I'm not super crazy about Valentine's Day. I think the whole thing is kind of tacky and commercial plus I enjoy celebrating the people I love regardless of the day, BUT it did give me the perfect opportunity to use all the heart shaped cooking tools I've been collecting.
I convinced Jesse to eat an all raw breakfast with me. I got up early so we could eat together in bed. We watched The Marvelous Misadventure's of Flapjack and snuggled with our dog while enjoying this nutritious meal.
It consisted of whole orange juice, grated cucumber 'hash browns' dusted with lemon pepper, avocado and tomato 'eggs' (inspired by Rawon10's Breakfast in Bed), a side of nacho cheeze, fruit salad with strawberries, tangerines & banana hearts, and banana cashew mousse with chocolate syrup, yum!
My favorite part of the meal was by far the banana cashew mousse. It started out as ice cream, but by the time we ate it, it had thawed to frosty mousse consistency, so yummy!!!
Banana Cashew Mousse or Ice Cream
2 large frozen bananas
1/4 tsp ground vanilla beans or vanilla extract
1/4 cup cashews
approx. 1/8 cup filtered water
Raw Chocolate Syrup
1 tbsp raw agave nectar
1 tsp raw cacao powder
Prepare the syrup first by thoroughly mixing the agave and cacao until completely incorporated. Add more or less agave depending on your preferred sweetness.
To make the 'ice cream' put the cashews in the blender (Vita Mix or Blendtec), then add just enough water to cover them, blend into milk. Then add the bananas and vanilla and puree until the mixture is creamy and lump free. Pour into a bowl, drizzle with chocolate syrup and enjoy!
For dinner, Jesse and I went to our friends' house to be with them, a few friends who live nearby, and a few close friends visiting from out of town. I brought a few raw goodies to share, the first was my Heart Cheesecake which I had waiting for me in the freezer.
I made raw chocolate dipped banana hearts, and oh man, were they good. Way better than I could have anticipated.
I sliced a banana lengthwise in three, then used a small heart shaped cookie cutter to cut out heart pieces (I froze all the discarded banana to make 'ice cream' later). Then I stuck a toothpick into each, dipped them in Raw Chocolate, put them on wax paper then put them into the freezer. I put them in the refrigerator about 2 hours before serving, so the banana would thaw but the chocolate would stay solid.
1/4 1 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup raw cacao
5 tbsp raw agave nectar or to taste
1/2 tsp ground vanilla beans or vanilla extract
Gently warm the coconut oil until melted then mix in the rest of the ingredients until smooth. I used my blender, but it can be done with a good old fashioned bowl and spoon :). You can pour it into moulds, or dip fruit/nuts in it. Let it set in the refrigerator or freezer.
I also made zucchini rolls with beet hearts.
I used my mandolin to slice the zucchini and the beets and used the same heart cookie cutter to punch out beet hearts. I filled each roll with a piece of tomato, a piece of avocado, some nacho cheeze, and some alfalfa sprouts. They were beautiful, fresh, and tasty!
I feel like Valentine's Day, although mostly commercial, is a wonderful opportunity to think about the Heart in all of it's forms, physical, emotional, and spiritual.
Brugh Joy, an amazing teacher with whom I was so privileged to work, died in December. I feel that there's no way I can adequately describe Brugh. He was/is so much more than what he did, truly a unique and wonderful person, so open, present, and impactful. He was an energy healer, author, doctor, and a teacher of spiritual enlightenment and Heart Center Transformation. The impact he has on me carries far beyond the personal experience I had with him as he was Dr. Nicki Monti's teacher for over twenty years, another remarkable individual to whom I feel I owe in many ways my life (the life I have) and personal freedom. I learned Heart Centering Meditation from Dr. Nicki Monti, a practice that has greatly helped me ground & open myself, and has deepened my love for myself, others, and the world.
I was shocked when I found out Brugh had died, and disappointed that I wouldn't again have the opportunity to work with him in his physical form, but I didn't anticipate the level of grief I was to experience in the coming weeks. I've felt deep sadness, fear, anger, loss, and a general depression. After attending a memorial hosted by Dr. Nicki Monti, the sadness didn't cease, but many of my thoughts and feelings around Brugh became clearer and more focused.
I began thinking about the emphasis Brugh placed on 'touching the body with reverence' and experiencing the world with 'bodyfulness'. He embraced his humanity and taught me to embrace mine. He taught me to love, respect, and fully experience the body. I worked with Brugh nearly two years ago and my goals and values have significantly shifted since. My passion for cooking, healthy eating, and green living began to develop and continue to grow. I know that my lifestyle is strongly influenced by what I gathered from him, consciously and subconsciously.
In honor of Brugh, I'd like to spend a few moments talking about the Heart, in all of it's forms, because they are all connected as one and the same. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S.A. Heart dis ease. Are we literally dying of broken hearts? Both of my grandfather's died of heart attacks, and as Dr. Nicki says, "We die the same way we live." I completely believe that we live our lives in so many ways we are not conscious of and emotional suppression can lead to many types of illness. In my family, cutting oneself off from the heart is a common problem, and I'm sure the same can be said for many different types of people. It takes a lot of bravery to open and fully access one's heart. We must allow ourselves to be emotionally vulnerable, ready to experience deep pain as well as deep love and happiness. What you find, however, is that one of the attributes of the heart is innate harmony, calm in the midst of chaos. The heart understands, the heart does not fear, the heart can feel heavy, but is never weighed down.
To keep our hearts healthy, it is important to pay attention to both the physical and emotional aspects of the Heart. Listen to it, and speak it's words. Don't be afraid to open up and explore what's there. Practice love for yourself and for others. Meditate. Maintain a healthy diet full of greens (the color of the heart chakra is green), whole grains, and good fats. And if it feels right to you, explore heart centering meditation.