On my recent trip back from LA, I passed through a Dutch Bros Coffee in Fresno for an added boost through the final stretch of the trip.
The lid said:
"Get up Early. Stay up Late. Change the world."
Now, rising early happens regularly and effortlessly for me. In fact, you'd probably consider me that annoyingly perky person in the TSA line if you had a 5 am flight.
Staying up late. That's a whole different story. This is far less common in my world.
Changing the world? Well, I'd like to think that I'm continually changing myself for the better, and in doing so, changing my world for the better, too. Now, if I were to leave the world a better place just by being in it, I'd consider that a well-lived life!
This week, my focus is on bringing myself into a place of joy before taking action.
In fact, it's the week's focus of the Mastery Course.
I consider internal alignment my first priority--being true to myself, and feeling good in the process. Then, from this space of inner joy, I can take action with more clarity, focus, and purpose.
I know that we are human beings, not human doings (although much of the world encourages us to think about what outwardly-visible steps we are taking to make a difference).
Yet, I think the biggest difference starts in the heart.
When attention is placed there, positive emotions and inspired actions cannot help but follow.
I'll share a great activity that encourages us all to keep this in mind throughout the day.
For now, I'd like to share what I've been doing to light the fire in my heart: cooking and baking!!
Many of you have expressed interest in the recipes used over the last few weeks, so here they are:
Thanksgiving Kale Quinoa Salad (serves 8-10)
- 1 large bunch of kale, or 3 smaller (about 20-25 leaves)
- 1 large lemon
- 1/2 - 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 cups quinoa (cooked)
- 1 cup toasted pecans, chopped
- 1-3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar (optional. I use Olive Scene Neapolitan Herb)
- 4 avocados, chopped into square pieces
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Remove stems and ribs from the kale and cut into thin pieces. Slice or tear the kale into small pieces and place in a large bowl.
- Place 1/4 cup olive oil and the juice from 1 lemon in with the kale and massage it. Pick up handfuls of kale, squeeze it, and repeat this until the entire batch is moist. This may take a few minutes. Then let it rest for a few minutes.
- Stir in the quinoa, toasted pecans, and avocado.
- Season with balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper to taste.
- Add varietal ingredients, such as pomegranate seeds (1/2 cup) , finely diced roasted butternut squash (1-2 cups), or even grilled chicken (as much as your non-vegetarian heart desires)
Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes (Makes 24 minis)
While I use the Paula Deen Recipe as a base, there are a few extras I throw in there to mix it up.
- 4 ounces Speculous cookies (from TJs... about half a box)
- 1/2 cup pecans
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 stick melted salted butter
Ingredients for center same as Paula's.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Line 24 large cupcake tins with paper liners.
- Make the crust. Pulse cookies, pecans, and cinnamon in a food processor until a very fine mixture results. Pour into a bowl and add the melted butter.
- Place about 1 Tbsp of mixture into each paper liner and stamp down with back of a muddler, or any flat surface.
- Make the filling.
- Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add pumpkin puree, eggs, egg yolk, sour cream, sugar and the spices. Add flour and vanilla. Beat together until well combined.
- If the mixture has some chunks in it, I suggest straining the mixture through a fine mesh sieve before pouring over the crust.
- Fill cupcake liners about two-thirds of the way up.
- Place in the oven for 20-30 minutes, or until the tops look set.
- Let sit for 10 minutes, then refrigerate until ready to use (needs about 4 hours to rest).
- Remove liners and top with whipped cream just before serving.
Mini Cranberry Lime Tarts (Makes 20-24)
As a side note for this, I used the 5 ounce plastic cups. They can best be found at a party store, or a place like Cash and Carry or Smart and Final.
- 4 ounces Speculous cookies (From TJs, about half a box)
- 1 cup pecans
- 3 Tbsp light brown sugar
- 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 1 12-oz package of fresh cranberries
- 2.5 cups granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
- 2 tsp finely grated lime zest
- 1/2 cup fresh lime juice (or use the little bottles from the store when in a rush)
- pinch of kosher salt
- 3/4 cup (1.5 sticks of butter, room temp, cut into pieces)
- Make the crust (this can be done a day ahead)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Spread parchment paper over a large cookie sheet.
- Pulse cookies, pecans, and cinnamon in a food processor until a very fine mixture results. Pour into a bowl and add the melted butter.
- Spread out contents out evenly over parchment paper.
- Bake for 10-13 minutes.
- Let the crust cool before scooping about a Tbsp into each plastic cup. Press down lightly into the bottom of the cup to create the crust.
- Make the filling.
- Bring 12 oz. cranberries, 1 cup granulated sugar, and ¼ cup water to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high. Reduce heat; simmer until cranberries burst and most of the liquid evaporates, 12–15 minutes.
- Let cool.
- Purée in a blender until very smooth.
- Cook purée, eggs, egg yolks, lemon zest, lime juice, salt, ½ cup sugar, and 1 tsp. lime zest in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water (bowl should not touch water), stirring with a rubber spatula and scraping down sides of bowl often, until curd thickens and coats spatula, 8–10 minutes. Let cool until just warm.
- Using an electric mixer on medium-high, beat curd, adding butter a piece at a time and incorporating after each addition, until curd looks lighter in color and texture, about 5 minutes.
- Pour filling in plastic cups, over crust, and chill until firm (about 2 hours)
- Top with whipped cream and fresh lime zest before serving.
Pomegranate Lemonade Mocktail (1 serving)
This is great to enjoy while making the above items:
- Fill a tall, 16-ounce glass with ice, about 2/3 of the way up.
- Fill the glass about halfway up with club soda.
- Add about 1-2 ounces pomegranate juice.
- Add about 1-2 ounces lemonade.
- Stir together. Sip, and adjust flavors to taste (more pom or lemonade might be desired)
- Top with pomegranate seeds and lemon wedge.
End Note: The only photo that was taken by me was the Cranberry lime tarts... the rest are compliments of the internet.