Grackle & Sun

Archive for the tag “Togetherness”

Mookies and the New Year

I hope you have all had a very happy Elevensies and that the New Year brings you much happiness, many blessings, and every good thing. Since we recently moved a couple hours away from most of our friends, we realized that we would not be able to celebrate Togetherness (aka, EmpanadaFest) in the way that we used to do–with a big open house and mountains of empanadillas–what with the distance and drive time in poor weather. So instead we had a low-key four-of-us New Year’s Eve and Togetherness Day today. In addition to beating pots and pans and sweeping out the old year and lighting incense for the Ancestors, it may have involved watching The Big Lebowski. It also involved food.

I never thought I’d have a recipe on my blog, lol, but here goes. As part of that celebration, I made a recipe that I’ve been working on for a little bit now. It’s a delicious paleo take on a cookie-muffin hybrid love child. I basically modelled it after a traditional chocolate chip cookie recipe, but substituted paleo ingredients, and lo, it worked. Yes, it’s just that easy! Fool’s luck and all that. The muffin tin is key for achieving maximum brownage. Just like the corner pieces are the best part of brownies, the perfectly browned exterior is the best part of a cookie. Caramelized sugars are a gift. But first, dude, can I just say that food photography is wicked hard. My hat is off to all of you brilliant bloggers who take beautiful food photos. That shit takes skill.

World, I present to you…

Mookies!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups blanched almond flour*
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • roughly 1 tsp of baking soda or baking powder**
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 2 sticks of butter, softened***
  • 1/2 cup honey****
  • generous splash of vanilla extract (I use 2-3 tsp, because it’s mas deliciouser)
  • 3 eggs******
  • one bag gluten, dairy, and soy-free chocolate chips (ie, Enjoy Life chocolate chunks or mini-chips)

Quick Asterisked Asides:

  • *Raw almond meal works, too, but is not as elegantly foo-foo.
  • **Technically, you should use baking soda because pH. However, I suffer the misfortune of being able to taste baking soda in baked goods (it’s a distractingly gross metallic taste that makes me want to wipe my tongue clean with a sponge, and doesn’t that sound fun?), so I always and only use baking powder in recipes. Some would have you believe that interchanging these does not work, but I have yet to experience any baking FAILS due to this exchange.
  • ***Since this is a Paleo recipe, I am obligated by law to tell you that this butter should be grassfed if you’ve the dosh for it.
  • ****Supporting your local bee population and local apiarist(s) by purchasing local honey is an honourable deed.
  • ******I love my chickens!

Instrucciones:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Grease a mini-muffin pan with butter or coconut oil or some other culinary unguent of your choice.
  3. In a large bowl, beat wet ingredients until you feel comfortable that you’ve done a pretty good job at mixing it all together. Some of you may perform this step with a hand-mixer or a posh standing mixer. That’s cool. I’m sure it’ll work just fine. I use a fork. It’s a special magical fork that came into my life when I met my dear husband (of now 18 years!). It was, and I do not joke, his only fork when he was a hip young bachelor living in a studio apartment at Uni. Lol. Anyway, it is known as The Fork, and it is mine now, mwah-ha-ha-ha, and I use it to mix everything. If I can’t mix it with The Fork, I don’t make it. And I’ve made angel food with this fork, so… One does not need fancy equipment to make deliciousness. That’s all I’m sayin’. Here is a picture of the fork to inspire you:
  4. In case you are unsure, the wet ingredients are the Butter, Eggs, Honey, and Vanilla. Which could be a recipe on its own, right? Om nom nom. But don’t stop there…
  5. Add dry ingredients (flours, salt, leavening) to wet ingredients. Beat until well incorporated.
  6. Your dough should be slightly loose, but not at all runny.
  7. Add chocolate chips and fold in with a rubber/silicon spatula.
  8. Use a spoon or something to fill the mini-muffin pan bits with the dough.
  9. Bake for 12-15 minutes depending on your oven. It’s 13 minutes to heaven in my oven. ;)
  10. Cool for a few minutes before trying to remove the mookies from the muffin pan. Cool completely on rack.

Mookies cooling. Be patient.

Two quick alternatives for you:

Alternative #1–I’ve made this recipe with 2 eggs instead of 3. It makes for a drier, more cookie-like crumb. Don’t overbake.

Alternative #2–Leave out the chocolate chips and make thumbprint mookies instead! After spooning the dough into the mini-muffin pan, use a spoon (or your thumb, for authenticity) to make divots in the center of each mookie. Fill with jam of your choice and then bake. Super delicious, like, whoa. Great with tea.

Enjoy!

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Morning Meditation

We want togetherness. In all its forms. Love, friendship, company, companionship, brotherhood, sisterhood, camaraderie, rapport. We seek ways to be together because we need togetherness, whether we know it or not.

This week I am in the heart of missing. Missing my husband, missing my kids. Missing togetherness. It is strange to me, not usually in my repertoire of feelings. These last few months I’ve felt it non-stop, had a great deal of time to examine it. What is missing but a longing for togetherness?

I’ll see them tomorrow and try hard to fill myself up with their presence so that I can be sustained until next weekend.  It’s only for a short while longer, and then all will be put back to right. For now, this is a great lesson in cherishing togetherness whenever you can. We take it for granted when those we love, whose company we love, are around us frequently.

This is also a lesson in remembering that we are connected even when we’re not close. Proximity is just distance. Togetherness is measured in the heart.

New Year’s Togetherness

Husband Rocks the EmpanadasThe pots and pans were clanged,
the Old Year swept out,

The New Year welcomed in.

Friends and family came to help us put a loving patina on this tradition of ours.

Good food, good company, good spirits.
A happy start on this first day.

Until the last empanada.

So Elevensies comes to an end once more, and we look to the light of the year ahead–horizons brighter, thoughts sussed, and plans a little plannier.

And we are thankful for those who celebrate with us, both in our home and in spirit, the meaning of Togetherness.

May the New Year bring you all good health,much happiness, and every good thing!

~dre

Elevensies!

Happy Solstice, everybody, and happy first day of Elevensies!

The long, dark night is almost over.  Brighter days are ahead.

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What is Elevensies, you say?  Let me tell you.  No, I’m not referring to the meal between second breakfast and lunch, although the name is lovingly borrowed from Tolkien’s hobbits as a play on their undeniable understanding of the importance of merriment, good food, and good company, for Elevensies is all about these things.  The long and short of it is that we are not religious folk, and we could not in good conscience continue celebrating a holiday which belongs to a religion of which we are not a part.  But we love all the mid-winter festivities and deeply believe in the importance of maintaining meaningful traditions.  So when the kids were young, Husband and I sat down together and thought of all the things that were important and not important to us, and then we made our own holiday.  And we named it Elevensies.

Elevensies is the celebration of the (typically) eleven days between the Winter Solstice and the New Year.  It is all about the celebration of life in the dark of winter.  It is about honouring seasons and cycles, nature and humanity.  It is about family and togetherness and sharing merriment, good food, and good company with those you love.  It is about being mindful of what is important and casting off that which is not.  Elevensies is about generosity, but it is not about things—although we do get a few small gifts and surprise each other on different days.  Instead, we wanted the focus to be on doing, not buying.  So instead of giving presents, on each day of Elevensies, we do something fun altogether as a family.  It might be simple like going to the movies (which is a treat for us) or it might be something more elaborate like taking a rock climbing class together (shhhhh—the kids don’t know about this one yet).  Traditionally, there is always a day when we go to a bookstore (my daughter’s favorite) and also a day when we make gifts to give to our family members who celebrate Christmas.  We do spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with our respective families, because we recognize that it is important to them, and we’re cool with that.  Sharing those moments are part of Elevensies, too.

We begin Elevensies on the Solstice by decorating the house and remembering that even on the darkest night (and this year, a cold one!),  there is always light and warmth when you are surrounded by people who love you.  Husband takes a fair chunk of vacation time for Elevensies each year, so it’s a holiday in more ways than one, and we all look forward to this relaxed time together.  At the end of Elevensies, on New Year’s Eve, we clean the whole house from top to bottom, smudge it real good, beat pots and pans and make a ruckus, and then at midnight, sweep out the old year and let the New Year in.  This is a tradition taught to us by the Haggencrone, Husband’s grandmother, and it is a very good one.  All it takes is a broom and a firm intention.  Finally, we end Elevensies with our annual New Year’s Togetherness party.   Togetherness is an open house potluck on January 1st, and all our friends and family are invited.  It’s been nicknamed Empanadafest, because my husband, who learned how to make delicious Puerto Rican empanadillas from my mother, sits in the kitchen all day making empanadas as fast as people will eat them.  Last year we packed 65 people in our house, and his empanada count was in the triple digits, lol.  It is a wonderful and auspicious way to start the year.

I wish you all a very wonderful Elevensies in addition to whatever holidays you celebrate.  May this be a time of magical marvelousness and blessed togetherness for you.   And remember, all traditions first began with an idea, a belief, and a person saying, “Let’s do this.”  Traditions and the rituals surrounding them are spoken in the language of our subconscious minds and also of our hearts—that is to say, with imagery, symbols, senses, and feelings.  It is important to pay attention to them, to give them space to expand.  We make our own meaning in life, and our lives should reflect what we most deeply believe.

Merriest of the Merry!

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