Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Wild Geese
- Mary Oliver 
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
       love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting-
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Do the work.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

It amazes me how many people pay money, trying to BUY something they long for. They hope "it" will help them magically achieve the things they haven't had the will or the discipline to attain.

There IS a "magic bullet"... It is called work. Consistently. Even when you don't feel like it. Even when it's so hard you "know" you can't do it. Even when people around you don't support you, or worse, challenge the work you're doing. Even when it seems like you've been pouring in blood, sweat and tears and haven't gotten any closer to success. Even if you feel humiliated.

Keep working. Chop wood. Carry water. Don't be distracted by the noise - especially when it is in your own head.

WLC: What's for dinner? Creole Stuffed Peppers.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Last week I'd tagged a few Whole Life Challenge-compliant recipes from one of my favorite cookbooks, Veganomicon, and made sure to get all the ingredients.  The one I made tonight was REALLY good!!

Creole Stuffed Peppers
From Veganomicon 
Serves 8 as a side dish, or 4 as a main

4 large bell peppers
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium-size yellow onion, chopped
2 jalapenos, cut in half, seeded, and diced
1 cup carrots, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 dried bay leaves
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
2 tsp paprika
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 tsp salt
1 (15-oz) can diced tomatoes
2 (15-oz) cans black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed (about 4 cups)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 350 F and grease a 9x13" casserole dish with olive oil.  Bring a pot of water to a boil.

Cut the peppers in half lengthwise through the stem end.  Remove the seeds & membranes.  Submerge the peppers in boiling water and cover.  Let them boil for 5 minutes, then drain them immediately and rinse with cold water to cool them.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Saute the onions, jalapenos, and carrots for about 10 minutes.  You want the veggies to brown, especially the carrots.  If it looks like they are steaming rather than browning, raise the heat.  Add the garlic about 5 minutes into the cooking process.

Add the bay leaves, other herbs and spices and salt; saute for 1 more minute.  Add the tomatoes and peas, stir and cover, and cook for 10 minutes.  If it seems too liquidy, remove the cover and cook long enough to reduce some of the liquid.  Mix in the parsley.

Remove the bay leaves and thyme sprigs.  Spoon a little less than 1/2 cup of the veggie mixture into each pepper half.  The filling will be hot, so be careful while you are handling it.  Place the pepper halves in the casserole dish and bake for about 25 minutes.

WLC lunches: Sweet Potato-Cauliflower Soup

I always try to make a big batch of soup on Sunday to have for lunches the following week.  I made this soup on the last round of the WLC and it was tasty.  With a head of cauliflower in the fridge needing to be used, I decided today was the day to break out this Sweet Potato-Cauliflower soup again.  My pics didn't come out nearly as gorgeous as the ones on her blog, so I'll just show the "before" :)

All told, I wound up with 7 servings, so that should get John and I through about Thursday (there's a bit of leftover lentil soup that I made last week).  I made the lentil one up as I went along, but here's what I threw in:  Green lentils (rinsed and cooked for several hours, in a mix of this broth and water), diced tomatoes, basil leaves, onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper.  Probably some roasted cumin and coriander, too.  Good stuff!

Go-to items for the Whole Life Challenge

Whenever we start the Whole Life Challenge, I always try to make sure we have the WLC staple items on hand, as well as a selection of "compliant" fast foods to grab in case we didn't plan ahead.  I thought it might be helpful to list out some of these items so that others can just grab and go as needed!

Basic items to have on hand at all times for snacks:

For the store-bought staples, here's a list.  Hope everyone finds this helpful!  Let me know what your go-to items are.

First, coconut milk.  Aroy-D is my favorite, but not widely available.  There are several varieties that are compliant, but those can be hard to find in my small town.  For anyone who lives nearby (Blacksburg, VA), I found all of the following items at either Oasis or Eats.

Next, grab-and-go soups.  These are super helpful for times when you realize you're dead tired and there's no way you'll be preparing a full meal.  You have to read your ingredients carefully, but upon close inspection these seem to meet all the criteria:

Amy's Split Pea (no pic).

Amy's Curried Lentil:

Jyoti Aromatic Lentils and Beans:

  Amy's Low-Fat, Medium Black Bean Chili:

And finally, for building soups and seasoning other foods, Coconut Secret Raw Coconut Aminos

and Pacific Natural Foods Organic Vegetable Broth:


All of these have become ongoing kitchen staples, and have really helped John and I keep our diet in line both on and off the challenge!

Whole Life Challenge Spring 2013!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

John and I are doing the Whole Life Challenge again.  In short, the WLC (I'll call it that from now on) is a 2-month healthy habit challenge, that makes you focus in every day to make sure you're making the right choices.  It includes a pretty restrictive diet (if you go "prescribed"), and the expectation that you'll do at least 10 minutes of active recovery and 10 minutes of mobility (stretching) every day.  In addition, they rotate in other challenges, like drinking a certain amount of water, practicing mindfulness, etc.  All good stuff!  You can read more about the rules here, if you want.

Since I'm a pescetarian (I only eat fish and no other meat), the WLC "paleo" diet is harder for John and I (he's not cooking a lot of steaks for 1, so he eats what I eat 90% of the time).  Since I'm sort of on the line as far as using the "vegetarian" rules, the way I manage the challenge is that I allow myself to use the vegetarian rules if I am making a meal that won't include any fish.  That way I have the option to include quinoa, amaranth, etc. for some additional carbs/protein if needed.  There were some times on the last round of the WLC (which ran from Sept-Nov) that I could definitely tell I needed those options.  I'd realize that I had a funny sort of light-headedness and could feel that my body was running down its reserves.  I'd add sweet potatoes, quinoa, fish, eggs-- basically mix it up adding protein and the allowed carbs-- until I felt normal again.  I really needed the veg-friendly flexibility to be able to stay on track, without winding up with mercury poisoning from fish at every meal! All that said, I *rarely* take advantage of this exception, and prefer to try to come up with meals that meet all the requirements without using the veg-allowed crutches.

I'm going to try to keep up with documenting our WLC meals as we go, so that you can see what it is we're eating.  Here is our meal for night one (today):

This is a very simple recipe - shrimp scampi served over zucchini noodles with sauteed red pepper and onion.  The shrimp scampi is basically this recipe.  I discovered this awesome little gadget about a month ago, and John has fallen in LOVE with it, because it allows us to have "allowed" foods as the base for what would have been on pasta in a prior life (he's not a big fan of spaghetti squash, though I keep trying!).

So you use the awesome gadget to make the zucchini noodles then zap them in the microwave with a bit of water (so they steam).  Sautee the sliced pepper & onion in some butter, add them to the cooked zucchini and top it with the shrimp scampi.  Delicious!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

"to fight for each minute is to fight for what is possible within yourself, so that your life and your death will not be like theirs.”

― Charles Bukowski

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

"Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet.  Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist.  Be curious.  And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at.  It matters that you don't just give up."

- Stephen Hawking

We are the cosmos made conscious and life is the means by which the universe understands itself.

Brian Cox

My 2013 word: Conscious

I'd been struggling with what to call my OLW for 2013.  I wanted to focus on living with INTENT, and so I thought of using the word intention, but that word seemed too broad.  I started thinking about what I hope to achieve from this - it is awareness and being more present in all aspects of my life.  In the end I chose the word CONSCIOUS, because in the end I want to be intentional as a result.

Conscious seems to marry the two ideas nicely:  Aware, intentional - the word 'Conscious' can be either one of these ideas, and can also represent both.

If I don't work toward things I want, I will never get them.  If I am not even taking time to clearly define what I want, I can't even get started!

One of the exercises I did recently, in thinking about my theme of being CONSCIOUS, was to think about what I wanted to do - who I want to BE. The following list reflects who I want to be:

- Live with grace
- Reflect
- Minimize waste in all forms
- Travel, a lot
- Always do new things
- Live lightly
- Be kind
- Give something to the bigger world
- Do the work (do it wrong, to start with, on purpose if you have to!)
- Persist (it will be hard, that's OK)
- Be thoughtful
- Eat well, and right
- Have a plan
- Be strong and healthy
- Keep a sense of wonder (look with fresh eyes)
- Don't judge, or be smug - ever.
- Bring only positive energy, ESPECIALLY to negative energy

And interspersed with those thoughts, as I captured them, some more specific behaviors that interest me, which might reflect those values:

- Bike to work
- Speak more than one language
- Grow and preserve food
- Play guitar
- Do yoga
- Meditate
- Run a 5K (be able to at any time)
- Craft (knit, sew, stitch, make)
- Become an artisan at making something related to food (pickles?)
- Know about nature - trees, plants, stars

One Little Word 2013

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

So you may have heard of the One Little Word project around the web.  It's a concept where you pick a single word to orient yourself to in a given year.

I posted on it previously here.  This year I'm following a more structured, prompt-oriented program, Ali Edward's "One Little Word" workshop.

I like the idea of having something that will bring me back to my theme intentionally every month, to check in.  I'm working on the first scrapbooking project, and coming up with monthly prompts.  I'm excited that this will connect me back to one of my passions, my creativity, in a way that doesn't carry the burden of hoping anybody besides me will like it!  :)

In my search for content to reflect on, I found a beautiful poem by Theodore Roethke that speaks to me.  I've compared life to a dream before, and it seems to be "my message" to get.  Here's another post that references that theme.

The Waking
 ― Theodore Roethke

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I have to go.

We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Of those so close beside me, which are you?
God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there,
And learn by going where I have to go.

Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Great Nature has another thing to do
To you and me, so take the lively air,
And, lovely, learn by going where to go.

This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
What falls away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go.


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

One of the things I have been mourning is a loss of family traditions.  With just John and I, it is hard to have much in the way of rituals that we share. He's an atheist, we have no kids, and as a byproduct of those (and other) factors, most "holi"days are not a big thing for us.

One tradition we do have is making breakfast together.  It's something we really enjoy, especially when we have the time to go all out and make a slightly larger spread.

Today, New Year's Day, John and I spent the first hour of our day chopping, cooking, and eating breakfast.  Ok, so John did all the cooking, but I did plenty of chopping (and eating!).  I'm lucky enough to be married to a guy that likes to cook, and who is really good at it!  :)

We sat down to a gourmet breakfast - omelettes with onion, green pepper, mushrooms and swiss cheese, accompanied by homestyle hash browns with onions and green peppers.  So.Good.

I love tradition!

My Humble Domicile - by Templates para novo blogger