Posted in Comedy, Tragedy and What the F...?

Autumn Apple Butter

20140926_143652_resizedAutumn is a delight to the senses: The feel of cool mornings that beg for sweaters and fuzzy slippers; the smell of painted leaves collecting on moist ground, a decay that feeds the forest from its floor; low hanging clouds and grey skies that wrap around the afternoons; and the taste of squashes and apples, ripe from a summer of sun.

One of my favorite autumn rituals over many years past has been baking apples. That has to be one of the all time great smells that can permeate a house. Red delicious, in my opinion, makes the best baking apples. Since this year marks my first autumn in a new town, it seems fitting to forge some new memories. When I heard about making apple butter in a crock-pot, I was eager to try. And the idea of sharing apple butter with my neighbors is equally compelling.

20140928_085208_resizedSo here is my journey, and honestly it turned out pretty well! I carefully chose 14 organic apples of a mixed variety– honey crisp, red delicious, granny smith and galas. As with many recipes that I find, I adapt them to my personal bend, so I did not peel the apples–after all the vitamins in the skin. My 4-quart-crock pot holds about 14 apples, cored and chopped into chunks and it is overflowing. As the apples cook, they reduce, so it’s not like you are going to wind up with 4 quarts of apple butter.

 

12-14 cored and chunked organic apples — don’t bother to peel ‘em
1 cup of organic apple juice (No Sugar Added)
½ tsp. of nutmeg
½ tsp. vanilla
1 heaping tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground cloves

Put everything in the crock-pot and slow cook for 10 hours. After 10 hours, cool things off until you can easily pour the contents into a good blender or a VitaMix.  Blend until smooth and then transfer back into the crock pot.  At this point I suggest that you put the whole pot into the fridge and go to bed. The next morning, put the crock-pot back on and cook again for two to three hours. The darkness and thickness depend upon how long you cook. Leave the lid slightly ajar to avoid splatters. When things are cool enough to touch, ladle the apple butter into 4 oz. jars and screw on the lids. Unlike “canning” that allows you to create a shelf life for your wares, this apple butter should be refrigerated and will keep for up to two weeks in the fridge. Let people know that if you give any away. I came away with ten little jars and enough left over to indulge my husband and myself in a really good taste–something akin to licking the frosting spoon.

Serve on muffins, toast, waffles or pancakes. Share with neighbors and friends so everyone gets to enjoy and you don’t end up being a little piggy.20140929_103116_resized

This is my new autumn ritual and I think it’s a good one! Do you have autumn rituals that you look forward to each year–or ones you would like to instate?  Feel free to share…I’d like to hear them.

Posted in Comedy, Tragedy and What the F...?

Finding Eva

Stories are kept for us in the wind. Let its silky fingers wrap around you, and take you to the place that your heart aches to know, even though you cannot say where that is.

img024“I will not shed one tear for that woman,” my sister said, fists clenched and jaw set. My brother, Tom had been slightly kinder. “I don’t want to do a funeral for her” his voice said over the phone. As for me, I knew exactly who my mother was and I loved the quirky, terribly complex woman. My husband once described her as someone who liked to hear her self talk. And it was true that she had no qualms about steam rolling over anyone else who might try to join in the conversation.

An invented and reinvented woman, she had many sides: One minute she was teaching me to knit and the next she was exalting the finer points of throwing a cocktail party. One of her life roles was the fallen Catholic divorcee and another was the marriage to a Mormon. Cocktail mommy and Mormon mommy. I liked Cocktail mommy the best. The knitting lessons had been short-lived, and though I knew how to knit and pearl, she had lost interest in the lessons before she taught me how to cast off. Endings and how to tie things up would never be my strong suit.

Oh, I knew that she could be mean. We all did. But now that she was gone, I hadn’t realized how piercing her absence would be. “I need something–to say goodbye,” I’d said to Tom over the phone. It wouldn’t be the first time that I had picked up jagged shards of family and tried to glue them together. I never really trusted whether it was love that did that, or just the sheer discomfort that my family was different.

My sister, Patty stayed in Phoenix, alone in her own process. Whether you like a parent or not, there will be some sort of goodbye, even if in the unspoken isolation of a broken heart. For me, the small town of Elbert Colorado beckoned, and I gathered my brother, his daughter and my great-niece to make the journey. It seemed right that three generations would pause for a moment to remember her.

To say that Elbert, Colorado is small town is an understatement. It’s really a town that is receding into the decay and age of history, beautiful in its surroundings and still undiscovered by developers. It was here, on an outcropping of rocks, on the side of a hill, that we commenced with a ceremony of closure. I had decided upon this place– Elbert, Colorado– because of the stories she told me when I was growing up. They were happy stories about getting on her horse Duke and riding east where the horizon is stretched tight across the sky. Stories about crying her eyes out when she lost the cows, and expecting her father to be angry, but he wasn’t, he just said, “come on we’ll go find those cows.” They were the stories of happy and loving times and it was in the place of those stories that I felt her ashes should be scattered.

I printed a copy of the 23rd Psalm from the Internet…the Lord is my Shepard, I shall not want…” and gave it to my niece to read aloud. Her first grandchild, Cathy. My first niece read it clearly and carefully. As the words fell upon the quiet of the moment, I hoped that my mother was finally at peace and that there really was a Shepard to watch over her. Her ashes had been sent to me from Phoenix, where she died. Before coming here today, I removed them from the plastic container with the wrinkled white label upon which someone had typed her name. I transferred them to a piece of fabric that I tied with ribbon and placed in a small basket. While Cathy continued to read, I carefully undid the ribbon, exposing the ashes. A light breeze picked up the finer ash and took it; my hands poured the rest onto the ground in a little path that quickly faded into the hill becoming part of it. Almost instantly, I was unable to differentiate what was terrain and what was ash. Some blew back onto my suede boots. Looks like I would be walking with her a bit longer.

Having been to a few memorials and funerals, I wanted my mother to have the same kind of card that those services provided, so I wrote a poem and printed it on card stock. A friend helped me put a picture of her on it. I chose a picture of when she was in her late twenties–a young mother, with big eyes and a sweet looking face; a face I remembered as a little girl. The guy behind the counter at Fed/Ex showed me how to print it out in shades of blue– blue being her favorite color. I gave the card to each member if our assembled band. It read:

 Cleopha Marie Tylenda Black Taylor:

We do not speak in glowing terms,

nor whisper in shadowed despair.

There are no answers or clear resolve

for a life so fettered by complexities.

Because you passed to us

what the long line of ancient

women passed on to you:

Some gifts bright and shining

that glisten now,

against the craggy rocks

of darker canyons.

In the song of goodbye

the sobering refrain

that underscores our own mortality.

A wandering chorus that sings

life is precious, enters our hearts

The potential of letting go

is that the gift remains

And just as you have become free

so have we.

May all of us know peace and freedom.

May all of “us” know love.

But I had made a typo and left out the word “us,” so that the last line of the card read “May all of know love.”   The “us” was lost.

We stood in our places, ashes scattered, alone in our thoughts. After a time, we walked toward each other, embracing in a group hug, and just as quickly broke apart as if startled by the spontaneous display. Then we walked down the hill and to the car.

“There is a church on that road where we drove into town,” I said. “Our great grandparents helped to build it.”

“How do you know that?” my brother asked. “I know because mom told me she visited it a few years ago and that it was an antique store now.”

We took the right hand turn driving up to the humble white building with a steeple. It seemed to be waiting for us in the autumn sun. Like she had said, it was an antique store now, but it was closed. So we walked around it and peered into windows and I tried to imagine my mother sitting on a hard wooden pew with her sisters, in between parents who disagreed about church. My grandmother Julia, a good Catholic woman with the fear of God in her heart– my grandfather Paul, who would rather be at the bar drinking beer and reading the funny papers until church was over. I’d been told that he had once lost his driver’s license for drunk driving, so he drove his tractor to the bar instead. I admired his humor and his resourcefulness. Yes, we were a family of rogues.

My great-niece Nancy Ann took pictures of the church. She took pictures of my brother and I sitting on its steps. As with every photograph that I have of my brother and I, I am leaning on him–some unspoken bond where I know that I can always lean on him, and that he is there, sitting up straight allowing me to do so, catching the weight of my body on his shoulders.

It was a beautiful day and I was glad that we did this: made the drive miles south of Denver and then east to where the suburbs give way to ranchettes, and those give way to farms and finally in driving up Kiowa Creek Road into the town of Elbert where it looks like not much had changed in the last 100 years. A small two-block square holds old houses without the manicured lawns of Denver. Railroad tracks run through the place and I sensed that the whistle of the engine and rumble of the train approaching awakened a desire in my mother’s heart to escape into something more. Isn’t that what young people do? We fight like crazy to escape and often in the end, we long just as much to return to that from which we ran.

The trees along Kiowa Creek donned a pallet of yellow and orange and the sky was infinity blue, betraying the coolness in the air. We chose the place where we scattered her ashes together; driving along the country road pointing out places to one another until we saw the outcropping of rocks on the hill that over looked the valley– that over looked where she rode her horse Duke and where she lost the cows. We were all in agreement that this was it.

We brought her home and I felt good about that, so now it was time for us to go home. I was grateful that my little family would do this with me and satisfied that my mother got a good send off. As we drove out-of-town chatting about the glorious weather and how perfect it all was, we saw the sign that said “Elbert Cemetery.” Without even thinking, I turned sharply into its gates and began driving up a road, as if I knew where I was going. “Our great grandparents are buried here,” I said turning to my brother. I stopped the car in front of a board that posted lists of typed names protected by glass from the elements. My brother and I got out of the car. He put his nose close to the board and with eyes squinting, placed a finger upon the list, running down the names of occupants and their location. But before he got too far my niece called out, “Here! They’re here.” Without knowing it we had driven right up to the Baginski plot.

One large granite stone, grey and pinkish in color stood slightly tipped in the dry, golden grasses of fall. John P. 1855 – 1932 and Eva A. 1857-1928, and then the larger name Baginski carved into the rock. I ran my hand over the name, reaching out to them somehow, these ancestors that none of us knew. We were all a little excited to be standing with them on this hallowed ground of what has passed. For my great-niece, these were her great, great, great grandparents.

A smaller, white headstone stood prominently in front of their larger one. It was bordered by beads carved into the stone that represented a rosary, and at the top of the stone was a heart. There were three names engraved– John Baginski, aged 21 years. Paul Baginiski aged 6 moths and Peter Baginiski, aged 6 years. Just one stone and three people. Were these children whose remains were elsewhere? Had John died in the first world war and been left on foreign grounds? Had he met with an accident or some sort of illness? He would have been the first son, named after the father. And the children, where were they? I knew that John and Eva had come from Poland; had traveled across eastern Europe to get to the ship that brought them here; had landed before there was an Ellis Island and then come across a huge swath of county looking to make a life. Were these children who had succumbed to the harshness of the journey and were buried along the way? I cannot imagine what it is for a mother to lose children–to lose what has grown inside of her and been nurtured by her promise and hope. Here on a hill, where the grasses are bent back by the Colorado winds was a monument to Eva and John’s grief, a marker of the secrets, written as three names on a stone.

Eva, my great-grandmother, it’s good to meet you. I circled the gravestone, touching it again and again, running my hands over the smooth and rough parts, the carved letters. There was a picture somewhere of my grandmother Julia as a young woman, sitting for a portrait among pine trees, her parents and her siblings around her. I cannot remember what Eva looked like. I looked for that photograph for a year after my mother died and never found the faces that are a part of who I am.

I learned something of Eva that day. I learned that she was strong and that she had suffered. I learned that it was tenderness for her children that had asked that a heart be engraved upon the stone of her lost children. And I learned, or rather just knew in my bones that she had the same sense of wild that was in me; that pull to move westward, a spirit made for adventure.

My brother came to stand beside me. He put his arm around me and said “Thanks. I thought I was doing this for you, but didn’t realize how much I needed it for me.” The memorial for my mother was over and though there were no relatives or friends that invited us in for tea and a spread of cold cuts, I felt like my great grandparents had invited us, even welcomed us, to the top of the hill whipped by the wind that now held their stories. They offered comfort and consolation from our loss. I felt some pride in the legacy of these strong and hardy people with strong and strong and hardy dreams. And I knew that the ashes and dust of my mother would find a way here, and settle into the comfort and beauty of these ancestral arms. Maybe the “us” had not been lost after all.

 

Posted in Comedy, Tragedy and What the F...?

Cups in the Morning Sun

20140909_084202_resizedSuzie Cabbage has a crafts room– a gorgeous, inviting room with sleek white cabinets and dozens of drawers, filled with materials for creating. Each drawer and cubby holds things like fabric and beads, colored pencils, paints and tablets, embroidery floss and ribbon. Opening a cabinet or a drawer, these things rise and swell, overflowing into your hands.

There are several places to work, and the room is conducive to play and creation for a few people as opposed to solitary endeavor. In short, it is an enviable room that you can’t help but think about somehow replicating in your own home; a place that you could retreat with close friends to make things with your hands–some ancient longing for women gathering in a circle.

I am not an artist. My expression is with words. I am comfortable with laptops and spiral notebooks. I devour Natalie Goldberg books and sit for long period of times, reflecting upon the stories that live in my heart and the stories that I want to tell. So when Suzie Cabbage said to me one evening, as we were relaxing with our tea, “let’s make art,” I felt a rush of excitement and dread. I used to sign up for art classes as electives when I was in college and I was always the worst one in the class.

Suzie Cabbage, (not her real name, but that story is for a different blog) pulled out fabric with glue on the back that allowed it to be fused to another piece of fabric with an iron. She gave me scissors and pencils and beads. With a little direction, and a mound of gentle encouragement, I was transported back to a time when boxes of Crayons were jewels, and upside down petunia blossoms were skirts for the ball. Horses could fly and mud pies were a fine meal fit for princesses. Then, I grew up and traded barefoot for high heels and muddy hands for manicured nails. The magic things faded and the latter things became the accessories of a more stressful life.

Some long ago remembering in me kicked in and it was as if I knew exactly what I was doing. I wanted teacups. Not the delicate kind of teacups from your grandmother’s china, the kind of tea cups that I had at home. Cups that were really mugs, like the mugs that held morning tea for my husband and I as we sat on the deck looking over the Grizzly Peaks and planning our day. Cups that were the symbol of a morning ritual: A little caffeine. A teaspoon of honey. Sun on the face. Picking up acorns and twigs that fall from the Oak tree that watches over our house and holds stories for me in its leaves. I wanted to make cups in the morning sun.

Into the evening, I cut and ironed and stitched. And when I returned home the following day, I carefully removed the small square of art from my bag and proudly showed my husband what I had made. I installed the piece ceremoniously in my laundry room.

The form of creative expression that I take both joyfully and seriously is writing. I will probably never have a crafts room in my home, but I am so grateful to have a friend who does.  I am a little girl again, who can’t wait to get to her friend’s house to play. Suzie Cabbage and her extraordinary, excellent, most fun in the world crafts room awakens in me that part of myself that knows that horses can fly.

Posted in Comedy, Tragedy and What the F...?

The Story I Know By Heart

 

(This essay is dedicated to my curious nieces, who are also a part of the story I know by heart…)

Window to the HeavensIt does not matter how many books I read about them, I will never be able to write or convey their significance in my life in any other way, than to tell the story, as I know it, by heart. Sometimes I wish that I could lay out their history, their “her-story” really, in a way that presented all the hard facts and their respective academic analysis, but I am not a scholar and the story was not given to me in that way. It seeped into me over time and became a part of who I am. Their story speaks to an ancient longing, as if I suddenly met women who were a part of my spiritual DNA. All stories change as we hear them and tell them, and I am not so much interested in the “facts,” but rather the “effects” that a story has on the heart. To this end, apologies now for historical misspellings, dates or any mix up of centuries and a rather large “nonetheless,” that the story in and of itself is what compels this heart and this telling:

The Beguines existed for less than a hundred years before they were either burned at the stake or absorbed into the convents of Europe, but they changed the face of Christianity on an entire continent and planted the seeds of what would later become the Protestant Reformation. They were the source of inspiration for mystics that followed years after they were all gone. Those included the likes of Julian of Norwich and Meister Eckhart among others. They revived within their communities a sacred simplicity that is the core of a spiritual life.

In the 11th Century, there was in Europe, what was known as the Apostolic Movement, meaning that people would go out into the countryside and live life as they imagined the Apostles of Christ would. When I say, “people” what I really mean is men, because such choices were not available or allowed to women in that time. If you were a woman, your predestined role was to be a nun, entering the cloistered life, bereft of any community outreach at all; or you were to be a wife. There was no in between. That is, until the Beguines, who are sometimes referred to as the “Sisters Between.”

The origin of the name the Beguines remains a mystery. I have read different things about what the name might mean. What I imagine for myself is that the name Beguine refers to a type of bonnet that these women wore, a symbol of their sisterhood that would allow them to be recognizable to their community.

It was during this Apostolic time that a woman named Mary d’Oignies began going to the Leper colonies in the areas around Belgium and France. She would minister to the lepers both physically and in spirit. She was inspired by the Christ directive of “help the least among you.” I’ve always thought that particular directive was less of an edict and more of a clue to what is required of us to fully embody the spiritual life.iStock_000011274077Small

It is here that I must interject that a woman ministering would be forbidden to preach “the Word.” Many churches today have adopted that unfortunate directive as put forth by Thomas Aquinas who pretty much pounded the last nail into the coffin of feminine second class citizenry by writing what would later become the accepted catechism of the Catholic Church– that women were not smart enough to preach the Word and more so were seductresses, impure and untrustworthy. However, women were allowed share their prophesies and share dreams and visions. As a result, in this service to helplessness, to the least among us, Mary began to develop a very esoteric evangelism. To share her prophesies and vision would have required deep contemplation and a mystical bend.

There are few sayings actually attributed to the Christ. They are quite simple. What they boil down to is that we love one another; help the poor; that to show our love for God we should love our fellow humans; we are directed to help the least among us; and we are asked to keep our prayers close and private and pray in the silence of our sacred hearts rather than try to show off; and we are told to visit those in prison. It seems to me that this is the essence of a spiritual life, and everything else is just politics.

Other women were drawn to this life of service and ministering and joined Mary in the leper colonies. They began to live in small groups, supporting themselves by the hard labor of road building and roofing. Thus they created a spiritual independence, coupled with a financial independence not usually available to women at this time in history. It was here that they became the “sisters between,” neither married nor in a convent but obviously doing the work of Spirit. This caused great alarm to the Church, keeping in mind that in the 11th century, the Catholic Church was the only game in town.

The powers that be decided that they should send someone to investigate Mary and the girls. They sent a young priest from the University of Paris to see what was going on and to report back. Jacques de Vitry visited Mary and I think that he fell in love with her. I don’t mean a romantic kind of love, but rather a kind of love that compelled him to see with new eyes. The church had become cold and dogmatic. Its buildings, rather than being testament to the simple life of a loving Christ were garish monoliths of elitism that fostered exclusion. The mass was said in Latin. The writings were in Latin and Latin was a language for the erudite and not the commoners who came to worship. The church had become political and judgmental, rather than a refuge of compassion, sympathetic to the human condition. And finally the church was fraught with fear and superstition that did not reflect that essence of a loving Christianity.

So Jacques fell in love with this simple woman whose faith was fluid, expansive and inclusive of all. Mary, along with her Beguine sisters loved the helpless and the poor. Her faith was a quiet one of humble demonstration. She shared her prophecies and dreams of God’s love with those she helped. And Jacque, filled with a renewed and inspired love of the Christ in his own heart was compelled to go to Rome and tell the Pope that the Beguines were pure and chaste women who deserved protection. And so it was that the Beguines came to know Papal protection for nearly a hundred years. Such protection would mean that they could continue to live in small colonies and serve the communities that had grown to value them.

And they did something more. The Beguines wrote. As I said, everything of Spirit was at that time written in Latin, so unless you had an expanded education, which few did, the Latin words of Spirit were not for you. I should note that the Beguines were not the first women to write about spirit in the vernacular of the day. They were the first people in Western history to write about Spirit in the vernacular of the day.iStock_000039709350Small

This is the foundation of the Beguine story as I learned it. What speaks to my heart is that upon discovering this group of women, the longing to find the Divine Feminine was validated in me. Here was a group of women who shared the very best of their qualities by being in service and by embracing a contemplative life that took them deep into their dreams and visions. They were mystics, understanding that we are not separate from God, but wedded in a mystical union which informed their path. Not being able to preach the Word turned out to be a gift that led to a mystical marriage forged in contemplation. Their independence both financially and spiritually is what I have sought in my life.

I include the financial piece in this because you do not have to look very hard to see that we live in a culture where if a woman does not have her own money and means to support herself, she can become a prisoner to abusive relationships; a prisoner to a poverty of body, mind and Spirit. Financial independence is often a ticket out of a relationship dominated by control in which a woman is used and abused. Financial independence can be a safety net for a woman and her children. It is empowering in a culture that requires money to survive.

The story of the Beguines mirrors my quest and longing to find the feminine model in the spiritual traditions in which I was raised. These women who lived centuries before me have taken up residence in my heart. I wonder and I imagine: did they close their eyes and breathe deeply into prayers of connection and gratitude? Did they feel a sense of strength in their financial independence, which afforded them a life of “in between?” You need not be married to a man to validate your worth. Neither do you need a male-based religion to lead you to Spirit, as Spirit dwells in the heart of each of us. I am reminded of these Beguine musings, daily.

As women continue to find their voice and stand firmly in the light of their truth, we see more women as spiritual leaders and directors. We see women who have awakened to an androgyny of God as opposed to a male father figure of God, and that is inclusive in ways that expand us all. Faith that becomes concretized cannot evolve, and worse, breeds extremism. We are meant to be evolving beings, willing to embrace a change in our vision in order to know our Divine connection. The sickness in many churches today is due to a paralyzing rigidity that keeps people small and exclusive. The Beguines knew, and I know in the depths of my heart, that God is larger than one can ever perceive. God is everywhere and in everything, neither male nor female.

As the Papal protection of the Beguines waned with a new Pope in power, the women were judged and killed by the church. Their writings were burned. Some of the documents were preserved by priests who were willing to hide them, preserving them for later discovery. It is important to note that these priests took great risk in hiding the writings of the Beguines, seeing both the Beguines and their contributions with spiritual equanimity. Now, the Catholic Church has reclaimed the Beguines as their own, though with the caution that women must remain in their place.

Here is what speaks to me about the Beguines: to embrace the spiritual life and be willing to stand in the light of your truth without making yourself small in order to make those around you comfortable, takes great courage. The Beguines developed a connection to Spirit that could not be overridden by dogma. They creatively went against the grain of the established church to find the jewels of truth in their own spiritual hearts, regardless of the political rules. This was the journey of the Beguines, and it is my journey too. And it is the journey of many who seek a purposeful faith.

I would suggest that we live on the precipice of a new apostolic movement, that this time includes women. If you read Mathew Fox, James Finley or Cynthia Bourgeault, you will see that the Divine feminine is vibrating in their teachings and their wisdom. We need to know about feminine role models in faith and embrace the strong, Godly women who came before us and made easier our path: Theresa of Avila who mentored St. John of the Cross; Marguerite Porete who wrote about Spirit in the vernacular of the day and warned that the little church was the cathedral on the corner, and the big church was inside of our hearts. And while the Beguines were instrumental in inspiring the great Christian mystic, Meister Eckhart, these women still remain hidden in history and academics. It requires some digging to know their stories– just as we must dig deep into our being to find that place of connection and awe that blend together and give voice to spiritual freedom.iStock_000002145962XSmall

September 10th through the 25 of 2015, my minister friend, Susan Evans and myself will take a group of people to Belgium to trace the footsteps of the Beguines and imagine their lives and their longings as we reflect and meditate upon their history and our inner spiritual journey. We will then go to Erfurt, Germany and study Meister Eckhart. Mathew Fox will be joining us for this teaching. It will be a time of quiet, a time of creativity and a time of sharing the stories that we know by heart. The retreat provides a doorway into an esoteric spiritual heritage that just asking to be claimed.

For more information, please visit Wholeheartedretreat.com

Posted in Comedy, Tragedy and What the F...?

September Porches and Pumpkin Muffins

IMG_20140903_181001_resizedThe house held a chill this morning, a foreshadowing of times to come, and I woke up feeling a need to celebrate the change.  Bundled in a cozy robe and intention, I made my way to the kitchen, imagining the smell of pumpkin muffins.  It is a yearly, predictable ritual with me, this little jump on the season where I begin to see the changes in the colors on the trees, where the mornings, like this one, tease that cooler days are upon us.  The truth is that here the days are still hot, but bookended by nights that become chillier and mornings like this one that call for a robe and slippers.

Yesterday, I created the September porch–also a yearly ritual.  I planted mums and put out my artificial pumpkins.  With so many squirrels in the neighborhood, real pumpkins are not even a remote possibility.  The little buggers trash them and the porch looks like they had a drunken kegger.  So, artificial pumpkins, that blend in with the real flowers and plants in the front is the order of the day. This morning was a total Martha Stewart “get off” with a September porch gracing the front of the house, pumpkin muffins in the oven and my usual cup of hot tea, enjoying the cool temperature. Very satisfying.

In a short bit, I will meet my friend Linda at the trailhead for our Thursday morning walk and I will watch for the trees that are just starting to don the autumn palate.  In the meantime, I am enjoying a pumpkin muffin and have already been outside to admire my September porch and smile.  Life is good.

Below is the recipe for gluten-free muffins (made with coconut flour).  I substituted 3/4 of a can of organic pumpkin for the two bananas.  When you use pumpkin, make sure to add a good teaspoon of “pumpkin pie spice” to the mix. If the batter is too stiff, add a tablespoon more coconut oil.  Don’t you just love September?

20140904_071554_resizedCoconut Flour Muffins

Wet Ingredients:
6 eggs
4 tablespoons of coconut oil (melted)
2 heaping tablespoons of honey
2 good sized ripe bananas
¼ tsp vanilla

 

Dry Ingredients:
½ cup coconut flour
½ cup nut pieces (pecan or walnut)
¼ teaspoon salt (optional)
½ teaspoon baking powder
1/8 scant teaspoon of Xanthium gum

Optional:
½ cup blueberries

Put all wet ingredients in blender until smooth.

Put all dry ingredients in a bowl. Slowly mix in wet, blended ingredients into the dry ingredient in bowl.

Fold in blueberries.

Bake at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Larger muffins take a little longer bake time than the mini muffins. Makes 12 muffins or 24 mini muffins.20140903_180728_resized