Tuesday, March 5, 2013

How to make Something out of Nothing...

It was so depressing the other day… here it is March and we were getting a white out kind of snow day.  I am glad that it's going to be a good maple sugaring season, with warm days and cold nights but I am so ready for spring and flowers and the color green.  There I was cold and hungry with my sweet tooth kicking in and I was determined not to go to the store.    Now I love to cook and can make almost anything out of nothing... but through the years I have learned that one must have something to make nothing out of and my cupboard was bare.  Going over snowy icy roads fifteen miles to the nearest store was not something I wanted to do.

I had some cornmeal so I thought could make some cornbread.  I had gluten free flour, a little sugar, one egg but no milk.  I thought for a moment and then decided I could try to make cornbread with water.  Since I haven’t done much baking with gluten free flour I wasn't sure how it would turn out even if I had milk.  I decided I needed to practice anyway and since no one in the house eats gluten anymore that is all the flour I had on hand. 

 I took one cup of cornmeal and wire whipped it together with one cup of gluten free flour, one quarter cup of organic sugar, a pinch and a half of salt, quarter teaspoon of baking soda and one heaping teaspoon of baking powder.  Then I whipped one egg into one third of a cup of oil (half melted butter and half olive oil.)  Looking at these two bowls, one containing the oil and egg and the other containing the flour mixture, I decided to think about this before going any further.  I just couldn’t imagine mixing all this together with water. I rubbed some butter on the inside of a blue baking dish.  Grabbed the gluten free flour and dusted the dish while making my decision to use vanilla flavored almond milk instead of water. 

I poured the oil and egg mixture into the flour mixture and then added two thirds of a cup of almond milk.  Mixed it all together with a wooden spoon and poured it out into the ready and waiting baking dish.  Next I popped it into the oven and baked it at 350 degrees until the edges appeared done, cracked slightly in the middle, and the toothpick came out clean.  I guess it was about 40 minutes… I am not good at keeping track of time. 

So it was, much to my surprise, that I made the best gluten free cornbread ever.  Being so amazed at the results that I made a second loaf just to be sure that it wasn’t a fluke.  It wasn't-- it was wonderful—light moist and so good with a cup of hot organic masala chai to which I added an extra dash of cloves, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg and a little bit  of organic almond milk.  Topping all that off with a Netflix movie and I was all set. 

If you decide to try this you should know that I am also not good at measuring or timing--tip--do not over measure the flour or cornmeal and the bread will be light and fluffy and perfect.  I did over measure the flour and cornmeal on the second loaf and it was a bit too heavy.  Still really good-- but just a bit too dense for me.

Peanut butter cookies?... Recipe to make the best peanut butter cookies in the world.  One cup of sugar mixed with one cup of peanut butter and then add one egg and one teaspoon of baking soda, mix it all together… let the mixture sit for a moment or two then form into small balls, roll the little walnut sized balls in sugar, place onto a lightly greased baking sheet (I use coconut oil), press down with a fork and cook for about 10 minutes…. leave on the baking sheet until cool and then eat as many as you can before anyone else finds them… yum... tiny healthy (well, sort of healthy) morsels to have with a cup of spiced peppermint tea!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Once You Have Slept on an Island

I was going over my collection of old trade beads, getting ready to launch my new venture-- remember I'm jumping off and this time not going to reach out and grab hold of whatever appears to rescue me from utter failure--like I said I am launching a new blog, gotbeads2.blogspot.com, and when I came across this poem.  Thought I'd share it here.

Little Cranberry Isle from Cadillac Mt.
I have a deep affection for Little Cranberry Island off the coast of Maine.  My children's paternal ancestry is filled with sea captains and Abenaki Indians and links back to that area.   When they were young children, we would take the mail boat from Northeast Harbor as it made it's run to the Cranberry Isles.  We get off and spend the day exploring the island and the little town of Islesford then in the afternoon we would take the boat back.  We would always stop at the Museum and look up family history.  One day the caretaker at Islesford Historical Museum gave me this poem.  I have carried it over the years as it brings such wonderful stories to mind.

Their paternal grandmother grew up on the island.  The family lived there and their great grandfather ran the lighthouse.   One such delightful story of life on the island is how their great grandmother would tie the youngest child when they went outside to play in order to keep them from falling off the cliff and into the sea.

 Once You Have slept on an Island.
If once you have slept on an island
You'll never be quite the same;
You may look as you looked the day
And go by the same old name,

You may hustle about in street and shop;
You may sit at home and sew,
but you'll see the blue water and the wheeling
Cadillac Mt looking North
Where ever your feet may go

You may chat with the neighbors of this and that
and close to your fire keep,
but you'll hear ship whistles 
and lighthouse bell
And tides best through your sleep

Oh, you don't know why, you can't say how
Such change upon you came,
But--once you have slept on an island
You'll never be quite the same!
                                        ~~Rachel Field, poet 1894-1942

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Free Falling into the Future

How does one decide how to spend the rest of one's life?  Joseph Campbell said "If you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living.  Follow your bliss and don't be afraid, and doors will open where you didn't know they were going to be."  Well, it doesn't feel like that when you are taking that leap of faith.  It feels darn right scary.

I often jump into the abysses.  I must enjoy the thrill of the dark cave, the unknown space I am constantly falling into.  This is what usually happens--I get a great idea and things begin to go well. I might be writing, opening an art gallery, I might be having lots of clients, funerals to perform.  Then there is a dry spell and I think "Oh, my-- I better get a job.  How will I pay my bills?  I spend hours on end searching for a "job" (as we all find ourselves doing at some point.)  Finally that "job" comes through and I am relieve, a relief that is short lived.  Not long after business (whatever business idea I was working on at the time) starts to pick up.  People are calling and suddenly I have too many clients.  I can't fit them all in because--I have a "job."  I have to punch the time clock--I race to keep up with it all and nothing works.  I can't keep up and I make myself crazy trying.