Month: November 2012

I’m Never Eating Bacon Again. Or: What The Hell is Ractopamine? And Why is it in my Pork Chop?

You know it’s a beautiful day in America when you get to read another misleading article about food safety and agriculture practices. And this week, Consumer Reports has more than delivered. Bar the doors, burn the Christmas ham, and don’t you dare think about eating […]

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Putting It In Action: Lobbying with ONE

One of my biggest fears coming back from Ethiopia was that I wouldn’t be able to do something of worth with what I’d learned. You travel halfway around the world and have this tremendous, life-changing experience and then when you return home it’s not always […]

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On Loss and The Fear of Forgetting


You know the fog that sets in during the weeks surrounding the funeral of someone so close to you a piece of your identity depends on their existence in the world? That odd, intangible, and indescribable feeling you’ve lost something far greater than the person? Something you can’t quite put your finger on; something in the absence of which everything looks and feels and is different?

That’s how I’ve felt this weekend.

Saturday night The Man and I went out for Ethiopian food and while it was good, it wasn’t quite right. I’d been craving it for weeks, and maybe the suspense of waiting for the time to go contributed to the let down of finally being there, but it just… wasn’t the same, wasn’t what I’d needed.

And then last night, as I read Karen’s latest post about the scent of Ethiopia on Christmas presents she purchased there, I realized I don’t remember the smells. I can’t conjure up a whiff of Ethiopia, fill my nostrils with the memories of a life-changing journey the way I could as recently as a week ago. Even with my face buried in the scarves I brought home from FashionABLE, I’m having a hard time transporting myself back.

I can’t quite feel the full depth of the joy that is turning around from taking a picture of school grounds to find hundreds of school-aged children have been let out of class and are flooding in around me like high tide, each vying for a position to shake my hand, practice their English, thank me for coming when I’m the one who should be thanking them for the opportunity to experience their incredible country and culture.

I worry the loss of the little details will lead to the loss of the important moments, the gut wrenching and awe inspiring ones alike. I worry I’ll lose the ability to tell the stories effectively over time. I don’t know that one can forget things like this, but I’m not entirely sure one can’t either, and that’s the part that scares me.

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ONE + Ethiopia: The Quick-and-Dirty Guide

Today, something really exciting is happening for both ONE and myself. Our local newspaper, The Lansing State Journal, is featuring a front page story about ONE, my work with them, and our trip to Ethiopia. Front page! So, with apologies to those regular readers who […]

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“You See Something That You Can’t Unsee.”

This post has been sitting in draft for weeks, since the first days I was home, but I’ve struggled to form the words around the picture that I’ve wanted to share with you most of all. She was the single most beautiful woman I’ve ever […]

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C is for Comfort. Also, Cauliflower.

A couple of weeks ago, during one of my nightly forays into the depths of Pinterest I ran across a pin for Garlic Mashed Cauliflower. It both looked and sounded delicious so I pinned it and added it to the meal plan in my head for this week.

I figured the weather would be turning and we’d be in the mood for comfort food. I always start working the old standbys into the menu this time of year — chili, goulash, squash, soups, stews, and chowders — but I’ve also been on the hunt for new, semi-healthy* comfort recipes to add to the roster. One, I reckon, can never have too many comfort food recipes in their cooking repertoire.

You can imagine my disappointment then when I opened up that very pin yesterday afternoon to find a recipe completely void of any cauliflower. Not the teensiest, tiniest floret to be found. In a Garlic Mashed Cauliflower recipe! Honestly, you guys, sometimes I curse the day they opened Pinterest to the masses – damned link baiters anyway.

And you know, I’m sure the standard garlic mashed potatoes recipe it led to was perfectly scrumptious, but I had a head of cauliflower, a hankerin’ for it to be mashed with garlic, and I couldn’t be persuaded. So I made up a recipe myself — ain’t nobody gonna hold me down. A recipe, I might add, that turned out so good my people were fighting over the seconds. Naturally, I thought I’d share it with you here today.

Twice Baked Garlic Mashed Cauliflower

1 Head Cauliflower; Rinsed, Cored and Florets Separated
1 TBSP Butter
2 Cloves Garlic, Peeled
1 Small Cooking Onion, Peeled
2 Medium Yellow Potatoes
1 Cup Milk
Garlic Chives, Chopped Fine

Preheat Oven to 400 degrees. Melt butter in microwave and toss with cauliflower in large bowl until florets are evenly coated. Set aside.

Slice onion into small wedges and arrange with garlic cloves and cauliflower in single layer on baking sheet. Wash potatoes, making a few punctures in each, and wrap in foil, setting them on the baking sheet beside the other ingredients. (If there’s not room on your baking sheet, they can be set directly on the oven racks, too.)

Roast until cauliflower is tender, onion has begun to caramelize and garlic skins are crinkled; about 25 minutes. Potatoes should be tender by this time, too. If not return them to the oven to finish baking while you work.

Add cauliflower, onions, and garlic to the blender or food processor and combine with 1 cup of milk, pulsing until a thick puree forms. Transfer to medium mixing bowl.

Carefully remove skins from yellow potatoes and mash with a fork or potato masher. Add to bowl of cauliflower mixture and stir to incorporate well.

Spoon the entire mixture into an oven safe dish — as you can see I used a small pie plate — and return to oven. Bake until heated through and peaks begin to turn golden brown.

Garnish with garlic chives and serve. Also, Enjoy!

* Did you know the protein to carbohydrate ratio in Cauliflower is 1:2.5? And that an average potato is 1:6.5 by comparison? No? Me either. I looked that up just for this post. I also found that 100 grams of cauliflower has about half as many calories as the same size serving of potato and that an entire medium-sized head of cauliflower like the one I used in this recipe contains only 144 calories altogether. That’s almost like no calories at all. Whoever said there’s no such thing as a free lunch, apparently never ate Garlic Mashed Cauliflower. All added up and divided by six (the number of approximately even sized servings it made) I came up with about 100 calories. 100 calories per delicious serving! I don’t care who you are, that’s basically free.

**Note the picture to the left is practically perfect for pinning. You should do that. Because this one actually leads to a recipe that contains cauliflower. Just sayin’.

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On Gratitude and the Trendy-ness of Thanks

The other day, an acquaintance and friend on Facebook lamented the latest social media trend of sharing one’s gratitude publicly. “Live it!” she posted, after charging her friends and family with publicly giving thanks only because it is “politically correct” to do so. People are […]

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Thank A Cranberry Farmer

For some reason, whenever I think of cranberries, I think of the northeast. And while it’s true that Massachusetts and New Jersey together account for about 35% of cranberry production, Wisconsin is actually the nation’s leader in cranberry farming, producing almost 60% of the U.S. […]

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On Opening Day


There were precious few shots to be heard here today. The usual chorus of booms, silenced by the scarcity of the deer. Thirteen-thousand died here this summer of EHD, an insect-spread disease intensified by the year’s drought. I saw just two does shortly before dusk.

In The Blind

The little one made herself an easy target, meandering back and forth through my main shooting lane, paying little attention to her older companion’s curiosity as I slid the front window open on the blind and pushed the end of the barrel out. If I didn’t know better I’d think they understand more about this season than we might otherwise imagine. Staying about 50 yards out and peering around at me from behind a tree, the bigger doe never stepped foot into that lane. She was a beauty, too. Maybe tomorrow.

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The Pig Dog Gets An Education

What a mess it is here. Cold and wet. It snowed last night and a bit on and off today. The ground is still too warm to hold it, but it probably won’t be much longer before we see accumulation. I spent the morning on […]

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