Thursday, July 28, 2011

Beans Before Beads

Our friend and neighbor Shirlee has had her three grandsons staying with her for about a month. We really like the boys, and will miss them when they go back to Arizona this weekend, so we're having a little going away party for them on Friday night. The only question is, what to feed them? I hear them talk a lot about how much they love meat, and obviously they aren't going to get that here. Still, I want my guests to be well fed and happy. My solution? Trick them!

I'm going to serve Smart Dogs, corn on the cob, Kaleslaw (for the adults, I'll bet), and Sweet Black Beans. The trickiest part is, I'm not going to eat a Smart Dog until they're done, because I want them to think they're "real" hot dogs. I'm pretty sure I can fool them. I once fed Smart Dogs to a friend who used to be a butcher, and he thought he was eating meat! Tee hee! So shhhhhh! Don't tell them what I'm up to. What a wicked girl I am, getting kids to eat healthy food and like it too.

The Sweet Black Beans were inspired by the weird canned pork-n-beans I used to love as a kid. I made a test batch the other day, and mine are way better than the canned version. I hope the kids like them. I like to cook dry beans most of the time, because canned foods have a plastic lining that most often contains BPA. But cooking beans is simple! I sort through them for things that don't belong there, and soak them overnight. Next morning I rinse them well, put them in a pot, covered with cold water, bring to a boil, and let them bubble away for about 5 minutes. Then I pour off that water and start over. This gets a lot of the "gas" out of the beans. 

Now I add some chopped onion and garlic, and salt and pepper to the cooking water. I cook them till they're tender, adding more water as I go if necessary. When they're done, I pour off any extra water. The sauce is basically ketchup (organic, of course!) and maple syrup, with sweet smoked paprika, a splash of tamari if you like, and extra salt and pepper to taste. That's it. The paprika is the secret ingredient that gives the beans that porky flavor. If the kids don't like these, I don't care! I know Rick and I will eat the whole pot! That's it for the beans. Time for beads!

~~~

These fit Troll Bracelets only.
$30 each
T1, T2, T3

These fit Troll Bracelets only.
$30 each
T4, T5, T6


~~~~~~~~~

These fit Pandora and Troll Bracelets.
$30 each
P1, P2, P3

These fit Pandora and Troll Bracelets.
$30 each
P4, P5, P6





Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Little Reminders

I wanted to get up a little extra early this morning, and just left it to the Universe to figure out how to wake me. Sure enough, at 6AM, a little earlier than I'd wanted, I awoke to the sound of our little dog Heidi preparing to, uh, "toss her cookies." You know the sound. It's enough to make a person leap out of bed from a sound sleep, in hopes of diverting the mess away from the carpet. I didn't quite make it, but fortunately Heidi aimed for the flagstone floor this time. I thanked her for that, cleaned up after her, and went for my walk before the sun was even up. Yet another version of "careful what you wish for." I always think I'm careful with that, but apparently, I need to refine my technique. It all worked out, but next time I think I'll just use an alarm clock.
~~~~~~~~~

Now let's have some beads...
These are all CZ flowers, all encased and lined with sterling silver.
Some fit Troll, and some fit Pandora.
Something for everybody!
Enjoy!

If you're not familiar with the ordering process, it's really simple,
and all spelled out for you in the column to the left.
Click on any of the pictures to enlarge.

These fit Troll only -
$30 each
T1, T2, T3

and
T4, T5, T6

~~~
These fit Pandora and Troll -
$30 each
P1, P2, P3

and
P4, P5, P6






Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Just Beads Today

I chattered enough yesterday, so just beads today. Sticking to my "Me Schedule" takes a little determination, and a willingness to say No. It's a word most women I know don't really learn to use properly until after 50. I'm using it liberally and lovingly. Hey Kim, can you, will you...? You get it all the time too, don't you? When I check on what really feels right, not just nice, the response is often, Why no, but thanks for asking! And so, today, I'm saying no to my own inner chatter box. Here are the beads!

$30 each
These fit Troll Bracelets only.
All are beautifully layered and encased for depth and realism, 
with sterling silver-linings and sparking CZ centers in the flowers.

1T, 2T, 3T

4T, 5T, 6T

~~~~~~~~~

$30 each
These fit Pandora and Troll Bracelets.
All are beautifully layered and encased for depth and realism, 
with sterling silver-linings and sparking CZ centers in the flowers.

1P, 2P, 3P

4P, 5P, 6P





Monday, July 25, 2011

Now I'm Really Back

I've been back from my travels for a week now, and it's taken me that long to get my head back in the game. A head cold didn't help. Neither did the fact that I really didn't want to come home. I'm terrible, I know. But part of knowing what we want is also knowing what we don't want. I'm sorting it out and making some changes, which I think is something we all do, on some level, all the time. Lounging in perceived perfection really gets boring pretty quickly. Life is the ultimate Creative Process, so I don't expect, or even want, to "get it right," once and for all. I just want to keep rolling on the river, gently steering my own boat, eager to see what's up ahead.

Right now that means making better use of my time. I don't really need more hours in a day, I just need to use them better. And what that means for me is getting up and getting moving, instead of easing into the day with too many cups of tea, too much sitting around, too much dinking around on the computer. For 20 years I've slowed down my naturally zippy morning pace to mesh with Rick's preference for easing slowly into the day. I always knew I was giving up some part of myself, but that's what we do for people we love, right?

Some days I think, What would I be doing if I were all by myself? Often it's something totally different from what I'm actually doing. Sure, compromise in any relationship is necessary. And sometimes, well, it's just not. I think for parents it's also a habit we get into, putting ourselves in second place for our kids until well into their adulthoods. At some point, if we're smart, we realize we get to stop that. Same with spouses. A solid relationship makes room for everyone to be themselves.

When I woke up this morning, Rick was already up, meditating in the living room with a cup of tea. I asked myself the what-would-I-be-doing question, and instantly answered, I'd get up and go for a walk. So I did. When I got home, I buzzed up a breakfast smoothie for Rick and me, dished some Chia Seed Pudding into little bowls, and we had a quick visit before he left for work. Then I threw in a load of laundry and headed for the studio, hours before I normally get out there. By 11:30 I was done with the hot part of my work day, and still had time for a little hula hooping before I made lunch. I had awesome Kale Slaw and Bean Burgers ready to go by the time Rick got home, and again, we had time to sit outside and eat together, talking about our days so far.

I've designated this afternoon as Computer Time, while Rick does the grocery shopping and starts on a fence repair job he's doing for someone. Once I get my blog and bead posting done, the rest of the afternoon is mine, with time left over for making Zughetti and salad for dinner. I feel like I fell into some kind of expanded universe, where the days are longer, easier, and happier, but all I did was get my butt out of bed and get moving for a change. And the best part is, I'm not taking anything away from Rick, while I'm giving me what I need. In fact, this might even be better for him too. He likes his quiet mornings, and he can have them. My "meditation" is better done walking, so everybody, including my body, will be happier if I make this my new routine.

OK, so it's Computer Time, which in my New Plan is also Bead Time. Monday through Thursday, look for beads here on the blog, sometime after lunch. I'll mail on Friday, unless you need something extra fast. In that case, just ask, and I'll have Rick drop by the post office on his way out in the afternoon.

I'm taking a slightly different approach to the beads too. Since I've found the right size silver tubing to fit Pandora Bracelets, I'll be making some beads for Troll, and some for Pandora until I use up all the smaller Troll-size tubing. Then I'll go to all the Pandora size, which fits both. So now, starting today, when you order beads, be sure to ask for them by number and letter, as in "1T" or "3P", etc. Yay! Everybody gets silver now!

Enough babbling for today. Here are the beads!


$30 each
These fit Troll Bracelets only.
All are beautifully layered and encased for depth and realism, 
with sterling silver-linings and sparking CZ centers in the flowers.

1T, 2T, 3T


4T, 5T

~~~~~~~~~

$30 each
These fit Pandora and Troll Bracelets.
All are beautifully layered and encased for depth and realism, 
with sterling silver-linings and sparking CZ centers in the flowers.

1P, 2P, 3P


4P, 5P

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Five Little Beads

I took a bunch of beads on my trip, to give as gifts along the way. The five I have left are looking for good homes! These are all silver lined, and all fit Troll Bracelets only. Pandora lovers, don't despair! I'll be making beads just for you, very soon!

As usual, please read the ordering info to the left if you're new to the process. Basically, order by number, from left to right, in an email to me at kim@kimmiles.com. If you're first in line, I'll send you a PayPal invoice. If not, there will be more next week. The thrill of the hunt is half the fun!

1, 2, 3, 4, 5
All Sold - Thanks!
$30 each
click the photo to enlarge

Stay tuned for silver-lined Pandora-sized beads! WooHoo!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Thrive


I went to an amazing, possibly life-changing restaurant in Seattle a couple of weeks ago. Thrive is located in the Roosevelt district, at 1026 NE 65th St., an address I think I could be happy to visit every day. As a vegan, I do a lot of cooking at home, and eating well while traveling is tricky. I often have to make compromises, and often find myself face to face with a boring bowl of lettuce. This is not what vegan eating is about. It's about beautiful, fresh, whole foods that nurture body and soul. Sitting down to a meal at Thrive, with my friend Sally, was almost a religious experience. They call themselves "Leaders in human refueling technology" for good reason. Their mission: "to cultivate environments designed to nourish, inspire, and awaken all people to their fullest expression of magnificence." You can't go wrong with that.

After eating some of the best food I've ever had, drinking fresh juices, and catching up with Sally, I practically skipped out of the place, humming with an energetic vitality I'd never felt before. I was hooked. I thought I felt good on a vegan diet, but this opened my eyes to a whole new world - the world of Raw Foods. I hesitate to even use the word raw, because I know some of you will just roll your eyes and back away, imagining a mound of carrot sticks with a side of bark and berries. But not so, my friends! Raw foods are also referred to as Living Foods, meaning they're either literally raw, or heated to low enough temperatures to keep all the nutrients and enzymes alive, which makes them that much better for your body.


I'm intrigued by this. I need to know more. I went back to my daughter's place that night and immediately fired up my computer. I wandered around Thrive's website for a long time, getting more and more excited with everything I read. I started thinking things like, I want to work there. I want to take classes. And I really, really want to go to the 8 Week Immersion. None of this is practical of course, since I live in Taos, but it was a starting place, the seed of an idea, with the potential of Something New that might grow from it. I've spent the last two days looking around for vegan/raw cooking schools, thinking it would be fun to learn some really good tricks, build some confidence, and maybe someday, take some kind of cooking show on the road. I could be a traveling personal chef, or do parties, or teach. Who knows? Endless possibilities.

As smitten as I am with Thrive - I went there 3 times, like some kind of food groupie - I decided to see what other schools and programs I could find. The one that stands out so far is VeganFusion. Mark Reinfeld and Bo Rinaldi have created a beautiful website and community, including classes, cookbooks, free recipes, and retreats. I'm inspired and encouraged, and I so want to go to the 10 Day Immersion in Portland. I can't really afford it right now, but it's very high on my Wish List. Another good alternative would be the online course, but even though it's super affordable, alas, my internet connection is so ridiculously slow I'd never be able to download the videos. So I'll wait a little bit, and order some more cookbooks, and learn what I can in my own kitchen, cooking, eating, sharing. I'm hungry, I'm excited, and I want to bring real food to the world... somehow. Treated properly, even a bowl of lettuce can be a very wonderful thing.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Back... home?

I guess time really does fly when you're having fun. The last 18 days went by so fast my head is spinning. Sort of literally. I caught a cold somewhere the last few days of the trip, probably on the flight from Seattle to Reno, so my head is woozy and stuffy, and the rest of me just wants to lounge around for another day or two. I shun the idea of needing to recover from a vacation, but what can I do? I feel crummy, and maybe I just need a little more time to ease back into being... back. 

You know me, I much prefer to move forward. And travel of any kind, even small travel with family (as opposed to big travel, to say, Ethiopia) always makes me want more. Some people like to go home. I really just want to keep going. Maybe this time it's because I watched my dear family elders shuffle and teeter along, with one of us "young ones" always poised to steady an elbow or point out a dip in the terrain. They didn't see old age sneaking up on them any more than I do. I had my 54th birthday while I was away, and at one year younger than my mother was when she died, I'm feeling a little bit vulnerable. The biggest lesson Mom taught me, she taught from the Other Side. Life is short, honey. Better get on with it.

So here I am, nursing a cold in my cool adobe house, eager to see my friends, happy to be back with Rick, and honing in on what I imagine a "perfect life" would look like. I feel more like a gypsy than ever. My dad asked me what I would do if I could do anything I wanted. The answer came instantly. I'd downsize this life with Rick to a manageable amount of stuff so we could travel. A smaller, more affordable house would make a great base camp, because I also need that now and then. And a smaller RV, that I'd be comfortable driving, just in case, would allow us to keep moving, while still having our smaller version of home along for the ride.

In just under 3 weeks I found myself on 6 cramped, expensive flights, with endless waiting-around time in airports. I got tired of wrinkled clothes pulled from a suitcase, and digging through my bathroom bag for my toothbrush. I'd happily do some more world travel like that, but in this country, give me wheels over wings any day. I still like to take the long way home.

What comes next? Back to work, back to cooking, back to blogging, back to hanging out with Rick and my friends, back to being Mimi to Jacob, all while thinking forward to what we really want to be doing. And I'm pretty sure sitting here in one place until one day we find ourselves shuffling and teetering is not the way we want go. Funny what we can take away from a great trip. The best souvenirs are the ones we carry inside, the memories of good times with people we love, the things we learn about ourselves, the things that make us think. I'm not shuffling or teetering yet (well, maybe after a couple of martinis...), and given the choice, I'll take the wild ride and the long way home.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Greetings From Sunny Seattle

When we lived in Seattle, the 4th of July was often cold and rainy. It was normal to drag out long winter coats, gloves, and blankets to keep us warm enough to watch fireworks. Not this year. It's sunny and gorgeous here today, and has been, except for a bit of gray yesterday, since I got here. Seattle in the sunshine is a glorious place to be.

There's no time, and little point, in blabbing on about everything I'm doing here. Suffice it to say I'm visiting my kids, Rick's family, and my dearest Seattle friend, eating amazingly beautiful and tasty vegan food, taking nice long walks around Greenlake, and enjoying the perfect weather.

Here I am with some gigantic lettuce from Rick's sister's garden. For the rest of the pictures visit my Seattle album on Facebook. Happy festivities to you!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Let's Eat


I'm in the Albuquerque airport as I write this, on my way to Seattle. I don't have a lot of time today, and there's really not much interesting going on here, except maybe the live choir that was singing when I entered the Sunport a little while ago. Pretty cool, but not a total blog's worth.

So today I want to send you to a brand new blog, written by an old high school friend of mine, Paul Graham. It's called Eating Vegan in Vegas, and it's scheduled to go for one year, giving us 365 tasty days of reading, that will surely encourage us to do some healthy, creative, delicious eating.

I'm particularly fond of all things leafy and green, while I suspect Paul eats his dinner so he can have dessert. Rick is sort of "vegan between parties," but I'm working on him. And I met a woman on the shuttle this morning who eats "raw" two meals a day, and "anything she wants", including meat, for dinner. We all find our balance, one way or another, if we pay a little bit of attention to how our bodies talk to us. I think you'll enjoy EVIV no matter what your food preferences, so do check it out!

I'm changing planes in Vegas today, and I'm already wishing I could dash out for a quick meal before flying on to Seattle. The Swimming Rama at Ping Pong sounds just dreamy to me. Another time, another trip. And I'll be keeping track of my favorites as Paul shares his delicious view of Vegas with us.



I'm off! See you in Seattle!