Embracing All of This

The dog asks to go out into the bright morning, and I climb back into bed grateful she wants to come in too, it is so cozy and I begin to drift off but there is a nagging sensation that I have forgotten something.  It is an hour before I realize it is Saturday and I am down to three radishes, a dozen and a half eggs, a lemon and a handful of wilted scallions in the fridge.  

I park in the shadow of a tractor trailer without it’s tractor and open the windows half way.  I am still saying there should be designated dog parking all summer long.  It is only 68, this is the only shade anywhere. How hard would it be, to make a corner of the lot safe for those who are out with their pets?

Now later I feel such a sense of peace and contentment.  There is a moment at which you find yourself, in a place where everything comes together and begins to make sense.  It is really just an inkling, but it is there and it feels like it will become more profound.  

I would not have this home, nor my yoga teacher without my ex husband.  I would not have this belief in my personal strength and integrity without the pirate nor would I have known that the problem was not with me with regards to our difficult relationship, would not have my daughter if it were not for her father… you get the picture.  I would not be cleaning my house organically and with such a small footprint without A.  and a Tau sister I lived with who reminded me that there was a time when this was what I did.  Oh. Yes.  The dogs at my side, my ex again, and a Tau sibling.  I feed them pea pods, blueberries, strawberries and sour cherries.  The pup putting her paw on my knee, asking for more.  What would my life feel like without them?

I wash and cut and prepare my fruit and vegetables.  Storing some in freezer bags, some in the fridge.  I slice cucumbers, the little ones with no seeds, and poor hot vinegar over them, cutting up cilantro and parsley from my garden, trimming lettuce to put it on later, with chickpeas.  

My sour cherry jam is boiling away on the stove and fresh homemade scones baking in the oven. A lifetime of having to live poor, now coming to fruition through living clean.  My six face cords of wood on order, I look at this wood stove and do math in my head, 75 dollars a month to be warm all winter.  Sometimes my gas bill was as high as 350 dollars a month, and that is cheap.  I really can get used to this.

I embrace this, it is perfection.  What a gift.  I am filled with gratitude.  

 

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Day 2

I sleep fitfully, the rain and thunder wake me, the dog panting and thirsty, I worry about things from civilization, things I cannot control, 7 days of heavy metal that I cannot fathom after a day paddling and fishing for perch in the lake.  And in this case more than half of what I cast in gets a nibble and I catch a half dozen perch and a couple pumpkin seeds.  I throw them back when they are little, but the ones I kill by ripping out their throats via a hook I keep, soon I am covered in fish guts and worm blood, I love it.   And later I gut them myself, and then skin them, flour them, and put them in brown butter with the caramelized onions, and cover a bowl of brown rice with them, so simple, so delightfully delicious, and best of all the fish so fresh the house does not have any odor of fish.   But as I toss and turn in bed, my decision to keep my word, to maintain the integrity of that word, I know is the right one.  Still it bothers me.  In my sleep I dream of the ex, again, and I wake apologizing for falling apart when he left, though it still brings tears to my eyes.  I wake a bit later than I did yesterday, and do not want to get up.  I want to walk, but I am tired, my arms and legs ache, my back is surprisingly not hurting.  Come on buddy I say, lets go for a walk.  He remains at his place at the foot of the bed.  He hesitates as I put on my hiking clothes, he hesitates on the stairs, he hesitates at the door, he hesitates on the lawn.  My friend’s dogs, who refused the walk yesterday, are halfway up the first section of the hill, I cannot take the short walk this time.  And by the time we get to the turn around, I am happy we have taken this path.  The dog is slow and stays by my side, the male of A’s two dogs stops and waits for us always, never quite getting out of sight.  I begin to notice the smaller things, the small rivulet by the road the sound of the water under the swampy clumps of grass, the long vein of pink granite that flows down the center of the road, the gravel on the mushy parts of the road, the rocks near the beaver dam.  I will be bored, I think, in time, of this walk.  But I also want to love the exercise, the health of my body, the health of the dog’s elderly frame.

windingroad

barn2

We are nearly out of veggies and fruit, and the garden only has fresh greens ripe for the eating, I take her daughter on the long trip to the nearest large town and we buy from locally grown (no dumpster veggies here) and small but charming market.  I buy an empanada, the best one I have ever eaten, and I have enjoyed them fresh in South America.  This one is filled with brown rice, spinach, black beans, something spicy and it is phenomenal.

 

 

Adirondack Summer

 

barn

windingroad

 

 

I watch the rain forecast and the flood warnings carefully and in the end decide it is safe to drive my usual route past the dam and along the creek.  The water is high below the damn, and the reservoir does not in any way resemble its December dry creek bed.  It is a lake now, and close the the road where once there was sand.  The creek is high and fast, but not unlike I have ever seen it.  It is good to be in the quiet place, where I help my friend who is recovering from surgery.  I want to be useful.  I do not want to be the irresponsible and lazy 22 year old that once lived with her.  We eat whole grain pasta with garlic scape pesto and beet greens and chard sauteed with garlic scapes with salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon.  I give her daughter a drop spindle and bag of roving she sets to work learning.  I drink less than I usually do when I am here, she on pain medication, me determined to not spend the next 45 days of my life hungover.

fungus

 

In the morning the skies are grey, and I grab a rain coat and the dog and we begin the trek up the long hill.  The song of the stream serenaded me in my sleep and I am well rested, windows wide and cool oxygen rich air deepened my slumber.  As I walk fast up the steep hill, I immediately regret not bringing my hat, the black flies and mosquitoes are nearly nothing, it is the deer flies that pester us both, up and back.  Soon I pick a piece of cedar and swing it over my head and along the back of the dog, keeping the flies at bay.  He is slow on the way there and often looks back towards home, but I keep on until we get to the barn.  I think, erroneously that the way down is easy and burns nothing, but my legs and lower back tell me otherwise, I can feel it in my muscles.  This is good.  I stop to take pictures of bladder campion and find a wild strawberry that I promptly eat.  Delicious.

bladdarcampion

There is literally no deep and meaningful thought in this, only hope, potential, and wanting this summer to be special, and productive.

yarrow

 

Healthy Oils

I have been experiencing a tremendous pain in the heel of my right foot, it hurts to walk, to sit, to lay down.  After talking to my Mom, HI MOM, I came to the conclusion that it might be plantars fascititis.  I already wear good shoes, vibram soles, birkenstocks, and all but a couple pairs of heels are about an inch high because I strongly dislike high heels not only for the pain they cause in my knees, feet and lower back but also because of what they represent through the objectification of a woman’s body.  And one day last winter I was out with the pirate and wore a pair of higher heel shoes and he scoffed at them as I slipped and slid over the icy sidewalks and told me, next time wear your Merrills.  Love this guy!

I went to the natural food store, which has a giant supplement section to ask them about inflammation and tightness in the tendons and they recommended that I add extra Omega 3 oil into my diet, suggesting a second fish oil and the addition of ground flax seed to my diet.  It has been five days and although my heel still hurts I am not absolutely hobbled by it.  I added a tablespoon of the flax seed to my oatmeal every morning, and to my pancakes one night and to my soup another night.  I am not saying I am cured, and I am not saying that this is the end of it, but I find it remarkable that how much the pain in my foot has been reduced.

Two Fine Recipes

The pirate and I didn’t make it to the Farmers Market this weekend since it is hunting season and he, instead was finding food from another source altogether.  We decided while we were out running afternoon errands to go to Wegmans, perhaps the biggest and best store in the area.  There was a woman there sampling sausages of all kinds and they were phenomenal.  I bought a lovely smokey chorizo and then came home and made dirty rice.  I was unhappy with the finished product, but the pirate added his touch and viola.   Put two intelligent heads together and here is the recipe:

Dirty Rice ala Pirate and Wench

saute two medium onions, 5 cloves of chopped garlic, three stalks of celery and a green pepper on low heat until soft and translucent.  Push to the outside edges of the pot and add a package of sliced chorizo sausage, brown lightly.  Stir in altogether add two cups of rice (I used Goya medium grain rice which I absolutely cannot stand but that was somehow the only kind we had in the house) and 4 cups of water and your favorite Cajun seasoning.  Bring to a boil and then turn down to lowest setting and simmer til the rice is done.  Add one 8 oz jar of salsa to your taste (we used medium) and also optional a hearty squeeze of Sriacha sauce for extra spice.  mmm

I made my favorite lentil stew for dinner last night.  A meal I love but is not and has not ever been anyone else favorite.  So unless you adore lentils don’t bother.  BTW the pirate didn’t love it, but he liked it enough to have a second bowl.

No Fat Lentil Soup

add one and a half cups of green lentils to a stock pot and put in about 10 cups of water.  chop one onion into large chunks and add 6 whole cloves of garlic.  simmer for about a half hour.  add two large carrots cut into chunks, add one parsnip cut into chunks (opt) and two large potatoes and several stems of fresh thyme.  simmer on medium low stirring frequently until the veggies are soft.  add about six large mushrooms sliced, a half a head of broccoli chopped (you can add the harder stems when you put in the carrots and potatoes)  and about four ounces of tamari sauce.   Remove the thyme stems.  Simmer about ten more minutes until the broccoli is cooked.    Warm, fat free, and rich in fiber and vitamins.  LOVE LOVE.

As a good wine must be kept in a good cask, so a wholesome body is the proper foundation for a well-appointed inner ground. ~Johannes Tauler 

Looking for Rocks

I explored a new park, it is fun to discover all the wild space this town has to offer.  It is one of those places everyone loves to hate.  The endless cloudy skies (absent this summer) short days of endless snow and seeming perpetual darkness that make up six months of the year are tiring, exhausting, for me depressing.  This is why I took up snowshoeing though, and though I only get to enjoy it on weekends because the darkness keeps me from doing it during the week.  I thought at first that the park was a wide field with a worn dog path along the edges, until we ducked under some trees and emerged onto a wooded path.

The pirate is tinkering with flint knapping, two sets of eyes scanning the ground for Onondaga Chert, we tease each other like two kids, sword fighting with reeds and whipping each other with them as they break, brittle, on our shoulders and thighs.  I emerge first onto the long swath of engineered flatness of the Onondaga Creek.  I look upstream, then down, and a dark brown and sleek muskrat scampers across the path.  He emerges and immediately goes to the goldenrod and wild aster and picks me a bouquet, which later I drop on the ground as I see skinny microscopic bugs crawling on my arm, but it doesn’t change the endearing quality of the gesture.  I tell  him how my grandmother used to tell me that a boy who brings flowers to his mother, or grandmother, will make a good husband some day.  My memory of it in the wooden cupboard kitchen of the ranch house, the smell of cigarette smoke and lavender, and the scrap of the red vinyl and chrome chairs across the tiled linoleum.  The taste of root beer, and gouda cheese, shrimp cocktail and Bugles swirling in my mind as we bang rocks together, sniffing them for the tell tale smell of the rock we are looking for.  We find a couple that obviously have some of the chert in it, but mottled through it, it breaks brittle in our hands and not tearing off as it should to make a stone knife.

Later I read my book in the sun as he burns junk mail in a barrel, and plants fall lettuce in the garden.  After an hour I go inside and make second batch of hot pepper jelly and pickled jalapeno peppers.  He BBQs chicken legs as I make salad with raspberries and walnuts and mashed potatoes with chunks of sauteed mushrooms and garlic.

Later as he lay on my bed, my head on his bare chest, laughing about something, I cannot recall what I feel blessed despite the struggle of adjustment.  The cats hiss at each other as his low cat wrestles with my little Sadie girl for dominance.  His boy fights fiercely for a role he will not win.  As she, still happy from her brief excursion outdoors, rewards us with a long cuddling purr.  Pirate kisses me good night as he goes to his bed.  A gift of space that I am so grateful for, my promise to never have to share a bed full time with another again, made to myself after the asshole left me.  The endless nights of good rest the best thing that happened in my life in those long seconds, upon minutes, upon days upon weeks, upon months after he left.

Fishing Queen!!

Once again we headed up to the ADK’s, although this trip was planned weeks in advance, last weekend’s brief overnight was far more impromptu.  We took the slow route, and when we got to our intended destination it was early afternoon.  We ascended up the short but strenuous incline and finally came to what we thought was the summit, but two days later learned it was not at all the summit.  The skies were cloudy so we found a good rock to fish from.  The pirate caught a couple trout, and I had several bites but couldn’t hook one.  Finally I passed him my rod and said, here something is biting please catch it.  Which he did, it was a tiny trout, but later I fried it in butter and it was so delicious!!  The decent was also a challenge and by the time we got to the end of it, our legs were so wobbley that we started singing “If I Only Had a Brain.”  Hot, sweaty, my face scarlet from the exertion (it gets really red whenever I exercise at all).  I regretted going for a run before we left the house!!  The next day we let our very sore muscles recover from the hike and went for a drive, we found a cool naturally formed stone bridge and cave, and then later on we went to Mt. Defiance overlooking Fort Ticonderoga and Lake Champlain.  After dinner we decided to go fishing, and suddenly I was on.  I saw the fish surfacing and I had lost my trout lure on a snag, so in the dark I just put on the first packets of hooks I came to.  I immediately got a solid hit and pulled in a really big female bullhead chock full of eggs.  Then threw in again to the same spot and pulled out another bully.  The third time I cast to that spot I caught a decent little trout, which I think was a native, judging by its pink flesh.  Of the four of us fishing, I was the only one to pull any in so they called me the queen of the fish.  I swear it was the Magic Margarita I was drinking out of a little canteen my friend gave me for “the road”, which we walked down in the dusk and back up again in the dark.

Sock Fish in Garnet Lake

In the morning we decided to fish in Garnet Lake, the pirate caught a perch and I caught a little sunfish, which I threw back in the water.  We then went back and picked up my friend and his daughter and went back up Crane Mountain.  My legs were absolutely burning and it was really slow going for me, but I finally made it too the top.  Our fishing spot was taken up by swimmers, so we went to a different spot suggested by my friend, and discovered that it was an absolutely picturesque spot.  The pirate and I fished there on the rocks for a couple hours.   It was still early and they were not biting but after a bit I pulled a decent sized brookie in, this one was small and had more of the white flesh of a stocked fish.  This morning we cooked up all the fish for breakfast sauteed in butter with a little lemon juice squeezed over it.  Delicious.  Nothing tastes better than fresh caught fish!!

Our legs and feet are sore.  The decline on the second day was hard.  Real hard.  The pirate had about an 80 pound pack and was taking it slow.  My legs hurt so much I was shakey and had to take it slow for safety.  I did some of the more difficult rocks on my rear end, dropped my new OFF bug keeper offer, which tumbled down the face of a cliff, shattering as it went.  😦  It worked really well, and I was awfully disappointed to see it going.  Close to the bottom I stepped on a small stick and my foot just slid out from under and I fell on my rear end in the leaves.  The first thing I did after shower and before food was take a couple minutes to stretch, so I am only a little sore today, mostly in my left quad.

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It feels good to be so strong, though it was tough, I did it.  I loved fishing, and was thrilled to catch so many.  I loved being with my friends, and my pirate.  Whose encouragement on the hike helped me get through it.  The whole weekend was so fantastic, I cannot believe I spent so many years NOT hiking.  What a waste!!!  I am so happy to back at it again.  My life is so much better with my pirate in it!!

 

 

 

Song of My Soul

Chickadee and Cattail

“Adversity is life’s way of testing and perfecting a person.  Without that, we would never develop character.  Rice suffers when it is milled.  Jade must suffer when it is polished.  But what emerges is something special. ”  ~From 365 Tao Daily Meditations by Deng Ming-Dao

The crocus are all in full bloom as I dash from the house, forgetting my camera.  The sky a crystal clear blue,  I stop, I wait here just out of the shadows of the forest. I lift my face to the sun shining and warm between the long straight poles of two spruce trees.  I am quiet, basking.  I turn and look at him and watch as he fiddles with his sound equipment, we both listen to the children and dogs on the other side of the pond.  There are no parking spaces left here along this old dirt and gravel road, slushy with melting snow.  My skin is like a sponge soaking in every ray of light, warm here, but cool only a step in one direction or another.  We make our way through the brush to a path that is less than clear, skirting a fallen tree, slipping and sliding on the packed path when we get to where people have crushed the snow.  I walk ahead, the dog running back and forth between us.  He has taken to not listening to me, but when the dog is bothering people that are on the trail, I tell him to call the dog who runs to him right away.  I think now as I write at my dining room table that my dominance has lessened in his big brown dog eyes.  We come to a spot and I stop and wait for him to catch up, I gesture forward, this is the path I say pointing to the slash of blue paint on the trees, but this here is a clear road though disused.  He agrees with me and we decide with no back and forth of discussion, that the road is the way, though it has drainage issues, and is thick and spongey with moss and fern and spruce needles.  My feet get wet quickly, I am determined that I have to find my favorite hiking boots in a waterproof style.  I can walk for miles in them, and never feel it in my feet, I hate to have to replace such a good and sturdy pair.  We hear a woodpecker and he turns his parabolic microphone to it, I bang on a tree with a rock, hoping to draw the woodpecker near.  I think about doing t’ai chi chih, but instead stop and listen as the breeze sings in the boughs of the evergreens above me.  I turn my face to it, and bask in the lovely sound of it.  It is like a voice I say, like a song, it harkens back to my childhood, I think it harkens back to a time of deep mysticism.  I feel so grateful.  We walk side by side, saying nothing, he walks ahead making trail, I walk too close and get a good smack in the face by a snapping branch, he apologizes and I say, I know better I shouldn’t be walking that close.  Sometimes he takes the lower wetter trail, I seek higher ground.  Damn boots.  But there is something about it that I like.  That I am just as comfortable making my way as he is his own, and yet we are traveling together.  It is as though our paths are parallel and twisting back and forth upon themselves again and again.  We come together and I kiss his warm mouth.  We do not hold hands.  We look at cattail fluff, he tells me it is tinder, I tell him, dig down to the root and eat in the spring, but later I review the plant in my Edible Wild Plants book, and cattail is pretty much a versatile and completely edible plant all year long from its roots to its stems to its head to its pollen and back down again in winter to its roots again.  I think about Annie Dillard when she wrote A Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, and Anne LaBastille and how the two after the end of their marriages, found a peace, a place of words and silence in the woods.  I cannot say I am a writer like either of them but I find solace and serenity in both the woods and with writing.  Pico Iyer writes in his essay “A Chapel Is Where You Can Hear Something Beating Below Your Heart”  that “So much of our time is spent running from ourselves, or hiding from the world; a chapel brings us back to the source, in ourselves and in the larger sense of self—as if there were a difference.” I write in the margins, “writing is a running back to myself” and myself is this day, this wooded chapel, where I walk in communion with my best friend, with my dog, with God.

We stop close to the car and we listen to the robins and chickadees as they sing in the tree tops.  I call to them, trying to sound like one.  They change their song again and again, until I, in my human voice, am stuck wondering what they might be saying now.  ‘Oh humans’, the chickadee scientists must say to one another, ‘a few of the smarter ones can mimic’ (and not very well).  One curious male flies to the top of the bare branches of tree, and flies about ten feet over me getting a good clear view of the two strange humans, and the dog.  I call to him again before I go to the car and I start to wipe all the mud off the dog’s feet, tail and belly.  I told him this the morning as he lay on his side of the bed and I like a mummy upside down, arms crossed in front of my chest, face turned away, that I would have never dated him in my 20’s.  Why not, he asks.  Because you don’t recite poetry or write your own, because you don’t tell me you love me all the time, because you hunt and you fish.  I know now, I just had it wrong back then, and as I turn to look into those golden eyes, and he wrinkles his face at me, I feel like I am in the woods, walking alone.   Yet there he is, making his own way, on a path alongside my own.  I am at home in my soul when I am beside him.  I am at home in a way I never was when I was married, it still strikes me at times like a slap, full of red faced shame, at other times like a bellyache, a churning in my stomach, and like a bad dream where I wake up and say, thank God that dream wasn’t real, only it was and I still wake from confronting him wanting to slap the shame into him, will this heartache never leave me full? And it makes me  worry sometimes that in 10 years or maybe in 20 he will annoy me to the point where I no longer like him or worse that he will no longer like me – just as I have already played it out, badly.  And should he leave me, broken, or I him, wanting,  I worry I will be too old and stodgey to make my way to the woods, I say aloud, I hope I am never too old to do this, that I will always want to find myself in a place like this on a beautiful day.  But when I think no matter what, I will never lose this chapel I have in my heart, I will always be strong.  I sing the song of the wind in the high tops of the spruce, like the song of the water melting in long rivulets along a long abandoned road.  I sing the song of my soul.  And then I realize, I am not singing alone and that gives me comfort.

John Brown’s Body

The Westcott Theater is a small local venue for live music.  It has a wide open floor plan a bar on one side in the back, a place to sell shirts and CD’s on the other side of the theater, a sound booth in the middle and a small stage in front.  It was once a movie theater so the floor is at an angle which makes it good for viewing the stage, but not great for standing all night.  Last night the pirate and I went to see the band John Brown’s Body.

John Brown's Body Lead Singer at the Westcott Theater

 

Awesome horn section from the band John Brown's Body

 

 

It was a great show, two other bands played before they did, one of them was called Doc Apple a fun danceable hip hop band from Rochester NY.  The other was a guy called Derrick Hart, after the show ended he was walking around with CD’s and he gave both of us a CD of a compilation of his music and some other folks.  He came on stage all rumpled and looking kind of geeky but then he opened his mouth and he had a great show tunes voice which he proceeded to sing an a capella show tune style song with lots of F…words mixed in in a unique and surprising way.  It was pretty terrific and getting the CD was an added bonus.

A not so lazy Sunday, after being up dancing half the night, I had breakfast with the pirate’s family, cleaned my house, and walked the dog in the brilliant sunshine.  He was so happy, I swear he looked at me and smiled at least twice.  Now as I continue to prepare artwork to send to an unpaid commission, the new clay Jizo sitting on my table by my side, I have a mincemeat pie in the oven and a pot of one of my long time favorite soups on the stove as I listen to the CD given to me by Derrick Hart.

Vegan Lentil Soup

a cup of lentils
and about 6 cups water simmer for 45 minutes on low

meanwhile in a saute pan, caramelize a diced vidalia onion with three cloves of garlic, browning the onion adds loads of extra flavor pour a little water in and get all the browny goodness out of the pan before you add this to the simmering lentils.

chop three carrots and three medium potatoes and add.

Simmer until lentils are tender about another half hour or so.

add a half a bottle of tamari sauce (5oz altogether) and three sprigs of fresh thyme,

or a tsp of dried thyme leaves, or if you don’t have thyme, herbs de provence work too.

freshly ground pepper

add two large handfuls of mushrooms sliced

simmer another half hour

and a medium sized broccoli crown cook until broccoli is soft

cook until the broccoli is tender.

YUM!!

 

Remembering Vegetarianism

Addendum:

The following is an addendum to the original post.  I moved in with my parents after my daughter was born out of financial necessity.  My family ate a typical American diet, meat and potatoes, milk and eggs, fresh fruits and vegetables, and refined sugars and white bread.  It was not unhealthy and was well balanced but I found myself preferring to eat differently.  The kind of diet I ate when I was at college and the years following was whole grains, honey and maple syrup, nuts, falafel, fresh fruits and vegetables.  When I returned to live with them I had to give up this whole diet because there were no stores in our rural region that supported this kind of diet easily and my family due to habits, and preferences was unable to eat this way.  It is not a judgment on their behalf, rather it is meant as a reflection of the choices I made, and then how they have now come full circle.

Now back to the original post:

For a few years when I was younger I was a vegetarian, when I was pregnant, I craved sausage, kielbasa, hot sausage, breakfast sausage and pepperoni, I didn’t care, if it was spiced ground meat in a casing, I wanted it.  After I gave birth I lived with my parents for a couple years, and lets just say being a vegetarian was basically impossible in that household.  Impossible.  Then once I started living on my own, my daughter had already developed the taste for meat and sugar, which she has never really gotten over the latter.  I really do wish my family had supported me at least on that, not giving her sugar, but anyway, its too late now and she is a fiend for sugar.  It was hard to cook for her, because she never wanted vegetarian food.  I eventually gave up, buying and fixing meat meals to satisfy others, foregoing the brown rice, and whole grains to satisfy others and out of laziness.

My diet has changed tremendously in the last three and a half years.  I rarely eat out, and when I do it is almost exclusively vegetarian Asian food.  I have eliminated dairy almost completely from my diet, I still have cheese a half dozen times a month.  I no longer buy white rice.   And I have had to, recently cut out added sodium in my diet, ultimately due to high blood pressure, which is because that is what adding hormones does to my body.   Then the other day I started watching this movie called Forks Over Knives.  It talked about how the meat and dairy industry has this agenda of pushing us to eat large quantities of protein and dairy, a truth confirmed by my daughter the nutrition major, and her Diatetics magazine, and it talked about how it is important to eat whole foods, and a plant based diet.  I have been trying so hard to lose weight and I thought about how, at my thinnest I ate a whole food, plant based diet and I am considering changing my diet even further.  I thought too about the pirate, and how he eats kind of a crappy diet sometimes, and thought it would help him if I cooked vegetarian, even if it meant one or two meals a week and a lunch here and there, at least it would be cutting back on the high fat, high salt, high meat based diet he eats.

Today I made Cashew Chili.  I don’t even know where this recipe came from and I feel uncomfortable repeating it, because I am certain it came originally from a cook book.  But it is basically, onions, peppers and garlic sauteed in olive oil until soft, chopped unsalted cashews sauted lightly.  Two quarts of canned tomatoes crushed and then simmer on low for about an hour.  Add a lot of chili powder and cumin and a dash of oregano and salt, and some cayenne pepper and or chipotle pepper powder and two cans of drained dark red kidney beans.  Simmer another forty five minutes or so.  And serve.  The pirate added a bunch of shredded cheddar.  I ate mine plain.  He is a willing healthy food eater, because he called me from the bakery to ask if he should get bread, and I said something healthy and he said, not white then right?  Good guy, got a nice whole wheat bread to have with the chili.

I don’t know how far this will go or whether or not it will be too time consuming and if I will give it up or not.  But I don’t think I will.  Today I thought of several recipes that are time tested favorites, the chili, my lentil soup, my marinated baked tofu, black beans and brown rice, curried chickpeas, dal and split pea soup, all vegetarian options for the winter months, black bean salad, jicama salad, black bean spread on tortillas for summer.  I realize now that summer will be tough, I will have to find some nice cold summer salad recipes that are easy to make!  I am not sure I will cut out meat completely, probably not, I have too much venison in my freezer, but at least for a while I will try to eat vegetarian more often.  Today two people said I look thinner, and a couple days ago two other people did also.  I am at the lowest weight I have been in several years.

I will continue on this path.  I actually feel really good about it.