Stay the Course!
Summer is just around the corner and savvy gals, guys too, have indulged in spa mani-pedi soothers, and hair mask and face mask smoothers to exfoliate away the effects of a long winter. Now, it’s time to think about how to keep the glow going until Labor Day? One of the ways I’m going to do it is to concentrate on creating a healthy, nutritious, delicious, summer meal plan. Frutti de mare! Pesce! No matter how you say it, preparing and eating fresh fish is a fabulous way to keep the glow and go in your summer.
Meal idea 1, think whole fish. Nothing is more delicious than a whole stuffed fish sizzling on the grill. Best catches for the grill are branzino, red snapper or sea bass. It’s a little work.
First, purchase the fish sliced down the middle with the cavity cleaned. At home, place the whole fish in the sink and brush the scales off, discard the scales. Then fill the sink with a cool water, kosher salt bath. Wash the fish inside and out.
Next, line the kitchen counter with wax paper and lay the fish down on the paper bed. Fill the cavity with fresh parsley, crushed garlic and lemon slices. Then sprinkle grated cheese across the filling and drizzle with olive oil. Close the fish and brush the entire fish with olive oil.
Grill the fish over a moderately high grill flame until it begins to char. Turn and grill until the skin chars and the flesh is white throughout. Grilling time will depend on the size of the fish, but a medium size fish will take about 10 minutes on each side. Transfer the fish to a platter and drizzle with olive oil and serve.
Meal idea 2, who doesn’t like Paella? Looking for a lighter way to prepare Paella? Follow a basic Paella recipe and substitute Quinoa for the rice. It truly is delicious!
Soup to nuts, or should I say boat to table😊 menu for 6:
Raw Bar Appetizer:
Two-dozen little neck clams, washed well – place the clams on a medium heat grill, when the clams open completely transfer to a platter. Have waiting on the table a tray or caddy with bottles of Tabasco and generous lemon wedges.
Two-dozen fresh oysters, shucked – place the oysters on a platter, accompanied by red cocktail sauce and a vinegar dip (1/2 cup of white vinegar chopped red and white onions) place all ingredients in a jar up to three hours before serving. The mixture will be a lovely shade of light pink at serving time.
Fresh coleslaw (I like the vinegar variety), cucumber salad, and tri-color cherry tomatoes turned in olive oil and chopped basil.
Grilled branzino prepared as above.
Mesclun salad – lemon and olive oil dressing – drizzle lettuce with olive oil and squeeze the juice of one large lemon, toss.
Grilled asparagus – fresh asparagus, wash and sprinkle with sea salt or kosher salt, grill until lightly charred, place on a platter sprinkle with olive oil, breadcrumbs and grated cheese, toss.
Complete the meal with crusty bread…. don’t forget the chilled white wine or chilled sparkling water with lemon.
Homemade sorbet – 4 cups fresh honeydew cubed (approximately 1 honeydew) freeze the cubes overnight. Place the frozen honeydew and 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, ¼ cup honey, ¼ cup water pulse in a Cuisinart or blender. Place in a bowl and freeze for 1 hour. Serve immediately…. or serve market bought sorbet, but the homemade variety is awesome and no refined sugar!
Dessert wine and or expresso served with bakery biscotti round out dessert…. enjoy!
Are you expecting? I was.
Several blog posts ago I focused on perfect love and to date I continue to work on my ability to give and receive love effortlessly.
These last 40 days provided me with the opportunity to travel further on my love quest. After much soul searching and peace searching, I found the root of my love challenge. I was expecting! What an enlightenment! My discovery allowed me to walk on, and I confess the road was rocky in my pursuit of peaceful, effortless love.
My extended journey led me to a trinity of sources and each one provided me with the clarity I was looking for. The first person was (is), Jesus Christ. The compassion of Jesus and His ability to love in the face of adversity, continues to astound me. Saint Paul describes the emptiness of action without love in 1 CORINTHIANS, CHAPTER13 . Although I know I will never reach Jesus’s level of perfection, His model of love pushed me to conduct a short but meaningful activity that I developed for myself. I divided a sheet of paper down the middle. On one side of the paper I listed five words that I felt defined the qualities of love.
5. Indulgence (which is different from understanding and/or sympathy)
On the other side of the paper I listed five words that I felt defined the qualities of compassion.
Suddenly I realized my definition of love was exhausting me in my efforts to show love and in my husband’s efforts to meet my expectation of love. In that moment compassionate love blazed genuine. Didn’t it make more sense to look at love as a soothing value rather than a responsibility that most of the time causes angst?
In my search to fully comprehend my new discovery, I stumbled upon my second source,
Jaggi Vasudev Sadhguru in his talk on how expectations ruin love. I listened intently as Guru explained, “love, most people go into relationships to give love and to get love.” He additional shared, “however, expectations ruin the relationship.” An aha moment! Guru went on to say “not even a god or a goddess can meet the expectations of another and in time the relationship will sour, and why does an individual feel unfilled when each piece of the life is complete by itself?” As I listened the tension of my idea of love began to ease. The calculations of who did what and how many times, and whose turn is it, and if you loved me you would do it began to fade away and be replaced by the peace that comes with compassion.
Wanting to learn more I traveled further down the road where I met my third source, Aruna Shields, on the free meditation app InsightTimer. Aruna guided a six-minute meditative interpretation of the Tao Te Ching. Basically, the Tao enforces the human spiritual perfection and the art of ruling through applying the Tao principles. Personally, I took the “art of ruling” as applied to myself, meaning that by meditating on the principles I can preside over or govern the improvement of my spiritual being. Each of the Tao principles unlocks a mystery. The first principle, “the you who can be discussed is not the eternal you,” shook me to my very core and detonated a fury of feelings I had never before recognized. I realized that my ability to give and receive love hinged on the expectations of others and if me and my choices caused disappointment it would result in judgement and gossip. Crippling! How could I love and give love if I was not true to myself? Here is where the real work began, and in the words of Guru, “when we devoid ourselves of expectations, we set ourselves free.” ❤
To journey is to discover…. I’ll see you there.
The word simplicity means uncomplicated or a state of simply being. That sounds absolutely divine to me. What if life could be so easy? Or could it? So often I find myself presented with a minute problem, for example I recently purchased a new sofa. I absolutely fell in love with it at the store and the measurements fit my desired space. It seemed to be a smooth transaction. The next day the delivery truck arrived, the movers unload the piece of furniture and I hated it. In that one instance a million thoughts flooded my mind. Will my husband be upset, do I tell the drivers, do I call the company; maybe it will grow on me? Talk about mental combustion. Instead, I could have simply told the drivers I don’t like the merchandise what is the next step? All of my questions could have been answered on the spot. Now I am dealing with a bunch of red tape. Overthinking and analyzing caused this problem to become so overwhelming that I become mentally paralyzed. I am sure I am not the only person in the world to experience this.
As I’ve mentioned in pervious blogs, I have recently embarked on a journey to self-improvement. So often, I wish for a magic pill or a quick fix that will solve all my problems. I’ve come to the conclusion that looking inward and putting in some hard work has been the answer for me. In order to simplify my thoughts I’ve set some guidelines that have helped.
1. Complete one task at a time and allow for a quick break here and there:
This practice has been most helpful during my morning routine because I make the coffee while packing lunches and feeding the dog. I often do not complete one task before starting another and by 6:30 a.m. I am wound tighter then a fiddle. Don’t even ask what I am like by 8 p.m. 😊.
2. Minimize Input:
I’ve limited my social media intake. I found it flooded my thoughts and made my mind more active. This has been very helpful because when I used to take a brain break I would immediately check my phone. Now a brain break is really a break. I listen to a quick 1-5-minute guided meditation.
3. Stay in the moment:
This has been challenging but the reward has been extremely beneficial especially with my relationship. I admit it, I am guilty of opening my mental file cabinet dusting off the cob webs and brining up something my husband has done in the past. The other night a past situation was brought up in conversation with a friend. I immediately felt annoyed. Then I told myself, “this isn’t happening right now.” It happened years ago and all that matters is what is happening in this very moment.” Since I’m being honest, I will tell you this was so freeing. I was no longer bound to the chains that I felt were once weighing me down. I realized I was the one creating the chains. The minute I let go of my grip the chains were no longer there. This is a double win! I simplify my thoughts and I feel more at peace.
4. Surround yourself with people who support you:
Find your tribe and keep them close. Gather around you people who are like minded and encourage you to achieve your goals.
This week has been very interesting and eye opening. I see the world through a different lens, one that sees the beauty rather than the confusion. In the words of David Thoreau “As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness, weakness”.