Thursday, April 30, 2015

Once Upon a Chef

blog here.

Why is Everyone so Terrified?

I walk all over the city and into the suburbs every day, twice a day and I am amazed at the level of fear people speak about. People must be staying inside watching TV. That's the only explanation.

My New Method for Bread

I grease the cast iron and place the cold sour dough boules inside and cover them. They have incubated in the fridge for 3 nights. I shape them and put them in the oven and then turn it on to 450 F. In and hour they will be done but before that I take off the lid and rotate them, at the 40 minute point, baking uncovered for the last 20 minutes.

Carrot Sald with Dressing

Wine vinegar, olive oil, Adobo, kosher salt, pinches of sugar or honey, leftover kale and beans, buzz it all in the blender pour over chopped carrots, sliced red onions, chopped celery, raisins, green pimento olives, and enjoy.

Cleaning up the 'Hood

Picking up stray trash on my walk is my new favorite ritual. People respond!

The Medical Tyranny of my Upbringing

I grew up in an Italian-American Jewish household. Sunday meals were all day affairs at the dining room table and if you didn't eat something my mother took offense and let it be known in front of everyone. When I became a vegetarian at age 13 my mother said "You don't love me!" The family was photographed incessantly and the framed family portraits were on display in the house. The family critiqued us relentlessly. "You look fat in this picture!" My sister would say. "You have jowls" my mother would say, another reason to not love me. If I ate too much or not enough I was damned and she called the doctor (the police!). The gastro battle was fought at the table and in doctors offices. Gastroenterologist visits with GI series were annual at the very least, starting at age 4, and psychiatrists were twice a week. Who paid for all of this? My father who worked in the MADMEN advertising world of big money and glitzy images.

Favorite Breakfast

A banana!

Japanese Proverb

Hara hachibu ni isha irazu, “A stomach eight-tenths full needs no doctor.”

Yogurt and Health

When I was a child I was reading everything I could find on health as I was being told that I was a sickly child. When I was 13 at summer camp I imagined that I would not live to be 16. When I turned 15 I made my own wheat soy sesame bread and cultured my own yogurt. I made apple butter, granola, smoothies, and I grew sprouts and vegetables over the summer. It wasn't until I ran away from home that the real healing began.

April is Garden Month

I told everyone if the chop-shop and drug dealing stopped back here in my back parking lot, I would plant an herb garden (basil, parsley, tomatoes) and have people over for a grilled pizza supper. I may even host a basketball game.

Melted Dark Chocolate on Toast

I melted a bag of price rite semi sweet chocolate chips with a box of BAKER'S semisweet baking chocolate, slowly in a double boiler. Then I spread some on my sourdough toast instead of margarine. It was an excellent breakfast. Store the leftover chocolate in a glass canning jar. It will harden as it cools. Reheat in microwave as needed.

Eating chocolate the Spanish way.
Alejandra Garcia

Drinking chocolate, white chocolate truffles, hazelnut-chocolate muffins — the Spanish love it all. Small children, for example, snack on chocolate sandwiches, made with bread in the shape of a hot dog bun filled with chocolate paste.

Spain has taught me to eat chocolate for breakfast. The Spanish go out at night until the wee hours of the morning, and then have a cup of chocolate for breakfast on their way home, before going to sleep.

Small cafeterias stay open throughout the night to serve straggling club-goers and early-rising tourists chocolate con churros, a breakfast or afternoon snack that involves dipping fried dough — churros — into a cup of warm, melted drinking chocolate. The churros are made of flour, water and butter and can be shaped into any form — short strips or circles, for example.

Everywhere from Barcelona to Marbella, I've been to churrerias (shops that only serve churros con chocolate) where paper plates are piled with coils of churros sprinkled with sugar. Because nearly all Spanish homes are equipped with small deep fryers, it's not unusual to have homemade churros for breakfast on a Sunday morning.

Perhaps it's the experimental spirit of the Spanish in the kitchen that fuses chocolate with nearly anything that's edible. One of the country's most celebrated chefs, Ferran Adria, has been called a "molecular gastronomist" for using liquid nitrogen and calcium chloride in his cooking. He created a chocolate beef stock that caused quite a stir, but one of his most adored and simple recipes calls for toasted bread dabbed with bittersweet chocolate and sprinkled with sea salt and olive oil. It sounds odd, but why not?

Valor, one of the longest-running and most popular brands of chocolate in Spain, has integrated into its box of bonbons unusual flavors that reflect the most important ingredients of Spanish cooking: black chocolate with olive oil and tomato; vinegar and milk chocolate; or whiskey and champagne with hazelnut paste and white chocolate.

For me, chocolate is best in its purest and simplest forms. A single bar of chocolate with a high cocoa (or cacao) content makes perfect company while I'm working away at the computer, or when I need a late-night nibble.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Marcia Kiesel's Rye Berry Bread


Thinly sliced, toasted or not, this dense, hearty whole-grain bread is wonderful topped with smoked salmon, sour cream and chopped onions, or with bitter orange marmalade. Allow time for the sponge to sit overnight.


3 cups whole wheat flour, preferably organic
3 cups water
1 teaspoon active dry yeast (Fleishmann's Instant)


1 cup whole rye berries (about 6 ounces)
3 cups water
Kosher salt
4 cups whole grain rye flour, preferably organic
1 cup whole wheat flour, preferably organic
2 teaspoons caraway seeds


Cornmeal, for dusting

In a large bowl, mix the whole wheat flour with the water and yeast until blended. Cover and let stand overnight at room temperature.
In a medium saucepan, cover the rye berries with the water, add a large pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat until the rye berries are tender, about 45 minutes. Drain and let cool to room temperature.
Add the rye berries to the sponge. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the rye flour, whole wheat flour, caraway seeds and 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of salt. When the dough becomes too stiff to mix, scrape it out onto a floured work surface. Using a dough scraper, lightly knead the dough, adding any leftover flour, until the dough forms a cohesive but sticky mass. Transfer the dough to a clean bowl. Cover and let stand in a cool place until the dough increases in volume by two-thirds and holds an impression when lightly pressed, about 2 hours.
Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Using floured hands, briefly knead the dough. Cut it in half and shape each half into a 7-inch round. Sprinkle a large peel or rimless baking sheet generously with cornmeal. Transfer the loaves to the peel, leaving about 3 inches between them. Let stand in a cool place until the dough is well risen and holds a slight impression when lightly pressed, about 1 hour.
Set a pizza stone or baking tiles in the bottom shelf of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350° for 30 minutes. Slide the loaves onto the preheated stone or bake on the baking sheet for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 325° and continue baking for about 45 minutes, or until the loaves are nicely risen and browned; they should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Transfer the loaves to a rack to cool for at least 4 hours before slicing.

Make Ahead
The bread can be refrigerated for up to 10 days.

Boston Brown Bread

by Jeff Gordinier

Yield 2 coffee-can-size loaves, or 1 standard loaf

Bread that slides out of a can? It might strike many Americans as a dubious culinary eccentricity, but throughout New England it is a staple, often purchased at the supermarket and served at home with a generous pour of baked beans. “I had this growing up,” said Meghan Thompson, the pastry chef at Townsman, in Boston, where the cylindrical brown tower comes to the table as something of a regional wink. Her version, commissioned by the chef Matt Jennings, dials down the cloying sweetness and amps up the flavor with a totally different manifestation of beans: doenjang, the funky Korean paste made from fermented soybeans.

Featured in: Giving Northern Cuisine Its Due.

Blackstrap Molasses, Buttermilk, Doenjang, Rye Flour, New England

Nonstick cooking spray
½ cup plus 3 tablespoons/70 grams white rye flour
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons/140 grams stone-ground whole wheat flour
½ cup plus 3 tablespoons/70 grams dark rye flour
1 cup/142 grams fine-ground cornmeal
1 cup/198 grams lightly packed dark brown sugar
½ teaspoon/3 grams baking powder
2 teaspoons/11 grams baking soda
½ teaspoon/3 grams kosher salt
1 tablespoon/16 grams doenjang (Korean soybean paste)
2 cups/480 milliliters buttermilk
½ cup/120 milliliters egg whites (from 4 to 5 large eggs)
¾ cup (scant)/169 milliliters blackstrap molasses


Heat oven to 350 degrees and generously coat the insides of 2 10-ounce coffee cans or a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Place the white rye flour in a large skillet over medium heat and toast, whisking constantly, for 7 minutes. The flour will darken slightly and smell nutty.
Whisk the flours, cornmeal, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the doenjang and buttermilk until combined; set aside. With an electric mixer, whip the egg whites with 1 tablespoon of the molasses until stiff, silky peaks form, about 5 minutes. Whisk the remaining molasses into the buttermilk mixture. Gradually stir the buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients until combined. Fold in the whipped egg whites in 2 additions.
Pour batter into the prepared cans or loaf pan. Coat pieces of foil with cooking spray, then cover the tops of the cans or pan securely. Set the cans or pan in a baking dish and add enough hot water to come about 1/4 inch up the side. Transfer to oven and bake until the top springs back when lightly touched, about 1 hour 40 minutes for the cans, or 2 hours for the loaf pan. Let cool 20 minutes on a wire rack, then invert and remove the bread to a cutting board. Let cool completely before slicing.

Jean Nidetch Changed Lives


Dried Plums + Raw Almonds

A perfect snack.

Pancakes for Supper

I'm going to make buttermilk sourdough multigrain pancakes for supper!

Spring Ritual: Trash Pickup

I found another gigantic plastic bag today and picked up trash on my walk. It's very satisfying and people love to respond by joining in.

Steel Cut Oats

I make a huge batch in my slow cooker. But the Kitchen blog has great advice:

How To Make a Week of Steel-Cut Oats in 5 Minutes

Makes 5 servings


1 2/3 cups steel-cut oats
4 cups water
1/4 teaspoon salt
Optional Mix-Ins

Milk or soy milk
Cinnamon or other spices
Raisins or other dried fruit
Fresh berries
Nuts or seeds

5 pint-sized Mason jars with lids
Large saucepan

Collect your jars and other equipment. I like pint-sized jars for this, as they allow a little more room for adding nuts, raisins, and milk later. But you can also use half-pint jars.
Cook the oats for 3 minutes: Bring the oats, water, and salt to a boil. Simmer for about 3 minutes then turn off the heat.
Let the jars stand at room temperature, then refrigerate: Divide the oatmeal among the jars. Let stand, uncovered, at room temperature for about an hour or until cool to the touch, then cap and refrigerate.
Reheat the oatmeal in the microwave: Take the cap off one jar and stir up the oatmeal inside. Microwave for 2 to 3 minutes, or until quite hot. Add milk, raisins, or other mix-ins.

Recipe Notes

You can also add your raisins, cinnamon, or other mix-ins to the rest of the jars before putting them away in the refrigerator. Then all you have to do is grab one and go on your way out the door.

Irish Oat Groats

I love Irish oatmeal, even cold! Lately it's been Irish oatmeal and cold German potato salad, and kale and bean suppers. We live on simple foods. On my next trip to JAR Baker's Supply in Lincoln I will buy oat groats, poppy seeds and wheat berries.

Plein Air Writing

Plein Air Writing:
"Plein Air," French for "open air," was a popular art movement in the early nineteenth century. Between portable easels and the invention of pre-mixed oil paints, artists, for the first time, could easily work outside. So they did, capturing the light, air and beauty of the natural world to create a new way of seeing and a new art movement. Taking a cue from the Plein Air artists of both Europe and the U.S., this creative writing class finds inspiration in Riverside-area parks and gardens. Immersed in the natural world, writers will observe the landscape, focus their senses and capture the experience with deft prose pen strokes that can later be edited. The challenge, just as for the Plein Air painters, is to quickly capture a moment in time in an ever-changing world. Writers will share their work aloud in story circles and are invited to edit their workshop material to share or submit for critique. You will meet for classes at local parks for this outdoors-inspired workshop, which includes moderate hikes or walks (3 miles or less).


Swimming - health benefits

Swimming is a healthy, low-cost activity that you can continue throughout your life. Swimming is a low-impact activity that has many physical and mental health benefits. Swimming is a great workout because you need to move your whole body against the resistance of the water.

Swimming is one of the most popular sports in Australia. Our nation is surrounded by water and swimming is one of our great passions. As well as being fun, swimming is a great way to keep fit, stay healthy and make friends. Swimming is a healthy activity that you can continue for a lifetime. It is a low-impact activity that has many physical and mental health benefits.

Swimming is a great recreational activity for people of all ages. Recreational swimming can provide you with a low-impact workout and it’s also a good way to relax and feel good. Common swimming styles in recreational swimming are breaststroke, backstroke, side stroke and freestyle.

Some people who enjoy swimming want to take it to a competitive level. This can provide the health benefits of a vigorous workout as well as the fun and thrill of competition. The main strokes used in competitive swimming are breaststroke, freestyle, backstroke and butterfly. The distances swum in competition swimming can vary from 50 metres in a pool to much further distances in open water.

Swimming is a great workout because you need to move your whole body against the resistance of the water.

Swimming is a good all-round activity because it:

keeps your heart rate up but takes some of the impact stress off your body
builds endurance, muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness
helps maintain a healthy weight, healthy heart and lungs
tones muscles and builds strength
provides an all-over body workout, as nearly all of your muscles are used during swimming.

Swimming has many other benefits including:

being a relaxing and peaceful form of exercise
alleviating stress
improving coordination, balance and posture
improving flexibility
providing good low-impact therapy for some injuries and conditions
providing a pleasant way to cool down on a hot day
being available in many places – you can swim in swimming pools, beaches, lakes, dams and rivers. Make sure that the environment you choose to swim in is safe.

Getting started in swimming is easy. It is a sport for all age groups, skill and fitness levels. Before you get started, you will need to purchase a pair of swimmers and some goggles. Goggles can be purchased for around $15 and upwards.

There are public pools throughout Australia that are open to everyone. Entry to public pools usually costs a few dollars and many aquatic centres offer swimming lessons for people of all ages, as well as training and exercise groups.

Some general tips for swimming

Before you dive in:

Make sure you know how to swim.
Choose a safe environment.
Warm up and stretch your muscles and joints before entering the water.
Have plenty of fluids on hand and drink regularly.
Don’t overdo it if you’re just starting out.
See your doctor if you haven’t exercised for a long time.

Walk it Off

The women of Edgewater Drive love to tease me as they drive buy in their mini vans filled with dogs and children. One day a lady said to me "You are always smiling!" I said I really don't smile all the time but walking makes me smile. The next time I saw her she said I walked and it didn't make me smile. Joyce sits in her car at the bus stop when she lives 3 houses away. I love this lady but how can I explain that a little bit goes a long way? When we were kids our mothers were not terrorized like the suburban mothers of today. Walking wasn't a crime! The women of the suburbs are terrified. If they got out and met their "scary" neighbors perhaps they would be less afraid.

The Benefits of Walking
Walking Toward a Healthier You

There are countless physical activities out there, but walking has the lowest dropout rate of them all! It's the simplest positive change you can make to effectively improve your heart health.

Research has shown that the benefits of walking and moderate physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day can help you:

Reduce the risk of coronary heart disease
Improve blood pressure and blood sugar levels
Improve blood lipid profile
Maintain body weight and lower the risk of obesity
Enhance mental well being
Reduce the risk of osteoporosis
Reduce the risk of breast and colon cancer
Reduce the risk of non-insulin dependent (type 2) diabetes

There really are so many benefits for such a simple activity!
Sole-Mate: A Friend By Your Side

The thought of being alone can be enough to keep some people from walking. The best way to solve this is by finding a friend to walk with. You can plan walking paths that are convenient for both of you, or map out routes that take you places you've never been before. It's a great way to exercise and spend time with friends.

Multigrain Celebration Loaf

Medium grind wheat flour, grain blend: barley, corn, millet, soybeans, rye, triticale, oats, rice, flaxseed, sunflower seeds, kosher salt, malt, poppy seeds, and sourdough starter boosted with a dash of Fleishmann's instant yeast.

Spring Cleaning!

The City looks so great I am inspired to tackle the inside of my house.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

German Style Pressure Cooker Potato Salad

3 cups diced potatoes

1/4 c olive oil

celery stalks chopped

onions, chopped

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons water

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon prepared mustard

Adobo seasoning

chopped fresh parsley or scallions optional

Monday, April 27, 2015

Hippocampal Neurogenesis

Aside from the metaphysical benefits of swimming, research has shown that it can actually change the brain for the better through a process known as hippocampal neurogenesis, in which the brain replaces cells lost through stress.

Coleslaw with Peanut Sauce

I used my peanut marinade cooked for 5 minutes, to make a coleslaw sauce.

wine vinegar

sesame oil + olive oil

3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter

1 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon brown sugar

2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger root

1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic

5 cups thinly sliced green cabbage

2 carrots, julienned

6 red onions, chopped

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
salt + pepper

Marinade Tips
Over-marinating can result in mushy food
By Peggy Trowbridge Filippone

Don't overdo the marinade!
As a rule, poultry and seafood are not tough cuts and could turn to mush or leather if left in a tenderizing marinade for an extended period. In fact, fish can be "cooked" in acid, requiring no heat at all as in one of my favorite dishes, Ceviche. Extended marination of tender seafood can actually toughen it by "overcooking" it.

Marinated recipes that will not be eventually oven-cooked may specify a much longer time. Thirty minutes to one hour is usually sufficient time to successfully marinate poultry.
Using leftover marinades
It seems a shame to discard that flavorful mixture, but do not be tempted to reuse leftover marinade without first cooking it. During the contact with raw foods, the marinade most likely has picked up harmful bacteria that could make you very ill. For the same reason, it's wise to cook leftover marinade before using it to baste with.

Frugal cooks can put the leftover marinade to use as a sauce, but it must first be boiled for five minutes to destroy any harmful bacteria. Of course, this boiling process will render it useless as a tenderizing marinade, but it can still impart some flavor as a sauce. Alkalines leaked from the first marinated food will interact with the acids to diminish the sharpness or acidity of the original marinade.

Okra Kale Beans and Grits

My nephew lives in Asheville NC and he is teaching people how to become self sufficient homesteaders. He is about to graduate. I bought okra, kale, grits, and beans and cooked them in his honor.

Parade Season has Begun!

We opened for the Rumford Little League Saturday and it was a perfect day. We played our tunes around the neighborhood with all the leagues following us. Then we played Take me out to the Ball Game and the National Anthem. We played bloops and blips in between announcements. Yes, Rumford RI is famous for Rumford baking powder which I devotedly use. Afterwards we continued playing under a fur tree. I looked up and noticed a triangular and patterned piece of bread, resting on a branch 10 feet above my head. It was a slice of pizza in the tree!

Kale Shirt


Three Tier Sprouter

Perfect for the apartment gardener.
Make your own gourmet sprouts. Healthy, fresh, easy and quick!
This compact kitchen countertop device lets you make one, two or three trays of gourmet sprouts. Sprout three different kinds of grains or salad sprouts all at the same time! Each tray takes one tablespoon of small seeds (broccoli, alfalfa, mustard, or radish) or three tablespoons of larger seeds (mung bean).

Multi Grain Sourdoughs

I love to blend flours. I have a grain mill hand cranked grinder but sometimes I don't use it I blend the grains whole and they puff up when rising overnight.
My very first bread was this one when attending an art banquet at Mamaroneck High School in 1976.

1 pkgs. or 1 tbsp. Fleishmann's Instant (not quick rise) baking yeast
2-3 c. wrist-temperature water
1 Tbs kosher salt
3/4 c. ground unhulled sesame seeds
1/2 c. soy granules or soy flour
4-5 c. whole wheat flour

Now I use poppy seeds, unhulled barley, corn or soy grits, groats, oats, rice, flint corn, soybeans, tofu, lentils, flax, millet sunflower seeds, cashews, raisins, on and on.

Have fun!!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Asthma in Adults


Kale, Potatoes, Okra + Beans

I'm a southern cook today.

Grain+Seed blend for Bread

Try this: whole oat berries or groats, millet, rye berries, corn grits, wheat berries, flax seeds, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, and sunflower seeds.

Blowing Your Horn

Could Blowing Your Horn Cut Your Odds for Sleep Apnea?
FRIDAY, April 24, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Playing a wind instrument may reduce your risk of sleep apnea, a new study suggests.
Researchers in India tested the lung function of 64 people who played a wind instrument and 65 others who didn't.
Even though there was no difference in the two groups' lung function tests, the people who played a wind instrument had a lower risk of developing obstructive sleep apnea.
This is likely because playing a wind instrument results in stronger muscles in the upper airways, the researchers said. Sleep apnea is a potentially serious disorder involving disrupted breathing.
"The findings of our small study present an interesting theory on preventative measures or treatment in sleep apnea," study author Silas Daniel Raj, from the Sree Balaji Medical College and Hospital in Tamil Nadu, India, said in a European Lung Foundation news release.
"If the findings are confirmed in larger groups, wind instrument playing could become a cheap and non-invasive method of preventing sleep apnea in those at risk of developing the condition," Raj added.
The study was presented April 17 at the Sleep and Breathing Conference in Barcelona, Spain. Findings presented at meetings are generally considered preliminary until they've been published in a peer-reviewed journal.
More information
The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about sleep apnea.
SOURCE: European Lung Foundation, news release, April 16, 2015
-- Robert Preidt

Grits Groats Rice Barley Wheat + Poppy Seeds

I love grits and I love groats. I made sourdough using all o f these grains.
Grits Groats Rice Barley + Wheat + Poppy Seeds

Small Plates


New England Bonsai

Best in North America!



Our First Picnic

Yesterday after the Rumford Little League parade we picked up some sale items at Jamie Sullivan's. We were still in costume! We bought boneless ribs on sale and Jeff bought 3 pounds chuck on sale to make hamburgers. We had our first picnic BBQ. I made a peanut sesame soy wine marinade for the pork, and we had my kidney and garbanzo beans my coleslaw and my latest six grain bread. I made cider-seltzer beverages. We invited our neighbor Mark who takes care of the neighborhood. It was perfect.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Loving Eyes by Jenise Harmon

Feeling good about one’s body, no matter the size, begins in early childhood. Parents have much influence over how their children feel about their bodies. There are several things that you can do to help your children love their bodies.

Don’t use the word “diet.” Instead, talk about eating healthier.
Speak positively about your own body. Tell your kids how your legs are getting stronger and they help you run, or how you exercise because you want your body to be healthier.
Do not talk about your kids’ size or weight. Don’t mention that it looks like they’re gaining weight or looking a bit pudgy. Don’t tell them they can’t have dessert because they’re getting too big. Instead, talk about how their bodies allow them to jump high and kick a ball, how it’s important to give our bodies good food to help us be stronger and grow.
If you’re struggling with your weight, do not involve your children. Talk about your struggles with a friend or partner where your kids cannot hear.
Expose your kids to stories and pictures of strong women and men, regardless of their size.
Point out your kids’ many strengths that have nothing to do with looking cute or being pretty.

As parents, we have the responsibility to both model and teach our children how to have a positive body image, and it needs to begin when they’re young. It requires us to monitor our own sense of ourselves and deal with our insecurities, which can be uncomfortable. But the commitment to gaining a more positive sense of self can also be healing and empowering. It’s a gift to the next generation.

Friday, April 24, 2015

I Love Beans!

We could live on boiled beans and fresh bread and we do!

Gloop + Garbanzo + Kidney Beans

Leftover chicken carrot gloop is in my freezer in quart containers. I took one quart and defrosted it, and mixed it with my cooked garbanzo and kidney beans. I added hot sauce and it is a fabulous chili. Red onions add another dimension. Corn tortillas and cheese could work too.

Chocolate Pudding

I see Redi Whip cannisters in the bushes next to Walgreen's on my walks all the time. Sadly it's not because people are putting whipped cream on their desserts. It's a poor boy's high to inhale the propellant. Frankly, I'd rather have choc pudding and whipped creamHere.

Melting Chocolate and Reading


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Kundalini and Drugs

Our meditations are nothing but drugs — perfect drugs, without any chemicals in them. A man who can meditate will not be able to enjoy the drug, any drug. Because, his meditation gives him so much peace and the drug will disturb it.

Porridge Bread (part 2)

It came out great! I baked five loaves!!

Asthma and Lifestyle


Porridge Bread

"Doing porridge" became a slang term for a sentence in prison. One suggestion made about cooking gruel is to stir only clockwise, as "anti-clockwise stirring will encourage the devil into your breakfast".
-Wikipedia, Porridge

I am making "everything bread". I have thrown in poppy seeds, unhulled barley, leftover grits, rolled oats, cornmeal, wheat berries. We'll see what happens.

I have no appetite right now due to severe allergies. It happens every Spring. At least there's no pain. This too shall pass. I ate for three over the winter.

Half the Pill

I have severe allergies and an over-senitive immune system so now I cut the decongestant, antihistamine and excedrin in half. It works!

A Book to Help Heal


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Allergies and Insomnia!


Sore Throat

I complained to Web MD about this article.

Rewriting History Nothing New


Small Plate Movement


Small Bowl Secret


HCG Diet Goddess – More to Love Cookbook
Small Bowl Diet
hcg diet

This is my “small bowl”. I made it myself!

What is the Small Bowl Diet?

The small bowl diet is something I “made up” to help me lose my first 50 pounds. It worked really well for me for quite a while. (Ultimately, it was the HCG Diet that melted me down to my ideal weight after being “stuck” at 205 for three years).

The idea behind the Small Bowl Diet is very simple. It makes it really easy to follow too. It goes like this:

Find a small bowl that you really LOVE. A decorative bowl, a unique bowl, a bowl that makes your heart sing! This small bowl will be your “best friend” for the duration of this diet. It should hold 1 cup OR LESS of food when filled to the brim. This is YOUR bowl and YOURS ALONE. No one else may use your special bowl! You will eat three meals per day using your Special Small Bowl.

There are only TWO RULES to follow with the Small Bowl Diet:

RULE NUMBER ONE: Each meal you may consume ONE BOWL of WHATEVER YOU WANT in your Special Bowl.
RULE NUMBER TWO: You MUST wait 10 minutes after you finish your food. If you are still hungry after 10 minutes, you may have seconds. (Note: I was NEVER hungry after 10 minutes!! EVER!)

That’s IT! Simple.
Ginger chicken (3168342551)

Ginger chicken (3168342551) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now, this diet assumes that you are eating a relatively healthy diet.

What does that mean?

That means that you are eating a diet that has plenty of protein (preferably meat) and lots of fresh vegetables. It includes healthy fats like butter, avocados, coconut oil and olive oil.

The secret to this diet is KISS! (Keep. It. Simple. Silly!!) It is more important to adhere to the VOLUME amounts than the specifics of what you put in the bowl.

HOWEVER!! The diet will work BEST if you adhere to as many of the following guidelines as you can without torturing yourself into giving the whole thing up because it is “TOO COMPLICATED” or “TOO MUCH TROUBLE”. Simplicity is the key!

The following suggestions will make the diet more effective and the more of them you are able to follow, the quicker your weight loss:

NO “White” foods. (IE white sugar, white flour, pasta, bread products, white rice, white potatoes etc.)
Grains like brown rice, quinoa, millet, whole wheat, spelt, teff, kamut, buckwheat and oats should be consumed in moderation.
Starchy vegetables like peas, yams, sweet potatoes, winter squashes and corn should be consumed in moderation.
Ultra sweet fruits like bananas, mangoes, pineapple, watermelon, figs and dates should be consumed in moderation. Strawberries and other berries and apples are terrific. Best to skip dried fruits for now.
Leafy greens like kale, spinach, collards, Swiss chard and all lettuces (except iceberg) are EXCELLENT choices. Your bowl may overflow when eating these excellent foods!
Broccoli, cabbage, asparagus, zucchini and other summer squashes and mushrooms are great.
Beans are OK. Nut butters and nuts are OK. Nuts and seeds are best if soaked overnight and then dehydrated in a low (150 degree) oven or dehydrator set to 115 degrees (for digestibility).
AVOID FRIED FOODS! Broil, bake, poach, steam and eat raw whenever you can!
Fish, beef, chicken, eggs, and lamb are good protein choices. Pork, not so much. Avoid bacon and sausage.
AVOID preservatives, MSG, high fructose corn syrup and other sneaky added sugars, hydrolized vegetable protein, artificial colors and flavors like the Plague!!
Limit cheeses somewhat. Use them as a “treat”. Same goes for sour cream and cream cheese. A little goes a long way. They are great for staving off hunger, though.
Whole milk products like 4% fat cottage cheese, full fat yogurt, unsweetened kefir are wholesome protein rich foods. (If you can get them raw and non-homogenized especially!)
ORGANIC is always best!
AVOID artificial sweeteners, soda, candy, soy products and the other obvious No-Nos…
Try to eat some protein at every meal.
Always drink plenty of water.

I lost 50 pounds on this diet. I walked every day about 2 miles. I hope it works for you as well as it did for me! Good luck!

Any comments or questions?–I will respond…

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Backyard Scallions

I fried 2 eggs in my small skillet and added backyard scallions. Then in a larger skillet I roasted carrots and celery in olive oil, and added shredded coconut, natural peanut butter, adobo, red wine kosher salt, and let it cook a bit. Fabulous!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Lao New Year

The Woonsocket and North Smithfield Rhode Island Watlao Thammajadi Buddhist Temple members were gathered in the parking lot at the Elks Hall when I walked by early this morning with Lily. I have met them before so I said hello. They invited me to come back for their annual Lao New Year's celebration today at noon. Bill and I got dressed up and walked over. It was an amazing experience to see the 200 people and some families we knew, having a wonderful chaotic party with food and orange robed monks chanting and giving blessings. A perfect way to celebrate our 30th anniversary.

Jimi Hendrix Cooking in Style

Jimi Hendrix cooking dinner in style, in Ringo's apt.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Daffododils and Drug Dealers

Spring is here in the 'hood.

Swimming is a Gift

Swimming really works to soothe and refresh my body and mind and relinquish stress. I arrive exhausted and tell myself, "swim one lap" and I get into it. I go home calm and energized. I've been swimming for 4 months. Surprise, I've lost 8 pounds!



Friday, April 17, 2015

If you can Practice when Distracted, You are Well Trained

Yesterday I got up at four fifteen AM and sat under the tree with my notebook as the sun came up. The woodpecker was out working on my red maple tree when I saw a red cardinal fly to a low branch. My neighbor Mark the groundskeeper of the neighborhood was mixing up a batch of cement and gently repaving my neighbors crumbling back stairs. I sat in the morning sun enjoying the sounds and sights while I wrote nine pages in my notebook. A voice in my head said maybe you are shifting into transmit mode. The pollen was flying and my quaking aspen had gray fluff dangling like a 1920's flapper dress all week. Now the aspen's gray caterpillar shapes have fallen into the yard.

My skin wants to sing and dance. I decided to perform an experiment yesterday and see if I could keep my working daily routine even if I am moving into 'transmit mode'. "Treat it as an experiment!" my inner sage advised. It is very hard but I am trying. I'm outrageously distractable and full of fiery physical energy hopping away from my easel every time I hear a noise in the parking lot. Each time I think of something I get sidetracked by another chore or idea. I caught a kid at my kitchen window looking for drugs from the neighbor boy's bedroom window 4 feet away. I went out and asked him not to come on my property please because I don't want to have to call the you know who. He got it. He had beautiful black curled eyelashes. I almost mentioned this too. Then 20 minutes later a car pulled up and there were two teen girls looking for the same drug-dealing boy, one girl got out and walked down the street. I asked them not to park in this parking lot. I told them please park on the street. There's a lot of shady stuff that goes on back here and I'd hate to have you gals swallowed up in it, I said. They got it.

Gently drop-kick the-puppy-of-distractability back onto the training-papers. I told myself.

I will try again today to exercise my routine even though I have a new head.

If you feel completely caught up and are spinning off... the slogan "If you can practice even when distracted, you are well trained" can remind you ... to breathe ... as a way of developing compassion for yourself and as a way of beginning to understand other people's pain as well. You can use the distraction to bring yourself back to the present moment, just as a horse rights itself after losing balance or skiers catch themselves just as they are about to fall. Being well trained means you can catch yourself and come back to the present.
-from Start Where You Are : A Guide to Compassionate Living by Pema Chodron,

My inner voice said just do ten minutes and see where it goes. And if I am doing okay, I can try for ten minutes again. You may be missing out on the best part, my inner voice suggested; working with transmit energy and joy on your work versus doing house cleaning or the laundry and yard work. Those things can be your reward! I read once that Joyce Carol Oates has housecleaning as her "reward" for her daily writing.

My husband came home at dinner time and told me about his day. I was enjoying his stories even though I was exhausted and grouchy. I told him about my experiment, which is going well. He liked my approach. We had supper and he had to finish deadline. I said I'm going to swim one lap in the pool. I was discombobulated and frazzled. I walked over to the health club and after one lap I unleashed a motorboat of forceful swimming and ended up swimming for an hour my mile-long lap. There was only one other woman swimming laps in the pool. The water was warm and luxurious. We both stopped swimming at the same time. I love the weight of the water, it's like almost-congealed jello, I said
"You're right!"She said, laughing. We realized we had met before through my neighbor Nancy. I've never come swimming here at night, I said.
"It's great, nobody is here at night except Nancy and me," she said.
I'll have to join the party, I said.

I felt lucky for my sidewalk friends and my pool friends. It's a lonely some days.

Gloop Phase: Gloop on Brown Rice

We've been in a fad lately. When I am in 'receive mode' I don't care about food. I have to make myself eat so I don't faint. This is where gloop comes in handy. Gloop is celery, onions, olives, wine, spices, garlic, canned crushed tomatoes, lentils or any bean, some optional chicken fish or meat which is then combined and simmered all day or overnight in the slow cooker. At supper it is served over brown rice or wheat berries or barley or any wholesome grains or noodles. I make a vat of gloop and freeze it in quart containers and we are all set for the gloop phase for a while. The idea is when you don't feel like cooking or eating you still have something wholesome to sustain you. "Gloop is how most of the world eats," my husband reminds me. True!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Sam Shepard

There's gonna be a general lack of toast in the neighborhood this morning.
― Sam Shepard, True West

A Level Scoop

When our pets gain weight we return to the level scoop. When we gain weight we return to the level scoop of rice and goop.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015


The trick gets you in the door and the sensory keeps you there.

Kickstarting: Mood Follows Commitment

Today while working on my painting I realized that I'm never in the mood to paint until I start painting. The proper mood will follow my commitment. Whether it is painting or swimming or any number of things, I have to commit first. I commit to an achievable goal, like "ten minutes", which gives me permission to escape if I have to. Commitment is first, then I can follow through. I have to trick myself into starting.

The scariest moment is always just before you start.
—Stephen King

Taking Care

I was inspired by my neighbor who is out taking care of things this morning. So I picked up all of trash that blows through the fence from the wind-tunnel trash-tornado next door. It's an annual event. Pick up the trash just before the forsythia blooms.

I remember wanting to have a house to have something to take care of. I thought I would never be bored or lonely again because I could always take care of my house. I am a foolish dreamer! I am not always able to take care of my house to the level I would prefer but she seems to understand and forgive me. I make her promises, as soon as I can I will, and she stands stoically through the winter storms. I live and work in her many rooms thanks to her sturdy and humble magnificence.

In the rooms we call our lives.
-A favorite line from a Jane Shore poem.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


When I worked as a restaurant prep chef in the 80's, I was never interested in sampling the food I had made because I had become completely saturated while creating it. The next day I was very interested in those foods so I would set out to duplicate them on a small scale. This was how I learned to cook.

Recently I made a chicken lentil curry that stewed all day. By the time it was meal time I was saturated and disappointed so I froze it all in quart containers. This week it is like manna from heaven and tastes delicious over leftover brown rice.

So, my advice is if you get saturated making a particular food, freeze it for another time. You may be happily surprised and grateful to have something already made.

Friday, April 10, 2015


A person sitting up in bed was eating fried eggs. Another person showed up with a pepper grinder and gently peppered the eggs. Then a ladder was brought out and the person with the pepper grinder climbed the ladder and tried to pepper the eggs from the 6th rung. It was a lot more difficult for the pepper to reach the eggs. The physics of peppering fried eggs.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Easter Pot au Feu

I had put it off too long. It was time. I had to tackle the dust bunnies and tumble weeds that were obliterating all of the right angles in my house. Start with the kitchen and see where it goes, I told myself, trying not to get overwhelmed. This is a trick I use with nearly everything. Just do one little thing, I cajoled myself. Next thing I knew I was vacuuming dust bunnies in the boiler room and under the bathtub and couch. Last time I had cleaned this thoroughly was when my nephew was coming to visit in January, and I was excited. This time I was cleaning out of necessity and dread. The dust bunnies were shouting angrily at me.

Finally it was time to stop. I was at loose ends so I took a walk to the pond. The air was cold and delicious and the wind was blowing. The shadows were long. The sky was blue. I was enjoying my walk more than usual, appreciating every step. When I got home I started chopping cabbage. I wasn't sure what I was going to make for supper, a stir fry or coleslaw maybe. I started peeling carrots. Coleslaw, I decided. I chopped celery and red onions, and made the dressing; buttermilk, mayonnaise, mustard, salt, sugar, horseradish. I added raisins. It was delicious and colorful. The full moon was out, a spotlight shining on the neighborhood. We ate our bowls of coleslaw while sitting on the couch.

What do I make for tomorrow, Easter Sunday? I found frozen chicken breasts in the freezer and decided to simmer them overnight in the slow cooker with a pound of lentils and curry powder.

I woke at four fifty from the scent of curry. I came down and stirred the chicken to break it up. Lily and I stepped out into the dark yard. The moon was partially obscured by clouds. Lily barked once and I hurried her inside hoping I hadn't wakened the neighbors.

The bread dough had risen overnight in the buckets. There were lots of lovely air bubbles. I greased the cast iron pots and placed the shaped dough in each one and set them to rise again. To the pot of chicken and lentils I added Francine's frozen pumpkin puree, and three ribs of chopped celery. I added salt, chopped onions, chopped olives and fresh garlic and wine. It is still simmering and it smells fabulous.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

A Cyclothymic from Saturn

God turns you from one feeling to another and teaches by means of opposites, so that you will have two wings to fly, not one.

Last night I told my husband that I was ready to marry my painting. I've had a bunch of tough uphill days and a few surprising flow days that made me remember the romance of painting that I used to have as a child, days that made me want to grow up to be a painter. Sinking in to the flow is the ultimate gift because I am awake and alive and in the process. Dare I say I sometimes enjoy it? I do not use the word enjoy and painting in the same sentence very often, not since I was 11 and first fell deeply in love with it. I told my first boyfriend painting was my first marriage.

Lately I have been in 'receive mode' which is an inward and often excruciatingly painful emotional place that I live in twice a year. I drop off the radar. I get quiet. Morning is hell. I contemplate suicide. Deciding to paint feels like a matter of life or death. One of the gifts of receive mode is that I can hear what my paintings want. I know it sounds strange but let me explain. I am laid so low receiving signals from within that the only place to hide is in my art. Many of these signals are a hellish narrative of fears, panic, and doom and gloom coming from my own mind. Keeping a simple routine can be a life saver. Get up, have coffee, read the news and emails, spew letters to God in my notebook, take a shower, walk Lily, have a meal, touch the brush. Then afterwards take a long walk to the pond and swim. Each element is inward then outward, alternating, building stability to counteract the internal tumult. I try to guide this state toward what it is good for, painting. Gentle, clear, persevere, is my motto. When my painting is not flowing I find refuge in the physical, my walks and swims. Yet when my painting is flowing I still find refuge in my walks and swims.

'Transmit mode' comes twice a year also, and is the opposite of receive mode. Morning is sacred. I wake with joy bubbles in my abdomen at two or three AM and I get up and go to my desk to write. Everything is sensory and lush and my physical energy and joy is gushing. I am on the other side of Saturn. Words, thoughts and ideas are flowing and all is right with the world. Life is perfect flow. I am not in the land of painting, I am in the land of words and poetry. I am in the land of people. I am talkative. After writing I willingly houseclean. I find joy in vacuuming and washing blankets and curtains. The internal narrative is utopian and makes perfect sense to me. I read and read. Words are delicious morsels I taste in my ear. I bake and cook. I have appetite. My skin is singing, electric, and I dance. I feel happy and beautiful and I am ready to make a banquet for my friends, neighbors, the whole city.

Both states are lonely and not lonely. Both states are about my life on Saturn. I try to bargain with the gods to let me live in one home but they do not comply. This is how you were made, they remind me. Go forth and make good use of it. My challenge is to accept that I was born with two wings to fly. It's always a difficult challenge. I share my challenge as honestly as I can.