But so goes my life this Fall, a rush of activity from one thing to the next, never feeling like I have a moment to take a breath or be leisurely about anything. Last weekend I realized I had been operating like this since the two weeks before school officially (we had so much professional work beforehand). I had developed this crazy skin infection on my back and didn't know it was so bad, and was doing all the craziness of the start of school while feeling extremely ill (my Facebook status update one day was the observation that September is for teachers what April is to accountants.) Finally got myself to the doc and got some antibiotics two weeks ago. It's sad the level of health I'm willing to accept as "normal."
I know this is not the most appetizing way to start a food blog post, but the background may help you, kind reader, to see why coming home Friday night to unpack the CSA share was so comforting. I just felt like I had a little down time and was feeling good. (Last weekend I did nothing, but it was while feeling like crap!) The kids had gone to the house of a family from their school who does a great recycled art activity with the kids after school, so I had some mental space to myself.
When I'm feeling low and ill, I get so emotional, so I'm sure that was part of it, but I had a bit of a dairy issue last weekend. Ever since Food, Inc. I've been trying really hard to be a conscious food consumer. We've been buying organic milk (despite its cost!) for awhile now, but I really wanted to think carefully about which brand after watching an episode of Morgan Spurlock's 30 Days.
He's the director who achieved critical acclaim with Supersize Me. He had a few seasons of his series 30 Days on FX for awhile, and apparently it's been picked up by another network so we may see more episodes--I hope--in the future. My teaching partner shows parts of the first season to our students--there's one about a Christian who lives with Muslims for 30 days, and another about meat eaters who live on an organic, vegan farming commune. This was a rerun from Season 3, where a hunter had to live with a vegan family who are animal rights activists.
It was an incredible episode. After about 20 minutes in, maybe a week for the hunter, you think there's no way he's ever going to be effected by these activists. But by the end, he's standing up for animal rights. He's not giving up hunting, but he's clearly been moved by the plight of a calf he helps rescue in the middle of the night from a large dairy farm that has left it to die outside the grounds of the farm. He names the calf "Sugar" (even though he's a male cow, you see how moved this guy is), and he bottle feeds it back to life. If just that brief summary has you hooked, wait until you see the show.
|McEachron Family Farmer & Calf: check out more farm photos|
I also found a site that you can use to find products from certified humane farms sold in your area! You put in your zip code and it lists products and where they are sold. Unless you're like my poor friend Shana living in the heart of Wyoming, you should see some products from your local supermarkets and grocers. (Her solution: farmer's markets!) Now if only my husband, the on-again-off-again vegetarian (who's off again and eating meat), would join the vegetarian wagon and bring my son along with him. I don't push my son as I'd like him to come to the decision on his own.
I also don't want to push you, dear reader, but...
- How about trying a Meatless Monday?
- Or trying some new vegetables: here's a great slide show with directions for how to cook 20 different veggies!
- Though I may not be the best test case for this, a recent study showed that vegetarians are happier than meat eaters!
- You're doing the environment a favor by going meatless.
- You just may save money on your grocery bill!
And here are the steps for my Kale* Veggie Chowder to get you started!(*Read about the health benefits of kale!)
|One or two bunches of fresh kale. I like the flatter, broad leaf style better than the curly one you see as garnish.|
|Here's my fresh kale, and last week's sad looking wilted bunch. Still tastes good for soup!|
|I used these pink ladies (not sure if that's a real name!). Aren't they beauties?|
Add the potatoes, and cook at a low boil, stirring frequently, until potatoes are just soft. While the potatoes are cooking, prepare your kale by taking off lower stems and chopping the leaves and upper stems into strips (or smaller depending on how you want it on your spoon. I like it in strips! You could chop it in a blender if you want it to be less of a stew look.)
When the potatoes are ready, scoop out a cup or two of the soup, depending on how chunky you want it. Add milk to the pot to desired creaminess--maybe a cup or so? Lowfat milk works fine. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup pot ingredients (or transfer to blender carefully). Add back in the chunky soup, and the kale.
Put the top on the soup pot so the kale can steam. I like it cooked just past wilted so it's not mushy. Add sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste, and serve with delicious crusty bread.
Thanks for reading. I worked extra hard on this one this week. Won't you pass the link to my blog along to a friend? Just click those little buttons below. And I'd love some comments! I reset the page so that you can comment even if you do not have a google account.
Here's one more sweet look at the cows of Organic Valley: