Hello and welcome to my very first blog post!  I look forward to you coming back to share your own stories, ideas and recipes.

Has fear ever kept you from doing something? Fear has kept me from enjoying so much of my life that I won’t get back. Fear kept me from saying the things that needed to be said. Fear almost kept me from giving a first date a good-bye hug, which may have turned out to be the last opportunity….more on that later.

Fear can be very motivating, too. I was fearful of, but curious enough to enroll in a motorcycle riding class 19 years ago. So, two Harleys and 50,000 miles later, riding is second nature, loads of fun, and still very empowering!

More recently, I’ve been scared to take on the blogosphere (does anybody even use that term anymore?). I was scared of being judged, making errors or failing. But, on September 3, 2012, I embarked on what has proven to be a life-changing, life-saving adventure and became way too important to allow fear to settle in.

The thought of aging, and potentially deteriorating brain and physical health later in life keeps me motivated enough to challenge myself with new activities, to hit the gym 4-5 days each week, and to feed my body whole, plant-based and nutrient rich foods. Fear, be damned!

The P-O-L-E-N-T-A
The ingredient I feared most at the beginning of this journey wasn’t tofu (toe-foo), or tempeh (tem-pay) or even seitan (say-tahhhn). It was polenta, corn meal, masa. I didn’t grow up eating grits or hominy, and my perception has always been that no matter how you dress it up, polenta is still mush.  But, that day I was jonesing for the crunchy goodness I used to get from traditional french fries. I set out to conquer the polenta. I found a recipe that suggested using the pre-made polenta, so I bought the large bulbous tube from the semi-refrigerated and semi-healthy food section in the produce department.

Back home, I tackled the tube with my knife, and cut thru the dense mass of dull yellowness. I wasn’t feeling encouraged.  I seasoned and baked them like the recipe instructed, watched them diligently, and turned them after 20 minutes to brown evenly. After 40 minutes of pacing, they were done!  My mouth was so ready for the warm crunchiness.  Nope, not even close.  They were hard and salty, but otherwise tasteless.  There are many recipes using the tube, and they’ve obviously been successful. Sadly, my attempt was not.

But, I wanted to try it again. So, on to round 2, and this time I started from scratch, using corn meal so I could also control the amount of sodium….success!!  Here’s the recipe I used and I hope you’ll give it try.

Oh, and that hug that I almost turned down 10 years ago on September 22, 2003 was offered by my sweet and loving husband (now) on the very first night we met!