Category: Uncategorized

On Cleaning

More and more the things we do to nurture and sustain ourselves get relegated to others, or given short shrift. How fast we can get something done takes precedence over doing that thing well and fully. Generations of women who didn’t “work” outside the home, knew and appreciated the godliness of cleanliness. I remember my grandmother and the pride she took in the whiteness of her sheets blowing on the line in her back yard, my aunt talking about cleaning her kitchen as a spiritual practice, the zen of twice-yearly cupboard cleaning…. To this day, I shake the blues, agitations and angst by clearing a closet, scrubbing a pot, deep cleaning the fridge… The world becomes a little clearer, a little shinier when even one thing is well cleaned.

For more on the beauty and benefits of cleaning…

Cleaning and doing chores aren’t activities that our culture appreciates much these days, yet Sufi mystic Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee understands housework as being essential for a healthy spiritual life. “As…
  from dailygood.org

Gratitude

It’s Turkey day and I’m holed up at home with a runny nose, watery eyes and a deep cough.  After the 2-week bronchial jag I mumbled through in September/October, I’m not taking any chances with this one.  Pulled out all the stops and even tried that crazy rub Vicks Vapo-Rub on your feet, don socks and climb into bed approach to soothing a nighttime cough (incredibly, it worked!)  So no parties or gatherings for me.  Plague dogs stay home!

And yet, I’m eternally grateful to have a quiet day to putter.  I’m grateful for the puddle of sun warming my feet.  I’m grateful for the stack of unread housing magazines and the time to peruse them unfettered by obligations.  I’m grateful I’ve got everything I need to pull together a wonderful turkey dinner for myself.  And, I’m eternally grateful that Chicken Little’s dad is a hands on dad and, as luck would have it, on parent rotation this holiday.  I’m so happy not to expose her to my germs and grateful for the luxury of time to rest.

Speaking of Chicken Little.  She’s a little gratitude generator all by herself.  No one can match her wicked sense of humor.  She’s a model of acceptance and unconditional love.  How can I not be grateful for her?

I’m also grateful for all the wonderful people in my life – family, friends, clients and all the folks who help me get by and do what I do.  I don’t say it enough but THANK YOU!

Wherever you are, however you’re celebrating, I wish you a Very Happy Thanksgiving!

Baking Biscuits

One of the greatest of summertime simple pleasures is strawberry shortcake.  Not those spongy cakes you sometimes see in the grocery store.  No, I’m talking about honest to goodness, homemade from scratch buttery biscuit variety shortcake.  Just writing this makes my mouth water.

Alas, my days of biscuit making ended years ago when I went gluten free.  I tried.  Oh, I tried.  Never did I find a suitable alternative.  While most of the time I don’t miss bread stuffs or have found suitable taste and texture alternatives, I have a lingering fondness for shortcake that catches me up every summer.  As August wanes, I thought this summer would be like the last, and the one before and the one before and….  UNTIL…

Fast forward 20 years (Have I been gluten free that long?  Really??).   I recently happened upon a delightful cookbook by home cook Carrie Vitt of Deliciously Organic.

I’ve been gluten-free for 20 years.  Okay.  I already said that.  Now, for health reasons (Who needs inflammation anyway?), I’ve decided to ramp up to being completely GRAIN-free.  That’s not just gluten-free but grain, all grain – no rice, or corn or gluten-free oats or those “alternatives” like quinoa and teff.  Nope.  NO, zip, nadda grain for me.

That’s where Carrie and her book, “the grain-free family table” (she uses all lower-case so cut me some editorial slack) come into play.  I was browsing my favorite Indy book store – Prairie Path Books – when I chanced upon this delightful collection of grain-free yummies.  So far everything I’ve made has been wonderful.

Today biscuits got their moment in the sun.  The recipe is incredibly simple.  Although it calls for a food processor, I went old-school and made them by hand.  What a delight to sink my hands into the dough.  It was like riding a bike.  The memories of working dough flooded back into my consciousness and the pleasure – divine.  There is no substitute for working dough by hand.  This is a drop biscuit recipe so they are basically foolproof.  Still, working the butter into the meal… I’m in heaven.

Almond meal based, the biscuits have a light, crumbly texture, the perfect pairing with cream and berries.  I tasted one fresh out of the oven with butter and jam.  Yum…

Not the same as the wheat-based biscuits of old, but a new discovery that opens the door to many delicious treats….

I envision them with rosemary (from my herb garden) over chicken in a winter pie, with sausages and eggs for breakfast…. I could go on but for now, with the taste of summer calling, I’m off to the market to forage for berries and cream….