In search of healthy and fun meals to feed my family, with an eye toward sustainable living.

Here you'll find recipes & ramblings about keeping my family fed with what's available in Alaska between local produce, a little bit of wild harvest, and the modern grocery store.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Family dinners: our anchor

Tonight we were all laughing at the dinner table. Several of us had somewhat rough/blah days, but dinnertime seemed to "re-set" everybody. We all really need that time together at the end of the day.

We're a family that most always eats dinners together. It's very rare that one of us is gone -- we make it a priority to eat together, no matter how busy our lives get.

Not many American families eat dinner together regularly anymore. There have been studies correllating how well children do with how often their families eat dinner together. Statistics like that can't prove any causalities, but it sure seems reasonable to think that there's perhaps an underlying cause. Families need anchors, and dinnertime is such an important one -- it helps "center" everybody.

It's not easy to find family time with teenage kids, not when so many activities are scheduled. Especially when it comes to sports! I don't see how families manage with multiple kids in several sports. What amazes me, in a way, is the contradiction between sports (something good for health) and fast food that invariably gets eaten because nobody has time to cook (duh!).

Yes, I do spend a lot of time preparing my family's meals. It's not difficult -- just takes some planning, and an appreciative family (and I sure have one -- even if they joke, as this evening, about checking the "cauliflower index" of the meal before sitting down to dinner. We all had a hearty laugh, as our CSA box has been supplying us with a heavy dose of the Brassica family lately!

Sometimes I don't know just how time passes so quickly. Wasn't just summer? Weren't the kids in diapers not so long ago? Sunrise, sunset, swiftly flow the days...

Sunrise, Sunset
from Fiddler on the Roof

Is this the little girl I carried? Is this the little boy at play?
I don't remember growing older
When did they?
When did she get to be a beauty? When did he grow to be so tall?
Wasn't it yesterday
When they were small?
Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly flow the days
Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers

Blossoming even as we gaze

Sunrise, sunset Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly fly the years

One season following another

Laden with happiness and tears

What words of wisdom can I give them?
How can I help to ease their way?
Now they must learn from one another,
Day by day
They look so natural together,
Just like two newlyweds should be
Is there a canopy in store for me?

Sunrise, sunset

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Why so much sugar?!?

I'm not anti-sugar, but really, why is American food so super sweetened?!?

Today I bought a smoothie at the grocery store (having just finished a workout and needing something to hold me over for teaching). I usually make my own smoothies, but this morning I got out of the door and sort-of forgot to eat a substantial breakfast -- and I don't go too far on just a cup of coffee w/ biscotti.

Anyway, I bought this "dairy beverage" and it was TERRIBLY sweet. Turns out to not only to contain HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup) but a long list of other ingredients like sucralose and other artificial ingredients I was not familiar with, and I could not get it down. Not wanting to waste food, I later tried to "thin" it down with OJ and plain (unsweetened yoghurt) -- what a waste -- I still could not drink the stuff. YUCK! I finally tossed it.

Busy day today, and for dinner Liesl made a quick pizza using a commercial pizza sauce (the one that comes in the Boboli pizza crust package) -- yikes, again, way too sweet!

I keep on cutting sugar out of American recipes -- last week I made zuccini muffins in an attempt to make a dent in our zuccini stash -- I ended up cutting the recipe's sugar in half!
Kids were happy: it was still plenty sweet.

So if you're wondering why I don't blog much anymore -- too busy gardening, working and cooking from scratch...