Tag Archives: food

half eaten chocolate bar

Mindfulness and Chocolate

As I convalesce, I have been listening to presentations on mindfulness through the Mindfulness Summit, a 31-day project with a mission to make mindfulness mainstream.

Here I have to admit that I’m not very good at practicing mindfulness…or anything else that requires me to sit quietly.

I’m getting better, and I think the daily talks and practices in the Mindfulness Summit have helped.

I want to share with you one thing that I have learned in the last few weeks that I have known but never fully embraced…

…be present.

In my mindfulness practice and in listening to these daily mindfulness talks, I have not specifically focused on being present. However, this is what I’m taking away from these 31 days.

It is true that if you practice, you will improve. It does not matter what it is that you are practicing. And though I spend most of my evenings reminding my daughter to practice her piano and practice her singing, knowing all the while that this is what she needs to do to improve her skills in these areas, I consistently neglect practice in my own life.

Mindfulness is a skill, and one that needs to be practiced.

Without realizing it because I’m doing it as part of a daily routine of listening to the Mindfulness Summit, I have embedded the practice of being present in my mind.

I’ve written here about counting before speaking or reacting, and I’ve practiced that inconsistently over the years. It’s a similar idea to being present, but once you’re present, you are in that moment and can be in every moment if you choose it.

Here is where I get to the part about chocolate.

I love Caramilk chocolate bars. My husband brought one home for me the other night. It has been sitting in the pantry ever since.

Today, I decided to eat it.

But I found myself not wanting to just devour it as I would have in the past. I broke one square off, thinking I would slowly savour the treat.

After popping it into my mouth, I chewed it and swallowed it rather quickly. It was just so good. I couldn’t slow myself down.

I walked away from the chocolate bar. It was tempting me. Pushing me out of my present zone. Dragging me toward wanting more.

I came back a few minutes later, thinking I was ready to handle the delicious little temptress, and I took the chocolate bar to the kitchen table with me.

I sat down at the table, opened my Kindle app on my phone and proceeded to read while I ate the rest of the chocolate bar.

I allowed a couple of squares to melt in my mouth without chewing them. I was winning the battle of temptation. I was slowing down my time with this delicious treat; appreciating all that it had to offer.

But was I?

I was reading and eating. Not fulling enjoying either activity.

And all that mindfulness practice came flooding in.

I closed my Kindle app and pushed my phone away. I took the next square of chocolate and paid close attention to how much of the chocolate bar was left (half, in case you’re wondering).

I put that square in my mouth, closed my eyes and let it melt. I took slow, deep breaths. I savoured the melting chocolate, the feeling of it as it coated the inside of my mouth, the sweetness of it as it slipped down my throat, the way that it activated a sense of calm in my brain.

As I felt my mind wander away from the chocolate to the next item on my To Do list, I gently brought my mind back to the chocolate, back to the sensation, just like in the meditation practice I learned on day one of the Mindfulness Summit.

That square lasted just under a minute, but the feeling of being present in that moment with that square of chocolate and caramel will last in my memory for a life time.

As I write this, I feel a sense of calm and relaxation from the memory alone.

The other half of the chocolate bar is wrapped neatly in its wrapping in the pantry for the next time I need to be reminded of how to be present.

Advertisements

And we’re back…with a recipe

Dinner is more complicated than it used to be…not that it wasn’t complicated before. But it was easier to make because I was standing on two legs. Now I’m making dinner while standing like a flamingo, poised precariously at the counter.

So tonight—and every night for the foreseeable future—dinner has to be easy and uncomplicated.

Enter one pot pasta! Easy to make, easy to clean up, and delicious!

One pot pasta

Our uncomplicated dinner recipe tonight is courtesy of damndelicious.net.

Due to ingredient limitations, I made a few adjustments. I used a tablespoon of tomato paste in place of two of the cups of halved grape tomatoes (I only had one cup on hand, and I can’t drive or walk to the store to get more). I also didn’t have any smoked andouille sausage, so I used mild Italian sausage and didn’t slice it as thin. And I didn’t have fresh basil leaves, so I skipped that altogether. But it still turned out amazing! Seriously, you have to try this.

À la prochaine!

Fun Food Friday – Spider Dogs 2.0

They were such a hit the week before that they were requested again. But I put another twist on them and some of us thought they looked more like octopus than spiders. Whatever. They were yummy!

IMAG2276

IMAG2277

IMAG2279

IMAG2280

IMAG2282

Fun Food Friday – Spiders!

Me, I’m not a big fan of spiders. Doesn’t matter if they’re real or not. I don’t like ’em.

But, how could I resist making spider dogs for my kids for Fun Food Friday?

They’re easy, fun, and the kids can help (although they didn’t this time because I made them before they got home from school).

spiderdogs1

spiderdogs2

spiderdogs3

spiderdogs4

spiderdogs5

spiderdogs_6

spiderdogs_7

spiderdogs_8

Fun Food Friday – Dance Moves

I’m a week behind on my Fun Food Friday post. That’s pretty good considering everything else I’ve got on my plate right now. pat on the back

And, given that Fun Food hasn’t happened in our house yet today, I figured I would post last week’s story now and get tonight’s story up on the blog tomorrow.

So, the background on last Friday’s fun food was the kids were asking for muffins for breakfast. I had neither the ingredients nor the time to make a batch of muffins. We’re talking 6:45 in the morning and we have to be out the door by 7:30. Continue reading

Fun Food Friday Compilation

Life has been crazy lately. Busy with work. Busy with church. Busy with school council. Busy with kids’ activities. Busy with celebrations and parties. Just busy. I know you get it.

So, to keep it short and simple, and to catch up on some recently missed Fun Food Friday posts, here’s what’s been doin’ at our house on Fridays lately.

Fun Food Friday consisted of cooking with Mom and being "in charge" of what went in the food.

Fun Food Friday a couple weeks ago consisted of cooking with Mom and being “in charge” of what went in the food. It turned out pretty good.

Continue reading

Good Food – Happy Planet

Being a human being is tough.

I could have started with something a little more narrowed down and specific to me like Being a woman is tough. Being a mom is tough. But it just seemed to discriminate against too many people, and I strive to include everyone.

Happy PlanetSo, when Happy Planet contacted me to let me know that they will be at the National Women’s Show this weekend and that they want to give one of my readers a prize pack worth $90, I thought immediately about the story of Happy Planet and why what they do is so great.

Because being a human being is tough. Living in this world is tough. Making ends meet is tough. Trying to eat healthy, be healthy, live healthy and take care of our planet is tough.

And try doing all that while being happy.

Happy Planet is all about “feel good food (and juices)”. It’s organic juices, smoothies and soups created by two friends in Vancouver (Canadian!). And they have this great program that helps Food Banks across Canada!

Happy Planet soups

They support Canadian farmers and offer great organic products. And as a mom, that makes me happy. As a woman that makes me happy, too (always trying to look after my health and the health of my planet). So it’s so great that Happy Planet is going to be at the National Women’s Show in Toronto. And even more great that they are giving one of my lucky readers two free passes to the show AND $60 worth of Happy Planet product vouchers. (Where to Buy)

How do you win, you ask?

Leave me a comment below with the name of your favourite Happy Planet product or a product you’d like to try.

The winner will be drawn Thursday morning at 8 a.m.

Want another way to win?

[Tweet this!] LTO is giving away 2 tix to the Nat’l Women’s Show in Toronto this wkend