Belly Up (Quinoa and Black Bean Burrito Recipe)

quinoa and black bean burrito

Chris and I, we’re bar people. I say that not because we’re in the bar business (which we are) or because we like to spend our rare bit of free time enjoying good beer and good company in a few of our favorite bars (which we do). I say this because 99 times out of 100 when we go out for a meal you’ll find us seated at the bar rather than at a table. Why this preference, you ask? Well, for one it’s just a lot more social and fun. We get to chat with the bartender and with our fellow bar-dwellers, sharing jokes, stories, and sometimes even our food. But the best reason of all to sit at the bar, and the reason that I recommend you start sitting at the bar sometimes too, is that a seat at the bar is where you get all of the good inside info. Sometimes it’s a crazy drink that only the staff know about, other times it’s an upcoming event that you would never have known about otherwise, and often it’s a tip about somewhere else to eat and drink. Always listen to these tips. People in the bar/restaurant industry always know the best places to eat and drink. It’s our life, after all. (more…)

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Food Bloggers Against Hunger (Barley Mujaddara with Spinach Recipe)

food bloggers against hunger average SNAP benefit

1 in 2 American children will receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits at some point during their lives.

Currently, 1 in 5 American children struggle with hunger.

I’ve spent a good portion of the past week reading about, researching, and thinking about hunger in America and these are the two statistics that I can’t seem to get out of my head. I live in one of the wealthiest nations on this planet, yet half of my country’s children will lack a basic human necessity for some part of their lives. I’m still having trouble wrapping my head around this.

I have been so fortunate thus far in my life to have always had my basic needs met many times over. I’ve lived on the east coast and the west coast, in the suburbs, the city, and the country and no matter where I settled I have always had access to nutritious food at a cost that was affordable to me. This is not the case for far too many of my fellow Americans; just shy of 50 million, to be exact. Even more upsetting is the fact that right now our Congress is proposing $135 billion cuts to the SNAP program (formerly known as the food stamp program), the very program that is helping the men, women, and children in these food insecure households. These cuts could eliminate between 9 and 13 million individuals from the program.

How have we gotten here? Well, there are a lot of factors at play: an unlivable minimum wage, unemployment, and agricultural subsidies that result in processed food costing less than fresh, wholesome food to name a few. But from my point of view, a large part of the problem is that there just aren’t enough of us who care anymore. Back in 1968, the film Hunger in America exposed the reality of children dying of starvation right here in our very own country. The resulting shock and outrage of the American people led to the creation and strengthening of the very same assistance programs so many people rely on today, and virtually wiped out hunger in this country. Unfortunately, somewhere along the line the outrage Americans felt over seeing extreme poverty and starvation in this wealthy nation turned to outrage against the hungry themselves for daring to use the government assistance programs that are funded by our tax dollars. (more…)

My Big Fat Greek Casserole (Feta, Greens, and Rice Casserole Recipe)

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This is not the best time of year for food photography for me, as is probably evident from the less than stellar leading shot of today’s recipe. You see, I live in upstate NY. And by upstate NY I don’t mean White Plains. I mean right smack dab in the middle of the state. So far upstate that when I finally looked at a map of where I’d be living after I agreed to move here, my first words were, “You didn’t tell me we’re moving to Canada!” So being pretty high up there on the latitude lines, I’m working with maybe 8 or 9 hours of real light a day right now and unfortunately most of the hours I have available for cooking do not fall into that daylit period. Couple that with the fact that sunny days are few and far between at best, and I’m just really out of luck as far as decent lighting. But I continue on, regardless. I’m certainly not going to deprive you of this tasty and easy recipe just because I couldn’t get a photo that I love. (more…)

Inspiration Point (Stuffed Acorn Squash with Tempeh Sausage, Mushrooms, and Barley Recipe)

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Going out to eat is one of my favorite things to do. I love it for all of the usual reasons like not having to cook, the food itself, socializing with friends, and just having a chance to get out of the house. But I also enjoy it for a not-quite-so-common reason: the inspiration it provides for my own cooking. This is something I hadn’t given much thought to in my previous life, but after several years of our current lifestyle I’ve come to realize that restaurant dining was my culinary muse and that eating one meal a week away from the house at a very limited selection of restaurants was starting to seriously stifle my creativity. Sadly, it took a period of rather stale meal ideas that left me going to back to the same old dishes again and again to come to this unfortunate realization. (more…)

Simple Overabundance (Creamy Polenta with Grilled Tempeh and Roasted Tomatoes Recipe)

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I love this time of year.  I love the warm, sunny days and the cool, perfect for sleeping nights.  I love the late summer wildflowers overflowing the roadside ditches.  I love the monarch butterflies that positively swarm me on my late morning runs.  I love that the wooded trails stay cool long into the afternoon.  I love the slight sense of urgency one feels during BBQs and camping trips, staying outside just a little longer, trying to squeeze every last drop out of summer before that morning chill starts to hang around a little too long into the day.  But most of all, I love the absolute overabundance of fresh produce this time of year.  Particularly around here (upstate NY, aka the Arctic) where the growing season is too short and I feel like I spend most of my year trying to figure out another way to prepare squash, potatoes, and onions and reminding myself that while the tomatoes on the shelves might look pretty good I’m going to be sorely disappointed if I try to eat one. (more…)

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