Terri's Airy Fairie World

Musings on Music, Tea, Gardening, Food & Life…


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Dreaming in Music…

Do you ever wake up dreaming music?

Maybe you’re just hearing it in your dreams, as a soundtrack, and then that song that is playing in your head when you wake up remains with you throughout the day, along with the feelings associated with it. This morning I woke up hearing The Old Castle from Mussorgsky’s ‘Picture’s at an Exhibition’. Here’s a link to the Tishmalov version, if you’d like to give it a listen. It’s beautiful and rich and haunting. Take the time to close your eyes and allow a story to unfold. That’s the best way (IMHO) to experience music, especially orchestral music.

Last week there was a day I woke up with ‘Soon It’s Gonna Rain’, from the Fantasticks!     I love that show! It’s my favorite musical, and so much fun to play. The orchestration is just a harp and a piano. If you’ve never seen the Fantasticks, here’s a link. Oh, and that is not me playing the harp, it’s just a random video I found on Youtube.

I’m a big fan of dreams, a vivid dreamer, a dream journaler, and so many of my dreams have been portents of things to come. I often write my dreams down, but the really vivid ones stick with me for years, their  impact resonating in my life. My first musical dreams, and the first dreams I remember, took place when I was 3 or 4. I dreamed I was a Fairie, with beautiful butterfly wings, playing a harp and singing.  It has been and is a recurrent dream, and for those who know me, it is proof that dreams can & do come true, in ways we can never imagine! During early childhood, while all the other girls were pretending they were princesses, I was pretending to be the Magic Singing Harp from Jack in the Beanstock. All of my life I knew I would eventually play the Harp,  and when the opportunity came at the age of 19, I gave it my all. Now I AM the Magic Singing Harp. I AM a Fairie, and music gives me beautiful butterfly wings. The dreams we manifest can point the way to our Heart’s desires, and help us to manifest the lives we dream of.

I often dream that I’m playing music, usually on the Harp, occasionally on the Piano (which I also play), and sometimes on instruments that I still don’t know how to play, like the Kora, a West African Lyre/Harp.

or the Guzheng, a Chinese Zither, which is a cousin to the Harp. I’m hoping to buy one of them sometime soon 🙂

or the Qanun/Kanoon, a Turkish Zither.

Thirty years ago I wrote a letter to Jalaleddin Takesh, a famous Kanoon player, introducing myself as a professional Harpist and telling him of my interest in that instrument. I asked him where I could procure a good quality Kanoon, and written instructions on how to tune & play it. He actually took the time to send a reply, informing me that as a woman, I lacked the complex thinking required to play such an instrument, and some other demeaning BS. At the time I owned all of his recordings, which were wonderful. I broke them all. There are plenty of other gifted musicians in the world, who don’t view women as incompetent or less than. I listen to them instead. And as you can see, the person playing the Kanoon in the video above is a woman.

I also have dreams where I’m composing music. That can be a little crazy, as I wake  up groping for the light switch, my journal, and a pen to jot down notes, lyrics, rhythmic patterns, etc. A few years ago I dreamed it was snowing, and I heard the opening to Pachelbel’s Canon in D, and then superimposed over that was ‘In the Bleak Midwinter’, by Gustav Holst. I woke up, quickly went downstairs, sat down at my harp with my practice journal (I have journals for everything), and started testing it out, and with a few harmonic tweakings, it worked! That dream became the inspiration and the title cut for my xmasy CD, MidWinter’s Canon.

Years ago I wrote a song called ‘Journey to Serenity’, which is on my Cynical Serenity CD. The lyrics were written while I was on a plane, flying from St. Louis to visit my folks in Florida. The music didn’t come to me right away, however, which can be frustrating for songwriters, and I do have a drawer full of song lyrics that I’ve never set to music…yet… Anyway, I’ve learned that you can’t force it, so I just let it go for awhile, contemplating the lyrics, tinkering with some ideas on the Harp, but otherwise believing that it would happen in it’s time. Lo and behold, a few weeks later I dreamed that I was in a plane, and it was kind of like a crazy music video, where sometimes I was playing and singing and sometimes I was sitting in my seat looking down from the sky. In the early morning hours I ended up down in my studio, playing my harp and singing softly, and jotting things down, and by the time the sun rose, the song was complete.

If you’d like to see and hear it, here’s a video.

 

About year ago, I woke up with Tom Petty’s song, ‘I Won’t Back Down’ stuck in my head. It’s probably my least favorite Tom Petty song of all time, and it haunted me for a couple of weeks. I thought I’d never get that song out of my head!

Do you dream in music? If so, what kinds of music do you tend to dream?


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My Post-Election Pre-Apocolyptic Breakfast – The REALLY best Paleo almost Aip Plantain Pancakes!

First off, I can’t believe it’s been over 3 months since I’ve posted!

I’ve started several posts during that time, all with good intentions. I’ve taken several photo of my garden, food, and all the other awesome things in my life. But I’ve just been way to busy to spend any real time at my computer, sorting things out into some kind of coherent blog post.

What was I doing?

Playing gigs! During the period between October 16th and Dec 4th I played with 7 different orchestras, yes, Seven different orchestras, with 7 different concert programs, in 8 weeks! So I was practicing A LOT  in between my usual schedule of private students (Harp & Piano). Meanwhile I was also playing a variety of other gigs during that time, like weddings, funerals, etc. And when I was done with all of that, the HoliDaze gigs started, but now all I have left is 2 Christmas Eve church services, and then a blessed week off between Christmas and New Year’s Day. No gigs. No students. Just a week to sleep, rest, eat good food, and goof off a little bit. And get ready for the New Year!

Anyway, it’s all good, and next week I’m going to try to end the year by sharing a mini-compilation of some of the posts I almost posted over the last couple of months, just so that those photo’s and semi-blog-blurbs won’t go to waste!

Meanwhile, here is the Post I had planned to post a few days after the election, written on November 9th.

My Post Election Pre-Apocolyptic Breakfast

On Election Day (yesterday) my sons & I got up early, so that we could be at the poll when it opened to exercise our right & responsibility to vote, and then go out to breakfast. It’s our tradition. Afterwards, we came home and I spent the entire day cleaning my sunroom, and bringing in the houseplants that have lived outside for the last several months. I love sitting in my sunroom, sipping tea, eating breakfast, and communing with my dwarf citrus trees all winter!

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I didn’t spend the day thinking about the election, although I did check online before I went to bed, and it was clear to me by 9pm that Trump was going to be the winner, admittedly not the outcome I was hoping for, but I slept well anyway.

Now that the election is over, I’m grateful for the following things:

  1. The end, at least for a few years, of all the political bullshit: phone calls, advertisements, junk mail, etc. What a waste of time, resources, and materials.
  2. I’m also grateful that I live in the USA, where everyone is allowed to vote, and if I don’t like the outcome, in 4 years I can try again.
  3. My wonderful creative life, which I will continue to enjoy with wild abandon. I will continue to play my harp, garden, sing, make good food, meditate, encourage & nurture my inner child, be kind, and savor the many awesome moments that life offers, 24 – 7.

As an American, I am disgusted/dismayed by the following things:

  1. The hatefulness & slanderous comments that are allowed to proliferate in the media, especially during election years. It’s nothing new. The candidates spend most of their time telling us how awful their opponent is, & implying negative things about their honesty, integrity, and intentions. They tell us very little about themselves. There is a saying that applies here: “When you point a finger at somebody else, you’re pointing 3 back at yourself.” I wish the candidates would all agree to this suggestion: If you can’t say something nice, please don’t say anything at all. Quit talking about your opponent, and tell me about yourself. I also wish that the media would agree to not allow vaguely slanderous comments & outright lies to be broadcasted, published, etc.
  2. The ignorance of my fellow Americans, and the Dumbing Down of the American People. There are a lot of Americans who are poorly educated & poorly informed. Add to this the addiction to Reality TV, which in my opinion generally promotes rude behavior and overall stupidity. Many people will believe anything they see on TV, and even more so if they see it on the internet. Any blogger can post something hateful & blatantly slanderous/untrue, and I guarantee there are people who will believe it & share it as a fact.
  3. People who don’t vote, but want to complain about the government & the election results, and then blather on in an uninformed way about these things. Shut the F@#k up, please!
  4. The Doomsday Drama Queens (both male & female), who proliferate on social media. Just because your candidate didn’t win, that doesn’t mean the world is going to end, or our country is going to collapse, or one of the other super powers is going to starting lobbing missiles our way.
  5. The Crazy Racists, Masogynists, and other Wacko’s that seem to proliferate in the USA these days.

I personally avoid Drama in my life. Fear of the Future will keep me from enjoying today. Talking about and imagining horrible scenarios where women lose all their rights, where we return to some kind of dark ages, & where Hitler-esque atrocities take place is not conducive to savoring life. When we imagine fearful, painful, miserable things, we feel those emotions each time. We become emotionally invested in them. We mind-F&@k ourselves into an endless cycle of emotions & mental realities that will probably never actually materialize in real life. Whether we’re talking about Election results, or just in everyday life, it’s a self-destructive practice that I let go of over 30 years ago, and for that I am endlessly grateful.

I’m not talking about going into denial & sticking my head in the sand like an ostrich. I’m talking about living my life as if nothing has changed, until something actually changes. In that event, I’ll feel what I feel in that moment, do whatever it is I need to do, and continue on. It’s called Living.

We have a new President Elect (he won’t actually be the President until January).

As we say in recovery, Acceptance is the Key.

I don’t know where the next 4 years will lead us. Nobody really knows. But I do know that the President is only one person, that there are limits to that person’s power, and just because he says he’s going to do certain things, that doesn’t mean the American people will allow it. We are a country that prizes personal freedom, and our constitution guarantees that.

Where do we go from here? Forward! Starting with a Decadent Breakfast, because every day in my house starts with food.

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My Post-Election Pre-Apocolyse Breakfast was Plantain pancakes, bacon, eggs topped with crispy shallots on a bed of greens, and peach preserves (one of my rare cheats, although they are fruit juice sweetened at least), with plenty of black tea!

“Why so many cups of tea, AND a pot of tea too?” you inquire…

Because I love tea! And I want to linger over my breakfast, without having to get up and make more.

My hopes for the USA & all of it’s inhabitants: Let’s all be kind to one another. Let’s all be Creative and express ourselves in a loving way, accepting & celebrating our differences, encouraging each other to learn & grow. And don’t forget to have a good breakfast!

The REALLY best Paleo/almost AIP Plantain Pancakes Recipe!

I’ve been playing around with this recipe for awhile, and I have to say, I’m really satisfied with the taste and the texture! Most of the plantain pancake recipes I’ve tried have been really gummy, and also a disaster to flip. These are almost like ‘real’ pancakes!

1 Plantain – If you want a sweeter pancake, go with a riper plantain. If you want more savory, go with green. Slice it up into several pieces & remove the peel. You can also use bananas, but you’ll probably need 1.5 – 2 bananas to equal one plantain.

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

2 Tb melted coconut oil

a pinch of salt

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 Tb Coconut Flour

2 Tb Arrowroot Flour

Opt: Cinnamon, Powdered Ginger, or other flavors you like (pumpkin pie spice?)

Put all of the ingredients into your food processor & let it go, stopping to scrape the edges a few times, just to make sure everything gets blended up well. Meanwhile, heat up a griddle or skillet to medium-ish. I love my cast iron griddle! And BTW, if you’re using cast iron cookware (and if you’re not, you really should be!), you need a silicone basting brush! It’s the best way to oil your skillets and such, and it also doubles as a fun inner child painting activity! You can baste it with coconut oil, lard, bacon fat, or whatever fat you choose. Also, if something sticks, just work that basting brush under the edges and it will usually let go like magic!

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Once the griddle is hot, start making pancakes! I like to use a small ladle, I think the one in the pic holds about 1/8 of a cup, or maybe 1/4th. I keep the pancakes smallish, so that they are easier to turn. Let them bubble, but keep an eye them because they do have a tendency to burn rather easily. They might not bubble that much, and if you need to flip them more than once, it’s ok. Just do it. They will have a tender texture when they first come off the griddle, but will firm up a little more as they cool.

Once the pancakes are done, fry  up some bacon on the same surface, and eggs if you like, and enjoy! You can serve them with preserves or jam, real maple syrup, fresh fruit, coconut whipped cream, or whatever you like, short stack or tall. To be honest, I usually stand there grazing on them as they come off the griddle, plain.

If you’re following an AIP variation, you can eat these as long as you can eat eggs. If you can’t eat eggs, I’m sorry…

This recipe makes roughly a dozen pancakes and here’s the nutritional breakdown per cake: 65 calories, 8 Grams of Carbs, 4 Grams of Fat, 1 Gram of Protein. That’s 44% carbs, 48% Fat, and 8% Protein. So as you can see, they aren’t exactly low carb, LOL. But they are delicious. And worthy as a breakfast treat. And if you look at the overall meal in the picture, with the bacon, eggs, greens & preserves,  it comes out like this:

 

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Yes, it’s kind of a big breakfast, but I also tend to eat late in the morning, and then I don’t eat lunch, so if I eat a high protein low carb dinner, it all balances out nicely. And I’m not really sticking to a Keto kind of thing right now anyway, at least not every day!

And I don’t eat them every day! If I’ve had a particularly intense workout, or if I just feel like pampering myself a little bit, they really do the trick.

 

I recommend that you triple the recipe. A single batch will blend up well, but a triple batch seems to blend up better. Eat as many as you want, then freeze the leftovers on a cookie sheet and bag them for days when you want an easy breakfast, a quick snack, a bacon & eggs sandwich, or just because you feel like having pancakes and therefore you should have them. Enjoy!

 


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Last Night’s Dinner…

My blog has sort of gotten pushed to the side over the last few weeks, due to other priorities, like updating my website (which I’m still working on), so in an effort to share Something, here are the details of last night’s dinner!

First of all, I’m a long time fan of Nom Nom Paleo’s Cracklin’ Chicken recipe. I don’t really like chicken very much. It’s not very satisfying for me, and I usually get hungry pretty quickly after eating it. I do like chicken stock though, and will occasionally make chicken salad, but most of the time if I cook chicken, I prefer chicken thighs. They are fattier, and  more satisfying. This recipe has been my favorite way to enjoy chicken for awhile now, very versatile, and really, just perfect. If you haven’t tried it yet, you owe it to yourself to do so, & I think you’ll agree. Here’s the Cracklin Chicken recipe, & I’d like to thank Michelle for her blog, books, and ipad app! So many wonderful recipes! I’ve been a fan for years now. Thank you!

The other day I picked up some thighs, planning to make that recipe, but I’ve been super busy, and it does take a certain amount of prep time, in that you have to remove the bones. Gratefully Michelle shared a new chicken recipe a few days ago, an asian inspired variation on Cracklin Chicken, Cantonese Crispy Chicken Thighs! One of my family members has a Shroom phobia, so I left out the Shiitake Mushrooms (reluctantly), and due to the extreme heat in St. Louis, all of my cilantro is gone (until more comes up), but I have plenty of shallots, garlic, and scallions from my garden, so that was close enough! The chicken is crispy and wonderful, the pan juices rich & satisfying. Thank you Michelle for another wonderful recipe!  In a minute I’m going to eat the leftovers for lunch. Here’s the link.

img_3394I originally planned to serve this chicken over cauli fried rice, but then I realized I was out of cauliflower.

Improvisation is what I do, and so I made a simple cabbage sauté instead.

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Simple Cabbage Saute

Cut a cabbage in half, core and thinly slice half of it. Put the rest in the frig for next time.

Heat some good fat in your skillet, slice up 3 or 4 slices of bacon. Saute until crispy, then remove from the skillet.

Add the cabbage to the skillet, stir it around to coat with fat, cover and cook, stirring frequently,  until it starts getting tender. Remove lid, toss in some grated ginger & minced garlic and continue stirring, allowing excess moisture to evaporate.  If you’re out of fresh garlic & Ginger, you can use powdered, although it won’t be nearly as good.

Toss in a handful of Scallions (I use Egyptian Walking Onions), and season with fish sauce and toasted sesame oil to taste. Sprinkle the bacon over the top and enjoy!

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Smokey Beef Tacos with Cilantro Lime Slaw…

Have you heard of Siete Tortillas?

I first saw them on Julie Bauer’s blog, PaleOMG.com, and of course, I immediately ordered a case. And I truly enjoyed them. Now I’m enjoying my 2nd case! They are grain/gluten free, and come in 3 varieties: Almond flour, Cassava & Coconut, and Cassava & Chia.

Spicy foods are no longer on my menu, since I removed all nightshades from my diet. That includes tomatoes, potatoes (but not sweet potatoes!), all varieties of peppers & chilis, & eggplants (which I never liked anyway). It also includes chili powders. Having abstained from all these wonderful foods & spices for most of the last year, I’ve found that I feel so much better without them, and I’ve also found that when I eat them, I suffer: arthritis, tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, I end up having trouble walking because my feet don’t work right, and I have various other aches and pains. Gratefully, it all goes away when I abstain.

But who doesn’t love a taco? Or a tostada?  I’ve tried various homemade paleo/grain free tortilla recipes, and some of them are pretty good, but they do take time to make. Although I don’t use a lot of pre-prepped foods, I have to admit that having tortillas in the freezer once in awhile is a pretty handy thing! Especially since they take almost no time to thaw, and make for quick, easy, & versatile meals. I haven’t tried the Almond flour tortillas, because I don’t really digest nuts well.  For tacos, I think the Cassava & Coconut come out the best. I like to crisp them a little in a skillet, and then fold them over. They come out a mix of crunchy & chewy that way. For Tostadas, the Chia version got especially crunchy overall, but both versions make great tostadas. They also are both great just lightly heated, or cut into tortilla chip shapes and cooked until crispy to dip in Guac.

For dinner last night we had them with Bolyard’s Pulled Beef, another handy  & convenient food that I’ve been keeping in stock recently. Bolyard’s Meats and Provisions is a butcher shop in Maplewood (St. Louis suburbs) that I frequent often, in part because it’s half a mile from my house, and also because everything they sell is pasture raised, local, & fresh. Also, everyone there is super nice, especially the owner, Chris Bolyard!

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Bolyard’s Pulled Beef! Just heat it gently (or eat it cold), and it’s ready to go.

I save a lot of money by filling my deep freeze once or twice a year with locally raised beef, pork, lamb, & chicken, and although I source the majority of my meats from a few local farmers that I love, sometimes I want some thinly cut breakfast steaks, or maybe I’ve used up all of my soup bones. Or I’d like some special cut of something that I don’t have in my freezer. Bolyard’s is the place! Tell them what you want, and they will cut it for you on the spot. If they don’t have it, they will suggest alternative cuts. They also make their own lunchmeats, sausages, and a variety of other things, and you can pick up eggs, grilling supplies, sauerkraut & pickles, & even dinner. Once a week they fire up the smoker & smoke all kinds of things, and that is where the Pulled Beef that I love comes from, and it is flavorful, smokey, and perfect for tacos!

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The final piece to last night’s taco dinner was creamy cilantro lime coleslaw! Here’s my recipe:

First make a batch of mayo, using lime juice instead of lemon juice. I use a stick blender.

3/4 C avocado oil

1 whole egg

juice of one lime

salt & white pepper (opt) & garlic granules to taste… I just sprinkle some of each, maybe 1/4 tsp or so?  You could also add ground cumin or other spices that you like.

Hold the stick blender all the way to the bottom of the container you’re blending in, blend down there for a few seconds first, to start emulsifying the egg, then slowly move the blending stick up to gradually incorporate a little of the oil at a time. The whole process takes maybe 30 seconds. Now you have a beautiful mayo! BTW, to make regular mayo, follow the same formula, except use lemon juice.

Now for the slaw: shred up a variety of veggies. I used 1/4 green cabbage, 1/4 red cabbage, 1 large grated carrot, and half of a vidalia sweet onion thinly sliced. I actually prefer red onion, but we use what we have. Chop up a bunch of cilantro too. If you can eat bell peppers, a thinly sliced red bell would be a really nice addition.  Toss it all together, then add the entire batch of mayo, mixing well. Sample it, and see if it  needs anything: I added a little more salt & garlic to mine, plus about 1 T of apple cider vinegar. Some toasted cumin seeds would probably be an awesome addition! I wish I’d thought of that yesterday!

 

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Heat up your tortillas, heat up your pulled beef, or some leftover chicken or whatever, layer on some slaw & a blop of Guac or avocado slices, and enjoy!

No tortillas? Or maybe you don’t want the carbs? Pile some slaw into a bowl, top with protein & guac & chow down! A great way to use up leftovers!

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If you want to check out their tortillas, here’s a link to Siete Foods.

If you live in the St. Louis area, here’s a link to Bolyard’s Meats & Provisions.

If you live in the St. Louis area, and you’re looking for a source of pasture raised beef, pork, chicken, etc,  so that you can fill your deep freeze, here’s a link to my good friend Bob Eckenfels and his family farm. I like supporting the local economy, and the Eckenfels family are also super nice folks!

Tell them all that Terri HarpLady sent you!

 

 


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The Wonderful Burden of Being Me: Creating Order amidst the Chaos…

I have, in some ways, a storybook life, where I mostly get to do whatever I want all day. I play my Harps & keyboards, sing, compose, workout, garden, make & eat awesome food, write, etc. It’s all wonderful, and although I don’t always have a lot of money, I manage to make ends meet and I am immensely grateful for all that I have, all that I am, and all that I am yet to be. My life is awesome.

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Then there is little terri. little terri is my inner child. She looks innocent enough, but in reality she’s a crazy 4 year old, who wants what she wants and wants it right now. She’s compulsive and unwilling to listen to reason.     She’s smart, precocious, and prone to Obsessions, with her current obsession being “The Wheel of Time”, a series of high fantasy books by Robert Jordan, 15 books in all!  We, and by We, I’m referring to the Me, Myself, and I known as Terri HarpLady, little terri, and Ms. Theresa (my personal inner Secretary/Office Manager/Parent), started reading the books back in July and are currently on book 8, The Path of Daggers. It’s a wonderful series, and we can’t put it down! This means I’m not sleeping enough, or doing many of the things I need to do to keep my life flowing in a manageable way, and luckily, I don’t really have a lot going on right now, or I’d be in trouble!

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Here’s another view of little terri, drawn by my Tea Sister Sil

little terri is somewhat unruly, but she is also filled with joy, wonder, playfulness, & adventure. She likes to lock Ms. Theresa in a closet somewhere in the recesses of my mind, because Ms. T is kind of bossy, and not really very much fun. Ms. T likes to organize things & create systems, dreams of creating a beautiful orderly life for us, and when she finally picked the lock and broke out of the closet, she took one look around and screamed! Here’s what our office looks like, or at least half of it.

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This panoramic view is primarily focused on our desk, which is where much of the mess lies. Granted, even when things are neater, it’s really a mix of chaos & order. We have a special system, designed especially for us, by Ms. Theresa, which includes elements of various other systems. Years ago Ms Theresa read a book, “The Sidetracked Home Executives: From Pigpen to Paradise” by Pam Brace & Peggy Jones. That book formed the cornerstone of her ongoing attempts to create order in Our lives, and her efforts continue to this day, pulling elements from “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey,   “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo, “The Passion Planner” by Angelia Trinidad (The best calendar ever, and yes, you need one!), and even the 12 Steps of NA.

Here is the card file, the same one I purchased back in 1983, as recommended by Pam & Peggy (known by some as the “Slob Sisters”). It’s filled with a variety of daily, weekly, monthly, seasonal, and yearly tasks, each written on 3X5 cards. IMG_3336 Each day has it’s tasks, and when I actually complete each card, most of which take very little time to do, then I’ve accomplished something! Clearing off my Desk, for example, is a weekly task, meant to be done on Tuesdays, but today is Wednesday, and as you can see, I didn’t do all the Tuesday jobs yesterday. Not because they were difficult, but because I did other things, including playing a gig, teaching a few students, and then spent the rest of the day reading. Luckily, this system is kind of flexible. Although for me, that can also be it’s downfall, LOL.

Thanks to this card system, I’ve realized that I work best in cycles, and although I’m chronically right brained, my alter ego Ms. Theresa, has developed certain left brain tendencies that have helped expand upon this system. Each day of the week has a special quality to it, that instills a sense of order into my meandering life, and helps me to focus on the tasks at hand.

Maintenance Mondays consist of a few hours of concentrated housework, with all members of the house participating. The kitchen always gets cleaned, and especially on the first Monday of the month, which focuses on the first floor, with the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th mondays being dedicated to the 2nd floor, basement, and front yard. The 5th Mondays are for special projects, like the garage. Monday is also my cookup day, where I make some staples to enjoy for the rest of the week, and plan some meals. It’s all about doing those things that will help the rest of the week flow smoothly.

Techno Tuesdays are dedicated to my desk work: clean my desk, balance checkbooks, pay bills, and other ‘businessy’ kind of things. I have plans to designate each Tuesday of the month to a specific task as well, such as updating my website on the first tuesday, etc.

Writer Wednesdays – In theory, Wednesday is the day for writing my Blog, which I’m finally doing today. I’m also a songwriter, and I have a few NaNoWriMo novels that I hope to eventually move from First Draft to something more, and a few other unfinished projects.  Of course, there will also be a rotating Wednesday monthly schedule, and a part of Wednesdays is Wandering Wednesdays, my weekly errand excursion, which usually happens in the morning. Sometimes, especially in the Spring, it becomes Wild Wednesday, a full day of gardening.

Tidy up Thurs, which fits because it’s my laundry day, also rotating through personal monthly tasks, like vacuuming my bedroom, changing my sheets, straightening up my studio, etc. It is also Tie it Up Thursday, meaning finish any projects that were started earlier in the week, so I can end the week with a feeling of completion. I also get to plan my creative ideas for Friday.

Freedom Friday! Yes, Fridays are dedicated to music & creativity! Recording myself, learning how to use Logic better, playing my Harp with wild abandon. Of course, I play music most days for an hour or 2, working on orchestra parts, or special pieces for an upcoming gig or another, but Friday is for being original and just having fun.

When I don’t have gigs on the weekends, we’re talking Slackerly Saturday and/or Slackerly Sunday. Sleep in, have a late breakfast, take a hot bubble bath, and do whatever I want, which usually includes wearing PJs all day.

This is the basis for my system, although there are many other elements. Each day I try to get through all the dailies, like practicing, working out, gardening. Then I move on to the weeklies, monthlies, etc. I also have students on and off, gigs here & there, and a variety of projects I’m juggling (way too many, to be honest).

From Chaos to Creativity…more or less!

 

 

 

 


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My Offal Lunch, 7/20/16

First, I haven’t posted in awhile, for a variety of reasons, mostly just life in general, but Life is Good, and always better than the Alternative! So here I am, it’s mid-summer now, and although I haven’t really stuck with my plans for this blog entirely, I’m always willing to try to get back on track (in every area of my life). Every day is a new adventure!

I’ve been planning on doing a series called My Offal Lunch (pronounced Aweful, but not  necessarily tasting so) for awhile, so today is the first offering!! Why Offal, you ask?

  • Because that stuff is really good for us, but many of us tend to go into an avoidance pattern with liver, heart, and other such things. I’m no different, and this is an opportunity for me to share my experiences, and encouragement.
  • Because I have a bunch of these things in my freezer, and they are taking up space!
  • Because many of us don’t know what to do with this stuff, so again, I’ll be sharing  my ideas.

Today  is just as good of a day to start as any other, right?

French Lamb’s Heart & Veggie Soup

This soup isn’t really French, but I used herbs from my garden that might be considered French, so I figured Why not? As with all of my recipes, it is free of gluten, dairy, nightshades, and various other inflammatory things, and many of the ingredients came directly from my Garden.

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Step one: Slice up a few shallots, and by a few, I mean as many as you like! I went with 3, but I wished I’d gone with 5 or more. Heat a little fat in a sauce pan (I used bacon fat leftover from breakfast), add the shallots, and sauté until nicely caramelized.  This step isn’t necessary, but does add a richer flavor. You could also substitute an onion, a leek, or any kind of oniony things. Once they are to your liking, add some broth. Any broth will do, although beef broth would be especially flavorful in this case, and of course homemade broth is the best! I freeze my broths in pint sized containers for making soup. I also freeze them in 1 cup containers and ice cube trays, because you never know when you’ll want some broth, but not necessarily a pint! Anyway, if your broth is frozen, bring it up to a simmer.

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Step two: While your broth is heating up (or, more smartly, before you’ve even started cooking), prep some veggies. I wanted spiralized noodles, but didn’t feel like hauling out the spiralizer, so instead I opted for using the veggie peeler. I used a carrot, a red turnip, and a golden turnip. BTW, the red turnip is much milder than the golden one, also, because of the extreme heat lately, that golden turnip never got very big, and was a little pithy. The nice thing about using the veggie peeler to make your noodles is you can peel off strips until you get to the pithy center! So this is great for any root veggies that have a tough center, but still have some use! Other possible veggie choices for this soup would include parsnips, parsley or celery root, rutabega, radishes, beets (golden would be especially nice), squash, and really any veggies that you can spiralize or make ribbons out of. Not in the mood to spiralize? No problem, just slice things up into bite size pieces. Or if you have some leftover spagetti squash, use it.

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I also thawed and chopped up a lambs heart. It was actually frozen when I started the broth, so I put it in a tub of hot water to thaw for about 10 minutes, and then removed the tough looking parts, which is easier to do if the heart is still a little frozen. I added those scraps to my freezer container of bones for next week’s broth making. and sliced the heart into smaller chunks. Heat a little bacon fat in a skillet, saute the heart a little and set aside. Good news, I ate a piece and it actually tasted good! Kind of like sirloin steak, only a little stronger, but nothing like liver, just in case you were wondering.

Step Three: Once the broth is simmering, stir in the veggies and let them cook until tender to your liking. At this point I also started sampling the broth and adding salt to taste. I was initially thinking I would go with Asian flavorings, but ended up adding a few sprigs of French Thyme, a small amount of Lovage, and a little pepper.

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Finally, I stirred in the heart, a sprinkle of dill, a large pressed garlic clove, and a little Red Boat, because you can never have enough umami! I also considered adding some greens, but I ate a  pile of them for breakfast. I let it simmer a few more minutes, and then enjoyed a savory satisfying lunch!

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Using My Fitness Pal, I estimate the calories to be somewhere in the 500 – 600 range. Here’s the Macros:

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And below you’ll see the estimated nutrients, although I had to do 2 overlapping screen shots to get it all.

Thanks for stopping by, and feel free to leave a comment, including any experiences you’ve had with Lamb’s Heart! Enjoy the day!


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Hello Spring!

My garden is waking up, and I want to spend every waking moment out there! Here are a few pics I took on Wednesday!

While I was out there I started the process of digging up leeks, separating the clumps, and replanting them so they can get fat & juicy!  I grow 3 different varieties of Leeks. These are King Richard, and I still need to deal with the Giant Musselburgh and Bleu de Solaise. Then it will be on to the Shallots & other oniony things.IMG_2929

One of my favorite breakfasts in the Springtime is Eggdrop soup. It’s not pretty to look at, but it is delicious and nutritious, and super easy to make. For each serving you’ll need:

1 C of broth (chicken, pork, beef, or whatever kind you have on hand)

grated ginger & garlic to taste (or you can go with other seasonings)

Fish sauce or coconut aminos or salt to taste

Oniony things – Leeks, shallots, onion, chives, spring onions… today I used leeks. If you want to deepen the flavor, sauté the onions first.

A Handful of Greens – today I went with Dandelion, yesterday it was Kale. Any edible greens will work!

1 egg, beaten with a pinch of salt or a few drops of fish sauce

Get everything ready…

Heat your broth with all of the ingredients except the greens and the eggs. Let it simmer briefly, until it is infused with the ginger & garlic.

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Sample it and when you like the way it tastes, drop the greens in there, stir, and then slowly add the eggs, gently swirling just a little as you go. Remove from heat and enjoy!

Optional additions: tiny pieces of leftover meats, spiralized veggies, Shallots that have been sautéed until crispy, crumpled bacon…

Before additions, here are the estimated Macros, according to myfitnesspal.com

 Carbs 9% (2G), Fat 58% (7G), Protein 33% (10G)

And of course it’s rich in vitamins, minerals, collagen, and other good things!

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