Thursday, December 19, 2013

Sunrise Sourdough Bread

The sun, the sun, I salute the sun, I open my heart to everyone. The sun rises and the sun sets, the whole world in my heart rests.

A fire in the wood stove, a sweet sun salutation and “cranberry orange nut sunrise sourdough bread”, it doesn’t get much better than this on a cold morning.

Sourdough bread, one of my many passions. Several years ago I was given the gift of a starter. It was one of those friendship breads we so often get. We make a loaf and give loaves away then usually forget all about it. Well this time I decided to keep the “mother” alive. I tweaked the recipe a bit and spent months baking a basic boule’, without any sophisticated equipment, not even a baking stone. It was pretty good but I knew it could be better.

Time passed then one day, a friend told me about baking in a cast iron dutch oven. And as they say, the rest is history. I fell in love. Wow, crisp chewy crust, moist tender crumb! Fresh out of the oven it delights all your senses. A sight to behold, oven spring rises the dough perfectly and the crust splits and cracks beautifully. It smells lovely and sings to you as it cools. And come to find out sourdough is actually good for you, the wild yeast predigests the grains reducing the glycemic index. It is healthy for the intestinal tract, full of beneficial bacteria. After years of baking a basic bread and biscuits, I decided it was time for a little adventure. Time to step out into the world of creative add ins.

A breakfast bread was what I had in mind. I make a no knead sourdough so I stirred up my starter, added dried cranberries and orange peel, along with the salt, water, and flour. I set it to rise overnight. Turning it out onto my cutting board in the morning I gently folded in some pecans and gave it a quick shape. The loaf rested while the pot heated in the oven for an hour. Very little hands on work is involved in sourdough baking. The no knead recipe takes only 5 total minutes effort divided in 1 minute increments here and there. Time and love is all it needs.

Yummmm, bread baking feeds me, body and soul. 


Monday, December 9, 2013

The Snowy Day and the Lucky Duck

The Snowy Day, a puppet show

We rarely see snow in south Louisiana but that doesn't stop us from dreaming of the fluffy white stuff. We imagine ice crystals dancing in the air and sparkly snow blanketing the earth, so that's how we set our stage for this seasonal story. In this tale Elf is excited about the snow and is determined to get his friend Reindeer to come out and play. Elf is the kind of person who intends to live on purpose with passion, and I want to be like Elf when I grow up! 

Reindeer, cozy in his bed, stubbornly refuses. But best friends don't give up so easily and with a bit of persuasion finally Reindeer relents. Reindeer finds fault with one thing or another before eventually agreeing to a sled ride down the hill, but only if Elf is right there with him. They climb aboard the sled and head down the hill. Unbeknownst to Reindeer, Elf falls off. Reindeer is having a grand ole time til he realizes Elf isn't with him. Upset he starts to trudge home. Elf eagerly joins him and Reindeer soon settles down admitting he did actually enjoy himself. Over warm cups of cocoa they share the adventures of the day. 

Creative crafters and their Elf puppets
We always end our puppet shows with a puppet craft and this cute Elf was perfect. With brads attaching his arms and legs he was movable, ready to tell a Moving Tale. As storytellers and librarians our passion is promoting literacy, inspiring children to express themselves through story. Puppets are fun tools to encourage a child's imagination. 

Moving Tale; Kathe and Melanie, tandem yoga storytellers

The Lucky Duck

If you have a friend who can coax you out of your comfort zones you are one lucky duck. They get us to try new things. I am a lucky duck in more ways than one. I work with my sister who is also my friend. We encourage one another with a playful shove now and again. Months ago Mel and I registered for Mahabhuta II, a three day yoga festival held in Pensacola each November. Mel wanted to try Aerial Yoga. It looked fun but...I must say I was initially reluctant. Kinda like Reindeer, comfortable in my cozy yoga routine. But I figured what the heck, and we signed up. I trusted it would be an adventure and believed it would be entertaining even if I decided to sit back and just watch. So I let my concerns go. 

In Aerial Yoga slings are attached to tree limbs and you must trust the sling to hold and support you. Much the same way we must trust life. Trust comes from a deep knowing that we are here for a purpose. Do we believe we are supported? Do we believe there is a source bigger than ourselves that upholds us? Without belief we cannot do anything. Everything starts with believing, believing in ourselves, believing in our abilities. 

Once in the sling you have to rely on yourself to move into the yoga pose. Then comes letting go, letting go of expectations. After you flip over you expect you’ll slip right out of the sling and fall on your head. Sorta scary, it can happen but fortunately for us it didn't. Not a solemn class that’s for sure yet yoga none the same. The sling allows you to take inversions and splits with effortless ease. Much like we hope to move through life. When we trust life, believe in ourselves, and let go of expectation life unfolds in just this way, with effortless ease. 

Om Shanti