Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Blueberry Pancakes

A simple recipe oozing with blueberry joy.
Pliant, sodden blueberries are on the brunch menu-- packing golden ochre brown pancakes with a pop of dark intense color and tart flavor. Silver fork cuts into bursting berry madness, its hot, simmered juices staining plate, and upward the maple syrup drenching slice greets happily smiling mouth.
Blueberries may be small as can be, but they deliver a most tantalizing, unforgettable presence. 
Welcome to Blueberry Pancake Heaven.
The plot twist-- happening more often than not-- is that almond milk runs out.
This little panic upstarts an inner debate.
Yet salvation is only a few steps away. 
Water can be a substitute. It can provide rich, creamy properties that almond, soy, and other alternative dairy free milk bring to pancake batter, especially if the proportions are right. For today's blueberry pancakes, a light airiness, a touch of pleasant sweetness, and crisp texture tasted amazing. I found no great lacking. Sure, I will go on to the store to get that dairy free milk, but rest assured water is not a bad thing.

Blueberry Pancakes Ingredients and Preparation

olive oil
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup water
2 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice 

An ingredient sneak peek.
Set a skillet on medium low temperature and pour in olive oil.
Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt together.
Add in water, coconut oil, and vanilla.

Stir in blueberries and lemon juice. Will fizz a bit. Use 1/4 batter at a time.
Makes eight light, crispy blueberry pancakes.
Maple syrup is the nectar of goddesses.
Lemon ginger tea was the nice accompaniment to brunch.
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Monday, June 20, 2016

An Ode to Strawberries

Yum.
I'm taking the time out to celebrate how delicious plain ole strawberries-- rinsed and sliced-- are to enjoy on Strawberry Full Moon Night.
Years ago I wouldn't be revealing such sentiments. Raised on despicable strawberry hard candies and scrumptious artificial berry mix (which as children we ate the bag), it took a while to appreciate real, true strawberries. As a picky person, the seedy texture wasn't enjoyable. Until now. 
My fondness came late. At least it came.
Strawberries are sweet and tart, plump, a luscious shade of red, and utterly romantic.
We love them dipped in chocolate or topped with a dollop of whipped cream.
Yet the naked strawberry is most endearing-- especially by the bowlful.

Strawberry Moon right behind the house. Lovely sight. My camera couldn't quite correctly capture luminous essence lighting up blue skies.
Eating plentiful fruits and vegetables almost always provide positive inner workings of the body. Strawberries are no exception. According to Organic Facts:
Strawberries improve eye care, brain function, relief from high blood pressure, arthritis, gout, and various cardiovascular diseases. The impressive polyphenolic and antioxidant content of strawberries make them good for improving the immune system, preventing against various types of cancers and for reducing the signs of premature aging.
Yes! All the more reason to consume. The more strawberries the merrier, right? Well, likely not. Moderation is key. 
I'm happy to appreciate nowadays.
If needing a little more than the plain Jane, add strawberries in sweet desserts like this Raspberry & Strawberry Yogurt Smoothie or three ingredient Strawberry Coconut Milk Ice Cream.

Redder than roses, redder than your best lipstick-- the strawberry is shaped like a voluptuous kiss and tastes sweeter than any such affections Prince Charming can deliver.
And it's easy to consume a whole quart of these beauties. Thank you Mother Nature. This was perfect dessert after dinner tonight.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

The "In Solidarity Purple Rain" Smoothie

Lilac colored smoothie honor. Purple is that non-conforming color that seems to resonate with all genders.
I never meant to cause you any sorrows,
I never meant to cause you any pain
I only wanted one time to see you laughing
I only want to see you
Laughing in the purple rain

Purple rain, purple rain.....
        - Prince Roger Nelson

Pride Day is in full swing in Philadelphia today. Celebrations included a parade, a festival, and other activities. 
Yet news of last night's senseless Orlando nightclub massacre spread like a shocking wildfire, blowing treacherous smoke up in cyber sphere, causing gut-wrenching reactions  worldwide. Vitriolic attack on the LGBT community-- inside of their safe place, their refuge-- was downright horrific, unnecessary kind of unspeakable evil. Those who perished will not ever grace their loved ones with joy, happiness, candor, and freedom. They were robbed. Stolen. Taken away.
Now we've formed a united front, at least online. Here are a few Go Fund Me links to support:

Pulse Victims Fund
Pulse Tragedy Community
#PrayForOrlando

If you're present in Orlando now, give blood, volunteer at the hospital, make cards for the victims' families, help in any way possible.
When there are no words left to convey, make a drink, raise glass to endless heavens and think about all of the wonderful, beautiful, special people lost this year-- even the ones you've never ever met.

Four ingredients only.
Purple Rain Smoothie Ingredients and Preparation

1/2 cup frozen dark sweet cherries
5- 6 strawberries
1 Daiya Greek Style Blueberry Yogurt
1 cup almond milk

Blend cherries, strawberries, Daiya Blueberry Yogurt, and almond milk together.


Friday, June 10, 2016

Adventures in Rockland

This lovely spot is right next to the bus stop.
Experiences in Rockland, Maine brought forth a special branded peacefulness. I hadn't expected such warmth from surroundings and the people around them.
Firstly, I came to Rockland for the Hole History: American Donut exhibit opening on National Donut Day and to explore the coastline of the state for a brisk weekend. Breathing room provided lungs refreshing oxygen to repair itself. It was a necessary remedy that a spa day couldn't truly heal.

Small tug boats sitting in the water, unoccupied by human presence, with wind taking up vacancy.

On Friday arrival, after traveling on three buses through late night and early morning, muted gray overcasts took over skies, little ships sat at harbor, and locals waited for the next ferry. The greeting to this unknown place, nonetheless, was a fond one. At the time, it seemed great misfortune that my cell phone service disappeared, for later discovered no AT&T towers nearby. I used a payphone to call a cab., thankful to have quarters on hand.
Glen Cove Inn room, painted in serene blue shades, glass jar of seashells on the mahogany desk, framed crustaceans above the queen sized bed, invited reflections on grey-blue waters.

Wood planked balcony provided another peaceful escape of utmost solitude with plentiful forest scenery to stir the quiet longing.
Heaven.
After settling in and immediate replenishing, I called another cab to attend Assymetrick Arts opening. A large gathered crowd, smiled and laughed aloud over notion of sweet fried subject matter. Plus other galleries were opened. Rockland too celebrated First Fridays. 

Assymmetrick Arts was part one of the two venue art exhibit on doughnuts.
My accepted watercolor "Dear Doughnuts, A Love Letter on Kente Cloth" at Win Wilder Hall atop scrumptious doughnut photography.
You are what you eat? I see myself reflected here as pink frosted doughnuts in the mirror.
Alexis Iammarino (the curator) and I. (photo taken by Alexis's father, Richard)
I had dinner with Alexis's celebratory party at Fog Bar & Cafe. A University of the Arts instructor co-owns the restaurant with his wife and made most of the wood furniture-- natural aesthetic added supreme beauty. He takes the train a few times a week to get to Philadelphia.

From the Fog Bar & Cafe: Confitted Cherry Tomatoes, Eggplant, and Crimini Mushrooms over Polenta & Quinoa Triangles was a most tasty dinner. The triangles were surprisingly crisp outside with firm interior, the eggplant soft and supple, tomatoes adding plump sweetness, and a perfect char on the mushrooms balanced out the whole entire scope of the meal.
Other First Friday Highlights:

Woman ruled the world at Carver Hill Gallery.

MJ Viano Crowe's mixed media collage. MJ was sweet and kind, including offering stay at her home in Belfast, Maine if ever desiring to visit the state again.
MJ Viano Crowe combines assemblage with drawing.
Virginia Fitzgerald's mixed media collages combined fashion couture inside scenic environments.
Virginia Fitzgerald.
Lesia Sochor's miniature zipper series- oil paintings on canvas.
Lesia Sochor continued.
On Saturday morning, I headed over to Farnsworth Art Museum for a special lecture. One of my favorite contemporary painters, famed for her lushly wicked doughnut works, came to speak as a part of the special doughnut centric celebration of both Asymmetrick Arts and Win Wilder Hall. I can not thank Alexis enough. She certainly went above and beyond to make this dessert pastry stand out over the weekend.
Rarely seen Polaroids Emily took of her paintings.
Emily discussed the relationship between her lush, full-bodied doughnut portraiture and concurrent figurative paintings as well as Bruce Ferguson's oxymorons, Joseph Cornell's "empty space of melancholy," and interest in film, cinematography. Her artistic interests range from Caravaggio, Goya, and David to Toulouse-Lautrec, Guston, and De Kooning.

Emily and I. (taken by Alexis)
Farnsworth Art Museum featured elementary students from various schools. Entitled Stories of Maine, students took up ceramics and digital photography. 



The front of Robert Indiana's well known Love sculpture.
Indiana backwards. The interior of the museum has a charming
Close up of the chandelier and spiraled staircase. Unfortunately, the upstairs contemporary galleries were closed. I did love the Andrew Wyeth pieces, especially "Her Room."
Julia's Gallery showcased more of the elementary school children's impressive artwork and poetry.




Good Tern Natural Foods is a small natural grocery with a lot of vegan items-- higher priced likely because it's the only such store on Main St. They offered prepared meals such as beet risotto, couscous salad, hot pasta dishes, and more.
My packaged sandwich.
Sweet potato burger on gluten-free bread for lunch.
I was so pleased to walk off lunch, touring the small neighborhoods, and enjoying the exterior of Edna St. Vincent Millay's former childhood home on Broadway Street. The Rockland Historical Society is working on minor renovation in hopes of opening it up to the public.
I longed to know the insides.
Rusty side view.
A future inn possibility. It's gorgeous!
At Main Street Markets, a lovely grocer/cafe with stringed dried orange slices dangling behind storefront windows, having delicious vegan avocado pasta salad and Maine Root Blueberry Soda (because no one carried any of the legendary fresh Maine blueberries anywhere around) while reading the local newspaper's story on Alexis's show and Emily's lecture.
Rockland was a pleasant escape from the big city everyday.
The town is so small one is bound to not only run into the same cab driver cruising down the neighborhoods, but spot the very folks who attended Saturday night's celebratory dinner. On the walk to Edna's house, I heard someone call my name. Of course, it startled and shocked me. The voice belonged to a kind, local photographer and educator who happened to gardening. 
On Sunday morning, at the bus stop, I stared at out at gray, long lines atop ships breaking up the sky bursting with cumulus clouds. Sights were quiet yet charming. I hadn't pictured myself being a lover of modest sea life or the profound tranquility brought to mind, but brooding sentiments were quite welcoming. I hope to have those stirred feelings blossoming again someday.