Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Sanity Challenge Check-In


So it's been just over two weeks since I accepted Cheryl Harris' "Sanity Challenge."  As a quick refresher, the challenge was to write about specific goals that we could set for ourselves to make the holidays "happier, healthier, and more sane."  Always the overachiever, I chose just one goal: to set aside 15 minutes each day to read something that is not on a computer screen.  And just so you know, I'm not being sarcastic.  Teasing apart just one goal from the tangle of shoulds, coulds, and woulds in my head was quite a tall order.  My natural tendency is to multi-task and keep moving, so to set a goal that I would stop for 15 minutes each day and focus on just one activity was actually expecting quite a lot.

After all, how much personal growth can you expect from setting a goal that's easily within reach?

Sunday, December 25, 2011

'Tis the Season for Singing


Just a short clip of me singing one of my favorite holiday songs.  

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and yours from The Canary Files.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

My Favorite Holiday Recipe

Season of Beauty

No matter what you celebrate come this time of year, I thought this recipe might come in handy. You don't need to be a master chef and the ingredients can be found in most people's homes. And what's best is that everyone can enjoy it, regardless of dietary constraints.  So what is it?

Consider it a gift from me to you. :)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Lugaw: Chicken Soup for My Soul

Chicken Lugaw garnished with Fried Chicken Skin

It's a rainy December day here in Austin. I'm still in my pajamas and happily sipping a large mug of hot ginger tea as I write this. Looking out the window, the leaves are finally changing color and after surviving yet another triple-digit happy Texas summer, the chilly evenings, overcast days, and precipitation (period) are welcome. And while the change in weather can be seen as a harbinger of the holiday season and rapidly approaching new year, for many it also marks another season - for colds, allergies, and the flu.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Home is Where the Heart is...


Beyond searches for sanity and navigating 'best intentions' at parties and gatherings, another thing the holidays can bring is homesickness. A yearning for the security of familiar faces with familiar smiles, and open arms that will embrace and love you no matter what.

And I am so incredibly blessed to have my Mom, Dad, and sister joining me in Austin this week. It's been almost a year since I've seen them, and it's a true reminder of what is important during the holidays. It's not the price tag on the gift you're giving or receiving or the things you can afford. It's the things that can't be bought, and the things you can't afford to lose.

While 'home' for many is a place, that perhaps during the holidays can feel particularly distant, remember that so long as the memory, the truth, and the essence of it continues to burn brightly in your heart, 'home' can be wherever you are.

Love and light,
Jonathan

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Challenge of Sanity During the Holidays...

Drawing new paths on my Zen garden.

As both the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012 hurtle towards us, it's easy to feel like we have to match that pace and shift our lives into overdrive.  With the buzzing, nearly crackling, energy of stress and anxiety all around us, shielding ourselves from it and keeping our heads above water can be a major challenge.  Shop for presents, plan parties, mail out holiday cards, write blog posts, etc., etc.  

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Ratio Rally! Vegan Salted Oatmeal Cherry Cookies

Gluten-free Vegan Salted Oatmeal Cherry Cookies

A culinary ratio is a fixed proportion of one ingredient or ingredients relative to another.  These proportions form the backbone of the craft of cooking.  When you know a culinary ratio, it's not like knowing a single recipe, it's instantly knowing a thousand. - Michael Ruhlman

If you were asking yourself, "What on Earth is a 'ratio rally'?", the previous quote might give you a little insight.  But if you're still scratching your head (and I don't blame you), allow me to explain.  In a nutshell, beginning this past February, bloggers from all over the web have 'rallied' together each month to create gluten-free recipes based upon culinary ratios set forth by Michael Ruhlman.  Each month is hosted by a different blogger, and each month features a different food item challenge, ranging from pancakes to  pasta.  All caught up?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011: Part 2 & Sweet Potato Chia Pudding

Gluten-Free Vegan Sweet Potato Chia Pudding Parfait

Where did I leave off?  Oh yeah... Gluten-free, vegan, and soy-free Thanksgiving potluck.  Some people might hear that and say, "What are you supposed to eat then?"  My answer: "Absolutely delicious food that allows the group of us to remain in peace and harmony with our bodies."

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011: Part 1

Thanksgiving this year was exceptionally busy.  Not that I'm complaining - it was just surprising how dense that fourth Thursday of November suddenly became.  On Sunday,  I didn't have any concrete plans, figuring I'd just wing it.  But by Wednesday, I had committed to being at four different places in two different cities.  Alas, I have always been an overachiever.