Sunday, February 24, 2008

Still Shoveling

Today it snowed again. This has been the heaviest winter since moving here 5 years ago. The endless shoveling of the snow in the driveway that the wind blows back over in the night has long since ceased to be novel or charming. I have gotten stuck in the driveway numerous times on my way to appointments when I didn't have the time or inclination to redo the digging- my wheels spinning and squealing in the ice and going nowhere.

So, still I shovel. In fact, my life has always been endless redoing of things. That is the nature of living and of being a mother. Life keeps sending us work to do and even as we do it more is coming down. But, we don't put down the shovel and give up because if we do- we get stuck in the driveway. So we keep digging and try to have good attitude about it because we can't change it.

Ten Reasons Why I Love The Snow

1. it is beautiful

2. it is a great backdrop for the Holidays

3. it brings water to this desert

4. it makes me appreciate the Spring

5. it can be fun to play in

6. it forces me to indoor play with my children

7. soups and hot cocoa

8. it covers my dead lawn and my ugly yard that needs landscaping

9. shoveling it is a great workout

10. the profound silence of things when it falls like goose feathers

Sunday, February 17, 2008

A shout out

...This woman, very often, makes my day! Not many things better than a good girlfriend/sister.

Guiltless Pleasure

This recipe is a huge hit- even with my sugarholic friends. For Valentine's day I made these as cupcakes and injected the filling. I also made several candies and truffles- of course the healthy way- but deliciously! All these recipes were developed by my sister Ali and me- over years of healthy eating and experimenting. The best way to get rid of a bad habit is to find a substitute to replace it...this will do- I promise.

NO WAAAY! Chocolate Cake
(no gluten or refined sugars or flours)
1 C brown rice flour (heaping)
1 C tapioca flour
¼ tsp salt
1 C cocoa powder
½ tsp xanthan gum (a natural replacement for gluten)
1 ½ tsp baking soda

½ C butter
¼ C canola oil
1 C agave nectar (or use xylotol or crystalline fructose)
¾ C water
1 C buttermilk (can subs 1/4 C sour crm and 3/4 C milk)
3 eggs
1 or 2 tsp vanilla

Prepare 2 round pans with parchment on the bottom and grease with veg. oil.
Preheat oven 350 degrees.
Blend all the dry ingredients in large bowl. Set aside.
In large mixing bowl beat butter, canola oil, and agave until light and fluffy and creamy.
Add vanilla and eggs one at a time- whipping on high.
Add buttermilk and water and blend.
Add dry mix a bit at a time while mixing.
Pour into 2 round pans and bake for 25-30 mins- don't overbake- it is best moist. Cool- run knife around edge, turn out on racks
Chocolate Mousse Filling
1 ½ C whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla
4 Tblsp cocoa or more to taste
2 Tblsp agave or more to taste
Whip cream, vanilla and agave until a soft cream- add cocoa and whip stiffer. Use as filling between your two cake rounds.
Buttery Frosting
6 egg yolks
½ C agave
¼ C water
1 ½ cubes soft butter
Boil water and agave until soft ball stage-(not too long or you’ll make taffy).
Whip yolks on high and slowly add hot syrup mix- beat until outside of bowl is cool.
Add butter a little at a time. Flavor with any extract and color. IF you want a chocolate frosting add 1 Cup melted and cooled grain sweetened chocolate chips and or cocoa powder. Experiment with what you like and according to dietary needs. Cool frosting before spreading. (Refrigerating the whole cake before serving at this point is nice.)
Decorate top of cake with extra mousse, fruit, nuts, healthy candies or shaved, sugar free chocolate bar etc.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Melvil Poupaud

There is something about this French the movie Broken English, with Parker Posy that took me by surprise. As much as I wanted to dislike him at first ,for being French and of questionable intentions, by the end of the film he was irresistable. Hmmm. He masters the art of puppy eyes and direct, frank attraction to the leading lady in a way that every woman wants- grab her and kiss her with no bravado- only slight warnings "I want to kiss you...", or, "Come over here." A gentle John Wayne approach, with a continental twist and more affection and concern emoting from his boyish face. Looking forward to seeing this guy play protagonists more often- many of his roles are conceited cads, as in Le Divorce, with Naomi Watts and Kate Hudson, one of the worst films I have ever wasted a fraction of my life on.
Anyway, Broken English is a slow, somehow classic feeling, dramatic, romantic comedy-ish movie without big laughs... and more indy style, not polished and formulaic. Parker Posy is a pathetic, lonely girl in Manhattan who drinks too much to keep her loneliness at bay, disappointed in love time and again. There is something reminiscent of Katherine Hepburn in her somehow...the acting is realistic and the story is not exciting, but interesting. I think what it illustrates well is that when someone is unhappy with themselves, they are driven to desperation and make bad realtionship decisions and consequently become jaded, having a hard time trusting and knowing how to find real love. Enter unlikely French love interest- could be just another player only around for the action...then again maybe not. The thing I always find strange in modern movies is the lack of moral compass- it is no wonder people are confused- when is it real? When does the sex mean something? To orient myself in this way of thinking is to suspend all I believe about the subject. This is how people are shopping for relationships...and miraculously, some can still find them in this precarious manner. Sometimes, somehow, genuine caring can evolve out of such uncertain and irresponsible behavior. The question at the end of the film remains, to me anyway, can love last when the participants follow the philosophy that one should go with the flow- if it feels good, do it- contracts be damned? When love and commitment are confused with sex and fleeting desire? Chances are slim, but one can always hope, for their sakes, the lonely, searching ones.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

The light that was, still is

Why is a clear perspective of ourselves and of life such a slippery thing? Sometimes we grasp it in sweaty hands- momentarily- and see life illuminated in bare truth in relation to our deepest sense of self- our desires, our paradigms- but, just before the epiphany can do any lasting good- it slips away from us; it cannot be held as a photograph, it is moving fast- at the speed of light, and all we see is the blur of the light- and all the blur of light does is reflect off the things around us- so we think they are the light- we believe this is the truth and the mystery again. My opened mind closes once more on creaking hinges and all my "ah- has!" seem to fade into "huhs?". Sometimes I think that mortality is the repression of reality, knowledge and truth suppressed...And still I know that good and truth exist because what else can be missing that we all so keenly feel in the vacant corners of our lives.Black holes mark where stars once shown.