Get comfortable. If you click on this first link, you may be away for awhile. Once you meet Amanda, it is quite difficult to leave her. Upon arriving at Easy Peasy Organic, one feels as if outstretched arms met you at the front door with a steaming cup of home-made Chai Tea to welcome you in. Really IN. Post after post you will come to understand that Amanda’s blog is so much more than a visit to her kitchen where she creates and shares recipes as she mixes organic ingredients together. It is a place of sharing, of inspiration. Easy Peasy Organic was born from this trained scientist’s desire to not only feed herself and her loved ones food containing as little chemical content as possible but also, to show her readers that choosing organic need not be outside the constraints of a family budget. At the end of her food posts, Amanda informs her readers of the total cost of the dish. She has been featured on TasteSpotting, Foodgawker, Little Kitchn and Finding Vegan. The beautiful blog was also selected to be included among Babble’s top 100 of 2011. Amanda selects and prepares ingredients for her recipes as if her life and that of her husband and little daughter depended on it. When you read her story, you will understand why. I am honoured that this young woman is sharing her inspirational story today, along with her recipe. You can follow Amanda on Twitter @EasyPeasyOrganc
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Cancer sucks. There’s no getting around that. It rips you out of whatever life you were living, and puts you in the middle of the desert with a single bottle of water and some worn-out hiking boots. Hang on, that doesn’t sound nearly bad enough. I mean, hiking in the desert? Awesome!
Hmmm … maybe it’s more like this –
It rips you out of whatever life you were living, and sets you down in a turbulent, dark, flash-flooded, river. Full of sharks and waterfalls and crocodiles and partially-submerged logs (ouch); and of course you’ll be sodden from head-to-toe, and you’ll get water up your nose and you’ve ruined your favourite sweater (because who knew you were going swimming?)
You will make it to shore, somehow … but (between you and me) it’s going to be a long time before you get all the water out of your boots.
And so I had cancer. It’s been almost 3 years now, since I found that lump in my breast and got it checked out – twice. Good thing I listened to my instincts, and ignored the first ‘you’re ok’. It hurts to hear that you’ve got cancer, but it would’ve hurt worse had I missed the early diagnosis.
There are a lot of obvious and not-so-obvious reasons that cancer sucks. I’m sure you can imagine. But I’m not going to talk about those today … I think instead I might relate some of the good things that have emerged from the experience. Not that I would ever do it again – because I wish every day that I hadn’t had cancer. But the aftermath of cancer has surprised me.
Here’s what I’ve learned:
1. There’s no tomorrow as good as today.
Why put off that trip / that idea / that book / that blog / those first few years when my daughter is all mine? Cancer showed me how fragile long-term planning can be. The fact is, I really don’t want to die before I’ve done everything I ever dreamed of doing … so, since I don’t know when that’s going to happen – may as well start doing.
2. It’s ok to say no.
Except, apparently, to my three-year-old. But otherwise, I try to keep my diary a little more open than it used to be. And you know what? All my friends are still my friends … because they understand. They’re friends, after all!
3. Sometimes things aren’t as they seem.
No one will ever be able to tell me what caused my cancer. Genetics? Environment? Well, I know which one I can control … and since cancer I’ve started to take more control of what goes into and onto my body. If I can’t pronounce it, and my two years of chemistry at university can’t help me figure it out – I don’t want it anywhere near my body.
4. Whatever I thought I was going to be isn’t what I actually have to be.
Twelve years of tertiary education and some resume-building volunteer experiences were part of my master plan to be a university academic. To have students and teaching loads and research grants. To run a lab – my lab. Ambition. Drive. Focus. And somewhere along the line, I just kept going along this track because I didn’t know what else to do …
After I got cancer, I sat back and thought – what do I really, truly want to do? And the scary answer to that question was … that I didn’t quite know. I love writing and teaching and being a mum. So that’s a start. I still don’t really know how to define my ‘perfect job’ – but I’m exploring what it might be. And maybe one day I’ll find it.
And I can’t quite figure out how to make it a #5, but I’ve met some truly incredible people through breast cancer. People I consider myself lucky to have in my life. (xx)
I decided to write a recipe (and make a delivery) of ginger cookies for my friend who’s currently going through chemotherapy for breast cancer. The drugs have been making her feel quite nauseous and ginger is meant to be good for that. I’m going to put some into little baggies for her to store in the freezer, for whenever she needs a little pick-me-up. And I hope it helps.
Ginger Cookies (for Chemo Recovery)
inspired by a basic cookie recipe in Ratio by Michael Ruhlman
250 g salted butter
1 1/3 rapadura sugar (or brown sugar)
2 organic eggs
1 Tbs molasses
1 heaping Tbs stem ginger in syrup (optional)
4 Tbs freshly-grated ginger*
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
2 c unbleached plain (white) flour
2 c wholemeal flour
*I love the flavour of fresh ginger – and you can always have some on-hand by storing it in an airtight container in the freezer. Grate straight from frozen.
1. Preheat the oven to 160C (325F). Line a baking tray with nonstick paper.
2. Cream together the butter, sugar and eggs.
3. Add the molasses, stem ginger, fresh ginger, cinnamon and baking powder, and mix (by hand or with beaters) until combined.
4. Add the flour and mix by hand (no beaters) until thoroughly combined. Then, start rolling 2.5-cm (1-in) balls of dough in the palm of your hand. Place them about 4cm (1.5 in) apart on the baking sheet.
5. Then, use a fork to flatten them slightly.
6. Pop them in the oven and bake for 12-15 min, until the tops feel ever-so-slightly crispy (rather than mushy) and the cookies have a golden hue. When they’re done, remove them from the oven and let them cool on the tray for 5 min before transferring them to a wire rack.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature (for a week), in the fridge (for two weeks), or in the freezer (for a month).