We woke to snow. A late March snowfall had silently blanketed the bits of spring that were just beginning to peek up from the cold, damp ground. The daffodils hung heavy under its weight, their new green leaves appearing even more luscious in contrast to the colorless cold all around. After a hot breakfast of scrambled eggs, I sent my kids out into the weather to stomp around one last time before this in-between season shifts toward the sun of spring. It was silly fun for all. Then they were off to school.
I decided to make the most of this last wintry day, and the fact that I was not due to work at the restaurant, to enjoy some time my kitchen — oven on, burners blazing. Nothing warms up a home like the love and heat that are generated in a busy kitchen. After a hot cup of coffee, Freja and I decided that what we wanted most for lunch was a batch of yummy baked pumpkin pancakes. Baked? Yes! These are the easiest all-in-one-bowl-super-easy-paleo-grainfree pancakes ever. That they contain pumpkin officially puts them into the “epic” category. Well, at least according to the sophisticated palate of my four-year-old paleo kid. (Yes, she actually said they were epic.) She sure knows what she likes and what she does not like. She will not be swayed. I like that about her. She’s sassy, like her mama.
I originally found this recipe on one of my all-time favorite blogs, Boho Girl. If you haven’t yet had the pleasure of visiting Denise’s space, you really should. She is wise and gentle and her images are breathtaking. Pure bliss. Really.
To feed just myself and Freja I doubled the following recipe. If you have hearty eaters like I do, you will definitely need to increase the recipe accordingly.
Grain-Free Pumpkin Pancakes:
- ½ cup almond or cashew butter
- ½ cup pumpkin puree
- 2 whole eggs
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon honey
- Preheat your oven to 350F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, combine all of the ingredients and mix until a smooth batter forms.
- Use a ¼ cup to scoop the batter on the parchment-lined baking sheet
- Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the pancakes are fluffy and golden.
- Serve warm, with pure maple syrup or whatever you desire. (I love slivered almonds with mine.)
After our yummy lunch it was time for some snuggles and a little snooze…
Then before I knew it, there were kids bursting though the front door dumping backpacks here, there and everywhere. Gloves were scattered about and the demands to be fed began in earnest. I don’t know about your kids, but mine come home from school every day ravenous! I often feed them a hot breakfast of eggs and fruit before they leave, pack them a full, protein laden lunch, and a snack but still, still, when they arrive home it’s as if they have not been fed all day! I am often confronted with a lot of uncooperative behavior and grumpiness as a result of this after-school low blood sugar situation, so I decided to head them off at the pass this afternoon with two of their favorite foods — bananas and oh, yeah, bacon.
No milk and cookies in this house. No way. This is so much better!
I call this treat Sweet and Salty Paleo Perfection. It’s delicious and just about the easiest thing ever to make, it just takes a few minutes to do it right. Good bacon takes time. Don’t rush it!
Sweet and Salty Paleo Perfection:
- 1 pound of good, high quality bacon. (We acquire ours locally though our favorite butcher.)
- 6 just-ripe bananas. (This recipe works best with bananas that are still just a touch green.)
- Slice the bananas in half lengthwise and then in half width-wise so that each banana is quartered.
- Open the bacon package and slice the whole block of bacon three times so that each slice of bacon is quartered.
- Separate the bacon pieces and place them in a COLD pan.
- Turn the burner on to Medium heat and slowly fry the bacon, turning the pieces often. (I have found that the very best kitchen tool for making perfect bacon is a solid pair of wooden chopsticks. Seriously.)
- Remove individual pieces as they finish crisping and set aside.
- Once all of the bacon is finished, immediately place the banana pieces into the hot bacon drippings. (Watch out, the fat will spit at you.)
- Cook the bananas until they are golden brown and crisp around the edges, turning only once. This usually takes about 4-5 minutes on the first side and only 2-3 minutes on the second side.
- Place a hearty helping of now caramelized bananas on your plate and top with as many crispy bits of bacon as you desire.
Eat, then eat some more!
We were warm and well-fed all day, snow and all. I am grateful for this last hurrah of winter and these last bites of our cold-weather favorites. Soon there will be sweet peas and baby carrots on our plates. Baby greens and spicy radishes will replace the squash and soups of winter as we move into a season of abundance at the farmer’s markets. As the seasons change so does the food on our plates. What a lovely seasonal rhythm to notice and to celebrate — our simple (and delicious) farewell to this long season of cold and welcoming of the coming spring.
We are so ready…
On my birthday this year I was feeling quiet and contemplative in the quiet of the evening — in the dark stillness of my house after all our little people settled in for the night. I found myself first connecting once again to the finely crafted poetry of e. e. cummings (I wrote about this experience here.) I then felt called to join my husband in the sacred ritual of reading our Medicine Cards. This practice was introduced to me by my husband almost sixteen years ago. I feel drawn to them only every once in a long while. Sometimes there are months between readings, sometimes years. Several years have passed since I last quieted my spirit and was open to the guidance of these ancient totems. I had forgotten how the fragrant smoke of our smudge stick alone transports me to a more open and reflective space. I had forgotten the sensation of being cleansed and soothed my the smoke, being drawn to focus both inward and outward by the flicker of a single candle’s light. This ritual is grounding, humbling and always meaningful.
It was time.
I have long known that I am meant to learn the lesson of patience. I must learn to wait. I must learn to settle into a space and allow the Universe to reveal, in its own slow time, what I am meant to know. I must be reminded over and over again of this work, of this practice. I have also come to realize through meditation and deep internal work that I must always, always trust my intuition. The messages that flow through me from that sacred place deep within are always right. Decisions made from this place, with this steady and certain voice acknowledged, always move me to where I need to be. I may not understand why I am where I find myself, but if I remember to be patient — if I remember to settle in and wait — I know that my journey eventually will reveal its purpose. From this space we began our ritual.
I drew cards slowly, letting my hand float over them until an unmistakable heaviness pulled my fingers down to all seven cards one by one. Butterfly, Mountain Lion, Squirrel… slowly… Fox… Grouse… More and more animal spirits revealed their magic to me. My husband read, quietly and without judgement, the lessons of these guides. Transformation, leadership, connection to the Sacred Spiral, patience. Yes. Of course.
I am still processing the information that was revealed to me late that night by candle light. I am still trying to understand the lessons I am supposed to learn. I continue to quiet my mind so that I am able to clearly hear my intuition speak. This is slow work. This is work that cannot be rushed or forced. I must simply watch for signs around me, listen for that subtle voice of understanding and wait.
What I am beginning to notice is the Bird Medicine all around me. There are always birds surrounding all of us. In the trees, at our backyard feeders, high on the wires strung up between places. We all notice the birds from time to time, but it seems that the birds that surround my Spirit are noticing me. They seem to be observing my movements, following my eyes, traveling with me. I have noticed especially the high flying Hawk and the glossy black Crow. They swoop just feet in front of my car on my drive to work. They fly parallel to my window as I move through traffic. They sit motionless on my back deck and stare at me for long minutes through our glass door. They look at me, then look away, then look back again. Crow speaks again and again to me in Her ancient magical language as if I should understand. Not yet, not yet… Meanwhile, I am learning. Reading. Meditating.
My heart and spirit are open.
In the Native American tradition Hawk is recognized as a messenger. He soars high in the sky on the breath of Spirit while looking far below at the larger picture of our world. He is known to receive messages from the Universe and then to transport them down to our plane. He guides us to interpret these messages. He is a visionary. Hawk is powerful medicine. I feel my Spirit connection to these magical birds of prey, yet I am far from understanding it.
I settle in and wait.
I have read that wherever Crow is, there is magic. Crow is a symbols of creation and spiritual strength. As from the darkness of each night a new day is born, She reminds us to look for opportunities to create and manifest the magic of life. She is a messenger calling to us about the creation and magic that is alive within our world everyday and available to us. Oh, such powerful medicine.
I quiet my inner noise and listen.
Crow does not visit me as often as Hawk. I think I am glad for that. When She does visit me I am often startled by Her presence. She surprises me and leaves me with a feeling of unease. This troubles me. Crow’s visits, though less frequent, are longer than those of Hawk. I don’t yet understand why my gut reacts as it does to the visits of this dark and magical bird. The call of Crow sends shivers down my spine. I feel cold. I don’t yet understand. I have accepted this not knowing.
I practice patience.
I feel honored and graced by this wise Bird Medicine. I am grateful for the sacred ritual my husband and I shared by candle light. I accept both the guidance of all of these ancient animal spirits and the wisdom of the Universe I do not yet fully understand during this, my year of Bird Medicine.
I would love to connect with those of you who also feel guided by animal totems. Do you have any extraordinary experiences or lessons you could share? Do you have any books you return to again and again to learn more about this ancient wisdom? Please leave a comment, if you feel so moved, so that we may connect and learn from one another.
In Peace ~ Cedar
Usually I leave no words here on Friday — this sacred space is held for quiet meditation — but this week has been of such humbling proportion I am feeling called to offer my gratitude for so much abundance. My heart is oh, so very full.
In this moment I am…
:: so grateful for the love, patience and support my family has offered me without hesitation while I have been completely absorbed in my creative process for Cedar Tree Crochet.
:: tired in the most wonderful and satisfying of ways. Working from my heart space is new and thrilling and exhausting.
:: swept up in a swirling river of possibility. What a gift to be able to look at my life’s path with renewed hope and sincere joy in my heart.
:: open. I sit in awe of how the Universe provides. I am listening, watching, trusting.
:: enjoying hearing the distant sounds of my sweet daughter, Freja, busy at work in our art space. Creativity is becoming the foundation on which all else is built in our family. My dream, my vision, my soul’s work, is finally beginning to manifest. There is art and music and play everyday.
:: aware that there will be challenges ahead, but know deep inside that I am prepared for them. I am walking my path and will not be deterred or distracted.
:: feeling the Earth beginning to wake from her long sleep — stretching, yawning. Flowers are beginning to bloom. Yes.
:: beyond thankful for the friends that walk alongside me on this journey both new and well seasoned. I am thankful for you.
:: excited to begin a new project that feels exactly right… just as soon as I finish some serious snuggles with my sweet silly girl.
Wishing you a weekend of wonder and joy.
I am most myself when I am centered in a creative space. I see and feel the world differently. I am more open, more grateful, more passionate. I remain more aware of the wonder that surrounds me. Crochet is my meditation. It soothes the rough edges of my busy days. Please join me as I share the yarn I have been hooking this week.
I am so grateful to again connect with the wonderful community of knitters and crocheters Ginny gathers together with her yarn along each week.
Wow. What a week I have had. With my deadline for Plum quickly approaching and only a limited number of days I can dedicate completely to Cedar Tree Crochet, it seems inevitable that we would all come down with influenza. My friends have taken to calling me Typhoid Mary. I can’t really say they have it wrong. *sigh*
I pretty quickly decided that something was going to have to give, so it is that the dishes have piled up, the laundry heap has overtaken the hallway and so much progress has been made with my crochet work. Please don’t tell, but I’ve set up shop in my bed. This is the one place we all want to be, so why not? Kids are wandering in and out at all hours of the day and night, sometimes sleeping for a bit, sometimes playing quietly, sometimes reading a book or chattering away. Sneezing and coughing, too. Lots of that has been happening. Cats are lazing about, or, alternately, batting at the work I am trying to finish. Yarn is strewn hither and thither. Patterns are spread out on the floor. My work light is on a stool next to my bed. Creativity is supposed to be a messy process, right?
Despite the chaos surrounding me, I am feeling much more organized compared to this time last week. I have finally been able to clarify my vision for this, my debut collection. (Yay!) Now I am simply making items and checking them off of a list. (I’m more that half way done!) I have been working the most difficult pieces first and am progressing to items that are much quicker to produce, namely bracelets and earrings. I might actually do this!
Of course there is still all of the finishing work left to do — pressing, blocking, starching, adding bits and bobbles of non-crochet jewelry — but I find that process to be the most thrilling of all. What a joyful and accomplished feeling it will be to see all of my hard work come together into finished pieces. A finished collection.
Back to work…
I am planning on making a catalog of my finished pieces. Oh, I can hardly wait to show you how these works that are so clear in my mind’s eye look once my vision (and hard work) is complete. Everything will be so pretty!
My mind quiets and my well fills when my hands are busy creating something beautiful. If you feel moved to share what you have been creating, please leave a link in the comments below so we may revel in each other’s creative pursuits.
i thank You [Universe] God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)
how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any–lifted from the no
of all nothing–human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?
(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)
It is quiet now in the house. My children, both well and ill are safely sleeping. My belly is full of food lovingly raised and lovingly prepared. Soulful music floats around me. I feel oh, so content.
As I end one trip around the sun and begin another, my heart is overflowing with gratitude. I found such abundance in the year that has passed and am excited for the discoveries of this year yet to come.
There has been a shift in my heart.
There has been a shift in my soul.
I feel changed – rooted, nourished, whole. Awakened. This new-found centered-ness — this powerful stillness — has become the foundation of my creativity and of my freedom. As the trunk of a tree is grows deep within the earth, its roots reaching deep and wide and strong, as the leaves of the trees blow and turn and twist and flutter, this is as I am. I am both grounded and free, settled and wide open.
I am so grateful to have found my way to this place on my life’s journey.
I have had a long walk.
No longer moving away from the unpleasant, away from the ugly and the painful and the despairing. No. Now my branches reach for the light, looking toward the sun, embracing the spirits carried by the wind. My feet have found their home. I can feel the dirt between my toes and the strength of the planet below me. My soul has been set free. My arms are wide open, dancing in the air. My heart is open to the sky. My face soaks in the light of so much love, so much wonder.
I celebrate this birthday with my whole self.
I recognize that I will continue to experience new seasons of life. I understand that tides change and that the moon cycles. I am prepared to grow and to stretch. This tree that is me will have new limbs sprout and old dead wood that will need to be pruned. This is as it should be.
This is the gift that is my life.
A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
thank you, my dear friends, for your patience as i continue to devote so much of my time to rooting Cedar Tree Crochet. my first large order will be complete in a few days and i am eagerly anticipating spending some quality time here in this space with you.