Good, healthy food like Mediterranean Power Rice fuels our physical body and gives it the energy and the necessary sustenance it needs to be at its best; but our inner spiritual life also needs to be empowered, and we gain that precious strength through understanding that we belong to a spectacular Creator.
Do you ever wonder Who it was that dreamt up beautiful, special, unique, and perfect you?
Have you ever considered the possibility that every detail of who you are—what you’ve been endowed with, how you see things, what circumstances you’ve been placed in, what gifts you contain to share with the world—was gloriously planned, designed, and brought into being specifically for you?
You are unlike any other human being, and you hold a very special place in the heart of our Creator; you are like a precious stone, a perfectly sculpted piece of art, a musical masterpiece.
You are a living, breathing, thinking, reasoning being that soaks up all of life’s experiences—the brilliant, the amazing, the beautiful, the awful, the painful, the blissful, the tumultuous, the awe-inspiring—and in your connection with the One who made you, share these physical experiences with Him and enter into prayer without even knowing it because all that is in your heart, your mind, your soul, is shared via that invisible thread that is a part of His very fabric.
It is like a mother and the child within her that feel one another through that glorious umbilical chord that connects them together.
We are connected to our Creator through our spirit, and every leap of our hearts, every moment of joy, every moment of groaning, every tear that is shed, every inner cry for help, every question that enters our mind is then also a part of Him.
And He hears us, feels us, and understands us, even when we do not understand ourselves.
Ah, to know to Whom one belongs…it makes all the difference in the world.
I have had an interesting life, one that constantly keeps me on my toes and curious.
My childhood was an amazing, loving, and beautiful one; but then in my late teens through my mid to late 20’s, life became more complicated and challenging, for a variety of reasons.
I found myself in unfamiliar territory, in circumstances that felt more like they belonged to someone else, than to me.
It was a tumultuous period in my life that while it still contained much joy and many things to truly be incredibly grateful for (and believe me, I was), I felt ill-equipped at times to deal with some of the experiences that I found myself in.
And it was a period for me that was emotionally, mentally, and spiritually challenging.
But the beauty of life is that things never remain the same.
Over time things began changing—circumstances, opportunities, my maturity, my development—and life began to evolve, grow larger, grow more joyful, grow more full of hope and abundance.
But I am grateful to have had those experiences, as they brought me to where I stand now, and perfectly shaped me into the woman that I am today.
And though I have always felt the presence of my Creator, it was in those darker moments that I began to actively seek Him out and to strengthen my relationship with Him in order to understand myself, because I realized that there was no “me” without Him.
I wanted to get to know, intimately, my Source, so that I may know myself.
These days, I do not make a step without having my hand in His.
It does not mean that I live a life free of stress, or that fears do not occasionally creep in; it does not mean that there are never any worries that wake me up at night, that cause me to toss and turn, or no moments when the “unknown” aspects of life don’t get the best of me.
What it means is that when they do, I go to the One who made me.
Understanding that I can derive my power from knowing to Whom I belong, and Who has my best interest at heart, and Who designed me, and Who’s got my back—that completely changes what I place my focus on.
See, good sustenance gives us the fuel we need to run our physical bodies to the best of their abilities; healthy ingredients give us physical power and strength—energy—that is required to survive.
And our inner world, our spiritual life—that which is unseen—is no different.
It requires a source of fuel which powers us and helps us to remember that we are special; that we are unlike any other; that we can put one foot in front of the other, and that tomorrow we can be better, stronger, wiser, and more loving than we were yesterday or today.
And it is the type of empowerment that each and every one of us needs in order to fully realize the totality of who we were created to be, and to remember that we are a carefully thought out, perfectly designed, and one-of-a-kind masterpiece.
Do you know to Whom you belong?
Taste what’s good and pass it on.
Mediterranean Power Rice with Fresh Herbs and Warm Spices
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves about 4-5
• Olive oil
• 1 clove garlic, pressed through garlic press
• 1 ½ cups brown basmati rice
• 3 cups water
• 1 Chinese eggplant (the thinner, longer type), diced into small cubes
• ¾ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
• Black pepper
• ½ cup garbanzo beans, roughly chopped
• 2 tablespoons roasted cashews, roughly chopped
• 2 tablespoons roasted almonds, roughly chopped
• 6 pitted dates, roughly chopped
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
• 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
• ½ teaspoon lemon zest
• Squeeze of lemon (about 1 teaspoon or so)
• Pinch ground cumin
• Pinch ground cinnamon
• Pinch cayenne
-Preheat the oven to 400°, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
-Place medium-size pot over medium heat, and drizzle in about 2 tablespoons of oil; once hot, add in the pressed garlic and stir, just until aromatic, about 30 seconds; add in the rice, plus a good pinch of salt, and stir to combine, toasting the rice in the garlic oil for about 1-2 minutes.
-Add in the water, bring to the boil, and cover; reduce heat and simmer the rice for about 40 minutes, or until cooked; spoon into a large bowl.
-While the rice cooks, drizzle your baking sheet with a little oil; add the eggplant and the halved tomatoes to a bowl, drizzle with a bit of oil, plus a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper, and toss to coat; turn out onto the baking sheet and bake for about 25 minutes, or until the eggplant and tomatoes are tender and slightly golden; spoon into a bowl to hold.
-To assemble, combine the rice with the roasted eggplant and tomatoes, plus the remainder of the ingredients; toss gently together with a spoon, and check to see if additional salt/pepper is needed, or a little extra drizzle of the olive oil; serve the rice warm as a healthy side dish to chicken or fish, or eat it by itself (even cold) as a snack or a light meal.