apricot pie

Twelve pies a week

“A hundred years ago, when pies were often eaten at breakfast as well as at supper, many American housewives baked a dozen or more fruit pies every week.” This is a stunning statement from that great cookbook, The Joy of Cooking.

Reading it a few years ago I laughed in surprise and shared it with my husband, which was a mistake because now he often says, “Where’s my pie?” or “How are all those pies going?” But today I did get one of my twelve-pie quota completed, a fresh apricot pie complete with a latticed, woven crust. It looked so good coming out of the oven all bubbly and golden that I had to take a video of it. Check out the relaxing pie video at the bottom of the post.

We have a lovely little apricot tree that came with our house. All the apricots came ripe while we were away for three days romping at the beach and laying about reading. So when we came back from the classic New Zealand Summer weekend there was our carefully netted tree with half of the apricots rotted. It had been unusually warm over the weekend and off they went. The morning was spent picking and sorting our crop and deciding what to do with what was edible but damaged. Using my IPad and a recipe app I was able to find a fresh apricot pie recipe, grabbed some premade pastry from the freezer and before you know it I was away in domestic pie world. I opened the good, old Joy of Cooking cookbook that I brought with me from America for the details of how to do a lattice crust. There was that quote again, twelve pies a week.

I don’t make twelve fruit pies a week or even in a year but today I have made one and a video and finally posted to my blog. Not bad I say. This housewife is more of a Joy of Living kind of gal and I feel really good about that.

Getting professional help

I was really pleased to finally do a post after not posting for over two years. Consistancy is the  most important thing in Blogging and Social Media they say. I was aware that I was falling down badly on that most important part. Then once again, the Universe provided me with just what I needed when I needed it, an email saying that WordPress was running Blogging 101 for free. My loyal readers will remember that Free is my favourite price. I am getting professional help and once again pushing myself outside of my comfort zone.

Which is why I am posting again in record breaking time. This is my first assignment; post about myself, my blog and why I’m doing a blog. Here we go; I’m an artist, entrepreneur, health and wellness advisor, gardener, wife and lover of life living in New Zealand. I was born and raised on the otherside of the world in the US. I have lots of knowledge and opinions and a blog seems like a good place to share those things. I like giving practical advice about things to eat that may make you healthier. “Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food.” One of the early clever guys said. My blog is called AuntBeetle because I was called Beetle Bug as a child. It was one of those nicknames that stuck. My nephews and their families call me Aunt Beetle. I’m Aunt Beetle and I’m here to share some info and ideas with you.

One persons weed is another’s gourmet treat

image    Miners salad2

Miner’s lettuce, a yummy weed and Miner’s lettuce all dressed up with feta, activated nuts, avocado and dark oak leaf lettuce. So very YUM!

As a gardener I spend a lot of time on my knees pulling out weeds that I don’t want in my garden, but I absolutely adore the edible weeds that arrive in early Springtime. These healthy early arrivals in the garden get me happy and excited. This year I’m so excited to see that Miner’s lettuce is here in my New Zealand garden. It’s a California transplant just like myself. It got its name from the early California Gold Miners who relished it as a first edible green of Spring and a preventer of scurvy. Miner’s lettuce is said to be high in vitamin C, beta-carotene and protein. What a glorious weed that is! Fresh out of the garden and onto the plate this little beauty is going to be so much more powerful than any of the tired old produce that the supermarket has to offer. And it’s my favourite price, free!

Immune system as video game

I love this video. It’s like a 50’s black and white version of a video game. Little immune system warriors are ganging up on and blowing up the big bad cancer cells. It’s so cool and it’s real life. When our immune system is working correctly we are destroying and getting rid of cancer cells all the time. I always think of the immune system cells as like the bouncers getting rid of the drunks that are out of control. Cancer cells are out of control and taking over where they don’t belong just like weeds in the garden or bullies in the schoolyard. And we are designed and able to deal with them and get rid of them. But we need to give our body what it needs to do the job it’s designed to do. We also need to not make the job any harder by putting more junk in our bodies that also has to be dealt with. I put chronically negative thinking in the junk category as well.

Start healing yourself before you are diagnosed with an illness because once you are diagnosed you will be overwhelmed with information and fear and it will be much harder to do.

This is absolutely terrific advice from one of the all time greats of the personal healing movement, Louise L. Hay. I’m not sure which of her books has that advice in it but I always remember it and actively practice it. I still don’t do everything perfectly that I could to be as optimally healthy as possible. But when I started trying to seriously change I was still smoking cigarettes, drinking too much alcohol, being a negative cynic and generally living life a bit on the edge. But when you’re in your thirties and making more money than both your parents ever did you tend to feel bullet proof. Now in my sixties I know the “mortal coil” of the human body can go at any moment. I also know from firsthand experience that it can suddenly become a thing of pain and sadness. Fortunately I also now know that we have wonderful and varied ways of making our body more healthy, vibrant and happy. Our bodies are designed to be self healing. The proof is simple. If you cut yourself, it heals. If you scratch yourself, it heals. Tires don’t do that. We do.

Some people like to say how it doesn’t matter if you do all the good things to make you really healthy because you can still get hit by a truck and die. I think those people have never been ill or injured for any long periods of time. I’d take the truck and a fast exit any day over lingering illness.

“Quality of life” is a really important phrase. Being healthy in mind, body and spirit improves my quality of life. Quality of life is what I now work at. New Years resolution; To continue to improve the quality of my life and share what I’ve learned along the way.

Raw Yummy Christmas Nuggets Recipe

xmas ballsRaw food is all the rage with people who actively work to have the best possible health. I get the concept, that cooking destroys the goodness in most food, but I don’t eat an all raw diet. This may be one of the few things that I’m actually moderate about. I’m not by nature a moderate person, I enjoy extremes. But when it comes to food I like warm at least. It’s too cold here in New Zealand. The weather is raw enough. Having said that I’ve come up with a fantastic raw recipe for the holiday season. I wanted something that didn’t have too many exotic ingredients, had the traditional spices of the holiday season and was relatively easy to make. The only exotic is the coconut flour, available at health food stores or online. Don’t use regular flour. If you want you can try oats ground up, that might work.

What you need

Juice of one orange which comes out usually about 2/3 of a cup or 100 ml

2 tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp cardamon

½ tsp ground cloves

½ tsp nutmeg

½ tsp grated orange rind

1 cup of pitted dates

¾ cup coarsely ground almonds

½ cup coconut flour

What to do

Combine all the spices, orange rind, the juice and the dates in a food processor until a smooth paste forms. Add ½ cup of the ground almonds and the coconut flour and pulse to incorporate until it all sticks together. It will be pretty stiff. Put it into a bowl and mush it around if it still needs mixing to incorporate all the bits. Put the last ¼ cup of ground almonds on a plate. Now make little balls of the date mix and roll them around to cover them in the ground almonds. Done. Yum. Serve and accept the applause.

For your most favourite family and friends you can add my current favourite, amazing supplement, NutriVerus. It’s an all natural, real food powder that will make these yummy nuggets the most healthy thing you will eat all day. As long as NutriVerus is not cooked it will stay powerful. For more info or to order it online go here: www.navig8.me/2093644

Have a yummy, fun, loving holiday season.

 

 

Tis the season to breathe

‘Remember to breathe’, is one of my most favorite pieces of advice.  Christmas is a very stressful time for the majority of people in the Western world and more and more information is coming out about the harmful effect of stress on our bodies. Most breathing techniques are for rebalancing and de-stressing the body. I like this technique because I can use it while I’m in line waiting to be served or sitting in traffic waiting to move. It’s from one of my most favorite people on the planet Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist monk that lives in the South of France. This is from his book; Touching Peace, Practicing the Art of Mindful Living.

“…breathe in and out, focusing your attention on each breath. Without thinking of anything else, you say silently, Breathing in, I know I am breathing in. Breathing out, I know I am breathing out. If you want, you can just say In as you breathe in, and Out as you breathe out.”

Nice, I feel calmer just typing that.

“Then, when you feel ready, try the second verse, Breathing in, I see myself as a flower. Breathing out, I feel fresh. When you breathe in, say Flower and when you breathe out, say Fresh.”

He has a whole series of these saying. There was some traffic trauma that I needed to wait to be resolved the other day and I got into improvising while I sat in my car waiting for the drama to be sorted out.

Breathing in I am a cloud. Breathing out I am free.

Breathing in I am a tree. Breathing out I am grounded.

Breathing in I am a commuter. Breathing out I am moving.

Breathing in I am a shopper. Breathing out I am being served.

Always good to combine a little positive visualisation in there. Remember to breathe and have a fun, loving holiday season.

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Kick, growl and punch with tears of joy in my eyes

The music is blaring, the sweat is flying and I am kicking, punching and jabbing in my Tai Fit class at the local gym.  I have tears of joy in my eyes is because for me this is a dream come true. I had watched a group do this when I was desperately trying to just get my leg to move out even just an inch. I would stand up holding onto something and try to get the damaged leg to move out from the ankle. I couldn’t get my leg to move because the muscles had atrophied so badly. I watched these people and thought if all I had to do was get in shape like a normal person I would be so grateful. If I could ever do a class like that it would be such a miracle. I had been in pain for six years during which time I’d had two hip replacements. The first one didn’t work right and had to be redone after two years of trying to walk without pain and without a limp. In fact that had been my health goal for over six years, to walk without pain or a limp. And now here I am in my sixties kicking ass. I love this particular instructor because he growls a lot and really, really loves what he does. He’s a fierce looking Maori guy with tatoos, “Come on, grrrrrrr this isn’t some step class, move it!!” he jumps down into the group all covered in sweat and punches around people. I think he thinks I’m crazy because I usually have this big grin on my face. But I’m punching, I’m kicking, I’m loving it.

I had a strepacoccus bacteria eat away the cartilage in my right hip joint several years ago.  The little bastards, I didn’t know they even did things like that. It’s rare, it’s painful but it happens and it happened to me. I went from stress junkie career chick to wheelchair overnight.  It got misdiagnosed, it was a nightmare and I ended up with no cartilage in my right hip which is a really painful situation. I didn’t want to have a hip replacement right away for a couple of reasons. I was only in my late forties and hip replacements were known to only last about 10 years and then you had to get a new one. You can only get so many because the bones cannot take the grinding and drilling required to fit in the prothesis. So eventually I’d end up back in a wheelchair. The other reason is because I wanted to try to regrow the cartilage myself. I thought this would be possible because I had regrown cartilage in my spine after a car wreck  in my twenties. The wreck had left me with a compressed fracture of my lower vertebrae. I had to lay completely flat in a hospital for 30 days and then wear a brace for 3 months but the cartilage grew and replaced where the bone had been. So why not in my hip? The doctor didn’t think it was possible but a Chinese acupuncturist said it was. I tried a lot of things to try and make it happen but it didn’t work. Maybe I could have done more but in the end I was getting bone spurs as well and the pain was just too stupid. I hate taking pharmaceutical drugs like Voltarin for pain.

This is a picture of a new hip socket next to a giant piece of my flesh. I have very red meat in my body. To reward myself for getting the surgery I bought a new digital camera and asked the anaesthiologist to take pictures during the surgery. Evidently they are only busy at the beginning and end of the surgery.

People think that once you get the hip replacement that everything will be normal but that’s not always the case. Even if the replacements work, and the vast majority do, you still have the patterns of movement and memory of pain in your body. I used a lot of things to retrain my body so that I do now walk straight and without a limp. I wanted to be able to do everything again as if It had never happened. I had a good friend who was training to be a Feldenkrais instructor. He had to do a lot of practice sessions on people for free or donation. Feldenkrais is a very subtle and powerful method for retraining the body and overcoming painful patterns. So I had lots and lots of wonderful sessions. Thank you David. I also did a lot of one on one Pilates sessions with those weird pullies and beds they use. I have this memory stuck in my head of laying on my side with the Pilates person helping me to get my leg to raise up. I just could not will it to move, then she moved it herself several times. Eventually it woke up and I could raise it the littlest bit. That was the light at the end of the tunnel. There was hope. It could happen.

Then there was the pain memory in my body. I wanted to be able to ride my bike. I love riding a bike. Riding the bike wasn’t the problem. The problem was that raising my leg to get onto or off of the bike had been really painful before. So even once there was no pain my hip still didn’t want to do the motion. It also didn’t want to stretch out to leap across a puddle or climb up onto a ledge. I used one of my all time most favorite tools for this. It’s called EFT, Emotional Freedom Technique. It’s one of those powerful things that’s really easy to make fun of but works. It involves tapping on points on acupuncture meridians while you repeat what it is you are changing. You start with an affirmation, “Even though I’m afraid of pain when I lift my leg, I love and approve of myself.” then while you tap the points you say, “Afraid of pain'” tap, tap, tap, “Afraid of pain”, tap, tap, tap. It usually takes a few times and it’s best to do it in the moment when the fear is happening so you are motivated to change. So yes I do these things in public standing next to my bike. Healing ourselves is serious work and you can’t let worrying about what people think stop you. I just realized that if I hadn’t worked on lifting my leg so I could get on and off my bike without thinking about it I probably wouldn’t be able to do Tai Fit now. Or I would have to stop and Tap in the class. Then I’d have a tatooed, sweaty, growling guy giving me the hard look. Glad I got that sorted first.