Winter 2017 Salute...Food, Life and New Adventures
My Season Salute Food Story Series usually comes with a more upbeat food, life, and new adventure commentary but this winter season was one of exhaustion, breaks, family, loss and new beginnings. I'd say that the start of this new year delivered a few unexpected twists but in all honesty there were signs. Alas, since the true new year doesn't really begin(at least to me) until Spring, the first 11 weeks of 2017 became a spent venture preciously grieving all that was in order to move towards the welcoming of a new life.
My story starts in December. Exhaustion set in for many reasons and seemed to creep ever so quietly over the threshold. In need of a break for reflection and catch up, a block of time was carved into the schedule. The break came to pass, but not how intended, it instead manifested when my Mom fell and broke her arm a few days before New Years.
In hindsight I'm super grateful for the extra days spent helping Mom and Dad navigate this down time as well as support needed to keep their world(as they knew it) afloat. And I happily wish my story ended here but sadly it continues. Not long after getting my parents settled into their daily new, my sister noticed her kitty was exhibiting familiar signs from an illness that was currently being managed. Regular trips to the vet yielded only more anxiety as the truth became obvious. Ren(her kitty) was not going to make it and due to his declining condition the choice was made to put him to sleep. To end his suffering. We were all sad as this was my sisters first kitty. I remember this walk well. So while this journey is unfolding, life with Mom's broken arm kept moving along. Decisions were being made in regards to my parents needs, Doctor appointments etc. None of it would have even come together smoothly had it not been for the generosity of my Uncle Don's time offered. He drove Mom to and from her appointment each couple of weeks till the the mend was strong enough to drive again. Finally, a light at the end of the tunnel...or so we thought. Again, visually not how we expected this light to transpire but true depending on how you view death. A few weeks after the green light to drive, my Dad suddenly passed away. Granted he had been living for years upon his own free will power borrowed from his thirst for life but it was his body you see...it simply couldn't keep up. So this is where we are today. Grieving, Remembering, Honoring and Loving a man who meant so much to my Mom, sister and myself. I plan on writing about his life after I've had time to let this new reality take shape. But for now, my Dad, who loved loved loved the creative work I did with food and ongoing ventures would not have wanted me to stop thriving. He was and still is(in spirit) a huge supporter. So this Season Salute Series Winter 2017 is dedicated to him with every picture and recipe Dad approved. I look forward to more of these adventures and making him proud. Creativity is therapeutic and knowing his presence is steadfast bares a new personal spotlight guiding the way forward. A few days after his passing Mom, sister and I were in a local boutique. My sister had pointed out an Owl(my favorite) charm necklace. While looking at it lost in thought I slowly glanced up and on the wall there was a sign that read "Hello Beautiful". And above it were fifty or so Butterflies scattered about and in the middle it said..."Dream until your Dreams Come True". Love You Dad...I honorably will:)
On with Adventures in the Art of Life...
This citrus winter was creatively dominated by the Satsuma and Meyer Lemon. My focus leaned into a rework from prior food story Whole Tangerine Almond Cake using Meyer Lemon as a different approach but that adventure ended up coming full circle back with January's food story transformation Whole Satsuma Almond Squares topped with Glaze, Toasted Coconut and Zest. My goal was to prepare another story in February detailing the Meyer Lemon version initially created but Dad passed away right before I was to get started. Everything rightfully halted. So check out the Whole Satsuma food story for all the step by step preparation particulars as they are virtually the same as the Whole Meyer Lemon Cake recipe below.
Whole Meyer Lemon Cake
2 cups Almond Flour
2 tbsp Tapioca Flour
1 tbsp Coconut Flour
2 tbsp Flax Meal
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/ 2 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Whole Meyer Lemon Puree(2 medium meyer lemons)
3 tbsp Lemon Juice
4 tbsp Cashew Milk
1 tsp Almond Extract
1 tsp Lemon Extract
9 inch baking round
Almond Slivers and Powdered Sugar for topping
Meyer Lemon Glaze Topping
1 large Meyer Lemon Juice and Zest
1 tsp Water
1 tsp Almond Extract
1/2 Powdered Sugar
Food, Art, Writing, Love
The above four topics are always foundationally present throughout ALL my creative work but this winter brought opportunities to connect more purposefully as I set out to prepare for some fun new adventures. And now that healing is full swing I look forward to this new creative birth and growing deeper in every way.
In the beginning of February I started a morning meal quest to help find new satisfying options since my body was being extra picky. It seemed I was at a shifting point in balancing nutrient intake but was struggling to find a balance in tasty consumables. My taste buds happen to be finicky especially when it comes to morning meals and apparently doesn't want to lean into what most people consider easy and healthy. I'm still working this one out but I'm quite sure the two will compromise at some point. I did enjoy the Sweet Cinnamon Cashew Milk with Turmeric and Honey. Even slow cooked some with Oats which turned out delightful. I'll certainly be sharing more recipes from this morning meal quest here soon.
Somewhere along the way I discovered that I really liked Lentils. Not necessarily alone but in combination with other ingredients. And further more I discovered that my body liked them as well. There is a difference you know. Sometimes taste buds will love something but your body will say NO. Ugggh. So this was amazing news since Lentils are super nutritious and can be used in a variety of ways. I haven't traveled far in this quest but the Sweet Potato Lentil Cakes and leftover Salad below both won me over. Working now with a few different types and will sure to have more on this topic in the months to come.
The winter months are all about comfort foods. My fall CSA left me with a freezer full of leftover veggie slow cooker love so playing around was within creative fingers reach. Add in a few extra luxury delicacies and most evenings were snuggle ready worthy.
Saved the BEST for last. Dad always referred to himself as Pappy which completely fit his character. He passed away early Saturday February 25, 2017. And although he was surrounded by so much love and is now wrapped in the arms of peace, I miss him. The feeling is weird. I don't know how else to explain the sensation. I'll never be able to during the rest of my existence ask him questions, his opinion, his support, hear him say "I luvs you" in the way I've become accustomed. Thankfully I have video of the later but being audibly present was/is/will always be special. I'm transitioning now to hear his spirit heart speak to mine. The picture below(his usual holiday selfie) was taken only hours before his physical heart gave out and began the passing process. His loving heart though stayed completely intact. Mom said they had a GREAT day on Friday. Makes me feel joy knowing that he was having fun till the very end. There are so many things I will cherish from my time on this earth with Dad. My Mom, Sister and myself are already comforting each other by fulfilling everyday fun Dad tasks and carrying them forward. His legacy will continue on. Soon I'll be back to talk more about his life.