Arts and Health, Sisters is devoted to exploring creative problem solving and coping strategies in our world, especially the links between artistic expression and personal and spiritual growth. It is also dedicated to honoring the value and power of women.

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Sunday, October 3, 2010

Gluten Free Olive oil Tortas

Last week I gave myself a treat and stopped at Dean and Delucca's and bought "Tortas Aciete" which I take to mean olive oil cookies/pastries. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven, but I'm not supposed to eat wheat flour. So... I'm going to be experimenting with making non-gluten ones and I thought I'd share my first try.

I started with finding a recipe on About.com for the wheat flour kind, then adapted it as follows:

1 package dried active yeast
6 T olive oil
12 T (about 1/2 c) warm water
1 t salt
2 c non-gluten flour (I used sweet sorghum, but will probably try buckwheat next time)
1/4 c ground golden flax seed

Dissolve yeast in about 1/4 c warm water and olive oil in a good sized mixing bowl. Combine salt, flour and flax seed. Slowly stir the flour mixture into the yeast mixture. When it gets thick add a bit more water.The mix will never get really smooth and dough like since there's no gluten. At the end you may need to mix with your hands to get it to adhere together. Put a towel over the top of the bowl and let rest in a warm place for about 30 minutes. I set the oven to 175 degrees F and then turned it off and put the bowl in there for 1/2 hour.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F

After it's raised a bit, roll or pat the dough out into about 6-8 inch rounds, very thin about 1/8 to 1/4 inch. Sprinkle with granulated sugar. If you roll it out you may need or want to use a spatula to transfer the round to a baking sheet. I greased the sheet with some more olive oil, but that may not be necessary. Bake for 10-12 minutes. The tortas may be more or less crispy and should have some raised areas, like a cracker.

I enjoyed eating mine, the recipe made about 8 tortas, I think I would have gotten a lighter result if my baking yeast hadn't been over 3 years old!!! I'll get some new for my next trial. These have a bit of a nutty flavor from the flax seed, they are more chewy than wheat flour and more filling. Let me know what you think if you try them out.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Silly Poem

With Apologies to Joyce Kilmer

I think that I shall never see
A poem lively as a flea.

A flea whose hungry mouth is prest
Against my sweet dog's furry breast.

A flea that seeks out heat all day,
And hops with frin-ged limbs to play.

A flea that may all summer wear
A brood of eggs dropt everywhere.

Upon whose bosom fur has lain
Who intimately lives through drain.

Poems are made by fools like me.
But Nothing can jump like a flea.

Laura Kelly

Monday, May 31, 2010

New favorite Link

I just posted a new favorite link: jennifer ann's group, which is dedicated to stopping teen dating violence. Primarily boy against girl violence, although of course the opposite also exists... not to mention violence in same sex relationships. Here is where they have the winners of a video game competition for games which deal with the issue of dating violence. I played Grace's Diary, a visual novel of sorts and found it very moving indeed. Check it out!

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Hardest Job -- part 2: Nuts and Bolts

There are really two types (at least) of job hunting. One is based on survival needs and the other is more of a journey to find one's calling. The latter will be covered more in depth in the next post. How do you know which is the right one for you? Basically the second type can't be done if you have no way of getting your food, shelter, and basic security needs met. So if you don't have unemployment insurance, personal savings or generous family and/or friends, this is the immediate step for you.

The important thing is to get employment at SOMETHING, as quickly as possible. The types of jobs to steer away from are only those in which you know you really can't do the work, and those which you believe would be harmful to your health.... this includes jobs where harassment, sexual or otherwise, is present.

The next thing is to sell yourself. Get recommendations/references from anyone who has hired you and could state that they would be happy to hire you again. Lawn mowing, baby-sitting and volunteer work are completely valid for this purpose. Tell everyone that you are looking for work. Use the resources which are available to you at no charge. This includes the Unemployment Security Commission in your state. Many of the state unemployment security commissions have free on-line or downloadable guides for job seeking, which are full of great advice for your job search.

One piece of advice which I have found invaluable as both an employer and an employee is the rule of the three A's. What an employer needs are as follows, IN ORDER:

1. Availability. You MUST  be at work in order to do work, be prompt to work, if possible get to work 10 to 15 minutes early so you are completely ready to go when your shift starts.

2. Affability: Be respectful and cordial to your boss, your supervisor, your co-workers and the public. At the very least be civil. If someone is upsetting you on a regular basis, make sure you speak with your supervisor about this, this can help you make a plan to deal with the problem. Be willing to take direction and to do your best at your assigned task, be willing to help others out when it's appropriate.

3. Ability: That's right, your specific training and talents come in third. Basic reliability and social skills come before that. Besides at any job there is always a lot to learn and you will be expected to want to learn and to want to follow directions.

Another piece of advice which may be helpful. You only need one job (ok, in this economy maybe 2 or 3 at most). It becomes very discouraging to be either told that there is no work, or that you are not right for the job. One trick for dealing with this is to decide on a number of "no's" to collect each day. If you aren't collecting any no's, then you simply aren't trying hard enough.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Hardest Job -- part 1

I have had a number of jobs over the past 40 years or so ( I won't count picking up acorns out of the front yard at age four for wages of 1 cent per 10 acorns as a "real" job). Of all these jobs from the grimy storefront filling out invoices by hand with no heating or air conditioning, to being a medical director, the hardest job by far was the one which is so well known these days, the job of being unemployed.

From the first day I set foot in kindergarten, "work" provided me with structure for my day, a social network, a role and provided meaning, even a sort of scorecard for my activities and my identity. When I've been unemployed these supports can be lost to me just as surely as my paycheck. At times feelings of emptiness and purposelessness can be overwhelming, as can the sense of rejection when applications filled out with hope one day leave my cell phone silent for days and days, or worse the call arrives informing me that my work is simply not needed.


So how to cope with the lose of a role as well as with financial uncertainty? The next posts will suggest both ways to find one's way to a new job as well as how to tread water while you're stuck in the limbo of unemployment.