Cookbook author Mindy Toomay's blog about eating for health, cooking with spirit, and celebrating life in northern California. Here she dishes up food rants and raves, recipes, and plenty of kitchen wisdom.

By your own efforts, waken yourself, watch yourself, and live joyfully.
-- The Dhammapada

Why not make a daily pleasure out of a daily necessity?
-- Peter Mayle


5-Minute Tacos

Have you heard of the slow food movement? Some folks in Italy started it several years ago to promote the idea that eating and cooking should be honored as meaningful traditions to be savored and celebrated. It's the polar opposite of the fast food mentality.

I'm a slow foodie, for sure. Yet sometimes the clock gets in the way. Some days, that slippery eel called time wiggles out of my control and suddenly I've got maybe half an hour to eat, brush my teeth, and get out of the house for a meeting or movie or poetry reading at the local bookstore.

These tacos are for just such occasions. They're also great for when we're just plain famished and want some wholesome food in our stomachs as soon as possible.

Here's how:

1) Heat a dab of oil in a small pan. Add a few shreds of finely chopped onion and mushroom and cook for 2 minutes over medium-high heat.
2) Now add half a can of your favorite veggie chili (or 3/4 cup of cooked beans and a teaspoon of taco seasoning), a handful of baby spinach leaves, and a drizzle of water.
3) Keep the heat medium-high and let it bubble for 2 or 3 minutes, stirring every so often, while you heat up a couple of corn tortillas, which I generally do by laying them one at a time on the grill of a gas burner on my stovetop, turning 3 or 4 times as they warm and puff up slightly.
4) Fill the tortillas with the bean mixture and add some salsa and cheese, if desired.

You've cooked a meal in no time flat, now slow down and enjoy it. Yes, breathe between bites and really taste what you're eating.

Buddhist philosophers like Thich Nhat Hahn would call this mindful eating. If we're present for each moment, our minds focused on the sensory information contained in the here and now, we can experience true peace and pleasure.

And that's the best thing about being a slow foodie.

Blessings and bon appetit!


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