Benefits of Cooking and Eating at Home

The magazine Whole Living reports that when women who are trying to lose weight eat meals they’ve made at home (especially lunch), they drop 5 pounds a year more than women who eat out. Those who eat regular meals every day lost 8 pounds more. (This is probably true for men as well given that restaurants in general tend to add a lot of fat, salt, and sugar to their food to make it taste better.)

Here’s an example of a quick, easy, and healthy meal that I made after the Thanksgiving holiday to carry to the beach. It’s a chilled soba noodle salad with tofu, veggies (like cilantro, cherry tomatoes, cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, and wakame), with peanut sauce.  This is as simple as boiling the noodles, chopping the vegetables, and mixing together the ingredients for the dressing!

Holiday Cooking Class (a few select photos)

Here are a few images of the food from today’s side dishes class.

The menu was:

Holiday Rice
Artichoke and Heart of Palm Salad
Pumpkin Coconut Bisque
Christmas Parsnip Soup
Sweet Potato Casserole with Mapled Pecans
Oven Baked Squash

Also the second side dishes class included: Cranberry Chutney; Green Beans w/Pumpkin Seed Dressing; Mashed Potatoes w/Shiitake Gravy; Olive, Onion, Walnut Pan Bread; Brussels Sprout Salad.

Apple Pie is on the dessert menu ?

Adventures in grocery shopping with Wonder Woman

Earlier this morning, I went to my favorite health food store to purchase all the necessary ingredients for my cooking class, Refreshing Summer Dishes.  One of the items on my list was polenta, and so I browsed the bulk section in search of it.  I go to the bulk section first because I can find better prices there as well as cutting down on environmentally unsound packaging. Upon looking, to my dismay, it wasn’t there.  Since we live on an island, there are bound to be things that may not be in stock from time to time.  Often, this store keeps them on the next aisle (or so I thought), but in pre-packaged bags.

When I got to the next aisle, there was still no polenta, but there was a woman who I assumed was a store clerk because, well, because she looked like someone who would work at this health food store, and she was also wearing a colorful name tag necklace (along with a Wonder Woman t-shirt).  She appeared to be talking to another customer, and I thought since she was there, I’d ask her if she knew where to find it.

“Excuse me” I said, “There doesn’t appear to be any polenta in bulk or here on this aisle either. Do you know if there is any available?”

“Oh that’s strange” she said. It’s usually in bulk.  The other customer said, “I’ll go look for you.”

“Hmmm… that’s strange,” I thought to myself…. why would another customer go look.  Did she work in the store too?

We were wandering the aisle while the other person was looking back in the bulk section.  She suggested we move over to the baking section where Bob’s Redmill products were carried. We searched high and low only to discover corn meal (for baking corn bread).  I was just about to throw in the towel when we turned around and found it a bit higher up on one of the shelves. At this point, she said something like, “I don’t work here, but I really like the polenta too.”

My mouth dropped open. I was so embarrassed!!  She really paid it forward for me today! Thanks Wonder Woman!

Workshop – Food Futures

Workshop – Food Futures

Hawaii Food Policy Council takes a seriously fun look at the future of our food. What role can policy play to influence our food system?

The Hawaii Food Policy Council is excited to team up with the Hawaii Research Center for Futures Studies to develop an immersive tour of Hawaii’s possible future food systems, set in 2055. Alternative Futures is a creative approach to long-term community and organizational planning – an approach that places a premium on creating multiple scenarios that reflect the range of possibilities and potentials that any future may contain. Futures does not judge one alternative future to be greater than another but rather allows all potentialities their equal right to be…and to be experienced. Through experience we gain insight, and through insight we can begin the process of creating a reality that represents our “best of all possible futures.” The HFPC believes that the Alternative Futures toolkit will give us new ways of thinking not only about what is possible for Hawaii’s food system – both the good and the bad – but also give us a shared language and process for collaboratively envisioning what we want our food system to look like, and how we can go about effecting the changes necessary for driving our preferred future forward. By challenging our perceptions of the possible – we will make better policy.

September  20 & 21, 2012
Hawaii Convention Center, Honolulu

Read more about the Ag Conference [Full Story]