Monday, December 29, 2014

Making homemade wonders

Tonight I made wonderful things--homemade coconut flour and homemade cashew butter. Who knew how easy it was?!!!

Target was out of coconut flour and I wanted to bake some paleo cookies but they did have unsweetened shredded coconut. I found out how easy it was to make flour: simply throw the coconut in a food processor or blender (I chose my food processor) and whirl it around until it's a powder. Voila! Coconut flour!

As for the cashew butter, it takes a little more work. Two cups of cashews also thrown into the food processor and processed until it was creamy and delicious. It takes awhile; about 15 minutes and you have to turn it on and off and scrape while it's in the kind of crumbly stage but if you keep going, taking little breaks so the processor motor doesn't burn up, you get this creamy cashew butter. Allergy free and really delicious.

Tomorrow I'll make paleo cookies with the Enjoy Life! semi-sweet chips I bought (also completely allergy free--no gluten, dairy, or soy).

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Lazy writing evening

Well, I'm lazy tonight. Not physically but mentally. I took the dogs for their walk and I did 25 minutes of yoga but now that I've sat down to write, I don't want to be around my character very much. She's headed back to where she was born but that's not really where she wants to go. I think it's a story of endings but also of beginnings in a familiar place. Endings and beginnings run together; who can say which comes first or last? A Mobius strip or an infinity loop--endings generate beginnings generate endings.

So instead of following my character, I thought I'd muse a bit here. Beside writing, one of my fascinations has always been gardening and getting back to the land. And I've been reading a lot about that lately, about food and about farming and about gardening. I go to the farmers market now for all my vegetables and I'm eating locally and organically and seasonally. I have always been an "earth mother" type and this feels good to me, to eat and feed my family this way.

I also started eating meat and fish and chicken again, but only grass-fed beef, local chicken who are raised free and not kept in cages or stuffed together in horrible conditions in factory barns, and wild-caught fish. I actually feel far better and my body feels like I'm losing weight and eating what is good for me. No sugar or dairy or gluten or any grains whatsoever. I've also stayed away from nightshades like tomatoes, peppers, potatoes (except sweet potatoes and yams) and eggplant (I miss the eggplant!). I notice I'm not getting any of the indigestion I  used to have. I have taken up the "paleo" cause and frankly, it does feel like a very clean and natural way to eat. I do still have my qualms about eating animals; morally it doesn't feel right. I'm going to have to work my way through that one a little more.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Catching up

I haven't written here for a long time but now I'm thinking about using it as a place to work out ideas as well as post book reviews and recipes and random thoughts.

I have been using my journal for that and I have been writing for 30 minutes every night. I haven't produced anything other than a letter, one poem, and some meditations on colors (more on that later). Yet it's a good exercise for my mind and spirit. I haven't been sitting down and writing for so long that it felt like I actually rusty, as if my fingers and my mind would squeak as it tried to come to life again.

I do have projects I started. I should write some more short stories. I need to find a press to publish at least some of my stories so I can develop a track record. All I want to do is just write and not think about publishing. However I will do that.

I have some book reviews to catch up on as well. I am finishing Joel Salatin's "Folks, This Ain't Normal," about the changes of farming and food in this country. I don't agree with him politically at all (I have a great deal of issues with libertarians) but as far as farming, food, regulations that benefit big ag processors and ruin small local farmers I'm with him all the way. It's a common sense book and will have you nodding your head at many points in agreement.

I haven't started Michael Pollan's book "Cooked" yet but I have it checked out from the library.

Perhaps the most important thing I've done lately is to begin a 100-day Gong. This is a practice that is meant to change one's life by changing one's neural pathways through changing habits. It takes 100 days to make a new habit or pathway. Here's one place to read about it: Taoist Path

I have chosen to do 15 minutes of yoga a day, 15 minutes of meditation, 30 minutes of writing, and eat AIP (autoimmune protocol) Paleo and walk the dogs. So far it has been a good experience; I'm on day 7. I have, however, only been doing gentle calming yoga. Tomorrow I want to go back to doing Iyengar, flow, and Ashtanga yoga, all of which are more demanding. And today I woke up with my back hurting. I'm hoping I can even do the gentle yoga tonight. But I did take the dogs for a walk and made sure I was outside at the very moment of the winter solstice, 4:03 p.m. MST.

This is a place that I must return to, at least once or twice per week to write. I have many things to write and this blog needs to serve as an important place to write some of these. Book reviews, my gong, philosophy--all of that is appropriate fodder for this blog.

Saying that, I will sign off and go and try to do yoga with my stuff and painful back (hoping that it helps to loosen and soothe).