Updated: Apr 21, 2021
There are times when I cannot wait to step into the kitchen and lovingly prepare the next meal to fuel my family and nourish our bodies. Then, some moments merely contemplating picking up a knife, preparing food, and then actually being the person who cooks it makes me want to drop off the grid, change my name, and hide in a cave. Today was one of the latter.
As a classically trained chef and holistic wellness practitioner, I have a bountiful repertoire of not only healthy but delicious recipes I can whip up with hardly any notice at all. So, one would think, cooking should be like second nature to me. Yet still, this evening, the thought of walking into what is usually considered my domain and toiling away honestly had me searching for the almost-secret stash of takeaway menus.
Amid said treasure hunt, what did I find? The as-yet untouched meal plan and menu I had created for the previous week. It practically jumped out of the cabinet, earnestly trying to save me from me.
Like a lighthouse on the horizon, a single word stood out at the top of this menu: crêpes. That lone word was flirting with me. Beckoning me to hear its call and find a way to bring them to life. With my will to go on restored, and those paper takeaway villains forgotten, I passionately went about the kitchen to see what I could create.
I know what you’re thinking, “Crêpes? We aren’t all chefs, Manda. How is this an easy solution?” I say with the utmost conviction; they are simpler than you think.
Almond Flour Crêpes, Mushroom Cream, and Arugula Salad
Primary objective? How do I top/stuff these brilliant bites of bliss? As I require a trip to the market, our kitchen is rather bleak. Also, as I live with Celiac disease, I cannot tolerate gluten. That means running to just any store for backup supplies is not usually an option.
As anyone adhering to a special diet can testify, finding safe “specialty” ingredients can be problematic and pricey.
I set about the kitchen as though I were at a Black Friday shoe sale searching for the last pair of designer heels in my size. Searching high and scouring low, I began to fill my arms with ingredients. Some pre-sliced, canned mushrooms (score!), a can of cooked lentils hiding behind the can of coconut milk I also grabbed, and, leftover from the holiday season yet still unopened, a bag of roasted chestnuts. When I opened the refrigerator, what did I see? One lonely leek staring back at me. I was overjoyed to include something fresh, so I sliced it right up and began to sauté.
As I stand, gleefully stirring what will be healthy, nourishing food for our bodies and souls, my phone buzzes.
HUBBY: Driving away now
My brain: CALL YOUR HUSBAND!!!
I frantically call my husband. After several unsuccessful attempts, I possibly unwittingly alarmed him with the sound of despair in my voice. “What’s wrong?” he inquires. “We need some fresh arugula. Or spinach. Some greens. Oh, and hummus.” Nonplussed, he agrees, and, when he arrives (later in this scenario), he has the penultimate piece of our meal in his hands as well as the saving grace for the five-year-old who will probably stare at this mushroom concoction as though it is considered suspect.
Now, back to the pan. Toss in the mushrooms and let them brown as well. All that remains is to add the final ingredients, sit back, relax, and let my project develop into a gorgeous dinner, which is certain to have enough leftovers to ensure that the Hubs will even have lunch for work tomorrow. Now, that is a win.
Meanwhile, I am waiting for the crêpe batter to chill; I see my notebook idly resting on the counter. I pick it up. I begin to write. The words that come out surprise me. It has been ages since I’ve written something significant that had length and weight. I am surprised at the knowledge that something as simple as changing my mind about dinner plans could affect me profoundly enough to write the beginnings of this article.
It is amazing to me how quickly our world can shift. Be it what we consider almost imperceptible shifts such as changing our mind about a meal, or unfathomable, life-changing shifts such as a worldwide pandemic, riots and injustice occurring internationally, or the events surrounding the recent election for president of the United States, SHIFTS HAPPEN.
Accepting these shifts, welcoming them, or at least taking the time to acknowledge them consciously, is what allows our hearts and minds to stay open, creative, and resilient. Knowing that we have the power within us to stand strong and face whatever we might interpret as “deviations from the norm” as if we had planned it all along is how we find our courage. Our truth. Admitting we can’t manage the changes when it seems too much and sending up a distress signal is how we find our village.
In one meal, I was reminded that, even when it feels as if all is lost, all I have to do is reach inside, and I already have the answers. I lit the match and found my way out of that darkness. I challenged myself with obstacles and turned them into opportunities. I called on my support system to provide resources I could not and was reminded of a long-ago lesson from another branch in that network. I accessed my heart and have spoken with my voice in a way I’ve been afraid to for years. One night, turned my life around because I accepted one simple shift.
I encourage you to see the shift. Lean into the shift.
Become the shift.
This article was originally published on my Medium account. View an image of the dish here.