Meat and me

Public domain photograph of various meats. (Be...

Public domain photograph of various meats.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

As part of my Journey2Peace series about health on the other blog, I put up a companion piece here last week as the opening in a series.  Today’s offering explores my journey of discovery regarding red meat.  There are such strong opinions about eating meat these days and a lot of misinformation floats around.  I’ve found I need to eat it.

I became a vegetarian years ago and over the course of a couple of years my health deteriorated badly.  The main impact at that time was a big drop in blood pressure to 85 over 50, which left me dizzy and exhausted.  Since I’d struggled with anemia all my life, I didn’t recognize at the time that a recurrence of anemia came from the change in diet too.

No western doctors ever wondered why I kept becoming anemic nor why my blood pressure dropped so swiftly; no tests were ever done.  I wondered, though…  Especially why I’d been anemic off and on since about the age of 5.

When I began getting alternative health care, more than one practitioner told me I should eat red meat regularly.  I’d already left vegetarianism behind but I only ate poultry and fish.  I didn’t quite believe I needed the red meat, so, while I ate it, it rarely showed up in my diet.

Eventually I noticed, though, that when I ate red meat I instantly felt better.  Several friends commented with surprise that the color flooded back into my cheeks after just a few bites.  I began experimentally eating it more often and found I do really well if I have some at least twice a week.  Every time I go as long as a week without having any, I become pale and listless.

Many vegetarians question that anyone needs to have red meat.  So I started doing research.  I found that all meats (poultry, fish, red meat, etc.) have heme iron, which is absent from all vegetables.  Red meat not only has the greatest amount, but it also helps your body absorb iron (not only the iron in the meat, but apparently from any other source as well).

Since I long suspected the constant rounds of anemia might arise from an absorption problem, it made sense to me that the red meat seemed to be the answer to my ongoing problem.  And, in fact, I’ve gone for six or seven years without being anemic for the first time in my life.

Another flaw in the assumptions many vegetarians make about ability to get all the protein you need from vegetable sources, is that not all of us can have the main substances on which they rely.  I have sensitivities to wheat, soy, and dairy.  So do lots of people and some can’t have any grains. For us the main sources of non-animal protein don’t work.

It isn’t that I don’t sympathize with the principles behind being vegetarian.  I do.  And I didn’t step back into the meat camp without a lot of trial and error about my own body’s reactions nor without a lot of research about why some of us seem to need meat.  But for me being healthy — taking care of the sacred temple they carries my divine spirit — is more important than principle.

Since meat supposedly adds a lot of acid, I try to make sure I balance with lots of fruits and vegetables, which create alkalinity.  Since meat is higher in fat and cholesterol, I’m careful about fat and cholesterol elsewhere in my diet.  I wouldn’t ever go on the meat and potatoes type diet that many prefer but I feel I do need to eat some and I try to make sure that red meat is just one part of a diet that serves my overall health.

I’ve accepted that I just don’t have the right body type to be a vegetarian.  I try to eat grass-fed free-range, etc. but it’s still red meat I’m eating.  I’ve come to feel there is no one right way to eat nor any diet that serves the health of all.

While I have a lot of vegetarian friends who view it as a personal choice and have no stake in whether anyone else eats that way, I run into many vegetarians who are bullies and want to force everyone to eat that way.  They refuse to believe there are people who aren’t well-served by that diet.  I just let their rude thoughts and comments roll off my back since (a) it’s  none of their business and (b) I know what I need to eat to feel well and I don’t care whether other people agree.

Share Your World #4

This week’s Share Your World:

What one thing are you really glad you did yesterday?

The one thing was actually several strung together.  I was in the mood for a few different types of meditation, so I first did the Ego Eradicator, then a visualizing meditation, then chanted the Gayatri Mantra and Om Shanti Om.  Heavenly.

Are you generally focused on today or tomorrow?

A mix.  I try to stay in the moment.  But, having been ill for a long time, it’s been hard not to look to the future with hope of getting back to a healthier more energetic life.  So I slip into focusing on the future in spite of my best attempts at being mindfully in the now.

Would you want to have as a guardian angel/mentor? What would they tell you right now?

I’ve been fortunate to have many.  Don’t know that I have one person I’d want to have–assuming the question is about someone I don’t know whom I’d like to have as a mentor.  I guess maybe Wayne Dyer — getting a REAL angel into the scenario! — seemed like he’d be an enthusiastic and encouraging mentor/coach.  So if he could be my guardian angel from the other side, that might be nice.

One of my teachers has been a great friend and sometimes mentor.  She’s always positive and supportive about my choices.  Whatever I choose to pursue and no matter how many times I set off down a new track, she’s always sure I’ll be good at it.  Really I don’t think you could get a better mentor than that.  She’s been telling me my voice is sounding stronger and my energy feels stronger and better.  That works for me as a thing to hear.

I also have spirit guides to whom I tune in often and they’re telling me this long healing journey is almost finished.  Best news ever!

Would you rather live in a cave house or a dome house made out of glass? (photos of the houses found on google search)

glass dome home

That’s another of those “could it be neither?” choices for me.  I don’t like to be in dark places or without windows or under ground, so that cave is a definite no.  And, while I love a lot of windows and plenty of light, I also have a major thing about privacy, so an all-windows place in which it’s virtually impossible to use drapes and shades, etc. to achieve some privacy would make me pretty uneasy–which mean, unless the all-windows dome home is in a deep forest in an area where no one ever hikes, I’m not keen on that either.  But I’d take the light and above-ground dome home over the cave…  If there were no other choices…

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

My muscles were pretty quiet and I got enough rest to do stuff.  Just little stuff most people wouldn’t think anything of.  That included meditating a number of times and exercising more and both felt SO good.  I’m looking forward to the snow clearing and being able to get around more easily.

Share Your World #3 and #2

Somehow I never got around to Share Your World last week, but I liked the questions so I’m going to do this week’s and then the previous one below.

Week 3

What is your favorite piece of art? (it doesn’t have to be famous)

I love so many, it’s hard to narrow down to one.  If I were to name the most moving experience I’ve had viewing art, it would be the collection of 17 Biblical paintings at the Chagall Museum.

Probably tied for top spot would be a painting my friend, Alicia Lohmann, created of her inner shaman.  All her paintings are wonderful, but that one — transcendent.

What made you smile today?

Salty coming in all dusted in brown after rolling around in the dirt.

Which place do you recommend as a Must-See? Please state which country, state or providence.

Wow, the world is so filled with amazing places.  I’ve been privileged to see quite a few, though a tiny fraction of all there is.

Years ago we did a lovely tour in Tuscany, Italy with a private guide who took us mainly to off-the-beaten track places.  So many lovely spots and such a pleasure to wander around in places with few other people around.  One of my favorite days was at San Galgano Cathedral and the nearby abbey.  Someone did a great post about it with wonderful photos and good info.  It’s kind of out from any town so I don’t have anything to offer about what’s considered closest.

320px-qk-abbazia-di-san-galgano-15

Complete this sentence: When I was younger I used to….

Have a lot of energy and determination.  After years of struggling with health issues I wonder sometimes if I’ll get it back…

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

Last week I had a great body patterning/massage/healing session with my friend Hanna and it helped a lot.  I’m looking forward to a quiet week this week after having lots of running around to do last week and I’m hoping to finally do the vision board for which I’ve been collecting pictures for a while.

Week 2

Do you believe in extraterrestrials or life on other planets? 

Absolutely.  I’ve been told by several psychic/intuitive types that my soul originated on another planet.  I think a lot of souls came here from other planets.  In the sense of a likely invasion by compassionless zombie robot aliens or something of that nature, no, not so much…

How many places have you lived? You can share the number of physical residences and/or the number of cities.

I’ve done a lot of moving so I doubt I could even put together a list of all the residences but I can sure say the places.

640px-chicago_panorama_nov-2011

Born in (1) Flint, MI, we moved to small satellite town (2) Flushing when I was 12.  I went to (3) Evanston, IL to attend Northwestern University.  I spent one semester in graduate school in (4) Madison, WI.  Then I transferred back to Northwestern and for much of my time in graduate school I lived in (5) Chicago.  Then I moved to (6) Portland, OR for a few years and then headed to (7) Seattle, WA for law school.  Moved back to Chicago, then Evanston again.  Headed to (8) San Francisco for a little less than a year, when I moved up to (9) Corte Madera in Marin County.  Eventually I couldn’t afford the high cost of living while too ill to work full time so almost seven years later I headed to (10) Lexington, KY, where my mother has been living since my parents got divorced (home town for both parents).

235px-close-up_view_of_the_golden_gate_bridge_in_san_francisco2c_california

Can’t decide if I can count (11) Paris, where, during college, I attended a summer session at the Sorbonne and lived on the Ile St. Louis in the Seine for about two months.

If you given $22 million tax free dollars (any currency), what is the first thing you would do?

I would invest at least $10 million of it, buy homes in three of my fave places, and give $5 or 6 million to some combo of Nine Gates Mystery School, the Flint Institute of the Arts, Northwestern’s library, and to whatever foundation I could talk into working on my edible schoolyard/community garden project.

The Never List: What are things you’ve never done? Or things you know you never will do?

Things I have never done and never will do:

  1. fly a plane
  2. bungee jump
  3. sky dive
  4. rock climbing
  5. assassin
  6. soldier
  7. executioner
  8. accountant
  9. doctor or nurse
  10. coal miner

 

More on the NOT IMPROVED WordPress Posting Experience

This week the day I’ve been dreading finally arrived (see previous post).  At first it seemed I could no longer do a back door sneak into the old WordPress editor I love, leaving me only able to use the seriously not improved experience on all three blogs…. Except I accidentally found out how to get the old editor back!  See below to learn how.

Among the many things to dislike about the new one, at least according to what I’m able to figure out:

  1. When you clicked on the “link” button in the old editor you not only got a blank line in which to put a URL link to somewhere else, but a list opened underneath that showed your posts and let you search for a particular post to which you wanted to link.  No more.  Now if I want to link to an old post I have to open the blog in a second tab, search from the side bar of my blog, find the post, copy the URL for it and then toggle back to the editor to paste it in.
  2. Down below the text box a running tally of your word count was kept in the old version.  I have kind of a thing about trying to keep my posts 800 words or less (doesn’t always work :-) ) so I checked my word count all the time.  Gone.  Now if I want to keep track I have to copy everything I’ve typed, open Word, paste in the text and check the word count there….  repeatedly…
  3. When I started adding Tags in the old experience, the whole list of Tags I use with any frequency showed up and I could just zoom down the list, clicking on everything I needed.  Now only a partial list shows up and for anything else I have to start typing.
  4. In the old experience “Preview” opened a preview of the post in a new tab.  It made it easy to toggle back and forth between the draft and the preview so as soon as I saw a mistake I could jump to the draft to correct it and then go back to previewing; the preview window would still be sitting at the point where I left it.  Now the preview opens as a box that covers the draft.  The only way back to the draft is to close the box.  Then when I hit preview again, it opens at the beginning and I have to find my way back to wherever I was in reading it.
  5. I am signed up with Zemanta and I use the pictures that show up in the side bar a LOT for my posts; sometimes the ones they suggest, sometimes by doing my own search in their box.  Now the only way I get anything about Zemanta is in my new-found sneak back to the old editor (see below).  If they take this sneak away you apparently won’t be able to use Zemanta any more…???
  6. It used to be when you clicked on “add media” a box would open that included an “Insert YouTube” choice.  It opened a box in which you could do a search of YouTube videos, choose the one you wanted and click on it to embed it.  For some reason I’ve never been able to get he “embed” links from YouTube itself to put the video in so that it actually shows up in my blog so I generally searched for what I wanted on their site (get a few more options and suggestions there plus I can watch the video to see if it’s what I want), then put the title in the search box on WordPress so I could choose it and click “insert”.  Now I’m apparently back to having to use those embed codes that just stick a link in instead of the actual video.

 

The one piece of good news I’ve found lies in the ellipses to the right on the task bar at the top of the box.  When you click on it a second task bar opens up below the main one.  This is where the horizontal line option disappeared to; whew, thought I’d lost it.  There are also a couple of new options over in the list to the left of the text box that mean nothing to me–possibly they’ll turn out to be useful???

Now for my totally accidentally-encountered path back to the old editor:  Something went awry and took me away from the draft of a post I was writing and back to the home page for the blog.  I went into WP Admin to click on the draft (shows up in mine on the right hand side of the Admin page, down a bit) and get back to it and lo and behold it opened in the old editor!  Yeah!  Zemanta, back!  Insert YouTube, back!  Tags in a big old list, back!  So start your post, save a draft, go into WP Admin, click on the title of the draft and take yourself back to the old editor.

I also scheduled a blog post, then went back later to the WP Admin page and clicked on the link for the scheduled post (on the left side of Admin and down a ways) to add something and it opened in the old editor.

So, either start your post and save draft or start your post and schedule it to be posted later, then click on the post title from WP Admin and get the old editor.

Please please please WordPress, don’t take away this little back door to the old editor.  Better yet, quit trying to make us use the new one and give back the old as the default.

Raw food, greens and things

Svenska: Tropical Smoothie

Tropical Smoothie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Over on my main blog, I’m doing some posts about how our healthy or not healthy bodies affect the health of Earth.  This exploration includes taking a look at various aspects of eating, exercising, and sleeping for maximum health.  My belief is that every body has its own best diet, exercise and sleep plan and that part of your job is to know your own body well enough to figure out that plan.

I’m going to be putting related posts here, tying various aspects of healthy habits to the spiritual/emotional exploration over on the other blog.  Today’s exploration is about green foods in the diet.

I’ve periodically expressed my unhappiness with fashions and fads in diet and the regular assumption that a certain dietary plan is the one right plan for everyone.  (See here and here for a couple of those posts).  Since there are many, many sources these days touting lots of greens and lots of (or exclusively) raw foods, I thought I’d start by addressing why that’s NOT good for everyone based on my experience.

In the 90’s, at the same time some friends were avidly pursuing a raw foods/wheat grass diet plan, my acupuncturists were telling me I should avoid raw food.  My “chi” or vital force energy was extremely low and they told me raw food takes so much more energy to digest than cooked food, that anyone with such low chi should avoid raw foods.

I didn’t really believe it, so I didn’t pay much attention and my raw foods buddies kept feeding me salads, etc.  Then, during a spell when acupuncture treatments and a new selection of herbs had lifted my energy, I embarked on a course of eating a big salad of mostly greens and raw veggies for dinner every night for a week…  At the end of which the bottom dropped out of my energy.  I started paying attention and soon realized that I could have a salad or something raw occasionally and it didn’t have much effect but daily ingestion of raw food depleted me.

Now that I feel a little better I can have raw foods a little more often.  I’ve also found that smoothies work well for me since the blender does a lot of the breaking down that takes so much energy.  Smoothies loaded with multiple colors of the rainbow (see the eat a rainbow theory) are my main source of fresh, uncooked fruits and veggies, with the occasional salad or raw food dessert (often also well blended) thrown in.

I started off making green smoothies but began hearing about thyroid issues related to green foods.  I’ve struggled with low thyroid for quite a while (for me, caused by muscles constricting the gland) so I started doing some research.  It turned out ALL green foods, when raw, contain goitrogens, which some scientists say can lead to suppressing thyroid (there are debates about (a) whether it’s true or (b) how much you have to eat to be affected).  When greens are cooked, the goitrogens are cooked out so any potential problem disappears.

There’s widespread disagreement about this issue but to me it seemed like a no-brainer, since I’m supposed to limit raw food intake anyway.  I took the raw greens out of my smoothies and started tucking leafy greens in every cooked dish I could think of.

I use the slicer or grater on the food processor and put spinach, kale, chard, etc. into frittatas, soups, casseroles, scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes (or rather my mashed cauliflower substitute), etc.  More and more restaurants around here offer several fresh but cooked vegetable side dishes, so I often order green beans and broccoli or snap peas and spinach, etc.

In general I feel better these days than I did in my no chi era, and figuring out how my body best copes with fresh fruits and vegetables has been a big piece.  You might be surprised how many times I’ve had to stand my ground against both practitioners and strong-minded friends with convictions about everybody needing to eat vegan or everybody needing to eat raw food.  They clearly don’t believe me when I say it doesn’t work for me and I’ve learned to just shrug and let them stick to their opinions while I eat the way that serves me best…

Which includes eating red meat and I’ll be updating an old post about that soon.

Share Your World #1 2016

The first Share Your World from Cee:

As a child, who was your favorite relative?

Hands down, my grandmother.  Only had the one.  My mother’s father and both my dad’s parents died when they were children.  She was born in Columbia, TN in 1885 and she never stopped fighting the Civil War, about which she must have heard endless stories from Sherman’s march through the area; ever outraged over Yankees slashing through portraits and breaking fine china (for the longest time I had the most seriously skewed ideas about what the Civil War was about…).  Every time I did something she didn’t like she’d glower at my parents and tell them, “That’s what you get for raising her up there with those DAMN Yankees!”

"Ruins in Richmond" Damage to Richmo...

“Ruins in Richmond” Damage to Richmond, Virginia from the American Civil War. Albumen print. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

She was one of the best, funniest storytellers ever.  At my aunt’s fancy horse people parties (major Derby event being one), streams of people would head up the stairs to my grandmother’s rooms to be regaled with tales that would have them laughing till tears rolled down their cheeks.  I used to pray she’d live to be 125.

My second favorites would be my dad’s much-older brother, Melvin, and his wife Dorothy, two of the most kind and loving people ever.

If you could be a tree or plant, what would you be?

Can’t decide between rosemary, lavender and basil.  I LOVE their scents and the flavors they add to food — so I could bring joy to two senses!

Various species of lavender. Seen at Sault, France

Various species of lavender. Seen at Sault, France (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What would be your preference, awake before dawn or awake before noon?

Since I’m a night owl, I’m often up until not long before dawn and if I got up before noon I’d be sleep deprived, so neither.  But when the muscle stuff is resolved and I can sleep on a regular schedule, I’d like to get to sleep at a time that would let me be up before noon.

Would you like to sleep in a human size nest in a tree or be snuggled in a burrowed spot underground?

Please, please don’t make me do either.  I don’t much like heights nor do I like to be underground or in small spaces.  If I had to choose one, at gun point for instance, I guess I’d pick the tree since apparently I’m only averse to one aspect of that instead of two…

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

Some more unwinding in the muscles in my face has led me to a new layer of wondrous thoughts of “Wow, a face can feel like this?”  This week is kind of busy but next week doesn’t have much on the schedule and I’m always grateful for that.

Share Your World #50

Cee’s Share Your World prompts for this week:

Favorite thing to photograph? Write? Or Cook?

I’ve drifted away from photography over the years but the two things most likely to cause me to reach for a camera are a great sunset or Salty (the cat) in a funny position.

000_0045

Right now my favorite thing to write is blog posts.  In childhood I churned out short stories at quite a pace but I’ve gotten so I don’t care for short stories; neither reading nor writing…

My favorite things to cook in general are desserts.  I love sweets and I love the way people’s eyes light up when they see a great dessert (like this pie or this mousse).  But I also like eating healthy and I’ve gotten so I keep a greens-filled frittata (like this) and a version of Italy’s ribollita (see here) around most of the time and I’ve made them so often they’re easy now so I enjoy making those.

Did you like swinging as a child? Do you still get excited when you see a swing? 

I still love to swing.  I don’t often get on a swing at a playground, but when my hammock is functioning (sadly not at the moment), I often put a foot down and give a push so I can swing from side to side for a while because I just love to swing.  I hope one day to have one of those great porch swings that hangs from the ceiling (which involves a dream of having one of those big covered porches…)

What has surprised you about blogging?

First and foremost, that I am still finding things to write about after 4+ years

The surprise I also love has been the lovely community.  I haven’t thought much of social media in general (still don’t really get the joy of FB or Twitter…) so, not knowing much about blogging, I kind of expected the same level of inanity and silliness and it has been such a joy to find myself in the midst of deep thinking explorers of life.

List at least five favorite desserts.

Well, I could just say chocolate, chocolate, chocolate, chocolate, chocolate…  But I do like some things that don’t involve chocolate and specifics are more interesting:

  1.  That lime blueberry pie I mentioned above (see here) is quite spectacular though a bit complicated to make.  I’ve actually had people ask me if I’d mind if they lick the plate :-)  What cook could mind that???  I use a Tyler Florence crust recipe instead of the one called for–substituting spelt for wheat flour–and add more lime zest to the curd.
  2. After modifying Diane Mott Davidson’s recipe for Chocolate Coma Cookies to replace wheat flour with spelt flour and get rid of the dried fruit (generally don’t like any kind of dried fruit in any kind of cookie), it’s my all time fave chocolate chip cookie recipe.
  3. Chocolate lava cake.  Whether I make it or have it at a restaurant or buy Trader Joe’s, I’ve never met a chocolate lava cake I didn’t love.
  4. Mixed berry soup.  This is a recipe from Giada DeLaurentiis that I’ve made many times.  A fruity delight to serve over vanilla frozen something (in my case something without dairy).  It’s easy, delicious and not only do I adore it but it’s been a major crowd-pleaser.
  5. My current fave, since I’m aiming for healthier desserts, is my tweaked version of cashew nut pudding.  I’ve never come up with a description for the taste other than “not what I’d expect from the name” but it’s easy to make, yummy and very satisfying, and sweetened only with dates and a small quantity of agave syrup.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

After being turned down many times by his regular insurance company in a quest for oxygen to help his emphysema, the VA came through for my 90-6ear-old father, did a better test, and showed up with oxygen tanks two days later.  I don’t really look forward to Christmas any more but I’d say I’ll be grateful when it’s over…

 

Share Your World #49

Cee’s questions this week for Share Your World:

What would be your ideal birthday present, and why?

My favorite is dinner with a good friend — preferably a birthday that stretches several weeks and has lots of dinners with good friends.  These days, when everyone seems so busy, the joy of being able to sit over a good meal and talk deeply with a good friend is a rare and much-to-be-desired treat for me.

What color would you like your bedroom to be?

Pale, pale pink or peach with green (mint green is probably first choice but I’ve seen many combos of pink or peach with various greens that I’ve loved).  My room now is pink and green, in fact, though the painter made the pink on the walls several shades darker than I’d have preferred.

English: Paeonia suffruticosa (pale pink)

English: Paeonia suffruticosa (pale pink) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Would you prefer snowy winters, or not, and why? 

I grew up in Michigan and lived many years in Chicago so I have known some long tough winters.  When I lived in California, I came back to Kentucky for a couple of weeks at Christmas time every year so I often got to see some snow –though there’s no guarantee of snow in December in KY, unlike those northern climes where it’s far more likely than not.  I thought a couple of days of seeing some fresh pretty snow was plenty.  Then I was perfectly happy to get out of it.

100_0599

I also lived in the Pacific Northwest for six years (three in Portland, three in Seattle).  It was during a time when various weather patterns (and the eruption of Mt. St. Helens) caused it to be grey, misty or rainy almost incessantly and I REALLY loathed that.  If you gave me a choice between a winter there and having to go back to winter in Michigan, I’d take the snow any day.  But my ideal is to live someplace relatively sunny and warm but visit some place with snow briefly every winter.

Would you rather go a week without bathing, but be able to change your clothes, or a week without a change of clothes, but be able to bathe?

I’d rather bathe.  To be honest, since I keep pretty odd hours, I got into a habit of pulling on old grubby clothes as soon as I get up so that I am sort of dressed to the eyes of anyone who stops by.  Many days I’m in them all day; I usually wear the same grubby ones for days, changing to fresh clothes each day only after I’ve gotten around to exercise and had a shower or bath.

I love to be personally clean but, while I wouldn’t go out in anything but clean fresh clothes, for hanging around at home working on my laptop, I don’t much care whether I put on clean clothes every day.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I’m grateful for getting all my Christmas shopping done — including some nice support for the local independent bookstore/gift shop.  I’m really grateful I don’t have to do any more shopping this coming week.

Share Your World #48

Cee’s Share Your World questions for this week:

Are you a hugger or a non-hugger?

Somewhere in a middle ground.  By nature I’m pretty affectionate but my family hugs and touches very little.  For that and other reasons, my childhood led to me having kind of a thing about personal space.  So hugging didn’t come naturally.

However, I went to school during the hippie era and was a hippie (think people who hug) and then started walking this spiritual path and hanging out with spiritual people who, by and large, are pretty huggy.  So I’ve moved farther into the hugging camp, though generally I let other people initiate (and am just as glad if they don’t).  Really good friends and close family I’ll hug readily and often.

What is your favorite toppings on pizza?

Cheese and spicy pepperoni.  Sometimes I’ll add onions or black olives, but plain old pepperoni pizza is my favorite.

Kirkland Signature pepperoni pizza

Kirkland Signature pepperoni pizza (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you were the original designer of one existing corporate logo, which one would you select?

If the question is whether I find something so artistically pleasing or well-designed that I wish I’d created it, I’m kind of hard pressed as I find most corporate logos an annoying reminder of power in the hands of people who shouldn’t have any and general bad behavior.  And I rarely find them artistic or appealing.

The one I’m gonna pick is technically not a logo, really, but I think it’s perhaps the main association with Pillsbury–more than their actual logo–and I’ve always loved him:

Complete this sentence:  Where I can seek my solace is… 

Inward.  Through meditation, chanting, and doing practices that keep me in touch with my divine nature.  When I’m in that space, I don’t really need solace because I am calm and all is well.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I’m grateful for pulling off a last-minute Thanksgiving that turned out nice; I’d had a bug for a couple of weeks before and got nothing done that I planned.  Having finished the daily blogging for NaBloPoMo, I’ve decided to take a week off from blogging (Dec. 1-8) and I’m really looking forward to it.

Mock Mashed Potatoes?

Mashed cauliflower dish

Mashed cauliflower dish

After years of hearing people talk about substituting cauliflower for potatoes and mashing, I tried a recipe a couple of years ago in which I made the substitution and I fell in love.  Although I posted about it, I just mentioned substituting.  Since this makes such a yummy, yet healthier alternative, thought I’d post in time for Thanksgiving.

Mashed Not Really Potatoes

  • two heads cauliflower
  • 4 medium parsnips, peeled
  • 1 pkg fresh baby spinach
  • 1 onion
  • 2 TBS butter
  • 1/2 cup milk or substitute
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream or cream substitute (coconut creamer, soy creamer, etc.)
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 1 cup grated cheese (you pick)  I used 1/2 goat cheese cheddar and 1/2 pecorino romano
  • paprika
  • salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400.

Cut off the leaves and stems from cauliflower and cut into large chunks.  Chop each parsnip into 3 pieces.   Place cauliflower and parsnips in a large steamer and steam until fairly soft (approx. 20-30 min.).  In batches, process steamed veggies with blade in food processor or use smoothie setting on blender.

While the veggies are steaming, chop onion and saute until soft.

Put baby spinach through slicer blade of food processor or chop with knife.

Mix butter, beaten eggs, and cream in a large bowl and add all other ingredients, including the steamed, mashed veggies, in with them.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Butter a large baking dish and fill with all of the mixture.  Bake at 400 for 35-40 minutes — until golden on top.

Makes 8-12 servings (you know, depending…).