Some days, you’ve just gotta have DONUTS

Posted by Firestorm Weaver-Bladewing on 27th July 2013 in Uncategorized

Unfortunately, if you’ve been trying like heck to keep your diet clean, commercial donuts may be some of the least helpful foods on the planet. No, really. I’m not exaggerating. Between the refined, bromated flour, the partially hydrogenated, GMO-laden fats INSIDE, and the often-rancid, GMO-laden fats they’re fried in — plus the mounds and mounds of refined sugar on and in them… yeah, they’re basically “not-so-healthy-on-a-stick”.

So what’s a body to do when the MIND is craving donuts, and the body is struggling to maintain its health? Well, experiment, of course!!!

With some help from a few recipes that our household didn’t really like, we pulled together this wonderful donut option. The donuts are baked, not fried (you can get the pan here). The ingredients are free of casein, wheat, soy, corn, grains, and refined cane sugar. The donuts are exceptionally tasty, and actually pretty good for you.

48201_10200887047391767_1013754856_oPrimal Baked Donuts

Ingredients:
1/2 cup hazelnut flour (you can use almond flour)
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup coconut sugar (you can substitute honey or maple syrup if you don’t need to watch your glycemic index)
4 eggs (3 eggs if you’re using honey or maple syrup)
2 Tbsp. coconut oil (you can use ghee if you like)
1/2 cup almond, hemp, coconut, or hazelnut milk
1 tsp. lemon juice
coconut-cinnamon sugar for dipping

TIP: On the liquid, if you do dairy, you can sub in half-and-half. I try to mix the sources of my ingredients up so that I don’t lean too heavily on one source for all my ingredients, to avoid over-stimulating an autoimmune reaction. I do fine with dairy, so sometimes, I’ll use half-and-half. If you DO use half-and-half, these donuts will NOT be casein free!!!)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease doughnut pan with ghee or coconut oil.
2. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.
3. In a separate medium bowl, mix together wet ingredients. Pour wet ingredients into dry and combine thoroughly.
4. Spoon batter into greased doughnut pan until wells are 2/3 full.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 13-15 minutes or until nicely browned.
6. Cool 1-2 minutes before carefully removing the donuts from the pan.

Once the donuts are cool, you can dip them in coconut sugar with cinnamon. You can also brush them while they’re hot with honey to make a honey glaze. YUMMM.

Primal Cheesy Tuna “Noodle”

Posted by Firestorm Weaver-Bladewing on 18th June 2013 in BODY

This recipe is SO flexible. The “noodles” can be anything you like. I used hearts of palm for one version, and cauliflower for another. The sauce is creamy and tasty and rich — just like it’s supposed to be.

primaltunacheese

Noodles

1 head of cauliflower or 10 oz frozen cauliflower, cut into bite-sized “macaroni-sized” chunks

OR

1 can Hearts of Palm, sliced into bite-sized pieces

OR

1/2 a spaghetti squash, baked and ‘shredded’ into spaghetti-like strands

OR

1 package of kelp or ‘miracle’ noodles (ONLY the ones -without- soy/tofu)

 

Prepare your noodle base to taste, and set aside

Cheese Sauce

4 oz grass-fed cheddar cheese, shredded (can be cow or goat — whatever works for you)

1/2 cup Almond, Coconut, or Hemp milk (unsweetened/unflavored)

1/2 cup grass-fed raw cream (the heavier the better)

1 oz cream cheese or chevre, cut in 1/4″ chunks (homemade or local grass-fed)

Thickener

1 egg yolk

1 tbsp arrowroot powder

1 tbsp almond/coconut/hemp milk

In a saucepan, warm the almond milk and cream over low heat until you see steam rising. While it warms, in a heat-proof bowl or glass measuring cup, mix the 1 tbsp milk-option, the arrowroot powder, and the egg yolk until well blended. Once your milk has reached the right temperature, “temper” the egg yolk mixture by adding milk a couple of tablespoons at a time to the heat-proof bowl holding your thickener blend. Keep adding warm milk SLOWLY until at least half of the milk mixture from the pan is mixed with your thickener, and then pour the heat-proof bowl/glass measuring cup of milk/thickener back into the rest of the milk in the saucepan. Stir while this comes to a boil and thickens up.

Once it is thick, add the shredded cheddar cheese and cream cheese to the saucepan and stir until the cheese is all melted in.

Put half the cheese sauce in the fridge for another meal (or to make GOOD and HEALTHY mexican cheese dip! — just add drained tomatoes and chili, and some chili powder, if you want it!!!). Add your veggie-of-choice to the cheese, and add your can of tuna, broken up. Add your other favorite add-ins for tuna casserole… mushrooms and roasted red pepper are two of MY favorites!

Mange!

Vegetables for Breakfast? SURE!

Posted by Firestorm Weaver-Bladewing on 13th March 2013 in BODY

Zucchini-Bread Oatmeal

This recipe comes courtesy of my friends at Houston Greenling. Yes, it contains grains, but for those following the Primal path, the occasional friendly encounter with grassy grains like oats and rice may be an interesting variation to your diet.

shreddedzucchini

This recipe is vegan if you replace the butter with coconut oil. (Need a reason to avoid margarine? Here you go!)

  • 2/3 cup old-fashioned oatmeal (Or oat-groats if you want to cook this overnight in the slow cooker!!!)
  • 2 cups water (I replaced this with 2 cups of coconut milk to help balance the glycemic load)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded zucchini or yellow summer squash
  • 1/2 cup raisins or currants
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar, maple syrup, or honey
  • 1/3 cup chopped nuts
  • 2 tbsp grass-fed butter (choose a local source wherever possible!)

TOP OF STOVE

In a small saucepan with a cover, place 2 cups of water, oatmeal, zucchini and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

Add raisins, cinnamon, and sweetener. Reduce heat to simmer, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes, or until it has reached the thickness you prefer.

Stir in nuts and butter. Serve hot (Serves 2-4)

SLOW-COOKER

Combine all ingredients EXCEPT butter and nuts in your slow-cooker. Turn to “LOW”, and cook overnight. In the morning, add nuts and butter, and serve warm.

z-boatmeal

Just a reminder:

For those of you who follow my blog, keep your eyes and ears open for an opportunity to get your hands on the FIRST Omnibus Editions of the Iliiyan Chronicles, due out later this year. I’ll be offering a limited number of signed copies BEFORE it’s offered to the general public, just for the folks following me here on Primordial Aether.

In the meantime, for those of you who just can’t wait, the new, revised version of  Long Walk Home and If A Tree Falls (Book 2) are available at Amazon.com in Kindle format, and will be released on April 1st in Print Format!

…and the Pursuit of Happiness…

Posted by Firestorm Weaver-Bladewing on 11th March 2013 in MIND, SPIRIT, UNIVERSE

“Why would we pursue happiness?”

“Well, because it’s always running away, of course!”

So what? We all have to become ‘happiness stalkers’?

“*MDR*” (Which, by the way, stands for *morte de rier*… or *Laugh to death*

People always think that you’re supposed to be happy -all- the time. I don’t believe that’s true. In fact, I think it may even go deeper than that, into questions of semantics, and a question of how we define “happy”. You see, I think what most people think of when they think of “happy” is actually “bliss”. Peak moments where we are ecstatically connected to the Universe, and to one another, and to the activities of the present moment.

I agree — these are AMAZING moments, and it makes sense to want to hold on to them forever. The thing is, “bliss”, by its very intensity, has to be transient. We would wear our poor little capacitors out if we maintained that level of ecstasy all the time. So Bliss comes in every so often, gives us a kiss on the cheek, makes us blush, and then runs away to find another poor sap’s hopes to raise.

Which brings us to Happiness. Happiness isn’t ecstasy. It still isn’t permanent. NOTHING is permanent (including grief and pain, by the way, but we’ll go there another day, ’cause today is Happiness’s day).

Happiness is a choice we make about how we perceive our world. It is actually a whole lump of things that, when taken together, leave us feeling pretty darned good about our lives and lets us hope for our future. Happiness is that warm kitchen full of homemade comfort food — you can’t live there all the time, but it’s a great place to settle back and let your guard down. Eventually, you’re going to have to get up and muck the stall and feed the chickens and go out and shovel the walk from the Lake Effect snow that is coming down — but for now, you’re warm, safe, there’s someone pleasant to talk to (or not), your tummy is full, and the world is at bay for a little while.

Happiness is finding the best possible aspect of what’s going on around you. Even if you get a dream job, doing something you passionately adore, Happiness is not going to take up permanent residence in your brain.

 

For those of you who follow my blog, keep your eyes and ears open for an opportunity to get your hands on the FIRST Omnibus Editions of the Iliiyan Chronicles, due out later this year. I’ll be offering a limited number of signed copies BEFORE it’s offered to the general public, just for the folks following me here on Primordial Aether.

In the meantime, for those of you who just can’t wait, the new, revised version of  Long Walk Home and If A Tree Falls (Book 2) are available at Amazon.com!

Primal Collard Enchiladas

Posted by Firestorm Weaver-Bladewing on 16th February 2013 in BODY, MANIFESTATION

IMAG0169This recipe is a wonderful way to use a seasonal standard (especially if you live in the South). Winter greens are a staple down here, and this recipe makes good use of local Collard Greens to make a family treat.

WARNING: This recipe is Primal, and DOES contain local, raw-milk dairy!

 

First, you’ll want to make your enchilada sauce. You could use a packaged sauce, but if you’re going to the trouble to make good, wholesome food, it’s not that much more of a stretch to make a good, homemade, grain-free enchilada sauce (most store-bought enchilada sauces are made with corn starch or wheat starch as a thickener… and if you read your label, there are a lot of other multi-syllable chemical additives in most of them, too!).

This is my favorite recipe for RED enchilada sauce:

 

1 cup onions

1/4 cup bacon fat or lard

4-5 cloves garlic, minced

6 cups of crushed tomatoes (I use a food mill)

3 tsp cumin (or to taste — I tend to like a strong cumin flavor, so I’ll usually use 4 tsp)

1-2 tsp salt

up to 3 tbsp of chili powder, depending on how hot you like your enchilada sauce

(optional) 1/2 tsp oregano (I don’t like oregano in mine, but a lot of people consider it a staple for enchilada sauce)

 

Saute your onions until just translucent. Add the garlic and stir until it becomes fragrant, but don’t let it brown. Add the crushed tomatoes, cumin, salt, and chili powder, and allow to cook down until nicely thickened. It’s going to take a while, so be patient. Just let it simmer until it’s ready. I usually make the enchilada sauce a full day ahead of time, and let it rest overnight before making my enchiladas.

 

Another option is to do a traditional Mexican enchilada sauce, using dried red chilis. I haven’t made this version before, but when I do, I’ll share it with folks here.

enchilada sauce

 

Next, you’ll need to prepare your Collards.

This is what collard greens look like when they’re harvested.

i-collardgreens

 

You’ll need to cut away the stems and the big central vein before you cook them. This central vein is very fibrous and gets tough.

Don’t chop your collards — you want the leaves to stay whole for this recipe — well… not quite whole. They’ll be split up the middle and joined at the top, but that’s exactly what we want.

You’ll need to pre-cook the collards. I use about 2 quarts of water for each bunch of collard greens, and simmer them over low heat for an hour or so. You don’t want them mushy. They should hold their shape but be tender when they’re done. Pour them off into a colander and let them cool.

For the cheese, you’ll want a nice Mexican cheese. Personally, we like a mix of Queso Quesadilla and Cotijo (about 2 parts Queso Quesadilla to 1 part Cotijo). Shred the cheese and, if you’re using a mix of cheeses, make sure they’re well blended.

Chop 2 white onions in a small chop

Put a glass baking dish in the oven with a tablespoon of grass-fed ghee, or good quality lard in it. Pop it into your oven (which you are pre-heating to 350 degrees) until the fat melts, then set it on your work-space. You’re going to put your rolled enchiladas in here.

On a cutting board, lay out a collard leaf. Overlap the center piece so that the opening is completely closed. Fill the center line with cheese and onions, and wrap like you’d wrap a burrito. YES, I know that traditional enchiladas are open on the end — trust me, you want to to close up the ends on these. Lay them seam-side down in the glass baking dish.

When you’ve filled the dish, cover with enchilada sauce and remaining cheese and onions. Pop into your 350 degree oven for 45 minutes to an hour. The longer you bake it, the more tender the collard greens will get — so don’t overcook it, or it will be soggy.

IMAG0168

Serve with avocado, sour cream, chopped black olives, chopped cilantro, green onions or green garlic… basically anything you’d normally put on an enchilada.

YUM!

Fabulous Primal Fish and Veggies, Act I – Cauliflower-Salmon Bake

Posted by Firestorm Weaver-Bladewing on 7th February 2013 in BODY

For those purists among you, this recipe is not paleo… it is primal. It contains dairy ingredients. If you are dairy sensitive, you could substitute coconut cream or cashew cream for the dairy cream and cream cheese. There would be a flavor difference, though, as there is, in my opinion, no substitute for a good, homemade cream cheese, Asiago or Peccorino Romano. 

For those who keep kosher or who are lacto-ovo vegetarian, sliced hard-boiled eggs, cashews, or pistachios can be substituted for the fish with excellent results to use this as a main dish — or fish can be eliminated entirely and it can be served as a scrumptious side dish.

 

Ingredients you will need:

  • 1 head of organic cauliflower
  • 1/2 cup good quality stock (chicken is best if you eat land-animal flesh, vegetable or white wine otherwise)
  • 8-10 oz salmon* **
  • ghee (for greasing baking dish)
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz) organic cream cheese
  • 2 cups grated or shredded cheese
  • heavy cream or coconut cream
  • white wine (optional)
  • Seasonings to taste

Tools you will need:

  • Large, heavy saucepan
  • Baking dish
  • Sharp chef’s knife
  • Cutting board
  • Spatula or wooden spoons
  • measuring cups (both dry and wet)
  • Hand blender (you can use a food processor or regular blender if you wish, or even mash the cauliflower by hand if you dont mind a few more lumps)

whole_cauliflower

Begin with a whole, organic cauliflower. Mine happens to be white today, but the golden cauliflower will add a particularly warm, beautiful contrast with the salmon, if you can manage to obtain a fresh one.

Remove the leaves and set aside. Break off the lower side florets, leaving them intact. Once you have about 4 cups of side florets, chop the remainder of the cauliflower into 1/4″ slices (this will be approximate. The key is having none of these smaller pieces thicker than about 1/4″, so they cook faster).

Chiffonade the leaves (Yes, it never occurred to ME to use the leaves either until about 6 months ago, when I had a delicious baked cauliflower served on a bed of its own roasted leaves!– but they’re surprisingly tasty, and add a beautiful touch of green to this casserole!)

Place the cauliflower (but not the leaves) in a large saucepan. Add about 1/2 cup of homemade chicken stock. Make sure your pot is large enough that you can cover the pan — you want the cauliflower to steam, not boil, as much as possible… plus steaming cooks it faster.
Photo on 2-7-13 at 2.45 PM

Bring the stock to a boil and allow the cauliflower to steam for about 10 minutes — this isn’t enough time to cook those larger cauliflower chunks through, but the small ones will be getting tender by this time. Remove the pan from the heat, and separate out the larger chunks, placing them in a glass baking dish that has been ‘greased’ with a nice, organic, grass-fed ghee (ok, you can use coconut oil or butter if you must–but ghee is so much better for this!) Add about 1/2 the stock from the cooking to the baking dish.

Photo on 2-7-13 at 2.50 PM

Return the smaller chunks with the remaining stock to the heat. Simmer for another 10 minutes or so, until the cauliflower is well done and soft.

Photo on 2-7-13 at 2.49 PM

Add 1/4 cup of cream cheese (homemade is best, but a decent organic cream cheese will do in a pinch) to the cauliflower in the pan, and whirr with a hand-blender until smooth. Add heavy cream or coconut cream to thin to the consistency of a thin white sauce (thin bechamel). I thinned this one with a combination of heavy cream and a little white wine.

Add about 2 cups of good quality hard cheese. Gruyere, Asiago, Peccorino Romano, and Parmesan all hold up well in this dish, as does a nice Scottish or Irish cheddar. Stir gently, allowing the cheese to melt.

In the casserole dish, add your cauliflower greens, and 8-10 oz of salmon. You can used canned, smoked salmon, fresh, wild-caught (Pacific) salmon, or a good-quality canned salmon. I strongly recommend Vital Choice for excellence in Marine Stewardship Council Certified sustainable seafood!

*NOTE: Just informationally — canned salmon is RARELY farmed! Farming the fish apparently gives it a ‘mushy’ texture when it is canned, so almost all canned salmon is wild-caught! It is a great buy from an economic and environmental perspective, and is an amazing nutritional boost.

**Also of note — if you ARE using canned salmon, mash it. Remove the larger bones if you must, but keep the small bones and skin in your salmon mash. Why, you ask? Well, it increases the useable nutrients, including calcium, by orders of magnitude. The bones in canned salmon are very soft, so you’re not going to end up choking on a bone or something — they’re virtually non-existent once they’re cooked, and the skin adds vital sources of Omega 3 fats that are sorely lacking in most of the foods that come in cans (not to mention most of the foods you buy in the grocery store that comes in a package at ALL!)

You can also reduce the amount of salmon to about 4 oz, and make this as a side-dish, rather than a main-dish.

IMAG0164

IMAG0165

If you wish, you can add 1 cup of chopped kale or other sturdy winter greens (though if you use your cauliflower greens, you might not need the extra green), or line the casserole with a beautiful sweet spinach during the summer months (though I usually tend to make casseroles a lot more during the winter than during the summer!). Pour the pureed cauliflower/cheese mixture over the top, stir to blend all ingredients thoroughly, and season to taste (the amount of seasoning I use really depends a lot on what I’ve used in the casserole. Depending on the cheeses and whether you used canned fish with salt, it may not need a lot of salt. Pepper is, as always, completely a matter of personal preference.)

Bake in a 375 F oven for 45-60 minutes, depending on how soft you like your cauliflower. Sprinkle the top with a little extra cheese, and return to the oven for 10-15 minutes. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before spooning out!

IMAG0166

MMMMMMM. Delish!

 

More tips: Don’t have salmon? This dish works equally well with sardines, herring, or tuna. (Please source your fish responsibly! We recommend Vital Choice!)

 

Copyright Storm Weaver – 2013

Brutal Honesty

Posted by Firestorm Weaver-Bladewing on 21st December 2012 in MIND, SPIRIT

I’ve noticed a trend, gradually increasing over the past decade to its current level, where, on a daily basis, we have made a virtue out of turning a precious concept like honesty (the capacity to manage one’s own behavior so that one behaves towards others with integrity and fulfills the obligations that one has taken on) into a subtle, horrible, and culturally-sanctioned weapon.

In turn, we have used the anonymity of the internet and ‘distance’ communication tools like Twitter, texting, mass media, bulletin board posting, chat rooms, social connection sites, etc., to violently pound our beliefs into one another, to disgrace each other publically, to humiliate those who believe differently than we do, to make threats, to coerce, to manipulate, and, as a bottom line, to do injury to those who do not share our aesthetic boundaries, our racial categories, our political philosophies, our spiritual tenets, and nearly any other means we can think of to degrade another person for being “not what I am”.

“I was just being HONEST!” is not an excuse to bully, badger, or verbally mistreat another person. One’s spiritual beliefs do not justify mistreating others in the name of ‘saving’ them. There is no excuse, EVER, for being rude and treating another person as if he or she were less than human.

My mother used to tell me “If you can’t say something nice, say nothing at all”. We have forgotten how to be compassionate and considerate in our dealings with one another. Compassion trumps “brutal honesty” every single time.

“When we judge other we leave no room to love them.” Mother Theresa

“We can never judge the lives of others, because each person knows only their own pain and renunciation. It’s one thing to feel that you are on the right path, but it’s another to think that yours is the only path.” – Paulo Coelho

“‘Tis with our judgments as our watches, none
Go just alike, yet each believes his own.”
~Alexander Pope, An Essay on Criticism

“Do not condemn the judgement of another because it differs from your own. You may both be wrong.”~Dandemis

“It is well, when judging a friend, to remember that he is judging you with the same godlike and superior impartiality.”
~Arnold Bennett

“Let the refining and improving of your own life keep you so busy that you have little time to criticize others.” ~H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

“There is so much good in the worst of us,
And so much bad in the best of us,
That it hardly becomes any of us
To talk about the rest of us.” ~Edward Wallace Hoch

“Time will change and even reverse many of your present opinions. Refrain, therefore, awhile from setting yourself up as judge of the highest matters.”
~Plato

“Honesty is not a weapon to be used against others. It is a tool for refining that which is abrasive and does not serve the greater good within ourselves. Therefore, sand away your sharp edges and brittle corners. Soften yourselves with the soothing oils of awareness, hope, and joy, that the compassion within you may glow like the wood of a finely burnished carving.” ~Firestorm Weaver Bladewing

Progress on NaNoWriMo

Posted by Firestorm Weaver-Bladewing on 10th November 2012 in MANIFESTATION, MIND

Things have been going pretty well. About 1/3 of the way into the event, I’m also better than 1/3 of the way into the 50,000 words. I put a couple of chapters up as a preview on my profile on the NaNoWriMo site, if anyone’s interested.

It’s that time of the year again…

Posted by Firestorm Weaver-Bladewing on 6th November 2012 in MANIFESTATION, MIND

… Time to celebrate creativity, beat our heads against the wall in mutual frustration, wake ourselves from a sound sleep with profound ideas, and threaten our Muses into offering up exquisite tidbits of inspiration…. it is

NaNoWriMo 2012!

So that you can see how I”m doing on this year’s fabulous adventure in creating 50,000 or more words in an original writing project over 30 days, I am including a widget. You have permission to nag me on those days when red squares fill the spaces!

Letting Go of a Mentor

Posted by Firestorm Weaver-Bladewing on 26th August 2012 in Uncategorized

Today is a sad day for me. Over the past couple of hours, I’ve realized that I need to begin the search for new examples of excellence in my life.

For several years, there have been two individuals that I’ve followed as mentors. Their ideas and achievements have been inspirational for me. So what changed? Well, I’m not sure, but at some point over the past two days, I realized that both of these individuals attributed their success to being something that not only do I genuinely believe that I could never be — but something that I know that I do not want to be — selfish.

Yes, I’d seen hints of it before, and honestly, I’d read and embraced some portion of the “be protective of one’s talents” and “make sure that you are properly valuing your talents” message-and I still believe that it is important for a creative person to value his or her talents, and to know their worth. Where we parted company, though, came from that realm where my mentors expressed the belief that they should NEVER give anyone else a hand up or help them when they were in a bad place… That each individual should be forced to sink or swim on his or her own merits, with no help from anyone. I am afraid that I just cannot, and will not, believe that to be necessary for success.

I suppose that it depends on how one views success. If one believes that the hoarding of energy, money, time, and production are ‘success’, then perhaps they’re right — any “squandering” of those key tools or productions would then, by force of reality, be “wasted” — as in “unable to provide ME with more of what I consider “success”.

Rather than that perspective, though, my vision of ‘success’ includes supporting others who are seeking to achieve, helping those who are struggling for the basest of necessities, so that, perhaps, they TOO can find some measure of success (with the understanding that for some of these people, having a meal every day is successful, considering their current plight.) My vision of success includes being compassionate, and generous with my time and my energy. It includes knowing my value enough to recognize the good it can do in the world.

To watch individuals whom I have been emulating spout Ayn Rand as if she were sacred, denying the light of their efforts to others whom they deem “unworthy”, and teaching their CHILDREN to be selfish with their talents, lest they “squander” their gifts on people who cannot provide them any benefit — I just can’t see that as being any way to live my life.

So, it is with a bit of sorrow, but with the hope of growing and stretching as the person that I wish to be that I will seek out NEW mentors. Mentors who will teach generosity of spirit, compassion in dealing with one’s fellow residents of the Universe, wisdom in choosing one’s expressions of life, and who have a willingness to offer of themselves and who consider that kind of building of community as their success — THAT is the person that I wish to be.