Just three and a half months ago or so, a while after I'd been diagnosed as IF by my ob/gyn, before I was pregnant myself, I'd sent Rebecca a package with tea for nursing mothers, and some Belly Bars, thinking positive thoughts about her pregnancy, maybe pinning my hopes on her new life if I wasn't going to be able to produce my own. I was happy for her, in a way that I wasn't even able to be happy for my first-time-pregnant colleagues, who were everywhere at the time. I followed her blog, watching her belly expand.
It was hard to read her news today. I still have a lump in my throat that I can't quite swallow.
Another (real life) friend, who reads this blog, had a stillborn baby before her two successful pregnancies. She is an amazing mother and a thoughtful, insightful, compassionate friend, and I thought about her this morning, too, and her own lost child, reading all of the outpouring of love and support for Rebecca, wishing again that I'd been a better friend to her back then, grateful for all of her support through my own losses and now my pregnancy.
Today, this is what I'm thinking: we need to be kind to each other. We need to be able to talk about (or at least be present to) sad, unimaginable things in the way that we celebrate the joyful ones, to remember the losses as we remember the birthdays, not because we should dwell on what is depressing, but because death is a part of life. We are such strange, half-invisible creatures sometimes, hiding our shadows.
Though the Bhagavad Gita tells us not to feel sorrow because death is inevitable, part of the great cycle of life, I believe that as much as we can cultivate detachment, we are still human. And to me, while maybe detachment is a good thing sometimes, part of living is also cultivating that connection to others that will allow us to feel joy and pain together, that makes us realize, perhaps a little bit differently, how we're part of the interconnected web of being that the Gita also describes.
My point, though, is that when you're picking raspberries, you can't just look for them from the top. That's where you start. But then you have to gently separate the canes, and finally, when you think you've found all of the ripe ones, you have to squat beneath them and look up. It's like a whole new world every time. All you need is a little change of perspective.
In my youth, I associated orzo with rice pilaf. I had no great love of rice pilaf. It came from a box, and somehow often had burnt onions in it. But when I arrived at graduate school at UCLA, where my fellow students introduced me to real creative cooking, I found salads of orzo studded with crisp bright vegetables, orzo with exotic spices ... suddenly I developed new appreciation for the humble little pasta shape. New perspective.
Though I've been cutting back on things like bread and pasta for a while now (almost never eating it for dinner), and when I do make pasta, it tends to be something in the whole wheat or spelt family, our CSA sent us this recipe, and I figured I'd give it a go. I made it last night for tonight's dinner (which is something I do pretty regularly, given that I rarely get home before 5:30 and we like to get dinner on the table by 6:00 so the night doesn't drag out too long for Ian), and found myself sitting in front of the mixing bowl, chowing down uncontrollably before I put it away. It turned out a little like risotto, but lighter; the lemon/garlic sauce was a perfect complement to the kale. The turmeric doesn't offer too much flavor (a little nutty perhaps), but makes the orzo a beautiful color. We went light on the nutmeg because Steve doesn't like it. But who can argue with fresh grated Parmesan? That, right there, is the reason I could probably never be a vegan.
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
a little bit of water
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the garlic in the hot oil for a few seconds until it begins to bubble. Stir the kale into the garlic, dump in a little bit of water to prevent the kale from crisping, cover the skillet with a lid, and cook for about 10 minutes (checking occasionally to see how things are moving along). Remove the cover and continue cooking and stirring until the kale is tender, about 5-10 minutes more. Stir the kale mixture into the orzo along with the lemon juice, nutmeg, and Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.
So how does it work?
Ever admired another artists work and would love to use aspects of it in your art? Well, why not go half and half..you could work on a piece together or start and finish half each.
This is the perfect opportunity to work with artists worldwide, be it as a hobby or as a career moving collaboration :)
How can you start?
You can contact members through the Facebook group page and work on pieces together. If you already have someone in mind that's fine too.
What happens then?
These pieces can be submitted in jpg form to email@example.com. The brief is open so there are no limitations and you can be as creative as you like.Unique approaches are encouraged and we're on the lookout for new and exciting talent.
The venue has just been decided (yay!)....the exhibition will take place at the brilliant Vineyard Bar in Cork City. The Vineyard is a popular bar and music venue situated bang in the city centre. There is lots of space on the walls so get collaborating ;)! We're hoping to get a diverse selection of work and are especially interested in local artists.
The deadline will be August 30th 2010.
We will take NO COMMISSION, instead there is a €20 entrance fee per piece (€10 per artist) which will help to cover costs. Sound good!?
The public will have the chance to have a bit of an input at decision making time as well as our panel of judges. We think that's generally the fairest, although we are an open-minded bunch and won't only choose according to our own tastes in any way, shape or form. A select number will get through to the first round and the public will assist us with the final decision for the pieces chosen
If you have any questions or queries please e-mail me (Lily) at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us at email@example.com
Happy Collaborating :)!
Still making her stoic face.
Mom, this is the Winnie the Pooh bear suit you sent her!!!
And because I don't do this enough any more, here are two photos showing just how gorgeous are my girls. Kitcat and Teddy were the only two who were willing to accompany me to church last Sunday. They love to dress up in their skirts/dresses, stockings, pretty shoes and jewelry and have their hair done.This photo is to show their beautiful hair styles. Teddy's hair is like spun gold caught up in a ponytail, and Kitcat wanted a messy bun tied up with a giant gerbera blossom.
She took some pictures of me alone and with Ian (a few even with a Polariod camera) by our barn and our garden, and at the farmer's market. I held my son, a tomato, and a colander of just-picked raspberries. It was funny, thinking about myself this way, with the barns in the pictures behind me: how I've become part of the landscape of Hunterdon County, and how growing things and appreciating growing things now defines me, and in some ways defines my relationship to pregnancy, almost chronicles my own journey. She's clearly a talented photographer; the Polariods were really lovely, I felt completely at ease, and I felt like doing this really meant something. Like I was bearing witness, and asking the world to bear witness with me.
We made her stay for lunch (I couldn't send her back to Manhattan without feeding her, especially since she made a pilgrimage to Butterlane for me), and threw together a salad with roasted beets that we'd gotten in our CSA box this morning (thank you, Megan, for helping us with our little leafy greens problem). For dessert, of course, there was fresh raspberry pie.
1 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. whole wheat pastry flour
3 tsp. baking powder 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp. nutmeg or mace
2 cups fresh raspberries
1/3 c. agave nectar
3/4 cup milk (minus 2 T. or so to account for the agave)
1/3 cup oil
1 tsp. vanilla
Top with sugar (optional; I didn't do this)
Heat oven to 375 F. Grease bottoms only of 12 muffins cups or line with paper baking cups. In medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt and lemon peel; mix well. Add raspberries - mix gently with a fork. In a small bowl, combine agave nectar, milk, oil, vanilla and egg; blend well. Add to dry ingredients; stir gently just until dry ingredients are moistened.
Fill greased muffins cups 2/3 full. Sprinkle with a little bit of extra sugar if you're going to do so. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 1 minute; remove from muffin cups. Serve warm.
I would cook dinner using the scrap lumber fire!
Here is what I did!
I made three little foil trays lined with parchment.
Then I laid two slices of celery and some sliced onion.
Last week I lost 4 pounds... OH YEAH!!! I have reached the 70 pound loss mark today. Oh my gosh, that feels GOOD! I caught up to my guy - I totally want to CELEBRATE!! My man stayed the same but he is LOOKING SO HOT! Even his new suit from just a few posts ago is getting smaller on him.
I really drank tons of water this week and “Aunt Flo” left from her stay so that’s why I think I lost more than previously... and I’ve stayed totally on plan (as always... because I don’t even want to think of going off plan and sabotaging myself!)
I grilled some salmon again with that same yummy recipe since I had some left over marinade and I also made these “Sweet and Sour Crimini Mushrooms” to go with them. I found the recipe here at the La Fuji Mama. If you like mushrooms, you should check it out. I really enjoyed them.
1 cup egg beaters, green peppers, sprinkles of low-fat cheese with 3 turkey sausages. He loved it and said it was very delicious (I love the simple stuff I can make quick).
I tried a couple Medifast meal recipes that I really liked:
Vanilla Spice Cookies! and Crunch Cookies!
Vanilla Spice Cookies
1 Vanilla Shake mix
1/4 t. Baking Powder
1 T. sugar free caramel syrup in a 1/4 cup measure, then fil the rest of the way w/ water.
1/4 t. Vanilla
1/2 t. Pumpkin Pie Spice
1/2 T. Cinnamon
1 Packet Spenda
Mix all the dry ingredients and we ingredients seperately. Add wet to dry and mix it up. Scoop out 5 cookies onto a Pam sprayed pan and bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Counts as 1 Medifast Meal.
[I quadrupled the recipe using 4 vanilla shakes and the batter wasn't thick enough so I added a scrambled eggs packet and then made 25 cookies for 5 meals; every 5 cookies equaled 1 medifast meal.]
Crunch Cookies (found on the Medifast Facebook Discussion Boards)
1 Crunch Bar (I used Chocolate, but you can use Caramel, PB, Smores or whatever)
2 Brownie Packets
4 T. Water
Soften crunch bar in microwave for 15-20 seconds then mix all the ingredients together very thoroughly. Spray plate with Pam & divide mixture into 3 equal portion cookies. Microwave for 2-2.5 minutes. Let cool. One cookie = One Medifast meal. YUM. This is a great way for me to help my crunch bars last longer & the cookie is really good and filling!
I have decided to join Deb's Freedom Challenge and it starts on July 5th and goes for 4 weeks. I am still planning out what my goals will be since one of those weeks I will actually be at girls camp with both my daughters... and I'll be bringing up all my food too... I will NOT go off plan, even for girls camp. :) So I will be posting my goals soon. I'm excited! This is my first challenge!!
I thought if I gradually reduce the amount of meat in some meals it will be a step towards going meatless once or twice a week. (Going meatless - that almost sounds indecent.)
Anyway, the first recipe I made up was Chicken Potato Bake. Usually we would have oven-baked chicken with potato bake as a side dish. Our family can eat up to 1 kilo of chicken per meal. They are all meat monsters. So I decided to incorporate the chicken into the potato bake, thus reducing the amount.
300g chicken thigh fillet cut into thin strips
1 large onion, sliced finely
1 (or 2 or even 3) cloves of garlic, minced.
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can milk
2 tablespoons flour
Freshly ground black pepper
1 & 1/2 cups grated tasty cheese
Peel potatoes and cut into very thin slices.
Brown the chicken, onion and garlic in a small amount of olive oil. Set aside.
Spray a large baking pan with oil.
Layer half the potato over the bottom of large baking pan and season with a little black pepper.
Sprinkle half the chicken/onion/garlic mixture over potatoes.
Layer nearly all remaining potato on top of chicken and season with a little black pepper.
Sprinkle remaining chicken/onion/garlic mixture over potatoes.
Finish with one thin layer of potato on the top.
Mix the can of soup, milk and flour together in a large jug.
Pour soup/milk mixture slowly and evenly over potatoes and chicken.
Sprinkle cheese over top.
Bake in a moderately hot oven for about 1 hour, or until the potatoes are tender.
(You can speed up the cooking time by cooking the potatoes in the microwave first - if you do this then you only need to cook in oven long enough to melt the cheese and make the soup mixture bubble.)
Serve with crusty bread and steamed vegetables.
Since making up this recipe I have gradually introduced more "less-meat" meals into our fortnightly menu plan, and even some totally "meat-less" dinners.
The girls and even HB are not too worried about this trend toward 'going vegetarian'. (HB, I am sure, would say something if he felt there was too much 'meatless' happening in our kitchen.)
But Dragon's response is often "Where's the meat?" while digging through the dish with his fork and knife.
Or when he is feeling a bit more tactful he may say, "This is okay, mum, but it would taste heaps better with bacon ... or chicken ... or both!"
However the most common reaction I get from Dragon is much more like this .....
see more Lolcats and funny pictures
The past couple nights I have not had an incident, but last week I awoke every night to the
H O R R I B L E
sound of a mosquito buzzing around my ear!!!!!
And of course, lovely bites all over my legs when I'm sitting at the computer, and lovely bites all over my back, face and arms while I'm sleeping!!!
The last straw was yesterday, when I came home at lunch and Nile had a bite on her face. And then while I was feeding her in her room, Neil spotted and killed the mosquito on the ceiling above her crib!
You may think, "big deal, mosquitoes ... they ARE annoying though."
But you have to realize --
it's winter here.
It's a little unnerving to see a picture of my young self. I dread the thought of what 20 more years will do to my appearance.
I'll let you know how the reunion goes - too bad I don't still have that dress or I could put it on just for laughs (tears?) and see whether it will zip up.
It keeps me sane in the winter, OK?!
I can't help but get a kick out of "Fry High Performance."
That can't be a good thing ...
Note: Dragon is currently quite "in to" X-men, mutants, superheroes and such fantasy-type stuff.
Kitcat: Look at my drawing mummy!
Me: Oh that's nice. Tell me about it. Is that a cat? (pointing to purple creature.)
Kitcat: No it's a bear.
Me: Oh, I see. Why is the bear frowning?
Kitcat: He is very sad.
Me: Why is he sad?
Kitcat: Because he is getting his leg chopped off! (Draws blue line across one leg.)
Me: Oh dear! That's terrible.
Kitcat: And now he's getting his other leg cut off too. (Draws blue line across other leg.)
Me: That's awful! Why is this happening?
Kitcat: Because he is a very mean bear ..... and do you know what else is happening to him?
Me: Stop! I don't want to know!!!
Kitcat: Well ..... (as she starts drawing more)
Me (with hands over ears and eyes shut): La la la la la la. (loudly)
A short time later Kitcat tugged at my arm....
Kitcat: Mummy! Stop singing! Look at the other bad bear. (Pointing to newly-drawn black character). He is the badder one. He shot at the other mean bear. (The black spots are the bullets.)
Me: How did the black bear shoot the purple one? He doesn't have a gun.
Kitcat: He is a mutant (pronounced "moo-tut") black bear and he can shoot bullets out of his claws.
I was almost too afraid to look at her next drawing. But I am pleased to report that she had reverted to "little-girly" subject matter such as flowers and butterflies.
Cause I got aches in new places
Where I didn’t know
I could even move in such a way,
But I’ll be okay,
Now I may groan & moan & walk real stiff
Think I’ll slather on some ‘ol Ben Gay
Oh I got aches,
Take your regular cupcake pan and stand one flat-bottomed ice cream cup in each hole. Fill three-quarters with cake batter. (we found a thicker mixture with less liquid, such as brownie or muffin batter, worked better as it didn't make the cones soggy.)Bake as directed in the recipe and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.Top each cone with icing and sprinkles - they look just like an ice cream cone. I've seen photos of these decorated with thick, piped icing which makes them look like a soft serve cone. I personally don't like that much icing on a cupcake so we just made them to look like rounded vanilla ice cream cups. I served these with chocolate crackles for afternoon tea on Ducky's birthday.We did discover that the cones take a lot more batter than a regular cupcake patty case so you will need to double your recipe. I think they are a great idea for school birthday cakes - much easier for the teacher to deal with than having a big cake to cut up, and even less messy than regular cupcakes because there's no rubbish as the children eat the 'case' (cone)!!
(Note: you may have to warn small children that these are NOT ice cream, otherwise they may be confused and/or disappointed.)
Keep them in an airtight container in the fridge if you aren't going to eat them within a day or two. Ours kept for nearly a week but the cones did start to get soggy after a while. Best baked and eaten within 24 hours. Possum likes to make them with Triple Choc Brownie mix and just sift a little icing sugar over the tops when they are cool. Yum!