October 24, 2014

Homemade Corn Tortillas

You would have to go to Mexico to get corn tortillas this fresh.

One way I have been able to judge my health over the past few months of my lower back injury is by our diet. The better I feel, and the more I heal, the fresher our food gets. Lately things are getting good and fresh.

This is not only because I feel better mentally and have a desire to cook, but also because I can stand for longer periods of time.

It has been a long time since I have made any bread, but making corn tortillas today brought back all the reasons for making food from scratch.

First of all, I find prepared foods to be lacking in flavour and healthfulness. The foods I make myself are exactly the way I want them - succulent and wholesome.

Then there is the excessive packaging that comes with prepared foods, even if it is 'only' a can, jar, or plastic bag. Cooking at home is packaging and garbage free.

Finally, prepared foods cost a lot compared to home cooking using inexpensive basic ingredients. And preparing your own food can be fun and personally rewarding. I love to be able to create food I like in my own kitchen.

One of my favourite home made bread products is corn tortillas. My recipe is based on one from the only cook book we own - Laurel's Kitchen.

Corn Tortillas

11/2 cups       water
1      cup        cornmeal
3      tbsp       butter
1      tsp         salt
11/4 cups      flour

Heat water to boiling and add 1/2 the butter. Add cornmeal slowly stirring to keep from clumping up. Cook on very low heat for 3 minutes, take off heat, then add the remaining butter and mix. Set aside to cool.

When cornmeal has cooled, add a bit of flour at a time and stir into the cornmeal. At this time I add the salt. Keep adding flour until you have a soft dough. Knead in the bowl with your hands until it forms a ball.

Knead ball of dough on floured counter top for 5 minutes. Roll into a tube and cut 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and set aside. Cover with a tea towel.

Turn fry pan to medium high. With a rolling pin, roll dough flat to a diameter a bit smaller than your fry pan. Cook each tortilla for anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes, then flip over and repeat. Do not overcook or tortillas will be brittle (good for tortilla chips if this happens). When tortilla starts getting brown spots it is time to take it out.

Place cooked tortillas between tea towels to keep them warm for serving. Left over tortillas can be frozen.

We make refried bean and rice burritos and the occasional fish taco with our home made wraps. Sometimes we fill one with peanut butter and a banana for a breakfast wrap.

Unlike the store bought varieties, I can't get enough of these corn tortillas. 

October 22, 2014


Dear Consumerism,

Please be notified that I am officially waving the white flag of surrender.

It is unhealthy to fight what is because what is, just is - you can't do anything about what has already happened. Therefore, practicing the saintly art of surrender becomes the rational thing to do.

In my surrender I am cultivating a life of calm, and this is what results from accepting that you exist in the world.

Do not confuse this declaration with "giving up" or "quitting" or even "going away". I will continue to chip away at your destruction, violence, and lies, just not in an angry, adversarial relationship.

I can only despair if I think that I know where your planet-harming excess is taking us. I do not. No one knows, even if there are some strong indications of where we might end up.

As writer Alain de Botton suggests we all do, I am surrendering to the future with hope. In this place of peace we can talk about what to do with you and your "profit over people and the environment" ways.

In closing, I look forward to working with you to help us build better ways of acquiring and allocating our resources in ways that preserve the planet - for future generations of my family, your family, and all families.

Thank you, Consumerism, for taking time out from making money to accept my official surrender and withdrawal from your war on everything. Here's to better days moving forward.

October 20, 2014

Words To Consume By

My favourite conscious consumption Re- word is REFUSE. If something doesn't fit with your environmental values the thing to do is refuse to consume it.

The following words from Pete Seger are an excellent anti-consumption guideline, and amount to about the same thing.

“If it can’t be

  • reduced, 
  • reused, 
  • repaired, 
  • rebuilt, 
  • refurbished, 
  • resold, 
  • recycled or 
  • composted

then it should be 

  • restricted, 
  • redesigned, or 
  • removed from production."
- Pete Seger
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