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.)

the farmwives kitchen :: necessary salad

Even though it feels like summer, we have been sorely reminded of how long and cold the preceding spring was.  We still don’t have new salad.  It’s close. Very close, but just not quite ON.

So we have made due with what we have.salad 3

Like mint, and oregano, sorrel and bits of dandelion and old kale leaves.

We rinse them off, slice them fine, add minced garlic, olive oil and lemon juice.  Some toasted pecans add a complimentary and satisfying sweetness.salad 2

The necessary salad is served in small portions with grain or potatoes – a tabbouleh of local origin. It’s complex flavors infuse us with the promise that there will be greens again.  And soon.salad 1

farmwives’ kitchen ~ garam masala

This season, when the days are short, damp, cold, and gray, our bodies want warming.

Here’s one of our favorite solutions – garam masala.  “Garam” translates as “heat” in the Ayurvedic sense of heating the body, and “masala” is simply a blend of spices.garam masala 1

I don’t add any hot pepper to our garam masala blend, but the spices used are generally warming by nature.  Everyone in the family enjoys it with meat or beans (dal), on roasting root vegetables, and sometimes even with yogurt, oatmeal, and raisins.roasties

Here’s the lowdown…

cinnamon, cloves, cumin, coriander, black pepper, fennel, cardamon, nutmeg

I use each in equal parts, except the nutmeg, which I grate by hand at the very end – it doesn’t take much.

If I have the spices whole, I measure them equally into a cast iron skillet and gently toast them until they are fragrant.  Then, we grind them. Of course, traditionally this would be done in a mortal and pestle, which would be an extremely fragrant and satisfying process.  My grinding stones are small, so I often opt to use a little Mr. Coffee grinder, working bit by bit, until they are all powdered.  Any spices already powdered I do not toast, but add to the mix after the initial crunching is done.

The mix of spices is a personal choice  —  if you need more coriander in your life,  just add it.  Just lovely.garam masala 3

May your body be warm and your heart be light today!