Baked to perfection

Perhaps it was because I spent a good part of the day in the kitchen baking loaves of bread, that I began to think about why the process of bread making is so spiritual for me. With most of the breads that I bake, it always starts with a little yeast mixed with water and sugar. Water, in most spiritual traditions is life giving and spiritually cleansing. Conversely, it has been suggested that as people evolve spiritually, they have less craving and a lower tolerance for sugar. Perhaps, that is why when preparing the yeast mixture there is a significant amount of water and yeast, but very little sugar.
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Nothing Says Lovin’ Like Somethin’ From The Oven

I remember growing up seeing the Pillsbury commercials with the little dough boy, Poppin’ Fresh, who would always say “Nothing says lovin’ like something from the oven. He was so cute, he made you want to go out and buy those products and have biscuits, turnovers, and pies straight from the oven. This for me was homemade. It was my idea of something from the oven, homemade baking. The next version of homemade I remember was my mom getting some frozen dough from the store and baking that in the oven. I remember loving that bread. It always tasted so much better then the store bought. I especially loved it when it first came out of the oven and you ate it warm with melted butter on it. Those were the days. Several years ago, I learned how to make bread from scratch. I have not made it in a long time, as my schedule had not allowed it.
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Spiritual Pizza

Growing up I have these fond memories of my parents bringing us to Mario’s pizzeria. I could not tell you where it was anymore, I just remember it being one of those foods we all loved. It was not something we had very often. I remember the cheese, which seemed to stretch for miles, the aroma of the pizza parlor and time spent with family. Over the years, my memories of pizza have changed. With the advent of corporate pizza chains who delivered and frozen pizzas, it went from being one of those special treats that I savored to something you ordered when you didn’t feel like cooking or needed a quick comfort food. While I have been intrigued by some of the techniques like putting extra cheese in the crust, pizza has been losing it’s specialness for me. As I have been working to transform our diets and have us eating healthier, it has been one of those foods, which just never seemed to fit the 30 grams of carbs rule.
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Becoming a Cook

I have been cooking since I was a little girl. One of my earliest food memories was when I was probably three or four, perhaps younger. My mother would sit me on the kitchen floor or at the table with a pot of water and a spoon and tell me to stir. Over time, ingredients slowly were added to my repertoire as my mother’s sous chef (that is not what she called me at the time). I always loved baking with my mother. I was not so crazy about cooking with her; I developed my interest in cooking as a survival technique as she was not the best cook. However, I loved baking with her. I remember how meticulous she was. She had her dry measuring cups and her wet measuring cups and there was always a knife present as she prepared to bake one of her amazing creations like her lemon ricotta bobka cake or her rugelach. I still make her lemon ricotta bobka cake today and it still fills the house with the same aroma I remember as a child. Over the years, I have become increasingly comfortable in the kitchen.
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Teikkai

It can be a bit of a challenge to curl up anywhere to read a 700 plus page book. Yet this is what I found myself doing today as I began reading Deborah Madison’s book Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. As I looked at this book for a moment, I had this wave of feelings that went through me as I wondered, for a moment, what I had just committed to doing this year as I cook my way through her book, seeking to develop a deeper relationship with the plant offerings I eat, developing my culinary skills, seeking to modify them when needed to be diabetic friendly, and inspire me to create new dishes. At the same time, there was this wave of excitement. This cookbook about vegetarian cooking has been compared to Julia Child’s cookbook on French cooking. So until I am done cooking the over 1400 recipes in this book, it will be Sharon and Deborah, just like it was Julie and Julia. Then the journey began and like Bastian in The Never Ending Story, I opened the book and began reading the Introduction to my new culinary and spiritual adventure
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Lessons from my mystery box

Since I did not get any ingredients from anyone, I decided I would take one of the mystery boxes from Chopped and create something with them. Before I talk about the ingredients and what I made, I want to reflect a bit more on what it is about Chopped that I find so spiritually inspiring. One of the things I enjoyed most when I was pastoring, especially when I was going by the lectionary, was taking a series of scriptures that seemed to have nothing to do with each other and seek a way of bringing them together into a cohesive and inspirational message.
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