When my friend Ashley sold her share of Baby aWEARness, my space for cooking demos went “aloha”! I was trying not to worry about this (even with all the people asking, “Why isn’t anything on your calendar?” when one day, Melanie Kosaka called me and let me know about her new business Cookspace Hawaii that was coming on-line in the spring of 2013. Holy Wow! What manifesting luck was that?! I recently had my first class there, which was a private corporate bonding event, and this space simply a dream come true. Hope you’ll come check it out on 3/17 when I teach my Go Green Cuisine cooking class!
I’m really excited to include Madre Chocolate‘s Xoconusco chocolate in my next pop-up dinner (Vegan Mexican) featuring their chocolate in a mole sauce. In case you haven’t heard about them yet, their chocolate is made “from bean to bar” in Kailua. I’ve taken a farm tour with them to learn how they grow the cacao as well as attended a chocolate-making class and had a complete blast. Each time, I learn so much. Listening to them talk about flavors in chocolate reminds me of wine tasting, or learning about subtle nuances in coffee roasting to create certain flavors.
Monday wasn’t the best day for me, but my father always says, “Get a good night’s sleep. Things will look different the following day.” Hearing his voice, I went to bed early and when I got up on Tuesday and went outside, the first thing I saw was my orchid had bloomed in triplicate! So beautiful! It really was a great way to start the day.
Other simple pleasures of the day came from a phone call from two people who were updating me about their lives, expressing their happiness, growth, and changes. The personal connection and time spent sharing stories as well as celebration of another person’s success was very healing.
Later, I went grocery shopping to restock on staple items and things to cook with this week. For some reason, I’ve been thinking about Turkey, a country I’ve never been to yet, but would really love to see at some point. While I was grocery shopping, I was thinking about Mediterranean food, so picked up a variety of things that sounded good such as olives, capers, sun-dried tomatoes, local cucumbers and tomatoes, and artisan quality fig walnut bread.
These were transformed into “mezze” for my meal, and for dessert, some lilikoi that a friend shared with me from her garden along with a little bit of dark chocolate. She gave me baby plants that popped up out of her yard, and at long last they are fruiting, so my own will be ripe very soon.
The magazine Whole Living reports that when women who are trying to lose weight eat meals they’ve made at home (especially lunch), they drop 5 pounds a year more than women who eat out. Those who eat regular meals every day lost 8 pounds more. (This is probably true for men as well given that restaurants in general tend to add a lot of fat, salt, and sugar to their food to make it taste better.)
Here’s an example of a quick, easy, and healthy meal that I made after the Thanksgiving holiday to carry to the beach. It’s a chilled soba noodle salad with tofu, veggies (like cilantro, cherry tomatoes, cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, and wakame), with peanut sauce. This is as simple as boiling the noodles, chopping the vegetables, and mixing together the ingredients for the dressing!
The next time you cook, pay close attention to every single action that you perform in the kitchen. Don’t think about what you have to do later in the day or what you did that morning. Think about the rice you are washing, the carrot you are cutting in long, thin matchsticks, or the broccoli you’re steaming. Look at the color of the vegetable in your hand, examine its various features. Cut it open and appreciate its complexity and variety—the seeds or the pattern. Taste it, smell it, and feel its texture. Think about where it came from, how it grew in the sun, how it was washed with the rain. Contemplate its harvest, its journey from the field to the store or supermarket. Appreciate every item of food that you prepare. Be with the food, don’t be somewhere else. Cut it carefully. Cook it mindfully. Pay attention. http://www.snowlight.com/keys.html
If you’ve been to my cooking classes, you probably know how much I love parsley! Here are the reasons why:
Parsley’s volatile oils qualify it as a “chemoprotective” food, and in particular, a food that can help neutralize particular types of carcinogens (like the benzopyrenes that are part of cigarette smoke and charcoal grill smoke). In addition to its volatile oils and flavonoids, parsley is an excellent source of two vital nutrients that are also important for the prevention of many diseases: vitamin C and vitamin A (notably through its concentration of the pro-vitamin A carotenoid, beta-carotene). Some studies indicate that vitamin C-rich foods, such as parsley, provide humans with protection against inflammatory polyarthritis, a form of rheumatoid arthritis involving two or more joints.
I was very lucky to return last week to Reppun Farm a place that seems somewhat like heaven on earth (land which is stewarded by the Reppun brothers, who are much more than local organic farmers)!
I was there learning about the chocolate making process with Dave of Madre Chocolate. It was wonderful to gulp in all the fresh air while simultaneously marveling at the 70+ types of fruit growing there. The chocolate making process is fascinating. Check it out some time!
Getting out in nature is just a fabulous thing to do to restore one’s natural balance and learning from others is truly so much fun.
And here are a few more photos from my recent trip:
For more amazing photo’s and info about Reppun Farm, here’s a post that I wrote when I went two years ago: