A Guide To Meditation & New Recipes
Last month I took a little summer holiday from my blog. I love writing every month on Generosity of Spirit but sometimes you need a break and that is exactly what I needed, and it was lovely.
To start this blog I wanted to take a moment to share with you some SITE STATS from Generosity of Spirit. I am enormously proud of my both my blog and my Instagram page (@generosityofspirit) which reached over 4,000 followers recently and I just wanted to share some inside stats with you all.
Generosity of Spirit has published 59 blogs over the last 27 months !
My site has had over 10,000 views and my top views in a day is 250!
My top 3 blogs of all time are:
My blog’s DNA remains as true as ever:
Generosity of Spirit is the openness and willingness to share our ‘gifts’ , our ‘spirit’ (both emotional and material) freely with others.
And long may it continue and grow!
To close August, I have got some lovely Gousto recipes for you all to try, and a little beginner’s guide to meditation!
How to Start Meditating
Meditation is not about learning how to empty your mind or stop your thoughts. Instead, meditation is the practice of training your attention and focus from a place of non-judgement.
Mindfulness meditation is the most common type of meditation in the West — and perhaps the easiest one to start. Mindfulness has to do with paying attention to what you’re feeling and observing in the present moment.
Begin to meditate by learning one simple technique and practicing it every day for as little as a couple of minutes. There is no right or wrong way to do it; try a variety of different meditations and see which works for you. Anything from guided, mindful, mantra, gratitude, body scan or even breathwork meditation… there are absolutely loads of different ways to focus and learn your practice and I would encourage you to try any and all. It won’t be long before you happen upon one that feels good to your whole mind, body and soul.
Let’s Get Started!
Find a quiet space. Make sure there is nothing to disturb you before you start meditation. Turn your phone on silent or leave it in another room.
Sit or lay down in a comfortable position. You can find a comfortable space anywhere… in bed, on the sofa, on a yoga mat, a blanket, on the floor or in a chair. Take a moment to feel your body in the space.
You can either listen to a guided meditation or just focus on your breath and meditate independently. Focus your attention on each inhale and exhale. Alternatively, you can begin with a body scan: focus on each part of the body, down from your toes and up to your head, pausing to notice the sensations.
Let distractions come and go. If your mind wanders, acknowledge the thought that has distracted you, but do not dwell on it. Imagine bubbles surrounding each thought and as you acknowledge it, it then floats away.
Then, gently bring your attention back to your breathing. Getting distracted when meditating is inevitable and one of the biggest worries for beginners — but learning how to manage distraction is a vital part of the process.
If possible, try to meditate at the same time every day, as this will help you build a habit so you build meditation into your daily schedule. And if you have to skip a day for whatever reason, don’t be too hard on yourself — just try to get back to your routine the next day.
My Favourite Guided Meditations
- Headspace Guide to Meditation. (Netflix)
- Breathwork with James Dowler
- Gelong Thubten
- Pheobe Greenacre
My Top Three Gousto Recipes (right now!)
Peri Peri Tofu Salad
400g Red Kidney Beans
280g Plain Tofu
1 Little Gem Lettuce
2 tsp Smoked Paprika
1 tsp Dried Oregano
½ tsp Chilli Flakes
15ml Soy Sauce
16g Tomato Paste
20g Chipotle Paste
- Drain the tofu and cut into small cubes. Add the tofu cubes to a bowl with the soy sauce and set aside to marinate.
- To make the peri peri sauce; combine the chipotle paste, tomato paste, dried oregano and chilli flakes with the juice of half a lemon. Add 1 tbsp of olive oil, 1 tbsp of cold water with a pinch of salt and mix of to combine.
- Heat a large, wide based pan with a generous drizzle of vegetable oil. Once hot, add the marinated tofu cubes and cook for 5-6 minutes until crisp and golden.
- While the tofu is cooking, drain and rinse the sweetcorn and kidney beans. Wash, and remove the outer leaves from the little gem lettuce and set aside for later. Shred the little gem core.
- Add the peri peri sauce to the pan over the tofu cubes and cook for 2-3 minutes turning a few times until the sauce has reduced, and the tofu is coated. Once done, remove from the pan and set aside (keep the pan for step 7)
- Meanwhile, combine the juice of the remaining lemon with 2 tbsp of olive oil and a generous pinch of salt- to make your tangy lemon dressing!
- Add sliced shallots, drained sweetcorn, and kidney beans to the reserved pan with the smoked paprika and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Assemble the salad, starting with outer little gem leaves and then add the smoky sweetcorn and beans, and then the shredded little gem. Next top with peri peri tofu cubes and dress with your tangy lemon dressing.
Saag Aloo with Peas
300g Waxy Potatoes
160g Blanched Peas
2 Wholemeal Pittas
150g Baby Leaf Spinach
1 Red Chilli
1 tsp Nigella Seeds
1 tsp Cumin Seeds
20g Mango Chutney
½ tbsp Curry Powder
½ tsp Ground Turmeric
16 Tomato Paste
25g Creamed Coconut
15g Ginger and Garlic Paste
- Slice the waxy potatoes in half then add them to a heatproof bowl, cover the bowl with cling and pierce few holes in the top. Put the bowl in the microwave for 4-6 minute or until the potatoes are fork-tender.
- Boil a kettle. Heat a large, wide-based pan (preferably non-stick) with a generous drizzle of vegetable oil over a medium-high heat. Once hot, add cumin seeds, curry powder, ground turmeric and ginger and garlic paste to the pan with a pinch of salt and cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
- Meanwhile, dissolve the creamed coconut, tomato paste, and veg stock in 150ml boiled water – this is your coconut stock. Add the coconut stock to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes until thickened slightly.
- Meanwhile, add the spinach to a colander and pour boiled water over it until it’s wilted. Rinse the spinach under cold running water until it’s cool enough to handle. Squeeze the water out of the cooled spinach, then chop it roughly.
- Add the pittas to the toaster for 1-2 minutes, or until warmed through. (Alternatively, add them to a baking tray and put them under the grill). Slice the red chilli finely into rounds.
- Once the potatoes are fork-tender, add them to the pan with blanched peas and chopped wilted spinach and cook for 2 minutes further until everything is coated in the sauce. Stir through the mango chutney- this is your saag aloo.
- Slice the toasted pittas diagonally in half. Serve the saag aloo in bowls with pitta slices to the side. Garnish with the nigella seeds and chilli rounds!
Crispy Baked Tacos, Refried Beans and Pineapple Salsa
6 Plain Tortillas
1 can of Pineapple
1 can of Black Beans (400g)
1 can of Tomato Frito (200g)
125g Cherry Tomatoes
1 Chipotle Paste Sachet
1 Garlic Clove
1 Spring Onion
1 tsp Dried Chilli Flakes
2 tsp Smoked Paprika
1 tsp Ground Cumin
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees (fan). Curl the tortillas into a ‘U’ shape and add them to an oven proof dish. Drizzle the tortillas with olive oil and put the dish in the oven for 5 minutes, or until the tortillas are beginning to crisp. Once done, remove them from the oven and set aside.
- Meanwhile, peel and finely chop the garlic. Drain and rinse the black beans. Heat a large wide based pan (preferably non stick) with a drizzle of olive oil over a medium heat. Once hot, add the smoked paprika, ground cumin, chilli flakes, chopped garlic and drained black beans and cook for 30 seconds.
- Ad the chipotle paste and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomato frito and 100 ml of cold water to the spicy beans and cook for 5-8 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.
- While the sauce thickens, chop the cherry tomatoes roughly. Trim and finely slice the spring onions. Chop the pineapple rings roughly (reserve the juice!).
- Once the sauce has thickened, remove the spicy beans from the heat and squeeze in the juice of ½ lime and mix to combine. Gently crush the beans with a masher a few times.
- Divide the refried beans between the crispy tortillas and return the dish to the oven for a further 5 minutes or until golden and crisp.
- While the tacos are in the oven, combine the chopped tomatoes, pineapple and sliced spring onion in a bowl. Add 1 tsp of the reserved pineapple juice, 1 tbsp of olive oil and a generous pinch of salt and pepper and give everything a good mix up.
- Cut the remaining lime into wedges, top the crispy baked tacos with the pineapple salsa and garnish with a lime wedge!