Putting Down Roots

Last week I did an exercise in transparency with my work team. Part of it required that we select a picture from a stack of stock photos that would be an appropriate cover for each of our autobiographies. I selected a photo of five smiling individuals in a white water raft envisioning the story that I would write about my own family and the adventure that we call life. One of my colleagues selected a photo of roots and I was touched by his description of his efforts to leave a legacy and to establish roots that would matter and that would last. He spoke of both his family and his community in a way that was passionate and authentic.

Fresh Turmeric Root

Fresh Turmeric Root

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Egging it on

It is that time of year. Relentless heat still pounding down upon us while we are setting up and settling in to the back to school routine. I’m ready for autumn to be here while holding onto the sweet memories of our summer and not wanting to wish time away any faster than it is currently clicking. My oldest is a high school senior and our remaining weekends before he ventures out likely total less than 50.

Shakshuka - a seasonal transition meal

Shakshuka – a seasonal transition meal

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Stay Flexible – Going Gratin

Earlier this year, I took a new job. I liked the job I had at the time, wasn’t planning on making any changes and certainly wasn’t looking for anything new. The fact is, an opportunity was presented to me one morning in an inviting manner and after the shock and surprise settled, I accepted the challenge.

Being Flexible can Bring Great Results

Being Flexible can Bring Great Results

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Dads and Home

Wherever I looked yesterday and today, I was reminded of something that we were or ought to be celebrating. Yesterday was Flag Day, Juneteenth, National Bourbon Day, Family History Day, and World Blood Donor Day. Today we’re greeted with the World Cup, Magna Carta Day, National Lobster Day and of course, the homage to our male lineage – Father’s Day.

Father Daughter Lecture out by the Chopping Block

Father Daughter Lecture out by the Chopping Block

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Feeding Frenzy

I keep a small yellow pad on the kitchen counter where anyone can record ingredients as we use them up in the kitchen; eggs, bread, peanut butter, and the like. With two teenage boys and a third pre-teen, the list has been taking on a life of it’s own.Protein dominant grocery list

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Chicken with Glory-Twig; One Common Plate

The kitchen should always remain the laboratory. Whether it is to reveal the essence of an earthy spice, the nutritional contribution of local legumes or simply to discover a new method of preparation, the cookery is where research and creativity marry in an unbridled dance. In the words of, the great Harvard Psychologist, Boring (yeah, pity of a name), “anyone who knows the difference between work and play doesn’t belong here”.

Found in the 10th century Lacnunga Manuscript

Found in the 10th century Lacnunga Manuscript

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Chocolate and Sea Salt; One Common Plate

There is much written about how to fight the commercial engine of Christmas and simplify the holidays. Each year we take a couple more steps to resist antagonistic stress and embrace the good cheer of holding our families and friends dear. This December, I did the majority of my shopping at second-hand and consignment stores. We worked on a holiday greeting that we’ll send out as a New Year marker and for the Christmas baking, I embraced a low-involvement and no-sugar recipe that used the combination of chocolate and sea salt as directed by the efforts of 1Common Plate at slurrpy.com.

Simple Holiday Cookies

Simple Holiday Cookies

The notion of raw foods always captures my attention as I near the new year. It seems a terrific time to reset expectations, set goals and draw up plans that I hope to accomplish. Near the top of my list in 2014 will be a lighter, more enlightened diet as a food centric lifestyle has manifested results in clothes that aren’t fitting well and a general concern for other health risks that follow. This recipe easily becomes raw with a different choice of almond meal and a replacement of the maple syrup with another sweetener such as agave. The result is a not too sweet treat that also doesn’t tax your time.

Nearly-Raw Chocolate Cookies with Salted Caramel
from the Sweet Life Online
yields 16 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw walnuts, soaked 4 hours
  • 1 3/4 cup almond meal (mine is from blanched almonds)
  • 1/4 cup raw cacao powder
  • 2 Tbs maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 5-6 tbsp Nearly-Raw Caramel Sauce (see recipe below)
  • sea salt for topping

Directions:

Drain and rinse the walnuts and place in a food processor with almond meal and cacao powder. Blend until well combined. Add maple syrup, vanilla extract, and 1/4 tsp sea salt and blend again until a thick dough begins to form.

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Roll dough into balls about the size of a large tablespoon. Flatten each ball and press an indentation in the center of each with thumb.  Place cookies in a food dehydrator set at 105 degrees Fahrenheit and dehydrate for 3-4 hours, until cookies are crisp on the outside but still soft in the middle. Unwilling to drag the dehydrator in from the garage, I used our warming tray for this and left the cookies for about two hours.

While cookies are dehydrating (or warming), make the Caramel Sauce. Remove cookies from the warming tray. Fill each indentation with about 1/2 teaspoon of Caramel Sauce and return to the warmer or dehydrator for approximately 20 more minutes. Top with fine sea salt. Store in refrigerator.

Nearly-Raw Caramel Sauce
yields 1 1/2 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Macadamia nuts, soaked 4 hours
  • 1/2 cup (about 6) Medjool dates, pitted and soaked at least 30 minutes
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt

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Drain and rinse nuts and dates. Combine all the ingredients and process in a food processor or vitamin until very smooth. Process until very smooth. Store in a jar in refrigerator for up to 10 days. (Good for many other uses like ice cream topping!)

Two Wives Tale

“I am the second wife,” says my friend as she tells of the trepidation that she felt moving into the home where the first wife used to live with the man she’d just married. First wife legacy was still alive in the house with it’s beige and yellow walls and a bit of pink splashed in the bedrooms. It would have to be re-done – in time.

Flckr cc 2.o thepatrick

Flckr cc 2.o thepatrick

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Lunch Box Tuesday

Three kids. Three schools. Three identical start times. Three wildly different school locations. It’s time to re-enroll in the fall academic schedule.

The Fuel Factory that is My Kitchen (more…)

Tammy’s Top Ten (t3 report) Ways to Sleep Better

“I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I’m awake, you know?” – Ernest Hemingway

Art of Christina Balit

Art of Christina Balit

Frankly it’s not that my life falls apart when I’m awake, it’s that it falls apart when I haven’t slept. Then, last year Deepak Chopra, made it abundantly clear to me,

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