From Coconut to Cannoli-Reflections of My Year in Food

This time last year I sat in my Los Gatos single apartment jobless, nearly penniless, manless, but not hopeless… I flash forward to my life now and I cannot be anything less than grateful for the experiences this past year has presented me. 2009 had to be the most emotional year for me, so far and I look forward to seeing what 2010 will present me with. I reflected on the loss of dear ones, lost close friends, and also made about a zillion new ones. Traveling opens your eyes to many possibilities you never even dreamed of. The connections and friendships inspire you to keep going. I have always been blessed to have my life filled with the most encouraging support system a girl can ask for and I do not take this for granted.

How does this relate to Healing Thru Food? Well, I wanted to share some of the experiences I had surrounding food that make my heart smile and make me really appreciate this past year.

In Montezuma, Costa Rica, if anyone followed my blog, I was lucky enough to land a job at a quaint little cafe called Organico, where I managed, and (my favorite part of the job) got to present lectures on whole foods and make them for my guests! Too fun! And too delicious! So, to Ozlem, I want to say a great big ol’ thanks for giving me the opportunity to take on this challenge…I had never worked in a restaurant before, let alone managed one, and I got to be the star of my own cooking show, so to speak! It was magical and it was so fun! We made such delicious raw treats and taught many locals and travelers about foods they were not familiar with such as spirulina, coconut oil and quinoa! Education is power (and health!!).

Costa Rica has such an abundance of fresh fruits (pineapple, watermelon, coconut) and everything is pretty light because the weather is so hot and humid. I incorporated a lot of fish back into my eating lifestyle there because it was fresh from the ocean right in front of me…not shipped miles from its source. The combination of the weather, food and carefree “pura vida” attitude of the locals, and most travelers made this easily a second home for me. People are probably annoyed at how much I blab on about my magical Costa Rica. Please, see it for yourselves…tell them I sent you. 🙂

After Costa Rica, I was fortunate enough to get a job in Palermo, Sicily, where the food was quite different than Costa Rica! Lots of fresh veggies, pastas and cheeses (seriously cannot eat pizza from the states anymore…there is NO comparison).  But the coolest thing was that when I did get the chance to cook, I was getting to educate as well. I introduced people to some of my favorite staples (which you definitely have to find at teensy ethnic stores since they are not main staples of traditional Sicilian meals) such as quinoa, coconut oil, tahihi, celtic sea salt and different spices. It was fun to cook for people who were willing to try my vegetarian creations. 🙂 Still, I wish I had my favorite kitchen gadgets: food processor, rice cooker and Champion juicer…life can be challenging without them, but I managed…blenders can do a lot! 😉

I do have to say I had shakshuka in California, Costa Rica AND Italy this year, which is a pretty easy ethnic dish, but Lior’s won my heart (in Sicily-probably because of the freshest tomatoes and eggplant!) If you have never had shakshuka, I highly recommend trying it (it’s vegetarian and made with tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, spices and poached eggs on top) or making it yourself-it’s pretty easy and there are tons of recipes online.

The best part about traveling is experiencing the food! Well, that and meeting all kinds of new people. But, I also wanted to mention of course, the power of intention. When we request what we truly want from the universe, the universe DOES provide. You do not need a million dollars to do what I have done this year…or what ever it is that YOU want to do next year. Attitude and awareness are everything and when you create and surround yourself with positive energy and good intentions, the world can be your oyster. Sure, we all have issues, hang ups, fears, and debt, but remember that you are in your physical body now to have life EXPERIENCES. Go experience life! Go try new things (especially FOOD!) and stop giving into the fear that you will fail. There is no failure, only experiences and lessons. Make 2010 a year that you accomplish SOMETHING, anything! But don’t forget to dream big because if you can imagine it, you can certainly create it.

Wishing all you healthy eaters a blissful and joyous holiday season and very happy 2010!

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