Mindfulness

Mindfulness.

I feel like that word is permeating my life like an infusion of, well, nothing. It’s too intangible. It’s not like food, which is what my life is used to. Things to be touched. Felt. Smelled. Held.

What’s mindfulness? I didn’t get it for a long long time and still don’t, despite being around friends, some of whom are spiritual and one of whom is herself a mindfulness teacher of yoga and meditation.

But I’m slowly opening my mind to it and opening my heart to its need in my life right now. Nothing is wrong, except just not feeling physically the best, but I’m at a point where I feel like I need to really know how to enjoy the moment. How to not be pensive and worry about the future. Not to worry about how my kid is going to handle the mean girl. How not to worry about my lofty career goals, which may not come to substance. Not to worry about the health of everyone in my family, and the what-ifs.

I started meditating daily, just for a few minutes. Honestly, it’s too early for the effects of that to be taking place. What I’m feeling is likely a result of my daily journaling—an outflow of words spray-painted on paper. A meditative, cathartic process for me.

I’m stopping. Stopping often. The brakes are on, the roses are not only smelt, but touched too. The days are slower. The breath is floating, and lasting longer.

That infusion of nothing is something. It is allowing me to enjoy the moment. Enjoy what I have. From the tangible to the intangible. From something as minuscule as the slip of the morning brew into my belly. To the untouchable heart and soul of the food that was made for me. From the soft vanilla Bundt cake and its mellow sweetness, crumbling like a down pillow in my mouth. To the appreciation that I can touch my girls’ cheeks, see outside, feel my clothing, and speak my words. I can do so much! I need to savor every bit right now.

Olive Oil Cardamom Bundt Cake

Olive Oil Cardamom Bundt Cake

Olive Oil Bundt Cake with Cardamom

Ground cardamom should be intensely fragrant. The more fragrant the cardamom upon opening the jar, the fresher it is. Small amounts can be purchased at Indian grocers in the bulk spice aisles.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ground cardamom (should be very finely ground)
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup plain yogurt (not Greek)
  • 3/4 cup high quality extra-virgin olive oil (a good fruity variety like from Texas Olive Ranch)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • confectioners' sugar, for dusting (optional)

Method

  1. Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt and cardamom together in a medium mixing bowl. Set aside.
  2. Beat the 4 egg whites in a clean mixing bowl until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
  3. Beat the 4 yolks in another clean mixer bowl at medium-high speed until pale, about 2 minutes.
  4. Gradually pour in the granulated sugar, beating an additional minute. The contents of the bowl should be yellow and fluffy.
  5. Pour in the yogurt and the olive oil and the vanilla extract. Continue to beat at low speed to combine everything. The batter will become a thinner consistency and a pale yellow.
  6. Add the flour mixture in two parts and beat just until blended. Do not overbeat. The mixture will be thick, sticky and speckled with the cardamom.
  7. Fold in the stiff egg whites in two parts using a rubber spatula, folding gently. Do not over mix but try to incorporate most of the egg white into the batter.
  8. Pour into a greased Bundt pan that has been dusted with flour and excess flour shaken out.
  9. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, rotating halfway through bake time.
  10. Remove pan from oven and set on cooling rack to cool completely before inverting out on a serving tray. Use a knife to run around the edges to release the cake if needed.
  11. Slice pieces of cake, then dust with confectioners' sugar before serving.
  12. The cake is best eaten within 2 days. Store at room temperature, tightly covered.

© Shefaly Ravula/ Shef’s Kitchen

http://shefskitchen.com/2014/09/29/mindfulness/

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