the stretch

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We did. It was family and food fun time, all around.

As has become somewhat common these days, some of our clan has adopted some non-traditional-Thanksgiving-friendly eating methodologies. It’s for the sake of their health, so it’s all for the best, but gluten-free vegan Thanksgiving dinners are just a little different. The cornbread stuffing is excellent. Salads are always great alongside brussel sprouts.  The pie is where I had to stretch.stretch vegan

Being a yoga instructor, I believe in stretching.  I’m willing.

However, I find some of the vegan and gluten-free recipes in the world to be weird. There are too many ingredients that aren’t real ingredients for this radical in the kitchen. I can deal with a little gluten-free baking mix for the sake of the cranberry pear pie crust (which is a family favorite) but I was struggling with pumpkin and sweet potato pies. No milk? No eggs? Not even the really good ones? Really?

stretch forks over knives

coree’s version of forks over knives.

Cashews to the rescue. Not local. But neither was the vanilla from our friend Henry in Costa Rica. After all, this is America. And even though the purple sweet potatoes were grown right here, who knows where to trace their origins? I sometimes wonder if all food originated on this planet.

It was a successful stretch. Maybe even a new tradition.stretch pie

And speaking of stretches, I’ve let one go by here lately. It was Lulah’s birthday. She turned ten years old. The stretch of birthing her brought me into motherhood, which has been a vigorous decade-long stretching regime.  stretch lulah 2

Even as a young girl, when I played family games I thought I would have a daughter. But I could never have guessed what that would really mean. The spectrum of my emotional palette has been extended beyond my imagination. Through tenderness, and tiredness, to incredible frustration I have been tugged and pulled and pushed and stretched these ten years. It has aged me, and more importantly, it has matured me. It has increased my understanding of humanity. And it is all about love. Even in the most heated moments of frustration, my love for this daughter of mine is complete and unfaltering.stretch mothering

The process of her growth amazes me at every turn. She is so much the same, but so much more of herself. I guess that is how incarnation works. So we are all like that. It is just the position of the parent to witness that growth from right up close.stretch little lulah

stretch demi lovato

the demi lovato look.

As usual, a good stretch is healthy and increases our over all strength and vitality.

I’m honored. I’m thankful. I’m the mother of Lulah.

Here’s the Vegan Purple Sweet Potato Cheesecake recipe, adapted with gratitude from here:


1 ½ cups almonds, or almonds cut with other nuts

¾ cup pitted dates

Chop in a food processor until mashable.

Mash into the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan.


4 cups baked sweet potato, pureed – preferably purple

3 cups cashews, soaked overnight

¼ cup dates, soaked overnight

¾ cup maple syrup

½ cup coconut oil

¼ cup lemon juice

2 tsp apple cider vinegar

½ tsp salt

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp nutmeg

½ tsp cloves

½ tsp ginger

Blend all the ingredients except the sweet potatoes in the food processor until well pureed. Pour into a bowl and mix in the sweet potatoes by hand. It’s satisfying to watch the colors blend. Spread onto the nut crust and freeze for a few hours so it will slice clean. Enjoy. (I’m pretty sure you will.)

7 thoughts on “the stretch

  1. After doing the above ( with sunflower seeds due to nut allergies) for half my life, we were grateful to make a ‘real’ pie this year! With real eggs ( from Ira) and a real pumpkin (from Cher) and real cream (from Debbie) and real gluten and real butter… wow!…was it memorable! I even bought a little brown sugar instead of dates and lucuma! How grateful we are to not have to be restricted if we want to splurge!

    I’m going to eat some now.

    • yay! i’m so happy for you! you got eggs from Ira? cat’s out of the bag – i’m gonna hit him up for some now! i hope you are feeling full and good, like the moon..

  2. I am glad I planted 30 black walnuts and 5 pecansthat are now producing. I also planted an almond but it died. I try to grow my own foods instead of relying on the global marketplace . When/if it shuts down I won’t miss it.It also really depends on you having money to buy things …. As hard as it is to get these nuts out of the shell I use them wizely .They are high in proteins and healthy fats . I also grow grain amaranth , corn ,dried beans ,buckwheat and some rye.I am working on an ancient oat from Ireland -well see if it will produce here . . Growing dried beans, nuts and grains by hand is time consuming work not for the “I want it now” modern generation .I sell the seed .Most people do not have a clue about growing it out to feed themselves . It would be a good education for them to try. Growing it is one thing …. then theres is the harvesting ,shelling and sorting all done by hand . Gardening is a craft or some would say an art form .

    • we are experimenting with small scale grain and it is such a joy! I have my eyes on some pecans and hazelnut bushes in our future. it is so satisfying to grow the “details” too, time consuming as it is. I am grateful to be able to splurge on the cashews this year. hope you had a wonderful thanksgiving!

  3. As one of the lucky recipients of that beautiful purple sweet potato “cheese cake” i can say it is super yummy. The loving tribute to Lulah is wonderful. It is a joy to see her growing into a creative, imaginative, beautiful young woman. She never ceases to amaze me. Loved her tatoos also. Fast forward 10 more years and I can’t even imagine where she is or what she is doing but I know it will be exciting. Cant wait. Susie

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