As I begin to gather all the ingredients to make my chicken parmesan I stop for a moment to reflect. I start thinking about all the steps in the process and how I really enjoy making homemade meals for my family. Then I thought, why not write a blog about the meal preparation; since I planned on putting love, meaning and really being mindful with each step. What I mean when I write “mindful” is really taking my time with the process by staying in the present moment. Cultivating and nurturing the experience.
Ok. Here we go!
Once everything is laid out and ready, I begin with the first step, Garlic. I take the bulb and begin to break off the cloves. As I peel each clove, the stickiness of the garlic stays on my fingertips. It smells so wonderful. Like the cliché to always stop and smell the roses; I did take moments to just breath in the strong familiar smell of fresh peeled garlic. Usually I would slice the garlic into tiny slits directly into the pot but then I remembered I do have a little short cut to this step. So, I broke out my nifty Cuisinart chopper that I bought myself for Christmas. I love it. Drop in a bunch of cloves, press the button and instant fresh chopped garlic.
As the garlic is now sautéing in a little olive oil I begin to prepare the meatballs. Two and half pounds of hamburger meat. I add a sprinkle of this and a dash of that, crack in two eggs and some breadcrumbs. This is where the real work out begins. Lovingly massaging all the ingredients together to make the master piece of meatballs. I spend extra time kneading and rolling the hamburger as it’s a bit therapeutic.
Just being in the now.Mindfully staying in the moment and taking long deep breathes.
Before I brown the meatballs in a frying pan I finish up preparing my gravy (sauce to some) by adding 2 cans crushed tomatoes, garlic and spices. Meatballs are all stirred into the simmering pot of gravy. I let that simmer for about an hour or so, cool and place in refrigerator because gravy is always best the next day.
Sunday morning is here. Gravy is back on the stove and I am gathering my ingredients to start my chicken cutlets. Seven pounds of thinly sliced chicken breasts ready to be dipped in eggs, then breaded and lightly browned in a pan. Consciously staying in the moment I take each breast of chicken, one by one; covering them in egg and breadcrumb then gently place each in the frying pan.
I continue to take a moment in between each action and embrace my surroundings. Embrace the smells. Embrace the steps taken. Staying intentional in my actions.
Now it’s time to marry the ingredients together. As I dig for my baking dish I’m getting excited thinking that soon my family and I will be sitting together enjoying this wonderful meal made with love. I cover the bottom of the baking dish with a little gravy. I carefully place a layer of chicken breasts, a bit more gravy and sprinkles of shredded mozzarella. Repeat.
Family members begin to arrive. They mention the smell of garlic and that something smells really good. This fills my soul with Joy.
Now the time has finally arrived that we sit down to enjoy our SUNDAY DINNER. I look around the table at all the faces I adore and I am elated to have the honor to prepare this dish with LOVE.
My wish for you all who read this is to Live your Life Deeply, Intentionally and Consciously.