Saturday, December 8, 2007

I've got tasty balls...

...fruitcake balls!

I've created a scrumptious way to use leftover homemade mincemeat. I had thought of using it in my yogurt in the morning, but then, rum raisin yogurt seemed a little over the top for breakfast. So, I made Fruitcake Balls.

2 - 3 c. meat-free mincemeat
8 dates
1 c. coconut
1.5 c. almond meal
1 c. mixed walnuts and almonds (soaked and dehydrated, as in NT)
1 tsp. almond extract

Blend the mincemeat in a food processor until pretty smooth- not like a paste, but between a paste and a fine minced texture. Add the dates and blend again. Add the dried, unsweetened coconut. Add the nuts (leave a 1/4 cup out). Add enough almond meal so that the mixture starts to make a thick "dough". Kind of like the texture of meatball mix. Add the extract. A couple tablespoons of good rum would be excellent in this (I didn't add it, since the mincemeat was already a touch rummy). Then blend the 1/4 c. nuts until they are chopped (not minced) for a little texture.

Roll the mixture into balls, then roll each ball in cocoa powder. Store in a plastic container in the refrigerator.

These are great once the earthy flavor of the cocoa integrates with the fruitiness of the mincemeat and the buttery nuts.

This could be a cookie that even non-health-food types would like!

Perfect Pitch

Musicians and songsters dream about the miracle of having perfect pitch: being able to start on the right note every time without a musical instrument. My latest musical discussions and activities have made me think about my life, the perfect pitch of it, right now.

My authentic voice is coming out now, very frequently. The voice may not be lovely all the time, skilled, or even passable-- but it is authentic. I'm shining forth with myselfness-- and it makes me more able to be full of loving-kindness, genuine curiosity about the world, and a spirited way of living in the now.

So what am I doing?

1) I am not doing Christmas presents this year. I decided that my family and friends would be better off with a genuine expression of my love. So, I will send a carefully-written Christmas letter, full of our family's adventures. Who needs another $15 gift card to Applebee's, anyhow? This is the best Christmas ever. I'm planning for the joviality of Christmas: the songs! The laughter! Catching up with people. Socializing. Quiet moments with my family and friends. The beauty of nature and all its works. Christmas carols! Pretty lights!

2) I've joined the OutLoud chorus. Yes, I am partnered with a man, but we are both bi, but I'm in the LGBT chorus. Although this concept is a little alien to my fellow choristers, we have a fantastic time learning songs and joking around. Everyone is remarkably cheerful and friendly. Once again I'm stretching my voice, practicing my performance skills, and paying attention to the length of notes and the flow of the lyrics. The concert is in February. What's more, the concert focuses on my favorite tunes--torch songs and toe tappers! What a great way to add joy to the world, and meet people.

3) I'm holding fast to my nutritional goals. I'm not sneaking white flour brownies, aspartamey soda pop, or naughty carb-only meals. I remain headache-free, tummyache-free, and lighter than usual. This doesn't mean that I don't have sweets. I did create a fantastic dessert, which is in the next blog article: fruitcake balls!

4) I'm developing career-wise. I requested some development of my marketing skills at my workplace, and it seems my bosses are glad to oblige me. Even with a lot of churn in the department, they respect me enough to help me grow into a position I'm proud and excited to fill every day. They've praised my flexibility, intelligence, and knowledge. So, being bold enough to ask for more has worked. No, I didn't ask for more money, I asked for more change-- and I got it!

5) I'm building community. I helped plan a party for my psychic/meditation group. Violeta, an instructor, was gracious enough to offer her home for the gathering of the Ann Arbor/Detroit area folks. I even met a lot of the new people, talking about spiritual healing of pets, and enjoyed making naughty jokes that cracked the group up. Ah, the joys of malt beverage. Someone brought in raspberry "beer" that turned out to be like a Zima! Just half of one and I was on fire. People kept saying they should give me more alcohol all the time. I love my peeps.

So, those are just a few examples of how I'm living in harmony with my deeper goals. So: "Hit me with a hot note and watch me bounce!"

Saturday, December 1, 2007

The First Thanksgiving

On the first thanksgiving, the woman of the house's twin sister came to visit and prepare the fine repast. A mighty pot of bubbling mincemeat was prepared using the finest dried fruits in the land, as well as the oldest Scotch in existence from the man of the house's elderly aunt's house (Goddess rest her soul).

The frozen Butterball was defrosted for many moons. It rested in the downstairs, elderly Frigidaire, decoupaged with shelf-liner daisies and laced with rust.
The house was prepared for an influx of family from across the state. As the tired homeowners tried to whip their box-filled home into shape, things started to happen that were as miraculous as Rion being able to avoid putting five packets of sugar in her coffee! The small display cases on the mantle were filled with small objects collected by PJ. The artwork and tribal masks were hung. Alas, there were still no mug-racks mounted, but the location started to shape up.

As the evening wore on, dishes were washed and rewashed, five pounds each of carrots, potatoes, celery, and onions were all chopped. Potatoes were cooked, peeled, and mashed (yes, in that order, my Grandma's method). Two versions of stuffing and potatoes were prepared (one avoiding lactose, the other vegetarian). And ah, the twins and the PJ were tired.

The next day they awoke in time to wrassle the 28 pound turkey out of it's latex sexwear, rinse it, remove the plastic bags of internal organs and the neck, salt and pepper it, stuff the cavities with chopped onions and celery, and cover it with an equally sensuous double crossed layer of non-organic bacon (sorry folks, couldn't go OG with the turkey, too expensive).

After a coffee break, the house began to get a little cleaner, and the last minute details like kittie hairballs were taken care of. The television kindly provided America's Parade from downtown Detroit.

Then guests began to arrive and it was all a blur. There was bagged stuffing to prepare, jelled cranberry to locate (not my preference), dishes to reheat, and crescent rolls to roll and cook. There were drinks to be delivered and pets underfoot.

Ah, what a marvelous family (although we lacked many individuals from the Chesbro clan),
a marvelous house, a marvelous first Oakwood thanksgiving, amongst all the chaos, pots, and the pans.

Weird Cuisine

I've entered the strange and mysterious realm of the kefirphiliac, cultured-food nut. My fridge and cupboard contain colonies of beneficial bacteria and yeasts that will colonize my internal ecology with happy enzymes and bad-bacteria fighting power.

I am making water kefir, milk kefir, and yogurt-- doing things one is usually not used to doing like leaving things out to grow bacteria! I'm eating food that makes my coworkers cringe like radish kim chee (spelling is really variable) from the local Korean restaurant.

I'm also healthier in body than I have been in about a decade. Weight Watchers didn't do it. I lost weight, but used my points to "buy" McDonald's Chicken McNuggets(R) and low fat Twinkies. When I went off it, the weight came back with friends. I'm managing not to drink soda pop. My frequent headaches and digestive distress are a thing of the past.

Thank you Nourishing Traditions (a "counterculture" nutrition guide/cookbook) and Dr. Debra Alspector who encouraged me to read up on the NT folks. It's bizarre (you soak your grains, eat fermented foods), high in fat (yum, full fat yogurt and butter and milk), and contains meat (gasp! but they are happy animals that get to pasture). What's more, a little less-processed sweetening is okay, like evaporated cane juice (succanat), raw honey, and maple syrup.

Thank you, also, to DOM, who is just about the most famous kefir guru out there, and who publishes his (very scientific and detailed) knowledge about kefir and other ferments to the web.

So ya think I'm a little crazy. Crazy but feeling like a million bucks, and not starving doing it.