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Stress Busting Raspberry Scones

I am stretched in many directions these days so I like to be prepared with ready to go foods that offer me the nutrients I need. My stress has been high and I have been busy. There was a bag of frozen raspberries from our garden harvest last season in the freezer at the other house and I took it with me to my new place. However, it was a gallon size bag and my freezer is a tiny ‘ice box’ size freezer so this was taking up too much room. Raspberries just happen to be filled with vitamin C, stress busting anti-oxidants, and are one of the world’s healthiest foods. Lucky me!  Not only would I empty my freezer, I would be giving my body the necessary nutrients for stress relief in the most delicious way!  I remembered the raspberry scones I made for my road trip last summer that I really enjoyed, but all my recipes are packed away in storage so I just decided I would make it up!  I was feeling motivated and I just bought a new baking sheet that I was eager to try out!

I think they turned out great.  The texture was dense but not doughy.  My scones turned out to be a delicious grab and go food.  I am happy to have an empty freezer (to fill with blueberries!), my body is happy to have nutritious food, I am happy to have convenience at my fingertips and the best part–so much less stress!!  These scones will make your world happy.  Give them a try!

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Stress Busting Raspberry Scones

1 cup of sorghum flour

1/2 cup almond meal

1 Tbslp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp pink himalayan sea salt

1/2 c coconut oil (not melted)

3 Tbsp agave (or maple syrup)

3 Tbsp raw cane sugar

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/2 cup coconut milk (from a carton, not can)

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups of raspberries (fresh or frozen)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

Place all the dry ingredients into a medium mixing bowl and whisk until incorporated.

Cut in the coconut oil with a pastry cutter until the ingredients resemble coarse crumbs.

In a small bowl, combine all the wet ingredients using a whisk.  Add to the dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon until just incorporated.  Fold in raspberries with wooden spoon.  Do not over mix as it will create a less than satisfactory end result.

Drop large spoonfuls onto a greased baking sheet.  I use my fingers to shape each spoonful into a scone-like shape. Bake for 15-18 mins.  Remove from oven and place scones on cooling rack.  Try to let them cool before devouring!  Enjoy!

Makes about 10 scones

 

 

 

 

 

 


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In The Beginning I Was Me

I have been asked by a few people recently when I planned to post my next blog.  It has been difficult for me to get my thoughts in writing; wanting to keep the integrity of my blog and my story by telling it with love and a whole heart.  I have needed some time to reflect on how my recent experience will shape my future posts.  In my previous post titled Dip. Dip. Depression, I shared what has been happening in my life.

I feel like I have come full circle with my recent trauma and a new path on my journey is being paved.  My focus is more clear and I am relaxing back in to life a little more each day.  When this “saga” began, my plan was to head toward the east side of the country to be closer to my kids.  It wasn’t long before opportunities were placed in my path that signaled to me Portland is still the place I need to be right now.  What began as temporary housing has become the place I can call home for a while.  This solidified my decision to stay put.  My living arrangement is pretty fantastic and I cannot pass up this amazing opportunity.  Additionally, I have met some incredible people recently who have been pivotal in my new direction.  I am eager to pursue fresh ideas with some inspiring people.

As I recreate my life and move toward a place of healing, I am acutely aware of the fact that I must find my own closure in this ordeal.  It is becoming painfully clear that M’s refusal to talk with me will continue and we will not come to a healthy resolve together.  I have to be comfortable in not knowing.  I am not there yet.  I work on it every day, however.  I am also reminded on a daily basis in some way to be grateful for the place I am now.  Had we followed through with our plans together, that would have involved buying property.  I am so deeply glad that did not happen.  If “M’ is capable of this level of cruelty, I do not even want to imagine how much worse it could have been being entangled any deeper, financially.

What I think about most often is, what happened to the person I knew to be a kind, loving and caring human being? What happened to suddenly create a shift?  Why would “M” choose to be so hateful?  Are the people close to “M” concerned about this sudden change? Everyone in my life is certainly shocked. What happened to my sweetie, my quirky, fun-loving adventure partner? What happened?  What happened??  It’s an endless and unanswerable question in my mind.  Every time I go down that road, I come back completely baffled. Honestly, it’s mind boggling.  I don’t understand why “M” was so fearful of simply expressing feelings.  Why didn’t “M” just say, “let’s talk.”  Two words.  It could have changed everything.  It certainly could have created a much nicer outcome with a lot less hurt even if the end of this story were the same.

I had my feet so solidly planted in what I thought was a committed, long term relationship with the person I loved.  I truly believed, that even though we had our issues that needed addressing, our emotional ups and downs; especially with me going through grief, that we would work together like couples do because we wanted a life–together.  Nothing, absolutely nothing was so terrible in our relationship that it deserved this end.  I did not deserve this treatment.

I am beginning to accept the new direction my life is taking.  I am discovering a new and more thoughtful way to live.  I have tried to make my new and very small kitchen in my new space work for me the best I can with the resources I have right now.  I am doing all right.  I have managed to get some decent meals prepared and eaten, albeit a lot more planning must take place to get to a delicious end result.  Portable kitchen islands are on my radar.  It will help my kitchen be more functional for me.  Food storage and kitchen storage in general, is another issue.  I have had many frustrating moments, fits of anger and sobbing outbursts.  And, despite all the forced upon me hardships, I am doing all right.

I process as I cook; I breath through the pain and let go a little more each day.  I am surrounded by a loving group of friends who support me and encourage me toward my new beginnings.  I am grateful for the abundant opportunities and lovely people that have so perfectly timed themselves into my world.  I try to keep my focus on my wonderful new path that develops a little more each day, keeping me curious, excited and motivated.  I will be all right.  I certainly enjoy feeling more like me again; authentic me.  There is that saying, “hindsight is 20/20″; I see things now that I could not before.  What I see is that I am much better off.  Right here.  Right now. I feel happy again despite the pain of betrayal.  I am happy to be me.

I have no delicious food pictures at this time, nor do I have recipes to share.  I think I really needed to keep this post about expression of feelings.  I can sense my blog will take a new direction that will mirror my new life direction.  So this feels like the perfect blog ending and beginning.  I do hope you will continue along with me on my next journey.

Love-yourself-in-the-process


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Dip. Dip. Depression.

I really enjoy a good dip.  I define that as one containing protein, veggies and is substantial enough (for me) to sustain me like a meal with the addition of raw veggies and/or rice crackers.  I tend to forget to eat, under eat or eat the wrong foods for my body when things get hectic.  As I’ve shared in some recent posts, my life has become crazy hectic.  I have been coping with plenty of chaos these days as I adjust to my surprising life changes.

I do admit some of that chaos happens in my head.  However, I do not want to minimize the difficulties and stress I’m experiencing and I want to acknowledge that sometimes, well….I just need to breath because it will be okay.  I am up against some huge challenges and frenzied thoughts zoom through my mind when I think about the senseless cruelty of it all.  I am working to calm the crazies in my mind by staying connected to people and keeping focused in the present.

I have debated how much I want to share about what is going on to cause me so much stress these days.  I realize that I have already shared such a deep part of my life in telling the story of my mom’s illness and death.  I decided this is no different.  What I am currently experiencing is much like a sudden death.  It came as such a shock and complete surprise.  I am grieving plenty right now.  Just a few days after Christmas my sweetie, who I will now refer to as M, told me to move out then refused to have any conversation about what caused such an extreme action for no apparent reason.  There had been nothing negative between us of any significance that would result in this bizarre behavior.  I have been completely ignored since that day with the exception of one robotic, unemotional email that honestly just felt like an additional “slap”.  There have been just a few texts about practical things and that is it.  It is truly surreal.  My sweetie has abruptly become a complete stranger.

I left what could have been a career job just a few months ago to stay home and explore some creative endeavors while seeking work in my degree field.  This was a difficult and serious decision for me that involved many weeks of discussion with M.  Never did it include anything about unhappiness in our relationship or suggestions of any trouble; only complete support and encouragement for my decision.  This, adding to the bizarre behavior that was yet to come.  I am currently employed very part time at a local kitchen store at just above minimum wage.  I have little savings since I had just contributed most of it toward our household.  I don’t use credit cards.  You can imagine why I have chaos in my mind, I’m sure.  It’s enough to cause anyone some depression.

As I chopped the veggies and whipped up this dip in my food processor, depression was the very topic I was processing in my mind.  I had such an incredible realization the other morning so significant it has created a lot of churning thoughts.  The feeling is so profound I cannot ignore it.  I have spent months thinking that the death of my mom had triggered a depression in me so deep I was considering seeing a doctor to discuss prescription anti-depressants; something I never have considered at any point in my life regardless of the circumstances I faced.  I take a holistic and natural approach to everything I do.  I know there are plenty of options that are just as effective and much healthier for me than anti-depressant drugs.  Yet, I was feeling stuck in a depression I had never experienced before and all my usual “go-to’s” for feeling better rarely worked their usual magic.  I just felt so heavy and engulfed in angst.  What I have to say about that now is, I am so glad I was having issues with my new health coverage, keeping me from finding a new doctor to make an appointment with.  Because that profound feeling I woke up to just recently was the feeling of enlightenment that I am not depressed.  It was such an incredible feeling so penetrating I laid in bed, relishing it for a while. I felt so light.  I felt like me again. I am sad and I am struggling with the loss of my relationship and my home.  I am devastated that the person who said they loved me and wanted to share in life with me could treat me so horribly.  I am still sad about the loss of my mom, but I am not depressed.

I am very sensitive to peoples’ energies and I know that statement raises a questioning eyebrow for some, but to those who know what I mean, you understand what this feels like.  There is a general apathy about my sweetie, who is prone to inertia.  By M’s own admission, it is more comfortable to sit in misery than to work on moving out of it to a better feeling place.  I have lived under the roof of a home filled with darkness and I did not realize it until I was forced out.  For me, it is like a dark cloud that has been hanging over me suddenly dissipated and I see the light.  I find it interesting that the house had so many avenues for light with great windows, including skylights yet the house always felt so dark to me.  My physical and emotional energy was being consumed by M’s general despondency toward life.  I realize now that most of my time spent living under the same roof has been while my mom was sick and dying.  In my own grief I did not grasp the severity of what M was experiencing.

I had no idea how much this was bringing me down.  To date, this is my most significant realization.  I am deeply grateful for this and if it took this tragedy to come to my realization I will (eventually) accept it.  Even in the midst of all this mess, one would think I am depressed.  I am struggling with circumstances beyond my control and that creates a lot of feelings, but I am not depressed. It feels really great to say that.  I move through each day now with a feeling of hope that I thought was lost in me.

I am grateful that I am able to find the strength and resilience I need to take care of my physical and emotional health.  I actively work on my thoughts and emotions every day.  I use the tools I have to create joy daily.  I am gaining a deeper understanding of enjoying each moment.  I definitely get stuck and I sometimes make unhealthy choices.  I can somehow find the courage I need to pull myself from my own dark places.  Part of doing that is taking the time to make food that nourishes me and helps me feel my best.  When my body feels good, my mind feels good. This bean dip will help keep me on my path to the healthiest me I can be, in all ways.  I hope you will find it delicious and satisfying, too.  Enjoy with your favorite vegetables or crackers.

Cumin Lime Black Bean Dip

1 15 oz can black beans

1/2 diced yellow onion

1 Tblsp cumin

1 tsp garlic/salt

juice of one lime

1/4 c cilantro

1 large carrot

process all in food processor.  serve with veggies or crackers

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“Outside The Box” Shepherd’s Pie

It has been some time since I’ve stopped by here.  I have quickly perused through others’ blogs for recipe inspiration, but I haven’t spent the kind of time I would like to in this forum. I love the feeling of support, encouragement and connection I get from my blogging buddies.  I have certainly missed the outlet.  Right now, I could really use some support and connection.

There has been a lot going on in my world and I have not had the time or energy (or internet connection!) to do much more than what is necessary to get through each day.  As well, I haven’t had much time or energy (or space!) to cook food in the way I want either, and that has really affected my health.  I am definitely not feeling my healthiest physical self these days.

Things have settled just enough for me recently and new routine is being created.  One of those routines is that I am getting back to daily walking.  With that in place, it is imperative I get healthful meals back on my menu so I can get to feeling great again, physically and mentally.  I decided with good planning and preparation, I could pull off making some shepherd’s pie in two new cassoulet dishes I got a deal on at the local kitchen store where I work.  I have been excited to use these and they come with nifty lids for storing.  These will make two hearty main dishes.  How can I not get excited about make ahead meals?!

Shepherd’s pie is so comforting and I really need some comfort!  Life has thrown me one hard curve ball.  Some days the magnitude of it all is too heavy for me and I break.  On those days I reach out for friends and feel good books from people I consider of great wisdom.  I have attached myself to two particularly wonderful authors whose words reverberate through me and bring me strength and calm as well as validation that I am on my right path.  As is often the case, there is no limit to what gets processed in my mind as I’m chopping, mixing or stirring up something good.  Playing with food is a cathartic exercise that I find deeply satisfying on many levels.  After reading through a few chapters in one of these great books, I felt like I wanted to give deeper thought to the message I was reading.  While I chopped and stirred to prepare my shepherd’s pie, I also contemplated and reflected on what has happened with me recently, realizing it has already been nearly two months since I got the rug pulled out from under my comfortable life.  It still seems like last week to me.  My struggles have been ongoing and I imagine they will continue for some time to come.

What I am recognizing in this new journey is I would much rather be right here in this struggle, than to continue in that life I thought was so comfortable.  Because as the layers unravel, things become more transparent and the light shines a little differently.  I am right where I need to be.  I may never know why things happened like they did and I know there will likely never be any accountability for actions taken that forced me to here.  Yet, here I am suddenly left to pick up the pieces of my life because of someone else’s fears and vulnerabilities.  Life has no shortage of “wake up calls”.

I am teetering on the edge of acceptance and resistance.  Most days I am grateful for a deeper understanding of myself.  Other days I just want to eat comfort food.  By the last bite of my delicious good for me comfort food, I usually rest back on the side of acceptance.  I accept that I cannot change the behavior of others.  I can have compassion for their pain, I can set boundaries and say no, this is not okay.  I am learning that being a wholehearted and authentic person is the only way I want to live.  To be authentic can be deep and messy work.  But, when I woke up the other morning with a feeling of lightness that I have not felt in such a long time, I realized that it is worth every bit of work to participate in this life for a lot of reasons, but simply because it feels joyful to be completely and fully in life. That means being willing to show my truest self, to be communicative and to be connected.  It means being comfortable with who I am at my deepest level.

What brings me to my deepest, most comfortable sense of “self” is making the kind of food my body responds to best. I am also discovering that writing and sharing my story is a process that is both healing and humbling.  It makes me vulnerable and it makes me real.  I share not only recipes for healthful foods, I am sharing a piece of who I am.  In return I have received some of the most amazing and heart felt support for what I share and how I choose to share.  The feeling of connection is profound.

I am proud to share my kind of shepherd’s pie.  The ingredients go a little “outside the box”, making it not so much like the “classic” recipe.  Then again, I am an “outside the box” kind of person.  I will own every bit of that because I think it is the best way to be.  Just like this recipe! Go ahead and mix it up if the recipe doesn’t quite fit your dietary/taste preference.  Let go of how you think it is “supposed to be” and do what works for you! Much like life…  You know; even with my feathers a little ruffled, I can feel that life will work much better for me.  Things are changing.  Like, how I managed to pull off this fabulous recipe in my new and very tiny kitchen! Enjoy and know that when one is flexible in life, things seem to work themselves out.

Outside the Box Shepherd’s Pie

In a frying pan, stir up:

1/2 large yellow onion, diced

2 stalks celery, sliced

(preferably) 1 # grass fed, organic ground beef

1/2 Tblsp olive oil

Begin by sauteing the onions until translucent then add the celery and do the same.  Add in the ground beef and cook until no longer pink.  Add that mixture to casserole dishes then saute':

4 medium carrots, sliced

2 cups broccoli florets

1 cup green beans

Saute’ until cooked with a slight crispness to them.  Top the meat mixture with the veggie mixture.  Cover the veggies with mashed yams. (1 large yam, peeled, boiled until soft, and mashed with some earth balance (or butter)  Pop into a 250 degree oven for about 30 mins or until completely warmed through.

 

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A Crock Of Comfort

Some days simply require a little extra comfort.  I have had many of those days recently where I have been seeking comfort in whatever ways I can.  I was fortunate enough to find some time even in the midst of my current life chaos to get in the kitchen and make a crock of chicken and veggies.  Of course, it doesn’t take long to drop all the ingredients right into the crock, turn the knob and get some comfort food going.

When my life gets this crazy stressful I often forget to eat so having something pre-made that I know is nutritious and sustains me is essential.  I make up container meals with my crock of food so all I need to do is pop it in the microwave for a quick warm up.  Because my world got all shook up and my daily food preparation habits have had to change, this also helps me to not feel so “deprived” of my routine style of eating because when “sh*t gets real”, like my current day crisis, it is imperative I maintain my usual healthful eating. My body demands it and I need my body to be at its best right now.

I made up the spice combination and ingredients in this recipe, loosely going on a recipe I remember from the past.  I put one pound of organic, all happy, boneless, skinless chicken thighs in the bottom of my crock, rubbed the thigh pieces with a spice combination of garlic, paprika, turmeric, cumin, parsley and black pepper, tossed in some yellow onion slices (about 1/2 a medium sized onion) and carrot coins (4 carrots).  Then I added about one cup of vegetable broth, one can of light coconut milk and put on the lid.  I set it for four hours.  About 15 minutes before I was ready to dig in I added 3 cups of baby spinach to the top of the food in the crock, put the lid back on and let it steam until wilted.  I ladled it over some multi-colored quinoa and had myself one delicious comfort food meal!  I now have quick “go to” meals for days.  A crock full of comfort.  It’s what I like. IMG_3083


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Life is like Cookies and Tea

My last couple of days have been filled with some rough stuff.  I am doing really hard work not just physically, but emotionally.  I have faced this new life challenge head on and I am leaning right into what is now in front of me.  It is uncomfortable and I am doing it.  I am both grateful for and disgusted by the many new lessons I am learning and will continue to learn.  Life.  It can get messy sometimes.  At the end of my day, when I know I have conquered what is needed to get through it and do so with strength in my spirit and truth in heart; when I lay my head down in the quiet of night knowing I lived this day fully in all it’s messy glory, I can hear one screaming loud message running through my mind.

 I AM IMPORTANT.

I have tangled with the emotions of acceptance, attachment, vulnerability and loss.  I have ridden a roller coaster of emotions that sometimes scares the hell out of me.  I’m pretty sure I have a discount bracelet for that ride over the next few months.  Strangely, I am ready.  I am always ready for life.  All of it.  Ugly.  Beautiful.  Fun.  Scary.  I am ready because life is worth it.  Love is worth it.

 I am worth it.

When the days get extra tough and I want to comfort the inner child in me, I make cookies. In all of this craziness, I definitely need some nurturing.  So, a job well done deserves cookies and tea.

I found this recipe in my folder of print out recipes and sadly it does not have the original author’s information.  I did some research on my usual favorite websites thinking I may find it, but didn’t so know that this is not my original recipe, however it is a great one and I will update my readers when I discover its author so I can acknowledge their lovely creation!

I adapted these cookies for me so they are grain free, gluten free, dairy free and delicious for an evening treat!  Breath.  Eat.  Relax.  Push replay.  This is what life looks like.

Chocolate chunk cookies

1 1/2 cups blanched almond flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt (I used 1/4 tsp)

1/4 Honey (I used Agave Syrup)

1 egg (I used 1/4 cup applesauce)

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup coconut oil

1 dark chocolate bar, roughly cut to equal 3/4 cup (I used dark chocolate chips and only 1/2 cup)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Break up chocolate ball or cut with sharp knife.  Put pieces into bowl and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine almond flour, baking soda and salt.

In a separate small bowl, use an electric handheld mixer to beat honey, egg and vanilla (or do as I did and use a whisk on the ingredients substituted!)

Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix well.

Melt coconut oil and pour into batter.  Mix well.

Stir in dark chocolate chunks.

Drop balls of cookie dough onto a greased baking sheet.  Bake 12 minutes.  Let cool 6 minutes to avoid crumbling.  Eat and be happy.

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Fill me up with 2015–Anniversary Post

I wanted to acknowledge the one year anniversary of my blog on the actual day which was December 30th, and thought of sitting down to write a few times that day.  Unfortunately, more of my thoughts were consumed with a sudden life crisis.  I know, like I need another one, right?   However, this crisis was absolutely unexpected.  This one came way out of left field and smacked me head on, leaving me completely dazed and confused.  It sent my survival instinct into overdrive and bubbled up an anger in me that rarely rears its ugly head.  I am physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted.

I’m not prepared to go in to much detail at this moment, but I know eventually I will share what is happening because this crisis will have a profound affect on my dietary lifestyle and eating preferences.  Since this blog has become about my way of eating, cooking and living I don’t see how this could not spill over into words right here.

Today, this first day of the new year, I am relaxing.  I am empty.  Absurdly coincidental, I think.  I will fill myself with love in the company of good people.  I will fill myself with the knowledge that once again I am being reminded that I am an incredibly strong woman.  I am proud of my ability to persevere.  I will fill myself with the reverence of life and with deep gratitude for all the lessons it presents me.   I cannot think of a better day to do this than today.

Happy New Year, my blogging friends.  This writing journey has filled my soul in a way I never expected.  I have come to love this community of people and the support I have received from each one of you.  Thank you for being a part of my world in 2014.

Cheers to 2015.  I look forward to its many blessings and opportunities.  I will leave you with some of my favorite food pictures of this past year.  Peace and love to you all.

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