A Zen philosopher once stated, now is all we really have. Each day my son grows older, I marvel at how his personality is developing and am reminded of the importance of savoring each moment. At two he is charming and has a lovely sense of humor. He loves jumping in puddles, numbers, avocados, raspberries, and “squeezy” hugs. I am constantly amazed, humbled and grateful of the moments I have with him and try to savor them every single day.
Within positive psychology, the conscious act of savoring is a relatively new area of research. In addition to marveling, there are other types of savoring that include expression of gratitude through thanksgiving, basking in pride, and the enjoyment of rich physical experiences. To fully savor a moment, one must practice mindfulness, the act of being fully aware and attentive to the present moment. As we realize our positive experiences, to fully savor them we must try to appreciate, prolong and enhance the beauty of the moment.
With the hectic nature of modern day and all the noise—distractions and pressures—that competes for our attention, it can be a challenge to practice mindfulness and to savor precious moments. Fortunately for me, my son helps to remind me when he says funny things like “lovey love, where’s my crayon?” or “Maman, hold you in the body please (a.k.a, please pick me up)”.
Eventually, those specific types of moments will end. Before I know it, he might think he’s too old for such hugs and won’t ask to be picked up, but there will be other precious moments to celebrate as he continues to grow. For this I am grateful. I will try to fully savor each of those moments, being mindful of them because…now is all we have.
Spinach and Wheat Berry Salad with Miso-Gomashio Vinaigrette
Serves about 4
2 1/2 cups water
1 cup wheat berries, soaked overnight and drained
4-5 cups spinach (and other greens if desired)
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half (optional)
1/2 cup or more seasonal fruit (I used blackberries, blueberries, cherries, and raspberries)
1/4 cup green onions, finely sliced
1/4 cup dried figs (I used Turkish figs), chopped
1/4 cup walnuts (or almonds), toasted and coarsely chopped
1-2 teaspoons gomashio (recipe below), to garnish (optional)
2 tablespoons white miso
1 tablespoon warm water (you may need a little more)
1 tablespoon or more gomashio, or use toasted sesame seeds
1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons ginger, peeled and finely grated
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon tamari (or soy sauce)
salt, to taste
Bring water and wheat berries to a boil. Decrease the heat and simmer, covered, until the wheat berries are tender, plump and chewy, about an hour. Please note, they should be a little firm, or al dente. Remove from heat, drain, set aside, and allow to cool.
Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette. In a small bowl, combine miso paste with warm water (it can be hot but not boiling) until miso paste has dissolved. Add remaining ingredients and whisk until combined. Taste and adjust seasoning.
When the wheat berries have cooled, toss in a large bowl with some of the vinaigrette. Add the spinach and toss again. Gently add the remaining ingredients and more vinaigrette. Toss, taste and adjust seasoning. Sprinkle with gomashio or sesame seeds and serve.
Notes: Here’s a photo of another time I have made this salad. I added cherry tomatoes, sliced almonds, and more gomashio.
Gomashio (Toasted Sesame Salt)
Gomashio is a dry condiment made from unhulled sesame seeds and salt. It is often used in Japanese cuisine. I like to sprinkle it over salads, brown rice, soba noodles, and more.
1 teaspoon (or more to taste) coarse sea salt
15 teaspoons sesame seeds (I used black and brown)
In a heavy skillet (cast iron is best), toast salt until it turns grey in color. Set aside.
Toast sesame seeds, stirring constantly, until they start to pop. Watch them very closely as they can quickly burn.
Grind salt with sesame seeds with a mortar and pestle, just until the seeds crack open and release their oils.
Store gomashio in an airtight glass jar and keep in a cool dry place. In the refrigerator it should last about three weeks.