lessons from grandma: homemade and homegrown

Everyone’s made, grown, or created something at one point or another. In 5th grade, I successfully grew a Cosmos plant during a gardening unit. I believe I got an A-minus. I think there were a lot of politics involved, because that plant was perfect.

Growing up, I loved hanging out with my Grandma. She did it all. As a mother of four, school teacher, pianist/organist, soldier’s wife…. she was a pretty well-rounded gal. I was really lucky to be able to spend a lot of time at Grandma’s house, where she taught me a lot. Cooking, cleaning, and crocheting, mostly. Some of my favorite memories were from an early age when I was first able to “make” something. Personal favorite: chocolate chip cookies. Surprise… 🙂


Grandma Gladys had a wealth of homemaker knowledge under her belt (actually, I don’t think she wore a belt with her slacks) because she had to . Times were tight, and they had to tighten their belts (which was even harder, since she didn’t wear one). It was cheaper to make than to buy. Certain items were a luxury. To her kids’ occasional moans and groans and eyerolls, she made their clothes — they weren’t in style. But they were unique and made with love.


Fast forward 50 years…

I hesitate to call it a fad, but… right now it’s pretty cool to grow your own, make your own, knit, sew, build, brew your own everything. Some do it for political/activist reasons. Some want to be cool by being “uncool” and “not mainstream.” Some just like to make things.

I love it all. But bringing it back to food… seeing food as art is one thing. Seeing food as something you’ve created is something completely awesome. Whether you grew it in a garden, successfully duplicated a recipe, or decided to experiment and make something totally unique — cooking is creating.

Some are too quick to say “I can’t cook.” Not everyone was born just knowing how to cook. It takes time, patience, and persistence. I can’t tell you how many batches of cookies I’ve burned (it’s probably a good thing). I once almost completely ruined a breadmaker due to an unfortunate measuring miscalculation. Sorry mom and dad… 

But here I am today. I absolutely love cooking. It doesn’t always turn out perfectly, but when it does turn out, it’s really rewarding.

I’m inviting you to try to create something new this week. Plant a garden. Try a new recipe. Knit a scarf. Brew some beer. Anything. I guarantee that once you make something, you’ll get just a little bit hooked on it. 🙂


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is this organic?

I’m currently reading a really compelling book by Michael Pollan, “The Omnivore’s Dilemma: a natural history of four meals.” It deals with the physical, economical, and ethical dilemmas surrounding the daily question, “what’s for dinner?”

I am no expert in these matters, but I am trying to educate myself as I continue to lose weight and get healthy.

This book is great. To sum up the first 100 pages or so, we consume a lot of corn. And not good old-fashioned corn. I mean super-processed, genetically-modified, chemically-treated corn by-products. Mmmmm.

The livestock we meat-eaters eat is also eating a lot of corn so it can get fat faster and cheaper, and get to the table in a lot less time. A cow used to be about 4 or 5 years old before being slaughtered. Now, it starts at about 18 months. Talk about fast food.

Cows are supposed to eat grass. They have 4 stomachs that are pretty much built to eat grass. I sometimes feel like I have 4 stomachs. Just an optical illusion…

It’s becoming more and more important to know exactly what we are eating. Where it came from. Who handled it. What it ate before I ate it. Or drank it.


Lost? Bummed? Bored?? Here’s a clip from Portlandia that will put a lighter spin on the same subject.

Seems like kind of a stretch to get your chicken’s full history. However, it’s the circle of life.


Animal is fed crappy/awful diet of weird chemically-treated food, juiced up with growth hormones for maximum meat potential, and loaded with antibiotics to deal with the side effects. Animal excretes super bacteria (side effect from antibiotics killing “good” bacteria and leaving the bad). We eat pseudo-super-chicken. We get sick (e coli, crypto sporidium, etc). Run to the pharmacy for some antibiotics. Weaken immune system…. It’s like a depressing adult version of “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.”

Even “healthy” food like fruits and veggies, If they are loaded with pesticides and genetically-modified so that we can eat whatever we want, regardless of if it’s in season… Not that healthy.

Breaking news: Eating well is expensive. Organic/free range/grass-fed/no hormones or antibiotics produce/livestock takes longer to produce. Time is money. Still, I’ve found that shopping at companies that value organic/whole foods, will usually have a clientele that creates a greater demand for good products, which will hopefully lower prices. We are the market, people. There’s not too much difference between organic and non-organic produce prices at Trader Joe’s. And I will take any excuse I can to shop at Trader Joe’s. 😉

Looooooooonnnng story short. I’m making some changes. I’m not perfect, but I am trying to improve. I’m really excited to feature a few guest bloggers who are “experts” on the matter. In the meantime, I will provide the lighter side of things, augmented with clip art.



Recommended reading:
“100 Days of Real Food”
“Food Babe”
Michael Pollan

out of hibernation

Disclaimer: this is a longer blog post. I’ll try to spice it up with some funny photos and overall great content. 😉

I’ve been on an unintentional blogging hiatus. For lack of better explanation, it’s been crazy busy. And when I’ve had the time to blog, I’ve chosen to do other things. Sorry…

The blog isn’t the only thing that’s been on hiatus. For the sake of full disclosure, I have kind of come to a standstill with my weight loss. I’ve been kind of dancing around the same number (not literally dancing. Well maybe a little.). Gain 2 pounds, lose them, repeat. At least I seem to have mastered the art of weight maintenance.. Just a few months/pounds too soon.

STILL. The diet must go on. Thank you for reading. 🙂

Even though the blog was on sleep mode, I was not. I’ll call it a blog sabbatical. Blogbattical. Sabbatablog. No, those are terrible. I’ve been doing a lot of reading and research into some of the reasons why I’ve come to a standstill. Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t been 100% true to counting points, measuring portions, and overall Weight Watchers/Jennifer Hudson-approved meal planning. I blame the pub down the street that has, quite literally, some of the best food I’ve ever had. 

J-Hud references and bar-food-bashing aside, even when I was in a really good dieting routine and seeing quick results, I know that I wasn’t eating my best. I lost a lot of weight very quickly. About 30 pounds in 3 months. And then nothing. What the heck.

That’s the thing with dieting. You change up your routine drastically and get your body to run on a different kind of fuel, and then it figures out “oh I get it, you aren’t eating carbs this week. Well played.” and then you have to try something new.

I was coming on “on target” for points, but not seeing those same results. Mostly because, to stay full and come in on target, I was eating a lot of processed food. A lot. Lean Cuisines. Chips/pretzels. Pasta. Low fat cheese. Diet soda. Low-cal, low-fat, quick, easy, cheap. All good things, right? Not so much.

One of the main concepts of most diets is to treat your body like a bank account. The calories/fat/carb/etc you put in has to be  less than what you take out in exercise/water/etc, in order to lose weight. Although that is true, you really have to treat your body like a vehicle. If you put bad fuel/oil/antifreeze in, your car will probably break down. Then you won’t have a car, and you’ll be walking everywhere. Which will actually result in better weight loss…

My next few blogs are going to go more in depth. Don’t worry, they’ll be shorter. I’m also very excited because I have a few guest bloggers who’ve agreed to share their unique thoughts on the subject: food. Cooking it, growing it, you name it.

Thanks for reading! More to come, soon. 🙂