Heirloom Meals: Savoring Yesterday's Traditions Today

Tuesday February 07, 2012

Ms Murky Mondays:
The Dragon’s Way

Over the last year I have been on new journey - not just with Heirloom Meals - but one of a healing/spiritual sort. Last year I had a number a minor but scary health scares.  From taking aspirin everyday as a prophylactic for migraine headaches, I developed an ulcer that caused heartburn; in seeking relief from chronic TMJ, I ended up feeling worse; and in general, I felt fat, logey and stressed.

What I realized from all of these things is I needed to pay attention to the signs or my intuition.  When something I was doing never really turned out right, my "A" student kept trying over and over.  And what I really needed to do was change what I was doing.  I also needed to care for myself.  I was told by the emergency room doctor that I was stressed - he said get a massage, take a vacation and drink some red wine.

None of the advice and coincidence of ailments have left my consciousness. I sought healers, and by elimination, found the ones that worked for me - a myotherapist masseuse, an osteopath, and a homeopathic MD.  I felt better but not great. While some stress was mitigated, I still carried it in parts of my body.  While I lost some weight, I knew that I could be on the slippery slope toward plumpness.

But, in being more open to the possibilities, the possibilities found me. I also learned a lot about me and being stuck - my massage therapist told me my hips were locked and they both literally and figuratively are what propel you forward.  She helped me unlock them and things started to happen.  Heirloom Meals started to really happen. But stress and anxiety were still with me.  My doctor said I needed to find a way to relax, meditate.  But what would work for me?  I tried yoga, didn't like it, walking, running, pilates, you name it.  And then it came to me...my osteopath's husband was teaching qigong and a program called Dragon's Way. At first, I dismissed it and then it just pursued me.  So, I put a class of six people together - my Jim, my best friend Jan who is also on a spiritual quest to health and happiness, my dear friend Donna who is recovering from breast cancer, my Mom and a new friend, Debbie. We are in week 2, and I am beginning to understand the wisdom of the meditative exercises and healing diet. And I thank my lucky stars!!

Ok - so now - we are in the year of the dragon - a year of transition, change and great opportunity.  

The program is called Dragon's Way, in the year of the dragon, coincidence?  I think not!

If you want to learn more you can buy the book,.



Wednesday January 11, 2012

Ms Murky Mondays:
Balancing Nostalgia with Reality

With the holidays solidly behind us now, I have had time to reflect on my own personal conflict leading up to and during the holidays.  I so want to recreate the Christmas of my past with those trays of cookies, memorable meals, festively decorated house and more.  So I push and push myself, feeling bad if I couldn't muster the energy to make 12 dozen sugar cookies.  Afterall my Mom and Nana could do it effortlessly.  And then, reality struck.  I work.  I am traveling to NYC 2 days a week for a client, I am launching my dream company....my world is different.  And that's just the way it is.  So I cut myself some slack and the joy of the season emerged.  It's about sharing, giving, being with people you love.  Not about how perfect you could make it seem.

So as I pedal the importance of nostalgia and honoring the traditions of our ancestors and our treasured family recipes, I do it to embrace the love that was shared, not the fiction of perfection that I or many of us may carry in our memory.  Sure, if you have the time, money and desire - go for it!!  But, if you are like many of us during these economic times, it's about creating the loving, nurturing environment that hugs the hearts and souls of all that we touch. It's not about the 12 dozen sugar cookies.  It's about the memory of them and how they made us feel.  

So, I was OK with making some memorable meals this season, sans sugar cookies. Funny thing, no one noticed I didn't make them.

Monday December 26, 2011

Ms Murky Mondays:
Holiday Week, Gifts from the Heart

How is everyone feeling today? I'm feeling pretty good. As many of you know, I have more than a full plate these days. I have a few decorating clients that keep me busy, I am trying to keep up with this blog and continue on the success of the Heirloom Meals' Thanksgiving public television special, interviewing book agents, planning a late March shoot of Heirloom Meals' Holiday/Christmas special for public television to air December 2012 and a host of other initiatives including populating my new online store.  Are you tired, yet?

The truth of the matter is I was really tired.  My brain wouldn't go to sleep as I keep thinking about everything I needed to do. And then the universe sends me a message...my internet didn't work on Monday and part of Tuesday. And I had to shut down, check out etc and be OK with that. And I had 2 amazing nights' sleep by just letting everything be.

So here I am. Thinking, pondering, reflecting, being. Do you know what the greatest joy was for me this Christmas? Giving my Mom the present I made her. Tears of joy and wonder flowed from the both of us. I took all the wonderful clippings from my "fan mail" that mentioned my Mom, along with some other photos and the recipe we made in my grandmother's handwriting and voila:

Monday December 19, 2011

Ms Murky Mondays:
‘Tis the Season

...for loving!

When you focus on others, the season takes on the right tone! It's not about how decorated your house is, or how many presents you may give or get, or how many parties you've been invited to. It's about LOVE.

In our house, we show love through food - treasured family recipes that take you down food memory lane, new recipes that reflect where we are currently, and nibbles and cookies from friends and family.  All provide that important centerpiece to the holidays.

My menu this year:

Christmas Eve: Lobster Risotto, Fried Flounder, Baccala Salad and a big green salad. Cookies and Baked Chocolate Pudding for dessert. And of course, assorted Christmas cookies. We are  small group this year.

Christmas Day: Rib Roast, Turnip and Potato Gratin, Broccoli with garlic and browned butter, and a big green salad. Gluten-free Yule Log and Gingerbread Cake. And of course, assorted Christmas cookies.

What's on your menu?


Monday November 21, 2011

Ms Murky Mondays:
Gratitude is my Mantra

I read a really interesting article a few months ago about gratitude.  In fact, it was about a gratitude exercise where you spend an hour walking through your house and then outside your house and you look at everything you have and express gratitude for it. It's amazing how many things we just take for granted - like windows, for instance.  They keep out the weather but they let the light in.  When's the last time you looked at your windows and thanked them? There's something about gratitude that changes your mood for the better.  And in that spirit, I would like to express gratitude for all those who helped make the Heirloom Meals Thanksgiving special.

Firstly to JP Lipa, my amazing, talented, brilliant Director and Cinematographer.  JP "got it".  He understood that Heirloom Meals was a storytelling show with recipes and cooking as the glue. Add his artistry, attention to detail and intense work ethic and voila, the perfect match for Heirloom Meals. And, if JP wasn't enough, he comes attached to his brother, Chris who handles all the production details for their company Eleven 11 Images.  To help frame why JP is impressive....he shot Michael Jackson's last video.  Here's his camera with the late singer, the same camera that shot the Heirloom Meals special:

Next, it's my Mom and family I need to thank.  If you've seen the special, you will see how important Mom is to me.  She has always been my inspiration, my guide, my best friend. Dad is also a role model - he is the type A, entrepreneur with a heart of gold. And then layer on all the memories of my grandparents and there are not enough thank you's!!

Next, is my new family - Jim, my three step kids and all that living with Jim in the Berkshires has to offer - our beautiful house, our chickens, cows and horses.  Jim has supported me every step of the way. I am a lucky girl, I am!!

Next is my friend and assistant, Donna. I am grateful for having Donna in my life BUT now I am grateful that she is recovering from her lumpectomy.  She'll be getting radiation treatments for 30 days but her prognosis is excellent!

Next, is my new friend Ken Zuckerman from Pete and Gerry's Organic Eggs who started this whole thing anyway....his belief in me and Heirloom Meals propelled the making of the special.  He also promoted the show by organizing the 4 premiere screenings we had last week and helped secure all the pledge items for New Hampshire Public Television and WGBY that will be airing in December. I tip my hat to you!!

Next, I am grateful for Lauren Zivyak whose energy and enthusiasm for the project and for Erin Gernon, my amazing summer intern who both stood by my side before and during the shoot. And for Madeline Finnerty for being available to help during the shoot and Jake DeVarrennes for all his help!

Then there are all the great guests whose beautiful, heart-felt stories and recipes created the rich fabric for the show. And then there are the sponsors who took a chance on an idea.

All this thanking has me feeling euphoric!  Try it, you won't be disappointed!!

Lastly, THANK YOU ALL for watching an enjoying the show. 

Happy Thanksgiving!!


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