Unexpected Adventures in Communication

Adventures in writing. Or perhaps it is more accurate to say adventures caused by writing. That was the theme of my personal life this week. Twice I had the opportunity to deal in person with discussions stimulated by something I had written in this blog. The first was when the person who was the stimulus for my piece a couple weeks ago on anger, suddenly turned to me and asked, "So what was it that you were angry about in your blog?" "What blog?" Oh... Yeah... No, he hadn't been vain. That song really had been about him. Although this was a wonderful invitation to engage in healthy adult discussion, I somehow felt more like a deer frozen in panic, facing the headlights. Given that I had written that blog two weeks before, done my own processing and prayer around the anger, and was now currently driving a car and thinking about Chinese okra and long beans, I felt entirely emotionally unprepared for said healthy adult opportunity...

Then the very next day I made the mistake of opening my email while in the middle of my cooking. In my inbox was an email from one of the owners of Luna Rotisserie, who, not surprisingly, took issue with my review of their establishment. De ja vu! Again that nauseating feeling, associated with knowing that I had disturbed someone else's feelings, came over me. Just when I should have been deeply tuned into how my 9-vegetable soup was feeling, my mind started racing, creating counter-arguments and witty rebuttals. Fortunately I have made enough mid to very serious communication errors to have learned that dealing with hurt feelings turns out better when handled thoughtfully and with prayer. Praying and thinking before responding commenced. I feel pleased and grateful to say that my email exchange with the owner resulted in exactly what I had hoped it would - an opportunity for productive discussion that leads to increased understanding between the parties.

One of the many reasons I love handling things in writing, is that you can take your time and hit the edit button multiple times before sending. However, life is not necessarily a carefully crafted piece of art, as much as it is a wild tossing of colors onto a canvas. It is how we choose to deal with those paint blotches that determines how artistic our canvas comes out looking. So you know, this week I had some chances to grow, to become a big girl, a stronger person, a more experienced artist. Though I am not about to say I passed these tests with flying colors, I am nonetheless grateful for them. Now God, don't get any ideas, please. Although I am grateful for the growth, I request you not to send any more tests my way this week... I am happy to have processing time in between exams. Surely summer break also applies to personal development?

Break or no break, the show must go on! ;-) For those of you who are interested in the music side of my life, here are some fun events to look forward to in the next month.

​Upcoming Kirtan dates:

Saturday, June 4th - This is actually a cancellation notice. Due to summer fun and travel, the entire Samadhi band is unavailable for our usual first Saturday kirtan at Triangle Yoga, Chapel HIll. We will be back in action on Saturday, July 9th at 7 pm.

Thursday, June 9th - Monthly 2nd Thursday Kirtan Meet-up. 6:30 - 8 pm. Vegan Flava Cafe, 4125 Durham Chapel Hill Blvd, Durham. For those who are new to kirtan, this is an uplifting and fun style of meditation set to music. Newcomers welcome! Come connect with the Divine through the power of musical mantra meditation. For more info: emilypenney@gmail.com.

Saturday, June 11th & Sunday, June 12th - K. Sridhar, master of South Indian Carnatic music, will be offering his final workshop and concert at Heart of Yoga School in Carrboro. If you missed his brilliant concert at the Arts Center, this is a great chance to learn from him of the ancient art of Indian music.

Friday, June 17th - 7-9 pm. Heart of Yoga School, 209 Lloyd St. Suite 210, Carrboro. Kirtan and storytelling with Rangadevi, Dani Leah Strauss, Katie Veleta, & Courtney Long. Heart of Yoga is also home to weekly heart-stirring kirtan sessions every single Friday from 7-8 pm.

Sunday, June 19th - 7-9 pm., Carrboro Yoga, 200 N. Greensboro St. Suite C1, Carrboro. Summer Solstice Kirtan with Danielle Koppell, Jon Seskevich, Chris Mankoff & Friends. For more info: ram1008@hotmail.com.

We also have some exciting food this week. Scroll on down to check it out!

This Week's Menu:

Entree #1 - Zucchini Kofta in Tomato Coconut Sauce

Guess what, everyone, good news! I have a going-away party to cater on Wednesday, and the customer requested kofta. So instead of killing my helpers and myself outright by trying to make two entirely separate menus, I decided to collapse the catering and the weekly meals together. Meaning that what you see here is the menu that my catering client ordered. Even though I am not at liberty to invite you to the party, I can totally invite you to partake of the yummy menu we created for it. For those of you who are not yet kofta fans, let me tell you that in India, shredded vegetables that are held together with a spiced batter of chickpea flour and then deep-fried to golden yumminess, are called kofta. But wait! The deliciousness does not stop there! These savory little balls are then soaked in a spiced tomato-coconut milk base before serving. Without exception, these kofta are our #1 most requested entree. Once you try them, you will see why! *GF, soy-free

(photo journeykitchen.com)

Entree #2 - Bengali Royal Rice

Well you know, kofta without fancy rice is like peas without carrots, fries without ketchup, grilled without cheese... At least when there is a party afoot, you have to make sure that your rice can stand up to the majesty of the kofta. This rice is about as fancy as rice can get. Made with a bevy of mouth-watering spices, nuts, raisins, and cubed pan-fried tofu, this rice is complete as a stand-alone meal, though she is also happy when draped over the arm of succulent dishes like kofta. *GF, can be made without tofu upon request

(photo simplevegcooking.com)

Entree #3 - General Tso's Chickpeas

The wonderful thing about exposure, is the exposure. Okay so that is against the rules of dictionary definitions - to define a word with the same word or root word (although dictionaries now do it all the time). However, I mean to say that when you get out in public, get some exposure, and meet new people, you end up making new friends, fans, customers, and getting new business. You may remember that in March I catered a retirement party. Our food was very well received at that party (even by those who were decidedly not interested in vegan food), and so now that another employee at the same company is leaving, she not only asked me to cater, but requested the same exact menu we had 3 months before. This Asian-inspired dish is kind of like a stir-fry with chickpeas, covered in an incredibly flavorful sweet & spicy sauce. It is also an irresistible intro to broccoli for those who are normally squeamish (yes, I discovered that even adults feel this way) about eating little green trees with their meals. *GF, this dish normally runs a little spicy, but because of the large catering event, we will turn the heat way, WAY down this week

(photo yupitsvegan.com)

Side Dishes:

Brown Rice - $1/serving (1 cup)

Asian Confetti Slaw with Peanut Dressing - $6/lb. Just as Pushpanna Rice and Kofta have become menu soulmates, this beautiful Asian-style salad has come to be the expected mate of General Tso's chickpeas. It is as flavorful as it is crunchy and fun. The finely shredded veggies, the pops of color and flavor from the edamame and the cilantro, the crunchy flecks of sunflower seeds, it all just looks like confetti for your mouth! One thing you must know is that I am as much a connoisseur of fine lines as I am of fine dining. The author of the blog where I found this recipe compared the appearance of this salad to party confetti. Since this is actually for a party, I couldn't let that metaphor slip by unborrowed. *GF

(photo aspicyperspective.com)

Chocolate Tofu "Creme" Pie - $4/slice, $20/pie. It's baa-ack! I have made this chocolate pie so many times, that I wonder if you all are tired of it... Then again, I remember how incredibly good it is that I have been known to eat some of the leftovers for breakfast... Because the pie is made with coconut cream, tofu, dates, and walnuts, along with a few chocolate chips, I can easily rationalize that it is a perfectly respectable morning food. It must be higher in nutrition than your average colorfully packaged commercial breakfast cereal, right?! Whether you eat it for breakfast, lunch or dinner, or all by its fabulous silky self, this pie is bound to become your new best friend. *GF

(photo minimalistbaker.com)

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