Lately I’ve been having happines on my mind. It seems the one thing we are all constantly reaching for, searching for, asking for, hoping for, praying for. But what is it really? What does it mean to be happy? Is it walking around year round with a big fat smile on your face? Is it when you fit in your skinny jeans? Having some (or lots) of money on your bank account?
Right now it’s easy for me to feel happy. I am on a beautiful island surrounded by beautiful, stylish and mostly very open minded people. I have warm sunshine on my skin all day, I do work that is appreciated, I am my own boss and have the freedom to decide exactly how I want to spend my days. Yes, happines is definitely staring me right in the face at this point. But still I wonder, is this it? Don’t get me wrong. I am infinitely grateful and feel humbled by my current good fortune. But somehow I sense that this seemingly glamourous life is not the real deal. At least it’s not the complete story. It is the package, the fancy gift wrap with silk ribbon bow. But not the present itself.
Have you seen that film with Jim Carey? Yes man! In it he plays a sour, sarcastic man who decides that in order to change his life he needs to say “Yes” to any and everything that happens in his life. Could happines be just that? Just simply saying a heart felt loud “Yes” to each and every circumstance in life? Be it pretty, sunny, gorgeous or cold, worn and beat up? Sorry, I don’t mean to get all new agey or overly feel goody on you guys . I just really this happines question of mine answered once and for all. It somehow seems so fleeting. Just when you feel happy, this or that happens and like the wind, gone is your happines. Or you finally finally get that thing you thought would make you happy and, yeah it does. Sort of… Or for a little bit, or until it doesn’t anymore. Or even to the point where having the very thing you so desperately desired makes you miserable…. Weird, that that can happen, ain’t it?
This I know for sure. I experience happiness when I stop longing for it. When what I have now is enough now. When I don’t imagine my life the way it should be, but live in it the way it is. When I feel alive, vibrant and beautiful. Or scared, insecure, tired or angry but am not fighting that. Happines is upon me when I pay attention to not just my needs but also of those close to me. When I make gratitude my first priority. When I accept love, even if it’s from a dog, a cat, a tree or a sunset that wants to give it to me. When I get that worrying is not going to solve any of my real or imagined problems. When I trust that I am taken care off, really really well (even when it doesn’t always look that way) and always will be just fine.
Wow, impressive no? This new found wisdom. But what do you expect me to say, when this is my current view?
Let’s see how all this happines talk holds up when the skies are grey, the wind is cold and the bills piled high. But in this present moment I am pretty damn happy, feel pretty damn insightful and pretty damn grateful for it!
These insights call for a celebration, don’t you agree? So I leave you with a sweet recipe for date and apricot rice “cigarettes”. These treats are happines rolled up in a crunchy gluten free rice paper wrapper. Succulent medjool dates and dried apricots are chopped to a paste with ghee, nuts or seeds, orange zest and juice and plenty of sweet spices. You roll this paste into thin (or not so thin if you are greedy like me) rolls which are coated with some more ghee. (Yes, you guessed it. My definition of happiness involves copious amounts of ghee. I would slather it on my thighs if it wasn’t so darn expensive!). Than you bake. Eh, voila! Crunchy, sweet, joyous happy goodies. Using rice wrappers makes this treat a gluten free option, and so even more people can share in the happines. Hope you find a pretty sunset to stare at while enjoying these beauties. And if not, just say “Yes!” to the rain and enjoy them any way. Happy munching!
This treat is best for Vata and Pitta due to the sweet taste that calms them down and balances them. The ghee is also very good for Vata. Pitta’s with a nut allergy might want to substitute the almonds with sunflower or pumpkin seeds. And they can also use coconut oil instead of ghee for a more cooling effect or to make this vegan. Kapha’s should only have these on occasion.
Date, apricot and almond cigarettes (makes 14)
240 grams medjool dates, pips removed and coarsely chopped ontpitte dadels
1/2 teaspoon roasted cumin seeds
3/4 teeaspoon cinnamon powder
1/2 teaspoon cardamon powder
150 ml juice of (blood) oranges
grated skin of 1 (organic) orange
60 grams ground almonds, pistacio, walnuts or sunflower seeds
2 big tablespoons ghee
28 rice paper sheets of appr. 15 cm in diameter
melted ghee for greasing
sesame seeds or chia seeds for decoration (optional)
coconut flour or coconut blossom sugar for decoration (optional)
1 soup plate or shallow bowl that is a bit bigger than the rice paper wrappers
1 baking sheet covered with baking paper
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius. Now set up your little rolling area. First have your rice paper sheets ready. Next to that place the soup plate or bowl filled with cold water. Next place a cutting board and last in line the baking sheet covered with baking paper. Grease the baking paper with a very thin layer of ghee.
For the pastry filling pour all ingredients, except the rice paper sheets and ghee for greasing, in a food processor. Pulse until you have a semi chunky or completely smooth paste. This depends on your taste. I like mine semi chunky. Put this mixture in a bowl and bring to your little rolling station. Place the bowl with the filling between the bowl of water and the cutting board. Now let’s get rolling baby!
Make sure you are completely concentrated to do this. You can’t be running around picking up phones, babies or underwear while doing this. Now is not the time for multi-tasking!! Place one rice paper sheet at a time in the bowl of water. Make sure it is completely immersed. Count to 10 or 12 and take it out. Place it on the cutting board. Scoop 1 tablespoon of filling on the bottom third of your now soft rice paper sheet, so on the side that is closes to you. With your hands roll it into a small log or roll shape but leave about 5 cm free on the left, right and bottom edges of the rice paper roll. Fold in the left and right side over the log shaped filling towards the middle of the log. They will just cover the sides of the filling and not the complete filing. Now fold the bottom of the rice paper sheet upwards, away from you, over the filling towards the top of the paper sheet. Now roll away from you towards the top of the cutting board until you have a nice roll. Place on the baking sheet and brush with some melted ghee. Sprinkle over some seeds for decoration if using. Make all rolls in the same manner.
Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven and bake 10 to 12 minutes until slightly golden and crunchy. They will get crunchier when taken out of the oven and left to cool for a minute or 5. Sieve over some sugar and serve immediately.