Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Return of the Porkness

Photo Courtesy of Miss Temperance Tinker

34th Birthday Dinner Party: Return of the Porkness

It has been a few ages since I have had a pulled pork dinner party for my friendlies on my birthday.  Several years of pretty devoted work, travel, and some illnesses have prevented me from really getting after it. I am glad to be back.

This year took a bit more than the usual bit of creativity to craft a unique pork recipe. I have pretty well cut out sugar and vinegar from my diet for health reasons, basically I had a wicked micro-biotic imbalance in my body that was fed by sugar.  Allopathic medicine is just now starting to get on board to such experiences, so it took 33 years to get diagnosed, with the last 6 years of me really trying to find some answers to some seemingly random health problems.  The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and all these little 'random' health issues I was noticing since my mid 20's added up to an actual pretty dang serious problem, if I wouldn't have found out about it and gotten myself back into balance. As balance goes, it is a constant affair, but I feel like I have never felt before in all of my life... finally ready to really enjoy it, with so much Gratitude.  I can hardly believe I lived 33 years feeling like crap and didn't even know it. Think about this; think about your awareness. Trust your thoughts and your body when they send you messages.  Listen. Ask questions of people that should know things. And don't take no answer for an answer. Force your healthcare practitioners to think outside the box. There is a lot that allopathic medicine does not know about. Healthcare and the way we view the body as a system is constantly evolving.  Off my soapbox.  Here is the Goods, Graciously.

Since I really have to watch the amount of sugar I eat, I relegate my portions to the occasional glass of wine, shot of whisky, and scoop of ice cream.  I will forgo fruit and carrots for these things occasionally. I know... but I can't be all good, all the time.

As such, this pulled pork has no brown sugar or much vinegar at all.  How does that happen, you ask?  Well, a little sass of course, and some coconut goodness.

In the crockpot:
Round 1
Pork roast/shoulder/tenderloin/whathaveyou;
Coconut water to cover halfway;
Two lemongrass stems (first 4/5 inches) beat up a bit to soften and open the hearts;
and dashes of salt.

Cook on high/low for however long till it's cooked

Round 2
Drain the porkroastcoconutwater goodness and save it for making other delicious things. Pull the pork apart. YEa! discard lemongrass;
Add back in some of the coconut porky water;
Add 2 new lemongrasses, open hearted;
5 kaffir lime leaves, pinched and beat up a bit too;
4 tbs coconut oil;
dashes of salt all around;
and a spattering of fish sauce.

If your as crazy as me:  My ras al hanout: ground all together: up dried papaya seeds, grains of paradise, coriander seeds, chiltipines, and himalayan pink salt.  This spice blend has a sweet, spicy, peppery presence that really compliments the flavors in the pork. If you don't know what some of these things are, you can ask me how to procure them which involves special order from a non profit in Tucson I used to work for, a trip to Summit Spice, and the foresight to save your papaya seeds and dry them with love in three sessions over the course of a week. Lots of love in this ras al hanout, indeed!

Cook on Low for the rest of the day.
Finish with a splattering of raw apple cider vinegar and salt to taste.
I thought I could never love pulled pork so much again!  This recipe was amazing! And no sugar/ anti-candida friendly too! (so much stoke)

For the sauces (always, I have three sauces to choose from):

Thai Panang Coconut Curry
        I cheated w this one and used 3/4 can full fat coconut milk and a can of panang                 curry.  Add Kaffir lime leaves, again: a bit beat up and simmer for a bit.

Coconut Mole'
        Coconut oil (as much as you want sauce);
        coco powder (lots so it gets a little thick;
        a couple chiltepines or some ground chipotle pepper and a pinch of cayenne;
        agave syrup to taste;
        and salt to taste.
        Simmer for a bit

Spicy Asian Honey Mustard

        Ground spicy asian mustard (several tbs of it, you wanna mix it with water and  vinegar to get a desired consistency)  this will be spicy like horse radish. You can substitute normal ground mustard in parts to lighten the overwhelm as needed.
        Raw apple cider vinegar and water (see above);
        a couple tsp of honey powder or at least a tablespoon of raw honey, to taste;
        a lil bit of ground coriander to balance the spice with some sweet;
        and salt to taste.

For the sides:

Jicama Habanero Slaw (this recipe makes a lot)

One medium green cabbage sliced thin and chopped;
Two jicamas, skinned and grated coarsely;
Two organic apples with skin on grated coarsely;
One habanero, deseeded, sliced in thin strips and chopped not too fine (simmer this in three tbs coconut oil to release the flavor and mellow the spice);
1/4 whole fat coconut milk;
and a bit of salt and the ras al hanout from the pork recipe above.
If you didn't make the ras al hanout, you can just use some ground coriander, just
enough to where you can mix it in and just lightly smell the coriander in the dish.
Mix in large bowl and chill.

Baked Kabocha (Japanese Pumpkin)

Bake a kabocha. (I put it in the oven whole on 375f for 25 mins or so, then cut into it. Scrape the seeds and lay the two halves inside down on a sheet oiled with coconut oil) continue baking till soft)
Cut it into slices (I like to leave the skin on, it's pretty and green).
Melt three tbs coconut oil and fry some ground coriander to "bloom" the spice, as in Indian cuisine.
Drizzle the coconut oil over the pumpkin slices;
and sprinkle with salt.
Serve with Coconut Mole' drizzled over them, or not.

Coconut Ginger Barley and Brown Rice with Cilantro (this makes 4-6 servings)

One cup Alaska Barley;
One cup organic Brown Rice;
2/3 can full fat Coconut Milk;
2.5 cups water;
two inches of Organic Ginger, sliced thin and pounded;
1/2 cup unsweetened thick sliced shredded Coconut.
2 tsp finely ground himalayan sea salt

Rinse rice and barley in a colander, put everything in a pot and bring to boil. Cover and reduce to simmer for about a half hour, or until cooked through.  Leave covered for 10 mins after cooking to absorb extra water. Discard ginger or leave it in, if you'd like. Fluff and top with cilantro.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Transformative Year

Today on NPR, I heard a story of a woman who found out her son was terminally ill. At 9 months old he was diagnosed with Tay-Sachs desease. She told of her reaction to the news that her son would surely pass away... She mentioned how she was faced with the realization that her parenting would be so different than other's experiences because immediately she was no longer parenting for a future; she was parenting for a finite life of a child who had barely began to live. This realization hit her hard because, especially in today's society, traditional parenting is so focused on the future and planning for a lifetime right from the start.

She said that first year was the most transformative year of her life, and that through dealing with her son's desease she was able to learn to live in the moment and cherish what she had in front of her. The gifts of every day. Her son, by just living as baby's do, made her look at the world in a different light. When you no longer are making plans for a future, but simply being grateful for living another day with love...

I am thinking of this last line, and how it rings true for me as well... I am thinking about how loosing everything or preparing to loose everything can make your eyes and heart open wider than they ever have before. I am also thinking about how a lot of truly transformative experiences lead to this realization: of just seeing what is in front of you for what it is... and living/loving life with an open heart.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

oh me oh my

So, here I am a birthday girl... ages since I last posted in this blog... I got to thinking it has been a while when a good friend of friend graciously asked me to post again... apparently people actually read this from time to time. I love the idea of journaling, but just like most ideas... most of the time they float away from you without something to stick them down... and although I have plenty of things floating through my head from day to day, none of them have been interesting enough (or impersonal enough) to share with the masses... or I've just been a bit lazy... hmmm :)

So, I have had a lot of the usual questioning of life and love going on in the old noggin for over a year now, but that has been behind the scenes for me most part because this year I have been focusing on living in the moment and simplifying as best as possible. I started reflecting on what this year has been like the other day, and it has been like no other... For one: I have been dreaming fantastic. Yes, somehow I have been bitten by some sort of muse (I know his name, do you?) (with a sly smile) and my dreams have exploded in detail, color, light, imagery, words, feelings... it's truly amazing... and amazing even more, when I did not have this love in my life for nearly two months this fall, my dreams were quiet. Very still. I don't know what to make of it... but I am going to try my damnedest to cultivate the place within myself where these dreams come from... Perhaps the muse is myself? I sure hope so, as it is a lot easier to count on yourself than someone else... (and that is a whole'nother can of worms that could be opened for discussion... I won't go there now though)...

This feeling where my creativity and dream life arises... this feeling of hope and love and security and adventure and unconditional, unwavering goodness... I have been thinking a lot this year about this intangible feeling that just feels so rooted. It's almost akin to faith... or patience. Something like that... whatever it is, it settles me and completely sets me free. A most wonderful balance that has been a catalyst to really great things in my life and the most wonderfully happy and healthy attitude toward existing. I finally have grasped the concept of patience...

Now here I go turning 30 again... (my birthday is like groundhog's day... every year I have a potluck, cook pulled pork for my friends, and from this year on I will keep turning 30 until I completely forget how old I am and laugh at the number).... Oddly enough a large part of my dreams last night dealt with me learning to be more like a Buddha... I know, right! I think it's hilarious... I was in some sort of Buddha training and I was being exposed to all aspects... even how to do my hair like a buddha.... ha! Except the way it said to do my hair was more like a braided Geisha pigtail do... BUT I was also training to learn the subtle mysteries of the Buddha nature and it was snowing heaps in the dream!... pretty good dream to wake up to on your birthday!!

So, this blog may turn into a dream journal... we'll see... It will be nice to start writing again...

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

When you're lost in the rain in Juarez and it's Easter time too... when gravity fails you and negativity won't pull you through...

This has been a helluva busy week so far. I am kind of reeling at the pace my life it running lately... last week seems like yesterday, and it's almost as if tomorrow already happened. I feel like I am speeding through some sort of bonus round, collecting golden coins, or pearls of wisdom as I rush along to higher heights... either I'll grow wings and fly to another level, or gravity will fail me and I will have to hit the reset button... y'all know what I am talking about if you grew up with first generation Nintendo, like nearly every American child of the 1980's...

Pearl of wisdom number one... (extract from this what you will)
I was teaching a Vietnam Vet how to ski last week. This was my last lesson of the season with Challenge Alaska. A season filled with littlies wedging their way to the paraolympics someday; brave teenage girls on a snowboard for the first and last time ever; bumps, bruises, smiles, snowballs, raindrops (downpour), tears, powder, slush, sunshine through the snow, and big wide open hearts. It has been a wonderful season. I have received much fulfillment from overcoming obstacles and helping kids and adults with disabilities learn to ski and snowboard. Even in the pouring rain... I loved this job.
Interestingly and sweetly, my last lesson with this Vietnam Vet, Rick, was sunny, warm, and absolutely easy. He was a natural and we just chatted and skied in the sunshine, sharing stories of life adventures. He looked at me at the end of the lesson and said, "I think you must be a gypsy at heart." He knew because he was one too... I told him of my plans (or lack there of) for the summer and how I may meet up with Dom and Ernie. Rick reiterated that he believed I was definitely a damn gypsy; with a smile his spirit touched mine, and I knew we were both grateful for a lovely sunny day and wonderful company.

Pearl of wisdom number two... (extract from this what you will)
One of my good friends received two kidneys and a pancreas on the side during a transplant operation in Seattle last December. Prior to this operation he was a 47 year old man undergoing dialysis 3-4 times a week, as a result of his kidney failure related to chronic diabetes. He was dieing. His kidneys and pancreas were donated from a vibrant 21 year old college student that was hit by a car on a Friday night while she was crossing the street on campus in Seattle last December.

Ted had been very sick all summer and was taken off the transplant list after two near matches that had brought him from Alaska to Seattle and put him on the operating table twice, only to be told that he was not a near enough match for these potential organs... Two weeks before his donor's accident he was healthy enough to be put back on the list. As he laid on the operating table that December evening, over 800 people held candles in the hospital parking lot in memoriam of the girl who had lost her life that evening.
As one plant withers, another stalk grows. No longer diabetic, Ted has sprouted a new lil bud, and 4 months after his transplant he is doing swimmingly. In fact he is swimming, biking, hiking, working, and loving his new lease on life. I couple days ago he came into my massage school clinic and I got a chance to work on him. His energy level was amazing and his body is really responding to the new organs quite well. His Kidney Qi was fairly full and seemed to be harmonizing with the new organs.
He is super stoked for this summer's bike season, and is hoping to do a benefit ride sometime in late summer to raise awareness and money for diabetics and transplant candidates living in Alaska. You see, when someone gets sick up here... and I mean real sick... they have to fly to Seattle (3.5 hrs by plane) for most treatments and major operations. This puts a huge stress on patients and families.
Ted wants to give back and to help others in his situation realize that there is hope. That they can live an active life while still sick, and that their recovery depends not only on the fates that they are given or their lot in life, but also the choices that they make on their path to wellness. To live an active and rich life, and to never stop trying; to never loose hope, and to be grateful for the time you have because you never know how your story will go.

So, dangit if it isn't Easter time... Easter means to me... let's see... I can't help but think of Cadburry eggs and soft bunny ears. Let us not forget the crispy tails of a fresh, shockingly pink marshmallow peep! As I get older, I also add to this list: delicious eggs benedict and mimosas :-P
Also, Easter is a time of new beginnings, of course... (please refer to the brief pearls of wisdom mentioned above), and indeed I am experiencing a bit of renewal myself. (insert great big smile)

Happy Easter!!!!!!!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

time to catch up with myself

September 2009 - I return from India. The next day my life as I knew it changed forever. Pāli: अनिच्चा anicca; Sanskrit: अनित्य anitya; Tibetan: མི་​རྟག་​པ་ mi rtag pa; English: Impermanence. However you say it, this basic tenant of life was bound to creep up on me sooner or later. My life had been pretty stagnant for the past few years and my scale finally tipped, weighted by many influences that had been piling up on my shoulders. Finally with enough money saved to quazi comfortably make some changes, I quit my job to finish massage school, 7 years after I began the endeavor. Wow.


I am sitting here watching the snow fall, trying to motivate myself to do a little qi gong and stretch before I hit the mountain for a day of free skiing. My volunteer work with Challenge Alaska is finished and now I get to play for the last couple weeks of the season. It occurred to me last night that I haven't written in this blog for a whole 6 months! I need to catch up with myself. I can't believe's the end of March already?!?!?!

This winter has been the best winter of my life. I have been so busy studying the Theory of Traditional Chinese Medicine, finishing up massage classes, volunteering with Challenge Alaska, learning to Telemark Ski, learning to play my Fiddle, and planning for my future of flexibility and adventure, with an open heart. I have started my first business, Alaska Cooperative Consulting, and my second business, Gratitude Healing Arts, is in the pipeline. I am setting myself up to be able to travel and lead a life rich in experiences, while still keeping my feet on the ground.

Before I get down to the business end of things, I am going to take some time this summer to travel around the States again. I am picking up my '85 Westfalia camper van and hitting the open road!!! I leave the last week in April for Arizona. I will be journaling most of my trip and right now that trip is pretty open. I will be biking and climbing around the Southwest, then my way up toward Northern California and Oregon. I am looking for some partners for the journey, so if you have the time and inclination, let me know. You are welcome to ride along!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Can I get a Witness?!?!?

So, finally I have posted pictures from my trip to India... you can take a looksey at my picassa site

There are 5 albums of the individual sections of my trip and a "Best Of" Album with slightly less than 200 photos... hope you can handle it.. I tried my best to break it down, but you all know how I am with photography and I think that the photos, at least in the best of album, are good enough to hold your attention.

Since I got back I have been decompressing and will wrap the process up this weekend in Charlotte for the Allman Brothers and Widespread Panic Shows... yay! I will be reuniting with my dear friends Anna Huffman and Cliff Paulin... sure to be a good time. Details to come..

Enjoy the photos and if you happen to like any in particular, please let me know.. I am trying to get a gallery exhibit up by mid November and need some help choosing what to print.

Much Obliged. Heart of mine...

Monday, September 14, 2009

kiss the ground, hug your dog...

Can I just tell you how thrilled I am to be back in Alaska... how thrilled I am to hug my sweet soft dog... I am going through pics and will post some new entries along with some choice photos and links to more, if your lookin... soon... likely by the week's end... keep yo'self posted!