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5 Keen Observations

5 Keen Observations (If I do say so, myself)

Driving around lately, I’ve had a few thoughts that I can’t shake. They aren’t Earth shattering or super original, but I think they’re worth sharing. Here goes:

1. I’m a little shocked by Band Aid. I’m one of those Christmas-radio-before-Thanksgiving-listeners. I love it! I’ve said it before, the Charlie Brown Christmas album is the number one thing played in our house. That being said, I’ve heard Do They Know It’s Christmas by Band Aid ten million times this month. And… I’m shocked by all of the sweeping/typical/cliche/and possibly offensive Africa references in that song. I understand the point, but still. I think it rains in some parts of Africa and there is for sure at least one famous river. Aaaaand not everyone loves snow.

I still love it. But jeeez!!

2. I’m a LOT shocked by Britney Spears’ new song, Perfume. I shudder to think that any teenage girl could be relating to this song. The point of perfume is NOT to “mark your territory” so that the (ex girlfriend!!!) girl he’s cheating on you with will know you exist. How demeaning and awful!!! Girls, let’s boycott this song for the greater good of humanity.

“And while I wait I put on my perfume, yeah I want it all over you

I gotta mark my territory.

I’ll never tell, tell on myself but I hope she smells my perfume.”

All I think of is dogs peeing, sadness, and the prayer that no girl actually does this, ever.

If you’re with a guy and you feel the need to mark him with your scent, don’t you think there’s a problem there? I’m still feeling the shock of having heard this song for the first time yesterday. Goodness.

(no way am I posting this song on here.)

3. Mumford and Sons lyrics, though pretty good, are very Yoda-ish. 

“My weakness I feel I must finally show.” Etc.

4. Organic food should not be labeled organic. Organic should be the standard and conventional and the only foods that should be specially labeled are the ones with chemicals or genetic alterations (GMOs). Yup. That’s about it for that one.

5. Radio music is nothin’ compared to the other stuff out there. The majority of people listen to about 1% of the music in this world (at least in the USA, I think.) I only had this realization because of a few KEY people in my life who shared other music with me. I was your typical top 40’s hits listener a few years ago and now I can say that I couldn’t name five songs on that top 40 list (except for Perfume, I guess.) Do me a Thanksgiving favor, completely make my day, and look up some of these bands/artists that you might not ever hear otherwise. I’ll include a list and some links to their “best” songs in my opinion!

Justin Townes Earle MAMA’S EYES

Middle Brother WILDERNESS

Shovels & Rope LAY LOW

Jeffrey Foucault CROSS OF FLOWERS

Brown Bird DOWN TO THE RIVER

*Wildewood ROPE

*Brush Strokes BLUEBIRD

*The Handsome Family SO MUCH WINE

If you were to study these lyrics, let them change your life, I’m positive that they would touch your soul and you will be changed in some way. That’s something Maroon 5 just can’t do for me anymore.

Have you had any thoughts you’ve been wanting to share lately?! Anything that shocked you or struck you as odd in some way? Please share… and share if you listen to any of these artists. :)

Love, Lou

*local Albuquerque bands… people I actually KNOW! How cool is that?

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LIVE Like Your Life Depends On It (How I Want To LIVE)

If you missed my Eat Like Your Life Depends On It posts, you can catch up here:

ELYLDOT (Which It Does)

ELYLDOT (How I Used To Eat)

ELYLDOT (How I Began To Eat)

ELYLDOT (How I Got Overwhelmed)

life, organic eating, healthy, happy

Kate Burn Photography

I’m writing about all of this because food, health, local and organic growing has become a passion of mine in the last few years. I care about what people eat, how it’s grown, how the animals we eat are raised and the impact that big agriculture has on our environment and health.

But I never, ever, want to sound preachy or know-it-ally. That’s my worst nightmare.

Which is why, I think, I have avoided writing the next post. Yes, avoided. Can you believe it? Each day I thought to myself, eh, I can write this tomorrow.  Write WHAT tomorrow, though?

Maybe I’ll share what a typical week of eating looks like? Maybe I’ll write more about the books I read that led me to eating this way. Maybe I’ll mention again how I don’t have a TV and how much better I believe my life is for it.

Maybe I’ll write nothing?

Nothing wasn’t an option. Partly because I got an e-mail from my future novel. Partly because I’m home sick today and all I have is time, tissue, and hot beverages to distract me. I knew this day would come eventually, and then I got inspired by a friend (which always happens at the most poignant of times.) My friend Jenny over at JenEric Generation posted a blog about change and not being afraid to make your blog, or life, a little bit different than it used to be. I refuse to fall into the puddle of despair!

So maybe I’ll write about all of these things, and have fun while doing it. Here we go.

More than a few people asked me to write about what I eat. This was exciting for me because it’s not like I get a crazy amount of comments or concerns or questions revolving around Hey Lou… but the ones I do get mean so much to me that I could burst.

WHAT I EAT

Don’t be disappointed, okay? I have started cooking almost all of my food, but that doesn’t mean I’m some awesome cook. I’m often told I didn’t use enough salt. I’m often told to change it up a little bit. But here are some truths:

1) I am entirely content eating the exact same thing for up to three weeks (or more). If I find something I love, I’ll just get in a groove and make it every day. Some people need more variety. I am not one of those people.

2) I don’t need a crazy amount of salt or sweetener to enjoy something. I know a girl who literally brings a sweet potato, a tiny container of peanut butter, a slice of cabbage, and a hard boiled egg for lunch. She loves to taste each thing on its own. I think that’s lovely and amazing. I don’t do quite that, but I can also use the yolk of an egg to add flavor and texture, rather than make a dressing for a salad…

3) I love to do this. Some people don’t. However, I didn’t used to love it. I learned to love it.

Recently, I’ve been able to get tons of potatoes. I get my produce primarily from my harvest box from Skarsgard, where I’m doing a farming internship, and there have been tons of potatoes for pick up, and you can even double up on that option in most cases. (Bonus to anyone who understands that lingo. Double Up Option, anyone?) ANYWAY. I have tons of potatoes. What do I do with them?

Here’s what I’ve had for breakfast and lunch for about three weeks now:

(this is a recipe that I split up for both meals, so cut in half if you want this for ONE meal)

Ingredients:

4-5 potatoes, diced

1 onion, diced

3-4 chard, kale, or collard leaves (or throw in any green you want!) sliced or chopped

2 tomatoes, chopped

1 zucchini, sliced (or bell peppers, carrots, or anything else I happen to have at the moment)

2 eggs

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Directions:

Heat up a pan with the EVOO and first add the “hardest” ingredients. I always add the onion first in any recipe. Then the potatoes. Then the carrots or bell peppers or zucchini, whichever I am adding.

***Here’s a very simple trick: You’re cooking this stuff in oil, right? A great way to “steam” these items and quicken up the softening process is to have your LID ready, pour in a small amount of water, and cover with the lid quickly. It will spurt all over your kitchen and you if you don’t cover. But with the cover on, the elements in your pan will kind of go nuts, and in the process, everything will get steamed in a way that turns out awesome. Just wait a minute until everything settles down. This doesn’t take too much water. 

I let these cook for a while. I like the potatoes to be black on some spots, I love for some onion to be slightly burned. I’ll use a fork to test the potatoes and carrots. Once everything is the way YOU want it, add your tomatoes and greens. These will cook and soften right away. 

Lastly, add your egg. I like to make a hole in the middle of the pan, add more EVOO, and throw the egg in and scramble it in the center, then eventually mix it all together.

Occasionally, I’ll add a pinch of salt or soy sauce or curry. Occasionally.

Seriously, that’s it. Want another one? Okay. I’ll give you another one.

Ingredients:

arugula, a giant handful

lemon juice, half a lemon

peas, frozen or fresh

1 egg

Directions:

Lay down your arugula. heat up the peas, pour over greens. Squeeze on the lemon juice. Cook your egg over easy and add to the salad.

It’s that easy! Folks, I ate this arugula breakfast for, NO JOKE, three months. I felt more energized than ever before. I noticed my thighs feeling a little bit… tighter. You know what I mean. To this day, I cannot eat oatmeal or cereal or a muffin for breakfast. I eat vegetables, and always with some sort of leafy green. And almost always with an egg (or two.)

Instead of just laying down a solid week of eating, I’ll give you a few recipes in each post (or every few posts, whichever happens naturally!) Sound good? Good!

On to other topics. Did anyone notice how I named this blog LIVE Like Your Life Depends On It, rather than Eat? That was due to good ol’ Jenny’s blog, and I decided to change it … just because it felt right. Eating is, in my opinion, one of the best ways to have a great life, but it’s the way we live out our days that matter most.

life, living, healthy, passions

Kate Burn Photography

If you start off your day with vegetables (preferably organic, because who wants to start off their day with chemicals?), a walk, or some sort of movement, how could you have a bad day? That rude customer won’t seem to vile. That guy who cut you off on the highway must be having a bad day, but you sure aren’t. See what I mean? These changes happened for me little by little until one day, I was just an all around positive person. I have my “bad” days but they are rare. For the most part I’d rather laugh at a stupid joke while eating a great home-cooked meal, while pondering my next writing adventure…

WHICH LEADS ME TO THE E-MAIL I RECEIVED FROM MY FUTURE NOVEL.

It might be because the online writing group I’m a part of sends out e-mails of this kind to inspire, but I prefer to think that How We Lost Our Minds actually sent me a message from the future. From: YOUR NOVEL. Message: PLEASE WRITE ME THIS NOVEMBER.

I’m almost done with How We Lost Our Minds, so maybe this is from the next project. I still haven’t decided. It could be from the much better, clearly organized and edited, version of the current one. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. After all, November isn’t that far away.

Even more than I cannot live without organic food and partaking in growing that food, I cannot live without writing. It’s why I have this blog. It’s why I’m trying to get published… and why I’ll never give up.

I want to live in this way because it’s the only way I know to be healthy and content.

You guys, if you don’t have a passion, that is probably what you need to change before you even think about what you’re cooking for your next meal. Without something to stay alert and active and healthy for, then a meal is just a meal. It isn’t charging you up for the life you want, is it? This is me trying to hard not to be preachy, but to be inspirational. I’ve shared with you all how unhappy I was before I changed the way I eat, but I realized that at almost the exact same time I changed my eating lifestyle, I also began to WRITE.

They went hand in hand. They are both such a large part of my life, that I’d be lost without the other.

I can’t explain why loving my characters and what they go through connects so strongly with what I put into my body, but it does.

What do YOU have that is worth staying healthy for? What changes have you made? Who do you want to inspire?

How are you LIVING like your LIFE depends on it?

I’d love to know :)

Love, LOU


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Eat Like Your Life Depends On It (How I Got Overwhelmed)

Eat Like Your Life Depends On It Blog Series… here we go for round Three. 

chickens, cows, livestock, gmos, conditions for animals, current food system

If you’ve read about how I used to eat, how much I weighed and how I felt about it, then you know that I wanted a change.

If you’ve read about how I started to change the way I eat and the “rules” I began to follow, then you know that I wanted that change to be drastic, yet totally realistic. 

Here are my goals for this post:

NOT to sound like a crazy conspiracy theorist… and yeah. That’s pretty much the only goal.

OH! And also, to inspire and possibly lead to some new pondering thoughts for anyone who reads it.

So far I’ve talked about :

the weight I gained, the acne I painfully and embarrassingly made it through, and the bad mood I was perpetually in … all due to what I ate. There are always other factors, sure, but don’t all of those also directly relate to what we eat? Life is always stressful in some ways. I wanted to never let stress cause me to have a bad relationship with food ever again.

the book I read, The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan.

the changes I began to make, following some simple food rules and maintaining a positive and hopeful attitude.

~~~~~

Now is when I want to get real. I want to tell you guys just how overwhelmed I was at the start of it all. It’s all fine and dandy to have a good attitude and a smile. But someone close to me (again, POOR Greg!) was lucky enough to see the freak out moments… the moments where I panicked.

These were not the types of panics you might be imagining.

The adrenaline rushes and the overwhelming feeling that everything was going to hell in the food world caught me unaware. All of a sudden I was reading about the treatment of factory “farm” animals, the engineering and modification of our precious food, and the way it was affecting people and the environment.

Now. I’ve always considered myself to be level headed. In many ways, you could call me conservative, though I usually want to leave politics OFF of Hey Lou and stay on more uplifting topics. (Let me also note here that I think words like “conservative” and “conventional” are drastically different these days than the ideals they are really meant to represent. Isn’t living sort of a hippy lifestyle and growing your own food “conservative?” Anyway.)

On the same note, now I guess I have lots of ways of living that could cause someone to point at me and call me liberal. Or libertarian. Or a damn hippy. Or whatever the heck you want to call it.

I’d call myself completely un-trusting of any of those titles… and I’m just me. 

Though the more I read into food and big agriculture and big animal operations, the more political it got. The more depressing it got.

TRUTH? I couldn’t even finish The Omnivore’s Dilemma the first time I read it. Because it overwhelmed me. I could no longer trust certain aspects of life that I thought I could. I looked at the glossy apple at the regular grocery store differently. I looked at the Manager Special half-off steak differently.

If you want to know the truth about why, just pick up a book about the food system. But I can almost promise you that it won’t be anything you haven’t heard of before. What I want to know is this:

Even though most people are aware of the fact that animals are stuffed and overpopulated and kept in completely unsanitary conditions throughout their lives, for the sake of OUR dinners, WHY is anyone okay with it?

Someone told me recently, a reminder perhaps, that I can’t put human emotions on to an animal. They don’t have the same thought process as us.

Okay, fine.

What I will do, then, is look at the facts.

Animals have instinct, yeah? They do. Probably a better survival instinct than most humans. Even if a chicken cannot think, “Oh my, what’s happened here? I must be in an awful situation and therefore I’m sad,” I believe that the same chicken can do this: Sense that something is wrong. 

The same goes for any animal, especially ones we eat. Nothing healthy happens when humans are stressed out. Toxins are released in our bodies and all kinds of bad things happen. Why should an animal be any different? If an animal has lived a stressful life, completely out of its natural environment (like… in a building…) how can you tell me that this animal isn’t at least a little bit stressed out? (If not SAD about it, too?)

Cows were meant to graze freely on grass. Chickens were meant to peck around at insects and fresh greens and have plenty of space to do it. Pigs are actually very clean animals with a keener sense of smell than dogs. Now picture these animals in feed lots, surrounded by their own waste. Picture them surrounded by loud animals of the same kind, with barely any room to move. Imagine a chicken who has been pumped with hormones and can literally never walk around… the thing I KNOW chickens love to do?

chickens, treatment of animals, current food system,gmo

PROOF! Ray Bradbury… running through the yard.

It breaks my heart, guys. It really does. It doesn’t take something drastic to have a say … to have a vote… for what will go on with livestock in the future. Choosing meat that came from an honest farmer, spending more on that meat while eating less of it (maybe twice a week? maybe once a week? maybe a small portion of your meal, rather than the main event?), and being a good example for others is all it takes. If each person in our generation said NO to large factory farms and made conscious decisions about what went into their mouths, we could start a revolution.

You wouldn’t even have to make a sign and attend a protest. All you have to do is cook an awesome meal each day!! HOOOORAY! That’s good news, no?

It’s not just the treatment of animals that gets me in a tizzy, either. It’s the land used all over the world in order to grow enough corn to feed these animals, who, by the way, shouldn’t even eat corn. It’s the nitrogen and waste infiltrating our water supply (wonder why your tomato has a problem? probably because the water used to grow it had cow you-know-what in it), it’s the excuse of “solving world hunger” that GMOs use, when really, the majority of them go to feed livestock. It’s the fact that if you take a seed that has been engineered in a laboratory, you can’t regrow that plant freely. (More on Genetically Modified [Engineered] Organisms in a post to come…)

All of that can be changed. I’ll never stop believing in that.

cows, gmo, organic eating, food system

a happy family of cows :)

Changing the DNA of our seeds, essentially torturing the animals that grace this Earth for us to shepherd and take care of, well, it overwhelms me. It makes me wonder WHO can sleep at night, if this is something they are actually a part of. It makes me wonder just how much money is involved (LOTS…) and it makes me want to make a stand.

So I did.

This might be a long Blog Series, folks.

LOVE, LOU

 


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Eat Like Your Life Depends On It (Which It Does)

This made me cry. Twice. First, because of the truth this video represents and how sad, in my soul, these facts make me.

Then I had a real tear of joy… because there are people who are fighting the current food system… and they give me so much hope, I can hardly stop smiling.

This new blog series, Eat Like Your Life Depends On It, is something I’ve been contemplating for a long time. The last thing I want to do is push people away from healthy food choices. I know from experience that having a “hippy agenda” or a “radical point of view” can be a big turn off. I try to remain positive in my outlook and the way I share my passion for real food.

I, too, was once skeptical. I have said OUT LOUD (wish it wasn’t true…), “Who cares if it’s organic? It tastes the same.”

But now, I’d like to seriously take back those words.

Because:

A. Real food and “conventional” food do NOT taste the same

B. I care very greatly if it’s organic, but more than that… I care if it’s local, because sometimes small operations can’t afford the fancy organic labeling

C. That comment was made by a version of myself who had a lot to learn. And so I did learn. And I’m still learning every single day.

If you care about your health and the long term health of those you love, keep reading my blog series.

Find out why I believe in organic farming and local eating so so so so much. Find out why I could easily cry, for many reasons, at the thought of the video Chipotle has just released.

Find out why I care. 

Someday, you might just leave your microwave, food-like-substances, and “cheap food coupons” in the dust like I did.

You might also save money, both now, and later in life when you aren’t taking medication for any number of ailments.

I can promise you’ll smile with me, laugh with me, cringe a little with me, and continue to learn, the way I will never stop learning.

The best is yet to come!

real food, organic, gmos, gardening, chipotle ad

Kate Burn Photography

 

Love, Lou


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Stuffed Zucchini Boats (organic, of course)

Yum. Today I had a great lunch. I decided it was good enough to share the recipe.

I’m calling them Stuffed Zucchini Boats. I had a starter recipe from Pinterest (where else?) and I only had about half the ingredients, so I made up my own.

Here goes:

zucchini, organic, recipe, garden, stuffed zucchiniI was lucky enough to have these items picked straight from the garden.

Full ingredient list:

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

2 zucchini

1/2 c cooked rice (I used black rice… not wild… black)

3 cloves garlic (from the garden, too! You can use less, or also add an onion, which I didn’t have)

~2 collard green leaves

1 tsp curry powder

dash cayenne

1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese 

dash of chopped:

     parsley

     chives

     basil 

salt and pepper to taste

olive oil to use while cooking

zucchini, recipe, organic, garden, stuffed zucchiniFirst I scraped out the middle of the zucchini (and saved it.) Then I chopped up the collards. stuffed zucchini, garden, organic, recipe

I sauteed that with the rice, minced garlic, curry and cayenne. I added some olive oil and water, then covered with a loose lid for a few minutes. Easy as pie.

zucchini, stuffed zucchini, recipe, organic, garden Fill the boats!

Bake for 20 minutes at 400.

zucchini recipe, stuffed zucchini, garden, organic While that was happening, I made a side dish.

All you need is:

Green beans and purple beans, if available. (another thing we have growing)

Collard Greens

Curry

Olive oil

There is no scientific way to do this. Just pull out your inner cook, chop up the greens, put everything together with a drizzle of oil, and heat it up. I can’t tell you anything more specific.

collard greens and beans, organic, garden, recipe

green beans, purple beans, collard greens, recipe

recipe, organic, garden, green beans, collard greens That was a tasty bowl of food. It held us over while the zucchini boats baked!

Once the zucchini was done, I added the cheese on top and broiled the boats for just a few minutes, until the cheese browned.

zucchini boats, stuffed zucchini recipe, organic, garden Once out of the oven, I added the chopped parsley, basic and chives.

Then all of a sudden, I had this sitting before me:

zucchini recipe, boats, organic, recipe, garden And we, the Lous Williams, were content and happy and full.

Good luck with your cooking… let me know if you have any luck or try another version of this!

Love, Lou


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That’s What I Call Progress

writing, flowers, gardening

Not so impressive…. yet

Okay.

Remember this sad thing? I had a vision of a giant flower garden buzzing with bees (I did buy a “Save the Bees” seed mix, after all) and a lovely addition to our backyard. I honestly didn’t know if it would work.

But it did. I woke up every morning to water this patch of dirt, and kept it moist in the evening, too. I sang to the plants. (Not really, but I’ve been seriously tempted to…) Now, we have a lovely flower garden!!!

organic gardening, flowers, save the bees

an actual flower garden!!!!

I’m doing my part to save the bees, one flower at a time. I chose to post today because when I walked outside this morning, our very first sunflower had bloomed. I ran back inside and told Greg he had to come look.

Bonus: there was a bee. Hallelujah.

bees, organic, sunflower, writing

yay yay yay!

Now that’s what I call progress.

And not giving up… even when you start with just a pile of dirt that doesn’t look like much.

Happy Thursday!

Love, Lou


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This One Went To The Market

local, organic, garden, farmer's market

what a way to start the day!

The challenge to blog every day in May continues, but today I’m going off topic.

I didn’t need the prompt, because yesterday turned out to be pretty dang blog-worthy, in my opinion.

Greg and I went to our local Grower’s Market in downtown Albuquerque. I was so excited.

‘Tis the season for buying local!!! 

We arrived at the market and right away, we saw friends of ours. The sun was shining. Little kids were dancing along with the music of the live band, and families were picking out the healthiest food within miles to take home. It was a perfect Saturday.

writing, local food, market

there are those cute kids. this is maybe one of the only places that can convince me that I need a kid right away. then I go to target and completely change my mind.

farmer's market, local food, organic

a view of the market

Right away, we found this:

organic, local, albuquerque, market

PICKLED GREEN BEANS!!!!!!!!!!!!******** Do I want to go back and change the spelling? Not really. My apologies.

The Valley Gurlz, two cousins here in Albuquerque, started their small business of pickling green beans. We met them and chatted, had a sample, and became instant fans of what they do. They were so nice, too!! It’s worth checking out, folks! (One of these women live near us in the South Valley! It’s a small world)

Next, we got these items:

organic, local, albuquerque, cooking

The garlic scapes (shoots? I think scapes!) were from Erda Gardens (UM…. just down the road from my house!!!) and I got information on how I can volunteer. I’m so excited.

The black and white radishes came from the Moore Family Farm. They were so nice. We got to try those, too, and man- were they spicy!

We also bought green onion, but I honestly don’t remember the name of the woman’s booth! Will make up for that…

So off we went, home to make a great dinner with these ingredients.

Oh, and a few more right from out backyard:

local, organic, albuquerque, farming, gardening

Lambsquarters

gardening, local, organic, albuquerque, market

lettuce

garden, albuquerque, local, organic, produce

picking what I need

Lambsquarters is a green that grows like a weed in our garden. It is everywhere. I didn’t even know such a plant existed until this year. Michael Pollan even mentions Lambsquarters in Food Rules, as one of the top two healthiest wild greens you can eat. (it’s a good source of Niacin, Folate, Iron, Magnesium and Phosphorus, Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Calcium, Potassium, Copper and Magnese.)

The butterhead lettuce, I’m sure you are familiar with. It apparently loves our garden, too. And we love IT.

Spinach also did well. We had enough left from the winter crop to pick some for the meal yesterday.

And here is what I cooked:

garden, local, organic, albuquerque

Dinner:

I cooked mixed red and regular quinoa in my rice cooker. (One part quinoa, two parts water. I added a splash more water, as the red seems to take more to cook all the way through.)

I sauteed:

local, organic, albuquerque, gardening

-carrots (from California)

-Garlic shoots (from down the street)

-Radishes (from a little further down the street)

-Green onion (from Albuquerque)

-Spinach (from my backyard)

-Lettuce (from my backyard!)

-Lambsquarters (from my backyard)

-Tempeh (from California)

-Soy sauce (from Virginia)

I added some EVOO and voila! DINNER!!

I’m no math expert, but I’d say that’s a very high percentage of LOCAL

Every single item I made was organic. MOST of it was not USDA certified, but certified by ME, because I met the people who grew it and/or saw where it grew. What a blessing.

This dinner was a cinch. SO easy to make. SO EASY to enjoy, too. We sat in the backyard with our neighbor and ate, drank some beer, and enjoyed the healthy feeling running through our veins.

Find your nearest market, meet some new friends, grow something in your backyard, and smile because it’s good for YOU and the Earth!!

Love,

LOU


5 Comments

Move Over Homeowners Association!

Day 22, Wednesday: Rant about something. Get up on your soapbox and tell us how you really feel. (a pet peeve, a current event, a controversial topic, something your husband or roommate or neighbor or boss does that really ticks you off)

Get ready, readers.

writing, gardening, outside, backyard flowers

sweat and time, but worth it

I have a beef. There’s no homeowners association in my neighborhood, so I’m not really against them. I’m sure they do great things, but I’ve never been to such an exclusive meeting.

I am, however, in quite a tiff with front lawns. Yes.

Front lawns. 

Before you think I’m crazy, just stay with me and hear me out.

After reading these books:

Ominvore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan

The Food Revolution by John Robbins

Main Street Vegan by Victoria Moran

Food Rules by Michael Pollan

The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan

The One Straw Revolution by Masanobu Fukuoka

The Small-Scale Poultry Flock by Harvey Ussery

…to name a few…

And watching these documentaries:

Dirt

The Vanishing of the Bees

Food Inc.

Hungry For Change

 

…let’s just say, I am now a changed person.

I am no expert. I still have a lot more reading to do, a lot more steps to take, in order to live the lifestyle I want to achieve, but I’m getting there. I may not be the most well-read person on the subject of organic food/gardening/local/gmo’s/the impact it all has on our environment, but I know a thing or two.

Plus, I’m passionate about it. That counts for something as well.

The reason I am upset with front lawns is because it has recently dawned on me just how utterly silly they truly are.

What does a front lawn do?

-It looks nice

-It uses tons of water (especially in dry climates)

-It gets looked at

-It keeps homeowners associations and the mean old lady down the street happy

-Uses up oil, for those who mow the lawn (unless you’re using one of those old twisty non-electric things)

When, I wonder, did the front lawn become a staple among American homes? I’m sure there’s some historian who can tell me exactly where the idea stemmed from (probably a European country), what ads in the early 1900’s began to tell folks they needed such a space for grass, and how the idea spread like wildfire, resulting in cookie cutter lawns. I haven’t met him or her yet. If you are one, please, let me know. I am baffled.

But why do I have a problem with something we all grew up with?

Because if everyone used their front lawns for edible gardens, so many of the world’s problems would be solved. 

You read that correctly.

Have you ever thought about it? Using that space, or even half of it, to supply your own family with food? People are so creative. I’ve seen many a Pinterest picture showing a person how to garden using little space. The information is out there, we just need to start paying attention. For those who have both a front and back yard, why not turn that entire backyard into something functional?

Something that will:

-Feed you

-Save you money in the long run

-Put all that water to a good cause (I repeat: saving you $$$)

-Improve your health

-Ensure that the produce you eat is, in fact, organic

-Bring you closer to nature as you raise something up from seed

-Enhance your eating experience

-Help the bee population (I LOVE bees. In fact, I just planted a bunch of flowers and herbs all together from a “Save the Bees” seed mix. They need chemical free resources and we need them.)

-Make you less dependent on big companies and/or government for food (this is so important)

Sounds good, right?

Oh! And you don’t have to mow it. Therefore, you will be using less oil. That’s always a plus, right? (Again, I’m no expert, but I’m pretty sure it will run out someday. Why not start a generation of kids who know how to feed themselves?)

You might even get some chickens for such a backyard…as they:

-Help add nutrients into the soil

-Keep pests at a minimum

-Eat weeds and your table scraps (instant compost!)

-They are so cute!

In areas within a city where having chickens might not be allowed, you can try to get the law changed. It’s happened all over the place.

[Click here for my own baby chick adventure.]

chickens, organic, gardening

Meet Linus

Anyway.

The current food system is in desperate need of repair. If you haven’t noticed, people are gaining weight left and right, healthcare systems are in shock, and more and more people are dependent on some form of medication to live their normal lives.

Why? Because we are eating Food-Like Substances, a term coined by Michael Pollan.

“Populations that eat a so-called Western diet- generally defined as a diet consisting of lots of processed foods and meat, lots of added fat and sugar, lots of refined grains, lots of everything except vegetables, fruits and whole grains- invariably suffer from high rates of the so-called Western diseases: obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.” -Michael Pollan, Food Rules

Any processed food you buy at the store most likely comes from a giant crop that is depleting the ground of nitrogen, harming water sources, and there’s a good chance it’s a GMO. (Genetically Modified Organism)

We’re not Generation Y, folks.

We are The Guinea Pig Generation. There are all kinds of scientific things happening to our food, often involving chemicals, that we are mostly unaware of and most definitely exposed to on a daily basis. And there has been little or no testing done to determine what long term effects these changes and chemicals will have on our long term health. (Or short term. Read about my struggle with acne and how I ended it once and for all here.)

Some people swear that the key to losing weight is counting calories. I’d like to suggest something else.

Never look at another calorie count/nutrition label again.

Look only to the ingredient list. For this holds the key to what you are eating.

“It’s gotten to the point where we don’t see foods anymore but instead look right through them to the nutrients (good and bad) they contain, and of course to the calories- all these invisible qualities in our food that, properly understood, supposedly hold the secret to eating well.

…I learned that in fact science knows a lot less about nutrition that you would expect- that in fact nutrition science is, to put it charitably, a very young science.” -Michael Pollan, Food Rules

Who cares if what you’re eating has more grams of fat? It could be from a great source, like coconut oil or nuts. You will only know if you look at the ingredients list. And even better, make sure that list is filled with food you recognize. Ethoxylated diglycerides? Calcium propionate? Ammonium Sulfate? DUDE. Why are these things everywhere the eye can see? Are you okay with that, when you really think about it?

This is just me, but here are my general rules while shopping:

-Look at the ingredients and try to choose an item with as few as possible (I try not to pass 5 ingredients)

-Make sure they’re all pronounceable (unless you’re with a rocket scientist)

-Shop only on the outside of the store (Ever noticed how processed foods tend to be in the aisles? Produce, bulk items, and foods in their natural state are often found on the periphery of the store)

-I look for Non-GMO Project items

-I get produce that is in season

-I buy at least 95% organic, if not 100% (NOTE: if an item is local, that beats out organic….because many local sources cannot afford the organic certification)

And before you go telling me that this is too expensive, let me ask you yet another question:

How much do you spend on your TV access, your smartphone, or your monthly medication for high blood pressure? Priorities. I cannot say we are rich. But I can say that our top priority when spending comes down to what ends up on our dinner plates. Investing in your health is a real thing. 

At the end of the day, why not do your shopping in your yard? 

It could change the world we live in for the better.

I promise!

{I’d like to share some exciting finds. I only drink soy, almond, or oat milk. The only problem I had with these was … you guessed it… their ingredient lists. They are so often filled with “filler” items like carrageenan or tricalcium posphate. We make our own oat milk sometimes, but on days when we run out and I just want to buy something, we resort to whatever we can get at the store. Today Greg came home with an awesome item!!!!!! WESTSOY Organic Unsweetned Soymilk! Ingredients: filtered water, whole organic soybeans. HALLELUJAH}

{Another fun note: we have lettuce, spinach and Lambsquarters [a wild green, often thrown away as a “weed”] growing out back and I haven’t had to buy my greens at the store. It’s so exciting. I cannot even convey how happy this makes me! Inside and out!!}

So much love,

I just want YOU to be healthy,

and glowing,

and happy,

<3 LOU

writer, new writer, fiction

um… I hope my rant wasn’t too ranty


5 Comments

The Boys!

Sick of reading about baby chickens yet? Good. Me, either. :)

My sweet and cute nephews came by to visit the other day. Oh my gosh. It was soooo fun.

Therefore I’m blowing off the topic for the Blog Everyday in May Challenge and writing about them instead!

Carson, the future farmer, was so good with the baby chicks. He was gentle and didn’t drop them. He seemed to love the chickens. When I told him their names he smiled and said, “That’s silly.” Which it definitely is.

chickens, raising chicks, nephews, writing

so cute!

chickens, writing

he loved her :)

Landon, on the other hand, really loved the chicks, but was more hesitant to hold one. He’d ask to hold one, and when I held a chick out to him, he’d start to say, “No thank you!” It was super sweet. He did pet them very gently.

nephews, raising chickens, writing

petting the chicks

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just lookin ;)

raising chickens, nephews, writer

baby chicks make anyone smile

Then we went out to the garden. And man, were these two little boys excited. They both had a turn to pick garlic. Carson wanted some lettuce to eat later and he even picked spinach and ate it straight from the garden! Smart, I tell you. :) I am always a proud aunt, but it was an especially great moment in time! (Every time I asked Carson if he still wanted to be a farmer he’d say, “Um, I don’t know!” Which sometimes means yes, and sometimes means no. I guess I’ll just have to keep on keepin’ on and show him what it’s all about. Then he can really decide!)

nephews, gardening

exploring

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So proud. So amazing.

All in all, it was one of the most special days I’ve ever had. I loved being able to show the boys something new and fun. Their smiles mean the world to me.

Love, Aunty Lou

 

 

 

 

 

 


14 Comments

It’s Official- We Are Parents

Blog everyday in May challenge…

Day 7, Tuesday: The thing(s) you’re most afraid of

This is the girl who has nightmares all the time, cannot watch a single scary movie, and might walk down the hallway with a kitchen knife if I hear a noise and I’m all alone gets a tad nervous when I’m home alone at night.

But what am I most afraid of? Most?? 

I am most afraid of never accomplishing the goals I’ve set out to do. I am afraid of forever saying, “Someday I’ll…_____” and never, ever doing it. 

Therefore, I’m so excited that today I crossed one of those “someday” items off of my list. Ever since Greg and I got married we’ve said we want to get chickens. Welp, it was about time…..

Today we woke up. It started out like any other day. We made our coffee. We ate our breakfast.

And we knew we’d finish our chicken coop, and we knew we’d end the day with some chickens.

Building the coop was quite a process, but we got it done! All you need is this:

Time

An engineer father-in-law who helps you with your so-so coop plans

Less than $100.00 (yes, it’s true)

Patience with the stupid chicken wire!!!

A love of chickens. 

writing, chicken coop, chicks

Greg, working hard

chicken coop, building, writing

Frank, teaching me a thing or two about cutting wood

chicken coop, chickens

I didn’t slice off my thumb! yay

chicken coop, chickens, writing

Teamwork

chicken coop

at the beginning, before getting tired from all this coop business. oh yeah, and a million ghosts in my in-law’s garage, apparently

The first half was done in my in-law’s garage. (with adult supervision)

The second half was done right at home in the South Valley. This is where the chickens will live!

chicken coop, building, chickens

house, but needing some work

chicken coop

getting there!

chicken coop, chickens

ALL DONE!!! woop woop

So we had the coop finished. It felt great. Next up: CHICKENS!

Really, we thought we’d get some grown up hens. Eggs right away, you know?

But then we got to the store and oh man, the babies. The little chicks were so cute. So, so cute.

 

So my maternal instincts kicked into high gear.

And they gave them to us in a paper bag. Kinda weird, but what do I know?

We picked out four total. Two Rhode Island Reds and two Barred Plymouth Rocks. Good egg layers!

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said paper bag

Safe at home…

chicken coop, young chickens

 

And now… we are a happy little family of 6.

 

chicken coop, raising chickens, baby chicks

proud moment for this mom

I’m SO glad I’ll get to hold them, learn their personalities, and watch as these chicks grow into adulthood. I can wait six months for eggs. :) 

What goal or dream are you going to dive into? Remember, you only live once, so go for it!

<3 Lou and the chicks

p.s. once we know who’s who, we’ll name them. We already have the ah-mazing names picked out, but I’ll wait to reveal those!