Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween! What are your plans today? I have to zipped down to the kids' preschool to help with their Halloween party, then we'll head into town for trick-or-treating after dinner. Our teensy-tiny fire department, which is smack-dab in the center of town, opens up each Halloween and creates a big warm-up space for festivity-goers with donuts, hot chocolate and coffee (it's usually cold here on Halloween!).

Halloween has always been my favorite holiday, but not because of the gut and gore of it all. My favorite parts of Halloween have always been seeing all the costumes (and handing out goodies) and the vintage Halloween cartoons on TV. I know - corny! - but I love it. Growing up, I always looked forward to "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" 45 spinning on the record player. So I thought I'd share it with you. Here is the audio, or if you'd like, the Disney film (starring Bing Crosby). Enjoy (and stay safe among the ghouls!).

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Homemade Halloween Goodies

First off, I'm hoping anyone affected by Hurricane Sandy is doing well. Best wishes for a safe and speedy recovery.

If you are like me, you probably waited until the last minute to get your Halloween goodies together. Fear not - there is still time to make some treats from scratch!

If you don't have the time to make your own, I'm going to let you in on a new favorite secret of mine: G.H. Cretors popcorn! This stuff is bonkers good, and the best part is that it's Gluten-Free, GMO-Free, Kosher, and made with all-natural ingredients. 
G.H. Cretors - Chicago Mix

The Chicago Mix is definitely my favorite - it's a mix of cheese and caramel corn. I love the Caramel Nut Crunch, too.
G.H. Cretors - Carmel Nut Crunch


Get a sample pack and try them all out! So good. You can buy on the site, on Amazon or use the store locator for more information. This would be an awesome holiday present (hint hint). Keep tabs on G.H. Cretors on Facebook.

Good luck prepping for Halloween! Are you handing out candy or going the extra mile to make something special? How many trick-or-treaters do you get? (We get two.)

Food Day Favorites

I totally missed posting about World Food Day. And National Food Day. Ugh. But that doesn't mean I wasn't celebrating! Indeed, I was using the five steps of the GROW Method and continue to incorporate those ideas into my culinary pursuits.

Oxfam America GROW campaign has created some awesome Pinterest boards to help me with these efforts (well, not just me,  but everybody, I suppose). I thought I'd share some of my favorite ideas from the Oxfam GROW Method Pinterest page to help you incorporate the GROW Method into your own cooking style.

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Poached Pears in Puff Pastry (say that three times fast)

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You can check out the rest of the Oxfam GROW Method Pinterest boards here (I highly recommend a follow!). Happy pinning and eating!

Friday, October 5, 2012

How the GROW Method Works

As I've mentioned, the Oxfam America GROW Method is a simple way to help folks like you and me make the global food system more fair. The GROW Method follows five principles to achieve this: Save Food, Support, Cook Smart, Seasonal, and Less.

GROW method

Just like the above graphic shows, there are easy ways to help promote a fair food system from your own kitchen. Reduce the amount of waste your create, buy from small/independent producers, cut down on water and energy use, buy food that's in season (or better yet... grow your own!), and eat less meat and dairy on occasion to reduce greenhouse gas.

The below publication offers some more ideas from the GROW Method. Take a look, if you'd like.

I'll be sharing more tips with you leading up to World Food Day on October 16. Stay tuned!

This post (and my sharing on social media) was inspired by my participation in a compensated program initiated by Women Online/The Mission List to raise awareness about Oxfam America's GROW Method. All commentary and opinions are, of course, my own. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Oxfam America's GROW Method

I'm a big believer in eating local, buying sustainable products, and supporting small, independent farmers. I can see first-hand how doing so affect my life directly. Often I wonder about how my actions contribute to similar global causes - does this really help keep money in the community? Are my actions reflected in other communities? Does this to anything to help combat global issues like poverty, hunger, and the distribution of resources? Unless you have infinite hours in the day to read lots of reports and research, it's kind of hard to know (and this is coming from someone with a Masters degree in Political Science, aka a research junkie!)

Thankfully, there are organizations like Oxfam America who monitor these issues for me. And it doesn't only monitor, it creates programs to end disparities like hunger, poverty, and injustice. Working with individuals and groups in more than 90 countries, Oxfam saves lives, helps people overcome poverty, and fights for social justice. Oxfam America is one of 17 affiliates in the international confederation of Oxfam.

Oxfam America has created the GROW Method to help average peeps (like you and me) contribute to the mission of making the food system more fair for everyone. The above slideshow has five easy tips for doing this from your own dining table. Save Food, Support, Cook Smart, Seasonal, and Less are the guiding principles for the GROW Method, and Oxfam America have pulled together a whole host of resources to help you in this information. Check out Oxfam's Pinterest boards, or like Oxfam America on Facebook.

I'll be sharing more tips with you leading up to World Food Day on October 16. Stay tuned!

This post (and my sharing on social media) was inspired by my participation in a compensated program initiated by Women Online/The Mission List to raise awareness about Oxfam America's GROW Method. All commentary and opinions are, of course, my own. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Handmade Holiday Gifts

Once fall hits, I start thinking about what I'll be making my friends and family for the holidays. I love giving gifts that are intentional and filled with love, and handmade gifts fit that bill. Here's what I'm thinking of making my loved ones this holiday season -