Play, Healing and Brussels Sprouts
Read to the end for a video about having enough time
Hello beautiful people,
We are off to a great start with the Embodied Cooking Classes on Patreon. We have made October Lentil Salad, Butternut Squash Soup, and this past week we played at making Vegetable Sushi Hand rolls! But more importantly, we are practicing the art of being present, allowing our senses to guide us into a state of calm flow so we can always have a good time in the kitchen even if the outcome is not what we want. We are learning to create a safe and connected place within ourselves where we can cultivate peace and relaxation that will flow out into the rest of our lives.
If you want a taste of what we are doing each week, take a look at this lesson for delightfully autumnal Butternut Squash Soup below.
If you like it, please sign up and join us.
Hummus Bowl with Garlicky Sautéed Brussels Sprouts
I want to make this one over and over. The velvety smooth and tangy hummus with the crispy, just-right bite of the Brussels sprouts is stimulating and satisfying in ideal balance.
Serves 2 to 3 as an appetizer or 1 hungry person for dinner
TL;DR: Chop and sauté Brussels sprouts in olive oil until crispy. Meanwhile blend up the hummus. Spoon hummus onto a plate and top with the warm Brussels sprouts. Top with hot sauce or lemon.
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb Brussels sprouts, bottoms trimmed and quartered
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Salt, to taste
1 can of chickpeas, drained (15.5 oz)
2 Tbsp Tahini
3 Tbsp olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp water, or as needed
Salt, to taste
Any sharp, bright hot sauce or lemon juice
Olive oil (optional)
Toasted sesame seeds (optional)
In a pan on medium high heat, pour in the olive oil and let it get hot for a moment. Tumble the Brussels sprouts in and leave to get some dark color on one side for about 5 minutes. Add the chopped garlic, stir and toss occasionally until they are crispy and dark on some parts and bright green and cooked through, approximately 15 minutes total. Add salt to taste.
While the Brussels sprouts are in the pan prepare the hummus.
Skip this step if you are in a rush, but it will create the creamiest, lightest hummus; remove the outer skin of each chickpea, just one at a time by hand—I have not found a quicker way to do this. Then add the chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice water and 1/2 tsp salt to the blender and blend on high until light and creamy. Add more water if it is a bit too thick or more lemon juice or salt or tahini as desired your taste dictates.
Spread the hummus onto a large plate and top with the warm Brussels sprouts. Finally squeeze a little hot sauce or lemon juice over everything.
How I Make Cooking a Safe Place for Play and Healing
Cooking has always been there for me. But the way I have related to it has changed over the years. When I was very young I began to explore food with my mother. I would sit up on the counter and stir batters until they went from many disparate parts into one smooth mixture. I would put my fingers into bags and bins of grains or sugar and feel the way little pieces would scrape gently against my skin and fall away. I’d listen to the gentle tinkle of sugar against the metal bowl, the scraping of the wooden spoon against the butter and sugar and notice that the sound changed as it all came together.
So cooking began as play, later became an outlet for creativity and confidence, then an escape, and finally a career. But always, cooking let me connect with myself.
I still notice all those sensory experiences and get pleasure from them. But only recently have I realized how important they are. And now I am finally at a place where I can teach others how to use the space of cooking for self love and self exploration. The space of cooking can be healing, and not just for those of us who naturally gravitate toward it, but for anyone if you practice it with a few techniques.
Here are 5 techniques we can practice while we cook that will help us build a stronger nervous system and allow us to be more present in our daily lives.
Breathing deeply: I cannot stress enough, and science backs me up on this—how healing breathing consciously is. As we breathe with awareness, we nourish ourselves at every level of the body and mind, bring our nervous system back to center and interrupt racing thoughts.
Release the outcome. Sometimes our time spent in the kitchen will result in epic success, and sometimes not. Sometimes others will like it, and sometimes not. It need not be a factor in how you feel about yourself and your time spent in there. This practice helps us to accept those things we cannot control.
Allow yourself to be gentle with whatever feelings you are having. Observe them without needing to do anything. Trust that spending time with yourself and your senses will bring the necessary wisdom to deal with any dilemma or to-do list. This also builds self compassion as you will take the time to notice your daily struggles and distance yourself from them without dismissing or avoiding them. This practice is like doing reps for the nervous system and will build strength to stay present and clear during stressful situations.
Noticing what is there. That you can put your hand in the bag of lentils and listen to the sound of them clicking together and watch them cascade into the pan. You can smell so many layers of aroma. Allow yourself to be enthralled and you will build your focus.
Let yourself be playful. Along with noticing your sensory experience allow your inner wisdom to guide how you hold your body. Does the sizzle make you want to dance? Do it. This strengthens our ability to listen to ourselves in all situations in life.
These techniques are the beginnings of embodiment. Of allowing our body to guide us and trusting its deep wisdom. And I go into more detail and model all of this in my Embodied cooking classes if you want more depth. Give any of these a try and tell me how it made you feel or anything you noticed. I’d love to get a discussion going in the comments, or just hit reply on this email!