The Big O

No, not that one. Not Oprah either. It’s OKRA SEASON! One of my favorite mid-summer vegetables, Okra is best when it’s young and tender. The older pods tend to get hard and dry. I got some beautiful little morsels at the farmers market today:

I put them in some olive oil with chopped onions and garlic to saute

Then I added some juicy ripe Bradley tomatoes, roasted corn fresh from the cob and I threw in some black beans for protein

After adding ample amounts of cumin and chili powder, I left it alone on low heat so the flavors could really mingle and get to know one another.

It seems they really hit it off

I served on top of some chilled quinoa and it was DELICiOUS

For one second I thought of adding some hot sauce or cheese but I’m so glad I didn’t. The flavors were magnificent and fresh tasting. The okra tenderized nicely soaking in the cumin and tomato. Besides being probably the most adorable vegetable out there, Okra is packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber. Read more about this interesting, warm weather vegetable here

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Sunday Offerings

7 things about me:

1. I would be happy if I never had to put shoes on

2. I’d like to grow those big dinner plate sized sunflowers

3. I could go my whole life without an automatic ice maker

4. I plan to live near or on the beach someday

Somewhere like this

5. The only DVD I ever bought is the movie “Fargo”

6. I always stop and talk to deer in the woods when I see them

7. I’m just recently beginning to appreciate the flavor of vanilla.

My Big Fat Greek Burrito

This happened accidentally when I realized my salsa had gone bad as I was halfway through preparing a lovely loaded vegetarian burrito. My heart sank when I had to throw out the half full jar but I was hungry so I quickly improvised with what I had and created a Greek style burrito

After simmering black beans for a couple of hours I spooned them onto a whole wheat tortilla. My friend in Arizona sent me these AMAZING whole wheat tortillas from a local bakery and if I lived there I would be there EVERY week buying these suckers up!

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They are to DIE FOR!! I could eat them plain with nothing on them. Or maybe just salsa on them, of course I could eat salsa on anything..Sigh….Why do I live so far from the southwest when I love their food so much?

I topped the beans with feta cheese, avocado, roasted corn, and because I was out of salsa, I used tomatoes that had been marinating in vinegar and greek yogurt. I then topped it all off with some plain greek yogurt and wrapped it up after dousing with hot sauce. Hot sauce- salsa’s shady bad-boy cousin. It’s ok in a pinch, always there on the shelf ready to step in when needed.

I have to be honest and say I desperately missed my salsa! Salsa is a food group to me. It makes clean eating so much easier because it’s so flavorful and versatile. I use it on veggies, turkey burgers, beans, eggs, chili, soups, etc. I love it chunky, thin, red, green, hot, mild, cold, warm..,,.you get the idea- I love salsa.

What is one condiment you cannot bear to live without?

How do you see yourself?

 

How we see ourselves is way more important than how others see us. We can’t control others’ perceptions or realities but we can control our own. Take a moment and reflect on the words that you would use to describe yourself. Are they positive and kind? Or do you beat yourself up and say negative statements about yourself?  We all do that sometimes when we make mistakes. I’d like to suggest talking to yourself as you would a friend who came to you with a problem. You would build that friend up, make them feel powerful and special, right?  You would use encouraging words and remind them of all their positive attributes.  Try that with yourself the next time you feel self-critical. The words we speak to ourselves are one of the most powerful tools we carry.

What were your 3 words?

The Present is Perfect

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“The fact is, the nature of perfection is always mutating. What constitutes enlightenment today will always be different tomorrow. Even if you’re fortunate and wise enough to score a sliver of “enlightenment,” it’s not a static treasure that becomes your indestructible, everlasting possession. Rather, it remains a mercurial knack that must be continually re-earned.

If you want to befriend the Divine Wow, you must not only be willing to change ceaselessly — you have to love to change ceaselessly”- Rob Brezney from his book *PRONOIA IS THE ANTIDOTE FOR PARANOIA*

I like this because it lets me relax a little and not work so hard for my idea of perfection being “out there” in the future. Because, as he points out, you will never get there as it is always changing. What perfection looks like today will be different tomorrow and so on. So the best path to perfection is to live in the present moment. Yet that is so hard for us to do. When are we not thinking of tomorrow, yesterday, next week, next year, last year? None of those things exist. Just now. When I need to bring myself back to the present I connect with my breath. I feel it, hear it, observe it. Nothing fancy or forced, just observation of my inhales and exhales. A calmness washes over me and my mind chatter slows down. I begin to feel grounded. I begin to feel whole. I become present.

In Yoga, the Asanas (postures) teach us to be flexible and Pranayama (breath) teaches us to be present. The breath carries us through the postures creating greater flexibility in change.

Can you try to connect with the present moment by breathing deeply the next time you feel scattered or agitated? Can you give someone your complete presence the next time you are with them and feel the difference it makes?

Summer Veggie Pasta

I’ve been feeling a smidge under the weather lately. I think it’s the heat. Or a mini summer cold. Tonight I am loading up on the greens and veggies- natures best immune system booster. I dug out some basic comfort foods: Whole Wheat pasta, Broccoli (Yes, broccoli is comforting to me, it’s crazy I know) Sun-dried tomatoes, onion, garlic (LOTS of garlic), baby spinach, and a beautiful yellow striped tomato I bought from an organic stand this afternoon. I also threw in some leftover grilled squash.

Then let it all simmer nicely together. A HUGE heap of spinach cooked down to a perfect serving size.

I topped with some feta cheese, backyard basil and red pepper flakes

This seems too decadent to be good for me but it is full of vitamins and anti-oxidants. It is good chilled the next day too.

What do you like to eat when you feel yourself needing comfort?  Is it nourishing and healthy? 

Hi Honey! I love you

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Since giving up white sugar a year and a half ago I also backed off of brown sugar, agave, honey and of course artificial sweeteners (aka toxic chemicals that actually make you crave more sweetness) but I have found that life simply isn’t sweet enough without my beloved honey. I buy local honey and some say that it is good for fighting allergy symptoms. I don’t know if this is fact or fiction but it’s a sweet way to feel better.  Here are 2 opposing views on this: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/10/health/10really.html?_r=1   http://health.howstuffworks.com/diseases-conditions/allergies/allergy-treatments/local-honey-for-allergies2.htm

I bought this jar of dark wildflower honey at the farmers market from a beekeeper. She had the bees on display too which I thought was brilliant marketing! I use it in my coffee on weekend mornings and also bake with it. I put it in hot tea in cooler weather and usually drizzle it into soups, sauces and stews for a little hidden sweetness. Lately I have become pretty addicted to this simple snack.

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Peanut or Almond butter schmeared on a rice cake and topped with the golden goddess..,too good for wordsImage

Salty, sweet and crunchy. And for people who think rice cakes are “boring” I won’t try to convince you they are not. But they make an awesome base allowing you to really taste the flavor of the honey and PB. Image

So many good things to say about honey it would take pages. It is simply one of natures most perfect foods.

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