Good morning and welcome to a couple of you out there who are reading this newsletter for the first time. About 2 or 3 weeks ago I started noticing that the leaves on the tulip poplars were beginning to yellow. I dared not vocalize this observation because I simply could not admit that fall was coming. This week, when the sweet gums and dogwoods have joined the poplars, and leaves are beginning to show up on lawns, instead of in trees, I must acknowledge Nature and the passage of Time. Fall itself is a beautiful time, a crucial spoke in the wheel of Life. So why the resistance to its presence? For me, a thin-framed person with probably more than a touch of SADD, the cold of winter is something I dread. Likely fall's inability to capture my "hurrah"s is simply the result of being the harbinger of my most challenging season. I suspect there is also a residual feeling leftover from childhood, the resentment that the expansiveness and freedom of summer had ended and the regimentation of school taken its place.
Part of my daily practice has become to observe those thoughts that dwell on the crystallized moments of the past or the nebulous future, honor their presence, take from them any feelings and messages that may be pertinent to my present experience, and then attempt to shift my focus to exactly that, the present moment. I have found outdoor time to be extremely helpful when practicing the "let's be here and now" consciousness. Just last night I was observing the panoramic night sky with someone and discussing how frequently we use the word "magical" to describe an outdoor experience, as opposed to indoor spaces, which I would describe as many things including comforting, beautiful, calming, yet rarely magical.
This is why I am exceptionally thrilled to invite you all to share with me a couple of my favorite outdoor places. I am even more excited to share them with you because we will be playing music at this haven spots. The first is the Honeysuckle Tea House (click there for directions) on Pickards Meadow Road in Chapel Hill. Its unique indoor/outdoor space is just perfect for meeting friends, letting children play, listening to music (including our music!), drinking fresh teas, and enjoying snacks (if you are truly hungry though, you have to BYOF). Samadhi Kirtan Band will be playing there a week from today, September 11th, from 1-3 pm. Bring the family! The Tea House is extremely kid-friendly.
Later that evening (9/11) from 6:30-7:30, I am honored to have been asked to lead a kirtan at Boogie Holler's new Sunday evening Open Meditation Circle. Boogie Holler is a beautiful and truly magical (on purpose) outdoor stage and ceremony space off of Orange Grove Road in Hillsborough. This hometown kirtan will be just me and my harmonium, you all, and whichever drums and percussion show up. :-) The kirtan will be followed by the meditation circle from 7:30-8:30 pm. All the details, including directions, are found on the Facebook page linked above.
The following Saturday, September 17th, from 1-6 pm will be the 6th Biannual Jordan Lake Chanting Festival (click there for full details). This event is a wonderful afternoon of singing, dancing, drumming, vegan potlucking, and connecting at Shelter #8 of the Ebeneezer Church Recreation Area, Apex. There will be 7 different groups presenting call and response music from a variety of traditions. This location is not only serene and family-friendly, but very dog-friendly. Come and relax and chant your cares away!
Go out and enjoy this beautiful day with someone you love (including yourself)!
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 those busy busy days when you just want to come home to a nice shower and some ready-made goodness. *GF, soy-free
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 fantastic taste bud-pleaser of a 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
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
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
Silky Chocolate Pudding - $3/ea. or 2 for $5. For all the chocolatey, creamy sweets that you and I love, you would think I wouldn't have waited so long to put this pudding back on the menu. This is an utterly luscious, healthy, and completely simple pudding to make. The trick is its secret ingredient, avocados. Any of you who are guacamole makers and general avocado eaters know that they require forethought. You can't just rush into the store with a desperate need for an avocado and expect to find a perfectly ripe one. You have to kind of plan days in advance, buy the hard ones, and then manage to not forget to check them every day. How many times have I wasted an unthinkable amount of money on avocados that went ripe without you noticing? Enough that I put off making this yumminess until now. I credit tomorrow's holiday with creating the illusion of more time and freedom to shop for just the right avos. ;-) *GF, soy-free