Posts Tagged: recipe

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,






Only A Recipe Away

As most recipes are planned out with precision, I find it very difficult to EVER truly follow a step-by-step list of directions and ingredients.  Most typically I look at recipes for inspiration, ideas and a tad-bit of direction. That being said, last weekend I made these fresh yummy wraps that I’d like to share with all of you because I didn’t follow a recipe I just gathered a few tips online.  I’d like to share my product and yes, a bit of a directional list.  What’s great about this recipe, if you’d even call it that, is it coincides perfectly with my last post about being ‘spatially challenged’ in the kitchen.

As with most of my ‘recipes’ I am going to simply put estimates of product, but for the most part I will simply list the ingredients I used.  Enjoy!!

Killer Collard Wraps

(for 1 person)

  • 2 collard green leaves (if you don’t have an affinity for collard greens, try using Swiss chard leaves).  Now some recipes you’ll find out there in internet land will instruct you to cut out the leaf stem, but I find this to be wasteful, unnecessary and it creates a messier and much smaller wrap.  Take the stem of the leaf and at a horizontal angle, slice off the excess bulky part of the stem so that you’re left with a flattened stem on the leaf. It should be flat not circular.  Now place the leaves on a flat surface (I used a plate) and stack them in a way where together they make a wider leaf, but the edges of one are exposed.
  • Use any condiment you prefer and spread it over the top layer leaf and somewhat on the underlying leaf. I used a raw almond spread I made, which I’m still perfecting, but I’ll eventually post its recipe.  Some ideas:  humus, zucchini spread/dip, mustard, vegan mayo, nut spreads, sunflower seed spread, avocado spread, pesto.
  • Cucumber – slice thin pieces and then cut into half-moons, place 6 on each side of the wrap bottom, almost as though you’re keeping an inch or more between each row of them.
  • Tomato – again, thin slices and now place them between the two rows of cucumber half-moons
  • 1/2 a ripe avocado – I typically make long vertical slices and place them in a stagard row in the center.
  • 1-2 green onion – at an angle, slice small pieces of green onion including the white area.  Sprinkle the small pieces on top of the tomato and cucumber liberally.
  • Sunflower sprouts (or whatever you prefer) – about a handful; I chose sunflower sprouts because they have a lovely crunch.  Spread these out across the top of everything else you’ve
  • Quinoa – 1/4 a cup or so, but I mostly just sprinkled unseasoned quinoa on top of the vegetables.
  • Tempeh – slice in long medium thick strips and sauté over medium heat in grapeseed oil until golden and moderately crisp.  Place tempeh strips on top of all other layers.
  • Sprinklings!  Try sprinkling:  garlic granules, paprika, cayenne, nutritional yeast (nooch), Himalayan sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, or even a spicy hot sauce.
  • Fin!

Now what you’ll need to do is fold in the vertical end of the wrap where the stems end and then tuck in the horizontal end nearest your body and squish in the wrap contents.  Now fold in the other vertical end and complete the wrap process.  It’s generally like making a burrito, except you’re using green leaves.  In retrospect I should have taken pictures of how I wrapped it.

I hope you enjoy these wraps as much as I do.  I don’t think sticking to the vegetables I used is a must.  I would use whatever you have available and what is freshest at your local market.  Make the wrap your own and share with me different methods you’ve approached with making yummy vegetable wraps.  I would love to hear from you!

Don’t forget to masticate every bite because digestion begins in the mouth.  Crazy right?!  Have a lovely first weekend of spring!  =^_____________^=

And remember…bite responsibly.


Healthy Regards,