With that being said, meal time is a social way to break up the day. Mid-afternoon lunch breaks at work are greatly appreciated as I can bond with coworkers and remove myself from the work environment for a period of time. We re-energize by providing our bodies with nutrition, but also with the nutrient-rich conversations exchanged between individuals. Nighttime dinners allow for recaps of the day, and thoughtful conversation, meandering between current life events and personal thoughts. When in Italy visiting family in Bari, food brought together our expansive family for hours at a time (average time=5 hours). From multi-course meals to a simple meal with coworkers, the association between food and socialization is quite apparent!
Cooking and, thereafter, eating is also a treat to all our senses. What an experience to see, smell, taste, feel, and hear all aspects of food! Rather than engulfing my food, I've learned to make it a mindful experience where I am actually enjoying and appreciating my food. You may often see me dancing in my seat while eating (perhaps unconsciously) as I embrace the sensuous experience eating provides me! My profound appreciation for food is certainly juxtaposed by my petite appearance, but if you challenge my ability to consume a quantity of food, you're sure to be amused. I swear my gastrointestinal system is actually a black hole from the Milky Way Galaxy (or beyond) that has been misplaced.
Regardless, how much do you actually APPRECIATE your food? Do you scoff it down? Do you even THINK about what you're consuming? I find my relationship with food is remarkably positive because it provides me with a large quantity of nutrients based on my affinity for healthy foods. Yes, I'm one of those people that crave a smoothie packed with fruits, veggies, and coconut water... Okay, and occasionally ice cream makes me happy regardless of my mental state. Nonetheless, food is critical to our survival, but I've taken it to the next level and decided I'd rather embrace one of our necessities and maximize its extravagance.
This week, I discovered a fantastic recipe from Whole Foods Market I would love to share! I always welcome a meal that makes me EXCITED to eat, and this dish has been successful in providing such feelings of elation as meal time approaches...
- 12 ounces sausage, cut into (1/2 inch) cubes (I used Italian mild chicken sausage)
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped sage
- 1 cup apple or pear hard cider
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 cups chopped kale or spinach leaves, lightly packed (I used a little extra)
In a large pot, cook sausage, onions and sage over medium-high heat until just browned, about 10 minutes. Add cider, quinoa, cranberries, salt and 3/4 cup water and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until liquid is just absorbed, 25 to 30 minutes. Stir in kale, cover again and set aside off of the heat for 5 minutes. Uncover, fluff with a fork and serve. [AND ENJOY!]