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After an awesome summer of fresh-from-the-Earth food that requires only a little bit of a chop here and there and a strong desire to keep the oven in the off position due to the heat, I am so loving firing up the range and cooking! I love to make my time in the kitchen preparing foods a sort of meditation, prayerful time of intention and loving preparation.

In the book, 3 Bowls: Vegetarian Recipes from an American Zen Buddhist Monastery, Seppo Ed Farrey and Myochi Nancy O'Hara outline 5 Principles of Mindful Cooking. These principles apply to my raw food friends as well. 

Before selecting the recipes you wish to prepare, consider those you will be feeding and what they might enjoy. Then bring all your attention to the food. Food lovingly and mindfully prepared tastes better and satisfies longer.

FIRST. Consider the time you have allotted to cook and wisely choose the recipes you wish to prepare, with your time constraints in mind. Rushing only serves to undermine mindfulness. SECOND. Before you begin, check to make sure you have on hand all the needed ingredients or workable substitutes. THIRD. Wash, chop, sift, and stir. Think only of washing, chopping, sifting, and stirring. Breath and be mindful of each slice of the knife, of each swift of the spoon, of the magical process of cooking. FOURTH. Before throwing anything away, consider whether it might have a use. For example, save vegetable remains to make soup stock or use them as compost* to feed your garden. FIFTH. Keep it simple. Relax and enjoy the process of cooking, and the miracles that are born from your efforts. Sometimes we get so carried away that we can't stop, and with all good intentions, we make more food than anyone could possible eat at one sitting. If you want to make four or five different dishes for one meal, remind yourself that three are plenty.

Try this totally awesome recipe. I had it this morning, prepared as instructed above. It blew my mind.

Oatmeal with Sweet Potato and Apricots

2 cups rolled oats 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and grated 4 dried apricots, chopped (or a handful of raisins) 3/4 tsp sea salt 1 tsp vanilla extract yogurt and honey to taste

In a larger saucepan, bring 5 1/2 cups of water to a boil. Stir in oats, sweet potato, apricots (or raisins), and salt and return to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. Stir in the vanilla. Serve with a few spoonfuls of yogurt and honey stirred in.

Bonus: Brendan, my two year old loved it!

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*The city of Portland composts!