We are finally tasting the beginnings of spring here in Jerusalem and I am loving it. Longer days, warm sun, fresh air cleansed by all the rain we’ve been granted this winter. Although I know it will be a short lived season and soon we will be in sweltering summer, longing for the cold nights of actually sleeping under blankets, for now I will appreciate the in-between.
There’s something to be said about in-betweens. In a yoga class once, a teacher once directed us to our own internal in-betweens. The brief, easy to miss moment when one is at the end of his or her exhale and before the next breath…and again at the top of an inhale before exhaling. Try it. What happens for you in those spaces? Are they different? For me, at the edge of my exhale, I feel calm, grounded, centered, connected inward. At the top of my inhale I feel full of life, potential, expansive. Almost like Shabbat and the rest of the week. They two paradoxes are always working within us, working in unison. The solid core and capacity for expansiveness need to work together to create the reality in which we live. These days, I am trying to connect to my breath and this notion of awareness in my daily, seemingly mundane tasks. I was reminded of the importance of this by a friend in the neighborhood who wrote: “There isn’t any moment in my day that doesn’t deserve my full attention and when I convince myself otherwise, I wind up feeling checked out and wondering what’s missing.” And look how much I could have missed out on otherwise!
Speaking of mindfulness, I love food. I should clarify – I love eating food. And mindfully eating good food. You should know, I am not a chef. I didn’t grow up in the kitchen, helping to prepare food, like so many of my friends and my husband (who are amazing chefs) did. I have always loved food and even share a special trait with my Dad of being able to remember a meal from any given occasion in the past (he is much more talented than I in this skill – remember the squid ink pasta in Venice?) Before the days of keeping kosher, I would have easily booked an entire vacation based on food (check out my friend Local Belle‘s recent posting about foodie tourism!) Transitioning from a food lover to a food preparer, however, has been quite a mess. And while I do a lot of this:
What I really want to be preparing is this:
So welcome to my recent obsession with brownies. A few months ago it was Oatmeal Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies. Now it is rich, dark, fudgey, brownies. Weirdly enough, although I’m not so fond of cooking, I am loving my exploration into the realm of baking. I want to share with a super simple, fast, delicious recipe that I’ve adapted from Smitten Kitchen incase you want to share in the indulgence. These are perfect for that extra slice of time you have between preparing for Shabbat (or any huge meal) and resting, getting ready, lighting candles, etc, and somehow seem to make it all worthwhile : )
one-bowl, simple, darkfudgeydelicious brownies
85-100 grams of an extra dark chocolate bar (70-85% cocoa), broken into pieces
115 grams unsalted butter, chopped
1 cup demarara (natural brown) sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
(optional: walnuts or extra chocolate chunks)
Pre-heat oven to 175C (350F). Place chopped butter and chocolate in a bowl over simmering water and stir occasionally as they melt together. Before fully melted, take bowl off the pot of water and stir until fully mixed. Next, mix in the sugar, salt, and vanilla. Add in the eggs and mix well. Lastly, stir in the flour and any nuts or extra chocolate that your heart desires. Pour mixture into buttered or parchment lined 8×8 dish and bake for 25-30 minutes.
Don’t forget to lick the bowl.
Somehow I never manage to get a picture before Ben grabs a bite…
Enjoy! And may you carry your own mindfulness with you in all of your endeavors – from walking to baking to breathing. Now time to do some dishes.