I am excited to share on this blog the experiences, thoughts, and musings (and my ardent passion for the Oxford comma) encountered as I travel this part of the path. In this place it is the journey that matters, there is no predefined goal.
I believe we can know joy and contentment every day and it is an act of deep and true love to care for the life and body we have been given during our time on this earth. Maybe one of the ideas here will trigger an idea for you to enhance your own experience. I will share photos and ideas that resonate in some way for me. There is no way for any of us to know how our words are heard by another. We can know that we hear either what we need to hear, if our hearts and minds are open, or we hear what we want to hear if we are closed.
Just like life loves opposites for balance, I have many opposites within me that will be apparent in these pages. God will be present on every page. If you have trouble with that name, use whatever you like best, Universe, Presence, Higher Power, Being. Also evident on my pages is a bit of potty language and a joyful irreverence. I take very seriously the idea that life is supposed to be FUN!
Helping and encouraging YOU to walk in joy and contentment every day is the highest work I can perform. If any ripple I make has resonated for you and inspired you to reach to God, to smile, to take yourself a little less seriously and to fall more deeply in love with your brilliant soul, please do let me know.
“Fear is contagious and so is courage” -Elizabeth Gilbert
I read this in an email from Tami Simon of Sounds True. Like all well-crafted guideposts that point to the one truth, it made me think. We as a society are very thoughtful about the people we surround ourselves with in regards to their disease state. We have PSAs about how to sneeze or cough in a crowd, we use hand sanitizer like modern-day armor and tell others to stay home if we hear they are sick. We do not want to catch the disease and we certainly don’t want someone spreading disease in our community. We recognize how disease and illness inhibit our productivity, impair physical and financial well-being, and just get in the way of our constitutional right to pursue happiness.
Yet are we as thoughtful about the internal state of those around us and the fact that this is also contagious? Have we as a society created a version of leper colonies wherein everyone in this group has the same fears? Those who are afraid of not being enough and so must “look” successful via a big house, expensive car, the mate who meets all the check-list wants? Are our leper colonies filled with others who support our illness to the point we pass the fear-sickness back and forth and strengthen it?
Or do we surround ourselves with those who have the courage to walk their own path thus encouraging others to do the same? Are the people around us supporting each other in finding unique ways to joy and contentment, are they able to truly connect on a heart and soul level, can we be different and still be connected? Do we spread the germ of fearless vulnerability and acceptance in our connections with the people in our community?
As we enter the season of (hopefully) connecting with our family and friends, perhaps we should take a good look at what our group has in common, what is the contagion, and make sure it is something we want to catch.
A friend posted on a social media site his preparation for eggnog using Alton Brown’s AGED eggnog recipe. I was intrigued by the recipe but, not being one who handles dairy well, I decided to make it dairy-free. It has been quite some time since I made eggnog and I didn’t remember there being bourbon in it but Alton has never led me down the wrong path before so away I went to the liquor store to get the tremendous amount of liquor his recipe demands.
As an aside, Alton, you should totally invite Monty and me to your place for a throwdown on eggnog.
Having played with dairy-free eating recently, I decided to try coconut milk in place of the six (6!) cups of various forms of cow milk, each richer and fattier than the last. Alton uses milk, half-and-half, and heavy cream (sooooo, why not just use milk and cream, isn’t that what half-and-half is?) but he must be a mutant to be able to digest that much cow milk at his age. For me, and most humans who are not meant to digest lactose as adults, this is a recipe for disaster, bloating, and other activities not meant for company unless you are the proverbial grandpa booming out, “pull my finger!”
However, I am not willing to sacrifice the thick and rich smoothness to get dairy-free. Truly, if your eggnog is watery and thin as tears, why bother? So I bought just about every can of coconut milk in my local grocer and chilled them. It took a little over 4 cans to get the thick cream that had solidified at the top of the can to the 2 cup level but, lucky me, the coconut milk was on sale! For the remaining 4 cups of milk-analog I used a mix of almond milk and the coconut milk remaining from the cream separation. Everything else is as Alton prescribes and I have to say, this eggnog is just what the doctor ordered.
Below is my adaptation of Alton Brown’s recipe for aged eggnog. Both he and I use raw and unpasteurized egg yolks and we are still standing. The high alcohol content of this beverage pretty much sterilizes everything BUT if you are concerned or have immune system issues, by all means do what is right for you and use pasteurized egg yolks. You can also wash the eggs while in the shell to make sure no chicken poo gets into your eggs.
Chill 5 cans of coconut milk overnight, NOT the light version- this ain’t diet time. After they have chilled, open the top and scrape the thick cream off and place into bowl, repeat with each can until you have 2 Cups of the thick cream to replace the heavy cream. Reserve the remaining milk for the 2 Cups of half-and-half that Alton uses. You can see in the photo below how the cream is thick enough to hold the spatula upright.
In a mixing bowl beat 12 egg yolks, 2 Cups of sugar, and 1 tsp of freshly grated nutmeg (yes, fresh does makes a difference). Beat until the egg mixture is pale and comes off the beater in ribbons like egg noodles. I spilled some sugar trying to get it into the mixing bowl. This is why we can’t have nice things…
In a separate bowl combine 2 Cups almond milk + 2 Cups heavy coconut cream from above and 1 Cup remaining coconut milk from the separation of the cream (but don’t toss the rest just yet because you might need more if the mix is very thick), 1 Cup EACH of Jamaican rum, bourbon, and cognac, plus about ¼ tsp of kosher salt.
Slowly stir in the milk mixture to the egg mixture. If it seems a little too thick, add more of the reserved coconut milk.
Pour into jars and place in refrigerator for 2 weeks or more. You can drink it right away but it does develop over time. I’m not a believer in the age for a year thing but a couple of weeks or a month is great, if you can wait that long. When ready to drink, shake the jar very well to reincorporate any separated coconut milk and cream, pour into desired tankard drinking glass and grate some more fresh nutmeg on the top. Truly, the nutmeg balances the flavors miraculously. Don’t skip the fresh nutmeg.
This recipe makes quite a bit of juice so I recommend taking a scientific attitude and tasting the ‘nog every day or so, just an ounce or two, and see what you think about the change in flavor as it ages. I might also add some vanilla and/or almond extract to make this even more interesting, and probably replace some of the bourbon if planning to drink it right away.
Below is a link to video of the liquor tasting as well as a tasting of the freshly made eggnog. I’ve been handing out tastes to everyone I know so I’m not sure how much is going to actually make it to Christmas. Not a bad problem to have!
Welcome!!! In this place it is the journey, not the destination, that is important.
Curious and seeking. Calm and Enthusiastic.
Life is about opposites and finding balance.
Most of all it is about knowing true love and finding in that love the courage to do what we are led to do on this Earth.
I started this blog to share my journey as a means of encouraging you to breathe deeply, experience the amazing joy that this exact moment provides, and to grow your own joyful and encouraging path.