Wednesday, August 26, 2009

National Women's Equality Day

Yesterday I was exclaiming my discovery (thanks to a GoogleDoodle made of telescopes) that it was the 400th birthday of Galileo's telescope. A coworker of mine responded, "Tomorrow is National Women's Equality Day!"

I was so excited to hear that. I mean, I grew up with a mom who was a housewife. Any jobs she held were out of absolute necessity and were scheduled during hours that we were at school or sleeping. She gave everything to her family, and I consider that no demeaning thing. I think of my own mother with the highest regard, and believe there is much more work to caring for a family and a home than your average modern feminists would acknowledge.

However, I also greatly admire women who take on other roles. Countless women have given themselves to the mission field, to the medical field, to education, to music, to art, to the corporate arena, and beyond.

I have to tell you that when I walk into an exam room to find that my doctor (or NPC, or PA) is a woman, I am greatly relieved. No matter how calm and gentle a male doctor may manage to be, there is still a much higher level of comfort for me when I am being attended to by a woman. And I have never ever felt that because my attending physician was a woman, she was less intelligent or less well equipped to take care of me. In fact, scientifically speaking, the biggest differences between male and female brains tend to be (since even these traits are not gender specific) approaches to problem solving (big picture vs. minor details, etc.), and styles of learning (tactile, visual, audio, kinesthetic, etc.). But regardless, women who work outside the home are also a huge help to society.

Imagine walking into a bank today, and seeing only male tellers behind the counter. Wouldn't that look bizarre? We are so used to being waited on by women in professions such as these, so why do female tellers get paid (on average) $1 less per hour than their male counterparts? Female employees in most industries make less than their male counterparts. Why is that ok? Why is that acceptable?

Days like this are necessary to raise the public awareness of the issue. The problem is, why does no one else seem to know it is National Women's Equality Day? There was a GoogleDoodle for Galileo's telescope yesterday, but nothing for NWE Day today. It is a national holiday, but it is not on any calendars that I have seen.

You don't have to be a card-carrying feminist to know and understand that women are vital to our society. Not just from a physiological standpoint of procreation, but we need the compassion, the dedication, the drive, the intelligence, and the insight of women as a driving force in our society today. More than just empowering women who work outside the home, mothers who are at home caring for their children and home are often treated as "less than" the men in the world with their lofty professions. If you believe that staying home to be a housewife and mother is a noble calling (as I do), than National Women's Equality Day should be important to you, too.

The same Bible that says "Wives submit to your husbands," also says "Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her (Ephesians 5:25). That is not a knock against biblical wifely submission at all, but just pointing out that the headship of a marriage relationship does not indicate that men and women are not equal in God's sight, intellectually, and insofar as capabilities. "There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3;28)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

With so much going on lately regarding trying to get moved into the house, I kind of temporarily gave up on meal planning, just until the chaos calmed a little. I have realized that not knowing what is for dinner only adds to the chaos. But, for this week, to smooth out the transition back into a menu-planned-life, I'm only listing the dinners.

Monday - Beef Stroganoff

Tuesday - Barley Burgers
To Do: Soak Barley in the morning

Wednesday - Church Spaghetti Dinner

Thursday - Sauteed Chicken (with blueberry barbecue sauce), Veggies, multi-grain rolls
To Do: Pull chicken out of freezer to defrost.

Friday - Leftover Stroganoff

Saturday - Breakfast for Dinner: Whole grain waffles, scrambled eggs (w/Provolone cheese for me)
To Do: Soak Waffle Batter

Sunday - Dinner out - Goodbye party for friends who are moving.

This is part of Menu Plan Monday with Org Junkie. Find other menu plans there!

So that's the week. This week there is so much to do, painting, packing, moving, unpacking. Pray for us: for sanity, for motivation, for sanity, for strength, for sanity, and for good sleep every night.

Monday, August 17, 2009

New Cultures For Health Giveaway!!

Kelly the Kitchen Kop is giving away 3 starter cultures from Cultures for Health.

I have ordered from their site, and am hoping for an opportunity to try their water kefir grains and kombucha starter. Jeff has apparently tried kombucha before and really liked it, and since it is also so good for you, to boot, I'm really looking forward to trying it.

You can enter the giveaway here.

Recently I got to experience the benefits of something else I read on Kelly's blog, and then I followed her over to Cheeseslave, where I read more of the same. Basically, I read that consistently taking Cod Liver Oil can prevent sunburn. My guess is that it would take a full skin cell renewal cycle (4 weeks) for it to be completely effective at completely preventing sunburn, but here's my little story:

Saturday when Jeff and I took a trip downstate, we had hours of driving logged in a single day. Jeff was driving, so of course I had only one arm ever in the sunlight. And I wasn't paying any attention to just how long it was out the window, until my skin felt hot and tight and itchy, and I looked to see that my arm was bright red. I didn't blister, but I was appalled at just how red my arm was. Typically that is something that takes 3 days for me until it fades to a tan. However...

Sunday morning I awoke to find my arm lightly tanned. WHAT?? That's right. The only thing I've changed is that I've been taking fermented cod liver oil non-gelatin capsules for about a week and a half. My burn mysteriously faded overnight. I'll keep it up for lots of reasons, not just the internal sunscreen. For one, it is high in Vitamins A & D - having as much as 90% of your DRV of vitamin D. It also has important fatty acids that are hard to get, and is a great natural source of DHA (as opposed to taking vitamins or eating foods that have DHA added to them). But in any case, I was very excited to witness the vanishing burn fade into obscurity.

Friday, August 14, 2009

an ee cummings kind of day

dying is fine) but Death
ee cummings

dying is fine)but Death


wouldn't like

Death if Death

when(instead of stopping to think)you

begin to feel of it,dying
's miraculous

cause dying is

perfectly natural;perfectly
it mildly lively(but


is strictly
& artificial &

evil & legal)

we thank thee
almighty for dying
(forgive us,o life!the sin of Death

When I learned about this poem in a lit analysis class, I learned something that made me love it. ee cummings cheated death by leaving off the closing parentheses. The poem is about how everyone and everything is "dying," but death (in its finality) is cold.

Today has been a day that has been strangely about death. First of all, last night we found out with some finality that we are definitely not pregnant. We only recently were trying, so it's not like I truly expected to be pregnant right off the bat, but my body played some cruel games with me in the beginning that made me think I might be pregnant. The ensuing roller coaster ride ended last night right before I went to sleep, and I woke up just feeling sad and kind of bleak. Not being pregnant was way more disappointing than I even thought it could be, and we're only at the beginning! I felt like I was grieving something I'd lost without ever having.

I had a pretty horrid migraine all day, which made it even harder. I called my mom today to talk to her about it, and learned that Travis - a guy that I had gone to high school with; an all around great guy who loved his wife and his kids and was known for just having a heart to serve people - passed away yesterday. He was on his motorcycle, and was hit by a car that turned without paying attention to where he was. He was hit while on the way to a funeral. My favorite bus driver from high school, one of my dad's friends from growing up, passed away with Lou Gherig's disease this last weekend. Doug was an incredibly talented musician. He put together a Christmas cd with my Jazz Choir in high school. I still have it. To think of Travis dying on the way to go commemorate Doug's life is just horrid. I did not even know him that well, my mom knew him better than I did, because when she went back to college (same time I did), she had classes with him and spend a good bit of time with him. But when someone you know vaguely dies, it is somehow stranger and harder to comprehend than when someone you're close to dies.

All day I felt like there was this weight on me that could not be lifted. I just felt physically exhausted, and emotionally lethargic, too. I was listening to my brother's CD (From the Depths of the Earth), and that was good, but every time I started to feel uplifted I just felt slammed all over again. Then, I came home for lunch, and I didn't really even do anything proactive in fighting off the strange feelings of the day, but on my way back to work, finally found myself smiling out of nowhere. In my head (and coming out of my mouth, as all things stuck in my head eventually do) were the lyric's to the song "Anymore (Rachel's Song)," off of From the Depths of the Earth.

Anymore (Rachel's Song)

I think it's funny how life don't quite work out like you'd hope
And it's never quite as easy as you think
And it's never quite as hard as it seems
But it's always sweeter than the dream

Peace flows like a river
I will sing for the joy of the Lord has come
Mercy flows over my soul
And I just can't maintain control anymore

A hedge about me and a shield all around me
I will take what You bring, the cup that You have for me
For You call me unto holiness
For You call me unto holiness

Peace flows like a river
I will sing for the joy of the Lord has come
Mercy flows over my soul
And I just can't maintain control anymore

Hallelujah, I will fear not, for the righteous they will not be shaken!

© Aaron Santor 2009

ee cummings did not seem to know that even in death, 2 Corinthians 1:3 will always ring true. Life has hard aspects to it, and hard moments, and some moments much harder than others. But in the midst of all of that God really longs to wrap His peace around us, pour it out over us. God is the comforter to the lonely, the father to the fatherless, and the lifter of our heads. I'm so grateful that God took my day from "dying is fine) but death," all the way to "mercy flows over my soul, and I just can't maintain control anymore."

Friday, August 7, 2009

Fight Back Friday - FED UP WITH MSG!!

This post is a part of Fight Back Fridays, hosted by Food Renegade.

I, like about 25% of Americans, am allergic to MSG. Not fatally so, but I do get awful migraines and upset stomach when I eat foods containing MSG.

"No big deal," you would think to yourself, "just eliminate foods containing MSG from your diet." Sounds easy enough, but is it?

I have spent a lot of time trying to make sure I know what foods do and do not contain MSG (or the fully spelled out monosodium glutamate) in the ingredients. Sure I had succeeded, I was largely eating homemade snacks for some time. Recently, though, I went away on a business trip that took up all of my weekend, too. Without my usual food prep time, I resorted to pre-packaged snacks. I got some peanut butter crackers, read the ingredients, and was satisfied that the ingredients did not contain MSG. 20 minutes or so after eating them, I had a splitting headache; complete with nausea and a migraine aura. That day I had good timing on my side, on my lunch break I read an article about MSG that came straight to my email inbox. I was appalled to learn that MSG actually goes by other names!

Maltodextrin, Hydrolyzed vegetable protein, Autolyzed yeast extract, "natural flavoring;" all of these are FDA approved names for MSG, and there are actually as many of 40 others! How can any allergy sufferers be expected to keep a list this long and all of the places they usually show up memorized?? But there have been no laws requiring that MSG be clearly marked as an allergen.

That prompts me to ask, "why?" Why is it that when otherwise innocuous substances like milk, nuts, soy, and wheat are clearly marked as allergens for the occasional allergy sufferer; a substance that 25% of Americans are allergic to is allowed to go by nicknames and assumed identities? What kind of logic is that, and who is making sure it stays that way?

Not only is MSG is an allergen, it has also been linked to obesity, diabetes, autism, ADHD, and a host of other conditions. So why is it everywhere?

We need to act NOW! We need to write our congressmen and women to give their full support to legislation promoting the marking of MSG as an allergen in whatever form it appears.


Aren't you also sick and tired of having to do research just to be able to eat a package of peanut butter crackers? Tired of the fact that government FOR the people is not doing its part to protect our personal health? Tired of the fact that addictive and toxic additives can be added to our food with no warning? PLEASE WRITE!

This is the letter I'm writing:

Congressman Broun,

I am writing you today on an issue that is very important not to my own health, but to the health of many: The listing of monosodium glutamate as an allergen in food products.

I have been exhibiting allergic reactions to MSG for the last eight years or so. I thought I had finally rid my pantry of all things containing MSG, but I was still experiencing the same migraine headaches and nausea. Further research on my part revealed that monosodium glutamate does not need to be named where it is part of another food additive. Hydrolyzed vegetable protein, autolyzed yeast extract, malotdextrin, and “natural flavor” are all indicators that MSG may or may not be present. Upon further review of the processed foods we keep around the house, I’ve learned that one or more of these names were present in almost all of the ingredient lists.

My husband and I do a lot to preserve our physical health. We make a lot of our foods from scratch with healthy, natural ingredients, we eat fresh vegetables, and when we do snack, we try to eat healthy alternatives to the average available snack food. We are not the type to leave our health up to chance, yet in the case of my allergy to MSG, I am being forced to.

It is incredibly frustrating to me that even in the midst of all of our efforts to take care of our bodies, I cannot get away from a substance that is making me sick. Migraines, nausea, general upset stomach; whenever these are present I can find some ingredient in some food that contained MSG. Church potlucks, eating over at friends’ houses, eating out at restaurants; it seems like nothing is safe, because MSG in some form is present in nearly all processed foods.

Common and (except in the case of allergies) non-toxic foods are listed as allergens on products every day. Milk, soy, peanuts, tree nuts; all of these are allowed allergen status and clearly labeled on foods. I do not understand why only people who suffer from allergies to MSG have to play the food lottery wherever they go. Milk being labeled as an allergen does not make milk-lovers desire not to drink milk. People who love peanut butter are not discouraged from purchasing it because some people are allergic. I do not think it would be harmful to the food additive manufacturers to admit that some people are severely allergic. I know of others in my community whose reactions are much worse than mine. We have to keep running lists of what snack foods are msg free (very few, for the record), what restaurants we can and cannot go to, and the list keeps changing. It is not fair that health-conscious people should be wary of allergic reactions at every turn, and we are not even getting any help from the FDA like other allergy sufferers do.

We need legislation. People who are allergic to MSG need help from those who are serving our country to make our voices heard. Please help and do what you can to promote food labeling legislation that would mark MSG clearly as an allergen in all foods where it is present.

Thank you for your time.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Great Day :)

Today was a very satisfying day. I had a great workout with my friend KT this morning, and she asked how things were coming on the new house (which has needed some major cleaning before we officially move in), and then offered to come with me after work today to get some cleaning done. While trying to figure out the details (seeing if I could get Jeff to make dinner and when we would eat it) she said, "You know what, I'm putting a shepherds pie in the oven tonight, anyway, you guys should join us for dinner!"

I was so completely grateful. Not only did she help me scrub the fairly grungy walls (thanks to the former tenants), sweep and mop the floors, and such; but she also gave us the gift of hospitality, having us over and feeding us a delicious dinner!

I don't except help very readily. Partly because of the way my mind works when I approach a problem or task (something about my method makes it very hard for me to clue others in on what I'm doing and what help I need), and partly because I don't like feeling like a burden. But it was very refreshing to allow some help and get some work done. There's still a lot to be done, but I plan on getting it done Saturday. Then we'll get some of the major things moved in: Washer & Dryer, among other things.

We have a new addition coming to our family. We are adopting Joy, an American Bulldog from a kennel in central GA. I am so excited. My family has always kept large dogs, and I want our kids - when we have them - to have the opportunity to grow up with the love of a pet. Also, she's a beautiful dog! I can't wait to share pics when we pick her up!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Real Food Wednesday: Cozy Quinoa Casserole

I was surfing the web for quinoa recipes, and I found this great one at the Men's Health website. I had no idea they had recipes there! called for Acorn Squash, which I have actually never cooked with before (I know, I is that even possible?). So, I gave it a try. The only thing I wish I had known beforehand was how hard Acorn Squash is to cut. Otherwise, it was smooth sailing.

If you are unfamiliar with Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah), it is a great addition to your pantry. Quinoa is a South American grain (sort of, it is not a grass plant like other names, so it is not a true grain) that is very unique in that it is a complete protein all by itself. Most grains need to be paired with some legume in order to be a complete protein. Another great advantage is that it is very low in phytic acid compared to other grains, so if you decide to soak it, it only needs to be soaked for 2-4 hours (if at all). It cooks up pretty quickly without soaking. Quinoa was grown and harvested by the Incas, who named it Quinoa because it means "mother grain." Though they may not have had the means to break down its nutritive components, they knew that eating it kept people healthy. Now we know that quinoa is very high in vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber.

Quinoa can seem expensive, but just a little bit cooks up to be quite a lot. This casserole calls for a cup, and a black bean and corn meal I do with Quinoa only uses 1/2 a cup and we have sooooo much food left over! So, while I would not necessarily say it ends up being just as cheap as other grains, it does seem a little more reasonable than it did in my first moment of sticker shock. Actually, the link posted above for the phrase "mother grain" is the least expensive place I could find it online (if anyone knows of a better price, go ahead and let me know, I'm always looking).

Without further ado, here is the recipe (as seen on this page in Men's Health):

* 1 large onion, peeled and diced
* 1 tbsp olive oil
* 6 cremini (or white) mushrooms, thinly sliced
* 1/2 C acorn squash, sliced
* 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
* 1 lb ground dark turkey meat
* 1 1/2 tsp poultry seasoning (or dried sage)
* 1 tsp sea salt
* 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
* 1 1/2 C low sodium chicken stock
* 1 C quinoa, rinsed
* 1/4 C parsley, minced
* 6 oz reduced fat monterey jack cheese, shredded

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
2. In a skillet, saute onion in olive oil on medium high heat for 2 to 3 minutes or until translucent.
3. Add mushrooms, squash, and garlic and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
4. Add turkey, breaking it into small pieces as it browns, about 3 to 4 minutes.
5. Add poultry seasoning, salt, pepper, stock, and quinoa and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.
6. Transfer ingredients from pan into a 9 by 9 inch casserole dish or baking pan.
7. Mix in parsley and 3 ounces cheese.
8. Sprinkle remaining 3 ounces cheese on top of casserole.
9. Bake in oven for 30 to 35 minutes.

They also have nutritional information for the recipe on the site.


We use homemade mozz instead of the cheddar they recommend, mostly because Mozzarella is a raw cheese, which means Jeff can have it, and I don't know how to make cheddar. Otherwise I made no other substitutions.

I did notice that the color washes out of everything, so you may want to sprinkle with fresh herbs on individual servings to give it a little bit of color.

Check out more Real Food Wednesday Posts here, at Kelly The Kitchen Kop.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Exciting News!!

Early this morning at 8 AM, Jeff and I signed the lease on a house! We are finally going to be able to have people over, have the room we need to keep up with everything I want to be doing in the kitchen, making our own laundry soap, etc.

An added bonus is that the back yard is ginormous, and we have landlady approval do have a good sized garden! So what I need now is lots of Georgia winter gardening tips, because of course the garden won't be getting started until probably September.

We have this whole month to move, which I am really grateful for, because it will give us time to organize things as we move them without getting overwhelmed. I've never had so much time to move before...the focus is always getting everything out of the one residence and into another, and then when it is all in there, there is hardly any room to get a real organizational structure in place. This way I'll be able to organize things as they get moved in, so we won't have a room full of things that have no home, and no hope of future organization. I am really excited about an opportunity to move at a steady pace, with no mad rush to the finish line!

Now I'm off to Swag Search winter gardening in GA. If you've tried to join Swag Bucks with the widget at the bottom of the page, I think it's broken. However, you can join under me at this referral link. I know it is going to take a LONG time, but I'm trying to earn airline miles so that visiting my parents back home in NY is more financially feasible! Your joining helps me out! Thanks :)