Category Archives: Uncategorized

Summer Fruit Tart

About two weeks ago, I ate nectarines and plums for the very first time. This may seem a shocker for some, but here in Texas, peaches are the “big deal” fruit of the season. However, most peaches around these parts aren’t really ready until July. But the nectarines, plums, and apricots, however, are ready for the picking.

When Edgar first ate a nectarine (same time I did), he confessed that he may like nectarines more than peaches! (To that I responded that it wasn’t peach season yet, so he couldn’t really make that assessment. Winking smile )

When I first ate on, I realized that I needed to turn nectarines into dessert! Stat!

When the sun comes out every year as the mercury rises, I think we all tend to stash away our chocolate desserts and reach for the fresh fruits of the seasons. Since many people I know disliked cooked fruit, I came up with this fruit tart that is only about 2/3 cooked. And given my recent efforts toward simplicity in cooking and baking, I decided to make the crust with almond meal and sweeten the entire dessert with only honey and fruit. Thus, this dessert is grain-free and wholesome. And given the simple construction of this confection, you can easily swap out portions to cater to your own tastes! Red current jam or whipped cream instead of lemon curd? Berries instead of stone fruits? Go ahead and experiment!

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Summer Fruit Tart

8 oz (about 2 cups) almond meal
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
4 oz (1/4 c) solid coconut oil
1 egg
1 T honey

1 full recipe Lemon curd (I followed this recipe exactly. In the interest of respect for other food bloggers, I’m not listing the recipe here. Follow the link and you’ll find the original recipe!)

About 3 each nectarines and plums, pitted and cut into wedges
About 1 tbsp honey. If too thick to spread with a basting brush, thin only SLIGHTLY with warm water.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine the almond meal, salt, and cinnamon until integrated. Then add the coconut oil, in pieces, and cut it into the almond meal mixture with a fork until the mix resembles a very coarse meal. In a separate, small bowl, whisk together the egg and honey. Then add the egg mix to the almond meal mix and combine until the dough is one well-integrated ball. Set aside.

Line an 8.5×11 baking pan with parchment paper (or omit this step entirely and use a tart pan! In hindsight I think the recipe would be even better this way). You may have to cut the paper narrow to fit inside the pan. This will be used like a sling to help lift the tart out of the pan later. Take the dough and press it into the bottom of the pan on top of the parchment paper. It will be a thin crust and you may have to use a spoon to spread it.

Bake the crust for 12-15 minutes until firm and just barely turning brown on the edges. Allow the crust to cool on a cooling rack for an hour.

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Once cooled, apply the full lemon curd recipe on top of the crust. It will be a little runny. It’s okay. Call it rustic and lick the curd off your fingers when nobody is looking.

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Arrange the nectarine and plum wedges in a pretty pattern on top of the curd. Then brush honey on top of the fruit to glisten!

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Refrigerate until ready to serve.

 

Enjoy!

Cultivating Simplicity

I think we can all relate. Life gets too loud.

So much information coming in that we find it hard to give anything back.

At least that’s been me.

I’ve been working on simplifying my life a bit more over here. I’ve come to learn that “garbage in, garbage out” has close cousins: “excess in, nothing out,” or its fraternal twin, “excess in, negativity out.” I’m not sure which is worse.

So I’ve been working to cut down on the overstimulation. Sometimes. No, often times . . . we just need some quietness. Then we can perhaps make some sense, no?

One of the ways I’ve been trying to cultivate simplicity is cutting down on the excess internet information. That’s a hard concept. I’ve been glued to the computer since I was a toddler, evidently.

I’m an observer. I love to learn and absorb information in brief bursts. I can get carried away easily on the tides. But sometimes the surf just knocks me down. So I’ve whittled down my exposure.

My google reader has been cut in half. There are so many valuable blogs out there, but I can’t manage to read them all every day. Least of all several times a day. I’ve limited my reader to what I can manage every few days. To blogs I can relate to or learn from. People I feel an urge to actually interact with. I’ve made my reader more personal.

I’ve done the same with Facebook, in essence. Over the past three weeks I’ve made it routine to go through my news feed and “unsubscribe” (but not un-friend) from the feeds of all but a select few—mostly close family and friends, and a few peers whose updates always prove humbling, yet uplifting.

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” Philippians 4:8

Indeed.

My pursuit of simplicity hasn’t just been limited to my media exposure. I’ve also been implementing this in the kitchen. First of all, I’m working on simplifying my gluten free cooking and baking by limiting my ingredients. At best, I like to use a few high-quality ingredients in my cooking. This process goes against a large majority of specialized GF baking which incorporates a laundry list of ingredients, half of which are highly processed and starchy. “Wholesomeness” and these recipes do not co-exist. So I’m cutting back. I’ve found my favorites of the grain world (raw buckwheat, quinoa, masa harina), and I plan to experiment with a select few alternatives (almond flour, cashews, maybe chestnut?). I’ve decided to hold back on (though not entirely eliminate) the others that do not fully meet my taste in some way or another (coconut flour, amaranth, starches, etc.). I am a real foodist. I like my food to be recognizable as what it is. Simple and true. Nature, not a lab. Art, not a science. I don’t get that feeling when I use xanthan gum and tapioca starch. But that’s just my style.

Lastly (for now at least), I’m implementing some routine in my meal planning. It’s not a new concept. Many families have “fish night” or something (I knew a family who had weekly “Chicken Express nights”). We have started pasta nights on Thursdays after our evening workouts (Zumba+modified Crossfit for me; Running+Crossfit for him). I like pasta. Pasta is creative. Pasta is quick. I wear pajamas and a sweatshirt when I make it. I don’t need a recipe for pasta. I don’t think you do either. So I’m just here, sharing my dinner with you. It’s just a little of this, a little of that. And a heavy dose of simplicity and sincerity. Because sometimes we just need a quiet meal.

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Completion

 

In the last month or two, Edgar and I have made significant shifts in our lives. The biggest of which, perhaps, was the Edgar’s senior recital. I was waiting to post about it because I was waiting on better photos, which I have yet to get, so instead of waiting any longer, I will share the limited photos I took with my own camera (or others took for me on my camera).

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Edgar said that he messed up a few times, but that was to be expected. We were/are all so proud of him, and the very experience of being present for his senior recital was such a heartwarming experience in our lives!

After the recital family and friends ventured back to our house to fellowship and prepare for the (unpictured, sorry.) cookout we shared that evening.

My mom gave Ed a graduation gift that was really for the both of us.

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It was all of our wedding photos arranged into two giant albums! My mom arranged and printed them all herself! We are so thankful! Even though my major was in art and photography is a hobby of mine, I’m terrible about not getting my photos printed. I have all my wedding photos on disc but the only time I printed any of them was for Christmas gifts a month after we got married. We only have one wedding photo on display in our house. I’m glad to finally have something to share!

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After this point I was busy preparing tons of food (burgers donated from a rancher friend of Ed’s parents, whole wheat buns—which I never tasted because I had my own frozen GF buns, various sides, and Dr Pepper Chocolate Cupcakes!) and loving on family and friends, so I didn’t take many pictures at all, but here the select few I snapped while the sun was setting.

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I believe that every so often, one experiences or event fills your heart so much that in leaves a permanent imprint on it. These are events that you can look back on and immediately feel the same overwhelming love you experienced at that moment. This evening was one of those times. Was it “perfect” as far as events go? No. Absolutely not. But then again, I don’t believe perfection has any place in the act of entertaining! What matters is that our loved ones came together in our home, shared stories, shared love, and celebrated a milestone in someone’s life.

 

Edgar, I’m so proud of you! I’m thrilled to be traveling this life with you!

Making Friends out of Former Enemies

 

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Have you ever hated a certain food only to find you like it later? That’s been my case with things like mushrooms, raw tomatoes, and red wine.

I really feel that in order to say you don’t like something, you must try it in a variety of different preparations and flavor combinations before making a judgment. This has led me to conclusions that I just don’t like raw broccoli, but I loved it steamed, roasted or grilled! I love fresh mushrooms sauteed in butter, but not served out of a can. I like cucumber in gazpacho, but not chopped up in a salad or in tabbouleh. Or celery diced fine and stewed slowly in soup or dressing, but never, ever served raw!

Which leads me to this recipe I found in my most recent issue of Z-Life (a magazine I receive as a member of the Zumba Instructor Network).

Beet and Apple Salad.

First, I will share with you my first former enemy.

Beets.

Omg.

I have tried so many times to love beets. But every time it just tastes like I’m eating dirt. Red beets, golden beets, roasted, pickled (ew), doesn’t matter. Dirt.

But every time I prepare them I find I sort of like them even more. I can’t say that I love them, but they have found a place in my life. I will continue to prepare them in different ways and find, every time, that I like them a little more. This recipe is one of those that makes me like beets even more. Perhaps one day I’ll be a beet-a-holic?! That will be the day I make borscht.

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Beet and Apple Salad with Creamy Ginger Vinaigrette
Adapted from Z-Life
Serves 2-4

3 small beets (I used golden)
Oregano
1 apple (I used fuji. Ignore the fact that there are two apples in the pic. Unless you want more apple—then go for it!)
1/4 cup shelled pistachios
Creamy Ginger Vinaigrette (recipe follows)

 

First, peel the beets. I used a paring knife, and because I used golden beet instead of red, I didn’t look like a murder victim from CSI. But if red suits you, go for it.

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Then, slice the beets into half-moon slices. Wrap up in parchment paper (I used this method) with a sprinkle of oregano and roast for 20-30 minutes or until tender (I just shove a toothpick through the parchment and gauge the texture from there).

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Very quickly dump the beets into a bowl of water and ice and leave there for about 30 seconds. Some people call this “shocking” and it’s typically used to halt cooking and preventing green things from turning brown. I did it because I wanted my beets chilled when I mixed them with the apples. If you want warm beets with cool apples, omit this “shocking” step (hurr hurr).

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Slice apple into thin half-moon-ish slices. I use this manner of slicing.

Mix beets with apples. Then gently mix in the pistachios and the dressing. Serve and enjoy!

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This brings us to the second previously-hated item.

Mustard.

I have for many years proclaimed my disdain for mustard. My friends and I even have a year-long joke currently running where they will hide small packets of mustard in our house after we made the proclamation last year that we “are not a mustard family.” My disfavor came from the awful stench of mustard and the radioactive yellow shade of the French’s style I was exposed to growing up. However, to be frank, I’d never actually eaten it. But lately as I was reading over the ingredients on the bottle of my favorite store-bought dressing (Brianna’s Creamy Balsamic Vinaigrette), I realized that what made this dressing “creamy” and gave it a certain depth of flavor that couldn’t be found in regular oil + vinegar concoctions was the mustard. After doing much soul-searching, I bought a small bottle of Grey Poupon and vowed to start with baby steps. And that first baby step, this dressing, is a major success!

Creamy Ginger Vinaigrette

1/4 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1/2 tbsp honey
1/4 tsp ground ginger (I used World Market brand, which amazingly tastes exactly like a real root of ginger! Not many powdered varieties capture that sweet-spicy-citrusy taste)
salt + pepper

Combine all ingredients in a small jar or bowl and whisk well.

 

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Are there any foods you hated growing up that you now love?

Interim

 

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This past month has been an adventure.

Since I last posted Edgar left his job working out of town (he worked for/lived with his dad three hours away during the week and came home on weekend), and spent the time since job hunting and practicing for his senior recital preliminary hearing (the last thing he needs to graduate).

This time of interim has definitely strengthened our faith. Edgar is the overwhelmingly primary breadwinner in this household, and we have really had to depend on God to provide in His time. This time has also brought Edgar and I closer together, since we had not been able to spend much time together since last June (hence the lack of blogging). I was telling Ed that I finally “feel married” again. It’s hard to be one person trying to run a two-person household. I’ll say it requires a lot of strength, patience, and faith.

And that faith has been rewarded.

Last Monday Edgar passed his recital prelim. This is what determines whether he graduates or not. This is the grade. His is finally graduating after three years of attempting his recital! It’s actually happening! After next week, our time at Wayland will be over!

On that same day he had an interview for a full-time job here in town. It is a job at a local hardware/home improvement-type store (like a mini-Home Depot). Several days later he was offered the job. He starts sometime this week.

And during this time, God has been faithful to provide all we need. And more.

But this special time of interim is coming to an end. We will return to a regular schedule. I will spend my afternoons doing more laundry and blogging and less cuddling and roaming around town with Edgar. Our days will be more compartmentalized. I am ever thankful for this time, and I look forward to the next.

To kick things off, I’ll share with you a recipe (if you can call it that) I put together one evening when the weather started getting beautiful enough to eat out on the patio.

Vegetable Enchiladas with Avocado-Yogurt Sauce

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Ingredients:

  • Onion, chopped fine
  • Green chiles (fresh or canned), diced finely.
  • Prepared corn salsa, about half the recipe
  • Zucchini, cut into quartered slices
  • Cilantro, about 2 TBSP chopped
  • Avocado, mashed
  • Vegetable broth, about 1 cup
  • Plain yogurt (I used goat milk), about 1 cup
  • Lime juice, around 2 TBSP
  • Shredded pepperjack cheese (or other Mexican blend)
  • Green onions (for garnish), chopped fine
  • Spices: I use salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, paprika, ancho chile powder, and a little cayenne. I don’t measure, but I will advice not to go crazy with the cumin or cayenne. A little goes a very long way!
  • Prepared corn tortillas (I made my own, so you can certainly do that, but I’ll do a separate blog post on tortilla making later!)

 

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Combine onion, green chiles, corn salsa, zucchini, cilantro, and half your spice mixture in a hot pan with a little oil. Saute until onions are translucent and zucchini is crisp-tender.

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In a separate pot, mix together yogurt, vegetable broth, lime juice, the rest of the spice mixture, and the mashed avocado, and whisk over medium heat. I just tasted and added more spices until it tasted right.

 

In a casserole dish I ladled a little sauce into the bottom of the dish, then I took warm corn tortillas a filled them (not too much! a little goes a long way!) with the veggie mixture, and placed them seam-side-down in the dish. I then covered the enchiladas with all of the remaining sauce, topped with cheese and chopped green onions. I put them in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes, or until cheese was melted and sauce was slightly bubbly.

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I also always like to set aside a few enchiladas in these small Corningware dishes to stash in the freezer for an easy lunch or dinner. I don’t bake these before freezing. When I want to eat it, I’ll pull it out of the freezer, take off the lid, place it in the oven, THEN turn the oven on to 350 and let the dish warm up while the oven preheats and continue to cook until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbly. Microwave works too in a pinch.

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Until next time!

Seven

 

Here are seven things I’m liking right now!

 

1. Not having TV

About a week and a half ago Edgar and I decided to cancel our cable television service. There was never anything good on anyway, and we figured the extra $20 a month could be better spent elsewhere. I already knew that most the time I had the TV on, it was for white noise, so I reasoned with myself, knowing that if I wanted white noise, I could turn on Pandora or a TV show on Netflix. It’s been a week and a half since we have watched traditional television, and we don’t miss it at all! It’s so nice not having to see or hear television commercials all the time! And as a bonus, we’re spending our time better now since we don’t have the TV as a time suck.

And just for an FYI, I am currently listening to some bluesy, classic rock and roll, and I love it!

2. Baby Johnson

After months of being told that they were having a GIRL, Justin and Aubrey were surprised with an 8 lb, 11 oz, 20” long baby BOY! Little Joshua William Johnson made his public debut a week ago today! I’m so happy for my dear friends!

I got him this onesie!!

 

3. Bread baking

I’ve been going crazy over here with bread baking. In the past week I have baked two different loaves of gluten free bread, and I have a gluten free sourdough starter in the process of growing, feasting, and fermenting on my counter right now.

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I’ve already decided it going into two different loaves—a gluten free sourdough from Get Off Gluten, and a soaked spelt sourdough recipe I’m adapting from this page. I have not been tested for Celiac disease yet, but to do so I need to be eating gluten to some extent. I don’t plan on getting testing until at earliest this summer so in the meantime I think I’m going to utilize soaked spelt and kamut recipes for my yeasted breads and remain gluten-free for everything else. I already know that I tolerate spelt and kamut better than regular wheat. Perhaps soaking (to reduce gut-irritating phytic acid) will help even further? We’ll see.

In addition to this, I’ve been stalking The Fresh Loaf a great deal. I love that place. It’s a big forum for amateur (or not???) bakers. They toss around terms like “autolyse” and “dough hydration” and I have to refer to a glossary when I read just about any post, but the learning experience excites me!

 

4. Birth Without Fear

 

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I was introduced to this blog through a fellow homeschool graduate over facebook. With half the people around me having babies and my unabashed interest in obstetrics and gynecology (a seed planted during my uterine didelphys diagnosis at age 12, no doubt), the concept of birth has been on the brain. It is fascinating to see how starkly different modern American obstetrical protocol is from traditional practices of childbirth worldwide. The average American hospital these days only knows two births—a medicated and “controlled” vaginal birth or a cesarean section, which is quickly becoming more the norm than not. Whatever happened to uncomplicated births? How did people handle breech births before c-sections became protocol? How did people manage labor before the epidural? I’m not against hospitals or medical intervention when necessary, but these questions intrigue me.

5. Honey

But not to eat!

For the past almost-year I have been washing my face with it! Honey is a natural antiseptic, and ayurvedic medicine suggests it is good for oily skin, so I decided to give it a whirl. And it works! My skin started clearing up when I quit washing my face with products containing salicylic acid, and when I made the switch to honey instead of commercial face wash, my skin got even better! If only I knew this as a preteen, then maybe I wouldn’t have spent so much money on junky creams and washes!

6. Pinterest

I have been on Pinterest since last summer, and since then my boards have become a mess of random pins. I have done quite a bit of re-organization in the past few weeks, though, and now I have some boards dedicated exclusively to baking, gluten free foods, and vegetarian recipes! Check them out! (Feel free to check out the rest of my boards as well! Winking smile )

 

7. Fertility Friend

T.M.I. ALERT!

While many use this program to help them get pregnant (or avoid pregnancy, using Fertility Awareness Method), I use it to track the progress of my PCOS management. Since I’m not taking pharmaceuticals to manage my hormone levels, I have to pay attention to my body’s signals and how they respond to lifestyle choices. I take my temps every morning at 7AM. I have a special alarm on my phone, a thermometer by my bed, and an app on my phone I use to log my temps before rolling over and going back to sleep. I later plug in my temps and any other symptoms I’m feeling (headache, cramps, irritability, climate of the netherworld, etc.) as well as things like what medication I took and if I exercised. Then, when it believes it has enough information, it calculates which day I probably ovulated (if I ovulated all!) and seeing the chart patterns over time helps indicate a specific hormonal imbalance that may need tending to.

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An abormally…normal…ish chart. This was last month—the shortest cycle I have EVER had, and the earliest day of ovulation I have ever observed (it’s normally observed around day 19 for me). Exercise (the 02 spot at the bottom) obviously managed my hormones levels to the point where my cortisol rose, my DHEA lowered, and my cycle didn’t last so frickin long. Of course, my scary low follicular phase temps might be a cause for thyroid concern despite my “normal” TSH blood test results. Another typical part of PCOS treatment I need to consider.

And in case you are wondering, no, we are not planning for children in the near future. We have some career and possible relocation decisions to make before then. Winking smile

Fitness on the mind

This past weekend I began officially instructing Zumba at the local YMCA and since then I have lead two classes. This little change in my routine has created a snowball effect of activity—I have worked out all but one day in the past week! This is definitely more than my norm, but I think my body is happy for it.

And since I have fitness on the brain, I thought I’d fill this out. I saw it on Cardio Pizza a while back and now actually feel like I have something to say in response to these questions! Seems like fun to me!

Five Fitness Things I can’t Live Without:

    • iPod/iPhone
    • ponytail holders (I am not one of those people who can tolerate working out with hair on my neck!)
    • water bottle nearby (I am not on of those people who can tolerate going more than 5 minutes without a drink of water, and even that is a really long time for me!)
    • dancing!
    • group aerobics. I’m so unmotivated on my own sometimes.

Most Embarrassing Song I Listen to While Working Out:

  • That totally depends on who I’m telling it to. I teach/do Zumba, so it’s understood that there’s a lot of dance/club/latin/world music going on. But it’s not generally music I listen to for the sake of listening to music. I suppose any top 40 songs, like “Sexy and I Know It” by LMFAO or “Moves Like Jagger” by Maroon 5. Though “Drop it Low” by Ester Dean and Chris Brown is a contender!

Favorite Pre-Workout Snack or Meal:

  • Dates and almond butter! Eating exclusively carbs leave my stomach feeling empty not long after, but I don’t like to eat a lot right before working out. The date and almond butter combo gives me energy and staying-power without risking stomach cramps or lethargy!

On My Fitness Bucket List:

  • Get more Zumba certifications (Basic 2 and Toning)
  • Get group fitness certification
  • participate in a bike race
  • be able to touch my toes with my knees straight (my hamstring flexibility was shot with puberty)

Must-Have Tech Tools:

  • iPod/iPhone. That’s about it. hehe.

Best Workout Song:

Top Exercise Gear:

  • I generally avoid buying clothing from Walmart, but the other day I managed to find a sports bra with cups that was NOT racerback! I’ve tried, but I simply cannot tolerate a racerback sports bra. I know Lululemon is famous for their Ta-Ta Tamer which isn’t racerback, but $80 I have not. I did have $15, and the Walmart bra has been a godsend ever since I bought it.
  • Comfy tanks/tees/capris/shorts. I do really love my running shorts, but it was 33 degrees today…

Motivational Mantra:

  • “I’m getting paid to do this…” HAHAH!

Next Big Exercise Goal:

  • Getting involved in more strength training. Since I have access to the YMCA now, I’m hoping to actually take advantage of the weight rooms. I also figure since I’m doing so much cardio between my own classes and the one or two other Zumba classes I still want to attend every week, I need to balance my fitness with some strength exercises.

Favorite Cardio Exercise:

  • ZUMBA!
  • Dance! I miss swing dancing dearly…

Favorite Strength Move:

  • Mot a “move,” but pilates and yoga are my favorite strength-building activities.

Blood Beans

 

I work in the kitchen of a coffee shop, and my fellow coworker, Jess, (the primary baker at the Brew), and I tend to routinely talk about food while we busy ourselves making sandwiches for customers. A few months ago she brought up in conversation a fact that I knew but hadn’t really given great thought, or at least a place in my value system until recently.

We discussed how the majority of the chocolate we use in America is produced by slave children in the West Africa.

I won’t go into specifics of what is going on with the cocoa industry in Africa right now, because so many other people explain it better (links to valuable resources at the end of this post), but I will list a few major points:

  • 69% of the world’s cocoa is produced in West Africa; 35% in the Ivory Coast alone.
  • 2/3 of the American chocolate market is dominated by two companies – Hershey’s and Mars, both of which purchase a large majority of their chocolate from the Ivory Coast, where tens of thousands of children are enslaved on cocoa farms.
  • In 2001, the Harkin-Engel Protocol was established by the World Cocoa Foundation and the Chocolate Manufacturers Association as a commitment to end the problem of child slavery in cocoa-producing nations by 2005. Unfortunately, efforts and funding on this plan have since fizzled out.

So how does this affect me?

Well, first, I’m sharing this with you all. I’ve also decided to seek out and use only fair trade chocolate in my house. Unfortunately there is no fair trade baking chocolate in Plainview, so I’m limited to what I can find an hour away in Lubbock and the internet. I haven’t totally figured out white chocolate yet, but it will probably involve scouting out some cocoa butter and making my own (which would be healthier anyway).

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For me, I have decided that it isn’t worth it to knowingly perpetuate the concept of unfair labor practices for the sake of a confection addiction or a more flexible budget. As someone who regularly spends a few dollars extra for grass-fed, local, humanely-raised meat and poultry and touts the importance of buying local and organic for the ultimate good of the economy, the environment, and humankind, I cannot in a sound mind and heart continue to turn a blind eye to problem bigger than anything we face here in the United States. I cannot make sacrifices for animals that I am not willing to first make for mankind.

 

And chocolate isn’t the only problem. Coffee is another export that is known to use unfair labor practices in production. I am so proud that the Broadway Brew, my employer, serves only fair trade certified and organic coffee to our customers.

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—-

Is There Slavery in Your Chocolate?

Global Exchange

Children in Cocoa Production

TED Case Study

Stop Chocolate Slavery <—Great list of slave-free brands!

The Most Important Meal of the Day

 

Ever since I graduated college I’ve pretty consistently made it a point to have breakfast every day. Some days it was bacon, eggs, and a homemade muffins. Other days it was a bowl of cereal, or a bag of trail mix as I walked out of the door. It may not have been much, but it was always something. I don’t think I really understood what a difference a good breakfast made until I began working with my holistic doctor. I knew that having breakfast would help me not be so starved and would pave the way for healthy choices throughout the day. But as I took my doctor’s orders in making sure every breakfast was high in protein and fat and devoid of grains, fruit, and sugar, I began to notice that on the days I ignored these rules I found myself sleepy and unfocused more often than not, and on days I did follow his orders, I was more likely to feel satisfied and alert most of the day.

Over time, though, I’ve adjusted these rules somewhat for the sake of variety and balance (and the demands of my more-active job), but not much. I still try to focus on protein and fat, but I do tend to include a small bit of whole (gluten free) grain or fruit. And since my work rarely requires me to be in before 10am, this usually gives me a good amount of time to prepare a quality, filling breakfast!

Here are some of my breakfasts from the last week or so. All taken on my iPhone, because I’m still nerding out over the fact that I can now take a photo on my phone and within 1 minute have it tweeted! (I’m aware that I’m grossly behind the times)

 

Omelet with goat cheese and spinach with a side of sweet potato hash and ice mint green tea…

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Scrambled eggs with salsa verde, leftover GF cornbread (Ashley’s recipe!), pomegranate arils, and more mint green tea (I love the tea pot Ed got me for Christmas!)

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Scrambled eggs, small green smoothie (banana, spinach, and Amazing Grass), and more mint green tea…

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Ed brought me breakfast in bed! Fried egg and apple slices… (and unpictured Tazo black tea)

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Blue corn tortillas with eggs, nutritional yeast, and salsa verde, with a side of orange and chai green tea with almond milk

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And for a change of pace… plain Greek yogurt with pomegranate, crushed almonds, and a little honey, plus a muffin on the side (made with mostly almond meal and a little teff flour and molasses—for iron and gingerbread-y goodness!). I don’t like to eat much yogurt because it doesn’t always agree with me, but it was on crazy-sale and I knew it would provide a bit more variety to my breakfast options.

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So obviously we have an egg lover in the house. Really, eggs and I have gotten real comfy. No, I do not dispose of the yolks. Contrary to what nutritionists have been trying to tell you for years, dietary cholesterol does not raise blood cholesterol. Saturated fat does, and eggs really don’t contain much of that. It’s so chock-full of other nutrients (and flavor!!) that it’s a shame to discard them. I frequently eat about two eggs a day.

 

This is what works for me for now. I don’t like to eat carb-heavy breakfasts because I get sugar highs and lows all day if I do that (even if it’s 100% whole grain!), and I usually will get a blood sugar headache (PCOS thing. Hypoglycemic symptoms.)

 

Do you like carb-centered or protein/fat-centered breakfasts? I honestly do miss the options in a carb-centered one, but I usually regret it later. Winking smile

 

IN OTHER NEWS! I begin teaching ZUMBA at my local YMCA next month! SO EXCITED!

Signed, Sealed, Delivered

 

Today I received a box from UPS containing THIS!

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And that’s not even the best part…!

 

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It’s signed!

 

This moment of excitement brought to you by my dear friend, John, my unofficial webmaster and fellow food freak. He lives in Houston and sometime last month Alton Brown was visiting the Houston area for a book signing, so John picked me up the second Good Eats cookbook and had AB himself sign it for me. Smile He actually gave me the first volume of the Good Eats trilogy last year, and Edgar gave me the third volume for Christmas. Now my collection is complete!

 

It’s no secret that Alton Brown is my favorite food inspiration. Most my recipes are based off of his, and since my food education really began with Good Eats, my approach of cooking tends to be, “know the rules so you know how to break them!” Which is honestly how I approach painting, drawing, and photography too…

 

Do you have a particular foodie inspiration?

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