Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Getting through summer...one 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