Selfish Saturday: Closed for summer

backsoonAnother year of this self-created tradition: there will be no original waffling during August. Priorities have shifted towards family time, outdoor pursuits (as far as Great British Summer weather will allow) and reading the words of others without relaying them. There will be DailyOM snippets for those who bother to drop by, and before you know it, September will be here and regular activity will resume. Until then, enjoy!

Foodie Friday: Cashew Chicken & Stir-Fried Greens

cashewchicken(Serves 4)

Ingredients:
425g pack mini chicken fillets
2 tbsp plain flour
2 medium eggs, beaten
150g cashews, roughly chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
200g broccoli, cut into florets and halved
200g fine beans, trimmed
100g green cabbage, sliced
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Zest and juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp light soy sauce
4 tbsp sweet chilli dipping sauce

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 200C, fan 180C, gas 6. Toss the mini fillets in the flour. Put the beaten eggs in a bowl, and the chopped cashews on a plate. Dip the mini fillets into the egg to coat, then roll in the nuts. Place on a baking tray and bake for 20 minutes, until golden.
2. About 10-12 minutes into the chicken cooking time, heat the oil in a frying pan, then add the broccoli, beans and cabbage and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes over a medium-high heat. Stir in the chilli, garlic, lime zest and juice and soy sauce, then cover with a lid (or loosely with foil) and cook for a further 4 minutes.
3. Serve the cashew chicken with the stir-fried greens, and drizzle a little sweet chilli dipping sauce over the top.

Top tip: For a slightly different flavour, you could replace the cashew nuts with unsalted chopped peanuts.

Music Monday: July roundup

A month of frantic writing (well, for most of it) means a lot of instrumental music, so the results are nothing unexpected. I should break out the Yanni more often, though. I’d missed the old stuff.

1. Yanni (208)
2. Ramin Djawadi (106)
3. Vangelis (105)

The Soundless Center

silenceWe spend a lot of time attempting to put the feelings in our hearts into words, to communicate to others our passions, our emotions, and our love. Often we are so busy trying to translate our heart’s roar into language that we miss the most profound experience the heart has to offer, which is silence. Every poem arises from this silence and returns to it. When all the songs have been sung, the soliloquies delivered, the emotions expressed, silence is what remains. As each wave of feeling rises and falls back into the silence, we have an opportunity to connect with the vast, open, powerfully healing wisdom at the soundless center of our hearts.

Our hearts may seem noisy and tumultuous so much of the time that we do not even associate them with silence. It takes a sensitive ear to tune in to the silence of the heart, but it is there in each one of us, so close and so large that we do not even notice it. We can begin to become aware of it in the same way we become aware of the negative space in a still life, the background of a photograph, or the open sky that contains the sun, clouds, moon, and stars. We are accustomed to tuning in to objects and sounds that are one-pointed, solid, and three-dimensional. Seeing and hearing the apparently empty space that contains these sounds and objects takes a little practice.

We can bring our awareness into our hearts by simply breathing into the general area of our heart. The first thing we may notice is feelings like joy or sadness and physical sensations like tightness or tenderness. We acknowledge these as we continue to breathe and focus, listening attentively. We surround these feelings and sensations with breath and recognize that they are contained and held in an immeasurable substance like water or air, intangible, ineffable, but utterly real. This is the silence of the heart, and the more we listen for it, return to it, and accept it, the more we bathe and purify ourselves in the soundless center of our being.

DailyOM

Selfish Saturday: (Some) missions accomplished

Keep+Calm+and+Cross+It+OffSchool’s out. No more keeping up with arrangements for the young one. At least for six weeks. Now I just have to survive these six weeks with next-to-zero privacy…

The dental appointment was kept, the tooth was pulled. It was surprisingly quick and struggle-free. I’m still getting used to the gap, but I’m almost back to normal, less than three days after.

The NaNo project is completed and validated. The sequel went so well, I actually have ideas for two more. I’m beginning to understand how pro writers create book series… I think.

There is work to be done around the house, but not as much as I anticipated, since the inspection I dreaded is not going to happen when we thought. That means there will be time to lounge about as well. Thank goodness for small favours.

My library sent me, together with the monthly newsletter, a list of about 20 books that can be read in a day. Some judicious searching discovered 11 of them among my Kindle stash. Let’s see how many I’ll be able to get through until school resumes. I find the new Kindle (Fire) reader feature that calculates the time left in the chapter and/or the entire book, based on one’s reading speed, an incredibly useful tool in that. This five-year owner still doesn’t grok locations!


Month at a Glance

August 2015
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Previously…

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