Returning to dedicated movement has it ups and downs, but most definitely it has brought into focus the importance of taking the time to slow down. As with most things in life it is easier said than done.
For me this week has been about reconciling excuses with self-care. I for one am frequently haunted by my obligations to people, activities, jobs – the usual suspects. But, what trumps it all is my obligation to myself to be busy. As much as I love peace and quiet, I often sneak in a solitary activity in to soothe my restless nerves during my down time.
I fear it is time for me to really walk the walk and carve out time to recharge each day, rather than four days a week. Daily meditation was one of my goals this month, a habit or perhaps it is more apt to say ritual I was hoping to take on long past the haywire days of November. My advice for anyone struggling with meditation is to seek out a few words and repeat them to yourself, I sync mine to my breath, saying one word when I breathe in and the other when I breathe out. There is no need to make meditation more difficult than it already is.
In my opinion, it is much easier to fill your mind with a noise or a word than sit and let your thoughts take flight on you. Guided meditations are also really wonderful for getting a little deeper. There is no right and wrong in meditation – my opinion is that it is about giving yourself that time. However your 5-10-15-20 minutes are spent will change each time you return to practice.
Sure you’ve got to get your zen on, but feeding the body and soul is just as important. This past Friday I opted to stay in and cook myself a simple dinner. Once or twice a week, I am making a point of taking myself on a date. Why? Because no one deserves to be treated sweetly more than yourself (or myself in this case) – treat yo’self! So by taking joy and great care into preparing my food from beginning to end, I sat down to a bowl of risotto and a small mountain of greens and pomegranate seeds – nothing more, nothing less.
Risotto seems to have fashioned itself into a special occasion dish, but I promise that a sturdy mise en place and some patience and you will be fixing this up any ole night of the week.
Bare Bones Risotto2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil 1 small handful of asparagus 6 mushrooms or roughful a small handful 2 cloves of garlic, minced salt and pepper to taste half of an organic lemon, zested and juiced half of a small onion, diced a heaping 1/3 of a cup of organic Arborio rice 1 ½ cups of DIY Chicken Stock, or stock of choice at room temperature or slightly warmed.
Prepare and assemble all components of the recipe.
Sautée sliced mushrooms in a small pan until soft. Take off heat and reserve. Turn element onto medium heat.
Place grapeseed oil and onions into a deep sauce pan and lightly season with salt and pepper. After a few minutes of stirring add in garlic until fragrant.
Add rice to onion and garlic mixture stirring vigourously until coated in oil. The trick here is to wait for the rice to turn translucent around the edges.
Add in 1/3 cup of stock and stir. When close to being evaporated add another 1/3 cup of stock, stirring gently until evaporated. Repeat process until the rice starts to thicken. One nearing the end of the stock taste the rice. You are looking for the grain to wield to the teeth – not too hard, not too soft, just right. With remaining 1/3 cup of stock add in vegetables and extra garlic if desired. Stir until asparagus turns bright green.
Tip: you can replace 1/3 cup of stock with a dry white wine if you prefer. This is a bare bones cooking affair though, it wont suffer if you use only delicious stock.
Add in desired freshly grated parmesan cheese, or a drizzle of olive oil. Top with fresh herbs and a quick squeeze of lemon juice.
Serve immediately. Makes one dinner sized portion or two appetizers.