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My life spins around Jason these days. I’m his wall to lean on, his support system, his masseuse, his nutritionist, his ear to listen, and a shoulder to cry. He’s been the provider, me – the supporter.

He’s a freelance producer working for TV, and stress is written into his job description. On every job, like clockworks, at some point the shit hits the fan and all hell breaks loose. When that happens, days become nights and nights merge with days without a warning, the laws of physics subdue, and pigs learn to hop backwards.

During that time, when Jason finally comes home after an 18-hour day of sheer madness on wheels, he feels as if he were chewed up, turned inside out, and spat out on the pavement. It takes a lot of stamina, integrity, and various relaxing techniques for him to be able to scrap himself off the bed the following morning and go back to face the creative insanity all over again. During the day, I check in with him to remind him to breathe, hydrate, and take a moment to empty his bladder. I send him links to pages like this one so he can see the world directly surrounding him from a new perspective. I bring him dinner to work, or just drive down to his office and get him out for an hour, thus allowing him to eat in peace and restore energy to finish the day. At home, he gets his back rubs and full on massages with lotions and fireworks upon request. Relaxing music fills the space in his brain, leaving no room for erratic thoughts and letting the mind calm down.

This one, for example is magical – Max Richter’s “The Trees” from The Blue Notebooks album… Just listen. Close your eyes and let go. Breathe…

In the morning, minutes before Jason leaves, we do a little breathing/grounding exercise. We wrap our arms around each other, close the eyes, and breathe…deep, for at least two full minutes, while our minds bring forth the things that matter in life, the things that are stable and balanced, the feelings that are empowering and comforting.

I am particularly proud, as I perfected this technique, details of which I’ll explain in just a second. It is a groundbreaking method of calming the nerves in the moment of utmost stress. Once the studies get published, and the technique implemented in psychotherapy sessions across the Universe, I foresee a monumental shift in the evolution of Homo sapiens. (Maybe that’s what Ray Kurzweil has been talking about in all his books on Singularity?)

The method I’m the mother of is really just one simple exercise. I’ll explain by taking a male patient (Jason) as an example: in the moment of high stress, when feeling on the verge of breaking down, he must think of …tities, a whole mouthful of tities. Or any other object or activity associated with an equally pleasurable experience. In the beginning, it may be hard to remember. However, if reminded of the exercise on daily basis, it should become a second nature.

Now, don’t look at me like this. And oh please, do not even pretend you’re offended. You know you want to try it yourself. When you do, trust me, the success rate will shock you. Before you know it, you’ll be sending me fruit baskets and thank you notes with “You’ve saved me. My life will never be the same again.” scribbled neatly across the paper. You’re welcome.

In the meantime, I’ll continue doing what I do best – showing my love and gratitude through food I make for everyone I care about. Every morning I make sure Jason leaves the house with his lunch box filled with a nutritious and delightful meal that will carry him through the day. One of his favorites is a WRAP with a side of baby carrots, a juicy apple, and a handful of Wheat Thins.

Anything can be wrapped in a WRAP:

–       avocado, spinach, tomatoes, turkey, and shallots

–       roast beef, horseradish sauce, arugula, and cucumber sticks

–       roasted zucchini, asparagus, baby greens, and chicken strips

–       grated cheese, black beans, red bell pepper strips, and red onions

–       edamame spread, pastrami, roasted peppers, and fresh dill

–       Dijon mustard, spinach, tofu, tomatoes, and scallions

–       low-fat mayo, baby spinach, slices of Brie, chicken, and pickles

–       hummus, turkey, tomatoes, fresh basil, and radishes…

There can be more than four ingredients at a time, be my guest. Whatever you find in your refrigerator could be wrapped along the folds of wheat, non-wheat, multigrain, or rice-flour wraps. However, there are a few rules you want to be mindful of when wrapping your WRAP:

1. Don’t overcrowd it, so the filling doesn’t overflow when you dig your teeth in its flesh.

2. Each bite needs to be moist, but not soggy.

3. Each bite must have texture to it.

4. Each bite should fit into your mouth, and fill it with bliss and delight.

Remember, when life wants to arm-wrestle with you, when air pressure gets high and atmosphere around gets tense, when you are about to scream and run… may tities be with you.

“What’s for dinner, baby?”

“Umm, I don’t know yet. Let’s see what we’ve got in the fridge…”

That’s usually how the whole creative process of cooking begins in our house. I dive into the refrigerator, then poke my head in the pantry, sniff around, scratch my forehead, wiggle my mouth back and forth, and then I hear the wheels turning – my mind is brewing a dinner menu.

Jason and moi

It’s a tough and rigorous journey that nevertheless takes my mind for a ride through different stages of bliss each and every time. The whole production is commenced in peace – chopping crunchy vegetables is a meditation. Just like that, I enter a zen state of mind while prepping all ingredients of my dish. Deciding on what spices to use suddenly stimulates my brain, and the excitement slowly begins to build as I marry all elements together. I let the time and heat work their magic. Then I scoop a teaspoon full of flavor to taste, let the flavors wrap around my tongue, and… euphoria. I reach the peak.

That’s why I cook.

At times it’s an exhausting exercise but always fully satisfying the same way you may find a good work out at the gym, or a Sunday morning love-making with your mate. Either one may be concluded with a freshly brewed cup of coffee and a slice of a homemade blueberry curd cake. Is there a better way to start a day?

I should introduce myself. Well, it’s complicated. My name is long, and Polish, and a mouthful. Call me Agi, just like all my American peeps do.

Another character in the story you’ll be hearing about is Jason. He’s a white boy from Texas. He’s well mannered, funny, cute as a button, hot with his shirt off, with a BIG voice and a sharp mind. He’s my best friend, my lover, my mate. He supports whatever idea springs out of my head. He makes me giggle like a 6 year old, or laugh out loud and uncontrollably prompting our neighbors to slam shut their windows. He shares his world with me, teaches me new things each day, and gives inspiration for another meal I’ll build from scratch. He’s the love of my life and the adoptive father to our 3.5-year old pup, Cosmo.

Cosmo loves carrots

I’m dying to share with you the stories of my creations – the circumstances, the processes, the textures and colors, everything to the very last bite. Even though I’ve gone through a 6-week crash course in the traditional French culinary art, I tend to search for lighter fare. In my world there’s little or no cream, butter, or white flower. I choose whole wheat, whole grain, organic, free range, grass fed, locally grown ingredients, when available. I recycle. I use water with caution. I turn off the light behind me. I keep my car tires full and unplug chargers when not in use. I like it healthy and green style.

My promise to you is to keep this blog alive, bursting with flavors, colors, and endless recipes. I hope to keep you interested. I hope you’ll keep coming back for more. I hope to hear back from you.

Bon Appetit and Carpe Diem!


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