Keeping current in wellness, in and out of the water
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“We find inspiration for photos and recipes all over the world. . . . Breathing the air on a different continent, our hands intertwined.” Susann and Yannic bring ideas home, then share beautifully styled vegetarian recipes from their Berlin kitchen. (In English and German.)
The essence of effective self care is self knowledge. If you begin to understand yourself just as you are it becomes easier to please your senses and intellect. Your body craves healthy food and activity, and your mind thrives on stimulating conversation and reading. Writing, art projects, and journaling lead one to discover inner talents and insights. Clearing or updating personal space is an ongoing project that gives great satisfaction. Creating excellent work and play environments in your own home make life much more pleasurable.
I like simple pleasures like beautiful plants and fresh foods. Since I like to cook and find it therapeutic, I can always spend an afternoon in the kitchen having fun. On Sundays I like to prepare food for the week. Bob takes a meal from home to work with him most days, so I pack a few servings to get a head start on the week. If I also take time to do some deep cleaning tasks on the weekend, my work during the week is lightened, and I enjoy the clean environment. I know cooking and cleaning might not sound like self care tasks to you, but in my mind they are basic. I don’t pay others to do these things for me, so making it an adventure in creative homemaking is my only good healthy option. I feel accomplished and well cared for when I have some chores finished. I then relax completely.
I do not plan an entire day of effort without some direct rewards. I often make sweets and desserts on the weekends, and clean my bathroom extra well. I treat myself to some sweet concoction and take a lovely long soaking bath in my sparkling clean tub. I use essential oils of lavender and grapefruit, and take a tall glass of iced tea to drink while I soak. This is at least as good as being at a 5 star hotel for me, because I don’t have to travel back home…I am home!! I provide my own room service, slip into my own bed with fresh linens, and sleep soundly.
How do you make your weekends work to combine tasks that must be done with some relaxation and fun? Everyone has a personal style, which is why each person knows best how to be true to that style.
Find the freshest, most attractive produce in the aisle
Cook it as little as possible in order to create a masterpiece
To satisfy all your senses, to tempt your tastebuds in style
Consider presentation, flavor balance, and prep with ease
Jars of layered salads, wraps, burritos, and quinoa bowls
Bring out the healthy chef within to take care of nutrition
Take gourmet living seriously by designing a diet for souls
To live in balance with nature is a healing prescription
This poetic invitation to vegetarians on Mondays is inspired by the #veggiepoetry people on twitter. I stopped eating meat in 1969, and do not miss it, so this is a sincere recommendation. It is also my daily poem for National Poetry Writing Month. Find more poetry at the #NaPoWriMo site.
If we were having coffee today in Tucson I would invite you to sit back and enjoy a cup of your favorite beverage while you tell me about your week. I am drinking iced roiboos tea and relaxing after attending our favorite food party of the year. The Tucson Botanical Garden is the venue for this culinary fiesta each February. Chefs, restaurants, caterers, distillers, brewers, and food providers of every kind set up stations to offer tastings to the guests. We pay $65 per person, then roam around the gardens eating and drinking, tasting our way though the wonderful options. The quality is outstanding since the purpose is to show off and find new customers. It works well for everyone. We always find a new place or product to try that we might not otherwise have discovered. This time we found an excellent Mexican restaurant we have not tried, and much to my surprise, there is a distillery making very tasty gin downtown Tucson. Who knew? The event lasts for 4 hours, but I believe I would burst if I stayed for the whole time. We lasted for about 2 hours before we called the Uber.
I am interested in your latest news about your writing projects. Some of you have inspired me to try my hand at writing fiction. I wrote another piece this week based on a photo prompt, and once again it was dark and disturbing. I surprise myself with these eerie, haunted stories. I plan to continue if only as a form of self analysis. I am discovering a part of my brain that makes up dark stories. I hope I will be able to make it create some brighter, funnier stuff. My fiction muse is stuck on horror.
I have started to write and mail correspondence daily. The International Correspondence Writing Month, #InCoWriMo, challenge involves people from around the world who send each other mail. It is much more fun that I thought it would be. Some old friends are sending mailing addresses, and I have collected some from the website. My most ambitious pen pal choice is a professional calligraphy artist in Florence, Italy. My handwriting is not that great, but I own an amazing collection of cards and stationary from around the world to send. I am using colored markers, and may start to do little drawings or write poems to the people I have never met. I am enjoying the process and think it is a good way to prime the creativity pump.
The food holidays come daily, but few are as popular as spaghetti day. Pasta is popular all over the world. Kids can usually be cajoled into eating dinner if there is pasta involved. When I was a child we rarely ate pasta at home, but I looked forward to outings to restaurants where I could order it. I also had some Italian friends at school and Brownie Scouts whose moms totally rocked the dinner table. I connived to find ways to be invited to their houses to eat. The first dishes I learned to prepare myself in the kitchen were lasagna (my mom never made it) and beef Stroganoff on a bed of egg noodles. I believe I was trying to knock off some of my friends’ mothers recipes. Since pasta is such an easy and versatile dish to prepare I have been making noodles since I was knee-high to a grasshopper.
We eat pasta about once a week, but I try to vary the ways I prepare it. I have not made a lasagna in years because I am so lazy now, but I do bake pasta dishes for the same effect. Today I have an assortment of fresh vegetables that need to be used. I have roasted a butternut squash for sauce, and am now roasting a red onion for color and excitement. My approach to cooking is to use what I have on hand in the most creative way possible. I hate to waste food. I have parsley, basil, rosemary, marjoram and sage growing in my garden to use to build the flavor profile. Brown butter sage is a great compliment to the butternut squash. If you have not used this versatile winter vegetable to make sauce, here is a vegan recipe:
You can choose to use milk or heavy cream if you want those extra grams of fat and calories. It also works with vegetable bullion. Of course there are plenty of pre-made sauces in jars that taste fabulous. #NationalSpaghettiDay is a very easy holiday to use to express your inner chef. Wander off into trying ingredients you like on other dishes..olives, artichokes, garlic, herbs..Have fun, gentle readers. Buon apetito!
If we were having coffee today I would tell you our week was almost perfect here. Welcome to my home this lovely mild weekend in Tucson. If you are living up north I hope you packed your bathing suit so you can go in the jacuzzi and get some sun on the deck before you head back home. These are the perfect weather days that make Tucson so popular as a winter destination. Help yourself to tea or coffee, and please enjoy a snack from the sideboard laden with food. I know many of the Americans will be weary of even seeing food, but for those of you who live in other countries we are serving pecan sweet potatoes, mini-croissants, green beans almandine, homemade spicy cranberry ketchup with chunks of ginger to compliment a large cheese tray. In the center of the table is a mega plate of raw and pickled vegetables, olives, pickled peppers of every kind, and 20 different sauces in which to dip them. If that does not overwhelm you with the colors and flavors of the fall season, there is nothing more I can do. Please make yourself at home and eat as much or as little as you want. Tell me what has been going on in your life. Pull up a chair and stay a while.
If we were having coffee I would tell you about our day on Thursday. We went to Thanksgiving lunch at our local vegetarian buffet run by the Hare Krishna community. They have a great selection, beautiful outdoor patio, a band, and a live turkey. This is the perfect place for our celebration. We ran into an old friend we had not seen for years and ate our meal with her. That was pleasant surprise. I chose not to overeat at lunch because I could take the leftovers home in a box and keep going later. It all tasted great cold, especially the green beans mixed with mashed potatoes and gravy. I dump the carrot gravy on all my food because it is the thing that pulls the whole meal together. I could drink this gravy as a beverage. We write down what we appreciate most on a piece of paper to enter a drawing to win a free lunch. It is not important if you win the lunch, but writing your gratitude and putting it in the jar with the other papers completes the group intention. It is simple yet effective. They would love to encourage participation in their religion, but never solicit or recruit patrons of the restaurant. The old days of aggressive Hare Krishnas chanting in airports are gone. Now they make fabulous food and finance their temple feeding Tucson. They announced a new delivery service they are launching which I will surely use, even though I live right up the street. They will bring me delicious food as well as any clothing, incense, wall hangings, or books I might need in the future.
As we drove to Govinda’s we were stopped at a red light when we observed two cop cars and two cops running around in a shopping center next to us. One cop approached a Native American man who was waiting at the bus stop on the corner. We rolled down the window to listen to the conversation between the two men. The cop asked the native man if he had seen anything in the area. We did not clearly hear his response, but he seemed to indicate the he had seen someone enter one of the locked, closed businesses. The cop asked him for ID. The man asked why he had to show ID. The cop told him “I don’t know who you are…” The light turned green and we drove on thinking that must have been some Twilight Zone Thanksgiving re-enactors back at that bus stop. Why should a Native man at a bus stop have to show ID to Tucson Police Department employee? I thought about Standing Rock and the military vets who are self deploying to protect the sovereign rights and water quality of the First Nations in the Dakotas. The violence being used at Standing Rock reminds me of the Indian Wars, and that reminds me of Harvard being founded to convert the local Native Peoples to a particular brand of christianity. All that reminds me of Wounded Knee. Our history is highly genocidal. The irony is wildly significant on our “how we bonded with the Indians” holiday.
On a lighter note, my Thanksgiving cactus started blooming right on cue, on the very day. I am proud of her. Please check out her rapidly unfurling flowers next to the front window. Thanks very much for visiting on this busy weekend. Please check out our other coffee sharing friends who gather at Diana’s site, here. Post, comment, or just enjoy the coffee.
Writing, music, art, and cuisine are integrated into my daily routine. I am inspired by creative projects of all kinds. I hope my study and practice keeps life fresh and stimulating. I am comfortable writing facts and stating my own opinions. I adore investigating my family tree because I constantly learn about history in a direct and personal way when I discover more facts about my ancestors. I also imagine myself inheriting some spark of talent from each and every one of them. I wish I knew more about the kinds of arts they might have pursued during their lives.
In April I join poets around the world to write 30 poems in 30 days. During the rest of the year I am a sporadic poet, and feel a tinge of guilt about it. This week I will go to a reading at our world-famous U of A Poetry Center. The theme for this series is poetry and climate change. The poets present in an ideal setting for the purpose, then answer questions posed by the audience. The caliber of the talent is outstanding. We are lucky to have this presented to the public here free of charge as part of the Poetry Center’s ongoing work. When I go to the center, either for a reading or to read part of the amazing collection, I feel extra guilt. My famous ancestor poet, Mistress Bradstreet, is represented in the collection. She wrote in colonial Massachusetts and wonders why I am not more prolific as a poet. Life as well as writing were not easy for her because the 1600’s were far less care free for women. She managed to crank out poems that told about historic events of the time in the language of the time. She thinks I should do the same, especially since I have all these electronic devices and twitter. She had nothing so convenient.
I have no real excuse to give to her. When I get into the practice of it I enjoy being a poet. I especially like to hang out with other poets, all of whom are better and more thoughtful then I am. Perhaps the reading this week will prime my poetic pump. Synesthesia is one of my daily goals in life. To create fusion of the senses, then mix them all into memory in order to make them verbal is a fun practice of self discovery. Poetry and music lend themselves to capturing the essence of sensory experience. I am not sure why I don’t do it all the time.
What do you like to do to employ your native creativity, gentle reader? Did you inherit any of your artistic talents (of which you are aware)?
Flavor dizzy cells race together then spin apart in a slice of lively colored food
Gearing up for a tango with wine or beer or cocktail medley, served impecably
Sourcing the elements was a task for a magician of presentation so shrewd
The table sparkled with novel and exotic cuisine presented with style innately
Suitable for instagram, twitter and all, these pics will lift the mood
The main thing to capture is imagery, the way the meal is arranged ornately
If the taste lives up to your well focused lunch shots, then you win
Join the #NaPoWriMo poets all month in April to enjoy poetic words from around the world.
There are several reasons to follow Jessica Seinfeld (aka Mrs. Jerry Seinfeld) on instagram. The most obvious is that she is at least as funny if not funnier than her famous husband, the comic. She is also a mother and cookbook author. She has two dachshunds who appear in her stream in costumes with modulated voices. The effect is stunning. They sound a little bit like the Chipmunks, but funnier. She always entertains, but she is also very instructive:
Her no nonsense approach to eating and her high comedy make her my favorite stream to watch. I highly recommend her work to anyone. You get to see the world with the Seinfeld family and share their ups, downs, and jokes. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do, gentle reader.
This is the sixth year of the October Unprocessed challenge, but the first time I have heard of it. This is an excellent idea for eaters of all stripes. Everyone can benefit from learning more about our food and how it is made. Diet is a hot topic, and many are the suggestions for improving it. I think the least complicated plan is the best. For folks who think fast food is the only way to eat this change might pose a bigger problem, but for my household this is not much of a stretch. At first I believed it meant I would use nothing prepackaged, but the definition used is not that tight. For this purpose unprocessed means something an ordinary cook could prepare with normal ingredients in a normal kitchen. It does not exclude foods prepared with minimum alteration. I can still be in the group while using my boxed tomatoes and jars of olives or pickles.
What will have to be banished for October?
I am not opposed to buying help with food preparation as long as the product is not altered or preserved. I sometimes use baking mixes and some frozen pastry products, but for the month I will make my own pastry because it is much more cost-effective. It can be also be made in appropriate small batches for the two of us. Fall is an easy time to create fruit crisps, crumbles, and cobblers with the harvest. Fruit and cheese plates make lovely desserts without any fuss or bother.
I like all the support offered including dining options in popular chain restaurants. The sponsors and leaders are prepared to inform, uplift, and encourage anyone who wants to try to improve their eating habits. Rather than “going on a diet” this program is aimed at awareness and alternatives to the status quo. I am enthusiastically on board. I will finish off my beet and plantain chips with gusto before Thursday. What do you think, gentle reader? I think it is worth the effort.