Browsing Category "Food"
12 Oct
Posted in: Food
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Morning Meditation

I made a big batch of chai last night, which got me thinking with great fondness of foggy mornings on long retreats, when I’d drink at least two cups at breakfast, then fill a thermos to take up the hill to the meditation hall with me, which made me feel so warm and happy and ready to sit!

Here’s the Spirit Rock recipe:

2 cinnamon sticks
2 whole star anise
2 tsp. whole cloves
1 tsp. whole black pepper corns
2 Tbsp. whole cardamon pods
4 freshly sliced ginger coins
4 cups water
2 cups milk
1/4 cup loose black tea
1/4 cup brown sugar

1. Place the first 6 ingredients and the 4 cups of cold water in a pot.

2. Bring to a boil.

3. Reduce to a simmer for 20-40 minutes.

4. Remove from heat and add loose black tea.

5. Let sit for 4-5 minutes. (no longer!)

6. Warm milk in a separate pot.

7. Strain water and spices into a bowl.

8. Add milk to strained spice water.

9. Whisk in sugar and adjust to desired sweetness.

10. Drink with pleasure.

11. Meditate!


30 Jul
Posted in: Earth, Food
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I Love You, Mother Earth!

A plug today for my Fair Shares CCSA (Combined Community Supported Agriculture) and for their new partnership with Urban Buds: City Cut Flowers, which is owned and operated by Miranda Duschack (on the right) and Karen “Mimo” Davis. Together they grow specially cut flowers and keep honey bees on their one-acre urban farm in the Dutchtown neighborhood of St. Louis!

The flowers are grown without harmful chemicals and with the use of Integrated Pest Management techniques, cover crops, compost, minimal tillage, and drip irrigation. They are grown in the field, in a high tunnel, and in a heated glass greenhouse.

And….they’re beautiful!

Tell Mother Earth you love her. Support local agriculture. And get yourself a bouquet!

9 Jul
Posted in: Food, Travel
By    Comments Off on Enjoy.


For today, I offer this photo of my typical “carry out” lunch while I was in Italy. I don’t have a lot to say about this Dharma-wise…except maybe to quote the “Venerable” Michael Pollan:

Eat Food.
Mostly Plants.
Not Too Much.

1 Apr
Posted in: Food
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Sip into Spring

Last week a mug of Chilly Morning Chai sounded good….but today I’m ready for lemonade. (Sometimes “impermanence” is your friend!)

Rosewater Lemonade
(from RETREAT: The Joy of Conscious Eating)

4 cups water
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
3 Tbs. honey
1 Tbs. rosewater (to taste)

Combine all ingredients. Stir well until honey is completely dissolved. Adjust sharpness and sweetness to taste.

Chill and serve.


23 Mar
Posted in: Food
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Chilly Morning Chai

I know it’s officially SPRING and all, but still — at least at my house this morning –it was chilly enough to want a nice, hot cup of spicy chai!

Here’s the recipe from my new favorite cookbook — Retreat: The Joys of Conscious Eating.

Masala Chai

6 cups water
4 slices fresh ginger
6 cardamom pods
3 cinnamon sticks
2 whole cloves
6 peppercorns
2 star anise
4-6 bags of Ceylon tea (or 4-6 heaping teaspoons of loose Ceylon tea)
milk and sugar to taste

1. Place all the spices in a pot with the water. Bring to a boil then simmer uncovered for 10-15 minutes.

2. Add the tea and remove from heat. Allow to steep for 6-8 minutes. Add milk and sugar to taste.

3. Strain and serve. (Or save in the frig to heat up for tomorrow!)

17 Mar
Posted in: Food
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Spring Green Yum-Yum

In honor of St. Pat’s Day, I offer this yummy One-Pot Soup Dish adapted from my new favorite cookbook (which I discovered in the Dharmagiri Retreat Center kitchen) — Retreat: The Joy of Conscious Eating, by Daniel Jardim.

Spring Green One-Pot
(serves 1-2)

4 shitake mushrooms, soaked in hot water
3 cups water
1 Tbs Veggie Soup Base (Penzeys)
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 Tbs ginger, chopped
1 Tbs soy sauce
7 oz. udon noodles
4-5 spring greens, rinsed (baby boy choy or baby spinach, for example)
4 slices tofu (marinated if desired)
1 Tbs parsley, roughly chopped
1 green chili, sliced

1. Trim the stems of the soaked mushrooms (cut in half if very large)

2. Place water, mushrooms, soup base, garlic and ginger in saucepan and bring to boil.

3. Simmer gently until soup base in dissolved. Add soy sauce and noodles.

4. Taste and adjust for seasoning.

5. Dip greens into soup and arrange on top. Add sliced tofu, parsley, chili and mushrooms.

6. Serve immediately.



3 Mar
Posted in: Food
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Green Gold

I’ve noticed that Retreat Food often includes a lot of seeds and nuts — a way to increase protein, I assume, but also of course to add texture and taste. The cook at Dharmagiri, for example, always cooked pumpkin seeds in with the oatmeal!

So for today, I offer this recipe for Pumpkin Seed and Parsley Salsa…an easy (and seedy!) treat I found in one of the cookbooks I saw in the Dharmagiri kitchen, The Cake the Buddha Ate. (The cake in question was Carrot Cake — with walnuts, of course.)

Pumpkin Seed and Parsley Salsa
(serves 4)

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1 clove garlic
1 green chili
1 cup parsley, roughly chopped
juice of 2 limes
1/3 cup olive oil (approx.)
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp ground cumin

Dry roast the pumpkin seeds in a frying pan. Allow to cool.

Combine all the ingredients in a blender, except for the olive oil. Begin blending and gradually add the olive oil until a paste is formed. Adjust the seasonings.


Great with corn tortillas and a tangy tomato sauce!

23 Feb
Posted in: Food
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Retreat Kitchen

On retreat at Dharmagiri (and at almost every retreat center I’ve ever gone to) the evening meal (often called “tea”) is usually soup and fresh baked bread. Which is perfect, because the noon meal is usually quite filling.

One of my favorite soups at Dharmagiri was Harira (Moroccan Chickpea Soup), which is featured in the cookbook I posted about previously — Retreat: The Joy of Conscious Eating. Since I now am in possession of that book, and was in the mood for something hardy and spicy yesterday evening, I decided to whip up a batch. It was quick and easy — and just as delicious as when I was on retreat!

Harira (Moroccan Chickpea Soup)
serves 4-6

1/4 cup olive oil
2 onions, chopped
1 tsp each cinnamon, coriander, cumin, paprika, turmeric (all ground)
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
34 oz. canned tomatoes, chopped
1 cup cooked chickpeas
1 cup cooked brown lentils (I used 2 cups chickpeas instead of the chickpea-lentil combination)
1/2 cup rice, rinsed
1 cube veggie stock, dissolved in 750 ml water (I used 1 Tbs Penzey’s Veggie Soup Base dissolved in 3 HOT water)
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
1/3 cup parsley

1. Saute onion with spices in the oil until tender. Add the celery, garlic and ginger and stir for another minute.

2. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the cilantro and parsley, and simmer until rice is tender. (about 15-20 minutes)

3. Adjust seasonings and add more water if needed. Stir in cilantro and parsley just before serving and an extra drizzle of olive oil, if desired.


18 Feb
Posted in: Food
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Retreat Tea

At every retreat center I’ve ever been to, there’s always a big urn of boiling water and a big selection of teas to choose from — black, green, white, herbal, flavored, etc. At Dharmagiri, they also kept hunks of fresh ginger and whole lemons on a little cutting board by the urn, so you could always make a cup of fresh non-tea tea as well.

In honor of which, I offer this recipe from Retreat: The Joy of Conscious Eating (the cookbook I saw in the Dharmagiri kitchen and ordered as soon as I got home). It’s a medicinal tea for winter ills, featuring ginger and cayenne to improve circulation, garlic and lemon to boost the immune system, and thyme to protect and soothe the respiratory system. Or you could skip the garlic and the cayenne, and just enjoy it for the taste!

Winter Mu-Tea

750 ml water
1/2 cup ginger, washed and sliced
4-5 sprigs thyme
2 garlic cloves, whole
fresh lemons
cayenne pepper

Place ginger, thyme, garlic and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer gently for 20 minutes. Strain. Add lemon and honey to taste, plus a pinch of cayenne pepper. Drink hot!

10 Feb
Posted in: Food, Retreats
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Conscious Cooking

One of the big things I miss when I come home from retreat is having all my meals cooked for me. There’s no shopping, no cooking, no need to even think about what I’m going to have for dinner. The food on retreat is (almost) always really good. Not fancy. But fresh and flavorful. (There have been some significant exceptions to this rule, but I won’t go into those here.)

At Dharmagiri we had fresh-baked bread everyday and lots of roast vegetables (especially butternut squash, beets, corn and carrots), frittatas, soups, curries with chutney, and delicious fruit salads (mango, pineapple, peach, banana and grapes with avocado and pumpkin seeds was my favorite).

I obviously couldn’t bring the Dharmagiri cook home with me, but I did notice that there was one particular cookbook out and open on the kitchen counter… Retreat: The Joy of Conscious Eating, by Daniel Jardim….and I’m thinking that maybe having the cookbook will inspire my non-retreat meals to be more retreat-like.

I’ve ordered the book. I’ll keep you posted.