had a chance to try these out, but i wanted to share the inspirational story above as well as the recipe with you (recipe is after the jump). here’s to a new administration of change and hope!

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as it gets darker and colder, i’m having a kind of reverse spring cleaning urge – i’ve been busy organizing closets and cupboards and getting things updated and reordered here on my blog. (although i may just hibernate soon – i think a lot of the cleaning fervor came from election anxiety, and now that i know our country will be in amazing hands soon, i think i can safely tuck in for the winter : ) ).

one of my latest projects was sparked by the discovery of flour beetles in flour we were about to use to make a cake for my mom’s birthday. we promptly threw out the flour, bought brand new stuff, and made a delicious cake. but the incident (and worry about future outbreaks) was enough to launch me into hours of consolidating bulk foods into existing containers and then buying new containers to house boxed foods (corn meal, corn starch, cake flour, couscous, etc). by the time all items were securely repackaged into airtight containers, as shown above, i was tired but excited to have accomplished the feat (i should have taken a before pic!).

the other big project mike and i undertook last weekend (after having tons of fun on halloween) was to make some changes to this website (ok, mike is the one who has made all the changes – i just had some ideas). on the right column of my blog, you’ll see that you can enter your email address to receive an email every time that i post, so you don’t have to keep checking the website if you don’t subscribe to the rss feed. also in the right column, you can now select a category (breakfast, entree, soup, salad, dessert) to look through all recipes or posts in that genre. and if you scroll past my blog lists, you’ll see a better tag cloud in case you’re looking for a recipe for a specific ingredient, and as always, the search option below that.

please let me know if there are any other ways i can make my site more conducive to you, my dearest readers, and thank you in advance for any input you might have!

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