Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Bike is Mightier Than the Sword

Doesn't this photo just say it all? From a recent parade in our town. While I don't think it is the be-all and end-all solution to all wars ever, the bicycle can be seen as a major force for change in the current Wars for Oil that we are fighting (and will be fighting for our foreseeable future). And after seeing this guy on his bicycle, who among us has an excuse not to be pedaling!

And here's our mayor, thankfully eschewing a large 1950's gas-guzzling parade automobile for some pedal power herself. Now if she commuted to work by bike, I'd be much happier, because then maybe some of our more bicycle-friendly initiatives would be getting more play in the city council. Not that I'm complaining, this is a great town to be biking in. But there's so much more we could be doing. Why are we thinking of taking the totally bike and pedestrian-friendly fairgrounds out of the middle of town, selling that land to a developer, and re-locating the fairgrounds and event center out where everyone will have to drive to reach it, for instance? I know I won't be going to most events if I have to hop in a car instead of pedaling there. And I've really enjoyed the valet bike parking available at the fair and so many events at our current fairgrounds.

Speaking of valet bike parking, how's this for cool! Hubby and I went to a college football game and the valet bike parking there was awesome (and totally full!) It was an encouraging antidote to the endless motorhomes tailgating in the monstrous parking lot. We had a beautiful ride down there on such a pretty fall day. It was nice to know that our bikes would be safely attended while we were watching the game.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Bike Friday Birthday

There was only one thing on my hubby's birthday list and that was a new bike. He's had the same commuter bike for years and not really liked it. After a season on our Bike Friday tandems, he knew exactly what he wanted: something sporty, comfortable, and foldable! As a pilot, he's often wanted to be able to take a bike with him so he can enjoy peddling around the different cities he finds himself in. Well, now he can! This is his new Bike Friday Pocket Llama, and he's really been loving it. It makes a commute to work (for him, out at the airport) into a joyride, and he's been piling on the miles. Don't let the little wheels fool you, Bike Fridays pack a punch. I even put one up against my triathlon bike, which is built for speed and found that the Bike Friday compared very favorably!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Empty Parking Lot, Full Bike Rack

Now that's what I like to see!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Pancakes That Are Not Empty

After a recent triathlon, they served a pancake breakfast for athletes and families. My son came through the line with me and loaded up on a stack of traditional pancakes, hot off the griddle. After pouring maple syrup on (and commenting how it was soaked up like a sponge), he tucked in. Almost immediately, he looked at the pancakes strangely and then said "These pancakes are completely empty! There's nothing inside them." LOL, he's used to my nutrient-dense whole grain and nut pancakes, and these were just white flour, butter, and salt.

It reminded me of a story my mom tells about me when I was three or four years old. She had taken me over to a babysitter's house for the day and I refused to eat this lady's sandwiches because they were on strange white bread. I think it shows that what kids are raised with is what they get used to, and I've always said that there's a small window of a few years to help kids get used to what healthy food really is before they've got the rest of the universe to compare it with. In our case, my kids have grown up with my pancake recipe, and anything else tastes strange. If they'd grown up with balloon pancakes (the other word my son used for the white flour kind), that's what they'd think of as normal. In extreme cases, some kids eat such a narrow diet that what you feed them in the early years really matters. I've known two kids who really only ate a few foods by the age of five or so. One of them ate blueberries, cashews, a ginger-granola mix, red peppers, black beans, orange juice, and oatmeal. The other ate processed frozen waffles, french fries, white bread, american cheese food slices, crackers, and some kind of juice drink mix in little boxes. In both cases, the kids had settled on what they were used to by a couple years of age, so what they ate in those first couple of years hugely determined the nutrition that they would get overall growing up.

I'm lucky in that my kids both have a very broad range of foods that they eat, and it is pretty overwhelmingly nutritious. So I don't have a lot of food worries. I do think that when kids garden and pick fruits and vegetables and carry in the eggs from their own chickens, and pet the goats that are giving them milk, it really helps connect them to the food that they're eating and encourages healthy choices.

As for the pancakes, here's what's in them:

Robin's Non-Empty Pancakes

1 cup raw milk (ours is goat's)
1 cup yogurt
1 1/2 cup whole grain flour (sometimes I combine oat, spelt, wheat, coconut flour, whatever I have available)
1/4 Cup Ground Flax Meal
1/4 Cup Hemp Seeds

If I have time, mix everything above together and let it soak for 12 - 24 hours to ferment a little bit.

Then, the next morning, I mix in:
6 eggs
4 Tbs coconut oil or butter
1 tsp Vanilla
2 Tbs Raw Evaporated Cane Juice (Sucanat)
1 tsp sea salt

Sometimes I make them with bananas and pecans or blueberries or huckleberries in season. These also make great rollups with peanut butter and honey for a middle of the day snack. If I have the time, I'll mix up a double or triple batch and freeze a bunch so the kids can get pancakes any day of the week. It's both more nutritious and much more cost-effective than breakfast cereals.