SPIRITUAL SOUFFLÉ

May 24, 2017

For years, I have wanted to make a soufflé and never did because I had always heard how challenging it was. I had even heard professional chefs talk about how hard it is to get the perfect soufflé, so I let my fear keep me from ever trying. What I have learned is that making a soufflé is like a spiritual journey. There are times that it collapses or does not rise, but generally it is when you have not done something. The same without spiritual journeys, generally it is when we are not doing something or we stop working on our journeys that we begin to collapse and we do not rise in the face of a challenge.

The foundation of every soufflé is the base. You make a base, you fold in whipped egg whites and you bake it. You can make your soufflé savory or sweet, but the basics are the same. If you follow some basic tips, your soufflé will always come out light and airy.

The same is true in some sense in our spiritual lives. If we do not have a spiritual base, regardless of what that base is, we will not grow and evolve. We will like a poorly made soufflé collapse and not rise.

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LOVE, LIVER, & ONIONS

May 10, 2017

Today is National Liver & Onions day. To be perfectly honest liver and onions is not my favorite dish. However, whenever I think about liver and onions, I think about Grandma Kamin, my mother’s mother. It was one of those things that she used to enjoy making.

When I was growing up she would invite my mother and I over for a girl’s afternoon and we would drive from Nutley to Jersey City to spend the afternoon with her. We would always start by baking something awesome like rugelach, bobka cake or some other delicious baked good. Then she would begin cooking lunch and all too often it was something she and my mom loved – liver and onions. Honestly, it wasn’t then and isn’t now one of my favorites.

I think my grandmother knew this because she would always have a side dish to go with it that was on my top ten list like pasta. Had she not been keeping kosher, I am sure it would have been macaroni and cheese, but since she did, it was pasta and sauce. She never once said anything to me about the liver and onions. I could eat it with the spaghetti or I could leave it, but I always found myself eating it because it seemed like it was a part of the tradition, besides which I loved my grandmother

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NEVER BAKE SOLO

May 4, 2017

 

One of my Pampered Chef Team members always talks to me about the importance of her Community Group at her church. This group meets weekly and serve as a source of support for each other in good times and challenging times. This group ensures that no member of the group ever has to go through anything alone. They celebrate with each other and work with each other to create solutions or to provide support when going through the challenging times. Never does she have to go through anything feeling unsupported or alone.

My son taught me a similar lesson when he first came into my life. He wanted to bake cookies. I was so busy at the time working on my dissertation that I honestly did not want to stop working. However, my time with Nick was also rare. He both wanted me to bake with him, but also wanted to bake like a big boy and do it himself. So I moved my work near the kitchen so we could be together and I could help him when he needed it, but he could also cook like a big boy. It was his first time ever to bake cookies, something his birth mother had never allowed him to do. Each part of the experience was new and exciting. I remember feeling so grateful to be able to witness his joy, although I remember not looking forward to cleaning up the mess he was making. The best part was when he came to see me and I could see all the places he had touched his face, as there was white flour all over his chocolate skin. It is a moment I will remember forever.

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PRAYERS AND PRETZELS

April 26, 2017

Today is National Pretzel Day. I am always amazed at how many foods have their own holidays. Growing up my father loved pretzels, just about any kind, hard or soft, sticks, twisted, large or small. My favorite are the soft ones which are twisted and look like what in my mind is a pretzel. As a child, I would hold them up to my face and think they reminded me of a face. Two holes for the eyes and one for the mouth and the nose was the space where they came together.

As an adult, I was amazed when I learned that the crossing of the pieces was linked back to the ways people used to hold their arms when they were praying, crossed. Today we hold our hands together in prayer. However, in the 600’s people crossed their arms in prayer. The three holes were representative of the Holy Trinity (the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit).[1] Learning this gave me a new perspective on what is one of my favorite treats, the pretzel, especially the soft ones that I love to eat.

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SPACE AT THE TABLE

April 19, 2017

I woke up this morning thinking not so much about food, about how we come together to share meals together and create memories. This year, I have been reminded in numerous ways that sometimes this is not possible and sometimes what has not been possible becomes possible. This past week so many people around the world celebrated traditions which brought families and people together. My Facebook feed was filled with images of families gathering, sharing meals, creating memories and reinforcing traditions.

At the same time, I have friends for whom this was not possible. Those they loved were in hospitals, incarcerated, and for others reasons were unable to be at the table. Growing up in a Jewish household every year at the Passover Seder we would pour a cup of Wine for the Prophet Elijah. As a child, I understood it as we were holding a space for him at the table. As an adult, I understand it is a reminder of a gathering of a larger family and at a larger table.

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GARLIC AND GRATITUDE

April 12, 2017

Years ago, I got in the habit of starting my day by writing down five things I have to be grateful for. Giving thanks is not just a good thing to do, it is an integral part of my spiritual journey and helps me stay grounded, balanced, and working on enriching my life. I know others have suggested writing 5 things in in a journal each evening, but I find it a great way for me to start my day. However at night, sometimes around the dinner table or before we go to bed, my wife and I take a moment to give thanks for one thing the other one did that day that made us feel loved. I am always surprised at the little things that make her feel loved.

Sometimes I am grateful for things I have. However, sometimes I am grateful for situations that did not turn out the way I wanted because they provide me opportunities to learn, grow, and evolve. Each time I step foot in the kitchen, I have to much to be grateful for. This morning I realized how blessed I am to have access to all the Pampered Chef tools and utensils I have acquired since becoming a consultant and the lessons they have taught me.

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The other day I was listening to someone near and dear to my heart. I would say we were having a conversation, but really, they just needed me to sit and listen. Sometimes we all need that in our lives. After we hung up, I found myself sitting with sadness about how bitter and hardened their heart was. Somehow that led to me thinking about two vegetable potatoes, because when we bring them home from the store are hardened, and kale which can be bitter if not treated properly. Interestingly when transformed, they can become soft, tender, and nutritious.

Kale can be quite bitter, but massaging it with one’s hands causes it to break down the structure of the kale and causes it to wilt, change color and shrink. You can also add a little olive oil or salt to assist with the process if desired, however, in most cases, a little tender loving care will do. Isn’t that how our hearts can be as well. Sometimes we have allowed life to harden our heart and cause us to become bitter. I remember being part of a meditation group once where we were told to see ourselves opening our chests and taking our hearts out and examining its condition. Was it smooth and soft or were there hardened spots. In those places where our hearts had hardened, we were guided to gently massage our hearts, like the kale, until they had returned to their softened texture and we had transformed them. Then we gently placed our hearts back in our chest and secured them in place allowing ourselves to feel the release of all that which had hardened our hearts. Sometimes, we need to work with our hearts, like we do with kale and gently massage away that which has caused our hearts to harden.

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TOPSY TURVY CAKEOLOGY

March 22, 2017

 

Hard to believe it has been almost a year since I have blogged here. For the last year, I have been praying about whether or not to continue with this blog. I had been praying for guidance about whether or not to restart. This past week, I was contacted out of the blue by a food site called Chew the World. They wrote a blog called The Definite Guide to Spaghetti Squash. While doing research on the topic they had run across a blog on Spaghetti Squash Spirituality I wrote over a year ago. We chose to help make each other’s work visible. Even though I was not included in their guide on how to cook it, to have my work recognized and shared by another food blogger inspired me to think about writing about the spiritual lessons from food again.

It was this connection with Chew the World that inspired my writing again this week. Their most recent blog was about How To Make A Topsy Turvy Cake The Easy Way. I am not sure if you have ever seen one of these cakes but they look amazing and like they are so difficult to make as if layer tilts at a different angle. The secret they point out is having the right equipment,

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THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

October 18, 2016

Open yourself up by letting go and opening yourself up for the ideas to come in from unexpected sources

 

GREEN EGGS AND HAM

February 17, 2016

It has been a while since I have taken the time to write here. I am not quite sure why, other than I have been busier than ever between school, Pampered Chef, SAJEWord, Inspiritual and family. Honestly, though I think it is just that I have not taken the time to sit and be still and let my imagination flow. Nevertheless, this morning I woke up thinking about green eggs and ham and peanut butter and jelly and bacon and chocolate and other now normal, but once new flavor combinations.

It is hard to remember a time when there was not peanut butter and chocolate, burger and fries, ham and cheese, salt, and caramel, butter and popcorn, spaghetti and meatballs, apple pie and ice cream, raspberry and chocolate, bacon and eggs, pizza and beer, rum and coke, chicken and waffles, chocolate and peppermint, cinnamon and apples, caramel and vanilla ice cream, salmon and cream cheese, chocolate and wine, lime and coconut, and the list goes on. Even as I was typing this list, my wife kept telling me there has always been this and there has always been that. It is hard to imagine these flavor combos not ever being together.

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