Not so much a cake girl!

This is what birthday feasts look like at our house. (At least when I’m choosing!)

It’s been a bit of a day, part of which involved my not remembering to put time zones in a link for a Zoom meeting.

That reminded me of something which always amazes me. My friend, Steve Glenn, helped me understand differences in the “old” days and the more recent ones.

The total volume of world knowledge, as Steve explained it, used to double once every 500 years or so. By the time my Dave was about 10, the best estimate was that we’d reached the point where the total volume of world knowledge was doubling every 5 years or so. Some current estimates suggest that world knowledge may, at least in some fields, be doubling about every 6 weeks!

Wrap your head around that!

During President Obama’s second election, I remember him saying that, of the children born that day, half of them would have first jobs that hadn’t even been invented yet!

And if you, by chance, have grandchildren, I’ll bet you’re not at all surprised at this. Just look at what they know that we didn’t. Or, in some cases, don’t yet!

So what do we do with all the changing and learning?

Well, the first thing seems to me to be realizing that learning used to be about memorizing stuff. Geometry proofs. The classification system for plants and animals. (And, if you’d met my bio teacher, you’d have learned to spell all those Latin words, too!)

These days, though, learning means knowing how to find what you need.

Or, as Steve once put it, to be learners at least as much as learned.

Those statements are not either/or options. They’re just a pretty significant shift in emphasis.

Which leads us to allow ourselves to experiment with the notion that different isn’t always bad. A little scary, maybe. But not bad.

And, once you’ve practiced a bit, experiment with newness in public! Like, you know, where kids can see you. They may be too busy with their own worlds to make a big deal about it but it will still shift reality just a bit.

Then, if an occasion presents itself, look for opportunities to practice with kids! Chances are, you’ll all learn new things. New is often good. And, if you’re doing it too, it feels safer for everybody!

For now, I’m off to one of my very favorite things. Time to chat with my kids!

Then, I’m going to do another new thing. I’m going to enter my second Legend painting, aka Chosen, Safe, and Loved, in an online museum show being organized around the upcoming 65th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, taking place in a largely virtual fashion in March. Here’s your sneak preview! I’ll keep you posted on the show.

ps… She is, as most Legend paintings are, a bit of a self portrait. But Luther’s right there to make this kind of newness feel safe!

What We CAN Do!

It’s a hard time to be a person who believes in justice, and feeding people, and re-uniting families torn apart by walls and cages.

It’s hard to be a grandmother who so deeply wants to hug her kids.

And it is undoubtedly even harder to have lost loved ones and jobs and hope to a global pandemic that was desperately mishandled by a person formerly known as the leader of the free world.

Yes. I’m pissed. And heart broken. And, just between us, frightened.

I’m also determined. And inspired.

So, today, we sent some food and some grocery money to a young woman I care about who got caught in the midst of the Covid crisis in a place where she can take classes online, but not fix dinner online. (And, yes, there was bone broth in the bag!)

I knit, and Bill delivered, about 20 prayer scarves to a program for homeless people. The groundhog saw his shadow yesterday, so I’m still knitting.

We voted. And contributed. And encouraged. And, yes, the signs are still in the garden!

Last night I sent an email thanking a neighboring Congressional Representative who has hired a body guard in order to live more or less safely in what is essentially my neighborhood and do her sworn work in Congress. And, no, she’s not blonde.

Sometime this week, the solar panels for our roof should be delivered. I figure we’ll have learned how it all works by the time there’s useful sunshine again.

(And, just in case you need a roof, too, did you know that if you put a metal roof on top of your shingle roof, they don’t have to tear the old toxic stuff off and dump it in a landfill?)

If you’re still reading, I’m guessing you’ve known me long enough to realize I’m not bragging, or telling you what to do. I just believe, with all my heart, that there are things we can do even when it doesn’t feel like it and, if we all do some of them, we’ll get to a world that works better for all of us sooner.

For this moment, though, there are hungry, hungry Newfoundlands drooling on my feet and some serious moving-on-from-planning-and-into- actually-doing ways to work with me on your dreams.

Visioning. Coaching. Painting. Leading.

It’s going to take a whole bunch of us! I’ll keep you posted…

ps… Please join me in being thankful for a guy named Claude who used to feed my kid when I was a broke single mom/Seminary student. He’s at the top of my Black History Month list!

pps… Which has more juice for you right now… personal or professional visions? (Leave a comment, email me, text, respond to this post, whatever works!) suesvoice@gmail.com

When Life Calls for New Strategies

If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably noticed that some of your go-to coping strategies haven’t quite been up to life in our world just lately. And, if you’ve been hanging around for a bit, you probably know that one of my coping strategies is the alchemy involved in transforming a variety of grass-fed bones and some veg and herbs into the elixir of life known as bone broth.

Just between us, that hasn’t worked so well at our house lately.

The change started sometime last fall with a dead stove and the advent of a new, sexy, gas model. There was a bit of drama with the installation process. Now, though, it presides over our small but welcoming kitchen rather like a mythological goddess named Hestia. And it does a great many things very well.

There’s just one problem.

I, who grew up with electric stoves, have not been able to convince myself to put a pot of broth on there and leave it simmering gently overnight, as is my habit, while – you know – sleeping.

Then, as part of our New Year ritual, Bill and I cleaned out both freezers. No matter how I sorted and arranged, we were very nearly out of the magic comfort potion.

Then, I had an idea! You see, we also own an InstantPot which, in my opinion, doesn’t hold anywhere near a batch of broth. BUT I realized I could make broth in two steps. I was inspired and excited.

Then, at least where I live, the world went tilt. Tragic Covid statistics. Insurrections. Fear. Massive questions. And I went from inspired and excited to afraid and more than a bit angry. These are not the ideal mental states for creativity!

Today, though, that changed. Well, not all today. I think I just hit the tipping point of reclaiming my world even in the midst of all the external reality.

So, surrounded by the heavenly scent of Bird Broth, as I type these words, I have entered the recovery phase of 2021.

I used the InstantPot to do a good batch of bones and the water that would fit. It’s cooling now and will spend the night in the fridge. Then, tomorrow, I’ll transfer it to my prized enormous stock pot – the one with the little faucet so you don’t have to pick it up full – add all the veg and herbs and secret ingredients, along with several gallons more water, and do about 8 more hours of simmering when I can check on it as often as my inner Girl Scout requires.

I am comforted by even the process of comfort soup.

This is, by the way, a fine example of editing our strategies which is part of my new individual coaching program and quite possibly a free standing workshop in the near future. Though, with Zoom, everybody will have to be in charge of their own aromatherapy!

Oh, and just in case you wondered, a bit of Sister Act in the midst of all the CNN is not a bad thing!

ps… In case you might have some strategies that could use a bit of editing, just email me. suesvoice@gmail.com I’d be honored to ponder the possibilities with you!

Many kinds of healing…

This is a week for healing in my world! The art kind. The energy kind. And, of course, the food kind!

Specifically, bone broth.

I’m feeling a bit generationally confused. The art feels both new and ancient. The energy, feels utterly new because it’s happening in the universe of Zoom and I’ve never done exactly this before.

I do know lots of old, old stories with hints of energy healing between the lines.

I also know that I’m good at learning new things. Well, most of them. I’m still working on the whole tech adventure! And I’ve done Qigong!

At this moment, I know just enough about what’s ahead to realize I’ll need to prepare. And part of that preparation involves – you guessed it – soup! Lots of soup.

It’s good. It’s easy. It’s comforting. It’s legendary, which fits in nicely with my painting-in-progress. And there are, conveniently, a whole bunch of turkey bones at my house, looking for a purpose. Here you go!

There ain’t a body – be it a mouse or a man – that ain’t made better by a little soup.                                          

 – Kate DiCamillo                

Turkey Broth…the actual magic, right here!

Makes: 6 – 8 quarts in a 10 – 12 quart stockpot.

Notes: Consider making a big pot of turkey broth as part of a holiday tradition. It’s a great way to teach the next generations and it smells heavenly.

I like a very clear turkey broth with a lot of depth that can be used in any number of recipes, so this is what I do. If you have a specific flavor profile in mind, feel free to adjust the herbs and veg as you like. Please resist the temptation to toss all the wilted stuff in your fridge into the pot!

Ingredients: The best stock contains a mixture of roasted and raw bones. Choose yours from the list below.

  • Carcass from ½ a roasted turkey, including some ribs and a wing, with some meat still attached. A leg is also useful if you have one left. Smoked turkey bones will work, too! If you just roasted a turkey breast, use those bones and add bones from a couple of roasted chickens.
  • Any necks, hearts, or gizzards you’ve saved. (Freeze livers separately for dirty rice, etc.)
  • Additional raw bones, about 1-2 lb. necks, backs, wings, etc. (You can use chicken bones, too, if you like.) I particularly like necks for this because they have lots of healing cartilage. Check your local farmer or an international market near you.
  • 3 Tbsp. acidic liquid. I use Braggs Organic Apple Cider Vinegar “with the mother.” White wine or fresh lemon juice will work, too.
  • 3-4 med or large yellow onions, halved, with skins on. (Really!)
  • 3-4 whole garlic bulbs, halved, with paper on.
  • 3-4 fresh bay leaves or 2-3 dried ones.
  • Fresh thyme sprigs. The more the merrier! I use a bundle about the diameter of a quarter, tied with white cotton kitchen string. Add a 4-6 inch sprig of fresh rosemary if you like.
  • Fresh parsley stems, if you happen to have some around. Tie them with the thyme sprigs.

Place raw bones with any gizzards or hearts into stockpot. Add cold water to cover by 2-3 inches. Add cider vinegar, white wine, or lemon juice. Cover and allow to sit, off the heat, for about 45 min. This helps pull the minerals and other goodies out of the bones and into the stock.

After you’ve soaked the raw bones, add the roasted bones to the stockpot.

Add additional cold water, leaving room at the top to add your veg and herbs. Place pot over med. high heat and bring to a very gentle boil.

After pot begins to boil gently, adjust temp to keep it from reaching a full, rolling boil. Skim whatever foam or bits of grey-ish stuff float to the surface and discard. You’ll need to skim every few minutes until it quits creating stuff to skim! (About 10-15 min. total.) This step is important! Skimming helps create a beautiful clear broth and prevents the development of any bitter taste.

While you’re skimming every few minutes, prep your veg and herbs as described above. Leaving the skin/paper on onions and garlic adds to the flavor and color of the broth. (Wipe any dirt from onion skins.) This is one reason I like organic! Try not to do this too far ahead. Onions are best used when they’ve just been cut!

Add your prepped veg and herbs gently so as not to splash yourself.

Turn the heat down to med-low. You want your broth to just simmer gently. No more boiling. It will take some practice with your particular stove to find out what works. Fiddle with it and check frequently. You want itty bitty bubbles just breaking the surface.

Cook for at least 8 hours, and not more than 16, for a clean flavor with all the nutrients pulled out into the broth. Try not to stir while it cooks. (That can cloud your broth.) You can put on a lid, partially covering the pot, for part of the cooking time to lessen the amount of water that cooks off, making the broth somewhat less concentrated, or leave the lid off and allow it to reduce more, concentrating the flavors. If you put the lid on, you’ll need the turn the heat down to keep it from coming to a boil. Turn the heat up a bit if you take the lid off. We’re still after those itty bitty bubbles!

If you wish to add additional water during cooking to increase the amount of broth, you must use very hot water, about 180-190 F.

Now is the time when you get to inhale the magic while you throw in a load of laundry and go back to your writing, pick up a paint brush, or teach your kids to play Cribbage… (also known as math!).

When you’re happy with the color and flavor of the broth, remove from the heat and allow your marvelous creation to cool an hour or two. Scoop all bones and aromatics from the broth and discard them. (They’ve given all they had!) Remember that you’re going to use this broth to add flavor and nutrients to other recipes. Please resist the urge to add salt or adjust seasonings now.

After scooping out bones and so forth from the pot, strain into another container through a fine mesh sieve, being sure to get all the bones. You may use some of the broth immediately, if you care to. Otherwise, chill broth overnight in the fridge. You’ll know you’ve got a great batch if it gets jiggly, like soft Jell-O! (If not, it’s still a miracle! Just keep practicing.)

Transfer chilled broth to quart- and pint-sized plastic containers, (or the sizes that work for you) preferably BPA free. Leave 1 inch headroom, as broth will expand when frozen. Label, including date, and freeze until needed, up to 6 months. I try to thaw frozen broth overnight in the fridge before using. When that isn’t possible, thaw on counter and monitor so that it doesn’t start to warm.

Let the magic begin again!

psemail me at suesvoice@sueboardman.com to be on the “first to know” list for more information on what’s bubbling in the workshop pot! (Or leave a comment below the post.)

pps… check these Etsy links for sisters – one with a phoenix rising out of a soup pot and one with a bowl of stardust soup!

When the Mystic makes gravy…

Okay, this may turn out to be one of those “you had to be there” kind of posts, but then again, maybe not!

Fortunately, food is often art at our house. And art is food for the soul. Taken together, my week kinda makes sense after all.

My third Legend painting, known around here as The Legendary Mystic, is holding court in the studio, acting as though she’s in charge. Which, in a way, she is.

We would be, if we believed in such things, behind. Instead, she’s making space for what my soul needs to set free. Mostly, prayer dots…

  • For my sister’s not quite 8 week old grandson, struggling to heal from much needed heart surgery.
  • For a dear family friend admitted to the hospital.
  • For all of us who are missing those we love in order to help the world to heal in the midst of the pandemic, and those we lost because of it.
  • For political sanity. And for so many other people and situations.
  • Also for two workshops creating mental Braxton-Hicks contractions in my heart. Or, perhaps, expansions! (Early news, next week!)

All the while, the turkey, straight from my friends at Carlton Farms, is thawing gently in the fridge. I made 2 batches of bird broth Monday. Tonight, we’ll cook the wild rice for the mandatory batch of what Bill refers to as Marry Me Dressing!

And, here, as promised, my very own gluten free, paleo, great place to hide vegetables recipe for positively stunning gravy.

Turkey Gravy

Making and stirring gravy was a huge honor in my family. If you have budding foodie kids around who know something about stove safety, let them help stir! This is easy, fabulous, and healthier than the old fashioned kind. Thanks to Jamie Oliver for the inspiration. I think Daddy and Granny would be proud.

Note: If you prefer very smooth gravy, you’ll need an immersion blender.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, you’re roasting your turkey on a bed of onions, carrots, and celery, tossed in good olive oil and S&P.

About 1/2 hour before you’ve planned for your turkey to be done roasting, place into large saucepan and heat gently: 2 qt. excellent quality Super Chicken Stock (or Bird Broth). If you have to purchase stock, select the kind in the shelf stable “boxes” instead of canned. Organic is best. No salt added is a good choice.

When turkey is done, tip all juices from cavity back into roasting pan and remove your glorious bird to a platter or large cutting board with grooves to catch more juice. If you dry brined your turkey, it will be juicier than with other cooking methods.

Place roasting pan on stovetop over 2 burners set on medium to medium-high heat. Stir roasted veg around in juice until nicely browned. Remove celery, as well as any stray bay leaves or herb stems, and discard. Mash remaining veg with hand potato masher in roasting pan for rustic gravy and remove any remaining big chunks with slotted spoon. For smoother gravy, turn burners off for a few minutes. Remove veg to a deep stainless or glass bowl and puree with immersion blender. Strain gravy through fine mesh sieve and return to pan, with burners set again on medium to medium-high heat.

Deglaze pan with about 1/2 c. white wine, probably whatever you’re serving with dinner or a good, smooth Chardonnay.

Scrape up stuck good stuff from bottom of pan. Adjust heat as needed so that gravy bubbles gently but does not boil. Begin to add warmed stock, about 1 c. at a time, mixing well. Gravy should grow in volume, but not thin out too much. Continue adding stock, stirring, and simmering. Add additional turkey juices from carving.

Lower heat and continue to stir frequently until ready to transfer to serving vessel. The gravy texture will be more like sauce than the old kind, full of flour. Taste. Adjust seasonings as needed but don’t be surprised if it’s already perfect!

This makes quite a bit of gravy and it freezes really well for fast winter dinners!

Boardman, 91 ff.

Bill and Phoebe and Luther and I wish you and yours peace and strength for the future.

ps… If, like me, you believe that art will help to save the world, I’d be honored if you checked out my Etsy store where Black Friday is already in progress! Oh, and you can get full copies of WE GATHER TOGETHER, with all the recipes there, too!

pps… Also, Fine Art America is well stocked with “lifestyle” goodies like puzzles and yoga mats and tote bags, oh, my!

ppps… If you have fond memories of trips to the mall, back in the old days, try Sue’s Shop! The Mystic is grateful!

A day of mixed blessings…

Today – in this case, Saturday – is a bit of an emotional quilt. Scraps of this and that, held together with red thread.

There’s a 7-hour livestream painting adventure on my calendar. It has to do with physics and healing and art. I suspect it also has to do with the virtual web of women, literally around the world, joining in healing energy.

But before that, there’s the last of 6 lessons in Turning Your Wisdom Into (Online) Workshops, led by the very wise Sam Bennett and her amazing team. Details to follow…

But before that, I sold a painting, a small menorah. The back of it is inscribed, Let there be light! I’m counting on that. And happy that my bit of work has found its forever home.

But before that, 89 years ago, my dad was born. According to the family legend, he was the last of Elsie’s six babies, and the first one she actually got to name! It had something to do with Elsie’s mother-in-law, known as MOTHER Boardman.

Somewhere, in the next world, I’ll bet my dad and all the gang are laughing about turkey plucking and, some of them at least, planning to go tip over an out house for old time’s sake.

In their honor… my version of what to do with the bird.

Of course, you’ll need your bird thawed, even if you skipped the dry brining process. (Note: It can take up to 3 days to thaw an 18-20 pound turkey in the fridge!) For Gorgeous Juicy Turkey, you’ll want to plan on roughly 2 hours for roasting and 1/2 hour for resting. See * below for additional info on timing according to turkey size!

A small amount of math is inevitable.

Remove your lovely bird from the fridge about 4 hours before you’re planning to serve your fabulous dinner. Allow it to sit out and come to cool room temp…about an hour. Put it somewhere the dogs really can’t reach it!

Preheat oven to 525 degrees F. 

Pour out any juices from the inside of the turkey and the bottom of the pan and discard. Pat the bird gently dry, inside and out, trying not to disturb any remaining brine mixture on the skin.

If you brined, no additional salt or pepper is needed!

(If you didn’t brine ahead of time, remove any innards, etc. now and generously season the inside of the turkey with good sea salt and freshly ground black or mixed peppercorns. )

Your marvelous dressing goes into a pan to bake. Trust me. (Sorry Granny!)

Fill the cavity with aromatics. Try a mix of your favorites… any combination of these will add to the cooking juices, keeping the turkey moist and making tasty gravy. (This part will take about 1/2 hour of our 4 hour timeline.)

  • Quartered onion, skin on.
  • A whole garlic bulb, cut in half.
  • A quartered, cored, firm organic apple.
  • 3-4 bay leaves, preferably fresh, crushed briefly to release oils.
  • A handful of fresh thyme sprigs. 
  • A fresh lemon, cut in half.
  • Rosemary and sage are good too, but may overtake other flavors. Tread lightly!
  • Any stems from fresh parsley you may have around.

After the cavity is filled, tie the wings and legs, pulling them close to the body with kitchen string so your bird will roast more evenly.

Then, scrub and roughly chop about:

  • 6 small carrots.
  • 3 – 4 onions.
  • 6 ribs of organic celery, including some leaves if desired.

Place chopped veg in your roasting pan, forming a “rack” for the turkey. Place trussed bird, breast side up, on the veg.

Put in 525 degree oven for 11 minutes. Reduce oven temp to 400 degrees and continue to roast. 

(Any yummy veggies you’re roasting for dinner will do really well at the same 400 F.)

Baste turkey every 20 minutes or so with good olive oil (or melted, unsalted butter), using a small brush.

* Alice Waters says to figure about 12 minutes per pound for a 15-pound, unstuffed turkey and fewer  minutes/pound for larger birds. If you’re roasting our mythical 18-20 pound bird, start checking temp about 1 hour 45 min. after you reduced the oven to 400 F. by inserting an instant read thermometer into the deepest part of the breast, making sure tip does not touch the bone. Check the plump part of the inner thigh the same way. As amazing as this sounds, my 18-pound birds are brown, sexy, and beautifully done 2 hours after I turn the oven down to 400 degrees! Cook to 160 degrees F. on your thermometer.

If you jiggle the ends of the legs, they will move freely and whatever juice comes out when you take out the thermometer will be clear. Remove your gorgeous bird to a deep platter or cutting board with grooves for the juice and allow it to rest for 30 minutes. If you like crispy skin, leave it uncovered!

Remove the string. Carve your masterpiece as desired, adding the juices to your gravy.

And after that, gravy!!! Wander back Wednesday, and I’ll tell you how 😉

ps… If you’re able, please consider doing something in your area to help folks who might need food just now.

pps… BLACK FRIDAY starts today on Etsy! Special tips to know:

  • 20% off anything in my special section marked “gift shop”, including awesome boxed sets of greeting cards and museum quality prints, like the glimpse of Follow Your Heart, seen above.
  • 20% off purchases over $75, including available original art!!! This could include a digital download of WE GATHER TOGETHER (source of all the fabulous recipes… including suggestions for Hanukkah and Christmas!) FierceArtWithHeart

It’s going to take a LOT of lemonade!

I feel like I’m being stalked by lemons.

First there’s the when life gives you lemons line. After much contemplation by all the adults, and considerable conversation about what the girls might be learning, we’ve decided to postpone our Thanksgiving togetherness plans for a safer time.

I wholeheartedly believe it’s the right decision. It just hurts like hell. Or, as the title implies, it’s going to take a big bunch of lemonade to make it feel better.

However, I did promise you my magic Turkey Timeline and I haven’t forgotten. Just one more lemonade story on the way…

You see, I’ve been busy learning new things. I was sitting in a Zoom meeting when Charlie Brown’s friend/nemesis, Lucy, popped into my head.

It took a minute to make the connection, until I remembered Lucy’s “lemonade” stand where, now and then, “the Doctor” was in. And (Don’t laugh!) I suddenly found a couple of mental puzzle pieces which felt like they’d been hiding under the couch for quite a while.

You’ll have to wait for the details. Let’s just say, for now, that there is lemonade to be made, even in this world, and I’ve got a recipe!

So, without further ado…

Sue’s Magic Turkey Timeline…

We’re going to work backwards… First pick the time you want to eat.

ie. 6:00 pm Thursday

Start Cooking @ 2:00 pm (Yes! It’s both possible and fabulous!)

Brine bird @ 8 – 10pm Wednesday (If your bird is still a bit icy, no worries. Brine on!)

Wednesday at dinner – if, like us, you want wild rice dressing, you could cook the wild rice while you’re fixing dinner on Wed. It keeps well in fridge.

Set bird to thaw (IN FRIDGE) Monday, about lunch time.

This magic formula assumes you’ll roast your turkey like we do. (You really, really want to!) Recipe to follow on Sunday. OR, you could get a digital download of We Gather Together, here, and you’ll know (almost) all my secrets!

ps… The photo is my Vivid Legend painting today. Otherwise known as Grammy Learning New Things!

pss… Some of that “lemonade” I mentioned could make a great gift for someone really special! You can email me at suesvoice@gmail.com and ask to be on the first-to-know list…

Sue Boardman, Certified Intentional Creativity® Color of Woman Teacher