Art · culture · Death · DIY · Food · God · Health · History · Holidays · Religion · Self Improvement · Women

Holy Hamantaschen!

Chag Purim Sameach!  Or Happy Purim, Y’all!  I’m not Jewish, but I like holidays.  And this one strikes a particular chord because it’s the story of Esther- the “foreign” queen who saves her people from genocide.  Yaaaas, queen!  On a side note, can we please have more celebrations of women who do awesome things?

In honor of this day, I made some hamantaschen.  What is that, you ask?  They are cookies that symbolize the holiday’s origins.  You see, Haman was the evil dude who wanted to get rid of the Jews.  So he bribed King Xerxes, but Esther helped to save her people, and Haman was executed.

Some say that hamantaschen are supposed to be “Haman’s Pockets” as in the money that he bribed King Xerxes with; others say it’s “Haman’s Ears” as in the cutting off of criminals ears which happened to Haman, as well as being executed (?).  I didn’t do a thorough fact check on this, so forgive me if that’s incorrect.hamantaschen

Now, I am on a very particular diet, which is grain free, gluten free, sugar free, caffeine free, alcohol free, gmo free, cage free, organic, grass fed, wild caught, fair trade, and a lot of other hippy dippy stuff that limits what I can eat. So I’ve had to look up ingredients from every where and modify my own hamantaschen recipe.

ANYWAY.  COOKIES.  YOU WANT THESE COOKIES. Here’s what you’ll need:20170311_101705-1 20170311_104556-1 20170311_175735-1

1 & 1/2 cups of almond flour
2 tablespoons of xylitol (can be found at whole foods/natural grocers/wheatsville)
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoons softened butter
1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon almond extract (or vanilla, I prefer almond)
Circular cookie cutters
Jams that you like (with no sugar added)
Parchment paper
Baking Sheet
Time

Step 1: Mix your dry items together in a bowl.  On a slow speed (if you’re using a mixer), mix in your wet ingredients.  This is the order I mixed it in: started with butter, then milk, then extract, and lastly coconut oil. The consistency may seem crumbly at first, but if you mash your finger into it, and it seems soft and doughy, then it’s good for the next step.

Step 2: Get two pieces of parchment paper and roll out your dough between them.  You can make them as thick or thin as you want, but thinner dough is a little bit more difficult to shape them and cut without it crumbling apart (because almond flour is not as sturdy as regular).  Then refrigerate until your dough is firm (30 min-1 hr).
20170311_104643-2

Step 3: Once your dough is firm, using circular cookie cutters, cut out your dough.  My first attempt, I rolled it too thin in spots, and the dough would crumble.
20170311_130424-1

Step 4: Set your oven to bake on 350 degrees, and add your jam!!! Now, I’m not going to tell you how much or how little to put in your hamantaschen… that choice is yours.  You might want to test. I put in one spoon for the smaller ones, and two spoons for the bigger ones.  The choice is yours.  Oh, also, you might want to do a test run of folding them before you put all your jam in them… because I ended up getting jam all over my arms, but eventually found a way of folding the dough into triangles that worked for me.

20170311_132313

Step 5: Bake for about 8 minutes, let them cool off for about 5 minutes, and then eat and enjoy!!!

20170311_134434.jpg

 

Art · Conflict · culture · Future · History · Self Discovery · Self Improvement

Next Time

The Injustice.
There are past experiences that wake me in the night– negative memories that send adrenaline and anger coursing through my veins. I see the people that caused my pain and made me rage.

Where I come from, ignorance is limitless; mediocrity and indifference to the suffering of others is a standard way of living. How can I make them see if they are blind? I could not change them. I failed, and I was powerless. They keep doing what they do.

Next Time.
I have changed. I have forgiven them. I have forgiven myself. Next time, I will do better. Next time, I will be better. Next time, I will continue to use my words, my voice, my body and all of my being until I am heard.

Art · Death · Film · History · Literature · marriage · Music

Cimarron

 

 

Today I watched the 1931 4th Academy Award winner, Cimarron, originally a novel by Edna Ferber, and was impressed with the improvements in sound, film, and acting.  At first, the film seems to be about Yancey Cravat (Richard Dix) and his desires to pioneer the wild west of Oklahoma, as he publishes his new-fangled ideas on equality and justice in his paper, while his square wife Sabra (Irene Dunne) spends her time bitching about the dirty Indians and ostracizing the town whore, Dixie Lee (Estelle Taylor).  However, it’s pleasantly surprising that with each time Yancey leaves, Sabra is forced to grow and adopt his ideals.  It takes her years of being without her husband for her to mature, and when she finally is reunited with her hubby, it’s brief, and he dies in her arms.

Stay tuned for the next film: Grand Hotel

Art · Death · Film · History · Literature

All Quiet on the Western Front

allquiet

Erich Maria Remarque’s novel was forced on me by an English class when I was 14, and it was depressing as hell.  The film which won Best Picture in the 3rd Academy Awards might be even more depressing.  It follows Paul Baumer (played by Lew Ayres) through WWI as he changes from a school boy to a man who has seen the horrors of war- living in trenches, fighting, and trying not to be killed.  It kinda makes me wanna sing, “War! Huh! What is it good for? Absolutely Nothing!”

hands-on-fence

This film is much easier to watch than its winning predecessors as the directing and acting are more realistic.  And Lew Ayres’ boyish good looks are also easy on the eyes in the midst of explosions, like the one pictured above.  Gross.  The film quality and sound seems to have improved vastly as well.

Stay tuned for the next film: Cimarron

 

culture · Death · Food · History · Holidays · Religion

St. Patrick was not Irish

So, everyone thinks of St. Patrick’s Day as a day of drinking green beer and celebrating Irish heritage and culture.  But it’s not.

St. Patrick is that Irish Saint, right?

WRONG.  St. Patrick was of Roman-British descent.  He was kidnapped and sold into slavery by Irish raiders, and it was in Ireland that he found God.  Later, he escaped from Ireland, and became a priest.  Then, he went back to Ireland as a missionary and was willing to die there if it meant converting the pagans.  He did convert many Irish to Catholicism, and it is believed that he died on March 17 in Ireland.

Why the drinking of beer and mass consumption of corned beef and cabbage?  Well, the Catholic church decided that St. Patrick Day was a feast day- so even though during the lent season, one should fast, the fast could be lifted for the day- hence the alcohol consumption.

Corned beef and cabbage is actually not very Irish in terms of Ireland, but it’s an American Irish tradition- because the Irish who had immigrated were poor, they could only afford their food on the cheap, so corned beef and cabbage was the usual on the menu.

So, another holiday debunked, but I might try a green beer before the night is over, as long as its gluten free…

Dance · Fashion · Film · Hairstyle · History · Literature · Love · Self Improvement

For the Love of Jane Austen

pridenprejudiceI was introduced to the world of Jane Austen by my sister.  I read Pride and Prejudice, and like most of its readers, I fell in love with Mr. Darcy.  All these years later, I’ve watched many of the movies, BBC televised mini-series, read some of the spin off books, and even made some regency era costumes.

<—-  This is one of the gowns I made with cream colored satin and lace, and I also made the plum/maroon colored coat that Rob is wearing.

This year, I had made a resolution to do more for my love of Jane Austen, and I’m happy to report what I’ve been up since then.  I started my pursuit of Austen activities in January with Alamo Drafthouse’s Afternoon Tea: Sense and Sensibility.   After that, I joined the Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA), and I’ve started to read Mansfield Park, which is JASNA’s focus in 2014.

    sandsteajasnanews

(Dirndl and Shoes from Modcloth; Hairstyle: Boho Crown Braid; Banquette from World Market )IMG_7188

In addition to all these things, I went to one of my regions first JASNA meetings, where we had a lecture on English Country Dancing, and were later joined by a group of dancers who taught us how to dance.  It was a lot of fun, and it made me excited to do some more costuming and start to learn some English Country Dance, so I could have a Lizzy and Darcy moment myself.

Finance · Food · History · Love · marriage · Money

Valentine Schmalentine

So many people are obsessed with Valentine’s Day.  I am not one of those people.  In fact, I think I’ve always been a bit of a cynic when it came to the holiday.  Most of my adolescence was spent pining after fictional characters (Spot Conlon from Newsies, Mr. Darcy from Pride and Predjudice, Calvin O’Keefe from the Wrinkle in Time series…), and much of my adult life, I was very dedicated to remaining single until “The One” showed up.  While waiting for “The One,” I was still a bit of a cynic when it came to romance and hearts and flowers, and all that lah-di-dah… especially when I moved to NYC.  In fact, I once hosted an “I hate Valentine’s Day” party where we watched scary movies, where cute little couples got murdered.  When I finally did enter into a relationship as an adult, it was a torturous one.  I was super desperate for love, and set my standards way lower than I should have, and thank the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost that it ended.  It was Valentine’s Day break up, and it sucked, but then I did my research and realized that the death of that relationship was exactly what Valentine’s Day is all about.

St. Valentine was sentenced to death on February 14, sometime in 260-80 AD.  He was a Roman priest who married Christians, who were being persecuted during the time of Claudius II reign. He was captured, imprisoned, beaten, clubbed, and then beheaded.  Happy stuff right?  Well, this day was meant to honor and remember him, but like many of our modern holidays, the church decided to paganize the holiness of St. Valentine’s sacrifice. They decided to couple Valentine’s Day with the pagan holiday Lupercalia- and that sh*t was CRAZY, y’all… I’m not so sure that St. Valentine would have approved of his death being commemorated by a drunken boink-fest.  But today, Valentine’s Day is about spending money, eating too much candy, and forced romance.

Yeah, I’m not all that into Valentine’s Day, if you couldn’t tell.

Biltmore Estates

That being said, in 2012, I did have a really lovely day on this commercialized, chocolate gobbling day.  I went to Biltmore Estates with my boyfriend who would later become my husband that same year, and we looked at the pretty house, then got tipsy from tasting all of the wines, and we had a romantic little dinner as well.  It was expensive, and I’d say it was worth every penny, but he paid for it, and I didn’t.

The year after, looked very different.  We were married at the time, and we have/had a combined income.  Since we were and are doing Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, ain’t nobody got time for spending dolla-dolla bills to see a pretty house and have fancy food and drinks.  We’ve been on a budget of nothing, and since I’ve not really been into Valentine’s Day, in 2013, we took a different approach.

IMG_4922I spent zero money and made a list of reasons why I loved him on a deck of cards, and he took me out to Five Guys.  Nothing says I love you like a Five Guys Bacon Cheese Burger.  This guy knows what I’m talking about.

And this year?  Well, it’s pretty low key.  We’re not going out to dinner because we’re on a strict eating plan right now, but we do plan to indulge in a little snack of home made dark chocolate covered strawberries while watching Austenland.

Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberries  Austenland

I suppose there’s a little bit of romance to that, but really, Valentine’s day isn’t that big of a deal, and I think we’d be much better of a society if it just didn’t exist.

For singles, it’s horrible because it’s makes you feel like you’re abnormal for not being in a relationship, as if being married or having a plus one is all there is to life.  It also causes you to make bad decisions, like hooking up with someone just so you won’t be alone.  I’m just going to let you in on a secret.  About 65% of the time, marriage is really not fun at all.  You have to put up with someone else’s personality and emotional baggage, and figure out how to live with them without killing each other or leaving each other with psychotic tendencies.  If you’re single, you’re not missing out.  There are so many couples who are miserable and wish they could be single, so consider yourself lucky.

For couples, it’s puts pressure on you to waste money and to try to recreate a fictionalized version of love.  Oh, no, if Johnny doesn’t order me two dozen roses, it means that he doesn’t love me.  For people like me, who are living on a dime and a prayer, wine, godiva, diamonds, and roses are not in the budget.  Romance is good and fine, but sometimes, you just aren’t feeling it, and when it comes right down to it, faking it ’til making it is the worst advice anyone can give you.  I am very grateful for my husband, and I do love and appreciate him, but real love isn’t all hearts and flowers.  Real love can mean working two retail jobs to pay the bills, and having zero energy most of the time, just so that you can make your rent for the month.  Real love can be taking the time away from playing video games to clean the house and do the laundry instead of expecting your spouse to do it.

In the end, Valentine’s day, is just another day.  Can we just appreciate and learn to love one another each day without this obnoxious holiday’s existence?