Monday, May 26, 2008

Yet another calorie-consuming post from Heather

Now available at our local supermarket...

This has provided us with endless hours of love and laughter.

Funny, I never even liked grape juice when I lived in the states. Now it just tastes SO GOOD!

I wonder if it is because I haven't tasted anything grape (besides real old-fashioned grapes) since leaving the states a year and a half ago. They don't have grape flavoured things here. The closest thing (Joel doesn't think it's close) is currants. They have currant jam, currant everything.

Shame on us for buying things that are so incredibly non-local. Everyone has their weaknesses.

Sunday, May 25, 2008


I made some granola yesterday. It is pretty different than granola I've made previously. Instead of just oats, I mixed mostly oats, and some rye flakes, and some pearl barley flakes. This gives it a bit more of a chewy texture, b/c one of those requires a bit more cooking than typical oats. It also makes it taste a bit more healthy and interesting. For the nut and seed part, I added a mixture of
almonds, cashews, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds (I used up all the bits left in the cupboard). The sunflower seeds put in a bit of interest to the flavour. I think I put in a bit of chopped peanuts too, which I wouldn't do the second time, b/c I think it's made it a bit more salty/savoury than I would prefer (They were salted peanuts). After it all cooled, I threw in a bunch of raisins to top it off. All in all I think it's good, and it feels like it's filling up little pockets of nutrition all over my body that normally get missed (with the pumpkin seeds and barley and rye flakes and all). Mmm.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Joel's roast

Yesterday, Joel made a roast! It was his second time, and it turned out delish. It was basically a mushroom & onion beef roast, and I made roast potatoes (another reason our marriage works, pls refer to previous post re. hamburgers), steamed red cabbage (with red wine and cloves) and steamed carrots. We ate some leftovers tonight, and they were possibly even better than the original. The flavours were nice and settled in.

All the veg we used were from, an organic vegetable delivery service we just started using. Our farmer is based in West Lothian, near to Edinburgh. For £10 each Wednesday, we receive a bag full of freshly pulled organic veg. He also includes a newsletter which details what is in the bag, when it was pulled from the ground, and tips on how to use lesser known veg like the fennel that we got this week. We get new things each week. I am excited to let this widen our veg eating habits, and learning to like new veg. This is definitely the next best option to growing your own veg, which is an impossibility in Glasgow. Our back garden is pavement with some admirably persistent weeds growing between the cracks, and the supply of garden plots in Glasgow is shameful - I've heard there is a 4 year waiting list to get a plot! Thankfully places like The Whole Shebag exist and so we are able to be that much closer to the ground our veg comes from.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

I hope you agree...

You are in a grocery store. You see a package of delicious grapes for £2 (or $2). Then you see a different package of equally delicious grapes for £2.50 (or $2.50). Which one will you choose?

I am guessing the answer would be the cheaper ones. And rightly so. However, what if you found out the grapes that are a bit more expensive actually benefited the grower, the grower's children, and the grower's community?
What if you found out by buying the more expensive grapes, you were actually contributing to building schools for children who don't have access, or getting clean drinking water to small villages, or ensuring the people's fields are cared for properly so they can keep producing the grapes?
What if you found out by paying the bit extra, you knew the grape growers would work in better conditions, receive decent wages, and live a decent life?

You may have guessed, the more expensive grapes are Fairtrade. By buying Fairtrade products, we can know we are contributing to the benefit of disadvantages families in generally poorer areas. I spend time thinking about this, and I want to challenge myself, and you, with this. If we know that by paying a bit more, we are benefiting people in many ways, is it not our moral responsibility to do so? As fellow humans, and for some of us, as people who strive to live with Christ's mercy, doing good when we are able, should we not buy the Fairtrade label products when we can?
I don't think this is something to feel obliged to do. In fact, I think it is a wonderful opportunity to do good in others' lives. And easily done.

"Anyone then, who knows the good he ought to do, and does not do it, sins" James 4.17

I do not see this as a political issue. I am not trying to preach politics. I see it as an issue of humanity, of bettering our world and our communities. Of giving people opportunities. I want to enact this in my life more and more. I have a long way to go.
If you see these labels on a product, you can know it is Fairtrade and the money you spend is benefiting communities and families. Our stores here in Glasgow stock many Fairtrade products, usually bananas, grapes, limes, coffee, tea, sugar, etc. Lots of different things. I'm sure the store you usually shop in does too. Have a look! You can know you are doing something good for minimal cost and maximum rewards.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

What makes our marriage work:


There have been times when Joel is not so emotive, if you know him you know this is fairly often. Sometimes he's a bit flat, and if you are looking for an exuberant response you better just go elsewhere...
Well in those cases, I have found the solution...
suggest we can have hamburgers for dinner soon!

I did this last week and Joel went from about the excitement of a nervous turtle straight to the unharnessed hype of a chihuahua.

Maybe we should have hamburgers every night.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Names I Have Been Called

Jesus: Is He really a true Irishman?
Since moving to Glasgow, the variety in names I'm called by strangers has increased dramatically. In Seattle, I admit, the 'Jesus' count was pretty high, but, other than one lady on the Ave who asked me if I was a 'true Irishman', Seattleites have been fairly unimaginative.

Contrary to the opinions of many Americans, I actually do not 'fit in perfectly' in Scotland, and my (suave? distinctive? grotesque?) appearance has elicited comments from people on the street with surprising frequency. Among the more imaginative names I can now claim - in addition to a still-rising 'Jesus' count - are 'Hillbilly Willy', 'Scooby Doo', and, oddly, 'Kelsey' (the person who called me 'Kelsey' also asked if my thumb was broken and whether I was Amish). Other helpful comments directed my way have included 'your face is on fire' and 'look at the state of him...'

Yesterday was a two-pointer, with one more 'Jesus' and an entirely new one to my experience: 'Worzel Gummidge'. I was particularly surprised at this last comment, because, personally, I had never seen the resemblance. For those of you who don't know (probably nearly everyone who reads this), Worzel Gummidge was the main character in a British children's TV show from the 1970s. He was played by John Pertwee, who some of you (Dad?) will recognize as the third (and third least annoying) Doctor Who. The Worzel Gummidge character is perhaps even more perplexing than the Doctor: he is a mischievous talking scarecrow with a set of interchangeable heads. My friend James' experience verifies that, despite the (ostensible) good intentions of the show's writers, such disturbing imagery often had a traumatic effect on children.

Presumably, my similarity to Worzel Gummidge is limited to my shaggy hair (time for a trim) and possession of a hat. I'd like to think that my Glaswegian commenter regards me as a potential friend, a welcome addition to West End culture, rather than a macabre pastoral oddity.

P.S. Here are some clips from the show, if you like to scare yourself:

  • The introduction
  • A frightening song after which Worzel Gummidge verbally abuses children. Observe their terrified expressions.
  • Part of a distressing episode involving a seesaw and free tobbacco

Which is the real Worzel Gummidge?

Thursday, May 01, 2008

I can be political too...

I really liked the BBC 4 'Thought for the Day' today by Rhidian Brook.
I don't think it's too unrealistic to look for candidates who aren't afraid to express their thoughts, even if they're not the life of the 'party'.