Happy Holy-days!

At our house it’s the fourth Sunday in Advent. And time for some sweeping in the stable.

Translation: the creche figures which followed me home from Hungary nearly 34 years ago are beginning to take their places.

Next door, our neighbors are celebrating the first night of Hanukkah.

It’s also the day after my Feminine Frequency Festival live video debut!

I doubt seriously that there’s an Emmy in it for me AND I lived through it and learned a lot.

A whole bunch of IT was laid down in that half an hour! Which means more light in this world, now, and that totally works for me!

My dear friend and Intentional Creativity® sister, Natalie Moyes, was hugely helpful!

So, for service above & beyond… The Recipe!

If you missed the presentation, it’s all recorded and you can go check it out.

https://www.facebook.com/100002513322037/videos/850364826274873/

Hint… IT, in this case, refers to beliefs which are not empowering for you!

Even if you don’t make it to Festival Land, you can make cookies. Even if they’re not exactly the way WE always did it, they’re really good!!! (And a great addition to your medicine basket!)

Pecan Crunch Cookies

These are the mythical cookies that made my dad propose to my mom when he went home from college with her for Christmas break. When they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, he said it had been worth it for all the cookies! Granny made round and crescent moon shaped cookies.

The round ones are easier to roll and bake better without breaking. (I suspect Granny liked the moon ones so she could eat all the crumbs.) These are basically just enough dough to hold the pecans together! Especially if you’re baking with kids, I’d go with the balls.

Equipment Note: This dough gets pretty stiff. Whatever mechanical advantages you want or have will be helpful, though you’ll have to finish mixing by hand.

Ingredient Note: Unless you just like cracking pecans and picking them, and have about a week free, don’t be a shero on this one. Get good, current crop pecans, papershells in the South, cracked by somebody with a porch and a rocking chair. Those statues that look like scary toy soldiers are not the men for this job!

Preheat oven to 250°F. These work well with 2 sheets baking in the oven at once, evenly spaced.

In a bowl for your chosen mixing method, cream:

1 c. room-temp unsalted, organic butter and 6 Tbsp. powdered (confectioner’s) sugar (I like 10x which means it’s finer) until mixture is like whipped cream.

Add and mix in well:

2 Tbsp. real, preferably organic, vanilla extract and 1 lb. pecans, chopped to a med. size.

1 large pinch sea salt.

Stir in gradually, mixing well:

2 c. organic, sprouted grain (or all-purpose) flour.

Roll into small balls with the palms of your hands, about the size of a quarter or 1 neat mouthful. Press well together but don’t press so hard that they crumble.

Place close together, but not touching, on ungreased cookie sheets. These don’t grow.

Bake very slowly @ 250°F., really just drying them out, for 1 hour. They’ll be only a tiny bit browned. While cookies are still hot, roll in small bowls full of:

More powdered sugar. Roll cookies quickly to cover and set aside on layers of paper towel.

Continue until all cookies are baked.

Store in airtight cans or glass jars between layers of waxed paper. They’ll keep a week to 10 days, less long in humid areas. Gotta eat faster!

ps… the Legendary Husband was also hugely helpful with all the Festival stuff. Plus, he survived my tech-angst and vocabulary challenges! (The badly timed “crash” and my dead keyboard didn’t help much!) This is medal of honor work!!!

pps… huge thanks, as well, to Uncle Walter, and to C.S. Lewis’ friend, Puddleglum, who has been a powerful guide in my journey with the notion of beliefs! Curious??? Here’s the gist of the story from a slightly different Holy-day: https://sueboardman.com/st-puddleglum/

’twas the night before Thanksgiving…

…and all through the house, six people were stirring and laughing aloud!

…and working together to make apple pie, ’cause it’s something we love to do and to eat!

And, also, because it reminds us of those we love who’ve gone on to a world where every day is Thanksgiving.

I know you’ve probably got other plans for tomorrow, by now, but I just couldn’t resist inviting you to our table. Our Red Thread Circle. Because I’m grateful for you! So…

Great Grammy Sally’s Apple Pie

This was Dave’s favorite growing up. Great for summer holidays, but also for Thanksgiving, when you can often get superb local apples. Really good fruit pies crack and run a bit when you cut them. This is really good pie!

            MAKES 1 PIE, ABOUT 8 SERVINGS

            [Note on Ingredients: Since pie crust is a very personal thing, I’m going to leave it up to you. You’ll need enough for a 2 crust pie. Organic Granny Smith apples are great, or try local, seasonal, organic apples. You want something crisp and a bit tart.]

            Arrange oven racks so that pie will bake in center of oven.

            Preheat oven to 425 F.

            Prepare pie crust as above or remove purchased crust from fridge to warm.

            Wash, peel, quarter, and core:

                        6-7 organic apples, as above.

            Into large bowl, slice apples into ¼ inch thick slices, so they’ll retain their shape and some texture when cooked. No applesauce, here!

           In separate bowl, mix together:

                        2/3 c. sugar, more or less, depending on sweetness of apples.

                        1 Tbsp. sprouted grain or all purpose flour.

                        1 tsp. ground cinnamon.

            Add dry ingredients to apples and toss to coat.

           Add apple mix to pie pan with bottom crust.

           Dot with small pieces of butter, about 2 Tbsp. total.

           Cover with top crust. Roll and crimp edges to seal.

            With sharp knife, cut 6 slits, about 1 inch long, into top crust to let steam escape. Place pie on a sheet tray to catch any drips. Place in oven and bake 50-60 min. Check after 45 min. or so to see if edges of crust are browning too much. If so, fold strips of foil, about 3 inches wide and curve to arrange over edges. Top should be nicely browned, with bubbles of juice visible at edges of crust and slits in top when done.

            Cool on rack. Serve warm-ish or at room temperature, garnished to taste with:

                      Good vanilla or cinnamon ice cream.

                        Freshly whipped heavy cream.

                        A slice of sharp cheddar cheese.

            Enjoy!

ps… The Contemplative Grandmother, who’s surrounded with blessings and and hope – and a big batch of insight – would love to meet you and bring those gifts to you or someone you love… She’s ready in an accessible archival poster! FierceArtWithHeart!

Take a deep breath, please…

Pause… and just let it go. I mean, really, let it go. All the way.

Like exhale even longer than you inhaled!

Then, just keep breathing, consciously, while you read, please!

You see, I need a bit of a break in this moment and I suspect I’m not the only one.

So, for this day, I’m choosing to focus on precious little things that matter to me and mine.

(Which is also a lot like focusing on my Big Why, but somehow less intimidating!)

One of those things is Key Lime Pie. (Surrounded, in the photo wrestled out of the the Way-back Machine, by two of the BIG things!)

You see, we’re all hanging out for Thanksgiving and, in our family, that involves Key Lime pie!

This year it also involves planning ahead. And mailing a bit of the secret ingredient!

Which involves – well – the recipe!

And you, if you’re new around here, may not have the recipe, which would be sad because it’s easy and REALLY delicious. So, from my heart (and my holiday cookbook) to yours:

Authentic Key Lime Pie with a Gluten-Free Variation

This is the real deal – yellow colored – Key Lime Pie. Better yet, with the Oatmeal Pie Crust shell, it’s gluten-free! And Kenzie loves it! This is the recipe right off the Nellie & Joe’s bottle of Key Lime juice. You can order it from Amazon or try Whole Foods or Publix depending on where you are. Did you know that the pie has sweetened condensed milk in it because the recipe was developed before Key West had dependable milk delivery or refrigeration? Really!

MAKES: One 9 inch pie, about 8 servings

Equipment Note: You can use a food processorhand or stand mixer to do this, but a wire whisk will do. A mixing advantage is handy if you opt for homemade whipped cream. I often use an Eco-foil disposable pie tin with the domed plastic crust when I make this. 

Arrange oven racks so pie will bake in center of oven.

Preheat oven to 350 F. 

In a suitable mixing bowl, combine and mix well:

            One 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk

            3 good egg yolks. (Reserve whites for another use.)

Add and blend until smooth:

                        ½ c. Nellie & Joe’s Key West Lime Juice

Pour filling into:

                        One 9 inch prepared Graham Cracker pie shell*

Bake for 15 min. Remove from oven and place on rack. Allow to sit 10 min. before refrigerating.

Chill several hours or overnight.

Optional: Add to mixing bowl, preferably metal:

                      1 pint organic, heavy whipping cream

                        1 Tbsp. 10x powdered sugar, if desired. 

Whip cream rapidly by hand or with mixer, until soft peaks form.

If not using immediately, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. 

Just before serving, top pie with whipped cream. 

*Fabulous Gluten-free Oatmeal Pie Crust with Vegan Variation

Equipment Note: food processor or Vitamix-type blender is used for this recipe.

Depending on how high your pie will get when finished, allowing for whipped cream or meringue, you may want to purchase an Eco-foil pie pan with a plastic cover. 

I found this on an old, yellowed index card, in my mom’s handwriting, when I went through her recipes. I don’t remember her ever making it. What a gift for Bill & Taylor who avoid gluten! See how many ways you can find to use this like you would use a graham cracker crust, but better!

Into the bowl of your food processor or carafe of your blender, place:

            1 c. gluten-free rolled oats

            ½ c. brown sugar

            ½ c. flaked or shredded coconut

Pulse until ingredients resemble a fairly fine meal. Add:

            1/3 c. melted butter 

Continue to pulse until all ingredients are evenly mixed.

Press into bottom and sides of a 9 inch pie plate.  Cover with plastic wrap or lid to pan. Chill.

Variation – Vegan

Replace butter with 1/3 c. melted coconut oil

Enjoy!

ps… as I’m proofreading this message, Peter, Paul, & Mary are singing Puff the Magic Dragon and I want THEM and their hope in this moment of present tense!

pps… if help on your path to making a difference sounds hopeful, let’s talk! 45 min. My gift to you. And now is a really good time to check this out because there’s a holiday offer for sessions coming soon!

ppps… whether you’ve voted already or you’re about to, the Legendary Husband has you covered! (With light!)

Standing between the worlds…

Or, what happens when Grandmother Moon skips the news!

I woke as the sun rose with this blog post all hatched in my head.

During my first cup of tea, I wore out a couple of index cards with notes. Here’s a glimpse…

  • The Equinox… harvest/shorter days
  • 92 F this afternoon… but low of 55 F by Sat. am!
  • The West Wing… signs in our yard
  • Lurking germs
  • Legendary… Actual!
  • Mystical cauldrons… Soup!

I even hunted up one of my favorite recipes!

Then, I re-read my writing exercises from yesterday’s Legend videos. The Holy Wow’s are coming fast! The excitement bubbles and the tears are coming fast, too. And, as is so often the case, I am the work in progress! (Which is pretty hopeful when you get right down to it!)

Then, I checked the news.

And tossed my index cards into the recycling basket!

Then, I made some more tea and spent some time communing with my #wip painting who/which reminded me that I have some experience with the whole liminal space bit.

And fished my index cards back out!

Then, time for what MSNBC calls breaking news…

The Attorney General of the state of New York is suing an ex-President and 3 of his children in “a massive fraud lawsuit”.

And… “In a national address, Russian President Vladimir Putin raised threat of a nuclear response in the conflict in Ukraine and ordered reservists to mobilize in an escalation of the war” (The Wall Street Journal).

And… another time out for ranting and raving! And more tears. But my index cards hung in there!

So… a glimpse of my first Legend Painting, complete with her mystical cauldron.

And a reminder that there’s a Phoenix rising out of that mystical soup cauldron. Often, actual ones, too!

Thus, as you probably guessed… a recipe!

Vegan Soup Stock

Makes about 6 quarts.

Note: Wash hands well with soap and water, and avoid putting hands near eyes after handling chili pepper!

Into a 10 qt. stock pot, place:

8 quarts cold filtered water; 5 med. onions – preferably organic – quartered, peels on; and 5 heads garlic, halved, with paper; 2-4 c. frozen, chopped okra, which is very healing to the digestive system. (Or a great use for those last pods in your garden that got big and stringy!)

Bring just to a boil, over med-high heat. Skim any foam that rises to the surface. Add:

1 dry, hot-ish chili pepper, whole; 6 fresh or 3 dry bay leaves; 1 med. bundle thyme sprigs -preferably garden fresh – tied with a white cotton kitchen string.

Return to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to moderate simmer. Cook, adjusting temperature as needed to maintain simmer, for about 3 hours if you want a very mild flavored stock, and not more than 6 hours if you want deeper color and flavor. Taste occasionally for heat from pepper. When it reaches the stage you want, remove and discard pepper. When you’re happy with the stock, remove from heat and cool to a little warmer than room temperature. Scoop solids out and discard. They’ve given their all!

Strain stock through a fine mesh strainer. Reserve 1 or 2 quarts of stock if you want soup for dinner or tomorrow and proceed with desired recipes or refrigerate.

Add your family’s fav veg (raw or roasted) to the broth and simmer as needed to serve! (I won’t tell if a bit of left over roast chicken, or even shrimp, joins the mix… it will all be great!)

Refrigerate remainder. When quite cool, package for freezing in 1 pint and 1 quart containers, depending on your needs. Leave about an inch of head space as stock will expand while freezing. Label and date! Store stock in freezer for up to 6 months.

Variations:

Place 1-2 c. freeze dried, mixed organic mushrooms into 1 qt. very hot water. Allow mushrooms to steep like tea for up to 2 hours. Strain carefully through cheesecloth lined fine mesh strainer. Or use a coffee filter in the strainer. (I keep unbleached ones just for this purpose.) Reserve mushrooms. Add liquid to simmering veg stock. Rinse mushrooms well under running water and save for soup or a rice and veg dish, etc.

If you have some, add a couple of corn cobs, corn removed, to the stock pot. I keep cobs in the summer when I cut corn off and store them in a zippee bag in the freezer. They add a subtle sweetness and a bit of texture to veg stock. Removing the corn simply is the best trick I’ve learned from Rachel Ray. Take a large bowl with a flat bottom and place it on or near your chopping board. Then take a smaller bowl, turn it upside down and place it securely in the bottom of the big bowl. (It’s worth experimenting a bit to find two bowls that make a stable pair!) Cut the flat end of the corn cob off straight and level with a sharp knife and place it on the inverted inner bowl. Hold the pointed end of the corn cob up and, using your sharp knife, cut the kernels from the cob in long strips, turning the cob, or the bowl, as needed until all the kernels are removed and waiting neatly in the large bowl. Fast, neat, and you don’t need to store extra gadgets!!! (slb, We Gather Together…holiday feasts with the family you have! )

ps… need a mythical cauldron with a phoenix rising out of it, or love someone who does??? ABRACADABRA! And shop around while you’re there! From now through Thursday, September 22 – the Autumnal Equinox – I’m sending 20% of ALL FierceArtWithHeart profits to make Georgia even blue-er! Get some inspiring art… from original canvases to mugs and hats for warming the season… and make a big difference at the same time! Commissions considered. Great way to shop for the holidays, too! (Stacey, Raphael, Hank, Lucy, Nikema, Marcus, Jen, and Bee will be thrilled!) Hurry!!!

Tradition!

Can’t you just hear him, deep inside?

Yep! Tevye. Let’s listen…

A fiddler on the roof. Sounds crazy, no? But in our little village of Anatevka, you might say every one of us is a fiddler on the roof, trying to scratch out a pleasant, simple tune without breaking his neck. It isn’t easy. You may ask, why do we stay up there if it’s so dangerous? We stay because Anatevka is our home… And how do we keep our balance? That I can tell you In one word… Tradition!

Tradition… Tradition…

Because of our traditions, we’ve kept our balance for many, many years. Here in Anatevka we have traditions for everything… how to eat, how to sleep, even, how to wear clothes. For instance, we always keep our heads covered and always wear a little prayer shawl… This shows our constant devotion to God. You may ask, how did this tradition start? I’ll tell you – I don’t know. But it’s a tradition… Because of our traditions, everyone knows who [they are] and what God expects [them] to do.

You, dear reader, may well be wondering why this particular song is stuck in my head at this particular moment. It’s a good question! And there are several answers.

First, I’ve known all the words at least as long as I’ve known all the summer camp songs that live deep inside me.

Then, the Legendary Husband and I had date night.

We went to one of our neighborhood faves, complete with a great sidewalk patio, which has even more advantages just now than it used to.

There’s a new owner these days. I think his name is Sean. Much of the pub-y menu has stayed the same. One nice surprise, though, is a new emphasis on local, seasonal veg, delightfully fried in a dynamite batter.

There is, however, a challenge with the whole local food bit. Supply!

I was delighted, on date night, to discover that they did, indeed, have fried green tomatoes available.

Now, my friend Tevye had nothing on Southerners when he was singing about tradition on that roof so long ago. And, while I don’t consider myself technically a Southerner, I am more than fluent in Southern food.

So, imagine my surprise when my glorious plate of fried tomatoes arrived at the table… red!

Okay, maybe closer to pink… but decidedly un-green.

HERESY!!!

I was skeptical. But hungry.

And thrilled when I took my first taste!

On I munched, waxing poetic. Then, I had a new idea!

You guessed it! Half a slice of fried pink tomato into each of my shrimp tacos!!!

Divine does not begin to describe…

And, not a trace of tradition-shattering guilt!

You see, I’m all about able to choose!

Also, as you know, context.

And, I’ll even go a step farther.

I’m utterly sure that this is exactly the way the Mother-Father Creator of my understanding planned it!

So, as the sun waved goodbye over the sidewalk, and a hawk swooped by, I sent 47 choruses of the Hallelujah song to the kitchen, via the grinning new owner.

If you’re in the ‘hood, holler, and I’ll gladly take you on the Fried Pink Tomato Tour.

For now, though, my Insight painting has more Good Trouble to cause!

ps… just in case you’re looking for a bit of Good Trouble, too, CHECK THIS OUT. It’s a great next step!

pps… and that whole able to choose thing… I have, indeed, got you covered! (In several colors and lots of sizes!)

The land of learning…

It’s 4 pm ET. There is a small pinch pot, complete with face and hands and feet, in progress on the kitchen counter.

The table is currently the home of electronic medical records and a first adventure with crocheting.

A movement is afoot to clear the whole counter for dinner prep.

It is, indeed, French Laundry experiment night!

But, before that… a call to the A/C repair folks for advice. (And, yes, it’s HOT!)

I am temporarily resting up from a major raid on Michaels, in preparation for sous chef duties.

My grandsnake is, well, snaking around his huge aquarium condo next to the table. I’ve begun to find him interesting, which is major learning for me. (Possibly enough learning in this case!)

The fabulous fish place was short a fillet-er and we had to leave before rush hour, so the mom & dad & I will be tackling that adventure, too.

I used to help my dad a lot.

That was, shall we say, a long time ago!

The girls are going to give me jewelry lessons. (Probably tomorrow.)

We’ve also been painting!

The cats are prowling around, somehow having guessed that there is snapper in the fridge. Or, maybe they’re just hopeful!

I have learned how to give money to tweens & teens new to the wonders of banking and debit cards!

And had a lesson in airpods! (Since I added a remote drive to my laptop, I have waaaayyy too many things with cords!)

I know all this sounds like blah… blah… blah… It really isn’t!

It’s the place where all the things I’ve learned and survived on my journey, thus far, feel like exactly what I needed to be ready for this moment.

I am utterly in my power… and have no need to be in charge.

Which is, when you think about it, kind of miraculous!

I suspect all this revelation is related to my recent ability to claim the fact that my SuperPower, if you will, is helping others claim and live into their SuperPowers.

This knowing has been a long time coming.

Blessedly generous teachers. Some effective choices at the crossroads of learn new things or give up. A hefty bit of urgent desperation along the path.

A lineage of amazing women. And taking my place on the way… following a great many and helping to lead some, too.

The power-full painting at the top belongs to one of those amazing women.

The slightly younger amazing woman, below, is already a talented sous chef.

And the fortune in the cookie for this moment, borrowed from a chosen Mama, Caron McCloud, is this:

Mattering matters!

ps… ready to take your place along the way? CLICK HERE!!! (It’s fun, fast, and free!)

pps… the elves at FierceArtWithHeart are busy adding new items! Come check it out…

Craving Comfort!

Let’s talk about comfort. Really!!!

Some of us grew up thinking it was one of those words. Words bright, go-getter people on a mission didn’t have time for.

You know…

Get out of your comfort zone!

Don’t get too comfortable!

The comfort zone is the great enemy of courage and confidence” -Brian Tracy

And my personal least-favorite…

Comfortable shoes are for wimps!

As it turns out, comfort is not an either/or issue. It’s both/and!

Here’s my best understanding of the bottom line:

We need to have experienced enough trust in our comfortable places to venture out into more risky ones.

I’m kind of standing with one foot on each side of that line.

New ideas. New things to try. New needs clamoring to be recognized.

Okay, maybe the needs aren’t really so new. Just louder!

So, yes to comfortable chairs. And shoes, when I put any on!

And, yes to putting the things I love and need most in the places most comfortable for me to reach… which does, in fact, resemble what I might once have called closet cleaning.

Yes to dots of prayer and intention.

Yes to listening – on many levels – to what feels real.

And yes to some powerful stories which connect me to both my deep past and my envisioned future.

And yes to my new favorite comfort snack to help me stay on the road when I need a boost.

It’s easy!

About a pound of organic walnut halves and pieces.

About 1/2 a pound of dried cranberries… as chemical-free as possible.

A good pinch or two of a natural flakey sea salt… like Maldon.

Mix in a suitable container and stash in the fridge. A small handful during that afternoon slump time will power the next right thing, without counterproductive guilt trips.

The Big Why? helps, too!

YOUR Big Why?

Still sorting that one out???

This will help!

And, for me, in this moment, a bit of chair hanging. (Grandmother Moon got chatty early this morning!)

What feels like brave, empowering comfort for you?

ps… quilts help, too!

Sue Boardman, Certified Intentional Creativity®
Color of Woman Teacher & Coach