Thursday, February 12, 2015

Love Thoughts for Valentines Day 2015

Pre Valentine's 2015 Thoughts
I'm watching the birds this morning, feeding from the bird feeder in front of the kitchen window.
I especially love the red cardinals, who mate for life. The male watches over the female as she feeds, safe in his hideaway, a ficus hedge. He patiently and willingly lets her feed for a long time before he claims his own. I love that! How wonderful, I thought, to experience this kind of unselfishness generous and patient love. I desire to have that in my own life! Loyalty is everything.

I am sharing this story with you, because there are also less unselfish and actually very greedy birds that I feed. Such as the morning doves, who also mate for life. They fight over their territory and only allow certain birds to share in their stash. Sometimes they get so rowdy, they smash into things by accident (no casualties as of yet)

Viva La Difference! We humans can willingly change our behavior through our decisions. It is not ever too late to experience unselfish and unconditional love. It starts with us. I truly believe we can rise above our baser instincts and transcend into freedom.

Valentine's day is the day set aside for love, "a perfect day to go within and glance back with affection and understanding at your real life journey so far...... we'll need courage to retrace our steps. But 'courage is the price that Life extracts for granting peace', the pilot Amelia Earhart reminds us... 

Today is the day for being. Be with those you love, be kind to yourself. Be quiet and call forth the dreams buried long ago. Those embers are still glowing in your soul. "See them in your mind, hold them tenderly in your heart" advises Sarah Ban Breathnach, author of Simple Abundance, A Daybook of Comfort and Joy.

Today is the day to just be in the moment, within the perfection of now! The only Now we have. 

Be with the ones you love with gratitude.
Many Blessings to all.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Imagination - Oil painting on wood: 18"x30"

 An opportunity to view everything in a whole new perspective, tailor made for unlimited success, abundance, and great good health! Here's an illustration I created for an earlier campaign, called "Imagination" Oil on Wood 18"x30" Its our choice how we direct our thoughts. Be as a new born baby and think outside the bubble!

Friday, October 10, 2014

~ Cherie Bender's Glitter Book Of Magical Cooking ~ Chilled Blueberry Soup

Magical Gnome Drawing by: Cherie Bender
My maternal grandpa was a fabulous cook. One day, he made for me cold blueberry soup from the old country. This was my first taste of a delicious soup that could be served cold on a hot Indian Summer afternoon. Blueberries are rich in vitamin C and bilberry, great for your eyes. My Magical Garden Gnome introduces this  healing, refreshing recipe for eye and brain support.
As always, try to use only organic ingredients!
This recipe serves four:
5 cups fresh blueberries
4 cups filtered water
1/2 cups turbinado sugar
2 tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/4 tsp. nutmeg, ground
1 cinnamon stick 3"
1/8 tsp. kosher or sea salt
2 cups yogurt, plain or blueberry
4 thinly sliced lemon
In a large saucepan, combine  blueberries, water, sugar, lemon juice, nutmeg, cinnamon stick and salt. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Discard the cinnamon stick and pour mixture into the blender or food processor, blending until smooth.
Pour into a large  decorative bowl, cover, and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
To serve:
Stir yogurt into soup in a swirl pattern. Garnish with lemon slices and fresh mint or dill.
Enjoy my grandpa's special blueberry soup when a refreshing light meal is desired. Meanwhile, know you are healing your body and eyes with a delicious refreshment.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Cherie Bender's Glitter Book Of Magical Cooking: Healing Chicken Soup

Healing Chicken Soup iPhoto: by Cherie
Nourishment and love are contained in my amazingly healing chicken soup. The recipe was given to me by a good friend, and I know it works!
 Almost immediately, as the warmth begins to travel throughout your body, you start to relax, and realize tomorrow is another day. For now, be grateful that you are well fed.
My Healing Chicken soup may be made ahead of time and stored in your freezer by the bowl-full. Just take out and unfreeze when the need arises, adding fresh cut mint for sore throats, oregano to help combat infection, and basil for boosting your immune system.
Makes 8 servings
All ingredients are free range and organic 
6 cloves garlic, crushed and diced
6 tbl oregano
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh oregano
1/2 cup fresh chives
1/4 cup fresh mint
2 stalks celery, diced
1 cup diced carrots
1 small sweet white onion, diced fine
1 cooked yellow corn, remove corn from husk, makes 1 cup
6 large lemons, juiced with seeds removed
4-6 tbl extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup dry white wine (optional)
1 whole free-range organic chicken, cut into quarters by your butcher
2 cups tricolor Fusilli pasta
2 small red tomatoes, diced
1 avocado, as topping
Shredded parmesan cheese, as topping
ground black pepper to taste
Kosher or sea salt to taste
1. In a large stainless steel skillet, saute the garlic and onion on med/high heat in the extra virgin olive oil until golden
2. Add the chicken pieces to the skillet, skin side down. Turn and brown until golden on both sides
3. Add the 6 tablespoons oregano and 1/2 of the squeezed lemons. Now you may also add the white wine. Lower the heat and simmer for 25 minutes with the lid on
4. Turn the chicken pieces once more, add the rest of the lemon juice. Return the lid and simmer on low for another 10-20 minutes.
Set aside
5. In a large pot, fill with salted filtered spring water and bring to a rolling boil
6. Add the tricolor fusilli pasta. Boil until al dente and then carefully add the chicken & ingredients from the large skillet into the large pot
7. Cover and simmer on low, for one hour, adding the fresh chopped oregano, 1/2 of the chives, and the mint, within the last fifteen minutes of cooking. Remove the chicken bones
8. Serve in attractive soup bowls, with chopped avocado, parmesan cheese and chives as toppings.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Cherie Bender's Glitter Book Of Magical Cooking ~Tahitian Rose~

~ Tahitian Rose ~ Pastel Drawing  by Cherie Bender
" Your heart is like a magical kitchen. If you open your heart, you already have all the love you need" Don Miguel Ruiz: The Mastery Of Love.

When I think of roses, I think of Love. But roses also have an extra special meaning for me.
My Maternal grandmother smuggled five fragile porcelain roses and one delicate porcelain candle-holder, hiding them under her clothing, while traveling through Germany. Thankfully, escaping Hitler and the atrocities inflicted on her people.  Grandma and Grandpa are my connection to my Jewish family history.
 Amazingly, I now have these celebratory roses, virtually intact,  decorating my festive table settings!  They are a fragile, beautiful, strong remembrance for me of courage, and faith through adversity.
 Treasuring these porcelain roses as keepsakes of infinitesimal value, I feel the power and endurance of love each time I set my table.
The pastel drawing above ~ Tahitian Rose ~ was created as the figurehead of my new Magical Cookbook,  inspired by these porcelain roses and my  garden rose, a Tahitian Rose of majestic loveliness, the scent of which intoxicates and inspires.
Within the synchronicity of reading Don Miguel Ruiz's enlightening book and discovering the chapter "The Magical Kitchen" plus reading lots of amazing cookbooks on my journey, I feel truly blessed with  inspirational messages, healthy cooking, and wise counsel.
Food nourishes the body and soul. Faith nourishes the spirit. I'm an artist combining her great loves in my Magical Cookbook: painting, cooking, and aromatherapy recipes for beautifying the body and relaxing the soul.
Faith+delicious food = inspirational Magical Cooking! Recipes for beauty, health and longevity.
This is a fantastic opportunity and so much fun, sharing  my favorite recipes and illustrating them with my oil paintings, pastels and drawings.
 I'm creating another  new drawing called ~Azulene~ a pastel with Swarovski crystals, highlighting the beautiful healing Chamomile flower, and  the benefits of a Magical Formula of Azure Blue: an essential oil formed by the German method of distilling the charmingly beautiful Chamomile flower. I will be posting my pastel drawing called ~Azulene ~ and sharing my knowledge of the amazing healing and calming properties of Chamomile.
References: The Mastery Of Love: Don Miguel Ruiz;
Flower Power: Flower remedies for Healing  Body and Soul: Anne McIntyre

Monday, August 11, 2014

Cherie Bender's Glitter Book Of Magical Cooking: Baby Strawberry Shortcakes

Strawberry Fairy Drawing by Cherie Bender
 Perfect for Valentines Day Good Wishes! These baby strawberry cakes are also deliciously good for you.
Mixing almonds and oats into the biscuit dough gives an extra nutritional boost: almonds are high in monounsaturated fats, great for your heart. Oats lower cholesterol with beneficial phyto chemicals. Strawberries provide a high vitamin c source, and are a natural skin astringent.

As always, please try to use only organic products:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1/3 cup slivered almonds
1/3 cup plus 1 tbl natural turbinado unprocessed sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
6 tbl (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cubed into 1/2 inches
1 cup chilled heavy cream, divided, saving some for brushing
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, divided
4 cups hulled and sliced fresh strawberries
1 tbl Grand Marnier orange liqueur

To Prepare:
1 preheat the oven to 375 decrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2 pulse the flour, oats, almonds, 1/3 cup of turbinado sugar, baking powder and salt in a food processor until finely ground.
3 add the butter; pulse until only pea-size pieces
add 1/2 cup of cream and 1 teaspoon of vanilla; pulse until  large moist clumps form.
4 on a baking board, knead the dough until it combines. Pat into a 4 x 6 inch rectangle shape. Halve lengthwise, then crosswise into thirds. Arrange on the prepared baking sheet and brush with cream. Sprinkle with 1/2 tbl turbinado sugar.
5 bake and rotate the sheet halfway through cooking until golden brown on the edges, for approximately 20 minutes or when a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
6 set the biscuits on a wire rack, let cool.
(The biscuits may be made a few hours ahead of time and stored in a tight container at room temp)
7 combine the strawberries and the Grand Marnier, in a large bowl, mixing gently with a wooden spoon, tossing the strawberries often, and letting sit for a good ten minutes.
8 whisk 1/2 cup of cream, 1/2 tbl of turbinado sugar, and 1/2 tsp of vanilla in a small bowl until the cream forms peaks.
9 cut warm biscuits in half, place the bottom halves on plates, spooning the strawberries on top and covering with dollops of whipped cream. Top with the remaining shortcake biscuit halves. Garnish with sprigs of fresh mint for decoration.

I love the idea of an indulgent dessert that is also good for you! This is a perfect recipe to celebrate a new baby, a christening, or the addition of a new pet to the family. In fact, I just whipped this dessert up to celebrate, with a few of my closest friends, my adoption of another adorable Japanese Chin named Angel Claire Bodhi Bear. Which makes two; my first Japanese puppy being Dalai Lama Luck Dragon.
I hope you enjoy making this delicious recipe, and indulging in the luscious taste of healthy sweet strawberries!

References: Cooking your way to Gorgeous by Scott Vincent Borba

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Cherie Bender's Glitter Book Of Magical Cooking: Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed peppers are an excellent comfort food which may be saved in your refrigerator or frozen, for those days when nothing will satisfy but indulgence.  This recipe for my Fancy Stuffed Peppers is packed with lots of nutrition.
Fanciful Stuffed Peppers iPhoto by Cherie Bender
*All ingredients are organic & free-range*
Serves 4 people:

4 medium sized green peppers
4 baby portobello mushrooms, chopped
6 oz ground turkey
I jar of tomato sauce of your choice
1 cup Jasmine rice
1 diced sweet white onion
4 garlic cloves
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp Kosher or sea salt
ground pepper to taste
3 tbl extra virgin olive oil
5 tbl of red wine
1/2 cup Grated fresh Parmesan to sprinkle on top before baking, and some left over for serving

Trim and core the peppers, making sure the seeds are removed completely
 Par boil the peppers for 5 minutes in a medium size saucepan, lifting them out carefully with a wooden spoon so as not to damage the peppers
and set aside
Saute the garlic, medium heat, diced very fine, in the olive oil, until golden, then add the diced sweet onion, until a fragrant semi transparency. Then add the ground turkey, raising the heat for 6 minutes on high until the turkey is browned on both sides
Add the pepper flakes, and 1/2 tablespoon  of  nutmeg, making sure of an even mix. Add the red wine. Turn the heat down to low, and simmer, covered, for approximately 12 minutes, checking every five to make sure all ingredients are mixed evenly, then add half of the tomato sauce, mixing and simmering for an additional five minutes, or until the juices are absorbed, but the ground turkey is still moist.
Meanwhile, prepare the Jasmin rice according to the package directions
When the rice is ready, combine all ingredients together by adding the rice to the sauteed ground turkey mix in the saucepan. Stuff the peppers with the ground turkey mixture
Place the stuffed green peppers in an oven proof baking dish carefully, making sure they are evenly placed. Cover the peppers with the remaining tomato sauce, and sprinkle with the Parmesan, salt and pepper to taste.
Bake in a 350 oven for approximately 45 minutes, or until the peppers are nicely browned on top, and the tomato sauce is bubbling.
Remove carefully with a wooden spoon and serve. This dish is also more amazing reheated the next day, as a super-comforting lunch.