Thanksgiving: Food, Fun, Meditation…

       So many interesting events of the last few weeks. Thanksgiving happened. I had a wonderful experience with my good friend, Karley, and her family down in Baltimore. Karley is my own little guru…constantly introducing me to new ways of thinking, yoga events, books, etcs. She told me about “The Power of Now” by Eckert Tolle, which is a book that I can definitely say redefined my life. With her family, we held hands before every meal and silently cultivated gratitude, went to yoga class, and even sat together one evening for a meditation. This was such a nice and unique experience. I am grateful for all the family/friend situations I encountered growing up–they are wonderful experiences–but they are all very similar. When I first met Karley doing a show together in TN, I just loved talking to her and hearing all about her life growing up and how different it was from mine. We have been friends ever since (almost 4 yrs later) and got to be roomies (again) in NYC. Just the other day she finally got me to leave my Queens apartment and come to the upper west side in winter time (which is something I rarely do) to visit her yoga studio, World Yoga Center. (check them out at I attended one the best mediation classes I have ever experienced with WYC’s founder, Rudrani. The room and people were filled with such a wonderful energy and I was able to quit my mind and body for a little glimpse into peace. Rudrani leads the group in a way that is perfect for beginners as well as experienced meditators over the course of an hour and fifteen minutes. I was back the same time the following week. This time we did some chanting, which is something I want to do more of and have little experience with.

Om Gum Ganapatayei Namaha. Om Gum Ganapatayei Namaha.

A very powerful chant to Ganesha–remover of obstacles!! Chanting helped me to easily clear my mind and stay focused. I love how the vibration of these words and sounds connects us all to each other and to ourselves and to the world around us. OM–meaning the sound of the universe! The sound that is a combination of all sounds. It is a form of music, and as we all know, music can release tension and set us free! My favorite part of meditation and any energy work I’ve done over this past year, and sometimes when I am very focused in yoga class, is connecting with my loved ones who have passed on. I can feel them around me and sometimes even see them in forms of light. It is a very sacred place where we can be connected again and I am very thankful for this gift of communion I am learning to cultivate.

And thanks again to my luminous friend, Karley.

And back to Thanksgiving.  Of course, lots of good food and different family recipes sampled this year. Shain and I hosted a mini celebration at our house, preparing a Guy Fieri variation from Food Network! Shain made turkey cordon bleu for the meat eaters and an even more terrific Veg option created with grilled pablano peppers stuffed with cheese, tofurky ham, wrapped in filo dough! I made a green bean casserole from scratch–topped with baked shallots, and healthy twice baked potatoes–made with greek yogurt and low fat cheddar cheese. And the healthiest possible apple pie.

I made my pie crust (always using less butter than called for) and then added a bunch of chopped walnuts to the filling.

***I just read an idea that I am going to incorporate in to future pie crusts…replace 1/2 flour with 1/2 of chopped nuts of any kind. It will give your crust a different flavor, take out some carbs and replace with a healthy fat. Use anything you think will taste good with your pie, ie. walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, etc.!

I was very proud of myself for not overindulging! I think we should all take time to think about what a holiday’s true meaning is before resorting to what it has become. It is actually a little sickening to me to think about how Thanksgiving is like a big gorge fest and Turkey massacre Day. It is truly not okay for everyone in the US to have a day of gluttony while so many in the rest of the world live on less than 1/2 cup of rice per day. I like to think of the holiday as first, a day to reflect (as we should be doing daily) on our many blessings, second, a day of spending time with family and/or friends, and third, a day of cooking up delicious AND wholesome foods that have perhaps been passed down through the generations. In this way, I keep the holiday holy for myself.

Note to self: I will not be consuming ANY turkey next year. For the past two years I have eaten a bite and remember each time that I actually do not like Thanksgiving turkey and I do not like to be a part of the great yearly Turkey massacre.

And lastly, add pumpkin to whatever you can while it’s still in season. (Yes you could used canned but a simple pumpkin puree is worth working for!) Try these Pumpkin BAM-Cakes! (A “bam-cake” is a word Shain and I created, meaning: pancakes that have protein powder!)

1 Cup Flour (perhaps wheat or a mix)

1 Tlb organic sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 ground cinnamon

a little freshly ground nutmeg…if you like

1 scoop of plain or vanilla protein powder

Combine these in a bowl. In another bowl, whisk together:

2 egg YOLKS

1 C milk (perhaps soy, almond etc)

1 C pumpkin

2 Tlb smart balance oil

Then beat the two egg WHITES and fold into batter for added fluffiness.

Pour batter into hot skillet that has been sprayed with olive oil–making giant, silver dollar or medium sized BAMcakes! When bubbles start to form on top, then flip. ENJOY!

Here are two pics of the way I enjoyed two days of these BAMcakes. Once with a side of tempeh bacon and once topped with cooked apples and homemade whipped cream and a side of moningstar veggie bacon. Please note that vegetable are missing from these plates, so drink your V8!

Peace and love~


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