It’s Ghee-Licious!

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Getting back into routines is always tricky. Even though these past few weeks have been hectic with moving back home to be closer to family, settling into a new environment, and readjusting my daily routine, I’m so ready to be back to some sort of schedule. Most importantly, I feel better in sync with myself when I’m eating well regularly. To help me adjust back to my usual diet I whipped up a batch of ghee.

Ghee is a staple in my cooking and SO RIDICULOUSLY easy to make. (not to mention cost efficient 😉 ).

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IngredientsIMG_1856

  • 16 0z unsalted butter
  • medium sauce pan
  • wooden spoon
  • wire mesh strainer
  • jar for storage

Directions: IMG_1858

  1. Dice the chilled 16 oz of unsalted butter into cubes about the size pictured to the right.
  2. In a medium sauce pan, set the heat to medium
  3. Allow the butter to melt completely into liquid
  4. Keep stirring
  5. Once liquified, bring heat to high. Butter should be bubbling consistently.
  6. IMG_1842Allow to bubble for about 4 minutes.
  7. Reduce heat to medium low and allow ghee to cook for 8 to 10 more minutes
  8. Pour ghee through the wire mesh strainer into a jar.
  9. Clean strainer of buttery film
  10. Repeat step 8, until most of the buttery film is gone from ghee.

Now, you have a delicious, generous jar of ghee for all your cooking and healing needs.

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Remember to store at room temperature 🙂

#healthyself

A Valentine’s Day Poem

A hallmark stamp
across the neatly folded construction paper
of a brightly lit department store.

Moments away from paper cuts
slicing the tips of my dried out fingers
pedaling the tops of lightly frosted cards.

I could hand you generic words
that stamp the bellies of these pressed copycats.

In the hands of undeserving fathers
who feel obligated by their foaming children-
frothing with indifference towards their Papas.

An impersonal handout to a distanced cousin,
“Happy Birthday”,
I’m too lazy to actually say it

but I’m willing to toss coins
at the feet of uniformed WalMart workers-
for paper.

And I cry for the trees that wind up here.
Enslaved –
to a lifetime on the iron mantles of Puerto Rican hoarders

next to portraits of dead relatives
staring at the snow that just doesn’t compare to the sauna outside-
the palmy trees and coconut sand.

Crack open the skin of that card
and stare at the poisonous words of impersonality,
a skeleton void of organs.

The Chase

The thirteen year old boy had woken up to this same morning thousands of times; following his routine to the ‘T’ as it was expected of him. At 5:30 am, exactly, he was woken up by his stepfather. Shower- no more than 5 minutes. Teeth- to be rubbed with a frugal finger full of bitter baking powder. Dressed by 5:45 and ready for breakfast before chores started.

As the boy poured his serving of shredded Wheaties-generic brand- he looked outside of the polished barn window panes at the black morning. There was a sort of comfort to beating the morning sun to rise. A small victory. He snapped his attention back to his cereal as he heard the pounding thunder of his stepfather’s footsteps descending the staircase. He quickly pulled a spoon out of the cutlery drawer and closed the drawer as quietly and as quickly as he could to be seated at his spot at the kitchen table before George entered the room. The oak stool screeched just as George’s steel toed boots entered the room.

George had been married to the boy’s mother for about 4 years now and life with a recovering alcoholic is not an easy burden. George’s work uniform was dirty splattered with the yellow and white road paint of previous jobs. Looking at George, the boy imagined just how tedious and careful George must be. It was hard for the boy to imagine George being careful or delicate with anything. How precise and steady your hands have to be to paint the straight lines on hot bubbly pavement. That’s why George wakes up so early. Apart from working 2 other jobs, painting roads required an early riser to beat that brutal morning sun. No one wanted to be hunched over bubbling pavement in a Noon sun.

“What the hell are you starin’ at boy? Why don’t you eat your damn cereal.”

The level of annoyance in his voice was just enough to tell Adam that George was not in any mood for his spaced brain today. Some days George was more patient, but that greeting was enough of a bitter taste to warn Adam to just shut up and get to school without angering his obviously upset Stepfather.

He ate his cereal like lightening, while George poured himself a tall glass of orange juice. As Adam went to put his bowl in the sink he crossed George’s path, frustrating him enough so that George rolled his eyes far back and snapped his large fists forward smacking the ceramic bowl out of Adam’s hands straight to the floor. Startled Adam immediately bent down to clean up the shattered fragments of the bowl as George repeated that same lecture–

“What are you stupid- You saw I was right here- But you had to be in the way, right? Goddam sonufabitch”.

Eager to get out of the too small Kitchen, Adam grabbed his school books and left the house, not able to handle another morning of being screamed at.
George screamed after him as he ran out of that 2 story barn house–

“Wait til you get back here boy. We’ll have a nice talk then. Hey! Don’t you run away from me”.

Adam ran down the long drive way and headed west towards the bus stop. His neighborhood was a bit nonexistent and the borders drawn between houses were unclear. He knew there was a short cut to the bus stop and honestly walking along the main road made him a bit nervous. Adam knew George’s route to work followed this road and couldn’t shake the fear he may leave for work early just to antagonize him on the way. Adam headed north, steering away from the lined pavement George had probably painted with his own hands, and into the grassy bed of the neighborhood.

The sun was just starting to burn the back of Adam’s t-shirt when he heard someone running toward him from behind. Without taking a moment to look, Adam took out into a sprint convinced by the voice burning the back of his brain that George was chasing after him eager to finish him off after dropping the bowl at breakfast.

Adam panicked feeling sweat pop out from his temples as he ran swinging his books in his clenched fist ready to swing at George if he got close enough, and he was getting closer. With each step, Adam could hear the panting of his pursuer get closer. For an old man, George had speed and was gaining on Adam fast. Just as quickly as when Adam took off, he was grounded. George had lurched forward grabbing him by the heels, causing Adam to trip forward, landing in the soft earth on his belly arms forward, desperately trying to fly away from this confrontation.
Adam kicked his legs as wildly as a swimmer. With each kick there was a tear on his left leg. Something was wrong. There was a white pain blanketing over Adam’s eyes. This sharp pain clenched deeper and deeper into the tissue of his calf unrelenting to let go. Adam flipped onto his back as the force dragged him backwards-staining the front of his shirt- and smacked his attacker with his books. Only then did Adam realize, George was not pulling him back with his large hands, but a German Shepherd had clenched its jaws into Adam’s calf and was tearing away in an attempt to protect the property Adam had trespassed.

The boy kicked and kicked but the dog wouldn’t let up. It was no longer clenching but had started chomping on his leg grinding into the raw muscle that was now clearly reflecting the fully revealed sun. Finally, Adam got the ball of his right foot square into the pointed nose of the German shepherd. The dog whimpered chops blood stained and retreated. It stared at Adam, hesitant now to approach.

As Adam lay in the fresh grass, leg as open as a fresh surgical wound, dog still ready to jump, all he could think about was how he would now be late to school—and George would not take kindly to that news.

Dill Tomato Soup

IMG_1756So, something you may not know about me is I’m a little obsessed with Tomato Soup. During college, I consumed a can of soup for lunch and dinner every day. I basically was a tomato.

Canned soup is easy, but packed with sodium…which is not the best for you. Check out pinterest, if you don’t believe me. I wanted to eat healthier, but the thought of making my own, fresh tomato soup, tough appealing, seemed daunting.

IMG_1746However, this recipe is simple, takes maybe 15 minutes total and you get buckets of earthy, spicy, homemade tomato soup. The Dill really brings out a rusticflavor that’s spicy but still sweet.

For bulk tomatoes, check out local farms or farmer’s markets. This batch isbrought to you by Burkholder’s Farm Market, located in Kutztown, PA. If you’ve never been, I implore you to go. It’s cute, affordable, and supporting your local businesses services your community far more. 😉

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Alright! to the recipe!


Serves 4-5

Ingredients:IMG_1745

  • 6 large beefsteak tomatoes
  • 1 can of tomato paste
  • 2 TBSP Ghee
  • 2 TBSP Chopped Garlic
  • 1/2 TBSP Cracked Pepper
  • 2 TBSP Dill
  • 1 TSP Cilantro
  • 1 TSP Basil
  • Pinch of salt for taste

Directions:

First, Let’s Blanch those to’maters

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  1. Bring 2 cups of water to boil in a medium saucepanIMG_1747
  2. Slice a small ‘x’ on the bottom of your tomatoes, just deep enough to cut the skin (as pictured above)
  3. Once the water is boiling, add the tomatoes and let them sit in the boiling water for 2minutes
  4. If needed, roll tomatoes over so their exposed sides can spend some time soaking in the boiling water
  5. Remove tomatoes from boiling water and peel their skin off
  6. Dump the boiling water and voila! Blanched Tomatoes 😉

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Now, Soup is on!

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  1. IMG_1749Blend your blanched tomatoes and tomato paste in a blender until liquified. Don’t be alarmed by the rose pink color.
  2. In a large saucepan, set the heat to medium and add 2 tbsp of the (or other oil base)
  3. Once ghee is melted, add the garlic and 1 tbsp of dillLet this sizzle until aromatic (about 2 minutes)
  4. Add your liquified tomato to the saucepan and bring to a rolling boil
  5. Add the remaining tbsp of dill, cilantro, basil, and cracked pepper to the soup
  6. Once the soup is boiling, reduce heat to medium and continue stirring consistently for about 10-12 minutes.
  7. The soup is done, once the pink color subsides and you have a warm, deep red soup
  8. Either serve warm or chill and have a nice gazpacho later

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Sunday Rituals

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Sunday mornings were hell for my family. The entire week was a buildup of tension to the sacred day where my screaming father feeling frustrated bit his tongue, tying tight knots around his neck. My mother would angrily throw together breakfast and then throw it away frustrated at a comment my father would make about her hourglass figure in that hugging dress.

Every Sunday morning, my family followed a bitter ritual of fighting. My mother would lay out my Sunday best for me which always included a frilly pastel dress that was too tight around my waist and cut off the circulation in my arms. My parents were in denial about my weight and in an attempt to encourage their five year old to drop some unwanted pounds they’d squeeze me into my ideal fabricated mold. My buckled shoes gleamed black because the only time I wore them were Sundays. I never walked anywhere other than to the car, to the pew, back to the car, back to my home. But the one part of my outfit I could never stand was those thick white braided stockings. From their texture to their fit, I shuddered at the the sensation of the static fabric on my hairless legs. It was agitating year round, regardless of snowy mornings or blistering heat waves.
I think I stressed my mother out every Sunday with the argument about those restrictive stockings. I’d kick and whine begging her to just let me go without them. I promised her I’d do anything and claimed I would NEVER ask for ANYTHING EVER again, as long as I could escape these stocking’s grip on my thighs. I lost this battle every Sunday.

The car drive to church was always the most stressful part. Awkward silences where my dad grumbled about something, anything. I honestly wish I could remember, but it wouldn’t matter because just about anything was a stressor to his brain which was as knotted as the tie around his neck, or the hugging dress my mother wore, or these agitating stockings wrapped around my legs.

Grace Lutheran Church had its own ritual. The same ten old women would huddle together ensuring their seats were near each other. The twin vocalists who were practically pop star prodigies were being surrounded by the younger children and the lead organist being pampered and flattered. The family with the son with special needs sat in the same pew quietly. The father and mother staring blankly forward rigid as planks of oak wood. Their son quietly swaying, his eyes fixated on an invisible pendulum swinging synchronically from the ceiling. My mother and father bickering and I scratching my legs.

The Sermon began five minutes late, like always. The same organ music loudly bellowed throughout the tall ceiling. I spent most of the service standing and sitting on cue, not listening to the pastor in his robe thinking about what color sash he would wear next week and making a mental note to ensure I remember my bet with myself. Purple.

Finally, the communion. I wait for the usher to signal our pew to rise. My parents wait in line for their wafer and shot of grape wine. I am too young to drink the wine or eat the wafer but pastor touches my forehead, brushing away my sheared bangs, sweeping his clammy thumb to draw a plus sign. I close my eyes and slightly bow my head because that is what my father tells me to do. Now the next part of the ritual ensues. While my parents file back into the pew, I exit the large service room and follow the narrow hallway past the office doors and youth group rec room to the women’s restroom
The pale green tiles remind me of pea soup and everything smells sterile. I lock the stall door behind me, unbuckle my polished shoes, and pull up my pastel dress. I slip my thumbs routinely into the inside of the tummy tuck wrap of my stockings and fully circle around my circumference separating the tight stockings from my child’s stomach. I would trace the imprinted lines with my finger later that day, as I always did. I rolled the stockings down and peel my legs out one leg at a time. My pores gasped for the sterile, pea soup church air. I roll them up and tuck them in the front of my dress and put on my buckled shoes.
I leave the restroom returning to my parents. My father’s face is beet red and I can tell from the way his jaw line is set that he is biting his tongue. My mother nervously has her arms wrapped around herself anticipating the fight that will take place after service, when my father can unleash his swollen tongue from his clenched teeth and scold his five year old for taking her stockings off. I am not sorry because I am used to this tradition. It is all part of our family’s Sunday ritual.

Scars

I stand at the mirror examining my own unflawed body.
Unscared and smooth wondering where are my memories?
I have no proof to solidify my damage.
Running my fingers along my bare wrists to feel no scratch,
no subtle altercation.
I must be mad–
–I have no proof of the damage done.

Paralyzing Emotions

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Mentor/ Hierophant: IMG_1638The cat is a guide who is both cunning and wise. There are definite challenges ahead but be sure to use fundamental knowledge as a tool to overcome obstacles. Trust your innate wisdom when you draw the mentor. It may be tempting to just fall to status to avoid conflict; however, expressing your creative self will gain respect in your plans to move forward.


IMG_1639Judgment: Feelings of intense guilt in some way or some form may be coming forth. Don’t take responsibility for someone elses’ projection of unhappiness. Don’t allow others to project guilt onto you for their feelings of inadequacy. Remain objective in your conflict and trust your gut, not your feelings of guilt. Remain slow in decision making. Keep avoiding those hasty decisions.


Nine of Swords: Feelings of worry are also present. IMG_1640Without being consumed with fret take a look at what is triggering these bothering emotions. Why is this your reaction. What is the root? Don’t be haste when acting out this feeling. Instead reflect and ask yourself why you feel this way because of “x”. Don’t become so overwhelmed that you may become immobilized. Be logical. Trust that gut instinct of the mentor and acknowledge this internal nagging feeling.


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A lot of guilt, obstacles, and desire to just shut down because of times being tough. There is no good in falling suit alongside the nine of swords. You’ll only end up in a worse off situation than prior. Don’t allow yourself to spiral. Be logical, cunning, respectful and take action . Don’t worry about judgment from others and don’t be paralyzed by your overwhelming emotions. Take logical, realistic baby steps and handle yourself in order to #healthyself.

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