Kitchen Letters # 15: When Body and Mind Aren’t in Sync


Dear autumn friends,

Time away from ourselves can be largely upsetting and unnerving, especially if this time is felt physically.  I’ve recently experienced major separation anxiety from myself and because of this anxiety I have come to realize I didn’t have a proper mechanism for dealing with it.  This deficit of coping mechanisms has led me here to you all, today, to talk a little about taking the time to show appreciation to your body.

You may be asking yourself, ‘How do I show my body appreciation and why is that important?’  It’s not like I awake each morning and pinch myself, greet my skin, pet my hair and scratch myself behind the ear, but there are ways to show a little appreciation to your body.  Recently, something involving my health has arisen that felt, initially, completely out of my control. Or so I thought.  I was feeling unlike the me I’ve known all these years because my well oiled machine began to squeak and grind and nobody could tell me why.  What I’ve noticed is that the ‘why’ has been of the utmost importance to me.  It’s been stifling my healing.  All I’ve been able to think about for weeks is why this is happening to me.  What’s causing this, and why is it that nobody can give me a definitive answer?  The truth–the ‘why’–isn’t always as important as the ‘what’ you’re going to do to heal and accept what you cannot change.  This is something my Mama (maw-maw) emphasizes often.  In a way, the ‘what’ is understanding time and the respect we must have for it.

Let’s get down to it.  Here are some thoughts I have on how to show appreciation to your body:

  • Get up when your body is ready to get up.  Whether you have a strict bedtime you set for yourself or you stay up all hours until you’re conking out over your book or in front of your computer, make it a practice to take a cue from your body each morning.  I’ve found that extending my sleep for the sake of getting ‘extra rest’ can do more harm to the way I’m feeling, than good.  This is, of course, difficult to do when you have a regimented schedule, but on those days of rest you may have a couple of times each week, tune in a little closer to your body and listen.
  • Get plenty of rest.  Though this may seem in contradiction to my first suggestion, hear me out.  I find that there’s a vast difference between over resting and not resting enough.  As a fast-paced person who insists on utilizing most of my time for productivity, the concept of self-imposed rest is sometimes a hard one for me to grasp.  Resting can often feel like a waste of time to me, but I have come to understand that resting is crucial to appreciating your body and respecting your mind.
  • Eat to live.  Though I’m certainly an advocate of appreciating edibles and indulgence, I also feel like our bodies are best maintained in the right environment–think your gut–with the right care–think acidity vs alkalinity–and through consumption habits–think sugar, salt, fat. Eat a diet that nourishes your vitality, not one that depletes it. In our most vulnerable times, it’s our responsibility to eat those comestibles that will not interfere with healing.
  • Be honest.  Insincerity with ourselves can be an easy trap to fall into when you’re not feeling well.  You have a long to-do list for the weekend and yet you just aren’t feeling up to completing nearly a fourth of the listed tasks.  Start by asking yourself why.  If being idle is rooted avoidance, understand this and address these circumstances accordingly with your own motivational tools.  However, if your reticent to start your day because you are not feeling apt, pause and hear this message from your body.
  • Laugh.  As cliché as it might be, laughter is the best medicine.  Let yourself become distracted and lose yourself a little in laughter. It’s sure to boost your spirits.  Your body will thank you for it.
  • Sing, damn it, even if you don’t sound very good.  I’ve been singing since I was a wee lass and inevitably, singing is a release.  Much like dancing, you don’t need to be a top 40 singer to do it, just belt out some notes every once in awhile.  Make a playlist and go at it.  Maybe turn the music up extra loud and jam the hell out.  Just sing, it’s a huge relief and your body will love you for it.
  • Drink a lot of water.  I could go on and on about this, like every article out there, but really, just drink a glass of water, and when it’s empty, fill it up again.  Water flushes out a lot of toxins from your body and generally helps you feel energized.  H20!
  • Don’t take advantage of your energy by wearing it out too fast.  I’ve been going to acupuncture for years and I remember one of the first things my Acupuncturist told me was, “Don’t run around the block when you get home. Rest, and conserve your energy.”  After acupuncture, a person can feel extremely energized and vivacious, but it’s important to store your energy up for later. Hoard it, if you will.  If you focus that exuberance on healing, you’ll be happier later.  Acupuncture aside, sometimes in life we feel overwhelmed with an abundance of energy–and I don’t mean from caffeine–and it’s easy to use that energy to clean your entire house–baseboards to crown molding–write a novel and then make a gourmet meal, but resist this urge.  Store it up a bit and spread it out.

When our mind and body aren’t in sync we can become miserable molds of carbon and then we’re useless.  Treasure your gift–your body–and find ways to keep the balance even when the  the scale is tipped.  I’m trying a little harder lately to care for my body more and show it all the appreciation it deserves.  You can too!  I’m sending everyone out there a lot of love and hoping to feel much better and much more balanced soon.

Healthy and Happy Healing Regards,


Noshed in a Book: Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own

“I’ve always known that a book will find you when you need to be found…”


When trying to pin-point how I came about this book, I decided to trace my internet searching steps back to a certain piece or key phrase I had found, but to no avail. The transient nature of a browser search should not be lasting, that might make life a little too convenient.  Thus, all I can say is that I’m grateful I found this book and Kate Bolick’s writing.  Though I am a happily married woman to a very lovable man, this book called out the the independent woman in me that has never been stifled by coupledom.  I don’t mean this as an affront to the love I have for my life partner and our commitment to one another, but more as a compliment to the love I also have for myself and for the person I hope to be. The lifelong assignment of finding out what this life of mine means is a most unique gift and there’s not a day that passes wherein I don’t contemplate how I want to share it, who with, and what drives my mind and heart.  Being cognizant of this, let’s take a look at Kate Bolick’s first book.

Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own by Kate Bolick

“In my early twenties, the “spinster wish” was my private shorthand for the novel pleasures of being alone.  As I grew older, and felt more strongly the cultural expectation of marriage, the words became more like a thought experiment, a way to imagine in detail what it would look like to never settle down.  The word wish is crucial.  A wish is a longing, not a plan of action.  It was perhaps precisely that I conjured such an escapist fantasy, not because I didn’t want such relationships, but because I also wanted to find other avenues of meaning and identity.”

Through honest yet discreet personal accounts, Bolick delivers a book that’s well-worth a read for anyone who’s ever questioned societal norms. It’s obvious from the carefully designed structure of her book that Spinster was a labor of love that flowed from a most genuine and natural place.  Bolick utilizes different women writers–you’ll have to read her book to find out who they are–that she refers to as her ‘awakeners’ to unfold her thesis that a woman’s role in life is that for which she makes it, and the drudgery of societal impressions of marriage should never be a factor in marring your personal and artistic process of becoming a fully developed woman.  What is more, though her text does speak directly to women, I happen to feel that her message could be palatable to any gender.  Bolick embarks on a journey through this book that rarely transcends where she starts, but the text does anchor its message in taking comfort in one’s circumstance while being aware of its impact, be it good or be it bad, on one’s identity.

“The term bachelor girl was coined in 1895 to describe a specific breed of middle-class woman who chose to pursue the  new educational and vocational opportunities opening up around her, which allowed her to live alone and support herself–so very unlike her sister the spinster, who was closely associated with the home, and the working-class women for whom work was an economic necessity.”


Is it all really just a matter of diction?  What’s incredible about Bolick’s deductions about the term “bachelor girl”, versus “spinster”, is that she establishes the imposed separation of the terms while embracing a generalization that a woman in pursuance of her own life, independent of a man’s financial support, is whatever label she chooses for herself. Bolick does seem to struggle with absolving herself of guilt from passed relationships by qualifying her actions as those which were necessary to lead her on her path of independence.  In this, I feel her concept is flawed.  She posits that a woman must give something up in joining to a partner, yet bases this observation on her own experiences of becoming complacent in the routine of in-practice monogamy and her awakeners experiences.  However, she juxtaposes this idea when speaking about becoming complacent and stale in her single life as well.

“How do you embark on your adulthood when you don’t know where you’re headed?”


“It was like looking into the future and discovering that my unremarkable self had somehow become a person of consequence.”

Finally, and what’s most moving about this book, is Bolick’s meticulous and attentive vision of the agony of self-discovery and the joy of finding one’s voice.  She’s able to speak about feminine self-loathing without belaboring the point or projecting an heir of desperation, because, let’s be honest, if there’s one thing women need less of, it’s another voice that harkens negativity.  Bolick’s well earned confidence is why she’s able to conjure a book that would surely have made her awakeners proud, and should make all of her readers grateful.  Reading this book was a pleasure, and more than anything, it helped me understand that’s it’s okay to be joined in matrimony to someone and still have a singular identity. In fact, it’s imperative.

“It never ceases to astonish me how readily we presume to know ourselves, when in fact we know so little.”



As for edibles, I decided to utilize Sarah Britton‘s The Life-Changing Crackers to touch on the simplistic, yet enriching approach to food Bolick speaks about in her book.  It’s not my intention to imply I think she would have any interest in preparing this cracker, but I do think this recipe represents an alteration in routine, which is just what Spinster speaks about.  So here’s to crackers, life-changing crackers!

  • Because crackers are a wonderful food for writers who are mulling over an idea.  They’re crunchy and can be paired with many a side dish be it savory or sweet treats like Bolick did with her father over lunch.
  • Because crackers remind me of autumn , which reminds me of change, shorter days that lend to hibernation and strength in warming foods that ties back into crackers. 😀


What are you thoughts on this text?  Did you find that any particular yummy food ideas popped into your mind while reading?  In the theme of changing routines, I am sad to say that the frequency of my posts has lessened as I’m sure you’ve seen, but please know that Connect a Bite is still very special and important to me.  I have started a new and exciting job, and my routine has been sufficiently shaken.  Fear not! Once the dust settles some, I hope to be back in full-force with content!  And with that, I’ll leave you for now.  Check out more Noshed in a Book posts and share some of your own #noshedinabook thoughts with me.  Join me in my next reading selection, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.  And remember…bite responsibly!

Healthy Regards,



Edible Inspiration: Week 31

The summer’s steamy sauna has come to an end, but it’s still sweat inducing weather out there.  Soon, meal preparations begin to change and daylight fades into sleepy sunsets.  Here are some photos that have inspired me lately.

  1.  As autumn has begun, meal-sized summer salads are coming to a close to make room for warming foods.


2)  Saying “au revoir” to this sweet watermelon.  Until next summer.


3) This temporary kitchen space and green beans!


4)  The Mr. and I took our first trip to West Texas earlier this week.  This cutie was growing in the yard on the side of our cabin.


5) This gnarly cactus, strong and decomposing, reminds me that life offers each of us phases and seasons.  It’s our mission to recognize those seasons and changes and to welcome them.


6) These honey daisies were everywhere, greeting us on our hiking path in West Texas.  Our meal after this hike was well deserved and tasted extra yummy.


Enjoy this second weekend of October and let me know what’s going on in your world of food.  Check out previous Edible Inspiration posts and share some of your own #edibleinspiration when you can!

Healthy Regards,


Noshed in a Book: Let’s Just Say It Wasn’t Pretty


“No dream can live up to its expectations.  Ownership is brief; in fact, it’s a fiction.  And beauty?  Beauty is a discovery that diminishes the truth of reality.  So keep looking.”

When I picked up Then Again, Diane Keaton’s first memoir and homage to her late mother, I remember spilling myself over each page as if I could heal my neuroses by learning from her’s.  I have, as you all will or have already come to know, a love for personal tales, memoirs, and biographies.  Understanding the strokes that make the painting of a person’s life, does not instill you with their one-of-a-kind nature or change the path you’re on, but there’s always a chance your endurance could be strengthened, and your will refreshed.  This was a safe book choice for me and I must admit, though expectations typically lead to disappointment, it’s only human to feel such a way when you’ve harbored a connection to a person’s life.  On that note, let’s talk about Keaton’s second book, shall we?


Let’s Just Say It Wasn’t Pretty by Diane Keaton

A book that gives you an insight into the idiosyncratic mind of Keaton starting with the Introduction.  She combs the reader into the many ways in which she organizes her thoughts and her approach to life; an approach for which she makes clear, even she is still trying to figure out.  She cannot be faulted for this, in fact I take some comfort in knowing not everyone has it figured out, even in your sixties, but I did wonder at multiple times throughout this reading, what her true intention was for writing this book.  Learning a few life lessons from a woman I’ve garnered as one of my favorites for years, by the end, I thought that somehow I would have a better understanding of her intention, but I came away from this text more confused than sated.

“All of my feelings and all my emotion come out on my face–my sixty-seven-year-old face.  You see, my face identifies who I am inside.  It shows feelings I can’t put into words.  And that is a miracle, an extraordinary ordinary miracle, one I’ll think twice about before I change.”

“I was ready to go home to Black and White and Gray all over.  I wanted to be light on my feet, like Cary Grant.  I wanted to put on a smoky gray dress suit with suspenders.  I wanted to be an international stilt walker, with an ironic smile and a dimpled chin.”

But I can’t help but picture the goofy and well-timed performance of Keaton in Sleeper, where she imitates Marlon Brando’s performance in the cinematic version of A Streetcar Named Desire.  Her ability to break down the wall of celebrity superiority and the ego of a man like Brando, is part of the reason why I respect her, despite her lack of focus in this memoir.  She has always been, and remains to be, a star that is relatable, and one whose verbalized consciousness of her aesthetic appeal grounds her as just another human, instead of being of the alien race of Celeb.  What Keaton does beautifully in this memoir, is explore how acting is a tool for her to find the colors of the palette that make her life’s painting.  Her emphasis on accepting imperfections, mistakes and the challenges of aging, helped me understand the efficacy of mindfulness and positive thinking about one’s life.  I came to understand that our philosophy on life is different, but there’s beauty in this contrast, and for this I felt grateful to read her musings.

“Like the sparrows, I’ve flown into some serious plate-glass windows, but I survived.  On the way, I’ve learned a few things.  Namely this:  beauty’s a bouquet gathered in loss.  The sad part about my bouquet is that it keeps growing.  Now that Mother is gone, darkness is spreading across my fading petals.  Light is beautiful, but darkness is eternal.”

“I regret what I haven’t seen, but I’m thankful for what I have, and I promise myself this:  I will try harder to look for what I don’t see when it’s staring me right in the eye.”

“…but my love of the impossible far overshadowed the rewards of longevity.  I fell for the beauty of a broken bird.  The ecstasy of failure.  It was the only marriage I could make with a man.  Black with a little white.  Pain mixed with pleasure.”


As for edibles, I decided to make a variation of French Toast.  Diane Keaton adopted two children for whom she devotes mornings to making breakfasts and school drop-offs. At one point, she mentions her son requesting French Toast and I thought it the best match to the book.  Semi-complicated with many variations and comfortable in it’s imperfections.  I now present to you my take on this sweet morning treat.


 “That’s Neat” French Toast


  • 8 to 10 slices gluten-free bread (I used this one)
  • 1 cup almond milk (unsweetened, plain)
  • 1 tbsp ground chia seeds
  • 3 tbsp all purpose gluten-free flour (or almond meal)
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • two grinds sea salt
  • coconut oil for skillet
  • Extra toppings:  toasted coconut, coconut whipped cream, berries, maple syrup, banana, nuts, powdered sugar, sliced strawberries, sliced figs


  1. In a small bowl, mix together all ingredients except bread and toppings and let sit in refrigerator for twenty minutes to activate chia seeds.
  2. After mixture has set, heat skillet or griddle over a medium flame and begin to melt or disperse a small amount of coconut oil (just enough for a thin coating).
  3. Pour mixture into shallow container, I used a pie pan.
  4. Dip each slice of bread into mixture to soak the bread, but don’t let it become soggy.  About twenty seconds on each side in mixture.
  5. Place the soaked slice on the skillet/griddle and press with spatula until each side is golden brown, taking care to let each side sit before flipping to allow browning to occur.  About five minutes.
  6. Enjoy your “That’s Neat” French Toast with any of the above mentioned toppings or toppings of your choice.  I enjoyed mine with raspberries, maple syrup, and a few sprinkles of powdered sugar.  Don’t forget a delightful cup of tea or coffee, if you please, on the side. 😀


  • I made enough to have some leftovers because I wanted a treat for another day, but if you’re just making a quick breakfast for two, I would recommend splitting this recipe in half.
  • The more dense the bread, the less crispy and absorbent your french toast will be. Keep this in mind.
  • I don’t recommend using a cast iron, as the retention of heat can have an adverse affect on the consistency of each slice’s browning.
  • Re-heat in toaster or toaster oven.



Making this dish allowed me time in the kitchen to mull over my relationship with this text, something I think is key for anyone to do when reading.  There’s a delicacy to talking about the intricacies of one’s life, and though Keaton is not the most graceful, her no-nonsense, quirky and creative language exposed her truest self.  Chipping all the dried, peeling paint away, this book imbued a sense of urgency in me to live life more fully and never hasten to forget the power and beauty of making mistakes because those mistakes make the masterpiece.

What are your thoughts on this book?  Did you prepare something else while reading it?  I want to hear all the details at #noshedinabook and see all of your pictures!  Check out previous Noshed in a Book posts and join me in my next reading selection Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own by Kate Bolick.  And remember…bite responsibly!

Healthy Regards,


Noshed in a Book: The First Bad Man

“My eyes fell upon the grey linoleum floor and I wondered how many other women had sat on this toilet and stared at this floor.  Each of them the center of their own world, all of them yearning for someone to put their love into so they could see their love, see that they had it.”


I’m rarely in step with reading an author’s work within a year of a new release, much less their debut novel, but Miranda July is a writer that I both admire and who’s work I relate to on a subconscious level. Thus, I couldn’t let too much time pass before feasting my eyes on her first novel.  No One Belongs Here More Than You , July‘s first book is a series of short stories that, for whatever reason, took me a few months to get through.  Don’t misunderstand my lengthy drought in reading for exhaustion with her writing.  More than anything, I just wasn’t in the right head space, nor did I devote as much time to reading as I do now.  I go through phases.  All this to say, these stories are not the easiest to digest; they are tormenting and at times confusing.  They resonate because of their raw and intimate understanding of the darker side of the human condition.  My confusion came from trying to understand why July would write such pitiful fictional characters into the world and leave them their, waiting.  The answer? It’s reality.  Life doesn’t tie itself up into perfect bows, most of the time.  July’s writing is the gritty dirt under your toenails and the dried booger you find as you graze your hand under the multi-generational office desk chair that squeaks every time you move.  Now that I’ve left you with this delightful bit of imagery, let’s move on to the novel at hand.

“I had spent years training myself to be my own servant so that when a situation involving extreme wretchedness arose, I would be taken care of.”


The First Bad Man by Miranda July

July’s first full-length novel is the kind of book that makes the confident, self-conscious and the self-conscious, wildly neurotic. I was bewildered and engrossed in this book and in Cheryl’s– our protagonist’s–world, if only because she made me once again question why it is we use the word insane to describe those individuals who are mentally disordered, and the word sane for those who are in their ‘right’ mind.  I was once a barista, and one of my lady barista co-workers and I would talk about the saneinsane topic and spout scenarios to one another wile frothing and stirring.  Any book that makes you question ‘things’ has redeeming qualities.  July reveals nothing but fearlessness in her writing and distinguishes the idea that women cannot write wry and honest material.

The text did feel unpredictable at times, but this too felt like a purposeful act by July to create a character within the tone of the book.  However, I cannot say I enjoyed this aspect of it the book.  Countless narratives have a moment of truth and muddy sadness by the middle of the book, and though July took no restraints in making her characters suffer, it felt as though she herself may have been a bit lost in the structure of the book by mid-way.  Fortunately, the story remained intact and the uncensored nature of her writing races you through the rest of the text.  July eloquently, and without excessive crudity, exposes the rigid nature by which many humans handle matters of sexuality, and the gross dishonesty that’s tied to instinctual behavior.  July also presents a realistic impression of the sexual subconscious as a being that’s wild, unwieldy, fickle and unpredictable.  By the end of this book, I felt as though July was setting up a challenge for me to dig a little deeper into the way I manage my perspectives and realities, and for this, I’m grateful.

“I had accidentally been cruel; this only ever happens at times of great stress and my regret is always tremendous.”

“‘I think I might be a terrible person.’ (he said) – For a split second I believed him–I thought he was about to confess a crime, maybe a murder. Then I realized that we all think we might be terrible people.  But we only reveal this before we ask someone to love us.  It is a kind of undressing.”

“There had been options, before the baby, but none of them had been pursued.  I had not gone to nightclubs and said ‘Tell me everything about yourself’ to strangers.  I had not even gone to the movies by myself.  I had been quiet when there was no reason to be quiet and consistent when consistency didn’t matter.  For the last twenty years I had lived as if I was taking care of a new born baby.”

“But as the sun rose I crested the mountain of my self-pity and remembered I was always going to die at the end of this life anyway.  What did it really matter if I spent it like this–caring for this boy–as opposed to some other way?  I would always be earthbound; he hadn’t robbed me of my ability to fly or live forever.  I appreciated nuns now, not the conscripted kind, but modern women who chose it.  If you were wise enough to know that this life would consist most of letting go of things you wanted, then why not get good at the letting go, rather than the trying to have?”



As for edibles, I chose to make a simple kale dish as a dedication to Cheryl and her system.  I even used the same white plate I served this kale on to eat another dish later, before cleaning it.  We must have a system!  No matter the season, there’s nothing more savory and satisfying to me than wilted greens and I thought there could be no better time to share my recipe with you all than in conjunction with this book.


Wilted Kale for Cheryl


  • 1 large bundle kale of your choice (rinsed, ripped into pieces and massaged by hand; I used purple kale)
  • 1 bulb shallots (thinly sliced; mine worked out to about three ‘cloves’)
  • 3 cloves garlic (thinly sliced)
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp fleur de sel
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes


  1. Heat olive oil over medium flame and toss shallots and garlic gently for 2 minutes  (take care not to burn garlic)
  2. Add kale in handfuls, and using tongs, shift kale around to coat all leaves with oil
  3. Once kale is bright and shiny, begin to add fleur de sel, red pepper flakes, and vinegar and use tongs to mix everything together until kale is bright green or mildly wilted
  4. Turn off heat and enjoy!


  • I like to use my cast iron skillet to make wilted greens because it adds to the flavor and they cook down perfectly
  • Feel free to use whatever salt you have on hand if easier and cut out the spice if you’re not into spicy foods, but be aware that the flavor will not be as bright and tangy




After reading Miranda July in the month of July, I feel happy to know that I’m on target with new releases and with an artist like her.  I hope you all got as much out of this book as I did!  What are your thoughts?  Did you chow down on anything in particular while reading this book?  Share some of your #noshedinabook photos with me and check out what else I’ve been reading this year.  Join me in my next reading selection, Let’s Just Say It Wasn’t Pretty by Diane Keaton.  And remember…bite responsibly!

Healthy Regards,





Edible Inspiration: Week 30

As some of you may have noticed, my website was down for a bit, but now I’m up and running with a new, temporary look, and a brand new look to come in the new year!  Here are a few pics, take a peek.

1)  The crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia) blooms are everywhere with their inflorescence.


2)  This hook.  It helps keep this lovely wooden cleaning brush in its place.


3)  Happy sign in our kitchen corner.


4)  The texture of this quinoa.


5)  When you have a lot of hair and your cooking, tuck it out of the way, nobody likes long hairs in their food. :(  Try a messy chignon! :)  (Mine is especially messy, but you get the point.)


I hope you all have had a wonderful week and a fun weekend!  Let me know if you have any suggestions for blog topics and what you’ve been up to in relation to food.  And remember…bite responsibly!

Healthy Regards,



Kitchen Letters #14: Reclaiming the Liquid Diet


Dear friends,

Some of you may know that I recently had a pretty extensive oral surgery, the extent to which I won’t go into here, but let’s just say it wasn’t pretty.  I have an incurable disease called periodontal disease. For me the risk factor is genetic, meaning despite my most tenacious and stringent efforts to keep a squeaky clean mouth, harmful and diligent bacteria strike back.  Luckily for me, I have a wonderful support system and a fantastic periodontal and dental team.

The reason I mention this here is not to discuss oral hygiene–I’ve covered this before here and here–but because I feel it imperative to chat with you all about how much we take for granted simple actions like chewing, salivating, and digestion (it starts in your mouth).  Anticipating this surgery for months, I knew what kind of diet was on the horizon for me, and by pure accident I planned this surgery at an ideal time of the year; summer or a warm weather month.  Warm weather months are ideal for beginning extensive oral care because your body isn’t anticipating caloric storage and warmth due to declining temperatures in the environment and your body.

Too often, the ‘liquid diet’ is associated with cleansing, fad dieting, and a quick, temporary fix to what could be a larger underlying problem you may have.  I thought I’d turn the direction of this liquid meal conversation in a different direction; maybe it’s just nice to mix it up a bit, give your digestion a rest, and in my case, eat the only thing I could.  I’ve talked before about having comfort foods, eating habits while menstruating, and approaching your food choices with mindfulness, but today I want to talk about how a scary dietary change can actually shake your apple tree up just enough that you may find a few ripe, tasty bites you wouldn’t have found or looked for otherwise.

Here are a few recipes to help guide you through your own possible liquid diet:

Liquid Diet Tips:

  • Be prepared.  Stocking up on what you may need is key.
  • Pick out some recipes ahead of time.  Here are some tips on general meal planning.  This is a great chance to expand your palette, widen your recipe horizons and get some fresh, new ideas.
  • Pay attention to time.  Don’t underestimate the time you may need to prepare a smoothie. Sometimes getting out ingredients and using a new recipe is more time consuming than you’d think.
  • Have a few large jars on hand.  I use Ball mason jars; the lining of the lid is BPA free.
  • Have a nice deep bowl and your favorite spoon around for tasty soups.
  • Try to sneak greens in somewhere.  I like to toss handfuls of greens into smoothies, drink chlorophyll, drink green juices.  Love them, can’t live without them.
  • If you’re in a situation where your immune system is compromised, eat your way to a stronger immune system.

I’ve healed since the surgery and I’m happy to say that despite the necessity to drink only liquid, I’m continuing to partake in lovely liquid noms.  What are some of your favorite recipes for juices, smoothies, teas, and soups?  Have any tips or thoughts? I’d love to hear them in the comments (below) or under the hashtag #kitchenletters and take a look at previous Kitchen Letters.  And remember…bite responsibly!

Healthy and Sunny Regards,




Noshed in a Book: Live or Die & The First Biography of Joan of Arc


I added a surprise second selection for this particular Noshed in a Book post.  Most of the time, before I begin reading a book, I take some time to ponder the title and what it may or may not mean in relationship to the text.  Collections of poetry are no exception to this rule, and, I would have to say, heighten a stronger sense of my analytical self than prose.  Then of course there’s biographical books, which often–not always–follow a restrictive naming; the reader needs to grasp the purpose of the book immediately.  Oddly enough, reading Live or Die by Anne Sexton unfolded a series of poems that revealed the true meaning behind the title, but The First Biography of Joan of Arc–my surprise additional reading for this post–did not deliver on the title.  Titles are important, but maybe this was a lesson for me and us all that you can’t judge a book by its title, and if you do, expect to be surprised and don’t be disappointed if you’re not.  Let’s dive in!


Live or Die by Anne Sexton

A series of poems that are organized chronologically, which for better or worse focus on our delicate relationship with not just death, but life as well.  My approach to poetry is one that is unpracticed because I tend to not read collection after collection, instead spreading out poetry collections over time.  Also, there’s a level of apprehension I have when reading poetry.  Each word is precisely chosen and I often fret about not giving due time to each poem and respecting its pacing and structure.  Anne Sexton’s writing is remarkable and flows and I didn’t once feel overwhelmed by the direction or pacing of her poems.  Just some of the topics Sexton touches on in this series are dreams, womanhood, death of love, death of literal life, mother and daughter confessions, and bones.  Here are a few excerpts that moved me.

 “Awake, I memorized dreams.

Dreams came into the ring

like third string fighters,

each one a bad bet

who might win

because there was no other.”


“I was tired of being a woman,

tired of the spoons and the pots,

tired of my mouth and my breasts,

tired of the cosmetics and the silks.

There were still men who sat at my table,

circled around the bowl I offered up.

The bowl was filled with purple grapes

and the flies hovered in for the scent

and even my father came with his white bone.

But I was tired of the gender of things.”


“Death’s a sad bone; bruised, you’d say,

and yet she waits for me, year after year,

to so delicately undo an old wound,

to empty my breath from its bad prison.”


“If I’m on fire they dance around it

and cook marshmallows.

And if I’m ice

they simply skate on me

in little ballet costumes.”

Additionally, I recommend checking out these particular poems in their entirety:  Mother and Jack and the Rain; Christmas Eve

The First Biography of Joan of Arc by Daniel Rankin and Claire Quintal

A book that is by no means a page turner, but by all accounts clear and concise in its diction, this text outlines the life of Joan of Arc–know as the “Maid”–a heroine of the fifteenth century who led and structured a siege in order to take back France from England during the Hundred Years War.  Only a teenager at the time of her leadership of the French Army–behind King Charles the VII–and at the time of her horrendous death–she was burned alive–Joan of Arc stands as a figure of bravery and as a trailblazing representative of the “YOLO” concept before it was ever a concept.  She lived her life for a purpose and broke through many class and gender barriers to be the figure she was for the people of her time and generations after.  This book, as I stated earlier, did not deliver on its title.  Maybe my expectation was too simplistic, but I wanted a straightforward description of her life up front with factual information pieced in categorically after this.  I feel like I have come to know more details about Joan from other sources over the years, but this book did a great job of outlining sources of materials and chronology.  Here are a few quotes from the texts that may intrigue you.

“You believe, gentlemen that because I am a woman, I do not know how to conceal a secret.  For your information I know every detail you have discussed.  Here I give you my pledge–I WILL NEVER REVEAL PLANS WHICH ARE TO BE KEPT SECRET.”


“The Maid has made use of magic and diabolic cunning.  She is a heretic.”


“For some time past it has been known to all and it is notorious that a woman who insisted on being called Joan the Maid, discarding the garb and vesture of the female sex, an act repugnant and forbidden by all law, a deed contrary to Divine Law and abhorrent to God, put on and wore men’s garments and likewise armed herself as a man.”


“As soon as her armor was made she put it on, went out into the fields of Poitiers with other armed combatants where she handled her lance as well or better than any man there.  She rode spirited chargers, the capricious ones that no one else dared mount without fear.”


“Without the presence of Joan of Arc it seems certain that the courage and stamina of the soldiers marching toward Reims would have dissolved into a speedy disaster.”



Recipe Inspiration

As for edibles, I decided to make a piña collada smoothie.  This all started a few weeks ago, on a Friday evening, in the midst of pizza making.  All of a sudden I started thinking about piña colladas, and how I HAD to have one.  The Mr. and I started to scour the kitchen for all of the basic ingredients and had to improvise.  Let’s just say, after extra handfuls of ice and almond milk it was eventually edible. This culinary experimentation got me thinking about how I wanted to do this the right way, with or without the buzz.  Although it has been noted that Anne Sexton liked Dry Martinis and taking on the town with Sylvia Plath, I can’t help but feel she too would have loved the indulgence of a tropical treat every once in awhile, especially in the summer.  As for The First Biography of Joan of Arc, well, some of you may need something to liven up your day after this dry read and perhaps even have a lively discussion on women’s cultural icons with your gals.  Either way, enjoy the treat!


Piña Collada Smoothie with  Mango (animal-product-free, gluten-free, soy-free)


  • 1 cup coconut milk (from a can)
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 heaping cup fresh or frozen pineapple
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen mango chunks
  • 1/4 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
  • 1/2 -3/4 cup ice cubes
  • 1 full dropper of liquid stevia (or to taste)
  • Cherries(frozen or fresh) and dried coconut for garnish


  1.  Pour liquid ingredients into blender first, then add frozen fruit, vanilla extract, ice cubes and the sweetener
  2. Blend well until creamy
  3. Garnish with cherries and dried coconut
  4. Enjoy in your favorite glass


  • Spike at will with your choice of rum, or if you’re my husband and there’s not rum around, use whiskey (don’t get me started, haha)



Poetry and history have a differing tone that’s unmistakable, but reading the voice of a strong woman followed up by reading about the voice of another strong woman, was both inspiring and empowering.   When you read these books, what tasty treats come to mind and what are some of your favorite Anne Sexton poems or excerpts?  Know any special factoids about Joan of Arc?  I can’t wait to hear from you all.  Share your #noshedinabook pics and thoughts and check out more Noshed in a Book posts.  Join me in my next reading selection, The First Bad Man by Miranda July.  And remember…bite responsibly!

Healthy Regards,






Kitchen Letters #13 : Meal Planning


Dear thoughtful readers,

I told you I would write to you about  meal planning–I know it’s been a while–and I’m here today to do this very thing!  Approaching meal planning has been a task I’ve had to wrangle myself in, to do.  I have weeks where the weekend escapes me and a meal plan is never made. Then there are the weeks when I’m able to sit down and sift my mind through simple ideas for meals that would be easy to approach, are not time-consuming and won’t require excessive meal prep.

Meal Planning Tips:

  • Take inventory, either physically or mentally, of what you have in stock.  I like to take a quick peek into our refrigerator, produce baskets and our cupboards.  When I began meal planning, I would write all the unique produce items in our refrigerator, as those were the items I felt most likely to forget about.
  • Organize your week’s meals by longevity of foodstuffs, schedule for the week, and who’s preparing what–if you’re in a multi-person home.  On that note…
  • Plan meals based around who will be preparing the meal and what their skill level or interest in cooking is.
  • Decide on the number of days you would like to plan.  I decided on just week days, as time is most restrictive on week days for us now.
  • Decide on the meals  you want to plan; breakfast, lunch & dinner.  I decided to just plan dinners, as the evenings can be the most hectic in our home.
  • Consider the time of year.  Most of our meals are seasonally based because of the produce contained in our C.S.A. box.  Consider the produce that is in season and how hot your kitchen might become after the preparation of a certain meal.  In Texas, the Spring arrests the idea of preparing meals that require too much heat.  Creativity comes into play in the Summer when baking veggies and dishes in the oven produces a sense of dread from the heat wave that accompanies the prep and cooking process.
  • If you know you have a busy month coming up, plan.
  • Have realistic and non-judgemental expectations about the types of meals you can prepare.
  • Search for recipes and organize them using an online tool such as pinterest.
  • Know your audience.  Make food that’s appropriate for who you’re cooking for, and your life will be much easier.  Keep in mind food allergies, sensitivities and preferences.
  • Start with what you have.  Most of us have to semi-regularly restock our pantry with our staple items, but try to plan your meals around what you have on a regular basis.
  • Create a base grocery list and adjust as needed.
  • Buy what you need and eat what you buy.  (When I was a little girl, I have a vivid memory of being in Epcot Center at one of the Italian restaurants and I wanted a big plate of spaghetti, far more than I could have possibly handled–I may have channeled The Lady and the Tramp.  My Papa (pawpaw) told me my eyes were bigger than my stomach and he was right.  They had a big box of left-overs that night.)
  • Find a method of keeping track of your planned meals and stick to it. I’m a paper and pen gal, so I just cut up some scrap paper, draw some lines, label the days of the week, and go for it.
  • Find a way to make it fun.  Planning meals should help make your life easier and less stressful, not more.  Don’t put too much pressure on yourself when you first start.

I hope meal planning this summer makes for a happier you, and remember..bite responsibly!


Healthy & Happy Summer Regards,



Edible Inspiration: Week 29

Some of the things that made my week in saturated color. Check it out!

1)On my last liquid-only day, I enjoyed this green pineapple smoothie.


2)These spices helped make a delicious Baingan Bharta dish that turned out quite toothsome.


3)  Cutting up carrots to steam and mash.  Tasty taste.


4)Grateful for this ginger knob this week.  I’m in love with ginger (nothing new there. :p)


5)A beautiful walking path to catch some D.


The wind has picked up and the sun is shinning more regularly with less breaks in the clouds for rain.  Take a walk in the sunshine!  Share some of your #edibleinspiration pics with me and check out more Edible Inspiration.  Sending you all happy, healthy vibes for the weekend, and remember…bite responsibly!

Healthy Regards,