Monday, August 26, 2013

Sri Lankan Kale and Coconut Salad and ELEPHANTS

I remember the moment I discovered ecology. It was sometime during the year of my second fake ID, sometime between Phish and Dave Matthews and Smashing Pumpkins, sometime after I knew I wasn't going to be a medical researcher, but maybe neuroscience was still on the cards ... sometime before I moved into that crazy, Victorian sharehouse with the hot, flat roof and the view over the Iowa River. 

There it was. A whole career out there based on watching animals, and camping trips, and disentangling tiny, warm birds from nets strung out over snow. Seriously

I was sold.

Over the next decade, I learned the reality.

Friday, August 16, 2013

From the Garden, with Olives

I've been struggling to get over this cold, which seems to have affected my brain and makes me wonder if in fact zombies are some sort of hanging-on-cold-sufferers, because that's what I feel like. Not the innards-eating side of zombihood, but a nonspecific, fuzzy lack of focus on normal work- and life-related things.

So that's really just a long way of saying - here's some stuff from my garden to look at! 
Mmmm ... pretty flowers ...

It has been an amazing week, though.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Hazelnut Dukkah with Amaranth Flowers

I was supposed to be at a poetry workshop today, but it was cancelled ... so I'm sitting at my desk actually forced to write, rather than just reading about writing, or listening to advice about writing, or even thinking about writing. This is good for me. The academic side of my brain always wants to be prepared for things, wants to look before leaping. But writing's not like that ... you just have to do it.

Some days the words flow out of my fingertips like honey all over the screen, honey that in some kind of reverse magic makes the bees and then the hive and then the field all around the hive and the blue sky. Other days my fingers sit heavy and idle on the keyboard, rocks in pockets. I can never be sure which day will be which, I just open the tap and see what happens.

Even two paragraphs in, I'm still not sure which day today is. Maybe I should dump a bunch of shit in a metaphorical mortar and grind it up and see what happens.

Friday, August 9, 2013

This girl.

Sometimes this girl just takes my breath away. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Settle in, it's the end of winter.

Ok, listen, we don't have much time. Maybe you're still wearing a beanie in the evening, or lighting the fire ... but soon it'll be for ambience, rather than function. You'll light the fire because you really like fires, or because it gives you something to stare at besides your computer screen or tv, or because you need to cook something on it. You won't light it to keep warm, because soon the whole city will be too warm, and the hum of airconditioners will replace plumes of woodsmoke.

So quick, before winter's gone, set yourself down in front of a bright, hot fire with a cup of hot cocoa and a snuggly child and dream of snowflakes dusting your eyelashes like powdered sugar.

Settle in. It's the end of winter.
Amanda xx

Hot Cocoa with Maca
makes enough for 6-8 cups 

This is my new favourite hot cocoa. If you haven't tried rapadura sugar or maca powder, both have a really lovely caramel flavour that compliments the chocolate beautifully. And with raw cocoa powder? This stuff is seriously good for you.

The time
 5 min prep

The ingredients
1/2 cup raw organic cocoa powder
1/2 cup rapadura sugar (or raw sugar)
1 1/2 Tbs maca powder
1/4 tsp fine sea salt

+ your favourite milk (I use whole), water and optional dark chocolate

*go organic when you can - and raw, for the cocoa. It's better for you!

NOTE: If you're using really granular sugar, you might like to whizz it into a fine powder in your coffee grinder before adding to the mix.

To serve
Stir 2 Tbs powder mix (above) into 1 cup hot milk (or 1/2 cup boiling water + 1/2 cup hot milk) until thoroughly mixed. For added richness, stir in one square of dark chocolate until melted (optional).

Store extra (dry) cocoa mix in a jar until needed.

The cost
The whole lot - made organically - cost me about $4.

More on maca powder:
An Andean "superfood," maca is best known for its positive effects on libido and fertility. A study of post-menopausal women in 2008 found that maca improved mood and libido independently of any effect to reproductive hormones - as in, it made the women feel better, but not via changes in their reproductive hormone profiles (which is good, for us breast cancer survivors). As with anything, I use maca now and then, to vary up the foods (and nutrients) going into my body, and because it tastes nice with chocolate - rather than as a magical remedy for anything.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Roasted Red Pepper and Capers Salad

Italian red pepper salad

I'm going to let you in on a little secret. My life is not 100% organic. Nor is it 100% chilled-out-mellow, though I do aspire to reduce my stress levels via regular exercise, yoga, tea and dark chocolate. (Especially tea. And dark chocolate.) To me, living a sustainable life is about living in a way that's sustainable - and not just in terms of the environment. It has to be an approach - a process - to living that I can maintain - changes that I can keep up with no matter how tired I am or where I am in the world.  

Things I can sustain, that make me a better, healthier person.

So no, I don't always eat organic food.