My Journey to Enlightenment

That’s pretty much all there is to enlightenment. No need to search any further.

Now on to the topic I really mean to be blogging about: meditation.

For the past year, the analogy has gone like this: Meditation is to me as Exercise is to most Americans.  I was the meditation couch potato eating a big bowl of potato chips thinking about how great it would be if I got up and went on a mediation. I kept creating this awesome plan where I was going to get really meditated and start meditating everyday and be awesome.

Trouble was, I just didn’t start. I did a guided meditation here, a few breathing exercises there, but I just reverted back to my non-meditating-proverbial-potato-eating-couch-sitting-tv-watching counterpart.

Until my good friend Ashley:

Ashley

Ashley

introduced me to a meditation community.

The practice is called Sahaj Marg. It sets out a meditation regimen to follow on your own (hour long morning meditation, 20 minute afternoon cleaning, and 10 minute night time prayer - which I don’t do) and then there are 3 hour long group meditations a week and a one-on-one session every other week. If it sounds like a lot, it is, but not as much as it sounds.

Here’s what I’ve been doing:

Morning meditation – 20-30 minutes where I focus on my heart center, or the “divine light” in my heart and try to let go of other thoughts

Afternoon cleaning – 15-20 minutes where I let the ‘impressions’ of the day melt away and leave my body through my back while a feeling of peace or the “divine light” enters my body through the front

Prayer – Nope. It’s too weird.

Group meditation – I’m trying to go once a week. I missed this week.

Sittings – So far I’ve done one and I’ll likely continue when they’re offered.

What I like:

Meditation is very relaxing and it has lots of benefits. The community is very welcoming, they make delicious food (Indian food), and it feels nice to be there. There’s something to be said for the formality of it all- it really has gotten me to stick to a practice. I feel like the community members really care about how I’m progressing with meditation.

What I shove-to-the-corner-of-my-plate-and-pretend-it-doesn’t-exist:

There’s  an interesting bit about a “master” in India (that everyone apparently loves) and this prayer that you say and the whole “spirituality” inner-devineness that just doesn’t quite click with me. So at this point I’m able to just sort of turn a blind eye and keep it moving. Hopefully it will stay that way.

All in all, this has been my personal trainer of sorts to kick my butt into meditation. And it’s probably the most different thing that I’ve done as of late. So life is good. (And peaceful)

What’s your experience with mediation?

Tried anything new lately?

 

To Do List

At the beginning of the week, I got fed up with listening to myself thing about all the things I “needed” to do so I decided to make myself a handy-dandy-to-do-list.

Sitting here on this Thursday reflecting back, I realize that I pretty much just made a list of “what I don’t really feel like doing but ‘should’ do so I’ll feel better if it’s on a list.”

For your viewing pleasure:

To Do List 7/15/13I have not filled out my passport application, I have not called the oral surgeon, I’m laughably bad at getting around to finally hanging anything on walls (propped against tables is as far as I’ve made it in my apartment history), and I have played flute once in the past 7 years.

So I am managing to accomplish two things on my to-do list. (The obvious plus I read about meditation – more on that later). I wish that I were absurdly rich so I could pay other people to do the tasks I find cumbersome.

For now, I’ll just keep on hoping that I will someday feel like getting s*** done.

Time to cross “blog post” off my to-do list.

What would you pay other people to do if you could? 

What’s on your to-do list?

 

 

Bean, Tomato, and Zucchini Stew with Arugula Pesto

That moment when you google a recipe idea you threw together and find… nothing. I’m going to bask in the glow of this creation and avoid searching too hard (because really, nothing infinitesimally little  is truly original)

The idea for this recipe came to me when I opened my Dominion Harvest box last Tuesday.

Dominion Harvest Delivery

Staring back at me was a bag of Arugula. I decided nearly immediately that I wanted to do something with it other than throw it into a salad. That just seemed too… square.

So sometime between last Wednesday and today, it popped into my head: ARUGULA PESTO.

Arugula Pesto

And the rest is history.

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(Well, actually, the rest involved coming up with what I wanted to put the pesto on and then settling on wanting to put the pesto in because every dinner I make is either a stew or a semi-stew-salad-casserole-conglomerate these days)
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Well that was a long and unnecessary aside.

So here it is. Recipe of the (Tues)day.

Bean, Tomato, and Zucchini Stew with Arugula Pesto

Bean Tomato Zucchini Stew with Arugula Pesto

serves 4-6 

For the Stew

- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- White Wine
- 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 small zucchinis, chopped
- 1 bell pepper, diced
- salt & pepper
- 1 cup lentils
- 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes (I used fire roasted)
- 2 cups cooked pinto beans (a can is fine, another bean is also fine)
- 1 cup water
- 1 bay leaf

1. Heat a bit of olive oil and a couple splashes of wine over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the vegetables, salt, and pepper and cook until just softened, stirring often.

2. Add the lentils, tomatoes, beans, water, and bay leaf. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, prepare the pesto using directions below.

4. After the stew is done cooking, add the pesto and stir well to combine. Let cook for another minute to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and serve!

For the Pesto

- big bunch of arugula (I used about 4 cups)
- 1 large clove garlic
- 1/4 cup nuts (I used a combination of walnuts and cashews)
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- Juice of 1/2 large lemon (or whole small)
- Extra virgin olive oil

1. Combine arugula, garlic, nuts, and cheese in your food processor. Process until well-chopped. (I had to add the arugula in batches to fit it all)

2. Add the lemon juice and a nice pour of olive oil. Process again until well-blended.

Bean Tomato and Zucchini Stew with Arugula Pesto

Are you ready for my close up?

How about some mood lighting?

How about some mood lighting?

OK, not to toot my own horn (but toot toot) this was delicious. (If not-so-delicious-looking)

What was the best not-so-delicious-looking thing you’ve made?

Any other arugula ideas?

 

Foodie Pen Pal – June 2013

 

 

 

 

One thing that I was looking forward to once I had time again was getting back into doing the Foodie Pen Pal thing every once and a while. It slipped my mind completely, of course, (like the whole blogging thing has slipped my mind) until the end of May when I said: “Hey, what fun it would be to do the Foodie Pen Pal thing again!”

My sender this month was none other than Jason at MaurPowerFoodie!

Jason was super-prompt and my box arrived just two days after the “send deadline”:

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As you can imagine I was enthralled by the goodies that lay inside…

 

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I opened the bag of Granola Chips – Sea Salt and Caramel flavor pretty much immediately. They are very reminicent of those caramel rice cakes. Yum!

 

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These two were a treasure. I love sesame+sweet. I think it’s from eating Halva as a kid (or duh because it’s delicious)

 

 

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Chocolate covered pretzels. Need I say more?

 

 

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Red licorice! Must say I haven’t had this in ages. Like that it’s much more natural than twizzlers from a look at the ingredient list!

 

 

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I must say this stuff something I’ll get to in a moment were the yesss items from my box. I loooove the taste of this! I’ve used it in a salad dressing so far but can’t wait to try it in other things.

 

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Apple granola. (Self explanatory)

 

 

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Last but certainly not least: Dark chocolate with espresso beans! IT IS LOVE

 

 

 

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Jason was also kind enough to share a lovely recipe with me.

Alright folks, keeping it short and sweet because I’m about to head out of town to the lake!

If you’re interested in participating in this Foodie Pen Pal thing, the info will follow this paragraph. You don’t have to have a blog, just a desire to try something new!

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And now it’s time for some details about Foodie Penpals.  In case you’re a new reader, here’s a reminder of what the program is all about:

-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal! 
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month. 
-Foodie Penplas is open to US, Canadian & European residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. Same with Europeans. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. 

If you’re from the US or Canada and are in participating for July, please CLICK HERE (www.theleangreenbean.com/foodie-penpals/) to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions. 

You must submit your information by July 4th as pairings will be emailed on July 5th!

*If you’re from Europe, please CLICK HERE (www.thisisrocksalt.com/foodie-penpals/) to signup.

Special Delivery

A few weeks ago, I was at work engaging in my favorite wasting-time-at-work-pastime: online shopping, when it popped into my head: I should join a produce delivery service. I’d thought about joining a CSA in the past, but that was more when I first started trying to eat more produce and wasn’t working full time, living on my own, etc. I thought of them as too expensive for me or a large commitment.

But as I was wasting-time-at-work-online-shopping, I decided to check out what was offered in my area. It turns out, there’s some pretty good choices now. Companies have organized to bring together food from various farms, package them, and deliver them to your door. After perusing the various options, I settled on joining Dominion Harvest.

They boasted several different box options, weekly or biweekly delivery, there’s no commitment (you can cancel whenever you want to), and they report providing only organic or pesticide-free produce. At $39/box for 10-11 produce items, I decided that it was worth it. Let’s go over the benefits:

1) Local produce without having to make sure I can get to a farmer’s market at the appropriate time.

2) No room for indecisive-me to make decisions and waste time

3) Studies show that it is actually more energy-efficient to have groceries delivered to your home than to go to the grocery store {this one’s a stretch since I still have to go for other things, but work with me here}

4) This program forces me to: a) eat in season, b) try new produce, c) be inventive.

**Let me take a moment to declare that I am in no way getting any payment/perks for writing this. This is just me reflecting on an awesome find in Richmond**

 So every other Wednesday, this arrives at my door:

the goods.

the goods.

I gracefully kick the box into my apartment and delve into the goods.

dominion harvest contents and farmsEach delivery comes with a list so you can tell (A) what’s in your box and (B) where each food-stuff came from.

 

Silly me forgot to take pictures of everything before cooking but here’s a look-see at what I got:

Shitakes and Strawberries

Shitakes and Strawberries

Nappa Cabbage, Bibb Lettuce, & Mustard Greens

Nappa Cabbage, Bibb Lettuce, & Mustard Greens

Dino Kale

Dino Kale

The kale, asparagus, beets, beet greens, and broccoli came from Dominion Harvest

So far the deliveries are definitely getting me to eat lots of good greens! (Tis the season) I just added some Bibb lettuce to this lentil dish I threw together the other day. Worked well- who knew.

Have you ever tried a produce delivery service?

What’s your favorite time waster?

 

 

 

Chili-stuffed Sweet Potatoes + spiced watermelon

I’m currently writing my first ever iPhone post because clearly I cannot move the 2 feet to fetch my laptop and sending iPhone pictures to my computer is just too much for me to bear.

Today I will bring you one of my stand-by recipes adapted from here: Unsloppy Joes

I started out making the recipe as described- to go between buns or bread in sandwich form. That’s a delicious way if eating it, but I later discovered that an especially delicious mode of consumption is .:drumroll:. as a stuffing. In/on a sweet potato. (Never would have guessed that from the title, right?) So here we go, without further adieu I bring you…

Chili-stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Chili-stuffing

I really enjoy this chili mix. It has a strong flavor that’s perfect for a sandwich or for topping sweet potatoes. The vinegar gives it a good kick.

Chili-stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potato clearly unpictured, but I assure you it was tasted and delicious.

Chili-stuffed Sweet Potatoes

I ate this alongside my typical vegetable mix:

Carrots and Snap Peas

Plus a summer favorite that’s come back into the mix:

Yesterday, I was in the mood for something different, so I sprinkled some Jerk Seasoning on top:

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Must say, it was quite delicious.

OK: Confession time, I started this post on my phone but switched to the computer for all the editing, recipe posting, font stuff. Maybe one day I will get out a post that doesn’t need much editing to take full advantage of my mobile app.

Exercise Quickie:

Today I did Strong Lifts B workout.

Squats: 110lb 5×5 (poor form on 2 of the reps, so I’m retrying it Friday),

DB Overhead Press: 25 lb DBs 3×4/5/4

Deadlift: 130 1×5