Crisp lettuce and raw veggies provide a satisfying crunch that balances the sweet and savory fermented honey garlic chicken. If the chicken makes it into the lettuce wraps… I was tempted to stand in the kitchen eating it all by itself!
The long-awaited autumn, and finding my voice at the Center of the Universe.
I love September. Passionately and completely love September, and October as well. The weather is still nice, but work isn't as crazy. Harvest brings apples and pears, squash and pumpkins and I LOVE pumpkin everything. Weather is a little cooler and I can wear jeans and sweaters, scarves and long socks. The best part of fall is that my day job takes less of my time and attention. I have more time to regain a balance, meditate, read in the sun, recipe develop, and take little day trips, enjoy the changing trees, the rich smells in the air, fuzzy blankets and wine festivals. A chance to catch up with family and friends, and I think that it's time I started to reconsider dating.
If you are new to our tribe, you may not know, Raj and I are not a couple, we are both single (and available) blog buddies, and friends, but not together. As a single girl with a full-time job, and a full-time recipe blog, I haven't been willing to spend my marginal “free” time wading thru the online dating scene. But I may start. Have you ever online dated? Anyone who has has at least one really horrific/entertaining story under their belt. Dating may help me find my voice here on the blog. Raj has made efforts to help me share myself with you. I love you, but I have been stingy with my entertaining anecdotes and haven't really let you into who I am. I think I am afraid, afraid of unsubscribes, of trolls, of being judged. I am afraid of over-sharing, you are here just for the glossy photos and the delicious food. But to be fair, I really haven't let you in. I'm afraid of being hurt. Being afraid of being hurt, is no reason not to live, and share. Risking pain and being uncomfortable helps a person grow and develop. And if nothing else I'm resilient.
I realized I have positive energy and perspective to share.
I have been depressed, anxious, exhausted and stressed. And I'm still here now. I have endured breakups, deaths, sickness, celebrated unions, and births. I live compassionately and wear my heart on my sleeve. I want to share it all with you.
The Center of The Universe.
This past weekend, I escaped my adult responsibilities to have an adventure. I booked a hotel (I LOVE hotels), asked for some restaurant recommendations from friends in the area. I traveled the 2 hours north to visit an old friend and get my hair cut and colored, something I haven't done in a long time: almost a year for the cut, nearly 2 years for a color. We drank coffee and chatted; she has done a better job at keeping in touch with the people we used to hang out with, and I heard all the inside info.
I relaxed in the hotel hot tub after an amazing meal at The Mittz Kitchen and chatted with other hot-tubbers. I met a woman who was in town to play baseball and worked as a corrections officer in the women's prison. I had to know; what was it like? Was it Orange is the New Black? Or harder like Wentworth? Or was it like none of those women's prison shows? She said it was more Orange is the New Black. At least at the prison she worked in. After the hot tub, it was an early bedtime.
I slept in the next day, and did a little checking around, breakfast and a drive almost 2 hours north to Vidette Lake Spiritual Retreat. A quick phone call to Ray who owns the property, to make sure it was okay to come up, filled the car up with gas and started the drive. Why drive all the way up to Vidette lake?
On the Vidette Lake property there exists an energy vortex leylines the earth’s Shakra. In 1980 an apprentice monk in search of the Center of the Universe arrived at Vidette Lake. Tibetan monks believe that the Centre of the Universe is located on earth and using a series of tests it can be verified, which is exactly what this monk did. Many healers and spiritual people who arrive at the site claim to feel a connection to the land.
My Personal Experience
The drive there was stunning, volcanic cliffs, and so many colors, it was an overcast day but the sun would occasionally peek thru making every color more vivid and vibrant. As I neared the resort an osprey lead us to the gate. Hopping out of the car, Ray met me in the lodge driveway. He grabbed a vehicle and I followed him up the road a few hundred meters. Ray and his dog Faro walked a few feet down a path to a worn old Adirondack chair pointed towards the lake below. Ray seems a little… stiff, he had a few questions, why was I there, what did I do, what had drawn me to his doorstep. As we conversed a little his chilled demeanor melted slowly before me. He pointed out the Oregon grape and mountain sage growing around us and revealed each plant's healing magic. After I had been vetted, and approved, We hopped back into the vehicles and proceeded up the hill to another site.
Thru a gate, Ray encouraged me to take off my shoes to really connect with the ground and earth. Barefoot in the trees, Ray taught me about crystal pendulums and Dowsing. We circled a heart tree, introducing ourselves to the universe and making a prayer or wish. Leaning against the tree so that we were heart-to-heart with nature. Ray pointed out plants along the way and telling me stories about other visitors, and people who had shown at his doorstep in search of spiritual experiences.
Up a path to a clearing, there is a lovely view of the valley, a large juniper tree adorned with prayers flags, old and new, and piles of offerings on a flat rock set into the clearing. There is a rock, “turtle rock”, with perfect footholds in it. Ray read my energy or aura, while my eyes were closed and I was speaking to the universe. I had a huge loving field around me. The center of the universe is quietly majestic, I felt the natural energy flowing thru my bare feet into my whole body. Ray and I had a conversation about listening to your heart. A few weeks ago I had a devastating friend break up, I was hurt and angry, and feeling sorry for myself. I was feeling like I was a bad friend. And in that meadow, Ray said just what I needed him to, with the love and insight of the universe to help me let go. To listen to what my heart was telling me for years, and shut my brain off. To trust that I had made the right decision. We spent an hour in the meadow soaking in the energy, but it seemed like only minutes. I sat on a rock with Faro at my back, leaning into one another. I didn't take any photos, or take my phone with me. I took so many mental pictures. We wandered back to the vehicles chatting with Ray, who now was fluid and lovely. We parted ways with a warm hug and directions on how to get to a nearby waterfall to visit before heading home.
I don't know if that is the Center of the Universe, but it was a spectacular afternoon visiting with Ray and connecting with nature. I felt radiant, and abundance of love. I would like to go back and stay a few days next time.
Crisp lettuce and raw veggies provide a satisfying crunch that balances the sweet and savory fermented honey garlic chicken. If the chicken makes it into the wraps… I was tempted to stand in the kitchen eating it all by itself!
- 1/8 cup honey garlic (cloves crushed and honey)
- 2 tbsp coconut aminos
- 1/4 tsp chilies
- 1 tbsp minced or dried onion
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 8-10 boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1 thinly sliced jalapeno (optional)
- 1 head of lettuce
- 1 medium carrot grated
- 1/2 pepper thin sliced
- 1 green onion diced
- 1 avocado thin sliced
- 1/8 cup cashews crushed or chopped
- After fermenting your honey garlic sauce scoop it into a bowl, crushing any garlic cloves you scoop out.
- Add coconut amino's, onions, chilies, salt, and pepper, mix well.
- Add in boneless skinless chicken thighs and let sit a few hours.
- Place chicken and sauce into the instant pot, and set on manual high pressure for 6 minutes.
- While the chicken is cooking (likely 10 minutes to come to pressure, 6 minutes cooking time and a 6-minute natural pressure release) Wash a dice the vegetables for the wraps.
- peel the washed lettuce into full leaves, you can use whatever lettuce you prefer.
- Once the Chicken has naturally pressure released for 6 minutes open up the valve and release any remaining pressure. The chicken should shred easily with 2 forks. Let the shredded chicken lay in the sauce until you are ready to assemble wraps.
- In the lettuce lay: chicken, grated carrot, pepper slices, chopped cashews, green onion, and avocado, drizzling a little extra sauce over top before rolling the lettuce around ingredients.
Don't have an Instant Pot? Try baking the chicken thighs in sauce, and then order your Instant Pot here!