There is no settling this dust

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I can’t look at him much less hear his horrid voice. For now, until I summon a plan of action, I won’t listen to, or acknowledge him. #notmypresident

I’m not alone in my feelings. As I type this, there are thousands of people out there marching in city streets in protest. Even more still are those with the idea that we can eliminate the electoral college, or at least convince them to vote the will of the people. Hope.

I want to help. I need to find my voice. Can you believe that I’m afraid? For the first time in my life, I am afraid to speak out. I have much to lose. Being a single parent with no family support, my life is dedicated to providing a home for my daughters. One wrong turn is all it would take to snap the camel’s back.

Undecided. For now.

Sorry, world…

There are no words. 

America has shown its darkest heart, its ugliness , and its ignorance. The rest of the world will know its pure selfishness, now, if they hadn’t known before.

I want no part of it, but I  can’t close my eyes and ears to the jarring, hateful reality.

All I can do at this moment is hope that those responsible will know consequence, and maybe they will learn something.

Maybe.

October’s strange musings

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What do these three songs have in common? Ruby Tuesday, Time After Time, and California Dreamin‘?

Ruby Tuesday and California Dreamin’ were both written in the 1960’s (like me), but it would be 20 years before Time After Time would be released. All were released during the winter. The artists have nothing in common that I know of (Rolling Stones, Cyndi Lauper, and The Mamas and the Papas, respectively.) The lyrics do have some commonality though, in my opinion, and that would be that the songs are reflections (musings) on the past and something that was lost. Ruby Tuesday is perhaps that elusive woman who defies categorization, and comes into your life only briefly – yet leaves this indelible imprint and a wistful longing for something intangible. Time After Time absolutely tells a story of the past and what it’s like to cling to that. Finally, California Dreamin’ has a similar theme of longing for something once known but no longer a part of the current reality. It must also be pointed out that all three of these songs inhabited my subconsciousness on a do loop for too long, plaguing me endlessly and ultimately causing me to question myself (hence the preceding post).

It occurred to me, as things often do in that background program that runs while I perform my duties at work, that these songs and the images that accompanied them have everything to do with my own past. Anybody who says “duh” at this juncture needs to hush right now! How many of you can honestly state you are 100% switched on to self awareness mode at every single moment of every single day, hmm? I’m probably more “switched on” than most people I know  Still, this realization was rather an epiphany for me, and one that (while disturbing on a level) made me feel somewhat comforted. I am a half-century old, plus a bit more, and that means there is a lot of past back there, trailing behind me like a cargo train. The only time we ever get to step into the past is through a dream state or meditation. It’s all there, in the brain’s memory banks. I would dearly love to know if memories are stored in individual honeycomb-like cells or if they are layered one on top of another like sheaves of paper. A topic for another day perhaps.

“How much longer can you hold on?” I asked of that shadow person who was cold, alone and sad. “Is it too late to save you?” These questions, when put into the context of looking at my own self, left me feeling a little anxious. Did my old self really need to be pulled out of the obscure past and into the present?  In attempting to answer this question, I found that the order of the lyrics is possibly significant. You see, when I was barely an adult (20, and technically little more than a child) I got married. After 16 years of that marriage-and dramatic personal changes- I left it behind, loading up a truck and moving away. “Goodbye Ruby Tuesday, Who could hang a name on you? When you change with every new day, Still I’m going to miss you…” My ex husband has always been there, keeping the light on in a manner of speaking, if I ever wanted to come home. “If you’re lost you can look and you will find me, Time after time…” But, I had headed West to California. “All the leaves are brown, And the sky is grey, California Dreamin’ on such a winter’s day…”

Is there still some part of me that looks back to who and where I used to be, longing for the past, or is something much stranger at play?

 

California dreamin’

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I can hear you, here in my mind. You cry, you sing yourself to sleep, and dream of warm things: that steaming cup of tea held between both hands while you gazed at the summer garden in full bloom; and that seaside cafe with its 70’s decor and what must have been the best potato leek soup the world had ever known. Your despair is nearly palatable. How much longer can you hold on? How do I even know you’re still alive? Is it too late to save you, was I ever meant to save you? I don’t know who or where you are. I only hear the echo of the song you sing, haunting and barely audible: California dreaming on such a winter’s day...

Caffe M~Path Chicken Soup

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If you’re anything like me, you’ve been seeking ways to assure that the food you eat not only tastes wonderful and is economical, but also won’t kill you. No? Here at Caffe M~Path, we have need for food that doesn’t kill us. That’s because we have so many food allergies/intolerances. And, let me tell you, navigating the sometimes terrifying super-highway of food allergies is time consuming, money consuming, and can wear a body down all too quickly. If you, like me, are well-versed in food allergies, then you know the pain. Virtual hugs to you in your labors.

As a result of the various limitations in my life, I’ve become a modestly-accomplished cook. Everything is from scratch, because one can’t simply trust the food industry to accommodate my needs on a consistent, across the board, basis; and everything is nearly always invented by yours truly. The only drawback to being a self-taught cook is that I rarely measure, unless it’s a baked product that I’m preparing. I instead like to leave things a little open to interpretation, based on what is available in my pantry or refrigerator– and I, quite literally, rely heavily upon my mood. Today, I’m in the mood for chicken soup (which is simmering as I type this.) I shared a version of my chicken soup recipe with a co-worker, who subsequently declared it to be too labor-intensive. She doesn’t have my food allergies, bless her heart, and was able to cut a few corners. She emailed saying the soup was wonderful. I hope you enjoy it too.  Oh, and while you’re here, check out the new Trattoria page. I’ll be posting recipes there from time to time.

Steps:

1.  Create the broth: 2 organic boneless, skinless chicken breasts and 2 thighs, 1 rib organic celery + stalk with leaves, handful organic baby carrots, 1/4 organic red onion, and 2 organic garlic cloves. (Are you spotting the trend here? Yes, organic is key to creating a very healthful end product. And from here on out, everything that goes into this soup is organic.) Wash then cut your veggies into large chunks. Place chicken pieces and veggies into a dutch oven or similar pot that has a lid and add enough water to cover by one inch. Add salt, fresh ground pepper, 2 bay leaves, oregano, red pepper flakes and thyme. I told you, I don’t measure. Eye it, smell it, and make it your own.  Cover the pot with a lid and bring to a boil. Simmer until your chicken pieces are cooked through (about 30 minutes).   Next, you will remove the chicken pieces to a cutting board, and prepare to strain your broth. Place cheesecloth in a strainer, place that over a bowl, and pour the broth and veggies into the strainer. Press the veggies with a spoon to extract all the flavor. Set your broth aside.

2. Create the final soup: Today, I have carrots, peas, onion, garlic, celery and russet potatoes, but you can use whatever veggies you like. Sweet potato, cauliflower, mushrooms, green beans, red bell peppers… all good choices. I’m on a food budget today, so it’s just the basics. The end result will still be a very delicious soup!  Chop your veggies into mostly equal sizes. Again, I don’t measure, but will prepare at least a cup of chopped carrots, 3 stalks of celery, 1 small onion, 3 cloves of garlic (crushed), 1/2 cup peas, and 3 small potatoes. I prefer red potatoes as they make a prettier soup. After you’ve prepared your veggies, heat about 1 tbs olive oil (again, organic) in your soup pan. Saute the veggies for 8 minutes, stirring often. Chop the chicken into bite sized pieces while your veggies cook. Pour the reserved broth into your pan. Add your chopped chicken along with generous amounts of: salt, fresh ground pepper, oregano, thyme, bay leaf, cayenne pepper and red pepper flakes. I like heat 🙂  Be creative with your herbs, using whatever you really like. Smell it, taste it, adjust it to your liking – keeping in mind that the flavor will intensify as it cooks a bit. Adjust your liquid level if needed (sometimes I add a splash of chardonnay) and cover the pot to simmer for 15 minutes.

3. At the end of the 15 minutes, give the soup a stir and add a tablespoon of organic dijon mustard (try http://truenaturaltaste.com/organic-mustards/organic-dijon-mustard), a few slices of lemon as well as about 1 tbs of fresh lime juice. Cover the pot and simmer another 15-20 minutes. Allow soup to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving. I enjoy serving it in fat ceramic mugs.

Chicken Soup

Chicken Soup

End note: the world’s best add-in for this soup is homemade pesto. I’ll post a recipe at a future date. You haven’t lived until you’ve had my pesto.

Cheers!