Monday, March 24, 2014

CHASA Fundraising

This week I interrupt root awareness (I bought burdock, turmeric, celariac and golden beets last week!) to inform you about the Children's Hemiplegia and Stroke Association (CHASA, found here).
I first mentioned CHASA last fall when I wrote about Aster's hemiplegic cerebral palsy diagnosis.  Since then, I've learned a ton from the organization and its members through the improved website and a parents' facebook group (to which the Mister and both belong), and now they are fundraising.

CHASA programs include shoe exchanges, matching families to research studies, retreats and camps, college scholarships and sending stuffed animals with orthodics to kids with hemiplegia.  Importantly, CHASA is a great and expanding resource for information like how to apply for early intervention programs, best ways to apply kinesio tape or what questions one should ask at an IEP meeting.

If you want to donate directly, there is donation area on the main page (top "here" link).  At the moment, you can also donate (1/2 percent of your purchases) through the Amazon smile program.

Amazon Smile CHASA link (I think it's stable)

Amazon smile in general (definitely stable, but then you need to chose a charity)

This is in no way stating that shoe exchanges for kids whose braces require different size shoes is more important than . . . [insert worthy cause here].  I can, however, vouch that the organization does a lot with very little and offers a real service.  Thanks.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Pickled Daikon

I took these photos last February, at the end of acid year, and apparently never posted them.    Last year when I made matchstick daikon pickles, I followed the Sweet Daikon Pickle recipe from Roots closely. This year I couldn't find that recipe, so I used the (very similar) recipe for Spicy Thai Pickled Carrots for my recent two jars.  Both preparations are easy and the results are tasty.
The shocking thing is that my sons gobble up pickled daikon.
It's weird.
I clearly need to make some more.
Daikon, by the way, is a true root,  It's a mild variety of radish and a member of the mustard family (Brassicaceae).
The daikon kim chi I made recently is texturally not as good as cabbage kim chi, but it is also tasty, and definitely tastes fermented.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Root Resolution

During this year of roots, I resolve to:
1) eat the underground parts of at least twelve different plants, at least 5 of which I have not eaten before.  I will be using Diane Morgan's "definitive compendium" Roots as a starting place.
2) Blog about rhizomes, bulbs, corms and tubers, so it is clear why I used the term "underground parts" instead of "roots" in the previous sentence.
3) Attend a family reunion.
4) Introduce my sons so some members of their extended family.
5) Write about family and cultural traditions, in part to reassure my mother that we have "roots" and that I understand them.
6) Publish prairie turnip data!
7) Correct Diane Morgan about prairie turnips and find out where she learned her information.
8) Listen to "roots" music.
9) Read Roots (the Alex Haley book, in addition to the Diane Morgan book) or watch the mini-series, or both.
14) Read at least 3 other books with roots in the title, or by people named root (see SiL's suggestion on my original post)
10) Plant lots of things with my sons.
11) Grow and harvest some root crops.
12) Forage some roots.
13) Blog about root eating at least once a month.
15) Get to the root of some problem.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Rainbow carrots in caramel sauce

It's Mardi Gras, one has made scrumptious homemade dark chocolate sauce and homemade caramel sauce with one's toddlers, one has already eaten a sundae and doesn't need any more food, but one can't use the leftover sauces once Lent starts tomorrow.  What does one do?
Dip carrots in the caramel sauce, of course.
If you have good caramel*, and I do, it is really good.  Better, even, then dipping the caramel in the dark chocolate sauce.  But, to be fair, dipping little pretzels in the caramel and then in the chocolate is better still.

*I made two batches of butterscotch/caramel for the sundae parties and managed to screw both up (although they were still tasty).  This was partially redemption just to remind myself that I can burn sugar properly.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Pickled Daikon, Carrot Muffins, Jicama Slaw. . . Do we detect a theme here?

This is a legitimate question.  While processing the end of a 25 pound bag of rainbow carrots (because, two weeks after picking up the 25 pound bag, we had about 8 pounds of new orange carrots) and making kimchi and daikon pickles from a 10 pound bag of daikon (and watching ice pellets fall from the sky), it occurred to me that I may have stumbled upon my resolution for the year: roots.

I have been hesitant to pick a resolution.  I feel very far from done with flowers.  The one thing that I really want to do in 2014 is to wear a sparkly dress to a sparkly dress occasion. And dance.  And sing. And surround myself with laughter and learning.  (And read great books, lose 15 pounds, survive the tenure process, teach my kids to swim, and so forth).  But when I thought that my resolution was to be "sparkle" it felt flat, forced, and, well, un-sparkly if not actually anti-sparkly.  Is sparkly really sparkly if it is not spontaneous?  True, wearing a sparkly dress to a sparkly dress occasion takes planning and forethought, but saying that I'm going to sparkle year-round feels like a bit too much obligation to throw some glitter on it, ("it" being most anything) and glitter makes me shudder.

The Mister and I just completed our ballroom dance class (I have demonstrative evidence in the form of certificates) and, knowing we were going to be taking it, I thought that I might make rhythm the theme of the year. But I can't spell "rhythm", and I'm dubious about any word with more syllables than vowels.  How can I gain an appreciation for rhythm if the very word doesn't follow the rules of lingustic rhythm in English?  Besides, beyond dance class, I hadn't managed to figure what I would do, as this is not my year to take up drumming.

So, that leaves us with roots.  I've liked roots because there are botanical and cooking literal approaches, as well as familial and literary figurative approaches.

I just started to type my hesitations, but I am being decisive (and, as it is a snow day, I need to attend to some toddlers and somehow get to campus-- tomorrow's lab doesn't care that it snowed last night and isn't going to prep itself).  Roots it is.

I've started roots with a bang.  In the last three days I've prepared carrot muffins; curried carrot, squash, and sweet potato soup; daikon kimchi; pickled daikon; and carrot, daikon, and broccoli stem slaw.  I have eaten a carrot or two a day for the last two weeks and I won't start on all the ginger preparations-- ginger's a rhizome after all.

What are your suggestions for the year of the roots?