December 14, 2017

It has been a few years since I have written about fondue, but given that this is National Fondue month, it is a good time to reflect on Fondue again. Fondue is one of those foods which has varied in its popularity over time. However, in some cultures, like Switzerland, fondue is a sacred food. For one very simple reason. It is a meal you can share with people you love. There are some spiritual values in fondue, which are difficult to find in other types of meals.

Fondue is about more than people gathering around a table to share a meal. Fondue is a communal dish. Each and every person gathered around the table is connecting with each other every time they dip something into the fondue pot. It is not so important what is in the fondue pot. It can be cheese, chocolate, or some other form of awesomeness. Nor does it matter what one is dipping into the fondue pot. It could be cheese, berries, or some other delicious dipper. It is the process of sharing a pool into which we all enter and engage.

Eating fondue reminds us to slow down and appreciate time with each other. Especially in this season, we are busy. Eating fondue is a time to sit down, share a homemade meal, sit, talk, and share an experience. Eating fondue allows us to share food and conversation with those we love.

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December 10, 2017

This has been a fast-paced and hectic week for me. I was having a hard time quieting my brain enough to get inspired. I was torn between reflecting on an ingredient or a product. This morning, I woke up to a reminder on Facebook of a blog I wrote three years ago today. As I reread it, I laughed as it fits perfectly with our spiritual practice this month — you. I took this as a sign to share my thoughts again.

It has been a while since I posted here, while I have been resting, healing, and preparing for the next round of surgery. However, I was reminded of something last night that resonated with my soul and that is in all things to do you. I was watching a special episode of Chopped (no surprise to those who read this blog often) and Katie Lee, one of the competitors, was surprised that she won. In reflecting on it, she talked about how she thought she had won because she had stayed true to who she was. Katie is best known for her comfort foods and that is what she cooked all three courses, foods filled with memories of growing up and cooking with her grandmother and mother. She gave the judges her on a plate.

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November 29, 2017

Recently, I stumbled upon this video which helped me to understand that chocolate, a food that most people enjoy and savor, has a deeper meaning and importance then I realized. A few weeks ago, I began to reflect on the debates and discussion about what is chocolate. This week I came to realize that Mexican chocolate is nothing like what we are used to eating in this culture and has a rich history and brings flavors of chocolate to the table, which other chocolates do not. This short video will give you some understanding of the history behind cacao in Mexico.

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November 22, 2017

Today is National Cranberry Day. Most folks I know do not LOVE cranberries. However, perhaps we should. Not just around Thanksgiving, but year round. Cranberries have a history, which stems back to Native American folklore of preventing illness. Modern medicine has shown that cranberries can help prevent urinary tract infections, gum disease, cancer, and numerous other illnesses. They are not a treatment for, but a source which can help prevent. Yet, most people are not craving to sit down and eat a bowl of cranberries because of their bitter taste.

Most of our consumption of them comes around the Thanksgiving season. This year as we gather with family and friends and give thanks, perhaps we should give thanks for this bitter, bright red berry. And the diversity of ways cranberries, as well as other berries, are full of health-promoting antioxidants.

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We all know that the end of this month is Thanksgiving, but how many of you know that this month is National Peanut Butter Month. So this week I am paying homage to Peanut Butter. I love peanut butter for a few reasons. One being that it has taught me some amazing life lessons.

A friend of mine tells the story of how much he hates peanut butter, but would make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for his daughters who loved them. One day he realized that he was imposing his disdain for peanut butter on his daughter without even realizing it. He realized it when his daughter complained that he put too much jelly, which he loved, and not enough peanut butter on her sandwich. He was so focused on what he loved that he was not thinking about what she enjoyed and what spoke to her. To this day he still hates peanut butter, but puts more peanut butter on his daughter’s sandwiches and less jelly, which she enjoys, but not as much as the peanut butter. His story reminds me of how easy it is to put our needs and desires over others.

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October 19, 2017

So today is National Chocolate Cupcake Day. Well it was when I started writing this on Wednesday (LOL). I love blogging and sometimes the words seem to just flow from my brain faster than I can type them. Other times, I start and delete and start and delete, never quite satisfied with the ideas for my blog post. Sometimes it helps for me to go sit in our prayer and meditation garden, as a change of scenery sometimes helps. Other times, I will go fix myself a cup of tea or coffee. None of that was really working this week, until I did a search on the Pampered Chef website for chocolate cupcakes because Wednesday was National Chocolate Cupcake Day. What really spoke to me were three recipes one for a white chocolate cupcake with truffle filling, one for a red velvet cupcake, and one for a dark chocolate truffle cupcake. I have made the white chocolate and dark chocolate recipes a few times because I love how messy they are to eat. I love the melted chocolate that seeps out.

It was these images of “chocolate” which spoke to my soul, especially as a light skinned biracial woman. When I was pastoring, a few congregants would remind me that they were chocolate. I would then smile and remind them that chocolate comes in a wide diversity of colors. I remember once being told I was not chocolate enough to be chocolate and that white chocolate is not chocolate. Interestingly enough there is a similar debate about whether or not white chocolate, which is made from the same cocoa butter as all other chocolates, is really chocolate.

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October 4, 2017

I have yet to meet someone who does not like tacos. Some people prefer corn vs flour tortillas. Others prefer crunchy over soft shells. Some prefer beef, others steak, chicken, fish, shrimp, or some other protein. It is not about whether or not people like tacos, but how they construct them

When we think about tacos, we think about something to eat. My guess is nobody thinks about it the way it was first used in the 18th century when it was the paper which was wrapped around gunpowder for small explosives.[1] It wasn’t about an explosion of tastes in one’s mouth, but about helping to create explosions in the mines.

As I have been thinking about tacos, I have come to realize that tacos are a great way of thinking about people’s spiritual journeys. We are all on one, even if one sees themselves as their Higher Power. We are all on a journey, it is just about how we construct one. Some need the harder structure that comes with some religious traditions while others like the flexibility that comes with other spiritual beliefs.

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August 31, 2017

No recipes this week. I was talking to a friend of mine, trying to quiet my mind so I could hear what I was supposed to blog about. There have been days that my life has felt like a hot dish in a microwave, as I have tried to get through a rapidly increasing number of projects and tasks in a very short amount of time.

Sometimes managing your life can look much simpler then it is. As a friend of mine said this morning, “I cannot explain how hard it is to get a hot bowl over of the microwave. One day, I swear, I’m going to drop one.” We all have those phases in our life when what should be a simple thing, tend to become complicated, because our “dish” has become overheated with demands.

Maybe that is why the Microwave Grip Set spoke to me this morning. To use them all you have to do is slip them over your fingertips and thumbs before you take a hot dish out of the microwave. The raised bumps and ridges give you a secure hold, and your hands stay safe from the heat. The grips are easy to wipe clean, or you can run them through the dishwasher

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August 23, 2017

I have always had a special attachment to our Nourish and Share bowls for so many reasons. One is that they are a reminder to me that the Pampered Chef mission of bringing people together to share a meal is not a reality for everyone. Our Round-Up from the Heart® Nourish & Share Bowl Set helps those in need. For each bowl set purchased, Pampered Chef contributes $2, the equivalent of 22 meals*, to Feeding America® to help fight hunger. Includes a copy of a Season’s Best® (Fall/Winter 2016)!

*$1 helps provide 11 meals secured by Feeding America® on behalf of local member food banks. That means that every set ordered provides for 22 meals for those who are in need of food. Pampered Chef® guarantees a minimum donation of $250,000 through the purchase of select Pampered Chef® products and other fundraising activities associated with the Round-Up from the Heart® campaign from Sept. 1, 2016–Aug. 31, 2017. That means that Pampered chef contribute to the provision of 2,750,000 meals each year. For me that is mind boggling.

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August 16, 2017

This past weekend I had to spend the day at the Animal Hospital Emergency Room as one of our cats developed a urinary tract infection. Sitting there talking with and listening to the love people had for their furbabies, just like me. One of our babies, Mr Mittens, has a sensitive stomach and some possible food allergies, so we have been trying to find foods that will calm his stomach and that will make him feel better. While there are quite a few organic foods out there, I am looking forward to trying some of the recipes I have gathered that are for cats using my Pampered Chef products. So today, I thought I would share a few recipes for those of you who are cat parents (or slaves to your cats) and those who are dog parents.

They are as much members of our families as our human members. So here are a few ways to create mealtime memories with and for your furbabies. Hope you enjoy making some of them and your babies enjoy eating some of them.

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