March 21, 2010

The Great Debate

Well, it happened: the health care reform bill just passed, for good or for ill. I don't have a ton of time to write down my reactions to this historic moment (because it is historic, regardless of its outcome) since I'm about to go to bed, but I'll share a few thoughts.

I am not well informed enough on the crazy intricacies of our current system of health insurance, nor the health care reform bill, for me to be comfortable preaching my solutions to our woes. I'm often struck by others who share my lack of knowledge, yet seem to have answers aplenty. And where they may not have answers, they certainly have a reason for why their opponent's solutions will absolutely not work. What disheartens me the most is that often these ideas are rarely fruits of research and reason; they are usually the sound bites from one of the countless talking heads on 24 hour news channels. You want to believe this health care bill is a communist decree from Comrade Obama (or perhaps some of those "social justice" churches)? Turn on Glenn Beck. He'll give you all the "facts" you need. Do you want reassurance that finally we Democrats are cleaning up this horrible mess that GWB and all those dirty, nasty Republicans left behind? I'm sure MSNBC can help you out there.

See, my point is this: we are so far beyond being well-informed that it's almost unbelievable. We are not informed, we are simply opinionated. And as long as I can find someone who will support my opinion, then I am right.

But I guess I'm not talking about health care anymore, am I?

I guess what gets me so frustrated is that in the wake of this bill's passing, I've heard some of the most diametrically opposed reactions. I have friends convinced that this bill stands as the harbinger of our nation's doom. Others see it as a symbol of its salvation. Neither are correct. But that's what we're taught, isn't it? In politics there is either the savior or the antichrist.

And while we're speaking of saviors, let's talk about that aspect of all this hoopla, shall we? I've seen more of my Christian friends disparaging and crying out about this than I have for almost any other issue.

How is it that we allow ourselves to be more united, more vocal, more outraged about the health care bill than are about the literally countless other massive injustices facing our world today? I believe it takes some examination to see why this bill has become the centerpiece of our indignation. And does it deserve this kind of fervency?  Are there, perhaps, other issues that deserve your thought, prayer, money, or Facebook status?

I'm not saying national politics shouldn't be on the radars of believers. Injustice abounds, and the Gospel calls us to confront it (...Glenn). I am saying that we should be more thoughtful in our conclusions, and more prayerful in deciding what we make the center of our thought lives. When opinions come from a talking heads, and "just wrath" is reserved only for partisan politics, it is difficult to come to any conclusion...let alone one rooted in the Gospel.

March 8, 2010

Kitchen Magic: One Ingredient Ice Cream

I love food blogs. I love looking at pretty pictures of food, I love attempting to recreate dishes I find online (though our food resources at the local grocery store are kind of lame), and I love just makin' stuff up in the kitchen. The other day I found something on a food blog that I couldn't really believe: one ingredient ice cream. 

"One ingredient, Stef?" you might be saying, "How is that even possible?" Well, I appreciate your polite disbelief. I will now dispel it.


It goes like this: Get yourself a banana that's pretty ripe. You know, the mushy brown speckled variety that is getting close to the end of its days. You can use less-ripe bananas, but they don't blend as well, and that "green" flavor becomes a little bit overwhelming, so I found it's better to use those mushy buggers. Peel it, slice it, and put the pieces in the freezer for a couple of hours, until they're frozen. 1-2 hours ought to do it, but if you leave it in there longer it won't cause any issues. 


Pile the frozen banana coins into your food processor. A blender works okay, but you have to do a lot more fanagling with your spatula to make sure everything gets blended evenly. 


WHIRRRRR go the bananas! They'll get crumbly like this...that means you're close! The magic will be starting shortly. Use a spatula to mush everything in there so it's all getting annihilated together. Unless you want chunks, I guess.


And then: TA DA! Your crumbly banana turns into a creamy, sweet desert. The texture is almost identical to soft serve ice cream. It's also delicious. I don't really like bananas that get too mushy, but they are awesome in this form! Also? The improv you can do here is pretty awesome. Blend in a spoonful of peanut butter, or maybe some honey? Nutella, chocolate syrup, frozen berries...I could go on, but that would mean I would be keeping you from making this for yourself. And that just wouldn't be right.