December 21, 2014

Tomato, Beet, and Sweet Potato Yogurt from Blue Hill

Our main grocery store, Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage, is doing a major over-haul of their yogurt selections. There are businesses that start with an idea, and then run for the money, and then there are businesses that start with an idea, and then they take that idea even further. Vitamin Cottage seems to have been started with the idea that they'd only offer healthy foods, and they're continually looking hard at the latest research to determine what that really means. Then they act on what they've found. And right now they're taking action in the dairy department.

Natural Grocers is upgrading its guidelines for sourcing ingredients used in dairy products such as ice cream, cheese, and yogurt. The new guidelines will require that milk ingredients be sourced from dairies that provide animals with access to pasture and a natural diet of grass and forage. In addition, milk cannot be sourced from animals raised using non-therapeutic antibiotics, hormone treatments, growth promotants, or feed containing animal by-products such as bone meal, scraps and blood.
 So they've gotten rid of a couple of the yogurt brands that we buy: Brown Cow and Noosa. Rob has been a Brown Cow fan since the days when he used to buy it at Rainbow Grocery in San Francisco back when it was located on Mission Street. (Which is another way of saying, "a couple of decades ago.) Noosa is a local brand, and it's tough not to be supporting a local brand. Then again, I want the best food product for my kids and if the local brand isn't the best, and there are better options out there, I'm open to trying them out.

Vitamin Cottage has been changing out the old brands with new, and some rather unique, yogurts that I'd never seen before. Traderspoint Creamery is served in single serving glass containers and their whole milk yogurt is really delicious. They're located in Indiana. I haven't tried their other flavors yet. We still have a banana mango flavored Traderspoint in the fridge that I'll probably check out tomorrow. I also bought some Dreaming Cow yogurts to taste, but I haven't dug into them yet. They're from Southern Georgia.

But for lunch today I pulled out the three most interesting yogurts and tested them out on the fam. We had Blue Hill's Tomato, Beet, and Sweet Potato yogurts. And wow! They were all much better than I had anticipated.

We started with tomato. I thought it was excellent. It had a subtle tomato flavor and reminded me of when you're eating lasagna and manage to snag a bite that's just ricotta and tomato sauce. Yum!

The rest of the family had the exact opposite reaction of mine. I don't know if it was the knowledge of what they were eating or if it was truly the flavor, but not only did no one else like it, but Rob had one of his characteristic over-the-top responses, which might have affected the kids' perceptions.

Second was the beet. Ironically, I didn't like this one as well in the beginning, but everyone else took to this one better. One of the girls went and grabbed the honey and added some in and I have to admit, that made the good yogurt into a really yummy yogurt.

Third was the sweet potato. There were no strong reactions one way or the other on this one. I suppose it was a bit like eating the filling from a sweet potato pie. I'm not a big enough sweet potato fan to go with this one again. It just didn't do anything for me. But I think I may buy tomato and beet again. I'd love to try them as a dollop of flavor on top of something else... like enchiladas or borscht.

Blue Hill is located in New York.

On the one hand, it's great having a whole new crop of yogurts to try out. Vitamin Cottage's decision to only offer dairy products from grass fed cows is going to open up a new market for small scale artisanal producers. I think that's wonderful.

On the other hand, though only one of the yogurts we used to eat regularly was local, none of these new yogurts are even close to local. I wish there were some options from closer to home. Hopefully more small producers will start taking heart that there is a market for products such as this and step in to fill our local void. (Then again, the argument in the newspaper is that we don't have the grasslands to support the raising of grass fed cows. Which could mean that something like this will never be a local product. I'd be curious to hear from local producers about their thoughts on this.)

All in all it was a fun experiment. As much as my family groaned and whined, I think they enjoyed trying out yogurts that were so unusual. And of course, any chance to roll their eyes at mom is time well spent. 

October 11, 2014

Imagine the Problem...

From Charles Bowden's book Blood Orchid:

"Imagine the problem is not physical. Imagine the problem has never been physical, that it is not biodiversity, it is not the ozone layer, it is not the green house effect, the whales, the old-growth forest, the loss of jobs, the crack in the ghetto, the abortions, the tongue in the mouth, the diseases stalking everywhere as love goes on unconcerned. Imagine the problem is not some syndrome of our society that can be solved by commissions or laws or a redistribution of what we call wealth. Imagine that it goes deeper, right to the core of what we call our civilization and that no one outside of ourselves can affect real change, that our civilization, our governments are sick and that we are mentally ill and spiritually dead and that all our issues and crises are symptoms of this deeper sickness... then what are we to do?"

I took this quote from the High Country News article on Charles Bowden entitled "Charles Bowden's Fury: How a desert writer chased his own white whale", October 13, 2014, Vol. 46 No. 17

September 29, 2014

Texts from a daughter

I'm cleaning through my texts and noticed a pattern from Naomi that was kind of cute. "How to" questions. (The "how to" is implied in the last one.)

I want to cook this cod filet. how should I do that

how do I cook peas properly
mom she refuses to move

September 27, 2014

Jeffco School Board History

Somehow, while updating this post, I brilliantly managed to delete it all. So this is a redo with added tweets. 

According to the Denver Post, the Jefferson County School Board wants to focus on the "positive aspects" of U.S. history and focus on the parts of history that "promote citizenship, patriotism, essentials and benefits of the free enterprise system, respect for authority and respect for individual rights." History curriculum should not, "encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law."

There have been some hilarious responses to these proposed curriculum changes under the twitter hashtag  Here are some of my favorites:

Several of these were taken from the Westword blog's post. (Some spammer has started using the tag, making it hard to find the earlier posts.) 

August 7, 2014

Take Me to the Water

We've been at a new church for a year and a half now, but we haven't become members yet because I haven't been dunked. I was baptized as an infant and even though I think infant baptism doesn't make a whole lot of sense (since an infant can't make a life-decision like that), I've rolled with the fact that that's how it happened to me and I haven't gotten re-baptized.

But now I'd like to become a member at Immanuel Community Church (kitty corner from City Park across Mulberry) and that means it's dunking time (seeing as they're a Southern Baptist congregation). I figure that since it has to be done if I'm going to become a member, I might as well make a bit of an event of it and invite all my friends to come watch.

So this Sunday, after the church service, we're going to be heading over to the Poudre river (near the Hickory Spur bridge) and Pastor Brad is going to baptize both Nathan and myself. (It'll be Nathan's first time getting baptized. So that's kinda the bigger deal.)

You don't have to be a Christian to come appreciate the event. Baptism has been around since before the time of Christ. As a history blogger, I value not only the spiritual meaning of the ritual but also the cultural and historic significance behind it.

Jews had a purification ritual that involved being dunked in water, which is why even before Jesus began his ministry, John was out baptizing people. He called them to repentance and performed the ritual as a sign of their commitment to that repentance.

In Christianity, baptism is a public act. (Which makes sense since early Christians didn't have baptismal founts in their worship buildings. They would go to a river or lake where anyone could see them.) It is therefore a statement to the community that a person has chosen to follow the Christ Jesus. I will be affirming a decision I made long ago when I get baptized on Sunday.

Baptism is also a symbolic act. Christianity embodies a belief that a man named Jesus was fully human and fully deity and that he walked physically on this earth. He was killed on a Roman cross, remained dead for several days, and then bodily/physically was resurrected and walked the earth again. As a Christian, the Bible says we died with Christ and we will be raised with him. Baptism symbolizes that death (going into the water) and rebirth (coming back out). It also symbolizes the spiritual cleansing through the blood sacrifice of Jesus.

Whether you agree with any of these things or not, I'd still appreciate being surrounded by my friends on Sunday and would love for you to be there. I'm thinking that we'll start off by singing Amazing Grace near the north side of the bridge. It's a song that most people know (or have at least heard on several occasions). It's fitting for the occasion. It has historical and cultural significance as well as spiritual significance, so you may appreciate singing the song even if you're not a Christian. And it'll also give people time to arrive. Then we'll walk down to a spot in the river that's not already full of people. (And if we can't find a spot like that, then we'll just ask people to pardon us for a short time while Nathan and I are baptized.) I'll bring some grain-free peanut butter cookies, and if you want to bring some munchies to share, you're welcome to, and we can hang out for a bit afterwards.

I'm not envisioning this being a long thing. If you want to ask questions about it all afterwards, I'd be happy to chat about it. (OK, the truth of the matter is that Rob would probably be way more into talking about it than I would. I'm more of a writer than a talker. But hey, I'll be there. I can chat.) If you don't want to talk about baptism we can just hang. And that'll be it. Short and sweet.

So here's the details:

Sunday, August 10th, near the Hickory Spur bridge. (See map below.) There's parking at Martinez park, Legacy park, or even up at the Salyer Natural Area off Hemlock. It's an easy walk from any of those locations. Or bike on over. (That's what we'll probably do.)

Feel free to bring a swim suit and an inner tube if you want. Church services usually end just before noon. So we're aiming to have the baptism at 12:30. Maybe aim for 12:20 just to be sure you get there in time.