As Solstice Comes

The moisture falling from this morning’s leaden sky vacillates between gentle rain drops and the harsh rattle of sleet. The grass shimmers a little in the faint light from the glaze.

We retreat inside. Oakley is in no hurry to go anywhere, and with the roads likely growing slick, neither am I. I cooked a lot of Indian food yesterday, so we have curried chicken, spiced chickpeas, and rice to warm the day. Will we get out for a proper walk at the forest preserve today? I hope so.

A hawk followed us the other day. Every few steps, he took off from his branch, parted the air with his wings, and glided over our heads to a tree further down the path. He followed us until we returned to the parking lot, then wheeled to the west, the dimming light silvering his belly.

I think I had a discussion with an owl the other day. Hoo-hoo-hoohoo, she called. I hoo-hoo’d in response. After a pause, she responded. Did I say something comprehensible in raptor? I don’t know. Still gave me chills.

In a matter of days, the trajectory of the sun will follow the train tracks at the entrance of our nearest forest preserve, sinking into the western horizon as if traveling along them. Skies permitting, Oakley and I will watch. Not too long, since sunset is closing time for parks and preserves around here. But long enough to acknowledge the passage into the winter, and long enough to lift a prayer that the coming light illuminates the hearts of all.

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Loving What You Eat and Eating What You Love and What Loves You Back

So after some months of watching carbs, restricting wheat, and moderate portions, the weight still isn’t moving much. I spoke with my wisewoman about the dilemma, and she brought up a valid but unconsidered point: am I condemming myself and my indulgences such as the occasional wheat-crusted pizza, or am I loving it and accepting myself? When enjoying in the present in the  latter frame of mind, a person’s body will be more tolerant of the incoming food. Not enough to mitigate allergies or sensitivities that can trigger a trip to the ER, mind you, but for things like my once or twice weekly wheat indulgences.  

Case in point: a couple of weeks ago, Hubby and I went to an Indian restaurant. I ate mostly vegetarian food, except for a tandoori chicken leg. Even though I did overeat, I had no real discomfort afterwards. I felt happy and satisfied, and had the mango custard because I could. I didn’t feel as if I had to have dessert in order to compensate for food I didn’t like. It just seemed like a natural closure to the meal. 

And then it hit me: how much have I eaten in this life that I haven’t liked in order to be a good girl or polite woman? Or to conform with what others are telling me that I should be eating?

I’ve been eating a lot of homemade Indian veg food the last couple of weeks. I’ve felt a lot happier and more satisfied. Sticking with reasonable portions, of course. Wheat is definitely off the table for most meals, but chickpeas masala with spinach makes me a happy girl, indeed. 

At a Loss for a Witty Attention-Grabbing Title

 I don’t have smoke coming out of my ears today. That’s a good thing. The new battery has completely resolved the issues with the cursor and Oakley’s tummy has remained stable. For those small blessings, I am truly grateful.

Made a slightly too spicy pot of soup for lunch today. The jalepenos spiced it up a little too much. Will add some more coconut milk–aiming at a Thai-style green curry. Not bad, but just a little too hot. Rice will help, too. 

Experimenting with more Indian food at home. We both like it. Why not? I have a book with reduced fat recipes. I eat Indian; I am happy. I am less likely to find ways to get into culinary mischief. Also a good way to slip in greens if spices, ginger, and other flavorings are involved. Check out Anjum Arnad’s Indian Every Day for easy and exotic deliciousness. Yum.

Per Dr. Weil, I’ve set the goal of eating more fish. Now if I could just remember that fried isn’t such a good thing… 

 

A Trieste on Imported Foods

At this writing, I have a jar of rose petal jam in the fridge. It comes from Poland. The ingredients: rose petals, sugar, water, and pectin. Nothing else. Wondering if Queen Elizabeth II feels as regal as I do when I see it on the shelf, but no qualms about what’s in it. 

While there are some places I won’t buy imports from due to detrimental trade agreements, a work culture based on human rights abuses, or blatant lack of regulations, there are just times when the product just works better than its counterparts from the US. 

As I mentioned above, jam. Most US companies use HFCS in theirs. The imports from Europe use good ol’ sugar as a sweetener. I like EcoFarm from Poland and Bonne Maman from France.

From India comes some premade meals sold under various labels and available at Trader Joe’s and Caputo’s. The ones I get come in a vacuum pack, and have a limited ingredient list, usually just a legume, tomatoes, maybe another veg, and some cream in some cases. And salt.  

Tea? I get Trader Joe’s Irish breakfast blend or Tetley’s British blend. If I can get to an Indian or Middle Eastern store, I get Lipton Yellow Label. The latter is widely available in Europe, but can be tough to find in the US. Oh, but it’s worth it–it bears no resemblance to the Lipton tea that you grew up with.

I’ve never found fish sauce, Thai curry paste, or some of the other typical Southeast Asian condiments that were made in the US. So I double check to make sure they come from places that fit my criteria for food production standards.

Most importantly, make sure it wasn’t made in China. With that in mind, venture forth boldly.