Mushroom Soup and Mindfulness


The Buddha advocated that one should establish mindfulness (satipatthana) in one’s day-to-day life maintaining as much as possible a calm awareness of one’s bodily functions, sensations (feelings), objects of consciousness (thoughts and perceptions), and consciousness itself. The practice of mindfulness supports analysis resulting in the arising of wisdom (Pali: paññā, Sanskrit: prajñā): From Wikipedia.

Ballet is an exercise in mindfulness. Every second in class you are pulled into the moment by a teacher who comes to give you a light reminding touch. Awareness comes with the screams of your muscles. Conscious of every aspect of your physical self, every movement, every moment -Ballet is a meditation. Making love is a meditation. Sailing is a mediation. Cooking, running, shitting, climbing, eating, giving birth, playing music are all a meditation in living. My warm, fluffy kitty who sits on my lap as I write this is a meditation in happiness.

 Happiness is not about smiling all of the time. It’s not about eliminating bad moods, or trading your Tolstoy-inspired nuance and ambivalence toward people and situations for cheery pronouncements devoid of critical judgment…It’s maximized when you also feel part of a community. And when you confront annoyances and crises with grace. It involves a willingness to learn and stretch and grow, which sometimes involves discomfort. It requires acting on life, not merely taking it in: Psychology Today.

Some people really focus on the idea of detachment in Buddhism. But detachment has never helped me maintain calm, it has never felt comfortable or added to my happiness or the happiness I am able to bring to others. What give me that and what has been missing in my life recently is the mindfulness that the love of my work teaching Ballet brought to me for so many years. I don’t know about you, but making things is my meditation. Participation is my mindfulness. There is nothing more blissful than the a moment where you feel your world in every pore, in your finger tips, in every thought, when you feel one with your reality of the moment. Mindfulness brings me happiness. I hope as you are making this soup it will bring you some too.

Blissfully Good Toasted Quinoa and Mushroom Soup with a Sage (VG, GF)

  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 small package dried mushroom mix from Trader Joe’s
  • 4-5 fresh seasonal mushrooms
  • 1 package condensed mushroom soup stock from Trader Joe’s
  • approximately 2 cups water
  • 4-5 large cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1/8 cup or so of heavy cream
  • Cream Frasiche
  • Fresh sage

Start with good ingredients, end with good food. First, chop your onions, garlic and fresh mushrooms. Let them ruminate a while on their new condition as you move on to the next steps.

As for the Sage, I love to use fresh herbs. Use about two to three fat, fresh sage leaves, finely chopped. Keeping live herbs inside in the winter is the best way I know to make sure they are fresh and tasty. I got this lovely little pot from Trader Joe’s. Just give them a little water and a little sunlight and they will last you a good long while.

You will want to reconstitute your mushrooms. Let them sit in hot water until they start to become lighter and softer.

While you are soaking your mushrooms, it is a good time to toast your Quinoa. In a dry pan let it get nice and brown. Toss it around as you are toasting it so they all get hot. You will smell a wonderful sweet and nutty fragrance when it is ready.

Then it is time to put some stuff together. Put your Quinoa and one cup of water in your soup pot and bring it to a boil. Add in the mushrooms with water and all, garlic, onion and mushroom stock and let it boil a little more, until the hearts of your reconstituted mushrooms are as soft as your own and your Quinoa have little hula-hoops around them to play with.

Turn down the heat and add in your cream and your sage. An eight of a cup of cream, give or take should be quite enough. A little salt and pepper to taste and let all the ingredients simmer for a while in there to get to know each other.

When you put it in a bowl, add  a dollop of cream fraische on the top and some of the chopped sage. The savory mushrooms will tickle the sides of your tongue. Lush and rich, a mouth full of effusiveness, you will not be able to think of anything else except this gastronomic moment.

“I don’t believe people are looking for the meaning of life as much as they are looking for the experience of being alive.” 
Joseph Campbell

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