Sunday was the earths transformation from summer to fall….The fall 2013 season officially began at 4:44 pm EDT (I just love that love that time,- 4:44, something is wonderful sounding about 4:44, its magical and mystical sounding.) The autumnal equinox is when the sun crosses directly over the Earth’s equator and both day and night are about equal. The word itself, equinox, comes from the Latin words for equal night. 

Ron, Fall Equinox
Ron, A Master Gardener, and cause of Climate Change…holds the sun at 4:44!

I’ve been thinking a lot about transformations. As the earth makes this very pronounced transformation what does that do to us as humans? Does it encourage us to think about changes? Does it intimidate us to think about changes? Do we “hunker down” pre winter, or do we scurry about because there isn’t much time left before winter? As the abundance of  earth’s harvest is dying down, the earth itself is bringing it back into the ground to rejuvenate and re-charge itself for next spring and summer…We tend to want to slow down a bit now too…to “bring it all in” a bit too, we wrap our selves literally and figuratively  in sweaters and blankets, but mostly we don’t think of it as a “re-charge.” I don’t like the less daylight, less sun shine,and there is no doubt about it, it feels more serious than summer frolics…but the changes of the Fall Season here in New England can indeed be glorious.  It’s a wonderful time to be outside and soak in the air, the crispness, the colors and the last of the warmer sun rays. To come in after a fall walk and have a cup of hot tea, a fire in the fireplace, a warm blanket and a good book, these are all the luxuries of fall. All that said, many folks often seem to have more of a mini-panic as they feel the pressure of all the “shoulds” they feel that need to happen before winter…perhaps it may be better to slow down, to rethink, have to have positive INTENT and then move forward. Transformations are often really good things…but lets do them in a balanced and self purposeful way, not resolutions we must do, but a dedication to things we want to change, to balance, to reshape our lives with positivity. Like the seasons change, so do our lives, there is no stopping that. It is all transformational.  Is there a transformation you are working on?

Boots and hatsOh, and I almost forgot… another great thing about fall – we get to take out our fun boots and fun hats! Not our winter stuff, but all those fun boots and hats that are too hot to wear in the warmer months and now its cool again! Hallelujah -(happens to be a great song playing on my iRadio right now too! )  Birdelini and I love our boots and hats!

Equinox Eggs

The September equinox occurs at 09:04 (9:04am) Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) TODAY (9/23/2011.) It is also called the autumnal or fall equinox in the northern hemisphere, as well as the spring or vernal equinox in the southern hemisphere.

  • (The following info was found at “What happens during the September equinox? The sun crosses the celestial equator and moves southward in the northern hemisphere during the September equinox …  At that time, the earth’s axis of rotation is perpendicular to the line connecting the centers of the earth and the sun. This is the time when many people believe that the earth experiences 12 hours of day and night. However, this is not exactly the case…During the equinox, the length of night and day across the world is nearly, but not entirely, equal. This is because the day is slightly longer in places that are further away from the equator, and because the sun takes longer to rise and set in these locations. Furthermore, the sun takes longer to rise and set farther from the equator because it does not set straight down – it moves in a horizontal direction...
    The September equinox:
  • has been linked to many myths and superstitions in history. According to myth, it is believed that the September equinox is a time of balance when “day and night are equal” and that by some mystical force one can balance eggs on their end on these days. Some believe that one can only balance an egg within a few hours before or after the exact time of the equinox
  •  is a sign of autumn in the northern hemisphere. In Greek mythology autumn begins as the goddess Persephone returns to the underworld to live with her husband Hades.” (once again, thanks to for that info.)

Jolie EquinoxSo todays Fun Food Friday is a DEVILED EGG recipe! (Hades and Deviled eggs I just couldn’t resist!)

This recipe & info was found at EatingWell-Healthy Cooking Blogs site. “Popular as these two-bite appetizers are, they’re not typically healthy. Classic deviled-egg recipes are loaded with fat and calories. Our healthier version of deviled eggs has about two-thirds of the calories of a classic recipe, half the total fat and about 25% less cholesterol and sodium.

EatingWell Deviled Eggs
Classic Deviled Eggs
34 calories
58 calories
2 grams fat
4 grams fat
1 gram saturated fat
1 gram saturated fat
71 mg cholesterol
94 mg cholesterol
85 mg sodium
115 mg sodium

Although making deviled eggs is pretty straightforward, it is definitely possible to mess them up. Even though I’m the food editor of EatingWell Magazine, there are times I’ve added too much salt by accident. Other mistakes: way too much mustard or no mustard at all or (gag) broken eggshell in the filling. When done right, they’re smooth and creamy and the filling has the perfect balance of tangy and salty flavors. But if you follow these rules for making perfect deviled eggs it’s not hard to make them delicious and healthier too. How? Here are my 6 simple secrets for perfect, velvety deviled eggs.

  • Don’t go for the freshest eggs you can find. I know that sounds odd, and for most applications the fresher the better. But in this case, you don’t want to use eggs straight from the farm, as they’re harder to peel and you’ll end up losing half the whites in the process.
  • Don’t overcook the eggs. My mom always said put them in water and boil for 12 minutes at a hard boil. Now I know gentler is better so that the yolks get just set, but not overcooked. Place the eggs in a saucepan filled with cool water. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
  • Peel like a pro. After you boil the eggs, run them under a little cold water so that they’re cool enough to handle. Then crack them all over and put them in cold water to finish cooling. This makes them easier to peel.
  • Use two-thirds of the yolks. (The yolks have most of the calories and fat in eggs. One yolk has 5 grams of fat and 54 calories, compared with only 16 calories and no fat in an egg white.) Instead, use nonfat cottage cheese to stand in for some of the yolks—it keeps the filling velvety and rich while reducing some of the fat.
  • Instead of regular mayo choose low-fat. It has 15 calories per tablespoon and 1 gram of fat. It really is a miracle in creating a velvety filling.
  • When it comes to a classic-tasting deviled egg, you must use yellow mustard. It has the right acidity and saltiness that adds a special punch. (If you’re a mustard snob, you can do a blend of a more high-brow mustard with a little yellow mustard.)

Most of all, have fun! You don’t have to go just straight up and put mustard, mayo and paprika in your filling. Think of fun mix-ins like anchovies, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, chives, cilantro or Tabasco. Or even try stuffing them with guacamole. And don’t forget this important food-safety tip: don’t leave deviled eggs out longer than a couple hours. (If your parties are anything like mine, your guests will eat them much faster than that anyway!)

Get the Recipe: EatingWell Deviled Eggs
Active time: 20 min.| Total: 20 min.| To make ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day.
Deviled eggs are a perennial potluck favorite. Our recipe replaces some of the egg yolks with nonfat cottage cheese—keeping the filling velvety and rich while reducing some of the fat. No one will know the difference.

12 large hard-boiled eggs (see Tip), peeled
1/3 cup nonfat cottage cheese
1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
3 tablespoons minced fresh chives or scallion greens
1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
2 teaspoons yellow mustard
1/8 teaspoon salt
Paprika for garnish

1. Halve eggs lengthwise with a sharp knife. Gently remove the yolks. Place 16 yolk halves in a food processor (discard the remaining 8 yolk halves). Add cottage cheese, mayonnaise, chives (or scallion greens), relish, mustard and salt; process until smooth.
2. Spoon about 2 teaspoons yolk mixture into each egg white half. Sprinkle with paprika, if desired.
Makes 24 servings: Per serving: 34 calories; 2 g fat (1 g sat, 1 g mono); 71 mg cholesterol; 1 g carbohydrate; 3 g protein; 0 g fiber; 85 mg sodium; 31 mg potassium.

By Jessie Price: EatingWell deputy food editor Jessie Price’s professional background in food started when she worked in restaurant kitchens in the summers during college. She started out testing recipes for EatingWell and then joined the staff here full-time in 2004 when she moved to Vermont from San Francisco.”

THANKS EATING WELL Magazine and web site!

When this sun stands still!

The Summer Solstice: As Good as It Get

“The summer solstice is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. The sun has been inching its way back into our lives ever since the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. Rising slightly earlier each morning and setting a minute or two later every night, it graces us with light gradually gained. The change, the shift, is at first imperceptibly slow. But it is steady, and soon the minute-by-minute accumulation of daylight asserts itself in measures of hours. More and more hours of sun warmed shine.

By the spring equinox, the halfway point in the annual solar swing, the length of day and night is equal everywhere on Earth. The constant accretion of light continues for three more months until the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. That’s about 15 hours of sunlight in New York City and 21 hours in Fairbanks, Alaska. In Sweden, it is indeed the land of the midnight sun. And at the North Pole, the sun doesn’t set at all.

The seasonal ascendance of light and temperature is not — despite popular belief — due to our distance from the sun, but to the degree of directness of its rays. It would be logical on the face of it to assume that in the smarmy summer the earth approaches closest to the sun, and that we are furthest away from it in the cold, dark of winter. Not so. The earth reaches its perihelion, the point on our orbit which brings us closest to the sun, in winter (this year it was on January 1); and conversely, during summer (July 6, 2011) we attain our aphelion, the furthest reach of our range from the sun.

Though the distance from the sun is greatest in the summer, it is around the summer solstice that the sun sits highest in the sky. The steep path of its rays is angled directly overhead. Vertical. Its energy aimed arrow-like straight down on us. The summer solstice is the lightest, brightest, most brilliant summit of solar power. The peak, the potent pinnacle. The absolute apex of radiant energy extended toward us from our own shining star.

The summer solstice is the height of the glory of the season of the sun. And it is all downhill from there. For once it is as light, as bright, as ripe as it can possibly get, it just can’t get any better. It is then that the dark must begin to creep back. Back and back in tiny daily increments, bringing cold and death in its wake. The eventual return of the dark completes the annual solar circuit, the swing shift of sunlight.

On the solstice and for several days surrounding it, the sun stands sentinel at dawn, hovering, as it were, before beginning its descent into dark. It seems to stand stark still in the sky, which is exactly what the word solstice means — “sun stands still.” It stands proud and tall for our total admiration and enthusiastic tribute. And like the sun, we stand still and tall, as well, basking in its full attention.

If we celebrate the birth of the brand new sun and the return of the light at the winter solstice, we salute its vibrant expansive maturity at the solstice in the summer. We exalt in the season’s vital strength — and our own — even as we acknowledge its impending and inevitable loss of virility, fertility and ultimate demise. With bittersweet recognition of the impermanence of the season, we glory in that golden gift of heat and bright light. While we can.”

Written by Urban shaman, eco-ceremonialist, ritual expert and consultant

and Happy Birthday to Emily!