Comfort Food for Those Who Need Comfort
"We serve comfort food to those that need comfort, and we do it with our own hands!"
The need to be comforted is a human need. If you have seen the Ava Duvernay's new TV series Queen Sugar, and you are like me, you are still shook from the words above that an impassioned Nova exchanged with her sister Charlie while arguing over the details of their late father's funeral and in response to Charlie hiring white help to serve fancy food at the repass.
Nova's words have been ringing in my head and my heart for weeks now. They are--in part--what sparked me to create this love offering for you. It is an understatement to say that we are in troubled times and in a state of deep pain and exhaustion. On a personal level, some of us may be experiencing depression, grieving the recent loss of a loved one, experiencing a difficult break up, lonely, in need of employment, experiencing constant triggers because of sexual assault and racism, or simply in need of hope. While, these things may not "go away" any time soon, I believe that God and our ancestors have give us tools to build fortitude in the most trying of times.
Below you will find two recipes that contain various ingredients and nutrients that can heal and strengthen you -- spices that bring warmth and circulation to sore joints and cramped muscles; grains that fortify your digestive system and keep you grounded; flavors that make you smile, bring balance, and that invite you to be present and in the moment.
Each recipe is plant-based (no a but can be used as a base to fit your eating practice; a majority of the ingredients are low cost and easily found in stores. Cooking from scratch and with your own hands doesn't have to be expensive or difficult!
Remember that the act of cooking whole, nourishing meals for yourself is an act of resistance.
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GINGER TAMARI SAUCE
Did you know that constant emotional, psychological, and/or physical stress can cause inflammation in your body, which can lead to dis-ease? So, yes, incessantly consuming images and videos of black people being killed (especially if one is black) does cause trauma to the body even on a cellular level. Inflammation is at the root of most dis-ease; incorporating more anti-inflammatory spices (i.e. turmeric, chili powder, and ginger) can help our bodies heal and become more resilient over time.
PREP TIME: 1-2 minutes | COOK TIME: 2-3 minutes
- 1 inch of ginger
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 tbsp of chili paste
- 2 tsp of ground turmeric
- 1 small shallot or 1/8 of a small onion
- 3/4 cups of tamari sauce*
- 1 tbsp of sesame seeds (optional)
* Tamari is gluten-free soy sauce made from fermented soy beans. It is often used in Japanese cuisine and can be found is virtually any larger grocery store. I like it because it also has less salt than regular soy sauce and is a bit thicker in consistency. If soy sauce is what you have on hand, that is not a problem! I would use half as much and substitute a heart healthy oil like olive oil for the other half.
- Blend ingredients together in a blender or a food processor. If you do not have access to either, simply mince the garlic, ginger and onion into very fine pieces; add the chili paste, tamari, turmeric and whisk it all together..
- Use this sauce as a marinade for tempeh, tofu, or beans! Or put it over your grains or some steamed veggies. I marinated 1 package of organic sprouted tofu with this sauce and made tacos with whole wheat tortillas, brown rice, and cilantro!
COCONUT CACAO OAT PANCAKES (OR WAFFLES!)
Instead of regular pancakes that can send you into food coma, these pancakes will energize and fortify you, especially for a long day of grinding! These whole grain pancakes are high in fiber and protein, it will leave you feeling feeling nourished and grounded. This recipe is completely free of refined/processed sugars and is perfect for a cold, fall or winter Saturday morning. The cinnamon adds soft, warming and healing component and the cacao will make you feel relaxed and more clear.
PREP TIME: 5 minutes | COOK TIME: 15 minutes | SERVINGS: 5-10 medium size pancakes/waffles
- 3 cups of oat flour*
- 1.5 cups of warm water
- 1 cup of plant-based milk (i.e. almond, soy, coconut, hemp etc.)
- 2 tsp of baking soda
- 1/2 tsp of salt (preferably sea salt)
- 1 tbsp of raw cacao powder**
- 1 tsp of ground cinnamon
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 5 pitted dates
*Oat flour (or any kind of whole grain flour) is incredibly easy to make. Just take 3 cups of rolled oats (any brand will do) and blend for about 30 seconds; instant flour!
**Cacao is simply chocolate in its purest form = raw + unprocessed. It contains tons and tons of beneficial minerals and compounds. Importantly, it has a ton of magnesium, which relaxes our muscles and brings overall calmness. When it is raw and organic it is an amazing source of antioxidants (protects cells from being damaged). Is it the same as cocoa powder? Yes and no. Cocoa is the heated form of cacao, and when it's in it's purest form has some good benefits as well. You can purchase cacao powder and/or nibs at many grocery stores, food co-ops, or here. If you like dark chocolate, you will love cacao. If you don't (or do not wish to spend the $, you can substitute unsweetened chocolate or unsweetened cocoa powder).
- Mix dry ingredients in your large mixing bowl; stir in (plant-based) milk and set aside.
- Blend water, coconut oil, and dates in blender for 1 minute.
- Mix blended ingredients in with dry ingredients and let it sit for 5 minutes.
- Lightly oil griddle or skillet with coconut oil and bring to medium heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup - 1 cup depending on the desired size for the pancake. Note: Since we are working with oat flour, you will notice that the batter will thicken the longer it is sitting out.
- Top with peanut or sunflower seed butter, coconut flakes, fresh fruit, honey or agave, unprocessed maple syrup, or eat them plain and enjoy!