I’m Baking This … Want Some?

I love to bake. This presents a problem when one is changing one’s lifestyle and living a nearly carb free life. The challenge is to find healthy and tasty low cal/carb foods that I can enjoy without the guilt.

Before I started this journey I started making sourdough breads. Which means I have a BUNCH of dried starter just waiting to be reactivated and used. Since the holidays are coming I thought I’d bake some treats for friends and family. Also, there is no way I can use all the starter I have so if you know me and you want some call me. I will hook you up!

The first loaf I baked was amazing. So. Very. Good. I have a good friend who is diabetic and can eat limited carbs too. She eats a rye bread so my first new attempt will be a sourdough rye. We’ll see how that turns out.

If you want some starter here is the recipe for reactivating it. https://blog.kingarthurflour.com/2015/05/01/putting-sourdough-starter-hold/

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Angels and Meyer Lemons

Is there anything better than Meyer lemons and angel food cake? I think not. That is how I spent this day: baking and cooking gelato.

If you’re not familiar: WikiPedia say: “Citrus × meyeri, the Meyer lemon, is a citrus fruit native to China thought to be a cross between a true lemon and either a mandarin or common orange.

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It was introduced to the United States in 1908 as S.P.I. #23028[1] by the agricultural explorer Frank Nicholas Meyer, an employee of the United States Department of Agriculture who collected a sample of the plant on a trip to China.[2]

The Meyer lemon is commonly grown in China in garden pots as an ornamental tree. It became popular as a food item in the United States after being rediscovered by chefs such as Alice Waters at Chez Panisse during the California Cuisine revolution at the end of the 1990s.[3][4]

They are delicious. The perfect combination of sweet and tart. Sweeter than a regular lemon with just a hint of orange. They are only in season once a year and I never remember when that is until I see them in the grocery store. I found this years bunch at Trader Joe’s (of course).

Since I’m technically trying to lose weight I was wondering how I could use them and not make anything too fattening. Angel food cake is the result. It’s about 150 cal per slice and it has no fat. It’s light and delicious. I adore it. I use America’s Test Kitchen recipe. It’s perfect!

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The Best Angel Food Cake

And then this …

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Meyer Lemon Gelato

I dream of Africa …

I long to go on safari anywhere in Africa. In 1986, I was a very impressionable seventeen year old. The movie “Out of Africa” – by Sydney Pollack with Meryl Streep and Robert Redford made an indelible mark on my life. It is my ‘Go To’ movie when I’m sick, on a rainy Sunday afternoon, or if I’m suffering the painful pangs of wanderlust. I put it on and recite the lines before they are spoken. I have the soundtrack and each time the waltz plays my heart aches just a little. It’s like a cozy sweater and reminder to keep dreaming of Africa. If you click on this image you can listen for yourself.

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Over the years I have had limited exposure to the foods of Africa. Growing up in southern Missouri did not afford many opportunities to experience real food and cultures of the continent. So, when we stayed at the Animal Kingdom resort I was thrilled to get some actual foods from Africa. I’ve even attempted to make a salsa they served for breakfast. It had dates, tomatoes, and onions. It was delicious.

Last week I was at Trader Joe’s and discovered a jar of Harissa Salsa. Ever the adventurer, I bought one. Tonight I am making a lentil and chicken dish with it. Chickpeas are a more commonly used bean for this I believe but I didn’t have any (plus they are not my favorite bean anyway). The salsa is tomato and cumin and a smoked chili flavor like chipotle but slightly different. It’s a bit spicy and a little bit will go a long way. TJ’s had organic multi-colored carrots and I used a purple carrot in it as well. Yummy! Try them!

The end result was delicious!

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Here is the recipe I followed: Spicy Harissa Chicken with Lentiles 

I suppose the moral of this story is … even if you can’t GO on safari literally, you can go there gastronomically. One of the many wonderful things the internet has afforded us is exposure to the rest of the world. You can order almost anything from Amazon and recipes are there to be had if only you look. Eat the foods from around the world. There are SO many amazing spices, herbs and foods to be had. Experience as many of them as you can. Life is short, grab as much of it as you possibly can!

 

Disney – Kate Hepburn – Comfort Foods – Politics

The last year has been devoid of much that was personally interesting. Except this …

Magic Kingdom

I finally went to Disney World. D took me for my 48th birthday. Better late than never I suppose. It truly was magical. I felt like a kid.

I became too involved with politics and it’s consumed my enthusiasm. I’m so discouraged about the state of affairs that cooking and home has held little interest for me.

I really need to change that. I need to find the balance between caring about the world around me and not neglecting my hubby and home. It’s a challenge.

To that end. Yesterday I spent the day in the kitchen. I made my favorite chili which I’ve talked about already. To accompany the chili I made my own corn tortillas. They turned out okay. I suppose if I make them again I’ll add a bit of lime zest and cayenne to perk them up. They were fun and easy to make but just a bit bland.

Also, I baked brownies I in NO way needed. I derive such comfort from cooking a recipe that I know Kate Hepburn used herself. Every time I make that recipe I imagine her in a kitchen talking and baking. It’s comforting, very comforting.

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If you have never made brownies from scratch before then you should. No boxed brownie ever tasted this good. Oh and do yourself a favor, go to Aldi’s and get some 70% Cocoa bars to use. It’s good quality chocolate and it’s affordable. It makes great brownies and especially ice cream. Oh the ice cream. Make the damn ice cream.

So, there you go. A blog post after more than a year. I am nothing if not inconsistent. It’s a trait I can’t seem to shake. Those who know me … well, they know.

 

It’s Been One of Those Days . . .

My day started out promising. After six hours of uninterrupted sleep I woke to a sunny day with good coffee in the house and the blessing of endless possibilities at my disposal. I ate a sensible and healthy breakfast, did some work for my clients and donned my favorite yoga pants and t-shirt. My plan was to load up the kayak and head to Freeman Lake for a five mile hike and two mile kayak around the lake.

After a 30 minute fight with my stupid-ass ice machine which kept clogging and then dropping buckets of ice onto my floor I had a moment of inspiration. In an attempt to be frugal, I bought the cheapest re-usable water bottle possible. One which is not insulated and therefore lets your water get tepid if not hot. It may be overstatement to say I had and “epiphany” but it’s the little things in life that make us happy, right?

Put a Sock on It!

Put a Sock on It!

So, ya’ll know I love to garden. I’m a member of a gardening club and since I don’t have an actual garden space at my home and therefore have no specific location for composting. That doesn’t stop me from collecting my compostables in a bin and taking them to the garden club community bin. It’s not ideal but it soothes my conscience and helps the kiddies learn about gardening/recycling.

My plan was to stop by the garden club (across the street from my house), drop off the compost, head to the lake and do my healthy workout adventure. Needless to say, that didn’t happen.

I forgot the compost bin was in my car, took a turn too fast and soon remembered it as the bin fell over dumping into my passenger floor. Brilliant. Nothing smells better than week old rotting fruits and vegetables. Mostly watermelon and oranges. Nice. Needless to say I made a u-turn and the rest of my day took a turn as well. On the bright side, I suppose my car did receive a much needed detail and now smells shiny and new.

By this time it was noon and I was famished. With lunch in the microwave I attempt to get ice for my water and the stupid-ass ice machine spits buckets of ice onto the floor AGAIN. Ugh. it took me another twenty minutes to sort it out. At which point a client calls and says she’s having a difficult time printing the brochure I’ve designed and I agree to come to her office and help her sort it out. Doesn’t happen. I don’t know how to help her because her printer is possessed. That’s the only solution I can come up with.

My client also asks if her last email from me was meant for her. In fact, no. It was meant for my lunch appoint tomorrow with a potential client. I race back home to correct my error and low and behold I re-send to another WRONG client. Only realizing this after I hit send. Argh!

Now, let’s have a conversation about aging and reading. My copy of “Furiously Happy” by Jenny Lawson came yesterday.

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And the title is appropriate. I was exactly that. My new plan was to set down and spend some quality time reading my favorite bloggers book, thinking it may help me be less frustrated with my day and this crazy world. It worked for a while. Then my eyes started getting tired. I kept seeing floaters drift into my periphery and in front of me. It was distracting and frustrating. I kept having to blink and look around. It wouldn’t be that bad if I could read in normal light or with my glasses. I have mono-vision contacts which decrease my need for “readers” but reading for long periods makes them swim around and my bifocal glasses are worthless. I end up trying to read sans correction with the book inches from my face. It’s not fun.

The frustrating part is I love to read. It’s my thing. My eyes do not. Since D and I have been married I have been listening to books on my iPhone. It’s nice because I can do other things like clean, drive, and cook but I miss books. I miss curling up and getting lost for hours on end. I miss holding the paper in my hands and bending the spine and just settling in.

So I took a long hot bath and read in the tub. Then I lay down for a nap and slept for two stinking hours. I proceeded to blow it at dinner. Arby’s, fries and wine. Don’t forget the gelato. No exercise. Bad food. Sleep. Pathetic.

D gets home late tonight and thanks to the nap and wine I will be up most of the night.

What did Scarlet say? I won’t  think about this right now, I’ll think about it tomorrow. For tomorrow is another day. Geezsh.

Abandoned

Lately, I have found abandoned buildings and ‘what not’ visually compelling. Photographer and artist Andre Govia takes photos of homes, castles or buildings that have been completely abandoned, completely furnished. There is an article about his photographs here: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/art/photos-enter-an-abandoned-world-frozen-in-time/

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Andre Govia
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What possesses a person to just up and leave? The worst of things probably. My guess is war, persecution, environmental or human created disasters would be the guilty parties. An oppressiveness radiates from the photos, a sadness and weariness.

For my part, I found this bench and felt sorry for it. Is that the right feeling? I don’t know but I wondered how it ended up in the middle of a gun range.

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I took several photographs of it during the morning hours but as far as I know it was nearing noon so the light was bit too bright.

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In Boston, Kentucky there is a farmhouse and property for sale. The farmhouse is falling into disrepair and a part of me wants to save it. I think it would be perfect as a bed and breakfast. It’s just so sad that it sets empty. I want to sneak into it and take pictures.

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Gardening, Painting and Photographs

I found the perfect spot to plant basil. This year I planted it in an alcove between the garage and house. It gets late afternoon light and none too directly. Consequently, the two plants are plentiful and lush. A verdant abundance of aromatic joy. I will be making pesto and cabrese galore.

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I’m still painting. I have done less this summer because there are other things to do. This week I have been down in the dumps because summer is nearing it’s end and a particular malady I am prone to keeps rearing it’s ugly head. Since I’ve been trapped inside I thought I should make use of my time by putting paint on canvas.

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It would seem that I have an affinity for calves. Their big doey eyes just reel me in.

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I also love ravens. Their sociability and intellect are amazing. I keep trying to paint them.

Owl

Owls are the rage too so I tried to paint one. I’m proud of this one too.

Lastly, photographs. I need to do more but this one makes me smile. Yes, it’s my Joe. I’m not a pro at any of these hobbies. I don’t suppose that’s the point though. I derive great pleasure from doing them, a certain amount of peace and contentment. One has to fill the time doing something productive. The state of the world will get you down. You have to find a way to keep sane, to put light and hope in the world. Hopefully, these efforts will radiate to the small part of the world I influence.

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