Thanks(4)giving

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Tag Archives: food

Week 52-The Final Countdown, Day 6-Grad School Girls

Another Mexican Monday in the books and I got to spend it with some of my favorite grad school girls.  I really enjoyed having the week away from WVU, but I missed them!  We’re all so different but I love how well we all get along.  We’re from Kansas, North Carolina, West Virginia, and Maryland.  It’s always so nice to have someone to talk to about classes, exams, and our research that only we can understand.  Being in graduate school together is something that unites you forever.  Yes I realize how cheesy that sounds but it’s true.  I’m so thankful for these intelligent, beautiful, and fun women in my daily life.

My girls

So one of our favorite things to do together is eat.  What?  We all gotta eat so we might as well do it together, right?  So Others Might Eat knows this, and they work really hard to feed those who need it most in the Washington D.C. area.  SOME doesn’t stop there though.  They make sure as many needs as possible that the people around D.C. have are met.  That means putting clothes on their backs, making sure they have health care, a place to lay their heads at night, and any counseling they may need.  For over forty years SOME has been restoring hope and dignity to thousands of people one at a time.  Last year alone more than 260,000 hot meals were served to men, women, and children, and more than 18,900 people were able to take a hot shower.  Homelessness is a cycle that can be broken, and SOME gives people the resources they need to transform their lives.  I’m pretty sure the only thing we like to do more than eat is laugh at/with each other.  I don’t know about the other girls, but Robin Williams is someone who can always bring a smile to my face.  Apparently his Juilliard classmate Christopher Reeve also thought he was pretty hilarious.  However the work that the Christopher Reeve Foundation does to fund research in order to cure spinal cord injuries is no laughing matter.  CRF is also dedicated to improving the quality of life for those living with spinal cord injuries through grants, information, and advocacy.  Williams has taken on Christopher’s dream as his own.  Christopher may not have been able to get out of his wheelchair, but because of his determination and passion others are getting that chance today.  Chris’ wife, Dana, was the mastermind behind the Paralysis Resource Center which has helped thousands of people living with paralysis and their families with life-changing information and resources.  Christopher knew that the impossible was possible.  I know how he feels with only one more blog post till my one year anniversary!

So Others Might Eat Donation

Christopher Reeve Foundation Donation

So here’s to my grad school girls!  We’ve celebrated birthdays, Mexican Mondays, football games, game nights, and presenting seminars and it’s only our first semester together.  We help each other with research, homework, and exams.  I mean who else would understand the frustration of using SAS or R?  Thank you for Fridays at Panera, Mondays at Los, Saturdays in Wardensville, and everyday that you make me smile.

This is what you girls do to me 🙂

Week 52-The Final Countdown, Day 2-Thanksgiving

Gobble, gobble people!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again, I can’t believe it’s basically been a year since I had the idea for this blog.  Thanksgiving gives us all the excuse to really think about what we’re thankful for in our lives.  On the last Thursday of November we seem to love our family a little more, appreciate our friends, and really be grateful for the huge meal that piles up on our plates.  Here’s my question.  Why can’t we keep that feeling around all year-long?  What is so special about that one day in November?  This year I’m thankful for more blessings that I can count.  You out there reading this are on the top of my list.

Even though Turkey Day is about being thankful, it’s even more so about the food.  Hey, the truth hurts.  That doesn’t mean we can’t be thankful for all that glorious food we shove down our gullets.  This time last year I was thankful for food for an entire week!  So it only seems right that tonight I am thankful for the Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina.  Since they opened their doors in 1982 Second Harvest has distributed more than 100 million pounds to 18 different counties in the western end of NC.  The simple mission of sharing the abundance so no one goes hungry is as powerful as it is short.  Something else that I feel like I’ve said a billion times over the past year is that an idea doesn’t have to be complicated in order to change lives.  There is so much food that goes to waste on a daily basis that could be given to those who truly need it.  That’s the whole idea that food banks were founded on.  The other great thing about Second Harvest?  A little bit of money goes a long way.  A single dollar donated by you or me will buy $12 worth of food that will make 7 meals!  That’s way better than the dollar menu at McDonalds.  Golden Harvest Food Bank shares both the mission and the year they were established with Second Harvest.  The work they do is a little further South than Second Harvest, but it’s needed because hunger knows no boundaries.  GHFB has a Back Pack program similar to other charities, where they work to bridge the weekend meal gap that many students experience.  It only costs $14 a month to sponsor a child for the 32 week school year.  I bet all of us have spent $14 on ourselves for a single meal out.  I can spare a meal out a month.  It boggles my mind how simple it is to fix some of the world’s biggest problems if we were all just a little more giving.

Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina Donation

Golden Harvest Food Bank Donation

So here’s to you Thanksgiving!  You provided the inspiration I needed to start Thanks-4-Giving.  You’re also the reason that countless people return home every year.  You are the glue that keeps us together when all else fails.  You can’t say no to someone you love on Thanksgiving.  You’re also the start to the holiday season, no matter how badly the department stores try to brainwash us.  Thank you for making me thankful.  Year after year, and day after day.

I think I will!

Week 51-Meet me in… Day 2-St. Louie

I have to admit, I had never even heard of the movie “Meet Me in St. Louis” until seeing the Sex and The City movie.  That doesn’t change the fact that I love saying, “Meet me in St. Louie!” randomly during the week.  Plus, I have actually been there (albeit once) and I loved it. I’ve also bent thinking about the Midwest a lot because Thanksgiving break is upon us and lots of grad students are returning to their corn-fed roots for the next week.  It is true that St. Louis the gateway to the Midwest, but really it’s so much more than that.  I’m thankful that I put aside my automatic disdain for all things west of the Mississippi and learned to love St. Louie.

You can find Nelly is St. Louie

I dunno what you first thing of when you hear St. Louis, but for me, it’s Nelly.  That’s right, the rapper.  Well of course I think of my friend Rachael who is from St. Louis, but then I automatically think of us singing Nelly songs on the drive to Missouri.  While Nelly may come across as a hard-core rapper he really is a softie at heart, which is why he created a scholarship to help disadvantaged students from St. Louis.  This scholarship provides two high school students with 4 years of complete financial coverage to Lindenwood University in St. Charles, MO.  The scholarship is open to any first year student who excels at academics and are financially in need. About 15,000 students attend Lindenwood each year and receive undergraduate or graduate degrees from one of their 120 plus programs on campus.  Founded in 1827, LU has established themselves as a dynamic four-year liberal arts college that is dedicated to providing the best education possible to thousands of students a year.  Whenever I start to think about St. Louis I always think about all the great and unique food I had while I was there.  The St. Louis Area Foodbank was not one of the places we ate, but they are the reason that there are less hungry mouths in the gateway city.  In 2009 alone, SLAF collected and distributed more than 22 million pounds of food, which was a whopping 8 million pounds more than their 2008 total of 14 million pounds.  Those numbers sound great on paper but they sound even better to the 57,100 people who rely on the SLAF each week for food assistance.  SLAF is also out there helping people realize that hunger doesn’t discriminate, and it’s not just problem in some far away land.  Hunger lives here in the United States.  Just this evening I had one of my teacher friends tell me that she is taking a bag full of food to a student tomorrow because otherwise her family won’t have any food to eat for Thanksgiving next week.  I almost cried when she told me that, and it makes me want to cry typing it.  This blog was to remind me, and you guys out there reading this, that we are so lucky.  It’s easy to be thankful each year in November, but don’t forget all those other months where your belly is full and your bed is warm.

Lindenwood University Donation

St. Louis Area Foodbank Donation

So here’s to you St. Louie!  You and I have only met once, but I’m thankful for the great people you’ve brought into my life.  You’ve got the arch, the Cardinals, a pretty nice zoo, and the Rams.  Not too shabby.  What you really have above everything else is heart.  You’re the little city that could, and you prove it over and over again.  I’ll meet you anytime.  Thanks for warming my heart to the heartland of America.

See you soon St. Louis

Week 47-People’s Choice, Day 6-Beth

Ah Monday why do you always seem to come around so soon?  Mondays are a struggle for me anyway because I’m bouncing back and forth between campuses and I feel like I’m always busy but getting very little accomplished.  I feel like Mondays I’m always lacking with inspiration and thankful topics to blog about as well.  By the time I get home and we have dinner and do whatever chores we didn’t have time to get done over the weekend I just want to crash.  There are also lots of family farmers out there who are even more tired than I am this evening, and they’ll get up tomorrow and do it all again.  My Mom experienced the hardships and rewards of growing up on a farm, and passed those valuable lessons on to me.

If you’ve been an avid reader of this blog you know that I credit a lot the support and inspiration for this blog to my Mom.  She has been there for me from week 1, day 1, and of course she continued to her trend during people’s choice week.  She was doing some research for a movie this past week and visited Rising Meadow Farm,  where Scott has also sheared the past couple of years.  This little visit swayed her to vote for a post about family farms.  Sustainable Table is part of the bigger organization GRACE, both of which share the mission to increase public awareness about sustainable agriculture.  Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ve probably heard of sustainable agriculture over the past couple of years.  There are a lot of confusing labels about sustainability out there, but the best way to support this movement is to visit your local farmer!  There are endless reasons to eat locally but the number one reason for a lot of people is that it directly connects them to their community.  ST has great resources for sustainable recipes, farmer’s market locations, and Community Supported Agriculture shares where you pay the farmer directly for delivers of fresh seasonal veggies!  Yummy!  It’s great to support your local farmers, but the American Farmland Trust has been around since 1980 to make sure farm and ranch lands don’t disappear.  AFT also promotes environmental sound farming and works to ensure an economically stable future for farmers and ranchers.  Over the past 21 years they have helped to save more than 3 million acres of land, and saved millions more through sound conservation practices.  AFT also helps us put faces with our food.  The Jones in Connecticut provide strawberries, apples, pumpkins, blueberries, Christmas trees, and wine from their vineyard.  Don’t you want to know who grew your potatoes?  I know I do.

Meet the Jones

GRACE Donation

American Farmland Trust Donation

So here’s to you Beth!  You knew how important it was for us to grow up in rural NC and experience what real farming was like.  Your love for all things grown in a field runs deep, and I know your Daddy would be proud.  It must be in our genes though because I’m feeling the love too.  My green thumb is still germinating but I know who to thank until its ripe thanks to you!

Beth and Elton hanging out of the farm

P.S.  Check out my friend Melissa’s blog all about being Locally Long Island!

Week 47-People’s Choice, Day 5-Jessica

Jessica and her beautiful smile

Well sadly today was our last day in beautiful Canada but we did get to return to our sweet pups and an awesome meal cooked by Mrs. Reaves.  I feel like all we’ve done all weekend is eat but Jen’s mashed potatoes and roasted chicken with vegetables was to die for.  I’ve been thankful for food a lot this weekend, but being able to come home and not have to cook means more than I could ever type!  You’re always so exhausted when you get home and all you want to do is veg out in front of the TV.  Lucky for me, my fellow NCSU and Park Scholar Alum Jessica, suggested that I write about a food shuttle in Raleigh that is near and dear to our hearts.  Perfect combination for today?  I think so.

The Inter-Faith Food Shuttle does this little thing called food rescue, which is such a genius idea.  Have you ever noticed that some restaurants just throw out whatever left overs they have when a certain meal is over.  Well Jill and Maxine decided that was unacceptable.  They also realized that it wasn’t just one restaurant where this was happening so they took action.  Founded in 1989, IFFS firmly believes that nutritious food, that is close to its expiration date but still edible, should be filling up bellies across NC and not landfills.  Hold on to your seats because these numbers I’m about to throw at you are astounding.  In 1989 when they first began IFFS was able to rescue 750 pounds of food.  Pretty good right?  What about if I told you that jus two years ago in 2009 IFFS rescued 6.2 million pounds of food from over 220 donors.  Insane, right?  It’s such a smart idea to collect this perfectly good food that donors need to be removed from their locations anyway.  IFFS really embodies they saying, “Work smarter not harder.”  Another great tradition that comes to mind when pairing NCSU and food is the Krispy Kreme Challenge.  For those of you who have never heard it of it is a race to help raise money for NC Children’s Hospital, but it is no ordinary race.  Starting at the NC State Belltower the participants run an easy two miles down to the local KK and scarf down a dozen doughnuts.  They then proceed to run the two miles back to the Belltower.  Without barfing.  Within an hour.  Sounds like fun right?  Started back in 2004 but a couple of chaps that were also Park Scholars with Jessica and I, the race has grown from 12 to 7,500 in seven short years.  It’s all fun and games but it’s nice to know that all of the proceeds from racing and supporting other racers goes to help seriously ill or injured children who need serious medical attention at NCCH.

Inter-Faith Food Shuttle Donation

Krispy Kreme Challenge Donation

So here’s to you Jessica and all my fellow Parkies!  We were together for four years and made sure we were changing the world in some way.  Now we’ve all gone off on separate paths but it’s nice to know we’re never really too out of touch.  Thank you Jess for reminding me that the Wolfpack that serves together, stays together.

GO PACK!

Week 46-I seriously hate, Day 7-Being hungry

I feel like I have been hungry all day long.  You would think that I skipped a meal, but that would be false.  Tuesdays are just such long days for me, so I don’t usually end up eating dinner until at least 8:30 pm.  Yea, I feel as old typing that as it sounds.  Today as I was mentally willing the second lab section to hurry up and finish their experiment so I could go home and grub, I realized how lucky I am to have dinner every night.  Plus Scott is an excellent cook so I’m double lucky.  Hungry has been a pretty constant topic on my blog, and even though it’s partly because I like to eat, it’s also because it has been and still is an issue.

One place where people have faced the challenge of hunger for as long as most of its inhabitants can remember is Haiti.  Yéle Haiti was founded in 2005 by singer and fellow Haitian Wyclef Jean and Jerry Duplessis and Hugh Locke.  YH was forever changed by the earthquake that rocked Haiti in January of 2010.  So for the past two years they have been focusing on programs to help improve the lives of Haitians through agriculture.  Yéle Vert commissions farms to operate tree nurseries that can provide food, building materials, and fuel.  These farmers also share their seeds, knowledge, tools, and training to help other farmers improve their crop production and incorporate planing trees into their own farming practices.  By teaching these communities how valuable trees can be, it reinforces the need for their protection for years to come.  We are only as strong as our weakest link and The Food Chain has shown that it’s pretty strong.  The only thing worse that being hungry and not having any food, is wanting to eat so badly but being too sick to keep it down.  TFC helps those with HIV have free access to food and nutritional information that enable them to make informed decisions and live healthier lives.  The hot meals that TFC provides to the doorstep of HIV fighters that are nutritionally designed just for them is a service that is priceless.

Yéle Haiti Donation

The Food Chain Donation

So here’s to you being hungry!  You are the growling in my stomach when I haven’t eaten.  Unfortunately I feel like you more times a day than I should.  You also make me crabby and my brain really fuzzy.  You’re a pain in my you know what, but I do love saying bye-bye to you because that means I’m eating a tasty treat.  Thanks for being a cute little monster that I’m lucky enough o feed three times a day.  Minimum.

The Hunger Moster strikes again!

Week 44-Rocktober, Day 7-Viva Pasta!

After a long day of class, teaching, and studying I can’t even describe how awesome it was to come home to a warm bowl of pasta.  First, my husband is amazing.  Second, he makes the best pasta ever and anyone who’s had it will attest to that.  Apparently we aren’t the only ones who love pasta, because Americans consumes 20 pounds of pasta annually.  The love for pasta runs so deep that the entire month of October is dedicated to it.  So raise your forks and toast the delicious bowl of carbs that we just can’t seem to live without.

You may not believe this, because I didn’t until I read it, but there is actually a National Pasta Association.  Their mission, increase the consumption of pasta.  Ok so they also act as a center of knowledge for the industry and and promote the creation of sound public policy.  Basically they are pasta’s biggest cheerleader.  NPA also has a huge library of pasta shapes to help you pair the perfect pasta to your favorite sauce for the next covered dish supper.  Pasta always seems to get a bad wrap of being loaded with carbohydrates and something we should put on our “do not eat” list.  It turns out that all not only is pasta good for you in moderation, but we also eat it most times with fiber-packed vegetables and beans, heart healthy fish, and antioxidant-rich tomato sauce.  All those things are fantastic, but we all know the best part about pasta is the comfort it provides.  Pasta also reminds me how blessed I am to have food in my belly at all.  I don’t have any memories of going to bed hungry, and Feed The Children has the same mission.  Founded over 30 years ago, FTC gave over 133 million pounds of food and essentials to those in need in 50 states and countries around the world.  Even though FTC has helped countless children, there are still 12 million American kids who are at risk of going hungry tonight.  The drought and famine occurring in the East African and the Horn of Africa has taken the lives of more than 29,000 children under the age of 5.  It breaks my heart to even type that, and it makes me want to pack up the delicious pasta in my refrigerator and ship it to Africa.

National Pasta Association Donation

Feed The Children Donation

So here’s to you my precious pasta!  You have been my favorite food for as long as I can remember, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.  I’m lucky enough to have a wonderful husband who loves you as much (or maybe even more) as I do.  Thankfully I know where to get you, how to cook you, and mostly importantly how to share you with those around me.  Look out friends, the pasta is coming for you!

What? This isn't how you eat pasta?

Week 41-I can’t live without, Day 6-Gum

My personal fav

It’s chewy.  It’s yummy.  It will save you when it smells like a small animal has died in your mouth.  It’s gum!  Personally, I’m a Big Red fan but I like pretty much anything.  I love how I can just pop a piece in when I’m feeling a hungry, bored, or to clean up a dirty mouth.  I was one of those kids who had a pacifier for way too long, and ended up with a life-time oral fixation.  <Insert obvious joke here>  Gum has been a part of my daily life for as long as I can remember.  In fact, the measure of a good friend in high school was if they would give you their very last piece of gum or not.  I know you remember those days.  Thank goodness for good friends and sticks of gum.

The only draw back to gum for me, has always been the trash.  You always find those pesky gum wrappers in your purse, in your car, and even in your dryer.  And don’t even get me started on gum on the ground.  Who knew there was an organization called the Chewing Gum Action Group who have been working since 2003 to figure out a solution to irresponsible gum and wrapper disposal.  CGAG knows that the best way to stop gum litter is to nip it in the bud at the source.  By funding campaigns to help change the behavior or gum smackers, CGAC is actually helping to clean up our communities.  If you’ve ever stepped in gum while you’re just minding your own business than you can truly appreciate why this is so important.  Gum is meant to be in the wrapper, in your mouth, or in the trash can.  Even I have been guilty of throwing my gum or wrapper out on occasion, but no more!  I am a changed woman.  The gum powerhouse Wrigley, is also passionate about giving back more to their community more than an afternoon snack.  The Youth. Empowerment. Success. (Y.E.S) campaign provides kids with education and skills they need in order to successfully transition into adulthood.  Since the Wm. J. Wrigley Jr. Company Foundation provided the support to found Y.E.S. in 2008, they have helped over 10,000 students in India, China, Philippines, Poland, and Spain.  That makes the little stick or chiclet of gum taste even juicier.  As a small portion of the International Youth Foundation, Y.E.S. are grooming the next generation to solve the problems that keep on piling up for our world.

Chewing Gum Action Group Donation

Youth. Empowerment. Success. Donation

So here’s to you gum!  You have saved my behind from embarrassing breath catastrophes more times than I can count.  You are red, blue, green, and even white.  Cinnamon, peppermint, spearmint, and the list of flavors that you come in goes on and on.  There is something for everyone.  You’re such a little piece of happiness that takes my day to the next level.  Thanks for being inexpensive, satisfying, and just plain awesome.

I think I could pass for that girl...

Week 39-What’s today again? Day 5-Lazy Sunday

Sunday is the best day for utter and total relaxation.  Saturday is all about running around doing the errands you were too busy, or too tired, to get done during the rest of the week.  Sunday is about eating, napping, and catching up on all the television you’ve DVRed during the week.  Even though I should totally be thinking and preparing for the upcoming week I can’t make myself do it.  It’s like I’m allergic to it or something, so I don’t’ fight it.  I mean the big man upstairs took a day to rest, so I’m just taking one out his playbook.  I’m always a little more thankful for my comfy couch on Sundays.

One of my very favorite parts about Sunday is the delicious breakfast Scott loves to fix.  The week is filled with bowls of cereal, but not on Sunday morning.  The Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission is the third oldest rescue mission in the country.  Founded over 130 years ago, they have reached out to the homeless community of Philadelphia in more than one way.  SBRM has two locations in Philly to better serve all those in need.  Their location in Center City is the main shelter, and the second location in Germantown is a traditional home for women and children.  As the name suggests they provide three square meals a day (and a snack!), but they also make sure they have clothes on their back, and encouragement in their hearts.  They also have a couple of thrift stores so people can donate and purchase clothes to help support the SBRM mission.  Scott and I also love to watch reruns of The Sopranos on Sundays.  Mr. Tony Soprano, aka James Gandolfini, had all of his costumes from the series auctioned off for the Wounded Warrior Project and raised almost $200,000.  WWP works to raise awareness about the needs of injured service members, and aid them in readjusting to their new lives.  WWP focuses on those who have started or continued serving our country after the tragedy of September 11th.  They want to both honor and empower the warriors, and believe that the “greatest causality is being forgotten”.  Plus I’d be afraid to not support any charity that Tony Soprano stands behind.  You know what I mean.

Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission Donation

Wounded Warrior Project Donation

So here’s to you lazy Sunday!  You’re that sweet day of rest when we get a chance to recharge our batteries and mentally prepare for the busy week ahead.  You also give us a chance to remember what’s really important in life like; family, a good night’s sleep, classic movies, delicious food, and spending time with the people who mean the most to you.  Thanks for the weekly reminder that the best things in life aren’t things.

Week 39-What’s today again? Day 4-Shopping Saturday

I don’t know about you guys but my I usually reserve my Saturdays for sleeping in, drinking even more coffee than normal, and shopping baby!  It seems like the rest of the week I am either too tired or too unmotivated to get my behind to any type of store that sells anything.  I used to really only care about going shopping for clothes or fun things, but now even grocery shopping gets me pumped.  A full fridge at my house makes for a happy couple the rest of the week.  As we left Giant Eagle with a cart full of groceries today I was acutely aware of how lucky I am.  I’m thankful for the money to buy things I need, and the sense to leave the things I don’t on the shelves.

Some of my favorite grocery stores are the ones with awesome salad bars in them, like Whole Foods.  It used to be my jam to go there and get some fresh fruits and vegetables when I was nursing what you might call a “hangover” Sunday afternoon.  It turns out that WF is also one of the founding partners of the very cool Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools Project.  SB2S has a vision of providing all of the children in schools with the option of having fresh fruits and vegetables every day for lunch.  I know you’re probably thinking that most kids would rather have a cheeseburger than a salad, and you might be right nine times out of ten, but if we can our children to start eating healthier for one meal a week then that’s a start.  Research has also shown that if you give children the choice, they are willing to try new foods and even incorporate them into their daily lives when they otherwise would have continued to chow down on greasy french fries.  Never forget, kids have the innate ability to surprise you.  Always.  Ten Thousand Villages was a little shop near NC State’s campus that I used to shop at from time to time in Cameron Village.  I even got a Secret Santa gift from there one year, and I still love it.  TTV is on a mission is to “create opportunities for artisans in developing countries to earn income by bringing their products and stories to our markets through long-term fair trading relationships.”  They have everything from jewelry to stationery from countries all around the world that is unique and adorable all at the same time.  You wanna know what the best part is?  They have an online store so you can shop from the comfort of you own home and support hard-working artisans with the money they deserve!  Winning!

Let’s Move! Salad Bars to Schools Donation

Ten Thousand Villages Shop…Buy something!

So here’s to you Shopping Saturday!  You’re the day when I get to break out my list of things I need and go crazy!  You’re also the day that I spend all my money, but you gotta spend money to make money right?  After 26, almost 27 years of shopping, I’m pretty sure I’ve figured out where my money is best spent on others on any given day.  Don’t worry, something for me seems to sneak in my cart every now and again. 😉