Monday, February 21, 2011

Monday musing 4

Last week I was in a major winter funk. It's not that I have anything against winter actually, it's just that usually sometime in February I experience an inward shift that can lead me down a bad way quickly. When I say a bad way, I'm not talking about anything drastic like binge drinking or drug use but something that for many people can be much worse. I get into a bad habit of self beratement. My mind begins to constantly pick apart all of the little things in my life that I do not think are going well and rip them to shreds until I am a grouchy, headache having, dark circles, cry in an instant, mean kind of person. At least to the person who is closest to me, my husband. To everyone else I still maintain my "normal" appearance.

When this begins to happen to me, I know that the ebst course of actions would be to tell him that I need a good talk. That I need an hour of his time just to listen and help me process the irrational emotions wreaking havoc on my life schema. Usually I wait until my breaking point hits to actually ask him for help. I don't know why, he has never since I've known him refused to help me when I have needed it.

By the time I am "breaking" as it were, he has most likely spent most of our interactions during the previoous week trying to ligthen the mood and make me laugh, reminding that everything is really ok. That I'm healthy, usually happy and have a wonderful son. I know all of these things but it doesn't help me. When I finally do break down and share the things in my head, he always listens. He is patient with me as I let loose, sometimes being overly critical of him, without telling me I am wrong, or what I am feeling is wrong. He is a good listener. He reassures me. Afterward my mind and heart begin to lighten. Even though this process is painful for me (and for him too) I think I come out better on the other side. It's like that deep internal winter reflection all comes to a head and is shouting to burst forth and into the next season. I emerge more aware of myself, my habits, and who I am, ready to continue my growth for the next year.

This time around, it didn't help that the following day, after my breaking point, the sun began to shine brightly again and the temperatures began to warm up. Last week felt like spring with sun and warmth and flowers beginning to bloom around town. I am hopful, inspired, and lucky to have such a great family.

May your life be blessed by someone who takes you for who you are and is glad of all of your faults. When you reach your dark winter place, may there be someone with a hand outstretched to help you reach the surface and breathe. And may the waves of doubt in your mind that have the ability to wreak chaos help you find a calm shoreline upon which to walk.

I'm looking forward to spring and new beginnings, bright colored flowers blooming, new birds migrating through, and the continuing of my grand life adventure.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Pasta sauce

A simple and delicious pasta sauce I came up with just the other day. Who says you need to have sugar in your tomato sauce? Not me.

2T olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 fresh roma tomato, diced
1 small zucchini, diced
3 large cloves garlic, minced

1 can Muir Glen organic fire roasted diced tomatoes, plus 1 can of water
1/2 can organic tomato paste

1/4 - 1/2 tsp salt (this measurement is to taste, I used only 1/4tsp)
1/8 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/2 tsp dried italian herb blend (usually found in bulk at your local health food store)
1/4 tsp garlic granules (or course ground powder)

1T red miso diluted in 1/2 cup warm water

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. (Although I prefer to use my deep cast iron skillet). Then add the onion and sautee on medium heat until translucent. Add the tomato, zucchini and garlic and cook until soft.

Then add the tomatoes, straight from the can, and the paste. Fill the tomato can with water and add that as well. Add all of the spices except the miso. Simmer on a medium-low heat for about 20 minutes. The sauce will begin to thicken. Then add the diluted miso and simmer another 5 minutes.

Top your favorite pasta and enjoy.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Monday musing 3

Once again it's Monday, they start of the proverbial week. I'm glad to report that sun is shining here and that does put a smile on my face. We've had a reprieve from the inablilty to handle winter weather and that was a good thing, being able to get out of the house and drive through town without fear of sliding or colliding due to ice.

I suppose I won't celebrate the sun and warmer temps too much just yet as there is a call for more snow and ice starting tomorrow night and then again later in the week. Oh well, at least being cozy at home with the family is something I truly enjoy.

Well, I'm sure cheese heads everywhere are delighted with the outcome of the superbowl. There were quite a few injuries on the astroturf and more long hairs on the field than I can honestly say I've noticed in a quite a while. I guess the game was considered to be pretty good football. What started out like it might be a shut out of a game turned competitive after half time and was actually pretty entertaining.

However I cannot say the same for the Black Eye Peas performance at half time. Maybe I'm showing my age by admitting that when it comes to seeing/hearing live music at this stage of my life I really perfer to actually see people playing instruments as opposed to just singing and dancing on stage. While the light up costumes were kind of flashy and mildly entertaining as were all of the light up dancers, Slash, lending the sweet guitar chords I've come to know and love as Sweet Child of Mine totally stole the show. And of course gimmicks, which seemed to be what the performance was all about continued throughout even bringing singer Usher down from the rafters and onto the stage.

All in all my superbowl watching experience was fun combined with snacks (none of which were advertised during the game) and good conversation (which often included mocking of things that were advertised during the game).

Now that I've gotten that all out of my brain, will I be able to make the leap into this morning's schooling? I'm sure I will but after spending the week cooped up in the house and neighborhood, I think we're both wanting to play with others, somehting we usually get plenty of.

My stream of consciusness seems to be dwindling out so, I guess that's about all for this morning.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Warm soup for a snowy day

Now, I'll admit that when I moved here to texas in the midst of one hot summer, I could not have forseen the current weather outside. It was 110 degrees in August, a complete extreme opposite from the -10 degree wind chill that's been blowing here this week. Today there is snow falling continuing the essential shut down of the little north Texas town I live in. Under this falling snow, the streets have been covered in a layer of ice for the past week. Of course having lived in cold places in the not too far past, we're well prepared with long johns and wool sweaters, snow pants and heavy coats, and of course wool socks and winter gloves.

I'm not so bothered by the cold weather. It's just come as a surprise. I feel lucky for that we're a homeschool family because snow and winter weather provide great opportunities for both fun and learning. We can measure how deep the snow is in the middle of the yard compared to how deep it is in the drifts. We can see how much water is left in a glass after the snow melts. And we can make snow cream!!!

This week I've been making a lot of hearty warm meals to keep our insides from chilling. Last night I made a delicious potato soup and thought I'd share the basic recipe with you.

Creamy Potato and Vegetable soup (vegan)

4 russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 rapunzel brand bouillion cubes, sea salt and herbs
4 cups of water (maybe more)

4 cups of fresh washed spinach
8 oz mushrooms sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
6 cloves garlic
2T olive oil

salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste

Place the cubed potatoes, veggie bouillion and water in a large pot. You want enough water to be a good 3 inches over the potatoes. Bring to a boil. Turn heat to medium and cook potatoes until they are completely done, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile in a large skillet heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and sautee for about a minute. Add the mushrooms and cook until soft. Then add spinach, bell pepper, and a pich of salt and sautee until all vegetables are cooked and soft. Add enough salt, pepper and garlic powder to give a good flavor.

When the potatoes are done cooking, use and immersion blender to turn them and the cooking liquid into a puree. Add the cooked vegetables mixture and season to taste. Enjoy!