Share Your World 1/9/17

English: Sun symbol yellow

Sun symbol yellow (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cee’s Share Your World this week:

If you lost a bet and had to dye your hair a color of the rainbow for a week, what color would it be?  

I don’t bet and if I did I doubt I’d take one that involved this.  But if I had to pick a color of the rainbow to prefer I’m thinking yellow to be like the sun.

If you could choose one word to focus on for 2017, what would it be?

Compassion

What was one thing you learned last year that you added to your life?

I have a long way to go before my heart contains enough love and compassion to be able to feel either for the soon-to-be leader of the free world…  But I’m working on it.

If life was ‘just a bowl of cherries’… which fruit other than a cherry would you be..?

This image was selected as a picture of the we...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve never really understood that phrase (perhaps something to do with the fact I don’t much like cherries 🙂 ) and not positive I get the question.  But just to name a fruit I prefer to cherries:  grapefruit.  Not sure I’d want to be one.  Or any other fruit I like…

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

I’ve been doing a chanting practice ever since the election — aimed at both keeping me calm and building compassion in my heart.  Last week I realized the impact is great and growing.

Somewhere mid-week next week it’s supposed to finally stop raining.  I’m looking forward to seeing the sun again!

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Share Your World #51

Cee’s Share Your World for this week:

What is your favorite holiday?

Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry Sauce

I would say Thanksgiving although that’s mainly based on how much I loved it as a kid when we always traded back and forth with my aunt, uncle and cousins — our house one year, theirs the next.  But besides the camaraderie with the branch of the family I’ve always been closest to (the only ones who lived in the same state and the only cousins in my age range), I’ve always loved the food, so I still look forward to it.

What types of food is associated with your holiday?

Turkey with dressing, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, corn pudding (Kentucky style), some green veggie.  My tastes have grown a little more sophisticated and I change up a lot of stuff to keep wheat and dairy out, but the basic tastes of Thanksgiving have been favorites my whole life.

Do you travel for your holiday?

Not for some years.  There was a long stretch when I lived in Chicago and came to Lexington to have Thanksgiving with my mother and then a long stretch when it was San Francisco to Lexington — but rarely since I also visited for Christmas — but now that I’m here it’s just the two of us generally here at home.

Is it a religious or spiritual holiday?

No.  Although I think there’s a little spiritual uplift when you carefully prepare and the enjoy a meal you love.

Is there a gift exchange?

No.

How long does the celebration last?

Just the day.  Although I always make enough to be sure there are lots of lovely boxes in the freezer with more Thanksgiving meals tucked in each.

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

My back has been out so I’m grateful I managed to get everything done that needed doing.  I’m looking forward to a nice Christmas and then some peace and quiet after lots of bustling around.

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Share Your World #50

Cee’s Share Your World this week:

What is your favorite smell? What memory does it remind you of?

Herbs: basil, scallion

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Oh, too many to narrow down to one.  I love to grow herbs with great scents like basil, rosemary, sage, thyme and to wander around the yard running my hands through and then sniffing the great smells on my fingers for the next couple of hours

It doesn’t actually evoke an old memory because, other than peppermint for iced tea, my family didn’t grow herbs nor did we generally use fresh ones in cooking.  It’s an acquired taste as I’ve grown and broadened my horizons and in recent years learned a lot more about cooking.  The cooking led me to planting herbs.

What type of pet do you have or want to have?

I have a cat.  At some point I’d also like to have a dog.

Are you usually late, early, or right on time? 

It’s varied in my life.  My Dad is the kind of guy who drives hostesses nuts by always arriving early, so that was my first habit because I grew up being early for everything.  Once I was out on my own I’d say I leaned more toward being on time — and cutting it pretty close.

When the chronic fatigue was really bad I was perpetually late — I just never knew how to account for how slowly I might be moving from one day to another.  My ideas about how long things took were based on experience moving at a more normal pace.  Sometimes I could do that and sometimes I just moved in slow motion through every step…  Since I’ve been doing better in recent years I’m generally more or less on time…

For recharging, would you rather meditate, swim, walk, listen to music, write, read, yoga, qigong other?

Many of those are my choice depending on what kind of recharging I need to do.  If I need to restore equilibrium, meditating would be likely.  If I need to perk up, yoga would be more like it.  If I need to smooth out my energy as well as perk up I might do Flying Crane Chi Gung. I also particularly love the restorative powers of a good nap!

Optional 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 a new cell phone with enough storage that hopefully it will be 2-3 years before I have to replace it just because of storage.  Since I rarely use a cell phone for calls — mostly use it for apps I need when I’m out and about and for camera — I’ve usually gotten low level (small storage) ones but I got tired of constantly having to replace because updates of crap I don’t need or want fill all the storage.  I’m looking forward to decorating the little tree we got and to revving up some Christmas spirit — in recent years I’ve had none and decided this year needs an infusion of holiday cheer.

Share Your World #49

Cee’s Share Your World this week:

What do you value most in a friendship?

Kindness

Do you prefer eating the frosting of the cake or the cupcake first?  Do you prefer a specific flavor?

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Orange Icing

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Orange Icing

I like cake and frosting together.  Chocolate is generally my preference, though I have a recipe with ginger cake and a lightly orange-flavored frosting that’s pretty amazing.

Have you ever been in a submarine?  If you haven’t, would you want to?

Haven’t been in one and now that you mention it, I don’t have any curiosity about checking one out.

If 100 people your age were chosen at random, how many do you think you’d find leading a more satisfying life than yours?

If we’re in the U.S. I’d guess a majority of them feel dissatisfied a huge amount of the time, just because that’s my impression of much of the population — constantly wanting more and feeling unhappy with what they have..

I’ve been meditating and clearing old stuff and learning to look at life with gratitude for long enough that I generally feel satisfied — though I also work awfully hard at getting past health issues. I don’t let myself be influenced by whether somebody else seemingly has a better life than mine.  If I know someone who’s doing well I’m happy for them and I assume I’m looking at a mirror of what can and will be for me.

Optional 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 I got the majority of Christmas shopping done.  I’m looking forward to enjoying some Christmas music and trying to get into the spirit of the holiday.

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.

I kept questioning the peeling requirement in many recipes since you’re going to strain all the turmeric and ginger out anyway.  The question led to research on whether there’s anything bad for you about the peel of either.  There is nothing harmful in the peel of turmeric or ginger.  Just make sure you wash them first.  Peeling those knobbly things is my least favorite part of making this so my next try left the peels on.

The only thing I noticed is that some little bits of peel made it through the larger strainer (see photo above) so I needed to strain each cupful through a finer strainer if I didn’t want some little bits in my tea.  Otherwise, it tastes the same and again — so much easier without having to peel.

Turmeric Ginger Tea the Fresh Way

  • 8 inches fresh turmeric,  (optional: peeled)
  • 6-8 inches fresh ginger, )optional 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 a bag of Bengal Spice ttea (adds SO much to the taste!) 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.  Some sources say you DO NOT need to add either if you’re using fresh turmeric and ginger.  Some sources say you need one or the other for fresh or ground.  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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