Monday, February 28, 2011

Lack of Gas = Crappy Eating (aka, the story of the lone sardine)

In case you were wondering, it takes fire to cook. Here, fire means electricity. This may not come as a surprise to most of you, but for those of us just finishing a move, it's more than a little distressing. It's an odd story that doesn't bear recounting, but let's just say that I won't have a cooking surface until Thursday, and that it's not because I forgot to have it turned on.

Nonetheless. Upon waking this morning, I was in quite a rush. When I did get to my apartment, where food might have been waiting, the only thing there (due to said move) was a block of cheese and some ketchup. I chose neither.

When getting to work, I thankfully discovered the oat bran cereal I left last week. I ate about half the box. It's pretty high in grains and fiber, so not too awful. I was also happy to discover the can of sardines in my drawer. While the majority may turn their nose up at these lovely little fishies, I'm here to tell you that they are a gift from the sea. High in protein and healthy fat, they are a quick meal that can't be beat--particularly when put on a piece of bread. Nummy!!

Unfortunately, my office mates didn't agree, and I reasonably acquiesced to their preference that I not eat them. Sadly, as I was unable to cook anything to bring, this left me with...campus food. (Duhm duhm duhm) Quizno's appeared to be the best option, so I ordered a chicken sandwich. Fine and dandy, probably not too many calories--but $8!

To be fair, my food woes of the day have been almost solely based on poor planning and time management skills. Despite that, I can't help but secretly and unfairly blame the prejudice against sardines for my plight--branch out! Give it a shot! It's cheaper than Quizno's, after all.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

New Garden Plans

This week, I jumped what felt like a ten foot tall hurdle. I found a new apartment. It's downtown, directly across from a fire station and a beer and pizza joint. I'm considering ear plugs for sleeping, depending on how often the fire trucks seem to run. Despite that minor detail, it's in an awesome location: the top floor of an old building being used for a weekend theater. I'm incredibly excited.

What I'm even more excited about is the "For Sale" vacant lot behind the apartment. Some of it is gravel, but some of it is nice grass. I absolutely plan to practice a little rebel gardening this year. There's another term for it that I wish I could recall, but the entire premise of rebel gardening is that you just sort of move in and take over any vacant green space you can find.

While I will certainly be ready for the possibility of the lot being sold mid-growing season, I'm not really expecting it, due to various geographical and economic factors. So, I move in March 1, a Tuesday, and I expect by April 1 to have some good sprouts shooting up. Pictures to come the post after moving day.

Veggies to plant:

english peas

Second batch:
End of March, Beginning of April:
green beans
2 kinds of squash
3 lettuces

To come...

Monday, February 21, 2011

Food For the Day

I've been thinking lately about what I call "The Patented Hippie Diet".

The patented hippie diet consists of veggies, fruits, grains, fish, oatmeal, and home made bread, and maybe some yogurt. I'm not a super carnivore myself, but meat (organic, free range, etc) in moderation is certainly reasonable. The idea is that if you feed your body properly, it will treat you properly.

Doctors (not all, however) will tell you that anywhere from 1-5 bowel movements per week is normal. I must disagree. Whatever amount of food goes in, there will be some waste from each meal. Ideally, you would have a bowel movement each time you eat. However, particularly if you eat a really small meal, you may not. I would say that if you are going once a day, you are probably ahead of most people. Twice is pretty damn good, and every time you eat is a bowel movement rockstar. If you're having "problems" going, you are, almost certainly, not getting enough fiber. So, stop coming to the pharmacy and getting laxatives and Immodium, and change your diet! It's easier, cheaper, and MUCH better for your body and your belly.

I've noticed that if I eat 'like a hippie', I tend to go at least twice a day, I feel better, and I'm thinner. No, hippie food isn't fried, it's rarely overly savory, and beyond the fruit and honey sweetness, it's not typically sugary. But, it's pretty dang good, and really good for you. So, next time you have a choice between a fat burger and a veggie panini, at least give it some thought before you add the side of fries.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Local Eats

Today's article has to do with my particular craving. Indian food.

As I missed posting last Friday, a short introduction to local buying.
When you purchase from local establishments, more than half of the dollar spent returns to the community--an immeasurable value over time. It also supports uniqueness of a city. The better small businesses do, the more likely others are to open a small business. Food quality is also often better at local eateries, specifically.

So, today, specifically, food.

The Star of India is by far the best Indian restaurant in town. The staff always greets you as though you are a beloved niece, long lost. It's 'always a pleasure darling, always a pleasure.' However, you will find yourself well attended only when you need attending--you are never bothered overly.

The food is amazing. When it comes to Indian food, if you accidentally order too spicy, remember to ask for a side of yogurt. It will kill the spice, but keep the flavor. The chicken tikka saag was epic, and the lamb biryani was so tender it was worth a tear.

Short version: if you like Indian food, or even if you don't, you'll love the Star of India.

Happy Local Eating!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

On the memories of Gardening

I'd like to be a toddler, walking through the garden at my grandfather's heels, digging my toes into the sweet earth...once more, just once more.

I don't know what most people grow up with anymore. Here in AR, maybe more people than elsewhere grow up with a garden. Maybe not. I was child to an older mother, so my childhood was much like that of someone a generation older than myself, when gardens were somewhat more commonplace.

A garden to me means summer, sweat, canning, family. It means fresh veggies, taking the long way around the yard so as not to disturb the plants, and old folks enjoying the pleasures of a front porch. It means good stories, and cold water, and hot coffee.

What does a garden mean to you? What feelings are you trying to capture with your garden--no matter how small it may be? Perhaps it's something more simplistic than what I've outlined here. Whatever it is, consider it as you begin considering what to plant in the next couple of months.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Monday, and on being behind already

It snowed last week. A foot of true powder covered the streets, the hills, and every car uncovered. It was beautiful, and I wished I was in a cabin with a fireplace.

Unfortunately, my internet was also out during that time, so I didn't exactly finish the intro posts as I had intended. All that is left is Friday's Local Stuff introduction, which you'll get Friday!

Monday's topic is food.

Like many people, I have a conflicted relationship with food. My natural inclination is to eat fried, sweet, salty, wonderful yumminess. Thankfully, I genuinely LOVE vegetables, fresh fruit, and grains, so I am able to overcome my base desires for bad food.

Most of the time.

Sugar. It's an addiction. Most people don't want to admit it--or, alternatively, they do admit it, but don't really think about what that means. When people talk about the quality of chocolate, they'll say, "Oh, you get used to the darker, less sweet stuff, and eventually you don't even think the other tastes good."

That's because, like any addiction, once it's out of your system, you don't crave it anymore. That doesn't mean you can't easily pick up the habit again--even just one little brownie, I think, would be enough to get that sweet tooth reactivated.

Next time you pick up something sweet to eat, consider if you're even thinking about whether or not you want it--or is it just a habit, a craving that you can't deny?

Sugar is certainly something I have a problem with. It's one of the things I'm hoping to work on as part of this blog.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Gardening is an valuable skill to have--it's truly a self-sufficient skill worthy of having. It's good exercise, can save you money, tastes better than store bought, has more nutrients...and can also be superbly frustrating. Bugs will strike, you'll forget to water plants, and you'll wind up eating nothing but salad because it's what survived...and it'll be worth every moment, because you will experience euphoria.

My friend Sally and I are planting a lovely garden this year. My main topics in this area will be composting, natural pest control, starting seedlings indoors, harvesting, preserving, and so forth. Hopefully, I'll also show weekly pictures to give you an idea of what my weekly progress is here at my grow zone.

Even if you are only capable of planting a small window planter with some spinach or lettuces--do it! You will get a nice feeling of pride, as well as some nice salads out of it.

Let's not forget all the salad you won't have to buy from 'the man'.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Food, and Eating It

Why, you may ask, do food choices matter? Beyond their obvious nutritional role in keeping us alive, of course.

The type of food you buy (and the places you buy it from, but we'll get to that Friday)influences the trends that purchasers at grocery stores see. The more demand for quality food the purchaser sees, the more it will be made available. The more growers are pressured to produce quality, pesticide free, fair trade, etc, food, the more they will produce of it--and the less low quality food will be sent out into the world. Less low quality food also means fewer toxins added to the environment. Think about it. You're voting with every bite you take--even if you don't care about politics, you're participating in them. Think about what you want your vote to mean.

Food. It's what's for dinner.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Barefoot Numero Uno

Welcome to my brand-spanking new blog. Well, ok, it's been sitting around, quite dusty, for a while now. Nonetheless, I am officially activating blog power.

I plan on doing roughly 3-4 posts per week, with the following subjects on the following days.

Monday: Food (sounds general, but you'll see a trend develop quite quickly)

Wednesday: Gardening

Friday: Buying and Dealing Locally

Randomly: Everything else

The theme, if you will, will be sustainability.

If you're good little readers and keep an eye out, there will also be giveaways and contests. To support local people, defined as anyone in the state of AR, since Little Rock is centrally located, there may also be coupons for local businesses available here and there.

I appreciate everyone's readership, and patience with my developing trajectory...

Happy Living!