Ruby’s Corner – February Edition

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There are some particular social media websites one of which comes to mind readily who first made their names by being outlets for friends, family, acquaintances and fans to show support for one another by drawing attention to the power of connectedness. You post a photo of a happy day; people “like” it. You share the news of a new job after you’ve been struggling for months to find one; people “like” it. You share a link of a video or a story where human beings are choosing to radiate and reflect light into the world; people “like” it. It just feels good. Pressing the “like” button is a way for human beings to give and receive a little encouragement, especially when you need a quick fix on a hard day.

fearCALLOUTSomewhere along the way however, sadly, this power started being abused. The power source of these social sites changed from being a place for celebrating how we are unified to instead focusing on how we are divided. It wasn’t just that people started expressing differing opinions it was that those opinions were being expressed in ways that could only be defined as defensive, irresponsible and, in a lot of cases, just plain hateful.

“Fear defeats more people than any other one thing in the world,” wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson. I believe that to be true. Fear is the culprit. It’s what started war. It’s what started slavery. People fear their neighbors. People fear their leaders or the leaders of other nations or what they think they will do. People fear themselves looking into the mirror and admitting their flaws. So, in what was once solely a place for connection and support, this sad sickness of fear has crept through the cracks, like roaches mongering in the kitchen, laying their eggs in dark corners. It has spread and it has made people crazy truly crazy. That’s what fear does.

I’ve never been one to sit idly by about much, but I found myself cowering in the face of posts by strangers and friends alike. I didn’t want to be a goody-goody. I didn’t want to preach. So I decided that the way I would respond to their fear-based, hate-filled posts was by replacing their fear with my love. I did this in my own way and on my own pages. I figured it was how I could best serve to shine a little bit of light if ever anyone was too bogged down by the dark. I called this “pressing the love button”. I began to use social platforms in a way that helps us get back that spirit of togetherness.

The only thing that can cast out fear is love. Fear meets its match in the face of love and we have everything we need right here inside of us to extinguish fear. It’s a choice. Simple as that. We can press the love button in how we choose to express ourselves. We can ask ourselves, “What buttons am I pushing when I speak, write, post or share? Am I pressing buttons that serve to expose fear and a spirit of separation, or am I pressing buttons that serve to express love and a spirit of unity?

We have enough fear and hate in the world. Why would anyone want to add to that? Why wouldn’t we want to speak and walk in love to help balance out that crap? I cannot imagine anybody leaving this world fulfilled knowing that what could be said about them was, “Here lies Jane/John Doe. They lived in and spread fear.”

Imagine another way…”Here lies Jane/John Doe. They walked in and spread love.”

Press the love button. You don’t need a website to do it, either.

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Corner-CuisineRecipe-Title (aka crispy potatoes that’ll make you so dang happy)

photo-1INGREDIENTS
Serves 4

  • 1 large glass, porcelain or metal baking dish or sheet (whatever you choose to use, it must have a lip)
  • 2 lbs. fingerling or baby new potatoes, sliced into 1/4 inch circles
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tbsp. grapeseed oil
  •  3 cloves of garlic, minced (makes about 1 tbsp.)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

HIGHLY SUGGESTED ADD-ONS

  • 1/3 c of hand-grated parmesan cheese (the kind from the store that is already grated in the container just isn’t the same)
  •  1/4 tsp. (or more, if you like heat) of chili pepper seeds from a dried pepper (I use Serrano or Dutch Red) or dried red pepper flakes work well, too.
  • 1/4 c of a finely chopped herb blend* of parsley, chives, thyme and rosemary
  •  Zest of one lemon
  • * Fresh herbs; not dried!

DIRECTIONS
Place baking sheet or dish in oven and add butter and 1 tbsp. of the grapeseed oil. Turn oven onto 425 degrees and let butter and oil melt in dish.

Meanwhile, place the remaining 1 tbsp. of grapeseed oil in large bowl. Add sliced potatoes, 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper and toss until evenly distributed.

Gently pull out baking dish from oven and place somewhere heat-proof. Pour the potatoes onto the sheet with the melted butter and oil. Spread out evenly. If potatoes are overlapping, remove enough potatoes until they seem to have enough room for air to circulate in-between them in the oven. This helps to guarantee a crispy potato. Reserve the removed potatoes for, I dunno, breakfast!

Place the pan back into the preheated 425-degree oven. At the 10-minute mark, take a spatula and move and loosely toss the potatoes. If any are stuck to the pan, scrape them up with the spatula and move them around. Don’t worry if this breaks the potatoes; that’s how a lot the delicious crispy bits are formed.

After another 10 minutes, do the same thing.

In the final 10 minutes, sprinkle evenly over the potatoes the grated cheese, the chili pepper seeds/flakes, the minced garlic, and 2 tbsp. of the herb blend.

At the end of 30 total minutes, check a bite for crispness and seasoning. Crispy edges and a tender center would be ideal. If not crisp enough, leave in oven for another 5 minutes.

Turn oven off and take the potatoes out and put them in a large bowl. Add the remaining 2 tbsp. of the herb blend and toss to coat. Salt to taste.

Garnish w/ lemon zest.

 

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Songs_in_the_key_of_lifeI don’t know how he does it. He speaks the truth but always finds a way to do so in love. I’m sure the power of music has a lot to do with that. Music is one of the most universally connecting sources we have in this life. Not every artist is as socially responsible as Stevie Wonder, so it makes me notice and revere him even more that he is.

Especially this song of his that we could all use right now:

 “Love’s In Need Of Love Today” from Songs in the Key of Life

 

Quince

By Ruby Amanfu

Feature photo by Stephanie Saujon