Friday, July 27, 2012

Joy, pass it on

This week I found myself in several thought provoking, inspiring situations.  My Sangha (the Zen Buddhist group with whom I practice) is studying the Brahma-vihara or 4 immeasurable truths.  This week we focused on Joy.  Our facilitator led us in a practice that helped us realize and appreciate joy within ourselves and our ability to experience it for others.  We had chocolate and strawberries and our exercise was to take some and as we eat it really appreciate that we are capable of enjoying these things in all capacities and how we feel eating them.  We then ate a piece again while thinking of another person (s) that for any number of reasons are not able to experience these things and to do our best to find the joy and appreciation for them.  I found this to be such a simple yet powerful practice.  I especially appreciated this practice as a nutritionist because food encompasses so many emotions in peoples' lives.  Also because respect for our food, in general, has been lost.  There is a booth at the big Farmer's Market that I go to whose name is three words: Love, Joy, Food.  It strikes me every week when I see it.  I love it.  That concept speaks volumes.
So, I invite you to realize the joy in simple, everyday things.  Appreciate the fact that you have them or are able to do, see, taste, hear..experience them because it is probably not the case with everyone.  When you are eating an amazing meal from wholesome, nutritious foods take the time  to experience the joy in it.  When you are listening to music that speaks to you in some way take a moment to experience the joy that it brings you and pass it on.  Appreciation ignites joy and joy ignites happiness.  No matter what our situation there is something that makes us smile and gives us butterfly flutters.  Be joyful for that and share that joy.  Ignite and Inspire others.  We are all connected and we should all be joyful.  Imagine that world.  I do!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

My Utopia

Every Saturday morning I visit my own Utopia.  The farmer's market at PSU in downtown Portland is my idea of perfection!  Today it was not overly crowded which was great.  The weather is near perfect!  The smells of farm fresh lavender, basil and breakfast from the several prepared or made to order food booths fill the air for blocks.  Music is everywhere.  Some of the music is sponsored by the market and the rest is people coming down with guitars, violins, banjos, etc. and just performing for us all.   Food and music are two of my favorite things so putting them together is a little piece of heaven to me.  There is an older man that recites poetry and a guy juggling bowling pins for the kids.

Today I spent $26.50 for unsprayed, local, seasonal, tomatoes (3 beefsteak),  1 bunch of  very fragrant basil,  2 ears of sweet corn,  1 small head of cauliflower, 1 pint of strawberries, 1 pint of Rainer cherries, a bunch of  beautiful purple dahlias, my breakfast and an iced tea.  I also watched a chef's demo titled "Meals that Heal" and was reminded that I make that same meal with a few variations and haven't prepared it since last year sometime.  It is now on the menu for this week.  She was making Spring Rolls with a hazelnut dipping sauce.  I have always made the sauce with almond butter but hazelnuts are local to Oregon so I will give them a go this time.
  The farmers are always friendly and eager to tell you about their practices in my experience. 
In one trip you can find farm fresh & pastured, eggs of several types, milk, cheese (cow & goat), butter, meats of all kinds, fish,  grains, veggies, herbs, fruits, mushrooms, flowers and much more.  I just want to take everyone I can there.  The appreciation for it all can't be understood any other way other than being on the farm.   Tomorrow I am visiting a lavender farm as part of Oregon's Lavender Festival this weekend.  I can't wait.
I encourage you to go visit your local farmer's markets.  It's good for you, the farmers and the environment.  Show yourself and your kids if you have them what a carrot pulled from the ground or a fresh egg really looks like.  I love seeing eggs that are green or bluish with a few pieces of hay stuck to them or a dusting of organic dirt on my greens.  These things make me smile.    Everyday we should find something that makes us smile!!!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Marinated Tempeh

Tempeh is one of my favorite things to eat.  I used to be afraid of the stuff.  It looks funny, it smells a little funny and it is fermented????? I did not know what to do with it.  Then I got adventerous and started playing with it.  I really like Fakin Bacon tempeh from Light Life and no it tastes nothing like bacon but it has a great smokey flavor that is fantastic for Reubens or in place of bacon on a BLT. YUM!  I have adapted a blackened tempeh recipe from Ann Gentry's Real Food Daily cookbook that I LOVE!  I have taken it to a potluck and made it for lunch with a friend and it is always a hit.   I don't always go for the blackened effect and this recipe does not give you that. 

 Here is my adapted recipe for marinated tempeh.
I do not actually measure things out so these are rounded your taste is best!
I like Surata brand Organic Original Soy Tempeh.

1/3 cup unrefined coconut oil
1/3 cup agave nectar
1/4 cup tamari or shoyu
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tbs. paprika
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
fresh tyme to taste
fresh sage to taste (I like a lot of thyme and sage)
less than 1/2 tsp. ground cumin

Cut a brick of tempeh into strips.  The above marinade mixture is good for about 12ounces of tempeh. 

Mix these ingredients in a bowl adding the tempeh pieces.  Push the pieces down into the marinade so that they are covered.  Cover the bowl and refrigerate over night turning the tempeh pieces a few times.  Preheat the oven to 350 and either put the tempeh pieces in a baking dish or on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and bake for 20 or so minutes. Enjoy!  Goes well with salads and soups or in a wrap. 

If I want this but have not planned for it I throw it all together (marinade & tempeh pieces) in a baking dish and cook it for 20 minutes turning the tempeh once or twice.