While preparing Christmas Eve dinner a few years ago I sliced the tip of my finger on a sharp blade. Although it wasn’t a particularly bad cut, it was deep. I wrapped it tightly and went outside to catch the final rays of evening light. While I was sitting on the porch, feeling sorry for myself, a neighbor popped over. As we chatted over the fence, I held my finger in my palm and grumbled about having cut myself. After offering me a pair of latex gloves so I could continue making dinner, he told me that he’d had a difficult few days. A close friend of his family, a woman with four children, had died in a tragic accident.
The weight of his story sunk in deep. I kept picturing the children without their mother on Christmas, or any future Christmases. In an instant, the life of this family had been irrevocably changed.
I returned to my house with a heavy heart. I felt deeply for my neighbor and the family dealing with this awful tragedy, but I realized that my sadness wouldn’t serve anyone in that moment. My sorrow would never bring back the wife and mother, nor would it put their family back together. The only thing I had control over was my feelings. I could continue to feel sad, or I could say a prayer for the family and make a greater effort to appreciate every moment. And, so that’s what I did.
I plugged in the Christmas tree, lit a candle, and turned on some Christmas carols. I decided I would create a magical Christmas Eve dinner for my family so that we could cherish the time we have together.
As we enter the holiday season, I encourage you take time to be grateful, every day. This can be something you do in an organized, methodical way, or it can be simply something you feel as you hop out of bed in the morning.
What are the blessings in your life? What fills you with joy? Who do you love? Who loves you? The more we take time to appreciate and acknowledge all that we have and all that we are, the more joy we will feel and the more there will be. Imagine your life like a cup…the more gratitude you put into it, the fuller it will become, until eventually it overflows with love, joy, and kindness.
Count Your Blessings Blender Guacamole with Crudités
This is an easy, delicious, and healthy dip to serve at your holiday gatherings. You can prepare it quickly so you can spend more time with those you love.
Typically, we think of guacamole with tortilla chips, but vegetables can be a delicious and healthy alternative. In the winter months, my raw vegetable intake is severely lacking, so I’ve found this to be a great way to enjoy more vegetables.
There’s a secret ingredient in this guacamole, which I learned from the chefs at Rancho la Puerta. You won’t be able to taste the peas, but they add texture and lighten the dip.
Makes about 1½ cups
½ cup frozen peas
a handful of cilantro
1 small garlic clove
juice of ½ to 1 lime, depending how tangy you want it
¼ tsp. sea salt
jicama, peeled and cut into sticks
English cucumber, sliced at a sharp angle
red bell pepper, cut into thick strips
To make the guacamole, place all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Serve with crudités.
The Mystic Cookbook: The Secret Alchemy of Food