EARTH LIFE!

Not just Earth Day! I love the earth and I hate feeling guilty shopping at Trader Joe’s. It’s a conundrum. Here’s a few ideas. Just a teeny bit makes a difference. 

I helped launch the recycling program in Baltimore (decades ago). It was a huge undertaking but folks wanted to do the right thing and they’d drive up on their precious Saturday morning and fill the cargo containers. I am sure folks still want to help the earth BUT I believe the manufacturers really should step up. That means packaging changes. 

So ways you might consider and a bit of inspiration…

COMPOSTNOW https://compostnow.org/compostables/  My garbage goes out once a month now.  AND it doesn’t stink. My garden loves the compost – but you can donate it to a farmer too!

I love straight side ball jars. You can freeze in them! 

And take a real fork/spoon/knife and skip the plastic ones – why not? Straws – yeah that is a real convenience when you are driving.

BUT… maybe paper (compostable) ones or better yet reusable ones.  

Whole Foods has a terra cycling collection for potato chip bags etc etc. https://www.dwellsmart.com/pages/terracycle

Take the time to drop a note to your favorite organic company that packages their product in plastic or has a label that will last a million years.

Support the local farmers. Wrap your produce in a clean dish towel. https://farmtoforknc.comhttps://triangleonthecheap.com/farmers-markets/

Shrink your meat consumption. 

And buy bulk. Take your own container. 

Letter to Trader Joes today…I love them BUT…

Be inspired right here in Raleigh!

P.S. Raleigh …Master Gardeners help relaunch the NCSU composting “farm” Raleigh is a center for folks worldwide to study composting and “worm” composting. https://composting.ces.ncsu.edu/nc-state-compost-learning-lab/

Raleigh …Joann Burkholder https://cals.ncsu.edu/plant-and-microbial-biology/people/jburk/ Animal Waste and Environmental impacts EXPERT   Wikipedia “She was responsible for identifying the cause, a dinoflagellate Pfiesteria piscicida and its toxins, of mass deaths of fish that posed a public health hazard. Her studies also helped in improving legislation to control pollution and eutrophication.”

AND… Just heard a bit about how NSCU has developed a way to use cola ash for concrete, eliminating its toxic impact.

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OH! HO HO HO Clothespin Cookies

Some family traditions are worth the sugar rush.
Clothespin Cookies – Use the old fashioned kind of clothespins.
Easy to make dough. Swirl onto greased pins.
These are ready for a roll in the sugars.

THE RECIPE

COOKIE DOUGH

  • 2 1/2 t dry yeast
  • 1/2 c milk, heat to 115
  • 4 c all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 c unsalted butter
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 4 T sugar
  • 1 t salt
  • Decorating sugars 

Dissolve yeast in milk and set aside. Mix sugar and salt into flour. Cut butter into flour mixture until it resembles course crumbs. Mix eggs and yeast/milk mixture together. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the yeast/milk/egg mixture. Mix well and knead a few times. Wrap in wax paper and a damp tea towel and refrigerate overnight.

Grease about 50 clothespins with vegetable shortening. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 300º F. 

Divide dough in half. On lightly floured surface roll each half into an 8″ wide X 20″ long rectangle. Dough will be about 1/8″ thick. Cut off rough side edges and set aside to roll again later. Cut rectangle in to 3/4″ strips and roll onto clothespin with floured side on the clothespin, overlapping edges. Do not wrap to “shoulder” of the clothespin as removal is difficult. Set rolled curls aside to warm a bit as this helps decorative sugars to adhere a bit better. Prepare all cookies.

Gently roll cookies in sugars. Roll with the swirl so you don’t uncurl the cookie. Place seam side down on parchment lined baking sheet. Double pan and bake 30 minutes until just golden on the bottoms. You can prepare filling while cookies bake.

Cool on wire racks for a few minutes and gently remove each cookie from the clothespin. Eat one. Let the rest cool to room temperature.

FILLING

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup salted or unsalted butter divided in two
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (Penzy’s double strength)
  • 1 cup whipping cream

Heat sugar and 1/2 cup butter in a saucepan just until butter melts. Place in mixer bowl. Add milk and vanilla. Beat at high speed until mixture combines, about 10 minutes. It will look curdled at first. Add whipping cream and continue to beat at high speed. Add 1/2 cup butter a small piece at a time until the mixture becomes a fluffy frosting. This filling is a bit fussy to make but worth it for the taste. You could opt for your favorite Italian or French buttercream or stabilized whipped cream.

Fill the curls. Immediately eat them. Refrigerate or freeze those that aren’t eaten within an hour of filling. Refrigerate for up to ten days. They freeze for months – which makes the sugar rush last longer.

Merry Christmas and EVERY other holiday that happens this time of year!

Seasonal Seasoning

Tis the season to think SEASONING!

Whether a turkey, dressing or a vegan winter squash this seasoning is worth gobbling. All ingredients are organic & dried. 

Thanks to Alice Waters for the suggestion of a Suribachi Mortar Bowl. Blends without pulverizing the herbs totally. 6 teaspoons sage 4 1/2 teaspoons thyme 1 teaspoon parsley 1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper blend 1/4 teaspoon celery salt 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper 3 teaspoons marjoram 2 1/4 teaspoons rosemary 3/4 teaspoon black pepper 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (freshly grated) Dash of allspice (optional)8FANlHP7RP6PvhByJa0EUA

 

Kimchi Yumi

Ancient, created thousands of years ago in Korea, kimchi is the perfect gut flora food. Fun to make, it’s really delicious, even if it does smell a bit farty as it cures.

Market List: Napa Cabbage, Daikon, Bok Choy, Carrots, (Pea pods, snow peas, peas, seaweeds, – choose your own added vegetables.) Ginger, Garlic, Onions (green/yellow/white), Leeks, and/or shallots, red hot peppers (fresh dried or in a sauce just be sure no preservatives). Preservative free Fish Sauce (Naum Plum) if  you like. Have FUN!

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Be sure all utensils are are clean. CLEAN means washed, rinsed, then rinsed again with boiling water. PREPARE VEGES: NAPA CABBAGE chopped 12 cups  BOK CHOY chopped 3 cups CARROTS 1 cup sliced DAIKON RADISH cubed 4 cups SEA SALT 8 tablespoons FILTERED WATER 8 cups  Place the vegetables in a large clean ceramic or glass container (never metal or plastic). Dissolve the sea salt in the water to make the brine and pour over the vegetables. Add a plate weighted with a jar of water to keep the vegetables submerged. Cover with a clean cloth  Let cure at least 8 hours, up to 12 hours. Drain the brine and reserve.

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Prepare the spices: GINGER 3 to 5 Tablespoons, grated. ONIONS 1 large WHITE or YELLOW one cut in crescents or chunks; add maybe 5 GREEN onions, diced if you like. LEEK green and white parts sliced in thin rounds, about a cup. GARLIC 5 to 8 large cloves minced. HOT RED CHILIS: 1 ONE 1  Hey – I make my own kimchi because I am not a fiery spice girl. Add what you like but remember, you can’t “de-fire” it.  Taste the veggies and insure they aren’t too salty. If they are too salty, just dilute the brine LATER. Add the alliums and spice mix to the vegetables and blend well with clean hands. You can transfer the entire mixture to a clean (boiled clean) crock at this point or leave in the ceramic bowl. If the vegetables were too salty dilute the brine. Remember, the salt is what helps to safely cure the kimchi so don’t desalinize them. Add brine until your kimchi is fully submerged with about an inch of liquid over it.
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Add a clean plate that covers the vegetables and weight it with a clean large bottle of water. Cover completely with a clean cloth. (Notice the “clean” repeated.) Place in a dust free area for it to nap and ferment. Check daily and press under the brine. Is there yucky stuff? White mold? Just remove it. Other weird stuff, don’t risk eating it. My kimchi ferments for 7 days at 70°F. Then I pack it into clean (sterilized) Ball jars and press it firmly down to insure covered with brine. Seal with clean Ball enamel lined lids. Don’t use metal utensils to scoop your kimchi out of its jar – only wood, ceramic (like Asian soup spoons) or silicone ones. I  drink the leftover brine – no kidding. Kimchi will continue to ferment in the refrigerator, just more slowly. Heat destroys the healthy bacteria, so add Kimchi to maximum 115°F broths. Delicious in miso and you get 2 gut goodies! Always refer to the real expert —Wild Fermentation 

 

KARMA – Tuesday with Deepak Chopra’s Seven Spiritual Laws of Success

Welcome to a bit of Deepak Chopra’s weekly guide to make your life more peaceful and joyful. Chopra’s Seven Spiritual Laws of Success shares how striving isn’t necessary, that effortless joy attracts your deepest desires.

Here’s how I came to love Deepak’s wisdom.

In 1998, I lived in Singapore. Deepak was coming to speak. My life was in absolute turmoil and chaos. I had left a career, daughters and life back in Baltimore to follow my darling husband to Asia-Pacific where the only identity I would be taking was my role as his wife. Because he would now be president of a certain power tool company there, I would be the president’s wife. It was exciting and frightening.

It became even more frightening when I discovered that he and my former employee, an art director for my marketing firm, were lovers. As I dumped our life photo collection onto our Queen Astrid Park bed, a little silver chest with a piece of her hair and a love note bounced out.

So after confronting my darling husband, I went from a size 12 to a size 4 and my scalp started crawling on itself. As my Singapore psychiatrist wrote my Prozac script, he said, “It’s called paresthesias or formication.”

“Fornication, with an n,” I said, “not an m.”

However, he was correct. So was I.

Because at that moment, I really understood how a plea of “temporary insanity” could make sense, I also knew God decided, on purpose, to place me half way around the world from my former employee/friend. It was, obviously, time for me to reconnect with my soul.

Stripped of most of my professional and personal identity just by moving to Singapore, the best voice I had in my head was not my ego’s. I needed a higher more powerful source.

Chopra showed up in Singapore, having followed his own cosmic message. As I listened to his soothing voice sharing that we are never alone but single drops of water that form the ocean together, my heart settled. I went up to him after his talk and just looked into his eyes for two seconds and thanked him.

I thought to myself, “God, wouldn’t it be amazing and perfect to study with Deepak at The Chopra Center.”

In 2014, I began my yoga/meditation/Ayurveda training at The Chopra Center. There I studied with amazing life leaders, Deepak Chopra, Martha Beck, Andrew Weil, Suhas Kshirsagar, Claire Diab, to name just a few. In 2016, as I was performing my final test, Surya Namaskar (sun salutations) with the corresponding Sanskrit mantras, I remembered that wish I had made in Singapore almost two decades before.

It seemed effortless, but every moment of my life had to be orchestrated (by God) to make my Chopra Center experience possible. All I did was show up.

A Course in Miracles states: A miracle is simply a change in perception. 

 

First you have to encourage your mind to love the discipline it takes to be open to miracles. I am thankful for miracles. I believe by quieting my mind and letting God do what God does best, I attract miracles.

Mostly because, God made you a miracle, a part of me.

On Tuesdays, try practicing the Law of Karma.

 

My actions are aligned with cosmic law. 

  • Witness your choices today.
  • Consider the consequences of your choices.
  • Listen to your body.

The Sanskrit mantra is: Om Kriyam Namah and it is associated with the first Chakra called Muladhara, which is red &  is located at the base of your spine.

OM