Mar 08 2013

In the fall of 2010, I became fascinated with Chinese noodles called La Mian. How could I help myself with this video to watch?

Hand drawn Noodles with Chef Kin Jing Mark.

La Mian, or Lamian, is a type of handmade or hand-pulled Chinese noodle. Through a process of stretching and twisting wheat flour, Noodle Chefs can hand pull hundreds, even thousands of beautiful long thin noodles for a variety of dishes.

The Green Awning is the China Express.

The process is simple enough, but when you see a master noodle maker perform, one truly appreciates the art and beauty of cooking.

The Noodle Chef works out in front so all can enjoy.

My family was  enamored with the video as well. With hungry kids having home school science lessons to learn, it seemed like finding a local Chinese Noodle Chef would be fun and educational. Now that might be hard, depending on your location, but here in Washington, D.C., with our famous Chinatown not far away, it was relatively easy.

Ducks hang in the window near the Noodle Chef.

With the miracle of the Internet, I found Washingtonians have the China Express Restaurant with their Noodle Chef making noodles right in the front window kitchen for everyone to watch as they walk by.

Plenty of traditional atmosphere and hospitality.

What a treat it was to watch and we did for a long time, but eventually, we were hungry from being tempted and had to go in for a meal. And, what a meal it was. Fit for a Sunbonnet and a post on BlogHer.com

Bountifully delicious foods beckon us to return.

So, you can see it’s taken two and a half years to get there, but in January, 2013, when we visited the National Gallery of Art, we took a cab and were whisked away to Chinatown and the China Express. It was a dream come true. The food was fresh and delicious. The big bowls of noodle soup were tasty with their freshly made noodles and tender cuts of beef. And, I have been waiting all my life to try Peking Duck. Well, we ate duck, too. Dumplings and almond cookies, along with endless pots of tea, made us very fat and happy. We are planning on going back soon.

I hope that when you are in a big city, especially one that has a Chinatown, you will look for a La Mian Noodle Chef.  In that way, you will finally understand what we have here in our treasured China Express.

 NaBloPoMo March 2013

March 2013
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Feb 29 2012

Carrots are hearty root vegetables that are easily stored for winter.

When times are tough, or even when they’re not, where can you buy ten pounds of organic food for $6.00? COSTCO, that’s where, and probably other places as well, but COSTCO is amazing as they have a number of organic foods I wasn’t expecting at such a large “big box” store. And ten pounds of organic food is ten pounds of organic goodness that can fill lots of tummies for quite a while.

I am talking about COSTCO’s organic carrots, which are the deal of the century. You just have to like carrots and yet be aware that if you eat too many at once, you can turn orange from the carrot coloring, carotene. But, other than that, these handy root vegetables will store for quite a while as long as you take them out of their plastic bags and put them in the vegetable crisper of the refrigerator.

Slicing carrots into “Copper Pennies” begins a
side dish that will become a family treat.

COSTCO carrots, I found are even cheaper, in other areas of the country. While ten pounds of COSTCO Organic Carrots are between six and seven dollars outside of the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan area, the COSTCO web site shows that ordering on-line allows you to buy ten pounds of organic carrots for, if you can believe it, $ 4.99, plus some shipping and handling, I’m sure.

Overall, carrots are a great addition to any frugal household hoping to sustain life on grated carrot raisin salad, vegetable soup, carrot cake or carrot juice. Why, one could make a whole seven course meal using carrots every step of the way. This is not beginning to mention, however, the best use of all for carrots, making Copper Pennies.

Fill a saucepan with the sliced carrots and cover
with filtered water and some pinches of Real Salt.

When the carrots have cooked, but are still firm
enough to hold their shape and not become mush,
pour off the water.

Food fantasies were big at our house when I was a kid. My dad, more than my mother, tried to make things “kid friendly” and would come up with names for things he thought we might not want to eat. It wasn’t until years later that I learned the real reason he was watching out for us. He, himself, didn’t like the serving choices and that’s why he thought he had to make them fun for us. That’s why we had “Liver Candy” for calves liver and “Baby Cabbages” for Brussels sprouts, in addition to “Copper Pennies” for cooked carrots.

Melt some grass fed organic better in a pan with
organic brown sugar. Add carrots and stir to heat through
and coat with yummy candy-like goodness.

And I suppose I continued the fun food naming trend when my kids were small. There was nothing they liked more than a little bowl of frozen peas. We called them “Pea-sicles,” named after Popsicle brand frozen ice confections.

We Serve our Copper Pennies with sour cream,
walnuts and a sprinkle of brown sugar, all organic.

This making “much over nothing” to bring smiles to the face of a child is lots of fun for adults as well. Coincidentally, the art of entertaining children reminds me of a post I read this week on BlogHer: It will be like an Amusement Park…only Better. A fanciful, creative post by BlogHer “dvorakoelling,” relatively new to our BlogHer world, but already participating handily.

Much like my Dad and I making up little fantasies to tickle a kid, Dvora explains how she took kiddie playacting to new heights when she turned her local supermarket and shopping mall into a Disney World of sorts. I read enchantingly as Dvora described bringing the fun of a trip to FantasyLand to her seventeen month old daughter by using their cooperative imaginations to turn shopping carts into bumper cars and mall escalators into rides. It sounds like they had fun, and I know I did as well, as I read along with Dvora, thinking of my Dad’s tricks to make everyday special. What a childhood rich in love I had with my Dad and Dvora’s daughter, Em, is enjoying everyday with her Mom, today.

I got to thinking, simple games are like COSTCO carrots: both are nourishing; both cost little.

In a world of expensive clothes, plastic and trinkets, these thoughts really made me smile!

NaBloPoMo February 2012



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Jan 18 2012

Visiting “The Future” at the New York World’s Fair, 1964-1965,
while in 1960’s clothes.

When I was a kid, we looked to the future through a TV cartoon time warp called “The Jetsons.” Then, while we watched futuristic “programming” on TV, our parents were also being instructed by mass media that the future would bring better living to us all. We were told daily that the progress to take us blindly into the future would be better, much better than anything in the present. It was inferred that we should just trust whomever was bringing this to pass. And so, when the biggest international event of the decade occurred, the 1964-65 World’s Fair in New York City, we knew we were on the cusp of a wave that would carry us aloft to glorious destinies. We didn’t know where we were heading, but we knew we were getting there fast, and that it was going to be better, right?

Bell Telephone Pavillion: New York World’s Fair 1964-1965.
“Peace through Understanding” Moving chairs carry the Fairgoer
past animated exhibits tracing the history of communications.
Anyone may try out “picture phones” -phones equipped with TV
devices showing the person on the other end.

Bigger was better. Faster was better. More, stronger, cheaper was better. New and improved? Well, of course THAT was better. The words new and improved must mean something was really NEW and IMPROVED. It therefore must be better. The box said so, just as the TV had. Who could argue that the product wasn’t actually new and improved? And since the new and improved product was now and the old has-been product was then, this product in the present HAD to be better…but nothing compared to what it would be in the future!

The New York World’s Fair 1964-1965

And so, whirling in this vortex of progress, spiraling upwards, or so we thought, we became very impressionable to the idea that new was better and old served no purpose. Like modern lemmings, we followed the promises of the TV box that guided us through every day to “improve” our otherwise primitive lives. And so, our societal common sense undermined, we believed like children that modern was good and old fashioned was not only outdated, but bad. For example, I can remember visiting my mother’s family home where her cousin had “modernized” and replaced “all of those silly old, dark, heavy walnut doors and matching woodwork” hoping to bring a Federal Period house into the 20th century.

And here are people in 1965, trying their best to be
“Futuristic” with a lamp pole, sunburst wall clock and
“modern art” man-made fiber curtains.

And as fast was better, convenience overcame tried and true. I can remember my mother laughing, as she opened a loaf of spongy white Wonderbread, that Mrs. So-and-so made bread for her family every week. Nobody we knew had ever made bread. And then we went through all of elementary school, junior and senior high school with the same group of kids year, in and year out. We knew everything about everybody. Trust me, no one baked bread, no one, except Mrs. So-and-so. Buying convenience foods, opening cans, heating up frozen food, using cake mixes: no one we knew had mothers that did anything much more than that. On occasion, cookies might be made from scratch, but NEVER a cake.

Convenience and taste, not nutrition, were the selling points.
H-m-m-m. Wonder what chemicals were used to replicate the eggs?

According to the Joy of Baking:  “Eggs play a major role in cake
baking. Eggs add aeration to the batter, provide structure to
the cake, help bind the ingredients together, keep the cake moist
and add flavor and tenderness.”

Eggs sound important to a cake! What did they use instead?

The modern housewife was told by mass media advertising that convenience was the way of the future and the less done the better. It was the futuristic way to do things for those in the know. The whole concept of eating to nurture the body while promoting wellness was not considered. Nutritional content was not considered. The only things that seemed important were taste and convenience. And if that taste were stimulated by a chemical cocktail, no one seemed to mind or notice.

This hash commercial is odd for a number of reasons. You’ll see
that as long as women were invisible and could open a can of
hash, things were fine.

But, how did the woman and the hash feel about it?
And how nutritious was that dinner of canned hash and eggs?

Little by little, convenience foods became fast foods. It wasn’t that long before men, women and families began eating out more and more. In addition, as people ate out more often, cost became a concern and restaurants offering good “home cooking” were expensive compared to McDonald’s “four course meal with change from a dollar.” We were detached from the concept that what we ate physically became our bodies and minds. In fact, I can’t remember chemical additives or preservatives ever being commonly discussed. Maybe there was mention of nitrates and nitrites in hot dogs once in a while, but overall we ate without self awareness.

Now I understand that nutrient dense food is not only medicine, but provides the foundations for living. That’s why “The Jetson’s” putting a pill in a wall unit that looks prognostic of microwave ovens, closing the door and pushing a button to conveniently produce a plate full of food seems out of date. The concept is old fashioned, from when that was considered “modern” and is comically passe. People now know wholesome, unadulterated slow foodstuffs are truly the building blocks of life. Therefore, any quaint desire for convenience, at the expense of nutrition and wellness, has thankfully gone the way of the TV dinner.

 

Where do great meals begin?

Come to the Table brings you straight to the source of wonderful flavors, beauty, abundance, and pride of place—the small farms of California and the people who tend them season after season.
Alice Waters, the celebrated chef and food activist, introduces a remarkable group of resilient fresh-food artisans who are committed to keeping our food supply delicious, diverse, and safe—for humans and the planet. Meet the folks down on the farm and learn firsthand about the back-to-the-future small-farm economy that’s gaining strength across America. Discover new tastes and memorable traditions. Explore local flavors, wit, and wisdom along with the universal values of a food system that is “good, clean, and fair.” Recreate a range of sumptuous yet simple meals with the farmers’ own family recipes—including breakfast crostata and fresh-fruit jams, stuffed artichokes and black-eyed peas, chile relleno casseroles, pulled pork, and cheesecake.Sustainable food is real food.
Come to the table, and help yourself!
 

If you have an interest in this book, hover your mouse over:

Slow Food Nation’s Come to the Table: The Slow Food Way of Living

NaBloPoMo January 2012



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Dec 28 2011

After a hard day of yard work, it’s time to put another
meal on the table.  No biggie!  All you have to do
is fry some ready made Corn Meal Mush!

Corn Meal Mush is a long forgotten staple for those of limited means. I didn’t have the opportunity to forget it as I had never heard of it until I became friends with the Amish. Served at least once a week, it can be found at breakfast, lunch and/or dinner in an Amish home. Corn Meal Mush is their rice or pasta. I sure wish I had known about the option when I was in college, along with slow cooking nutrient dense food. Rather than existing on chicken noodle soup and Cheerios, I could have had nutritious, inexpensive, easy to prepare meals waiting for me in my refrigerator every day of the week. But, I have made up for lost time. I tell everyone I know about the delights and practicality of Corn Meal Mush and its logical endpoint, Fried Corn Meal Mush.

Organic Polenta Corn Grits make the best Corn Meal Mush.

When I first learned about this “new” and amazing food stuff in the 1980s, we used the corn meal made by Quaker Oats, packed in a smaller cardboard round box, much like the Quaker Oats oatmeal. But, now with the Organic Polenta Corn Grits available, my Corn Meal Mush has extra vibrancy and go power. The coarser grit of the Polenta delivers lots of flavor.

Place 9 cups of filtered water and 3 1/2  cups of Organic Corn meal in a saucepan. Add salt to taste. I add 1 1/2 teaspoons of Real Salt.  Now, here is the trick: you MUST stir it the whole time over medium to medium/high heat. Do not answer the phone. Don’t try to put a dish in the dish washer, just STIR YOUR MUSH. That’s the only hard part. Multitasking is not allowed, if it involves hands.

Eventually the corn will expand and become one with the water. DON’T STOP STIRRING until you take it off the stove. It should be like hot cereal and very homogeneous as it starts to bubble.

At this point, you can call it a day and just have hot cereal. Add butter and maple syrup for the pancake route or cheese and tomato sauce for the traditional Southwestern Polenta route. The good news is if you keep going to make the Fried Corn Meal Mush, you will probably have enough left over for a bowl of hot cereal to reward you for your trouble as well.

So, pour the hot cereal Corn Meal Mush into containers. Loaf pans or refrigerator dishes work well and they DON’T need to be greased.  I usually get three loaf pans or one loaf type pan and one large refrigerator dish. Notice I am showing the saucepan full of soapy water, because once you pour the cereal and scrape the pan, the saucepan needs to be filled with water. If you forget, the cereal bits will turn to concrete and be hard to remove.

Now, let the Mush cool to room temperature, then put it in the refrigerator until it congeals. When solid, slice, dredge all sides in flour and fry in organic coconut oil

Here are the Mush slices when they start and…

…here they are when getting golden.

Dinner’s ready! Yum-Yum and Cheap-Cheap!

The evening we made this for dinner, we had organic coleslaw, bacon and organic scrambled eggs cooked in organic bacon grease. Those of you not familiar with the Weston A. Price philosophy will be shocked at eating eggs cooked in bacon fat like people used to do before the misinformation about low-fat diets became popular.

The truth is, high cholesterol has never been scientifically proven to cause heart disease. In fact, this country’s heart disease skyrocketed when low-fat diets became popular. So did many neurological and neuromuscular problems. Most people do not have enough fat in their diets and they are suffering for it.

Here is a very important PDF about the myths of cholesterol that have been foisted upon the public for many years. And, BTW, those of you suffering from depression may be fat starved. This is serious stuff! You must have good organic fats in your diet to survive and thrive.  There are many articles and endless references on the Weston A. Price web site. Be sure to research this information. When you hear it for the first time, it is difficult to believe.

NaBloPoMo 2011



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Dec 26 2011

On the Shank Eco-farm, Your Family Cow, in Chambersburg, PA,
the cows and their probiotics are part of the family.

Life before probiotics was very different. I didn’t know I was sick. I didn’t know I wasn’t digesting well. I just thought I had a host of physical problems and tagged them with labels such as “growing old” or “female troubles.” But, once our friends convinced us to introduce fermented foods with probiotic bacteria into our diets, my life changed dramatically. The complaints, I thought I had to live with, just went away.

Reading and studying the way people live and eat around the world, I am convinced that many of our common illnesses here in the United States are actually hiding inefficient digestive systems.  Digestive tracts unable to properly function usually lack the three pounds of good bacteria needed to help us digest our food. A lack of good bacteria invites the bad bacteria and seriously debilitates our immune systems.

A fellow blogger, Pick Your Brain, has a great post outlining the particulars, but why isn’t information about building up the gut flora for optimum health the first thing you hear out of your doctor’s mouth when you go to visit? In fact, you have to almost dig for the information while looking in alternative health venues. We are bombarded by pharmaceutical drug advertisements. At the same time, we hear little about the good bacteria necessary to properly sustain our lives. This information about good bacteria ought to be mainstream, not “alternative health” oriented.

Misdiagnosis of faulty digestion is so widespread and
oppressive, one has to ask, “Who stands to gain?”

While years ago, healthy habits were promoted by mainstream media for the common good, now toxic living habits are profiled. For instance, the mainstream media tries to convince us that good food takes too long to fix and our modern schedules demand fast food. Like never before, each of us must gain a knowledge of how our bodies work in order to heal and nurture our way into better living. No longer can we use a blind eye to rely on newspapers, TV, the Federal Government or our medical community to instruct us. And, most importantly, we have to rely on our bodies themselves to tell us when we are feeling good and what constitutes good health. Good health begins with slow food and a fully functioning gut.

The money and time spent on nutrient dense food reaps rewards.
For an informative PDF on “How Probiotics Keep us Healthy,”
click on the dollar bill above.

Great sums of money can be made on a massive scale when people eat toxic food and live in a toxic environment. Each of us is really a fine tuned spiritual being in a physical body of chemicals and electrical impulses. If we don’t provide our bodies with the chemicals they need to operate their electrical impulses efficiently, our bodies “don’t work right.” We get sick and have to seek treatment for health complaints.

Health complaints lead to contacting the medical community and here modern society seems to have gone down a path of corporate profit, promoting illness rather than health. Common sense would seem to require checking the old “garbage in garbage out” admonition. Wouldn’t you think a doctor would first inquire about what you eat? How you eat? Your level of exercise? How much sleep you are getting? And whether you get outside into the fresh air everyday? No, by prescribing drugs and ignoring lifestyle, the body gets further and further out of balance. Small problems become big ones. It would appear a toxic population is a revenue generating asset.

And once one studies how the body works and maintains health, the most important requirement seems to be a fulling functioning digestive system. A digestive system that efficiently breaks down food and allows the absorption of essential nutrients requires, so learning how to make and eat traditional foods is a step toward using food as medicine. When the body gets what it needs, in the way that it needs it, being chronically sick is not a daily concern.

The Weston A. Price web site says this family is happy
because they eat butter. They also eat raw milk, cream,
cheese, eggs, liver, meat, cod liver oil, seafood, and
other nutrient-dense foods that have nourished generations
of healthy people worldwide. Learn more about the foods
that support radiant health for your family.

 

Billie Bumps knows to eat his probiotics, that’s why
he’s so healthy. To download Billie Bumps and his
Christmas toys for your own personal use,
click on his picture.

 

For the week of December 25 – 31, 2011,
SunbonnetSmart.com will share a new downloadable PDF
each day, but only for a limited time.

Visit each day to collect them all!

NaBloPoMo 2011



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