Beans – Perfectly Cooked

Perfect Pulses JPG“Mom, how do you cook beans?” She’d chuckle and tell me three different ways. I NEVER could get my beans to turn out like Mom’s. Since she died a few years ago I crave beans the way she made them. (I also long to eat them sitting across from her at her southern Carolina home.) So I began to experiment.

In my opinion, the perfect bean holds its shape on the outside but is tender on the inside. Oh, the occasional one might split but mostly they look like before they are cooked – only fatter. For me, beans must be soaked in a weak saline solution for eight hours. The rest is easy. A gentle simmer with seasonings of your choice.

Then the real fun begins as beans make great sandwich spreads, dips, side dishes, soups, fake potatoes, salads, sauces, bean loafs, bean breads, entire meals. Try cold white beans with olive oil, lemon juice and fresh parsley. The saline soak helps with the fartability and so does a bit of basil. Check out the next THREE-DAY FRESH! for more tasty pulse ideas.


Forgiveness – Hearts Heal


Are you willing to trust your own heart – when it flutters in your body struggling to be free? Will you lift the cage or challenge the pain? Or perhaps you’ll live with it torturing your spirit. You can trust your heart. Let it lead your head. Give way for the split. How else could the seed vine to the sun? There, there my lovely one.

3 Day Fresh: Spring Confetti

IMG_7309Celebrate with my 3-Day Fresh recipe that’s nourishing and versatile. Start with it as a salad or a salsa on its own. Maybe as a base for your favorite grilled fish or a decoration for a few shrimp. Then the next day add a squirt of lemon juice and make it a main course by serving over your favorite grains or greens. The third day, it’s soup. Sauté the balance in a saucepan. Add vege or chicken broth and lots of fresh vegetables from your fridge. Serve with a grate of your favorite cheese or a float of sliced almonds or pumpkin seeds. After 3 days it will still be safe to eat but the nutrient content fades, so I recommend EAT IT ALL WITHIN 3 DAYS. Hey – you could even stir fry a bit for your omelette or puree it and have it as a sandwich spread or dip. Oh and how about as a topping for spaghetti squash. HAVE FUN!

ORGANIC everything if you can — This is enough for 4 servings, so triple if you want to do  3-Day Fresh for four people and have a main course, a salad, a soup.

  • 1/2 c frozen roasted corn thawed
  • 12 fresh asparagus spears, reserve tips, cut spears into 1/4″ slices Steam the slices for 2 minutes then add tips and steam for 1 minute.
  • 2 T minced purple onion12 kalamata olives, chopped
  • 1/2 c diced red bell pepper
  • 1/4 c minced celery
  • 1 large clove of garlic mashed and minced very finely
  • 1/2 c cooked baby lima beans
  • 1/2 t Greek Seasoning (You can make your own or buy one but read the ingredients and make sure it’s wholesome.)
  • 1/2 t dry oregano or 1 t fresh
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/3 c EVO (extra virgin olive oil)
  • 2 T red wine vinegar

Mix all ingredients. Serve at room temperature or warmed as a salad or salsa. Serve warmed a bit over baby spinach leaves or a pilaf as a main course. You might want to brighten it a bit with a touch of lemon juice. Be sure to add some crunch for the soup version. Enjoy!

Love, Belynda


Meditate – As Simple As Breathing


     Dolphins are conscious breathers. Each breath is invited in and hugged good-bye.

     Skip to the last paragraph if you want to start meditating right NOW! LOL

     Imagine if we had to decide to breathe. I know I would just keel over. My monkey mind is so busy stopping to look at whatever and have an opinion about that whatever. It would forget to tell me to breathe. So the idea of conscious breathing that becomes unconscious intrigues me.

     I have studied meditation for about forty years – no kidding. I have studied it. I have read about it. I understand the mechanics of it. I have stared at candles; made a sacred space; joined mass groups of meditators. (I won’t go into explicit detail about all of the physical and mental health benefits of regular meditation but email me if you want more information.) Transcendental Meditation, Meta Meditation, Primordial Sound Meditation are just a few I have studied. I kept asking myself, “If this is so natural and easy, why is it so hard for me to do?” I would go for a walk and immerse my senses in nature.

     Then, just this past December, my fifteen-year-old daughter toppled from her high perch as a cheerleader and bounced on her head, concussed. I was in class at Duke Integrative Medicine. Only two weeks on site in the Duke class were required. One of those happened to be the week Matti was brain damaged. In class they were teaching meditation of all sorts. Perfect timing. I was frantic with worry which did not calm my daughter in any way.

     I began again. Because being blessedly human, I can, begin again. And again. The quantum soup of myself can be reformed, but only if I don’t do all of the work. Only if I turn it over to the big soup stirrer and relax. The relax part seemed hard. Jeez, this was trauma and drama. My monkey mind loved that. It was chattering and scratching its armpits and swinging from the trees. Exhausted (and exhausting me) but not doing anything of use. So why not just not do anything, anyhow? I sat. I prayed. I followed the loving directions that were birthed in ancient wisdom.

     The idea is that you accept and release. Notice and let go. Be the watcher of your thoughts and know that you are not your thoughts. You have your story but you are not your story. You are infinite wisdom and divine possibility. You are a part of the space between your thoughts called “the gap” by The Chopra Center.

     THE LAST PARAGRAPH — Meditate with me. Mediate with the world. Set a timer that will be a gentle reminder. I like Insight Timer — insightap. Set it for whatever time you want to give it at first. Just give it some time. By giving it some time, you are claiming your space, time and place. You are committing to give this to yourself. I practice thirty minutes each morning. The Chopra Center taught me RPM – Rest Pee Meditate. They also say, RAW – Right After Work (around that 5:00 pm witching hour). My RAW practice is still birthing.

Sit comfortably in a quiet place.

Close your eyes or settle your gaze downward.

Gentle your heart with loving intention.  (I say something like, “Please help me be in loving acceptance of the imperfection that is life. Help me be kind and lift others with my loving open heart.”)

Then consciously breathe, like the dolphins. Three times.                                                                                  Inhale slowly, a deep breath filling your gut until your belly pokes out full of air and your breastbone rises. Then exhale through your mouth making a whoosh sound. Now do that again but listen to your breath as it enters and exits. This gentles your body — somatic quieting.

Now breathe naturally and notice the breath working on it’s own entirely on your behalf. A miracle!

Thoughts will come. Just notice them. If they are worth remembering they will come back after your meditation. Take your intention back to your breath. Let your breath do what it does naturally. Just notice it as well.

After the timer sounds, open your eyes look around and give yourself a couple of minutes to return. Thank yourself and the breath that led you here.