Tag Archives: Gaping Void

What Makes a Great Relationship?

cute penguin couple - exploredIt seems that everywhere I go, every conversation I choose to engage in, the relationship issue shows up as the central theme. If I thought monogamy was a hot topic, it seems relationships are a crackling wildfire. Generally, the feedback I’ve been getting, is that good relationships are few and far between. And, the longer people have been together, the more challenging it appears it is to stay together. How very sad to me.

I recently told someone (a somewhat disheartened woman in a 30-year marriage whose spouse’s hip pain had put out his fire), that I was finally ready to be in a great relationship. She smiled and said she admired my optimism, but our conversation made me quickly realize that I’d be wise to take off my rose-colored glasses and take stock of what’s going on out in the real world. If a good relationship is almost impossible, a great one, although an admirable pursuit, may not be attainable. I’m determined to keep hope alive though.

I admit I’ve been on my own, relationship-less, for many years. My principal relationship has been with myself for all those years. The obvious reason was for my own physical healing (most thought I would not be here to even tell my story). I was so far down that frankly, the only way was up. It was, even more importantly, about my personal spiritual growth.

I’m trusting this concept of personal spiritual growth isn’t big news to anyone anymore. It is part of our human challenge and condition. Anyone who ever watched Oprah might agree that she offered a great service by bringing these kinds of topics to the everyday consciousness. I believe it is an ongoing conversation that needs to happen for our human species to keep evolving. I’m sure this means different things to different people, but I don’t think we can easily ignore it anymore.

My personal belief is that all of us are here to experience and learn through relationships. These opportunities come to us all the time. With parents, children, friends, business associates and even the casual stranger we meet and connect with. Every interaction with another, offers us a chance to be in relationship.

No man is an island.” John Donne.

For me, I’m most curious about the one on one personal and intimate relationship. I remember many years ago reading Gary Zukav define the concept of a “spiritual partnership”. In his incredible 1989 book Seat of the Soul, he says, “A spiritual partnership is a partnership between equals for the purpose of spiritual growth.” I know this is what I want, but wonder where do I find the other who is ready for the same thing?

Zukav goes on to brilliantly explain his four “c’s” or guidelines for a spiritual partnership. Briefly, the guidelines are: commitment, courage, compassion and conscious communication and action. It is well worth reading their full explanations here. I learned much from his wise words and know these are what I see as keys to putting the “great” in a relationship.

I’ve actually heard that people make “lists” of the things they are looking for in their ideal partner and stick by that list until they’ve ticked off all the boxes. This seems like somewhat of a futile exercise to me. Personally I’m more about another person’s energy, than a list of must-haves.

I’ve also discovered many people say they are ready for a relationship, but in actuality may not be ready. I smiled when I got a recent Hugh MacLeod Gaping Void daily email. Subject line: Forever. Graphic and Message: It took forever before I was ready… to find you. The piece went on to say:

And as we all know, Mr. or Mrs. Right isn’t just floating out there in the ether like some abstract, platonic ideal. You too have to be ready. You don’t get the person of your dreams ’till you’re ready to be the person of their dreams first. The giving precedes the getting, always. It simply has to.

We do all know this, right? Thank you Hugh!

I’ve been asking for interesting, intelligent, creative, and spiritual men to come into my life, and I admit a few have bravely shown up lately. Age doesn’t seem to matter as much anymore. Not to me anyways. I know that in our youth-obsessed culture, if there is to be depth and meaning, it has to be about something more than just the external, the physical.

I was shocked to read that 96 per cent of all adults say they would change something about their appearance if they could. This is one of the factors that led philosopher Jonathan Zap to say,

Suffering associated with body image has reached such epidemic proportions in our culture that it must be counted as one of the greatest spiritual plagues ever to be visited upon mankind.

My recent observations would lead me to agree. A culture that has lost it’s ability to age gracefully, looking for the fountain of youth, hoping to find it using fillers, injections, implants, surgeries and more. It’s not even that hard to tell who is keeping it real anymore. Somehow, it is no longer okay to get older and look it too. This isn’t only a women’s issue, as men are playing catch up in this arena as well. There are lots of statistics, if one cares to check out who’s doing what to themselves in the name of staying young. Perhaps I might need to explore this more fully in another piece.

In regards to the every changing way we do relationships, it is sad to see that current statistics show 50 per cent of all marriages end in divorce. But, the actual statistical breakdown I found, shows even more startling results. The range of results indicates that divorce rates might be anywhere from 50 per cent of first marriages, 67 per cent of second, and 74 per cent of third, depending on the source. The odds seem to clearly be stacked against the possibility of successful marriage.

Enough to make me re-examine how a future relationship might look to me. As one of my men friends recently said to me, “Marriage is a contract two people try to make work.” And I tend to agree. Sometimes for all the wrong reasons if the statistics are correct, and with very discouraging results.

Many years ago Bob Dylan said, “The times they are a changin’.” And they are. Many of the institutions we have clung to for so long, including the traditional concept of marriage, are changing. And quickly. I feel grateful that I’m at a place in my life where I have total freedom and can take responsibility for every relationship I choose to be in.

I admit I’m still the little girl who believes in happily ever after, but I’m aware how that must start with happiness from within instead of looking for something out there to “complete me.”

If I can take anything from the brilliance of Marianne Williamson’s lecture “Relationships and Spiritual Adulthood”, it relates to this one line: “It is our job to affirm a person.” She explains, “It’s not our job to change a person. It is our job to celebrate a person. It’s not our job to imprison a person. It is our job to free a person.”

I see a bright and hope filled future in this. The more I do my own spiritual work, I can only draw closer those who are doing theirs as well. Somehow in my own seeking, I continue to trust I will be found.

We all deserve to be seen and loved for who we are, not a media ideal we will never attain. It is our individual responsibility to continue to explore and reveal who we are both as individuals and as a species. This will be the key to attracting the other who themselves is doing the very same work. As the Beatles said, “All you need is love.” Sound too simple? We all deserve to give and receive love. In many ways I believe it is that simple if we allow it to be.

So, let me ask you, what have you found makes a good relationship? Okay, dare I take this up a notch… What makes a great relationship?

Please visit me at:  www.beverleygolden.com


Originally published November 2011

The Four Faces of Intimacy

Screen Shot 2013-07-01 at 5.16.10 PMIt started with a simple question. That question (not surprisingly for anyone who knows me) led to a series of additional questions. When I couldn’t get clear answers for myself, I started asking others. The results of this process have fascinated me, and I wanted to explore the topic more fully. The basic question: “What does intimacy mean to you?”

The range of responses I received was wide and varied. I asked both men and women, different ages, some in relationships and some not. Most people had to stop for a moment to really think about and put into words what intimacy meant to them. As I looked more deeply at the topic, I found that there seem to be four types of intimacy we engage in in our relationships.

1. Sexual Intimacy

The people I asked generally started describing the most common of the four types of intimacy: Sexual. This wasn’t too much of a surprise, as sexual intimacy is probably the most stereotypical and most familiar definition of the word in modern society. Having sex, however, often has less to do with intimacy and more to do with a physical act between people. As it ended up, the people I spoke with desired more than just the physical act of sex, they wanted depth. They wanted to feel safe being vulnerable, wanted to be seen by their partner. That makes sense, as this form of intimacy also includes a wide range of sensuous activity and sensual expression, so it’s much more than having intercourse.

It is interesting that the word intercourse is actually defined as “connection between persons or groups” and as an “exchange especially of thoughts or feelings.” Curious to explore why intimacy is challenging to people in their relationships, I continued to look further.

2. Emotional Intimacy

Emotional intimacy occurs when two people feel comfortable sharing their feelings with each other or when we’re able to empathize with the feelings of another person. The goal of emotional intimacy is to be aware of and understand another person’s internal experience. My guess is that women have an easier time with this, but I’d like to believe that men too are becoming more comfortable experiencing emotional intimacy. Emotional intimacy is a healthy part of the exchange in all relationships, whether female or male. But not everyone is comfortable with it.

Margaret Paul, Ph.D, refers to the fears people have in relation to emotional intimacy. She says that, “Many people have two major fears that may cause them to avoid intimacy: the fear of rejection (of losing the other person), and the fear of engulfment (of being invaded, controlled, and losing oneself).” This makes sense to me.

In this area of intimacy, people must act from their hearts and love unconditionally. As I talked about in my piece on what makes a good relationship, the heart of a spiritual partnership is love. Love is also at the core of emotional intimacy.

3. Intellectual Intimacy

Intellectual intimacy is personally the face of intimacy I am most comfortable with. This one is all about communication, and as someone who lives and breathes words, it’s extremely familiar to me. Intellectual intimacy happens when two people share ideas and explore the similarities and differences in their personal opinions. The ability to do this in an open and comfortable way can lead to a very intimate relationship indeed. As someone who engages in this type of interaction all the time, I can say that it has offered me a wonderful and fulfilling form of connection with people I care about. I think this may be my strongest area of intimacy.

4. Experiential Intimacy

Experiential intimacy is the intimacy of activity, and it happens every time we get together with a group to create art in a silent process. This type of intimacy is all about letting the art unfold and working together in co-operation. This form of intimacy is not about a verbal sharing of thoughts or feelings, but more about the activity and feeling that emerges from this involvement. I recently experienced this at a Contact Improv jam with a complete stranger. I interacted with a young man, letting our body energy lead the dance, with no eye contact and no words, just movement in a sensual and open, if not dramatic, dance. I was somewhat surprised to learn that experiential intimacy actually is in my intimacy vocabulary.

According to Rick Hanson, Ph.D, to have intimacy in our life, we must have a natural balance of two great themes — joining and separation — which are in fact central to human life. Almost everyone wants both of them, to varying degrees. He goes on to say that “individuality and relationship, autonomy and intimacy, separation and joining… are often seen at odds with each other, but this is so not the case!” This also made perfect sense to me. Yin and yang. Light and dark. All the polarities we live in life, lead to a balance.

My understanding and curiosity about intimacy were greatly expanded by asking others about what intimacy means to them. I  believe that when we establish balance in the four faces of intimacy, we find a deeper connection and understanding in all the relationships of our life. I also fully recognize that we all have different definitions of intimacy. Are men and women’s definitions dramatically different? A fascinating conversation to continue to explore.

I recently received a daily Gaping Void email by Hugh MacLeod with the subject: Has your soul been seen lately? Synchronistically, the topic was intimacy. What followed was a beautiful way to end my piece:

Intimacy isn’t strictly about romantic relationships, or even relations with family–sometimes it happens quickly, and often times in ways we hardly notice.

I’m talking about that moment when someone allows the world to see what’s inside…what they are really about. It’s about seeing someone for who and what they are and that the glimpse was offered either voluntarily or without the person’s knowledge. This is an incredible moment where our existence suddenly makes sense and all comes together in a singular place. 

For those of you who have experienced this, it’s something that never gets lost in memory or time. It’s like a little mirror we take out every now and then to remember a time when something so complex became so inconceivably simple. It’s pretty incredible.

For me, this is the essence of what intimacy is really all about. Dare to be vulnerable, dare to be seen.

Now let me ask you the question I began with: What does intimacy mean to you?

Visit me at: beverleygolden.com


Originally published February 2012

The Inextinguishable Power of Women

This month is somewhat of an anniversary celebration for me.  Ten years ago, I naively flew off across the ocean to an alternative clinic in Germany looking for answers, hope  and healing, for my undiagnosable medical condition.  Weighing in at 89 pounds on a 5 foot 6 inch frame, I was a walking skeleton and apparently looked like the only thing I was about to cross, was death’s door.  My daughter had even given me permission to die.  That truly shocked me.

The direness of my situation was confirmed by the team of medical doctors who at one point could only suggest, “perhaps you should pray.”  They were very clear that I’d have to alter my lifestyle dramatically and they emphatically told me I would never be able to travel again.  The harsh reality hit home when I stood, almost naked, in front of their full-length mirror, wondering where my body had gone.  After three and a half weeks, I flew back across the ocean, arriving home no better than when I’d left.  The complexity of my condition remained a mystery.  Physically I looked frightening, but I knew that I’d have to rally from deep within me, my inextinguishable determination to live.

So, this year when I was invited to join World Neighbors on a physically challenging trip  to visit the forgotten people in the poorest regions of Peru, I admit, I was very hesitant.  Then I realized I was being offered an opportunity to test my physical resilience, almost ten years to the day after literally being unable to even walk up a short flight of stairs.  The only answer was yes.  Always my philosophy: Say Yes to Life.

The trip demanded more of me than I thought I was capable of.  Cold nights in high altitudes without heat or hot water.  Hours of driving on what I came to call “non-roads”.  Soon the luxuries we take for granted in North America were a longed for distant memory.  I slept in layers of clothes and developed a new gratitude for all I was blessed with, including fleece pants and a jacket which became my comfort.  I could write extensively about the challenges, but they soon took a back seat to the real story.

The story of the poorest people of Peru, who although “poor” by our lifestyle standards, have an incredible richness of spirit, with sincere love and commitment to community.  I discovered that World Neighbors uses a methodology that is somewhat unique.  They work with the community to understand their specific needs.  They don’t give handouts or decide what is best for the people.  In Peru, they work with a savings and credit model and each person must match the credit offered…50/50.  No exceptions.  Even a very small initial credit can foster confidence and as the recipient thrives and pays back the credit or loan, they soon apply for larger credits to expand and enrich their lives.

One of the things that struck me was how the women of even the smallest communities, find a personal sense of empowerment.  In a society that would be considered patriarchal by nature, we found women with equal status and often men declared that their wives were equal decision makers in all aspects of their lives.  Gender equity, which we might take for granted, is one of World Neighbors focuses in all 45 countries they work in.

Often they go to the end of the road, where no-one else offers help.  It reminded me of being metaphorically at the end of the road and how the smallest glimmer of hope kept me going in my most critical of times.  World Neighbors offers hope to what I’d call the lost people of Peru.  Their work is done in the forgotten communities, where they form community committees, working with them for eight to twelve years, supporting and educating until the community is self-sufficient.  Long term solutions, not short-term fixes.

An absolute stand out for me, was Candelerea, a humble, yet brave woman, who was uncomfortable about having her picture taken, as she had not dressed up for the occasion.  Yes, women are women everywhere!  She was one of the original ten on her community committee, the only woman.  I saw her light up like her name, when she proudly told us that she was currently on her fifth loan and with this help, had been able to send two of her children to university (previously unheard of), one studying to be a teacher and the other an accountant.  She explained why the World Neighbors system works.  “It requires the participant to match the loan, it keeps the recipient motivated and interested to the make the effort to repay the loan.  And their contribution then helps the community as well.”

Economist Esther Duflo of M.I.T., who studies poverty, found that often anti-poverty programmes “go beyond the direct impact of the resources they provide.”  It is the injection of optimism that dramatically improves both the mental and physical health of recipients.  Her studies confirmed that it is an absence of hope, that contributes to keeping people trapped in their poverty.

This was very clear to me in Peru.  Many of the people had fled their homes during the 1990’s rebel uprising, and felt hopeless on returning to virtually nothing.  As World Neighbors offered hope and built trust, communities soon began to thrive again.  This was true from the smallest of communities of 19 families, to the largest of 1200.  As I discovered from my own personal experience, hope is a powerful fuel, which drives the human spirit.

The theme continued to be communities built on co-operation, not competition.  I remembered hearing author-speaker Gregg Braden, talk about 400 peer-reviewed scientific studies that explored what level of competition created the maximum results.  The findings:  Zero.  Said Braden, “Darwinian evolution doesn’t work.  Although “survival of the fittest” has always been accepted as the standard for biological behavior, we are more inclined toward peace than war, more wired for co-operative existence and mutual aid than competition.”   And this is what I saw in all the villages we visited.  Everyone had the chance to flourish, with opportunities for each and every person.  We met women doing a wide variety of work.  From raising guinea pigs (the Peruvian national delicacy) and using the manure to enrich their crops, to women expressing their artistic souls, using their talents weaving exquisite blankets and sweaters.

Another absolute light for me was Maximina, a smiling cherubic 44-year-old mother of 5, (ages 5 to 26), whose entrepreneurial spirit shone.  After she put aside her initial fear of having never managed money, she was one of the first eight in her community to receive a credit.  She hid hers at first, afraid she wouldn’t be able to pay it back.  With the reassurance and support from the World Neighbors team (all local Peruvian people) she gained the confidence to build a small empire for herself.  Starting with 500 soles (about $192), she bought a small cow.  Next she supported her son’s schooling.  The third credit helped expand her home.  And the fourth allowed her to finally buy the loom to begin weaving her colourful blankets, which people come from miles around to buy.  She was sold out on the day we visited.

As Maximina expanded her business, she continued to realize her dreams. She reminded me of the “every woman”.  Hoping for a better life for her family and keen on traveling and learning more about building her business.  She’d already learned about medicines for animals and now sells them in her small store.  In her words, “I am now capable of managing anything.  Before World Neighbors I never thought I could have a position of authority in my community.  Now, I was president of the community.”  She has a deep desire to travel to other areas to learn about other women’s work and to encourage them.  Several days before we visited she took on a student, apprenticing a younger niece in sweater making.  I joked with her that she was really “maximizing” on her name.  She laughed, proudly, at being recognized for all her accomplishments.

This for me, is the real joy I witnessed in Peru.  The journey was challenging and tested my resilience.  These people must rely on their resilience every single day.  They are people who have little, yet appreciate everything.  The children often eagerly walk up to two hours each way to school.  Universally, the women have the same dreams and hopes that all women have.  To be better.  To see their children have more than they do.  Their hearts are with their communities.  They support each other.  They encourage each other.  What World Neighbors offers is hope and support.  They understand the people they are helping because they are the people.

A recent piece in the N.Y. Times, “The Campaign Against Women”, caught my eye and I read it with interest.  The piece talks about women’s rights being attacked by the Republicans on Capital Hill.  It made me realize that the heart and soul of women is not about politics or legislation.  My trip to Peru confirmed for me that real power comes from within.  It is born of spirit.  We are entering a time in our own history, I believe, where the feminine energy is rising.  The power, the fire that lives in us all, cannot be extinguished.

And as so often happens when I’m writing, something shows up that perfectly fits.  This Gaping Void by Hugh MacLeod had me smiling.

Subject line:  Rock n’ Roll.  The message succinctly says it all.

“One of the great tragedies of life, and you’ll find it deeply imbedded in every major world religion and mythology is to know that the power, the life spirit, is within you, and yet you choose to ignore it.

Call it rock n’ roll. Call it the voice of God. Call it anything else.

Only you as an individual can decide to awaken it. 

It’s a decision only you can make.

And thank goodness for that….”

Thank you to World Neighbors and the people of Peru for their inextinguishable spirits.  Words cannot really express my gratitude.  It was truly an extraordinary celebration.

I invite you all to experience and share your inextinguishable power.  It is always there.  Sometimes we have to step outside our comfort zone to be reminded of how alive we really are.  Rock n’ roll.

Visit me at:  beverleygolden.com

photo by: Alex E. Proimos

7 Interesting Things I Recently Learned

In a world where every minute of every day we are exposed to non-stop information from a myriad stream of sources, in the last few weeks there were moments when I sincerely felt I’d reached the point of information overload.

Generally, if you ask me what I consider fun, I’d say “learning something new.” Then I’d smile. Not what others might consider their way of having fun. Being Aquarian, an air sign, I love to bring ideas down to earth, to share with others. So when I was at the point of feeling overwhelmed, I stopped to look at what stood out, picking the seven most interesting and fun things I actually heard or learned about recently, also making note of how they showed up for me.

The first, was all about books. In my piece on my love of bookstores, I openly declared that I adore real books and don’t enjoy reading them online. Although I’m apparently in the minority, I was thrilled to learn about two projects that are determined to honour and preserve the printed book.

The first story was about a modern day “Noah”, Brewster Kahle, who personally has invested $3 million to buy and operate a real book repository. “We want to collect one copy of every book. You can never tell what is going to paint the portrait of a culture,” Kahle told the New York Times. Each week, 20,000 new volumes arrive, many of them donations from libraries and universities delighted to find a home for material that no longer has a place in the Internet age. “Wow” I thought. “How incredible that someone would undertake such a monumental task.” It left me smiling and definitely wanting to pass it on.

Then I heard about a small individual project started three years ago in Wisconsin, by Todd Bol. Called Little Free Library, today it has grown to include locations in at least 28 states and six countries including Canada, Australia and Afghanistan, with people from more than a dozen other countries expressing interest, according to Bol. The premise: take a book, return a book. What a simple, yet exceptional way, to engage people and contribute to building community. Both of these stories came to me via the Internet as links within emails. Glad I clicked on them.

Second thing I found really interesting, was revealed in a face-to-face conversation – my all time favourite way of communicating – by a young man I’d just met, who himself had literally just heard about this on the radio. A study by German researchers discovered that when people glanced at the colour green for two seconds before doing a creative task, it actually boosted their creative output in comparison to briefly looking at other colours, like white, grey, red, and blue. As someone involved in all kinds of creative undertakings, I was fascinated by this new bit of colour information. As I write, I’m trying it out by looking at a wonderful green elephant plant.

Number three came in one of my favourite daily emails, Gaping Void, with a tongue-in-cheek look at how we don’t really talk to each other anymore. The stats are pretty wild. As author Hugh MacLeod wrote, “Truth is we live in a world dominated by mobile phones – there are actually more phones than there are people in the U.S. – yet we barely speak to each other anymore.” Really? More cell phones than people in the U.S.! I got the details. According to a piece in the New York Times, there are 327.6 million wireless customer connections, equal to 103.9 percent of the United States population. Honestly, for me this wasn’t really that much fun to learn about. I’m with Hugh when he says, “Our phones have become everything but a device to speak into (unless you’re one of the iPhoners who talk to Siri).  Phone or no phone, we should talk more, don’t you think?” I do think.

The fourth actually took me by surprise. Personally, I support many charities and organizations that do amazing humanitarian work around the world and really thought I was well-versed in who was doing what. Then I learned about World Neighbors, who have been building self-sufficient, independent communities for 61 years in over 45 countries around the world, and I had never heard of them! Their current campaign “Stop Saving The World, Start Changing It,” is a great opportunity to join a movement that shows the world how to actually bring about lasting changes, not just offer short term aid. They’re truly changing the lives of people living all over the globe, all on less than $1 a day. This one arrived compliments of a dear friend who herself had just been introduced to the inspiring work World Neighbors does.

Health and food items are always biggies for me, so this article in a real printed magazine caught my attention and became number five. It’s about a condition called fructmal (fructose malabsorption), which is little known, yet makes it difficult to digest fruit sugars or fructose. Yes, this means even healthy fruits like apples, dates, pears, mango or cherries can upset your digestive system. It’s associated with tangible symptoms that range from bloating and gas to depression.

Number six I heard about from a friend who saw it on a Sunday morning television show and told me about it over the telephone. (Make mine a landline, of course!) Already included in my piece about old things becoming new again, I liked it so much, here goes again. Old typewriters are making a comeback! Love it! Yes, old-fashioned typewriters are making a comeback, not only with collectors, but with a new generation of users too. “Type-ins” are a new kind of social event for those in their 20s and 30s. “You type so much quicker than you can think on a computer. On a typewriter, you have to think,” Brandi Kowalski told the New York Times. She began a vintage typewriter business last April with a partner, and so far they’ve refurbished and sold more than 70 machines, many to first-time users. Their slogan is perfect: “Unplug and reconnect.” And yes, I did find my 1970s portable Smith Corona in its original box in my collectibles-filled basement.

Number seven on the list was a fun one I heard on the radio. It seems there is a new wine on the market called “Hot Flash” created by B.C. winery House of Rose, especially for middle-aged women. Great product name. It caught the attention of the media when Brooke Shields ordered two cases after wrapping up production on her new movie called The Hot Flashes in Louisiana. I don’t drink, but I’d love someone to let me know how this one tastes. Apparently it’s not only for women, but men too!

I admit, there is so much to learn. It never ends. What interests one person may pass by another without even a glance. Sometimes I wonder how we can possibly continue to keep up with so much information? I can only trust that whatever I need to learn will show up for me at exactly the right time. It always has so far.

In retrospect, I had a really fun few weeks of learning. How was your week? Love to hear something interesting you learned or heard about recently.

Visit me at: www.beverleygolden.com

photo by: eflon

30 Days Of Healthy Indulgences: Holiday Bursts of Sugary Sweetness By Our Lady Of Weight Loss Janice Taylor

Our Lady of Weight Loss:  Holiday Bursts of Sugary Sweetness

By Janice Taylor, Weight Loss Artist, Coach, Author (www.OurLadyofWeightLoss.com)
It wasn’t until I permanently removed over 50 pounds and developed a taste for baked sweet potatoes plain and simple that I questioned the wisdom of creating a casserole that was topped with toasted white lumps of melted gooeyness.
Seriously, why would you want to mess up something so naturally sweet as the sweet potato with mini-marshmallows?.

Marshmallows date back to the ancient Egyptians.  Back in the day, around 2,000 B.C., the Egyptians combined the sweet sap of the root of the Marsh-Mallow plant with honey creating a candy fit for their gods and the Pharaohs.

In the 1920’s and 30’s,  once available only to the wealthy, marshmallows became a mass produced item.   Recipe booklets from Jell-O and Knox Gelatin reflected this happening.  Marshmallows were included in recipes on just about every page:  Banana Fluff, Lime Mallow Sponge, Cocoa Tutti Fruit and Paradise Pudding.  (Source: How Products are Made Volume 3).
By the time1955 rolled around, there were about 35 manufacturers of marshmallows in the United States, and Alex Doumak, of Doumak, Inc., patented “the extrusion process,” a manufacturing method that changed the history of marshmallow production.
Which leads us straight to my mother’s circa 1960’s kitchen and her GLAZED SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE topped with MINI-MARSHMALLOWS, and to the answer of the above question,  “why would anyone want to mess up something so naturally sweet as the sweet potato with mini-marshmallows?”
With each mini-marshmallow, I give a nod to the ancient Egyptians, their Gods and Pharaohs, I warmly remember my mother in her circa 60’s kitchen, and I indulge my sweet tooth, which apparently remains alive, well and yet manageable.
Today, I share with you two classic Holiday Sweet Potato Recipes.  The first, my mother’s famous 60’s style Sweet Potato Casserole, and my 2010 soon to be a classic, Sweet, Sassy and Sexy – Honey Glazed Sweet Potato Chips, which was met with heartfelt cheers last Thanksgiving and hopefully will be again this year!
1960’s CANDIED SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE DELUXE (topped with Mini-Marshmallows)

1 (29 oz.) can sweet potatoes or yams, drained
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cloves
dash of salt
1 1/2 cup mini marshmallows
Non-Stick Spray
Preheat oven to 350F.
In small bowl, slightly beat your eggs.  Set aside.
In medium-sized bowl, mash the sweet potatoes.
Add the rest of the ingredients with the exception of 3/4 of a cup of marshmallows.
Mix thoroughly!
Coat casserole dish with non-stick spray.
Place mixture in dish.
Add the rest of the marshmallows to the top of the casserole.  If you need more than 3/4 of a cup to make it ‘right,’ go for it!!!
Bake at 350F for approx. 20 minutes, until the marshmallows are the right shade of burnt for you!
Sweet, Sassy and Sexy – Honey Glazed Sweet Potato Chips
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons local honey (My niece has a bee farm in her backyard, can’t get any more local than that, can you?!)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
4 large sweet potatoes, sliced thin, thin, thin!
Rosemary, chopped – to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper – to taste
Kosher salt – to taste
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Lightly coat a 9-by-13 inch baking pan with olive oil spray (you can find it in the ‘spray’ aisle or make your own in one of those spray containers)
In a small bowl, whisk together the water, brown sugar, honey and olive oil – until smooth!
Place a single layer of sweet potatoes in the baking pan. Brush the sauce over the sweet potatoes. Turn to coat the other side.
Bake until tender, or until crispy.  Entirely up to you.
The trick is to coat them every 15 minutes or so.  One side and then the other (yes, even though you’ve already coated both sides).
When you get them to where you want them, transfer to serving dish and top with the Rosemary, salt n’ pepper.

Serve immediately!


From November 15 through December 14, Intentblog is launching its first-ever 30 Days of Healthy Indulgences, where every day for 30 days we are inviting bloggers from all over the health and wellness space to contribute their favorite healthy indulgent recipe in time for the holiday season. Today’s featured recipe is from Our Lady Of Weight Loss weight loss expert Janice Taylor


PHOTO (cc): Flickr /  inju

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