The other day Jacob posted a link to an interesting article in Food Safety News. Apparently, a lot of the honey sold on store shelves has had all of its pollen filtered out. It is stated by the president of the American Honey Producers Association that the only way to remove all pollen from honey is through a process called “ultra-filtration” and that the resulting product isn’t considering honey anymore by the FDA.
A lot of honey packers (and the National Honey Board) are crying foul, claiming that traditional methods can in fact remove ALL pollen from honey, and that the FDA does in fact consider honey without pollen to still be honey.
So who’s telling the truth? I’m just not sure. The point of the article was that honey with all of its pollen removed can no longer be traced to the source, and in fact this is done to conceal the origin of illegally imported Chinese honey. (The Chinese honey is problematic because it usually contains contaminants like antibiotics and pesticides.) As a consumer, traceability is important to me. I want to know where my food comes from, and quite frankly, I don’t trust companies to be honest in their labeling. If a company is selling a product that can no longer be traced to its source, I’m skeptical.
We like honey. We have been buying Wessels for a long time, because it’s local and tasty. Their honey has pollen in it. I think the moral of the story for me is to continue purchasing local honey and supporting “the little guys.” The large packing companies can keep their pollen-free untraceable product that may or may not be honey.
A few years back, in February 2009, to be specific, I was active on Twitter – as my cats. Yup, I’m one of those people. In February, a group of like-minded individuals decided to throw a sort of ad-hoc Twitter party, for charity. And thus, the Pawpawty was born. Pawpawties are cool, and I’m proud to say that I (or rather, my cats) have been a DJ at many of them (not all, but we haven’t missed very many!). The Pawpawties have raised $53,417 (so far!) for animal charities around the world! It’s pretty damned awesome to be a part of something so powerful.
This will the the third year that a group of super-cool people associated with the Pawpawties is doing a special thing for Christmas. If you clicky over there <– on the link, you’ll be taken to the page for Santa Paws Drive. Santa Paws Drive is to support animal shelters, both by collecting toys and treats, as well as much needed cash donations for the shelters.
Everyone has their “thing” and doing something real to help animals (forget talk, I want action!) and supporting the Pawpawties and Santa Paws Drive is my thing. If you’re interested, check it out.
One of the fun things I’m doing on my new adventure is to take a look at what comes in my veggie box from Organics To You each week, and either brainstorm our favorite meals or find new recipes to use the veg. I also signed us up for Cozi.com, which looks to be a really nifty tool for keeping a household organized. They also have recipes!
For this week, I’m thinking of making the Beef Orzo Skillet, to use the nice big bunch of spinach that came in the box. I already have ground beef and orzo on hand, and an oregano bush in my yard.
Some bell peppers came in the box, so I’m looking at this recipe either for a dinner, or for lunch boxes – Bean and Sausage Stew. I have dried red beans and anasazi beans, so if I’m feeling lively I’ll cook my own beans and skip using canned.
We got a bunch of swiss chard, so I’m looking at this Sausage & Swiss Chard Rigatoni recipe. I’m already buying italian sausage and parmesan cheese, so that can go in this too. I’ll probably sub the navy beans for black eyed peas, because I already have black eyed peas in the cupboard, along with the rigatoni.
I’m really the only one who likes brussels sprouts, so I’m just sauteeing those up for my lunch, one of these days.
We got some leeks, so I’m going to make a smashed potatoes & leek cheesy bake that I make that’s really easy and tasty. This involves simmering small red or yellow potatoes (cut up any larger ones) with the diced up leeks, then draining them when the potatoes are somewhat tender (just tender enough to smash). Save the water for savory bread! Then I mix the smashed potatoes & leeks with a little milk and some cheese, mash it into a casserole, sprinkle some more cheese on top, and bake it until the potatoes are fully tender and the cheese is melted. I don’t measure, but I estimate it’s about 4 or so small potatoes a person, the two leeks, maybe 1/2 cup of milk, and probably 3/4 cup of shredded cheese (whatever I have, parmesan, mozzarella, cheddar…). Oh yeah, it gets seasoned with ground black pepper. I don’t add salt, there’s enough in the cheese and we’re low salt around here. I’ve been known to add chopped bacon before baking…
The fresh pears will probably get turned into cobbler, or maybe I’ll make a compote to put on top of our morning oatmeal.
That leaves broccoli and carrots. Those are easy to use – soup, maybe, and steamed broccoli as a side somewhere.
We’re playing “How LITTLE can we buy at the store?” this week for food, so tonight’s dinner comes from the freezer and what I have on hand. I’m planning on making these gnocchi, as I have a kabocha squash from my Organic’s To You box. I pulled a beef roast out of the freezer to go with. Or rather, the gnocchi are a side dish for the roast. Mmmmm.
I expect to start blogging here again, as I’m (somewhat) embarking on a new life. You’ll have to come back to find out more…
Next week I’m jetting off to New York City for four days of fun and adventure, alone, participating in a conference for beauty bloggers. To say that I’m excited would be an understatement but I’m also feeling a little anxious about it.
I do occasionally post photos of myself to my blog and consider it mostly a function of luck that so far I haven’t gotten nasty comments about my appearance or weight. I’m a big girl. I am not slim or slender. You could probably fit a few fashion models into the width of my behind. In other words, I’m fat.
Usually, I’m okay with this. Yeah, who wouldn’t want to be thin (or even just thinner) etc. and shopping for clothes is a real bitch. But I’m feeling particularly anxious about going to what is in many ways the beauty capitol of the US, feeling like the complete anti-thesis of what is considered modern American beauty. I’m a short, fat, 30 year old who happens to prefer short, spikey hair and brightly colored eyeshadow. Deep down, in my heart of hearts, I am afraid that my happy facade is going to crumble in the face of a world that considers size 0 to be the epitome of fashion and beauty.
I expect the trip will be a blast. But the self-conscious part of me, the part that worries about what others think, is concerned that all anyone is going to see, and care about, when they meet me is that I’m a fat girl. That my whole worth is contained in the size of my body. I’m afraid that people will secretly be laughing at me.
On the one hand, I know that I’ll hold my head high and represent for the fat girls, that we like to look and feel pretty too. But, late at night, I’m scared that I’ll just end up embarrassed and humiliated – will the makeup chairs, when we have our “makeup touchups” be big enough for my butt? Oh god, what if they’re too small? I will crawl off and die.
I wish I was brash and brazen like other women I know. I wish I didn’t care about this stuff. But late at night, I do care. I pray that my trip is as fun and exciting as I hope it will be.