Beginner's Heart

Beginner's Heart

buckwheat cornbread and learning

via wikipedia

via wikipedia

In my family, there are certain things you don’t eat w/out cornbread. It’s just not done. These would include: any kind of beans (but especially bean soup), almost any kind of soup (but especially chicken noodle or potato-based chowders), and chili.

There are more (anything Grandma or Aunt Bonnie served w/ cornbread, for instance). Suffice to say, cornbread is pretty serious business at my house. And especially when company comes.

Last night, I committed heresy. I served a variation of my mother’s cornbread recipe TO COMPANY. And I had the temerity to cook it in Great-Grandma’s cast-iron skillet!

Because the deal is, I have family (whom I adore) who have celiac disease (gluten intolerance, often very serious). And even our cornbread — which has a high proportion of cornmeal (the secret to good cornbread, in case you wondered) — still has wheat flour. A no-no for two nieces.

So I’ve been experimenting w/ gluten-free breads. I like to cook, and it’s fun. BUT… It can’t just be ‘gluten-free.’ It has to also taste good. Hence my working w/ my new favourite ingredient: BUCKWHEAT!

buckwheat hulls, via wikipedia

buckwheat hulls, via wikipedia

It’s a very old grain substitute (turns out buckwheat is neither a grain nor a cereal; who knew??). And I grew up eating buckwheat pancakes. But that was about it, until we went to Asia, where buckwheat noodles (soba) are common. I like it.

But it doesn’t cook like wheat. It needed some…reflection. Some tinkering. And since I know how to make cornbread almost in my sleep, that was a good place to start. Turns out? All it needed was more moisture, a little more fat, and a shorter cooking time. And voilà! Wonderful buckwheat cornbread! TOTALLY gluten free!

My husband was skeptical — all modesty aside, my usual, traditional cornbread is pretty spectacular. Buckwheat wasn’t high on his list of things to try. Still, he’s a good sport, and when I offered to make it last night, when his sister came in to visit for a couple of weeks, he was game to try it. It was a  HUGE success.

So: what’s this have to do w/ beginner’s heart, I hear you wondering? IF you’ve even made it this far…

Don’t let well-enough alone, folks. Don’t ‘settle,’ or become ‘that person’ who won’t play w/ his or her food. :) Seriously — what can you do, to your ordinary life, that might make it more of a gift for someone else? I know — I won’t belabour it. But think about it: who might need buckwheat cornbread in your life?


useful, beautiful, monsters

via wikipedia

via wikipedia

I confess to a love of horoscopes. At heart, I’m still the animist kid I’ve always been: all things have spirits, and all things will tell you stories. If you can understand them, they will tell you of your future.

So of course I love horoscopes — even though I know the science is pretty … well, let’s just say it’s on a par w/ climate change deniers.

But I still read it, almost every day. And weekly? I go to Free Will Astrology, because he’s funny, he doesn’t take himself too seriously, and (most important) his advice is usually good for any of us.

This week, he told me to sing out “I am a useful, beautiful, monster!” to remind me the difference between useless, UGLY monsters, and the useful beautiful type. He also promised that if I sing my ‘wicked, crazy songs,’ and use my (non-existent) invisible magic sword against dread, my kind will flock to me.

You have to agree: that is an AWESOME horoscope!

I need to go through my playlists for my wicked, crazy songs. AND search for my invisible sword against dread (how valuable would THAT be?). In the meantime, as I sometimes snap at my beloved, or yell at the dogs, even refuse to answer the phone when it looks possibly problematic, it’s good to know that I’m a useful monster. I’ll debate the ‘beautiful.’ Useful is good enough.



moody weather

via pixabay

via pixabay

What colour is a bad mood? Not blue — I’m not sad. Not red — I’m not angry, really. Not purple — I’m not depressed. I googled ‘bad mood,’ for images (free to use!) of ‘bad mood.’ And this is what I found.

It’s perfect. Grumpy, gritty, sand. Yep. That’s my day. Sand in your shoe, Grumpy Cat faced. Mouth turned down, eyes squinched.

And no reason for any of it, really. I sat through meditation on the deck, face turned like a 4 o’clock flower to the sun, and all was well. One hour later? Grumpy Sand Face.

Nope — I have no idea why, and don’t even want to pay enough attention to figure it out. THAT’S how you know it’s a bad mood, right? You just get through it.

So no words of wisdom today, folks — just the knowledge that we  breathe through moody weather, knowing everything passes. Even grumpy sandy days.

recognising change and transformation

via science dump

Sometimes we forget we’ve changed. Sometimes all we see is the old photo, out of date, blurred by time. But still razor-sharp in our mind’s eye.

Once, the story goes, there was a caterpillar. Who was bright green, ate stinky milkweed, and basically was rather homely. In a pretty green fashion.

Then there was a chrysalis, and it too was bright green. Until it began to darken, to a dark bullet of transformation.

And then, one day in late spring, there was a butterfly — gold wings webbed with satiny black, fascination of children & adults.

It was always going to be a butterfly. It always held within it metamorphosis.

I watch so many people I love concentrate on the caterpillar stage necessary to become a butterfly. The learning curve, the initial clumsiness w/ a new task. The fear that all you are is what you are now, and that not good enough. So that even when the chrysalis comes upon them, and you can almost see them changing? They only remember the chubby caterpillar. They never recognise the metamorphosis.

What if all this time, you’ve been a butterfly? What if the dream you remember is then, and the butterfly is now?

Just a thought. One you might consider, as you go about your days. Maybe all you need to do is look up.

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