FOOD | HEALTH | SPIRITUALITY

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Sacred & Delicious Update

Dear Friends,

 

In case you’re wondering if I fell off the planet, I’m writing with a quick update to explain why you haven’t heard from me.

While on a beach vacation with my husband and step-daughter in July—totally social distanced, of course—I took a bad fall and fractured my wrist. It was a major big OWIE! Happily, the fracture healed, but it triggered a rare response known as complex regional pain syndrome and, alternatively, reflex sympathetic dystrophy. Medical experts believe that this is a response from the sympathetic nervous system.

I’m still unable to use my left hand, which has become quite stiff, particularly in the fingers. So, rather than dreaming up and testing new recipes, I’m focused for hours a day on rehabilitating my hand. This was a real surprise for me, as I had not intended to be gone for such a long time.

Before I disappear again, for whatever length of time it takes to restore the functions of my hand, I’d like to remind readers that you’ll find three fabulous pumpkin recipes on my blog: Puréed Pumpkin Soup, Spiced Pumpkin Pound Cake, and Pumpkin Spice Cookies—all gluten-free.

Sometime after this momentous election, I will share the ways I’ve adapted in the kitchen so that I’m still able to cook fresh food six days a week. (Like our Creator, I rest from cooking on the Sabbath!)

During this extraordinary moment in history, with all its inherent anxiety, we especially need to eat well. Cooking delicious healthy food can definitely bring joy to ourselves and to our loved ones. I wish you and yours good health and a beautiful autumn. Stay well! Stay safe.

With love,

PS For those of you who may have CRPS, or know someone who does, please reach out if you’d like to hear about my approach to healing with the help of several complementary therapies—and of course, an anti-inflammatory diet. You can leave a private note here.

 

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Sweet Relief for the Blues 

Photos by Ingrid Beckman

 

I’ve come out of hiding today to share a blueberry cobbler recipe that is simply too delicious to keep to myself! In keeping with my 2020 theme of healthy comfort food, this is scrumptious enough to chase your blues away. I’ve found cooking delicious food to be a respite from the anxieties of these perilous and sometimes lonely times. On the other hand, if you’re feeling hopeful, as I am, then a dessert that’s made with fresh berries and unrefined sugar can offer guilt-free pleasure that reminds us of life’s inherent sweetness.

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Notice to Readers: Taking a Hiatus

Photo by Roger Winstead

 

Dear readers:

Have you ever felt so off kilter that you had to put your foot on the brake to stop the world from spinning so fast? I’m in the middle of just this kind of experience, making a conscious effort to SLOW down and unwind from my habitual hectic pace.

As I begin my period of unwinding, I want to check in with loyal fans and new readers to explain why I won’t be generating new content for Sacred & Delicious for the next… let’s say several months. I feel that I need to take a hiatus.

My mother died recently, and the years leading up to her death were challenging for me, as well as for her. Mom had profound dementia along with numerous other health conditions that demanded medical attention and required my support for more than a decade.

Of course, my situation is commonplace. Millions of others around the globe help loved ones as they age.

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Healthy Comfort Food

Comfort food was definitely going to be on our table one night last week, when I was in a bit of a funk. These easy Gluten-Free Vegan Pancakes were calling my name!

Truth be told, I was in a funk after meeting my 93-year-old mother at the emergency room because she had gashed a leg during a fall. I dreaded being in a hospital ER during the Covid-19 outbreak here in North Carolina, but no way was I going to let her be in that situation alone. So, I went, wearing a mask and repeating my mantra. Ten days later, her leg is mending well and, happily, I’m still symptom free. I count both of us as among the lucky ones that day.

These are certainly perilous time we are living in. No one is immune from the cascading impact of Covid-19, and this is a time for us to be kind to ourselves. I am not suggesting that we stuff our feelings with comfort food. Not at all. I am, however, acknowledging that, besides providing sustenance, food brings us comfort. And, I’m using this recipe today to demonstrate at least one way to succumb to your comfort food cravings deliciously—without undermining your precious health.

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Don’t panic. Be smart. Stay vigilant. 

Dear Ones,

If you’re walking around with a pervasive feeling of concern or fear about COVID-19, I hope you’ll take a few minutes to review the tips I’m sharing today for protecting your health and the health of your loved ones. I haven’t seen many of these recommendations promoted by the media, government officials, and the dozens of blogs now streaming into my inbox.

Please understand, I am not hitting the panic button. Although there is legitimate cause for concern about the coronavirus, there are many ways to boost your immune system—including the way you manage your food and your use of effective botanical medicines.

Do follow all the CDC guidelines and stay current with their updates. Following these disciplines is the smart thing to do, and the simple act of doing so will help you stay centered. You can’t be too vigilant about washing hands thoroughly and often. Be intelligent about social distancing. Beyond this, we all need to eat, and since that’s my passion, let me add my two cents about how to stay safe when it comes to food.

Food Tips for the Pandemic …

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A Chocolate Lover’s Confession

Dear Readers,

I have a confession. I’d never read about the horrible working conditions of cacao farmers who provide cacao beans as a commodity crop to the largest industrial chocolate manufacturers. Until today.

This essay is not meant to be a downer just before Valentine’s Day, when so many of us revel in all things chocolate! I am, however, sharing my personal wake-up call, and I was inspired to save you some time searching for the best chocolates that are guilt-free.

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A Sweet & Savory Vegetarian (or Vegan) Valentine’s Day

As you plan an alluring vegetarian or vegan meal for Valentine’s Day, I invite you to sample this unique Savory Sweet Potato Soup with Mushrooms & Chocolate Swirl!  I owe its inspiration to one of my very favorite and utterly charming movies: Chocolat.

In the movie, the main character, Vianne (Juliette Binoche) opens a chocolate shop that is considered too great a temptation in a conservative French village. If you watch the movie, you’ll see amazing delicacies that will have you lusting after chocolate! One of the movie’s more memorable and talked-about scenes features a chocolate-themed luncheon that Vianne hosts for a friend’s birthday in which chocolate sauces accompany every dish. Her menu features a large turkey and a pork roast, though I’ve often wondered what that meal might look like for a vegetarian feast. Today’s sweet and savory soup is my attempt at the first course!

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Chocolate Indulgence for Valentine’s Day

Today’s joyful offering is a recipe for vegan and gluten-free Double Chocolate Chip Cookies. With this dish, I offer my salutations to the Goddess of Chocolate and my gratitude to the chocolatiers of yore who infused an ancient pagan holiday with the chocolate tradition!

Who doesn’t love an excuse to revel in Mother Nature’s finest flavor? Whether you prefer extra dark, semi-sweet, or milk chocolate, February 14th gives you full permission to indulge your chocolate fix—yes even on the Ayurvedic path. Made with almond and oat flours, and sweetened with unrefined coconut sugar and dark chocolate chips, these cookies fit my guilt-free version of desserts…when eaten in moderation, of course!

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10 Ways to Celebrate the Healing Power of Spices

Looking for a soup to warm you, body and soul? Then look no further than this Curried Cauliflower Soup, which serves as a great introduction to the healing power of spices.

After a week of frigid weather in North Carolina, we’re definitely craving hot soup for dinner. Although the cherry trees in our neighborhood were already starting to bloom, as they were apparently confused by a few weeks of 65 to 70 degrees!

To many readers, nothing says “hot” quite like “curry,” but if you don’t enjoy heavily spiced foods—because, like me, you avoid cayenne pepper—you may be pleasantly surprised how much you’ll love this cauliflower soup. Why? Because this recipe has built-in flexibility from delicately flavored to spicy hot. Although “curry” usually signals fiery hot, when I cook, I leave the cayenne out altogetherbut you can certainly add as much as you enjoy. A curry is simply any Indian-spiced dish with a mélange of spices that are cooked in water and fat to create a gravy, or in this case, a soup.

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QUICK VEGAN MEALS: Introducing Mung Pasta

Whenever you need to make a quick vegan meal, pasta with vegetables is a good choice—and even better if you use a pasta that’s high in protein content. Today’s new recipe, Gluten-Free Pasta with Broccoli and Vegan Cream Sauce, features mung pasta so I can introduce readers to this healthy gluten-free option. Of course, if you don’t have mung pasta on hand, you can also use red lentil, chickpea, or your pasta of choice.

I know that mung pasta does not make for the prettiest photo, but as my readers know by now, Ayurveda is all about ease of digestion, and pasta made from mung bean flour fits the Ayurvedic way.

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