Archive | Personal, Contemplative, Societal Subscribe

Joyful Low-carb Living

It may not be becoming to speak of one’s age, but I am not afraid: I am nearing fifty rapidly, and happily. When menopause started hitting, like so many women, I experienced sudden weight gain. If you have been following me for a while, you will know that I love to eat – and cook! The combination was going to be a problem. I tried portion control – I really did. But I love food so much, it made me feel rotten and deprived. Being the analytical person I am, I took a good look at my intake, and basically pretty quickly determined that, regarding calories, the least bang for the buck were those delicious empty carbs: bread, pasta, rice. And of course sugar.

I didn’t want to go crazy, but I needed a clear boundary. So I simply said: no grains, no refined sugar. And tons and tons and tons of vegetables. I lost almost 30 pounds quite rapidly. So I stuck with it! I don’t call it a ‘diet’, I call it a lifestyle. It’s been about 3 years, and I joyfully continue. I am consistent with it, but sometimes, I just drop it for a special occasion. One thing I learned is to bake low-carb (I only found out much later that ‘paleo’ was a helpful term for finding recipes).

And because I love sharing things I am excited about, I wanted to share a recipe with you here. This one is for low-carb biscuits. These take out 5 minutes to make (15-20 to bake), and are only 4-5 grams of carbs in each (as comparison, a slice of whole-wheat toast has 13grams). Not low-carb enough for a keto diet, but just right for me!

I have been experimenting adding things: seed mixture on top, or grated cheese folded in. Give this a try if you are curious! And let me know if you like the idea of sharing recipes here!

Grain-free, low-carb Biscuits

Ingredients 

Dry Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups almond flour
1/3 cup coconut flour
2 tablespoons hemp seed
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2+ teaspoon salt


Wet ingredients:
1 egg
1/2 cup sour cream (or yogurt, or coconut milk with lemon juice)
2 TBS butter (or coconut oil), melted
2 TBS cream
2 TBS water

alternative wet ingredients for lactose-free version:
1 egg
1/2 cup + 2 TBS coconut milk
1 TBS lemon juice
2 TBS coconut oil, melted
another TBS of coconut milk as needed


Optional additions: seeds, grated cheese

Instructions 

1. Preheat your oven to 450F,
and in it an iron skillet of heavy baking sheet.

2. Mix your dry ingredients in a larger bowl with a dry wire whisk: almond flour, coconut flour, hemp seed, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

3. Then, with the same whisk, mix your wet ingredients: egg, sour cream, melted butter, cream, and water (or egg, coconut milk, lemon juice, and coconut oil).

4. Now mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients using just a few quick yet effective strokes (make sure to do this quickly, as the coconut flour absorbs liquid rapidly). Don’t over-mix this soft dough – just leave it be.

5. Carefully take your hot skilled or baking tray out of the oven. Brush it with butter or coconut oil (or bacon grease!)

7. Drop small heaps of dough onto the skillet, ideally using a mechanical portioning  scoop (such as this one), or a Tablespoon.

8. Return the skillet to the oven and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden.

9. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes before eating.

10. Serve warm with butter and a nice cup of tea. And, ideally, a friend.

BIG news!

Look what I did:

photographer Marvin Moore captured our special day

Yup. that’s right: a few weeks ago, I married my sweetheart of ten years, and friend for 30. We had the simplest of ceremonies, right in our living room. My best friend, who happens to be a justice of the peace, officiated. The only guests were my two daughters.

It was simple, and really fun. We hadn’t dreamt anything up – we just were.   The vows were followed by champagne and oysters right there and then. The only ‘formal’ thing we did is have photographer Marvin Moore take a portrait – in a beautiful spot right around the corner from our home – a place where I often go to collect leaves for my MapleLeaf series, actually!

As you might know if you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, I practice contemplative archery. That ancient art has many rituals, including that of purification of the four directions, which we did at the start of the whole thing. That’s how we ended up wearing Japanese formal clothing. My now husband had found this incredible silk kimono years ago in Kyoto. This was the perfect occasion to wear it. It is hand painted and has decorations with real gold threads – how perfect for a goldsmith, don’t you think? 

After the photos, a quick change before we went restaurant-hopping to our four favourite Halifax restaurants, meeting one favourite couple in each place for a short stint to share the joy. Thank goodness they are all small-plates restaurants: Bar Kismet, Fieldguide, Highwayman, and Little Oak

Show us the ring, show us the ring, you say? Even though I had proposed with a ring I made, I later found out that it is said to be inauspicious for a goldsmith to make her own wedding bands. So, master goldsmith Ha at Fireworks Gallery in Halifax made my husband’s 22k band, and I now wear a beautiful set made by an artist I met at a jewellery show in Las Vegas a couple of years ago, the wonderful Adel Chefridi.

If you are in Vancouver, come have a close look at the CircleCraft Market, November 7-11 downtown. Buy your tickets online ahead of time using promo code CCM!

Content and joyful at the end of that beautiful day

Me, too

three, actually.

 

This wave of anger and tenderness, which has breeched its virtual banks and spills into real-life conversations daily. It makes my daughters call me to have deep conversations.

The aspect I am most grateful for is the spreading of awareness: this massive presence of the topic of sexual harassment and assault on social media and in our conversations means that people are getting informed. Young people are getting informed.

I was so young, I thought it was normal. This normality was confirmed when it happened a second time. and a third. The first (abusive) relationship meant at least the guy stayed?
My god, what a long way I have come since then.

I was in my late twenties when I realized what had happened to me fourteen years earlier. It explained the incessant urge to shower, then. I remember at the time getting into so much trouble with my mom, for using too much hot water.

This water is far gone under my bridge and from my body, and I stand high above, strong and whole.  My gaze is raised.

I have been so fortunate to have kind and gentle people in my life, who have helped me heal.
I follow a path that looks at things as they are. And I have the great fortune to now live with the love of my life, and to have found a way to create a livelihood from my passion for creating works of art by hand.

Most of all: I managed to raise two strong young women.
Gratefulness is what I am left with. So much gratefulness.

‘Good’ Art

I had the wonderful opportunity to see Spanish dance troupe Compañía Sharon Fridman this weekend here in Halifax.  Led by award winning Israeli choreographer, Sharon Fridman, this remarkable contact-dance based company from Madrid has toured Europe and Asia extensively, and Halifax was their North American debut. They were brought to Halifax by Live Art Dance (if you live an Halifax and aren’t a subscriber, you are a fool).

Whatever art it may be that I am observing, I have a sure-fire way to tell when I think it is ‘good’: when it captures my attention to the point of my being completely present for every bite, so to speak.  I might even sit straight in my chair for the whole duration, my jaw relaxes, mouth slightly open, and eyes fixed on what I am looking at.

This was the case when I saw this troupe.

Naturally, dance has to be abstract. It tells a story without the use of words. In the program, I read “The road we travel here crosses five emotional landscapes: loss, search, dream, falling in love, and construction”. Yet I was liberated from seeing any story at all, but instead was able to just be in the space with the emotion the dancers conveyed through executing the choreographer’s vision.

photo by Ignacio Urrutia

The two pieces presented, Hasta Dónde ( ‘Until Where’ ), and All Ways had a natural sense of flow, and a seeming effortlessness, which I appreciate hugely in any kind of art.  

In my mind, art is what you might call ‘good’, or perhaps I will be so bold as to say ‘pleasing’, when it is at once complex yet has the sense of effortlessness. I have that same experience when I eat chef Joe MacLellan‘s creations for his tasting menues at The Kitchen Table, for example.

Chef Joe MacLellan’s complex dishes capture my attention similarly.

Sharon Fridman’s dancers performed the choreography with tremendous fluidity, as if all seven dancers were one organism. Yet, rooted in contact improv, there were moments of unashamed intensity.  Its genuiness made the piece very personal. I found myself mirrored, and tears even filled my eyes. For no apparent reason at all.

Other contemporary dance performances may try to achieve a similar result, but they are often too literal  – too in-your-face. They try too hard to convey something.

Even the use of very specific lighting and fog, which often feel gimmicky, were well done here.  Contact-improv may be 40+ years old, but this fluid way of presenting it was new to me. Not one movement too many, none too few.  Each movement had its purpose. 

I strive to create my own work similarly.  Perhaps the organic flow of Sharon Fridman’s work is what spoke to me. In any case – if his work comes to your town – don’t miss it!

I was curious and checked, and it just so happens that YOU, VANCOUVER are the next lucky destination for this troupe. They will be at The Dance Centre next weekend, October 12-14 (the link contains this short video).  Buy your tickets now. 

Parallels

Maybe it is the brain of the creative that makes metaphors so often. Here is a fresh one just from last night.

I recently started watching a very cool Netflix original documentary series called Abstract: the Art of Design. Definitely worth watching, if you are at all interested in what goes on in the minds and lives of the folks who create a lot of things we tend to not notice as having been created.  That’s a whole other topic!

In the episode I watched last night, featured designer Tinker Hatfield (Nike shoes) talked about his pre-design career as an athlete in pole jumping – how, in that sport, you have to really mean it. There is no room for doubt.

I think it is true in design, definitely. But even more so, in business. I felt an interesting parallel to being an entrepreneur: there come these hurdles, and you have to consider whether or not you are up to it. Without getting too specific, let’s just say that the notion is very familiar to me. For example in bringing a new design to market, which might require the learning of a new technique, sourcing a new material, or purchasing a new piece of equipment.  Or any kind of expansion at all, really.

Decide with full conviction: YES (screen shot from Netflix Original Series “Abstract: the Art of Design”)

You do your training/research, you do some tests, and then you have to just go for it.  You put your whole effort and weight into it, with full conviction that your decision is the right one, and that you can make the mark. You push hard. You remain flexible. You remain elegant. But you push hard.

Go for it
(screen shot from Netflix Original Series “Abstract: the Art of Design”)

Sometimes you make it, and sometimes you don’t. And then you do it again, maybe with a different project, maybe with the same.

I think it is this sense of lack of room for doubt which spoke to me and reminded me so much of what it is like to being an entrepreneur in the arts (so much so, I took these ‘screen shots’ – literally photos of my television screen).  This periodic exertion and complete confidence to take the leap. I think maybe it comes from a mix of being a courageous and daring, and having a slight disregard for the ‘normal’.

Now what could be so bad about that.

Making it  (screen shot from Netflix Original Series “Abstract: the Art of Design”)

WordPress Video Lightbox Plugin