Saturday, January 15, 2011

First Postmenopausal Zest Blog

Back in 2000, when we had our big snowstorm in central North Carolina, that stranded trucks on the interstate, landed two feet of unexpected snow on our roads that most of us don’t know how to drive on when there’s ice, and then for weeks, after the snow melted by day, the black ice returned at night, I used the time to write a recipe book called: The PMZ Poor Woman’s Cookbook. Eleven years later, we are having a series of snowy, icy events that tend to keep me housebound on my small farm more than I would wish. The chickens look at the icy ground and won’t go out, or they don’t’ like the cold wind. So they sit around and dig great holes in the straw on the coop floor, and wait for me to bring them warm water and bread scraps or anything interesting. So I decided to start a blog, my first venture into this new world of social-networking. I was nudged in this direction, too, by promising to a small press called Mainly Murder, which is reading one of my mystery novels (Haw) for possible publication, that, if they would publish it, I would do a blog. Haw features a mid-50s poet who is in the PMZ phase of her life, her kids out of the nest, her hormones at peak functioning, with a new zest for adventure.. I myself am 73, healthy, enjoy my life, stay active both physically and mentally, and have had 20 years of post-menopausal zest. So here’s to the zest phase of a woman’s life. I’ll share my thoughts and experiences, and maybe in the comment sections, you’ll share yours. I’ll include a recipe from my cookbook each time I blog, too, for fun. Here’s how the cookbook began:

"Genius is the ability to invent in difficult circumstances." Jean Paul SartreThis cookbook is in response to comments and questions from my friends about how I managed to do the things I did on so little money and to their requests for recipes. It’s aimed at women about to enter menopause, completing it, or past it.
We know from the Japanese experience that women go through menopause more easily if their diet contains soy. I have for years put soy flour into bread and other baked foods. I also learned that you go through menopause more easily if you are a little overweight (the extra fat helps, which is probably why the body is so determined to add those extra pounds in middle age), if you get plenty of exercise, and have an engaged, active life. I did, and do, and menopause was easy for me. I also had heard the phrase "post-menopausal zest" and loved it. So here’s to the zest phase. It’s true, especially if you eat a healthy diet and enjoy your life. As we age, our attitude is everything.
I’ve included in this book my ideas and reasoning for my own lifestyle to stimulate your thinking. These recipes are also to give you ideas. A starting point. You probably have lots of your own favorite recipes, but maybe you never thought of adding soy to baked foods or need new ideas for some healthy, delicious snacks that would give you pleasure and fewer empty calories.
I hope that men and younger women will also enjoy these ideas. This book was fun to write. I hope it is fun to read. The cost is a contribution to my life as a working writer, and I have self-published it. I’d love to know your reactions. If you want to buy it, you can mail me a check for $12, and I’ll send you the book. PO Box 253, Moncure, N.C. 27559-0253
919-545-9932 <>
Banana BreadLen Randolph, a dear friend, gave me this basic banana bread recipe, and I’ve modified it to be even healthier. Buy those bananas that are put on sale because bruised or black. Then freeze the good parts (they can be very soft, but remove anything that is actually spoiled or bruised) if you don’t want to bake right away. Thaw and mash just before you’re ready to mix the dough.
3 ripe bananas, well mashed
2 eggs, well beaten
1-1/3 cups of rye or whole wheat flour
½ cup of soy flour [powdered soy milk could also be used]
3/4 cup of sugar (can be part brown and part white or all of either)
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts (you can also put in ½ cup of currants or raisins, either one of which ought to be shaken with a tablespoon of flour before adding to batter. This will help keep them suspended in the batter so they don’t sink to the bottom of the pan and burn).
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a loaf pan (do not dust with flour). Mix the mashed bananas and the egg together in a large bowl. Stir in flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda. Add the walnuts and blend–do not beat. Put the batter in pan and bake for one hour. Remove from the pan to a rack or to waxed paper on a level surface where air can circulate around it gently. Serve it warm or allow it to cool entirely.
Variations: add 1/4 cup drained, crushed pineapple or ½ cup of chopped dried apricots or ½ cup of fresh apples (tart), chopped, or dried apples.
Notice that this bread has no fat in it. I special order 20 pounds of organic soy flour through my local Chatham Marketplace Coop in Pittsboro, N.C., but your coop can probably get it for you, too. Let me know how I am doing so far on this new blog venture. The photo is of me in early December with one of my hens. Judy Hogan
"The unexamined life is not worth living." Socrates, 400 B.C.


  1. Well. What a wonderful view of life! I hadn't thought of soy flour. Thank you for the recipe.
    Good luck with MMP!!!

  2. Thanks for commenting, Kath. I tried to reply to that email about your post, but I couldn't. Welcome to this new blog. Good luck to us both as to getting our mysteries out there!. i like baking with a little soy flour. Judy Hogan

  3. Judy, I applaude and commend your zest! And raise a slice of banana bread to the task of getting your "mystery" out there!

  4. Hey, Judy, I've enjoyed your first piece and will be following your blog. Similarly I'm 67 and have been PMZ since age 52. I'm curious to see if you'll be blogging about raw foods and/or natural tx of interrupted sleep b/c of hot flashes. Whatever, I know I'll enjoy whatever you have to share.

  5. Hi, Judy,
    I tried to post a comment this morning, but evidently I didn't push all the right buttons. Congratulations on the new blogging adventure. I'll see if this goes. Sharon

  6. I want to highly recommend this book...I bought it a couple of years ago from Judy at the Pittsboro farmers market and honestly didn't expect much other than a cookbook. It was so much filled with earthy wisdom. It's also a great book for how to live the life of an adventurous to live life outside of the box. Judy has a way of writing that lets you vicariously enjoy her experiences in a way where you feel it in all 6 senses.