November 2010

The New Peace Coffee Shop Combines Fair Trade Ideals with Great Coffee and Food

Earlier this week, when I slipped through the front doors of the new Peace Coffee shop in Longfellow, I had to stop for a moment to take it all in. Despite the fact that I had come on what was only the third day of their “soft” opening, the place had that wonderful feeling of having been there for a long time. My gaze flitted from the beautiful intricate tile floor at the entrance, to the marquis lights on the rough hewn menu board, to the tree mural complete with a sweet little hidden bird nest, to the giant, and I mean GIANT, disco ball and all I could think was Man, this place is cool! Cheery sounds of whirring and clinking drifted from the big u-shaped coffee bar and sun streamed through vast windows, casting swaths of light over people chatting or sitting with their laptops, sipping coffee and looking contented as cats.

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Getting to Know the Minneapolis Public Schools Food Service Department, Part One: the Overwhelming Need for Good Food

"Sorry I'm late," Nicole Barron, Food Services Accounting and Business Services Manager for Minneapolis Public Schools tells me. "There was a baby food recall, and I had to run over to Target to see what they had left and make sure it got over to the schools."

"Baby food?" I ask jokingly, cluelessly. "Is that for my kids?"

"I don't think so," Nicole answers, "it's for high school kids who have babies and need to feed them during the day."

The depths of my lack of understanding are only starting to become clear. Students with babies? We're just barely scratching the surface.

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Modern Technology and This Year's Deer Hunting Opener

It’s an hour before sunrise as I make my way through the darkness to my deer stand. Cresting a hill, I startle a furry animal who swiftly charges right at me, starling me in return, bumping into my boots before disappearing into the field. A fox? A muskrat? A woodchuck? I’ll never know, but it’s a clear wake-up call, a reminder that I’ve entered an environment in which all living creatures have a place on the food chain – including me.

I settle into my stand about 30 minutes before the official opening of the 2010 Minnesota firearms deer hunting season, an event that my husband and I have enjoyed together for over 20 years. This year, my husband had to work so I decided to go alone, having the entire 172-acre farm to myself.

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Sweet Water Organics, Aquaponics, and Milwaukee: the Perfect Combination

What right does Milwaukee have to be at the forefront of aquaponics, an intensive urban agriculture hybrid of hydroponics and fish cultivation? The city doesn't have an especially green reputation. It's certainly not a Boulder, San Francisco, or Twin Cities. It's not even a Madison, which is just ninety miles west on I-94.

Milwaukee isn't supposed to be a place where terms like “sustainability” or “green” are thrown around. It’s supposed to be a blue-collar city with nicknames like “the Cream City” (for its pale bricks made from indigenous clay) or “the Brew City” (for the long history of beer-making). Milwaukee should make big, loud motorcycles and big, loud power tools, right?

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Enjoying Local Food on Meatless Monday

Whether it be the vibrant yolk of "this morning's eggs," produce fresh from the field, or the treat of that summer's raspberry jam on a cold winter day, local food is something that enhances life in Minnesota all year round. But more than simply bringing enjoyment to our lives, our food choices can also have meaning beyond the plate, as evidenced by the ever-growing Meatless Monday campaign.

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What's So Bad About Ice Cream For Breakfast?

One morning last week, after getting my kids on the school bus, I returned to my computer and posted this quick note to Twitter and Facebook:

just when you think you've seen everything, a 3rd grader shows up at the bus stop eating an ice cream cone for breakfast

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Valley Natural Foods Invites You to Preview the Holidays (by Tasting the Food!)

Sponsored Post

The cranberries have floated to the surface of shallow sandy pools, beginning their journey to market for their big debut. The rush of holidays has officially begun and yes, the organic cranberries of Wisconsin have arrived in the Twin Cities.

We could talk about food all day, so why talk when you can taste? That’s exactly what you’ll get to do at Valley Natural Foods during two Holiday Previews. It is a chance to taste the season’s best and freshest offerings from complete recipes to the barest nibble of artisan cheese.

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Getting to Know "For the Health of It" Columnist Jill Grunewald

We at Simple, Good, and Tasty write, think, talk, and meet with people about local, sustainable, organic, good food all the time.

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Graze and Nostrano Bring More Local Food to the Madison Restaurant Scene

I'll admit that I haven’t been cooking at home much recently. In the past, I blamed this sad occurrence on my busy school or work schedule; I can’t say the same this time. The culprit, you ask? Several new restaurants have popped up in Madison over the past month -- and each of them is boasting a (mostly) locally-sourced menu. Believe me, if you tasted the food, you wouldn’t be cooking at home either! 

I strongly encourage Madison visitors -- in town for this weekend’s Wisconsin Cheese Festival, our last outdoors Dane County Farmer’s Market, or REAP’s Pie Palooza, maybe? -- to visit two of my favorite new restaurants: Graze and Nostrano.


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Ring-Necked Pheasant Season and My Good Friend Barb

It’s November in Minnesota, so the growing season -- for most of us -- is over. All of the garden crops have been gathered, and we're now focused on finding local protein. In our small town, hunting season is a time of celebration and camouflage is back in fashion, especially when it's accessorized with blaze orange vests and hats. Conversations in diners, grocery stores, barber shops, and street corners turn to the number of pheasants in the fields, grouse in the forests, and -- importantly -- where the big bucks are lurking.

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