Sunday, August 29, 2010

Teaspoons and Tablespoons

I'm sitting on the porch this Sunday drinking red raspberry herbal infusion writing in my Integrative Nutrition Journal and wondering why I even started this blog.  The blog I created for my husband came from an inspiration.  Sitting in the doctor's office while Mike was getting a PET scan, I leafed through another Coping with Cancer magazine to stumble upon an article about the Human Tribe Project.  I new instantly in my gut I wanted to create a tribe for him. 

But this blog, it didn't come from divine inspiration, from spirit guiding me to another piece in the creation of my life and career.  I have to admit, it came from lack, scarcity.  A feeling of "I must do this too cause so many other people are doing it!  I must get my website up!  I must get my career ready!  I must get myelf out there!  I must blog because other student's of my school are blogging!"  It was created in a frenzy of "must haves" and not wanting to be left behind.  Definitely not divinely inspired.

Even my commitment to myself to spend Sundays in the kitchen has been called into question.  Do I really want to spend every Sunday in my kitchen?  Sure I love my kitchen and the magick I create in there, but why am I choosing this?  With 4 planets in Virgo, I definitely crave structure, organization and love having my weeks and days planned out.  But I also am a Rising Sagittarius, so my desire for freedom is very strong.  So strong in fact that not long after I create structure and detailed organization for my life, I begin to feel trapped, suffocated and I blow the whole thing apart.  It is frustrating to be constantly swinging back and forth between structure and total freedom.  I deeply crave to find the balance between the two, and being a Sun and Moon Libra you'd think I'd be able to balance my scales!

So now I have to let go of this blog and ask spirit to guide me to its purpose.  I know I shouldn't get rid of it.  I know that eventually I would have created a blog, but instead of waiting for the perfect timing, I jumped ahead too soon.  Another wonderful lesson that I continually learn.  To trust God, to know that everything in my life is always perfect, that I don't need to push anything.  I have a loving God and loving Angels guiding every step of my life.

So I did take pictures of my latest discovery at the farmer's market that I will share with you.  I get quite ADHD when I am at a farmer's market.  There are so many gorgeous fruits and vegetables that I get overwhelmed.  But I did calm down enough to discover, learn about and buy Cranberry Beans.

And yes I did cook them into a most delectable soup.  And honestly, I can tell you the ingredients I used but not quantity.  I don't use measurements when I cook.  I use my eyes, my ears, my nose, my hands and my tastebuds to create meals.  I tried to think about how much olive oil I was using and how much basil I threw into the pot, but trying to write down a recipe that I've thrown together is challenging.  I'd much rather cook with a person teaching them to trust their instincts.  Trying to put the magick I love to create into a structured recipe limited by tablespoons and teaspoons is stifling.

So here is what I used:
olive oil
medium yellow onion chopped
2 carrots sliced thinly
2 celery sticks sliced thinly
1 zuchinni diced
1 red bell pepper diced
1 bunch swiss chard ripped
2 tomatoes diced
salt and pepper
a dash of paprika
a dash of garlic powder
quite a few pinches of dried oregano
a handful of fresh basil
a dash of red wine vinegar
shelled cranberry beans
chicken stock

I let all the vegetables except the swiss chard sweat in the pot with the olive oil and all the spices except the basil for about 10 minutes.  Then I added the stock, the beans and the basil and simmered for 25 minutes.  About 3 minutes before time was up I added the swiss chard and red wine vinegar.  Finished cooking and threw in a little more basil from the garden.

Here are the cranberry beans.  The colors are amazing!

Here are the beans after being shelled.  Pink!  I love it!

And here is my soup, my magickal creation.

So who knows what will happen to this blog.  Who knows how I will be inspired.  But inspired is how I choose to live my life.  Not dictated by outside sources, but by my own internal guidance.  So trust yourself to know what is always right for you and never ever be afraid to put away the tablespoons.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Another Kitchen Sunday

Well I almost didn't make it to the kitchen today for my "Sunday's in the Kitchen" routine.  Felt very tired today and had no desire to do anything.  I sat on the porch the entire morning drinking tea and reading.  Had some lunch then took a nap!  I actually never got out of my pajamas!  I guess it was just one of those days where my body needed to rest.

Really we've been through the ringer this year.  Mike being diagnosed with cancer back in April has taken our family to hell and back.  Though we're not out of the woods yet, things are definitely getting much better as Mike gets much better.

And I started back to school at the beginning of August.  Isn't just like me to decide that I can be superwoman?  Be a caregiver to my husband, mom of 2 teenage girls, chef, maid, chaueffuer, nurse, student, financial advisor, gardener, butler, servant, slave.  Learning to balance all my "hats" in life is integral to my health, so resting when my body says rest is important! 

So I didn't get to the apricot macaroons I had planned to bake (I'll do them tomorrow).  But I did get those garden cucumbers pickled and jarred.  They look awfully pretty in the jar!

Refrigerator Pickles

2lbs cucumbers, sliced 1/2 in thick
1 medium Vidalia or other sweet onion, sliced 1/2 in thick
2 celery stalks, sliced 1/2 in thick
Sea salt
2 cups sugar
1 cup cider vinegar
1 tsp celery seed
1 tsp mustard seed

In a colander set over a medium bowl, toss cucumbers, onion, and celery stalks with 1 1/2 tsp salt.  Set aside to drain, 30 minutes, tossing occasionally.  In a small bowl, combine sugar, vinegar, celery seed, and mustard seed; stir until sugar is dissolved.
Divide cucumber mixture among clean jars or airtight containers, and pour vinegar mixture over.  Refrigerate at least 8 hours (or up to 2 weeks).

Another version which is much more healthful in that it contains no sugar or vinegar is the lacto-fermented pickles from Sally Fallon's book Nourishing Traditions.  These pickles create beneficial bacteria which is good for your gut and a fun way to get your probiotics instead of in an expensive pill or from gallons of yogurt.

Pickled Cucumbers

4-5 cucumbers
1 tbsp mustard seeds
2 tbsp fresh dill
1 tbsp sea salt
4 tbsp whey
1 cup water (filtered if possible)

Wash cucumbers well and place in a quart-sized, wide-mouth mason jar.  Combine remaining ingredients and pour over cucumber, adding more water if necessary to cover the cucumbers. The top of the liquid should be at least 1 inch below the top of the jar.  Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for about 3 days before transferring to cold storage.

So your probably wondering, "What in the world is whey?"  Whey is the yellow liquid that separates from milk.  Think of Little Miss Muffett eating her curds (the cheese) and whey (the leftover liquid from making cheese).  To make whey, get some raw milk from the health food store.  Pour it into a glass container, cover and let sit for 1-4 days until the curds and whey are separated.  Strain and you have whey!  If you aren't able to make whey, use an additional 1 tbsp of salt in the recipe.

Enjoy your cucumbers, savor the summer harvest and of course, get lots of rest when your body needs it!

Friday, August 20, 2010

A Gift for the Gab

Looks Like I was a Born Talker!

Well from the looks of things, I've been talking for quite some time.  Now I understand all the detentions and demerit marks I got in school for not being able to keep my mouth shut.  "Kristi talks too much!"  My mom heard that one over and over and over and over and over again from all my teachers.  Every report card and every conference focused on my yaking in class, and my oh so sly passing of notes which the teachers always confiscated.  You would think after years of note passing I would have gotten pretty slick at not getting caught, but nope not me.  If I could write on it, I did.  If I could chuck it across the room when the teacher's back was turned, I did. 

My talking continued in high school.  It got so bad my parents actually bought me a phone for my room and oh the sheer joy of hearing that phone ring!  Running down the hallway to my room was pure happiness!    And the note passing, I was definitely improving my skills.  Passing was easy now that I could do it in the hallways between classes.  Teachers couldn't snag your notes in the hallways.  And really it was pretty easy in class to write my poetic letters to my friends with such important information such as "Gwen likes Matt!!!  TLA!!!"

It wasn't too long ago that my parents went through their shed and found a few of my boxes filled with old memories ~ actually filled with notes!  LOL!  Piles of them, even old birthday cards way back to elementary school.  And what cracked me up the most was a green binder filled with every note that my dear best friend Suzie wrote to me.  What fun to read about our crazy high school adventures!

So it looks like I've managed to change with the times.  From my awesome rotary phone in the 70's to Facebook and Twitter, I can keep up with the best of them; or so I think.  No matter what comes my way, I'll always find a way to keep on gabbing.

Thanks Mom ~ you created a monster.  ;0)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sundays in the Kitchen

I love Sundays in the kitchen.  It is my day to create magick.  I made the commitment to myself 3 weeks ago that Sundays would be devoted to cooking, baking, fermenting, soaking, and prepping along with the usual household chores like cleaning and laundry.  It is my day to re-connect to my home and my inner witch, releasing myself from the busyness of the week, letting go of technology for a day, and planning my upcoming week.

Today's magickal creations include a loaf of Pamela's wheat-free gluten-free bread mix that I poured into the bread machine early this morning.  It wasn't long before the smell of freshly baked bread began wafting through the house.  Such a delicious smell.  I have found that I feel much better when I don't eat gluten containing products.  So I've been experimenting with different grains and flour mixes.  Pamela's is getting top ratings right now in my kitchen!

To add to that delicious bread smell, I also baked some Pamela's wheat-free gluten-free brownies!  OMG!  They are certainly heavenly!  To kick the brownies up a notch, I added a little espresso powder.  Oh yeah, baby!

And since I love to create something that my girls can take for their lunches during the week, I made some Chewy Snack Bars.  I'm including the recipe because they are so yummy and so versatile.  The ingredients can be changed to make many variations, which is great!

Nutty Snack Bars by Jen Allbritton

1 cup of nut butter (almond, peanut butter, cashew, etc.)
1/4 to 1/2 cup brown rice syrup
1 cup almonds chopped into large or small pieces
1 cup dried shredded coconut
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup chocolate chips and/or dried fruit

Mix everything together and press into a baking dish.  You can leave this recipe raw and place it into the refrigerator as is or allow the flavors to meld and the chips to melt by baking it for approximately 20 minutes at 350*F.

Here is the one I made today!  Yummo!

What is awesome about this recipe is that you can use any kinds of nuts and dried fruits imaginable! My girls like a combo of cranberries, pomegranate seeds, bluberries and cherries. 

So who knows what I'll come up with for next Sunday, but I look forward to it all week!  In the meantime, find that inner kitchen witch inside you and cook up something delicious!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Beginning

Well here it is my own personal blog.  I've only been a blogger for the past 4 months.  I began a blog for my husband.  You see he was diagnosed with cancer back in April 2010 and I wanted an easy way for our friends and family to stay up to speed with his progress.  He is doing great by the way and through sharing the tragic and terrifying and even amazing journey of cancer with 85 people, I discovered that I have an absolute love of sharing what is in my heart through the written word.

I kept asking my husband, "What am I going to write about when your done with cancer?"  And he kept saying over and over again "Your nutrition!"  And since I have a bad habit of pushing away that which I truly love, I ignored him over and over again.  Until this evening when I found the blog of a fellow lover of nutrition and food and I felt this energy rise up in my body, this irritation that once again I wasn't doing what I wanted to do.

So here I am, taking another step forward in my own journey in life.  And let me tell you it has been an amazing one.  Yes, I am a foodie to the extreme.  I have quite the history with food.  I just began school last week at Institute for Integrative Nutrition to become a Certified Holistic Health Coach.  And my journey to get myself to this school has been one wild ride!  One of which would fill the pages of a novel. 

This blog will definitely evolve as I write.  I don't know what half the buttons are on this page or how to download anything yet.  I still don't understand what an RSS feed is.  But I am a fantastic learner so I'm sure I will figure it all out, just like I'll figure out what it is that I'm here to share with this blog.

I call myself the Kitchen Witch.  I am a lover of food and the art that can be created with food.  My whole life revolves around food.   It is my meditation, my medicine, and my magick.   Welcome to my journey.