Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Black Madonnas from around the world

Originally uploaded by robbinmt
Yep...I've been obsessed for at least 30 years.... here's some favorites. May Mary, Mother Divine in all her aspects, Bless and Care for you :-)

If you "left-click" on the image, you will be taken to my Flickr collage, which is bigger, and you can see more details!

Also, you can find the individual images in my Flickr "Favorites" if you are interested in who took the photos, and where the Madonnas are located. Some people have even posted a little history about the Madonna they have photographed.

And here's a few more:

Friday, June 26, 2009

Ginger Beer is Here!

And it's clear that we are going to make this again and again and again. Gingery, with a champagne-like sparkle and a smooth finish.....

Here's how we did it!
First I put the Ginger Beer "Plant" (little symbiotic grains of bacteria/yeast, similar to kefir grains!) in a jar with some water, sugar, and ginger. Then we let it ferment for 3 days.......

On day 3, I decanted it (through a strainer) into a sealable jug. (I rescued the little Ginger Beer Plant grains. They are currently vacationing in the fridge in a lovely sugar solution. But we're going to get it back out to work on another batch right away!) We let this jug sit at room temperature another 2 days.

Day 5: we put the Ginger Beer bottle in the fridge for a day.
Day 6: The un-corking!!!

It didn't seem very fizzy at first,

but about 5 seconds later, Jon was pouring over the sink!

I'm getting ready for another Ginger Beer batch- and becasue the "plant" reproduces, I can make a batch 3 times as big this next time :-)

After that, I've gotten ahold of some sasafrass, and we're going for Root Beer!

Yes, I have been Knitting...and singing...and cooking!

Firstly, the Knitting!

It is being blocked (so that the bottom eyelet row will cradle a lovely red ribbon to tie about the chin!) but here's a little Baby Bonnet

hot off the needles, to go along with the tiny Magic Baby Slippers of a few weeks ago:

These are for friends Kellie and Josh - expecting their first baby in just a couple more months!!! I think the colors are "uni-sex" enough to go one way or the other.....

Then, on our "romantic vacation" to Ottawa a couple of weeks ago, I started these Spiralicious Socks for something to knit on the plane. Jon was absolutely floored when, half-way there, I declared the lacey pattern a misinterpretation of knitting nature. The colours in this yarn change about every 2-3 inches - resulting in a fabulous palette with slubs and interest at every loop. But this yarn.....forced my lovely leaf-lace pattern into hiding. So, I tore back, cast on again, and forged forward with an improvised spiral rib - I rather like them!

And, here's some Magical, hand-dyed, sock-a-licious yarn from my friend TheKnitWitch. In the colorways of my astrological sign. I think that Harvest Moon is destined for a lovely little shawl.

Last of all, of course I've been cooking! Friend Tim V.B. has been visiting (we are still working, and almost ready to unveil, the new Music folder web-site an Choir Robes web-site) so some sweets to keep the guys insulin levels up were in order....

Here are the NutMeg Flats that inspired quite a bit of work last night!

Start with some Nutmegs.......

Pre Heat the oven to 250 degrees (yes, this is pretty "cool". While the oven heats,
put the nutmegs in the nutmeg grinder that darling spouse slipped into your stocking last December, and twirl about until you have about 2 tablespoons of freshly ground nut meg!!!

Now, seperate one egg - let the yolk plop into a little custard cup - and run the white into a clean little jelly jar.....
and Grease a 9 x 13 pan or something about that size.
Drag out your mixer- we'll make this as painless as possible!
Cream together:
1 c. butter and 1 c. sugar
Pour just the egg YOLK in and beat some more... last of all, add
2 c. flour (we just used the regular whole wheat we keep on hand)
and almost all your freshly ground nutmeg. Keep about 1 tsp. back for sprinkling at last!
Press the above, stiff dough mixture into your pan.

Wash out your mixing bowl (if you only have one) put on some Latin music, and whip the egg white until it does the Merengue - Here's how :

But I digress... just a stiff white Merengue is necessary... Scoop it out of the bowl and smear it across the top of your dough in the pan. Sprinkle with a bit more sugar and at least another teaspoon of nutmeg.

Put this in the oven for 55 minutes .... Slice into squares while hot, try to let them cool just a bit before devouring!

And, a note for Marcus and Stella: Just make these with really good cinnamon instead of the nutmeg. Then she'll love them!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Stuffed Salmon for Fathers

Happy Day for Fathers everywhere! What did you do to remind your dad and the men who nurture you that they are cherished and loved? We had Jon's dad, Stan and his wife, Bev over for Herb Stuffed Salmon wrapped in Lettuce (adapted from Nourishing Traditions - Sally Fallon), salad of Haricot Verts, and Fresh Peach Sorbet made with our VitaMix......

I think both Stan and Jonathan were happy with the result! (as were we :-)

Start by making the Stuffing in the food processor:
  • 1c. toasted almonds, 1 cup cooked brown rice, 1 cup packed fresh parsley sprigs: process just until blended, then add
  • a tablespoon or more each: fresh tarragon, thyme, freshly grated lemon rind, and the juice from that lemon, , a 1/2 stick or so of softened butter and about a teaspoon or less of good celtic sea salt. Process another 30 seconds or so to blend.
In the meantime, start a pot of water to boil, and gather a whole head or so of Romaine lettuce. Separate the leaves, but do not tear any further. Briefly blanch the leaves in the water, (10-15 seconds each) then set on a kitchen towel to dry a bit. You are just trying to get them pliable, not necessarily cooked!
  • Oil a baking pan, and line it with overlapping lettuce leaves
  • place 1 large salmon fillet (skinned and boned) in the center of the lettuce,
  • spread the stuffing over the top of this fillet, then
  • place a similar sized salmon fillet on top and
  • carefully wrap the lettuce leaves over the stuffed salmons! I blanched a couple of extra leaves and used them to "fill in" the gaps.
Bake about 45 - 50 minutes at 350 degrees. Slice crosswise into 2" slices - yum!

We served it with a very nice 1996 Forest Glen Merlot - a gift from a friend for our anniversary.

And if you have a VitaMix, here's the method for exquisite Peach Sorbet!
  • 4 cups ices cubes
  • 1 cup sugar
  • tbs. vanilla
  • 3 large or 6 small peaches - peeled and chunked
Whir it all until just blended - about 30 seconds on high high high. Pour immediately into bowls and consume like fiends. Or place in a container and freeze for later - if you dare!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Thank Goodness, he's up to it!!

Nothing ever really changes: a bunch of rich white guys make a big mess and complain when a black man isn’t cleaning it up fast enough.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Here's to Song!!

A new Chorus America survey shows that there are 10 million MORE adults participating in choral singing in 2009 than in 2003. This is amazing! Here's a great clip from CBS Sunday Morning.....

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Whole world is yearning for Change -

This out of Iran this week, in the wake of the recent election difficulties. I know that they want to HOPE and CHANGE and CARE for their PEOPLE , just like we do. This is wonderful - pray/meditate on what is happening - in Iran, in the US, in Europe, all over - people are ready, and willing, to change this world for the BETTER!

What Keeps me Going

first - the amazing array of potions and lotions that regulate my body so that I can comfortably inhabit it!

These are just the "everyday" items that need application/ingestion for optimal firing of my chi (*life force energy*, Mom!) Yes, there are 2 chewable children's vitamins in there - they help keep me youthful! ... and avoid all the B vitamin issues I get with larger doses :-)

Another necessity? Tasty, fresh greens! Here is a recent evening's selection from our garden :

Let's see.... chives, dill, romaine, beet-tops, baby bok choy, baby kale - instead of cleaning out the refrigerator, I was thinning out the garden patch!The large-leafed thing towards the upper left, is lovage - somewhat unusual herb (it gets to be 5 -6 feet tall!), but one that I have grown and loved for many years - adds a fresh, celery-like flavor to things :-)
See what nice salads we can make?

Here's another variation - this one had black beans and feta cheese sprinkled with a lime vinagrette - a few chunks of home made bread and olive oil rounded out dinner that night!

Of course, our dogs are our most ardent supporters, and companions. Here's Pippin, asserting his Frenchie-Cutieness to get Jon's attention......

And here's the chuckle for the day - Pippin doesn't scratch at the door like most dogs. He prefers to let you know he's out there! Watch!!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Food, Inc.

The movie to see this summer!!!


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Happiest Anniversary of our Wedding

Today is our 6th wedding anniversary. I believe that Jon and I have experienced each other over many "lifetimes", and it was a blessing and a sacrament to reaffirm our connection on June 14, 2003. Jon's presence in my life, and the relationship we have created together, is an expression of the deep love that pervades the universe- that "heals" each of us. This love has truly given me strength, fresh eyes, a kinder heart, and new challenges. I thank you, Jon, for being such a blessing to me.

When Jonathan, and I "found" each other again, 20 years after having been youthful lovers, we both experienced spontaneous ecstatic union. The sensations of dissolved boundaries, spiritual union, and heightened sensory response carried over to our daily life and flowed through our first several years of marriage. We were beautiful, courageous, and could accomplish anything we set our minds to - we were love and magic personified, vessels pouring out love for the world!

And 6 years later, we still are love personified.....thanks to our children, our families, and the world that annointed us in love.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

What is a Traditional Christian Marriage?

According to America's BEST CHRISTIAN, Betty Bowers, it's NOT between a Man and a Man... here's why:

Ottawa, oh, Ottawa!!

was absolutely lovely! We got cheap air tickets, business was taken care of, dogs were happily sat, the weather was cooperative, and we decided to visit..... After all, June is our Wedding Anniversary month, so we like to do something a bit romantic :-)

On Rue Wellington, are all the government buildings - Parliment, The Supreme Court, and so forth - and they all look so beautifully castle-ish! we walked around gawking, salivating, and planning our someday-castle!!!

Here is the Rideau Canal - these entrance locks mark the beginning of a 202 kilometer route linking the Ottawa River and Lake Ontario. The series of lakes and rivers made navigable by the locks, channels, and dams was finished in 1832. I had never seen maritime locks in person before - and it was amazing to contemplate the engineering that underlies a canal!

Here's an interesting reflection, just as we were at an intersection - note the wildly painted city bus going by!!

Of course, we had to drive through Ottawa's China Town... and we loved seeing triple languages: French, English, Chinese, on the street signs!

A few years ago, we had an anniversary dinner at a wonderful Indian Restaurant in Hong Kong, so dinner at The East India Company was not to be missed. If you go, you can choose from a lunch buffet menu, or full course dinners. We sat for the dinner, since it was a celebratory evening!

We started with some spicy papadams, accompannied by dips: chutney, tomato , or mint.

Here are the Chilli Prawns - spicey and tasty!

Main dishes were Navratan - a vegetarian's delight! -mixed vegies in a creamy softly scented gravy, and Nilgirli Korma - a subtle melange of lamb and creamed spinach, served with fragrant basmati rice.

A cup of chai ended our meal - not sweet at all, just frothy and spicy!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Ta-Da!!! I finally finished Jon's Very Special Socks... Ravelry Pattern by Jen Showater of Mean Girl Design. Jonathan has very specific sock likes and dislikes, which made it important to be picky about every tiny detail. Which meant that I frogged a few times (see picture of the unraveling!) First, he has rather longer first toes, so the socks must have pointy toes. He likes having a single stripe of contrast color at the base of the toes. He prefers to have the fabric snuggle up to his arches, rather than bagg about. And he does not wear brightly colored socks. So, he got 3 out of four requests... he he he !

This is yarn from the big China yarn adventure of a few months ago. Translations of the label indicate that it's a superwash 80/20 blend of wool and some sort of acrylic fiber. It's actually a twist of cherry red and a pink - it "reads red" but there's a bit of subtlety in there :-)

Most importantly, Zuzu approves!

Just this weekend, we got to go to Stan and Bev's for a summer dinner on the deck!
Stan's famous grilled chicken Greek Salad and Cheesy Phyllo Cups were followed by Jon's Rhubarb pie and home-made-on-the-spot ice cream. Yum!

And, lastly, I didn't get to register for any classes at the Sock Summit because I foolishly waited until the day after registration opened to do so. Who knew that they would get 30,000 simultaneous hits to the website when they "opened" the gates for registration on the first day?! There were only about 1,000 slots available!!! Whee :-) So, I did get three tickets to the Luminary Panel on that Sunday afternoon. Stella and Louise and I will get to see Barbara Walker. Yep! the Barbara Walker that wrote "The Women's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets" AND has a collection of hundreds of BarbieDoll clothes she has knit herself, AND collected, invented, and published the 4 volume set "A Treasury of Knitting Patterns".
AND there will be others! Just look at this line-up!
Cookie A
Star Athena
Deb Barnhill
Judy Becker
Lorilee Beltman
Anne Berk
Cat Bordhi
JC Briar
Nancy Bush
Laurel Coombs
Angela Davis
Carson Demers
Amy Detjen
Laurie Drew
Abby Franquemont
Chrissy Gardiner
Priscilla Gibson-Roberts
Marjan Hammink
Anne Hanson
Sivia Harding
Stephen Houghton
Janel Laidman
Judith MacKenzie McCuin
Betsy McCarthy
Denny McMillan
Melissa Morgan-Oakes
Lucy Neatby
Tina Newton
Heather Ordover
Clara Parkes
Stephanie Pearl-McPhee
Karen Ratto-Whooley
Deb Robson
Merike Saarniit
Joan Schrouder
Charlene Schurch
Amy R Singer
Meg Swansen
Barbara Walker
Anna Zilboorg