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Brussels Sprouts and Hazel

I remember the first time I ever ate a Brussels sprout.  I was in college and my roommate was quite enthusiastic about them; she fixed some frozen ones lightly steamed.  Confidently I speared one with a fork and bit into it.  Shock!  Consternation!  Something logarithmic was happening here—all the flavour of a 10 inch cabbage was in this little 1 inch sphere.

Several years later due to my husband’s appreciation of them, I learned another way to fix them—parboiled and then simmered with butter and shallots.  This was milder but still they were what we call in French “étouffe-Chrétien” (smotherer of Christians).

Lately I have been leaning towards more raw food so I decided to try them uncooked.  I went out in the garden and picked some, mid-afternoon, and prepared them for the evening.  I found them to be so pretty.

I split them in half and then added apple cider vinegar, tamari soy sauce, olive oil, sesame seeds and a little bit of harissa (powdered).

I wasn’t sure how this would turn out.  What a delicious surprise!  They were crisp yet not too hard with a very light taste.  My husband found them similar to artichoke hearts and wondered why we ever cooked them.

Outside, if one looks, there is a lot of beauty even in the winter months.  I have been noticing the hazel which is flowering.  Some are yellow and some are reddish brown.  I don’t know why.

Popping Impatiens Balsamina Seedheads

I hope this isn’t too giggly……………

Beauty and Eyesight

fuchsia and shadows

This is what I glimpsed just now as I was putting my car away in the garage.  I just happened to notice it in the rearview mirror.

Whenever I cross or walk along a body of water, I look to see if I can see any fish.  I never do usually, but last Saturday, I saw something move and looked longer in a way more like zooming in and saw two fish, then four, then five.  I wonder, can fasting raise one’s visual acuity?

Colour on My Plate

Yes, on my plate, not my palette.  Here you can see some ingredients for tonight’s salad:

Nasturtiums, calendula (pot marigold), borage and chives.


First I prepared the lettuce, mixing well with vinaigrette, chopped onion marinated in vinegar, salt and pepper, then I sprinkled the borage whole, the nasturtiums pulled in half and the calendula and chives as individual petals.  It was so pretty and tasty too.


Working in the garden, I am surprised to see how much it does not stay done.  Plants move, disappear, weeds spread and invade.  All that is alive changes, moves, but part of me has trouble accepting that.  It is the same for myself—I can work on becoming good for years and yet at any moment, pop out with something hurtful.  Gotta’ stay on that ‘til the end. 


Here are two excerpts from articles I read recently.  Even science is seeing that we are capable of changing ourselves if we put our mind to it.


“With some practice, you can not only feel happy in the moment but you can also develop that joy as a habitual response. In one discourse, the Buddha simply and profoundly explains how habits are created: “Whatever the practitioner frequently thinks and ponders upon, that will become the inclination of his mind.” You are making either skillful grooves or unpleasant ruts with repetitive habits of thought. Modern neuroscience has corroborated this: Through repetition you strengthen positive neural pathways in the brain. By frequently inclining the mind toward thoughts associated with greater well-being, you begin to shift your habitual thinking. And the shift becomes deeper still when you act on those thoughts and impulses. As you practice being present for moments of joy as they occur and nourish your spirit in healthful ways, you create the conditions for well-being to arise naturally.”

Feel the Joy by James Baraz


“The most convincing scientific progress in psychiatry in the past decade has had little to do with genomics. It is the rigorous, scientific verification that certain forms of psychotherapy are effective. This is perhaps not surprising. One of the major insights in the modern biology of learning and memory is that education, experience, and social interactions affect the brain. When you learn something and then remember it for a long time, it’s because genes are being turned on and off in certain brain cells, leading to the growth of new synaptic contacts between the nerve cells of the brain. Insofar as psychotherapy works and produces stable, learned changes in behavior, it can cause stable anatomical changes in the brain. We are now beginning to measure such changes with brain imaging. If a person with obsessive-compulsive neurosis or depression undergoes psychotherapy—and if the treatment is successful in changing behavior—the treatment will cause a reversal in the biological markers of these disorders.”

A Biology of Mental Disorder by Eric Kandel