Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Last Saturday was part three of the beginnings of our little philanthropy group. Kelly overdid herself creating wonderful authentic dishes made with fresh ingredients. I learned a lot of new foods such as chorizo, which is a Mexican sausage that was used in the New Mexican chicken dish shown below. I also learned of a new root vegetable called jicama that she used in a salad called Guaymas Salad. I loved this one, it also had avocados, oranges and olives with a homemade avocado dressing. There was of course real tacos and for dessert she made Flan, which is something else I'd never had before. Now these foods might not be new to many of you, but I don't get out much. Oh, and I can't leave out the best Margarita ever. (We were good and only had one each.)
Our groups central focus is children and nutrition. With this in mind, Kelly invited a professor, Dr. Arunas Juska, from East Carolina University to join us. Besides information he shared with us in our dinner conversation, he also brought with him a documentary. Through this we learned how commercial farming is not only running independent farmers out of business, but is also affecting the nutritional quality of our food and the health of the environment. The film we watched dealt with the hog farming industry. While it was a bit disconcerting, it was also very enlightening. I will share this in another post, if I can handle rehashing the memory of what I saw. Arunas, being from Lithuania, also brought a traditional Lithuanian poppy seed cake. Hmmm, two desserts. What else could I do but have both :) .
For more on Dr. Juska see the following sites:
For our next gathering we are trying to get our act together and start the community garden we've planned to be the foundation for our educational program (we are pushing it time wise for NC weather). To be better prepared, Pam and I have been taking a horticulture class since February. Most of the other ladies know more about vegetable gardens than me, but I'm learning. I hopefully will get around to sharing some information and pictures from our class in an upcoming post.


  1. An educational evening all around Maria -- from the talk and doc by Dr. Juska, and you enjoying foods you had never tried before. I love the openness to learning new things and the group idea of doing so.

    There is so much about what we eat that we don't know -- it's in the stores and we purchase it but how often do we think about what we are buying? You've given me something to think about.

    As for the hog farming...I remember being told in grade 5 how sausages and hot dogs were made. Guess what I gave up?!?! :(

  2. Okay, first let me just say...YUM!! Everything sounds delicious and that margarita makes my mouth water. It's been too long.

    Secondly, I'm almost afraid to ask, if it's involving the hog/pork industry. The more I learn about the commercial food industry, the more scared and traumatized I become. Especially in our nation's meat supply. The inhumane practices of raising animals for food is not only wrong (inhumane) for the animal's sake; but also creates a very unhealthy product for humans to ingest. I will check back for your update, but am already dreading learning more. Sometimes, ignorance really is bliss...

  3. What a wonderful group! It's so great to find dedicated friends to help with a cause (and enjoy some good food too). Did you ever read the book "My year of meats." That was very eye opening!

  4. I love jicama and it's very nutritious, from what little I know.

    Everything else sounds delicious and mouthwatering too!

    Sounds like an awesome night and you're a very dynamic, proactive group. Good luck with your gardening project. It should be a lot of fun.

  5. OH Maria...I missed out! Told you I was coming to your next feast as I love Mexican~I must have forgotten to mark my calendar!!
    That is so cool about the community garden! Every fall, I say I'm not going have one next Spring...
    Every spring comes and I can't help myself! I love seeing my pantry shelves lined with the beautiful colors of my efforts! And so much healthier!
    About the commercial farming. I cannot agree more with it running small farmers out of business. I've seen it time and time and time again! Quality is minimal now...
    Small farmers strived for the best quality...that's how they could stay in business and survive!...
    until the conglomerates & Gvmt. entered the picture!
    (Maria, remember my words here when I post later about our changes...survival is our priority...and it's bittersweet in a way)

  6. Hey Sweetie,
    Have done quite a bit of research and found 2 superfoods that support good health, healthy weight,
    and a reduction in risks of many illnesses. Those 2 foods are "fruits and vegetables". Give it a try.

    For ex: try some grilled zucchini and squash. Yummy!
    Your bro,