Roasted Winter Squash with Couscous and Green Beans
- 1 lb. pumpkin, butternut or winter squash/peeled, sliced, uniformly cubed.
- 1/2 lb. green beans, trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces
- 1/4 cup organic olive oil – (unrefined & cold press is best)
- 1 TBS. ground cumin (freshly ground)
- 1 cup couscous
- 1 cup boiling vegetable stock or water
DRESSING, 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint, 1/2 cup plain yogurt, 1 TBS honey
For serious flavor, I prep the squash beforehand placing cubed squash in a gallon plastic bag with 1 tablespoon freshly ground cumin, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil, permeating flavor into the squash, keeping it cooled in the fridge.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Use 1 tablespoon olive oil to coat your roasting pan.
- Evenly spread squash on roasting pan, sprinkle kosher salt, pepper and cumin to taste.
- Bake squash 20-30 minutes until golden and tender, set aside.
- Blanch green beans in boiling salted water just until tender/shock them in cold water, drain.
- Place couscous in bowl and pour over boiling vegetable, water or stock broth.
- Drizzle about 1 tablespoon olive oil over couscous, set aside for 10 minutes until liquid is absorbed.
- Combine the cooked squash, beans, couscous and mint in a large bowl and toss.
Mix together honey and yogurt and pour it over the finished salad before serving. Dress with mint.
HEALTH TIPS: Mint is used to stimulate appetite and to calm digestion. Cold pressed (unrefined and naturally pressed) olive oil is an excellent nutrient, liver tonic, and intestinal lubricant helping to clear toxins. Cumin enhances flavors, increasing your feeling of sustenance.
“What you eat, and how you eat, makes your feel the way you feel”.
This recipe is modified for people with stomach and esophageal sensitivities.
Chakramana is an image that I painted in Fall of 2004, while recovering from my first total hip revision. This image represents the flow of all good things, transforming fate into unknown destiny. As Deepak Chopra would say, this image represents non-local mindfulness, or we create that which we perceive. Chakramana reminds me that when I am open hearted, open minded, and follow my spirit, there is no suffering, no pain, no fear. Chakramana reminds me that through acceptance, one can experience feelings of complete happiness and a sense of knowingness that the vastness of the universe is within. I imagined the spirit self hovering above me was removed from the constraints of the physical body. The birds to the right represent the support and love of all my friends, family and neighbors that I have encountered throughout decades of healing with metastatic malignant melanoma.
Though I had healed my body of metastatic cancer, my physical body was experiencing what the doctors label, radiation induced osteo-neurcrosis. Undergoing so much radiation throughout the previous decade left my bones fragile and in need of reinforcement. The image relates to my having to lose my identification with the physical body, and how health returned once I recognized the power of visualization. As a former bathing suit model, this was my most difficult task in the healing process, yet once I recognized the power of my spirit, and listened to the quiet stillness within, everything became like a symphony. I experienced deep love and appreciation for my body, regardless of it’s condition. Guided by the chakra system, health permeates from the formless figure. The excitement of freedom unites with all who dare to journey and live from the inside out.
When a dear friend asked me to express what I had done to heal my body of cancer, all I could really do was draw a picture for her. I began outlining an image on some old used canvas. As I listened to her questions, I began drawing my thoughts and responses while expressing that I was not my body. I knew intuitively that as long as I followed my heart, and was guided by my spirit there were no obstacles in my way, only the ones that I had previously imagined in my mind. I was no longer in awe of the medical profession and I felt free, like a bird, released from statistics, out into the unknown, ever new, rejuvenated. I felt healed and complete, thus Chakramana is my expression of INSPIRATION.
The medium I used, began with using old makeup and my makeup brushes on a 3 ft. x 2 ft. canvas. It was a fluke, as I began to draw my feelings of transformation. As friends came to visit, they brought various paints, colored pencils, canvasses, and brushes for my use as I continued to paint my before and after images. I also refer to Chakramana as my alter ego, the image of self who is not bound by the limitations of the ego self, or mind. Chakramana reminds me to become one with the universe and continues to inspire me whenever I am feeling Out of Strings.
More to come,
Why Do We Meditate?
Why do we meditate? This is a question I get asked frequently. For me, I meditate to reduce stress, to quiet the turbulence of my mind. Meditation helps me find creative solutions to issues I deem challenging, grounds me and I feel more rested, and rejuvenated. For thousands of years, people have been practicing meditation. We meditate to expand our knowledge of our ourselves. We meditate to transcend the mind, to become a field of pure awareness, beyond body, beyond beginning, middle and end.
We meditate to relieve anxiety, depression, lower our blood pressure, decrease our heart rate, strengthen our immune system and to become more flexible in mind, making more conscious choices based on what our heart’s tell us, and not our mind. Our minds are the analyzer’s, compartmentalizers, organizers and can make us indecisive, leaving us with feelings of being overwhelmed. We meditate to literally “go out of our mind” and become one with ourselves, our universe. We learn we are not our thoughts. The mind is the instrument of the soul, and not the other way around. Our mind is used to aid us in making conscious choices, but it is not who we are.
Mediation takes us to a heightened hypo-metabolic state, this is a state where we experience homeostasis. Meditation is the antidote for stress. There are no fast and quick rules for meditation, except to be comfortable. The only idealized position to be in, is a relaxed position, whether it’s on a cushion, or a chair, and it is recommended to mediate twice a day, once at sunrise, and another at sunset. For me, it’s the first thing I do in the a.m., and right after work, for about 1/2 hour each time. We meditate to become one with spirit. Transcending mind, we become childlike, more joyful, enthusiastic, a field of pure awareness, ever new, beyond body, beyond beginning, middle and end.
At the Chopra Center we introduce our personal primordial sound at the beginning of meditation, and reintroduce it to our consciousness whenever thoughts reappear. The universe was making a specific sound at the time of your birth and these sounds were recorded over 5,000 years ago by the ancient seeks and sages. Introducing this sound before and during meditation is a very powerful way to connect to your highest self, easily and effortlessly and interrupts the train of thoughts. If you want to learn more about Primordial Sound Meditation, visit www.chopra.com and find a teacher in your area. Discover the benefits of meditation, and watch your life change, your body change, your mind set change. People tell me all the time that I appear more relaxed, centered, confident, and more youthful. I offer FREE Monthly Meditations on the First Sunday of each month at my North Main Street Studio.
Chopra University Certified-Primordial Sound Meditation Instructor,
Come “OM” with me soon.