Through the Fire
T’is the season. Bring on the parties, bring on the food, bring on the merriment. Bring on finding time with friends to celebrate the joy of the season or one last get together before hunkering down for winter. That was one of the original reasons for having a big party on the Solstice which was celebrated long before the birth of Jesus. Where Winter was cold and snowy, you might not be able to go out for days or weeks. Not for hunting, let alone to see other people. So, where they could, people gathered and shared food, shared supplies, gave gifts, and honored the coming darkness with a huge Solstice fire. You gave what you have to those who didn’t in hopes that all would survive. Boy, how times have changed. Thankfully, giving and sharing is still a part of life. The Food banks put out extra barrels and charitable organizations ramp up their campaigns.
Holiday get togethers are a big part of any religion or spiritual focus. Underneath the hustle and bustle and pressures of finding the perfect gift is the simple message. Every religion and spiritual practice has some sort of focus on Light. We need extra light this time of year so we burn candles, we light fires, we put up lights on our houses and boats. We remember we need each other so we invite friends and family over. We feed each other.
I’ve got a few things to share with you that are so simple to make and share. I’m not so good at keeping things on hand in my pantry or freezer for those times when I get a last minute invitation or a friend comes into town, so something easy and quick to do makes me happy.
Here’s the recipe…
Slice open a date and take out the pit.
Fill with a small ( or not) amount of almond butter ( or your favorite nut butter)
Smoosh a small piece of dark chocolate into the almond butter.
Heaven in two delicious other worldly bites.
Feel free to experiment. Use goat cheese instead of almond butter. Try a tiny piece of bacon. Crystallized ginger. Sprinkle with salt. Almond butter with a tiny sliver of yummy cheese. Peanut butter with a piece of banana. ( anyone seen Elvis?)
Easy peasy snack. Nice dessert. Excellent for taking to potlucks.
Paleo, gluten free, vegan, omnivore.
On the more savory side, here’s another recipe culled from another old blog post.( Technology did away with the photograph, sorry)
Curried Mushroom and Cashew Pate
4 T butter or coconut oil
1 lb mushrooms, cleaned and chopped ( any variety, use a mix)
1/2 minced onion
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 tsp curry powder ( I used a bit more)
1/2 to 1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1 c roasted cashews
2 T oil ( I used olive)
chopped fresh parsley
crackers or bread for spreading, or veggies for dipping
In the butter, saute the mushrooms, onion, garlic, curry powder, salt, coriander, and cumin. Cook until the mixture is fairly dry. While cooling, chop the cashews finely in a food processor and slowly add the oil to make a paste. Add the mushroom mixture and continue processing until smooth. Taste and add more salt if necessary ( I did). Place in a serving bowl and sprinkle with parsley. Serve at room temperature with crackers, bread, or veggies.
Yes, there is much to worry about, much to be angry about, much to fear. Please take time to breathe in the peace of wintertime, the quieting of the Earth, and embrace the darkness. Without it, there can be no light. Reach out to your friends and family. Feed them and yourselves well this holiday season.