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    I'm just a 25-year old girl trying to find a healthy way of living after a few years of losing my way. I'm training for a triathlon and learning all kinds of training and eating tips along the way! I am not an expert - just a girl who is trying to survive in a world of temptations and unhealthy habits. These are my adventures. I hope you enjoy reading them! Feel free to get in touch with me if you have any questions! :)
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Red Gold Giveaway!

A few weeks ago (yes, I know – I need to get “on the ball”) the Red Gold tomato company was nice enough to send me  a nice little package.  In it, there were a whole bunch of goodies, including a cookbook, and three cans of tomatoes.

The third can was already used by this point... 🙂

Look at all of that great stuff!  Thanks again, Red Gold!

Tonight, I was finally able to use the petite diced tomatoes with green chilies.  We decided to make some chili tonight.  It is a little chilly outside, so it was perfect.

The green chilies added a nice little kick that wasn’t too overpowering.  They were a great addition to the chili.  The tomato wasn’t fake tasting at all – pretty fresh for a canned tomato.  I’m looking forward to using the diced tomatoes with basil in another dish soon.  I’ll be sure to let you know how it turns out.

The folks at Red Gold were nice enough to throw in an extra copy of their cookbook for my wonderful readers.  And, I’ll throw in the Red Gold tote bag so you can carry all of your cans of tomatoes home from the grocery store.  🙂

All you have to do is leave a comment by Wednesday sharing your favorite use for canned tomatoes and I’ll randomly select one reader to receive the cookbook and tote bag.  Feel free to mention the giveaway in your blog – I would really appreciate it!  🙂

Good luck!  Happy weekend!

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Hello Blogword!

Yes, it’s me.  And, I’m about to do one of those “I’m-sorry-I’ve-been-too-busy-to-blog” posts.  I apologize!

But, it’s true!  Student teaching has taken up so much time!  I feel like I’m never home and I haven’t really sat down for more than 10 minutes without doing any work.  I’ve had my new Rachael Ray magazine for about a week and I’ve only read about 1o pages of it.  Yes, this is serious, my friends.  🙂

I hope to get more time to blog.  Lent started this week so I have to start getting creative.  I don’t have a lot of meatless meals in my collection.  I need a lot more.  If you have suggestions, let me know!

Until then, dear readers.  Have a fantastic weekend!!  🙂

Another Reason to Hate Bureaucracy

I saw this story when it was tweeted by Rick Bayless earlier today.  It’s extremely sad and illustrates just how silly some government policies are.

Here is the link to the article posted on “The Stew”, a blog through the Chicago Tribune that’s all about Chicago’s food scene.  The blog was written by Monica Eng.  While there are a lot of unanswered questions, one thing remains clear – thousands of dollars worth of food was destroyed by health inspectors with bleach.

“In a sad struggle that unfolded in a West Town kitchen Thursday night, Department of Health inspectors seized, slashed open and poured bleach over thousands of dollars of local peaches, pears, raspberry and plum purees owned by pastry chef Flora Lazar. She’d purchased the fruit from Green City Market farmers last summer and had planned to use it to make local fruit gelees for her business, Flora Confections.”

To make things worse, there was nothing wrong with the food at all – there was a mixup with some paperwork.

“Inspectors cited no health problems with any of the food. They even encouraged Lazar’s son to eat the confiscated granola bars from Sunday Dinner Club. They only said the food was prepared by chefs who didn’t have the proper business licenses to prepare and sell it. But apparently in Chicago, you also need a license to give fruit to your child.”

The business-owner did what they had to do.  She was honest and did the right thing, but in the end, she was hurt by it.

“The destruction of organic artisanal granola bars and local fruit from Klug Farm and Hillside Orchards is heartbreaking to any local food advocate. But for Flora Lazar, this setback the week before Valentine’s Day is devastating.

‘This puts me out of business for six months,” a despondent Lazar said. “I have done everything by the rules. Instead of making the food at home, which I could easily do, I sought out and rented space in a licensed kitchen. When [the city] finally said we could apply for a separate license, I did that. I paid my $600 and invited the inspectors here today.'”

Now, there are a lot of issues here.  There’s the issue of government bureaucracy showing it’s absolutely ridiculous side.  (This is not news.)  And, there’s the issue of small businesses – that are just trying to stay afloat in our crappy economy – getting ripped apart by losing money and supplies and government policies.  Don’t get me wrong – these issues are huge and definitely need to be addressed.

However, the issue that I really drives me absolutely crazy is the wasting of perfectly good, healthy food.  Food is expensive.  Food – especially good food – is hard to come by.  And, some people don’t have anything.  The health inspectors went too far – I know there must have been other options.  (I don’t know the policies – but c’mon!  Really?  Bleach?)  Food pantries, taking it home for personal use, etc.  There had to be a better solution.  I feel terrible for the small business owner – especially because she did the right thing.  She did what she was supposed to do.  I hope this doesn’t seriously hurt her business.

I commend Ms. Eng for bringing this to our attention and I hope something changes because of the exposure in the article.  I’ll be sure to look for a follow up article in the future.

Shame on you, Chicago!

To My Biggest Fan…

Hi blogword…

I apologize for my absence.  Like I usually say, things have been a little crazy around here.  Last week wasn’t the greatest week.  On top of not being very mobile because of my ankle, I started student teaching – which has gone well so far.  On Tuesday, a friend and mentor from my high school passed away.  And, on Wednesday, my grandfather passed away.

About a year ago, he was diagnosed with ALS.  The first sign was his voice.  He started to have trouble speaking clearly.  At the end of summer, it was hard to understand him at all.  Since his diagnosis, his mobility began to decline a little at a time.  Up until about two months ago, he could still walk.  However, from about December on, it grew increasingly more difficult because it was hard for him to breathe.  In July, he had a feeding tube put in.  He tried to eat as much as he could – but when his speech left, so did his ability to eat.  In the end, he was so miserable it was painful for an outsider to watch.

He kept his promise to wait for my sisters to come home from their trips.  They saw him before he passed away and gave him the coins they collected for him – he was an avid coin collector.  My entire family was there, in addition to my cousin, when he passed away.

My grandfather was a wonderful man.  He had such a love for life and for his family.  He would give you the shirt off his back.  He loved food – which made it even more heartbreaking when he lost the ability to eat.  He loved all of my cooking and appreciated anything I made – even if he didn’t like it.  He truly was my biggest culinary fan.

I miss him so much already.  But, I know he’s up in heaven enjoying a huge piece of chocolate cake with some chocolate ice cream – partially melted.  (He taught me to microwave my ice cream to get it juuuuuuust right)  He’s up there driving his cars with the angels and not holding any smart-ass comment back.  He truly is in a better place.

I love you, Grandpa.