Fountains of Joy

Good morning and welcome to a couple of you out there who are reading this newsletter for the first time. It feels so good to be back! Last week I did something that I rarely do, go on vacation. And I mean a for-real, not-sneaking in any work kind of vacation. I even forced myself to leave the computer at home, which did mean that there was no newsletter last week to let you know that we were out of town. I apologize for that. I had intended to compose a short little message to that effect before leaving and schedule it to release on July 3rd. Yet another instance where intentions did not meet reality... At any rate, my son and I had a wonderful vacation in Boston and the surrounding area. For some photo snippets of the adventure, feel free to check out my Instagram account, @rangadevidasi. I am a late bloomer regarding Instagram, and yet, now that I have learned how to use it, I absolutely love it. If you haven't made friends with Instagram yet, grab a college kid to show you how it is done. It is kind of like photo sharing for the artistically challenged and makes it so easy to turn your regular photos into something snazzy. Here is my luckiest shot ever, taken at the Christian Science Fountain near the Prudential Center in Boston.

Now that we are done jumping for joy in fountains, I have had the tiring but good fortune to come back to several days of kirtans (a type of group call and response singing meditation) and festivals. If you don't have any plans for today, please feel free to come over to the 2nd Annual Festival of the Chariots that will be held today from 10 am - 7 pm in Morrisville. This festival originates in the sacred city of Jagannatha Puri in the eastern Indian state of Orissa. Every year in July millions (and I mean millions) of pilgrims attend this festival in Puri, making it quite possibly the largest parade on Earth. Last week National Geographic actually just aired a documentary about this beautiful and ancient festival. So if any of you are interested in singing, dancing, Indian food and fashion, and/or seeing my band, Samadhi, perform, please come on out and join us today. Directions and details are here.

This Week's Menu:

Entree #1 - Green Split Pea & Carrot Dal Sometimes you want something nice, something filling, something simple to eat - something you could take home to your Mama without having to worry if she would approve of it or not. This is the girl/boy next door soup, and what Mama could say "no" to a bowl of soup like this? It is creamy, nutritious, mildly spiced and colorful. It is also surprisingly filling, just perfect for the busy busy days of summer where you just want to come home to a cool shower and some ready-made goodness. *GF, soy-free

(photo poorgirleatswell.com)

Entree #2 - Mexican Black Bean Soup This soup has all the distinctive flavors of Mexican cooking - sweet and hot peppers, corn, tomatoes, frijoles negros, cilantro, and best of all, lime! Adding fresh lime on top of all those other succulent flavors, is like a ray of sunshine breaking through the clouds and pouring out onto the verdant landscape below, thus transforming the already beautiful scenery into something heavenly. There I go again, waxing poetic about my food... This is all to say - don't miss this dang good soup! *GF, soy-free

Entree #3 - Cream of Mushroom & Green Bean with Papadam Noodles Both the photo and the original recipe for this soup come from the Vegetarian Times website. However, I have modified the recipe so much that I stopped linking it in the title line. Our proprietary Govinda's recipe (ooh! that sounds so fun to say) uses almond milk for the base and papadam noodles instead of parpadelle noodles. If you have not yet been introduced to the glories of papadams, let me explain. Papadams are savory Indian wafers made from high-protein lentils called urad dal. Usually they are fried or dry roasted and come out like big crunchy "chips." In this recipe though, the thin wafers are added at the end of the cooking, softening up into delightful, high-protein "noodles." This is creamy noodle heaven to bring out the kid in you! *GF, soy-free

(photo vegetariantimes.com)

Side Dishes: Brown Rice - $1/serving (1 cup) Quinoa Verde - $3/serving (1 cup) No one wears green like quinoa! In this dish spinach and cilantro team up to give a strong dash of flavor to this crazy-healthy recipe. Between the Popeye-power of spinach's iron content and the complete protein profile of quinoa, your body will be jumping for joy after eating this quinoa. *GF, soy-free

(photo drjuliedurnan.com)

Savory Corn & Pepper Muffins -$2/ea. or 3/$5. These are the most delicious, chock-full-of- real-veggies, melt-in-your-mouth, Southwestern corn muffins you ever had. Although they are so tasty that they pair with just about anything, these little corn muffins pair best with the Mexican black bean soup. The corn, the peppers, the cilantro! ... I think I hear the desert calling me for dinner. *GF, soy-free

(photo browneyedbaker.com)

Rosemary Roasted Potatoes - $6/lb. Since I have just come back from a week of traveling, followed by a weekend of festivals and kirtans, I had planned to keep the menu simple this week. Yesterday my good friend reminded me about this recipe that she used to make all the time. The way she was fondly describing the caramelized crisp exterior of the potatoes, the soft and sweet interior of the cubes, the pop of fresh rosemary... Well, my plans for a two side-dish menu just went out the window. I just couldn't resist adding these potatoes to pair with the Cream of Green Bean soup. *GF, soy-free

(photo allrecipes.com)

Love Your Body Bites - $1/ea. or 6 for $5. These little balls of nutritious delight are one of Govinda's standard dessert offerings. Even when presented with a variety of choices (including the ever-popular Chocolate Tofu Creme Pie), many of our catering clients opt to have these nut and dried fruit sweets as part of their menu. They are so simple, so delicious, so very guilt-free, that your body will truly love you for eating them. *GF, soy-free

(photo paleogrubs.com)

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