Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday, bah humbug...and cranberry sauce

The leaves continue to fall from the trees lining Lake Hamilton blanketing the yards and open spaces. On the deck outside, my son has made a pile in hues of red, gold and brown to use as part of his imaginary play. The geese and ducks glide swiftly across the ripples of the lake and fat brown squirrels chase each other up and down the tall oak. I am warm, my belly is still full from yesterday's home cooked meal and a big old dog is curled up on the floor near me while a friendly pool game ensues.

Today is a lovely day to appreciate the plentiful life I have.

In our modern society where so many people are concerned with "keeping up" I am making a conscious effort to simply maintain. In fact, in the past few months (minus the new additions gifted from my mom) I have been making the decision to try and rid myself of "things". One thing I am working to rid myself of is the feeling that I need more when in truth I already have everything I actually need: water, food, a roof over my head, clothing, warmth in winter, a family whom I love, and ever growing community of like-minded folks.

In our country, even those who feel like they have very little, posses greater wealth than people in so many other countries. We take for granted the fact that we have drinkable water delivered directly to our homes and accessible whenever we want and most of us have access to food all the time. Food and water to nourish our bodies is a blessing to be thankful for.

We, as a country also create some of largest amount of waste in world and use more of the world's resources than any other country. The US only makes up 5% of the world population but as a whole we are a consumptive super power wreaking havoc and leaving destruction everywhere we go. Greed and entitlement lead to unhealthy, malnourished spirits.

Today, with this whole Capitalist ploy of Black Friday and consumptive consumerism getting ready to sweep in and take over the holiday season, I want to remind everyone that we are not alone in this world. We live such individualistic lives even though the whole world is connected. When we make a conscious decision to consume to our hearts content, we can be sure that somewhere, someone else is lacking and it may be a direct correlation. This is what I think is one of the main things wrong with our society, lack of regard for other humans' rights to exist with integrity just so that we can have as much as possible. As I have been reminded by some very smart folks from an older generation, "It doesn't matter how much you have, you can't take it with you when you go."

It is my wish this holiday season that as a whole society we can find it in ourselves to come together and stop making a few people monetarily wealthy and work towards creating a wealthy world.

If you are going to be shopping for gifts this year, I know I will be as well, take the time to know your local shopkeeper. Buy from local crafts people or fair trade organizations. Make a gift contribution to a charity organization in someone's name, for instance Heifer International. Find out where items are made and what kind of record the corporation making the product has. Follow your money trail and see where it leads. As a whole, we should have learned by now that our use of our monetary resources speaks loudly. So, I say choose wisely where you spend it.

Let's start now and make changes that help create a healthy, wealthy world for all of the children growing up, being born, and not yet thought of.

As a little gift from me to you to start spreading the sweetness, here is my newest recipe for Cranberry Sauce.

1 bag organic cranberries
2/3 c organic golden raisins (feel free to use less if you want)
1/2c organic maple syrup
1/2c organic brown rice syrup
1/4 organic orange juice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
pinch of nutmeg

1/2 tsp organic corn starch mixed with 2 tsp water to make a slurry

Put all of the ingredients except cornstarch slurry into a 2qt pot. Cook over medium heat, mixing occasionally, until all of the cranberries "pop", or about 20-30 minutes. If there are still some whole ones, give them a hand by pressing them against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon. If your sauce is thick, don't worry about the cornstarch. If your sauce is still very liquidy, make sure it is gently boiling and pour in a small amount of the cornstarch. Stir until completely dissolved and keep adding in small amounts until desired thickness is reached. Cool and serve.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A visit from mom

It's way too late and yet sleep isn't coming my way.

The past few days have been full of fun and adventure. My mom has been visiting from the east and we, along with my son, have been having quite a blast. We've built Lego creations, eaten in a faux rainforest, danced and sang at a Harambee, been to the movies and shopped past the point of our hearts content.

Friday, November 11, 2011