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…

Fear, Objections, and Moving On…

About 5 years ago, I wrote a book. It was published in very late October with exactly this time of year in mind.

It’s a really cool book, with just enough typos to balance my perfectionist tendencies while encouraging me to do a new edition. This year may have convinced me.

The book is called WE GATHER TOGETHER… holiday feasts with the family you have! And then there’s a note below the title.

Notes on contemporary food culture, menu plans, and delicious recipes to help everyone feel welcome!

You guessed it. I wasn’t planning for a pandemic when I wrote it. But here I am, planning two Thanksgiving feasts. One for the turkey eaters. Bill and me. And one for the fish folks. Our kids. Who, in theory, are coming, though the numbers in Georgia aren’t looking optimistic.

The chapter which shares its name with the title of this post begins this way:

Change is hard. Thanksgiving has been celebrated as a federal holiday each year since 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln declared a national day of Thanksgiving and Praise on the last Thursday in November. Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s Day, Easter, and the Fourth of July, among many others, have traditions with roots deep in our psyches. And we, well most of us, feel more comfortable with that which is familiar.

Which means, that while my sister and brother-in-law are likely to get their Thanksgiving feast from Boston Market, it will certainly include turkey and mashed potatoes and what passes for gravy. Not, perhaps, a perfect plan, but familiar enough to be comforting.

Students of neuro-linguistic programming remind us that some of us “sort for” same and some for different. Boiled down, this means that most of us, when given a choice will pick things that feel familiar, while there are a few of us adventurers who will choose things that are new, or novel. Often these folks marry each other and create no end of holiday stress trying to work it all out!

-Boardman, 18.

It seems to me that even those of us who sort for same may need to experiment with different this year. But here’s the big thing. While the details may be different, we can still sort for same… which is love.

And, at our house, the eventual brining of a turkey. Back to We Gather Together:

Brining: This is optional but I highly recommend it. I’ve tried both wet and dry brines and I like dry the best. It’s easier, often cheaper, a lot less messy, and ultimately, more effective. And it has no sugar! The purpose is to season the bird, while holding juices in the muscle for a moist, tender turkey, with gorgeous, crispy, perfectly seasoned skin. Wash your hands a lot during the process! You’ll need:

Coarse grey Celtic sea salt

Freshly ground pepper (black or mixed colors)

Dried thyme (or other herbs as desired)

A pan large enough to hold the turkey loosely. (ie Eco-foil from your local supermarket. Nobody’s perfect!)

Mix together in a small bowl: 4 Tbsp. coarse sea salt with 2 Tbsp. ground pepper and 1 1/2 Tbsp crushed, dried thyme, etc., if desired. (You can also do this with just salt, in which case you may need an extra Tbsp. for coverage.) Don’t use regular table or fine grind salt! It leaves a bitter taste and you have to reduce the amount significantly so it’s hard to cover the whole bird without making it too salty.

For an 18-20 pound, thawed turkey, remove any neck and innards. Reserve them for other uses, as needed. I freeze the neck, heart, and gizzard for soup stock. (At least I did before our family included two raw-fed Newfies!) The liver is great for dirty rice and may be frozen, separately, or fed to dogs. Pat bird dry, inside and out, with paper towels and place bird in pan. If using foil pan, place that on top of a sheet tray for stability.

Working in the pan, season the inside and outside of the bird well. Get down around the wings and legs and thighs. Leave uncovered or cover loosely with foil or freezer paper. Place in fridge, preferably the old one in the basement, and just leave it alone for up to 3 days. I like 18-24 hours.

Boardman, 81,ff.

I love this dry brining magic so much that I keep a jar, all mixed and ready in the pantry. Roast chicken. Big, thick pork chops. Yummy lamb chops, especially when figs are in season where you live. It’s all better with dry brining. And local, sustainably raised meat! (Ask me about times for these smaller pieces of meat.)

Check back Wednesday for my magic turkey timeline!

And if, by chance, you’re planning different things this year, for whatever reason, here’s a wild idea. Send jigsaw puzzles to the various places your family is staying safe and set up a Zoom meeting to work on them together!

ps… Some of my art is suddenly available in jigsaw puzzles! Click here to be magically transported to the new tradition land of puzzles.

pps… We’ll also be making prayer dots for the millions of families struggling with the pandemic in this season.

Of voting and other super powers… including soup!

“His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, said it best, The world will be saved by Western women. I believe that with every fiber of my being,” claims my wise friend and teacher, Julie Steelman.

Just between us, saving the world seems like a pretty big job right about now and I suspect we’ll get there faster if we all pitch in, East, West, North, or South! Fortunately, I’ve been working on my SuperPower SelfPortrait workshop!

First, I voted. Well, the mail-in ballot is all filled out. Bill’s going to hand-deliver it tomorrow. I feel about equal parts proud of doing my part and anxious about things like, you know, voter suppression. I live in Georgia where this is not just a quaint story from the old days.

Blessedly, my second super power is butternut squash soup. And it’s time for that, too!

There’s broth thawing. And lots of veg waiting in the kitchen. It’s guaranteed to take the edges off the situational anxiety of our world. And, while it won’t end the pandemic, it’s really good for anybody you might know who’s struggling. Hence, the recipe…

World’s Tastiest Butternut Squash Soup

Soup puts the heart at ease, calms down the violence of hunger, eliminates the tension of the day and awakens and refines the appetite. – Escoffier

Makes about 6 quarts of soup. Leftovers freeze well.

Equipment: You’ll need a 10 quart stockpot and a couple of pans for roasting veg. I use heavy gauge stainless ½ sheet trays. An immersion blender, food processor, or Vita-Mix type blender are really handy. In a pinch, a food mill will work. Or a hand potato masher.

Ingredients: I try to pick organic squash that are more cylindrical in shape, than those that have the bulbs on the bottom. They’re easier to cut up and peel! Also look for smaller squash, about 2 lb. or less in size. They have thinner skin and smaller seeds. Plan ahead for this soup and buy pears about 5 days ahead of time so they’ll be ripe. If you need to purchase stock, the varieties in the shelf stable boxes, no salt added, organic if you can find them, are usually the best choices. A small, local butcher may have broth periodically. That would be a great choice! This soup is comforting in the same way that the m-m-good tomato stuff from the can seemed when you were six. But way better!!!

Note: Additional ingredient suggestions are listed below under Garnishes.

  • 2 quarts bone broth or veg broth, preferably homemade. Chicken, turkey, or pork are all great. Veg works really well, too, for an easy vegan dish.
  • About 6 – 8 sprigs fresh thyme, tied with a bit of kitchen string.
  • 1 – 2 bay leaves, preferably fresh.
  • 3 – 4 lb. total butternut squash (about 2 smallish ones), washed and peeled, with seeds removed. (If the squash are really small and tender, sometimes I skip the peeling!) Chop into chunks about 1 inch square. The pieces don’t have to be pretty. They just need to be about the same size. (If you want to save the seeds, rub orange strings from them with a clean, dry dish cloth. Rinse well. Spread on paper towels to dry.)
  • Good olive oil.
  • Good grey Celtic sea salt.
  • Freshly ground pepper…black, mixed, or pink.
  • 3 – 4 ripe organic pears, washed, cored, seeded, and chopped to about the size of the squash pieces. (Substitute organic apples if they’re more local or pears aren’t available.)
  • 2 large or 3 medium organic red, yellow, or orange bell peppers, washed, cored, seeded, and chopped.
  • 2 large onions, peeled and roughly chopped.

Preheat oven to 450 F.

Cover 2 sheet trays with unbleached parchment paper, if desired to help keep veg from sticking.

In a 10 quart stockpot, place the broth you’ve chosen and heat gently, adjusting heat as stock thaws or warms from fridge. Bring to very gentle boil. Skim any foam that appears on top, and continue to simmer slowly while you prepare the veg.  Add thyme and bay leaves to broth.

Place squash pieces in a large bowl. Drizzle with good olive oil to coat lightly and season with salt & pepper. Toss together well. Be a bit generous with the s&p. It will be most of the seasoning for a big pot of soup. Hold on to the bowl. You’ll need it again in a few minutes!

Spread squash on prepared sheet tray, in single layer. Place in oven at 450 F for 15 min.

While squash begins to bake, prep veg and pears or apples as noted above. Add to bowl. Drizzle all with good olive oil and season with s&p. Toss together well and arrange in a single layer on 2nd sheet tray. Add tray to oven and continue to roast, along with squash, another 20-30 min.

You’ll begin to smell the veg as they get close to done. Check with fork for tenderness. They should brown to about a medium tone. The squash will get darker than the pears and onions. Remove  trays when done.

Check simmering soup stock. Raise temp a bit so it’s simmering fairly boldly, but not boiling. Remove bay leaves and herbs if used. Transfer all the veg into the stockpot CAREFULLY. An extra set of hands is helpful for this. Mix well and allow to simmer to blend flavors, 10 or 15 min.

Prepare desired garnishes. Get creative! Here are some thoughts to start:

  • Chopped pumpkin seeds. (Save squash seeds until fully dry and use, lightly toasted, in other soup or salad, or save them to plant in your garden.)
  • Popped corn, lightly salted.
  • Finely chopped fresh parsley or other herb or green of choice.
  • Crumbled, cooked sausage-preferably local in spiced pear flavor or Italian sausage, mild or hot, to taste.
  • Good, homemade toasted bread croutons, pan fried in a bit of melted butter.
  • Crumbled local goat cheese.
  • Really fine, aged Balsamic vinegar for drizzling just a bit.
  • A dollop of sour cream or creme fraiche.
  • Chopped avocado.

Just before time to serve, puree mixture. A hand-held immersion blender is easiest. Other wise, transfer in batches to a food processer or VitaMix (blender). Use caution with hot liquids – only fill containers ½ full! If using a food mill or potato masher, allow liquid to cool a bit first to avoid burns. Working in batches, mash and blend soup well.

Stop when you like the texture you’ve achieved. Chunky, really smooth, whatever works for you! If you want it super smooth and velvety, you can pass the puree through a fine screen sieve. The cone shaped ones work well and you can push soup through with a wooden spoon. It’s all a matter of personal preference. I’m fine with a little texture left in mine!

Return all soup to pot, if necessary. If using hand-held blender, be sure plug does not fall into soup! Stir to blend well.

Taste for seasoning. With a good, homemade broth base and generous seasoning along the way, it probably won’t need any additional seasoning. I like the pure, clean taste of all the veg! If you like a little heat, try:

A few drops of hot sauce, to taste, or a pinch of cayenne or chipotle pepper. Warm spices like cinnamon, curry, or nutmeg are another good choice.

When it tastes perfect to you, it’s ready! Small children may like to do their own garnishes and are more likely to actually eat the soup if they do.

Set your imagination free on serving options, depending on what you’re trying to accomplish. Traditional bowls and spoons are great. Try shot glasses in a small bite appetizer setting. If you don’t have enough soup bowls for your crowd, teacups or coffee mugs will work.  Add a slice of really good bread and perhaps a piece of good cheese and you have a fabulous meal. Have fun!

Save those leftovers!!! Cool soup before placing in freezing containers. Glass jars break a lot. We use BPA-free plastic but never pour hot food into it. I freeze soups like this in quart, pint, and even ½ pint size containers. Then you can thaw what you need for a family dinner, a comforting lunch on a crazy day, a care package for a friend, or even a creative way to add extra veg to any soup or sauce. Try thawing a small container and using the warmed soup instead of cream or olive oil to mash potatoes! Leave an inch of headspace before placing the lids to allow for natural expansion when it freezes. Label clearly including whether the broth base is meat or veg. And be sure to date it. That’s a freezer full of comfort food and all you did was cook dinner!

ps… the art for today is a glimpse of my SuperPower SelfPortrait Work-in-Progress, nicknamed Mystical Me.

When you just need a break…

I don’t know about you, but I’m having one of those days when I just need something to feel good. Something that doesn’t hurt or make me limp. Something that doesn’t make me want to scream at my email. Something that I actually get to check off my list. And, if we’re being real, something that would make it safe for me (and you!) to go out without a mask. All of which, miraculously, brought my Aunt Bea to mind. She was the queen of making things feel better. Safe. Welcoming. Comforting. So… from Aunt Bea to me to you and yours…

The Carrot Muffins Aunt Bea Would Have Made if She’d Known!

Ingredient Note: Because this recipe is made with sprouted grains, it may be well tolerated by some gluten-sensitive individuals. The body perceives sprouted grains more like vegetables than ordinary grains and flours, making them a good choice for diabetics, as well.  There’s way less sugar involved in the fabulous icing, which would also work for Red Velvet Cake, if you’re into that. And, they’re delicious!

Equipment Note: A food processor is handy, but not necessary for this recipe. If you like muffin tops, you may wish to use either a 24 c. muffin pan or two 12 cup pans so that you can spread them out. 

MAKES:  8 large muffins

Depending on room temp. and desired baking time, remove 8 oz. organic cream cheese and 8 oz. Mascarpone cheese (preferably organic)  from refrigerator and allow to come to room temp. on counter, up to 8 hours. 

Adjust oven racks so that muffins will bake in the center of the oven. 

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Using the grating disc on your food processor or a hand grater, coarsely grate:

1 ½ c. scrubbed and trimmed organic carrots, peels left on if possible.   (About 2 med. carrots.)

Melt ½ stick (2 oz.) organic, salt free butter and allow to cool slightly.  

Beat together in glass measuring cup or small bowl:  

3/4 c. buttermilk, preferably organic, 1 good egg, and ¼ c. honey.

Add cooled, melted butter and mix.             

To large mixing bowl, add and mix well:

1 c. organic sprouted grain flour.

1 c. organic sprouted multigrain flour mix.

¼ c. light brown sugar.

1/8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg.

 ½ tsp. cinnamon.

1 tsp. grey, Celtic sea salt, finely ground.

 1 tsp. aluminum-free baking powder.

½ tsp. baking soda

To dry ingredients mixture, add and toss to coat:

2/3 c. organic walnuts chopped to med. sized pieces.

Add grated carrots and mix well.

Add 2 Tbsp. freshly grated orange rind, preferably organic, or washed well! (Reserve oranges for juice to serve with muffins!)

Grease muffin cups with butter, or line with paper liners as desired. Just before ready to bake, mix:

Wet ingredients with dry ingredients. Stir quickly with a silicon spatula until just mixed. Do not over-beat!!!

Scoop batter quickly into prepared cups. Bake 30-35 minutes until muffins smell nutty and are starting to pull away from tin. Allow to cool, tipped in tin or on rack for about 30 min. 

While muffins are cooling, prepare icing. Cream together:

8 oz. organic cream cheese.

 8 oz. Mascarpone cheese (preferably organic).

3 Tbsp. confectioners sugar (preferably 10x). Really, only 3 Tbsp.!!!

Ice muffins and enjoy! 

Boardman, Grandmothers Are In Charge of Hope, 82.

ps… Aunts can be grandmothers, too! AND… the no mask thing at the beginning was purely frustrated and metaphorical. We still need them!!!!

Everything… and the kitchen stove!

It’s been a bit of an adventure around here, lately. In fact, I was chatting with someone on the phone the other day and he asked me what I do.

I laughed! Then I replied that my current business cards say, just after my name, Author – Artist – Activist – Grandmother

All of that is true. And I really like the cards! Which I why I had some new ones made recently. Certified Intentional Creativity® Coach

I finally realized that, while a 36×48 inch canvas is huge fun, it doesn’t make a great business card and I could have more than one kind!

I’ve also been promoted to Phoebe’s physical therapist. Phoebe is one of our Newfie rescue dogs and she has the very beginnings of what her chiropractor refers to as little old lady syndrome. (She may not be the only one!)

Her favorite exercise goes like this:

Phoebe, come. Sit. (Treat)

Then I back up a few steps and we repeat. Four or five reps. Quickly. Three times a day. If you’ve met Phoebe, you’ve already guessed that it’s the treat part she enjoys! (We won’t talk about the other exercise!)

Just between us, the backing up bit is not my hip’s favorite part!

I’ve been thinking a lot, though, about the future. Part of that, I suspect, comes with the amazing artist and summer intern who’s hanging out with me and teaching me at least as much as she’s learning. If you want to learn new things, try answering questions! The really good, deep kind that come from a person whose journey and perspectives (not to mention, age!) are different from your own.

Grandchildren are great for this! Asking helps everybody learn, too!

One of the urgent questions in my world just now is what I’d like to be asked in an interview about my work tomorrow. Thankfully, some of my friends have come to the rescue with great hints. The laundry is done. (Well, what needed to be done for tomorrow. Or most of it. Writing this reminds me that there’s more of that.)

And the new oven, whom you’ve met before, is pre-heating. It’s roast chicken night, thanks to a great deal of help from Bill who’s in charge of bending over to baste tonight.

Actually, it’s not just a new oven. It’s a whole new dual-fuel range from Fisher and Paykel. The matchmaker in this relationship was a great guy named Greg at SRAppliances, here in Atlanta.

I love the stovetop part, especially the way the heat adjusts perfectly to whatever I’m trying to accomplish. And there are five burners!!! The oven racks are the coolest ones I’ve ever seen. They’re so easy to slide in and out. The little challenge with the oven light is all fixed with help from a nice guy named Eric who arrived with shoe covers and a mask, and actually liked the dogs, who were very calm about spending a bit of time in their box while we had a visitor.

And, I must admit, one of the things I love most is the way this fabulous new appliance has such presence in the kitchen I worked so hard to design. All of which is great as we’re eating at home all the time!

In about an hour and a half, the kitchen will smell fabulous and that chicken will be crispy and golden and comforting.

For this moment, though, something that appeared in my mind during the painting process called Artifact. Part of the journey involves four or five statements to complete the prompt: I am one who………………………

The response that feels most important to me just now goes like this:

I am one who carries multi-colored genetics in a cooling sack of stars which appears white.

It’s okay if it doesn’t quite make sense to you. It’s possible you had to be there. The point, I think, is the question more than whatever specific answers might come. I’d love to hear some of yours!

ps… if you’d like to cause a perfectly roasted chicken to appear in your kitchen, click here for the recipe.

pps… watch for a link to the interview, as soon as the techno magic happens. We’ll have more questions to play with!

Sue Boardman, Certified Intentional Creativity® Color of Woman Teacher