Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Traveling and Gypsying like Crazy!'s been a hectic few weeks since Thanksgiving and beyond. We have been on the road to Georgia to visit friends and family. My best friend since we were like eleven years old had a baby in October and I visited her and my kids got to see their cousins. Then back to middle TN and we traveled to Wichita, KS for Thanksgiving for my husband's work. Then back to southeastern TN for more work then we popped up to our old hometown for a visit in the TN valley and now back in southeastern TN again!
It can be difficult to eat locally and organically when we travel without the RV but we manage pretty well...we are always sharing the slow food movement with our friends, old and new and family members. It's hard with my oldest son because he's pretty stringent on his organic food standards. It's hard for Grandma to make what she considers comfort food for the grandkidlets and for him to refuse to eat it. He showed the film, Food Inc. to his grandparents but I don't think they got it. I realize that we are only one family just trying to do our best and do our part in the whole scheme of things. Plow on! Plow on!

Friday, November 20, 2009


This week and the past few weeks have been a time of sisterhood for me. Not just with my biological sister who I love deeply and profoundly but sisters who I have known for many years and some newly rediscovered sisters. Sisters that may look or even sound different than me but my sisters none the less.

One sister who has been my sister since we were 11 years old has brought a new soul into this world. A tiny baby, a new life, a million possibilities. Another sister who is watching her child, her beautiful vibrant young daughter who she birthed into this world transition into another world. Joy...Pain. Connection...Separation. Smiles...tears. My own heart burst with joy for one and breaks for the other. One sister a part of my life since before I knew what it was to be a woman, mother and even a lover. Before I understood concepts like life and death and God and the true meaning of love. The other a newer sister, surprisingly enough, one who our original connection began on the internet. Who our connection began with our mutual desire to bring more light into the world through our spirits.

I celebrate the life of her daughter of whom she was so proud. I celebrate her daughter's light and acknowledge that what we perceive as physical death is merely a transition of spirit. My sister and I know these truths and together this will help in the healing days to come. My other sister with the new life that she always wanted but after forty thought that perhaps her chances for becoming a mother where through cuddles and coos over this baby and all of the mysteries that accompany new motherhood.

Then there is my former sister-in-law who I have been staying with this week. My brother's former wife who will always be my sister. My children's aunt and the mother of my nephews. This sister who experiences the struggles of single parenthood but loves her children fiercely and wants the best for them. This sister who opens her home to my children and I who cooks for us and watches my children so I can go and be with the new mother and the grieving mother. She too is my sister.

I have two new sisters whom I connected with via another through the internet and I watch as they come into my circle of influence and comfort that we as sisters give one another. Over the past year or so I have reconnected with a sister, I had lost...a sister who was my roommate. Now as we sit and chat while our children form their own bonds with one another and make friendships that we hope will last their lifetimes. She too is my sister.

As I write this I realize how many sisters I many on so many different levels. The beautiful young women who worked in my bakery while in college and  now are my sisters. Growing up, getting married, becoming mothers. I am so full of love and appreciation for all of these incredible woman to who I rely on for support and who I try to support in my own way. I honor you sisters for your inner beauty, your strength, your resilience, your inner light and the unconditional love that you give me. It is through our ability to love one another, to acknowledge our differences and our commonalities to interconnect ourselves in ways that assist us on our paths. I am laughing thinking about when the words,"So many men, so little time." might have passed through my lips. Now I'm thinking, "So many sisters, so little time." would be something I would say instead. Through our experiences we laugh, we cry, we celebrate, we talk, we hug, we keep in our hearts the sacred space of sisterhood that has no beginning and no end. It is birthless, deathless these bonds we form perhaps in a place before we knew this place. Like we were always together.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A day at the Farm and Taking Back the F-Word

So here I am always talking about the local food, where it comes from who grows it, how we get it and all of that fascinating stuff. My friend Bo and I were talking the other day about how everything is energy and when the energy put into food, the growing of it, the stewardship of the animals is negative or just a job to the people who touch our food before we get it... that the energy somehow attaches itself to the food. Then we ingest the food. Taking all of that energy with it and perhaps that energy attaches itself to our energy. Now What? Dis-ease, depression a whole laundry list of crazy things could possibly happen to one's body.

Today the kids and I drove to meet another friend named Tricia to work for the day at a local organic farm in the Sequatchie Valley of Tennessee called Sequatchie Cove Farm. What an incredibly gorgeous November day in Tennessee! The sky was such an amazing shade of blue with absolutely not a cloud in the sky. Many of the trees still have their leaves on them as we drove down I-24 early this morning I appreciated all the different shades of dark brown, golden yellow and deep red as we passed. I had heard many wonderful stories about this farm but had not had the opportunity to visit there until today. Our GPS took us down some little winding country roads until we found a handmade sign with the street name we were searching for and another hand made sign that said, "Please DO NOT drop off DOGS here!"

We pulled up and found a place to park and walked over to a field to find some folks working. There were two adults and two kids. The kids are local homeschooled kids who work every thursday on the farm. I actually knew one of the adults a really wonderful guy my husband and I had met at SVI back in May of 2008 before we became a Family on the Road and the other adult was Padgett from the farm. Everyone was pulling up dead plant material and making a pile. Much to my children's pleasure there were many farm dogs already present. We all worked together, talking laughing and as the sun warmed up we found ourselves shedding our jackets and sweaters. My friend, Tricia was working in another field picking arugula with two other ladies. 

When we finished in the areas we were working, we all met up at the trading post part of the farm. Arugula was being washed and dried. In the area where we had been doing fall clean up work so a cover crop could be planted there had been some sorghum stalks that were beautiful purply green and pale yellow. We had cut the sorghum and tied it up on poles of  the porch of the trading post for decoration. Everyone was talking and sharing recipes and ideas about food. The kids were learning all of the names of all of the dogs running around. And it struck me in a place deep down in my soul...this is the kind of place where everyone's food should come from. Not some sterile flourescently lit showcase of psuedo food that's made up of 59 different configurations of genetically modified corn products. But a place like this where folks in the community work together, where people smile, laugh and sweat together. Where people put passion into what is grown and sold.

Later all of us jumped on the back of the truck with several dogs and all the kids and rode out to a field still basking in the serenity of the intensely blue sky. Padgett the super cool and really nice farm lady who was thrilled to have so many helping hands gave us all tasks to do. Everyone worked together taking down the trellises for the pepper plants. My gypsy daughter delighted in picking peppers and filling up her skirt as she danced down the garden rows to place them into the baskets. One of my 10 yr. old sons was relishing every moment and every little new thing he was being shown how to do out in that field today. The other one was devising ways to turn his hoodie backwards to provide him with a place to put picked produce.

 And again it struck me in a place deep down in my soul...places like this are where and how food is suppose to be cultivated. Places where people WANT to be there, places where joy abounds! Because it's all energy and that energy is attached to that food. And Oh! God! Yes! I want to eat JOY! I don't want to eat "I hate my job" or "I'm treated like a slave" food. I mean I'm not even gonna address chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, overprocessed, GMO, antibiotic, hormone added, plastic wrapped, flourescent lit, mass produced, shipped 1K mile food. I'm just talking about the pure energy and intent behind the food. Is food handled by a beautiful human that has joy in their heart going to nourish and heal me or is food handled by metal, machines and slave labor going to nourish me body and soul?

As a gypsy mama I can tell you that these little local sustainable farmers are EVERYWHERE. You just have to open your eyes and look, it might take a little planning or effort but what in life that's worth something doesn't require a little effort. Every growing season more and more of them are popping up to fill the need where our bodies and our souls are screaming out for this kind of real food. Real farmers. Real families.
Cooking, eating, bowing our heads and blessing and showing thanks for something so visceral, so basic that we can't live without it...the thing that nourishes us. So we left today with some fantastic farm food and a new bumpersticker for our truck that says, "Take Back the F-Word...Real Food, Real Farms, Real People" Thank you Bill Keener of Sequatchie Cove Farm for that...thank you for caring about Food, about Farms, and about Family these are some F-Words I can get behind!. 

I want to end this with the blessing my future organic farmer 10 yr.old son read as we bowed our heads in thanksgiving tonight:
Ghandi once said, "What I am concerned with is my readiness to obey the call of Truth, my God, from moment to moment, no matter how inconsistent it may appear. My commitment is to Truth, not to consistency." May we, like Ghandi, see our lives as a series of experiments with the truth and make every effort to align our choices with the deeper truths of the universe.

I was so into enjoying every moment of this delicious day that I forgot to take pictures with my regular camera but did capture a few pics on my cell phone that are on my if you want to see!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Farm Market Food Shopping for Everyone!!

Although it's late in the growing season the local farmers are still producing some great late season veggies. If your local farm market hasn't closed yet or your CSA has a winter CSA it's a great lesson in eating seasonally. Fall greens, root  vegetables and squashes are full of dark green, oranges and reds. The darker the color the more nutrition you are getting. I think it also opens us up to trying new and different varieties of foods that we might not try otherwise. When you are a gypsy mama it can be difficult to belong to a  CSA because we are usually never in  one place long enough to join one. That however doesn't deter us from seeking our homegrown, locally produced food. The food movement is on! And we haven't traveled to a place yet that didn't have a way for us to seek out and find the best of what this country has to offer. Industrial farming in unnatural and even the organics found in supermarkets and big box stores are shipped from far far away from where you buy them. Imagine purchasing fresh vegetables that were grown, nutured and  picked with loving care only hours before you receive them, instead of days and thousands of miles possibly from their source. These real food farm markets we are finding are carrying all of the things we purchase on a weekly basis...dairy (including milk, cream, eggs & cheese), animal meats that are raised and fed the way nature intended, fruits, vegetables, canned and preserved goods (jams, jellies, pickles, relishes) and many baked goods too. The Franklin Farmer's Market we attended yesterday has all types of artisans too, clothing, knitted items, jewelry, musicians and lots of wonderful people with their dogs walking around shopping supporting local agriculture. This was our second visit to this market as the gyspy husband's company was working in this area before.

This gypsy mama knows that the heartbeat of the communties we visit through our travels are at these farm markets. We make it a point to search for local. For example we wanted pizza Friday night, we wanted it locally owned and operated. I even called a old friend who has lived in the area we are in for years to get a recommendation. Unfortunately, all he could suggest were two chains. I finally found one by googling "Locally Owned Pizza" and the name of the city and state. We found a great little local place and we're very happy with and the pizza was really good, plus we felt good about supporting a local restauranteur.

Here are some photos of our wonderful finds from the farmer's market, I am looking forward to turning all of this beautiful food into some delicious meals. I just know that with ingredients like this not only will our bodies be nourished but our souls as well.

One More Pumpkin Creation

In my little RV refrigerator sat a mason jar with more pureed pumpkin. Another creation waiting to happen.
Some kind of bar cookie with pumpkin was rolling around inside my gypsy mama head just waiting to be birthed into a yummy creation. The gypsy kids are always wanting a treat and I am learning and enjoying eating and cooking more and more seasonally. It is still pumpkin time! So here is what I came up with:

Note: If  you like really sweet stuff this is not super sweet..I suppose you could adjust the amount of sugar but I try to keep the sugar consumption down as much as possible. All ingredients are organic...yes, I know it cost more.

Gypsy Mama Pumpkin Bar Cookies

Crust & Topping
3/4 C. Organic Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
1/2 C. Organic Rolled Oats
5 T. Organic Butter/break up into pieces...use substitute if vegan
1/4 C. Organic Brown Sugar
1/2 C. shelled pumpkin seeds/pepitas

1/3 softened Organic Cream Cheese/could use silken tofu or vegan equivalent
1 1/4 C. of pumpkin puree
1/4 C. of Brown Sugar
1 egg/use any binder for vegan
1/4 tsp. fresh ginger root ground
1/4 tsp. of cinnamon, ground cloves, freshly grated nutmeg
You could use 1 tsp. of pumpkin pie substitute for the above spices
1 T. Molasses
Pinch of Salt

Combine Crust ingredients,

 using your fingers (or a pastry blender or two knives) work the butter into the flour, oats, sugar until it resembles a crumbly mixture. Reserve 1/4 of the mixture for the topping.

Press the crust mixture into an 8x8 square pan.

Combine filling ingredients and pour on top of crust. Sprinkle remaining crumbly crust mixture on top of filling evenly. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.* Let cool completely before cutting the filling will set up upon cooling.

*All of my baking times and temperatures are suspect because I bake in a tiny microwave/convection oven combo in my RV. If you are using any other type oven probably would be a good idea to watch what you are baking carefully and make adjustments based on your oven.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Pumpkin promised!

Remember my post the other day about pumpkin? The Gypsy Mama came up with some pretty great cookies and...PUMPKIN CHILI!! Yep, that's right Pumpkin Chili and it was delicious...I'll share the recipes with you!

Here's the recipes: ALL INGREDIENTS are ORGANIC...yes, we know it costs more.

The gypsy kids named these cookies:

Fall Harvest Cookies~These cookies are dense almost like a thick rich biscuit!!

1 1/2 C. whole wheat organic pastry flour
1 1/2 C. organic all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt.
1/4 tsp. cinnamon, ground cloves, freshly grated nutmeg

6 T. organic butter, softened
1/2 C. organic sugar
1/2 C. organic brown sugar
1/2 C. pureed pumpkin
2 T. milk
1 egg
1/2 tsp. fresh ground ginger
1/2 C. chopped pecans
1/4 - 1/2 C. dried cranberries or golden raisins

Sift your dry ingredients (except sugars) together. Cream butter & sugars, then add pumpkin. Add the milk, egg and ginger. Add dry ingredients in thirds and lastly add fruit and nuts. Dough will be stiff.
Bake 375 degrees for 10-14 minutes. (Keep in mind we have a tiny micro/convection oven  in the RV so you may want to adjust time and temperature for your oven)

Didn't take pictures of the chili but trust me it is really, really good.

Gypsy Mama Pumpkin Spice Chili
1/2 green pepper chopped
1 medium onion chopped
2 cloves of garlic minced
2 stalks of celery chopped
2 cups of pumpkin puree (if you used canned make sure it's not pumpkin pie mix-even though that might be good too)
1 large can crushed tomatoes
1 1/2 tsp. cumin, cinnamon, chili powder
1 tsp. chipolte chile powder
1 16 oz. can of chili beans
1 16 oz. can of red kidney beans
1 16 oz. can of  mixed beans (black, navy, pintos)
1/2 cup vegetable protein granuales (or bulgar wheat, ground beef, tofu crumbles)
I'm now on the fence about that other stuff that has 3 letters starting with T and ending with P because I've discovered it's copyrighted and trademarked by a huge food conglomerate...the grocery store to the world people and is probably all GMO!!

Put in a slow cooker on low for 6 hrs. or high for 4 hours or cook on your stovetop. Enjoy!!

The Gypsy Mama's family loves to say something nice before every meal...we love this book, "A Grateful Heart" edited by MJ Ryan. Blessing our meals with beautiful words always makes everything taste just a little bit better! Here's a sample from the book:

May all things move and be moved in me
and know and be known in me
May all creation
dance for joy within me.
-Chinook Psalter

Revisiting a Classic

I know that I was assigned many classical literature books in high school or college but sometimes a book has to find you before you can find yourself in the book. So over the last year or so…since I became a gypsy mama and gave up the suck your brain out of your head box otherwise known as the television, I have revisited some classics.

I just completed reading John Steinbeck’s, “Grapes of Wrath” and so many things are standing out to me in this book. I have been reading passages out of the book to my children. Not the passages that tell the story of the Joad family but the passages where Steinbeck talks about what is happening with the small family farms during the 1930’s. The passages where Steinbeck comments on the farming industry. While reading these passages and rereading them I am coming to the realization that this is the time period when the concept of “factory farms” starts. This is when it all began….and now we are coming full circle and starting to see the impact of what has been happening over the last eighty years or more.

This book was a pretty big hit when it was published and a lot of folks were pretty upset with Steinbeck’s commentary. This is a story about the great depression that took place in the 1930’s but it’s also about the beginning of factory farming, the beginning of the disconnect between man and earth and food. Did anyone else get this then? Have all the people that have been reading this great piece of literature taken note of this? And if we did notice why has it taken us so long to do something about it?

The food movement that is happening in this country is one of  the most important issues we face today. Food is what sustains us, food is what nourishes us, food brings us together when we celebrate and when we mourn. The energy that goes into how food is grown comes to us when we eat it and through us. No wonder so many people are on anti-depressants.  The attitude and the intent behind the growing of the food all the way to the preparation and the serving of the food is some powerful stuff.

I want to put a passage from the book here for you to read:

From "The Grapes of Wrath" by John Steinbeck

He loved the land no more than the bank loved the land. He could admire the tractor - its machined surfaces, its surge of power, the roar of its detonating cylinders; but it was not his tractor. Behind the tractor rolled the shining disks, cutting the earth with blades -- not plowing but surgery, pushing the cut earth to the right where the second row of disks cut it and pushed it to the left; slicing blades shining, polished by the cut earth. And pulled behind the disks, the harrows combing with iron teeth so that the little clods broke up and the earth lay smooth. Behind the harrows, the long seeders -- twelve curved iron penes erected in the foundry, orgasms set by gears, raping methodically, raping without passion. The driver sat in his iron seat and he was proud of the straight lines he did not will, proud of the tractor he did not own or love, proud of the power he could not control. And when that crop grew, and was harvested, no man had crumbled a hot clod in his fingers and let the earth sift past his fingertips. No man had touched the seed, or lusted for the growth. Men ate what they had not raised, had no connection with the bread. The land bore under iron, and under iron gradually died; for it was not loved or hated, it had no prayers or curses.

Passionless. Loveless. Factory farms are not about love or passion. They are only about profits...the bottom line, regardless of the true costs.  Local small farmers are passionate about what they do…sure they want to make a profit, after all they must generate an income too but they do it with thought to the land, thought for the sustenance they provide. It is done with intent and reverence. Talk to a local producer at the farm market…they have passion in their eyes, in their voice and in their hearts. Over the past year or so we have met many local, sustainable agriculture farmers. Real farmers…from Joel Salatin to Jason Mann and I am telling you these are the people we want growing our food!

Folks who care about the kind of food they help to co-create. Personally this gypsy mama & her brood went from being a conventional processed food family to basically 100% organic. Always searching for local sustainable agriculture while we're on the road. We went from eating at the arches to vowing never to eat fast food again…ever.

At this time of Thanksgiving when we are all poised to gather for a meal that has so much thought and intent that goes into the planning and the preparation, I pause to reflect the gratitiude that I have for the food. Consider the passion, consider the love, consider the intent.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I LOVE Pumpkins!!

I love pumpkins because they are orange, round and happy! I love their different shapes and sizes…even the white ones out on the market now are really cool. I love them because they remind me of autumn ~ my favorite season. A time when the colors of nature are so bright and colorful, when sweaters and jeans and boots come out. When it’s cool outside and on a sunny day everything seems to sparkle and a cloudy overcast day looks like snow even though it really isn’t cold enough yet. I also love the way that pumpkins taste, they are so versatile you can make pies, cookies, cakes, bread and soups. Pumpkin is good roasted and mashed just like potatoes even the seeds are tasty when roasted in the shell with butter, tamari and seasonings. Pumpkin is full of vitamins and nutrients and right now is prime time pumpkin time! In anticipation of the pumpkin harvest I purchased a can of organic pumpkin a few weeks back but yesterday I finally found some nice organic pie pumpkins for a really great price.

I cut my pumpkin in half and scooped out the seeds…which I will roast later. While I am typing this, the pumpkin is cooking in my tiny little RV oven. I placed each half with an inch or so of water into a cake pan and now they are roasting at 410 degrees for about an hour.

When finished the skin will just pull off and all that will be left is the beautiful orange pumpkin flesh! Cooked and ready for our use. What will we create?

Pumpkin raisin muffins? A traditional pumpkin pie? Pumpkin bread with walnuts and cranberries? Pumpkin pancakes topped with toasted pecans and maple whipped cream? Pumpkin ginger cookies? A pumpkin smoothie? Roasted pumpkin soup? The possibilities seem endless don’t they?

Just like life, you can get a hold of little something that you love and appreciate. Then from that you have the power to create so many different possibilities. I know that Our Creator is always working through us to allow all of these possibilities. If I didn’t love and appreciate pumpkins so much then none of the possibilities would exist for me, would they? They would all exist but just not for me. So, with that in mind, the way I see it is if I am able to expand and maximize all that I love and appreciate in the world around me then naturally all my possibilities will expand as a result of my love and appreciation. Find a way to love more in what is around you and watch your possibilities expand.

And on the pumpkin roasting in my oven…well, I let you know what all I end up co-creating!

Monday, October 26, 2009


I'm a big fan of working with what you have when it comes to cooking and in life. I'm not a big fan of running out to the store just to pick up one or two things to complete a recipe. So when I decided to make minestrone soup...I started digging through the pantry and fridge to find out what all I had to make minestrone. I almost always have celery but I had used the last of it the other day to make homemade chicken noodle soup...I put celery in lots of stuff, it adds flavor and texture and it lasts a long time before spoiling. So this time there is no celery in the soup but I would've used it if I had it!

So here's what I came up with for my gypsy mama minestrone soup:

Minestrone is basically just an italian vegetable soup with beans and pasta. I used beef stock and crushed tomatoes but you could also use chicken or vegetable stock. In the refrigerator I found, a half of a green pepper, a zucchini and some baby carrots. Then the pantry brought forth an onion, some garlic, kidney beans, some canola oil and a half a box of whole wheat organic rotini.

Into my favorite cooking vessel went chopped onion, sliced carrots, the green pepper and the zucchini with about a tablespoon of oil and of course…the garlic!!

Which I cooked a bit to get the flavors going, then add about 1 T. of flour to help with thickening.

I added the crushed tomatoes, the stock and beans and let simmer. A bit before serving I added the pasta and voila’ ~ Minestrone!! It's an easy soup that is very satisfying. If you have celery or other vegetables you want to use up, go ahead and add them.

Gypsy Mama Minestrone:

All ingredients used are organic!!

1 onion chopped roughly

1 handful of baby carrots sliced

½ green pepper chopped

"A couple of stalks of celery if you have it!"
1 small zucchini sliced in rounds and then cut in half

2-3 cloves of garlic chopped roughly

1 T. canola oil - I would have used olive oil but was out

1 T. unbleached organic all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp. oregeno

Salt & Pepper to taste

Sautee’ veggies with oil until softened then add flour to coat veggies.
Then add:
24 oz. of Broth ~ whatever you choose (beef, chicken, vegetable)

1 large can of crushed tomatoes

1 can of kidney beans or garbanzo or both!!

PASTA- you choose how much and what kind-I used a half of box of whole wheat rotini.

Bring to a boil then turn down to a simmer for an hour or more. The smell of a big pot of soup simmering on the stove is awesome! You could also put in the crockery cooker at this point if you are going out for the day.

About 20-30 minutes before serving add pasta. If you are going to freeze any of you minestrone, cook the pasta separately then add to the soup. Otherwise it will be mushy and disintegrate.

Can you come up with something from just what you have already on hand? Can you work with what you have? What do you think you are missing? Because I’m a firm believer that whatever it is we need resides within us already. If you ‘think’ you don’t possess something would you consider working with what you ‘think’ you do have? I think you will be amazed at what you can come up with…I know I always am!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Spinach Quiche

I love brunch on the weekend. Mainly because it means I can get away with making only two meals that day instead of three. Generally the kids prepare their own breakfast, consisting of organic cereal, sprouted grain bread toast, oatmeal and other such easy fare. While still living in the "stick house" ~that's the name full-timing RVers and FOTR (families on the road) give a brick and mortar house opposed to the kind on wheels like we live in now, it was part of the boys' morning routine to make their own breakfast before school. I think by the age of 5, both of them could scramble eggs all by themselves (they had a little supervision). Now, five years later they are both excellent junior chefs. I picked up a couple of whole wheat organic pie crusts the other day made by Wholly Wholesome and stuck them in the little rv freezer.

I like to make my own pie crust sometimes too. With the pre-made crust it made it easy this morning to whip up a yummy Spinach Quiche:

1 whole wheat organic pie crust
Frozen or fresh organic spinach...fill up the crust.
1 cup grated organic cheese, whatever kind you like or have on hand
7 organic free range eggs-fed an organic diet
1/2 c. organic half & half
freshley grated nutmeg (about an 1/8 - 1/4 tsp)
sea salt
freshly ground pepper

Pre-heat oven to 400 to 450 degrees (we have a combo convection/microwave oven in our RV)Place frozen or fresh spinach in crust. Top with cheese.

Beat eggs with half & half, nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Pour egg mixture over spinach and cheese in crust.

Bake for 40-60 minutes. RV ovens are tricky so you will have to watch your quiche. If you used frozen spinach like I did,  it will take longer to cook than if you use fresh spinach.

You can make a quiche with any kind of ingredients that you like, mushrooms, broccoli, bacon, sausage, just cheese... I always use organic ingredients because it is one way I can support  sustainable farming practices with my purchases. Sure it cost more but I choose to pay on the front end instead of on the back end. Visit the Organic Consumers Association's web-site and
learn more about organics. When it comes to meat, we are hyper concious...we look for local free range, hormone free, humanely treated, grass/pasture/organic fed meats. We also eat a lot less meat than we used to eat.  

My family ate conventional food for years until I stopped and took the time to do the research. When I did I uncovered so many things about food. As a former chef, restauranteur and baker my eyes were opened to what is really going on with our food sources. We've been deceived in so many ways! My biggest concern is with GMO's (Genetically Modified Organisms). Only a very small percentage of consumers know about this practice and GMO's are in every form of conventional food. I have many reasons for opposing GMO's but here are five reasons taken from Joel Salatin's book, "Holy Cows and Hog Heaven" in his praise of Jeff Smith's book, "Seeds of Deception" .

Reason #1
It violates God's Plan...Plants should reproduce from their own seed & the seed should germinate true--children should look like their parents. Anyone who has a shred of belief in a Creator's design should dismiss genetic engineering outright (Thank you Joel for saying that!)
GMO's are NOT necessary to feed the world. - There is plenty of research to support this. Read Joel Salatin's and Jeff Smith's books for a better explanantion.
GMO's do NOT create safer food. Why should these entities that do GE (genetic engineering) who lie to their employees, pay way too much money for lobbyists and lie to their customers be trusted to be honest with our food supply. Believe me it is profits before people.
They Cannot be Controlled.
Already we are seeing where organic crops are being tainted by GMO pollen drift.
It enslaves farmers and ANYONE who wants to grow their own food and save seed to patented life forms owned by multi-national corporations. When the US patent office was established one thing that was exempt from being patented was plants but that changed in the 1930's. Should corporations own the rights to seeds? If corporations alter indegenous crop varieties with cross pollination and in turn say that they have the rights to those seeds, is that right?

I urge anyone who consumes food to do the research and decide. For me...the first reason I gave was the only reason thatl I needed. For you it may not be what inspires you to make a change. I figure our grocery bill has increased about $50 a week for making a change to organics...that's about $7 a day. Start out with small...the first thing I switched to was dairy.
It may seem like a lot but when I figure out all of the positive impact that makes, somehow it all seems worth it.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Less is More

About four years ago I realized that many aspects of my life that were not working for me were of my own doing. I came to the understanding that we attract circumstances and experiences. Good, bad or however they are perceived, simply  by our way of thinking. This was an epiphany of sorts but it was also the beginning of a descent into an even darker place. A place where I was forced to reconcile my own way of thinking. And in that darkness I found a light...just a tiny pinpoint of light, one that had always been there just sometimes brighter than it was other times. What I also discovered was that staying busy, wishing away, complaining or selling myself out was in no way the avenue to help me attract the situations and experiences that I did want. I even found out that the way I was praying, "Oh! Dear God please don't give me any more of that!" was vibrationally giving me more of what I didn't want. So I began to learn to ask for the situations and experiences I did want.

One of those prayers was, "Please give me less!" Less stuff, less worry, less attachment, less expectations, less criticism, less judgements, less responsibility. I said, "Please allow me to live in a more simple way. A way that will allow more time to just be. A way that opens me up to more different experiences and better relationships." And so it was. The space began to open and I began to experience what less is all about. But everytime during those first three years that I allowed fear or doubt to creep in, things would slow down. A few times, it seemed that my progress towards liberation had come to a complete halt. And again, I would ask and the Universe in all It's wisdom working with all the Universal laws would answer. Things would move and shift in the direction of my desires. Sometimes I would forget and listen to others label the experiences I was going through and buy into the words and the labels. "Oh, that's so ______.", they would say. When secretly I was trying to work on not attaching any emotionality to the process. Ultimately the Universe was responding to my requests. Why should I have been so arrogant to question exactly how things were going to take place? Everything happens for a is only our perception of the way things work that give them either a negative or positive charge. Growth, change, metamorphisis isn't always a walk in the park but when it gets us to where we want to go we discover it's was worth it all along.

I wanted less and now I have less. It feels good. It feels liberating...even though sometimes I think that we still have too much stuff. Annie Leonard's "The Story of Stuff" really propelled my thinking about material things and helped me and my family deal with the attachments that we have to things. During our de-stuffing process there were many times that we stopped to remind ourselves that it was just a "thing". Even since we have been on the road, we have been liberated from a few "things" we thought were important. Always an opportunity to learn and accept more grace. I have also learned that with some relationships, less is more too. We don't always have to always be with or even near loved ones. Sometimes being apart makes the time that is spent together much sweeter. I love abundance, I love the way it flows through an uninterrupted Divine Source. What made up my desire for less were just things, situations and circumstances that needed clearing for me to really receive the kind of abundance I'm in need of most.

Of course, some of the situations and experiences that I have more of now will change over time. Like the time I spend with my children, right now I have more, but someday that will evolve into less. I know this and I celebrate our togetherness now in this moment.  I have always loved the quote, "Be careful what you wish for because you just might get it". I love it because it reminds me on days that I feel too full of children, travel, togetherness, small spaces in the RV or even a sink full of dishes that I don't want to wash that my dreams came true...that I got what I wished for! And in that moment, I say a prayer of gratitude and thankfulness. Oh, and that tiny light? It like to think of it as kinda like a blazing hyperradiant fresnel lens!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Believing in... well, wellness

We are healthy people. We eat good organic food, we wash our hands with plain old soap while we sing the abc's. We get lots of fresh air and spend our thoughts on positive outcomes, ideas and notions. Every once in a while a germ might come along. I've always been respectful of germs, knowing that we need the good ones and sometimes the bad ones to help our beautifully designed systems work the way they are suppose to. Suffice it to say, my kids have eaten their share of dirt. Out of 3 kids only one of them has ever been on an antibiotic. So, when my son mentioned to me the other day that he had not been feeling well, scratchy throat, bit of a cough. I immediately got right on it.

First of all, I ran over to Food for Thought a great organic food/wellness store in Wichita, KS where we are at the moment. As I perused the shelves for some holistic aids for this healing. I picked up a children's liquid echinacea blend, some organic lozenges with zinc, some 1,000 mg vitamin C/B complex powders, some organic throat coat tea. He wasn't running any temperature so I have felt confident that it's just a little seasonal something. I read all of the recommended dosages and make sure he's resting (he's the fiestiest one of the three so having him rest is a chore) and drinking tons of liquids! We haven't been told this over and over for no's true. I have always been a big believer that at the first signs of feeling out of sorts that rest and liquids are the best thing you can do. It seems that so many folks keep pushing themselves until their body just makes them stop. We have been given this internal guidance system for a reason and I believe it is wise to listen to it and heed it's message.

That being said, he is already feeling better. Since we live in such close quarters, everyone is taking a little extra vitamin C and some echinacea. I have been making some good comfort food and we're all resting and listening to our bodies. The mantra..."my body is strong and healthy" is also running around in my head just to tell any of those little germies that I am in a different vibration not willing to allow them to interfere in my process. 

Since we don't watch television or subscribe to any mainstream media we have been concious about not allowing the fear of certain germs out there flying around to lower our resistance or our vibrations for that matter. I have my opinions about innoculations and for now I will keep them to myself~although I do recommend doing a bit of research on the subject.

If you do find yourself allowing this kind of energy into your world...
while you are physically feeling horrible or nuturing someone else who is feeling that way, consider why you might have attracted the experience. If it's one of your children, notice if it's been a long time since you really spent some nuturing time with them, are mom and dad busy all the time, are hugs and attention time shortened due to school starting back, earlier bedtimes, fall sports and such? If it's you that is not feeling well, ask yourself when was the last time you did absolutely nothing, when you layed in bed and slept for 3 days, when was the last time that you spent time just on you? If it's your spouse or partner who is under the weather, wonder when was the last time that they felt really nutured by you, when was the last time you waited on them hand and foot? Or, maybe it is you needing attention from them? It seems kind of silly that it takes something like sickness for our love and compassion to come through for others in our life but think about it...with the busy-ness and doing-ness that we all seem to be focused on all the time...perhaps it is just what the doctor ordered.

I know that our bodies and spirits work together to present to us with opportunities to grow, learn and discover. How often do we push ourselves with obligations, appointments, jobs, activities? Sometimes it seems our internal guidance systems are at work together to get our attention...whether we like it or not.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Chicken Soup IS Really Good for the Soul

I love whole organic, free range, local chickens. If you are still purchasing factory farmed chickens, you really must try a real chicken. A happy chicken really can make all the  difference. To find a local organic, free range chicken visit and find a nice farmer near you to make friends with and buy one or twenty from them.  I know some of you may be vegans or vegetarians and I totally respect that~we eat several meals a week without any meat.

One chicken makes several meals for us...We're at about 4 meals for 4-5 people right now. I say 4-5 because John only eats dinner with us and three of the five of us are kids.  It all starts in my favorite appliance for a tiny RV kitchen, the slow cooker...

I placed the little lady into the cooker for several hours. The golden broth she gave off was the start of some really delicious stock. After getting every bit of meat off the bones, I place the bones, fat and other bits back into my slow cooker along with some organic carrots, celery, onions, garlic and black peppercorns and water. All of these flavors meld into a really, really lovely thing. Using a slow cooker in an RV saves money because most stovetops operate off of propane. When parked at a campground electricity is included in the rate for our spot. 

If my second meal wasn't going to be homemade chicken noodle soup then I would allow the broth to cool, strain it and freeze it for future use. The RV does have a little freezer and I am always amazed at what I can fit in there.  
Our first meal from the chicken was some of the meat topping some really great all organic local portobello mushroom raviolis that we picked up at the Franklin Farmers Market in Franklin, TN and a nice mushroom cream sauce that I made and topped with a bit of chopped walnuts.

So day two, I place the chicken stock into my stock pot. I love my IKEA 365+ stock pot and seriously use it almost every day. Next I add, chopped carrots, celery, onions, frozen peas, and some whole wheat organic rotini for the noodles and a some of the chicken meat that's waiting for me in the fridge. It's fall and one pot meals, soups and stews are practical and easy for our lifestyle. Last night the kids and I returned from their art club class at Wichita's City Art and within 20 minutes or so we had warm, delicious homemade chicken soup. 

Day 3, We had chicken noodle soup for lunch again today...even tastier. Along with a big salad with the most amazing organic apples I have ever had, honey crisp apples, toasted walnuts, organic dried cranberries and a homemade dressing that consisted of:

Easy Homemade Salad Dressing

2 T. organic canola oil
2 T. organic apple cider vinegar
1 small clove of organic garlic minced
1/4 t. of salt
1 T. of local organic honey
A dash of pepper
Place all ingredients in a jar with a lid, shake thoroughly and toss with salad greens.

Making your own salad dressings while cooking/living full-time in a RV is a space saver because you only make as much as you need for the meal and you don't have salad dressing containers taking up space in your tiny refrigerator~also a green tip because you aren't purchasing the packaging!

I still have enough chicken left for another meal.

There is something about homemade, handmade food that nutures our souls. Not only the intent and energy behind the preparation but the thought, intent and energy that goes into organic sustainable ingredients. It all comes together to nourish much more than our bodies. The only rule for cooking for me is love. I'm always making up recipes and combinations, changing one ingredient or another. Cooking is kind of like life, you use the resources you have to make something wonderful and end up loving it.