Saturday, January 7, 2012

Best Vegetarian Lasagna

The smell of fresh air, fields of alfalfa, chickens running around, cows, pigs, are you thinking Illinois?.. because I'm not. I moved to Chicago two years ago and can hardly see stars. Today my class drove about an hour away from campus to a small farm and experienced an all organically raised farm. It was really cool. The farmer talked about what he fed his animals, how he treated them, how he butchered them, and (my favorite part) how he chose to not treat, inject, or use anything artificial in the raising or processing of his animals. He cracked a fresh egg and showed the differences in the coloring of yolks from a free range (organic) chicken verses a cage raised chicken. The yolk was so much darker, more solid, and apparently the taste was more rich. So buying the $3.50 carton really is better? 

After petting cows and following around pigs I was starving. My friend Megan who lives a floor below me made vegetarian lasagna in my crock pot. It turned out AMAZING! Here is a link to the recipe it took about 3 hours and was super easy. 

I really have been thinking a lot about the earth we live on and what I am doing to contribute and/or give back. I mean I don't even recycle.After listening to the farmer talk today I realized that I don't even express how thankful I am for the land that provides the food I eat. I came across this verse and thought I would share: 

Psalm 65:9-13
You visit the earth and water it,
         You greatly enrich it; 
         The river of God is full of water; 
         You provide their grain, 
         For so You have prepared it.
You water its ridges abundantly,
         You settle its furrows; 
         You make it soft with showers, 
         You bless its growth. 
 You crown the year with Your goodness,
         And Your paths drip with abundance.
 They drop on the pastures of the wilderness,
         And the little hills rejoice on every side.
 The pastures are clothed with flocks;
         The valleys also are covered with grain; 
         They shout for joy, they also sing.

I am excited that God gave us taste buds as silly as that sounds but experimenting with food is fun! I encourage you to try something new this week! 


Friday, January 6, 2012

Let's Break Bread!

After my freak out at Trader Joes yesterday I woke up with my fridge stocked with veggies, whole grain bread, organic peanut butter, fruit, eggs, and chili. What in the world do I do with that? I found this funky microwavable egg thing at a thrift store for $1. Put an egg on toast with some pepper, cut up apples on the side, with a cup of coffee, and I was good to go! I actually was surprised that I feel sleepy at like 1pm. Eggs are a great source of protein...even though it's only took me 21 years to realize. 

For my class today (Food Justice) we visited an all organic sustainable farm in Kankakee, IL owned by an older woman who totally loved the Lord. Genesis Growers supplies local grocery stores, restaurants, farmers markets, etc. with fresh organically grown produce. It was so interesting getting to talk to someone who was so passionate about the food they eat and so animate about providing food for people that was local so they knew where it can from. She mentioned the importance of connecting food to the farmer and how as Christians we don't need to be selfish about our abundance. 

After seeing how a huge farm worked we gathered at my Prof's families house and enjoyed an almost vegan meal (we had homemade bread with eggs). Needless to say it was delicious. We got to talk to her family about living/raising children while choosing a vegetarian lifestyle. They were so open and honest it was really awesome.

Today was so amazing I can't describe it. My appreciation for food went way up. In closing I wanted to share a small part from a prayer that we read as a class... 

   But I concede the point your not-so-subtle silence suggests:
        There is enough. There is enough, 
        and our the work of getting it where it needs to go
  There is enough, and it is your grace and compassion
        that enables us to share 
    Break our bread around tables, reclined to remember. 

        Save us this day. Give us life: our eyes are upon you. 

Never pass up the opportunity to break bread with the people around you. The fellowship is always blessed :-) 


Thursday, January 5, 2012

It wasn't easy...


Well I am recently a vegetarian. By choice? Yes. Reasons: I am currently taking a food justice class and it has changed my whole perspective on how I view my body, the way God intended it to be treated, how sacred food is, my health problems, and because I like many other people can agree that we can all should be healthier. Our class has been talking about our bodies being a temple of the Lord and how they should be treated as such. I always took that as being mindful of the situations we put ourselves into, the things we expose our eyes and ears to, or abusing drugs and alcohol, etc. BUT I never thought about the food we eat. Of course eating something like McDonald's hamburgers can be abusive to your body because we all know it's just not healthy. Meat in general though? I never really sat and thought about all the hormones, fillers, by-products, etc. that are being put into our meats and other products not even to mention what is happening to the animal (a chicken being grown in 48 days let's be real what is wrong with that?) I just don't think that's how God intended it to be. Don't get me wrong I have no problem with people eating meat but I don't think it's as healthy as it was when my parents were younger. I really encourage you to watch "Food Inc." and "Forks over Knives" both documentaries answered a lot of questions for me. 

 I am currently living in a college dorm so I realized that making this decision was going to be hard because of where I live. The appliances I have in my dorm are a microwave, a toaster, a crock-pot ($12.49 5qt @ walmart! STEAL!) and a small coffee maker. I live in Chicago so meat is like a worshiped  God it seems like. Every other corner you see signs for "Italian beef", which btw don't eat, it's gross. I went on my first big shopping trip today after making my vegetarian commitment and decided I would only spend $40 at max and surprisingly I went way under. With my purchases I made Chilli for dinner that will last me awhile. I bought some naked juice, a bunch of veggies, salad dressing, organic popcorn, flaxseed chips, and eggs. 

For all the college kids out there.. look stuff up online before you go! It pays to do your research! I never thought I would say that but it really does. I bought a bell pepper at Trader Joes for 99cents and at JewlOsco they were $1.50.. CRAZY. READ THE LABELS. I was so surprised what was washed or sprayed in pesticide something. Also, if it doesn't have meat in it, like beans, there still could be a meat by-product or something funky that was just added in. 

I am thankful for grocery stores that have resources so I can experiment with new foods <3

1 Corinthians 6:19&20
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;  you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.