Soul Food Friday


If you wish to skip the story, here all the links you need to make the most phenomenal meal, to win over anyone’s heart and stomach.  😉

Falafel- By Sue over at The View From Great Island
Tahini Sauce- (also from Sue) 
Toum-
 By Kristen over at Bourban and Honey
Hummus– my version 😉
Pita Bread- By Delia of  Delia Creates
Mega thanks to all these lovely creatures and fellow foodies. ❤
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Back when I was a kid, we used to call it “junk food Friday’s,” which consisted of homemade french fries, heinz beans, fish fingers, frozen veggies and fried mushrooms.
Once in a blue moon we’d even head to McDonald’s, where we each got to choose one item (a burger) to be brought home and eaten with home cut fries.

All in all, my parents were pretty awesome about home made food, which I greatly appreciate now, and didn’t so much back then. Always the way, hey? I don’t even think I had a full “Happy Meal” til I ditched all the rules, took off, and began writing my own. Alas, no McDonald’s anymore for some years now, BUT I assure you, there are many happy meals being made.

In my stay at my parents place, I’ve fallen back into tradition with them for junk food Friday’s, though they really aren’t. Everyone eats pretty well around here, and indulges in the usual goodies of ice cream cakes and cookies etc, every now and again. The Friday has become Vietnamese/Thai from Pho Lee, (which does a mean Pad Thai), or seriously delicious Middle Eastern takeaway from London’s infamous Barakat, (with pizza every now and again).

This passing Friday, I announced that I would treat everyone for whatever they agreed upon, but got it in mind soon after that actually, what I really wanted was to replicate Barakat’s really really really yummy food.  And so I set out to do just that.

My vision, first and foremost “Toum.”
I must admit that the whole idea did begin with the greatest garlic sauce I’ve ever had. I picked up the recipe here, by the lovely Kristen, over at  “Bourban & Honey, and it turned out phenomenal.img_5968

(I did add aquafaba to it, (thought it’s not necessary) because I’ve been on such a kick of late and having made plant based mayo (which was a total hit), I knew it would work).

Though I’d had it before, I never knew it to be called “toum” rather just, “that awesome garlic sauce.”

Carrying on-early in the day, I prepared the dough for pita bread. Since coming across it, I always go back to **Deliaimg_5972‘s “Best Ever Bread,” recipe. It really is just that! It’s so quick to prepare, only needs a half hour rise time (though having made it in the morning, it sat most of the day before I used it- and was perfect), and tastes absolutely gorgeous. It’s also incredibly versatile, as I’ve made all sorts of things from it- pizza dough, buns, regular bread, focacciacrusty masala bread, and of course, the pita. Whole hearted thanks Delia. Two years later, and I would never abandon your recipe! 😉

**To make the pita, I just took a palmful of dough, lightly rolled it into a ball, flattened it and stretched it out with my hands. No rolling pin.

Pitaimg_5965 dough rising beautifully off in a warm corner, I got onto making the falafel mix. My folks had said that there was a mix somewhere, but you know me- if I’m doing it, it’s happening from scratch, – no questions asked.

Man, was it ever good.  I was so very impressed with how the img_5970beautiful chic pea patties turned out. They were indeed deep fried. For the first time making these babies, I went along with tradition, though I will go for baking next time…maybe. 😉  I did end up adding a little extra flour in img_5966the end to hold them together, though I’ve a feeling the oil wasn’t hot enough when we started frying. Make sure your oil is piping hot!

Having img_5964set the falafel mix into the fridge, I was onto the toum, as already described above. I hadn’t planned it, but when that was done with, I thought to make tahini sauce, another first, which couldn’t be skipped because it’s just so easy.

Finally, before getting to the main job of actually frying the falafel and making the pita bread, I decided on making hummus. There was some already in the fridgimg_5963e (store bought), but I really do love my own, and it tastes a million times better. I always pop a little bit of tumeric in these
days, for a little color, but mainly because it’s just great stuff. Food, drink, skincare, whatever- add a pinch, I say! Here’s an older version I made with roasted red pepper- you could simply omit that, add the pinch of tumeric, et voila, done. 😉

So then, onto the frying we go. I asked Dad to help out there so I could get onto the pita bread at the same time. On a side note, my father is truly a closet chef, really.  I think he secretly loves being in the kitchen, and jumps at every chance to create. (He made a delicious paneer biryani the other day!).
Mom makes great stuff too, though dad seems to enjoy the creative process more. Her job for our Soul Food Sunday was to replicate Barakat’s delicious salad, compete with pickles and such- and it was absolutely perfect.

img_5875

It really was a mighty team effort, and especially since mom was in such a funk prior to starting.  I just couldn’t be swayed from the brilliant creative mood I was in (much as she tried, I wouldn’t sing her tune even when directed straight at me).
Instead, I blessed the heck out of her, and within no time at all, she was the taste tester for my toum, tahini paste, falafel…and asking why I don’t open a restaurant etc.  Yep, I just threw in a little love vibe/soul talk there. “Truly, if you don’t like what you see, change the way you see it and the thing you see will change.” I just refused to see mum in her funk, and rather saw the perfection in her, which she came round to.

There were many high fives, and hugs later. “See, we did it. You did it,” I said…The whole process was worth it just to see sweet lil’ mama in joy. God Bless that little cookie. ❤

Back to the meal- dad’s brilliant idea, after having finished making all the falafel- “why don’t we deep fry the pita too?” No argument there, right? Done and done. I was making the pocket sized pita’s  on a large pan (no need for oil/butter), and the last few expanded beautifully in the bubbling hot oil. I have no pictures…but remember elephant ears? Now we know how to make them. 😉 I’m sure they’ll come up in a post soon-I’ve already been requested to make more bread dough, which I think will definitely be one of the recipes that sticks long after This Little Cookie is gone. 😉

Play- play til your hearts content. I know I’ll be initiating more of this kind of love fest as everybody wins. ❤

xxManj

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Stop Trying to Understand ANYTHING!

 Carrying on with “Tuesday’s with Manj” this is the fourth video, which has everything to do with feeling good in your own skin and leaving others to their own devices, allowing them to be as they are- perfect, as are you.

To see the Facebook live version, please click on the picture below, or here for Youtube

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For starters, there’s a brilliant quote by some wise unknown soul that goes as so: 

“Trying to understand what someone is thinking is like trying to smell the color nine.”

 Totally something that would come out of Douglas Adams’ creative mind, something so nonsensical, yet so great, in equal measure. 

If you’re stopping to think about it now, how crazy does it sound?
We can probably agree that we don’t understand ourselves much of the time, and yet, here we are, trying our darndest to understand something or someone else. 

How about you? Does any situation come to mind about today, whereby you’ve driven yourself nuts trying to understand someone/something?

I caught myself just this morning, trying to make my way into the inner workings of someone’s mind before catching myself, blessing them and getting on with things. It hasn’t been and isn’t always a snap though, and is totally dependent on how present I am.
Needless to say, practice has effected great change, in that only just a few months ago, this very subject was one of the factors to my marriage falling apart.  That’s a whole other story, but the short of the long is that through conscious surrendering- one of the ways to get out of ‘trying to understand,’ we are very much together here & now. 

Surrendering is huge. Can you just imagine that The Universe/God/Source/Creator – however you wish to call It), waits for those magic words, “I give up, I surrender, I just can’t do this anymore…” and says, “finally, you got out of the way, and now I can do my job.” In other words:

LET THE UNIVERSE DO IT’S JOB! 

What if we’re just not supposed to know all the answers anyways…?

What is it about trying desperately to understand someone?
Are we not trying to understand someone else so that we can then better prove our position/point, or have control?
Isn’t that more about ourselves?
Isn’t that about not accepting someone/or something, trying to change, manipulate or coerce them somehow?

Guilty as charged. I’ve fallen under all of that- how about you?

…Get off. Leave them to their thing. They too have an inner guidance system, as you do, and it’s not up to you to connect them to it. Make your life easy and focus on YOU.

On surrender and in regards to Juraj, with my whole heart, I thought we were done. We both called it and agreed, “soul contract over,” with a great deal of love, respect and honor for one another. That sounds fluffy and nice, though I assure you, it was confusing as
F* €K!

I was still in a fog, coming to Canada, and our communication lessened. We talked like friends, and then it all died off. I stopped myself from trying to save “US,” and let it all go. In my mind, though I loved him dearly and wanted the best for him.
My husband and I just weren’t seeing eye to eye anymore….We were, however connected by heart, and in surrendering, and I mean really allow myself to die to the situation, allowing our relationship to die, it’s like we were born again.  That`s happened over and over again in so many different situations-it`s really really incredible.

Sure and truly yes, we fell apart, we died, and something remained, unbeknownst  to either of us- we just took the “call.”
We came back to one another like never before, more respect, love, honor, & support for ourselves (first and foremost), and then one another.

So, to Consciously Surrender is just one way to your personal freedom from understanding, the next way I already mentioned in my first video, though it too, is a common them: 

Conscious allowance of the feelings we have towards the person whom we are trying to understand. 

For example, you’re trying your darndest to understand that friend of yours who falls head over heals in love with all the bad-ass guys, who seem to have a history of addiction, livin’ on the edge, what have you.
You love this friend so much that it pains you to watch her go through yet another break-up, same thing over and over and over again. 

First of all, my darling- it’s not for you to make sense of.
You’re there for love and support, not to further abuse your friend- she is doing her best- we all are.
Follow me- allow yourself to hate your friend who you love so much, who you want nothing but the best for. (I’m sure she wants that for herself too).
In the temple of your mind, you are allowed to say whatever you wish, and I encourage you to exaggerate the crap out of Your “story.” By all means, make it a practice to judge her, to berate her, to belittle her – CONSCIOUSLY, AND IN YOUR OWN MIND. She does not need your projections, however well intentioned they are.   Does this make sense? Believe you me, if there was a time for Douglas Adams to return to this post, it would be now.

Freaking out in your mind about someone? Projections? Who- me, judgemental…? Me? Yes you, yes me. Let us stop trying to understand people/situations. Let us instead love our way through it all.

And on that note, one more way to stop the cycle of understanding: LOVE.
Love the one who’s judging. Love the one who’s trying to control a situation or person. Love the one who’s hurting – This is YOU I speak of. When we are “trying to understand, we’ve gone too far way from ourselves.”

Let’s come on back to the “state of love,” where our greatness resides, from where miracles occur, from where WE all shine.

In a heartbeat you can liberate yourself from others’ “stories,” by just allowing them to be. By loving them through whatever is going on. (21 Feb. 2017)

God Bless You each & so much love to You.
xxManj

Free- the soul. It is.

‘Twas on a four, when the little birdie spoke of grand news. It could’ve come from anywhere or anyone, being the opposite to grand, but it hadn’t- a notion that it was indeed, Perfect.

This bearer- closer to her heart than she ever did know- delivered her gift in the most delicate of ways.

Twice before, she’d been given ‘news,’ without question, and unpermissed.

First, a devastating blow, from across the oceans, from a bird with feathers similar to her own.
The second bird, who, with its careless news, ‘merely,’ stole a beat from her heart, her heart which she’d only just mended.

But this time, on the four, it sang to her. No matter how softly or carefully the bird sang, this time she was ready, and together she sang with it. A tune she was ready for, a tune she already knew.

A gift of enormous proportions, infinite and never ending.
Never ending because that which is real, doesn’t end, doesn’t change, and if it does, it isn’t real.

The soul, it sings.

Free-the soul. It is.