Friday, February 22, 2013

Those Things You Don't Think About...

Hey Ya'll,
So last week I chose what my fast for Lent was going to be and I put it out into the Universe. Well, the day I wrote my blog I was feeling slightly under the weather later that night I was full on sick. It's amazing all the products you want to use when you don't feel well just to cut down your prep time and make things as simple as possible for yourself. In my case I am the only cook in the home and send my daughter to school with a homemade lunch everyday. Well being sick and still having to go to work I could barely think straight let alone concoct complete meals for everyone in the house. I survived until the weekend and then everything crumbed around me. My daughter and husband were eating take out pretty much all week and I was eating soup from wherever I could get it until about Wednesday this week when I finally had the energy to go to the grocery store long enough to pick up some fruit and ingredients for some chicken soup. I made sure to turn on the crockpot and make the biggest batch of soup I could fit in there; that way even after eating all the solids I can use the remaining stock for other recipes. After my fever broke I stuck to my no processed foods much better. When you can barely see straight you're not exactly thinking "I really shouldn't eat this canned soup right now" you're more likely thinking "Please God let the soup go down with little pain and stay down long enough for me to begin to feel at least a little better."
Fortunately, the Creator I serve is forgiving and understanding so I know today is like a new day in this fast for me. Now all I need is some help cleaning up the mess that has accumulated at home and next week will be 10 times better than the past 9 days. Actually March is right around the corner, I think I will just gather the family to do some basic cleaning and then during spring break we might hire someone to do all the deep cleaning this year. We all have far too many things going on in our lives at the moment and I would much rather go do something fun with my family that torture everyone into deep cleaning the freezer or cleaning the base boards. What I am learning lately is, it's okay to not do/be everything for/to everyone. Sometimes in order to fit some of the fun things in between all of the important stuff we have to be willing to let go of and delegate (or outsource) some of the "should do" stuff.

What responsibility would you be willing to pass on to someone else so that you could enjoy life just a little more?
Namaste Ya'll

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

40 Days and 40 Nights

Prayer. Meditation. Fasting. Repentance. Forgiveness. Focus. Intention
For me this is what the Christian observance of Lent is all about. I know that a lot of people (even many Christians) do not observe this time and that it is often times seen as a strictly Catholic holiday, but I was raised a Baptist in the South and for as long as I can remember I have observed Lent. Even now when I have no affiliation to any church in particular (mostly because I am no happy with what is available around me) I still choose to observe. I feel that fasting during this time is like a full essence cleanse. So many people are quick to cleanse their livers, kidneys, and colons but they forget that their minds and overall spirits need to be focused on and realigned from time to time as well. And I mean this for everyone, regardless of your faith (or lack there of) we all need a point where we can just let go of the things that bind us to our Earthy selves and turn our attention inward.

With that said I would like to share my Lent experience here for 2013. This year I decided to relinquish processed foods. Of course on the surface this seems simple, right? No packaged cookies or sodas and that's that, right? Well, we've grown to lean so much on foods that are not really food anymore that we fail to fully adhere to the concept of what a processed food is. Think about it: dried pasta, canned foods, cereal, ice cream, marinades, frozen meals, boxed anything, all of this we use for convenience sake without thought to what is in it or what it takes to really make it. Now, I will be doing this with in reason; I mean I work full time, tote a kid across town for gymnastics, have philanthropy obligations, and a budget to stick to. I plan to allow pre-made dairy/dairy-like items such as plain yogurt and Almond milk. There will be lots of rice and grains of varying kinds. Foods that have been dried for me like seaweed and beans are also permitted. Milled flour and rolled oats are fine, but to deter myself from overly processed gluten products I will not be consuming dried pasta or shelf stable bread. If I want pasta it will need to be made fresh from scratch in my kitchen, the same goes for breads. This will of course bleed into my eating out patterns, which I believe will not be too difficult since I live in the wonderfully progressive culinary town of Austin.
I actually tested it out this past weekend when my husband surprised me with reservations to the Italian restaurant North.
Fresh Pesto Strozzapreti with Scallops

I was super excited because they make all of their pasta dishes from scratch. So the whole dish was simple, fresh, and amazingly delicious. I added scallops to it just because they were calling my name softly, sweetly, tenderly. And I am so glad that I did because they were sweet, salty, tender, seared perfection on a plate. They tasted as if they had been flown in that morning; which is terrible for their carbon footprint, but was wonderful on my palate. When it comes to food, I rarely find myself disappointed that I live where I do and lovely finds like this is one of the reasons. Though more often than not these finds tend to be located in much more unexpected places. 
Well today, being Ash Wednesday marks the official start of my fast and so far things have been simple. Fortunately for me I like to cook, but what will this look like 20 days in when I need to go grocery shopping, we don't get paid for another 5 days and I'm exhausted after a full day's work, working out, and wrangling kid puppy and hubby? What I do intend to do is share the new creations that I take part in so that I may satisfy my cravings that are so often made with convenience packaged foods. Maybe a few prayers and revelations will be shared here as well. We shall see what will remain sacred and what shown to me as needing to be shared with you here. 
Peace and Namaste Ya'll