Crossroads

•December 2, 2008 • 1 Comment

amish_buggy_sign

Just had a interesting experience today at my lovely natural foods co-op. As I was getting out of my car, walking into the store their were these two amish guys unloading produce from their truck. I had this feeling like, wow, two worlds colliding. Seward natural foods co-op is right on Franklin Ave in Mpls, a very culturally diverse area. As I got my grocery cart and entered the store, one of the Amish guys was walking towards me with his vegetables. He had the classic amish/mushroom haircut and all. It was neat to see that the Seward Co-op supports farmers like that…made me want to jump in the back of their truck and go back to the farm with them.

recent logo

•November 11, 2008 • Leave a Comment

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Here is a logo I made for my uncle. He decided to not go forward with it for legal reasons. bummer.

An issue of harm for animals and humans

•November 8, 2008 • Leave a Comment

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Learning more about healthy meats led me to become interested in what California voters had on their ballot this month. Here is what they had to vote on in Proposition 2:

STANDARDS FOR CONFINING FARM ANIMALS. INITIATIVE STATUTE.

•    Requires that calves raised for veal, egg-laying hens and pregnant pigs be confined only in ways that allow these animals to lie down, stand up, fully extend their limbs and turn around freely.

What is sad but not all that surprising, is that thousands of animals on a daily basis cannot “fully extend their limbs and turn around freely.” Farms are under more pressure than ever with the dwindling economy and rising cost of farm operations to do whatever neccessary to make a profit. Farms that produce food for the general public are businesses when it comes to it and money is the bottom line. With that said and understood, I believe people (especially Christians) need to start looking at farm operations and whatever they profit in a different way- for two reasons. The first reason is that while in Genesis 1:28, God says: “Have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.” He didn’t say do whatever you want with them, any treatment is okay treatment.  I think God created animals to show his amazing creativity and also as a source of food for humans. Obviously we have to kill animals to eat them. What I don’t think is okay and not in God’s plan is how most currently most farm animals are treated while they are living (definitely not all farms, I am speaking of the major American cattle and hen operations). As God calls us to have compassion on people in miserable circumstances, I think God calls us to have compassion on these animals that are:

cramped in pens where they can’t move, sitting in their own feces for their entire lifetime, weened off of their mothers too quickly, unnesecarily injected with growth hormones and antibiotics for the sake of faster growth, and have no fresh air.

All of these reasons lead to the second and main reason why I think these farm animals need to start being treated more humanely while living. HEALTH OF HUMANS! I just feel  like it is almost a “duh” statement! With cancer being something pervasive in my family– my brother and dad beat cancer last year, I can’t help but think these sickly animals we have been eating have to be a contributing factor to the disease we experience. Many non grass fed and non- cage free animals are so far from how God intended them to be when they go to the slaughter house…they are weak from not being able to run around in open spaces, have been fed foreign foods their stomachs cannot digest and are just plain sick. I think for most Americans who rely on a heavy diet of beef, veal and chicken, ignorance has been bliss. The reality isn’t so blissful though. The animals we consume are sick because farmers need to make a profit. We in turn eat those sick animals and become sick ourselves. Something has to change and it has as Proposition 2 has passed. Do I think it will make a dramatic difference for the health of our animals? No.  With how much beef and chicken Americans consume, it is not possible for that many animals to get the excercise they need and eat the food they were designed to digest. Another foot in the gestational crate for the pig and cow, and room enough for the hen to spread their its is obviously not adequate, but it is a step in the right direction. Their is not the funding nor the space for animals to live as God intended before their death and our ultimate consumption. Because of this, Darren and I have made a decision to invest in healthy animal products. I think eating meat is how we were designed, but our bodies weren’t designed to eat these sickly animals.
The other hotly contested proposition voters had to vote on was Proposition 8 which said:

Prop 8 ELIMINATES RIGHT OF SAME–SEX COUPLES TO MARRY. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT.

* Changes the California Constitution to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry in California.
* Provides that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.

This was the other proposition I was glad that passed. I do believe marriage is to be between one man and one woman, not one man and one man or one woman and one woman. Being married (still newly married) I understand why God designed it the way he did. I do think it is still important to love, be respectful and care for gays and lesbians and to wrestle with these issues that are increasingly a part of our culture. I recently came accross this quote which made me think about what it would be like to be someone voting against Prop 8, Samantha Ronson said,  “I guess people care more about farm animals than they do their fellow man, that’s really sad to me,” Ronson, 31, blogs on her MySpace page. “Yes, I am glad that the chickens will have more room and better conditions as they wait to die, but I just think it’s frightening that people show more compassion for tomorrow’s dinner than for the chef.”

By Proposition 8 not passing and Proposition 2 passing, I think less harm will be done to animals and humans. Animals need to have space and people need to come to grips with the fact that marriage needs to be between a man and a woman for our good. God isn’t against us, he is for us in all things….we just need to be alert and aware of these issues. As Christians, God calls us a step further to be concerned and active.

Goin out!

•October 31, 2008 • Leave a Comment

So, yes I do love to cook, but I also love eating out. We are trying to do it less to save money…but I still love it. Sweet thing happened last night…I really wanted to go out but not pay for anything. So in the mail we got a gift certificate/coupon for a free pizza at Pizza Luce! It was a great little blessing, it was a large pizza at that!  I guess it is more special when you only do every so often. I thought I would make a list of my faves in the Minneapolis area. Sidenote: I love Mpls. It is the best. I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else right now in my life. The diversity of ethnicities, of how people do life, of varying economic status’ make for a perspective that is much more global than other places I have lived.

So here is my list: (Please add your own favorites via the comments section!)

Best overall: Corner Table

Best Gourmet Mexican: Masa

Best Romantic Dinner: Lucias

Best organic food: Birchwood Cafe

Best coffeeshop: It’s a 3-way tie Anodyne, Fireroast Mountain, Butter

Best Breakfast: Pancakes at The Bad Waitress

Best Cuban (only Cuban I know about 🙂 Victors

Best Fondue: The Melting Pot

Best Sweets: Butter

Best Hot Chocolate: Dunn Bros

Best Value: Spaghetti Factory, Olive Garden

Best Wine Bar: The Riverview Wine Bar  (only one I have been to)

I am sure their are more places I could put down, but I can’t think of them now…maybe Darren can help me.

Some places I want to check out are: Spill the Wine, True Thai, Fogo de Chao, La Belle Vie, Heartland, and  W.A. Frost.

Improvisation

•October 29, 2008 • 5 Comments

The more I have been cooking, the more I have been learning. As we have been shopping at the co-op which is a little more expensive, I have been trying to find ways to cut costs. I used to buy fresh herbs (which I love) for recipes, but so often I only use them for one recipe and then they go bad in my fridge. So from here on out, I am using dried herbs! To save money I also usually make my own salad dressing. I guess I have two specialties 🙂 One is made out of olive oil, honey, brown mustard, rice vinegar, and a little salt. The other one I make is just a simple balsamic dressing with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, sugar and shallots. 

The other thing I have been getting better at is improvising. I always knew my mom did that with recipes growing up, but I guess I have had a fear of that until now! I am learning how to get by with what I have, and it is working. Recently I made shepherd’s pie because I realized I had some ground beef, potatoes, and frozen veggies. The recipe called for fresh veggies, and fresh rosemary…but my version turned out just fine. Shepherd’s pie is a great dish cause it makes good leftovers for many days! I like food that stretches!

A guilty/funny food pleasure I had today was this ravioli/tomato soup made for kids from the co-op. Growing up I always wanted stuff like Chef Boyardee, but my mom would never buy stuff like that. So, at the co-op I found organic kid’s soup just like Chef Boyardee! It was a delicious lunch!

We made a Betty Crocker blog!

•October 22, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Okay, so my mom works at General Mills with the Betty Crocker division. She made these cookies for our housewarming party recently and then made us pose with them at the party. So we made it on her friend’s blog through Betty Crocker…just thought I would share. We didn’t really have anything to do with the cookies, even though they made it sound like we did 🙂

http://www.bettycrocker.com/community/blogs/

In other news, we checked out Ted’s 19th Hole BBQ on Saturday night with my parents. It was a fun/cross-cultural soulful adventure. It’s such a funny establishment. You just walk up to this counter and order from the photos on the wall (which don’t make the food look very good– bad food styling) and then they bring your order out to you in a paper bag. It’s take-out only, so their aren’t any tables there. We ordered beef and pork ribs, cornbread, one peach cobbler to split and a slice of sweet potato pie. Each order of ribs comes with a side of coleslaw, jojos (thinly sliced fried potatoes) and a piece of white bread and a piece of wheat bread (kinda random). Overall it was really good and we would go back. It’s located right off of 38th St here in Mpls near the light rail station.

amazing thailand

•October 9, 2008 • Leave a Comment

My good friend Christina and I went out to eat to Amazing Thailand tonight in uptown. She had a gift certificate, and invited me to share it with her. The food was really good!! We got lotsa food. The most interesting thing was the dessert we got. Christina has spent quite a bit of time in Thailand so the dessert wasn’t new to her, but new to me…it was sticky rice with mangoes. The rice was sweet though with some coconut sauce on it with sesame seeds. I would definitely try it again! The lighting there was really nice too, kinda of dim.

Thanks for a fun night Christina!