Share Your World #48

Cee’s Share Your World this week:

Do you prefer eating foods with nuts or no nuts?

English: Kung Pao chicken dish served at a Sic...

Kung Pao chicken dish. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Depends on the food.  Generally I don’t like nuts in a lot of the baked goods in which many people like them.  For instance, I won’t buy a brownie if it has nuts in it and I never put any in when I make them.  I especially dislike walnuts, which seem to be the favorite add-in to baked goods.

On the other hand, when I make granola it has almond slivers or cashews in it and I love it.  Also love Thais cashew chicken, Kung Pao tofu and lots of salads with nuts.

If someone made a movie of your life would it be a drama, a comedy, a romantic-comedy, action film, or science fiction?

Hallmark Hall of Fame

Hallmark Hall of Fame (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’d like to think it would be one of those inspiring Hallmark Hall of Fame movies, chronicling my long healing journey and spiritual awakening.

 Who talks real sense to you?

I’m not sure whether the question is asking who, in the way of pundits, do I think makes sense or who in my life talks some sense into me…

Jack Kornfield

Jack Kornfield (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the big world, I think Thich Nhat Hanh, Bernie Sanders, Jack Kornfield, Pema Chodron, Louise Hay and Elizabeth Lesser, would be among a longer list of folks in the world who I think make sense.

As for someone who “talks sense” to me, I’d say my friend Sybil, who actually would never think of telling me what she thinks I should do.  She’s an excellent practitioner of Right Speech and if she senses a dilemma, she skillfully asks questions that take me deeper and deeper into my own heart until my own answer arises.

Do you have a favorite board game?

Not really a board game fan.  As a kid I liked Monopoly.  The other kids in the neighborhood and I would play for hours and we made up all kinds of rules for keeping everybody in.  The point was to hang out together playing.  The few times I played with adults they were bloodthirsty and made a point of wiping everybody else out as fast as possible.  They had fun, but for everybody else, not so much.   I liked the sweet way we played as kids, where it was about “us”.

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

Last week we had a lot of lovely weather and I enjoyed sitting on the sun porch reading for a while each day.  We’ve moved on to rain for this week and, since we’re dry and, to the east of us, there’ve been forest fires raging, I’m pleased we have rain ahead.

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Share Your World #47 – Gratitude

Cee’s Share Your World for this week:

What are you grateful for in regard to:

Your home life?

A nice roof over my head, running water, working furnace, etc.

Your family?

Both parents are 91 and sharp as tacks

Your blogging community?

I’ve made such wonderful friends in blogging, it’s hard to just say “grateful” — feels like I need a bigger word

Your city or immediate area in which you live?

Bluegrass countryside in spring

Bluegrass countryside in spring

I might have to think about that one.  I loved this place when I was a kid and it was much smaller and still had a Southern flavor.

I have lovely friends here and I’m grateful for that — after that I have to be in a super good mood to say I like it here….

The regional area in which you live?

It’s very pretty here.  And when you get out to the small towns around here, you run into the Southern warmth and charm I always loved here.

As for living in a red state, at the moment, REALLY not so grateful…

The country where you live?

Up until now I loved the freedoms and diversity and open arms…  I’m grateful for spending my life so far in a place where that has been true

You?

I’m very grateful for the ongoing healing in my muscles.  Wouldn’t have believed it could take so many years but it’s been worth it.

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

I managed to pull together a yummy but pretty easy Thanksgiving.  This week I’m looking forward to the weather warming back up for a bit.

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Chicken instead of turkey? An easier path…

I’ve posted a few times about making the switch several years ago from cooking a turkey for Thanksgiving to cooking this far easier chicken, sage and sausage dish.  Nigella Lawson has this basic recipe with slight variations in more than one spot on the internet.

100_0578

There are several things I particularly like about this recipe.  Since it marinates overnight, most of the prep is done the day before.  The combo of sausage, sage, onions, and lemons in the mix gives it the flavors I use with a turkey (sage in my herb rub and lemons and onions in the cavity) with far less work.

Since the flavors are the same, it blends very well with the other traditional stuff like cranberry sauce and sweet potatoes.  On Thanksgiving all I have to do is place all the already-prepared stuff in the pan and cook.  And the marinade creates a bit of sauce that means I don’t need to make gravy.

As usual, I’ve made a few changes.  I always brine poultry these days, so I made the brine last night and the chicken is in it as I write.  She cuts up a whole chicken.  I use skinless, boneless chicken breasts.   She puts in sweet sausage, I use spicy.  The original recipe I had called for English mustard instead of the dry mustard in the one to which I linked above and I always add Dijon instead of either.

One change I keep fiddling with is the temperature and length of cooking.  To me, her 425 degree oven setting is awfully high and I’ve found it definitely too high for leaving the dish in for 75 minutes.  I’ve varied between lowering the temperature and keeping the long cooking time or keeping the high temperature and taking it out sooner.

Especially with skinless, boneless chicken, at 425 it barely takes 30 minutes to cook it thoroughly.  If you left it for 75 it would be either like shoe leather or burned to a crisp, not sure which…  The dish works pretty well with the variations on temp and time so to some extent I work it to conform with whatever my timing needs are or to get the temp to match other dishes that need to cook at the same time.

Because the boneless breasts take so much less time to cook than bone-in pieces, I put the sausages in the pan first and cook 25-30 minutes without the chicken, then add the chicken and marinade.  Another nice piece is nothing sticks up over the top of my roasting pan so I don’t have to put that shelf way down and it leaves more room on the lower shelf.

I made dessert a few days ago and divided it into containers in the freezer.  And this year I decided to go super easy and bought a couple of veggies sides and cranberry sauce from Trader Joe’s deli plus some mashed sweet potatoes from the grocery.  I’m about to make dressing patties (in patties you get lots of extra crunch all the way around the outside) and tonight I’ll make the marinade.

Tomorrow all I have to do is throw the meats in a pan and bake and then we can make up plates of the other stuff to microwave as soon as the chicken is done.

I’m pleased to be doing a partially home-cooked meal again, even though we SO enjoyed the meal I picked up from the food co-op’s Thanksgiving hot buffet last year when I just couldn’t do the cooking.  If you’re feeling pressed and pressured to get it all done, I highly recommend this easy dish

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Turmeric Ginger Tea Another Way

straining-turmeric-and-ginger

Straining turmeric and ginger

The last time I posted about turmeric ginger tea I gave a recipe for making one cup with dried spices.  I like the taste better with fresh but I’ve been unwilling to peel and grate on a daily basis.  I finally tried an experiment last month with making a big batch (i.e. one big round of peeling and then tossing in food processor to grate) and keeping it in the fridge.  It lasted about a week, tasted fine the whole time and always left me with the same good feelings in my body.

Turmeric Ginger Tea the Fresh Way

  • 8 inches fresh turmeric, peeled
  • 6-8 inches fresh ginger, peeled
  • 6-8 peppercorns (see below for coconut oil alternative)
  • 7-8 cups water
  • optional: 4 tsp. agave syrup (more if you like it sweeter)

After peeling all the turmeric and ginger, put grater plate on food processor and run the whole batch through at once.  If you prefer, certainly grate by hand, I’m just lazy and I always feel uneasy about catching my fingers when grating small stuff…

Place water, grated spices, peppercorns and agave syrup in saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.  Let sit until cool.  Strain.

I divide it in two cup batches into small jars — just easier on refrigerator space than one big pitcher.  Also, if I want to make some turmeric ginger lemonade, one two-cup container is the right amount.

Each time I want a cup I measure 3/4 cup of the tea, add about 1/8-1/4 cup water and heat in the microwave or pour in a saucepan to heat on the stove.

NOTE ABOUT PEPPERCORNS AND COCONUT OIL:  Peppercorns and coconut oil are two of the main additives for helping to absorb the turmeric.  Turmeric apparently doesn’t absorb into your system easily so it needs a boost and either of these will do the trick.  I prefer the coconut oil to the peppercorns, taste wise, but if you refrigerate after adding the oil, the oil congeals.   You’ll want to leave the oil out initially and add 1 tsp of coconut oil to each cup of tea you make.

Optional addition:  splash of vanilla creamer (I use Silk or Trader Joe’s, both made with soy).

This fresh stuff — especially with the vanilla creamer — actually is quite tasty, unlike the dried spice version, which I’d say I more tolerate than enjoy…

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WPC: Tiny

Late again for WPC.

I almost didn’t do this one.  In fact, technically I didn’t go out to get a “tiny” shot.  Instead, I took my Fire outside on one of the nights of the “Super Moon”.  Mostly I wanted to see it, but thought I’d get a shot.  And experiment with the Fire, which I’ve not used much for photos.

At the time I went out it looked pretty much like a regular full moon.  And if the Fire has any kind of zoom I can’t figure out how to use it.  So the photos were a bust.  Or so I thought.

When I finally decided to look at them I had to giggle — and decide maybe I did take a “tiny” photo.   At least that’s how the moon looks to me:

Super Moon or tiny?

Super Moon or tiny?

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Share Your World #46

Cee’s Share Your World:

Are you a traveler or a homebody? 

I used to think I was a traveler but recently I’m wondering if I’m more of a homebody.  I don’t like the getting there — the actual traveling — part of travel and, particularly when it comes to airlines, I’m getting to the point where the dread of the process of travel is greater than the joy of the being there part.

What kind of TV commercial would you like to make? Describe it.

A public service spot with beautiful landscapes, soft music and messages like “be peace”, “try compassion”, “love more”…

Describe yourself in a word that starts with the first letter of your name.

left-handed

List some fun things for a rainy day.

Museum, movie, curling up with a good book and a cup of Bengal Spice tea

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 lots of chanting and meditating (including Oprah and Deepak’s 21 day event, still ongoing) helping me to calm down after the election.  Looking forward to working on Thanksgiving, which for many reasons I have to make a carefully planned, do it over time thing.  I’ll be making dessert and freezing in the next couple of days.

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Cell Phones, Social Media and me

OK, not quite that old… (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Although I participate in a lot of computer-related stuff and am a member of various social media sites, in many ways I’m out of step with the times about all this.  I do love blogging, but I’ve never taken to most social media and I really don’t like cell phones…

I’ve been feeling like I should make a statement to my friends — blogging and otherwise — about my vagaries in these realms.

CELL PHONES

Okay, I do have one.  I just don’t give out the number.  Or answer it (that would be because the sound is ALWAYS turned off).  And I don’t text.

What I do have, phone wise, is a land line and many recent experiences lead me to feel I must remind people how they work.  It’s a TELEphone.  You remember those.  You dial.  You talk to a person or leave a message on voice mail/recorder.  They have no other fancy electronic abilities.

You can send a text to one because your cell phone apparently has no way to tell you it won’t be/wasn’t received.  The thing is it just goes out into cyber space.  It cannot land on the old fashioned land line phone.  Land line phones do not and can not and possibly never will receive text messages.  So if I give you my phone number, know that you cannot send me a text that will ever be seen or read.  But you can call me.  If I recognize your number, I’ll even pick up🙂

TWITTER

Nothing will ever make me understand why anyone finds this amusing.  I have an account and my blog is connected to it just because “they” say you should.  Never actually go to Twitter and read anything.

Also can’t get into my Twitter account.  Can’t remember my password and no matter how many times I request them to e-mail a password reset, it never shows up.  So there’s one computer on which I seem to be permanently logged in and if I happen to be on that one I can respond to e-mail notifications, otherwise, sorry, can’t get there…

It’s not that I don’t appreciate the retweets, etc. (from e-mail notifications), just don’t have the means to do anything about it.

FACEBOOK

While I’ve hugely enjoyed getting back in touch with old high school and college friends, I find it only slightly more interesting than Twitter.

I’m fortunate none of my friends update 10 times a day with the current state of their toenail clippings, etc. and a fair number even post interesting stuff, it’s just too much stuff to wade through, some of which isn’t of much interest to me and much of which gets kind of repetitive…  Which is not to say there aren’t some gems in there, just a lot of wading through to find them.

I get on every day.  Just sometimes for only five minutes.  Which means I often only see your stuff if it happens to be in the section of the “wall” I see in those five…

I don’t care much how many friends I have on my list and for a long time I held out for keeping it to only people I actually know in person.  Along the way that plan has slipped and the list has grown to include more and more people and I can’t figure out how to cope with that.

INSTAGRAM

I do have it and with my previous phone I used it a bit.  I’m not that big on snapping pics with my camera and I haven’t enjoyed looking at the stuff on it all that much.  It seems like an endlessly repetitious stream.

My current phone has a crappy camera so I haven’t even bothered to put Instagram on it.  It’s possible when and if I get a better phone I’ll try again, but I’m not too excited about the idea.

THE REST OF ‘EM

Given my opinions about the few I’m already on, why on earth would I try out more???

THE BOTTOM LINE

I love the blogging community I’m in and the deep, thoughtful pieces we share.  In general I find something a little disturbing about most of the social media and the obsession they’ve become for so many people.

So much of it just seems so trivial to me and not worthy of hours and hours of time every day…  If you’re doing it and loving it, more power to you, it’s just not for me.

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Share Your World #45

Cee’s Share Your World this week:

Describe your own outlook on life in seven words or less. (NOTE:  does not  have to be a sentence.)

Live with a peaceful and compassionate heart

Where do you like to vacation?

Flint Art Institute

In recent years my only vacations have been:  (1) going to my home town, Flint, MI, with my mother and (2) house sitting for friends in Marin County.  I love both for some similar reasons and some very different ones.

Since I’ve lived both places there’s such familiarity and I’m beginning to appreciate how much more relaxed it is for me to vacation in familiar territory.  To get to eat in favorite restaurants, see beloved places, know where I’m going and how to get there…

Flint is also a lot about my Mom and visiting with her friends.  She’s 91 and the friends are all within a few years of that.  I pushed for the first trip we made on the theory we might not have many more chances to see these friends.  It’s been miraculous to have all but one still living and getting around so we’ve been able to see them every time.

sausalito-st-house

Marin has always felt like a magical place to me and the house sit at the hollow on the hill where I used to live is like returning home.  All my friends out there — the delightful exception a friend I’ve known since ninth grade — are people I met at spiritual retreats/workshops, most of them in connection with Nine Gates Mystery School.  We resonate, we connect, we go deep.  It’s hard to describe what those friendships, that energy, and that magic do for me.

Candy factories (sweets or treats including chocolate) of the entire world have become one and will now be making only one kind of candy. Which kind, if you were calling the shots?

My opinion would change from day to day I suspect, or depending on what kind I currently had around, but at the moment I’d say Trader Joe’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups.

Complete this sentence: Something that anyone can do that will guarantee my smile is… 

Tell me a story about an act of kindness.  Or a picture of your dog or cat…

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

After months of one try after another by pain specialists, a technique last week is doing some good for my mother and can be followed with a procedure that will last a year.  Yea for no longer having to sit around in doctor’s offices one or twice a week!  This week I’m looking forward to a week in which we already happen to have no doctor appointments.

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The trip to Flint 2016

As my regular followers know, my mother and I started making annual visits back to my hometown 11 or 12 years ago.   This year it was touch and go.  We planned to go in June instead of September–just changing things up–but Mom had a series of health issues that added up to postponing.

To some extent we’re still working our way through the pain issues but enough of the problems were resolved or improved by the end of September so we made a fast decision and booked the trip.

Flint isn’t a great city.  There’s very little in the way of scenic beauty and great architecture never showed up on the skyline.  Since GM pulled Buick and the other GM-family plants out of town and destroyed the economy things have gotten steadily worse.

But it was home and my mother has a bunch of friends who still live in the area.  A few restaurants from my childhood still exist and we’ve found a few more to love.  A love affair with the Flint Institute of the Arts blossomed…

Even though it rained through the ENTIRE trip we had a grand time.  Saw all the friends (except one of mine, daughter of one of Mom’s friends, whom we did get to see…), ate at all the fave places (except the one that turned into an events and catering place…), visited the Art Institute and spent a day in Ann Arbor.

Picture taking mostly didn’t happen.  You know, in the rain…  And my camera isn’t really built for indoor shots unless I’m near a sunny window.

We were on the third –and top — floor of our hotel and I caught a couple of shots of the intriguing view; never did decide exactly what I was seeing beyond the nearby buildings.  I also whipped the camera out when we parked behind The Laundry and walked past their amazing gardens.  It was pouring so trust me, I shot FAST.

We met four of Mom’s friends at the Laundry, a VERY popular restaurant in the little lake town of Fenton.  These two couples were some of my parents’ earliest friends after moving to Flint from Kentucky and I’ve known them all since I was something like two or three.  Rain can’t dampen the warmth and pleasure of an afternoon like that.

So the few shots from this year’s trip:

Last year I did a series of posts in which I catalogued our favorite people and places, studded with lots of photos.  The series started here and continued with a post about FIA and then a piece on restaurants (Fandangles being the one that’s gone).

Share Your World #44

Cee’s latest Share Your World:

What was your favorite subject in school?

English

If you could have a servant come to your house every day for two hours, what would you have them do?

It wouldn’t be this whole list every day, but some stuff daily and others once or twice a week:  sweep, vacuum, scrub kitchen, scrub bathrooms, wash dishes, clean windows, keep baseboards, windowsills and door frames clean, laundry, make beds, dust, clean oven, clean refrigerator, sweep garage, take out trash and recycling.  Can you tell I don’t like house work?🙂

Where did you live when you were in the third grade of school?  Is it the same place or town you live now?

We still lived in Flint when I was in third grade (later moved to satellite town, Flushing).  On the other side of our block were four little school buildings called “primary units”, each with one grade in it.  They were part of Longfellow Elementary School, which was a mile away.  I went to kindergarten through third grade in those little units just around the block.

Since then I’ve lived in Evanston, IL, Chicago, Portland, OR, Seattle, WA, back to Chicago and Evanston, San Francisco and Corte Madera…  I’ve been in Lexington, KY for some years now; it’s home town for both my parents and both sides of the family have long histories here.  In third grade this is where I wanted to live.

In your opinon, list some places that are great for shopping?

Not a big lover of shopping though I do like prowling stores like the Kentucky Artisan Center in Berea, KY, filled with such creative and unusual pieces by local artisans.  I also enjoy places like Nice’s Flower Market and many other local markets in various towns in Italy and France.  Fun to browse those.

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

We’ve been having spectacularly gorgeous weather and it’s been warm enough to keep windows open for at least part of every day; I’m always grateful for that.  I’m hoping to get some cooking done and possibly start some menu planning for Thanksgiving (because of my weird blood pressure issue I have to spread out the massive grocery shopping and the standing around in the kitchen so I work up a schedule and start early with things I can freeze).