Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Mmm, soup...

Heh, does anyone else remember the episode of Friends where Joey is auditioning for a commercial, and he's supposed to say the line "Mmm, soup." but just can't get it right? I watch way too much syndicated TV!

Anyway, the flurry of cooking continues. Right now, I've got a gorgeous pot of "kitchen sink" soup on the stove (basically broth and anything that I've had in the fridge all week that needs to be used up before it becomes compost). Onion, garlic, bok choy, sweet potato, carrot, celery, kale and spinach in a combo of beef and chicken broth. I also threw in 1/2 cup of cous cous as an experiment. I'm trying out how different grains do in soup - our post-Thanksgiving turkey soup had hulled barley, and it soaked up almost all the liquid. It was still really good, but it was more like a really thick stew than it was soup!

Want to know what else was on the menu this week? No? Too bad - here's the rundown:
- persimmon sherbet
- broccoli and ground turkey stir-fry
- chocolate chip and almond granola bars
- split pea soup with bacon from our pastured hog
- spinach and corn pizza
- dried apples
- the best brownies EVER from my new favorite cookbook, Feeding the Whole Family
- quinoa salad, also from FTWF
- pumpkin muffins, also from FTWF
- shrimp stew with canned tomatoes and tomato sauce from our garden tomatoes, also from FTWF
- mixed-grain pancakes, also from FTWF (can you tell I really, really like this cookbook?)
- homemade hummus, also from FTWF
- crockpot black beans and brown rice

That's all I can remember - it was a busy week! I just can't seem to keep myself out of the kitchen. I'm almost all the way through The Ethics of What We Eat by Peter Singer and Jim Mason, which along with the recently-finished Omnivore's Dilemma, keeps me motivated to cook the family lots of minimally-processed foods with our freezer meat (from our pastured beef and hog, grown organically in west-central Oregon on a family farm).

Both of those books really made me take a long hard look at the meat that I've been eating and feeding the kids. I was raised by vegetarian parents, and I actually read Peter Singer's earlier book, Animal Liberation, in junior high and was a staunch vegetarian off and on through high school and college (although I can't really call it "staunch" since it came and went like the breeze, but when I was in a veg phase I was totally in it) before pretty much giving up any semblance of environmentally-friendly eating in my later years of school and after entering the work force. I was well aware of factory farming and how awful it is, but it's so easy to ignore when you get your meat nicely cut and pre-packaged on little styrofoam trays at the grocery store. There were other things to worry about, like bonuses and stock options, and what new car to buy next.

Again, I've come full-circle, heading back for my roots and the values I was raised with (which I alternately embraced and hated all through my childhood and teen years). I'm hoping that it's easier for my kids to be raised like this than it was for me since we're surrounded by people who share our values here in Portland (unlike the small town where I grew up, where we were basically the local family of freaks). Environmentalism is so much more mainstream now than when I was a kid - that can't hurt, either.

As I continue to wonder where my knit design business will take me, I'm really examining how to make what I do more sustainable. I use 100% recycled paper, but I cringe every time I have to open another box of plastic sheet protectors. Anyone have any ideas as to how to better protect and present patterns? I've considered going 100% digital, but it's hard to do that on a wholesale-only basis. Most shops aren't yet set up for any kind of digital pattern download, although I can see it moving that direction in the future. I could reopen my own pattern shop and sell only pdfs direct, but I don't really want to cut the shops out of the equation all together.

I'm also thinking that I need to choose the yarns I use more carefully. It would be great if someone would write a book or a blog or something on environmentally-friendly knitting (is there something out there that I just haven't stumbled upon yet? It's entirely possible...). It's hard to determine what's actually really sustainable, and what's just "greenwashed". I love the Lorna's Laces green line yarns, and I'm hoping to use more of them in the future. O-Wool is also fabulous. I really need to find an organic sock yarn!

But before I worry about any of that, I really need to get my tushie in gear and prepare for TNNA in January. I just keep getting distracted by that darn kitchen. I'm totally obsessed with food, and I'm not sure when I'm going to get over it! Hopefully never, but that will certainly put a damper on my knitting time. It doesn't help that Owen is sick yet again and has spent the past two days at home. He's ready to go back to school tomorrow, but I'm waiting for Sydney to come down with it now. It's inevitable. I sure wish these two would build their little immune systems up a bit faster!


Blogger AnaMarie said...

The real problem with "environmentally friendly" yarns is that it depends on your perception. Any yarn that isn't handspun by the Amish farmer down the road from the sheep and goats on the farm uses gas and most likely wasteful electricity, as well as paper (probably not recycled) and maybe even terrible inks and glues for the label. Any cotton that isn't certified organic was covered in horrendous pesticides, anything Superwash was doused in amazing chemicals, anything man-made is generally oil based and therefore evil, anything natural may have been gotten through questionable practices...

I've decided to not use non-organic cotton, not use acrylic/nylon unless it's used for a very specific reason (giftee won't care for anything else), and I'm trying to stay away from Superwash due to the chemicals. I love socks though, and they need washing much more often than sweaters, so that's my downfall. Anything recycled from Goodwill sweaters is fair game as it's their second life anyway and re-use is a million times better than adding to the landfill/burn pile. Can't get sock yarn that way though!

8:21 PM  
Blogger greetingarts said...

After I read persimmon sherbet, I just couldn't focus on anything else! Yum, yum, yum, where did you get the recipe and was it a ton of work? Worth it?

I finally decided to give up my magazine subscriptions to Martha Stewart Living which I've subscribed to since the early years, and even Interweave Knits. Simply because of the sheer waste (all those ads!). I'll try to get my patterns via PDF from now on, but really, even if I only make one item from every book and magazine I own, I'd have to live to be 643 at least. Good luck with figuring things out, and thanks for sharing your thoughts and findings with us.

8:55 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

I'm moving in with you, that's it! The fanciest thing I cooked all week was grilled cheese (again). Persimmon sherbet? Yum! You're killing me here!! :)

5:39 AM  
Blogger Tonya said...

Cooking is getting in the way of my knitting, too. This post really reflects how I feel right now; I want to check out those books! (Although I don't know about the vegetarian thing - I love me some meat!)

If you ever find an alternative to plastic sheet protectors, please post right away!

9:11 AM  

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