Reclaiming My Creativity



Wow! This is my third post here in three weeks. It’s been a long time since I’ve written regularly and I hope it continues. I’m still not completely settled in, but I’m taking time to indulge myself by writing here, so perhaps I’m getting close.

I’m one of those people who needs a daily dose of creative time. That hasn’t been happening since July or possibly even before that. In the midst of the crush of moving in just over three months, I’ve been strung out, grumpy beyond words, and unable to just take time to call my own and do something that nourishes my soul. Getting back into a creative routine has been a slow process. As of yesterday I’ve been here for two months and now I’m ready to roll.

I started with getting back to cooking, which I’ve always loved doing. It’s a way of creating goodness for those who live in my home and is always appreciated. Add that to being somewhat of a health nut, I’ve found that creating delicious food that won’t kill my brain and body, part of my creative routine. But in the last few years and especially during the moving process I didn’t enjoy the time I needed in the kitchen to do that. One of the things about aging is that time doesn’t work the way it used to. It takes longer to do many of my daily tasks, and I’m often very hungry before I’m ready to cook.

From mid-September until early December, we ate our dinners out or brought in take out. Fortunately, here in C’ville we have a number of good restaurants and one in particular with a generous menu of gluten-free and Paleo meals. But there are a couple of problems with that including the cost. Secondly, most restaurants have great dessert menus. Since we rarely have sweets in our house, especially icecream which is my biggest addiction, we’ve naturally been enjoying what the menus have to offer us, like flourless chocolate torte and the like. Addiction is addiction, and trying to slap my hand as I’m enjoying such treats only makes my cravings worse. The result? You guessed it. Clothes don’t quite fit they way they used to. But now that’s beginning to change.

Thirdly, I’m completely tired of eating out. No longer do my favorite restaurants pull me in so I can take a night off from hovering over the stove. But that’s okay, I’ve been enjoying planning and cooking up some fabulous meals and enjoying the process. This past week I put together a wonderful Broccoli Cheese soup, Shrimp Scampi, and a to die for casserole of chicken, cheese, and locally made organic corn tortillas and all the flavors needed to make tasty enchiladas. Of course lovely salads of fresh greens, avacado, orange or grapefruit segments, and sliced almonds top off these meals. And the only dessert in our house is a piece of fruit or an occassional piece of dark chocolate. Yum!

And now the writing is coming. Next I hope I will be getting back to work on my visual journals and maybe even a bit of beading. I just discovered an old beading buddy is one of my neighbors. We’re both into creating gorgeous French Beaded Flowers and I’m looking forward to spending time with her.

What do you do when your creative routine has been interupted for a lengthy period of time? Do you get right back into it or does it take time to stop pissing and moaning about it and get back to work?

Food And Cooking

My Christmas cactus always blooms at Thanksgiving!

My Christmas cactus always blooms at Thanksgiving!

I love to prepare meals and nourish my loved-ones with simple, delicious, healthy food. And I’m always happiest when the ingredients are local and organic. I especially enjoyed putting together our Thanksgiving meal last week. With my daughter, her partner, and the grandkids here, I found it especially rewarding to share the bounty of our local and organic gardens and farms.

I was first introduced to good food, when I was just a little kid. At the time I didn’t really appreciate the then yucky flavors that would one day become the those that are are my favorites. Take spinach for example. Once when I was about four years old, my mother warned me that there would be no dessert unless the spinach was gone from my plate. I hated spinach. When she wasn’t looking, I squirreled away of the dreaded green stuff by the forkful under the cushion I was seated on. I got my dessert that night, but she discovered the sticky mess the next day. I got into a bit of trouble.

These days, however, I adore spinach, especially cooked in a bit of olive oil and laced with lots of minced garlic. I also regularly add raw spinach to salads, frittatas and soups. You can never have enough leafy greens. I add garlic to almost everything I cook. When Bill and I eat out, our first critique of the food is often, “where’s the garlic?”

I haven’t cooked a huge holiday meal in many years. When it’s just  Bill and me, I prepare a lovely meal, but usually without the dessert and the multiple side dishes I like to prepare. Since we both have some weight issues, one of the house rules is that if you want a something sweet after a meal, you have to go out and enjoy it at the ice cream shop, or one of the fine bakeries nearby. And only one serving, please. If we brought home whole cakes, a dozen cookies, ice-cream by the pint, or any other tempting sweet, they’d be polished off within a few eye blinks.

This year I prepared my famous pumpkin pie which includes a few secret ingredients and is loved by all who take a bite. Being gluten free, I tried a piecrust made with coconut flour this year. Though everyone else liked it, I prefer the delicious nut crust I usually make. The secret ingredients include a layer of tart orange marmalade spread onto the crust before adding the pumpkin filling, to which I have added several tablespoons of brandy. Oh my, what a treat. I think I’m going to make it for Christmas dinner as well, just because we love it so much. Then back to no dessert in the New Year.

I also managed to prepare a knock-off of our favorite stuffing with dried Gluten free bread cubes I picked up the grocery store. The great taste comes from adding butter sautéed turkey giblets, onions, and again garlic. I also add diced apples, pecans, dried cranberries, homemade bone broth, an egg or two, and fresh cut sage, thyme, and parsley from my garden. We just finished off the leftover stuffing on turkey sandwiches that we also smother with homemade cranberry sauce. Oh, my gosh, YUM!

We’ve been eating high off the hog and we’re just finishing up the leftovers. I think I’m going to make the remaining sweet potato puree into muffins or a creamy soup to which I’ll add whatever grabs my fancy at the time. To the muffins I might add some walnuts and dried cranberries, or a dollop of cream cheese. To the soup, I’ll dilute the puree a bit with bone broth or coconut milk ing add some curry powder. Chick peas would give it bit of crunch, and a handful of greens of some kind, would add more color.

Ready to make turkey bone broth!

Ready to make turkey bone broth!

Yesterday I made bone broth from all the turkey bones, leftover skin, and whatever else remained. There is enough sliced turkey left to make a warming soup, a few more sandwiches, and we’ll finish off the bits and pieces with turkey fried rice.

For me preparing food is much like making art. You take your givens and make something beautiful by adding whatever else you find in the pantry or fridge. It’s a creative act and loads of fun. Along with writing, painting, and working in the garden, I do love cooking.

Do you like to cook and experiment with different ingredients in your kitchen? What kinds of things do you enjoy preparing most?

I hope your Thanksgiving was as wonderful as mine.
Guess what? There are more holidays just around the corner!