Several years ago, well four to be exact, I was in the process of reading the book Julie and Julia. It was about Julie Powell’s efforts to cook her way through Julia Child’s book “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” My goal at the time was to cook my way through the newly released cookbook by Alex Guarnaschelli. That did not go so well for a number of reasons.
This morning I was reminded it was Julia Child Birthday and it got me thinking how fun it would be to pick a Vegan cookbook and work my way through it. Unlike most people, I do not read cookbooks for the recipes. I read them for the wisdom and the spiritual lessons they offer. So now I am reviewing a list of vegan cookbooks. Not sure which one I will choose yet. If you have a recommendation from the list below, please share your comments or if you know of one I should definitely consider let me know about that cookbook as well.
Unlike Julia Powell, I am not setting a time limit, although my kitchen is not much better than the one she appeared to have in the movie. So what will I learn? Perhaps I will learn lessons about timelessness, senses, simplicity, integrity, adventure, and technique. Time will only tell.
Cookbooks under consideration are: Read More
I almost missed this, but August is National Peach Month. I have always loved peaches, but now I have a greater understanding of why. Both in China and Japan the peach is associated with immortality and a long life. It is one of the “Three Blessed Fruits” in Buddhism and symbolizes longevity, so eating peaches may help me live longer.
That is just one reason I love peaches now. However, having lived in Georgia for several years, I came to love the state fruit. There is nothing like a good Georgia peach. I used to love making peach pies, but hated peeling peaches until I discovered the Pampered Chef serrated peeler, which makes peeling peaches so easy.
This week I thought I would share a few of my favorite Pampered Chef peach recipes and a few of my new favorite vegan peach recipes. Let me know which ones are your favorites. Read More
So it has been a complete week now of vegan eating and unlike my previous times of eating vegetarian, we have found ourselves going through some changes I was not anticipating. Yes, menu planning is taking more time as I realize how much of our previous meal plan was meat, cheese and egg dependent. I have also come to realize how, with my hectic schedule, I had become dependent on 30 or less minute meals. This week I have learned to slow down, breathe, and take time to think things through.
Interestingly, one day this week I was reminded to take time to do nothing. It was during that “do nothing” time that I began to gain insights into how this change was going to affect every aspect of my life. Zoe who is normally minimally engaged in meal prep and planning, has begun helping me, which is an awesome surprise. The other day she helped me grate potatoes for potato pancakes and realized just how much time I sometimes put into meal preparation. Read More
Over the last 17 years, we have been through numerous dietary shifts in our life, including several years of vegetarian eating until Zoe went through chemo and then all she craved was meat. So back we came to the land of the meat eaters. We have been talking about returning to a vegetarian diet for a while, but after watching a documentary Forks Over Knives, we decided it was healthiest for us and our desire to lose weight and eventually be able to come off all our medication to go vegan.
It's been a slow journey, but like with anything we do, when we decide to do it, we just do it. So the past few days we have eaten as much of what we had that needed to be gotten rid of.
This morning, we started this next phase of our journey. It is not just about changing what we buy, how we prepare it, what we eat, but an inward journey to learn more about ourselves, think about what these new choices are doing for us and how much our life is going to change Read More
July is National Picnic Month. It is a month to celebrate and share time with family and friends. As I goofed around to see if I could find any spiritual writings about God and Picnics, I stumbled upon this song called God Shuffled His Feet by Crash Test Dummies.
After seven days
He was quite tired, so God said:
“Let there be a day
Just for picnics, with wine and bread.”
He gathered up some people He had made,
Created blankets and laid back in the shade.
What if God’s idea of honoring the Sabbath was to gather together with loved ones and have a picnic. What if we took a day each week, month, or year, to rest and gather with friends to picnic with wine and bread.
I woke up this morning to realize that yesterday was National Pick a Blueberry Day and so not surprisingly, today is National Blueberry Muffin day. While I like blueberries, they take fourth place in my list of berry favorites (raspberry, blackberry, strawberry and then blueberry. Yet my favorite way to eat them has always been in muffins.
What I have found fascinating about blueberries is the various spiritual and medicinal uses and meanings. For example, blueberries contain anthocyanin, which is good for eyesight and they contain significant quantities of both antibacterial and antiviral compounds and have a reputation in northern Europe of fighting infections. They may also help protect against heart disease. Native Americans believed that the five-pointed start on the top of the berry was a sign that they were sent by the Great Spirit to feed children and never allow them to go hungry.
Making the perfect muffin is fairly simple, it just calls for one to be patient and nor rush the process. For example, it is best to combine all the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ones in another. Before combining them, most baker sources I went to suggested you make a well in the dry ingredients, similar to what you do when making fresh pasta, and slowly add the wet ingredients Read More
Every season of the year is filled with opportunities to gather with friends and share a meal. This is true across the world. Summer is filled with opportunities to gather and barbecue. The fourth of July, in the US, is the most popular holiday for barbecuing followed by Memorial and Labor days. Barbecuing is one of those ways of cooking which transcend social and political classes. There is a history of barbecuing at the White House for example, since Thomas Jefferson. Each President has had their own favorite. For example, Lyndon B Johnson was a lover of Texas style barbecued ribs. The most popular flavors of barbecue sauce are hickory, mesquite, honey and spicy hot.
While making plans for these holiday get togethers one is probably thinking most about who to invite, what proteins to make and what beverage and vegetable to pair with them. Rarely, do we think about how spiritually rich these gatherings are. In South Africa, for example, these gatherings are braai and they are more then just a chance to gather and barbecue, they are just to celebrate cultural and spiritual traditions. Gathering with others is about more than cooking and creating memories. It is about honoring the feast, the friends, and the ways foods and wines pair up with each other. It’s about understanding how these pairings brings out the best in conversation and camaraderie for those gathered. There is a richening of community when we gather and share a meal together. Read More
This time of year, well anytime of year, I enjoy sipping on a cup of tea. On those cold days, I love sipping on a hot cup of tea and feeling the heat from the cup warm me up inside and out. During the summer, however, I look forward to a tall cup of iced tea. Maybe that is why June was chosen as National Iced Tea Month.
A friend of mine once told me that iced tea was created by accident at the 1904 St Louis World’s Fair. It seems a vendor was trying to sell hot tea on a hot day. People wanted something cool, not hot, so he iced it down and it became a hit. Other food scholars suggest that people were writing about iced tea in cookbooks dating back to 1842. Regardless of how it came to be, it is now something people around the world enjoy drinking on hot summer days. Read More
It has been a few years since I have written about fondue, but given that this is National Fondue month, it is a good time to reflect on Fondue again. Fondue is one of those foods which has varied in its popularity over time. However, in some cultures, like Switzerland, fondue is a sacred food. For one very simple reason. It is a meal you can share with people you love. There are some spiritual values in fondue, which are difficult to find in other types of meals.
Fondue is about more than people gathering around a table to share a meal. Fondue is a communal dish. Each and every person gathered around the table is connecting with each other every time they dip something into the fondue pot. It is not so important what is in the fondue pot. It can be cheese, chocolate, or some other form of awesomeness. Nor does it matter what one is dipping into the fondue pot. It could be cheese, berries, or some other delicious dipper. It is the process of sharing a pool into which we all enter and engage.
Eating fondue reminds us to slow down and appreciate time with each other. Especially in this season, we are busy. Eating fondue is a time to sit down, share a homemade meal, sit, talk, and share an experience. Eating fondue allows us to share food and conversation with those we love. Read More
This has been a fast-paced and hectic week for me. I was having a hard time quieting my brain enough to get inspired. I was torn between reflecting on an ingredient or a product. This morning, I woke up to a reminder on Facebook of a blog I wrote three years ago today. As I reread it, I laughed as it fits perfectly with our spiritual practice this month -- you. I took this as a sign to share my thoughts again.
It has been a while since I posted here, while I have been resting, healing, and preparing for the next round of surgery. However, I was reminded of something last night that resonated with my soul and that is in all things to do you. I was watching a special episode of Chopped (no surprise to those who read this blog often) and Katie Lee, one of the competitors, was surprised that she won. In reflecting on it, she talked about how she thought she had won because she had stayed true to who she was. Katie is best known for her comfort foods and that is what she cooked all three courses, foods filled with memories of growing up and cooking with her grandmother and mother. She gave the judges her on a plate. Read More
Recently, I stumbled upon this video which helped me to understand that chocolate, a food that most people enjoy and savor, has a deeper meaning and importance then I realized. A few weeks ago, I began to reflect on the debates and discussion about what is chocolate. This week I came to realize that Mexican chocolate is nothing like what we are used to eating in this culture and has a rich history and brings flavors of chocolate to the table, which other chocolates do not. This short video will give you some understanding of the history behind cacao in Mexico. Read More
Today is National Cranberry Day. Most folks I know do not LOVE cranberries. However, perhaps we should. Not just around Thanksgiving, but year round. Cranberries have a history, which stems back to Native American folklore of preventing illness. Modern medicine has shown that cranberries can help prevent urinary tract infections, gum disease, cancer, and numerous other illnesses. They are not a treatment for, but a source which can help prevent. Yet, most people are not craving to sit down and eat a bowl of cranberries because of their bitter taste.
Most of our consumption of them comes around the Thanksgiving season. This year as we gather with family and friends and give thanks, perhaps we should give thanks for this bitter, bright red berry. And the diversity of ways cranberries, as well as other berries, are full of health-promoting antioxidants. Read More
We all know that the end of this month is Thanksgiving, but how many of you know that this month is National Peanut Butter Month. So this week I am paying homage to Peanut Butter. I love peanut butter for a few reasons. One being that it has taught me some amazing life lessons.
A friend of mine tells the story of how much he hates peanut butter, but would make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for his daughters who loved them. One day he realized that he was imposing his disdain for peanut butter on his daughter without even realizing it. He realized it when his daughter complained that he put too much jelly, which he loved, and not enough peanut butter on her sandwich. He was so focused on what he loved that he was not thinking about what she enjoyed and what spoke to her. To this day he still hates peanut butter, but puts more peanut butter on his daughter’s sandwiches and less jelly, which she enjoys, but not as much as the peanut butter. His story reminds me of how easy it is to put our needs and desires over others. Read More
So today is National Chocolate Cupcake Day. Well it was when I started writing this on Wednesday (LOL). I love blogging and sometimes the words seem to just flow from my brain faster than I can type them. Other times, I start and delete and start and delete, never quite satisfied with the ideas for my blog post. Sometimes it helps for me to go sit in our prayer and meditation garden, as a change of scenery sometimes helps. Other times, I will go fix myself a cup of tea or coffee. None of that was really working this week, until I did a search on the Pampered Chef website for chocolate cupcakes because Wednesday was National Chocolate Cupcake Day. What really spoke to me were three recipes one for a white chocolate cupcake with truffle filling, one for a red velvet cupcake, and one for a dark chocolate truffle cupcake. I have made the white chocolate and dark chocolate recipes a few times because I love how messy they are to eat. I love the melted chocolate that seeps out.
It was these images of “chocolate” which spoke to my soul, especially as a light skinned biracial woman. When I was pastoring, a few congregants would remind me that they were chocolate. I would then smile and remind them that chocolate comes in a wide diversity of colors. I remember once being told I was not chocolate enough to be chocolate and that white chocolate is not chocolate. Interestingly enough there is a similar debate about whether or not white chocolate, which is made from the same cocoa butter as all other chocolates, is really chocolate. Read More
I have yet to meet someone who does not like tacos. Some people prefer corn vs flour tortillas. Others prefer crunchy over soft shells. Some prefer beef, others steak, chicken, fish, shrimp, or some other protein. It is not about whether or not people like tacos, but how they construct them
When we think about tacos, we think about something to eat. My guess is nobody thinks about it the way it was first used in the 18th century when it was the paper which was wrapped around gunpowder for small explosives. It wasn’t about an explosion of tastes in one’s mouth, but about helping to create explosions in the mines.
As I have been thinking about tacos, I have come to realize that tacos are a great way of thinking about people’s spiritual journeys. We are all on one, even if one sees themselves as their Higher Power. We are all on a journey, it is just about how we construct one. Some need the harder structure that comes with some religious traditions while others like the flexibility that comes with other spiritual beliefs. Read More
No recipes this week. I was talking to a friend of mine, trying to quiet my mind so I could hear what I was supposed to blog about. There have been days that my life has felt like a hot dish in a microwave, as I have tried to get through a rapidly increasing number of projects and tasks in a very short amount of time.
Sometimes managing your life can look much simpler then it is. As a friend of mine said this morning, “I cannot explain how hard it is to get a hot bowl over of the microwave. One day, I swear, I’m going to drop one.” We all have those phases in our life when what should be a simple thing, tend to become complicated, because our “dish” has become overheated with demands.
Maybe that is why the Microwave Grip Set spoke to me this morning. To use them all you have to do is slip them over your fingertips and thumbs before you take a hot dish out of the microwave. The raised bumps and ridges give you a secure hold, and your hands stay safe from the heat. The grips are easy to wipe clean, or you can run them through the dishwasher Read More
I have always had a special attachment to our Nourish and Share bowls for so many reasons. One is that they are a reminder to me that the Pampered Chef mission of bringing people together to share a meal is not a reality for everyone. Our Round-Up from the Heart® Nourish & Share Bowl Set helps those in need. For each bowl set purchased, Pampered Chef contributes $2, the equivalent of 22 meals*, to Feeding America® to help fight hunger. Includes a copy of a Season's Best® (Fall/Winter 2016)!
*$1 helps provide 11 meals secured by Feeding America® on behalf of local member food banks. That means that every set ordered provides for 22 meals for those who are in need of food. Pampered Chef® guarantees a minimum donation of $250,000 through the purchase of select Pampered Chef® products and other fundraising activities associated with the Round-Up from the Heart® campaign from Sept. 1, 2016–Aug. 31, 2017. That means that Pampered chef contribute to the provision of 2,750,000 meals each year. For me that is mind boggling. Read More
This past weekend I had to spend the day at the Animal Hospital Emergency Room as one of our cats developed a urinary tract infection. Sitting there talking with and listening to the love people had for their furbabies, just like me. One of our babies, Mr Mittens, has a sensitive stomach and some possible food allergies, so we have been trying to find foods that will calm his stomach and that will make him feel better. While there are quite a few organic foods out there, I am looking forward to trying some of the recipes I have gathered that are for cats using my Pampered Chef products. So today, I thought I would share a few recipes for those of you who are cat parents (or slaves to your cats) and those who are dog parents.
They are as much members of our families as our human members. So here are a few ways to create mealtime memories with and for your furbabies. Hope you enjoy making some of them and your babies enjoy eating some of them. Read More
I have been thinking a lot about change, in part because the theme this month at Inspiritual is vision. It is also the change in seasons with Pampered Chef. We have over 70 products being retired and/or coming back restyled. There are those products whose time has come and there are products whose time is just beginning.
This change is not unlike our lives. There are things, people and opportunities which come into our lives for a season and then their time comes to an end. There are times we need to let something go because it has served its purpose, it no longer fits in with the vision we have been given for our lives, or some other reason. The same is true for Pampered Chef. As the vision for the company changes, as the food trends in this country change, so do our products.
Vision requires us to call on our values and our imagination. The spiritual practice of vision encompasses the discovery of fresh insights about the way things are and the cultivation of different outlooks on what can be. You might have heard about people creating vision boards. This is one way of practicing vision. Practicing vision helps you tap into your inner wisdom and be in tune with Spirit. Practicing vision requires you to draw on all your gifts and skills. As numerous teachers have taught me, “if you cannot see it, you cannot achieve it.” Read More
It’s National Ice Cream Sandwich Day! How could I not possibly write about Ice Cream Sandwiches. When I think about them so many memories come to mind. One of them is a conversation with a friend about the flavor of ice cream in an ice cream sandwich. I told her that I thought it really did not matter what flavor ice cream or “sandwich” it was, as long as the flavors went together and it tasted good. She insisted that the ice cream had to be vanilla and the “sandwich” chocolate. As I sit and think about this again, I have come to realize that our views on ice cream sandwiches and our views on spirituality are similar.
For her, despite the diversity of translations of the Bible, and there are numerous, she will only read the King James Version of the bible. She will only read out of the King James Version. A few years ago, someone she knew gave her a new Bible. Initially, she was excited. However, then she realized it was not the King James Version, but the NEW King James Version. It was not something she could read. It was not her vanilla ice cream in a chocolate sandwich.
I on the other hand, am not so concerned with where the lessons and inspiration come from, rather being open to receiving them and understanding why they are coming to me at this moment in my life. The recipes I am sharing today are for those of you who are like my friend, those who are a little more like me, and those who are somewhere in between. Happy National Ice Cream Sandwich Day!
Here are the three Ice Cream Sandwich recipes you can find on my Pampered Chef website Read More