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.

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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

Martyrdom

We’re on to number three in the “Tuesday’s With Manj” first series and this one’s about martyrdom, and more to the point about YOU acting as a martyr for the good of everyone else around you, whilst you suffer inside.

If you wish to view the video, you can do so on facebook by clicking on the picture below, or here for Youtube.

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Martyrdom was a reoccurring theme in numerous conversations this past week- and first of all, I’d like to give thanks to the contributors of this video- you know who you are. ;*

Martyrdom is all fine and well, when it’s coming from a place of absolute love – Gandhi and Mother Teresa come to mind when I think of the word- though that’s not the kind of martyrdom I’m referring to in the video.

 What I’ve noticed is that we’ve got an epidemic of (false) martyrdom going on. In observing, conversing with and listening to others, I’ve picked up on this and asked myself “why?”

Why do we do things for the betterment of others, at the expense of ourselves?  (Again, it’s fine and well if you do something for someone with all your heart, but my darling, if there’s an ounce of unease associated with what you’re about to sacrifice yourself for, please think twice, and consider putting yourself first).  Is it because we feel obligated? 
Is it because we’re afraid of looking selfish, or what others might think in general if we might say “no?” 
Is it because we want to be polite and nice and kind? Fear of rejection?

Why not make yourself the obligation?

Why not be polite and nice and kind to yourself?

It doesn’t make you a bad person to put yourself first,but we do know what happens when we put others ahead of us right?

When in service to others and sacrificing ourselves, for a little while we’re fine, going along with the plot, and then things get weird right?

Resentment builds, and we have conversations in our minds about “being nice, I’m a nice person, nice people do things for others…” but that all ends after a while longer, and we find ourselves swimming in a pool of bitterness, then we get angry, so very angry that we throw things around, we throw tantrums, awful words come hurling out of our mouths towards our partner or colleague etc. We have a melt down, blame others for our state, when really, we caused it all by being dishonest to ourselves. 

 I thank my lucky stars for my husband, Juraj, because that was me, having the ultimate meltdown some months ago, and he literally sat there, patient as heck (to my chagrin- you know what that’s like when you’re having a freak out, and the person you’re freaking out on just won’t engage, and sits there with a smile to boot!). I can honestly say that I wanted to actually throw something at him, or even throw him out the window (I’m laughing now, but wasn’t then), but I’m glad none of that happened. He calmly got up, said he was going for a walk, and headed out the door.  He saw it all, the niceness, not putting myself first – though he often reminds me to- and just waited for me to catch up with myself. 

 I’m grateful to my husband for not giving up on me, for knowing that I’d find my way through the gunk in my mind, and here we are. 🙂 God bless you love. ❤

 Perhaps the throwing and yelling doesn’t resonate with you (it happens rarely, and not something I’m at all proud of), but it happened, and I asked a lot of questions of myself.

 I got in touch with my inner martyr and instead beating the crap out of it (myself), -as we so often do, without knowing, I had a conversation with It, and from that came a whole new practice.

 I’ve learned to really put myself first, and say “no,” when I need to. That doesn’t mean to say that I never do anything for anyone else ever. I still often put others needs in front of my own, my parents for example – bless them – as I’m here in their space, more often than not, I’ll drop what I’m doing to do something with/for them, and sometimes I just ask for their patience, that I’m working on something- “please may we/I do it later,” or even, “I will do it for you, but it won’t be today, mom.”  

 So again, you can still do things for others, before doing things for you, but let’s call it something other than sacrifice, let’s call it making a conscious decision to put someone ahead of us.

Let’s call it love and honor and respect for everyone- with no strings attached. What does that look like? 

Someone asks you for something and it doesn’t quite resonate with you, but you consciously choose not to say no.

You very consciously act, not out of obligation, or to be nice. You’re allowed that too, you see- just be conscious.

You can even be “negative” though as long as you’re conscious about it, you’re not “screwing up your energy/vibration.” And on that note, should you decide to go ahead with whatever it is you didn’t totally want to do, but consciously did anyhow, you might just find it turns into a beautiful experience that it fed your heart and soul in ways you couldn’t imagine. That’s conscious living my friends. I couldn’t sit here and tell you this without living it, and I have over and over again. 

If Jesus said,

“Do unto others as you would have done unto you,”

I ask you to consider this:

“Do unto Yourself, as you would have others do unto You.

 Love yourself first, for the (eventual) betterment of all. You first. 

If you’re looking for love, 
Be the love for yourself that no one else can be and only you know how to be for you.

 If you’re looking for support, 
Be the support for yourself that no one else can be and only you know how to be for you.

If you’re looking for praise, admiration, adoration, 
Be the praise, admiration, adoration, for you that no one else can be, or knows how to be for you.

 By starting with these practices, you will be amazed and surprised over and over again (at first), at how others will have changed towards you. When you begin to practice being the love/praise/adoration/admiration for yourself that you’d previously desired/expected from others, others will respond. You will start to emit a different frequency, a frequency of love, and my dear, that is what you will attract.

Let’s just keep practicing ok? We didn’t learn how to walk in a heartbeat, and as infants, deeply connected to source, it just happened. Have faith, you’ll get there, but come to here and now first.

Lots of love to you ❤