I have always lived in relative abundance. But until recently, I have never really felt a sense of abundance in my life. That is partly because when I do feel it, even now, it is partnered with guilt. If I have, I must be taking from someone else. That might be a little bit true. But it is also true that if you are aware of the fullness of your life, it is easier to be generous, open hearted and kind.
My lack of perceived abundance probably started with a lack of ease. While I have always had plenty to eat and more than enough things, I have not often been easy in my body or in my consciousness. If you don’t feel easy, you can’t feel full. Or joyful. Or lucky.
I had a lot of health problems and medical intervention in the first half of my life. My eyes, teeth and foot all required surgeries and years of therapies to function properly; I had horrible allergies and gall bladder disease. As a teenager, I underwent such drastic physical transformation that my own grandmother didn’t recognize me.
My young mom was terribly overwhelmed caring for three kids with health issues and a too-busy-to-help husband; as the oldest, I was the responsible one. I have always felt the anxious need to make sure that everyone around me is ok. And if they are not, I am not. Most of the people around me were not ok when I was a young woman trying to establish a career and a family.
As a wife and mother, I have worked hard to provide an abundant life for my family. It was and is my incredible good fortune to have married a man who has a wonderful capacity to be easy and full. My two kids are brilliant, beautiful, and miraculous. They are young adults now, and I get to sit back and rake in the richness as I watch them shape their lives; it fills my soul. My work as a psychologist heals me as I help others. I have learned to care for my body and mind properly. And, in the last few years, I have learned to find ease. For the first time, I do feel a sense of abundance in my life…
So when I started seeing Abundance Bowls on food blogs, I was charmed. The descriptions reminded me of a dish I used to make for myself and my roommates in college. It was from Molly Katzen’s Moosewood Cookbook, the recipe was called Gado Gado. This book was our bible and Molly was our goddess. Goddess of Abundance.
This “recipe” should really be about what is plentiful and seasonal. You are aiming for a colorful, textural, nourishing combination of raw and cooked vegetables, one or more protein, carbs if you like, fresh or dried fruit, nuts, herbs, and a sauce. The elements I always include are crispy baked cubed tofu, halved hard cooked eggs (they must be perfectly made, see Cook’s Illustrated), and peanut sauce. I’m going to give you a list of the things I might include in an abundance arrangement, and then a recipe for the sauce. You can make the arrangement in one big bowl, and everyone helps themselves. Or you can do individual bowls in which case you get to avoid that big, mostly empty, picked-over platter at the end (who wants the last lonely hard-boiled egg?)
Raw or cooked shredded cabbage, red or green
Grated carrot or carrot salad
Roasted sweet potato or winter squash
Lightly steamed asparagus
Lightly steamed sugar snap peas
Steamed or roasted broccoli or cauliflower
Cooked wheat berries or barley (black barley is great if you can find it)
Cooked quinoa or millet
Whole wheat or soba noodles
Cubed apple or pear
Cilantro, basil, and/or mint
You can use any kind of peanut butter, but if you want your sauce to be silky, you need to start with a version that is very smooth. The sauce will never be smoother than the butter with which you start. You can also do this with another nut butter or with tahini, or a combination.
½ cup peanut butter
1 tbs. minced ginger (candied ginger will work)
1 scallion, minced
zest and juice of 1 lime
sugar, honey, or agave to taste
soy sauce, to taste
Combine everything and add enough warm water until the consistency is drizzle-able. If you let it stand around for a while or you refrigerate leftovers and it gets thicker, add more water. It’s weird that this sauce never seems to taste watery, but it doesn’t, so don’t worry about that.
I wish you and your family health, happiness, ease and abundance! ~ Chickpea