Monday, August 8, 2016


I've recently realized that my life is in the midst of an abrupt transition. All of a sudden, we no longer need our van because the 4 younger teens are too busy with sports, work, peers, and school for all of us to be doing anymore family outings with everyone. Just a few years ago we had a 15 passenger van that could barely hold us all, and now I am in the process of selling my 7 passenger van and buying a regular sized car. In some ways it seems like getting to this stage has take a thousand years, and in other ways its only been a blink of an eye. Image result for blink of an eye cartoon

I still have two of my grown up kids living at home and they likely will be for the next few years, and my 5 teens are planning to live at home after graduation while they attend college so it's not an empty nest - the house is still full and lively and busy. And, my 14 and 15 & 16 year olds are pot smoking, foul mouthed and just generally ill behaved, so I continue to face the daily challenges of a Hazardous Family. But, the years when we were mostly all together and so many were dependent on me for so much of their day - well, those years are over. 

Like most of you, I still provide help for several of my grown and (semi) independent children as they continue to face the challenges of navigating life through the lens of F.A.S.D. and the never fully repaired damage caused by their early years of neglect and abuse.  There are still huge problems to be dealt with on occasion and the worry never will end, but it's different than it was when they were growing up. They are adults and I can help when possible but I don't enable and I am no longer responsible. Image result for not responsible

I don't think I'm experiencing nostalgia for the big van years - I doubt if many parents in Hazardous Families experience any yearning for the past - but I am strongly aware that my life is changing and I can begin looking ahead and planning for a shift in focus. Having the time to go swimming every morning was a first step in this transition, and the smaller car is yet another. It will be interesting to see what comes next. 

And in case you are wondering - I am maintaining my swimming schedule. No weight loss yet but I've sure noticed a huge improvement in my strength and my agility. I feel better than I have in years, and I think its a combination of the daily swimming and the reduced number of people in my house. 

So, I hope you remember that you are entitled to a better day, and that you strive to have that day. 

In the meantime - here's a nice recipe for a healthy muffin to eat on a busy morning. Ginger is my all time favorite taste - I love it more than anything - and so this a real treat for me to have after swimming. 


Vegan Ginger Pear Muffin Recipe

1 ¼ cups pear puree (about 2 ½ medium sized pears)
¾ cup sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
2 Tablespoons non-dairy milk
1 Tablespoon ginger
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons Egg Replacer Powder
1 cup diced pear, peeled (about 1 medium sized pear)
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 ¼ cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon non-aluminum baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda

1) Prepare the pear purée and blend it with the flavor building ingredients
Preheat oven to 325F (163C). Peel and core about 2 ½ medium sized pears and blend or process into 1 ¼ cup of pear purée. After 1 ¼ cup of puree has been measured, save the excess for another use before adding the measured amount back to the food processor or blender. Add the sugar, vegetable oil, non-dairy milk, ginger, lemon juice and salt and process until smooth. Add the Eggless Binder Powder and and process until smooth.    2) Prepare the spiced, diced pears
In a small bowl, hand mix together 1 cup diced pear with 1 teaspoon sugar, ½ teaspoon cinnamon and ½ teaspoon nutmeg. Stir this with a spoon, making sure all the diced pear pieces are evenly covered. Set aside.3) Whisk together the dry ingredients
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder and baking soda.  4) Mix the batter
Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl containing the dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated. Stir the diced pear mixture into the dough.
5) Bake to perfection
To make muffins
Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.  Pour the batter into the muffin pan making sure the dough is filled up to the top of the pan and domed. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.Store in a covered container or plastic freezer bag in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or the freezer for up to 6 months. This recipe makes one loaf or 6 to 8 Vegan Ginger Pear Muffins.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Getting through swim at a time...

Well I'm actually feeling really good about myself (at least in terms of exercise). I've not missed a day of my swimming commitment and it's starting to feel like a routine that I don't want to mess up. I don't see any loss of fat on myself, but I sure do notice that my body is stronger and functioning much better overall. 

Can't say that my mood is any better - this is not a good summer - teens acting out in fearsome ways that can only be endured. However, I chose to put a lot of my focus on two of my grown ups who are living at home again and who remind me that despite having given us some terrible summers in their hey day - they are doing great now. So, just as I tread water at the pool when I've swum one length more than my body could do, I need to tread the emotional waters (or tsunamis) at home while I get through these long and conflict heavy days. 

School starts in a month and some external structures will help reduce the stress of my weird family life- and since I now live by the words of Dory - I will just keep swimming - at the pool and at home.

Hope your summer is going well - remember, you are entitled to a better day. 

And, here's a super summer recipe to make from pears - I love pears - one of my very favorite fruits. Best to eat them fresh of course, but for a treat - this is great. 

From Author: 

 Pear Spice Upside-Down Cake

Prep time
Cook time
Total time
You will not believe that this richly spiced cake has no oil or nuts and is sweetened only with maple syrup. Since good maple syrup is expensive, feel free to replace part of it with agave nectar or your favorite liquid sweetener.

Serves: 8
  • 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3 large pears 
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • applesauce (if necessary)
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup or combination of agave and maple syrup (divided)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line the bottom of a 9-inch round non-stick baking pan with parchment paper cut to fit.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients and stir well. Set aside.
  3. Peel the pears. Cut one of them into thin slices about 1/4-inch thick (avoiding the core). Chop the other two into large chunks (again, no core).
  4. Arrange the sliced pear in the prepared pan in any design you wish. Don't worry about using all the slices--just as many as will fit or fit your idea of the design. Pour 1/4 cup of the maple syrup over the pears. Reserve the rest.
  5. Put the extra slices and the pear chunks into the blender with 2 tablespoons water. Blend, stopping if necessary to push down any stray pears, until it's about the consistency of applesauce.
  6. Measure out 1 2/3 cups of the pear sauce. Reserve any extra for another use (it's good on a fruit salad or in a smoothie). If there's not enough, add applesauce until you have 1 2/3 cups.
  7. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the 1 2/3 cups of pear sauce. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of maple syrup and the other liquid ingredients. Stir until combined but don't over-stir. Carefully spoon the batter over the pears so that you don't move them and change the design.
  8. Bake for 35-45 minutes, testing by inserting a toothpick in the middle. It's ready when the toothpick comes out clean.

  9. Peeling back the parchment
  10. Run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen any stuck on parts of the cake. Place a serving dish over it and invert. Tap lightly to dislodge the cake from the pan. Loosen all the edges of the parchment paper and then slowly peel it back, using a knife or your fingers to push back into place any pieces of pear that want to stick to it. If there is glaze left on the paper, scrape it off with a knife and smooth it onto the cake.
  11. Allow to cool. Cut into 8 slices and enjoy