my inside job

An animation, created while participating in a class on leadership with Otto Scharmer. In it, I share my reflections on using his “Theory U” process to navigate my own experience after watching the documentary Inside Job, a story about the financial crises of 2008. Make sure to select HD from the little gear/tool menu at the bottom of the viewer for maximum viewing pleasure.

franz at 50 — three animated shorts

The following three short animations provide a window into the mind of a 50 year-old adult learner.

In this video, we meet our hero, Franz, as he contemplates whether the research on happiness from the field of positive psychology might help him learn to be happier.

In this episode, Franz contemplates one of the essential ingredients of a happy life: mastery and flow states.

In the final episode, Franz tries to figure out what complex systems theory might have to do with happiness.

savory pumpkin, walnut, jalapeƱo, smoked cheddar, biscuits made w corn, oat, and whole wheat flour

i’m a pretty ad hoc baker but here’s the sketch of tonight’s experiment:
1/2 cup oats whirred in the coffee grinder, 1/2 cup corn meal, 1 cup wh wht flour, 1/2 tsp salt, 2 1/2 t bkng pdr, some (?) grated smoked cheddar (from savenor’s on kirkland st in cambridge- thanks to corey for the clue-in), some chopped walnuts.

to all that I added some wet stuff mixed together: ~3/4 cup pumpkin, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup veggie stock, some chopped pickled jalapeƱos.

added the wet stuff to the dry stuff, rolled it out and baked at 410 for 20 min but if you try this start checking after 12-15 to see if they’re browned.

these were sooooo good. i think it was the smoked cheese.

biffins for bfast

It’s gonna be a hunkered down kinda weekend — digging into hundreds of pages of readings for classes on dynamic systems theory applied to human development, cognitive biases, paradoxes in group learning, and waaaay down at the molecular level –synaptic plasticity . I am coming to terms with the fact that it’s not possible for this human to read, much less integrate, this amount of information.

My Id is demanding indulgence so today’s (late) breakfast experiment is something between a biscuit and a muffin. Stiff, almost roll-out biscuit dough baked in a cast-iron mini-muffin pan.

the dry…
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup rye flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
generous doses of ground ginger and cinnamon
pinch of cloves
chopped walnuts
shredded unsweetened coconut
some chocolate chips
and 2-3 T coconut oil.

the wet…
1 egg
1/2 cup (??) cooked mashed sugar pumpkin (baked last night)
1 1/2 (?) T honey
2 T finely chopped crystallized ginger. (I really can’t get enough of this stuff)

put in at 400 but look like they are browning quickly so lowered to 375.

Timer just went off (16 minutes). Here they are… as yet untasted.


hellz yeah! just the right mix of hearty, salty, and sweet. definitely requires one to adjust expectations of previously tried baked goods.

the dry sandwich condundrum

While simultaneously having an insatiable craving for sandwiches and a desire to cut back on all but the healthiest of oils, I encountered a lack of sandwich lubricating options. Most are familiar with the almost unsurpassable avocado option, but I wanted a few fat-free selections so experimented with two, both of which I think are permanent additions to my sandwich repertoire: eggplant and sweet potato.

For the eggplant, I pop the whole thing in the oven and bake it until completely soft. Separate the insides from the peel and let drain in a colander, stir it up with a fork and spread it on both slices of bread. I had mine with rustic whole wheat bread and a tofu, wild-rice burger.

The sweet potato version you pretty much make the same way: bake, mash, spread. This one is really good with a few dried cranberries or dried tart cherries thrown in.

iron-booster unbrownie

After tracking my nutrients for a couple months now the trends are unmistakable (if one can believe the USRDA… a big “if”, I realize) — not enough potassium or iron in my diet. Today I gave myself a new creative task to invent a palatable treat-like thing that would boost my iron.
iron-boosters This is what I came up with — entirely edible and possibly even really tasty if you’re willing to boost the fat a bit.

A few notes to temper expectations:
This recipe is sweetened only with roasted bananas and molasses. If you’d like more of a treat, add some sugar.
There is no chemical leavening (only eggs), not that I’m against baking powder or anything, I just like a dense baked good. This is closer to a bread pudding than a cakey brownie. They’re even better after a day in the fridge if you ask me.

So here it is…

preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Put 2 bananas (skins on!) on a baking sheet and place in oven until black and giving up liquid (about 15 minutes). Remove to cool and lower temp to 325.

the wet stuff:
in a medium bowl mix
the 2 bananas squeezed from skins and their juice,
2 eggs,
2 T molasses (44 grams),
1 T coconut oil (15 g) — I use extra virgin organic. Increase this to 3 or 4 tablespoons if you don’t care about fat, i.e. if you’re making this for a kid! Mmmmm…. fat.

mix the wet stuff together with…
1/2 cup of unprocessed (Miller’s) bran (25g) and let sit.

In a separate small bowl, mix together:
4 T organic cocoa powder (21 g)
2 T coffee substitute (5g). This is optional to give a richer dark chocolate flavor so I’d skip this if you’re making it for kids.
1/4 cup whole wheat flour (35 g)
1/4 buckwheat flour (35g)
1/4 tsp salt

wisk together the dry stuff to break up any lumps and then stir into wet.

Pour into a small glass pyrex pan (I use a 6×8) and bake at 325 for about 50 minutes or until toothpick comes out of center clean.

I tend to make small batches but this should double fine. This makes 8 servings with following nutritional info per serving. It’s not an enormous amount of iron but it is 10% of my USRDA (I’m a 46 yo woman. Not sure what it is for kids)

Calories: 111 kcal <---- BONUS! Carbohydrates: 19.3g Fat: 3.3g Saturated Fat: 2.4g Cholesterol: 29mg Sugar: 7.2g Calcium: 57mg Iron: 1.9mg Potassium: 329 mcg

introspection + expression = art

I could easily repost at least half of what jonah lehrer blogs about, he is so darn entertaining, but this one is especially resonant as it creeps towards a discussion of that potential value of teaching introspection and expression.