Monday February 13, 2012
On this Valentine's Eve, I wanted to share with you my philosophy about food and cooking.
Cooking is NOT competition.
Cooking is an expression of love.
Cooking is nourishment.
There is no greater joy than cooking for family, friends or lovers.
Having the people you love, love your food warms my soul.
When you believe food is love then everyday you share your love by cooking.
If everyone believed food is love, the combination of food and love is the answer to living a good life.
Happy Valentine's Day - Hope you all find the love!
Tuesday February 07, 2012
Over the last year I have been on new journey - not just with Heirloom Meals - but one of a healing/spiritual sort. Last year I had a number a minor but scary health scares. From taking aspirin everyday as a prophylactic for migraine headaches, I developed an ulcer that caused heartburn; in seeking relief from chronic TMJ, I ended up feeling worse; and in general, I felt fat, logey and stressed.
What I realized from all of these things is I needed to pay attention to the signs or my intuition. When something I was doing never really turned out right, my "A" student kept trying over and over. And what I really needed to do was change what I was doing. I also needed to care for myself. I was told by the emergency room doctor that I was stressed - he said get a massage, take a vacation and drink some red wine.
None of the advice and coincidence of ailments have left my consciousness. I sought healers, and by elimination, found the ones that worked for me - a myotherapist masseuse, an osteopath, and a homeopathic MD. I felt better but not great. While some stress was mitigated, I still carried it in parts of my body. While I lost some weight, I knew that I could be on the slippery slope toward plumpness.
But, in being more open to the possibilities, the possibilities found me. I also learned a lot about me and being stuck - my massage therapist told me my hips were locked and they both literally and figuratively are what propel you forward. She helped me unlock them and things started to happen. Heirloom Meals started to really happen. But stress and anxiety were still with me. My doctor said I needed to find a way to relax, meditate. But what would work for me? I tried yoga, didn't like it, walking, running, pilates, you name it. And then it came to me...my osteopath's husband was teaching qigong and a program called Dragon's Way. At first, I dismissed it and then it just pursued me. So, I put a class of six people together - my Jim, my best friend Jan who is also on a spiritual quest to health and happiness, my dear friend Donna who is recovering from breast cancer, my Mom and a new friend, Debbie. We are in week 2, and I am beginning to understand the wisdom of the meditative exercises and healing diet. And I thank my lucky stars!!
Ok - so now - we are in the year of the dragon - a year of transition, change and great opportunity.
The program is called Dragon's Way, in the year of the dragon, coincidence? I think not!
If you want to learn more you can buy the book,.
Friday January 20, 2012
I can’t remember the last time I read a positive article about corn. With the emphasis on genetically modified corn engineered by Monsanto for high fructose corn syrup and ethanol and the golden piles photographed in the Midwest as examples of excess of commodity crops we are hardly celebrating the tiny kernel. Except today— National Popcorn Day—January 19th. A day solely devoted to our favorite movie munchies and rainy day snack!
The origins of January 19th as National Popcorn day are unknown, however if you want to celebrate and need some ideas for decorations or games head here. Also, a good friend of mine was kind enough to share her own Kettle Corn recipe (watch out because it's addictive!), she also gives instructions on how to pop corn the old fashioned way with oil in a pan on the stove.
It was a near miss, but thankfully I heard about National Popcorn Day before it had passed. We just finished ordering our seeds from the folks at Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds for planting the Heirloom Meals garden and selling on our website but I headed back over to their online catalog to read up on heirloom corn varieties with the dream of adding to our order a few packs of corn seeds. While Baker Creek sells 12 different heirloom varieties of corn their beautiful red Strawberry and dark brown Dakota Black varieties are both well suited for popping-you can check these out at the Baker Creek website.
So what’s my favorite kernel of truth? Popcorn pops in two shapes— the butterfly and the mushroom —next time you’re at the movies take a closer look…
Friday January 13, 2012
There are few things as exciting as a new cookbook especially just when the January doom and gloom starts to set in and you’re counting down the days until you can start planting things and seeing the sun again. I just received a little delivery from amazon—“The River Cottage Cookbook.” Author Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has a way with words and ordering this book was a bit of a ploy on my part as I knew that this is a book that makes you feel confident you can undertake virtually any agricultural activity and I am confident that I want to raise chickens in my parents’ yard. My parents, however, might still need a little convincing. They willingly allowed me to move back home while I am interning at Heirloom Meals-but of course that was before they knew of my plans for chickens, bees, raised beds and cold frame. Perhaps I can include a human sized roost in that coop…
Most of us can name the breed of dog we own but can we name the breed of chicken our eggs come? Largely the chicken undertaking and research has been an experience in learning that “not all chickens cluck the same.” The number of eggs you get and whether your laying bird will ultimately taste good on the table has everything to do with the breed you select. The size and color of the eggs and personality of the chickens also varies considerably across breeds. Hugh talks about the Isa Brown and Welsomer as great layers, and Cuckoo Marans, Light Sussex, Dorking, Wyandott, Dumpy and Rhode Island Red as “good dual purpose birds”- for the eggs AND the table.
Our friends at Pete and Gerry’s Heirloom Eggs sell the eggs from two heirloom varieties- Ameraucanas and Marans. Ameraucanas lay beautiful pastel blue colored eggs and Marans lay brown eggs. These birds are well adapted to harsh environments as the Ameraucanas originated in the Patagonia and Marans were bred in France to be adapted to damp environments. For more information about either of these Heirloom breeds check out Pete and Gerry’s website.