Pizza and Salad Are Yummy at Home!

Okay, people, get out your frozen pizzas! We got our frozen pizza from from Trader Joe’s, and added garlic, shaved cheese, oregano and cherry tomatoes before putting it in the oven. Yummy!

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For salad, we had mixed baby greens with carrots, peppers, walnuts, red peppers, apples, tangerines and olives. The trick with salad is to make sure it’s as colorful as possible so that it starts to satisfy your hunger as soon as you see it. Add fruit, nuts, and leftover noodles for texture and depth. Keep it simple and fresh!

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Arroz con Pollo is Yummy at Home! Dominican Fusion #2

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If you haven’t tried one of these Yummy at Home recipes yet, it’s not too late. We’ll be here for a while. In truth, many of us will not return to our “normal lives” for a very long time, even after COVID-19 is done with us. It’s an opportunity to make changes or start a new habit, like cooking! All of my recipes take about an hour or less and can be modified any which way from Tuesday. Try it while you’re at home.

My Arroz con Pollo is made with marinated cubed chicken breast. You may use boned chicken which will need more time to cook and will even more tender than mine. No matter what I make, I always start with side vegetables to go with any food I serve. Broccoli is my favorite for obvious reasons! (Tee Hee) But whatever is fresh will do!

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Start with your spices: salt, pepper, garlic, onion (which I didn’t use), oregano, basil, cilantro and bay leaf. Get the oil nice and hot in a large pot where you will brown the chicken (2-4oz. per person). Once the meat is brown on all sides, about 5 minutes, keep the heat up and add rice (2 cups for 2 people add one cup for each additional adult). Add orzo for a pilaf style, which I didn’t have so I put in stars, of course. Stir that around a bit, and add water as you would for cooking the rice. Add a tablespoon of tomato paste. Bring it to a boil, cover it and turn it down to simmer for 2-40 minutes.  Add turmeric powder or annatto for yellow rice with anti-inflammatory properties. You may also add peas, corn, olives and some sliced tomato.

Serve hot with wedges of ripe avocado or maduros. Enjoy!

 

Healing Begins with Paying Attention: Start by Identifying What You Want to Heal

Where is your pain? What is the shape of it? How long does it last? By interrogating our bodies, we can map out the areas that need attention. This requires quiet time, Quiet time can come in the form of prayer, meditation, even bath time. Once we know where it is and what it does, When we can study the body’s systems using resources developed by professionals, those resources provide a roadmap of what we already know and don’t need to invent. it gives us more power to discern the root of the disease and heal it.

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For my primary focus in this post, I’ll look to provide context for my ear to understand chronic ear infection and now a new sensitivity to cold and precipitation. I’ve had ear infections, throat and tonsil problems from the earliest I can remember until about the time that moved away from NYC. This lifetime, recurring illness seemed to leave me until some recent trips during the winter season and new colder evening weather in the mountainous region in which I live.

Two things are at play: The physicality of my ear and external, environmental factors. My physical ear canal is short and wide, allowing water, air and other airborne particles to enter easily into the inner ear. That’s obvious. This means, I probably get more direct exposure to in my ear region than people whose tragus covers the opening to the ear canal, and also, who may have a longer ear canal. Folks who have bent or long canals may have an advantage. Environmentally, I grew up poor in public housing, which comes with it’s own socioeconomic predispositions. I’ll examine this more for the historical context of my chronic ear condition.

After a lifetime of ear problems, two courses of action become apparent. First, I need to protect my inner and middle ear during winter, travel and bathing. Secondly, I need to investigate and understand what factors impact my susceptibility to ear infection. Healing for me is no more ear infections, because the cure is always harder.  In other words, we must define, identify and name our healing. I want to restore the ailing member to optimum functioning. In this situation, I have to ask myself, What is healing?

 

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Healing Practice:

You will need to choose an area of focus for your attention, healing and study. This requires love and compassion, not judgment. Handle yourself with tenderness. You may need to do these activities regularly to allow the spirit to speak to you. Ask for guidance through prayer.

  • Meditate on your body. This can be in the bath, seated or lying down and during applied Reiki. See what emerges. Document any insights in your journal for this practice.
  • Write about your healing and see what comes up. Explore questions that open as you write.
  • Focus on an area where you already have difficulty, injury or other disease. Use a quiet time to touch the area with your hands, mind or vision. You may also examine medical records and note important points with the area. Make notes of any patterns that arise.

As ever, I’m open for questions, comments and suggestions.

On the Path to Healing: The Practice of Intimacy

I have been thinking about whether we humans can heal themelves for some 35 years now. In truth I’ve been healing myself all my life and continue to deepen my understanding of healing and myself. There are so many things that I’d like to know, heal and accept in myself. Suddenly COVID-19 is giving me an accelerator in which to look at and heal myself. So let’s begin with a question: Can we heal ourselves?

I believe that we can. It’s not easy, but it is possible. Healing is a radical, positive change on a physical, mental, metaphysical or spiritual level. The problem is that we humans naturally fear change so we have built up resistance to it. Only a few powerful masters can probably heal something like a infectious disease, but most of us may be able to manage chronic conditions with which we live. This Coronavirus outbreak is making space for personal intimacy, which a wise massage therapist named Gordana once explained to me thus: “Intimacy really means: “In-To-Me-See”. Essentially, intimacy is the actual seeing deeply into the beloved. Who, then, could possibly be more beloved than the self? What kind of love exists in the absence of self-love?

In fact, we cannot love another if we cannot truly see them–(and I definitely don’t mean with our weak eyes). Seeing here, is the embracing, accepting and understanding of the beloved. By using this time of isolation to look at areas within ourselves that need healing, we can resolve situations in our lives in ways that bring radical change to an area using our consciousness–our applied awareness.

We can then use the ability to see into ourselves, the practice of intimacy, to study and learn from the situation as it manifests in us and apply new behavior or mental conditions to alter an area through meditation, touch and or visualization. Using this technique, I plan to look at two areas of my body: in the middle and inner ear and the feet in order to transform pain in the latter, and chronic illness in the other.

Please join me on the journey inward into ourselves. You can do all of this at home. Get comfy; we’ll be here for while. Email me your questions or respond directly to the post. Here is what you will need:

  • An anatomy book to help you understand the basics (How the Body Works: A Comprehensive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Anatomy edited by Dr. Peter Abrahams is excellent.)
    • Also you can use a massage or Reiki book using Chakras, meridians or acupuncture points
  • A journal or writing paper with which to document
  • A quiet comfortable area for study, meditation and practice
  • An open, curious and willing mind as more sources and recommendation are forthcoming
    • Please note: We will NOT work with emotional trauma, as I believe working with trauma requires a loving human presence with appropriate training.

 

Yummy at Home, Recipe 7: Spaghetti and Meat Sauce (Hal’s Special Sauce)

I never see my husband happier than when he’s eating a bowl of delicious pasta. Fortunately, his sauce is totally off the rails. I don’t even know his recipe, but here’s what I know:

Start with two can of tomatoes. Saute onions with a bay leaf in olive oil until clear. Add minced garlic, tomatoes, basil, marjoram, oregano, chili flakes, salt and pepper. Cook on low heat until it bubbles. So far, your sauce is vegan.

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In a separate pan, cook your meat. We used lamb, but beef, turkey or chicken will also work. Brown the meat with a bit of onion, salt and pepper. Add the cooked meat to your sauce. The sauce is best the next day, so if you can wait, you’ll get a reward.

Cook your favorite pasta; I like long pasta like spaghetti or fettuccine with meat sauce, but whatever you have in the cupboard will do. Serve with grated cheese and a salad or veggies. We used curly kale cooked in garlic with a slice of lemon.

Try it at home! Let me know how it turns out. We need to continue to stay home. People are dying. See for yourself: https://ncov2019.live/data.

Yummy at Home, Recipe 6: Dominican Fusion Comfort

Listen, I’m scared, too. The US death toll is climbing fast, thanks to Trump. (Yep, I’m mad as heck at how he’s mishandling this pandemic.) As a friend pointed out, Novel Coronavirus, COVID-19, is egalitarian. So do yourself a favor and stay home and cook, read and exercise. If you’re not working or taking care of others, stay put. We don’t even know if we’re secret spreaders of this thing. It is through my pain and uncertainty that I continue to cook and read and share. This is what I have to give. This is my medicine:

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Dominican food is hard to find in California unless you make it at home. A staple at our house is red beans (Habichuelas) and rice–main Dominican fare. Slow cook unsalted beans with water, garlic, onion, bay leaf, dried oregano, basil and pepper. This takes about 3 hours, so you can substitute can beans if you don’t have the time. Once the beans break open you can salt and season them with tomato paste, cumin/fresh cilantro and paprika. Allow the vegan beans to thicken and serve over steamed rice.

As a modification, you can turn these Dominican-style beans into a modified chili base by adding for favorite meat: ground chicken, turkey, beef or lamb, and vegetables: green, red or yellow peppers, corn, carrots, potatoes, olives, peas or/or green beans. (Frozen or canned veggies will also work!) Be sure to add additional spices for each additional ingredient. Don’t lose flavor.

We ate our with maduros, ripe, fried plantains. Of course, greens, collards and broccoli are always welcome at our table.  Serve hot, and as Her Royal Highness Princess Diandra says, “Yam.”

Stay Woke, Adapt and Wear a Mask!

I cried most of the day yesterday. If you haven’t had a day like that yet, you will. Give yourself permission to feel all the powerful emotions that COVID-19 Pandemic has unleashed on the world. This is a reality check. Find hope. Stay connected, and pay attention. Now more than ever, we need to watch our leaders. Apparently, it’s power-grabbing time for many. We need to be the ones that drive the direction of our nation. Personally, I want to live.

After his incredibly idiotic mishandling of the early days of Coronavirus, when a few measured words would have changed the outcome for every human being within the borders of the United States, President Trump continues to misuse and abuse the power of his office. When we most need compassionate leadership, we are cursed with an abusive, immature and xenophobic hate-monger. He’s as bad as Kim Jong Un, sending missiles over South Korea to get attention in the middle of a global pandemic. Shameful! Is this our collective karma? Let us remember Trump’s words–he documents himself on Twitter and endless press opts. Let’s do this in order to hold Trump accountable for his actions. He’s costing lives and behaves unethically at every possible opportunity. Read about what he’s up to with the oversight of the COVID-19 Funding: (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/03/us/trump-inspector-general-intelligence-fired.html).

Even though Trump doesn’t seem to “believe in” Social Distancing or wearing a mask, we know better! We know because we can see the numbers for ourselves by looking at the Coronavirus Dashboard (https://ncov2019.live/data). We need to learn from South Korea’s efforts and try to imitate their best practices. We don’t need to make every mistake to learn. We can learn from the mistakes and triumphs of other nations–especially imperative when we pay with lives. Use a mask! The CDC recommends it, and it is at least a part of the solution in South Korea.

Do this so that more of us will live.