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How Cooking Can Be Meditative, Fall Renewal and a Nana Ice Cream Recipe

We are all probably doing some cooking or baking in one form or another this holiday season and, while things can be hectic, you can carve out cooking time to be relaxing time.  Cooking can be so enjoyable and refreshing, it can be a form of meditation.  I challenge you to make your time in the kitchen something to look forward to, an escape from the challenges of everyday life.  Here are a few ways to make cooking relaxing and meditative:

1. Think ahead of time what you want to make and gather all of the ingredients so you are not stressed at the last minute.  Think about the ingredients and how you want the final product to look like.  Picture the dish in your head and how it will taste.
2. Put on comfortable clothes, don your apron and put on some relaxing music.  Sway to the music as you're cooking and enjoy being in your kitchen space.  Make it comfortable and relaxing and a place to be instead of a place to get out of.  The kitchen is where people gather because it is where food is made, a nourishing, important of our lives.
3. Pour love into your cooking.  The thoughts and feelings you have during the cooking process transfers to your food so think good, positive thoughts.
4. Take just a few taste tests but don't fill yourself so you feel full; leave room to enjoy your dishes later and leave room to take in the smells and sights of your cooking. Taste testing too much will make you feel sluggish and stuffed.
5. If you're eating your creations right away, set the table and clear all distractions.  Practice mindful eating; savor your food, the taste, smell, sight, texture and feel it filling your body with nutrients and warmth.  Eat slowly and with no TV or other distractions.  It makes a huge difference to savor every bite.
6. Put some dance music on after you eat to make clean up more fun. No one likes cleaning up afterwards and I, especially, make a huge mess in the kitchen so use some tunes to pick you up.  Or have someone else clean up for you :)

Stop and relax this holiday season and if you're in the kitchen more than you're not, turn your kitchen into a relaxation haven.  Make it your own niche, your own meditation corner and carve out some time everyday to cook something.  Use spices and herbs you've never used before to flavor your dishes and even to replace some salt and oil.  Tumeric and cumin are my favorite spices to add to alot of dishes and they have amazing healing properties for our bodies.

Speaking of cooking this holiday season, fall will be over soon as we head right into winter.  Fall is a time for renewal, to come fully out of summer, think about your end of year goals, think about how far you've come this year and where you want to go in the next year.  So, savor the rest of fall to acknowledge where you've been and where you are going.  Leave behind people and habits that aren't serving you; do something for yourself.  Make your relationships rewarding for you and the other person; be with people you can count on during the ups and downs.  We all need those fun friends but surround yourself with people who will be with you when you're feeling low or having a bad week. Love yourself; take care of yourself.

What are you doing over the holidays to take care of yourself? I'm heading home for Thanksgiving tomorrow night and I will be getting a facial and a massage over the weekend at my favorite spa that I miss so much.  I'm also going to color my hair, spend time with friends and family and continue my meditation journey.

The fruit stands in NYC have disappeared due to the cold but yesterday's unseasonably warm weather brought them back and I bought a bunch of fruit last night! It's amazing how excited you get when you see the fruit stand guy :) I bought bananas, persimmons, tomatoes, lemons, a mango and some fresh garlic.  I promised you a recipe so here is a peanut butter banana and persimmons ice cream recipe. Before I delve into that, think about buying a ton of bananas this Thanksgiving, freezing them and making nana ice cream for your guests.  This helps you save money on regular ice cream which can be expensive and it helps you avoid the dairy.  You can dress up nana ice cream any way you want so throw in the toppings.  Check out this recipe and see if you can use it this Thursday:

Peanut Butter Persimmons Nana Ice Cream:
2 ripe persimmons
3 ripe frozen bananas
2 tbsp of natural peanut butter
1/4 cup of non dairy milk
2 tsp of vanilla extract
1 tbsp of cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice

Blend the bananas, vanilla extract, persimmons and peanut butter together in your high powered blender.  Add the milk to get your blender going.  Once you have soft serve the way you want it, scoop the nice cream into a bowl and sprinkle the cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice on top and enjoy.

You can do this as your guests are in your home, it takes just a few moments to whip up this recipe and you can serve everyone ice cream as they are relaxing and enjoying coffee and pie.  And then when they ask you how did you make this deliciousness, pass on the recipe and spread the good word about bananas and their ability to make crazy awesome soft serve!  Holidays are a lovely way to pass on recipes and tips and tricks in the kitchen.


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