Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

Not very festive here. My hacking cough prevented us from going Trick or Treating tonight. Sandy canceled the fun we had planned at Del Ray's Annual Halloween Parade on Saturday.

We've been hunkered down here in the country (where ironically we still don't have power...while our basement apartment 8 blocks from the Potomac is fine). Thank Goodness for generators! Hope you had a oodles of Halloween fun today!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Wilted Beet Greens

English: A bundle of organic beets from a loca...
English: A bundle of organic beets from a local farm food co-op program. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It's the season for Greens. At our house, we've been attempting numerous ways of jazzing up our Greens. Sometimes it can be a challenge to make sure I'm getting my daily 2 servings of Greens. It's easy to get sick of eating a salad every day.

Our latest discovery, involves Beet Greens.

Papa Bear grilled some amazing Rockfish and paired it with some wilted Beet Greens. Utter perfection.

Our visiting friends declared the Beet Greens good enough to eat as a meal on their own. I'll have to try that soon for lunch.

What did Papa Bear add to the Beet Greens? Capers, Feta Cheese and Red Wine Vinegar. Now, that's what I call a little jazz...
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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Yummy Barley Stir-fry

Barley (Photo credit: freefotouk)
I've been on a mission. No wheat, only whole grains. It's been tough.  
The other night, I made this simple barley dish that got two thumbs up from both Papa Bear and myself. The most difficult thing about the dish was timing. It takes an hour for the barley to cook, so this is not a meal you can whip up (unless you already have some pre-cooked barley). But with a little planning, it's crazy simple.

1 cup of Pearl Barley
12 cups Water
Salt to taste
2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
4 Minced Ramps (or 2 Shallots or an Onion)
1 Teaspoon of Crushed Red Pepper
2 Teaspoons of Unsalted Butter
2 Teaspoons Fresh Chopped Basil ( still have some growing outside)
1 Cup of Spaghetti Sauce
1 Bouillon Cube
Black Pepper to taste

Bring the water to a boil. Add salt and the barley, simmer (uncovered) for an hour. Drain and set aside.

Heat Olive Oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the minced ramps (or shallots or onions) with the crushed red pepper and cook for 2 minutes.

Stir in butter and the already cooked barley.

Cook, tossing frequently until completely warmed. Add the basil, spaghetti sauce and bouillon cube. Stir some more. Cook for 1 minute.

Season with salt and pepper. Enough for an entree for 2 adults (plus some left-overs for lunch).

The only thing I would do next time is add some greens and maybe some diced bell peppers. This is destined to become one of out family's regular meals. Easy, cheap and nutritious. Done, done and done.
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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The First Cold of the Season

We've been down and out for the last two weeks or with lots of coughing, runny noses and such stuff. I haven't had any energy to finish the numerous posts I began! So, parden me as I repost something from last Fall...

What does a "Former Black Panther" and a Nurse from the "Bataan Death March" have in Common?

Both of them used sliced onions and sugar to make cough syrup.

I was talking to my mother last week about my Failed Experiment and she suggested next time I make some onion syrup. She said Lou told her about it years and years ago.

Lou was a friend of my mother's from back in her Marchin' and Protestin' Days. I'm not sure if they met at "Resurrection City" or if it was later. Lou would leave his house in Anacostia and come to our farm for some fresh air several times a year.

Sometimes, Lou's son (who lived with his mother on a Lesbian Commune) would also join us. He took his daughter to her first March when she was 6 weeks-old and introduced my family to Pow-Wow Dancing. Lou had a painting of Che Guevara in his hallway, a porch swing in his living room and mirrors in his bedroom. He went down to Mexico in the mid-1990's and worked with the Zapatista Army of National Liberation. Growing up, I was in awe of Lou.

So, when my Mama told me about Lou making onion cough syrup, I smiled. She also mentioned that she had recently read about nurses using the same method during the Bataan Death March. She had a cough, so she made a batch. Super-duper easy...

To make the syrup....

1. Slice the onions in very, very thin slices.
2. Cover with sugar.
3. Wait 24 hours for the sugar to meld with the juice from the onion.
4. Refrigerate and use within two weeks.

I tasted it and it was decent. I think a young kid might even swallow it. I haven't decided, yet, if I'm going to give it to Lina next time she has a cough. I don't know about the sugar. But I have a feeling, if it's really bad and I have nothing else, you will find me slicing up some onions.
****Just a Reminder, I'm not a MD, so please check with your Doc before taking this syrup. Thanks.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

And Yet There is Such a Thing as Happiness.


One of the most Talented-Hit-Me-in-the-Gut-With-Her-Wisdom authors that I've stumbled across recently is the writer, Karen Maezen Miller. She's a Mama and a Zen Teacher.

Her book, Momma Zen: Walking the Crooked Path of Motherhood, is a treasure. I've underlined half the book. No joke.

Here is one of my favorite passages,

And yet there is such a thing as happiness. There is such a place as bliss. When you drop your expectations, forget your grievances, give up your worries, abandon the plan, stop your striving, let it out, let it go, let things pass, take a breath, take a break, quiet down, be still, empty your mind, open your heart, and come alive, what else is there to be but happy?

I know I feel so much happier when I let go of all the hundreds of little annoyances that occur when spending the day with a toddler. My daughter constantly reminds me of the folly of clinging TOO tightly to my plan.  She reminds me that it's not the end of the world when I don't get my way. She reminds me to frequently take deep breaths. Whenever I start feeling resentful or stressed out, I need to read this passage again.

Karen Maezen Miller will be in D.C. teaching the The Art of Non-Parenting: Discovering the Wisdom of Easy on October 20th and Deeper Still: A Breath and Meditation Workshop on October 21st. $40 for each workshop. I can't wait.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Calmest Revolution Ever Staged

I having been meaning to share this lovely short film. It's called "The Calmest Revolution Ever Stage" and is about the Community Acupuncture Movement. The film does an excellent job explaining the idea behind the Community Acupuncture Movement and the potential the movement has to change lives and entire communities.
If you have ever had an acupuncture treatment, you've probably experienced the amazing calmness and well-being you feel afterwards. If you haven't, do yourself a favor. Turn off the T.V. for 35 minutes and watch this video. And then check out POCA's website.
Since my family has been working on cultivating a bit more calmness and peace in our lives, I thought this would be a nice time to post this video....Enjoy...

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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Homemade Mushroom Soup

Shiitake mushrooms
Shiitake mushrooms (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I admit it. I am a home-made soup addict. It's my absolutely favorite thing to make in the world and once there is a hint of coldness in the air...I'm all about making soup at least once a week. (Although, I'm definitely not above making cold soups during the summer...see my most recent post on Gazpacho soup).

I made a batch of "Creamy Mushroom Soup" on Tuesday (with a little help from my daughter...she helped stir the onions and shallots, threw all the mushrooms in the pot and helped me collect the thyme) and it was a big hit with all three of us.

It took about 30 minutes to prep and make and is a very doable week-day meal. Here are the ingredients I used in this particular batch...

1 yellow onion
1 shallot
1 pint of shiitake mushrooms
1 pint of baby bella mushrooms
3 shot glasses of Golden Dry Sherry
splash of lemon juice
handful of thyme
4ish tablespoons of flour
1/2 pint of cream
4 cups of water
pinch of sea salt
pinch of pepper

1. Saute onions and shallots in butter with a bit of thyme until they are transparent.

2. Add mushrooms. Sprinkle in some more thyme, a shot glass of sherry and a splash of lemon juice. Cook until mushrooms start shrinking (4-6 minutes).

3. SLOWLY start sprinkling in flour. Stir rigorously until you can't see any flour. Sprinkle more. Repeat procedure until there is a decent thick paste (probably about 4 tablespoons).

4. Add cream, water, salt, pepper, some more thyme (if you like) and the rest of the sherry. Bring to a boil and then immediately put it on simmer for at least an hour (this batch I kept simmering for 2 hours).

Remember soup ALWAYS tastes better the next day....but this is pretty decent immediately (especially if you simmer it for a while). Happy Soup-Makin'!
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