Category Archives: articles & writings

Warm Up Fall with Baked Oatmeal!

Baked Oatmeal, using leftover oatmeal

-3 cups leftover oatmeal

-1 cup milk

-1/2 c. honey or molasses

-1/2 c.  granola

-sliced apples, peaches, bannanas (slice lengthwise), or other fruit of your choice. Berries are also fine

-2 tbs. butter

Preheat oven to 350. Combine oatmeal, milk, and honey, stirring until combined. Pour into oiled or sprayed 9″ pan. Top with granola. Lay fruit gently on top of granola, then cut butter into small squares and sprinkle on top. Bake for 20-30 minutes, depending on how brown you want it. Serve with whole-grain toast.

New Reading about Food, Food Politics, and Obesity

Among other things, I spend a lot of time reading political food blogs.  Why? Well, there’s a lot reasons. Some inspire me to keep fighting for healthier food, some have great research access, some are on “the other side” so I know what I’m fighting, and some are just plain entertaining. Food is a passion for me,  and so are the things connected with it–those peripheral things like preservation, health, nutrition, security, justice, logistics…the list goes on.

The truth is, almost everything in our lives is somehow connected by or with food. Knowing what is going on around you is empowering, and often flat-out scary.  One company owns most of the seed for the grains we eat, for example. Does that really sound like a good idea to anyone but them and the politicians they fund? Because almost any rational person who spends a few minutes thinking about it can see how incredibly dangerous that is, how terrifying to have one for-profit entity controlling food supply worldwide.

So, I read a lot. I educate myself to educate others, and I love finding people who have similar passions. I’ve been trying to catch up on archives of Appetite for Profit, run by a public health lawyer. It’s fascinating, well-written, and while I don’t agree with everything, she presents good and reasonable arguments for her POV.  Swing by and read a bit, then let me know what you think.

I also read a lot of books. You know, those things with the paper in the middle of two bits of cardboard? The paper usually has words on it? Yes, you can also get “books” on kindle, but for me, it’s just not the same thing. That, however, is neither here no there. The point is I read things not blogs or twitter, and my latest  read is from an author we saw speak at Monticello Heritage Harvest Festival, Sharon Astyk. She also, of course, also have a blog (which I’ve just started diving into, so no review yet).  The book is “Independence Days: A Guide to Sustainable Food Storage & Preservation.”  I’m only about half way through, but I’m already comfortable recommending it. She’s got some great insights, some good recipes, and she gives you a lot to think about.

What are you reading?


One of my holiday recipes is being featured on AC’s Food & Wine page!

Holiday Cheese Tortes, by Shawn Sisson.  This is the same recipe I donated to the Bike Stop event earlier this year. I am excited!

Things have been a little crazy here, but aren’t they always? I hope to get around to updating my posts next week, but until then you can read some of my newest items, originally published in my food column in the Star-Exponent, here:

Don’t Call Me a Locavore

What’s Your Beef: A Chef’ Perspective on Pastured Beef

I have no idea why they’re not on the newspaper’s site yet, and need to poke them about it again. In the meantime, enjoy some pastured beef from Pannill’s Gate:

The Brave

Starting a farm from scratch is difficult. Starting a farm from scratch that is going to produce all the food needs for the farmers and their CSA members year round is very difficult. Starting that farm when you’ve never farmed before?

That takes courage.

Foodie and Frugal, Week of 12.13.08

Above: tonight’s dinner: Polenta with wild mushrooms (chicken and puffball), onions, and fricasse’ sauce. It was served with a mix of peas and collard greens. Yummy! Below: last night’s dinner: okra & pinenut pasta with blue cheese sauce and herb rubbed salmon.

I’ve been a bit lax on the whole “Foodie and Frugal” thing, and apparently it’s been missed. Sorry about that. So, here’s the menu plan for this coming week:

Monday: Lentil & Sausage Soup. You see this here a lot because it is very tasty, very hearty, very healthy, and very quick. Mondays see both UC and I gone for classes, me at Body Combat and him at Tai Chi; so, we need a quick meal. We use turkey sausage to keep the fat down. Lentils are a complete protein and full of fiber, so it keeps you full.    The recipe we use makes a huge pot that feeds us for several meals (and occasionally a few helpings even make it into the freezer) for under $3.00. We’re using the chicken stock I am making tonight from the hens we got a while ago as the base:

Tuesday: Not Your Mom’s Meatloaf and Sweet potatoes. This recipe is one of the absolute best I’ve made recently. I’ll try to get it up on the sidebar later this week. It’s also very healthy, and low-cal. Served with sweet potatoes for antioxidants its’ pretty much a complete meal, but we’ll toss in some beets or corn, too. This can be a bit pricier just because it has meat, but it also has veggies in it. It’ll give us two meals, so I’m going to guess $1.50/person per meal.

Wednesday: Chicken or beef kabobs. This is movie night, and we feed lots of people. We make the main dish, everyone brings a side to pass. Tonight, it’s meat and veggie kabobs. I think I’m going to do them in a Thai peanut sauce.

Thursday: Beef Stew. You’re seeing a lot meat on this menu, it’s true. Our veggie dish was tonight. While I like to do more, UC is back to trying to gain weight, so we’re back to eating more meat (its seems to be the most effective thing he can do). This does break the bank a bit, unfortunately, but it keeps him in good shape. Beef stew is a pretty effective use of the beef, and it’ll also mean I can crock pot it. Which is great, since this is our night for spin. I’ll brown off the meat earlier in the day, then toss it in the crockpot with carrots, onion, corn, peas, and potatoes. We’ll have it with some of the sourdough UC is making right now, and probably brown rice.

Friday: Chicken Lasagne. This is one of the dishes you’ll see on my menu for my Ready to Go Meals this week, so I am just going to toss another one in the oven. This will give us some leftovers for later. I’ll be using whole wheat noodles, spinach, TVP, mushrooms, and a low-fat cheese combo I make myself (there’s no ricotta in this, but it’s actually doesn’t need it). This is really frugal, and with all the protein and fiber, it’s incredibly healthy.

Saturday: Yule. This is our holiday celebration with good friends. We’ll be cooking off a turkey and a bunch of other stuff, but the specifics are still in the works.

I expect to spend $35-45 on groceries. The rest is from the pantry.

Check back tomorrow for my Ready To Go Meals selections for this week. Also, check the RSS Feed on the sidebar for my published articles on treating ADD/ADHD and Depresison with diet.

Short and Sweet. Okay, just short.

Yep, it’s that time of year again. Time to bust out the cider and wine, chuck in real cinnamon, star anise, cardamom, and other yummy things, and mull the heck out of it with friends. It’s also time to start holiday baking, and this year it’s also been time to can. Oh, the canning.  Our friends MJ & Dave combined with us to can over 100 jars of apple butter. Let me reiterate: ONE HUNDRED JARS OF APPLE BUTTER.

It took two days. I think it is going to be worth it.

In other news, I’m starting a monthly newsletter. The link to get you signed up is supposed to be in the upper part of the middle colum of this page, but unfortunately it’s not working. Keep looking, and when I get it fixed I’ll make sure it’s blogged.

There isn’t going to be a “Weekly Frugal” this week. Long story, but the short version is I am simply too busy with work. There are some things in the works that I’ll post about when I can. I am still publishing on AC, so feel free to swing by there and take a look. There’s some new stuff up, and you can also sign up for my RSS feed. (see the sidebar).

And, that’s the update for now.

11.5.08 Weekly Frugal & Festivals

Hi, everyone! Sorry for the delay, but I was watching the election when I should have been blogging.

**Before I get to the menu for the week, I want to do some shameless promotion. I’m writing for Associated Content now, and getting paid for it. Please click through and read (or just click through and give me page hits, I’m easy to please) when you can.  It’s all work safe. Thanks!!**

We headed to the Heritage Apple Festival and the Persimmon Festival at Edible Landscaping with our friends, Dave & MJ and Erin and Adam. We had a great time, but it probably would have been a better time if two of the four of us hadn’t been just starting to come down with something. I am really looking forward to next year, when I hopefully don’t feel like collapsing on my face. That said, it was still a lot of fun, and we got a great deal on apples (which we’ll be canning as sauce and apple butter this weekend sometime).

I am so excited because we only spent $25 on groceries for the week (and $5 of that was in rare breed eating apples). This is when our stocking up starts coming into play, and those high summer grocery bills begin to be totally worth it!

This week (starting yesterday):


Sunday: Butternut squash soup with homemade onion rolls. We put up squash from one of our favorite farms, Roundabout, and this was the first use of it. The soup was delightful and rich, perfect with UC’s NY Style onion rolls!

Monday: Homemade whole wheat pasta and sauce, with a side of sauteed zucchini. We will be making fresh pasta tonight, and pairing it with our homemade vodka sauce. The tomatoes are from linguisas we got for $1/lb (organic & local). We’ll be adding TVP to the sauce after it’s done to add protein. All told, a super-cheap, healthy meal.

Tuesday: Scalloped veggies. We need to use up some leftover cheeses (Amish butter, morbier, and aged gouda), so I’ll mix those with some standard cheddar and make a nice sauce. That’ll get dumped over some fresh veggies, then baked with a topping of whole wheat and anadama bread crumbs & TVP from homemade bread (we save and dry the ends).  it’s a great meal.

Wednesday: Chicken soup and sides. We’re hosting a movie & dinner night, and I’m making homemade chicken soup out of some local, organically-raised hens we got for $1/lb. They were older laying hens, so they’re perfect for stocks and soups. I’ll be popping in some carrots, and hopefully some homemade noodles (leftover from Monday night’s dinner). Folks bring sides if they want dinner.

Thursday: Pork chops with pickled beet tops and roasted beets. I’ll do the pork chops in one of my favorite spice rubs from The Frenchman’s Corner and pan-sear them. When we were putting up food for the winter, we got a ton of beets with the tops on. We wanted to do something with the tops, since they’re so healthful and tasty, and had initially thought about just cooking them down to can. Then, UC found a recipe for yeast fermented pickled chard. We used the beet tops in place of chard, and tonight we’ll pop a jar and try the results!

Friday: Undecided. Now that the markets are closed, we’ll be heading to some farms & stores directly on Fridays, so as of this week we’ll start our meal planning on Friday afternoon.


tuna salad on onion rolls (this was TASTY today), leftovers, pb&J on homemade bread, soup, and wraps from leftover 100% grass-fed London Broil (Pannill’s Gate) I pulled out of the freezer (along with local lettuces and tomatoes).


pb&J, cheese, smoothies, yogurt & granola, fruit (including some rare local apples!), roasted nuts, sliced tomatoes, carrots, chips & salsa.


Eggs in a “nest” with toast (the nest is sautee’d spinach and garlic with balsamic dressing), porridge (wheat berry and pearl barley), cereal (got the Good Stuff with no HFCS on sale), and hopefully some homemade english muffin sandwhiches (UC is supposed to make the english muffins this week, but we’ll see if we have time).

Everything. All At Once.

I realize this is later than I usually post, but courtesy of Comcast, we’ve been without steady Internet service for several days. Apparently, this was “scheduled” maintainence, but they neglected to tell anyone about it. Obviously, I’ve insisted on a credit for those days.

Where to start? Since I’m running around like a chicken with my head cut off at meetings, mixers, preparing for the Halloween Party, winterizing the apartment, and heaven’s knows what else, I’m just going to write as it occurs to me. Hopefully, you’re feeling generous and can forgive the lack of chronology or coherence.

Chamber of Commerce Mixer at The Frenchman’s Corner. This was a great networking opportunity, and Marc and Jeff outdid themselves sponsoring the event. I made enough good contacts that I am seriously looking at joining the Chamber, something I was pretty hesitant about initially. CoCs tend to be expensive and fairly pointless for my type of business in many areas. They just aren’t designed to promote what I do, and since I can really only hand 3 or so clients at a time, the fees aren’t usually worth the limited leads. In this case, however, I think the Chamber has a lot to offer. It’ll help me promote my cooking classes and ready-to-go meals, even if it doesn’t get me any PC leads (which it may or may not). Thanks to everyone there for answering my questions, and listening to me gush about food!

Pannill’s Gate Farm. Early Friday morning, I drove out to my favorite grass-fed beef producer to pick up meat for the ready-to-go meals. What started out as a pick-and-dash trip ended up being a bit over an hour of wonderful conversation with Patty, Scott, and their children (the kids didn’t have school that day). We got to talk about farming, food, other things I am forgetting right now, and Scott showed me his winter pastures and talked about over all operations. I love this farm, and I love Patty & Scott’s philosophies on farming and food. Their flavorful beef is pretty darn good, too.

I also got to see Goggle the Wayward Calf. Apparently, Goggle’s mom never really bonded with him (Patty said Goggle was born on a windy, rainy night and it’s likely the cow just didn’t catch his scent), and they’ve been bottle feeding him ever since. Fortunately, they were moving him later that day to a great 4-H home they’d found for him. As Patty said, hand-feeding a calf means that some day you’re going to have a full-grown cow trying to come onto your porch for dinner. On the way out, I was waylaid a bit by Click (I hope I got that right), one of the cows that occasionally wanders freely over the farm when it manages to avoid being herded inside on of the pasture fences.  She wasn’t interested in moving, and when she did it was in the wrong direction. Eventually we got it figured out, but she clearly wasn’t happy about it.

Roundabout Farm. Wednesday I headed out to Roundabout to grab some cold-storage produce. Megan and I chatted a bit while we sorted through squash, beets, and potatoes. Some ridiculous amount of produce later, I hauled everything back to the house and tossed it into our backroom, which we’ve made into cold storage. More on that later.

Last day of the Market. It was the last day of the markets, and we headed to C-ville to pick up some things we’d ordered. The Nelkes had slaughtered some hens, and we were lucky enough to get some to bring home. They’ll be headed for the stock pot. I also picked up my kombucha starter, which I fed on Saturday. This coming Saturday, I’ll have kombucha to drink! We picked up some other things, as well, but these were the major items. It rained, so a lot of producers weren’t there. We’ll miss the market, but it gives us something to look forward to next year.

Ready-To-Go-Meals from The Frenchman’s Corner. My meals officially started two weeks ago, and it’s going really well. Three entrees each week so far, and we’re hoping to add chicken soon. This week I am not expecting may orders given my pickup is the same day as Halloween, but that does leave me more time to get ready for the party.  We’re also looking at doing Thanksgiving meals for one or two people, with a pickup on Wednesday. If you want on the mailing list, just email me and I’ll give you the information!

Writing for AC. I am now officially a contributing writer at Associated Content. You can see my RSS Feed button at the top of the page in the next column. I’ve been paid for every article thus far, which makes me very happy. Many of the articles are on food, food production, food politics, and health. Feel free to click over to any of the articles–the more you click, the more I get paid. Yes, shameless promotion. It’s my blog, so I figure I can do that.

Canning. MJ & Dave spent the day canning tomatoes with us on Sunday, and we put up another bushel. Thus far, UC and I have something loike 26 quarts of tomatoes (diced and stewed), 7 quarts aubergine (pickled eggplant), 4 pints pickled green tomatoes, 4 pints hot-packed green tomato slices, 8 quarts fermented beet tops, and some tomato sauce. We still have apples to do.

There has been some other stuff, not food or PC related, as well: birthday parties, election stuff, and the like. But, that’s for another blog.

This Week in Frugal is not happening this week. We’re throwing a Halloween party, so meals are essentially a couple of soups and some frozen leftovers. Thank goodness for the chest freezer!


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