Browsing Category "Food"
5 Sep
Posted in: Food, Groups
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Sangha Curry

The Dancing with Life KM Group added a bit of spice to last Monday night’s session by meeting at the home of one of our members — instead of at our regular meeting place — and having dinner together. We didn’t talk much about the book, but we did talk about our lives and our practice….which, after all, is what Dharma Friendship all about.

We had Chickpea and Spinach Curry over Spicy Indian Rice with Toasted Almonds made from the totally awesome cookbook: Vegan with a Vengeance, by Isa Moskowitz. Here’s the recipe for the curry:

Chickpea and Spinach Curry (serves 6-8)

1 12-oz can whole tomatoes (in juice, not puree)
3 Tbs vegetable oil
2 tsp mustard seeds
1 large onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 2 cups)
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs fresh ginger, minced
3 tsp curry powder
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp asafoetida (optional)
3 cardamom pods
1 tsp salt
10 cups fresh spinach, well rinsed and chopped
4 cups chickpeas, cooked and drained, or 2 15-0z. cans, drained and rinsed

Prepare the tomatoes by removing them one at a time from the can, squeezing out the juice, and tearing them into bite-size pieces. Place the prepared tomatoes in a bowl and reserve the juice in the can.

Preheat a medium-size saucepan over moderate heat; pour in the vegetable oil and then the mustard seeds. Let the seeds pop for about a minute (you may want to cover the pot so the seeds can’t escape), then add the onion; turn up the heat to  medium-high and sauté for 7 to 10 minutes, until the onion begins to brown.

Add garlic and ginger, and sauté 2 more minutes. Add spices, salt and 1/4 cup of the reserved tomato juice; sauté one minute more. Add tomatoes and heat through. Add handfuls of spinach, mixing each addition until wilted. When all the spinach has completely wilted and the mixture is liquid-y, add the chickpeas.

Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust the spices if necessary. Simmer uncovered for about 10 more minutes, or until a thick, stew-like consistency is achieved.

Enjoy with friends!

1 Feb
Posted in: Food, Groups
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Enlightenment Muffins

And now for something entirely different…..

At the Dharma Seed KM group last Monday night, Roberta brought muffins. Not just any old muffins. They were home-made, Seven-Factors-of-Enlightenement Muffins from Gloria Ambrosia’s “The Complete Muffin Cookbook.” And yes, that’s the same Gloria (Taraniya) Ambrosia who teaches at IMS (Insight Meditation Center) and the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies.

The Seven Factors of Enlightenment from a Buddhist perspective are: mindfulnessinvestigation, effort, rapture, concentration, tranquility, and equanimity. In the case of muffins, however, the Seven Factors are: applesauce, brown sugar, granola, chocolate chips, coconut, walnuts, and sunflower seeds.

Needless to say, the muffins were AWESOME. Thank you Roberta! Here’s the recipe. (Yields 12 to 14 muffins)

Dry Ingredients:
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup unbleached white flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Wet Ingredients:
2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup canola oil
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup granola
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup coarsely chopped roasted walnuts
1/2 cup roasted sunflower seeds

1/4 cup flaked coconut

Here’s how:
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Sift the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Add the goodies and toss to coat.
3. Whisk the wet ingredients in a medium bowl or blend in a food processor. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry mixture. Stir just until mixed. Do not overstir.
4. Spoon the batter into a greased or papered muffin tin. Fill each cup nearly to the top. Top each cup of batter with a pinch of coconut, taking care to sprinkle it evenly over each cup. Too much topping piled high in the middle will prevent the muffins from rising properly.
5. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
6. Cool the muffins at least 10 minutes before removing from the tin.

(image: Housewives Tarot)


13 Jul
Posted in: Food
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Veggie Love

Here’s a bit of Veggie Dharma from Deborah Madison, my go-to kitchen guru.

Cucumber and Pepper Relish
from Cooking and Eating from America’s Farmers’ Markets

Spoon this relish over pulled string cheese, fresh cheese curds, or grilled fish. If you like a bit of bite, add a teaspoon of minced hot chile.

1 or 2 dark green cucumbers (about 3/4 lb.)
1 small sweet pepper, any variety, very finely diced
3 scallions, including an inch of the greens, finely sliced
2 Tablespoons chopped dill
1 Tablespoon chopped lovage or cilantro
1 1/2 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar
Sea salt and freshly ground white pepper

Score the cucumbers with the tines of a fork or a citrus zester. Cut them lengthwise into quarters, slice off the seeds, then chop the flesh into small pieces. Toss the remaining ingredients. Taste for salt and adjust the level of acidity if needed. Let stand for 30 minutes if time allows. Use within a day or two. (Makes about 3 cups.)

(image by Anna Oneglia)


28 Jun
Posted in: Food
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Veggie Dharma

OK, so this isn’t exactly Dharma…but ultimately, everything is practice, so here goes.

I joined this absolutely awesome CCSA (Combined Community Supported Agriculture), Fair Shares, and I just picked up my latest cache of goodies, which includes: Sweet Corn, Peaches, Tomatoes, Green Beans, Cabbage, Zucchini, Cucumbers, Green Peppers, Blackberries, Red Zeppelin Onions, Parsley, Egg Noodles, Alpine Cheese and a Baguette!

So here’s a bit of Veggie Dharma, adapted from Deborah Madison’s yummy cookbook, Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating from America’s Farmers’ Markets.

Big Tomato Sandwich

1. Slice the top third off a loaf of strong-textured bread. Pull out the insides. (Use it to make bread crumbs!)

2. Paint the inside of the bread with herb vinaigrette (recipe below).

3. Layer the bread with slices of tomatoes, roasted red or yellow peppers, and your favorite cheese. Bathe each layer with dressing and season with salt and pepper.

4. Put the top on the sandwich, press down, then cut into manageable portions. (This packs well if wrapped tightly.)

For the herb vinaigrette:
Finely chop 1/4 cup basil, 1 Tablespoon marjoram, 1 Tablespoon parsley with 1 small clove garlic. Add 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, then 1/4 teaspoons aged red wine vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.

Enjoy! (mindfully)




21 Jun
Posted in: Food, Money, Practice
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What’s Hidden Within

One of the DPP homework assignments for this week’s sitting practice was:
“Notice when thoughts arise connected to spending money or finances. What are the feelings associated with these thoughts? What is the response in the body? What happens when you imagine buying, then imagine not buying, that item? ”

For me, “that item” was an Iced Latte Grande With One Raw Sugar.

The “buying” was kind of neutral. OK, there was some grasping. But when it came to “not buying”…..that’s when the beast-that-I-didn’t-want-to-see made itself known.

Rebellion was there. Defiance. Entitlement. Then Justification. Rationalization. Defensiveness. Then Anger…at the unfairness of it all. Humor, thankfully, kicked in. Then Relaxation. Followed by Sadness. A feeling of Unworthiness. Depravation. Abandonment made an appearance. Impoverishment. Not Having Enough. Not Feeling Safe. Being All Alone.


All of that, disguised as a latte.


(image from “The Utter Zoo,” illustration by Edward Gorey)



29 May
Posted in: Food, Practice
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I’m Eating!

I’ve been listening to recordings of Sayadaw U Tejaniya answering questions during a recent retreat at IMS and it’s inspired me to re-think the First Bite Meditation practice I’ve been trying to do.

Instead of trying to remember to be mindful when I’m taking the first bite of each meal, I’ve decided to relax a bit and simply notice that….when I’m eating, I’m eating! Instead of trying to do something special with that first bite, I’ve shifted the focus to just trying to be aware of what I’m doing. If I notice I’m eating right from the first bite–great. If I notice I’m eating in the middle of the meal, or even at the end of the meal–also great.

And guess what! Now that I’ve let go of trying to “do” something, I’m finding that it’s not all that hard to be aware, at some point, that I’m eating when I’m eating!

Actually, it’s more like: it’s not all that hard to keep waking up to the fact that I’m eating. I keep zoning out again, of course. But then, I get another chance to wake up!

21 May
Posted in: Food, Practice
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My niece got married this weekend and everything about it was wonderful. The beautiful couple was happy and the families were delighted. The music was joyous. The flowers were lovely. And the food was delicious.

At least I think it was. But I can’t say for sure, because once again, my First Bite Meditation practice somehow slipped my mind.

Not entirely. About half-way through the meal I noticed a sweet-tart, “sting” of balsamic vinegar as I bit into the portobello mushroom. And I woke up!

But then right away I noticed some resistance to really focusing on the flavors. I noticed that I didn’t want to slow down. I didn’t want to “waste” time tasting what was in my mouth….I wanted to hurry up and get to that next bite!

And then I realized that there was something about the wanting that I wanted. I actually wanted to feel the wanting. There was something about it that was familiar. That felt right. It was as if I was certain that if the wanting wasn’t there, then somehow I wasn’t having a good time.

This is delusion, I’m sure. Because the sensation of wanting was a kind of force, a pressure, that needed the next thing. And I wanted to feel it. Even though it was a kind of dissatisfaction. Which is the opposite of enjoyment.

But just knowing that didn’t make it go away. It did make me think about it, though. So I’m giving myself credit for that.

15 May
Posted in: Food, Practice
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Not So Easy

I thought I was a pretty mindful person. I thought taking on a First Bite Meditation practice would be fairly straightforward, not too difficult….maybe a bit tedious, but really not that much of a challenge.

I was wrong.

I haven’t been able to go a single day without forgetting to do the practice at least once. Actually, a lot more than once. And it’s not like I’m catching myself after a bite or two! Sometimes I do. But often — often — I’ve finished the entire meal and am off onto something else before it even crosses my mind that I was supposed to stop and actually notice what I was eating.


But I’m not giving up. And I’m not giving myself a bad time about it. I’m just noticing…with surprise. I’m giving a little respectful bow to the formidable power of habit, and I’m starting over.

Again and again.

8 May
Posted in: Food, Practice, Retreats
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First Bite Meditation

On the last day of the “Worldly Dharmas” retreat, Sally Armstrong asked us to write down — and to share — one or two intentions we have for bringing our practice into the world over the next few months.

One of mine has to do with money and I’ll write more about that later. But the other one is to practice what I’m calling First Bite Meditation.

Mindfully eating at every meal is surely a good idea, but the truth is, it’s just not going to happen. At least not for me. At least not right now.

But I do think I can manage to be somewhat more mindful. And my first step is to set an intention of mindfully eating the first bite of every meal.

I’ve been trying it now for 2-and-a-half days, and most of the time I’ve caught myself mid-bite, mid-meal and thought….#!%&!….I forgot again! But then I just say, OK, at least I can stop for a second and taste this bite.

And then I do.

It’s harder than I thought, but it’s getting easier. I’m catching myself earlier. And I’m slowing down a little bit more.

It’s good to be in the world….and to know what it tastes like!