Foggy Day Near My House

It’s pretty rare in the desert that there is get enough moisture in the air for fog to form, so I thought I’d share this photo of a special foggy day I took several years ago.

I might just go to the store and buy some dry ice to ring in October with some spooky fog.

National Pancake Day

Pancake Day should be a monthly event, right? I’m not the only one who starts out a really good Sunday (or Monday…because…Mondays) with a gorgeous pancake or two. Or short stack. So, while I plan my very thrilling pancakes for dinner party, here’s some of my favorite recipes from around the internet.

pancake-collagePictured above clockwise, from left: Cookography’s Overnight Pancakes (with chocolate chips!), Camille Style’s dutch babies, Cup of Jo’s “Best Buttermilk Pancakes You’ll Ever Make,” Pumpkin Cinnamon Swirl pancake and Pioneer Woman’s “Perfect Pancakes.

Also check out banana nut, more overnights (use some strawberry butter with whipped cream, too!), and the pancakes I’ll be making this evening: Tracy from Shutterbean‘s Petite Paleo Pumpkin Pancakes!

Oh! And I couldn’t resist Jamie Oliver making pancakes with his daughters – everyone: AWWWW.

Slow-Carbs, No Carbs, Go Carbs: a 30-Day Journey

So, I thought I would just put up here for posterity, my first major foray into a food-modification plan. Yes, a diet.

And I also wanted it on record that the biggest reason I decided to do it was because I bought new (expensive) pants in April and I did not want to throw them out because they didn’t fit.

So, I had been reading about Tim Ferris for quite some time, and when I read the headline “Lose 20 Pounds in 30 Days Without Exercising” of course I was ready to take the plunge. So I read up a little more about it (especially as I indignantly thought “why the hell can’t I eat fruit?!”) and got myself prepared.

I was not at all expecting the whole 20 pounds thing, because I thought my eating habits and weight weren’t completely out of control. But I did feel gross, and I wanted to see how I could change that through diet alone.  Also, this wasn’t a complete deprivation diet because one day a week – usually people choose Saturday – where you are allowed to eat whatever you want. It not only helps your psychologically get through another week, but physically, it keeps your metabolism busy, processing good throughout the week, and bad icky stuff Saturday night.

The first week I felt fresh and energetic and great. It was amazing how much my belly shrunk in the first 3 days. Crazy carbs and alcohol are wicked bad for stomach bloat, a great thing to remember. It felt really great to get up and make myself an egg for breakfast while I’m packing a delicious salad with grilled chicken for lunch.

The second week I felt like this was the worst idea I had ever had. No wonder so many people say “fuck it” to diets, especially cutting out carbs completely. Every time I would think about a snack, it was something loaded with white carbohydrates. Why was I putting so much of that stuff in my body?! When the 2-4 o’clock munchies hit and I felt in dire straits, I would repeat the words Tim encouraged people with: “If you are hungry between meals, you’re not eating enough of the good stuff.” I tried lentils, which are supposed to be the best for protein/fiber/whatever I do not care they was gross. Quite possibly on par with peas they were so gross. I tried to mix them in with salads, other legumes, even bacon to take the taste and texture away. Fail. Lentil fail.

The third week I was kind of meh, it blows not eating dessert but I’m used to it by now. I was also sick of eggs. It sounds so sad, since I LOVE eggs. But when that is pretty much the only breakfast choice you have 6 days a week, you’re over them after the first dozen. I crave fruit like nobody’s business. I didn’t think I ate that much fruit, but everything is more magnified when you aren’t “allowed” to have it, right?

The last week – I’m in the home stretch, i can see the light at the end of the tunnel and it looks like a rum and gelato cone!

caramel-gelato

Whenever I found myself really tempted to chug a whole pint of apple juice, or take just a small bar of chocolate, I would think about how it is only a 30-day experiment. Come on, Jess, pull yourself together. I would add the craving I had to the list of things I wanted to eat on my “Go Carbs!” Day, as Jeff lovingly named it. There would be times I would be coloring with my niece, and while she was coloring princesses or rainbows, I would be doodling all the foods I wanted to eat. There were a lot of Devil Dogs drawn these last 30 days.devil-dog-cake

The things that really changed were the way I think about, and the way my body thinks about carbs. Bread and bread-like grains may be a great vehicle for things – burritos, sandwiches, etc., but it really weighs you down, more than anything else I would consume. I would eat some toast and iced coffee (with dairy) on my Go Carbs day, and it would feel like a stone in my stomach all day long. The Go Carbs! day was good, but not as great as I would build it up to be.

The great things that I took away from this experiment (besides having my pants fit again) were some new ideas for dinners (I have a great brown sugar/garlic pork rub, if you’re interested), going full throttle on all the veggies (buy all the alfafa – USE all the alfafa!), and really scaling back on the carbs.

Happy Birthday, Joan Jett

joan-jett-onstage

Dearest Joan Marie,

Happy Birthday! You don’t look a day over 40, and yet you are turning 55. I have loved you since I was little (Crimson and Clover was my jam, next to anything by Queen), and a few years ago I got to see you in person.

Remember when you were in Arizona and sick and hawked loogies and flung sweat from your chest into the audience? I was there, too! And while I didn’t get sick from your rock-germs, I did one of your guitar picks and hung out with your band, the Eagles of Death Metal and your tour bus after the show. Probably a highlight to my life I will talk about to the end of my days. I love you forever, I like you for always. As long as I’m living, the 2nd head of Rocker Lady Mount Rushmore you’ll be.

Quote of the Week

carol-highsmith-antelope-canyonphoto: Antelope Canyon, via Carol Highsmith

“If you don’t believe in magic on some level, your art probably sucks. You have to believe in some kind of magic – I don’t mean if its god or…whatever you’re into – if your not inspired by, if your heart isn’t lifted by, some supernatural thing that you’ve witnessed or you believe in, real or not – you’re probably focusing on your looks, your money, something you’re focusing on that has no heart.”

Maynard James Keenan, on WTF Podcast

It seems that lately, I have been reading, or hearing, at least one thing a week that really makes me close my eyes and think about the richness of the meaning, a koan of sorts, I guess. This week, I just want to listen to this whole podcast episode over and over. If you like Maynard, or Maron, or just interesting people, it’s a great listen.

Happy Harvest Moon

Full Corn Moon or Full Harvest Moon – September This full moon’s name is attributed to Native Americans because it marked when corn was supposed to be harvested. Most often, the September full moon is actually the Harvest Moon, which is the full Moon that occurs closest to the autumn equinox. In two years out of three, the Harvest Moon comes in September, but in some years it occurs in October. At the peak of harvest, farmers can work late into the night by the light of this Moon. Usually the full Moon rises an average of 50 minutes later each night, but for the few nights around the Harvest Moon, the Moon seems to rise at nearly the same time each night: just 25 to 30 minutes later across the U.S., and only 10 to 20 minutes later for much of Canada and Europe. Corn, pumpkins, squash, beans, and wild rice the chief Indian staples are now ready for gathering.

autumn-goodies-collage

So let’s ring in the new season with all kinds of autumn-related goodies:

♠ I had some ideas for a Harvest Moon Party 2 years ago, and while I haven’t been able to get my backyard up to dinner party acceptability, there are still ideas I will try.

Bourbon Apple Cider is a festive, and more importantly easy drink to share at a party or enjoy on your porch, watching the leaves turn.

♠ Apples are the seasonal fruit so keeping with cider: Apple cider doughnuts.

♠ An Apple pairing party also, a Cheese and apple party.

♠ Autumn is all about food (really, isn’t every season?), but more directly – comfort food. What could be more comforting than a warm slice of Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie?smile-and-wave-leaf-crown

♠ What would autumn be without some DIYs with leaves? If you are lucky to live in a place where gorgeous gold and scarlet leaves abound, make a real fall crown, like this one from Smile and Wave, or if you want a longer-lasting one, try a faux leaf head adornment.

♠ French toast sticks, beeswax candles, bring out your blankets: A Beautiful Mess has the best ideas for setting the mood for autumn!

♠ okra is a late summer/early fall harvest, and what better way to send off summer with okra blooms inside hollowed-out squash or pumpkins, of course. Or, for a splash of color, bell peppers. Finish off your tablepiece with some varied dried corn and purple fountain grass with copper accents, and you have a stunning array of color, with little to no flowers – a unique arrangement.

Lastly, here is a beautiful cover of a song most perfect for the season: