Thinking Woman’s Weblog

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Heritage Turkey – no triptophan? November 30, 2008

Filed under: organic food — Thinking Woman @ 4:12 am
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After reading an article on organic turkey, I opted to buy a locally raised heritage turkey. I learned that mainstream and even most organic poultry is “Barbie” birds; breeds raised to have large breasts and a lot of white meat to satisfy our demands.

The local farmer made a point of warning me that this bird would taste gamy to us. I was hesitant but decided to risk it anyway.

I prepared our Thanksgiving meal very simply – there is enough going on that I don’t need to fuss with complicated recipes! Plus I saw somewhere that brining turkey was more for covering up the nasty flavor of  meat that had been frozen for months and this bird was very fresh. I found a recipe that called for stuffing with garlic, orange and lemon and putting olive oil on the skin. Simple and elegant enough for me. I am not sure it did any thing at all, but it made me feel I’d made an effort.

Two things surprised me. First, the farmer was wrong! There was nothing odd about the flavor of this turkey. It just tasted like, well, like turkey!

And the next surprise was even better! My Thanksgiving wasn’t a total let-down when I found myself asleep on the couch right after eating. I had been up since around 4am; got some kind of nervous insomnia worrying about all the dishes I had to make so worked in the kitchen for about 2 hours before going back to bed for 2 more hours and finally getting up for good to get to work so we could eat at a reasonable hour. After the feast, I was pretty dead on my feet. Even while preparing the meal, I had to keep referring to my menu plan to stay on track and check things off or write down times. I never have to do anything like that in the kitchen.

After eating, we went for a walk but I was fine! Really. I never needed to nap. Amazing! No triptophan in that bird!

I am so glad I opted for a Heritage Turkey that free-ranged and was delivered to my door by the farmer. This feels a step in the right direction!


Powerful love story November 29, 2008

Filed under: social interaction — Thinking Woman @ 7:52 pm

I keep watching this video.

It is a beautiful love story. Have you finished viewing it? Eyes dry yet? Want to share your thoughts?

It keeps coming back to me. That has to be the most beautiful hug I’ve ever seen. It’s such a powerful moment between family members. I dug around on youtube for a while and found more photos and video of how they raised this lion and they coslept with that sweet beloved baby.

I love how their love transcends time, space, species, expectations, the spoken word. It is such a beautiful story. There is also video of the men much later. They look very chic and grown up. They are surprised that everyone is so moved by this sweet story. I am not completely clear why I keep watching it!


Yum! Using Thanksgiving leftovers

Filed under: environment,organic food — Thinking Woman @ 7:37 pm
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I tried. I really did try not to make a ton of extra food for Thanksgiving. We were blessed with friends this year – my ideal way to celebrate this very special day. It is a fine art (and one I haven’t mastered) having enough food so everyone gets plenty of what they love and there isn’t any waste.

I didn’t do all that badly. Yesterday, we reheated the leftovers and pretty much polished them off. I don’t use most things after 24-48 hours, so the last little bits went into the compost bin. I also froze some things that I had made way too much of including some delicious cranberry sauce. Also, I am not sure what I was thinking because I have even more cranberries as yet uncooked.

What to do with all these cranberries?

I’ve been loving this cherry yogurt imported from Greece, but it does seem fairly outrageous to have on a regular basis. Just now, I tried some of the cranberry stuff I made (simmered with orange & lemon juice and zest plus some pecans) with the yogurt plus some Stevia. Yum! Really quite as good as the Greek yogurt and from local foods! Now I know what I’ll be doing with the extra cranberries! It feels great to use something in season. I imagine I’ll get a bit tired of having it daily. But then, the cranberries will be all gone and it’ll be a whole year before I can enjoy that again.


Please Help Me Reduce Junk Mail!

Filed under: environment,unplugging — Thinking Woman @ 7:29 pm

Help! I am in the USA. I moved 9 months ago and those suckers have found me again! I have tried so many reduction plans over the years including sending letters as described on websites – most of those letters came back to me as undeliverable. I have popped the trash magazines into the mail. I have called places and sat on hold for long periods of time.

I am only human! When a lovely Pottery Barn magazine shows up, it is possible that as I rip off my name/address for shredding, I might happen to catch a peek at something and start flipping through and wanting stuff I never even knew existed but now must have. No need for all this in the first place!

Make it stop! Help! Send me legitimate information on how to get this to stop! Things you have personally seen work, not just links to websites. Thank you in advance!


Dehydrator Blues November 26, 2008

Filed under: health,organic food,unplugging — Thinking Woman @ 10:11 pm

My dehydrator and I haven’t made friends yet. I am still being nice. Well, polite, anyway. Poor thing got shunted to the back of the cabinet when we moved and has only been out for the first time last week. Although I tried to make something seemingly easy, and the dehydrator dutifully chugged away for days, nothing came of the effort. Now said machine is mostly in a sad wreck on my counter and sink. The trays are too huge to fit properly in the sink and so both my husband and I have been ignoring them for two days.

All my efforts are currently focusing around this vision of living fully off our own land. To that end, I am trying to learn to store food and make a choice on whether we’ll be going back to raw food or wind up going with Traditional eating. Or maybe it will wind up to be a combination of these philosophies. Who knows.

In consideration of the future possibility of raw food, I tried something I thought my girls would love: potato chips. I used red potatoes and also sweet potatoes or yams (I am never sure which I am getting, and yes, I realize they are not actually potatoes at all). These both seem like things I might try growing as they’ll work well in my climate.

It was a disaster. I used a low temperature as is recommended universally by raw foodies and wound up, as I have before, with chewy chips. I checked periodically but never got anything edible. I am feeling demoralized on this whole storing raw food thing. And this foolish $100 huge contraption. I’ve tried fruit rollups, dried fruit, and other veggies. It’s getting annoying. I particularly do not enjoy tossing out what had been perfectly good food, now ruined.

Dehydrating sounds so simple in recipes. I need a tutorial!

Is there really a way to do low temperature dehydrating?


Coupons on Groceries

Filed under: misc (everything else) — Thinking Woman @ 6:51 pm

I am noticing that more and more moms are obsessed with getting outrageous savings on groceries. And also that in doing so, they are willing to compromise their family’s health by buying non-organic brands and other less than ideal foods.

The way it seems to work is that the mom must spend a lot of hours on blogs and forums finding these deals. And digging through websites and publications far and wide. And then, with great pride, they announce that they got $180 worth of groceries for $62.

Yeah, those savings are amazing.

However, at what cost?

And further, couldn’t they shift their focus?

Why couldn’t they spend those same hours doing something, anything, to make exactly that amount of money? Why not make something to sell on Etsy? Perhaps do periodic decluttering and list items on craigslist or Ebay? Or just start up a business of some sort. There are so many opportunities!

It’s all in how you look at it but a big piece of what is missing for me from the picture of the whole coupon thing is that you are taking away from the profit and that makes it more expensive for everyone else. As a retailer, I need to make money on products. Wholesale costs are generally between 50% and 60% of retail. If you are getting a product for more than 15%-30% off retail, the retailer is losing money. In this economy, why not support each other and help more money flow? By creating an income for yourself, you are helping the economy. By looking for ways to save a ridiculous amount, you are not helping the economy at all. You are picking up items tossed off sinking ships.


Ezekial Cereal and Xylitol?

Filed under: health,organic food — Thinking Woman @ 3:50 pm

I am so confused about nutrition. Really I am. I loved when it was all simpler; when I first started to “know” what I was doing. I started buying organic food, having more fruits and vegetables, exercising. I felt fit and strong and thought I had it all figured out.

Then came so many concepts that conflicted with one another and I am left feeling certain I’ll never figure it out!

When I started to really look at a raw foods diet, it was clear I had finally found the “right” way to eat. It is still clear to me in some ways that this is correct; we are clearly not meant to alter foods. However, I have not seen a lot of robust looking raw foodies so I am left with the concern that it’s being implemented incorrectly. So I am in process of getting set up with a garden where I can grow what is meant to grow locally. With luck and hard work, I plan to move towards more self-sufficiency. My theory is that by importing foods from around the world, we are not eating correctly for where we currently live. I guess that could be a macro-biotic concept sneaking in. It just sounds right to me. Avocados from across the country? Oranges from around the world? That can’t be right.

Meanwhile, what to eat?

I just learned that all cereals with puffed pieces and flakes are terrible for me, as is granola. Okay, fine. Those were all always too yummy in a decadent way to possibly be healthy. I found a box of Ezekial cereal in the back of the cabinet. My husband declared it cardboard and banned it from his breakfast bowl. Last week I accidently bought way too much raw milk so I was forced to find new creative ways to use it up and this box of cereal was headed for the table.

Yep, still cardboard. But you know what? Xylitol spooned on takes it right past edible and directly to palatable. Even my girls are chowing down! So we’re back in business! We’re eating cardboard, no guilt, right?

Wrong. What about Xylitol?

My research tells me it’s fine to spray a bit on the teeth or use in gum to stop the bad bacteria from sitting around and starting the whole involved process that leads to tooth decay. But it’s not meant for ingesting, especially not a teaspoon or more at a time. It causes problems in the intestines or something.

What’s a thinking woman to do? Aaagh! I might get bald spots from pulling my hair out!