fifty

i really love to plan a party. i am also not shy about planning one to celebrate me. needless to say, i had all kinds of ideas in the months leading up to my 50th.  fabulous ways to ring in my next half century. then my barn burned down. then a friend passed away. the wind got knocked out of my party planning sails as my birthday drew nearer.

birthday

it has been many, many years since i joined in on the festivities at long hungry creek farm. in the years since that summer paul and i called red boiling springs home, attending the biodynamic conference seemed like such a difficulty:  young children, friday harvests  and long market days make an autumn’s weekend gathering pretty far fetched. this year was different. with no CSA delivery and no clear idea how to celebrate my birthday weekend, last week it became incredibly clear that the 30th annual biodynamic celebration was actually my 50th birthday party.

a virtual kiss to each of you for making me feel so celebrated and alive. i imagined there would be no better way to celebrate than to be with my best friends conversing with the most admired of our region’s farmers. i sensed i would find it amazing to be away from my farm and family for one night. i was totally confident that dining on fine farm fare that i din’t have to cook was going to be worth it all. what i didn’t know as i pulled out of the driveway alone with the rising sun, is how absolutely perfect it truly would be. friends, old and new, i love you deeply. thanks for singing to me and dancing with me. thanks for the home grown, home made, hand crafted, beauty you bestowed upon me. thank you, deeply and most importantly,  for sharing with me this wonderful life.

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:

Crust:

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.

Filling:

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.)

the farmwives kitchen :: once, or twice, a year

I pull out the stops for the kids birthday cakes.  It’s just two times a year, right?  I’m not sure I could handle it for many more kids than two.

Lulah asked for an architectural wonder of a cake this year, and I gave it my best shot.  Hours worth of my best shot, in fact.

It’s a pound cake (10 eggs, one at a time) in a bundt pan.  But, you take a little batter and dye it, a bright color, and bake a thin layer of it in a flat pan.  Then you cut out a simple shape with a cookie cutter, and “plant” it in the white batter.  Fill in the edges with white.  Ideally, slices come out with a colored shape in them.

Ours was in imperfect first attempt.  But not bad.

Next year, maybe I’ll be willing to try again.star cake

Happy Birthday Lulah!  We love you so very much!