Mar 18 2013

Hello there, Peep Patriots! Thanks for following this latest turn of organic food events. Last Wednesday, I awoke to an e-mail call for action from the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) at www.westonaprice.org

Last Monday night, two riders had been placed deep with the Continuing Resolution, CR, bill coming to a vote in the Senate.

As explained on Cornucopia.com: “The first provision is the “Monsanto rider” that destroys the few protections that currently exist against the planting of new genetically engineered crops.  It is intended to force USDA to grant temporary permits and deregulations of GMO crops even if a Federal court rules that USDA hadn’t adequately considered the environmental or economic risks to farmers — as has been the case.  This would negate any meaningful judicial review of USDA’s decisions to allow commercialization of GMO crops.

The second provision will allow giant Agribusiness companies to continue abusive and deceptive practices that hurt livestock and poultry farmers.”

Organic farms are under attack by agri-giants.

Dr. Weston A. Price was a Dentist in the 1930′s who astutely observed many of the problems we have with our teeth here in the United States are due to our diets and toxic chemicals. To document his hypothesis, Dr. Price traveled the world meeting with indigenous peoples on traditional diets.

Dr. Price determined naturally occurring minimally processed foods are far superior. He advised diets of fresh whole milk with its enzymes intact, unpasteurized cheese, free range poultry and grass fed, pastured meats were the healthy throwbacks modern societies were lacking. He also recognized that most of the world consumed daily quantities of fermented foods such as Kim-chee and sauerkraut which provide pro-biotic bacteria to aid in digestion.

So, having followed the Weston A. Price diet since 2008, I was at the ready to spread the word about the Rider to protect GMO foods. The vote was supposed to be that day or the next, Wednesday or Thursday, so I copy/pasted the WAPF e-mail to a BlogHer post and started Tweeting anyone who might be like-minded.

On Thursday, March 14, 2013, another WAPF e-mail arrived. It announced that like John Wayne riding in to save the day, Senator Jon Tester, (D-MT) had introduced two different amendments to strike BOTH of these riders. Senator Tester is a generational organic farmer, the only one in the Senate.

AT ISSUE:

 Section 735, or the “Monsanto Rider,” of this proposed Continuing Resolution is a rider that would strip federal courts of authority to stop plantings of illegal transgenic crops.

Amendment 74 is the proposed Tester Amendment to fix the biotech rider.

Section 742 of this proposed Continuing Resolution would eliminate the final GIPSA rule. This rule, which went into effect in 2012, provides basic contract fairness protections to livestock growers.

Amendment 75 is the proposed Tester Amendment to fix the GIPSA rider.

Here’s a good site to sign on On-Line petition: Click here to sign

We are not alone! Support for the two Tester Amendments: Food Democracy NOW!; The Great States of North Carolina and South Carolina; ActivistPost.com; Cornucopia.com; TheNorthwestFoodFight; Center for Food Safety; Environmental Working Group and many, many more.

Choose the format that feels most comfortable. Write at the above sites or call your Senators here by finding their phone numbers here.

Stop the two riders that were anonymously and maliciously placed on the Continuing Resolution bill. These riders would strip federal courts of their authority to halt the sale and planting of an illegal, potentially hazardous genetically engineered crop. It would compel the U.S. Department of Agriculture to allow continued planting of that same crop upon request. And, in addition, giant agribusiness would be enabled to continue abusive and deceptive practices that hurt livestock and poultry farmers.”

Please tell the Senator to vote for two amendments to the Continuing Resolution introduced by Senator Jon Tester of Montana that protect family farmers from abuses by the meat industry and support review of biotechnology products.  These two amendments will stand up for family farmers, ensure that independent producers have a fair chance in the livestock market, and ensure that courts can review biotechnology products.

 

CALL and WRITE your two Senators TODAY!

VOTE is imminent!

ASK them to support the Tester amendments

To enlarge, click here:  Fed Government/Monsanto Overlap (Stephanie Herman, Geke.us) / CC BY-NC-ND 3.0


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Filed under: Food,Health,Uncategorized — admin @ 7:48 am Comments (0)
Mar 08 2013

In the fall of 2010, I became fascinated with Chinese noodles called La Mian. How could I help myself with this video to watch?

Hand drawn Noodles with Chef Kin Jing Mark.

La Mian, or Lamian, is a type of handmade or hand-pulled Chinese noodle. Through a process of stretching and twisting wheat flour, Noodle Chefs can hand pull hundreds, even thousands of beautiful long thin noodles for a variety of dishes.

The Green Awning is the China Express.

The process is simple enough, but when you see a master noodle maker perform, one truly appreciates the art and beauty of cooking.

The Noodle Chef works out in front so all can enjoy.

My family was  enamored with the video as well. With hungry kids having home school science lessons to learn, it seemed like finding a local Chinese Noodle Chef would be fun and educational. Now that might be hard, depending on your location, but here in Washington, D.C., with our famous Chinatown not far away, it was relatively easy.

Ducks hang in the window near the Noodle Chef.

With the miracle of the Internet, I found Washingtonians have the China Express Restaurant with their Noodle Chef making noodles right in the front window kitchen for everyone to watch as they walk by.

Plenty of traditional atmosphere and hospitality.

What a treat it was to watch and we did for a long time, but eventually, we were hungry from being tempted and had to go in for a meal. And, what a meal it was. Fit for a Sunbonnet and a post on BlogHer.com

Bountifully delicious foods beckon us to return.

So, you can see it’s taken two and a half years to get there, but in January, 2013, when we visited the National Gallery of Art, we took a cab and were whisked away to Chinatown and the China Express. It was a dream come true. The food was fresh and delicious. The big bowls of noodle soup were tasty with their freshly made noodles and tender cuts of beef. And, I have been waiting all my life to try Peking Duck. Well, we ate duck, too. Dumplings and almond cookies, along with endless pots of tea, made us very fat and happy. We are planning on going back soon.

I hope that when you are in a big city, especially one that has a Chinatown, you will look for a La Mian Noodle Chef.  In that way, you will finally understand what we have here in our treasured China Express.

 NaBloPoMo March 2013

March 2013
Join SunbonnetSmart.com
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here and/or on BlogHer.com



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Filed under: Food,Processing,Uncategorized — admin @ 11:55 pm Comments (0)
Mar 05 2013

I hope I’m not the last one to know about this.

That silly ole’ Pinterest. Everyday I find new creative things to do. Lotsa hot tips to make my life more efficient. Trouble is, I think what I find is so innovative, I must be the first one to have discovered it. The fact that I’m finding it it in a write up on Pinterest does not interfere with my feeling of discovery.

One pound of organic bacon placed
on parchment lined Reynold’s Wrap.

And then, because I’ve made a discovery, I have to share it on my web site and BlogHer. So, spoiler alert! This post is about cooking bacon in the oven. If you have been doing that for years, don’t burst my bubble. Let me live in my own little newly ovened bacon world, safe and secure. But, for those of you who haven’t tried this, it has changed our lives. :) We’re not “afraid” to eat bacon anymore.

Place a sheet of lined Reynold’s Wrap
over the top of the jelly roll pan.

No longer do we have to stand and cook bacon, getting splattered and making a greasy mess all over the stove top. Now, we cook bacon like royalty. We could wear white gloves. We could. And, not get them mussed and be ready for tea afterwards. So, what you do is, get a jelly roll pan, take a sheet of the Reynold’s Wrap non-stick Pan Lining Paper that is foil lined with parchment paper so the food does not touch the foil.  Make sure you have extra, so it will cover the sides of the pan to catch the grease.

Perfect bacon with hardly any cleanup. Yay!

Place a second sheet of the Pan Lining Paper over the top of the jelly roll pan, with the parchment paper toward the food. Cook 45 minutes at 375 degrees and check on it as your oven time and temperature may differ. The Pinterest pin was right when it stated we would never cook bacon on the top of the stove again. We haven’t yet!

Have you tried oven bacon? Am I the last person in the world?

 NaBloPoMo March 2013

March 2013
Join SunbonnetSmart.com
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here and/or on BlogHer.com



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Filed under: Food,Processing,Uncategorized — admin @ 11:19 am Comments (0)
Feb 25 2013

Barbarian hordes visiting? Huns coming over for boardgames? Or, are you just spending a quiet afternoon at home with the fam? This recipe will keep you ahead of the pack. Maybe.

It was a Sunday like many others. We were enjoying the nothingness when organic corn chips in the kitchen apparently sounded an alarm. As if on cue, all testosterone laden individuals rose up from the couch in unison. Lock step they went into the kitchen to initiate a feeding frenzy. The target was home made nachos. And, “So what?,” I thought. It was the first of many mistakes I would make that day.

It was a nice calm Sunday until….

What could be the harm, I thought? Nachos on a Sunday afternoon. How sublime. But, that’s because I wasn’t in the kitchen to see two pounds of hamburger being cooked and stirred. Sure, I knew hamburger was cooking, but TWO POUNDS? Never would have it occurred to me.  I was a babe and uninitiated into the world of MACHO NACHOS. Katie bar the door!

Would two and a half pounds of chips be enough?

And, you know those BIG $5 bags of organic corn chips at COSTCO? The chips who felt macho enough to sound the nacho alarm in the first place? Well, it never would have occurred to me the ENTIRE BAG would be stacked up in a ROASTING PAN to make a corn chip mountain. Common sense would dictate reasonable portions, but no, the feeding frenzy preparation was in full swing.

Fit for a king or restaurant parties of ten.

A WHOLE JAR of organic jalapenos and TWO POUNDS of shredded Amish raw milk cheese complemented the TWO RIPE ORGANIC AVACADOS added to the WHOLE JAR of organic salsa. All of this was transported into the oven via a system of steampunk wenches, pullies and airlifts. The shear weight of the snack was too much to lift by human musculature alone as they were left to bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes.

Ceiling Cam shot of the HALF PINT sour cream application.

And, none of this did I know until the roasting pan of MAN NACHOS  was wheeled out into the living room by a legion of gladiators using ropes and rolling wooden logs to lessen the friction of the roasting pan over the living room rug. I was left to feel the pain as chip crumbs, melted cheese, jalapeno juice and salsa seeds flew in my direction. I had to get out an old camping rain poncho to put on the weather the storm.

All of which leaves me to say it will be a long time before unsupervised chefs are allowed in the kitchen again. My life is a nightmare. Save. Me.



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Filed under: Food,Recipes,Uncategorized — admin @ 7:48 pm Comments (0)
Jan 27 2013

How sublime. Meeting a friend in Georgetown, Washington, D.C., for afternoon tea at a popular Chinese tea house, called Ching Ching Cha.

It was a cold, crisp Saturday morning here in Maryland. Running errands before heading into the City heightened our appetite for good food and restful warmth. Following a great suggestion, we met on Wisconsin Avenue, between M Street and the C&O Canal at Ching Ching Cha, a Tea House carefully appointed in true Chinese Tea House style.

A bit of heavenly China in Washington, D.C.

Cha is the Chinese word for tea, and as the web site shares, the founder of Ching Ching Cha is named “Ching Ching.” It was easy to settle in and relax with gracious service setting off a warm earth toned ambiance. There are many reviews that state Ching Ching Cha is just like the tea houses in China. I found a number of YouTube videos showing that to be true.

Sky lights, rosewood and Chinese art compliment the tea.

What a sanctuary we found in the middle of Saturday errands. Ching Ching Cha serves more than seventy teas, each one a high quality loose leaf tea prepared to order.  We noticed the more tea we drank , the more relaxed we felt, so having had a hard week, we decided we were going to stay a while.

The teas we selected had brewing techniques similar to these.

Each type of tea seems to require special brewing techniques along with individual serving vessels. The rituals and associated vessels, cups, pots and trays create a fascinating interplay for each guest. The tea preparations encourage total focus on enjoying the beverage. We became totally absorbed with the preparation of and sipping of hot tea.

A central pot, the source of our hot water, for making our teas.

Concentrating on tea preparation relieves the mind of other worries. Good conversation along with the quiet, music free atmosphere of the tea house insulated us from outside cares. Soon the warm, delightfully fragrant beverage was ready to be enjoyed and our minds were calm, ready to be delighted.

Lacquered trays held Tea Meals of meat and freshly steamed vegetables.

We really had a good time. We decided to stay all afternoon, enjoying more than one Tea Meal, several Tea Snacks and all three of Ching Ching Cha’s tasty desserts: Coconut Tarts, Almond Cookies and Lotus Seed Puff Pastries. The time went quickly. Even though we eventually had to go back out into our hectic lives, when we left, we carried a bit of the Chinese Tea House with us.

We began serenely driving back onto the Washington, D.C., I-495 Beltway, to go home alert and refreshed.



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Filed under: Food,Health — admin @ 10:15 pm Comments (0)
Nov 28 2012

I love new fangled kitchen gadgets, but wouldn’t trade my old fashioned, heavy duty egg beater.

Why? A zillion reasons. For one, my grandmother used one and every time I use mine, I’m reminded of cooking with her. Then, I like using hand power knowing that if the grid goes down, I can still make whipped cream. Finally, I enjoy putting my energy into my food, feeling a connection with the eggs as they get frothy and the raw cream as it whips up. It’s just plain satisfying to feel the power of the beaters create a tasty treat.

Whoa! Look at these rich, orange Amish free-range eggs.

So, are you one who beats their eggs with a fork? Gets out the French whisk? Or plugs in the electric blender stick? Forget about it! Get a new “old egg beater,” beat up those eggs, rinse it off in a jiffy, put it in the dish drainer and have it ready to fight another day.

The beater’s handle sends a message to the eggs below.

Soon, you’ll understand why, in addition to my own fondness for them, I began to take old fashioned egg beaters more seriously. Last year, visiting my Amish friends, one of the girls used one to whip up an angel food cake.

“Are you kidding me? An ANGEL FOOD CAKE!?!?,” you say. No, I’m not kidding you. I sat there and watched her do it. A chocolate angel food cake that was absolutely divine, whipped up with an egg beater, then baked in a wood stove oven. Talk about being self sufficient. Every time I visit, I learn something new.

An egg beater was used to make my Blackstrap Gingerbread.

Traveling to the stores we’re used to, it’s hard to find new “old egg beaters.” I bought mine at an Amish dry goods store in Pennsylvania. But, you don’t have to travel that far. With the Internet, Amish hand crafted supplies are available on line.

For instance, here’s a good egg beater model. Nice and heavy and, “WHAT!?!?” How much? $69.95 Am I crazy !?!?

No, I am not, for this Country Egg Beater is a prototype of ones made in the mid 1900′s, has stainless steel blades with die cast gears and greatly outlasts competitors. You’d have to try it to see how heavy it is. This is crafted like things used to be and is American made.

Fast, efficient and full of egg beater love.

So, if you value the journey of cooking, as well as consuming the destination cuisine, consider investing in an Amish egg beater, if you don’t already have an old model of your own. It’ll make all the difference and you’ll live to thank me as you crank this luxury item around the kitchen. Look to the past for the tools of the future, I say.

At SunbonnetSmart, we’re living the Old Ways in a New Way.





Filed under: Food,Processing — admin @ 3:53 am Comments (0)
Nov 27 2012

On June 29, 2012, our area of the east coast was hit with 65-75 mile an hour winds and much damage from fallen trees.

Power was out for days with half a million residents in Montgomery County, Maryland affected. We were only out three days and our freezers held so we had no loss of food and besides, we didn’t leave town. But, some of our neighbors did leave, rather than live in the dark. When they returned, they complained about having to throw away food, many hundreds of dollars worth. At the time, I didn’t know there was anything else to do.

If severe weather threatens, donate your perishable foods.

I didn’t realize, and never had thought about donating food that might spoil to foodbanks before leaving town. After reading an article in the newspaper, though, I realized that many of the food banks have powerful electrical generators and can easily store food otherwise left to spoil as one leaves for safer areas.

In June, 40,000 lbs of food were saved to feed the hungry.

An article, “Power Outage Leads to Spike in Food Donations,” in the Gaithersburg Gazette, explained that less fortunate families were able to gain from other’s losses. Thousands of pounds of additional food were donated as a result of the storm. Rather than leave their food to spoil, residents aware of the food banks’ capabilities for generator storage, donated food before they left town, before it defrosted and was lost.

What a great idea and proactive way to handle the crisis of frozen food otherwise being spoiled. The Manna Food Center, a nonprofit dedicated to fighting hunger in Montgomery County, was able to save 40,000 pounds of food during the June 29th storm and its after effects.

I was glad the article caught my eye and wanted to pass the idea along to my community conscious BlogHer friends. Don’t be left in the dark about how to donate to your local food bank if threatening weather occurs.

Find the “Manna” in your area and see what their generator capabilities allow.





Filed under: Food,Health — admin @ 2:49 pm Comments (0)
Nov 26 2012

Traditional foods provide traditional health, the robust health carrying our human species down through the millennia.

When one is aware of their body and the preventative health measures the body can perform when it’s in working order, food as medicine becomes a profound concept. Every bite must be nutrient dense, full of building blocks to create and maintain the immune system that fights our microscopic battles. Every bite must provide vitamins and minerals so that metabolic cycles are able to finish their work manufacturing muscle, nerve, bone, connective and circulatory tissues. And, let’s not forget brain function. Every nerve in the central and autonomic nervous systems must be nutrient fed to function properly.

So, following the www.WestonAPrice.org food guidelines, even desserts can be nutrient dense. A great example is this gingerbread made with blackstrap molasses, a sweetener full of iron and other vitamins and minerals. This is the type of food served in Williamsburg, VA and in colonial America. This is the food served throughout the Civil War and up into the late 19th century when industrialization evolved from the improving of manufactured products into a movement to improve nature.

Rather than just mechanizing the labor required to grow agricultural products, chemists also tried to increase crop yield by implementing chemical growth products and pesticides. In the long run, these chemicals have lessened crop output.

In addition, monoculture, or the growing of one crop over immense acreage without a rotation of crops to replenish the soil, has had disastrous consequences. Far from improving food output, our quality of life is severely threatened due to these short sighted practices. Building up the land in an organic, sustainable manner is truly the only option for feeding the world.

Meet Joel Salatin, the leader in sustainable agriculture.


Blackstrap Gingerbread, all ingredients organic

2 1/2 cups sifted unbleached white flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup blackstrap molasses
1/3 cup olive oil

Grease 8x8x2″ baking pan.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Sift flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves into a large bowl.  Beat eggs in a medium size bowl until frothy.

Stir in buttermilk, molasses and oil, mixing well.
Stir liquid ingredients into dry ingredients, mixing well.
Pour into prepared pan.
Bake in oven for 50 minutes or so, or until top springs back when pressed.
Cool in pan on wire rack.
Prick top with fork and pour on lemon sauce, stopping when pan is full, using rest for topping when serving.
Serve warm with Lemon Sauce.

Lemon Sauce

1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon grated fresh lemon rind
3 tablespoons lemon juice

Combine sugar, cornstarch and salt in a small saucepan, mixing well.
Stir in boiling water and bring to boil again, stirring constantly.
Lower heat and simmer, stirring, until sauce is thickened and clear.
Stir in butter, lemon rind and juice.
Pour over warm Blackstrap Gingerbread.

And, this spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down.  :)





Filed under: Food,Recipes — admin @ 2:57 pm Comments (0)
Nov 25 2012

Aye! Blackstrap Gingerbread with Lemon Sauce, an original recipe by SunbonnetSmart to be shared tomorrow, if ye be good and read what’s below!

Fit for a pirate king, this gingerbread recipe scoffs at modern sweeteners and honey. It takes after the only common sweetener known up until the end of the 19th century, blackstrap molasses. Without refrigeration, foods were preserved with high sugar and salt contents, but refined sugar like we know it was expensive and only available to the very wealthy. Most colonial kitchens, and really, those up through the Civil War and after, would have used blackstrap molasses for sweetener.


Blackstrap Gingerbread with Lemon Sauce and
vanilla ice cream. All organic and nutritionally
dense food. Good to eat and good for you.



A good thing, too, because blackstrap molasses is nutrient dense, a good source of iron and many minerals and vitamins. While refined sugar provides calories and not many nutrients, older more traditional foods like molasses were the nutritional powerhouses that helped sail the seas of exploration and discovery. Traditional foodstuffs are sorely needed today, when people are waking up to realize processed modern diets of the last hundred years are responsible for many illnesses and chronic diseases. Traditional nutrient foods are espoused on the www.WestonAPrice.org website which shares the following:

“Dr. Weston A. Price (1870-1948), a Cleveland dentist, has been called the “Isaac Newton of Nutrition.” In his search for the causes of dental decay and physical degeneration that he observed in his dental practice, he turned from test tubes and microscopes to unstudied evidence among human beings. Dr. Price sought the factors responsible for fine teeth among the people who had them–isolated non-industrialized people. The world became his laboratory. As he traveled, his findings led him to the belief that dental caries and deformed dental arches resulting in crowded, crooked teeth and unattractive appearance were merely a sign of physical degeneration, resulting from what he had suspected–nutritional deficiencies.”

Eating gingerbread and molasses cookies, and other recipes adapted for blackstrap molasses, can provide nutritive, guilt-free sweets. Can you imagine having your cake and benefiting from it as well? Yes, it’s true! When one eats nutrient dense foods, one eats less before feeling full and satisfied. Most obsessive, compulsive eating is a result of the body being malnourished and trying to get enough nutrients.

The United States is no longer number one in health and longevity in the world.Not by a long shot. Our processed eating and sedentary lifestyles have taken us down to number thirty-seven. It’s time to return to the only diets available to our ancestors. Old style, organic, traditional foods are the way to health, along with exercise, fresh air and sunlight.

Tomorrrow: The recipe for Blackstrap Gingerbread with Lemon Sauce





Filed under: Food,Health — admin @ 4:06 am Comments (0)
Nov 19 2012

Afternoon tea is a big deal at our house. I figure if it’s good enough for the Queen of England, it’s good enough for me.

Somehow the moment to just sit down, do nothing and say, “Miller Time” is very restorative. With that, and my afternoon nap, I figure I can get in two full eight hours days of work. And, if others are home to share the moment, so much the better. There is something about the ritual of preparing the tea pot that allows anticipation, while encouraging contact among the participants.

But, surely everyone has enjoyed a pot of tea and the experience surrounding it. This isn’t necessarily news. What is it I want to share?

I have to let you know about the latest tea wrinkle I’ve found. Tea flowers. The TeaPosy or tied bundles of fine teas that are drawn up into packets to blossom in a clear glass pot of boiling water.

 

The music, the vistas and the tea. Ah-h-h-h!

We happened upon them in a gift shop on vacation about five years ago and have been fascinated with them ever since. Not only is the tea delicious, but the visual appeal is a show stopper. I can’t think of anything else so elegant, unless it is a silver tray full of baby eclairs and petit fours to go along with the tea.

If you like the possibility of this sublime distraction as much as I do, go to visit the TeaPosy web site by clicking here.

 

 Glass blowers create pots to show off each TeaPosy

With the holidays almost here, mail ordering these works of art might be a good idea. I am always amazed at the relatively low prices, especially when one watches the videos to see all of the perfection required to produce each tea flower and glass pot.

Now, having afternoon tea is an unfolding display for all the senses.  

Huzzah!





Filed under: Food,Health — admin @ 3:30 am Comments (0)
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