Archive for the ‘The Purple Side’Category

Jessica’s Corn Pudding

img_0072

For as unconventional a life as I grew up in I have always felt like I was a bit of a traditionalist and sentimentalist. I love tradition and ritual. I love holidays! I love the lights of Christmas, the latkes and candles of Chanukah, and a giant meal with loved ones on Thanksgiving. I have fond memories of playing a version of football with my uncles and cousins on Jomar Drive in Napa; and of Thanksgivings spent on a farm in upstate New York with Zelda’s family; and cooking next to one of my oldest and dearest friends for years in her kitchen in Pennsylvania.

I am very fortunate to have a number of friends from my youth, decades of friendship stretched over distance but still bound tight with instant love and familiarity when we see each other again. My mother always said the mark of a real friendship was its ability to seamlessly pick up when you see the other person despite time or space. Two of these friends are Zelda’s nieces whom I met when we were 5 or 6 on their farm in upstate New York, and a lifelong friendship began. We spent weeks of the summer together and for a few years a week in February. I loved the farm and my days with them milking cows, making up songs, playing in Aunt Rose’s house and imagining a life that was so different from the one I lived in San Francisco. Our friendship stretched through our childhood and into adolescence, it moved through college, and into our 20s and 30s. I was honored to be at their weddings and watch as they had children and find my own friendship with their daughters and son. I spent many a Thanksgiving with Jessica and her family as it grew in Pennsylvania, baking pies late into the night and then delicately moving around each other the next day as we cooked a giant traditional feast. I loved the way we both talked and didn’t as we chopped and mixed ingredients and washed the never-ending stacks of dishes.

scan

Jessica is one of those special friends you find in life, one who grows with you and continues to grow through changes and triumphs and defeats. She is one of the kindest and most generous spirits I know. She is humble and gracious. She is warm and encouraging and wise. She is observant and honest. She is one of the best mothers I know and I have watched her for years in awe and hoped that someday I can be a fraction of the mother she is. It was an honor to stand with her on the day she got married and to hold each of her 4 daughters as babies. I have always felt grateful to have a friend like Jessica in my life because she is the truest definition that I know of what a friend should be – a person who you go through life with, a person who you hold in your heart and you know holds you in theirs not for a few days or years but for a lifetime.

scan-1

This past year Jessica was diagnosed with Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC) she has taken on the hardest part of her life the way she has taken on everything else I have seen her take on – with truthfulness, acceptance, determination, and faith. She has undergone 6 months of chemo, surgery, and now radiation. I have been inspired so many times in life by Jessica and this past year has been another example of how much I admire her. She is so open and honest in sharing this journey, she writes beautifully about the experience and has bared both her fears and her faith. She is one of the most optimistic and realistic people at the same time. I have been moved by her fight and her resilience, how she is handling this with such grace and inspiration.

scan-2

I have been thankful for her friendship for so many decades but this year I felt particularly thankful to have her in this world and in my life. In the years that we shared Thanksgiving she always made this corn pudding that I loved and then one year she wrote the recipe on a card to send me home with it along with leftovers. The last few years I have made her corn pudding to everyone’s enjoyment and found that for me it feels like the quintessential Thanksgiving dish – filled with butter, sour cream, corn, imbued with a history of friendship, and then lovingly baked in a casserole until warm and brown. I texted with Jessica on Thanksgiving morning and told her I was making her corn pudding, I thought of her as I mixed the ingredients together, and I thought of our many years of friendship and what I hope is many more years of love and sharing as I ate the corn pudding cold directly from the fridge on Friday morning.

img_0071

Perhaps it is the sentimental side of me that loves tradition, it’s the side of me that likes to feel the history and years fold up on each other in a single recipe and the way it can bring back a lifetime of memories and love. I am lucky to call Jessica my friend, I have been lucky to call her a friend for over 30 years, and I will continue to feel lucky to call her a friend as we move forward into future years of life together.

Love,

Ra

img_0070

Jessica’s Corn Pudding

Ingredients:

1 stick butter

2 eggs

2 cans cream style corn

8oz of sour cream or milk

1 box of Jiffy muffin mix (8 ½ oz)

  • Pre heat oven to 350°
  • Melt butter in 13x9x2 inch baking dish
  • Combine all of the ingredients except the butter and mix well.
  • Add the butter to the combined ingredients and mix again.
  • Pour into the pan that melted butter and bake for 45 min – 1 hour until golden brown and set.
  • Enjoy hot, room temperature, or cold the next day.

img_0073

29

11 2016

Understanding and All Star Bars

IMG_3164

It has been such a heartbreaking week, month, possibly start of a year. The news feels so very hard and painful and everyday feels harder to face the headlines but turning our faces at this time feels like exactly the wrong thing; we need to look deeply at ourselves and at each other rather then turn away at this time. If ever there was a time to turn to understanding, compassion, growth and change now seems like the time.

The past few days I have read a few things that have meant a lot to me in these sad and confusing days…

Michael Brown’s Mom, on Alton Sterling & Philando Castile

Death in Black & White

The next time someone says “all lives matter” show them these 5 paragraphs

Trevor Noah made a great point and its important

W Kamau Bell on This American Life

Brene Brown’s word’s were so powerful

And for something hopeful 

Now onto something sweeter because after all of that I need something sweet. Tonight is the All Star Game and I baked these Chocolaty Pretzel -and-Peanut Cookie Bars. They seemed the perfect thing to eat with friends and watch baseball!

IMG_9944

All Star Bars – recipe adapted  from Martha Stewart

Ingredients:

1 stick unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pan

5 1/2 cups salted mini pretzel twists

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk

1 1/3 cups roasted and lightly salted peanuts

6 ounces (about 1 cup) bittersweet chocolate – I use chocolate chips

  • Preheat oven to 350°
  • Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking pan and line with parchment, leaving about an inch overhang along sides. Butter parchment.
  • Place 4 1/2 cups pretzels in a food processor and pulse until texture resembles coarse cornmeal. Transfer to a bowl and stir in sugar and butter until well combined. Transfer to pan, spreading evenly, and pack down flat with the bottom of a measuring cup.
  • Drizzle condensed milk evenly over crust. Sprinkle with peanuts & chocolate.
  • Gently press the remaining 1 cup pretzels into milk along top of bars.
  • Bake until chocolate melts and condensed milk bubbles and becomes golden, 25 to 30 minutes.
  • Cool completely in pan on a wire rack, then refrigerate until chocolate is set, about 30 minutes.
  • Run a sharp knife between bars and short sides of pan. Using parchment overhangs, transfer to a cutting board. Cut into 15 squares.

IMG_9942

12

07 2016

A Perfect Summer Crumble to Celebrate

IMG_9924

Last weekend 13 members of my extended family gathered in Portland to celebrate my sister’s graduation from college. It was a wonderful weekend of togetherness – we shared yoga practices, had a back yard BBQ party, dinners out in PDX, a visit to a lavender farm, a hike to a waterfall, and more laughter then could be imagined.

IMG_3128

IMG_3143

IMG_3140

In the almost seven years since our mother passed away my sister and I have discussed what milestones might look like without her there with us to celebrate. At times we imagined these milestones impossible, my sister in fact while she was always certain she would graduate college, she was not always sure if she would walk in the ceremony without our mom. But as time has moved us further from that impossible date we have seen these milestones differently, they no longer are only reminders of her absence (which it is impossible to not recognize) but more they have become celebrations of what we have done in our lives both with and without her. My sister’s graduation was exactly that a celebration of the accomplishment that my sister earned on her own with the help of many but ultimately on her terms and in her own fashion. The weekend was filled with love, pride, joy, laughter, and a few tears. It showed us what more milestones might look like in the future; and it reminded me that while my mom won’t be with us for these milestones she also could never be further off than the magic moments we experience together. I have found again and again the truth that our loved ones never leave us entirely, their absence and love can be felt all-ways.

IMG_3130

IMG_3139

IMG_3138

To celebrate my sister I baked a beautiful summer crumble that we topped with Salt & Straw Ice Cream. Summer crumbles are one of the simple joys of life, sweet fruit that needs little more than a topping of oats, sugar, and butter crisped in the oven. We made ours with nectarines and raspberries and I used no measurements, but I did make another at home and measured for posterity’s sake, I love this crumble with peaches/nectarines/berries in the summer and apples/pear/and dried cranberries in the fall (although really any fruit combination works well). At home I added some coconut flakes that were lingering in my pantry for some added summer celebration. The crumble is beautiful and perfect enough for a celebration of any type but really needs no more celebration other then its summer in order to make it.

Wishing my sister a very happy birthday and continued congratulations!

Love,

Ra

Perfect Summer Crumble to Celebrate

 Ingredients:

Filling:

4 peaches or nectarines diced (ultimately you are looking for approx. 4 – 5 cups of fruit)

1 pint raspberries

Scant 1 tablespoon of cornstarch

1 tablespoon of sugar

 Topping:

1 cup whole rolled oats

¼ sugar (any kind of sugar works here, use whatever is on hand)

½ teaspoon cinnamon

4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature (approx. ½ of stick)

¼ cup shredded coconut (optional)

Ice cream, or whipped cream for serving (optional)

  • Preheat over to 350° F.
  • Combine the fruit with the cornstarch, and tablespoons of sugar in a 9-inch pie or baking dish.
  • Using your hands combine the rest of the ingredients for the topping together in a bowl until it is well combined and texture of small peas or sand. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the fruit.
  • Bake for 35 – 45 minutes, or until the topping is browned and the fruit juices are bubbling. Serve warm, or room temperature, or cold as leftovers shared out of the fridge.

IMG_9928

20

06 2016

Life In Links

IMG_2941

I’m just finishing my last day in a lovely week long visit with family and friends in San Francisco; a cake is baking in the oven, and tomorrow I fly to my friend’s wedding in Mexico. Here is some of what I have enjoyed and some of what I am looking forward to in links.

SF is Unaffordable on This American Life, so true and such a great listen. This city is not for sale!

Its hard to come to San Francisco and not think of how it has changed, everyone keeps telling me to watch San Francisco 2.0

Virunga I loved this documentary and found it so inspiring, important, and enlightening.

When Breath Becomes Air I can’t seem to say enough about this book and how it moved me.

First They Killed My Father and Lucky Child were 2 of the most impactful books I read after returning from Cambodia and now First They Killed My Father will be a movie.

I loved this movie on my flight to Seoul last month.

Chelsea Handler does Racism was amazing!

If you want to be happier embrace sadness! I loved this article and the idea. Sadness has a lot to teach us.

When Your Calling Seems Vague 

The Park Slope Food Coop’s April Fool’s Line Hater’s Gazette still has me laughing out loud!

Can’t wait to get home and make this  Mushroom Kale Cornmeal Tart!

Lead photo my mother who would have turned 70 years old a few weeks ago!

12

04 2016

First Prize Onion Casserole

IMG_9691

After my mom died there were so many questions – was I all right? Was my sister all right? Had we eaten? Did we need anything? Did I know where my mom had kept this or that? Months later when we cleaned out her house the questions were still there but had changed – What were we going to do in our lives? Where were we going to go? Could someone have this or that of our moms? And the BIG question – Do you have your mom’s recipe for – her chocolate mousse, her lasagna, her macaroni and cheese, her chocolate chip cookies, her chicken curry, her rice casserole?

I loved the questions about her recipes, her food always showed her boundless love to people, and the fact that specific items had resonated made her love feel received, recognized, and appreciated. I wrote here about finding her chicken curry recipe years after she passed, and finding her kugel recipe. In the last few months I had a similar discovery when looking for her friend’s banana bread recipe I came upon a recipe cut out from the SF Chronicle that looked familiar but instead of being called rice casserole it celebrated the onion. I sent the recipe to some of our family early on a Saturday morning and before too long my phone was ringing with calls and text messages “you found it! That’s her rice casserole recipe! I know what I am making for dinner for the family tonight.”

IMG_9690

It’s a very simple recipe but the first moment the onions hit the butter it smelled like my mom’s kitchen and Monday night dinners. Lately I have been having some tough emotions about my mom, I of course love her so much, unconditionally, forever, but as her daughter I saw more of her layers like an onion. She could bring people to tears in good and bad ways like an onion. To so many she was their rock, their best friend, the wisest woman they knew, the kindest and most fun. But like any deep relationship once you peel the layers of the onion and the day to day as her child at times felt harder – the buttons we pushed in each other, the complicated relationship she had with her family that was inadvertently transferred to me, the ways she could pour out everything for humanity but then be too tired and would take to her bed for days leaving me to take care of myself and at times my sister. Like an onion our relationship could be sweet or have a strong bite to it. But beyond everything she is my mother and just because you lose a parent doesn’t mean that your relationship with them ends or that the complicated feelings become condensed into only the good ones.

IMG_9695

But this casserole is only the sweet memories of comfort and care. The onions have a good relationship with a lot of butter that leave them only tasting sweet and caramelized. My sister and I joke if anything of our moms tasted good it was – butter, sour cream, or half and half – and this recipe doesn’t let down. I served it the way my mom always served it with a big green salad and as much love as I possibly could.

Love All-ways,

Ra

IMG_0319

First Prize Onion Casserole from Marion Cunningham and the SF Chronicle

Ingredients:

5 cups of water

1 teaspoon salt + more to taste

½ cup long grain rice

4 tablespoons butter

4 large yellow onions, cut into ½ inch dice

6 ounces Swiss cheese, grated (1 ½ cups)

2/3 cup half and half (or milk)

IMG_9693

  • Preheat the oven to 325°. Have ready a 9x13x2 inch baking dish.
  • Combine the water and 1 teaspoon of salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Slowly add the rice. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for just 5 minutes; drain well. Transfer rice to mixing bowl.
  • Melt the butter in a large sauté pan. Add the onins and cook over medium heat, stirring until they are shiny and soft, about 5 to 6 minutes. Add to the rice.
  • Add the grated cheese and the half-and-half. Stir until well mixed. Taste. Salt and pepper to your liking (it will need it).
  • Spread the mixture in the baking dish. Place in the over and bake for 1 hour, until golden on top.

Serves 6

IMG_9700

29

01 2016

The Giving List – 2015 Edition

IMG_3287

It’s hard to believe another year is winding down and shortly we will be in January again and trying to remember to write a new year on letters and checks. I have to admit 2015 has been a year that has felt heavy and some what hard for me and more for the world. I don’t believe in the fresh start on January 1 but if ever there was a time to wish for a fresh start this year might be it.

Every year this list has become more and more a reflection of what has occupied my thoughts and my heart during these days, and this year is no different.

Wishing us all light and hope.

Love,

Ra

MARTIN DE PORRES HOUSE OF HOSPITALITY:

All-ways closest in my heart. I was raised in the shadow of these soup pots and surrounded by this community my entire life.

“Martin’s, as it is affectionately known, is a free restaurant, serving breakfast and lunch during the week and brunch on Sundays. Our mission is to serve in the spirit of compassion, understanding and love.”

Note: Quote taken from Martin de Porres Website. See link for more information. martindeporres.org

BUILD A SCHOOL IN BURMA:

Through the heaviness and darkness of the news this year something remarkable has also occurred in Myanmar.  The National League for Democracy, the party of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi won the popular vote in Myanmar’s first free and fair general election in over half a century.

In the past four years Build a School in Burma has built 15 schools impacting kids from preschool through high school.

“Build A School in Burma’s mission is to build schools in underserved areas of Burma (Myanmar) to educate children and give them a chance for a better future. Build a School in Burma built [their] first school during 2011 in Nan Ouw village.”

Note: Quote taken from Build A School In Burma Website. See link for more information. http://www.buildaschoolinburma.com/#!

Shining Hope For Communities:

I read Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s book A Path Appears this year and was tremendously inspired by many of the stories and organizations but especially Shining Hope For Communities.

“We believe in the urban poor; in their strength, resilience and capacity to create a better future. Through grassroots leadership, we link schools for girls to community services for all, building vibrant, gender equitable communities where all are able to realize their full potential.”

Note: Quote taken from Shining Hope For Communities Website. See link for more information. http://www.shofco.org/

International Rescue Committee:

It is hard to look back at 2015 and not think of refugees. It is also hard to imagine the magnitude and the importance.

“The International Rescue Committee (IRC) responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises and helps people to survive and rebuild their lives. At work in over 40 countries and 25 U.S. cities to restore safety, dignity and hope, the IRC leads the way from harm to home.”

Note: Quote taken from International Rescue Committee Website. See link for more information. http://www.rescue.org/

The Compassion Collective:

Also, to end on note of hope and light The Compassion Collective. Started by Elizabeth Gilbert, Rob Bell, Cheryl Strayed, Brene Brown, and Glennon Doyle in the face of darkness choosing light and showing love.

“Today’s refugee crisis is the worst humanitarian emergency the world has seen since World War II. Just as the Greatest Generation’s response to the holocaust defined them, so will our response define us.

We want to be remembered as the generation that chose Love over Fear.”

Note: Quote taken from The Compassion Collective Website. See link for more information. http://thecompassioncollective.org/

23

12 2015

Life In Links

IMG_2714

The other night while I took the subway home from a dinner with friends one of the usual performers started to play a song on a set of bongos, he was as Happy as the song he played, he collected his donations and as he moved onto the next subway car he said “As the world gets worse let’s each of us try to get a little better.” That phrase has stayed with me, I liked it.

Here is some of what I have been reading, watching, thinking about.

I loved these quotes

I went to see Henry IV last week at Saint Ann’s Warehouse and I am still thinking about how great it was!

One of my favorite films and books this year was Brooklyn!

I went to the New York Film Fest back in October and saw Where to Invade Next, Steve Jobs, and Microbe et Gasoline

Also, saw I The Danish Girl that was beautiful beyond words; and Spotlight and now I am outraged and inspired at the same time.

So moved by The Displaced in the NY Times

I just heard about this cookbook Soup For Syria

The Dalai Lama’s Daily Routine & Information Diet

Understanding Happiness with the Dalai Lama, a British Rabbi, an Episcopal Bishop, & a Muslim Scholar

My sister and I have always lamented the terrible sympathy cards out there, but she told me about these empathy cards and I love them

More empathy and what to say when life is hard (because it can and will be hard!)

My dad loved this video on ripping off the labels and I agree, also Between The World And Me is at the top of my want to read list

Feminism video “Its not what’s on my head, its what is in it!”

And just for fun because this makes me smile when I here it!

Love,

Ra

10

12 2015

Life in Links

IMG_7749

This weekend I baked dessert for a friend’s party and 40 people…40 People!! I baked so much I think I might have lost my sweet tooth, but fret not it won’t last long. In the mean time there has also been so many things to look at, think about, and learn, here are some of the links that have been filling my life when it has not been filled with cakes, cookies, whipping cream, and dishes.

Home its important to each and everyone of us, this video has touched me on so many levels – refuges, environment, and the concept of home.

While we are talking about home, from my birthplace and forever home town wherever I might be living The Steepest Streets In San Francisco.

The Refuge crisis and Syria are immense, so immense, this look at Syria in dots is amazing!

I was introduced to the podcast On Being and I am obsessed OBSESSED!

Brene Brown’s TED Talk on Vulnerability and Shame are life changers!!

The difference between Empathy and Sympathy, I choose empathy. Yeah I’m on a Brene Brown kick over here.

When I’m gone and the letters one father left, I found this so moving.

I saw this Antoine Schneck exhibit in Paris earlier this summer and have not been able to stop thinking about his portraits or looking at the one post card I have from the show.

Last week I found the table I want at this little shop, its made from one piece of wood by Creation Therrien  and a portion of proceeds go to Haiti, anyone want to buy me a table…I mean a glorious piece of art?

I wish you all the very of sweetest of weeks.

Love,

Ra

Lead photo is from a Yves Saint Laurent poster at the Jardin Majorelle in Marrakech and my trip there in 2012.

26

10 2015

Here And Now

IMG_2486

Again I have found myself away for such a long time, not on any big adventures, but more because I have in my day to day life felt like I had nothing to share, to say. And so for months this space has languished, perhaps it is I and my life that has languished.

In these past months I have worked hard, not on anything of note but it has taken my time and energy, probably more of it then it warranted.

I have also spent time trying to discover and define my values and what they mean to me and my life. I have spent time thinking about how I want to be treated and engaged by others and in return how I wish to treat and engage with others. I have pondered big questions and at times binge watched TV. I have read and cooked, traveled to Spain again, and baked. But none of this felt important or as if I had any pressing desire to share.

IMG_2499

What should I have said these past months, I have sat and read in the shade by a beautiful fountain; the water spraying into the sunlight created small arcs of rainbow before disappearing. It was a small day but a lovely moment. I have doubted if that was enough. In this life of such big emotions and important moments these felt too small.

I read about the war in Syria and the migration in Europe and feel my cookies or couscous recipe seems inadequate in the light of such larger moments.

But then I thought about it again and about that small and beautiful moment by the fountain and perhaps it is small but it was real and perhaps I could find in my small and familiar life that I don’t need the big adventure but just moments and to be aware of them (and believe me couscous and cookies never hurt).

So again I will try and this time I am going to try to stay a bit out of my head – of course my cookies will not bring about world peace but perhaps they will bring a smile to someone’s face or some nourishment and perhaps for now I can rest not in the big moments that I am missing but in the life that is existing right in front of me.

Ra

IMG_2597

25

09 2015

The Giving List – 2014 Edition

I thought I would end 2014 with this year’s collection of The Giving List. In the past few years I have found that I love compiling this list and looking back at the ones from the past. In an odd way looking at these lists every year feels like a way of capturing where my mind was, what has moved me, and what was going on in my life and the world around me at that time.

Best wishes for 2015!

Love,

Ra

MARTIN DE PORRES HOUSE OF HOSPITALITY:

All-ways closest in my heart. I was raised in the shadow of these soup pots and surrounded by this community my entire life.

“Martin’s, as it is affectionately known, is a free restaurant, serving breakfast and lunch during the week and brunch on Sundays. Our mission is to serve in the spirit of compassion, understanding and love.”

Note: Quote taken from Martin de Porres Website. See link for more information. martindeporres.org

NEW HOPE CAMBODIA:

The light for this incredible place still shines so brightly in my memory and in my conscience every day. One of the most remarkable and inspiring places I have experienced.

“Set in Mondul 3, Siem Reap, one of the poorest slum areas in Cambodia. A broken community of army families, karoke/sex workers and displaced men women and children.

New Hope Cambodia’s mission is to restore hope, dignity, and promise to these once proud and prosperous people.”

Note: Quote taken from New Hope Cambodia Website. See link for more information. http://www.newhopecambodia.com/

BUILD A SCHOOL IN BURMA:

This past year Build a School in Burma was fortunate to complete five schools in poor communities in Myanmar.  Their next opportunity is to build their first middle school (most village children have no chance for an education beyond the fourth grade).  I am proud to know Bob and this extraordinary organization.

“Build A School in Burma’s mission is to build schools in underserved areas of Burma (Myanmar) to educate children and give them a chance for a better future. Build a School in Burma built [their] first school during 2011 in Nan Ouw village.”

Note: Quote taken from Build A School In Burma Website. See link for more information. http://www.buildaschoolinburma.com/#!

BLOSSOM BUS:

I was saddened and horrified by the young girls who were kidnapped in Nigeria this year. It drove home the importance of education in this world for everyone. Education may be along with food and water one of the most vital and important things in life, and young girls and women receiving education has been at the center in my mind for years of what is the very spark of the light that can change our world. Blossom Bus is making education possible for girls in rural Indian Muslim communities.

“The Blossom Bus bridges the chasm between parents’ legitimate concerns for their daughters’ safety and a girl’s right to education. By providing pioneering families with a bus and a parent chaperone to safely deliver their daughters to secondary school”

Note: Quote taken from Lotus Outreach International Website. See link below for information and scroll down for short film.

http://www.lotusoutreach.org/india#blossom

DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS:

The Giving List is by far not the only places I support nor is this time of year the only point when I donate, but this list is a representation of  what I have been thinking about this year. Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has long been an organization I have admired and supported, but this year especially with the Ebola outbreak I have found myself moved by the courage and selflessness with which so many medical professionals go abroad and risk their safety for the sake of others in need.

“Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international, independent, medical humanitarian organisation that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural disasters and exclusion from healthcare. MSF offers assistance to people based on need, irrespective of race, religion, gender or political affiliation.”

Note: Quote taken from Medecins San Frontieres Website. See link below for information:

http://www.msf.org

AFGHAN DUVET PROJECT:

This was an organization my father introduced me to this year. I find so often that after a short news cycle many places and the people who live in them are ignored when another story comes along. The Winter Duvet Project in Kabul Afghanistan addresses this, in a country still in the middle of conflicts people are dying of not hunger or violence but the cold.

“Two winters ago in Kabul, Afghanistan, the New York Times reported the deaths of at least 22 children in refugee Camps in Kabul : Driven Away by a War, Now Stalked by Winter’s Cold

In the following winter of 2013, the Afghan Peace Volunteers ( APVs ) organized the making and distribution of duvets to poor families in Kabul, including those in refugee camps.  60 Afghan seamstresses were paid wages for sewing a total of 3000 duvets, which were then delivered for free to poor families in Kabul, including to the street kids in the APV street kid program, widows, the visually impaired and the disabled.”

Note: Quote taken from Our Journey To Smile Website. See link below for information:

http://ourjourneytosmile.com/blog/the-winter-duvet-project/

GROW DAT YOUTH FARM:

This is more of a pay it forward moment as opposed to something from 2014, rather this is what I am looking forward to at the start of 2015. I will be in New Orleans in January and my father is going to meet me and we are going to see our friend Jeanne who works here and introduced me to the organization. I am excited to explore this city and to see how this farm is transforming it’s residents.

“The Mission of the Grow Dat Youth Farm is to nurture a diverse group of young leaders through the meaningful work of growing food.

On our farm we work collaboratively to produce healthy food for local residents and to inspire youth and adults to create personal, social and environmental change in their own communities. Grow Dat is a place where people from different backgrounds and disciplines come together in research and practice to support public health, local economies and a sustainable food system in South Louisiana.”

Note: Quote taken from Grow Dat Youth Farm Website. See link below for information:

http://growdatyouthfarm.org

30

12 2014