Monday, March 31, 2008

Menu Monday - A Week of Gluten Free Meals

Monday

GF Spaghetti w/meat sauce, cut carrots and celery


Tuesday

Creamy Chicken Curry, Rice & Steamed Broccoli


Wednesday

Shepherd's Pie @ House Church

Thursday

Crispy Chicken Strips, Potatoes, & Green Beans

Friday

Mexican Cornbread, Black Beans, & Salad

Saturday

Dinner @ Ethan & Josie's (Taco Salad!)

Sunday

Leftovers + Amy's Black-Eyed-Peas and Rice Frozen Entre'

Friday, March 28, 2008

Is this really spring?

I had to make a quick run to Whole Foods this morning to pick up a gluten free pizza and cake mix for a birthday party that Kayla is going to this afternoon. It was raining/sleeting when I arrived.While in the checkout line, a voice was heard on the store's intercom..."Attention Whole Foods shoppers. Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to announce that it is now snowing outside. (Long Dramatic Pause) I'm sorry." Everyone in the store was giggling. I looked outside, and it was indeed snowing - and HUGE flakes at that!
An elderly man walked out from the cafe, took one look outside, and said aloud, "I though he was kidding!" No joke here. At least the store clerk who made the announcement lightened the depressed hearts that even New Englanders have in a March snowstorm!
Last week, I found myself in a place where it was a sunny 85 degrees. I was sipping iced coffee on the deck of a Starbucks in Austin, TX with my dad. Now, laying out in the sun has never really appealed to me, but in that moment it was all I wanted to do. I could almost feel the vitamin D restoring my soul. It was heavenly. You can take the girl out of Texas, but you can't take Texas out of the girl. Don't think I will ever get used to being this cold this long. Sigh.

Gluten Free Friday

Robert's mom made this for us a couple of times during a summer that a group of us worked in a summer youth ministry in their town while we were college students. (We weren't even dating then!) Robert made it a few times when we were dating, and then I learned after we got married. It's best made in a cast iron skillet, but will work in a baking dish also. We haven't ever gotten tired of it - we're even having it tonight for dinner along with black beans and salad!

Mexican Cornbread

1 lb. ground beef (or turkey)
1 can cream corn
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup milk (soy, rice work fine, too)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs
1-2 cups grated cheese
3/4 cup salsa

Brown ground beef in cast iron skillet and transfer to bowl. In another bowl, mix cornmeal, cream corn, milk, soda, salt, eggs, and oil. Pour half of this mixture into bottom of skillet. Layer ground beef, then cheese, then salsa on top of cornmeal mixture. Pour remaining mixture over the layers. Bake 45 min. @ 375 degrees.

I have even decreased the oil by half, reduced the eggs to 1, and replaced the beef with beans, and it still works fine!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Receiving Resurrection

Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain, your faith is also vain...If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied. I Cor. 15:12-19

I believe there is a resurrection of the dead - both here on earth and later when Christ returns. It's the resurrection here on earth that I'm grappling with. To be sure, I have seen lives resurrected - both from an actual, physical death, but more so from the death that sin causes - victories over addiction, anger, selfishness, immorality. I've seen lives completely transformed by the love, forgiveness, and power of Christ. Even my own life. Yes, the good grades, good friends, good behavior, good girl from a good family and good neighborhood, who went to a good school, got a good job, and married a good guy - even that girl was in desperate need of forgiveness and resurrection power to overcome sin and receive God's love. (Still am.)

But it's not a one-way relationship where God simply bestows the forgiveness and love giving us no freedom to decide whether or not we will receive it. When my kids are being questioned as to why they are repeating the same negative behavior and having to suffer the same consequence, they say, "But I prayed that God would make me stop doing this, and He won't make me stop!" To which I usually reply, " You are not a puppet on strings. God has no desire to make you say and do all the right things. He wants you to choose them, to choose Him. That's what a relationship is about. It shows Him you love Him, too, and desire to please Him." So, it seems we have a part and our part is receiving.

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God.... John 1:12

In the last few years I have encountered several people who claim to know Christ, but at the same time are causing much dissension and great pain in my life, the lives of my loved ones, and the life of the church. And I wonder, do they really know Him? And then I wonder, do I really know Him if I'm wondering if they really know Him? It can be really confusing to be a Christian sometimes. We are called to love and extend grace, but are we allowed to exercise discernment without it being called judgment?

In Dan Allender's book, Bold Love, he discusses the dangers of labeling those who are difficult to deal with, yet says we must do this at times for the sake of loving them well. We must know how they would be categorized biblically, in order to know what we're up against in trying to love them. His (and the Bible's) categories are the evil person, the fool, and the normal sinner.

The evil person, he says, lacks empathy, shame, and goodness. Their lack of true connection with people keeps them from viewing other people as "a living, breathing being who feels hurt, fear sorrow, and shame." When the evil person is someone close to you, and they profess to be a believer, it can be so confusing as to why they are consistently acting in a way that destroys their life and the lives of others. Is a Christian truly capable of this? Where is the restraint of the Holy Spirit? You second guess yourself when you call their behavior questionable or worse, sinful.

But God, in His faithfulness, and out of His great love (and without my help!) will expose the evil and give the person another chance - even a second, third and fourth chance, which boggles my human sense of justice. But what happens when they don't take the chance? It's a chance to yet again receive an opportunity for resurrection, yet they twist it and resist it in order to continue in their sinful and destructive ways. I am really frustrated by this lately. I am praying for a person in my life to truly receive the resurrection and be changed miraculously in their person - their whole being. It seems the only hope, but it also seems to be somewhat dependent on the very person who tends toward evil. After a lifetime of indulging in the sinful nature to the extreme, are they even capable of this?

In Allender's words, "Though evil is cold, hard, and destructive, no person is so evil, or so beyond the grace of God, that His light is unable to penetrate. Our task is to know what lurks inside the heart of the evil person so we can excavate a pathway toward the part of his heart that is made in the image of God and, consequently, still hungers for love and meaning. In every person, no matter how reprobate, there is some remnant of desire for beauty and justice. "

I am praying for this. There is much at stake. It feels hopeless. I so much desire that this person would feel the weight of their sin only to look up and see the deflection of that sin on to Christ at the cross and the forgiveness thereby available. That they would hold out their hand and open their heart to this gift and truly receive it.

But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who indwells you. Romans 8:11

May this person allow you access to their heart and life - an indwelling of your Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead and can raise their life from sin and evil as well. May their loved ones worship you, Lord, because of the power they see displayed in this sinner's life. May our hope in the resurrection of the dead be proven yet again. May our faith not be in vain.

And, may I walk in this resurrection power in my own daily struggle with sin.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter

We're still "in" to the tradition of egg dyeing here, but this year we did them on Easter afternoon, waited for them to dry and then took turns hiding them outside. It was cold and brown out there- no signs of Spring whatsoever! Still, the kids passed the afternoon with this activity while I prepared brisket, etc. for our family and a few friends from church that evening.
And here they are in their Easter best thanks, in part, to their Grandad Dee in Texas. (I'm so unhappy with the quality of these photos - think I need to break down and look at the "Advanced User Guide" via CD on the computer. Can't figure out what I'm doing wrong!)

Hope you had a great Resurrection Day! Robert's sermon was entitled pORTABLE rESURRECTION and was wonderful - even though he says Easter sermons are the hardest. More thoughts on this later, as it was a very rough week of attempting to take the resurrection places it wasn't being received well. Praying for healing, brokenness, and an awe of the forgiveness offered at the cross.

Menu Monday - A Week of Gluten Free Meals

Had to go out of town unexpectedly, so Dad was in charge for a few days....but had everything bought, so he followed the menu until Thursday when my good friend Betsy bailed him out with a meal that lasted two days!

Monday

Beef Tips & Gravy, Rice, Apple/Cran/Pecan Salad

Tuesday

Mexican Pizzas & Fruit Salad

Wednesday

Hamburgers, French Fries (frozen), and cut raw veggies

Thursday

Betsy's Chili, Rice & Fruit Salad (She even brought Jell-o)

Friday

More of Betsy's Chili!

Saturday

Pintos and Rice

Sunday

Brisket, Roasted Potatoes, Green Beans, Salad

Monday, March 17, 2008

Menu Monday - A Week of Gluten Free Meals

Only including dinners today - The Thai Chicken and Full-Of-Veggies Chili are from a Southern Living Magazine Cookbook. The Lentil Soup is from the Moosewood Cookbook.

Monday

Leftover White Chili & Salad

Tuesday

Thai Chicken Stir Fry & Fruit

Wednesday

Bean & Cheese Tacos + House Church Meal

Thursday

Roast, Roasted Potatoes, Green Beans

Friday

Full-Of-Veggies-Chili & Cornbread

Saturday

Spaghetti & Salad

Sunday

Lentil Soup & Cornbread

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Call to Give - Call to Receive

I used to keep a notebook which listed all of the ways the Lord provides for us on a weekly , even daily basis. Things like, Caryl Talley stopping by my home in Stillwater with $200 to give me for "my ministry of hospitality", or Deborah Green taking me to the Wooden Nickel to buy me an Easter Dress - complete with matching earrings and necklace, Jim Foley shaking Robert's hand on a regular basis and thereby slipping him a $20 bill so we could go out to eat, Tamyra Mefford buying Kory whole wardrobes of Old Navy clothes for winter and letting me "shop for free" in her store. A year ago at Christmastime, we received $2000 in JC Penney gift cards from our church, so we could buy new living room furniture, and the summer before that they went on a secret campaign to raise money to buy Robert a new truck to replace the nearly 20 year old one he'd been driving since he was a senior in high school! And this doesn't even begin to tell the amazing story of God's faithful provision in our life.Well, the story only continues...... Two weeks ago, we received a phone call from a very generous person in our life. The voice on the other end said "I feel very certain that the Lord is telling me to buy you a new car - I really wanted this to be an anonymous gift, but I also want to get you the type of vehicle that you most want and need." We were speechless, resistant, amazed, grateful, humbled.....

So, here are a few photos of us living in what we feel is the lap of luxury....a new Toyota Sienna - slate colored - fully automatic everything - DVD player - all wheel drive - etc., etc.,etc.
I no longer have a co-pilot, as even Dad wants to watch Facing the Giants on the screen as we ride around town! ( They just fast forward to their favorite scenes.)
And our fun discovery..... the large middle window actually rolls down to the push of a button. Whew - now when it does get hot, those in the back will get air - oh, wait a minute - we have air conditioning now! Wow! Well, we'll just enjoy the spring breeze until August when it may reach 90!

I remember, years ago, studying Beth Moore's A Woman's Heart(about the OT tabernacle) and learning that the priests in Israel had no inheritance in the land. They were dependent on the sacrifices of the people for their food, homes, holiday celebrations, etc. At that time, (and honestly, sometimes today) I resented this calling-was even embarrassed by it. I would rather be the giver than the receiver. It is uncomfortable to be in need.

In 16 years, our finances have never "worked" on paper, but we have never been without. There have been times of struggle and even bitterness over what seemed like a delay on God's part, but He has ALWAYS provided. I can say today that I am thankful to be in this place of dependence. It is an opportunity to see the power, love, and faithfulness of the Lord.

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.
Ephesians 3:20-22

Thanks to our earthly giver who was motivated by the Heavenly Giver.
We are so blessed.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Gluten Free Friday

This recipe came from my friend Laura Ito - now Laura Combs. We eat it several times a winter and think of her. If you've been to my house, she's also the one that did the amazing pencil drawings of my family at the top of our stairs. And the kids remember her as their favorite babysitter. Now she has her own baby! We miss you, Laura!

White Chili

3-4 boneless chicken breasts
1 onion, chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp white pepper
1-2 4oz cans of green chilies
3 cups chicken broth
1 -2 cans each any white beans
canneline (white kidney beans)
great northern beans
garbanzo beans
navy beans
large white Lima beans
1 can white shoe peg corn

Cook and chop chicken breasts in skillet in oil. Add onion and saute. Transfer to large pot. Add remaining ingredients. (Do not drain beans before adding) Simmer 30 minutes. Garnish with Monterrey Jack cheese to serve.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Fall of Constantinople

So, we re-enacted the battle between the Ottoman Turks and the city of Constantinople today in my basement. This was the PERFECT lesson for a class of 12 boys - they loved it! I was on for teaching today, and Kory helped me with a wonderful book called Great Battles. It gave details of the battle tactics, weapons, commanders, ships, and forts.

I had already outlined a map of Turkey, Constantinople, and Greece with electrical tape on the basement carpet. The boys' wooden blocks served as the wall and buildings of the city. (I'm sure you recognize the Hagia Sophia there in the middle!) We used triangular blocks as ships and a handful of pencils to show how Mohammed II literally rolled his ships across land in order to completely surround the city.
We learned about the HUGE cannon that he had built, which could shoot a one ton cannonball over a mile, and that the Muslims had the advantage of not only gunpowder, but soldiers outnumbering the Christians by 10 to 1. And then, the boys were split into small teams and given a set of materials form which to construct their own siege weapon. Later, with mini marshmallow ammo they demonstrated the power of their designs.

Last week, we learned about John Wycliffe and John Huss. For homework the boys wrote an essay on the Bible, and its power to instruct, teach, bring joy, light our path, etc. They each also memorized a verse and recited it aloud today. I was so amazed at their insight and it was wonderful to hear them quoting the verses they had studied. And I myself feel that I am being educated for the first time!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Fire Feeding at the Dentist

Only if you read the very long book review below, or the book itself, will you appreciate the following conversation (if you call call it that - my mouth was wide open and filled with cleaning instruments) with my dental hygienist yesterday......

Hygienist: Your gums are very healthy. I bet you don't drink soda or eat a lot of refined carbs.

Me: Uh huh

Hygienist: And I'm so pleased to see that you are not on a long list of medications. You realize, don't you, that most of the ailments that people are on meds for can be resolved with some dietary changes.

Me: Uh huh

Hygienist: Are you a vegetarian?

Me: No. I probably could be, but my husband is a meat and potatoes guy, and I think the protein does my kids some good. (She removed her tools so I could respond.)

Hygienist: Have you seen the movie King Corn?

Me: Uh Uh (No)

Hygienist: Did you know that cows are supposed to eat grass? We just feed them corn because it's cheap and the government will subsidize it. That's why we have to give them antibiotics! You have to see this movie!

Me: Uh Huh

Hygienist: High fructose corn syrup is one of the worst things we eat, and it's in everything! I walk into the grocery store, and all I see is poison! I wish I could shop at Whole Foods for everything, but it's so expensive.

Me: Uh Huh

Hygienist: Well, your teeth look great and so do your kids' teeth. If only more people thought like you and me.

Me: Thanks.

Fire and ego successfully fed. Beware.


Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?
I Corinthians 6:19

When pride comes, then comes dishonor, But with the humble is wisdom.
Proverbs 11:2

Monday, March 10, 2008

Menu Monday - A Week of Gluten Free Meals

Monday

Breakfast: Pumpkin Choc. Chip Muffins & Grapefruit
Dinner: Hoppin' John (Black-Eyed Pea and Bacon Soup over Rice), Cornbread & Fruit

Tuesday

Breakfast: Breakfast Tacos
Dinner: Baked Cod (cornmeal breaded), Wild Rice & Broccoli

Wednesday

Breakfast: Waffles & Sausage
Dinner: Spaghetti & Salad + House Church Meal

Thursday

Breakfast: Bagels & Scrambled Eggs
Dinner: Mexican Steak, Rice, Black Beans, & Salad

Friday

Breakfast: Fried Egg Sandwiches
Dinner: Crispy Chicken Strips, Roasted Potato Medley, & Green Beans (Actually, we ate in Boston Friday night with visiting friends, but this meal had been the plan before we decided on our excursion to the city!)

Saturday

Breakfast: Pumpkin Choc. Chip Muffins & Grapefruit
Dinner: White Chili, Quesadillas & Guacamole

Sunday

Breakfast: Pancakes & Sausage
Dinner: Beef Chili & Baked Potatoes

Sunday, March 9, 2008

All Cows Eat Grass (a.k.a. Book Review #1)

(It is always my goal to read 12 new books a year - one a month, if possible. So, I thought it would motivate me even more to write reviews of each one. I meant to post this in January, but it got so long and involved, that I kept having to leave it in "draft" form and come back to it periodically. February's book is read as well, but not reviewed. I can't wait to tell you about it though - we'll see when that happens!)

Isn't that how you learned the space notes for the F clef in piano lessons?

A
ll Cows Eat Grass

Turns out it's not true. Beef cows in America don't eat grass, they eat corn.

Investigative journalist, Michael Pollan reveals this in his recent book, The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals. With fascination I consumed this book during our recent stay in Texas. Food is a big deal in our house. Not only because of having intolerances, but also because simply feeding everyone is such an ongoing effort. 7 breakfasts, lunches, and dinners a week, and countless snacks, food for trips, food for guests, food for church, food for the road, food for the future, shopping for food, cooking the food, cleaning up the food, etc. So, why was I reading a book about food on vacation? The truth is, I couldn't get enough. It was quite an education in farming, economy, politics, the food industry, and the history of our eating habits.
What Pollan does is partake in 4 different meals. For each one he traces all of the ingredients back to their sources. His first meal is probably the most unsettling. It is a fast food meal from, where else - McDonald's. Now, I'd already been completely horrified while watching Supersize Me last year, so I knew that the verdict on this meal probably wouldn't be glowing. Prior to eating this meal with his family, he spent time on a corn farm in Iowa. These 1000's of acres of corn, he referred to as a monoculture - as opposed to the polyculture of the farmyard with its vegetables, chickens, and cows. Much of the discussion with this farmer had to do with the falling price of corn, the reasoning behind continuing to plant it, and the answers being found in the government's willingness to subsidize it year after year. Another place Pollan spent time was on a cattle feed lot. He went there to see the living conditions of a young steer he had purchased for the purpose of following it from farm to feedlot to table. What does the feedlot have to do with corn farming? Well, that's where most of the corn ends up - in cattle feed. By eating corn, the beef industry has shortened the time it takes for a cow to reach a good weight for slaughter. What took 4-5 years decades ago can today be accomplished in about 14 months. Problem is, cattle aren't designed to eat corn. Back to piano lessons: All Cows (should) Eat Grass. But it's cheap feed, so they pump in all kinds of antibiotics, enabling the rumen and liver of the cow to tolerate it. The feedlot vet's answer to the question about returning the cows to grass and space: "I wouldn't have a job."

The meal at McDonald's illustrates our country's unhealthy addiction to and dependence on corn. Of the 38 ingredients (yes, 38!) in a Chicken McNugget, thirteen of them are derived from corn. Things like modified food starch, corn flour, dextrose, and hydrogenated corn oil. And this is only the beginning! The 32 oz. soda contains 86 grams of high fructose corn syrup as does the Paul Newman's salad dressing, and the "flavor solution" injected into the chicken that tops the salad. Do you know what corn syrup does to your liver and kidneys?

"Very simply, we subsidize high-fructose corn syrup in this country, but not carrots. While the surgeon general is raising alarms over the epidemic of obesity, the president is signing farm bills designed to keep the river of cheap corn flowing, guaranteeing that the cheapest calories in the supermarket will continue to be the unhealthiest." p. 108

All ingredients for his next meal come from a shopping trip to Whole Foods. "Supermarket Pastoral" is the term Pollan uses for the literary genre found on all packaging of products at Whole Foods - one in which "farm animals live much as they did in the books we read as children." His all-organic meal consisted of a whole chicken, vegetables including salad, potatoes, kale and asparagus, vanilla ice cream, and fresh blackberries. He then takes the reader with him on a tour of the so-called organic farms from whence they come. His quest is to determine whether organic is truly that - food grown without pesticides and growth hormones, is grass fed and cage free, and actually tastes better and provides more nutrients. His findings are somewhat disheartening for the health and politic conscious Whole Foods shopper. This is mostly due to the fact that the demand for organic food has forced most companies into an industrial model. Earthbound Farm, where the bagged salad came from, began as a roadside farm stand, but as word caught on, and they were approached by companies like Costco, Albertson's and Wal-Mart, they knew "their days of washing lettuce in the living room and selling at the Monterrey Farmer's Market were over." They now operate from over 25,000 acres of farmland in California, pack 2.5 million pounds of lettuce per week in a 200,000 square foot packing facility kept at 36 degrees Fahrenheit around the clock. The fuel required to keep up this type of volume and then truck it to grocery stores across the nation is noteworthy: 57 calories of fossil fuel for 1 calorie of food. The fossil fuel issue comes up again when considering that the asparagus came from Argentina and the blackberries from Mexico.

The organic whole chicken came from Petaluma Farm in California. Here, 20,000 chickens per shed are raised for niche markets: organic, kosher, and Asian. Because the demand for these markets has increased so dramatically (the fastest growing area of the food economy - an $11 billion industry) they, too, have had to industrialize. This means lots of chickens housed together but with "access to the outdoors" per federal rules. Since they are not given antibiotics, the risk of infection is great, so the farmers hope that the chickens don't actually use the small door that gives them access to grass - "Seldom if ever stepped upon, the chicken house lawn is scrupulously maintained nevertheless, to honor an ideal nobody wants to admit has by now become something of a joke, an empty pastoral conceit."

So is organic really better? Turns out the answer is yes nutritionally, but possibly no, if organic's definition in any way includes the idea of a truly natural, seasonal, and local setting.

The third meal that Pollan partakes of was the most fascinating and appealing to me. All components of this meal came from Polyface Farm, where the author actually spent a grueling week baling hay among other unpleasant chores. The farmer, Joel Salatin describes himself as a Christian libertarian, environmentalist. He and his wife homeschooled their children and have "opted out" in his words on industrial everything - especially government. He describes many of his customers at the farm as those who have also "opted out." His intentions in farming are to stay within God's design for the land and the animals - "The way I produce a chicken is an extension of my worldview," says Salatin. He refers to himself as a grass farmer, though he raises cows, chickens, pigs, and vegetables. Grass, though, is the most important commodity on his farm, because it is what the animals eat. The cows eat grass which is what they are designed to eat. Therefore they need no antibiotics and other additives to help them digest a cheap form of feed. The chickens come behind and not only eat the grass, but the larvae, insects, and other substances that give the chickens the proper vitamins and minerals for producing quality eggs and meat. Salatin even constructed a type of "chicken-mobile" - a movable coop, so they can be "free range" yet, monitored. Manure from the cows plus the chicken droppings provide a rich fertilizer for, you guessed it - more grass. Salatin sells his meat and produce locally to residents and restaurants. Chefs in the area are willing to pay extra for the eggs and other produce because of the quality - both taste and texture. Pollan experiences every part of the life of the local and organic farm - even participates in the regularly scheduled slaughtering of chickens, for which people drive from miles around to purchase these delectable and truly organic birds. (He stays under the federal radar here by selling them immediately after butchering, and unpackaged.) Pollan buys a chicken, and other farm produce to create a meal for friends in the area. Upon finishing the meal, all agreed that food never tasted quite so much like food! ( I'm sold - so, guess what the Krumrey children may be getting for Easter this month? Baby chicks and fresh eggs for the coming years!)

Michael Pollan's final meal is one foraged locally and by himself. He does enlist the help of some acquaintances and food foraging experts, but strives to forage an entire meal with his own two hands. The main course is the first challenge - wild pig. On two separate jaunts, he hunts for the creatures, finally shooting one on the second day's attempt. He describes his experience, both emotional and physical in great detail - "Walking with a loaded rifle in an unfamiliar forest bristling with the signs of your prey is thrilling. It embarrasses me to write that, but it is true." In this final section of the book, Pollan also discusses the ethics of both hunting and eating animals. For many pages, I thought he might conclude that vegetarianism is the only way to go, but he doesn't. After discussing many of the finer points and arguments of the animal rights movement, he then counters those with evidences that the very existence of some animals is dependent on their being eaten - especially domesticated animals, who, for the record became domesticated through an evolutionary process in which they discovered they thrived better coexisting with and being eaten by people. Pollan writes, "If our concern is for the health of nature - rather than, say, the internal consistency of our moral code or the condition of our souls - then eating animals may sometimes be the most ethical thing to do."

The second most important ingredient of this meal was fungi in the form of wild mushrooms. Here, too, he calls upon experts out of fear of eating the poisonous variety, which can mimmick the edible variety. It was so interesting to me to find out that mushroom foraging is such a secretive and lucrative niche. Pollan describes the unwritten rules and vocabulary of the trade which include being very guarded about the location of your mushroom discoveries - even using GPS to track locations and altitudes. He spends a long day foraging morels in Eldorado National Forest with two other men who forage and sell to restaurants as a hobby and side job. Morels grow most plentifully in burned pine forests, and the men return covered in dirt, but with a crate full of morels which a restaurant would purchase for upwards of $20 per pound.

The final and foraged menu consisted of boar pate', fettucini with morels, leg and loin of pig, bread made with wild yeast, salad, cherry galette and more. It was quite an undertaking, as one of the author's self -imposed rules was that he would gather and cook the entire meal himself. His guests included those who helped him in his foraging efforts. Summing up this final meal he states,

"Perhaps the perfect meal is one that's been fully paid for, that leaves no debt outstanding. This is almost impossible to ever do, which is why I said there was nothing very realistic or applicable about this meal. But as a sometimes thing, as a kind of ritual, a meal that is eaten in full consciousness of what it took to make it is worth preparing every now and again, if only as a way to remind us of the true costs of the things we take for granted." p. 409


Michael Pollan, in the end, makes no final judgment on how we should eat. I thought I might be the only one who wanted a final verdict, but evidently not. He was asked his opinion so often after writing The Omnivore's Dilemma, that he's now written book called In Defense of Food. In it you can read more about his recommendations which follow this simple advice: "Eat food. Not a lot. Mostly Plants" I have not read it, but enjoyed this one so much, that I may have to!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Gluten Free Saturday

In Boston all day yesterday so posting a recipe today. I never buy BBQ sauce at the store anymore. It either has gluten or MSG or corn syrup or just a list of ingredients way too long to trust. Here's one I adapted from another I found on a recipe website not too long ago....

BBQ Sauce

4 Tbsp butter
4 Tbsp canola oil
3/4 cup natural ketchup
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup molasses
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce or GF soy sauce
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt

We usually use this on grilled chicken breasts. Hurry up, spring!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Menu Monday

Last week's menu went over really well with everyone! Maybe that's because here weren't too many veggies, lots of protein, and some favorite meals of the kids - especially tortilla soup and brisket!

Monday


Breakfast: Banana Choc. Chip Muffins & Grapefruit
Dinner: Maple Orange Chicken - Rice - Peas

Tuesday

Breakfast: Breakfast tacos
Dinner: Tortilla Soup

Wednesday

Breakfast: Waffles & Chicken Sausage
Dinner: Leftover Tortilla Soup / House Church Meal ( I take food in case there are no GF options)

Thursday

Breakfast: Bagels & Scrambled Eggs
Dinner: Brisket - Baked Potatoes - Cole Slaw

Friday

Breakfast: Fried Egg Sandwiches
Dinner: Chicken Fajitas

Saturday

Breakfast: Pancakes & Sausage
Dinner: Leftover Fajitas and Brisket

Sunday

Breakfast: Cereal
Dinner: Breakfast for dinner - Eggs & Toast

Saturday, March 1, 2008

First Concert

Well, not my first concert, but the first one that our kids have ever been to. I think the last Christian concert I attended was in 1995! It was The Newsboys with Audio Adrenaline in Austin, TX. Robert and I took the youth from our church, and all I remember was having to sit in the lobby because little in utero Kory would not stop flip- flopping inside of me - the music was SO loud!
So, we had the privilege of seeing Casting Crowns last night - right here in our own little wacky left-winged liberal not-so-Christian town! We are the only concert venue in this area, so if a Christian band did choose to come to these parts, this would be the spot - the UMass Mullins Center. The place was full and it was so much fun to worship with so many believers in one place!
Here's Coop with good friend Jim. The boys were so excited to be able to take a friend along. Kory seemed to enjoy everything about the evening - he's been listening to them on his iPod, so it was fun to see them in person. Cooper seemed to enjoy the instruments - especially a very cool drum solo. He didn't appreciate the spotlights too much, though!
This is my friend Bonnie with 3 of her girls -one of which is a good friend of Kayla's. They have recently moved back to the area for which we are thankful. Kayla cried big tears when they moved away! (Both girls were asleep by 9:30! And the concert wasn't over til 11pm! Couldn't believe the noise they could sleep through!)
We exited the concert to a full-fledged snow storm which made for a difficult trek back to our car and journey home. But it was worth it. Casting Crowns was the real deal - very authentic folks with a message and lyrics full of truth. We were all encouraged toward Christ.