Spain restored my mind, body, soul and tastebuds. In hot climates, I crave cooling fruits and vegetables, which is why nature harvests watery fruits like melons and peaches during the summer. During the warmer months, I crave frseh, light and airy foods.
With plenty of leftover mint and parsley in my refrigerator, I made a different type of pesto.
I went "grocery" shopping in my cabinets and used whatever I had leftover.
When making pesto, basil would be my preferred herb. I escaped my comfort zone and surprisingly, this pesto ignites the flavors (and memories) of the Mediterranean.
The beautiful and bold shade of green looks similar to the bright-colored summer leaves. Fresh. Alive. And real - I can't imagine eating bottled pesto ever again. Fresh herbs, specifically mint, helps cool things down in the hot summer months.
Eating this pesto on noodles solo, fires up the distinct flavors. In every bite, I tasted a hint of garlic, followed by the cooling taste of lemon and mint. I also enjoyed the pesto pasta with lightly sauteed sugar plum tomatoes. Sweet and colorful, the pasta fuses savory and sweet flavors.
Pesto is one of the easiest things to make and since herbs are sold in large bushels, here is one way to use up all that leftover parsley sitting in the fridge. Have a great Fourth of July weekend!
How to Make Parsley Mint Pesto
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Makes 3/4-1 cup
1.5 cup parsley
1/2 cup mint
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup walnuts
1/2 lemon, juiced
3 garlic cloves
1/4 tsp salt
pinch of pepper
Place all the ingredients into a blender and mix until smooth.
I believe nature holds the secrets to life. In some ways, the path to spiritual enlightenment is similar to the blossoming of a flower. People who find themselves lost or insecure must start somewhere, from the acts of planting the seed to growing the roots, discovering who you are, and blossoming your soul, takes time.
The path to spirituality comes when one opens their mind to the opportunity of change. Staying rooted with fear, and being scared for something new, will not allow a flower to grow. People fear change because they know they will detach from old things, people, habits or ways.
Many people refrain from spiritual change because of fear, but also because of skepticism, logic or chronic self-judgment. The biggest barrier to spiritual development is the need to change habits, specifically mental and emotion habits, breakdowns and anxiety attacks.
It’s about changing one’s mindset and balancing the thoughts between the head and the heart. Based on my life experience, and what I was taught via theEight Limbs of Yoga and the Yoga tree, I believe spiritual development is similar to the growth of a flower.
Humans love flowers. Nature needs flowers and they are some of the most beautiful creations on this planet. In order to blossom and be beautiful inside, you must take the road less traveled, which looks a lot like the flower’s growth.
Stage One – The Seed
Planting the seed is the first step to growth. If we want to grow flowers we must plant the seeds. People who are lost may think about change. They also think about what they need to do in order to change or break patterns. This may go through the avenues of seeing a therapist, signing up for a yoga course or visiting a healer.
Thinking is planting the seed into one’s mind about change. Much energy spent in this stage revolves around thinking and researching options.
Seeds are hard and tough and the ego and darkness wants to hold you back, but through listening to one’s higher self they evolve to seedlings.
Stage Two – Seedling
In nature, a seedling is a young plant birthed from a seed. A seed is actually planted into the ground and the seedling is the first sign of life sprouted from underground. Gardeners may cover seedlings, but if left covered for too long, the seedling dies. In order to thrive, seedlings require air and light.
I equate this stage to the actions taken toward spiritual change. This stage takes time and is not easy for most. A person may find talking to a psychologist works for the first weeks but then realizes this type of therapy is not right for them. A person may switch therapies, but the actual commitment towards getting help is the first sign of life for the soul to sprout from the underground and bask in the riches of potential and the light.
Seedlings are delicate. This represents the vulnerability some feel by exposing themselves and releasing the darkness from within. Seedlings are in a development stage, and this is exactly what stage two represents – development and growth. And the person has two choices, to continue the path of growth or to remain covered and rooted in old ways.
Stage Three – Leaves and Stems
Seedlings grow and develop leaves, stems and roots. It’s a vegetative stage where the stem thickens, the leaves grow taller and the roots spread.
Spiritually, this stage occurs through breaking patterns and allowing one’s soul to grow and breathe. Someone who’s been doing meditation or yoga “religiously” for six months will feel, look and think differently than they did six months prior.
Stage three occurs when people let in more light than darkness. They may struggle, but each time they do something for their soul they are thickening their backbone, growing their wings and staying grounded.
Stage Four – Flower Buds
The budding stage occurs immediately when the flower bud forms. The flower then goes through a stage called heliotropism, which means the leaves and buds move to follow the course of the sun throughout the day.
It takes a while to bud, but a person is budding when the therapies are working. Like a flower, they follow the light. They are seeing progress and results and are nearly independent. They start to expose the light from within and their mindset has switched.
The person may have doubts, as that is normal, but they are almost in bloom.
Stage Five – Bloom
Once a flower blooms, the flower is independent from heliotropism and blossoming can take several days, which happens from the outside toward the middle point. Once the flower blossoms, it eventually ripens, which allows the seeds to fall to be planted.
The blooming stage occurs when a person is in check with his or her emotions and mental state. The mindset changed and the old ways of doing things, or over-reacting, are in the past.
The person feels, sees and breathes in the light. Their roots are so deep that they stay grounded in times of chaos. Their backbone (stalk) is as strong as a tree, so the branches may sway but are rooted and cannot be swayed back into old ways of doing things.
Externally, the person looks different and most claim they feel different internally.
The bloom stage is spiritual liberation. It’s the “end” of the journey from darkness to light. The person knows that learning, wisdom and change never has an end, but knows how to remain strong during tough times.
Once they continue this path, their seeds fall into the earth, helping other souls to find their way to the light. Replanting those seeds also aides them on their future problems. They know problems will never go away but are equipped with the strength, knowledge and tools on how to better handle life's problems.
Elizabeth Rae Kovar M.A. is a trainer, health coach and author of Finding Om: An Indian Journey of Rickshaws, Chai, Chapattis and Gurus. Kovar has undergone various spiritual experiences throughout her life and now shares her experiences with the world to inspire people to break patterns, reach their potential and cultivate a thoughtful life.
Summer is officially here. I spent solstice on the beaches of Spain, admiring the Mediterranean Ocean. In a world that seems so ugly, Palma de Mallorca restored my mind, body and soul. The ocean reminded me of how beautiful and amazing life is. More than ever, it is time to channel our thoughts toward the beautiful parts of life.
I made this crisp before flying to Europe. My client training schedule got so intense that I didn't have time to upload it prior to leaving. So if you have rhubarb still at your local markets, I suggest trying this sugar-free crisp.
It's no secret that America is a sugar and salt nation. Now, this is changing world-wide as the rest of the west adopts American habits. But the one quality I love most about Europe is to enjoy treats without overindulging in copious amounts of sugar. Desserts are sweet, some are naturally sweet, but it's nice to enjoy a treat without worrying about your blood sugar levels.
It is my hope with my Mind Body Soul Food blog to inspire people to get back to the basics of cooking and to "retrain" your tongue and palate to enjoy food that is not laden with sugar and salt. This is an important issue as we have now bred a generation of overweight children.
For the most part, Europeans are much thinner than Americans. But this is changing. The obesity epidemic is becoming a world-wide problem as more cultures adopt processed and boxed foods. Ironically, we live in a world of starvation and obesity (nutrient deprivation). There must be a balance, and one way to balance this extremism is by cooking in your own home.
Inspired by the beautiful pink and purple flowers of summer, I hope you enjoy this refined sugar-free dessert to stay healthy and wholesome this summer season.
Vegan & Refined Sugar Free Blueberry Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp
Prep Time: 7 minutes
Cooking Time: 25-28 minutes
Makes: One 9-inch pie pan
1.5 cup rhubarb, washed and chopped
1.5 cup strawberries, washed and chopped
2 cups of blueberries, washed
1/4 tsp baking soda
1.5 tsp corn starch
3 tbsp agave nectar
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup gluten free all purpose flour (or almond or pastry flour)
2.5 tbsp agave nectar
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Wash and prep the fruit and mix the first seven ingredients into a bowl and set aside.
For the crust, mix the rolled oats, flour and salt together in a separate bowl. Next, mix in the melted coconut oil and agave nectar. Pour the fruit into the bottom of a 9-inch pie pan. Use a spatula to even out the fruit. Next, pour the crust ingredients on top of the fruit and even it out with a spoon or spatula. Bake for 25 to 28 minutes at 350-degrees.
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I am back from a wonderful vacation and Seville and Mallorca restored my soul. Life was so beautiful there that everything in the inter webs seems so ugly and bleak.
I could tell my soul shifted and am entering a new chapter in life, which I have yet to discover. Upon returning to the US, I realized how soulless our society has become.
We need to rediscover our souls on an individual level to effect the collective. Discover your soul's truth. If it wants to paint, then paint. If it wants to start a blog, begin writing today. The more beauty and light we can bring into this world, the better society will be.
As always, inspired by the sun,
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I'm going on a jet plane in a few hours to Europe. This is my third and final seasonal asparagus recipe of the season. I don't know where my inspiration came from, but I started to think about asparagus risotto. Somehow the image of lemon, cream and asparagus flooded my mind and tastebuds.
Along with culinary inspirations, I've been "raiding" estate sales lately. I love estate sales, but I also find sadness with them. My Ukrainian Great Grandmother, who immigrated to the US in 1951 post WW2, kept our Ukrainian and Polish roots and culture alive throughout her life.
I am sad to lose the greatest generation because they were wise and simple people. They cared more about life and family than they did about flashy cars and technology. My treasure trove has been a success, finding some of the most wonderful European plates, spoons and handmade doilies. It all reminds me of my Baba.
As I mentioned in my recent, Super Easy Vegan Creamy Asparagus Soup, spargelsuppe (asparagus soup) is one of the most cultural notable spring-time meals in German culture. Anything that contains asparagus is a sign for springtime harvest.
"Respecting the dignity of a spectacular food means enjoying it at its best. Europeans celebrate the short season of abundant asparagus as a form of holiday. In the Netherlands the first cutting coincides with Father's Day, on which restaurants may feature all-asparagus menus and hand out neckties decorated with asparagus spears."
Elizabeth Rae Kovar M.A. is Author of her memoir, Finding Om and is a Fitness Trainer, Yogi, Reiki Master, Presenter and Lover of Life. To view her portfolio please visit www.elizabethkovar.com