Monday, June 26, 2017

Gluten Free Oat Flour Muffins


When I pulled a batch of gluten free oat flour muffins out of the oven over the weekend and saw that they were an immediate delicious hit - meaning my husband ate 3 - I decided that I should share the recipe.  To this particular batch of muffins I added 2 chopped apricots and 4 chopped dates which I happen to have had on hand. 

The recipe for the oat flour muffins is a variation on the basic gluten free blueberry muffins that I posted on this blog several years ago.
In that recipe I used buckwheat flour instead of oat flour.  I've found that buckwheat is a good gluten free substitution for recipes that require whole wheat flour. 
Although both muffin variations are quite tasty, using buckwheat will definitely give you a denser baked good.

Oat flour?  It's pretty simple to make your own.
I usually buy Bobs Red Mill Oats in bulk from Amazon. (gluten free variety)
I put pour a bag full in the food processed and grind it up.  It's then stored in an air tight glass canister with a screw on lid.  The oat flour will last a month or more.
You can use quick cooking oats, or rolled oats.  Rolled oats are denser and require a long cooking time when you prepare them for oatmeal.  They also make a denser oat flour.
Oat flour is a nutritious, delicious alternative for gluten free baked goods. White rice flour in gluten free baked goods lack texture and usually tastes rather bland, although gluten free baking in general has improved greatly over the last few years.



The texture of this oat flour muffin can be a bit crumbly sometimes, but there are ways around that.  If you bake the muffins using foil lined muffin papers it helps quite a bit.  Also don't forget to spray the muffin liners with cooking spray before you fill them.  And finally, allow them to cool down a bit before you try to eat one.  I know, it's hard when they come right out of the oven.

Enjoy!

1 cup oat flour
1/2 cup Yellow Corn Meal
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt (I use sea salt)
1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup canola oil
1 1/4 cup milk


Preheat oven to 400.  Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners or grease muffin tins.
Mix together all ingredients.  Batter will be thin so let the batter sit for a few minutes so it will thicken up.  Then stir in your add ons.  Fill muffin tins 2/3 full - the muffins will rise.
Bake aprox 15 minutes.



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Thursday, April 6, 2017

Energy Follows Thought

"Whatever manifests in your outer world is first
created in your inner world.
The energy that follows thought, and that you are
constantly experiencing in your life, is the result of whatever
resonates within the vibration you set in motion 
with your thoughts.
The world around you is mirroring the world within
    you via your subconscious mind."

Just as these seeds are about to blow away, scattering
to the wind...so are the thoughts and vibrations
you are currently creating. 
We all need to keep that in mind ~

Enjoy your day




The quote was taken from the book 

photo by Diane Fergurson




                     
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Friday, February 3, 2017

Brigid

There were so many great blog posts I read this year written about Imbolic, I decided to forgo my plan to publish one on our blog.  Instead I thought I'd showcase a wonderful book I picked up last year on Brigid, the goddess of spring in Celtic mythology, the goddess whose festival is Imbolic.
The book Brigid, by Courtney Weber, was published in 2015 by Weiser Books, and it really is a wonderful historical exploration of not only the goddess herself, but the Celtic mythology, religion, meditations and practices which surround her.  
This book is very intelligently written and well researched.  
It was honestly a joy to read...and I learned quite a bit.
Anyone with serious interest in Brigid and Celtic history should consider
adding it to their library.
Brigid is available on Amazon.



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Friday, January 27, 2017

2017 Year of the Fire Rooster



Chinese astrology is considered to be one of the world's oldest forms of Astrology.  Unlike the other Moon-school traditions; Tibetan, Vedic and Judaic, which are couched in religion, Chinese astrology is purely secular, a direction shared by Sun-school astrologies (Western and Arabian).

Ming Shu (Circle of Animals), is just one form of Chinese astrology, but it seems to be the one that is most commonly recognized by westerners.  This system is what Sun signs are to Western astrology, meaning, you only have to know the year of your birth to create a general personality profile.  Like all of the world's major astrological traditions however, a person's time, date and place of birth are essential to create an accurate, true birth chart.

2017 is the year of the fire Rooster (chi'), and people born between January 31, 1957 and February 17, 1958 are members of the Fire Rooster Zodiac Sign.

Although there are general behavioral patterns associated with the Rooster (chi') sign, the delineation is further augmented according to which element (earth, metal, fire, water, wood) happens to be in control the year that you are born.  For example, the personality of a fire Rooster is different from that of a wood Rooster etc.  So, just because you are a Rooster (chi') in Chinese astrology does not mean that this is your year.

In general, the Rooster (chi') is very intelligent and honest.  They also possess an excellent memory.
He or she can be quite a showman with much vanity, and possesses remarkable candor.  This person can also place too much emphasis on the trees, instead of the forest so to speak.

The fire Rooster is a highly motivated, single minded person.  They can become almost fanatical when it comes to investigation and details.  This can cause problems with coworkers who do not have the same work ethic or are not very conscientious about their work and work habits.

Although in 2017 fire Roosters will have to work hard and be patient to achieve their goals, they will also experience a surge of productive energy in order to do so.  Expect a lot of mental activity.

2017 is Yin year and will be ruled by the fire element.  The fire element is a boiling, hot force that rises upward.  Although a fire element person is enlightened and possesses much wisdom, they can also have an emotional state that is volatile.  A fire element person possesses natural leadership qualities.  they are also highly motivated and optimistic. 

The color for 2017 is red, although it is not advised to wear things that are red.  Instead, concentrate on colors that complement red or calm red.



*Information for this post was taken from Miller and Brown's "The Complete Astrological Handbook for the Twenty-first Century"; Understanding and Combining the Wisdom of Chinese, Tibetan, Vedic, Arabian, Judaic, and Western Astrology.  Also, Qi Journal.





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Friday, January 20, 2017

Be A Bright Light

 The soul chooses where and went to incarnate.  
Why?  
To learn lessons and 
work through challenging situations so it can evolve.
  It's important to keep that in mind during the upcoming years. 
Remember...you chose to be here AND it's for a reason.
Do your best.
Be kind, learn from your mistakes, and keep going forward.



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Monday, January 2, 2017

The Candle Sculpture

I decided to resurrect my candle sculpture today.  I was putting Christmas decorations away,
went to move the sculpture, and decided that it not
only deserved to be lit up on a more regular basis, but needed 
a little TLC as well.

The candle sculpture has to be at least 15 years old, if not older.
I was in a coffee bar long ago and saw the coolest
candle sculpture perched on the side of the bar.
Wax had dripped down everywhere.  Down the books, down the
side of the bar and on to the floor.  It was totally inspiring!

Over the years when people have seen the candle sculpture in our home,
their responses vary and are often pretty amusing.
The creative/art people will simply say its really cool and 
look at the sculpture as a sculpture...taking mental notes
on how it was structured and balanced.
The more spiritually inclined usually comment 
that it would make a fabulous alter piece...which it definitely would.
 The less creative, more literal crowd always do the same thing.
They say it's pretty cool, then squat down low to
try and read what book titles are.
That kind of diminishes the magic and point of the
piece, in my opinion, but whatever.
I guess that's how some people process art.
Literally.
It you're going to make a candle sculpture...a few tips.
You will want to build in something metal to use as a
base for the candles so the books don't catch on fire.
Also, the type of candles you use really does matter. 
I found that the cheap package of IKEA tapers
 work the best.  The wax isn't great quality,
so the candles burn faster and the wax runs farther then
the more expensive tapers.
Since I'm planning a burn-a-thon to refresh and
replenish some of the dripped wax on the piece,
I also set it on top of a big piece of wood so the wax
won't run all over my table. 

You should definitely try to make one of your own!
The sculpture will take time, finesse and patience but
the results are well worth it.
The magic and enchantment it generates will
definitely warm your heart, expand your
imagination,  lift your spirits during the
log cold winter months!




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Saturday, December 31, 2016

End of the Year

 For the last week plus, the boys and I have been caught up in a blog domain renewal nightmare.  Of course I had no doubt that the confusion was only compounded by Mercury going Retrograde.  I swore to the Universe, over and over, that if I finally got the mess straightened out, I would make sure this blog got back to a more active state...which I think it honestly deserves, especially given the current state of world affairs.  If I couldn't straighten out the mess, then so be it.  This blog has been around since 2009.  It's had a long, productive run.  

Well, we did it.  So instead of this being my last post, it will only be the last one of the year.

I hope everyone has a good new year.  Stay positive and try to be nice to people...even if you are feeling defeated and frustrated.  The world needs your sparkle and shine right now.

Onward and upward!


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Thursday, November 10, 2016

Lift Up Your Heart


Jessica Licciardello's artwork always manages to bring a smile to my lips.
But this morning when I saw her post this particular image...
it definitely gave a much needed lift to my heart.  
To see more of Jessica's work visit her website
at  http://jldelloartwork.com/
 

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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Shine Your Light

It's been a tough day for many people today.
Now, more then ever, we need to remember to send 
light and love and hope out into the world.
Remember who you are and why you're here.
You need to shine now more then ever ~




Thursday, August 25, 2016

Solar Cooking - Cooking With Sunshine

While scrolling through my endless Facebook feed...yes I admit I do it too... every now and then I run across a subject that really peaks my interest.  Earlier this summer when Karen Casey-Smith posted a glorious photo of banana bread she had baked in her solar oven, I knew Solar Cooking was a subject that I definitely wanted to know more about.  Karen was kind enough to write up an article for our blog.  Ohhh this looks so cool.   Thanks Karen!

Solar Cooking - Cooking With Sunshine



Yes! You really can cook with sunshine using a solar oven. Place your food into a dark colored pan, set it in a solar oven outside under clear blue, sunny skies, and come back later to a delicious hot cooked meal! How amazing is that? You can even make a solar oven yourself! Now why would you want to cook outside if you have a perfectly nice oven in your home?

Solar Oven Baked Banana Bread

Benefits of Solar Cooking
  • Solar cooking preserves more of the nutrients in your food because it cooks slower and at lower temperatures.
  • You'll enjoy the improved taste and texture of your food and baked goods. You think you know what your vegetables taste like, but wait until you've had them cooked by the sun!
  • Increase your indoor comfort and reduce energy bills during the warm months of the year by cooking outside instead heating up your home by using your conventional oven.
  • Food doesn't dry out or burn when cooked in a solar oven. You don't need to stir your food while it's cooking.
  • Energy from the sun is free.
  • It saves natural resources.
  • It's portable. You can use your oven in your backyard, camping, at the beach, on a boat, or at a picnic cookout.
  • It's fun!

Make a solar oven, buy one, try one!

A demonstration at the Midwest Renewable Energy Fair was my introduction to solar cooking. Not only did I get to see solar cooking in action, I had my first delicious tastes of solar baked cookies and bread. Solar cooking is fascinating! Since I love to experiment I had to try it for myself. Also, I wanted to see (and taste) my own results! To begin with I made a solar oven from two cardboard boxes, so with only a small investment of time I could find out how interested I was in continuing. There are several types of solar cookers, including panel cookers, box cookers, and parabolic cookers. A quick search online will bring up lots of plans for making your own.
It turned out that I love using solar for cooking, so we eventually bought an early version of the Sport Solar Oven. It's a great oven, durable and very stable. I've been cooking with mine for at least 13 years. We made our own reflector for the oven out of foam board, and covered it with Mylar. To stabilize the reflector in windy conditions I use two bungee cords, one each at the center top and bottom of the reflector that I hook to the rim of the oven. The reflector increases the temperature of the oven significantly. With the reflector this solar oven usually bakes between 250-300°F. In the right conditions you can cook with solar in winter and summer.
Solar Oven Disassembled

Solar Oven Interior View

Solar Oven Assembled with Homemade Reflector

I've had wonderful results baking banana bread. The crust is light and tender,
the bread is divine. I've often baked jerk chicken, rice, vegetables, lots of things! The solar oven is great for one dish meals, baked or roasted meats, grains, beans, breads, desserts, and more. Here are some recipes to get you started.

To use your solar oven with success you need:

  • clear, or mostly clear, blue skies on a sunny day
  • dark colored cookware - the dark color absorbs heat allowing faster cooking, shiny cookware reflects heat
  • maintain safe practices- use pot holders or oven gloves, protect your eyes from glare
  • maintain safe temperatures while cooking
  • oven thermometer
  • solar oven
  • tasty recipe

Improving lives and the health of others

As if that weren't enough great things about solar ovens, there are more, very important benefits. Solar ovens are improving the lives and health of people the world over, especially women and children. Solar cooking is smokeless, and when used, eliminates breathing serious health-damaging smoke from indoor cooking fires. In addition to the health benefits of cooking with free, clean energy, solar ovens can be used for water pasteurization to provide safe clean water. Using solar energy also saves overburdened natural resources. Money that would have been spent on firewood, or charcoal, can be used for food or other necessities. There's a wealth of information at Solar Cookers International, a non-profit organization whose "mission is to spread solar thermal cooking technology to benefit people and environments." They are a wonderful resource for information on solar cooking. Please consider donating if you'd like to support their work.
I hope you're inspired to try solar cooking yourself. You'll get great tasting food with lots of nutrients, cooked with free energy, save resources and money, and help our environment all at the same time! This is a win/win for everyone. It would also be a fun project to do with your family and friends. A project where you get to eat your homework is definitely a plus!
Happy solar cooking!


Prints of Karen's wonderful photography can be found in her shop on Etsy.



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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Zucchini, Kittens and Rabbits

As I was chopping up some zucchini for dinner last night, I realized that summer is finally here.  Zucchini always reminds me of summer.  Both my mother and grandmother grew it in abundance in their gardens.  My mother would cook constantly with the massive amounts that we would harvest. She served it as a vegetable, but also made zucchini bread, which was definitely considered a new, fairly exotic item during those times (at least in the Midwest). I considered zucchini bread to be a real treat because my mother was such a “no sugar” healthy food advocate.  Sugar rarely passed my lips as a child.

My grandma, an immigrant from Italy, would also cook with zucchini when it was in season.  She would make it for literally every meal.  "You eat what is in season and in the garden," she would say.  Sometimes she would use some of her zucchini to work into the antipasto she canned during the summer.  Other than that we ate our fill and gave away bags and bags of it to the neighbors.  I got really tired of eating zucchini at her house.  I still have it memorized…  "Saute a little butter with a little onion, add a fresh sage leaf from the garden, cover, cook on low until it sweats."
Al dente.  Of course, she was Italian.

Right after it rains - if you have been lucky enough to have rain this summer, or not battling the horrible floods - the summer days bring a humid, lush feeling like no other.  Although I'm pretty notorious for disliking the heat immensely, I do definitely respect and appreciate the season.  Yes, zucchini flourishes in the summer.  Everything seems to flourish in the summer.  

This year it seems to be our urban backyard that is flourishing.  Two overly active birdbaths.  A mother rabbit plus her little bunny baby, and this year the biggest surprise of all, a mother cat and her two orange kittens.  Nothing like opening the back door at 6am and finding two orange little balls of fur fast cuddled up in the chair - wide eyed and surprised.  My husband said "at least they're cuter than squirrels (which we also have in abundance).  Maybe they'll even help keep the mice away."  My neighbor says all the activity is due to the “good vibes” radiating out from our backyard.  Other friends suspect the fairies in the rose and herb garden.  I think it's because they all know they are safe and we will not hurt them.

Of course throughout all of this, our two sweet old rescue pugs snore their day away.  The third rescue, Franky, remains on high alert.  So I guess I'll be outside clapping and banging before we let him out.  

Enjoy your July.  Take some time to observe and love your own backyard.  You might be surprised what you find.

 


~ diane fergurson

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Monday, June 20, 2016

Summer Solstice


It is the beginning of summer, the solstice.  
The tilt of the earth leads to much warmer days and longer 
periods of light in the Northern Hemisphere.
We attune our mind, body and spirit to the season's bountiful
qualities and exuberant energy.  Yang energy is 
at it's fullest.

This year there is a rare Summer Solstice full moon to 
accompany the day.  This event hasn't occurred in over
70 years and won't happen again until 2094.
Something truly special indeed!

Enjoy your summer days.  Be healthy and happy.
Relax and be creative.  Take the time to learn something new.
Be thankful for all you have, definitely 
try to stay positive throughout these interesting times. 

Diane Fergurson



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photo:  Greenwood Gardens



Sunday, April 10, 2016

Gem and Mineral Show

It's always such a pleasure to go to the Gem and Mineral Show when it comes to New Jersey each spring.  Although the show has varied over the years, the selection of gemstones, minerals and fossils never fails to delight those who attend. 






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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Be a Weed

I never fail to leave the garden uninspired.  Whether it's with colors, wildlife or Fae.  Today as I trimmed away the dead rose branches and pulled out the weeds that are already sprouting up...the words that keep running through my head were, "Be a Weed".
Yes, be a weed Diane.  
They strong, resilient, and really quite patient to grow among the other more acceptable plants.  Best of all, no matter how many times you pull them out, a weed will just keep coming back.
I see every other inspirational quote known to man immortalized through Facebook posts.  
Maybe mine should be...Be a Weed!  😉

Enjoy your day 

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Happy Spring, Ostara, and Day of Happiness

Today is the first day of the Spring Vernal Equinox.
  It is also the 
and also, this year, the celebration of the pagan and wiccan holiday Ostara.
The name Ostara, is derived from the Anglo-Saxon and Germanic
goddess of fertility, Eostre, or Ostara.
It is the marking of the new season which moves from the darkness of 
winter to the light of spring.
Spring, happiness, Ostara.
Three different celebrations basically advocating the
same thing...to experience a positive rebirth.
I hope yours is wonderful!
Enjoy your day



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Monday, January 11, 2016

Goodbye David Bowie


When I heard this morning that David Bowie had transitioned, my heart hurt.  My heart chakra literally hurt inside my chest because I knew the world had truly lost a soul whose impact 
upon the lives of others, during this lifetime, had been immense.

The intelligent art, music, fashion and style of David Bowie touched the masses in many different ways.  It was because of his ability as an artist to transform himself so strongly through the creative process.  Every time he changed, he found a different set of people to relate to his new being.  

For as much as he was able to brighten and add color into the lives of others, Bowie's personal struggles and pain must have been immense.  A lot of this born out through the 12th house placement in his chart, which you can read more about in this wonderfully written article.
I recently saw an old interview with Bowie by Charlie Rose where he talked about the "violent" and difficult process he always experienced while bringing his painting and art into the world. 
 I think all artists experience this to some extent or another.  Physical birth is violent and painful.
 Creative birth is as well.   The extent of pain and struggle varies from person to person depending on what they are trying to create, their life lessons and their karma during this lifetime.
The creative birth process was something Bowie said he personally did not enjoy doing.  Considering his ability to absorb the culture around him and then transform himself again and again, it must have been an extremely difficult experience for him each time.

All souls who are born into this world leave ripples in their path.  Others produce tidal waves whose reach is far and long lasting.  There were so many facets to this man, people will
write about him forever.


David Bowie, your time here is over.
Thank you for everything.



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 The Chariot, courtesy of Adam Fergurson.

I chose to include this image to be portrayed in this piece because to me it symbolizes the process of transformation, going forward, and bursting into the unknown 
(which I'm sure Bowie is doing right about now).






Friday, December 18, 2015

Enjoy Your Holiday Season


Wherever you are, whatever you do, wherever you go, and whatever you believe
The Mind Body Spirit Odyssey/Marketplace
Wishes you a wonderful end of year Holiday and a great New Year!
We'll be back in 2016
See you then!










Sunday, October 18, 2015

Delores Cannon, Convoluted Universe 5 is Released



There was a wonderful tribute article to Delores Cannon that was posted on her blog.  It's been a year since she's passed.  I hope you will take the time to read it.  The article is a short profile of her life and her work.  She did so much to help open the minds of others.  A true pioneer in every sense of the word.


Ozark Mountain Publishing has just released her book Convoluted Universe 5 which she finished before she died.  I will definitely be reading it soon.  I'll never forget seeing Convoluted Universe 1 at the bookstore years ago.  It practically jumped off the shelf at me.  I could barely put it down once I began to read, and I devoured many, many more of her books after that.  Once you become immersed in her work, I guarantee that you will never view life quite the same...no matter how 'enlightened' or open minded you believe yourself to be.


Here's to you Delores.  Thank you for everything!




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Sunday, October 11, 2015

Autumn Magic



I’ve never known anyone yet who doesn’t suffer a certain restlessness when 
autumn rolls around… We’re all eight years old again and anything is possible.
Sue Grafton



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Artist,Writer, Jewelry Design