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For the next week, I will give half of any donations I receive to my local food bank. May 14 – 21st. I realize that writing this post now, in the midst of this pandemic might be a bit insensitive. We have compassion for all those beings who are suffering from hunger or cold or lacking in shelter or other forms of suffering. On retreat, we all went several meals where we ate less and dedicated the merit to beings who were hungry. I also took the 8 Lay Vows (temporary 24-hour vows where one of the vows is to not eat after mid-day) on several occasions.
I mentioned that I am keeping the teachings, my process and insights bundled for a few weeks – bundling the medicine as indigenous teachers recommend. Allowing these seeds planted to begin to take root and hopefully sprout!
In the meantime, here I will discuss what I cooked on retreat. We each had one day every week where we cooked, took a bath, cleaned and had a bit of rest. It was called our House Day – where we did some cleaning, laundry and cooking for all the retreatants. I got to have some fun with creative recipes (usually that I made up or modified). Considering we pushed pretty hard on those other 6 days / week (4 sessions of practice most days), this was a very good system.
We tended to eat light to moderate breakfasts, had a good-sized lunch and then a very light dinner. I do want to add that we always acknowledged how fortunate we are – to have access to organic food! I know that due to not working, some people are being forced to make the horrifying choice of eating or paying their rent. And local food banks are being stretched to the brink – donate to your local food bank if you can! Prayers and compassion go out to all beings – may all sentient beings be fed, be comfortable and be safe.
On to the food descriptions:
Fudge – one day I wanted to create a better chocolate. I had some 100% cocoa chocolate bars – a.k.a. bitter dark chocolate – which is very difficult to swallow on its own. So I added some more cocoa powder, a little bit of cocoa butter, even some carob powder… then pureed clementines with pistachios, along with one clean (organic) clementine rind – orange zest anyone? And finished it with shredded coconut on top. One person in the retreat could not do sugar, so I flavored half the batch with stevia and the other half with a touch of honey. Oh and I added almond milk. Stuck them in the freezer, and two hours later when I took them out for lunch… it was fluffier than regular chocolate – almost like incredible dark chocolate orange fudge! Whoa. Those were decadent meals! And each passing day, the orange flavors coalesced even more with the chocolate – Wow!
Soup – we ate soup at least every other dinner. It was easy to digest, easy to warm up and clean up. So that meant I made chicken soup or a vegetarian (veggie) soup every House Day. It was fun to play with soup ideas. My personal favorite (although I suspect I might be deficient in one of the minerals in coconut milk due to my body craving this soup so much!) is a dairy-free coconut cashew curry broccoli soup! Yum. (!)
Peanut butter almond coconut cookies – on a couple of occasions, I made an interesting (new?) cookie – peanut butter plus shredded coconut cookie. Macaroon meets classic peanut butter. Except ours (or at least half the batches) did not contain sugar – it is always an interesting experiment when baking with honey instead of sugar. Often the first batch requires a change in the cooking times! But they turned out well. Oh – and they were always gluten free. I tended to use almond flour.
Almond / miso combinations – I also had fun making some vegan or vegetarian sauces. One of my favorites, along with a delicious spicy peanut sauce, was a miso, almond butter, mushroom sauce. Whoa! Delish!
I was talking with my girlfriend recently about creativity. She has her process around it and for me, at present, a lot of creativity comes out in the kitchen. Give me ten ingredients and I will probably create something unusual and usually delicious! 🙂
Thank you for reading and visiting and I hope that you are able to have some fun in the kitchen!