Welcome to The Pauley Principle!

The Pauli Principle, named for Wolfgang Pauli, deals with atoms and electron-sharing that results in new, stronger bonds. Think 2 parts hydrogen and 1 part oxygen, a shared delectable (!) electron and VOILA! Water!

Similarly, when you prepare whole food to share with family and friends, especially foods you've grown, something amazing happens. Meals become tastier and healthier. Your soul, not just your stomach, becomes fulfilled. You live life more abundantly as a result. During a shared meal, the bonds that people create grow stronger and become something new: GREATER than the sum of the parts! I give you The Pauley Principle.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Puzzle of the Pauley Principle, Part 3

Your Life's Puzzle Becomes Multi-Dimensional

Our lives overlap, our decisions impact others: friends, family, and people we'll never know. You are finding that whenever you collaborate and share your left-over pieces with others, whether it's your talent, time or personal produce, you enrich another person's life. These left-over pieces then form parts of others' puzzles, other lives, and you begin to see the interconnectedness. If it fills a need for the other person, it goes on the edge of their puzzle. If it's enrichment that you add to another's life, it goes in the center of their puzzle. Either way, that piece remains in the center of your puzzle. Your puzzle expands beyond its surface. Picture a pancake that is bubbling in the center. Your life is bubbling both over and under at its center. Know that there will be obstacles whenever you attempt to make the world a better place, but this all adds depth and height to your center. Never, ever EVER give up!

Your puzzle is now three-dimensional. Sharing and acts of kindness change your puzzle immediately and drastically. It can never go back to being flat. In fact, it hasn't been flat for a very long time. The pieces you have shared are still shared. They're still part of the enrichment, the core, of your own.  Maybe you can sense that you're adding to the puzzle of someone else's life. Imagine their puzzle forming an interconnection with yours. At the same time, theirs and yours are also interconnected with others. This would be very hard to draw. Much of it is invisible to you but you can sense the shape these puzzles are taking and your part in changing them. You are a necessary part of others' lives. Look beyond the surface of your puzzle, toward the center, way beyond your edge. You're supplying basic needs and/or enriching other people's lives. If all you do is smile, tell a stupid joke or plant flowers, that enriches others' lives, but you're doing way more than that. Remember your interconnectedness.

Bottom line: The more acts of kindness you do, the stronger your support system becomes, even though obstacles and misunderstandings will sometimes occur. If there are gaps in your support system, trust in God to fill them.  Be of good faith, not giving in to the whinings and complaints of others. Continue to work hard. Strive to be happy. In all you do, act out of love. Your life's puzzle, multi-dimensional and ever-changing, will eventually be complete.

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Puzzle of The Pauley Principle, Part 2

Life on the Edge

Let's assume you now have an outline of your life's needs, you see your life's puzzle as shaping into a meaningful order and you have developed a plan for filling in the gaps around the edge. You may have decided to replace some pieces to make life more fulfilling for you and your family. Remember, the whole reason for doing this puzzle exercise is to enrich the quality of your life. The rest of your life's picture will start to develop soon.

The time may have come to talk to others, possibly to collaborate on a shared garden or a spot for a fruit tree. Perhaps you just need to borrow a tool. In previous posts, I suggest beginning small, starting with supplementing your meals with tomatoes and herbs that you have grown. If you decide to do that, you may want to start seeds indoors now.  As you look at seed catalogs and brainstorm on possibilities, you may decide you can plant other crops as well.

Now, plan ahead for longevity. If you're over fifty, don't assume life is over for you. Invest now, before prices climb too high. In a downturned economy, small investments can pay off in huge ways.  Your need for food is supplemented by your own hard work, helping to complete or strengthen your puzzle's edge. A berry patch or a couple of fruit trees can eventually bear more than enough fruit for you even if you work out a co-op with someone who has land for the planting. Sharing isn't only nice, it's the smart thing to do! Excess produce or tillable land that you share become pieces that go in the center of your puzzle.  Think of ways that you can help others. In order to get to the center, perform every act and decision out of love, never in greed.

While you're working on the edge of your life's puzzle, there's one final thing you need to know: This puzzle's edge changes shape over time. Plan now so that you're not continually living on the edge, patching up the gaps. The richness of life is centered beyond yourself. The exciting part comes next, as you begin to see overlap in the puzzle and the full picture reveals itself.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Puzzle of The Pauley Principle, Part 1

Dump Out the Pieces and Start Sorting
This can work for you. Imagine that all life's pieces that have to do directly with you and your family are laid out on the table along with pieces from other people's lives. How can you put the puzzle together in a way that creates a meaningful whole? Thoughtfully, carefully, intentionally--usually one piece at a time--but you may have some pieces missing.

First, consider your basic needs. In today's world you must add medical care and transportation to the food, clothing, and shelter list. Those are the edge pieces of your puzzle. They give your life shape and boundaries. And, yes, we need boundaries as a starting reference. Put your basic needs in order before you begin sorting out the rest of the puzzle. Other people are working on their own puzzles and may neither have the time nor the inclination to work on yours right now, but they will.

To put your edge pieces in place, ask yourself what you can do to supplement your basic needs, live life more abundantly, and cut costs. Any little thing you can do will add to your quality of life, but there's a trade-off. It's work. In another article I suggested growing tomatoes because my family loves Mediterranean cooking (pizza, pasta, salads, etc.) and Mexican-style cooking (salsa, the spiciness of chili, and tacos). I use tomato products at least three times a week. I also recommended herbs, not necessarily a need but they do improve the quality of life, and the cost of herbs is on the increase. Consider the difference between pasta with plain tomato sauce and sauce with herbs added. Choose several herbs if you can because variety is the spice of life. Use fresh when possible. Then dry, grind, and save the rest. You may have more than you need and that leads to Part 2.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Maple-Glazed Grilled Quail

1 tsp. crushed red peppers
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. crushed thyme
6 quail, prepared for cooking
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons olive oil

Prepare a rub of the dry ingredients. Rub into the quail. Place rubbed quail into shallow baking pan. Whisk together the oil and maple syrup and pour over the quail. Turn to coat evenly.

Place the quail breast-side down on an oiled rack over medium heat. Watch for flare-ups. Cover and grill for about 8 minutes. Turn. Brush with the syrup/oil mixture. Finish grilling about 8 more minutes or until breast meat is at 180 degrees.

Serving side dish suggestions:  Green salad with fresh peaches and blue cheese, potato wedges.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Sticky Maple Buns

Around the Pauley Plantation (tongue in cheek, but we do have maple trees), it's about time to begin harvesting sap. It's a process that is labor intensive for at least a week but SO FUN!  You have to bulk up to have the energy for it (LOL, any excuse works!), so this week I had warm sticky maple buns fresh from the oven, a great reward for the hard work of gathering, reducing and canning last year's sap. A friend of mine asked me to post my recipe. Get yourself some syrup, locally made if available, and give this recipe a try!

Begin with a basic sweet roll recipe. Here's the one I use, modified from Better Homes and Gardens:
4 to 4 1/2 cups flour
1 pkt active dry yeast
1 cup milk
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
Combine half the flour with the yeast. Heat the milk, sugar, butter, and salt to 115-120 degrees F. Add to the flour mixture. Use a mixer on low speed for one minute. Then add the eggs. Mix on high until silky smooth. Then stir in more flour and continue stirring in flour until you have a gooey ball. Begin kneading more flour into the dough until it's smooth and firm. Place into a greased bowl. Turn the ball over. Cover for about an hour or until double in size. After that, the fun part. Punch it down. Divide in half and allow it to rest for a few minutes.
Sticky maple buns:
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons of cinnamon
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Roll out dough into two 8"X12" rectangles. Spread each rectangle with butter. Mix cinnamon and sugar together and sprinkle half on each rectangle. Roll up from the long side and cut into 1" rounds. Turn oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare two round baking pans with butter. Pour half the maple syrup into each pan. Sprinkle with walnuts.  Place the rounds over the maple/walnut mixture. Bake for 20-22 minutes. Serve warm. YUM!!!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Wine Making Kits | Home Winemaking

Wine-making Kits

Have you tried any of the winemaking kits on the market? I'm curious. Some companies claim you can actually have good wine in 30 days. Maybe I'll try it sometime. Watch the YouTUBE video. Andy Watkins makes it look so easy! But...With my slower process, I don't have the added chemicals. Instead, the wine filters and de-fizzes itself in a succession of rackings over time, months! And well worth the wait.

Tonight, it's time for me to bottle, cap, and label a delightful little grape/blueberry combination from my own Concord grapes and some locally grown blueberries. The season was rough. Too hot and dry, so this is a very select little batch! The taste is delectable. If I had the money, I'd be willing to pay well for a wine as great as this. But HA!!! I don't have to, and if you try winemaking, you will enjoy yours too.

Here's the hardest part of making wine. I'm such a health nut that I won't allow myself more than a small glass of wine, about 3 ounces, a day. But, as my father used to say, "Moderation in all things, including moderation!"  Hence, the bottomless glass theory.  (Ask Shaun.)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Pizza Bake-Off!

On New Year's Day this year we broke tradition by having a family Pizza Bake-Off! Family members gathered in the large log cabin kitchen, where we had separate work stations and kept two ovens going. Anyone under the age of twelve became a judge. Kids are so honest!

We laid out some community ingredients. Fresh mozzarella, aged parmesan, olive oil, pepperoni and my homegrown oregano, garlic and crushed red peppers were joined by my son's contributions of fresh mushrooms and shredded mozzarella and my daughter's olives. Each chef had at least one specialty. One used Alfredo sauce with broccoli. One used spinach. One used a gluten free crust. And one used, get this, storebought crust and sauce, which the youngest judge preferred. My ace in the hole was homemade tomato sauce. I mistakenly thought it gave me an edge until I looked over and saw that my daughter had brought hers. The chefs used an assortment of homemade crust, boxed mixes, and prepared crust.

The laughter was contagious as each of the "chefs" simultaneously worked to prepare the best entry! When the young judges, ages 5 to 11, were finally presented with wedges from each of the six entries, they carefully tasted each pizza and weighed their reasons for liking this one or that one. The kids were perplexed when they could not come to agreement on a winner. We explained that the real fun was in the process, not in who won.  It turned out to be a great learning experience as well as a thoroughly enjoyable and delicious way to spend our time!

Now we're taking nominations for our next food challenge. One of the judges suggested omelets. Omelets?  :-/  She says, "But I really, really like omelets!" What would you suggest?

If you do a pizza bake-off let me know how it goes. For pennies on the dollar, you can make your own crust. It's simple. Here's my recipe:

Pizza Crust

1 1/2 C. flour
2 tsp. active dry yeast
1/2 tsp. salt
1.2 tsp. sugar
1/2 cup water at 90-110 degrees F.
1 T. olive oil

Put half of the flour into a small bowl. Add the dry ingredients. Pour in the water and olive oil and stir until smooth and silky. Then begin mixing in the rest of the flour. Form into a ball and knead until smooth and consistent. In another bowll that has been coated with oil, place the ball of pizza and then turn it over. Cover and place in a warm spot for about 30 minutes. This will be enough crust for a 14" thin crust pizza or a 10" pan pizza. For a crispy crust, brown the pizza crust in a pan in a 350 degree F. oven for ten minutes before adding toppings. I prefer just browning the bottom in a 12" cast iron skillet on the range before adding toppings. That only takes a couple of minutes and gives the crust a firmer, crunchy texture and nutty taste. Add toppings and bake for 15 to 18 minutes. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Potted Herbs for the Kitchen

Cooking for others is an extension of ourselves,  primeval in terms of saying you care. Cooking with herbs goes beyond caring. It's saying, "I love you and I want your to enjoy your food!"

My husband is not fond of green peppers or onions, so I've learned to avoid them when I cook for him. To top it off, my daughter has developed a strong aversion to onions, not just a dislike. That has forced my hand. I've substituted with herbs and found that I love, love, LOVE adding oregano to things like chili, homemade pizza and pasta sauce. Surprising to me, since I didn't think I liked oregano before I had to adjust my cooking.

Fresh potted herbs can add not only a fragrance and look to your kitchen but also add layers of flavors to your cooking that are deliciously incomparable. Since I've begun using fresh herbs, my husband often says things like, "Wow! I don't know what you did, but this (fill in the blank) is incredible!" That's what you want to hear, no matter who you're cooking for. After all, it's an extension of YOU but, with fresh herbs, remember that a little goes a long way. You don't want to scream your love. That would soon get annoying! YOWZA!

My favorite purveyor of herb seeds and plants is Jung, online at www.jungseed.com, since they have such a broad broad selection. There are many, of course. Harris Seed Company at www.harrisseeds.com, and of course Burpee at www.Burpee.com. Gurney's at Gurneys.com is where I usually get my tomato seeds, by the way. I like all these companies for fruits, vegetables and herbs and there are many more that I use. Start potting soon for your own enjoyment.

I should be showing you a picture of either potted herbs or my herb garden but the herbs are now gone for the season. Meanwhile, last year's herbs are dried, ground with my mortar and pestle, and ready to use! It's time to start more seeds! Let's see, dill is great for fish, savory adds a delicious oomph to roast beef, cilantro (love that fragrance), thyme and sage with chicken (YUM!). TTYL! I've got to send out my order! In the meantime, I welcome your comments! I want to know your thoughts and experiences!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tomatoes, fresh from the vine--Homegrown and Surprisingly Delicious!

YUM! I'm thinking tomatoes! I start tomato seeds in plugs, not pellets, and they do pretty well. For about six weeks you just need to check on them so that they don't dry out. Today I'm ordering them so they'll be ready to plant as soon as I can get them outside. I plant in three stages: seed starter plugs inside near a window (but a growlight is actually better) in late January/early February, then transfer to a coldframe outside about six to eight weeks later, and then transplant into the garden when their stems have become strong. OR, you can put your starter plug directly into pots for potted tomatoes to set outside later. Even if you have a garden, a potted tomato is so handy to have, especially when the garden is muddy.

If your experience with tomatoes is limited to store-bought, even the hydroponic tomatoes, you are in for a treat if you'll try raising your own! Saying you don't like homegrown tomatoes is like having day-old coffee and thinking you don't like the flavor of a fresh brew! You really owe it to yourself, if you have any space at all, to give it a try. In the summertime a pot of fresh tomatoes on the doorstep can greet you with a delicious treat after your day's work. Plan now.

Seed selection is important. As a homegrower, you'll have a wider selection than a mass producing truck farmer has. You won't need the tough skins or long shelf life. I suggest a small round tomato such as the Early Girl by Gurney. The sweet flavor is incredible and makes incomparably fresh-tasting sauce for pasta and pizza! I'm aware that Roma seems to be the tomato of choice by packers of tomato sauce but its flavor is bitter compared to the Early Girl. A sweet potted cherry tomato plant is perfect for a quick bite or a salad. For either fresh or canned tomatoes, I'll choose Gurney Girl but I'll also plant Mr. Stripey because it is so pretty in salads and also very tasty with a firm texture that just feels good to eat. The experience of eating a tomato, fresh from the garden, is so fun!

Heirloom tomatoes can be flavorful but mushy. I've tried a couple. At first bite, I thought, "This is it!" But the mushy flesh and lack the disease resistance quickly turned me off. They tended to rot easily before they ripen. UGH! At least, that's been my experience.

Please let me know your tomato-growing experiences and preferences. I'm willing to try something new! And if you haven't tried growing your own yet, it's time to start!

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Downturned Economy and a New Age of Self-Reliance

The trickle-down economics of the Reagan Era proved to be a joke for most Americans. Sorry if that insults your political sense but bear with me. The money certainly did not trickle down to the working poor and I suspect it also did not reach a number of my middle class readers. That economic principle had a major flaw. Here's an analogy. My husband has done residential site development since the late seventies and he recognizes that in a plumbing system, excrement flows downhill, not money. In our country's economy, money and cashflow, like the sanitary inserts used by women and then flushed, has had a trend of getting caught up near the top of the system, way up at the top!

The Pauley Principle, briefly stated, is that productively working people (those earning less than $200K/yr) and the new poor, whether recently out of a job, or because of poor health, medical costs, or inflation can live life more abundantly. I invite you to follow my lead and begin with making great food and drink for your table. Then, as your food supply increases (and I borrow this idea from Audrey Hepburn), work with your right hand to bring food in and then share  with your left hand. My wish for you, your friends and family is that you will benefit in both health and wealth.

Here's the way it works. As our manufactured productivity continues to slide, personal productivity must increase. A body at rest tends to stay at rest (think economy, think couch potato) while a body in motion tends to stay in motion. We're talking about inertia. Work it, baby, work it! Your body and soul will love you for it!

My blogs cover a number of topics that include ideas for gardening, community gardening, canning parties, recipes, how-to tips such as starting a small vineyard, wine making, links, resources and having cheap thrills.

I invite you not only to follow but to interact with me. Share your experiences on growing, harvesting and gathering, food preservation, recipes and your ideas. Now, get going! I do this and you can too! Start by looking at some seeds you'd like to plant or figure out a way to pull friends and family together for a shared garden spot, labor and tools. You're not limited to veggies. Consider different foods you can produce individually or on the shares, or hunt and gather. I encourage you to set into motion your own sense of self-reliance, descended from centuries of hunters and gatherers, and allow inertia to sweep you into a wonderfully satisfying experience of productivity, great food, drink, and wonderful fun!

Once you start, keep me posted with your progress, successes and even your false starts. It happens. Just don't give up. Eventually you'll come out ahead.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

What? Me, Make Wine? Why NOT!?

According to the King James Bible, winemaking was the first miracle that Jesus performed. It's easy and doesn't require a miracle at all unless, of course, you're at the wedding when the wine runs out. What's more, home winemaking is a legal adult pastime here in the USA. Not only that, it is the most fun I've ever had with a hobby! You can produce and store a rather significant quantity for your own use. You can give it to friends for gifts. But, if you're a home winemaker, you are prohibited from selling the wines you make, a fact that friends don't really mind at all when they receive gifts of wine!
For a reasonable cost, wine-making suppliers can see that you have everything you need to make a great-tasting wine for your own table.
Plan ahead before you begin. Talk to people who make wine--the numbers are growing--or find a good resource to guide you through the process. This blogsite will help you. When I make wine, I take copious notes so that, if I do it right I can help others. If I mess up, I'll try to pass that along too so that others will benefit by my successes as well as my mistakes. After you decide you're going to make wine, gather your supplies to one convenient spot. This could be a basement corner, a spare bathroom, or even right in your own kitchen! The process smells wonderful! Then, just wait for the ripening of the fruits you want to use in making your wine. If you just can't wait or don't have a suitable fresh source, try one of the kits made especially for winemaking, available from winemaking suppliers such a E. C. Kraus.
I hope this has planted the little grape seed that has you thinking about making some wine. And although I enjoy grapes for wine, there are many other fruits that seem to want to be wine. Tonight, I'll work with one and enjoy another!  In some following blogs I'll will share some of the resources that I've learned from and a little overview of my experiences with winemaking. In the meantime, let that seed of thought grow and someday you, too, may live life more abundantly with your own delicious table or dessert wine!

Now for the part I love...

I just finished straining off some blackberry juice after its primary fermentation. Tomorrow is a holiday, so I'm sipping a late night glass of elderberry wine that I made last summer while I watch a favorite television show with my hubby. What a pleasant reward for my efforts! You too can enjoy the harvest anytime! Learn the secrets to preserving the fruits of the vine. Happy planning! In future blogs, I'll list the things you'll need to gather together if you would like the enjoyment of making and drinking your own wine.