Your grief for what you’ve lost lifts a mirror
up to where you are bravely working.
Expecting the worst, you look, and instead,
here’s the joyful face you’ve been wanting to see.
Your hand opens and closes, and opens and closes.
If it were always a fist or always stretched open,
you would be paralyzed.
Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding,
the two as beautifully balanced
as birds' wings.
-Rumi, 13th Century Persian Poet
I love this poem. It is a poem about grief, loss, moving forward and finding balance. When we are at our worst, we can truly see how much progress we've made as emotionally intelligent individuals. After all, it's easy to be the yogi on the mountaintop, unaffected by others because there are no others around. It's much harder to be kind, thoughtful and centered in a world that is constantly testing you. Difficult situations show us how well (or poorly) we re-calibrate and find balance. They are tests, if we choose to see them that way. Sometimes we pass with flying colors. We find peace and even joy in the midst of the pain - not choosing one or the other, but letting them co-exist in your fluid inner world. During hard times, we find great clarity because we see that the answer is not always being happy; neither is it to dive deeply and completely into sadness or fear. The answer is to re-calibrate, to find some happiness or contentment or courage to balance the pain.
We are all in what seems to be a constant search for balance. As soon as we find it, balance seems to slip away again. Just like in our standing poses on the mat, finding balance is about taking the time to notice where the weight is going and where it needs to go, and breathing as we slowly readjust,open and close, contract and expand. The answer is not to open up so completely that we forget how to close (or vice versa) - it is to be constantly re-calibrating, allowing ourselves to change from moment to moment, accepting that our needs vary from one day to the next, finding a balance of vulnerability and strength, and recognizing how the two go hand in hand.
Our Grand Hopening was this past Monday, and despite the snow, we had quite a showing! And it was a good thing we did, because there was enough food to feed an army. Many guests asked for recipes, and I promised I would post a few, so here they are! Apologies that these are not the absolute easier recipes to execute, but they are pretty simple. Remember that recipes are made to be tweaked to your preference, ability or ingredients on-hand - don't be afraid to make these your own! (All ingredients listed are organic.)
Pesto Artisinal Cheese:
2 packages sprouted, firm tofu, drained and crumbled by hand
1/2 cup cashews, soaked for an hour and rinsed
1 cup pumpkin seeds, soaked for an hour and rinsed
1/2 cup raw apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1/4 cup cheese (above)
3/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1 large garlic clove, chopped
1/3 cup firmly packed sage
1 cup firmly packed Italian parsley
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
Pulse all "cheese" ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Reserve 1/4 cup for the pesto, then bake at 450 for bake 450 for 50 minutes. (I like to bake cheese in unbleached parchment paper on a cookie sheet, but you can use whatever you have. The baking will help to dry the cheese so that it can be more solid than liquid.) After baking, let cool and then process once more until smooth.
Toast the pumpkin seeds in a dry pan over a medium-low heat. Don't burn them! Pulse all "pesto" ingredients in a food processor until uniform and well-mixed.
Use a 4" x 4" mould** and parchment paper to create your layered presentation. Cut two pieces of parchment paper to 4" x 18", and place on on top of the other to form a cross with equal sides. Place the center of the cross, where your paper overlaps, inside the square mould, on a plate. Now you have parchment paper covering the bottom and all four sides of your square, with the top open. Fill the mould with the cheese mixture, leaving about half an inch at the top. Carefully fill the top half inch with pesto. Fold the parchment paper over the pesto and put another plate over the parchment paper to hold it in place. Refrigerate overnight to set the layers. To serve, carefully remove the square mould and unfold the parchment paper. Serve with crackers or crudites. **If you do not have a mould, you can just layer everything in a tupperware or bowl. The presentation won't be quite as pretty, but it will still taste really good!
2 pounds carrots, chopped and steamed until tender
1/4 cup earth balance (vegan butter) or coconut oil
5 teaspoons chopped ginger
5 teaspoons chopped dried orange peel (or 1/4 cup fresh orange peel)
1 red onion, medium/large, diced
1 teaspoon coconut oil
1/8 cup diced ginger
1 Tablespoon molasses
2 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil
4 Tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 Tablespoon sugar in the raw
3 drops liquid stevia
1 Tablespoon black sesame seeds
In a small saucepan, heat the earth balance, chopped ginger and orange peel over medium low heat for 7 minutes (covered), then cool and strain. Set aside. Carmelize the red onion over a medium heat with the teaspoon of coconut oil. Combine all remaining ingredients (except the sesame seeds) with the onions and the ginger-orange butter and mix well. Pour over carrots and mix well. Sautee over a medium heat for a few more minutes to cook off some of the liquid of the glaze and to carmelize the mixture on the carrots. Garnish with sesame seeds and serve warm or cold.
Buen provecho! xo