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Flaky Pie Crust

I have had many requests for my special pie crust, so here it is. This recipe is extremely fast and easy – always delicious and reliable! You’ll never roll out another pie crust the old way again!

Place 1 ½ cup all-purpose unbleached flour + 1 ½ teaspoon sugar + ¼ teaspoon salt directly into ungreased pie pan.

Into a glass measuring cup put ½ cup coconut oil and 2 Tablespoons cold milk. Mix with fork until milky.

Pour over flour mix in 9” pie pan, and mix it all together. Press the mix onto the pan until it resembles a regular pie crust. Be sure to leave enough up on the sides to squeeze into a fluted rim. It’s light and flaky. No one ever leaves the edge of this crust on the plate!

As you can see, I’ve substituted coconut oil for canola oil I used in the original recipe. I believe coconut oil is a much healthier oil to use – and it might even enhance the flavor!

If you would like to experiment with this crust, you might look at my post on Cherry Crumb Pie.

A hui hou!

Featured

OUR FOURTH QUADRANT

As older women we have traveled Joseph Campbell’s mythological “Hero’s Journey” many times in various aspects of our lives. Through our first three quadrants of that journey, we accepted challenges, faced “dragons” and at times were pushed to depths of despair. We learned how to manage the trials and temptations of life, and we developed new insights about our lives.

According to Campbell, this fourth quadrant of the journey we have taken is a time of self-realization, of self-actualization. In my dissertation of 1992, I wrote that the “hero of today dares to seek wholeness and fulfillment through finding new pathways to unknown territory.”

That is an excellent description of the Perennial women I interviewed on my physical journey, my road trip to interview older women. I discovered their insights, what they had in common, and what they are doing in the fourth quadrant of their life journey to stay fulfilled.

Now we are ready to rethink what we can or cannot do as we get older, as we engage in this fourth quadrant of life. Now we have emerged, ready to face anything required of us, ready to find or create “new pathways to unknown territory.” Now we are feeling empowered and blessed.

Would you share with us your ideas about exciting and energizing ways we can live this fourth quadrant? What are you doing?

Too Old To Dream?

In the mid-thirties, The Night Is Young, a movie with Nelson Eddy and Irene Dunne, featured the song “When I Grow Too Old To Dream.” I suspect that most of you reading this will remember that song. I was a mere babe in arms at the time, but I know the song from having heard it over the years by various artists, including my parents.

That song floated through my thoughts the other day as I approach my birthday, and I decided Romberg and Hammerstein had those words all wrong!

The textbook out of which I taught a Human Development course at Hawai’i Community College categorizes the “young old” as 65 to 74, the “old old” as 75 to 84 and the “oldest old” as 85 and above. I won’t discuss my calendar age here, although I do admit to being over 65! In terms of the great site Real Age,  my physical age is about 10 years younger than my calendar age. Another fascinating site is Living to 100 where I learned that based on my health and lifestyle, I will live to 104, and with a couple of minor changes, I could increase that to 108.

So do you think I am too old to dream? Are any of us ever too old to dream?

I don’t intend to stop dreaming until they sprinkle my ashes over the ocean. And who knows? Maybe I won’t stop dreaming even after that.

Please! Let us not stop dreaming, just because we think we might be “too old to dream.” The world is full of dreams just waiting for someone with our talents, our openness, our persistence, our love – no matter our age.

Just for fun, here is the front of the old sheet music for the song.

A hui hou!

Sea Turtles

For quite a few years, I lived right on the ocean. I was so close that the salt spray covered everything in my home. But the view was unbeatable. I watched the surfers at both Banyans and Lyman’s Point.

The salt did a lot of damage to my belongings, but I didn’t mind it for the years I lived there. The surf roared and crashed twenty-four hours a day, and I loved it. When I finally left, it took me a while to become accustomed to the silence.

Some days, I watched dolphins play in the little bay outside my deck. Other days, I had the pleasure of the whales on their journey. There was always something going on.

There was one bit of sea life I could depend on every single day – the many honu, or sea turtles that sunned themselves on the rocks. Sometimes there would be as many as eight of them on the lava rocks.

As the tide gradually came in and covered the rocks, they would slip away into the water, then return as the next low tide began. Watching them, I learned the personality of each one.

This big guy is in the water part way. He was funny to watch. As the tide crept up, he would haul himself just a little higher up the rock until he finally couldn’t stay above the water. Reluctantly, he would slip back into the ocean and swim away.

Many times, I had to shout at visitors who tried to touch them. The turtles are protected and don’t react kindly to being teased. So if you are visiting Hawaii, please stay away from the turtles. Take pictures from a distance and go away knowing that you are helping to preserve our natural environment and care for our endangered honu.

A hui hou!

No Labor Day For All

1-machinery

We love Labor Day for giving us that last bit of summer for cookouts, beach trips, one last vacation day, and more. But not everyone gets to take off on Labor Day. You know who you are:

• medical personnel at the hospitals
• pilots taking you on your trips
• clerks in the grocery store for those few items you forgot
• farmers with animals who need care every day
• workers in any store that stays open today
• police who are always on the job
• radio and TV announcers
• and so many more . . .

It is to you who keep our world going even on holidays that I send a big MAHALO today!

A hui hou!
Lucy

My Cookbook Addiction

I confess! I’m addicted to books! But I have read all the books I own and continue to use them all as reference and/or for teaching.

My addiction carries over into cookbooks, and I doubt if there is even one of these books that hasn’t been used for at least one recipe. Like many cooks, I use recipes mostly for guidance to come up with my own variation. My cooking has never been an exact science.

The shelves of cookbooks shown above were in my kitchen/dining area when I lived in Ocean View, and I had another shelf of cookbooks in another bookcase, because there wasn’t room for them all here. I’ve even been known to borrow cookbooks from the library to read!

When I moved onto my boat from a large house in the late 70s, I gave a book box of cookbooks to each of my four children. This is what I have left!

I know I could probably find the same recipes online, but there is something deeply soul-satisfying about sitting down and reading through an old book of recipes that my mother, or grandmother used. Tucked into each book are other recipes given to me by friends, or that I have cut out of a magazine.

Yes, I think you can say I’m addicted!

Now, you may think that with all these recipes at my disposal, I’d be cooking delicious dishes every day. The fact is, I usually have only myself to cook for and if I ate the way I’d like to cook, I’d be as wide as the channel between here and Maui!

So this week, instead of sharing a recipe with you, I thought I’d tell you about my favorite books on these shelves, and even tell you about some of the recipes in them that I love.

Probably the oldest book I have is a little booklet from the Metropolitan Insurance Company; I think I inherited it from my great-grandmother. Several of my books date back to the 30s, and many of what I have date to the 50s, when I was a young woman. My first Christmas as a married woman in 1955, I received the Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook, a three-ring binder that is barely holding together.

I also love my specialty books, like Mme. Bégué’s Recipes of Old New Orleans Creole Cookery, from 1953. You wouldn’t believe how many pages are spattered with oil and tomato paste! One recipe from that book is “Shrimp Creole” and someday I’ll post that because I make it often.

I have quite a few Mexican cookbooks, but my favorite is Elena’s Secrets of Mexican Cooking by Elena Zelayeta, blind, but she kept on cooking. Her “Caserola De Pollo Y Elote” (Chicken and Corn Casserole) is full of green chiles and wonderful!

Farm Journal’s Complete Pie Cookbook is another tattered book on my shelves, also full of messy pages! And Farm Journal’s Country Cookbook probably has most of the comfort foods I make.

The Rodale Cookbook published by the Rodale Press is where I go for breads and other wholesome foods. I have several other of the Rodale books and they are all great.

As I peruse the books, it’s fun to see how many phases and stages of eating I’ve gone through. You will find vegetarian/vegan books, low-fat books, low-carb books, and all sorts of specialized diet books, all of which I still read and sometimes use. Then there are the regional books that show where I’ve lived – Guam, Alaska, Arizona, California, Down East, Deep South, the Orient.

Even though I still buy new cookbooks, I still go back to my old “tried-and-true” standards when I want to make something special for friends. Maybe someday I’ll stop reading my cookbooks like novels (which is what I do!) and actually use them for more cooking.

Now I’m anxious to go find a new recipe to try for you!

A hui hou!

Rollright Stones

Stones – or rocks – have an interesting background. Many myths talk about the petra genetrix, or the Motherstone, that births heroes and saviors. The stony deserts of the Middle East have been called the “Gardens of Allah.”

On a trip through the Cotswold region of England, I was impressed with the mythology (and longevity) of the Rollright Stones. The picture above shows a circle of knights with their king. Read more about them here. They were built by late Stone Age people over 4000 years ago.

One of the Knights close-up
One of the Knights close-up

Stones often represent obstacles or a certain barren quality. Yet those same “stones” can be viewed as a source of our strength and stability. I am reminded of scripture that talks about the stone the builders rejected becoming the cornerstone of something greater. Throughout ancient manuscripts we find that much of what we consider worthless, is actually valuable.

One of my homes in Hawai`i where I lived for about ten years was on an acre of a particular type of lava rock known as a’a, a lumpy, rocky substance that blew out of the depths of our volcano. I had no problem calling my “pile of rocks” (in which very little grows) a “garden.” But there are many nutrients in the seemingly useless lava that somehow can nourish our plants.

Rollright King
Rollright King

One weighty scripture says that if we are kept quiet, if we are not allowed to speak, even the stones will cry out! It is time for us to cry out for basic human rights.

The rocks in my garden were tossed out by Madam Pele,  our Volcano Goddess. I like to think she was demonstrating outrage.

When we feel the least valuable, when we feel our voice is not heard, when others cannot speak for themselves, we must become transformed, reclaim our strengths, and cry out!

A hui hou!

The Singer

Today’s post is a bit of my short fiction.
From time to time, I will post from my
Feral Fables and other sources.
Photo of lava flow taken at Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, Hawai`i Island

The Singer

A primal aurora gives birth to color, from muted blues through brilliant sapphire to a deep azure, until the horizon is thick with cloudless black indigo. The awakening valley is surrounded by rough crags, whispers of creation are heard. Throughout the realm, the gauzy wrap is shoved aside to reveal an unimaginable panorama of fluid rock.

Pele, feral Goddess of the Volcano, pushes her creation process across the distant edge of the world, slithering forward over the solid ground, hot and bloodthirsty, greedy to expand and own a solid empire. Her pleasure sends vast fields of melted ash, smooth swirls of licorice fudge that can only be eaten by titanic warriors and calls it pahoehoe. Her raging and mercurial lunacy ejaculates nuggets from Her bowels, heaps them along the path and names it a’a.

The forlorn music of the harmonica drifts over the wind, telling tales of the legendary yet carnal Goddess. The watcher appears through the mist and haze to witness the birth of new land. This witness drops the harmonica on the promontory, lifts his head to sing, becoming another voice on the wind. The stories are heard by villagers beyond the fresh terrain.

“Let us go to see this virgin affair that has come to pass,” they murmured to each other.

“Yes, we must organize a quest to see the achievement of our savage Goddess,” one said.

“Who will coordinate the preparations for our journey?”

“How shall we research this phenomenon?”

“Who will finance such an enterprise?”

The Singer hears the confused deliberations and weeps for the paucity of their perception.

“No, no!” the Singer calls. “This quest must emerge from your hearts, from your intuitive and individual Self, not from your structures or formal institutions. Let the fire of the Goddess be your guide. Give yourself over to Her for strength and sustenance.”

“But She is a jealous Goddess,” the villagers cry out. “She will destroy us all.”

“She is a Goddess of Love,” the Singer reminds them. “It is She who created you, it is She loved you into being. It is She who loves you enough to make a new land for you so you can produce vineyards and forests.”

“And why does She seem so angry?” a leader asks.

“Love and anger are not opposites,” the Singer says. “If She did not care about you, She would not be angry with your lack of initiative, your abuse of talents, your shortage of foresight. It is Her way of providing a new opportunity to once again belong to Her, to be Her children. Bow down before Her and let go.”

And so it was that the land cooled and began the centuries of decomposition providing fertile fields for their needs. Each morning as the day breaks, the Singer once again calls Her forth with his music. Each evening, the Singer praises Her with song, and She calls it good.

A hui hou!

The Magic of Seven

There is a fairly long and involved treatise written in 1956 on the magic of the number “seven” by George A. Miller, Princeton University Professor of Psychology, Emeritus. If you are of a mind, you can read it here. At the end, he refers to the seven deadly sins, the seven wonders of the world, the seven days of the week, the seven seas, and so much more.

I would not presume to improve on that, even with my own degrees in psychology! But I do know there is something magical about the number seven. So here my own take on it.

It is a super busy time of year for many of us, with the beginning of the school year, fall garden work (yes, even here in Hawai`i), and a balmy breeze that seduces us into staying outside and working longer.

With school lectures to prepare, blogs to write, a house to keep clean, food to cook, laundry to be done, books to read, and papers to read, I never seemed to have time to do the things I love doing, or that constantly call out my name to remind me of a task I haven’t completed. Now that I’m retired from academic life, I still find I have too many chores calling out to be done.

I’ve taken the “Magical Seven” to heart and it is changing my life.

In my personal library are two books that I’ve put off reading, saying I didn’t have time. The first is The Seven Minute Difference: Small Steps to Big Changes by Allyson Lewis. The fly leaf states “You’re just seven minutes away from unlocking your purpose, knowledge and passion!” At some point, I must have been enamored with the title and the thought behind the book because I discovered that I own two copies – neither one had been opened!

The other book is 7 Minutes of Magic: The Ultimate Energy Workout by Lee Holden. The fly leaf here says that Holden “shows you how you can dramatically change your energy and fitness levels by performing two simple 7-minute routines…” Wow!

Somewhere on a blog or in a forum I occasionally read, I heard about the Fly Lady so I checked it out. She talks about setting up 15 minute time slots to clear up the mess in your house (or wherever your mess is located). I tried some of her techniques and they are great. I wanted to shorten it up even more and do it in seven minute bits.

Are you beginning to understand what I’ve been seeking and why??

You can pinch back seven shoots on a plant. You can spend seven minutes sitting in your patio to relax. You can toss out seven pieces of clutter. You can jot down seven people you need to call.

When I feel overwhelmed with magazines, I either go through seven at a time to discard or give away, or I take seven minutes and do however many I can in that time. The list goes on and on.

My time at the computer is long by necessity, but if I take seven minutes to get up and do something more physical every half hour, I seem to accomplish a lot more when I sit back down. There is a little free software program specifically designed to remind you to get up and move. It’s called “Workrave” (only for Windows) and it can be set for whatever amount of time you want. For Mac I use BeFocused (Apple app).

I have always been a musician, but lately I haven’t taken time to sit down and play the piano or pick up the guitar. By limiting myself to seven minutes, I could get back into something that lifts my spirits, and if there’s time, I can spend another seven minutes.

If there is a book that I need to read but I’m resisting, and if I tell myself to only read seven pages or for seven minutes, it doesn’t feel so boring.

I’m sure you can think of many more ways the number seven can work its magic in your life.

By taking all these activities in seven minute intervals or biting off only seven pieces of work, we are left with more time to enjoy those things we don’t want to do in only seven minutes – like eating a delicious meal, watching a good movie, listen to the ocean, have sex  . . . . . . .Sorry, my mind drifted off there for seven minutes!

A hou hou!

Feral Fables

“For centuries, women and men have sought guidance and counsel to help them in processes of change, healing, and transformation.”

That is the first sentence in the introduction to my book, Feral Fables. How many of us have checked the I Ching, or Animal Medicine cards, or the Tarot to see what they have to say to us? Not only is it fun, but it also can be enlightening in some strange and inexplicable way.  

We are spoken to through many avenues. Insights may come like lightning bolts or in a still, small voice. A friend says something that strikes us as relevant to a question we’ve pondered. We hear a conversation that brings sudden understanding to a problem. A dream reveals an answer to a situation. We read a story that becomes more significant each time we read it.

Such is the nature of these fables. This is the sort of book you can have on your cell phone or iPad that you can tuck in your purse or briefcase and so it will be handy at all times. At odd moments, you can pick a fable at random to see what meaning it can bring to your life. Whether you are female or male, youth or elder, there will be something of value in each brief fable.

What is a fable anyway? The dictionary describes it as “a fictitious story meant to teach a moral lesson.” I believe it is more than just a moral lesson. I prefer to say that it shows us “Truth” greater than “truth.” I wrote these to use as I worked with psychology clients who were looking for that Truth in their lives. You can do the same for yourself.

I plan to publish it as hard copy before long, but in the meantime, I suggest that you read it as an e-book. You can get your copy of Feral Fables by clicking on this link.

You can read these fables with the intention of finding clarity on some issue in your life, or maybe the serendipity will surprise you when you read them just for fun. In either case, please let me know your reaction to these wild tales.

Aloha!