Wednesday, July 27, 2011

TBR Booklist for the Read-a-Thon

Here are the books I'm going to work on next for the High Summer Read-a-Thon.

A Village Life: Poems, Louis Gluck
The Town That Food Saved: How One Community Found Vitality in Local Food, Ben Hewitt
Deeper Reading, Kelly Gallagher

And here's a picture of the raspberry jam Lucy and I made this morning!

High Summer Read-a-Thon

The Feast Nearby: How I lost my job, buried a marriage, and found my way by keeping chickens, foraging, preserving, bartering, and eating locally (all on $40 a week)Lucy and I are participating in the High Summer Read-a-Thon today, over at The True Book Addict. You can read anytime throughout the week. I've finished one book already this week, and Lucy has finished two. Today we are planning on spending some more concentrated time reading. (We also spent some time this morning picking raspberries from our yard and making jam!)

The book I finished earlier this week is The Feast Nearby, by Robin Mather. I absolutely loved this book! It's about a food journalist who lost her job and moved to her small vacation cabin in Southwestern Michigan (not too far from where I live). She decided to eat local food as much as possible. The book is full of essays about her first year in the cabin, and how she survived on a very limited budget and mostly local foods. There are also a lot of practical tips in the book about how to can, freeze, and preserve food as well as other food tips, and plenty of recipes. I checked this book out from the library, but I want to own a copy of it!

The books Lucy read this week so far are The Dopple Ganger Chronicles Book 1: The First Escape, by G.P. Taylor and My Teacher Glows in the Dark, by Bruce Coville.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Moving Towards Earth Friendly Living

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life (P.S.)When my first child was born ten years ago, I started to pay more attention to environmental issues because I wondered what kind of world my child would be living in as she grew. And once she started eating solid food, I paid a lot more attention to the ingredients in the food that I bought for her then I had to food ingredients when I was shopping simply for myself. While I'd always enjoyed cooking, I began to cook even more from scratch, and I cut way back on the amount of processed foods that I bought. As I read more about eating naturally, I was pleased that doing so also could have a positive effect on the environment.

While having a child spurred me on to these decisions about food, I think having a mother who loved to cook, and who insisted on family dinners most every night of the week ingrained this sense of healthy eating in me from an early age. Despite working outside of the house for much of my childhood, my mother cooked healthy meals from scratch nearly every night of the week. And frequently in large amounts: My friends often wanted to eat at my house, since their parents didn't do much cooking.

For years I enjoyed making health meals, and I tried to keep my home low on chemicals by buying eco friendly cleaning products. However, my quest for natural living became more intense after I read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, by Barbara Kingsolver, a few years ago. This book is mainly about Kingsolver's decision to eat only local food and food her family produced themselves for one year. I learned so much from this book about nutrition, growing your own food, eating locally, and sustainable living. Kingsolver's experiment has inspired me to slowly but surely add more sustainable living practices into my life. Over the next couple of weeks, I'm going to blog about different sustainable living practices I've added into the way I live, as well as some I'd still like to strive for. In the meantime, here are some more books on the topic that I've enjoyed:

Off the Grid, Nick Rosen
Farm Together Now, Amy Franceschini, Daniel Tucker
Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer, Novella Carpenter
Simple Country Wisdom, Susan Waggoner
A Homemade Life, Molly Wizenberg
Real Food, Nina Planck
Made from Scratch, Jenna Woginrich

Monday, July 18, 2011

Meal Plan Monday

SUNDAY: On Sunday I took my daughter to see the new Harry Potter movie, and my mom made dinner that night. Steaks and salmon on the grill, a delicious bread salad, and raspberry chocolate cheesecake for dessert.

MONDAY: I have a lot of leftover veggies from the veggie and dip platter I had for my son's birthday party last week. So tonight I sauteed some veggies and peanuts, added in some peanut sauce and served it over linguine. Delicious! I also had an ear of sweet corn on the side. Local sweet corn is amazing here right now.

TUESDAY: Will be having dinner at a friend's house, so I have no idea what she'll be making.

WEDNESDAY: Pasta salad with lots of veggies (hopefully that will use up the rest of the leftover veggies). I'm considering making homemade bread to go with that, but it's so hot this week, I hate to turn on the oven.

THURSDAY: Salmon. I've been obsessed with a particular salmon recipe lately: you mix brown sugar with plenty of salt and pepper, and cook the salmon in that, which forms a glaze. Then served the cooked salmon with a sauce of maple syrup, Dijon mustard, and dill. It's so good, it's like candy! I may attempt a new salmon recipe this time, though. Maybe more veggies on the side with this, and a bag of coconut rice I discovered at Target. Usually I make my own coconut rice, but I will attempt to cheat this time and see how it goes.

FRIDAY: Out to eat with a fellow poet before a reading that we are performing together.

SATURDAY: I'm not sure what I'll eat yet on Saturday.

Click here to participate in Meal Plan Monday.

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Off the Grid: Inside the Movement for More Space, Less Government, and True Independence in Modern AmericaI finished reading Blood, Bones, & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef, and am still making my way through the other books that were on my list last Monday:

 Off the Grid: Inside the Movement for More Space, Less Government, and True Independence in Modern America, Nick Rosen
-Village Life: Poems, Louis Gluck
-Deeper Reading: Comprehending Challenging Texts, Kelly Gallagher
-How to Read the Bible as Literature, Leland Ryken

Also, I've started a book called Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less from Each Other, by Sherry Turkle. I've been on a kick lately of reading books about how technology is effecting our minds and our relationships, and have also been reading books about why reading is important. Here are some of my favorites on these 2 topics, which are interrelated:

The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction, Alan Jacobs
The Lost Art of Reading, David Ulin
The Shallows, Nicholas Carr
The Winter of Our Disconnect, Susan Maushart

Click here to participate in It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Local Library Reading Challenge

This year I've been participating in a Local Library Reading Challenge. My goal was to read at least 12 books this year from my local library, and I just added book number 13 to the list! Now I'll see if I can get up to 20. Last year I attempted to read 100 books for a reading challenge, and I failed so miserably that I decided to attempt a more reasonable goal this year.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Meal Plan Monday

If you like to plan your meals for the week ahead of time, like I do, you might find Meal Plan Monday fun to participate in.

Monday: Hamburgers on small buns, homemade fries, fresh local sweet cherries. I find the kids are more likely to eat little food, so I'm hoping small buns will get them excited about hamburgers. I buy all my hamburger from a local meat shop, that sells only local, grass fed meats. It's a great place! The buns are from Labriola, a great Chicago area bakery.

Tuesday: Leftover hamburgers and fries, with whatever local produce I've got left. Probably more cherries, and blueberries.

Wednesday: Hot dogs and fruit. Applegate Farms has some delicious, all-natural hot dogs that I buy on occasion. For awhile I was making my own ketchup to go with hot dogs, hamburgers, etc., but I found I wasn't able to use it up in time, before it went bad. So I'm back to story-bought ketchup.

Thursday: Sandwiches, fruit, and cake for my son's fifth birthday party.

Friday: Chicken and stuffing casserole, brown sugar carrots, broccoli. The chicken is from the local meat shop again!

Saturday: Leftover chicken and stuffing casserole.

Sunday: Eating at my parent's house after taking my daughter to the latest Harry Potter movie.

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant ChefHere are the books I'm working on reading right now. I always have several books going at the same time, usually of different genres. The last two books on my list right now are in preparation for teaching my college classes this fall.

-Blood, Bones, & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef, Gabrielle Hamilton
-Off Grid: Inside the Movement for More Space, Less Government, and True Independence in Modern America, Nick Rosen
-Village Life: Poems, Louis Gluck
-Deeper Reading: Comprehending Challenging Texts, Kelly Gallagher
-How to Read the Bible as Literature, Leland Ryken.

Click here to participate in It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Edible Michiana

Here's a great new publication about local foods in the area where I live: Edible Michiana. There are "Edible" editions for numerous other communities as well. Check it out!

Friday, July 8, 2011

My First Book of Poetry

Recently my first book of poems won the Powder Horn Prize at Sage Hill Press. My book is titled The Eyes the Window, and it will be coming out later this year. You can read a few sample poems from the book at these journals/magazines:

"The Mind's Eye," at The Christian Century
"The Seven Days," at Perihelion
"Collapse" at Red Lion Square