Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Carpe Diem this Holiday Season!

Opportunities come and opportunities go.  How many times I've wondered, "what if I had gone to Berkley instead of San Diego State" or "what if I had said yes to that job opportunity."  Weighty life choices are not always easy to make.  But when the fun ones appear... Carpe Diem, seize the moment!

Courtesy Psychology Today
Being a fan of live Improv, one of the first rules at improv is don't deny.  There aren't too many rules in improvisation, but if you say no to your partner, the scene can come to a complete stop.  Why wouldn't the same hold true for opportunity?  So many opportunities happen while socializing over food and drink.
Carpe Diem.  Seize the day, boys.  Make your lives extraordinary - John Keating, a character played by Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society (1989)
All of us are fairly consumed at the moment with making the holidays just right.  Travel arrangements, cooking, buying gifts, decorating...I could go on and on.  But at the end of all the planning and execution, it's about being together.  Oh yeah... and being present.  When I'm in the "present" space and let go of a bit of control, I'm usually rewarded by unexpected moments.

This last Thanksgiving was a perfect example.  I planned enough by having all our ingredients handy and hoped all the family members would fall into their usual roles to help.  If not, that would be okay too.  Low and behold, my dad kept popping in the kitchen.  Enough reason for my mom and I put him to work.  He gave us lots of laughs making pies.  I'm pretty sure he's never had a hand in making a pie  and had we all three not gone with the flow, he probably never would have.

My husband is an ace at seizing the moment when one strikes.  Thank goodness, I'm along for the ride.  One post softball game Mexican restaurant visit, one of our friends on the team had her dad, Clive, visiting from England.  John, the extroverted one of the two of us, chatted him up and the next thing I knew Clive had invited us to stay with he and his family in the countryside of England.  And we did!  What an extraordinary experience visiting the countryside with them.  We would never have ventured off the beaten path to the steep hilled village of Clovelly, truly pub crawled or experienced a home cooked meal with such a lovely family had we not said "yes" to our scene back at the Mexican food restaurant.
Photo of Clovelly courtesy
This holiday season, prep to your little heart's content.  But don't forget to relax, quiet the mind, enjoy those around you and make your life extraordinary when the opportunity presents itself.

Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Extracting Pomegranate Seeds Worth Every Last Ruby Gem

I admit it.  I've been intimidated for years at the prospect of harvesting pomegranate seeds even though I love the taste of them.  Why? 

My over-active imagination envisioned the tough, leathery skin giving me all kinds of problems to the point of having to break out a Sawzall.   If a power tool approach was required then I would certainly have pomegranate splatter everywhere!  Evidence staining my hands, walls ... well just about anything.  A horror flick in the making with it's little innards popping every which way.

This year it was time to get out of my own way with the arrival of pomegranates from my grandmother's yard.  She has been harvesting from her trees ever since I can remember and I don't recall any horror tales; just beautiful seeds and lovely jellies.  Unfortunately, I hadn't witnessed her strategy for attacking the red globes and made up my own over dramatized scenario.

Not wanting to waste a food which is known to be high in antioxidants, I tackled an extraction last week with a few tips from my mom.  And no power tools required!

Cut off the ends to aide in stabilizing for the next step
Score the leathery skin
Soaking helps soften the skin and working in the water prevents juice from splattering
The treasures are embedded in an inedible white membrane
Using thumbs to get under the seeds worked best
Liquid courage

Every time I face a fear head on, whether it is as simple has harvesting pomegranate seeds or something much more serious, I am usually always rewarded.  Rewarded in conquering the fear and rewarded with the outcome.  This week's outcome ... a bounty of red ruby gems!

In tonight's salad

Monday, November 28, 2011

Kitchen Stocking Stuffer Marvels Revisited

One would think I've spent my time looking for kitchen stocking stuffer ideas to top last year's Banana Carrier (last year's post).  I really haven't, but with my addiction of going into any kitchen oriented store should it cross my path, I just can't help myself.  I'm also a sucker for clever design.

This year's oddity was found over Labor Day weekend at a quaint kitchen store in Port Townsend, WA.  I had to do a double take on this one.  This rubbery, flexible jelly fish-like gadget is a Foodpod.  It will surely deliver a giggle on Christmas morning.  What?  You didn't know you needed a Foodpod?  If one boils/blanches/steams or drains, then this is the gadget Fushionbrands has created for the hipster on your list.

No hipsters on your list?  Then you may want to go for the more practical kitchen spider to handle the same task.  I had one of these floating around my kitchen for years; I believe it came with a wok we bought.  Silly me, I hadn't considered using it to remove veggies and the like from a pot of boiling water until a year ago.  No more removing a pot of piping hot liquid from the stove, over the floor, over the cat, over the dog to the sink to drain.  I loved it so much I went out and bought a more durable one that is dishwasher safe.

For the practical, "don't want to scrub pans, baking with less fat" kind of cook on your list, I highly recommend picking up a Silpat.  Should you be a fan of the Food Network's "Iron Chef," you may have seen these in action.  A Silpat is a non-stick mat made of Silicon designed by M. Guy Demarle.  Many a professional french pastry chefs have relied on these over the years.  Not only can it take the heat (up to 482 degrees Fahrenheit), it makes a wonderful pastry roll out mat.  The Silpat also is incredibly easy to clean by merely using a little soap, water and a sponge to wipe down.  And unlike parchment paper, there's one less thing to throw away.  One caveat, I'm suggesting to Santa he stick with the original Silpat.  Over Thanksgiving weekend, my mom and I had sticking issues by using a knock off version of the mat from Bed, Bath & Beyond when it came to rolling out pastry.

My latest little treasures are iSi's Flexit Silicon Bowls.   Light and easy maneuverability, I can't imagine making anything in my stand mixer without the help of these pinch-able prep bowls.  A nice feature is they come with lids; a brilliant design for prepping and storing your mis en place.

Dear Santa, everything mentioned above can be had for just under $25. 

Do you have any other stocking stuffer ideas (kitchen or ??) for Santa?  If so, feel free to share!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Pizza Is NOT a Vegetable

Does that pizza look like a vegetable to you?

No, not to me either.  However, our Congressional leadership seems to think it is.  They must have missed that day in school because otherwise I don't understand how they could draw this conclusion.  Maybe they were busy eating one of these "healthy" school lunches and dosed off during the class when the food pyramid was discussed.  I've tried to stay away from anything deemed political in this blog, but recent headlines have ignited a fire in my belly.

Tomatoes are vegetables.  But two tablespoons of tomato paste mixed with processed cheese and who knows what else does not meet the USDA recommended allowance of vegetables in a kid's diet.

Although I don't have children, it doesn't mean I don't care about our global future.  If too many generations lose understanding of what a real vegetable is, then my characterization of our leadership won't be too far off.   It's well documented children of today are suffering from an obesity epidemic which directly ties into long-term healthcare costs.  No matter which way you look at it, we all pay for the problem.

How shortsighted can they be?
"In the long view, no nation is healthier than its children". ~ President Harry Truman in 1946  
Enough said, if you feel as I do, write or call your Congressman.  In the meantime, here's some ideas to make your pizza more vegetable-like.

 Smash tomatoes in a baggie
Let all the tomato goodness simmer for 30-40 minutes

Drizzle olive oil and add fresh ground pepper on the crust

Fresh basil and tomato sauce; notice it's heartier than Congress' 2 tablespoons of tomato paste

A real vegetable topping!  Proscutto & Artichoke

Want a vegetarian version?  Quattro Fromage topped with Arugala

Marinara Sauce Recipe
courtesy The Chopping Block, Chicago

1/4 cup extra virgin oil
1/2 onion, medium dice
2 garlic cloves, sliced thin
1/4 cup red wine
One 28 ounce can whole tomatoes with their juice
1 tsp fresh thyme, roughly chopped
2 tbl basil, leaves torn
Salt & Pepper to taste
Sugar or balsamic vinegar if desired

1.  Heat a heavy pan over medium heat and add the olive oil.  Add the onion and saute' until lightly caramelized, about 10 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook an additional 1 minute or until aromatic. Add red wine.
2.  Crush the tomatoes up in a sealable bag.  Add the tomatoes with the juice to the pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to a simmer and allow the sauce to thicken, about 30 minutes.  Taste!  A bit of Balsamic vinegar can brighten the flavor.
3.  Fold in the thyme and basil.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Add a pinch of sugar if desired.
4.  Use on pizza or it makes a great dipping sauce for calamari.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Finding Okonomoyaki

Have you ever been on a quest to recreate a great memory? Some might say, that's living in the past.  In this case, I don't care!  If nothing else, this journey has taught me much about friendship.

Over 10 years ago, my husband and I whimsically took a vacation to Japan.  I say whimsical because our decision to go was based on finding an amazing airfare.  We had no earthly idea how difficult the trip would be due to the language barrier.  We might as well have traveled to Mars.  And this trip occurred before the days where Internet communication with Japan is where it is today.

Andy in the Akihabra District
Once we decided to go, I remembered that a good work friend from our San Diego days had relocated there.  Fortunately, he met up with us early in our trip.  We knew immediately how to find him in the sea of Asian faces...look for his signature Chargers ball cap and Hawaiian shirt.  That was our Andy!  Without Andy's guidance we wouldn't have been nearly as adventurous.  He showed us how to navigate the subway and neighborhoods; all the maps were in Kanji with little English translation.  He helped us make reservations on the bullet train.  We found most Japanese are not conversant in English.  And he exposed us all kinds of culinary experiences from Unagi-only and Katsu-only restaurants to the sweet joys of red bean paste treats from a street vendor in Tokyo.  He built up our confidence.

We left Andy to venture to Kyoto on our own.  Getting a satisfying meal wasn't too difficult since we were well practiced at pointing.  Pretty much any sit down restaurant has a window display to lure the passerby on all their specialities.  One restaurant in Kyoto, though, lured their customers in by cooking street side.  They served one thing.  Okonomoyaki.

To my American eye, it looked like an open-faced omelet, a pizza or tostada.  In reality it was much more complex.  My husband and I pointed and each got one.  We took our Okonomoyakis to the back of the picnic table laced restaurant, armed ourselves with chopsticks impressing our fellow Japanese Okonomoyaki patrons and gobbled it up.  Oh so delicate and yet so filling!  Japanese soul food being sweet and savory at the same time.  I must remember to have more of these in my lifetime.  Surely with the Asian influence in the United States I'd be able to do so.

I came to discover, not really.  When we first returned from vacation, we were still living in Dallas.  Initially, I'd silently scour our favorite sushi and yakitori restaurants looking for any hint of this yummy dish.  Nothing. 

I shared my Okonomoyaki experience with a work colleague describing that the word oknomi, means "what you like" or "what your want."  Yaki means "grilled" or "cooked."  Further elaborating that it had cabbage, bits of fried batter, eggs and red pickled ginger, mixed with a wheat flour mixture and baked on a grill.  The "what you like" part could be additional vegetable, seafood, pork or tofu.  The Okonomiyaki sauce, nori (dried seaweed), and bonito flakes could be added to your liking.


With my work friend's natural talent of befriending proprietors of establishments, he asked one of our popular sushi haunts if they'd served it on request.  But, the proprietor said he only made it for his employees.

Upon moving back to California, I started the hunt again.  I find Daichan, a restaurant in our sushi row on Ventura Blvd who specializes in Japanese soul food.  I feel I'm getting close.  My girlfriend from work is ready and willing.  The cozy little joint makes everything but.  However, they knew the dish well.  Their food is great and I will return, but we leave disappointed. 

Another foodie friend of mine starts researching and indicates there is food truck in downtown Los Angeles that makes them on Thursdays.  I work in the valley and a trip downtown at the lunch hour, well, we might have to rename it the "lunch half-day." Not convenient but I really appreciate the effort.

Then there is this last weekend.  I'm visiting my BFF in San Diego and do a yelp search.  Bingo.  A restaurant in San Diego.  Is she game?  Heck...YES!  And so is her daughter.  My treasure hunt comes to an end in Kearny Mesa at Tajima with two lovely adventurous ladies by my side.  It was just as mouthwatering as I had remembered. 

Teah & Lizbeth (BFF)
Tajima's Okonomoyaki

Yes, I can recreate experiences and create good new memories.  In this case it was with the help of Andy, Jesh, Laura, Eric, Lizbeth and Teah.  Thank you my friends for making my quest your quest too! 
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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Enchanting Hostess or Hostzilla

Chances are, if you've been over to our house for a meal, I have it noted in my menu/entertaining diary.  It's not the kind of diary where I recap every thought or conversation.  Mine is more of a snapshot of the meal I planned and executed.

It's working so well for me, I thought I'd pass along my tip since we are upon the holiday entertaining season.

My diary started as a way to focus my preparation for planning a Thanksgiving meal while jotting down a grocery list in a notebook.  The notebook ended up becoming extremely handy keeping me focused while I was in the midst of cooking and serving.

I never really thought of myself as disorganized when it came to entertaining, but in the same token when you have house guests and you get busy chatting, well... the brain has many opportunities to miss something I had intended.  I know what you're thinking; no it has nothing to do with getting older!

On the back end, there have been additional benefits from my notebook.  When one of my guests returns for another evening of wining and dining, I don't repeat myself.  Without my handy notebook, the odds are I admit, I probably wouldn't be able to remember what I served the last time.  Or if the meal was a success or had a nice pairing with a side dish, I will recreate the menu for a new set of guests.

For all the reasons above, my notebook...okay my diary...keeps me calm in the kitchen.  I say, do whatever it takes to maintain that calmness.  The ultimate goal is to create a nice, memorable meal where you can enjoy your guests; not a harried one turning you into hostzilla.

If you want to get a grip in the same way I do when it comes entertaining, here's what I recommend you include:
  • Acquire a journal or keep it electronically
  • Note the meal being planned (i.e. Cocktails/Appetizers, Dinner, Brunch, etc.)
  • Holiday or celebration if relevant
  • Guest names
  • All dishes and beverages to be served
  • Identify the cookbooks, recipe sites, etc. for quick reference
  • Ingredients for a run to the store or Farmer's Market
  • Optional:  decoration(s), special serving plates, invitations
  • Optional:  Room for notes on the meal's pros and cons
  • Optional:  if keeping electronically, take pictures

    Just think of this as one more step in your Mise En Place.  Do you have any tips that make entertaining a bit easier?

    Wednesday, October 26, 2011

    An Heirloom Tomato That Keeps on Giving, With Love

    Guest Blogger, Barbara Schwartz

    My husband has been telling me for years that in order to be a culinary success, I must cook with love.  It has taken a long time to fully buy into this theory, but alas, he is right.  Use great ingredients and cook from scratch.  That is why there is a large pot on the stove at this moment softly bubbling with precious ingredients of spaghetti sauce, the cooking base of which started from seed.  Literally.  Learning to grow a garden with love occurred long before learning to cook with love.

    A year ago I discovered heirloom tomatoes may be grown from seed as the tomatoes grow true, reproducing the exact same fruit, unlike a hybrid variety.  I learned this from watching an employee at Trader Joe's saving tomato seeds on a paper towel as a worker chopped up an heirloom at their cooking station.  So saving seeds from my favorite jumbo red and yellow-red I simply threw them in the garden, wet, fresh out of the tomatoes.  And they grew.  All of them.  Perhaps 50 plants.  Amazing!  I put them in large planter pots away from the garden, where the squirrels would hopefully not discover them.  Tomatoes are autogamous plants.  This means pollination of a flower is by its own pollen and cross-pollination is not needed for fruit production.  No bees required!  A gentle shake of the stem will spur pollination.  It turned out to be a good thing having so many plants, as heirlooms have a low yield as well as a long maturation period.

    At the end of last summer's growing season I again saved seeds from the fruit, but this time dried them on paper towels and planted them this past spring, thus arriving at today's pot on the stove of some 50-plus heirloom tomatoes stewing away with all of the ingredients of Italian spaghetti sauce.  Tomorrow will be pasta-making day, a lesson learned from good friends Sylvia and John who showed my husband and me the wonders of fabulous homemade pasta.  And I shall make Italian bread.  Nothing compares to fresh bread, straight out of the oven.  The sauce will mellow overnight and be better in 24 hours' time.

    Oh, one more note about the heirloom tomato plants.  Having given my sister approximately 25 of the thrown-in-the-garden tomato plants in spring of 2010, she re-potted them into an enormous planter pot and then never rid herself of the remaining plants when the fruit season concluded.  As a result my sister had tomatoes in mid-spring this year, having started the growing season with mature plants.  She was basking in tomatoes as I was still watching my second-season-from-seed plants mature, months away from bearing fruit.  Lesson learned.  I can save the plants!

    Friday, October 21, 2011

    Confessions of a Bread-aholic

    Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.  -James Beard

    I wholeheartedly agree!!

    I must confess, I have a love affair with bread.  When the low carb diet came along, I tried to break up with the object of my desire.  A daily struggle, its power over me was much too strong.  Lulled with a glass of red wine, I would resume my relationship.  Giving up on the idea of total exclusion, the experience did leave me more discerning.  Today, I can exercise will power around only so/so bread.  Show me a freshly baked loaf with it's intoxicating fragrance, I must and will give in.  I'm okay with that.
    I came into music just because I wanted the bread.  It's true.  I looked around and this seemed like the only way I was go to get the kind of bread I wanted.  -Mick Jagger
    Whether it is metaphorical or not, Mick implies really good bread can be expensive.  If you have ever witnessed me singing, you know I would be unsuccessful singing for my bread!  Because my desire is so insistent and potentially costly, my least expensive option is to make it myself.  Therein lies my problem.
    Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.  -Henry Ford
    Many years back when I first got married, I attempted to make my first loaf.  How hard could it be?  I had witnessed many a successful roll-making sessions with my grandmother.  I pulled all the ingredients together, kneaded and kneaded.  Then I waited for the rise.  It never happened.  What a flop.  Any number of things could have happened like expired yeast, too cold a room, not enough kneading, who knows....  Several more tries and I became discouraged.

    Then, one Christmas, a bread maker arrived! 

    Oh, what wonderful breads it could make!  Except it churned out tall, box-like loaves looking like an anvil dropped to the ocean floor.  Not what you would call visually appealing.  How to overcome the visual?  I know!  Make the dough in the bread maker where my skill set was definitely lacking and then turn the prepped dough into a loaf shape of my liking and bake in the oven.  That worked for me...for awhile.  It still does if I'm short on time.
    Success consists of going from failure to failure without the loss of enthusiasm.  -Winston Churchill
    In the last year or so, my desire to make bread on my very own was sparked after reading one of my very favorite authors book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle:  A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver.  She and her family deliberately set out for one year to feed themselves with food they raised or grew themselves.  Short of that, they'd buy ingredients locally.  This meant nothing processed, including their bread.  Every chapter would illustrate another luscious loaf of bread being made along side whatever meal prep was in progress.  The beauty of this was she saved a bunch of money, was confident she wasn't eating preservatives and the bread was tasty.

    So inspired, I immediately stopped buying bread in the store.  If I am going to have bread I vowed, I am going to make it myself.  Since that vow which I took in September 2010, I have experimented with many recipes.  Some turned out okay.  Others not so much; think hockey puck.  But I wasn't about to give up.  When I wasn't making bread, I'd read and learn from other people's experiences.  Jeffery Steingarten probably has the funniest account of his pursuit for making the perfect sourdough loaf in his book, The Man Who Ate Everything

    Thank goodness my husband supports my passions.  He's really hung in there.  And with that support he was finally rewarded with the best loaf I've ever made.  The magic happened when I came across the NY Times recipe for "No Knead Bread" adapted from Jim Lahey/Sullivan Street Bakery.  His approach uses a sparse amount of yeast, many hours dedicated to fermentation and a pre-warmed cast iron dutch oven (I used my Le Creuset). 
    The starter doesn't look like much
    18 hours later out of the bowl, not kneaded
    Going in the oven, pot has been pre-heated

    Right out of the oven
    Looks and smells promising

    If you too, are in pursuit of a successful bread recipe, I recommend this one, but you do need about 20 hours from beginning to pulling it out of the oven.  The loaf has just the right crispness to the crust with a wonderful softness and airiness on the inside.  Whip out the butter and have yourself a meal!  Oh my...I just made myself hungry.
    Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.  -Truman Capote

    Wednesday, October 5, 2011

    Designing a Kitchen Garden, An Alternative Way of Thinking

    Welcome to my newly designed blog.  What gave me inspiration to change it up?  A class I attended at the LA Arboretum.

    My normal weekend companion (my husband) had an unusually heavy travel schedule for work this summer.  Taking advantage of my new free time I ended up taking weekend cooking classes.  Many, many cooking classes.  I think I overdosed on cooking classes!  I needed something different; I needed a new twist. 

    On a whim and suggestion from an acquaintance a couple of months back, I looked up horticultural classes since gardening is also a passion of mine.  Our local arboretum offered an introductory class on Permaculture.  I had never heard the term before.  The outline described learning how to create a sustainable food forest in my own backyard, identifying why growing my own vegetables can be so difficult, and learning how to work with nature, not against it.  Class cost:  $25.  Sold!

    I have written before about preconceived notions.  Here I go down the rabbit hole again!  The class I walked into was not a "how to" gardening course.  It was something completely different and absolutely fascinating.  In fact, it wasn't really about gardening at all but rather a study in connecting with your house, community and natural areas as it relates to designing a perennial food garden.

    So what is the definition of Permaculture?  According to Bill Mollison, a researcher, scientist, teacher, naturalist and father/co-developer of Permaculture:
    Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted & thoughtful observation rather than protracted and thoughtless labor; and of looking at plants and animals in all of their functions, rather than treating any area as a single-product system. 
    If you think about it, fruits and vegetables don't naturally grow in neat rows.  Think of a forest or jungle!

    Diagram courtesy: Graham Burnett
    The design approach Bill and his partner David Homgren developed in the mid 1970's was an outcome of analyzing the growing dependence on industrial-agriculture methods resulting in the poisoning of land and water while removing topsoil from previously fertile land due to the reduction of biodiversity.  Their solution was published in their book "Permaculture One" in 1978.  Since then, the concept broadened from agricultural design to designing sustainable human habits.  There are even Permaculture Design Courses (PDC).

    Design starts with examining one's normal, everyday patterns.  When you go home, do you pull into the driveway and walk straight to the front door?  Or do you daily linger through all parts of the front yard?  My guess is it's likely you make a bee-line to the front door.  Does that mean you hardly ever visit the far reaches of your backyard where most people plant their vegetable gardens?  How likely is it you'll care for your vegetable patch if it isn't under your nose?  Why not plant an herb garden in the flower beds along the walk way instead?  You'll smell them every time you brush by.  This is just one example of rethinking where you plant your annual vegies.  And why does it need to be in neat rows?  Get creative!

    Courtesy: Lyons, CO Permaculture Design Course
    To take the concept further, there is an emphasis in perennial edibles (trees, bushes, vines, etc.), native to the area while analyzing where the perennial should be placed for maximum benefit and synergy.  By going native, there is less labor involved.  I love that idea!

    Being a complete newbie to this idea, I encourage you to Google "permaculture" for further understanding.  In the meantime, what has this meant to me?
    Tangerine Tree
    I look at my existing yard and realize I am already lucky in that we inherited a lovely, heavy producing tangerine tree when we bought our house.  With our abundance, we can barter our fruit with our neighbor who has an over producing lemon tree.  And now, when I think about what else I can grow for ourselves, I aim for a perennial such as the starter Blackberry bushes I purchased last weekend.  Come May, we should have enough to cover us through July.
    Young Blackberry Bush
     Conceptually, this has caused me to reexamine other things in my life that may need redesigning.  This blog was one of them.  The template I had been using was okay, but wasn't necessarily me or user friendly.  This one I designed from the ground up.  I hope you find it a nice place to visit as much as I enjoy playing in it.

    Tuesday, September 20, 2011

    Feeding Hungry Tummies

    If you've been following this blog, you'll recognize I appreciate the value of good, clean and healthy food.  My husband and I have been fortunate to be able to feed ourselves with whatever our hearts' desire while being mindful of our environment.  This is not the case for many Americans.  I had no idea how many though.   Not until I read this startling report did I understand the numbers!

    The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported for the third consecutive year:
    1 in 6 Americans live in households that are food insecure.  The USDA defines a food insecure household as one where anyone in the household has been hungry at least once in the last year and could not afford or have the means to acquire enough food.  Based on this definition, nearly 49 million Americans are facing hunger.   Most troubling in these numbers include more than 16 million children.  Five million households experiencing food insecurity include at least one senior. 
    I had been researching a charity I wanted to support and now my desired organization came into focus.  With so many wonderful non-profits specializing in hunger needing support, whether it's through volunteerism or donations, I needed to whittle down my choice since I can't help everyone.   I found mine through Feeding America, the nation's leading domestic hunger-relief organization.

    Feeding America is in the midst of a campaign Hunger Action Month.  I've decided my action for the few days left in this month, is to host a virtual food drive for The LA Food Bank.  Donations will help purchase the most needed food items, like canned tuna, peanut butter, canned fruits and vegetables and cereals.  If you live in the area and would like to join me in making a donation, please click below to my hosted virtual food drive page.  Upon your donation the Food Bank will email you your receipt.  If you don't live in the area but would like to take your own action, visit the Hunger Action Month site for a lead in your area.

    Donate to The LA Food Bank
    Thank you!

    The LA Food Bank is in it's 38th year of service to the residents of Los Angeles County. Over the years, the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank has grown in size, service and scope. Today the Food Bank provides food for nearly 900 member agency sites including abused and abandoned children homes, battered women shelters, senior centers, local food pantries, soup kitchens, AIDS hospices and more. 

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