August, 2009 | Bettina Network's Blog

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Guest Requested Cheese Cake Recipe

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

copyright The Bettina Network, inc. 2009

This recipe was requested about July 1st or 2nd.
Sorry it took so long, but it was like pulling teeth to get this recipe. Not all of us want to share our most coveted secrets and apparently this recipe is very close to one of our host families. While I was able to get the recipe, I could not get the story behind it.
This is a lemon cheesecake with lemon curd topping:
There are three parts to this recipe
1) THE CRUST: Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • We use a deep dish glass pie plate to make this cheesecake. DEFINITELY NOT a shallow pie plate. Butter the pie plate and put it aside.
  • Use organic graham crackers or organic vanilla wafers or your favorite crunchy sweet cracker or cookie. We use organic graham crackers.
  • Put 2 cups organic graham crackers (or two packets) in a food processor or use a rolling pin to get them to the consistency of bread crumbs.
  • To this, add 4 tablespoons organic turbinado sugar and one tablespoon cinnamon and mix thoroughly.
  • Melt one stick of organic butter in a small iron skillet and add to the above mixture. If you are using a processor, pulse this mixture until it looks evenly saturated with the butter. If you used a rolling pin to break up your crumbs, mix thoroughly with a fork. We have the best luck with a food processor.
  • Put the crust mix in the pie plate and pat it gently all over pushing it up and around the pie plate until it is evenly distributed and you have a pie crust which fills the pie plate and goes up the sides to the top.
  • Bake for approximately 10 minutes at 325 degrees. Take it out of the oven and let it cool while you make the rest of the cheese cake.

2) THE CHEESECAKE FILLING:

For this you will need –
one 8-ounce package organic cream cheese (we use Organic Valley)
one 8-ounce package neufchatel Cheese (again Organic Valley)
one-half cup organic Turbinado sugar (we haven’t found a spectacular brand)
2 tablespoons ‘flavorganics’ French Vanilla Oil
If you prefer a purer vanilla, we suggest you use a powdered organic vanilla.
We don’t ever use vanilla extract.
the zest of one organic lemon
To get the zest quickly, use a carpenter’s rasp and rub it all over the lemon skin
until the yellow skin is gone and you are left with the white pith on the outside.
the juice of one freshly squeezed organic lemon
four large eggs
2 Tablespoons organic whole-wheat flour (optional)
4 ounces organic sour cream (again Organic Valley)
  • In your large Cuisinart mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, put the cream cheese, neufchatel cheese, and sugar. Beat at a medium speed until these ingredients are well mixed, fluffy and look a little like whipped cream.
  • Scrape down the sides of your bowl. Make sure the cheeses are melded together and you don’t have cream cheese on the bottom and a mixture of the two on the top.
  • Turn the mixer to low. Carefully and slowly add the flour and a “pinch” of salt. You really need to add salt at this point because if you don’t the cheesecake will have an empty taste, as though something is missing. Don’t add a lot or the taste of the cheesecake will change.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, while continuing to beat the cheesecake to make sure they are properly incorporated.
  • Add the French Vanilla Organic Oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, and sour cream.
  • Beat on a slow speed until these are incorporated.
Pour this mixture into the crust in the pie plate you have been cooling and put it in the oven at 325 degrees for about 40 to 50 minutes.
3) THE LEMON CURD
This makes the pie very special
For this you need:
One organic lemon Six organic egg yolks
One cup organic Turbinado sugar One stick organic butter
  • Take the zest from one organic lemon by using a carpenter’s rasp. Rub the rasp all around the lemon until you have removed the yellow skin and the only thing remaining is the white pith.
  • Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the lemon for its juice.
  • Whisk together the organic egg yolks, and organic turbinado sugar in a glass saucepan. No other kind of pot will do for this lemon curd.
  • Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spatula until the mixture thickens and coast the back of a spoon. This will take about 5 to 10 minutes. If you feel better using a thermometer, it should read 140 degrees (a candy thermometer).
  • Remove the glass saucepan from the heat and stir in the organic lemon zest, juice and organic butter. Stir until the butter melts.
  • Put the saucepan on the side and let the lemon curd cool until you are ready to use it.

 

When the cheesecake comes out of the oven, let it cool a few minutes and then pour the lemon curd over the top. I always take a little out of the saucepan before pouring so I can have it with tea on biscuits or whatever kind of great bread or cake is available. It is a small immediate reward for making this cheesecake which others will devour.
The process used to make this cheesecake is not much different from the millions of other such recipes in cookbooks, newspapers, etc. What is different about this cheesecake is the quality of the ingredients you use. They should ALL BE ORGANIC, which takes the taste way into the stratosphere and makes your taste buds remember it for a very long time.
In addition, the ingredients should ALL BE TOP OF THE LINE ORGANIC. No “organic” from stores which sell their own brand to trillions at a cut-rate price. If you look cloely and taste – that cut-rate price produces cut rate quality.
No substituting regular sugar for the organic sugar and no substituting organic sugar processed in ways other than “Turbinado” – the least processed sugar you can find. All of these small things make a great difference.
I often have a taste for my grandmothers’ cooking and only sometimes can reach her height. I’ve discovered I also have a taste for other folks’ grandmothers’ and mothers’ cooking which I’ve tasted over the years and when I made the same dishes in the same way it didn’t taste the same. I thought I was, unknowingly, doing something in my own way and missing their process. It has taken years of experimenting to discover the big difference is in the quality of the ingredients, not in the process.
My daughters when they were little and didn’t know how to cook could make a better cake than those my friends made, who were experienced cooks, but who made their cakes from a ready-mix box. Generally, it takes the same amount of time to make your cake from scratch as it takes to make it from a box mix. AND, stop lying to yourselves, the box mixes are generally all the same. Different marketing, different boxes with prettier or not so pretty labels, but inside the same ingredients – all ready to attack your health and well-being instantly after eating.
We are being chased by all kind of degenerative diseases. Watch the ingredients in everything you eat and be very careful with your diet and you will see an amazing change in your health and feelings of well-being.
If you balk at the cost of the ingredients, – eat less and enjoy it more. The bonus to you is prettier skin, a more svelte figure, improved health and probably a longer life.
ENJOY!
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WHOLE FOODS AND FREEDOM OF SPEECH

Friday, August 21st, 2009

Copyright The Bettina Network, Inc. 2009

We have had a few disagreements with Whole Foods. You can read about them in this blog.
We are, however, appalled at what is happening around Mackey, Whole Foods executive. It is especially appalling because we live in a democracy and one of its founding freedoms is FREEDOM OF SPEECH.
Mackey, private citizen of these United States, has freedom of speech. Are those calling for a boycott of Whole Foods calling for change – from a country devoted to Freedom of Speech to one better suited to keeping those silent who disagree with you, through threat and intimidation?
Mackey can say anthing he chooses to say and make his statements as public as possible, we will defend his right to speak without consequences to his company or to anyone around him.
Why so much fear and upheaval about one man’s comments? They are neither truth nor gospel. The words he says are his. The ideas and opinions he puts forth are his opinions. He lives in a country where he can do that and his rights around his free speech are protected. If you disagree with him say so; find a forum which allows you and others to express their disagreement with his ideas, but threats because he spoke and disagreed with what you would say, don’t belong in the U. S. of A. Those clamoring to shut him up, boycott his business and make him an example so others can be terrorized into keeping quiet, are way off base. They need to take a look at the implications of their actions. Shut me up today and someone will shut you up tomorrow. Keep quiet and don’t defend my right to free speech this morning and your right to free speech will be taken away this afternoon.
PLEASE REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE, WHERE YOU LIVE AND HOW HARD OUR ANCESTORS FOUGHT AND HOW HARD WE CONTINUE TO FIGHT TO MAINTAIN A FREE, DEMOCRATIC COUNTRY. There are times when you can’t tell the Liberals from the Fascists and this is one of them.
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A Stock Market Follow-Up

Friday, August 21st, 2009

Copyright the Bettina Network, inc. 2009

From the blog “Stock Market Action at Breakfast”.
The guest wrote about buying two stocks from a discussion around the breakfast table at a Bettina Network home. The blog is dated June 15, 2009. The stocks they talked about were IVAN and IVN. IVAN – an oil stock and IVN a gold mining stock. On the day we received their note – June 15, 2009 – IVAN was selling at $1.56/share. Today IVAN is selling at $1.39/share.
IVN, however, was selling at $6.12/share. Today IVN is selling at $9.13/share so on the whole, they did very well. We will continue to follow the stock tips we receive to keep you up to date on how good or how poor these conversations are for stocks.

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Update on Guests Stock Tip

Friday, August 21st, 2009
Copyright by the Bettina Network, inc. 2009

We received a correspondence from a former guest on 7/4/2009 saying they bought SIRI – Sirius Radio at $ .425/share.

The Blog is entitled “A Guests’ Email re Stock Tips” We will not let these stock tips go un-followed, so today we looked up SIRI and discovered it is currently selling for $ .76/share. That is an increase of $.335/share – not far from a double and today is August 21, 2009. Not bad. We don’t know how much they purchased and if they sold it or kept it so we can’t comment on their profit. Not bad folks.

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Volunteer with Bettina Network Foundation, inc. to work estate sales; to help move items from one home to another; to contribute your ideas on how we can better use our resources in this effort to relieve and eliminate homelessness and poverty. We also need photographers; designers; and more. However much or little time you have, we are grateful.

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Tekka Popcorn

Thursday, August 20th, 2009
copyright The Bettina Network, inc. 2009

A really great snack – healthy and it tastes great.

To pop the ORGANIC corn, use an air popper so you don’t have to use oil.
Save on oil in the popping so you won’t feel guilty about adding butter at the end.
Pop the corn. While the corn is popping, melt one stick of organic butter in a small iron skillet
Once the corn has popped, slowly pour the melted butter over the corn; sprinkle the popped corn with a little salt and add a generous amount of Tekka.
Using two wooden spoons, one in each hand, go under the popped corn with the spoons – making sure the spoons are on opposite sides of the bowl, lift up and turn over the popped corn in continuous motions around the bowl until all ingredients are well mixed.
All told – this takes about 2 to 3 minutes to make and even less time to eat.
Haven’t heard of Tekka?
It is a condiment, generally made from hatcho miso, sesame oil, burdock, lotus root, carrot, and ginger root. It is sauteed on a low flame for several hours. OR it can be made of a number of root vegetables such as Burdock roots, carrots, ginger root, lotus root and more. They are generally stir-fried and boiled to a concentrated powder. Traditionally Tekka’s preparation time is about 16 hours (on a low fire), yet speedier preparation is possible.
 
If you don’t feel like popping corn, another great and quick snack is crackers, organic butter and Tekka. Or better still, while we were not able to sleep without our bread, butter and sugar with a little warm milk with cinnamon liberally sprinkled over the milk and a little organic turbinado sugar added – now, we have crackers, organic butter and tekka before bedtime, but we still have to have the warm milk This totally violates the macrobiotic laws, but it is much better than what we were doing and a very satisfying nighttime snack which puts us right to sleep.
 
If you can’t find Tekka, it is made by Eden Organics and you can reach them on the internet via edenfoods.com. by phone – 888 424 3336. Put ‘tekka’ in the search box and you will be able to order it at about $6.60 per bottle or $5.50 per bottle for a box. We ordered a box because we have been using it the way most people use salt. It gives a wonderful after-taste when you use it – in brown rice, pasta, bread baking, salad, and whatever else you can think of.
 
A little history? Tekka was specially formulated by George Ohsawa (1893-1966) the founder of modern macrobiotics. Mr. Ohsawa taught that modern refined foods, along with high consumption of animal protein and fat, are the major causes of modern degenerative diseases and that whole natural foods with their intrinsic healing properties can restore our health. Tekka was developed to help counteract the effects of refined sugar, refined grains, and other nutritionally deficient modern highly processed and refined foods.
 
According to the macrobiotic principles taught by George Ohsawa, tekka is a strongly contracting or ‘yang’ condiment, as is salt, yet offers qualities far beyond salt alone.
 
EDEN Tekka is made in the traditional manner. After aging hacho miso for three years it is ground into a smooth paste. Equal proportions of burdock root (cocklebur or Arctium lappa, Articum majus), lotus root (Nelumbo nucifera), and carrot are finely minced. The burdock is sautéed with unrefined sesame oil in cast iron cauldrons for several minutes. The carrot and lotus root are then added and sautéed several minutes. The hacho miso is added and evenly mixed with the vegetables and ground sesame seeds. Lastly, the mixture is sautéed over low heat for five to seven hours. During this long slow cooking process the liquid in the vegetables and miso evaporates completely, resulting in a dry, deep black, strengthening and energizing condiment. Tekka literally means ‘iron fire’.
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Ed. Note: Members of the Bettina Network Lifestyle Community can contribute to the Bettina Network Blog whenever they have anything they want to say and be heard by this fantastic group of people. Send your blog to bettinanetwork@comcast.net or mail it to us at P. O. Box 380585 Cambridge, MA. 02238 or call us on the telephone at 617-497-9166 to tell us what you want to say and we will write it for you.

Volunteer with Bettina Network Foundation, inc. to work estate sales; to help move items from one home to another; to contribute your ideas on how we can better use our resources in this effort to relieve and eliminate homelessness and poverty. We also need photographers; designers; and more. However much or little time you have, we are grateful.

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Ajaron’s Omelette

Monday, August 17th, 2009

copyright The Bettina Network, inc. 2009

to learn more about Ajaron click here

A wonderful omelette which has received rave reviews.
You need: 2 eggs per person
onion
green pepper
scallions
cheese (gruyère, jack cheese with jalapeño, or your preference of a melting cheese)
and/or whatever you have in the refrigerator that you want to add
(i.e. mushrooms, red onions, potatoes, asparagus, green peas, salmon, capers, etc.)
salt and cayenne pepper (we don’t recommend using black pepper on anything)
For optimal results, all of your ingredients should be organic and washed under cool running water (except for the cheese).
Before you start this omelette you must first deal with your attitude. Are you happy? singing while you work? In a giving, sharing, upbeat mood? If not, look in the cabinet for a few crackers, slice a little cheese to put on your crackers and forget about trying to make this omelette, it won’t be great.
Put on a bit of music that you like, sing to yourself for a little while, think beautiful thoughts, look through elegant magazines, read inspirational poetry out loud. If you’ve had an attitude adjustment, now try to make this omelette.
Be mindful of your utensils since the utensils you use will conduct your energy into the dish you are cooking. Wood will temper the Chi energies, while metal will more easily transmit them and plastic will poison because bacteria stays and grows more easily in the grooves and pits that increasingly occur as you use plastic.
To keep harmony in the kitchen, the center of the home, cook and clean as you work on your “chef d’oeuvre”. Organize yourself to clean your surfaces and cutting instruments in-between each vegetable, using cool water. When you are completely finished with the cooking process clean all utensils and surfaces with cool water and vinegar, which basically disinfects. Do not mix the vegetables until you put them into the pot.
Slice the onions. Be careful when you start to slice the onion that you slice them from top to bottom and not across the middle. You do this to maintain the yin and yang of the onion. Slicing the onion against the grain through the middle cuts the yin from the yang and doesn’t give you the kind of energy and nourishment you could otherwise get from this onion.
Take out the seeds and the ribs and slice the green pepper from top to bottom (for the same reason).
In a hot, iron, omelette skillet, put in enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan. For the more adventurous, you can use Ghee (clarified butter instead of oil). Count to 23 and then add the hard ingredients (i.e. onions, green peppers as opposed to ‘soft’ mushrooms). Sautè ingredients until the onion is transparent and slightly brown and the other ingredients are also nicely cooked. You may need to add extra oil or ghee to keep the cooking process going. After the hard ingredients are tender, add the soft ingredients. Thinly cut ingredients will cook faster.
Crack open the eggs and put them in a glass bowl. Whip a good amount of air into the eggs to make them lighter. Add salt and pepper to the eggs.
In the skillet, prior to pouring in the eggs, add salt, pepper and turmeric. Spread the veggies so they have an even and consistent thickness. Gently pour the eggs over ALL of the vegetables. Let sit for a few seconds, while you clean up your preparation dishes.
With one hand on the skillet handle, tilt the skillet up to a 45 degree angle. At the same time, with the opposite hand, insert a thin spatula at the outer edge of the omelette, gently moving and lifting the outer side of the omelette towards the center allowing the eggs to run into the space created by the spatula. The lift and tilt needs to go around the skillet (kind of like an amusement park ride). Keep the pan close to the burner so it continues to cook.
The stove process is finished when you have gone around the skillet, tilting and lifting, once or twice. NOTE: The length of time this takes depends upon the amount of eggs you are using and the size of the skillet. The top of the omelet should look runny. Turn off the burner. If you have smoke or popping sounds, you are overcooking your omelette. This should be done very fast.
Sprinkle cheese over the top, put the omelette in its skillet into the oven or under the broiler. Leave it in the oven for about a minute, until the cheese melts. Depending upon your ingredients, the omelette will puff-up giving it a Spanish omelet look (not runny). If you prefer a French omelette, don’t put it in the oven or under the broiler. Add grated cheese a minute before turning off the burner. The heat of the omelette will melt the cheese. Serve it straight from the skillet.
This omelette can be served hot or cold. Leftovers are delicious. To serve this omelette, slice it as you would a cake. Enjoy a wonderful and easy to make breakfast treat. If you have leftovers your lunch is already prepared. Don’t eat lunch? Add a salad, a great bread, dessert, lemonade and you have an elegant French dinner!
This is a French omelette with a Spanish twist.

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Want to join us? Have a home that you want to open to become one of Bettina Network’s Hedge Schools? Call us and lets talk – or email us.

Ed. Note: Members of the Bettina Network Lifestyle Community can contribute to the Bettina Network Blog whenever they have anything they want to say and be heard by this fantastic group of people. Send your blog to bettinanetwork@comcast.net or mail it to us at P. O. Box 380585 Cambridge, MA. 02238 or call us on the telephone at 617-497-9166 to tell us what you want to say and we will write it for you.

Volunteer with Bettina Network Foundation, inc. to work estate sales; to help move items from one home to another; to contribute your ideas on how we can better use our resources in this effort to relieve and eliminate homelessness and poverty. We also need photographers; designers; and more. However much or little time you have, we are grateful.

Send your event information to be included in Bettina Network’s Menu of Events to: bettina-network@comcast.net

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A Guests’ Review – Boston Harbor Islands

Friday, August 14th, 2009
copyright Bettina Network, inc. 2009 by “Mac”
A trip to the Boston Harbor Islands is becoming the thing to do when visiting the Greater Boston/Cambridge area. A very knowledgeable guest took the boat trip and spent the day and was generous enough to write a review for all of us.
There are 34 islands and peninsulas. Most are glacial drumlins, basically a drowned drumlin field. They were created between 100,000 and 15,000 years ago when glaciers moved across the region. Deposits of glacial till beneath the ice were left behind as elongated hills when the glaciers retreated. These hills were later covered by rising seas with some tops remaining above water – these are the Boston Harbor Islands. The harbor’s great tidal swings and moderate salinity create environments hosting an array of land and marine wildlife.
Since 1995 they have been rescued from filth from human activities with the help of local American Indian tribes, the Deer Island’s Wastewater Treatment Plan and others in a partnership which is emphasizing “green” among other priorities.
“Summary of my trip to the Harbor Islands:
Make your way to the New England Aquarium and from there, walk around or through the Long Wharf Marriot to find the ticket booth. (note that tickets are also online at http://www.BostonHarborIslands.org).
You have to book a return time at the time of ticket purchase. Late afternoon returns from Georges Island fill up so its best to be early on weekends during good weather.
I only made it to Spectacle Island, made mostly of material from the “BigDig”, but it affords a great view of the harbor and city, and has miles of ADA accessible walking paths and large grassy play and picnic areas. One theme of this island seems to be “Green Technologies” so, for instance, they have a large photovoltaic (PV) array on the main building and ranger led programs on recycling and alternative energy.
The islands are part of a National Park and you can reserve for camping on some of the islands. There are ranger led programs on Georges and Spectacle Islands. The ferry costs $14 for all islands round-trip fair. The boats appear well maintained and safe. If you want to spend a day on or around the water, the
Harbor Islands make for a fun adventure.”
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Ed. Note: Members of the Bettina Network Lifestyle Community can contribute to the Bettina Network Blog whenever they have anything they want to say and be heard by this fantastic group of people. Send your blog to bettinanetwork@comcast.net or mail it to us at P. O. Box 380585 Cambridge, MA. 02238 or call us on the telephone at 617-497-9166 to tell us what you want to say and we will write it for you.

Volunteer with Bettina Network Foundation, inc. to work estate sales; to help move items from one home to another; to contribute your ideas on how we can better use our resources in this effort to relieve and eliminate homelessness and poverty. We also need photographers; designers; and more. However much or little time you have, we are grateful.

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An Interesting New Book by a Bettina Guest

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

NUMINA ~ Power, Spirit Place

by Anne Gordon
What follows is an interview of Anne Gordon by Anne Allanketner about the process that went into the writing of “NUMINA”.
“Anne discovered labyrinths in 1997 and became a Veriditas Labyrinth Facilitator in 2002. She lives in Eugene, Oregon, is married, and has a 20 year-old son. She is a bookkeeper and in addition to presenting lectures on the history of the labyrinth, she has been on staff at Sacred Heart Medical Center as a Labyrinth Facilitator for six years. She is self-publishing “Numina” through LuLu.com. Anne Gordon’s novel is available from LuLu.com or by contacting Anne at greeneden@comcast.net.
Your novel is called “Numina ~ Power, Spirit, Place”. I understand this is your first book. What does Numina mean and what happened along your path that brought you to writing a novel?
 
“Numina” is a Jungian term referring to a spiritual force or influence present in an object, phenomenon or place. It is the product of a lifetime of musings. I think we all carry with us deeply felt emotions and ideas. I did not set out to write a book, but I found that when our only child left for college, I had the opportunity to transfer this tapestry of thoughts and reflections to paper. These reflections came out as short stories and ultimately as the story line of “Numina.”
This is a work of fiction. Are there labyrinths or labyrinth experiences in the novel?
 
There is a labyrinth and a labyrinth experience in “Numina.” In the literal sense, one of the main characters who resides in a different time period, makes an annual pilgrimage to a Gothic cathedral. At the end of her visit there, she walks the labyrinth. In the symbolic sense, the flow of the book is very labyrinthine. As I mentioned, there are short stories and these are interwoven with the main narrative. The main narrative takes place in present time and also several hundred years ago. While I take great liberties with linear time in the novel, the characters, whether those of the main plot or those of the short stories, are all traversing a path much like that of the labyrinth. They are in different places on the path. The characters are held by the container of the book as we are held by the container of the labyrinth when we walk. What might appear to be a detour or backtracking from the plot is actually a necessary meandering. As the reader enters the book, softening his or her focus, it is evident that the characters are all moving towards a common center. This is very similar to watching people walk the labyrinth. The order and interrelatedness of things is apparent only over time.
What are some of the themes in the book?
 
Women’s History, religion, politics, evolving consciousness. When I began writing “Numina,” I thought the book was going to be an examination of the Burning Times, a time in our history when many women (and men) were executed for being different. These people were driven to the margins of society. They were ostracized and condemned for worshpping differently, for being healers, or simply being eccentric. As I followed the story in my mind’s eye, watching it unfold through the main characters, I was led to the topic of our creation story. The characters in “Numina” spoke to this damaging portrayal of women and how it may have played a role in allowing atrocities to be committed against women and against many people who revered the feminine face of God. The result was that “Numina” became a story about the betrayal of the feminine and of our relation to the Divine Feminine as she is present in Nature.
Is this a book for men as well as women?
 
Absolutely. Men and women were cast out of the Garden, and we have been dealing with the repercussions ever since. “Numina” is about healing our stories and ourselves.
Some people think this book is very radical. What do you think about this? Are there radical elements in this story?
 
Well, if taking a break from thousands of years of acceptance of a story that demonizes half of humanity is radical…then I guess it might be considered radical. If on the other hand, you feel comfortable examining long-held assumptions in a different light, it would be a story about just that.
You have taken on enormous historical topics in “Numina.” Why is it a work of fiction?
 
Many wonderful and informative non-fiction books have been written on these topics. I am not claiming to be a historian, but I was able to weave a large amount of historical fact in with an ineresting human story. in writing “Numina,” I realized there was a lot going on in the world that did not suit me, so I created the world I wanted. This book contains a great deal of history and no small amount of political thought, but it is not about pointing fingers or ranting against the patriarchy. It is about posing questions instead of prescribing answers. It is about healing, rather than judgment. “Numina” considers the possibility of restoring a Partnership Paradigm.
You mentioned following the story in your mind’s eye. What do you mean by that?
 
When the storyline of “Numina” first appeared to me, it was in the form of a movie. I imagined being in a small, darkened theater. The screen was black and the sounds of the opening scene came first. Then, I could see in my mind’s eye what was happening. When I was able to quiet my mind, often as I walked the labyrinth, I could re-enter the world of “Numina” and gradually more and more of the book was revealed. Eventually I stopped listening to the radio when I was driving, I wanted to be available if ideas for the book entered my imagination. Gardening was a place of inspiration, so I kept a notepad handy when I worked in the yard. Many ideas and conversations from the novel’s characters came to me as I walked the labyrinth. Since I didn’t really want to interrupt by walks, I found it became necessary to walk with paper and pen in hand.
How did you know the book was complete?
 
The characters stopped talking. At first it seemed as if they had moved away. Then I realized they had not moved away, they had simply finished telling me their story.”
To the readers – Anne Gordon introduced the Bettina Network to labyrinths. We learned about them over several breakfasts with Anne and have introduced them to other homes in the Network and to other people we have met. Anne wrote an article for the Bettina’s Blog about her experiences with labyrinths and we are very grateful to her for the introduction. We take the opportunity to look for and walk labyrinths wherever we travel. You will find the location of several labyrinths in Bettina’s Blog and we will probably add more as we find them. Click on the label “labyrinth” and enjoy another great read.
 
We hope you will buy and enjoy reading “Numina”.
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Ed. Note: Members of the Bettina Network Lifestyle Community can contribute to the Bettina Network Blog whenever they have anything they want to say and be heard by this fantastic group of people. Send your blog to bettinanetwork@comcast.net or mail it to us at P. O. Box 380585 Cambridge, MA. 02238 or call us on the telephone at 617-497-9166 to tell us what you want to say and we will write it for you.

Volunteer with Bettina Network Foundation, inc. to work estate sales; to help move items from one home to another; to contribute your ideas on how we can better use our resources in this effort to relieve and eliminate homelessness and poverty. We also need photographers; designers; and more. However much or little time you have, we are grateful.

Send your event information to be included in Bettina Network’s Menu of Events to: bettina-network@comcast.net

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New Orleans Gumbo

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

copyright Bettina Network, inc. 2009

A reader asked for a recipe and a cultural comment about New Orleans Gumbo.
The reader must know something about Gumbo to have asked specifically for ‘New Orleans’ Gumbo. There is cajun gumbo and creole gumbo, but top of the list is New Orleans Gumbo. Give me your family’s gumbo recipe and I will tell you if your family was upper, middle or lower class in Louisiana.
Tomatoes make a difference in making New Orleans gumbo. If you came from a lower-class family the gumbo recipe you have from your family will not include tomatoes. If your family had a bit of money and upper-class history, your family gumbo recipe will include tomatoes. How you make gumbo also tells whether your family lived “uptown”, “downtown” or “back-a-town”.
Gumbo basically differs by the family. One recipe for New Orleans Gumbo follows:
Before you start your gumbo, take one pound of shrimp (wild, gulf shrimp). Peel and devein the shrimp. Put the shells in a large pot covered with water and boil about an hour. Drain the resulting mixture and throw away the shrimp shells. This can be used as the liquid in the gumbo.
Chop or process – 2 onions, 3 green peppers, 4 stalks of celery. Sort of reminds you of New Orleans’ 1-2-3-4 cake – but that’s another recipe.
To make this gumbo use a large cast iron pot – no aluminum PLEASE! And glass doesn’t make as nice a gumbo
Put one stick of butter in the pot with about 1/2 cup organic, virgin olive oil. A new twist to gumbo with all of the new food ideas floating around is to replace the olive oil with virgin organic coconut oil. Some people like to add organic peanut oil. I don’t because I don’t want the taste of peanuts in my gumbo. It doesn’t add anything to the flavors. And that is not a put down of organic peanut oil because I wouldn’t fry chicken in anything else. I also would not use coconut oil because it also adds a pretty strong taste, which I don’t like – but to each his/her own.
Turn on the heat and let the butter melt. Put the ‘trinity’ – the onions, green peppers and celery in the pot and let the vegies cook until the onions wilt and the vegies begin to cook.
Put two tablespoons of organic, whole wheat, stone ground flour in the pot and cook the vegies and flour together until the flour begins to turn medium brown. This is not what you will find in other recipes, but this is my way. Most of the ‘cultural professionals’ will tell you to first make a roux – you can try that, but I like this way better.
What you add next depends upon your taste. Add thyme, oregano, sea salt, cayenne pepper to the flour mixture and continue to cook on a low heat. Add ham, andouille sausage, one can of organic diced tomatoes and the water from your boiled shrimp shells. Let this simmer until you see grease on top of the ingredients cooking in the pot. That has always been my sign that the gumbo, to this point, is done.
If you like okra gumbo, slice okra and add it to the pot. Once the okra has been added, don’t allow the gumbo to come to a boil. If you do, the okra will make the gumbo stringy because the okra will let out mucilage and ruin the gumbo. Keep it cooking, but under a boil – not even a small one.
Some people like to add shrimp boil to their gumbo. Some add sassafras. All kinds of food and herbs are added to gumbo depending upon the person cooking. As you experiment making gumbo you will find wonderful additions which create new tastes.
Gumbo is one food that is best created by a committee – or a family where it has been passed down several generations and all the aunts, uncles and cousins have had their say as to how it should be made. It gets better over time as the recipe changes with the cook.
When you are about twenty minutes away from serving the gumbo put in crabs and crab meat, shrimp and oysters along with the oyster juice. I wait until the end to add this because to cook oysters and shrimp too long they will turn hard and not be a great addition to this dish. If you are in New England and want to be a pretend creole, but need your New England heritage to colonialize everything, you might add scallops to the gumbo and replace the crabs with lobster.
Serve over organic brown rice – a rice as unprocessed as you can possibly find.
The best gumbo I have ever eaten was made by my grandmother. She gave me her recipe when I was about 21 years old. I was never able to make gumbo which came up to her standards, but over the years it has gotten better as I have moved away from the processes set out by the big “Creole” and “Cajun” cooks and gone with my own taste buds and memory.
If you have another recipe for gumbo or other stories behind your gumbo recipe, send us an email so we can make this recipe “Gumbo by Committee, an International Creation.”

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Want to join us? Have a home that you want to open to become one of Bettina Network’s Hedge Schools? Call us and lets talk – or email us.

Ed. Note: Members of the Bettina Network Lifestyle Community can contribute to the Bettina Network Blog whenever they have anything they want to say and be heard by this fantastic group of people. Send your blog to bettinanetwork@comcast.net or mail it to us at P. O. Box 380585 Cambridge, MA. 02238 or call us on the telephone at 617-497-9166 to tell us what you want to say and we will write it for you.

Volunteer with Bettina Network Foundation, inc. to work estate sales; to help move items from one home to another; to contribute your ideas on how we can better use our resources in this effort to relieve and eliminate homelessness and poverty. We also need photographers; designers; and more. However much or little time you have, we are grateful.

Send your event information to be included in Bettina Network’s Menu of Events to: bettina-network@comcast.net

This is a curated blog so you cannot write your responses at the end of each entry. TO RESPOND TO THIS BLOG email bettina-network@comcast.net or info@bettina-network.com

TO LEARN MORE try www.bettina-network.com

 


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