Feeding the World One Ravioli at a Time

Mama D ravioli best 2019 copyMy Aunt-in-law was Minneapolis St. Paul’s beloved Mama D. No matter how busy she was, when hungry college students, who could not afford a meal, came to her restaurant, she would feed them at no charge.

To honor her husband, she would open her restaurant on St. Joseph’s Day and serve free delicious homemade ravioli to everyone who came.

Feeding the world ravioli is such a friendly, caring, and peaceful way to be. She made a difference in a way I hope I can.

You don’t have to make the ravioli from scratch, although you could if that makes you feel more connected to the meal. For some of you, buying fresh ravioli from the grocers makes it easier and less stressful. Buy or make some pasta sauce. Choose a way with the sauce that makes your heart sing. Read More

The Three Meals of Christmas

The tree will be fresh cut, the decorations will be nature or music inspired, the wreath my Grandma made will be hung, the nutcrackers shall increase in number, and books and music will rule the gifts.

While I schedule like a pro, I am not big on planning too far ahead for meals. It’s more fun to think about what I want to eat that day and make it! But, as stores are closed or have limited hours, holidays are a different story. And so, I plan, chat with my favorite butcher at the meat market, and shop accordingly.

Fortunately, it’s really quite easy to create a list of meals for our family’s traditional Three Meals of Christmas. Tradition is the buzz word in that sentence. I am allowed a certain amount of experimentation, but the food tradition basics, just like the decorative elements, must remain the same. I’ve come to terms with this and gradually tweaked the menu to make me happy to repeat it.

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The Ceremony of Food

flowers-with-lightingPausing to admire the flowers in the garden nourishes my love of art in nature.

Taking a little time to listen to the Goldberg Variations satisfies my craving for beauty in music.

Is joy a part of cooking and eating? Do you hurry through the thing, just to get it done so you can go out and mow the lawn?

Slow down a little and try engaging all of your senses by actively connecting purpose, tactile sensation, appearance, aroma, and sound, with the deliciousness of a meal or snack.

There is fun and enjoyment in devising a ceremony for food. A handful of nuts placed inside a whimsical china bowl transforms a small snack into a rather more important and filling treat. Wouldn’t it look even prettier with few bits of colorful and nutritious dried fruit?

Today I chose a minimalist black on black stoneware plate to serve as the backdrop for a perfect Fuji apple. It was fun to slice and arrange the juicy slivers into a pretty spiral of off white, red, pink, and yellow. Not only was it gorgeous, but I do believe that, because I paid close attention, the apple had superior aroma and a crispier crunch!

Pause and take a mindful breath. See if you are able to bring the fruit to life in your imagination. Would the picture be as vivid if you had just grabbed any old apple and mindlessly eaten the thing while playing on-line Sudoku? Likely not, as it is the art of paying attention to your senses that make apples so satisfying and memorable. Food remembered is more likely to be logged for successful weight loss.

It’s nice to stop and smell the roses… or the gerbera daisies. I think I’ll also stop and see, smell, feel, listen to, and taste an orange – hmmmm, which of my bowls would look best with an orange?



Knit to Knot

washcloth-close-upI love phrases and find them so evocative of imagery and activity.

“Knit to Knot”, words I used in a social media discussion, sparked an interesting idea for further reducing my post dinner calories.

It’s easy to merrily eat and drink while reading a book or doing an extreme Sudoku. It’s even easier to inhale calories while on social media or watching TV.

But one cannot knit while simultaneously creating a crumbly edible mess. Read More

Noticing Without Judgment

flowering cactus“I cannot believe I over-cooked the turkey! And those green beans! I forgot to reheat them in the oven and had to use the microwave so they lost their slightly crispy bite. OMG, those rolls are not quite done…”

That sort of self-critical talk is not a particularly mindful way to cook or enjoy a meal. Fortunately before I said those words out loud, I remembered to pause and breathe.

Breathe and cook for peaceful deliciousness.

Breathe and eat to prevent digestive and emotional upsets.

When you cook and eat in a non-judgmental way, culinary perfection can still happen, but if it doesn’t – it’s ok. Read More

Knitting and Purling a Few Friends

Kidsilk Haze Green

Kidsilk Haze Green

One day my knitting instructor turned me lose on the world to knit and purl unsupervised. I am a knitter! Soon I realized that knitting all by myself was just not happening.

Sometimes both the practice yarn and my newly begun scarf would sit untouched for a week – or even longer if I had made a mistake and was too embarrassed to go back to the store, yet again asking for help.

After decoding my latest diversion from the pattern, a good friend smiled and told me that fixing knitting is just puzzling out where the yarn was supposed to go. It certainly was a puzzle for me. Read More

Knitting Mindfully

Yarn Bowl

The Daughter’s scarf and a pretty maple yarn cozy.

At the age of 60 I decided to learn to knit – a fun creative hobby wherein I can make fuzzy fabric designs for myself and others.

Excited with my new hobby plans, I took a couple of private lessons and learned that this firmly left handed person can, with a few style modifications, knit right handed from regular patterns.

Well, sort of.  Read More

One Simple Question

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

Rigid diets do not agree with me – I tend to get rather obstinate at times and do not like being told what I have to do. So, I will tweak my way to a weight that is sustainable and healthy for me by using questions instead of silly rules.

Currently, I am tweaking liquids. It is astonishingly easy to pour a nice tall glass of unnecessary calories.

Our family loves to eat well and one thing I recently noticed is that more of our meals included a glass or two of wine – not a bad thing unless wine happens without pausing, breathing, and asking the right question. Read More

Emotional and Physical Health in a Stress-filled World

flowering cactus

You can flower under the harshest of conditions.

Has the state of the world today filled you with stress that threatens to harm both your mental and physical health?

The horrors that men inflict upon one another are not a problem of modernity. The only new thing under the sun is the sheer volume and immediacy of information.

There was a sense of security in the not knowing, a feeling that formed a sort of protection from having to acknowledge painful reality.

The world is not really different, it is the informational bubble wrap that live streaming, news videos, and social media conversations have removed.

Though it is terribly difficult to watch and read, modern media may also be what we need to change things for the better. Read More

On the Importance of Words

Adrienne Walking Away

Find the peace everywhere you go.

What does the word “diet” mean to you?

Do you associate it with exercising strict control over meals and snacks in order to reduce weight? Or does the word bring on depressing visions of  resigned self-control to shove away the “bad” food you love. Maybe you equate the word diet with the sterile term “intake”, something to be counted, weighed, measured, and joylessly categorized.

For far too many, the word diet means they are in a fight with food. You do not have to cede such emotional power to food. Peace with eating can be discovered when you redefine the word “diet”. Read More