Monday, December 28, 2009

A Rambling Path Cookbook

A Rambling Path Cookbook is here!

Marathon layout sessions and last minute "we can do it" pep talks pulled it all together.


Monday, November 9, 2009


I just had to add - I got a newsletter from South River Miso that I read this morning, and what the owner writes about farming, our relationship to plants and to food is so beautiful, and illuminates why the processes people like Farmer Tim use matter SO MUCH, and why Lotfotl soup feels so very nourishing in the True sense.

Read it here

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Living off the Fat of the Land Soup

Tenzin sitting on a tractor with Farmer Tim standing by

Megan and I are working on a little cookbook. A celebration of food and friendship and community. I shouldn't really be working on this cookbook at this moment, I should be packing boxes for the oh-so-soon move, but you know how it is, when you should be packing, writing cookbooks is more interesting.

My biggest problem is I get really hungry when I wax poetic about food. I have to bring snacks to the computer.

Here's a rough draft of a piece I worked on tonight, the soup I made for dinner (and yes, I went and ate a 2nd bowl after typing it up). And HERE is a post Megan put up about the art for the cookbook. What do you think? Want to reserve a copy of it?

My friend Tim became a full time Organic farmer a few years ago, and named his farm and CSA Lotfotl (Living off the Fat of the Land). We have been eager and appreciative consumers of the veggies he tends with love. On a trip to the farm, Tim let Tenzin mark one of the broccoli seedlings with a stick so that he could put "Tenzin's" broccoli in our share some future day. That single stick somehow yielded an entire season of broccoli that was extra eagerly eaten. That Farmer Tim, he know how to get a person excited about produce.

Baby Dorje wanted me to eat loads of greens while he was in the belly (Served with South River Miso, of course!) , and we can thank Farmer Tim for providing the vegetables that grew a ten pound 3 ounce baby boy.

A late season share of Lotfotl's harvest is probably pretty similar to the selection you'd find in other CSAs or at the Farmer's Market. My favorite thing to do is make soup with whatever happens to be included. Here's one version:

2-3 leeks, chopped (or sub onions or shallots)
3 large cloves garlic, minced
4-5 salsify, chopped

Peel and cube the following veggies (or what you have!)
2 turnips
1 rutabega
1 celery root (celeriac)
3 potatoes
1 small butternut squash

Add to sauted leeks and cover with water. Add chicken stock or bullion if desired, salt & pepper and herbs you favor. I like to use a Penzey's blend called Tuscan Sunset with root veggie soups.

Simmer until the veggies are tender, and then whizz away with your hand held soup blender, or use a blender or food processor to puree soup.

While the soup is simmering, cut up one bunch of carrots and one turnip, coat in olive oil and roast at 450 degrees for 30-40 minutes.

Garnish soup with goat cheese, chopped chives or other herbs and the roasted carrots and turnips.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Six years ago today, my Tenzin Dawa came into the world - he decided it was time after a day of Pala Dhondup and I picking apples. It's no wonder that we go through many, many pounds of apples due to his amazing apple eating capabilities.

You amaze me as you grow into yourself more and more, sharpening 20 pencils before breakfast and learning to be a big brother. You challenge me to be worthy of imitation, because you don't miss anything.

Enjoy a bowl full of edamame in the pod, some salmon and avacado sushi and think of a sweet boy who is SIX today.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

almost six...

the milkweed "seed babies" are flying... another sure sign that a certain boy's birthday is oh so near..

* go on over and enter a sweet handmade giveaway at one of my most favorite Waldorf inspired mama hangouts

Saturday, October 3, 2009


Went by too fast...
I became a juggler with too many balls, and some of them fell.
But Pala Dhondup has held steadfast to the new house, and is installing the most beautiful floors for our family in literally every free moment, while Tenzarelli makes the dirt pile in back his castle.

There was one ball I kept held high, a project near and dear to my heart and one that Tenzarelli looks forward to every year and this year. Mr. Tenzarelli eagerly worked to share it this year with his kindergarden class - helping sew each silk a seam to slip their finger knitting through - and we came tromping over the meadow with Jamaploo in the Ergo backpack, his hand on one side of the basket, mine on the other. All of the children brought their marigolds and the goldenrod we'd collected on our morning walk and we gently added them to the big pot while teacher built the fire with the wood the children struggled to carry and pull in the wagon.

We sang "The light of heaven comes to earth, so that the colors may come to birth" as each child reverantly took a turn stirring the flowers in the pot with a stick.

It bubbled and the flowers gave their color to our dye all day, and when the bell rang to announce the beginning of the Michaelmas celebration for the school, the children all came back to dip their silks into the pot we'd nurtured.

As evening fell, the silks hung vibrantly over the meadow drying and a rainbow emerged over us just as it was time for the play to commence. The knight Micheal came forth in the circle of villagers and slayed the evil dragon. The golden capes we made will help all of Tenzarelli's friends remember this day and overcome the dragons they might encounter in the future...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Mama Manifesto #1 .:in progress:.

When I started this blog, I thought long about the motivation behind it, and overall, had a hard time defining what I wanted it to offer - both to myself and to the community of people who may encounter it. My lack of clear direction held me back from beginning it at all for some time. I decided finally that maybe that could be the direction - a space to help me sort out the process and the work.

The subtitle of this blog is : a rambling path through art, food and motherhood. Lately in my life I feel the truth of that statement as a description of my habits... the truth is, I am interested in just about, well, everything. I'm addicted to learning, to joy, to books and community. I feel that it is necessary to attend the meetings at Tenzarelli's Waldorf School, to be the driving force behind the children's group at Deer Park, to knit, to sew, to hoard food like a squirrel for winter, to read A Wrinkle in Time again, to take on the project of installing our wood and tile floors in the house that love is building, and to get the boys enough outside time. No, my house is not clean today and the contents of the refrigerator are, um, suspicious...

But I'll defer to Louise Erdrich on that one... that amazing writer whose fantastic Birchbark Bookstore I recently made pilgrimage to... Her advice sounds pretty true to the two boys whose photos in their moments of joy make me sure there is nothing more you could want than all of this.

Advice to Myself

Leave the dishes.
Let the celery rot in the bottom drawer of the refrigerator
and an earthen scum harden on the kitchen floor.
Leave the black crumbs in the bottom of the toaster.
Throw the cracked bowl out and don't patch the cup.
Don't patch anything. Don't mend. Buy safety pins.
Don't even sew on a button.
Let the wind have its way, then the earth
that invades as dust and then the dead
foaming up in gray rolls underneath the couch.
Talk to them. Tell them they are welcome.
Don't keep all the pieces of the puzzles
or the doll's tiny shoes in pairs, don't worry
who uses whose toothbrush or if anything
matches, at all.
Except one word to another. Or a thought.
Pursue the authentic-decide first
what is authentic,
then go after it with all your heart.
Your heart, that place
you don't even think of cleaning out.
That closet stuffed with savage mementos.
Don't sort the paper clips from screws from saved baby teeth
or worry if we're all eating cereal for dinner
again. Don't answer the telephone, ever,
or weep over anything at all that breaks.
Pink molds will grow within those sealed cartons
in the refrigerator. Accept new forms of life
and talk to the dead
who drift in though the screened windows, who collect
patiently on the tops of food jars and books.
Recycle the mail, don't read it, don't read anything
except what destroys
the insulation between yourself and your experience
or what pulls down or what strikes at or what shatters
this ruse you call necessity.

Louise Erdrich from her 2003 poetry collection, Original Fire

Thursday, August 13, 2009


(Here is Dorje, just a few days old)

My Jampaloo is ONE today. From that tiny babe (OK, not SO tiny, at 10 pounds, 3 ounces) to this amazing boy, who hammers at his pounding bench and has a grin that melts hearts all over town. The "stinker face" cracks us up without fail...

You're a boy who loves to eat... who loves his big brother....who loves to see the neighbor's ducks each day (and can even WALK after them now!)

Dorje Edmund Pema Tsagong, Happy Birthday!
Your joyful heart and tender spirit are gifts to the world.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Knitting for Jampaloo

Finally sewed the buttons on the Pebble - "manly baby vest". It knit up super fast and was fun, then it took me at least 2 weeks to add the buttons...

I think it'll be a perfect fall vest for my lotus boy. Some Tenzarelli knitting action is on the needles now (I started to feel guilty about how little knitting I have done for him when he said "what are you making, something else for Dorje?" so I figured it was high time I made something for him.) It's a surprise for his birthday, which comes around the festival of Michaelmas... so a hint... it's something any true knight would need...

Saturday, August 1, 2009


Late July has felt so full.

The house that love is building

Painted lady butterflies emerging in Tenzarelli's butterfly treehouse

A frog found in the nearby Bark River jumps for glory at Dousman's annual Frog Jump (not the winner - but this big boy did jump TEN feet for Tenzarelli!)

Jampaloo discovers popsicles (our favorite so far: honeydew with cream, honey and pistachios - and yes, Martha made up that recipe, bless her!)

Baby friends

More baby friends (I can't resist)

Cup Cake Walks with some good pals who missed our Cake Walk at the May Faire.

In just this past week, I've shared stories and laughs and babies with three of the sweetest ladies I know 'round here. PLUS the Shutter Sisters gave me a picture of HOPE to hang in the studio that is under construction in that new house that love is building.

AND I have 5 pounds of blueberries in my refrigerator. 'Nuff said.

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Way It Is

This poem by William Stafford

The Way It Is

There's a thread you follow. It goes
things that change. But it doesn't
People wonder about what you are
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can't get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time's
You don't ever let go of the thread.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Mulberry Pie (I heart butter)

My mom has a mulberry tree behind her house that has been the favorite haunt of Tenzarelli every year round about this time since he was a toddler. My boy can pick berries. He is like a little bear in the berry patch, not a mulberry makes it in the door.

So, for pie, I pick without him and guard my bucket from his grin and say "Now little Sal, you run along and pick your own berries, mother wants to make these into pie"

My new favorite way to make pie:

Easy and you get the perfect amount of crust with every bite. Here comes the I heart butter part:

Our local farmer's market has a vendor who sells FRESH butter - from pastured cows (not certified organic, but local and hormone free) and it is darn good. The best part? $3.50/lb. I used it for the pie and believe me, it is the best pie crust ever. I already love butter in general, but should you come and peek into my freezer this winter (once market is over for the season,) you may just find it full of the waxy white paper wrapped bricks of this lovely stuff.

Mulberry Pies:

1 batch pie crust (I use 1/2 lb butter, 2 c white flour, 1 c wheat, a bit of salt and sugar and ice water in the food processor.)


3 cups mulberries (OK to leave stems on, hand pick or use my new favorite method of a shower curtain liner on the ground upon which the mulberries fall after you shake the tree vigorously)

2/3 c sugar

1/3 c flour

Roll crust out and cut into squares, place in muffin tin, spoon in filling, fold up corners and bake at 375 until golden and bubbly.

Eat em with fresh whipping cream

Tenzarelli did eat one, but he'd prefer his berries unadulterated. That's OK, more pie for me. (I shared with the birthday girl, too)

Monday, July 13, 2009


There is a house under construction in Dousman, Wisconsin!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

sweet strawberry day

I knew in my heart that it was today, or maybe not until next year.
The Wisconsin Strawberry season is oh so brief - and with the heat wave we had recently, it was particularly short (only a bit over 2 weeks, we are at the end already!!!)
So, the cool "chance of showers in the afternoon" forecast on a pick your own day at JehEhr farm (the only organic strawberry u-pick in "150 miles" said the gal at the farm) combined with the fact that I don't work until 2 on Tuesdays multiplied by the availability of Meg and her sweet babe = one perfect morning of strawberry stained goodness.

Tenzarelli waxed poetic about his berry finds "Oh! I found a berry family! A big mother and father strawberry just next to two babies!" and he thought he saw little Sal (from Robert McCrosky's Blueberries for Sal) a few rows over...

Jampaloo was in berry heaven, covered himself head to toe in the sweet red juice quite happily. We had to work hard to keep him out of the flat ("now, little Sal, you run along and pick your own berries.." doesn't work on him just yet!)

And Meg stood by with the babe, see his little head peeking out from under her jacket?

Now, I am eating some of them with some Vanilla ice cream and soaking our red splotched clothes from the day. Heaven.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Pie for the Pala's Day

Pala Dhondup loves him some lemon desserts. When we first came to America, he didn't really like dessert in general all that much. A pregnant mama hooked on frozen custard slowly shifted him to the dark side...
His favorites are still lighter, lemony treats, so when I saw this pie on Zoe Bakes, I thought it would be perfect for Father's Day...
I felt very professional piling that mile high meringue on top of the pie.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

All the new...

There is hardly a moment to take a breath, we are so full of NEW around here...
We've moved on to Dousman... living in an apartment while we wait for our new home to be built. Tenzarelli has already made enough friends to feel like he's always lived here (there are 5 year old boys knocking on our door at 8 am every morning now) but it still feels real new to me, every bit of it. The boxes are only half unpacked because I've been... distracted.
One of the big ones - preventing the Jampaloo from choking to death, as illustrated here:

"Open your mouth! No, don't eat that!" Legos are quarantined indefinitely.

The best new thing, of course, is Meg's sweet babe. I was privileged to be witness to the special day he came into the world, in the very same birth tub that my babe was born in just 9 1/2 months ago. It's been a thrill to be a small part of this tender sweet time with her.

So now, we're beginning to settle in to the summer, striving for some rhythm and form, getting some projects ready and (lacking a yard for the summer) diving into the farmers' markets whole heartedly.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A parting gift from Wood St

I have wanted to hunt for morel mushrooms ever since our friend April told me about them 6 years ago. As we pack up for our big move next Sunday, I have been excited to think that next year will be my year to become a morel hunter, since we are moving to a place with a forest known for good morel hunting right in our backyard.

Imagine my surprise, when right in my backyard Tenzarelli and I found TWENTY BIG MORELS by our back fence. (And don't worry, being a beginner, we first brought them to be officially identified before eating them)

Then, the next day April, the queen of morel hunting herself, was with us and we pulled over near a field....

Tenzarelli and I were enchanted by how gnome like and mischievous these morels are... I swear they all hid when we came, walking over the same patch of land 3 times, then I spotted one, and they all cried, "Game's over kids, she found us, you can come out now!" Pretty soon Tenzarelli and April were seeing them everywhere! THIRTY MORE!

There's my little helper Jampaloo - see the morel peeking out in the bottom left corner?

We couldn't help it, we went looking again today, by the traintracks near our house and found another 10. That's 60 morels in a weekend. Best morel recipe so far? A tie between a creamy garlic sauce with morels and chicken topped with spicy sprouts and the potato morel soup with nettles I made for lunch today. Nettle story and recipe to come...

Oh yes, I was supposed to be packing. Right. Back to that!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Crafty anticipation and symbols of the Republic...

The bean will be born soon... so in honor of that joyous event, Meg's lovely husband hosted a party, complete with Indian take out and the craft we have always wanted to do, but have not, even though I think every person who has a crafty mama-ish blog has been doing it for 3 years now...

(drumroll, please)
We made freezer paper stencils for baby bean clothes.

Everything you've read is absolutely true, it is fun, easy and the results are fantastic.

I didn't get a photo of the pants that Jampaloo has outgrown that we stenciled his traced hand onto for his new friend... but here is one of his real hand, in deep communication with his friend still in the belly:

And, I snuck in shirts for the boys:

For the uninitiated (of whom I was one until about 2 months ago,) this is the symbol of the Star Wars good guys. Yes. Who popped the Waldorf bubble and let in all the plastic Star Wars guys? I pray the day Tenzarelli owns a Star Wars licensed T-shirt with a picture of a dude with a lightsaber is not soon, but anyways, hello, Anakin Skywalker didn't wear a shirt with a cartoon picture on it... no sir... he wore official JEDI gear, with special mysterious symbols on it.

Jampaloo has all the force sensitivity of any Jedi, we know this already, he needs no symbols to prove it, but I like the idea of matchy clothes for the brothers.

Back to packing (countdown until moving day:26 days until May 29th)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Twin Ponds Toys

Introducing a new project:

My Uncle Kirk's toy company and blo
g (to be managed by me). He loves to be in his workshop - and has been thrilled with the reaction my boys have to his work. Recently, he donated a castle and two of his trucks to Tenzarelli's school for their spring auction.

He wants to see how much interest there is, and we are hoping to set up a little online shop for him soon.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


I started the draft of this post the day after St.Patty's.
Since then,
I went back to the office 25 hours a week (a few hours EVERY day)
Prepared my house for 20 showings (yes, still for sale)
And all the rest of normal life with a teething babe and a five year old.
But here is the post anyhow, all these days later:

Tenzarelli thought it might be a good year to catch a leprechaun "so he will give us his pot of gold". I won't disagree.

So a trap was constructed:

the inside featured a shamrock nightlight he found at Momo's house and some paper shamrocks "so he will feel at home"

In the morning, we checked the trap, and, lo and behold:

A tiny green shoe with gold laces. Woah.
Now trap mods are underway since this trap only caught a shoe.

Friday, February 27, 2009

ATC Kids Swap

Impulsively, I signed Mr. Tenzrelli up for the ATC Kids Swap, thinking it would be fun for him to send and receive mail. Of course, not 3 days after signing up, we got a sticker club chain letter from my cousin's daughter. So it is the month of mail (late winter needs that kind of pick me up, doesn't it?)

I think when I signed T up, I was thinking of myself as a 5 year old. My mom tells me if she needed some time, she would simply lay down a stack of scrap paper and some crayons, and I would sit and color until the paper was used up. I still get a shiver of excitement over fresh art supplies nd a stack of paper! Tenzarelli... not so much. 3-D art is his thing. Give the boy some cardboard, scissors and a roll of tape and he will build you something. Legos are his life. Painting he enjoys in smaller time blocks and drawing almost only under coersion.

Naturally, painting was the medium of choice for this project (ATC sculpture sounds much more difficult to mail!) He eagerly began the first one (the rainbow) and then declared he was "done". I pleaded with him to make more, and he said "tomorrow". So easily I forget that words are empty to a 5 year old. Setting the example is key, for imitation is their work, their art.

So, I put Jampaloo on the floor with his basket of silks and toys and painted quietly on some extra pieces of trading-card-cut-paper (how long will I have to be a mother before I will get this? this is what to do! PAINT! Not plead with him to paint!) Within minutes, Tenzarelli had left his legos and rejoined me at the table, and began painting away. My favorite is the cowboy (bottom right corner - very impressionist - no?)

These five little trading cards are sealed and stamped and off to his swap partners. We had fun looking at the names and places they would go to, and trying to choose which painting would go to who. The cowboy went to a little girl from Texas whose card we already recieved with a bonus - stickers celebrating her state. A child in Austria, Tenzarelli determined, was most suited for the rainbow painting.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tibetan New Year

Today is Losar, Tibetan New Year. My family will be at Deer Park today, and we wanted to leave some butter lamps lit here in this space for those still suffering in Tibet.

In a posting entitled "Let Us Make Lamp Offerings and Light Candles to Commemorate the Souls of the Deceased," the Tibetan writer Woeser wrote:
“...let us light butter lamps to make offerings in memory of the deceased, whose exact number we still do not know, in the corners where the video surveillance can not reach. Furthermore, those of us who live in alien lands and do not have butter lamps to offer, let us light candles for those deceased whose exact number we still do not know.”

Saturday, February 21, 2009

baby friends

I don't mean to become a "look, my cute baby!" blog... no... but...

look, my cute baby and his cute baby friends!

Last weekend, we finally visited this little boy, along with his beautiful big sisters and lovely parents. He is two months old and still in that beautiful dreamy newbornland that already feels so far away from my little boy who plays peek-a-boo with his blankie.

His mama and I were two bumps on the couch, cooing at the babies and picking up the long silk thread of conversation that we've had going since we met about 6 1/2 years ago while the big kids were in happy playland and the husbands were cooking and going out.


Yesterday, our little Glo-bug girl came over, to Jampaloo's delight (as you can see). That little sweetie will be a year old already next month. Was it really almost one year ago that Tenzarelli and I came to see her day old face, Jampaloo all snug in my belly?

To complete the circle of my best girlfriends all having babies in the same year, I can't wait for Little Bean, the baby friend still growing in his mama's beautiful belly.

Friday, February 13, 2009


The boys and I went to visit a friend in Cedarburg about a week ago and she took us to this amazing bakery where, of course, Tenzarelli couldn't resist the elaborately shaped, oh-so-tempting, beautiful Brioche. It was awesome. Pala and I got a few stolen bites of it, and we were all crazy to have more. But Cedarburg is 45 minutes away. Too far for weekly visits!

So, we got out the Vegetarian Epicure Cookbooks and found a recipe. She gives the way with "lots of energetic beating" or "the easy way" in the food processor. I am all about my food processor so this was an easy decision for me. It was all going great, warm milk, eggs, etc, frothing away in the Cuisinart... then I added the flour and the blade slowed suspiciously, with a dull sound and the faint waft of burning motor smell. In a panic, I dumped out the gloppy dough and the blade went back to normal functioning. So, finished it off in the mixer with a dough hook (I felt that the dough hook could probably beat more "energetically" then me, right?) So, a word of caution to the other Epicure fans - she has led us astray in suggesting the food processor for brioche.

Then comes the painful 2 hours of rising, 6 hours of chilling, while your mouth is already watering with expectation. Then the joy of shaping. With no brioche pans in the house (yet) we used a popover pan and a pie tin... 2 more hours to rise and then into the oven!

As you can see, Mr. Tenzarelli couldn't quite wait for them to cool (or be photographed).

We also discovered that brioche and marmalade are just lovely together.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Jampaloo's Julia

There is a special young man in our family's life whose family moved to the east coast just before Jampaloo was born. He, his twin sister and two younger brothers grew up with parents very involved in Waldorf education. When he and his sister were little, they each received a special doll and those dolls were both named Julia.

The Julias were so well loved they even needed passports and a going away party to be shipped over to Germany to get new hair from the lady who made them.

As I got to know this lovely family, I enjoyed so much the tales of the Julias and spending time holding the one that was the most loved of all, the one belonging to the boy who became our godson. That particular Julia doll had been loved up so much, it seemed like the story of the Velveteen Rabbit - this doll seemed real.

Well, that special young man gave me a big surprise when they came over to say goodbye just before they moved. He made Jampaloo his very own Julia. He copied the style and details of his own special doll, and used one of his tie-dyes shirts as the clothes. What I love most is that Jampaloo's Julia has the same somewhat floppy, really loved feeling that the "original" does. This doll just radiates the love and care he put into making her.

Now that Jampaloo is SIX months old, and getting more engaged with using those little hands to hold and grab and play, I am not surprised that he often carries Julia and holds her little arm - I wonder how long it will be before she will need a passport to fly off to the boy who made her for some new hair?