Handstands and Peanuts

May 6, 2013 § Leave a comment

I have a good sense of balance. Of physical balance. In ballet class I’m able to stand on one foot, put my arms and my other leg into some wacky position and find stillness. This ability is what allows me to ride my bike with no hands and what makes me sick on the teacups at the fair (I’m convinced that my highly attuned inner ear is what makes me prone to motion sickness). As an upright, bipedal species, almost all balancing places an emphasis on using the lower body, on the feet, legs and hips. I have recently started taking yoga a few times a week with a great teacher and am beginning to explore balancing with the other end of my body, namely my hands, arms and shoulders (although I’m sure one of these days my head will be involved as well!). We were practicing handstands the other day, and a fellow classmate and I were giggling (yes, I giggled in yoga. It was totally zen) about how difficult it is as an adult to fling your body upside down (even with the safety of a wall), whereas when we were children, doing handstands, cartwheels and other acrobatics were considered fun and were just part of the myriad of activities that made up play. Playing requires one to simultaneously “let go” and to trust at the same time. I fear that as we grow up and become more cognizant of the craziness in this world we become more and more jaded and it becomes much more difficult to trust both ourselves and our fellow man. As adults we are taught to be responsible, law-abiding and upstanding citizens who get up, go to work, make the necessary money to pay for food, clothing and shelter and then if we have time, add to that things that we find fun, fulfilling and entertaining. But even then, this free “fun” time has to be regimented and scheduled and is often the first thing to fall to the wayside if work and family commitments start to require more of our attention. I feel as though the ideals of our North American society have been slowly and systematically building a life that I’m meant to want. Get the grades, go to university, do well so that you can go to grad school, land a well-paying job, find a partner, get a house and a car and pop out a few kids so that you can raise them to perpetuate the cycle. I am absolutely in no way criticizing this way of life or the people for which this is satisfying. However, I’m starting to realize that maybe this isn’t the life that I want. It’s equally difficult and terrifying and exciting to question this. So yes, finding the freedom to flip yourself upside down and relinquish the world as you know it is scary.

Where am I going with this? I’m not sure really. I guess the point is that while I may have an innate sense of physical balance, I think I need to start addressing the lack of balance elsewhere in my life. I know, it’s totally crazy just how much a handstand can make you start thinking about life.

photo 2

You might be asking yourself what the heck this has to do with food. To which I respond, “Plenty!” Flavour and taste are also all about balance, as is nutrition. This little bowl of awesome is inspired by Emma of My Darling Lemon Thyme fame and is a fine balance (there’s that word again!) of spice, sweet and tang.

Peanut Tofu Bowls with Cilantro

Serves 6

  • 2 1/2 cups short grain brown rice
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 block extra firm tofu, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 cup raw unsalted peanuts
  • 1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup coconut cream (place your can of coconut milk in the fridge and don’t shake it before you open it. The cream will float to the top and will be really easy to scoop out. Save the slightly watery remains for smoothies)
  • 1 red chilli
  • 4 TBSP gluten-free tamari
  • 1 TBSP coconut or olive oil
  • 1 TBSP water
  • 4 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 TBSP grated ginger

photo 1

1. Place rice and water in a pot, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and let cook for 40 minutes.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place peanuts on baking tray and roast for 10 minutes (keep an eye on them so that they don’t burn). Remove from hot tray and let cool. Once cool, process 1 cup in a food processor or grinder until very fine (be careful not to let it go too long though, or you’ll end up with peanut butter).

3. Heat a knob of coconut oil in a skillet until hot. Add tofu and fry until golden brown. Set aside.

4. Place coconut cream, chilli, garlic, ginger, tamari, oil and water into a bowl or glass jar and whisk or shake until emulsified.

5. Place cooked rice in a large bowl. Top with ground peanuts, tofu and cilantro to taste. Pour over sauce, toss, garnish with remaining whole peanuts and serve.



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