Mid week delicacy: Moist Chocolate Cake

recipe.food.chocolatecake.sweet.valentine'sday.holiday.happy.share.love.saynotofoodwaste.9It’s February! This marks a month of love and holds the promise of a coming spring. What better way to celebrate the two than with a chocolate layered, chocolate filled and chocolate frosted cake? Here is a super easy to make recipe of the Moist chocolate cake that will leave everyone, from friends to loved ones, drooling and jumping for joy. Below you’ll find what’s waiting inside this mid week’s delicacy.

Happy Eating!
Hokuma & Jenny

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What I learned during Ramadan

Eid Mubarak.ramadan.feast.food.saynotofoodwaste.happy.healthy.share.sustainable.arab.muslim.islam.love.2Dear Friend,

Today is Eid al-Fitr, a special holiday that marks the end of Ramadan and fasting for Muslims around the wold. For the next three days, Muslims will show unity, give food and money to people in need, and share meals with friends and family. Being born in Azerbaijan, a country located at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and the Middle East, I was exposed to diversity from a young age. Starting with religion and ending with architecture, diversity is what makes my country and myself unique.

So this year, I decided that I will follow my countrymen and fast during Ramadan. Going without food and water seemed daunting and almost impossible. The first days were tough. I had to rearrange my daily schedule and hear my body protest the changes by growling and leaving me weak. These mental and physical adjustments also included significant decreases in exercise and increases in meditation. In some ways I felt that I was cheating, especially when I thought of all the individuals who worked in labor intensive environments and couldn’t adjust their jobs, (especially if they didn’t live in a Muslim country). I also thought of people living in northern countries where sunlight can last for more than 20 hours a day!

Not being able to eat throughout the day meant that I had an increased appreciation towards food, and knew what it felt like to be hungry. But, unlike the one billion people faced with hunger, I knew when my next meal would come and that eased my mind.  I also began to celebrate the work Say No To Food Waste does of redistributing food to those in need, realizing that whether big or small I was helping make a difference in the lives of people. And this thought helped rekindle my love and commitment to this weekend activity.

The month of Ramadan helps people develop their will power, patience and control over their needs/desires. It focuses on commitment, kindness and hard work, which are valuable skills in our daily lives. Especially the lives of entrepreneurs who must stay dedicated to their work, overcome hardships and face new challenges.

I am proud of myself for embarking on this journey. It pushed my limits, showed me my hidden strengths and encouraged me to continue working on the above mentioned abilities. What about you? When was the last time you tried something new, pushed your limits and dedicated yourself to a difficult challenge. If it’s been a while, why not change this? I leave you with this inspiring quote: “A smooth sea never made a skillful sailor.”

So how about it? Do you dare to push your limits?
Let me know if you do.

Much love and happy holiday!
Hokuma

Pictures and Survey

saynotofoodwaste.foodwaste.sustainable.happy.green.discosoupedc.together.love.happiness.communityDear Friends!

There are fresh new pictures from our second Disco Soupe DC event!
If you want to learn more about it and the organizations that took part, be sure to download the directory!

And if you were one of the lucky guests to attend the event, please fill out this quick survey and let us know what you thought! We strive to make each Disco Soupe DC better than the last and your input will help us achieve this goal.

Together we’ll build and sustain this amazing community that lowers food waste, helps people in need and celebrates art! Thank you for all your support!

Much love,
Hokuma

What a waste

saynotofoodwaste.food.health.sustainability.happy.growth.love.earthThe past 5 weekends Say No To Food Waste helped recover 692 pounds = 314 kilos of surplus food from a local organic supermarket and donate it to those in need. This is a rewarding feeling, especially since agriculture is responsible for 70% of water use and 80% of deforestation. In addition to that, so many natural resources are preserved and greenhouse gases are avoided by having this food feed people and not landfills.

But for many, working in food recovery is synonymous with working with trash. Although there is a huge difference between the two, lots of people choose to avoid such work and refuse to talk about it. This fact always left me in wonder because trash and food waste is generated by people. Especially those who are wealthy, well dressed and work in shiny offices. And if one group of people is an expert in buying, consuming and wasting, shouldn’t that be balanced with a group of people who are becoming good at doing something with this waste so that it doesn’t build up and swallow us whole?

Screen shot 2014-04-09 at 3.16.18 PMBalance is something we as a civilization have found hard to achieve. All of us want something, and that is fine. What isn’t fine is when we tell people that certain jobs are more prestigious than others. That certain people have more rights than others because they dress, talk or look a certain way. That someone’s well paying job is more important than yours, even if that’s untrue in many ways.

What I want to focus on is finding a way to tell the story of people who have been marginalized, ignored and written off by society because their work seems unimportant. It seems not prestigious enough to make front news papers, but it is so vital and important for our day to day lives. This beautiful commercial by a Thai insurance company helps tell the story of individuals who have nothing, but give their everything and make the world a better place. Do you have any other ideas of how to tell the story of these individuals? If so, please comment or send me an e-mail, I’d love to hear it!

Take care of yourselves and thank you for being you!
Hokuma

HAPPY NOVRUZ!

Happy NovruzThe seeds of my samani have sprouted and are bravely growing upwards. The other day a delicious shipment of traditional deserts arrived on my footsteps: pakhlava, shekerbura and shor gogal. The house was filled with the aroma of rice and we lit up some candles.

This fire aspect of the holiday takes root in the Zoroastrian religion. On the last Tuesday before Novruz you make a bonfire to jump over and light up candles in the house. Each candle represents your family member. Each individual makes a wish, and it is said that the candle which dies out last represents the wish that will come true. So picking your candle wisely was always a difficult challenge for me.

But, as I prepare to celebrate the coming of a new astronomical year, the reawakening of nature, I feel something awakening in me. My spirits are higher, my smile is wider and I feel like a budding flower that is ready to open up its arms and sing to the world: “HELLO! I’M HERE! ALIVE AND HAPPY! SO GLAD TO BE HERE!”

This is what I feel, and I am so sure that many positive things are waiting all of us. So as you come together to celebrate, rekindle friendships or make new ones, stay open, stay positive and something magical will happen. And if you really want some extra protection, then burn some uzarlik (rue), as it will provide you protection from evil eyes and negative energies.

Here’s to new beginnings, new adventures and new life!

Happy Novruz friends!!

Much love,
Hokuma