Monday Musings… Bacon, Bacon, Bacon! Maybe

This past weekend where I live, the annual Bacon Fest was held. Vendors gather at a local venue with live music, and everything bacon. Other meats wrapped in bacon, bacon ice cream, chocolate bacon, I’m sure bacon beer, you get the idea. For obvious reasons this is one festival I have never attended. Don’t get me wrong, back in the day, bacon was one of my favs, probably one of the last meats that I ever let pass my lips too. I get it,  the salty, slightly sweet, crisp smoky flavor paired up with a fresh juicy summer tomato on toasted bread, add in a chunk of crisp lettuce and slice of onion… yep I am drooling a little, but just like most meat dishes, it is often what we pile on said meat that makes the dish so yummo!

But what is in bacon, is it good or bad for you? Bacon is a processed food, and while in the times of our ancestors when pigs were left to eat a “normal pig diet” there were some good things in the pig. Good fats, protein, and even a good amount of B vitamins (but hey, they eat and wallow in dirt).  The not so good news, because bacon contains a high amount of fat both good and bad, about 50/50 it increases cholesterol, leading to coronary artery disease, which can lead to strokes and heart attacks. One of the biggest problems however lies in the dreaded processing of bacon… it can lead to cancer, hmm enter in my thoughts on how many people are now diagnosed with cancer daily! UGH!  “And NO amount of processed meat is considered safe to eat, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research” this from the ever popular site WebMD. While WebMD,  is not a source I normally choose, but I know others do, they continued to suggest “healthier options” which usually was a processed food… ugh, speaking out of both sides of the webpage.

One thing you will hear me say repeatedly is EAT REAL FOOD! Over processed “stuff” is not FOOD!

The other thing that I say often since going plant-based, vegan, veghead, is that I really don’t like what a lot of vegans call transition foods. The “imitation meats,” tofurkey? What are these things… again, many of these are filled with not so great ingredients, always read your packages and eat real food!

Which leads me to my search for “bacon.” In my green world of food, I hesitate to call some of the things I eat, by their imitation of the carnivore opposite, yet for convenience sake, that’s what us vegheads do. Looking for similar flavor profiles, or textures of those foods we think we miss. At this point I am not sure I would enjoy a piece of bacon, I do however enjoy my eggplant “bacon.” Eggplant bacon takes a little time to make, but the rewards are strips of tasty crispness, doesn’t clog my arteries or leave my gut churning. I was in search of possibly a quicker option.

Enter in coconut “bacon.” Really?? I had toasted coconut, and added different flavors to these little flakes, but had not thought about using the “bacon” flavors on these little slivers of coconut, time for a test run.

Coconut flakes
Coconut flakes

The flakes work better, but if all you have is shredded, what you will end up with is “bacon” bits, which really this is what the flakes reminded me of too.  I can tell you that I wasn’t disappointed with the results, and just like the eggplant “bacon” it doesn’t really taste like bacon, but it gives me the goodness without the bad, and when you add the other ingredients of fresh summer tomato, well you get to enjoy the flavors, texture and yumminess of summer without the fear of increased cholesterol, cancer or too many fat calories!

This recipe was easy, and within 30 minutes I was taste testing this and packaging it up to take to House Church and serve it up as a topper on a Debbie salad. Yes the omnivores gave it a thumbs up, but like me it’s not really bacon… it’s better!

the finished product
the finished product

So the recipe I went with was from one of my favorite veggie sites, Choosing Raw, with of course my tweaking, noted in blue print. I encourage you to give this a try, you really will enjoy it on so many things, wraps, salad, potatoes, pizza or just for healthy snacking!

Coconut Bacon Recipe, Raw or Cooked
 
  • 2 tablespoons tamari (I use low sodium tamari)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut flakes (or shredded, unsweetened coconut)
  • optional, my addition, a little liquid smoke 1/2 teas
  • optional, yep! enter the heat, a 1/4 teas or less of chiptole

Instructions

  1. Whisk the tamari, vinegar, and syrup in a medium-sized mixing bowl, optional ingredients also added at this time. Add the coconut and mix it around until it’s all evenly coated. Allow the coconut to absorb the marinade for at least thirty minutes.
  2. To prepare in a dehydrator, spread the coconut on a Teflex lined dehydrator sheet and dehydrate for 8 hours, or until crispy and dry. You can mix it around a few times to make sure it dehydrates evenly.
  3. To prepare in the oven, pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees Farenheit. Spread the coconut evenly over a foil or parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the coconut is golden and smells fragrant.
  4. Sprinkle the bacon on salads, over baked potatoes, stuff it into wraps, or mix it into cooked grains/legumes. Enjoy!
Romaine lettuce, avocado chickpea salad with tomato and coconut "bacon"
Romaine lettuce, avocado chickpea salad with tomato and coconut “bacon”

Yummo!

Ahhh, a Debbie salad topped with fresh tomato and coconut bacon bits!
Ahhh, a Debbie salad topped with fresh tomato and coconut bacon bits!

Let’s review some of the benefits of coconut: Eating coconuts are excellent for one’s immunity. They are antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial, and anti-parasitic, meaning they kill harmful bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. Eating coconuts also supports the development of strong, healthy bones and teeth. It does this by improving the body’s ability to absorb calcium and magnesium. It also prevents osteoporosis, a condition in which the bones become thin and fragile and lose their density. Read more: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/the-numerous-health-benefits-of-coconuts-2.html#ixzz3j50H8Thw

Hmm, does that sound better than eating processed, nitrate filled, artery clogging, who knows what else is in the “food,” that brings disease into your life, or a whole food that brings life? Give this a try, let the bacon go! Take steps to limit or get rid of your intake by finding whole food options to replace your “addiction!”

Choose to eat REAL FOOD!

Peace

 

 

Monday Musings…. ya, I know it’s Tuesday!

During the Clemens Cycle for Cancer ride

Insert the music of Queen and “Bicycle Race,” better yet sing it!  “Bicycle, Bicycle, Bicycle… I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride it where I like!” This song came to mind Sunday when I was restless and knew it was time to really move! My mind was racing too much, and my body was screaming for some attention. On went the stretched out padded shorts, the helmet and down came the well-worn  Cannondale Black Lightening circa 1985, yes my bike is that old… all 19#’s  and shimona shifting 15 clicking gears! It’s been through a few tire changes, wrecks and has toured many more miles than I can remember in multiple states. I used to ride a–l-o-t!

There are times when nothing will quite clear my mind as being on my bike, and yes a solitary journey is called for at such times, but then I am never alone. Sunday was a mind clearing day in many ways as the push of my feet against the pedals, turned the wheels and propelled me forward on the bike path, separating myself from the flash of the computer, the hum of the TV, the staleness of being in air conditioner air.  The distractions of the open trails, cool breeze a few rain drops and wide open space helped the lines on my face and the cob webs in my head fade… or maybe it was the wind stretching my  cheeks. lol

I realized that the past year, with the challenges that I had faced, that the message I started to teach with the concept of R3Wellness; Refresh, Revive, Renew… Mind, Body, Spirit, had somehow quit being an important daily teaching to myself. I had given in to aches and pains, both physical and emotional. I gave myself too much permission not to push active exercise, and called chilling out watching movies and eating emotionally “as rest.”  WHAT? How was that refreshing? I was filling my mind with “crap” often, and even though my emotional eating was no longer gallons of ice cream, but endless bowls of popcorn or healthy “snacks”, over eating is over eating! Although I still believe no one ever got fat eating a rainbow of veggies, I had stepped over my line. I wasn’t sleeping well, and instead of using my knowledge of stretching, turning off, and tuning into my body, trying “legs up the wall” a very relaxing yoga move! I flipped from one end of the couch to the other… note to self, try this instead!

Legs up the wall, try it, your body and mind will thank you and you will sleep much better
Legs up the wall, try it, your body and mind will thank you and you will sleep much better

 

Instead of turning to prayer, meditation and renewing my mind with truth (for me that is God’s truth, His word). I let my Bible sit collecting dust, and chose to go through the motions of my faith instead of choosing to talk to God and allow healing to happen.

I miss riding my bike without a helmet and really letting the wind blow through me, but the moments weren’t missed on Sunday, and like so many rides I have taken on the trails and roads across this country, I headed home with positive thoughts creeping in, clearer thoughts, and the ache in the bum, and shoulders felt good. I needed to make sure I had the energy to get home, because at the end of this ride was a 2 mile uphill climb. At the turn around I downed some water and sent a text to the family, yes it is good to let people know where you are when you venture out on your own! (um, insert that this goes for those times when emotionally you are hurting, sometimes you need to reach out to those who know you well and will listen).  The wind was against me as I turned around pushed on. There was an annoying click that I couldn’t locate and fix, but I kept on, choosing to focus on the beauty around me. The rolling clouds above, with the clear blue sky, the Little Miami river flowing alongside the path and the occasional smile from a fellow explorer.  I was reminded how the past year had been a journey, traveling a path that I wasn’t quite sure of, trying to navigate the way, not always using the resources that were “right there.”  Just as I had learned long ago in biking; how to conserve energy, or ramp it up, how to climb a hill, how to coast well, stay hydrated, stay safe… but always to enjoy the ride, even with an annoying noise occasionally, so it is with life, it will be challenging, it will have hills, valleys, creaky noises, but there is much beauty around, if only you choose to look… and use the resources to fuel yourself for the journey ahead on those unknown, unexplored paths.

Lesson learned, and I am sure I will need to learn it again, and again! Recently I listened to a podcast that spoke to teaching/sharing, this person suggested that you teach what you want to learn, what you are passionate about. You are always one step ahead of another who might want be on the same path and need a guide or someone to walk with them. So I put my feet/hand to the pedal/ the keyboard, and I start sharing again, what I learn; the success and the stumbles and hope that you might join me, no longer a solo rider, but taking that journey to optimal health, Mind, Body, Spirit… Refresh your thoughts on food/health, Revive your body to move  and eat well, Renew your spirit through truth.

Peace

Monday Musings… Ice Cream makeover

It’s been awhile, and quite frankly I feel like I have stage fright as I sit here looking at the blank screen, hoping the words I share are inspiring. One of my fears is that I will ramble on. Recently I lost a best friend too soon, then coming up on the year anniversary of my Daddy passing on, checking out, leaving (sorry inside joke) and the memories are a little bitter, but also very sweet. Yet I feel like I need to be back here. Sharing life, food, health all in the name of healing “mind, body and spirit.

So today I will share the sweet of memories and the fact that my Pa liked his ice cream. As a little kid when my parents where divorced I remember the drive back to West Carrollton. We would stop at the Baskin Robbins 31 flavors on Salem Ave, and I would get chocolate chip mint and make a mess of it! In later years I remember Pa coming up the stairs to get a little bowl of the sweet cold tastiness, some crazy rocky road or turtle track mix and heading back down to his recliner. Later hearing the clinking music of the spoon getting the last little bit and you knew the bowl was “empatee” aka empty in Pa language.

Yes, he passed on his enjoyment of ice cream, and I admit to an addiction that had me eating out of the pints, or 1/2 gallons as a single gal. I once proclaimed that ice cream was better than men, (I am sure this was after some breakup)  it was always there, meant to be cold, and it wouldn’t leave… oh it wouldn’t leave me, my hips, my belly, my thighs and as I now know all the crazy stuff that dairy was actually doing to my health. Since I really didn’t (a choice) control my addiction I was lead to years of boycotting ice cream in my freezer! If I wanted it, I had to leave the house to get it.

Ice cream became a treat for the grand-kids too. If youmentioned hiking orgeocaching to the kids, well that meant a stop for ice cream no matter what the time of year, and Pa knew all the best places for good ice cream.

Captain 9's after a great day hiking at Germantown
Captain 9’s after a great day hiking at Germantown Dam
This is why the pockets are empty... look at all the happy faces!
This is why the pockets are empty… look at all the happy faces!

So thankful that Pa passed on the love of outdoors, time with us and well ice cream!

Yes we made homemade ice cream, but not as much in the later years. Just a few years ago my brother got Mom and Dad a counter top Cuisinart ice cream maker and we whipped up a few flavors, much easier than the crank method and almost as good. Sometimes I think the effort and extra work in the making of the ice cream with all that salt, cranking and ice somehow made it taste sweeter :)

After I went dairy and basically sugar-free, I was a spectator to the enjoying of the ice cream on our adventures. Snagging a  taste here and there but oh too sweet for this girl. When we would have ice cream at home I would get the rice dream ice cream and it “would do” in a pinch and I did find one brand that was pretty good but $$$$ at $6 for a pint. One of my quick “go to” ice cream fix is banana ice cream, basically frozen bananas, whipped up in the blender or food processor. You can jazz it up with vanilla, chocolate and mask most of the banana flavor… still not quite there.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago. I invited friends over for dinner! A little out of my element, but oh so fun! One of my guest is a lover of the ice cream, and as a new Momma with a toddler too, I wanted to make her a treat. She also has gone dairy free so it was time for me to do this “home-made ice cream thing.” Yes I experimented on my guest!

I asked my Mom if I could borrow the ice cream maker and I dug out my trusty Crazy Sexy Kitchen cookbook and found the recipe. Going for the clean taste of Vanilla Bean, because I was serving this sweet treat up with drunken berries! This recipe was super easy and the little ice cream maker was the bomb!

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with Drunken Berries and dark chocolate cocoa nib bark
Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with Drunken Berries and dark chocolate cocoa nib bark

 

 

 

 

The guest really liked it, which left me thinking, why, why have I spent all this time without ice cream, when this is so easy!! I can’t wait to try some different flavors, and while this is plant-based, dairy free it still falls in the treat category, but really you won’t feel as guilty for eating something so good.

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked for a few hours or overnight

1  14oz. can of coconut milk

1/2 cup water

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean scraped

1/4 cup agave

pinch of sea salt

1. Blend all the ingredients together in a blender till smooth.

2. Pour ice-cream mixture into a sorbet/ice-cream maker and follow manufacture instructions

3. If you don’t have an ice-cream maker: Line a square container with plastic wrap, pour in the mixture, and freeze overnight. Pop frozen ice cream block out of container the following day, slice into a couple 2 to 3 inch  strips, and put through a twin-gear juicer using the solid plate or pulse in a food processor till desired consistency.

Store in air tight container in the freezer… if you don’t eat it all

I told you it was easy! So much cheaper than buying it at the store and you avoid other additives used in some brands of non dairy frozen treats. I know, it isn’t something I can pack up and take with me on a hike to enjoy with the rest of the family after… but until there is a dairy free version out there at my local ice cream place I know I can enjoy this version with the sweet memories it brings as I scrape the bowl, and hear the singing of the clinking spoon in the bottom of the bowl… and it is empatee! Enjoy!

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with dark chocolate shavings and candied chiptole pecans
Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with dark chocolate shavings and candied chiptole pecans

Peace

“Dear friend, I hope all is well with you and that you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit.” 3john2

Time, what about it?

How many times have I started a journal entry or even a post here remarking about time… how it moves quickly, slowly, how FB or other “things” can be time “robbers.” How about the fact that this is the first post in 2015? Time is here, it’s where we live, and all I can say is in my absence here, I have been living a lot, eating more and trying to find the balance I talk about so much and the balance we all are chasing after. One thing I can say for sure, I miss writing, sharing. So let’s see if a can make a come back! :)IMG_3557I just got back Sunday from celebrating with my family my oldest nephew Will’s graduation from University of Tennessee in Chattanooga! A great weekend for sure, but I could be anywhere with this gang and we would find fun! Special treat for me was the fact that Will took us to Sluggo’s a local Vegan eats! So fun to be in a place where looking at the menu was easy for me and tricky for the rest of the crew… but everyone liked what they had! Yummo!

Tori and I doing a little yoga
Tori and I doing a little yoga
fun
fun

Speaking of yoga, I went on a yoga retreat in February to Costa Rica!

our last night
our last night

The week was beautiful, the time away was good… but honestly I could have used another week to really renew, revive, and refresh my soul. A lot of praying, and slowing down with yoga  have been really healing to me in the last months. You see I am still trying to figure out what to be when I grow up, what it’s like not to have my Pa around and how to possibly “launch” into business!IMG_2688

Maybe it’s time to dig out the Power Point, start sharing again, teach more yoga, talk and share more food, do “nursing” in a new and healthy way!

Oh and of course there is the food! This is just a sampling of my batch stuff I do for a week of work, fun, and eating well in the midst of it all! Notice the salad is center stage! I can never get enough of my greens, not to mention having a bag of rice and stash of beans or soup to grab for ease! Cutting up veggies and bagging them ahead, makes for fast food.

prep day for the week ahead
prep day for the week ahead

Yep, with my new-found wheat allergy (did I share that?) Finding a good crust is high priority, but I really like this home option of Food for Life rice tortilla, this one has my white bean humus as sauce, and well, yes salad on top! In the oven on my pizza stone at 400 for 20 minutes and yummo!

Salad pizza!
Salad pizza!

So what about time? Does time heal all wounds, is there a “perfect” time for this decision, or that? I don’t know that I have any answers, I do know that we shouldn’t waste time. I have done that enough in my life, or did I? Ya, but I am learning. Time is the moment right now. Time is the choice you make to enjoy the moment, and maybe the moment will become a memory, and you will have time to reflect on that memory, when you spent a lot of time, making a life worth counting.

Don’t waste the gift, share it, live it and while you are at it, live it well… Eat real food, enjoy the sunshine, and at the end of the day say a prayer of thanks for the moments in time that shape who you are!

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Peace

 

’tis the season…

The photo text I received from my sister Cindy was one of her oldest daughter, athletic basketball player laying on an exam table in sweats… it’s the flu, pray, this is a BIG week!

As most of you know if you have read this blog for any time, I don’t get the flu shot. (see previous post from 2013) I fought not to for many reasons, but suffice it to say as a medical professional my stance is not popular.  Having said that I am sure that most of you have heard the reports, or felt the pain of taking a flu shot only to get the flu.

‘Tis the season. We are closed in, less time outdoors, “sharing” a little too much personal space and wearing ourselves out with to do list. It could happen to any of us, BUT there is hope.

It’s been awhile since I had the flu… honestly I dig bag into my memory and I think it was before I even started hiding the gray hairs, that I spent a Christmas in a semi zombie state of fog. I know it is quite unpleasant though, and you want it over quick, which for most means they will go to the doc, praying for a pill, shot, antibiotic or something to zip them back into life in the fast lane.

YOUR body is calling a halt, time out, bench sitting for a quarter or two. It’s begging you for some basics, and not a band-aid. YOUR body knows how to heal itself, and yes there are things you can do that will help those aches, pains, fever and nausea. SLEEP, yep, find that comfy blanket, favorite pillow and watch all the Christmas movies in between naps. IMG_0629Plenty of water, not ice water, warm water with lemon and maybe ginger for the queasy stomach.IMG_0626Lemon has Vitamin C and warmed on the stove instead of “nuked” keeps you from killing all the benefits. If you get organic, eat some of the inner peel, or let it soak in the water, this contains quercetin, CoQ10 and hesperdin bioflavoinoids, which are all better than any expensive store-bought vitamin. Adding organic raw honey is also like adding in extra fighters, dark honey has many trace minerals that help fight, and build the immune system.

Raw veggies are best, but may not be tolerated, so if you can juice ’em up!

green power juice
green power juice

SOUP! not from a can, come on a good veggie broth with onions and garlic, maybe a kick of cayenne (all natural antibiotics and more powerful than the drugs) Check out my post for Flu Shot October 2013!

The finished "dose" of flu medicine
The finished “dose” of flu medicine

This soup will build you up, warm you up and just plain taste good! Don’t forget ginger for its benefit if your stomach is the least bit queasy. Slicing up a few strips of fresh ginger, brewing up your own tea an adding organic honey can give you a boost.

There are some over the counter, homeopathic remedies (some I have used with great results) that I would also suggest to move through this easier, and hopefully quicker. Oscilococcinum, Sambucol (elderberry, which is anti-viral), Emer’gen-C, high dose of Vitamin C, which of course the body likes! Herbal teas, I can’t say enough about good teas. I like the brand Traditional Medicine. I buy their Seasonal pack that has Echinacea, Throat Coat, Breathe easy (peppermint tea) and Gypsy Cold Care. At the slightest bit of feeling off, I start drinking the tea!

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I mentioned sleep, another often over looked flu fighter (really any illness fighter) to healing and surviving the flu… attitude. Thinking positive. I have been in healthcare long enough to know that attitude, is a game changer. Yes you feel miserable, and if you focus only on feeling miserable, that’s all you have. Think this way…I know I am miserable now, but this too will pass, so I’ll just sleep it off, drink like crazy (all the things above) and soon I will be back in the saddle.

Listening to your body and not pushing it beyond its limits is key. We have been “fearfully and wonderfully made” the bodies knows what it needs. At the first sign of a sniffle, cough, or even because we know it ’tis the season, implement your plan of attack. I start my day with a warm cup of lemon water, and in the winter I add the cayenne. I also up my game on tea in the winter with good local honey added. I make up a batch of “Flu soup.” HippocratesQuote

Peace

Wednesday… Wondering and Wandering

First my disclaimer. I have been absent, silent, in my mind I have shared a dozen blogs. Some funny some introspective, all in my head. Today I cut loose!

Recently I found myself reading a book and the guy was talking about some of the reasons we don’t move forward with dreams. One being that we are seeking perfection. The reality being that my perfection doesn’t match yours etc. How true this is when it comes to blogging/writing for me. I ask myself why do I write/blog? Do I do it to entertain? Do I think I have something to say? Well yes, but don’t we all. I think the reason I really write is because “I need to.” Maybe it’s the being single and somewhat of an introvert. Whatever the reason, I need to write and I think I need to be “okay” with the mistakes, yes even the grammar mistakes that make my Mom and sister-in-law cringe. I need not to “self edit” so much, because really aren’t we all looking for a little more honesty and less fluff?

So fueled with this delicious quick-lunch

hummus salad pizza YUM!
humus salad pizza YUM!

I venture into a little of my thoughts of late.

I am no different from many the last few weeks I am sure. Once the first of November hits, the wheels crank up in lives and we get busy, even as the temperature lowers and all of the rest of nature seems to go to rest.

Thanksgiving is one of my most favorite times of the year. Being with family, eating, playing cards… just being together. I knew this year would be different. Dad had been gone since August, and well everyone always says the “first” things are always the hardest. Yea, well no. I mean yes it was hard not having Dad make turkey noises, sit in his recliner and watch endless  hours of “A Christmas Story,” share a simple prayer “be with us and guide us”

Last Christmas... in all it's glory!
Last Christmas… in all it’s glory!

but it was more the little things. The first are hard, but it’s the everyday that gets me, or the moments when a light flickers, or some other electrical glitch and you think… “gotta tell Dad … crap, I can’t.” Ya, those moments.

In those moments I remember how great a family I have. How even though we don’t talk about the “absence” we live on in the memories. We try to keep the traditions, and build new ones… and well, we run the race that has been set before us.

My crazy loving, trotting family!
My crazy loving, trotting family!

Sure Christmas will be another hard one… maybe. We will do our thing, the traditional things. We will remember Dad, and miss him wearing the red or green sweater as we head out to Christmas Eve service. I will miss his voice singing, as he holds hands with Momma. We might watch A Christmas Story, laugh, cry and remember. Best of all, we will celebrate the reason for the season. We will celebrate that time long ago when Christ came as a babe, came to save this crazy, ugly, mixed up beautiful world to save us. The best part… because He did that, lived a blameless life, died and rose again, well because of that great gift, I get to see my Dad again. I get to live out with hope, joy and the knowledge that my Dad lived well, believed well and lives on.  So this Christmas, this time of first with an empty spot in our family, I choose joy, peace beyond some people’s understanding.

I hope you too, may know the peace, joy and hope of Christmas

Just Do It! some running ramblings

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I know Nike made this statement big in athletics and exercise years ago. We see the swoop and we automatically get it, and yes today was one of those days that I had to “just do it.”

This past year I have poured a lot of my spare “work out” time to yoga and pursuing my 200 yoga teacher training. I am short 2 hours and a book report to receive that certificate, but I am seeing that finish line this week. In the fall I messed up knee… again. I did a little on-line re-hab, but the budget cut that, so I was on my own. Running was out, but I would walk… sometimes.

The last couple of weeks despite the rising heat, my feet have hit the pavement. My soul longs to run, and yet every step feels heavy, my body feels awkward as I plunge forward, but forward I move.

Today was no exception. I sat groggy at the counter reading mindless facebook (forgive me some of you do share great stuff) and all I could think was I needed to get on with the day. It was only 73 degrees out the sky was clear blue, and a slight breeze was present. I laced up the shoes, turned on mapmyrun aka walk, and was off… walking. As I turned one corner I pushed forward to move a little faster, a jog of sorts. I tried not to think too much about how I was moving and just move. I tried to remember the days when this seemed effortless, well except for the first mile, but today the first block feels weighty, my gate feels uneven, I feel stiff… let it go, my mind says, then the all too familiar tweek of pain in the knee and fear starts  rising up… let it go… but I stop and start walking, and analyzing every last step. I blame it on needing new shoes, don’t push before I have good equipment and yet… let it go, whispers in my ear.

Why do I want to run so bad? Why is this so important for me?  I want to get back to the feet pounding, the feel of loosing myself in the movement. Don’t I get some of that with my yoga? It’s not the same my mind says, and my body tells me to move, to feel the heat, to feel the breeze, to let go!

Hebrews 12:1-2 come to mind as a memory of my Dad floats across my vision, running the race with endurance, forgetting the past, moving forward, “looking to Jesus the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross”… I know, how cliché to pick a running scripture to talk about the struggles of running, or for that matter, moving forward, moving in life when everything around you feels heavy, when you don’t realize there is a weight on your shoulders until you try to move freely, to shake it loose… to let go.

So I keep moving. Every few blocks I might jog a little, but I keep moving, trying to let go of anything physical (a few extra pounds) but more so mentally anything that is weighing my heart and spirit down to run well the race that was set before me. I don’t run alone, I run with the author and perfect who wrote my story. Who knew that I would struggle with these steps. Who knows that I struggle with the here and now, but to desperately wants to let go of those things that hinder running the good race.

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My Dad was a runner in High School. He never really talked much about it, and I wonder if he was a good runner? My Dad was an emotional runner for a while… tell he let go, and let God. Maybe that’s why Hebrews 12:1-2 was one of his favorite verses, I know it is one of mine for this reason.

So I run, or I strive to run well. It’s not always going to feel right. Sometimes I will walk, who knows there may be days I will have to crawl, but I will move. I will move forward, shedding what no longer serves me and run with endurance… yet another reminder of my Pop’s. Just weeks before Daddy died he was still striving, moving forward. I remember he kept bugging my Mom about making sure someone would take his place delivering bread. I remember the night he passed, he was at the kitchen counter, walking weakly around it, moving, moving his hands as if working on something… never-ceasing to move until the job was done, and then as he said he could lay down.

I will keep lacing up the shoes and getting out there. It helps me to think, to stay balanced to explore the world around me and before me, to run with endurance the race that was set before me…

Just do it!

 

Monday, ooops Tuesday Musings… heating up? cool off with Lemon Cashew Hemp bars

My plan as always was to have this out on Monday.  Alas, sleep and a few computer glitches has left this musing to come out on a Tuesday… say tempting Tuesday!

The heat of summer has hit just as kids are headed back to school and a shift in schedules for many cause a little increase in anxiety. Add to that the fact that while most of us have enjoyed a mild summer the increase in temps and lack of rain can get us a little “hot under the collar” in many ways.

I always try to embrace the heat, and find it ironic that I have started hitting the pavement again… walking not running yet and it is all being done in the heat! I admit I enjoy the occasional afternoon thunderstorm too though!

With all the changes going on of late in life, I find myself seeking those treats and challenges that keep me on an even keel in the mind, body, spirit connection. Getting outside is one of those things that help a lot! Drinking lots of water, and of course daily devo time and time for prayer and reflection often found on my yoga mat.

The other day I helped some friends with some moving. While I knew there would be a lot of people to help and food always motivates people to work (I promised not to subject them to kale smoothies if they showed up) I didn’t however promise I wouldn’t bring a healthy treat. I decided that the a big cooler of water and Raw Cashew, Hemp seed Lemon bars were just the right quick treat, that would give good protein power and a tasty refreshing taste in the heat.  These bars come together so easy and offer a good dose of plant protein, a balance of Omega 3 to 6 fats, contains nine of the essential amino acids the body needs, and oh the slightly nutty flavor is so good! Add to that cashews that while high in fat, it’s good fat and they offer up more protein, essential minerals and are heart healthy.

Now that I have told you how good this are for you, I hope I haven’t discouraged you that they could taste good. Believe me this little powerhouse bites, satisfy your sweet tooth and the added lemon test offers up just enough freshness to send your taste buds soaring.

some of the players
some of the players

Lemon Kissed Cashew Hemp Bars (Raw, vegan, gluten and soy free)

Makes 12 bars (6 for a more generous snack)

1 cup cashews
1 cup pitted dates
1/3 cup hemp seeds
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp lemon zest

Pinch of sea salt to taste

1) Place the cashews in a food processor and process till ground up.

2) Add the dates and hemp seeds, pinch of salt and pulse repeatedly. Then, add the lemon and lemon zest and leave the motor on until the whole thing has formed a big, uniform, sticky ball.

this is a double batch
this is a double batch

3) Take a large sheet of plastic wrap or parchment paper and place it over the bottom of a small baking dish. Press the mixture down into it, till it’s even in thickness.

Cover and freeze for at least 30 minutes.

4) Unwrap the “dough,” lay the rectangle flat on a cutting surface, and cut into 12 bars, or in to bite sized nuggets.

5) Wrap up individually and store in the fridge or freezer till ready to eat. I’m not sure how long they’ll keep, but I suspect up to two weeks is perfectly fine, and longer if you freeze them.

I usually double the batch and use an 8×8 pan, and cut into squares instead of bars. I got the recipe from Choosing Raw. http://www.choosingraw.com/sweet-snacking-lemon-kissed-cashew-hemp-bars/

yummo
yummo

I tell you these things went fast Sunday at the moving party! So while we are in the midst of the dog days of summer, days heating up, and ending sooner mix up a treat of summer freshness with these healthy bites. Add them to school lunches, but don’t forget to save a few for your own midday snack attack! Your taste buds will thank you!

little nuggets of goodness
little nuggets of goodness

Peace

 

Monday Musings… To you Pop’s

Daddy and carrot juice faces!
Daddy and carrot juice faces!

This blog is mostly about food, but the tag line states faith, food, family and fun. Well today it is about family, in particular a little about my Dad, Daddy, Pop’s. Pawpaw to his grandchildren, Jer to my Momma, brother to 11 and friend to many. Pop’s “checked out, went home, the plug was pulled” on August 13 at 3:20 a.m. Those references were phrases Daddy quickly found out he shouldn’t use toward the end of his life around the medical community. In short his failing earthly body ran out of steam and now he lives with no pain, no cancer, two good eyes and the light that was my Dad (pun intended as he was an electrician) shines even brighter as he sees Jesus face to face.

His crazy legacy
His crazy legacy

This picture is from Turkey trot last year. Part of his legacy, these faces, these lives, my brother, sisters, their kids all touched by a life lived simply. He was never what the world would consider a rich man, but oh rich he was. Dad was a worker, but he also liked his naps, his TV time, and he knew trivial facts about a lot of things. He liked to read, and he liked to geocache and be outside. He often said that he wasn’t ready to lay down yet, so why quit doing things. I found out at his visitation and celebration of life service, just how much his life touched other people. He worked with the Montgomery Co. Courts in the Reclaiming futures program, as a mentor, Helping Hands in Miamisburg, worked the prison ministry Kairos, served in the Emmaus community and could be found snow blowing driveways randomly in the neighborhood. He would tell me stories about the young boys at drug court from broken homes, or bad turns and he would say he himself was often probably one step from being in their shoes when he was younger.

I am not saying my Dad was perfect, far from it… but he was redeemed. You see once God got a hold of him, he became a different man, a man on a mission to not waste the gift he was given. I think if he could say one more thing to me, it would be just that; don’t waste what God gave you, use it to show love, to be love… yep that was Pa.

Playing in the rain
Playing in the rain

He would tell me, and you… enjoy the daily little things, look for God in the moment, look for love, look for chance to be the answer to someones need. This picture is from Easter and a spring rain. None of the kids were out there and Pa went out and started splashing.

Live in the moment, the simple everyday moment and make it count.

to you, Pa
Cheers to you, Pa

Pop’s used to say “I drank a lot of cheap beer when I was younger, now I have one or two good beers.” That pretty much sums out how he learned to live life too. He learned to value what mattered in life, to stay alert to the moments that he might be a light and love to someone in need. To him we say thanks for being our light (and fixing the lights) in our life. Thanks for living simply, but oh how rich a man you were/are with all that you have left behind to carry on your legacy.

I love you much Pop’s

Peace

…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…

hebrews 12:1

Monday Musings… It’s a little corny

Okay… I thought I was being a somewhat witty and creative with the title of this blog, yet it probably falls a little flat. I am distracted by the bright sun outside calling me to hit the pavement, or just soak in the beauty of the morning.

So much has been going on and I know I have been remiss in blogging, so here I am! I can’t believe it is August, and for many school will be starting up in just a few weeks! I had such plans for summer, I know it’s not over yet. I just knew I would spend some time in Columbus with my brother, just hanging out eating well and sharing a brew or two. I was sure that I would be making many yummy summer fresh dishes with the bounty of the season and my wonderful CSA! Neither of these goals has really happened, but I still have time!

Today I wanted to share with you a recipe for Coconut-ginger corn on the cob! Oh my gosh. I think the Sarno brothers and their Wicked Healthy branding is the bomb! (I should check in with my niece to know whether that term is used anymore) They rock the vegan world with such great stuff and this was a recipe I kept wanting to make. Finally corn season, and this easy twist on corn on the cob was so extremely tasty. So if you are looking for a different way to be a little “corny” this summer try this one out! Oh and the broth that is leftover… don’t throw it out, I think I could have just sipped on this! But I will tell you what I did with it later, first the star dish!

taking a coconut milk bath
taking a coconut milk bath

Coconut-Ginger Corn on the cob

Ingredients:

6 ears, Organic corn, shucked

Water

1 can of Light coconut milk

½ bunch, fresh mint

¼ cup fresh ginger, sliced  no need to peel

5 garlic cloves, sliced

½ tsp. salt

1 lime (optional, but highly suggested)

a dash of ground pepper if you like!

It’s up to you if you want to soak it ahead of time.  It does help with intensifying the flavor, so let the corn take a bath!

  1. Add all ingredients to medium size sauce pot, adding water just to cover the corn.  Save the lime and some mint for garnish.
  2. Heat sauce pot on med-low heat until it comes to a slow simmering boil (the lower and slower the heat = more flavor that the cob with absorb)
  3. Cook for about 15 minutes more and let sit and serve from the pot.
  4. Squeeze lime over the corn and a drizzle of broth in a serving bowl, I do recommend a shallow dish or bowl for serving so you can let the corn swim a little longer between bites!
  5. Strain the broth and save it for soup or something later, the broth is delish!IMG_1659This picture isn’t the best representation of this goodness! All I can say is I grew up slathering on butter, salt and pepper on corn. A good ear of bi-color sweet corn really doesn’t need all that, but I can tell you this little twist doesn’t over power the goodness of the corn but enhances it and makes you want to keep eating for sure!
    the bones!
    the bones!

    Here I must confess. This broth was so good I literally sucked the corn cobs to get all the flavor!! That might be too much info, but I dare you to make this dish and see if you don’t do the same thing!

    Now on to the leftover broth. After straining it I thought I would make soup with it like suggested. Pressed for time and needing something for lunch, I decided to pour it over some chopped up kale and fresh tomato’s and cucumber, with a splash of sriracha sauce! I was so surprised when I ate it the next day. It was a whole new dish and so easy! I think it would be great to use as a corn soup as suggested. Don’t limit your creativity. Or this might just be more proof that I will eat just about any combo of veggies! I would have taken a picture, but I didn’t know it was going to make it to the blog!

So find you some fresh, non GMO, hopefully organic corn and get your shuck on, a little hot bath in coconut milk and enjoy this recipe… and I bit you suck on the cobs! ;)

I hope that you too are enjoying some goodness from the bounty of summer veggies and sharing that and a hug with those you love.

Peace

 

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