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Archive for December, 2011

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I am going to a get-together on New Year’s Eve and need something easy to make and take. A quick perusal of my kitchen revealed some apples and bananas that need to be eaten. How to use them?

I began by combining my host’s dislike of sugar with my need to wean myself from the evil white stuff.

I then added a Google search for low-fat apple banana quick bread. I mixed together the ingredients in this recipe.

Baked for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Let cool. Hopefully we will enjoy tomorrow night!

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It’s the dawn of a new year, and I have to say, “hallelujah!”

But before I set my intentions for the new year, I want to honor the blur that was 2011.

The year started out so promisingly. I had recently returned from an enlightening trip to Peru and was intent on learning as much as I could about Quero mysticism and energy work.

I was going to get together with like-minded friends for meditation and ceremonies. I was claiming my power as a co-creator of my life. Most of all, I felt very positive about my life and my purpose this time around.

Then, about February, one of my dogs simultaneously injured her front leg and began exhibiting unsettling signs of dementia.

After running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to ease Bailey’s pain and anxiety, I soon realized that no matter what I did, I couldn’t cure my dog. I just needed to pay attention to what was mine to do and to be a loving presence for her.

It was a long year of running to vet appointments, spending a lot of money, and sleeping very little. Somehow, my best-laid plans of focusing on spiritual interests went right out the door!

I did accomplish a few things, including finding closure on an old family hurt and developing a better relationship with a “challenging” person.

I also had a very productive spring garden, and have vowed not to travel extensively next summer so as to stop potential problems before they get out of hand. Deer, squash bugs and weeds: you are on notice!

And I finally got over my fear of canning and began preserving some of the produce from my garden.

One positive from this past year was my reading (and re-reading and re-reading again) the works of several spiritual teachers/life coaches, including Wayne Dyer, Jennifer Hoffman, and (most recently) Julia Rogers Hamrick.

What I am trying to absorb is something very simple: set intentions, then get out of the way and trust that life will unfold in divine right order.

So, with that overarching goal in mind, here are my personal intentions for 2012 (in no particular order):

    I intend to get healthy. This past fall, I have had a cold/flu/allergies for months on end, then a stress fracture, and now more respiratory stuff. Enough already!

    Along those lines, I intend to lose weight and honor my body with an increased focus on healthy eating, exercise, and sufficient sleep.

    I intend to find and/or create soulful work that also provides me with financial abundance.

    I intend to walk the Camino de Santiago with ease. I would like to go sooner rather than later, but I leave the timing up to the Universe.

    I intend to increase my efforts for healing work for the earth and its sentient beings.

    I intend to live in Easy World! This one sums up a lot of things I’d like to accomplish: living in the flow, with no need to judge situations or others, and truly trusting that my highest good is unfolding.

So, in a nutshell, get healthy, create meaningful work, step out onto new horizons, stop judging, and be more loving.

A tall task, but since I’m living in Easy World now, no need to worry!

Happy New Year!

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Truth be known, I love my coffee. Dark blend. French roast. I can’t get through the day without a few cups.

I also love my water. Perhaps because I drink all that coffee, but I find my body isn’t happy unless I am well-hydrated.

But winter time also has me reaching for tea. Black tea. Green tea. Herbal tea. I have a cup every night after dinner.

Well, sometimes there’s hot chocolate, but that’s another story.

Back to tea. One can imagine my excitement when I saw the holiday assortment of teas made by Celestial Seasonings.

I purchased the Gingerbread Spice (reminiscent of their Exotic Chai) and the Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride (does indeed taste like sugar cookies, but not a keeper).

I also purchased my new favorite tea, Candy Cane Lane. A decaffeinated green tea with a hint of peppermint. Delicious! I am addicted.

But, because this is a limited-time-only tea, I knew I had to stock up while supplies lasted.

So last week, I went back to my co-op and bought one box for me, along with several others to give away. (Yes, I did give them away!)

Much as I wanted to, I did not empty the shelves at that time. It was the season of giving, not hogging, after all!

But today, three days after Christmas, I figured it was safe for my inner hoarder to come out.

I went back to the co-op and purchased the last four boxes of Candy Cane Lane tea. Now I just have to find a place to store all those boxes! Though, based on my tea consumption over the past few weeks, I don’t think space will remain a problem.

What type of tea do you like?

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Recipe for compost

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To make compost, use the following ingredients:

Browns (carbons): such as leaves, sticks, straw, dead plants from the garden, shredded cardboard

Greens (nitrogen): such as fresh grass clippings, veggie scraps, some food waste, some manures

Place compost pile in a sunny area so it can heat up. Mix ingredients. Stir pile and occasionally add water.

Cat optional.

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It’s nearing the end of the year, and am I ever ready! I can’t lie: 2011 had its challenges. And while I recognize the gifts in those challenges, I am more than ready to put this year behind me and start fresh in 2012.

So I was ever so happy to read about Karen Chrappa’s despacho ceremony for cutting chords to energies that no longer serve us.

Karen lists several ways one can participate in her despacho ceremony. I chose to begin by scubbing my body with sea salt in the shower, while visualizing toxins and toxic energy being released.

I then performed her fire ceremony, using a toothpick in which to blow my intentions for release. While the toothpick burned, I followed her technique for using a spiritual sword to cut chords.

Then I made my own baby despacho, using some dried herbs, dried fruit, flowers and a little chocolate. I used bay leaves to blow my intentions, which were actually a combination of release and manifestation.

I gave special thanks to my dog, Bailey, for being my companion this past decade. I affirmed her presence as a loving guide for both her sibling, Nanaline, and for me.

Then I tied up the despacho and placed it on a small altar in my room. Depending on the weather, I’ll either burn or bury it on the 25th.

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I feel energetically lighter and mentally more positive after performing these ceremonies. And I am especially grateful for Karen sharing her ceremonies. I look forward to participating in more of them in the new year.

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I just packed up a bag full of homemade gifts for co-workers.

The bag contains: pickled collard greens, zucchini, tomatillos, and green beans, made with produce from the garden. There’s also some spiced apple butter, made with apples from the NC mountains; and the last of the pear-ginger preserves, blueberry butter and chocolate balsamic vinegar, made with ingredients purchased at Costco.

So now that I’ve cleaned out the cupboard, it’s about time to pull out the seed catalogs and place orders for the 2012 garden. And to peruse my canning books for more recipes for next year’s gifts. I can’t think of a nicer way to spend the cold January nights.

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Being an avid reader, one of my favorite things to do is go to the library, walk up and down the aisles and choose whatever books seem interesting.

But because I read a lot, I don’t always remember what I’ve read and will occasionally check out books I’ve already enjoyed (or not).

I’m hoping this happens again with the book from which I got the recipe for today’s soup. I have no idea who the author is, so I’m hoping it’s okay to share this recipe because it’s easy to make and delicious!

I’ve made a similar soup with carrots instead of parsnips, but I prefer the parsnips.

Curried Parsnip and Apple Soup

1 tbsp butter
1 lb. parsips
2 apples, peeled and sliced (I used granny smiths)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp cumin
1tsp coriander
1 clove garlic, minced
4 cups veggie stock
Salt and pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a soup pot, then add the parsips, apples and onions. Cook until soft, but not browned.

Add the spices and garlic; cook for about two minutes, stirring well. Pour in the stock slowly, stirring until well mixed. Cover and simmer gently for about 30 minutes, until parsnips are quite soft. Puree with an immersion blender. Add more stock to thin, if desired. Salt and pepper to taste.

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