Monday, September 8, 2014

Fresh Coffee

Over the last weekend I happened to catch a Ted video done by Asher Yarin from Bali talking about coffee ( It was quite inspiring and I learned a lot about one of my favorite drinks. I then went online and purchased a pound of green coffee beans, which came mid week.

This weekend, I had the chance to do my first roast. It was very simple. All it did was take a pie plate, put a cup of beans in it and set it on the stove. I cooked them, stirring the whole time, until they were a dark brown color, let them cool and out them in a jar. They should rest for about 24 hours and then they can be ground and brewed. The coffee was very good, but the first batch was a little weak because I had forgotten the beans to ground ratio from when we used to grind beans a while ago.

If you have a chance give it a try. There is nothing like a really fresh cup of coffee, hot and black. Even thougbit takes a while to do it, I am kind of hooked.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Technology Failure

First of all, my apologies for not posting until now. Life has intervened.  But I digress. As you may know, last year I purchased a table made by Samsung which is made to compete with the iPad. It costs almost the same, has a few more features that I like, and was working well until just recently. I am not sure what is wrong, but I think I have to do a factory reset. It was becoming so sluggish it is unusable.

My job as a council member afforded the ability to use an iPad because it was loaned to me for the length of my term. All I can say is wow, this thing rocks. It is fast, responsive and the resolution is beautiful. I was trying to put off buying Apple products because of all the hype but quite honestly I am sold. I may almost break down and get an iPhone when my contract is up on my phone. Not sure I am going to get a Mac to replace my laptop, but maybe...

It is very refreshing to work on something that works the way it is supposed to. The things it says it is supposed to do, it does, and the technology is incredible. There is not too much that disappoints with this thing. It is frankly a better product than the Samsung, and if you are considering a tablet, the iPad is the way to go.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Home Grown

I had the utmost satisfaction tonight making dinner. Most of the things I prepared were from my garden. It hasn't been the greatest this year, in comparisons to other years, but I do have one, and I made roasted beets with carrots and garlic (all from my garden), pasta with pesto (the basil and garlic were homegrown), and quinoa tabbuloeh with cucumbers from my garden and tomatoes from my neighbors garden, filled me with such glee.

I harvested some onions and squash also, but didn't use them tonight. The squash is from seeds I saved from last year. Despite the fact the resulting vegetable looks somewhat alien, I think it will taste alright. I have tomatoes, but they have not ripened yet. I also have eggplant, well I did have eggplant, but some squirrel or ground hog grabbed the two golf sized fruit right off the stalk.

I just love having really local, fresh produce, that came from my own back yard. It is so satisfying that I can grow something, harvest it, and prepare it for my family. I feel as if I am honoring my roots as this is what my ancestors would have done every night. What a great feeling.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


I got the results of my bloodwork back from this new doctor I am seeing and they were really interesting. Apparently I have something called Leaky Gut Syndrome, among other things, which could be the reason I am having all kinds of digestive problems and weight issues. The bloodwork showed that I have several low level food allergies which were a little surprising.

Mt mother has had food allergies all her life and for a long while I thought I didn't have to worry about it. However as I have gotten older, at a point where the body starts to decline if you don't really pay attention to it, they have reared their ugly heads and begun to cause me issues. Like her, I have a sensitivity to wheat, gluten, and dairy. Interestingly enough string beans ranked very high - weird.

So my doctor suggested I cut all of that out for a month and see what happens. I am having a good time trying all kinds of substitutions in some if the recipes I use, and finding new ones, so there is a positive on that. But cutting out wheat and cheese is a big challenge for me. She is also going to start me on two new supplements and feels pretty confident things will begin to reverse themselves. I am glad she has confidence here, because I am a little doubtful. But we shall see. As my stepfather used to say, "we can only go up from here".w

Friday, May 9, 2014

Food Justice

I attended a presentation of some Temple students who had done a study on sustainable food practices in Norristown last night. First of all I am really happy they chose Norristown to study, regardless of the reasons, it confirmed some things for me but I also learned some things.

One of our biggest issues, which holds us back on many levels, is the poverty rate of our community. In regard to food justice, the demographics prevent a good quality grocery store from opening in the 'burb. We do have a store, but it is not a god quality store and offers very little, if no, organic produce. However I was excited to know that we have several bodegas who do sell fresh produce. In addition, there is a CSA and a few community gardens which can help out. It is a matter if education to make sure they are recognized by the public.

The students offered some great suggestions, and at some point they will present their findings at a Council meeting. One recommendation is the creation of a food policy council where members of the community as well as government representatives can coordinate everything that is going on in the town. I have read really good things about other communities who have them and would be excited to have one of our own. I foresee many good things happening in the area of food justice for our town if we take the recommendations and act on them.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


The other day I was talked into entering a garden contest. The judging is going to be in July and I am all excited. I usually don't think my garden is much of anything. It pleases me and yes, sometimes I blog about it but entering a contest is usually nothing I would think about. I don't think it is really that good. 
It took the picture below the other day before the I spoke to the person.  I showed it to the person who was asking me to enter. She apparent thought is was good enough and said I should enter. Now I am all worried about what needs to be done. There is a lot on my mind and. I have been going through it slowly. I also ordered some plants online and hope they are situated enough when the time comes. It is two months after all.
I have also enlisted the help of my husband, which actually helps because he always needs a kick in the pants to finish anything. He has been working steadily on the rain barrel collection system since this weekend so maybe that's helping. I think it will be finished soon. So wish me luck!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Recycled Art

I went to an art show the other day. It was sponsored by the DEP and Waste Management amd featured thebwork of Norristown Area School District children who had been involved in a project to make art out of trash. More specifically art from recycled items. It was fascinating, a d this picture is of one of my favorites. It is made from water bottles that were colored and then cut up to spiral and then attached to the panel. I love its bright, yet suble, coloring.

I think it is great that an art project like this is done. I hope it showed the kids that everything doesn't have to be thrown away, but can be useful in another way. We are such a disposable nation and are paying for it with the existance of land fills and increased pollution to the planet. Some of the kids said tney were doing projects at home because of this experience.

I know a simple project like this is not going to change the world, bjt it can have an impact. When the children learn that things you buy can have another life it puts a thougt into thier heads to spark their creativity. I hope it also sparks their thinking as to how we can create things that do not make trash, but that has value in and of itself.