The Secret to Growth

In my devotion time this morning I was reading about planting and growth and bearing seed and it got me thinking about what happens to plants and the parallels we can draw to our lives. With the weather turning warmer, many of us are beginning to busy ourselves with planting our flower or vegetable gardens or at least, planning them. And if you're not a green thumb, you are at a minimum, witness to the new life and new growth that happens this time of year.

All around us, trees are blooming, perennials are making a return appearance and nurseries are bursting with fresh floral life again.  I love this time of year. I love it for the literal growth - the earth birthing new life before our very eyes. And I love it for the figurative growth - a stirring in us perhaps to set a new goal or invite change and renewal.

spring blooming.jpeg

The seeds we plant in our garden are their own energy source. A plant in embryo form, literally storing energy in a form that is only released when water, oxygen, soil and a close-to-ideal temperature are part of their surroundings. Until then, seeds remain dormant. Alive but not actively growing. Suspended or slowed down for a period of time. Did you know that germination inhibitors are responsible for this dormancy and are a part of every seed? They actually prevent a seed from growing until its chances of survival are good. I find that fascinating.

Before a seed begins to grow up, it grows down.

Once a plant is ready to grow and those growing conditions are ideal, those seeds have to first, grow roots. Before a seed begins to grow up, it grows down. It anchors itself with a root. The first sign of life to emerge is not what's revealed above the surface - the bright, showy flowers that we admire. No, the first sign of life to emerge from the seed coat is what's beneath. The root. The anchor for the growth that's to come. 

If the health of our roots determines our yield, what kind of fruit will you bear?

Much like plants, to blossom fully into the person we are called to be, to realize our full potential, we must be grounded in the thoughts and beliefs that produce the richest fruit. The thoughts and beliefs that energize and nourish us from the ground up. The things that others cannot see. The part of us that isn't often pretty.

roots pic.jpeg

And in the same way that seedlings require optimal growing conditions to move out of dormancy, we also require optimal conditions to realize new life.  What we read, what we watch, the thoughts we think, the people we surround ourselves with, the activities we choose to or not to engage in, the food we eat...all of these things either add to or take away from the richness of where we are planted. 

And if our choices are the growing conditions, our life experiences and adversity are the fertilizer. There to teach us something, to make us stronger, to enrich our growth. And from time to time, weeds will sprout and attempt to steal our energy - and we will have to kill them if we want to flourish. You know the best way to kill a weed is not to mow it or pull the top off right? You've got to remove that baby from the ground up, so it cannot establish it's own root system.

Weeds will come in many forms - negative thoughts, unsupportive relationships, physical injuries or illness, self doubt. But if our root system is strong and we make tending to our garden a priority, these weeds will be no match for our blossoming power. 

So as you move through this new season, I encourage you to approach your goals and your lives in the same way you approach planting a garden. Invest in the thoughts and beliefs that yield deep, strong roots and the activities that bring forth your richest growing conditions.

A Better Butter Chicken

As we get set to welcome a blast of cold Canadian winter, I find myself longing for something warm and comforting from the stove. 

Indian-inspired dishes are something I get a craving for every now and again. It's a great way to spice up the ordinary chicken, fish or veggie meal. Too often though, recipes and restaurant options are heavy-laden with butter and cream…ingredients that don't sit well with my tummy or health and fitness goals.

So I got playing around in the kitchen and ended up putting together this AH-MAZING version that gets its inspiration from Trish Magwood's Mock Butter Chicken. Thumbs up all around for this one - adults and kids alike! Feel free to play with the spices if your household prefers something on the milder or hotter side.

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp cayenne, more or less to taste
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 cup ground almonds (omit in the case of nut allergies)
  • 2 lb (or 4 breasts) boneless, skinless chicken breasts chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 of a head of cauliflower, broken into pieces
  • 1/2 red pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup frozen green peas

Preparation:

  • Melt coconut oil in a large heavy pan, over medium heat. Add ground cumin and fry for a few seconds or until fragrant. Add onion and fry until translucent. Add garlic, ginger, garam masala, cayenne, coriander and ground almonds. Cook, stirring for 2 minutes or until fragrant.
  • Add chicken pieces and toss to coat with onion and spices. Fry, stirring frequently until chicken is almost cooked through.
  • Add tomatoes and coconut milk; bring to a boil, stirring often.
  • Reduce heat to low and add cauliflower pieces, red pepper, chickpeas and green peas. Stir to combine. 
  • Simmer on low heat for an hour (if you have the time for flavours to meld), or until cauliflower is tender.
  • Serve over brown basmati rice with a side green salad or steamed broccolini for a complete meal.

Serves 4 with leftovers for a whole additional meal (freezable) or 6 without leftovers. To make vegetarian, substitute tofu for the chicken or use a whole can of chickpeas.