Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Nourishing Yourself - More Than Just Food

After a wonderfully hectic and productive year, we both took some much needed
R & R over the holidays. We both spent time independently reflecting on the year and enjoying some amazing company -- but the  location we each chose to rest and reflect could not have been more different. While Lisa enjoyed the tropical paradise of Hawaii, spending her vacation reading, hiking, lounging on the beach, and enjoying the local cuisine, I headed home to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada -- a place where it has been known to hit temperatures around minus 40 degrees (the temperature in which the Fahrenheit and Celsius scales meet) and hockey is part of everyday discussions. Let's Go, Oilers!

Disclaimer: This winter was mild and Edmonton rarely reaches -40 degrees. I have become a softie since living in California and Edmonton is a wonderful city.

As corny as it may sound, this holiday was particularly important to both of us in regards to nourishing our soul. When it comes to being nourished, the conversation begins with food. But, it doesn’t take long to realize that we nourish ourselves with the things we do, the people we know, the traditions we follow, and the philosophy we embrace. Who we are and who we want to be are all nourished by the world we live in and the world we imagine. When we’re living our best lives, everything and everyone nourishes us.

And everyone wants to be nourished.
This December, I was nourished surrounded by the people I grew up with, relaxing in my yoga pants, playing ridiculous board games, singing terrible karaoke, laughing way too hard, going on long walks, hitting the slopes.; and of course, making delicious meals.  And watching hockey. Let's Go, Oilers! 

I also visited some of favorite local food stops which are high on my recommendations list, including Credo Coffee for my morning Americano, Blue Plate Dinner for my favorite weekend brunch, Corso32 for a delicious and locally inspired dinner, and Queen of Tarts for really, really good bread and dessert.

And isn’t it a fun thing to realize why you are the way you are? This happens when you go home and an older brother cracks jokes that you can imagine telling yourself...

...and where your friends know exactly what you are feeling or thinking without your saying a word.

One of the best parts of the holiday?  Receiving an absolutely perfect gift, a “Recipes from Home” scrapbook made and given to me by my wonderful friend, Kelsey. The book is a compilation of recipes from my friends’ and family’s favorite dishes. Each recipe is paired with a genuinely unflattering picture of the person that submitted it. You know the ones… when you’re mid-bite, when your eyes are half-closed, or when you have a “funny face” gone wrong. It’s an amazing gift idea. And not to worry, I’m on the cover looking pretty unattractive myself.

So without further ado, let me introduce you to Caitlin’s Homemade Black Bean & Veggie Burgers from Recipes from Home.

 Lisa and I particularly appreciate this recipe because it’s packed with beans – a nutrition superstar, and the breadcrumbs have also been substituted for oats to add a little whole grain love. Since beans are high in protein AND fiber, they leave you feeling completely satisfied and nourished after eating them. Even better, they’re inexpensive.  You don’t need to spend a lot of money to be well nourished – body and soul.

So, in 2012 make it a promise to yourself to enjoy the important things in life – love, laugher, and friendship. Because the most important things in life aren’t things.

Caitlin’s Homemade Black Bean & Veggie Burgers

1 (16 ounces) can black beans, drained and rinsed
½ green bell pepper, cut into 2 inch pieces
½ onion, cut into wedges
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 egg
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon Thai chili sauce or hot sauce (optional)
½ cup oats

If grilling, preheat an outdoor grill for high heat and lightly oil a sheet of aluminum foil. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and lightly oil baking sheet. In a medium bowl, mash black beans with a fork until thick and pasty. In a food processor, finely chop bell pepper, onion, and garlic. Then stir into mashed beans.

In a small bowl, stir together egg, chili powder, cumin, and chili sauce. Stir the egg mixture into the mashed beans. Mix in oats until the mixture is sticky and holds together. Divide mixture into four patties.

If grilling, place patties on foil, and grill about 8 minutes on each side. If baking, place patties on baking sheet, and bake about 10 minutes each side.

Enjoy, preferably with those you love.

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