I am a little late on my gratitude the day after Thanksgiving.
But let this be a reminder that gratitude is a daily healthy practice that can facilitate mental health. Positive psychology demonstrates for us that gratitude is closely linked to greater happiness, optimism, and healthier relationships.
I have a lot to be grateful for this year.
But one seemingly small generosity from my favorite Swedish family stands out.
I’ll spare you the why, but a couple of months ago, I was frantically trying to figure out where I was going to live. I needed a temporary abode, while I looked for a place to buy.
Then a phone call or a Facebook message (I don’t remember the order) with one of my best friends, Martin, happened. “Yeah, we’ve got you covered.” he told me. I questioned how this legal assistant/social worker was going to pay to rent his parents’ (second home) Gold Coast condo, but he assured me it would be worked out. It was.
It seems like such a small gesture, but you see, I don’t know his parents well. Quite frankly, I wasn’t sure of the last time I’d seend them.
They didn’t have to open their home to me and they could have requested a much higher rent. But they have graciously let me stay and take care of their cozy condo on the 20th floor with a spectacular view of the city.
What this means to me is…
I feel inspired to cook and experiment with new foods every day in this sacred space of a kitchen. I share my creations with my fellow yoga trainees and colleagues every chance I get.
I wake up at the break of dawn every morning naturally because I leave the curtains open as I say goodnight to the city lights.
I get unabating silence, which I LOVE.
And I have a heated parking garage, which might be one of my favorite luxuries yet.
What it really means is that Martin’s parents have big Swedish hearts filled with generosity, trust, and little concern for attachment. After two years of gypsy living, I value being grounded in a comfortable space that much more. Maybe that’s why I am especially grateful for them this year.
So, in the spirit of gratitude, I have taken my Tahini-Almond Chocolate recipe and created a Lingonberry Chocolate variation to highlight this powerful anti-oxidant of a Scandinavian berry.
Lingonberry and Tahini-Almond Gratitude Chocolate
Makes approximately 24 chocolates using a mini-muffin pan.
1 c. organic raw cacao butter (www.sunburstsuperfoods.com or www.iherb.com)
1 c. organic raw cacao powder
1/4 c. organic raw honey
1/8 tsp. pink Himalayan salt (or sea salt)
2-3 tbsp. Lingonberry jam (Or try real lingonberries if you can get them!)
1/2 c. raw blanched almonds
4-5 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp coconut oil
1/4/c. filtered water
Crafting Your Chocolate
1. Create a “double boiler” by placing cacao butter in a pan on top of a pot of boiling water. You want to melt the cacao butter, not cook it.
2. Take liquid cacao butter, honey, and salt and mix in a small bowl. Slowly add in cacao powder a little bit at a time. Mix until smooth.
3. Pour approximately one centimeter of chocolate into the bottom of each tin and place in freezer. (This should be half the chocolate.)
4. In a food processor, combine almonds, tahini, coconut oil, and water. Blend until smooth. A little grit is okay.
5. Taking small dollops of the tahini-almond mixture, mold into small balls and flatten into patties that are smaller than the bottom of the mini-muffin pan. (If the bottom of your muffin pan is 4 centimeters, keep them smaller than 3 centimeters.)
6. Remove from freezer. Place tahini-almond patties in the center of each chocolate and top with a dab of lingonberry jam. Cover completely with remaining chocolate.
7. Top with a small morsel for aesthetic appeal such as almonds. Freeze for 10-15 minutes. These will hold together at room temperature, but not warmer.