Tag Archives: food

Faster Than a French Fry

french fries

faster than a french fry

Posts have been flying out of here faster than a french fry out of a Happy Meal. Here’s a recap of what’s been published where, including links you may have missed.

Back on BlogHer
Lisen and I are on BlogHer this week, fearlessly discussing biotech foods (GMOs, genetically modified organisms) and California’s Prop 37. Whether you live in CA or not, this measure has huge repercussions for food, farm, and those of us who buy groceries. Please drop by to read the point-counterpoint post and add to the conversation.

Carolina on My Mind
“The number one reason I’m voting for Mitt Romney can be summed up in two words: North Carolina.” That’s the opening line to my post Why Mitt Romney Has My Vote, featured today on Project Underblog. Earlier this week, Project Underblog featured my letter to Facebook founder, Dear Mr. Zuckerberg.

Mobilizing Moms
mastering mommy brainYesterday my guest post The Mommy Vote Counts appeared on Mastering Mommy Brain. I was honored to write this nonpartisan post encouraging moms to vote. Often we don’t recognize our own strength. “Mommy, your vote is wanted and it counts. Your voice needs to be heard in this conversation.” Read more in The Mommy Vote Counts.

Our recipe series of what to eat instead of hot dogs continues. We’ve cooked up two delicious meals so far, Tex Mex Lasagna and Crockpot Southern Greens. Expect more to come.

Katie Pinke, The Pinke Post

Katie Pinke, The Pinke Post

Love to North Dakota
My blogging sister Katie Pinke had a little surprise this past week. Her blog’s URL was mistakenly listed as expired and sold to someone else! Her blog of five years disappeared. Fifty hours and mountains of frustration later, her blog was restored with a new URL—just in time to launch a new series North Dakota November. Please go by and give Katie some blogging love at ThePinkePost.com. I’m so glad she’s back online.

keep calm and vote for rom

keep calm

Polar Opposites
A special thank you to those of you who subscribe. I appreciate you sticking with me through a WordPress glitch that temporarily stopped email updates. For those of you who don’t subscribe yet, it’s easy and free. As a bonus, you get to catch my misspells and typos before I do. For example, the emailed version of Should Christians Vote? instructed voters to go to the poles on November 6th rather than to the polls… Now wouldn’t that be a hoot?

That’s all the news that’s fit to blog today. Rest up this weekend. Next week promises to be a doozie!

The Lord gives strength to His people;
the Lord blesses His people with peace. Psalm 29:11 NIV

Love Me Good by Michael W. Smith.

Have a great weekend!


Filed under blogging, family & friends, food & farm, writing & reading

Crockpot Southern Greens Recipe from A Half-Baked Life

The quest for easy and delicious recipes continues. Today we’re cooking Southern comfort food in a crockpot. There are so many things right with that last sentence, I don’t know where to begin.

Our recipe comes from Justine at A Half-Baked Life. Justine writes stories of luxurious prose and caps them off with delicious recipes. Genius. Click the link for today’s recipe details and to enjoy the exquisite writing that goes with it:

Crockpot Southern Greens with a Kick
by A Half-Baked Life

Now watch me cook this, simple and quick:
(Video link: http://youtu.be/5ubJ20mshZU)

crockpot southern greens

crockpot southern greens

If you have a crockpot, you can totally do this. I cannot believe how easy it was and how complex the flavors. The “kick” Justine adds sets these greens apart. This dish makes a great meal or unexpected side to accompany an entrée. It’s the perfect earthy and warm recipe for cold autumn evenings.

Thank you, Justine at A Half-Baked Life, for bringing this savory recipe to us. Bon appétit!

For the despondent, every day brings trouble; for the happy heart, life is a continual feast. Proverbs 15:15 NLT

Alison Krauss & Union Station with The Lucky One. Greens are lucky, right?

If you make this recipe, let me know how you like it!


Filed under family & friends, food & farm, recipes

Tex Mex Lasagna Recipe from The Wife of a Dairyman

Last week, I reached out to some of my favorite cooking bloggers because I was in dire need of new recipes. Today I made the first recipe in the series. It’s from my friend Nancy at The Wife of a Dairyman. Click this link for the details:

Tex Mex Lasagna by The Wife of a Dairyman

Here’s how it cooked up in my kitchen.
(Video link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FJC1J4iPq4)

tex mex lasagna

tex mex lasagna

The results were fabulous. If you like Mexican food, you’ll love this recipe. It’s more sophisticated than tacos, but still simple to make. I served it with chips and queso, fresh tomato, shredded lettuce, salsa, and more sour cream (of course!).

You can easily alter the recipe with another meat like ground turkey, diced chicken, or steak. You can also bake it with lower fat cheese and leave out the sour cream, as Nancy suggests, for a low fat version. For more spice, turn up the heat with your favorite seasonings and peppers.

Thank you, Nancy at The Wife of a Dairyman, for a new favorite. Bon appétit!

For the despondent, every day brings trouble;
for the happy heart, life is a continual feast. Proverbs 15:15 NLT

Kick it up a notch with Livin’ La Vida Loca by Ricky Martin.

If you make this recipe, let me know how you like it!





Filed under family & friends, food & farm, recipes

What Organic Food Is and Is Not

There’s a lot of confusion about organic food.

USDA-Organic Seal

USDA Organic Seal

As a mom and consumer, I know organic food garners a premium price. But I like to have choices. My family buys and eats food that looks and tastes good and that we can afford. That includes conventional, organic, biotech, heirloom, domestic, international, and farmer’s market fare.

So how is organic food defined? The USDA sets the standards for foods labeled USDA Organic through the National Organic Program, established by the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990.

Food that meets these standards can display the USDA Organic seal:

Organic crops. The USDA organic seal verifies that irradiation, sewage sludge, synthetic fertilizers, prohibited pesticides, and genetically modified organisms were not used.
Organic livestock. The USDA organic seal verifies that producers met animal health and welfare standards, did not use antibiotics or growth hormones, used 100% organic feed, and provided animals with access to the outdoors.
Organic multi-ingredient foods. The USDA organic seal verifies that the product has 95% or more certified organic content. If the label claims that it was made with specified organic ingredients, you can be sure that those specific ingredients are certified organic.

Seems straightforward. Why does confusion about organic food persist?

That brings us to what organic food is not:

bell peppers


Organic food is not more nutritious. This week’s Stanford University study concluded organic food is not healthier than conventional food. This isn’t really new information. Last year Scientific American reported 50 years of research comparisons have shown there are no health differences between organic and conventional food.

Organic food is not pesticide-free. Organic farms may use approved pesticides and fungicides derived from natural sources rather than synthetics to protect crops from insects and disease. Scientific American reported organic pesticides may be worse than those used in conventional farming. Organic food also tends to have more pathogens like E. coli and Salmonella than conventional food. It’s important to note the Stanford researchers found the pesticide levels of all food generally fell within the allowable safety limits.

Organic food is not better for the environment. According to Scientific American, organic farming requires more land to produce the same amount of food as conventional farming. If we were to switch to 100 percent organic farming today, we would have to clear another 20 percent of the ice-free land on earth to make up the difference in production.

Organic food is not necessarily local or fair-trade. Go Green Online reported the average organic food travels 1,200 miles before it reaches the consumer. And organic food may still be produced using illegal migrant workers receiving unfair wages in harsh working conditions.

My family buys and eats many different kinds of food; I’m not advocating one type of food over another. What I’m advocating is education and choice.

American blueberries


We do ourselves a disservice when we pit organic against conventional or biotech, local against domestic or imported. There’s room at the table for all kinds of food to meet many different needs.

There’s freedom for us to learn and decide for ourselves what to eat.

You cause grass to grow for the livestock
and plants for people to use.
You allow them to produce food from the earth. Psalm 104:14 NLT

Blueberry Hill by Fats Domino. Wow.

 Do you buy organic, conventional, or both? Why?


Filed under food & farm

Where’s the Beef? New 2012 School Menus are Lean on Meat

Syndicated on BlogHer.com

This post was syndicated by BlogHer on October 12, 2012.

where's the beef

where’s the beef


As the school year begins, public school menus across America have been adjusted to align with new federal standards from the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act.

President and Mrs. Obama advocated for the passage of this act. It’s federal policy. To be reimbursed by the National School Lunch Program, schools must adhere to these rules.

The new federal standards are designed to promote healthier eating and reduce childhood obesity with choices based on food components rather than nutrients.

Translation: lots of fruits and veggies, not so much meat.

My friend Katie blogged about the new federal standards and why they don’t work for her family. Other women began blogging about the standards, too. They started a Facebook page called Sensible School Lunches to dialogue.

I pay taxes that support public schools and these programs. So do you. We pay regardless of whether or not we have children enrolled. The well-being of the children in a community is important to the community as a whole.

That makes us all stakeholders in this.

The new federal standards recommend children in kindergarten through fifth grade receive more than six cups of fruits and vegetables for lunch per week, but only eight to 10 ounces of meat or meat alternative for lunch per week.

You read that right. Per week.

That’s roughly two ounces of meat per lunch.

Two ounces of meat per lunch didn’t sound like much to me, but I wasn’t really sure. My son and I headed to our local market to find out.

Two ounces (.125 pounds) of raw ground beef is about one meatball. Enough for a small hamburger or a portion of spaghetti sauce. Not bad.

2 ounce meatball on scale

2 ounce meatball on scale

Consider the chicken leg. It’s overweight at .31 pounds (4.96 ounces).

chicken leg on scale

chicken leg weighs more than 2 ounces

Two slices of bacon is fine, but a two-slice limit wouldn’t go well at my house.

2 ounces of bacon

2 ounces = 2 slices of bacon

At another store, we determined one hotdog would pass.

ballpark beef franks

ballpark beef franks, 1 hotdog = 2 ounces

So would a package of lunch meat like this.

oscar meyer chicken

2 ounces of oscar mayer chicken

My son enjoyed our investigative reporting. But as I snapped photos of Oscar Mayer, I wondered what the menu changes meant in real life.

I consulted the USDA’s sample menus.

Will children really eat 1/4 cup of jicama and 1/4 of pepper strips as suggested for the Monday menu, assuming they know what jicama is? How about Tuesday’s suggested 1/2 cup of broccoli and 1/2 cup of cauliflower?

Who are these kids? We try at our dinner table. We really do, but it’s a win if the child ingests more than one green bean.

please do not climb on cow

please do not climb on cow

By the time Friday rolls around, the weekly allowance of meat on the sample menu has been depleted. Cheese pizza is the suggested fare. Why not front-load the week with this deficit and participate in Meatless Mondays?

I jest, but there are American ranchers who are not amused.

The new federal standards also prohibit whole milk or flavored milk, a fact highlighted in Joslyn Gray’s post Seriously? 15 Things Schools Have Banned So Far in 2012. By 2014, the only grains allowed will be whole grains.

Let’s say a child eats his veggie-rich lunch of jicama and peppers with two ounces of turkey and one cup of fat-free milk, but is still not hunger-free. How will that child perform in class?

What if that child’s only meal for the entire day is school lunch?

Sadly, this is the case for many students. The 2010 Hunger in Our Schools study concluded hunger remains a problem in the classroom with a large proportion of students relying on school meals. It’s the main reason some kids come to school.

cow statue at airport in vermont

cow statue at airport in vermont

The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act updates public school menus for the first time in 15 years. It’s a commendable start.

The emphasis on fruits, veggies, whole grains, and low-fat milk is terrific. Still there are questions that need to be addressed for these standards to succeed in real life.

Giving local schools more say in what works best in their communities with their students makes the most sense.

Local schools are also better equipped than the federal government to network with area farmers and ranchers to supply foods, another goal of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act.

There’s work to be done. Please contact your elected officials. Visit Sensible School Lunches to learn more and to dialogue. Bloggers, consider writing your story about this topic and sharing it there.

He always does what He says—
He defends the wronged,
He feeds the hungry. Psalm 146:7 The Message

And now the moment you’ve all been waiting for. A link to the Wendy’s commercial that inspired this post’s title: Where’s the Beef?

What’s your take on the new menus?


Filed under family & friends, food & farm

Dishwasher Detergent, Ham Sammies, and Everything in Between

Clearly I’ve been writing about the wrong topics.

top shelf cascade

top shelf cascade

Our newish dishwasher is an epic fail at cleaning dishes. We suspect the hard water of Wichita is the culprit.

A few nights ago, I did what any modern woman does to solve domestic issues. I posted our problem on Facebook to see if anyone had suggestions.

More than 50 comments later, I had a nice list of options to try including Cascade, Lemi Shine, and vinegar.


My new friend Pam, a mother of six who’s blogged for five years at It’s Time for More Coffee, could relate. She commented:

“Some days I realize I’m blogging all wrong as well. My number one post is still about Dr. Scholl’s Orthotics. Really? I blog about a lot. I bare my soul. What gets people’s attention? Shoe inserts.”

move over and lemi shine

move over and lemi shine

No wonder those product review bloggers do so well. Not only do they get free samples, lucrative sponsorships, and hoards of followers, but they also get invited to the coolest brand parties at the blogging conferences. Swag a-plenty.

Cooking blogs are another thing all together. My friend Leah’s recipe for Hawaiian Rolls Ham Sammies went viral. When she disclosed to me the number of page views her blog Beyer Beware received as a result, I experienced a momentary loss of consciousness.

I came to with my mind racing. Maybe everyday epistle needs a food feature.

Holy meatballs. Angel food cake. Consecrated cherries in the year of jubilee.

I mean, who wants to read about the soul-cleansing blood of the Lamb when there’s cookie dough brownie fudge cake balls to be made? Why ponder where God intersects with contentious societal issues when bacon wrapped grilled scallops with sweet ginger glaze are calling?

Hunk of Meat Mondays, Beyer Beware

Leah’s Ham Sammies is a yummy, simple recipe with straightforward ingredients. And Leah consistently produces delicious content like this.

Every week, persecuted, hypoglycemic carnivores like me visit her for Hunk of Meat Mondays. What’s not to like?

That’s all well and good, but it still doesn’t explain the enthusiastic response to my dishwasher detergent question. Maybe no explanation is needed. Maybe the comment stream accomplished its higher task of restoring my faith in humanity.

It reminded me there are good people out there who want to help. Who want to speak. Who have useful information to share.

Welcome to the blogosphere. From dishwasher detergent to Ham Sammies and everything in between, we have a lot in common, you and I. And what a wonderful place to discuss it.

mega value finish

time to finish

Go to work in the morning and stick to it until evening without watching the clock. You never know from moment to moment how your work will turn out in the end. Ecclesiastes 11:6 The Message

Are You Washed in the Blood? Alan Jackson at the Ryman.

Have a great weekend!


Filed under blogging, humor

Why I Will Eat Mor Chikin

Syndicated on BlogHer.com

This post was syndicated by BlogHer on July 30, 2012.

The ruckus over Chick-fil-A raises the question: Who’s behaving like the hater here?

Chick-fil-A president and chief operating officer Dan Cathy’s recent comments in Baptist Press should come as no surprise. The company is privately owned. In 45 years of existence, their restaurants have never been open on Sundays. They’ve always supported a traditional, Biblical definition of marriage and family.

Chick-fil-A drive thru

drive thru

“We intend to stay the course,” said Cathy in the article. “We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles.”

So, let’s see. They haven’t changed their religious views. They aren’t refusing to serve people who disagree. We’re free to express our beliefs in this country.

Why the uproar now?

Chick-fil-A’s charitable donations were being criticized before the Baptist Press published their story. When Cathy reiterated his long-held convictions, in a religious publication mind you, Chick-fil-A critics were poised to pounce.

Cathy was labeled homophobic. Activists boycotted. Boston’s mayor banned Chick-fil-A from the cityThe Jim Henson Company broke ties with them.

Another commentator wants public schools and sports facilities to stop doing business with Chick-fil-A because they support families through non-profit groups that share their beliefs. Are you kidding me?

Attacking a successful company is unlikely to change anyone’s mind. It won’t help the economy either. Plus it’s mean.

My affection for J Crew clothing is well-documented in this blog. The company contributes to causes at odds with my values. Last year J Crew president and creative director Jenna Lyons left her husband of nine years and the father of her son for another woman. Not a decision that lines up with my faith.

I suppose I could stop buying clothes from J Crew, write nasty grams on their Facebook page, insist they be thrown out of malls that have received tax breaks, and start picketing their stores.

But that would just make me a bully who’s missing out on some mighty fine fashion, now wouldn’t it?

Chick-fil-A cow at family event

family night meet-and-greet the cow

Chick-fil-A uses their resources to support and care for families in ways they see fit. That includes contributing to non-profits that share their beliefs.

Speaking from experience, that also includes family activity nights at their restaurants, refreshing beverages for free, and politely carrying trays to tables for mothers like me who have their hands full. Besides, the food is delicious.

I don’t hate gay people. I don’t believe the Cathy family and their franchisees hate gay people. I don’t plan to stop eating at Chick-fil-A anytime soon. I understand if your convictions differ. You can stop eating there if you want.

You’ll be missing out on some mighty fine chicken if you do.

But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord. from Joshua 24:15 NLT

The Chick-fil-A Song by St. Louis comedian Tim Hawkins with a new verse for Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy.

Will you eat mor chikin? (Please mind your manners or your comment will be deleted.)

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Filed under America, faith, food & farm, life