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Saturday, March 31, 2007

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Spring is in the air ...

It's the last day of March, spring is in the air, and I feel like giving a little link love to blogging sisters - how very generous of me! So here are some spring related posts from my favourite women bloggers blogs. Not surprisingly, most of them are foodblogs. Enjoy! (and visit their blogs...)

PS: You can have a “Think Spring” flower to post on your own blog! James Jordan says: Instruct your blog readers to click your “Think Spring” picture to get their own HTML code and keep the virtual flower-giving going. Let’s see how far we can spread this "spirit of spring" meme!


From Elise Bauer of Simple Recipes (California)
Oh how I envy those "blossoming sweet peas"! Sweet peas are my favourite flowers, and they are still very far from "blossoming" here in Germany! In fact, the little plants from last year's seeds still sit on my window sill waiting to be transferred into garden soil once it is safe enough ...

Snow Peas with Pine Nuts and Mint
Spring has sprung here in Northern California. The sweet peas are blossoming, the snap peas are climbing, and I have peas on my brain! Today I had a hankering for snow peas and cooked up a bunch this afternoon just for the heck of it. There are so many ways to prepare snow peas, the only thing you really don't want to do is to over-cook them. This is a simple stir-fry with pine nuts, garlic, sesame oil, and a little mint. What's your favorite snow peas recipe?
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From Heidi Swanson of 101cookbooks (California)
This sounds like a great spring brunch dish indeed, I will sure try it out in the next couple of weeks, but I am not sure if I will make it for Easter ... My sons will be home from universities, and one of them is a vegetarian, so although this is a vegetarian recipe alright I doubt if he (and his brother, too) will like it. They are not so great fans of asparagus. I am, though, and I will enjoy this dish on some other Sunday with my husband and maybe some friends.

Savory Asparagus Bread Pudding
Flipping through
my friend Ann's new cookbook the other night, I stumbled on a delicious-sounding bread pudding recipe - Savory Asparagus Bread Pudding. It looked perfect for Spring, perfect for brunch, and if I were looking for something to add to my Easter recipe repertoire (which I'm not, but I'm sure some of you are), this looked compelling. A seasonal, family-style recipe where nearly all the prep can be done the day or night before.
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From Christiane Britton of 28cooks (Pennsylvania)
Another asparagus recipe! Great spring vegetable. There are more spring recipes in Fiber's blog, she did a remix from her archives looking for spring food, I find this collection very inspiring: 28 Cooks' Weekend Remix

Hearty Asparagus and Wild Mushroom Soup
I love this time of year. The sun is out longer, and the temperatures are starting to creep up. It makes you feel good when you walk outside and realize that you can shed a layer or two. I also love the food during this season. Everyone is starting to transition from the heavy, warming comfort foods of winter to lighter and more fresh tasting dishes. This soup is a great spring soup, not too heavy, yet perfectly light tasting. The fresh lemon zest is the perfect finish to the fresh asparagus and mushrooms, and the rice helps to make it a nice substantial meal.
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From Tricia Power of As the Garden Grows (Canada)
Now this is quite a different side to spring! Tricia remembers an incident that happened in "this time of the year" in Canada. I remember something similar happening to us when we crossed the then new bridge over the Oeresund between Sweden and Denmark. It was scary indeed!

Cracked Windshield - Auto Glass Repair
I think this is the time of year when the roads are the dirtiest and tend to have the most debris on them - at least in areas that have a cool winter climate. There’s often rocks and other litter on the road that can easily fly up and crack your windshield when you are driving behind another car or truck.
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From Anne-Marie Nichols of This Mama Cooks! (Colorado)
Another one of my favorite food blogs. Anne-Marie's post reminds me that spring is not just Easter. The Cinnamon Lamb sounds very mouthwatering to me, as cinnamon is one of the aromas I simply can't resist!

Pesach for the Rest of Us and a Passover lamb recipe
In Pesach for the Rest of Us: Making the Passover Seder Your Own, author Marge Piercy shares with us how she creates her own Passover seder with a group of family and friends. In her journey through the ritual, Piercy coaxes us toward a contemporary interpretation, rethinking what is traditional, and opening the celebration to non-Jews.
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From Lisa Roberson of Hippie Spelunker (Alabama)
Read what happenend in Alabama yesterday! A scary side of spring. I like Lisa's blog (even if it NOT a foodblog)! Maybe it is because I am still feeling a "hippie" myself. I encourage you to repond to her plea: "This is weird, ya'll! I want to know if ya'll are experiencing any of the 'yellow powder phenomenon', and if you are, is it typical? Sound off - please!!"

Yellow snow in Alabama
Yellow snow?! Ewwww! Ok, so it's not exactly snow, but, that is the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of trying to describe what's floating around in our air and blanketing our cars right now!It's pollen! Massive, massive amounts of pollen! It's allergy central around here! It's unbelievable!
Continue reading "Yellow snow in Alabama" »

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

How To Feed The Hungry Heart

By Dr. Brenda Shoshanna

As we prepare for the holidays and welcome spring, we find ourselves in a season where we can pass through hard places and allow the best in ourselves to come to life. This is a good time to look at all the ways we can open up, become available and rejoice in the gifts we have been given. As the days become warmer, as spring flowers begin to stir, we too can break through the coldness of winter and give ourselves and others a chance to bloom.

Happy holidays to all!

This article is dedicated to those who wish to learn he simple laws of love and how to practice them in all their relationships. Combining eastern and western wisdom, we discover easy, enjoyable steps to take which help make our relationships all we want them to be and allow us to live life to the brim.

How To Feed The Hungry Heart

Most of us live our lives hungry - hungry for love, attention, praise, success. But no matter how much we take in, it’s hard to be satisfied. The pleasure lasts for a little while and then before long we’re craving more. It is easy to spend each day waiting for tomorrow when we will get what we dream of, arrive at our goal, find a new job, have good weather, or finally, magically, meet the love of our life. Then things will be better. Right?

Wrong. When tomorrow comes it’s another day, just like this one. Unless we know what this day is, and how to live it fully and truly, the joy we dream of never comes. Or if the joy and success does come, it lasts a few moments and then leaves us oddly insecure.

After getting what we have wanted or worked for, for a long time, there can be a strange emptiness. Is this all there is, many ask? Others become afraid to lose what they have found – and start grasping it tightly. Others just want more, greed arises, hunger, addiction. In Zen it’s called being a hungry ghost- someone at a banquet who eats and eats, but is still unable to taste the food, feel full or be nourished by it.

The good news is that there are ways to live which allow us to eat, digest and be nourished all that comes to us. Many have no idea how to do this. They become so driven chasing the elusive golden ring on the endless merry go round, they lose the fun of the ride. They may not have even realized the ride is over, the sun has gone down and it’s time to go home. Some have even forgotten where home is.

Zen practice is about stopping the merry go round of our minds and heart. We take our attention off the prizes we think are waiting for us, somewhere else, someday, if we were only good enough. We take our attention off being good enough, and realize we’re good enough now. At this very moment we are that which we seek so fervently.

How To Take The First Step

Stop For A Moment

Practice is about stopping. We stop our usual way of running, moving, chasing, fixing, thinking, doing and take a breath. Just a simple breath, just like one we take every moment of our lives, but pay no attention to. The first step is to take charge of our focus and pay attention to what’s happening right here, under our eyes, to the breath we are taking, this very moment.

Where will that get me, some ask? They do not realize that without this very precious breath and the next one that follows it, they would not be anywhere. Strange, isn’t it, how we take this breath for granted. What else do we take for granted? It’s worthwhile to look and see.

Exercise: Pay Attention
Consider for a moment what you pay attention to all day long. What seems important to you, what do you take for granted and hardly attend to at all? Write it down. Do not judge your answers. Be honest and simple. As you keep track all week long, you’ll be amazed at what claims your attention, what you give your precious life force to.

We take so much for granted, as though it will be here for us forever - our breath, our children, our health, our spouses. But all is given for a short while. All comes into our lives and eventually goes and we may never even have taken the time to realize what was there.

As we live most of our lives paying attention to the dreams created by our racing, yearning, scheming minds, we are allow our Monkey Mind to rule us. The monkey mind is the mind that hops from branch to branch, person to person, job to job, desire to desire, thought to thought. It always wants more and more, never feels good and doesn’t now how to say thank you. It is unruly, reactive, unhappy and cannot be made to feel content. It chatters endlessly and is an expert in spoiling, judging and criticizing everything.

That Monkey Mind lives in us all. Sometimes it is very loud in our lives. Other times it settles down for awhile. This monkey mind pursues that which has no value and doesn’t know how to find that which it is yearning for. In order to fill our hungry hearts, we must learn how to recognize and dissolve this monkey mind, to take our attention away from it, to turn our focus to what counts.

Exercise: Stop The Monkey Mind
Spend some time getting to know how the Monkey Mind is operating in your life. Much of the misery we go through and blame on others, has nothing to do is simply the effects of our own monkey mind. The first step is becoming aware of its thoughts, deeds, impulses. We need not hate, reject or try to get rid of it, just to recognize what’s going on. This recognition takes its power away.. As we learn to make friends with this part of ourselves we help it to settle down and take its proper place.

When a sense of hunger, loneliness, dissatisfaction and craving comes, don’t blame it on others, or on circumstances. Instead, stop and look within. Know it is the monkey mind that is robbing you of the joy and fulfillment that is your natural birthright.

As you pay attention, stay in the present and take power back from the monkey mind, little by little you will be returning to your original nature. This nature is beyond words and thoughts. It is the part of yourself which knows the truth, which is kind and filled with clarity and satisfaction. This part of yourself will take over as you continue to practice paying attention, staying in the moment, and truly experience all that comes to you.

Everyday life and the struggles it brings, will become transformed into a series of moments that are fresh and new. You then take your newfound focus and are able to “be here” in a brand new way. Not only does this eliminate hunger, dissatisfaction and cravings, but it brings new spaciousness and possibilities to those you interact with as well.

Find out more in Dr. Shoshanna's e-book, Living by Zen (Timeless Truths for Everyday Life).
In this book you will discover the 2,000 Year Old Zen Secrets To Being Calm, Balanced and Positive, No Matter What Is Going On.
Probably the biggest need all of us have is to feel calm, balanced and positive no matter what is going on in our lives. This is exactly what you will feel when you begin to work with the unique program inside this e-book.
Living By Zen explores the things that steal your peace of mind, different ways you handle stress and why they do not work.
Download the book now and enjoy.

Click Here To Get A Copy Of: Living by Zen (Timeless Truths For Everyday Life)

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Dr. Brenda Shoshanna is a top-selling author of many books, including Zen And The Art of Falling In Love, (Simon and Schuster), Zen Miracles (Finding Peace In An Insane World) and others. She has conducted over 500 workshops and talks regionally and nationally, which have been widely acclaimed.

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