Monthly Archives: February 2014
Interesting history about the Greek Flag!
In his book “THE VATICAN DARK SECRETS” Paul Jeffers gives a very good interpretation of symbols and their use.
Specifically, he writes: “Since almost Jesus Christ changed the name of the fisherman Simon to Peter, thus ensuring him the Kingdom of Heaven, the religion that was developed in the name of Christ by necessity resorted to mysticism. As the Romans regarded them as dangerous for the empire, the Christians began to act literally underground, once gathered to pray in catacombs and caves. They established various secret gestures, symbols and other identifying marks and ways of communication, so they could not be located and persecuted by their enemies.
We, Greeks, have corresponding example with the Greek flag. The national flag of Greece has nine horizontal stripes of white and blue, all the same thickness. In a blue square in the upper left near the pole, there is a white cross. The…
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A couple of weeks ago I did a cooking demo at Toronto’s Harbourfront. No stranger to crowds, cooking in front of strangers didn’t present a problem and besides..I was doing what I love – sharing good, comforting food. When I was asked to conduct some cooking demos the prerequisite was that I showcase comforting dishes that are easy to prepare and ready within the 20-minute time slot alloted for the sessions.
I came up with ‘Nacho’ macaroni & cheese and discovering that making your own cheese sauce for macaroni tasted and looked similar to the cheese sauce that one gets in a jar or served with nachos at Tex/Mex eateries. I used elbow macaroni as they are hollow and I would recommend using a similar hollow pasta so that cheezy sauce can get in the pasta too!
Macaroni & cheese is an easy dish that starts out with making a roux with butter and flour then whisking in some warm milk until it thickens then the grated cheeses are added. I used two cheeses here: grated Parmesan and an aged white cheddar cheese. The better the cheese, the more flavour you’ll get without having to use excessive amounts of cheese.
There’s some sweet paprika, a pinch of chilli powder and dried oregano to give the dish that “nacho” flavour. Once the grated cheese melts into the béchamel stage of the sauce, your mac n’ cheese is ready. Just toss the cooked pasta, add some oregano and a pinch of chilli flakes and Nacho Macaroni & Cheese is done. For that extra Tex/Mex flavour and texture, I crush some nacho corn chips on top!
This weekend I’ll be at Harbourfront cooking on both Saturday and Sunday at 2:30 & 3:30 pm at the Lakeside Eats Cafe. There’s a skating rink out front, skate rentals and a fantastic view of Toronto’s lakefront. Drop by and see what I’ll cook next!
Nacho Macaroni & Cheese
2 1/2 cups of elbow macaroni
3 Tbsp. of unsalted butter
2 heaping Tbsp. of flour
1 small onion, finely diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp. sweet paprika
pinch of chilli powder
2 cups of whole milk (warm)
1 cup of heavy cream
1 cup grated white cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
fresh ground pepper and sea salt to taste
pinch of chilli flakes
½ tsp. dried Greek oregano
1/2 cup crushed nacho chips
- Place a large pot of water on your stove-top and bring to a boil. Add a good amount of salt and add pasta and cool for 8 minutes. In the meantime, add your butter to a large pot over medium heat. Once the butter had melted, add the onions, garlic, chilli powder and paprika and stir. Sweat for 5 minutes or until softened. Now add the flour and stir for a minute. Now add your milk in increments while stirring and turn the heat up to medium-high. Add the cream while stirring and continue to stir until the sauce has thickened enough to just coat a wooden spoon. Add your grated cheeses and stir in until melted. Adjust seasoning with fresh ground pepper, chilli flakes and some oregano (salt if needed).
- Once your pasta is cooked, strain and add into your sauce along with oregano, and chilli flakes. Gently toss with a slotted spoon or spatula and divide and plate with a topping of crushed nacho chips.
and finally, there’s teff
Today is the darkest day of the year. Outside my window, rain splashes down in furious puddles on the Seattle streets. People walking by look harried, clutching packages and bags with fraying handles, their hands loaded down by last-minute presents. Were all fighting the darkness with lights and action. And what am I doing to deal with the shortest day of the entire year?
Im staying in and baking.
Actually, thats not all. Im working on an enormously important writing project. Schools finished for two weeks, which means I can sleep in and really dive into my writing. So I pace around the living room, looking at the Christmas tree, and humming, words thrumming through my mind. When Im in this space, all is right with the world. The dishes may be undone, the bills are yet to be paid, the presents Ill need under the tree in four days remain unknown never mind. What does any of that matter when I have the entire day to create?
And when Im writing, doing the work I love, I suddenly feel even more of an urge to cook. Cooking is a deeply creative act, after all. When Im stirring something in a deep pot, the smells wafting up to my nose, it feels the same as the pen drifting across the page. Deciding what to cook, then watching it emerge from underneath my hands feels like something from the deepest part of me, where its dependent on my awareness and entirely out of my control. Washing the dishes feels like scratching out the unnecessary words.
These days, Im cooking less often with recipes. For months, I studied every good cookbook I could find with a fervent attention normally only reserved for the work of scholars. And then Id try to replicate the vision I had formed in my mind on the plate. Im glad for all that time trying to follow other peoples minds, because it led me to mine. Now, more and more, I imagine a taste, and then throw in ingredients that feel right. What happens if it all falls apart? Oh well. It couldnt taste too terrible. Even if it does, I have a garbage disposal. But Im finding, again and again, that trusting my foodie instincts leads me to places I never knew existed. If I needed it all to be perfect, Id be doing something else. Its the experimentation that I remember best.
The only stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking youve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.
And so, with a what-the-hell attitude firmly in mind, I decided this morning to make some banana bread. With teff flour.
Teff (also spelled tef or tef) is the staple grain of Ethiopia. Packed with protein, calcium, and iron, tef is also one of the gluten-free grains, along with amaranth, buckwheat, millet, and quinoa. In fact, one cup of cooked tef contains as much iron as the USDA recommends for adults in one day. Its nutritionally rich because most of the grain is made up of bran and germ, where the nutrients live. The whole grain is made into flour. It takes 150 teff grains to equal the weight of a single wheat grain. The name, in Amharic, means lost, perhaps because each individual grain of tef is so small that, if dropped on the floor, it would be lost. Perhaps this explains why its so soft in the mouth, almost melting away immediately.
Teff was almost lost to the world. Grown exclusively in Ethiopia for thousands of years, teff was cultivated by Coptic Christians in Ethiopia. Isolated by their geography and religion from the rest of Africa, the teff farmers did not trade their grain, which is also quite labor intensive to grow. After the death of Haile Selassie, in 1974, the socialist military government insisted that the farmers grow less labor-intensive crops, such as wheat, to export to other countries and make more money for the state. Teff farming was beginning to die out. An American from Idaho, Wayne Carlson, was working as an aid worker in Ethiopia in the 1970s. Fascinated by the growing practices he witnessed, and having fallen in love with Ethiopian food, he took some of the teff seeds back home with him when he left. From there, he started growing teff in Caldwell, Idaho, then selling it to the Ethiopian communities in US cities. Today, the Teff company has a thriving business. I can find bags of teff flour fairly easily in Seattle.
And thank goodness for that. I adore Ethiopian food. We have a number of Ethiopian restaurants in this fair city, and I have visited most of them. My brother and sister-in-law and I have come to rely on Amy’s Cafe on 29th and Cherry, which looks ramshackle, and even boarded up, from the outside. Inside, the windows are steamed up from the cooking, and almost everyone at the tables is Ethiopian. They don’t even offer menus. You have to know what you want, or ask the kind waitress to explain in her broken English what she thinks you should eat. When I introduced a new foodie friend to his first Ethiopian meal recently, he couldnt believe the taste. Its fantastic. And it doesnt taste like anything else Ive ever eaten. The spices are just different. Hes right. In case you have never eaten Ethiopian food (and you must rectify that soon, if its true), you should know that various spiced lentils and vegetables arrive arrayed on a large platter, which is covered in injera bread. Injera, which has a slight sourdough taste, and a texture like a yoga mat, is made from teff flour. (Gluten-free readers beware: at some Ethiopian restaurants geared toward typical Americans, they might mix the teff with wheat flour. Be sure to ask.)
In order to reach the tiny little cafe (six tables, no more) at Amy’s, you have to walk through the Ethiopian grocery store. All the spices you could need to make your own veggie combo at home, plus big bags of pure teff flour for $5.99! Plus, Ethiopian dvds, should you want them. All of it enshrouded in clouds of incense smoke.
Ive eaten so many warm, beautifully spiced Ethiopian meals that I cannot imagine my life without them. Its a communal eating experience, because there are no forks involved. Instead, everyone tears off portions of the injera bread and pushes it into the cooked cabbage or spicy lamb. All formalities disappear. You cant help but talk and laugh as you bump fingers over the Ethiopian cheese or chicken wat or beef kitfo. The bread satisfies, deeply. And after a few moments, its all gone. And you feel wonderfully sated.
You should find an Ethiopian restaurant today.
So I knew about injera bread before my celiac diagnosis. But it wasnt until I was told I had to go gluten-free that I realized I could buy teff flour, or that I could make other foods with it. Nutty in flavor and fine in texture, teff actually makes an excellent baking flour. Ive been eating it for months. Teff makes an excellent pie crust, when you cut it with another gluten-free flour. In fact, it might be the best pie crust youve ever tasted.
This morning, revved up from writing, and eager to begin cooking, I noticed some bananas growing soft on my windowsill. And somehow, I realized I had never written about teff here before. Oh, I wrote about a sweet corn quiche with a teff flour crust, based on a recipe from 101 Cookbooks. But I barely knew how to post photographs then. (The dark days of this website.) Shame. And I knew I had to rectify that situation, immediately.
Ive grown comfortable enough with gluten-free baking that I felt safe making up my own recipe. I threw together some bananas and plain yogurt, butter and eggs. And in a separate bowl, I stirred in half gluten-free flour mix, half teff flour. Plus, unsweetened cocoa powder. And plenty of cinnamon. Other stuff too. Youll read it in the recipe. I was just throwing in food that felt right, in the spirit of that what the hell quote I have stuck to my refrigerator door. Humming along, eager to see what would emerge, rather than worrying about following a recipe correctly.
Would it be terribly gauche of me to say that it turned out spectacular?
Teff flour, being so soft, and slightly gelatinous when it cooks, makes a perfect ingredient for baking quick breads. This one tastes a little like a cake, in that way. A touch of cinnamon. Dark chocolate threading through. And the bananas emerging, bright, but not too much so. A good crumb, solid structure. And mostly, just a brilliant taste of something light, on the darkest day of the year.
You see what happens when you throw caution to the dark, rainy winds and just cook?
Chocolate Banana Bread with Teff Flour
In making this bread, I used a round enamelware pot, instead of a loaf pan. This lent itself to the cake-like quality of the bread, which I found I loved. If you want a more traditional quick bread texture, then try the loaf pan.
1 cup of gluten-free flour of your choice
1 cup of teff flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons high-quality, unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 overly ripe bananas
1/4 cup plain yogurt (make sure it’s gluten free)
2 large eggs
6 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350° degrees. Move the rack to a position in the lower half of the oven. This will prevent the crust of the bread from burning. Grease the pan you intend to use.
Stir together all the dry ingredients, making sure to tame the lumps of cocoa powder with a fork. Set aside.
With a standing mixer or hand mixer, beat the eggs lightly. Then, add the yogurt, vanilla extract, and melted butter. When this assemblage is completely mixed, then gently add in the dry ingredients. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the dry ingredients until they are just mixed.
Scrape the dough into your pan. Pat down the top to make a flat surface. If you wish, toss a few pecans or walnut halves onto the top. Place into the oven and bake for about forty minutes, or until the knife you insert gently into the bread comes out again clean. Let the bread sit in the pan for five to ten minutes, then turn it over onto a wire rack. Serve warm, with cream cheese, if you wish.
What Is Your Destiny?
Each and every one of us has a destiny in life, a purpose that our soul has come here to serve. There are a few ways in which we can determine what our destiny is.
According to author, Doreen Virtue, our destiny in life may not necessarily be something that we would make a living from. A simple way that we can determine what our destiny is is to ask ourselves what we would continue to do if we were to win a multimillion dollar lottery.
Another way to determine what our destiny is is to use Numerology. The philosophy behind Numerology is that everything that exists is simply energy. Even scientists have proven this in experiments. Numerology is a numerical representation of the energy that exists in our life. We can learn a lot about ourselves and others through Numerology. We can even discover what our destiny or soul purpose is by using it.
In order to discover what our destiny is by using Numerology, we first need to determine what our Destiny Number is by converting the letters in our name to numbers by using the following chart. Our name exactly as it appears on our birth certificate should be used.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
A B C D E F G H I
J K L M N O P Q R
S T U V W X Y Z
Once we convert all of the letters of our name to numbers, we must then add the numbers together for our first name, then middle name, then last name. If the total that we get is a double digit number, we add the two digits together to get a single digit. If, however, the total that we arrive at is an 11, 22, 33, or any other double digit repeating number, we do not reduce the number down to a single digit. The reason being is that the double digit repeating numbers are Master Numbers that vibrate at a higher energy vibration than the other numbers. More is expected of individuals with Master Numbers in their Numerology charts. For example, Master Numbers appear in the charts of most celebrities due to the worldwide stage from which they reach a large audience of people.
As an example, we would calculate the Destiny Number for Jane Doe Smith as follows:
J A N E D O E S M I T H
1 + 1 + 5 + 5 4 + 6 + 5 1 + 4 + 9 + 2 + 8
12 15 24
3 6 6 = 15 = 1 + 5 = 6
From this example, Jane Doe Smith’s Destiny Number is the number 6.
There also exists a second method that we may use to calculate the Destiny Number. I often use this second method to check for hidden Master Numbers. Again, Master Numbers in Numerology vibrate at a higher energy vibration, and therefore, more is expected of individuals who have a Destiny Number that vibrates at the Master Number level. The second method that I use simply entails adding the numbers of one’s name straight across without stopping to get individual totals for the first name, middle name, and last name. For example, we would use this method for Jane Doe Smith as follows:
J A N E D O E S M I T H
1 + 1 + 5 + 5 + 4 + 6 + 5 1 + 4 + 9 + 2 + 8 = 51 = 5 + 1 = 6
From our example, while using the second method, Jane Doe Smith’s Destiny Number is not a Master Number.
I would recommend that you use both methods that I illustrated (getting individual totals for the first name, middle name, and last name, and also, simply adding straight across) to accurately determine your destiny.
Once you arrive at a grand total for your name, read the appropriate description below for your Destiny Number.
1 = You are destined to be a leader. You may also experience innovativeness or business development.
2 = You may become some sort of an intermediary or liaison, or you may counsel others or give them advise. You may find yourself playing the role of keeping things fair among the people as would a lawyer, referee, mediator, or any other role that entails keeping things fair or harmonious. You may also be a natural healer or may find yourself working in the medical field.
3 = You may be destined to use your creativity or written communication skills. You may also find yourself encouraging, inspiring, or uplifting people or bringing enjoyment to people. You may also find yourself selling or promoting products or services.
4 = You may eventually find yourself in a managerial position or in a position in which you must pay attention to details. You may be involved with organizing or putting systems into place. You may work to build solid foundations for the future.
5 = You may find yourself in a position of promotions or sales. You may experience a lot of change. You may also travel considerably.
6 = Your destiny may be one that involves family. The number 6 as a Destiny Number can also manifest as being involved with nurturing or caregiving. You may be involved with the community, charity work, or animals. Your destiny may also involve beautifying your surroundings or home or the surroundings of others such as landscaping, interior decorating, or anything else that involves beautifying surroundings.
7 = Your destiny may involve working in a technical job, something that involves research and development, inventing new products, or education. Since the 7 is also a highly spiritual number, depending on where you are on your spiritual path, you could be involved with spiritual or Metaphysical endeavors, gaining spiritual or Metaphysical knowledge or education, or spiritual growth. Your destiny may also involve religion.
8 = You are destined for success. You may be destined to become an executive. You are probably also destined for financial and material success. You may dress for success and enjoy some of the finer things in life. Depending on where you are on your spiritual path, you may be involved with endeavors related to expanding the mind such as Hypnosis, Guided Imagery, Meditation, or anything else that entails working with the mind.
9 = You may win awards or receive recognition. You may also experience success, rewards, and financial abundance. Your destiny could entail singing, acting, international business, philanthropic work, or healing.
Master Numbers (If your Destiny Number is a Master Number, you may also read the description for the second number after the slash to determine your Destiny Number in addition to reading the description for the Master Number itself.):
11/2 = You may be destined to be an inspirational leader that uplifts others and helps to transform their lives. You may even find yourself using your intuitive abilities and teaching abilities to help people. Your destiny may even entail social work, medical work, or politics.
22/4 = You may experience financial abundance, and your desires may easily manifest into reality. You may experience a lot of success or even recognition or fame. You may even build something that gains legendary status. The 22/4 is also the number of actually physically building things. Therefore, you may even be involved with that as well.
33/6 = You may find yourself spreading love to others through your work or communicating with others a lot. People with the 33/6 as their Destiny Number are on the planet to serve as messengers of love. You may also use a lot of creativity. Your job or career may also entail serving others.
44/8 = This number tends to cause people to experience problems with financial debt or problems with the government. For example, I have seen people with this number in their Numerology Charts to experience spending beyond their means, credit card debt, bankruptcy, foreclosure, not having enough money to pay property taxes, tax evasion, etc.
55/1 = People with the 55/1 as their Destiny Number may experience many psychic and intuitive abilities that go beyond the 3rd dimension (3D) Earth such as: Clairvoyance (seeing beyond the 3rd dimension/3D); Clairaudience (hearing beyond 3D); Clairsentience ( feeling beyond 3D); Clairgustance (tasting beyond 3D); Clairalience (smelling beyond 3D); Clairempathy (feeling what others feel); Mental Telepathy (sending and receiving thoughts through the mind); Premonitions; ESP (Extra Sensory Perception); Prophecy; Kinetic Energy (moving physical objects without touching them physically and without intending to move them); Psychokinesis (moving physical objects without physically touching them when intending to move them); Psychometry (touching an object and being able to feel the energy that has been absorbed by the object); and other psychic phenomena.
66/3 = People with the 66/3 as their Destiny Number may experience nurturing and taking care of children, family members, or animals. They may also be quite involved in their community or in charitable causes. They may prefer to stay home. The home is their haven. Because the 66 can also be reduced down to a 3, they may also possess much ability in written communication. They may also possess creative abilities.
According to the book, “The Complete Idiot’s Guide To Numerology”, by Kay Lagerquist, Ph.D. and Lisa Lenard, the following are the descriptions for Master Numbers 77/5 – 99/9:
77/5 = People with the 77/5 as their Destiny Number may achieve inner wisdom by going within. They may also experience learning to make decisions according to spiritual principles.
88/7 = People with the 88/7 as their Destiny Number may go through a spiritual awakening. They may also learn how to control their thoughts and emotions. They may also learn how to correctly use material resources.
99/9 = People with the 99/9 as their Destiny Number may achieve purity of the mind and body so that they can serve humanity in a major way. They assume burdens for humanity. They may also find themselves in the position of being the leader of other leaders or the teacher of teachers. This person may transform him or herself and also transform others.
Copyright 2013, http://www.beyond3dbooks.com/destiny (the website that this material came from)
Reiki is all about compassion and love; and as a Reiki Master, I am fulfilled when I am asked to spend time healing others. My heart fills with love and appreciation; because Quality Time is one of my love languages.
Love languages, you ask, “what is that?” It is the language spoken when we show others how much we love and appreciate them. Unfortunately, many of us think we are speaking clearly; but little do we know, the other cannot hear us because they speak a different love language than we do. And if we don’t know the language they speak, they may not get the message about how we feel.
Recently, I read Gary Chapman’s book, “The 5 Love Languages.” This book opened up my eyes and heart to how I spoke to the ones I loved; and to the lack of love I thought I had received. I…
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Here’s an interesting study posted by the Center For Reiki Research, looking into the effect of Reiki on the automatic nervous system. According to the study 3 groups- a reiki group, a sham reiki group, and a rest-only placebo group were given 15 minutes rest, followed by 30 minutes of treatment (reiki, or sham reiki, or rest), followed by 10 additional minutes of rest. While the reiki and reiki sham groups both showed decreased heart rate and respiration, and increased parasympathetic activity, the reiki group also showed reduced diastolic and mean blood pressure. The rest-only control group showed no changes.
I guess, science says: yes!