Sunday, February 26, 2012

stopping to touch the moss

Sometimes life takes unexpected turns. Times when you are called to summon up strength and courage in parts of yourself that you didn't know existed and yet somehow you do it. You find that strength from deep within your being and at the same time realize that you have to expand your awareness to include the help of all those around you who you've chosen to journey with this time around.  There is a place in all of us that understands the connectedness  that we all share with each other and with all that surrounds us. It is when we stop to touch the moss on a walk through the woods and feel the softness and strength that the earth provides that we can then see that we too are of the earth and can create that soft place inside us as we stand strong in the face of lifes challenges. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

this moment: valentines cookies

This is a special moment from the past week that I want to stop, savor and enjoy.  Check out other moments this morning at soulemama. 

a valentines birthday cake

This Valentines Day I made a birthday cake for my best friend. I feel so lucky to have her in my life.  It is so fitting that she be born on a day filled with so many expressions of love. I truly  poured my heart into this cake for her and I was so pleased that it turned out as sweet and delicious as I had hoped. 

Gluten Free, Dairy Free Chocolate Ganache Cake

2 cups maple sugar
1 cup amaranth flour*
3/4 cup tapioca flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 large eggs
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup coconut oil
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup warm water

Coconut Ganache:

Melt chocolate over double boiler and mix in cocnut cream. Let cool just a bit before icing. 

*How I prepare my amaranth flour:
I sprouted whole grain amaranth by soaking in a bowl of water over night. Then I rinsed well and soaked an additional day in water and the juice of one lemon to ferment the grains. I then strained it and put it in the dehydrator until dry and ground it into flour in my grain mill. Benifits of soaking grains, seeds and nuts: Increases Absorption of Minerals and Activates Enzymes. 

Cooking Directions:
Preheat oven to 350. Butter two cake pans and sprinkle with coco powder. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Making sure that all dry ingredients are mixed well will ensure there are no clumps in your cake. Add wet ingredients. Mix until a smooth batter forms. Divide batter evenly between 2 buttered cake pans. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes. A fork inserted into the center of the cakes should come out clean. Once the cakes come out of the oven, allow them to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes and then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool.  Once cake is cool, spread with ganache icing between layers and all over the outside. Let cool  and decorate with fresh strawberries or your favorite berry. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

gone sledding

I turned my light on this morning when I heard little whispers outside my door. The kids were up and excited about the snow on the ground so we decided to seize the moment and put our snow clothes on top of our night clothes and head out into the moonlight to the sledding hill at the Navy stadium up the street from our house. We had to be extra quite as John and the baby were still sleeping. So I wrote a note (of course misspelled it), grabbed three bananas, and headed out the door. The moon was bright and just the smallest bit of glow was beginning to peak over the horizon as we walked hand in hand. Then, what a magical moment flying down the slippery slope before most people had opened their eyes. The hill was all ours. All you could hear was the joyful sounds of our voices echoing off the stadium walls as we raced down the hill. As the sun made it's appearance and our hands and cheeks were sufficiently chilled by the the 20 degree winds, we made our way back home for a cup of hot chocolate. What a morning.

Saturday, February 11, 2012


I love everything about the morning. Everything is dark and very quiet. You can hear every creak in the floor boards and can easily listen to the thoughts that are forming in your head. I have been a morning person my whole life, pretty much unable to stay up past sunset and much preferring the dark before sunrise. There is just something so magical for me about mornings. They are  full of possibility and clarity. I know I must miss a lot of fun after I am far off in dream land, but mornings have their own type of fun. I think of my grandmother who would wake before the sun each day to have her quiet moments, just her and the symphony of birds singing their hearts out to celebrate the start of a new day in her front yard tree. As a child I would peak my head around the corner and see her sitting in her chair with her cup of coffee milk. A warm, safe and comforting feeling of home would blanket me as I cuddled up next to her. Just the two of us in this moment before day. Then off to the store we would go at 6:15 where we magically had the isles to ourselves while we shopped for the day's food. Just us. Now, as I sit here in the dark of my living room looking out my window to the soft snow falling in the dark moments before day, I am again filled with that soft comforting feeling of being home. I am filled with this peace that morning brings to me. A quiet state of just being that is also full of  possibility and hope but at the same time acceptance and gratitude for what is. This is my time to connect with me and what surrounds me. It is my time of day to notice the birds singing or the tinny flakes of snow drifting down from heaven, glistening in the glow of the street lamp before the noise of the day drowns it all out. Morning. It's my time. And I am sure my grandmother is up too somewhere, not missing this perfect time of day. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

This Moment: fun with bubbles

This is a special moment from the past week that I want to stop, savor and enjoy.  Check out other moments this morning at soulemama.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

a quiet morning

I have to admit that I am one lucky Mama. This morning, instead of getting up before the sun to start my day, I decided to stay in bed snuggled up reading for a couple hours. I could hear the kids in their room playing and every now and then they would make an appearance. First to show me their painted faces and feather headdresses, another time to bring me a book to read to them, and then finally to tell me that breakfast would be ready soon. Wow.......I should stay in bed more often.
Jetta, with Johns watchful eye, conceptualized, cooked, and served the best breakfast I have had in a long time. She fried bacon and then chopped it up into a quiche and even drizzled bacon grease on top (that's my girl!). She served sauerkraut on the side and a cup of tea. So delicious!

Saturday, February 04, 2012

4 months!

right from the garden: midwinter salad

I haven't spent much time in my garden since the baby was born. But last weeks weather was so warm that I spent one blissful morning cleaning up and getting the garden ready for spring planting followed a vibrant arugula salad strait from the garden for lunch on the back deck.

We installed hoop houses a few months ago and have been enjoying fresh greens and root veggies all winter.  Now, it is time to start planning our spring garden. We can plant much earlier this year since our seeds will have a warm place to live while the weather is still unpredictable.

Friday, February 03, 2012

this moment

his is a special moment from the past week that I want to stop, savor and enjoy.  Check out other moments this morning at soulemama.

oh candlemas, oh candlemas

We celebrated Candlemas yesterday, Feb.2. You may be wondering what in the world   Candlemas  is. Until yesterday I was wondering the same thing. I had heard about  Candlemas in my reading about holidays celebrated in the Waldorf schools, but never had the time to learn about what it really was. So when we were invited to a  Candlemas /groundhog day candle making gathering I was so excited. In anticipation of the day I did learn a bit more about the history of  Candlemas and some of the customs around the celebration. Candlemas falls midway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox and in many traditions is considered the beginning of spring.  Pancakes, for their round shape, are the traditional food for Candlemas because they are considered symbols of the sun. Candles are the main decorating element and making them is a wonderful activity for the day.

The kids had no problem completely embracing this new found holiday and were so excited about what the day would bring. Pilot thought of making a pancake cake, so that is what we did and a new tradition was born.  John and I had lots of fun getting in to he holiday spirit. Maybe it was the lack of sleep the night before, or just that fact that this holiday seemed to pop up out of nowhere, but John and I got a kick out of using the word "Candlemas" throughout the day, making everything special. When we used up almost all our cream for the cake we said, "Nothing is too good for  Candlemas" and "Remember it's Candlemas, be nice and share with your brother." We even had the "traditional" round "Candlemas platter" for the cake, and of course we used our yellow "Candlemas napkins". The kids even declared that the cake was the best  "Candlemas cake" they had ever had.  

After a wonderful  "Candlemas breakfast", we met with friends and made bees wax candles. It was a beautiful day spent in community with family and dear friends and all in all I think we had the best  Candlemas to date. At the end of our candle lit dinner, we blew out the flame on our first  Candlemas and went to bed already planning for next years  Candlemas celebrations.