Gingerbread Quick Bread with Lemon Glaze
The conversation was about the difficulty of eating healthy while poor. I had just shared my favorite article on the topic and a few friends were chiming in with their own experiences. Then one of my friends said: "People should eat healthy even if they're poor. They could always just plant a vegetable garden. Seeds are cheap." It amazes me how often this suggestion gets thrown around willy-nilly, but somehow I hear it every time I discuss food insecurity.
Gentle explanations of why this would be a difficult solution for plenty of people were met with more and more fervent assertions of why if they really TRIED . . . and if they CARED . . . and if they were willing to WORK . . .
I wrote this post as part of the Plugrá Butter Brigade. Thanks, Plugrá, for sponsoring the development of this Gingerbread Gooey Butter Cake Ice Cream Sundae recipe and for making my favorite butter!
My current working hypothesis is that every family has a stellar-gift-giver and a terrible-gift-giver. My brother- and sister-in-law are my family's stellar-gift-givers. Plenty of people give great gifts, but their gifts are stellar: the perfect blend of thoughtful, fun, useful, slightly poignant. Mike's dad was a Marine, and after picking up on a couple of nostalgia stories, they paid his way to the shooting range so he could fire an M4 again. They bought Mike's grandmother a real tumbleweed. I know that doesn't sound like a good present (actually, it sounds like it could rival coal for the new naughty-list gift) but she loves the southwest and it fit perfectly with her eclectic home decor. Who thinks of this stuff?
Brown Butter Spice Cake with Whipped Icing
I've partnered with ALDI to try out their grocery stores and develop holiday recipes for you! ALDI's has compensated me for my time and recipe development, but all my opinions are my own.
Mike's been trying to whittle down our spending since we're in a lean financial period. The cars and the dog keep falling apart at random intervals and requiring numerous visits to the mechanic and vet, respectively (we don't take our dog to the mechanic, although perhaps that's a thought. I wonder if they take Care Credit.)
He had been suggesting we eat out less, much to my dismay, but he finally analyzed our spending a few weeks ago and realized that that's not the problem. It's not even the dog, though we just found out she has allergies. Good grief.
Drunken Pumpkin Gingerbread Snack Cake
Mike and I sometimes play a game where we list all the places we'd love to live. We both gravitate towards big cities with great public transportation (or walkability), great food, and lots of things to do. Topping my list are San Diego, San Francisco (in its cheaper days, please), and Florence! Wouldn't it be nuts to live in Florence?
One thing that baffles us during these discussions is how people live where it's cold. A huge chunk of our nation's population lives where it's cold for, like, half the year! Where they have to dig their cars out of snow to go to work starting in October! Where things like ice fishing and snowshoeing exist! You might be sitting somewhere right now where it's already started snowing. I need to understand.
Cheesecake-Stuffed Pumpkin Bread
I spent one summer in college working as a research tech in my developmental neuroscience lab with students from all over the country. One of the new friends I made was Crystal. Through our chatting while wrangling frogs and culturing neurons, we quickly discovered that we were both Christians. One day while we were elbow-deep cleaning out tadpole tanks, our conversation turned toward salvation and the idea that some people would not be saved. Crystal surprised me by being ambivalent. I'd never seen someone so devout equivocate on the matter. I for one had no trouble with it: I figured everyone would be, somehow, given a fair chance, and they'd either choose to follow Christ or it would be justifiable that they weren't saved.
As we continued discussing, I could see that her heart and her love for her friends of different faiths was the source of her questioning. I took a moment to stop thinking about the particulars of the argument (in other words, this isn't a post about the particulars of that argument) and to look inward: Why did it bother her so much more than it bothered me that some people wouldn't be saved? Why was it such an easy answer for me? Shouldn't I be more torn up about that?