Friday, July 24, 2009

like Matt Nathanson, I get by with little victories

I was making these delicious treats using my new apron (and switching shortening for butter, as always with cookies) and took some pictures for you. The two pictures illustrate a song that I remember from my Girl Scout days. Be sure to hold your cursor over the pictures to see the scrollover text and you, too, can get the song stuck in your head.

In an effort to act superior, I'm going to spew some facts at you. Blame it on my More with Less cookbook and trying to eat like Jesus! I don't see anything morally wrong with eating meat, but I've decided to reduce my meat consumption so that most of my meals are vegetarian or use meat as an accent, rather than the main dish, as I've heard most non-U.S. countries do anyway.

Turns out, meat production is pretty harmful for the environment (I'm going to skip the obvious harm for the animals.) According to, with real citations listed at the end of the articles, I learned that more than 1/3 of all fossil fuels produced in the US go toward animal agriculture; ten times the amount of carbon dioxide is emitted from a calorie of meat than a plant protein... and that going vegan for a year reduces more emissions than driving a hybrid car.
As for water usage, a pound of beef requires about 2500 gallons of water to produce, whereas a pound of soy requires 250 gallons and a pound of wheat 25 gallons. So, although I've spent over a year learning to shower in under 5 minutes, by going meatless, I could exchange the water I'm saving for encores in my shower concerts! Which might explain why my family/ housemates never really support my meatless endeavors...

With 6 billion people (plus some, but who's counting?), obviously one person is not going to make a difference. But if enough people are doing it - I sure don't want to be the one person who's holding us back!

I'd love meatless or barely-there meat recipes that you enjoy, and if you want any recipes from me, just comment/ send me a note! Links to recipe pages in the comments section so all can see, or emails are fine as well.

If you're feeling up to it, I challenge you to eat only one meated-meal a day - or no meat-centered meals for a week. Let me know how it goes - I have a really hard time obeying at restaurants. (Eddie George, why do bacon bits make your macaroni irresistable?)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sauteed squash and shiny shoes

Sauteed Baby Squash with Basil and Feta (from Cooking Light)
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 4 cups total - thinly sliced zucchini and summer squash
  • 2 cups sliced leek (about 2)
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/8 t black pepper
  • 3 T crumbled feta cheese (I actually used a lot more than this...)
  • 2 T finely chopped fresh basil OR basil to taste
Heat a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pain, swirling to coat; heat 20 seconds.
Add squash and leek to pan; saute 5 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently.
Stir in salt and pepper.
Transfer squash mixture to a serving platter. Sprinkle with cheese and basil.

yield: 6 servings (serving size: 2/3 cup)
* Kristi and I made it last year, and then I made this for a family get-together, and they requested the recipe. It's a winner!

added to a list of things that cheer me up:

Bought these at The Shops in Waco, Texas.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Not my gumdrop buttons!

I know what you're thinking - "what? A post by Julie? Is she still that bored?" Perhaps you've been wondering how long this whole blog-fuss is going to creep on because I am leading a fairly normal and uneventful life. Or maybe you're wondering what it means for the earth to laugh in flowers. In any case, you're out of luck.

At Cold Stone today (chocolate pudding ice cream with Oreos = yum.), a little boy walked up and said hello to me. I love supervising swim lessons because then it's okay for little kids to stare.We got into a little conversation and found out he's 4 1/2.
1. How do kids know halves? Who tells them which month is halfway around the year from their birth month?
2. Poll question of the entry: when do you quit counting by halves? (/Quarters/ twelfths, for those of us who know that 12/12 is one.)
Also, we were not able to decipher the boy's birth month to verify his fractional skills. His sister was born in DE-cember, but he wasn't; he was born in De-CEM-ber. Perhaps there's a 13th month, which would just make halves a lot more confusing.

I made some cards that I'm proud of. If you happen to get one of these in the mail, still act excited. If you have a good phrase (or occasion) for the button card, let me know!

On a more serious note, I read in the Cincinnati paper today that only 3 percent of foster children graduate from college. About a third even enter college. It makes me want to do something - like research, since I'm not really in a place to foster any children. It makes me wonder what I should be doing to be a good neighbor.

In Luke 10, Jesus is asked what makes a good neighbor. He answers with the parable of the good Samaritan, someone who stops to help a robbed and beaten "half-dead" man, bandaging his wounds, taking care of him, paying for a night at the inn and leaving more money for the morning. The neighbors immediately realize that the Samaritan acted as his neighbor, and Jesus tells them, "Go and do likewise."

Immediately following the parable, Luke tells a story of Mary and Martha. Martha is the perfect neighbor - preparing everything for Jesus, cooking, cleaning, probably dragging in the orphaned, the widowed, and the exiled off the streets for her Jesus as well. And yet, her sister Mary, who simply sits at Jesus' feet listening to Him, is the one whom Jesus praised. He said, "Martha, Martha, [Martha] - ... Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."

I don't have a good summary or way to tweak the two stories so that it's easy to tell when I'm being a good Samaritan and when I'm being a Martha. I present them together as Luke did so that it's easy to see the tension between the stories. When I'm daydreaming about Samaritan-ing the world, one study at a time, one child at a time, I must remember that it's possible, and easy, to become distracted by the duties and forget the inspiration. Choose what's better.

I find I have no real idea what that means, but I know it's true.
Just like the earth laughing in flowers. Or a Taylor Swift and T-Pain duet named Thug Story.