I love life!

Hi, I am Jo and this is my blog about my life. Here you will find entries on cooking, gardening, food safety and the interesting things happening in my search for an inexpensive and healthy way of living. My home is located in North Florida and I am relearning how to take care of myself at almost 50. This is the deep South so my garden and season may be a bit different than yours. I look forward to seeing what you have to say as time passes. Read on and have a beautiful day!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Jammin it Up

Today was spent making jam for the holidays. How was your day today? Is there anything that you make for the holidays?

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Think! A Positive Tirade on Food Safety

My days are spent doing inspections in food facilities. Most of the time the people who own them are good, honest, knowledgeable people. The ones today were especially up on the process they were performing. It absolutely made my day!

Then I got done and was confronted with another, tougher aspect of my job. Those that do not know and pretend that they do. "Those that do not know" are the biggest danger to the public. They have phrases like, "This is how people made this for centuries and no one died." and, " The health benefits of this far outweigh the risks." My answers, "Yes, people died. They just did not attribute it to the product you are making. Back then they also thought the night air carried vapors that caused the plague." "If there are considerable risks the benefits better be out of this world and immediately noticeable to make it worth my while. If not walk away."

"Those that do not know" TTDNK from here forward, are most likely, unpermitted and selling locally. However, once in a great while they turn out to be a major player in our food system. TTDNK are also wary of "big government" coming to shut them down.

The truth is- "Big government" does not want to shut them down. They want TTDNK to follow the law and prepare the food products they make safely. Safely means- the product won't harm anyone. Let me repeat that, it won't harm anyone. Just because, you with your cast iron gut can eat it and survive does not mean that  a 3 year old can consume it safely, or someone who is already ill can consume it safely. It is not based on your immunity.  Look up children, raw milk and E-coli. Google it go ahead. I will wait. Did you watch the video??? That is what I am talking about! If you didn't watch the video go back later- it is eye opening.

Proving that the food is safe is accomplished by this process called a scientific study. That is right science. Not pseudoscience, real hard science! The other key is that is not the, "Big Governments" job to prove that you product is safe! It is your job as the producer. This means the producer needs to do their homework. "Big Government" has all of the science at their fingertips. The producer needs to know the science as well as, if not better than the regulator.  If you are making a product you need to know your pathogens of concern and be able to explain how you are controlling the pertinent little buggers. Then you need to PROVE you are doing so. That is right here is that proof again.

Personally, you can make all of the pickles, jams and jellies that you want. The minute that food moves into commerce ALL bets are off. Homemade food is awesome. I garden, I can and preserve. I also do not sell it to anyone. It is for family use and I tend to stick to tried and true recipes.         

So here is the positive in my tirade. Every day in every state, there are countless inspectors doing their jobs. We are ensuring that what is purchased in the retail establishments and restaurants is as safe as we can make it. Every day countless unsafe practices are stopped and you, the general public, never know it even happened. Every day a silent group of unnamed people, sometimes labeled, "Big Government", are looking out for you. And that is regardless of what they are called and how they are treated. Every day countless recalls of foods take place that you never hear about. Every day countless food borne illness outbreaks are aborted by removing dangerous foods from the system. It does not matter if you know about it or not. It is happening all around you. And that is positive!!     

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Food IS love!

Another blogger I adore wrote about food and providing it for loved ones. See the sidebar. It struck a chord. An idea has been niggling in the back of my mind for several weeks. Food is love.

In Jo's world, Food IS love.

If someone is sick - I offer food. Soup or juice to help feed thier ailing bodies. Nothing is better that getting hot soup when one can barely move from the couch or bed.

If family is visiting it may be simply offering snacks and beverages as a form of hospitality.

When there is a death, there is no asking, one simply shows up with food for comfort for the bereaved.

A new baby produces a couple freezer meals or a roast chicken to help out the exhausted new parents.

A holiday is a feast! A chaotic time of joy and sharing. Gifts of glistening jars of jam are handed out each year to friends and family. Holiday dinners center aroubnd hours of cooking traditional and not so traditional foods.

When my husband, the chef, works late, I try to make him dinner. It is warmth and love waiting for him when he comes home after cooking for everyone else.

My garden provides love in it's purest form. Fresh, safe foods that are amazing to eat.

The foods I make for family and friends are an expression of who I am and how much I care about them and thier wellbeing. When I cook, I think about who I am cooking for and what nourishment this food can provide them- for both body and soul. Many times it is hard to express how we feel in a hard situation. I express a lot through food.

In Jo's world, food IS love.  


Saturday, November 29, 2014

A little more positive!

This morning while perusing online I noticed that I was starting to feel abit blue. After stopping to ponder why, it came to me that everything that has been in front of me over the past few days has been exceedingly negative. The news of the Ferguson riots, highly politicized arguments, Black Friday consumerism, the Bill Cosby rape allegations, racial tensions across the country.....the list is endless. The media takes all of these negative issues and spins them to make them even worse (if that is possible) and that promotes tension between differing parties.

News Flash! There is more than one viewpoint of value for so many of these issues facing us today. WHY do we insist that our views are the only views with value? WHY do we not stop and listen? Everyone is shouting down, or in some cases burning down, everyone else and nothing is being accomplished. It makes everything seem futile.

To combat this obscene amount of negativity being funnelled at us I am focusing on the positive. I will be adding positive news to my feed on Facebook, reading inspirational materials and posting positive posts here on Blogger. Here is a favorite photo to start off on a "positive" note.



Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Happy Thanksgiving!

This morning is nice,quiet calm and peaceful. Sleeping in once in a while is such a relaxing gift. 

Later, my older brother and parents will be coming over and we will go to the club where my husband works to celebrate Thanksgiving dinner. With Rob working every year it is hard to really enjoy myself over a good portion of the Holidays. He is busy the week before as well as the week after, with very little down time to relax. It is peak season and this is when all of the money is to be made to cover the slower parts of the year.
Thus he works, a lot, from November through Easter!

This time of year is the time I am free to follow whatever hobbies catch my fancy. With Rob at work I have to have something to occupy my time other than watching t.v. and eating. Most likely this year that will include, running, blogging and sewing and a good bit of gardening and canning thrown in for good measure. After all this is peak growing season here in SW Florida.

A lot of my time has been spent sewing the past couple of months. Thus far a skirt, 3 blouses and a child's apron have been completed. Next up is a pair of cigarette pants and a remake of a dress purchased at the thrift store. Pictures to follow on another post (Once the camera is located).   

Today, gratitude is on my mind. Looking around the country and around the world we are so incredibly blessed. At times it is easy to forget how bountiful my life truly is at the present time.  My life includes a loving family, food on the table and in the pantry as well as a roof over my head. On top of that there is a career that is challenging and provides room for growth, a life in a subtropical paradise and my health. Even if my health is not always great we have the extreme luxury of medicine and sick days. For many people these are not realities these are the things that they can only dream of having in the future. So I am so profoundly grateful for what we have today. 

May we be grateful today for all that we have and remember that no matter how "bad" our life seems at the moment, someone, somewhere would love to be in our shoes. Below is a link to one of my favorite local charities!


May you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!!!