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but, what about the bananas?!

7 Feb

Oh bananas.

You are so wonderful. Your crazy peel sometimes makes you impossible to open, but it’s always worth the wait. Some people may not like you when you are mushy, but I’m not biased. I’ll take you as you are.

Your creamy insides make wonderful smoothies, overnight oatmeal, and “ice cream”. Your taste brightens and warms the best gluten free bread I’ve ever had and your sweet sugar power an athlete through exercise. And don’t forget your nutritional information. I mean, let’s face it, your the poster-child for a potassium super star.

Truly, you are amazing.

I’ve been thinking about bananas a lot lately and if you’ve checked out our What Are We Reading? page lately, you would have seen that I have been reading Banana by Dan Koeppel.

This is probably the reason for my current obsession with them lately. And as I mentioned before, I’ve had the best banana bread EVER this past month, so the thought of that is also still dancing around in my head and tickling my taste buds.

Despite those wonderful banana-y thoughts, I will warn you this post is slightly political in nature and if you think that I’m on a soap box, well I’m not. I’m merely on a “concerned” orange 60’s-style dinette chair, so deal with it.

I must admit that Banana was hard to get through. The cover said “fast-paced” but there we so many names and places and different scientists that it was hard to keep track and it bounced around a lot. In turn, it took me a little over a month to get through240 pages. Either way, the information in this book really rocked me.

Here’s the thing: most people are not aware that the bananas we eat today have created hardship, death, suffering, extreme heath problems for the people involved with producing them, and civil rights faux pax at its worst. The indigenous people of the countries OUR bananas are grown in (Guatemala, Honduras, Colombia, etc) have been exploited in the worst ways possible.

Why is this? Well it turns out that bananas are fickle beasts. They are shipped to America in specially made ships from all parts of the world, mainly South America, and then put in elaborate ripening rooms, then are delivered to our grocery stores so that they are in there no more than 7 days. They are there to un-green and  fully ripen and then be bought or thrown out because they are “too” brown, or in my opinion just a little speckled. It’s a short amount of time in our stores for a lot of work. Bananas of the world are also being attacked by all sorts of diseases and bacterium. There are two that are particularly catastrophic and that affects both the bananas we put in our smoothies and the people who live off them to survive throughout the world. These diseases could virtually wipe out the worlds’ supply of bananas at an alarming rate.

To combat one of these diseases, the banana companies spray the bananas with a very toxic chemical. The workers who do the spraying have extremely high risks of getting cancer among other horrible fate’s and most certainly completely sterile. Not to mention they are already poor and many times have been forced to either work the plantations or be shot to death.

You really should read this book to find out more about the back story on all that these people have endured just so we could have bananas here. It is disgusting and it really further shows how selfish and money-hungry we can be as a nation.

There is so much more to this story but it is looking like there are two options. Either America quits eating bananas so the workers in the plantations do not have to meet such a high quota to fill our needs and they can just grow them to support their own, or we have to start developing a genetically modified banana that will be resistant to these diseases.

Immediately the thought of genetically modified (GMO) bananas sickens me. After reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma, I’ve learned how farmers are indebted and locked in to governmental mandates because of these GMO’s. But the author provides the notion that because of the banana’s intricacies, there is little-to-no issues with this idea as there are with the GMO’s we think of here in America. It still remains to be seen how GMO’s affect the people who eat them, but one of the main scientists behind the GMO banana believes that with his work, there is no risk.

So, either we give up bananas or we try “test-tube” bananas.

It’s a quandary and kind of upsetting to me.

I really do love bananas and as a selfish American who has been raised to believe we absolutely NEED bananas (especially with oatmeal), which was in all reality the workings of Chiquita and Dole marketing, I don’t want to give up bananas!

Apparently conditions of workers have improved over the years, but countries have been destroyed by the banana companies. Families were decimated, lives were ruined. All for fruit? Is a creamier smoothie really worth it?

Or should we try a GMO banana? The author tasted a few. He said they were good. Different, but good. We’ve already adapted to a change in banana type once in our country’s history, why couldn’t we do it again? We already have PLENTY of GMO’s in this country. The author cited that in 2000, 90% of the corn American’s ate was bioengineered. Wow. And that was 11 years ago. Why not go ahead and try a bioengineered banana that supposedly has minimal risks? There are countries, especially in Africa, where countries almost completely rely on bananas for their food. If their food supply is wiped out by these diseases, doesn’t it make sense to start growing these resistant bananas to help them from starving?

On the flip side, do you know that Europe has outlawed any GMO’s from being produced in their country? If any product that contains GMO’s makes it into their markets , they simply don’t buy them. In fact they run from them. And isn’t it true that Europeans are generally more healthier than we are as Americans? A study released last Friday from the medical journal Lancelet, showed that American’s are averaging the highest BMI worldwide whereas the BMI’s in countries like France, Italy, Finland and Switzerland have not changed at all. If they won’t touch them, should we?

This is all very upsetting to me. The other night, after I was done reading this book, I mooked around our apartment with a very grumpy demeanor.

Also at the beginning of the book, I kept thinking, if the banana is in such a dire situation, how come we have not seen the affects of this at the market? Low supply of bananas, higher prices, etc. Well towards the end of the book, I was going to pick up some bananas at the store and the price had gone up $.06/lb. and a lengthy sign was posted about how the store was apologizing for the poor quality of bananas as of recent and that the weather in the providing countries was making it hard to provide the bananas we all expect. Hmmmm….

Is it really weather? I don’t know. Honestly, I don’t. I haven’t heard much about worldwide weather lately, all I know is that it has been cold cold cold here. It is the diseases? Has the banana begun it’s disappearance from our produce section?

What do you guys think? Should we give up bananas as a country or should we try a GMO banana?

Have you noticed banana price changes/declining quality where you live recently? I’m really curious! Please share!

And read this book! (if you’re interested)

All I know is the bananas have gone up another 4 cents and I’m considering buying the whole table at the store to freeze and hoard.

Just in case 😉



New Beginnings

27 Sep

This weekend I was not feeling great, but the weekend gave off a sense that things were a changin’.

Like these babies…

When we got them in our box, they were mostly green with hints of YELLOW. Mysteriously they started changing orange, and now they are mostly RED with some green?!

I know peppers come in different colors depending on when they are picked, but I can’t say I’ve ever had peppers change colors on my counter!

Like I mentioned, this whole weekend I feel like I have been fighting off some sort of bug. I did force myself to make some pumpkin bread though.

I must say, this was NOT my best batch. I think it is because my pumpkin was picked too early, it seems like it was rushed. You can kinda tell in the above picture, not super orange inside.  The flavor just did not have its regular depth. The bread was still decent and it was a new beginning because I never have put chocolate chips in the bread before.

The recipe calls for walnuts but my munchy husband hit those up and I didn’t have enough. The chocolate chips made up for the less-than-normal moistness of the bread.

I have been in a bit of a food slump this weekend. Nothing was sounding good to me.  Here is one of my ‘meals’.

Roasted potatoes with ketchup.

Until today. Kinda. This morning didn’t go well but this afternoon I made my first homemade pasta sauce, another new beginning. I pretty much followed Ashley’s 5 minute pasta sauce recipe except that I used fresh heirloom grape tomatoes from our box and cooked it for about 20 minutes to concentrate the flavor. I then put it in the blender to make it especially smooth.

Really yummy because I also tossed it with diced zucchini (we have a TON from our box) and half a carrot shredded. The mix turned out 1/2 veggies, half pasta.

And the sauce turned out ORANGE!!

Topped with some nutritional yeast to make it a little “cheesy” and it was delicious! I definitely prefer making my own sauce now.

Another new beginning this weekend included me making a decent batch of chili and cornbread! In the past, for some reason I can not produce a really great tasting chili or cornbread. Saturday I put our crock pot to good use. I followed a recipe from a 5 ingredient crock pot cookbook. There were only a few ingredients it called for. Beef, tomato sauce, chopped onion, and chili powder. I followed Bob’s Red Mill recipe for basic cornbread, subbing coconut milk and 2% milk for the buttermilk and corn flour for the cornmeal. It was awesome! This all went un-pictured as we ate really late on Saturday and the pictures would have been bad (and I was feeling really sick at this point too). The next day, the husband ate all the leftovers up before I could get my hands on them! I am excited that I finally made a decent batch of these two things though.

Does anyone have a chili or cornbread recipe that they really like? I’d love to try it! I think I still have plenty room to get better!

Nothing new happening with the dogs. They basically laid around all weekend with me. Although, Molly almost did a flip in the kitchen! Earlier in the day I accidentally spilled a sesame oil bottle. It was hard to clean up so some oil remained on our faux wood floors. As I was baking pumpkin bread, Molly was trying to sneak a taste. I startled her and she tried to scurry out of the kitchen. Instead she almost flipped over herself and landed right on her side! She just laid there for half a minute totally stunned. It was priceless!


The biggest new beginning that is going on here is that I was offered another job!! YAHHHH!

I was actually offered my new job only a week from when I was laid off at my previous job! I feel really blessed that this was such a short turn around. I start Wednesday morning and I am so happy! A totally new job! It is still some-what related to my degree in Nutrition, but in a completely different setting AND I can walk to work!! It’s amazing! No more 50 minute drives to work!! We are going to save a lot of money just from me not having to drive to work. Awesome!!

Enjoy the rest of your Monday aka MNF (Monday Night Football)!! For some weird reason I want to root for the Bears (Kyle’s going to kill me when he reads this). Maybe because it seems they are the underdog? If I don’t have a personal connection to the teams playing, I always root for the underdog. Nothing new there 🙂

Weekend Fun

30 Aug

Kyle had to work Friday evening and Saturday-day. In my last post, I left off with beginning to make black bean burgers.

They turned out wonderfully!

Saturday morning I made myself a peach pie smoothie and then headed out to go to a craft festival with my mom.

Making crafts is a hobby of mine and I love to check out other artisans and craftsters. The festival was in an ultra-hip neighborhood where Denver’s old airport used to be. They have completely redone the whole area and it’s really beautiful now.

Flowers everywhere!

Fun fountain! I should have played in it!

Other shots from the festival….

Vintage cookbooks! Swoon!!

After I got home from the craft show, I still had my baking bug. I decided to use the zucchini from our box, and made… zucchini bread of course!

Saturday evening, Kyle got home and we made lemon rosemary chicken bites and a quinoa, tomato, broccoli salad. We also watched a couple of Alfred Hitchcock movies. We watched “Vertigo” and “Rope”. I love his movies. They are so mentally creepy!

Sunday was wonderful because Kyle and I got to spend the whole day together! It is a very rare occurrence. We went to church in the morning and then headed down to famous Antique Row on Broadway with Kyle’s parents and one of his sisters. Our first stop was Great Britain’s Fish and Chips. Wonderful fish n’ chips!

We headed out to a few other very cool spots. A sweet little bookstore, a couple antique stores and…

"On Broadway..."

Check out this ad on the back of a comic book...hilarious!

Arc thrift store! My favorite place EVER to find fun and random things. Unfortunately by this time, I was having a serious negative reaction to my lunch. I didn’t even get to look around in this store. Not a huge deal though, there’s always another thrift store!

Here documents my ill feelings. Note the pasty white complexion, uneasy smile...

We headed home after this and I took a much needed nap. While I was sleeping, Kyle started roasting some potatoes. When I woke up, I assembled a salad that used mostly produce from our box! We took both of these dishes over to my dad’s house for family night with him and my brother. My dad made beer can chicken. OOOOoooh sooo delightful!

The rest of the meal went undocumented as I was still recovering from my previous episode. We ate, and then played us some corn-hole! Have you ever played this before? It is a lot of fun! It’s essentially horse-shoes, but you are throwing bean bags and you are trying to throw them into a hole that lays in a slanted board. I used to be a pitcher in my softball “career”, so I am embarrassed to admit that I am really horrible at this game. My dad and brother on the other hand, very good.

We had a very fun, family filled weekend despite getting killed in corn-hole!

How was yours? I hope it was wonderful!!


Produce A Plenty!

27 Aug

AWESOME package to come home to!

What’s inside, you ask?!

Well, let's take a peek...

Pea sprouts...

Does anyone have any experience with these? I’ve never had them before! Do I use them just like any other ‘sprout’?

Luscious lettuce...

4 little peaches...on my doorstep...singing sweet songs...

Broccoli, radishes, cucumber, green onions galore, zucchini...

Collard greens, beets, corn on the cob and one beautiful cantaloupe!

When I went to the grocery store a few days ago, I thought for sure that there would be much less produce purchased there in lieu of this upcoming delivery. But in fact, the cart was still filled with 80% produce!

I guess that’s a good thing. And this may also be because both Kyle and I are making attempts to clean and tidy up our diets. I am going to do a nice post very soon about my personal health endeavor that is currently under-way and I hope that it may help some of you too!

Here are the meals and/or snacks that we are planning to make over the next week or so that will be taking advantage of our ‘box’ and the purchases from the grocery store.

  • Black beans burgers a la Hilary
  • Beet hummus I found in a search
  • Sweet potato balls a la Caitlin
  • Spring rolls a la Me

The other recipes that are about to be made are from Kyle’s recent read: Racing Weight

  • Chicken and rice noodles- an Asian dish
  • Lemon and rosemary chicken skewers with quinoa
  • Fish tacos
  • Asian pork burgers

I’ve got the ‘baking bug’ going on right now so maybe some cookies or zucchini bread are on the way…? We will be sure to update and try to share the recipes we really enjoy!

Sam and Molly are pooped from a fun day at Kyles’ parents house… playing with the two dogs over there, Ellie and Gus, and in the mud. So I’m going to take advantage while they’re sleeping and make some bean burgers! I hope they taste good, I accidentally burnt my beans a little last night!

Obviously it’s going to be a fun food weekend for us, but we want to hear what your plans are. What are you up to this weekend?


Delicious Blog-inspired lunch

26 Aug

Yesterday I had an amazing lunch! And I must say, I was not expecting it to be as mind-blowing as it was. First off, I am doing a bit of a ‘cleanse’, which I will post about soon, so I am trying to concentrate on a much more plant-based diet than I normally do. I do my share of lurking around the blogosphere and my lunch reflected a few ideas I’ve adopted from other bloggers that I admire. First up, throughout the morning at work I roasted a sweet potato wrapped in foil  in our toaster oven. I thought this may be a flop but it turned out great! And following the lead from Heather, I had my first Sunbutter and baked sweet potato combo.

Sweet and creamy!

Probably the orange plate was not the best backdrop for the potato, but it’s all I had! I love them both separately, didn’t think they would be so good together, but they were! The second part of my lunch was inspired by Holly. Can’t say I’ve ever had nutritional yeast (aka nooch) before and I have trouble with dairy (which is not allowed on this cleanse) so I bought a carton of nutritional yeast to give it a try for a cheesy replacement. I sprinkled this unusual thing on a spinach/romaine and garbanzo bean salad, along with simple olive oil and balsamic  vinegar.

And a couple of falafel too! All of these things together really hit the spot! I don’t feel like I got a lot of cheesiness from the yeas though. I may just need to add more. But as I was eating this, I could tell my whole body was really happy with what I was putting in!

In other news, tomorrow is the day! OFFICIALLY. We have some delicious meals planned around our box and I can’t wait to share it all with you! Stay tuned!

VIP(Very Important Produce)

23 Aug

Great news! I have been notified that I don’t know what is going on at all and we will be receiving our first produce delivery this coming Friday! Yess!! I truly feel like I was treated like a VIP though, because I was contacted by two people today in regards to our possible “missing” produce. Thanks Chris! Amanda helped me figure it all out! I guess I was just so excited to get our delivery that I was desperately wishing that it would be arriving last Friday! Thanks for all your help at Door to Door! This evening we are currently planning our upcoming meal ideas around our box. It’s all very exciting! Meanwhile, Molly and Sam are completely enraptured in their special treat from Kyle…

"Don't come any closer!"