Archive for category Health

I like polenta. You should too.

First, the link to the recipe: Polenta & Vegetable Bake

You can click on that link and it will take you to a recipe and you can follow it and you will have a delicious meal.

For anyone who does not know what polenta is and has a little time to kill, let me tell you about them.

Polenta lives in the pasta aisle in your grocery store. You might have noticed it before and thought “What the hell is this in the tube?” and then grabbed some penne or spaghetti or whatever and been on with your day. And that is understandable. You’re facing maybe 10 feet by 7 feet of boxes and bags of pasta, jars of pasta sauce, and weird little jars of funny little things like capers and clams and pearl onions and these all look at least a little bit familiar and then…

A yellow tube with the non-descriptive word Polenta helpfully printed on.

If you’re lucky (according to a pretty broad definition of “lucky”) there may be a box or two of polenta mix as well. So now you know you can make “polenta”. Or you can buy “polenta” pre-made in a tube. Like sausage or caulk or toothpaste.

In the pasta aisle.

Of course.

What would you even do with this stuff?

Well, there’s that recipe.

Basically you take your tube of polenta and slice it lengthwise so you’ve got a few rectangles of polenta and then you chop up some vegetables. Stir your vegetables in a pan for a bit and then distribute the mix over the polenta and bake it for 15 minutes.

This food is seriously good and seriously easy. Last week it was a weekend dish, this week it made it into the work week menu. I’ll go into menu development sometime, but for now just know that food prep on worknights absolutely cannot be long and involved (as I’m sure you could guess). That doesn’t mean it can’t be delicious as well, though.

When we make it later this week I’ll come back in and post some pictures.

Just take a look at that recipe up top and think about it. While you think about it, consider these bits of information:

  • Polenta usually gets compared to grits, which is kind of understandable when you see how it’s made, but at the same time is kind of misleading because it’s not really like grits. I know some people don’t like grits or think they don’t like grits and that’s fine- more for me! But I would hate for anyone to miss out on this great stuff because they might be afraid of eating weird food.
  • You can make your own polenta with a mix. We have. It’s good! We usually get it in the tube. Less fuss. Less muss.
  • CHECK THE EXPIRATION DATE. I had bought polenta many times, never thinking to look at the expiration date. I learned my lesson the hard way.

Oh, what that recipe says about having it with a nice white wine? It is true- good food is good when you drink tasty alcohol with it. So there’s a helpful hint to see you off.

So that something might be here.

It’s probably hard to tell what with my sporadic posting, but my internal goal here is to get something up once a week. Most of my free time comes on the weekend, so that’s when I’ve done most of the writing that I’ve put up here. Unfortunately I spent most of this weekend working on a kind of eyes only project. Read the rest of this entry »

Could obsession by any other name smell as sweet?

It’s genuinely easy to look upon others with a sense of superiority, or at least a saccharine pity, when the subject of addiction is broached. We all have the black sheep in the family (and for some of us it’s the whole family), that has a drug or alcohol addiction, allowing it to ruin every thing that did or could make that person great. There are few things in life akin to the sorrow of disappointment in others with potential.

I dare say that these obsessions, these addictions, are just easy pickin’s. I for example drink very little. I do not smoke, nor do I engage in illicit substances abusively or recreationally, yet I am prone to my own obsession that both rob me of the life I could lead and the concentration, at times, even to dream.

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I’m Looking Into It

I guess I first noticed the rash a few weeks ago.

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To those responsible…

I’m not the most politically active guy in the room. Trust me. Neither do I claim a party as my own. If you simply must label me, let’s call me moderate. With ever increasing intensity from conservative extremists whom I will dub from here on out “the crazies”, I feel that something needs to be said for the democrats who are facing some of the most outrageous persecutions we’ve seen in civilized America.

Personally, I see the healthcare reform bill as a breath of fresh air; a penetration of the most unfortunate of our citizens into the same access to life and health that those with money and privilege have enjoyed for half a century. I understand that people are afraid. All change brings a certain level of fear, and rightly so; but change is the very foundation of America. We are here today living lives of unprecedented freedom due to the need for a change; the promise of a better life. Has it been all roses and unicorns? Of course not, but we have enjoyed some of the greatest prosperity in civilized history.

Which brings us to the bill that everyone loves to hate: the healthcare reform bill. This legislation is one of the most ambitious and sweeping reforms we’ve ever seen in our great democracy. The dire situation in the healthcare industry is one of our own design. We created this beast by putting private industry in the driver’s seat. Insurance should never have become our only gateway to decent healthcare, and because we gave the keys to our very survival to corporate interest, the system spiraled into the mess it is today. Hospitals and doctors bloated the cost of healthcare because they knew insurance would cover it and in turn the prices continued to rise steadily over the last few decades. Fees have ballooned to such an outrageous level that when I went to see a specialist (without insurance mind you) they charged me $300 for roughly 5 minutes of the doctor’s time. Could this have existed without insurance. If health insurance didn’t exist, do you think that doctor would really have the gall to look every patient in the face and demand these astronomical rates for mere moments of his day?

Access to insurance has become so vital to the common man that companies use it to control their workers. People are afraid to strike out on their own or take any time off or to switch companies because they are so afraid of losing their healthcare coverage. Add to that the fact that insurance companies are doing their absolute best to stop coverage for those who are in the greatest need. The lives of these people are quantified into dollars and cents, and those who are worse then the rest are dropped; their lives forfeit for the cost of their care. It is truly an abomination! I once overheard a pastor in a church reducing the weekly attendance to a dollar per head amount. I haven’t been back there in 5 years.

When I heard that healthcare reform had passed, I was elated. I was pleased that the American people had found it in their heart to stand up for the weak and alone. Their generosity inspiring me to something greater in myself. I was on the edge of my seat in the days leading up to this momentous vote and the american people came through!

In the wake of this decision, however, the crazies have made their voices heard, to the tune of racial slurs, threats of violence and murder, and even spitting on members of congress. As much as I would like to relegate these acts of insanity to the most remote and disconnected members of our society, it is becoming more evident that the the crazies are present even to the level of our Republican representatives. Yelling inflammatory slurs on the floor of the house at both other US congressmen and the president himself. In the face of this unprecedented behavior I have only one conclusion to make of our democratic congressmen as they push forward with this bill, they are true American heroes.

Though they are afraid of where this vote will put them; in the face of political suicide and even death threats, they stand up for something they believe is more important than even their careers. Voting for this bill has brought about mania in the conservative right, and the republicans are using every inch they can get to wrench control from the democrats in the upcoming elections. In spite of the danger to their future and their person they have come together and brought life to so many who desperately seek it. As this bill passes, I see relief on the face of a friend who was on the verge of ending her marriage to qualify for medicaid because until now she was uninsurable. For so many this means hope for life, and for so many more hope for a better life.

To those who supported this bill and brought it to us in the face of unnatural opposition, I salute you. The real American heroes. Thank you for all you have done for us.

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