Thursday, September 15, 2011

Investigating Chakras

In this new series, we will discover all there is to know about the chakra system.  The chakra concept originates from Hindu and Buddhist traditions.  The word chakra is derived from the Sanskrit word for “wheel’.  Just like wheels, chakras are wheel-like vortices believed to exist at the surface of all living beings.  The idea is that the chakras are energy centers and are focal points for energy transmission and receptions.  (source:

Let’s begin by taking a chakra test:

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Few Recipes from My Kitchen

Here are a couple of recipes for dishes my family loves.  Make all 3 as a full dinner, or serve each up on different nights.

Dinner Menu
Italian-style zucchini fritters
chicken marsala 
rice, lentil, & veggie pilaf

Italian-Style Zucchini Fritters

servings: 4

2 eggs, beaten lightly
1 zucchini, 3/4 shredded, 1/4 diced
1 Tbs. parmigiana cheese
3-4 leaves of basil, julienne, or 1 tsp. dried basil  
1/4 tsp. salt, dash of pepper
3 Tbs. cornmeal
1/2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4-1/2 c. vegetable oil     

Italian-Style Zucchini Fritters cont’d

1.  Beat eggs in a bowl with a whisk until smooth.  Stir in zucchini.  
2   Season with parmigiana cheese,basil, salt and pepper. 
3.  Next gradually add cornmeal, flour and baking soda.  Combine well.
4.  Heat oil in non-stick frying pan or electric fryer to 350-375 degrees.
5.  Drop the batter into the hot oil by the spoonful, making sure not to overcrowd the pan. Cook until fritters are golden brown on each side, approximately 4 minutes per side.
6.  Drain on paper-towel lined plate before serving.
7.  Enjoy!


Chicken Marsala
servings: 4

1 lb. thinly cut chicken breasts
1/2 c. flour
2 Tbs. butter
1/4 c. olive oil
5 Tbs. marsala wine 
5-8 Tbs. water or stock


Chicken Marsala cont'd

1. Pound the chicken breasts to a thickness of 1/4 inches.
2. Spread flour on a plate.  Lightly dredge the chicken slices in the flour, shaking off excess.  
3. Heat butter and oil in a large frying pan.  When foam from butter subsides, put the chicken into the pan in one layer.  Brown the slices quickly on both sides , in two batches if necessary.  Remove to a warmed plate.
4.  Pour marsala and water or stock into pan.  Cook over moderate heat, scraping the bottom of the pan.  Add chicken slices to pan and continue moving sauce around and scrapping bottom of pan, while pouring thickening suace of chicken.  DO this for 3-4 minutes.
5.  Serve at once.

**This is a great dish to serve over pasta.  Some variations include, sauteing onions and mushrooms and adding to sauce.   

Rice, Lentil, Veggie Pilaf

2 Tbs. butter
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 c. brown rice
1 c. orzo
1 c. lentils (I use red and green)
1/2 c. white wine
1 can diced tomatoes
4 c. water/stock (I use a veggie bouillon)

Season with: 1/2 tsp salt, dashes of pepper, bay leaf, basil, oregano, or choose your own spices.                             
Variation:  Sometimes I include chicken and Italian sausage into this dish.  Just brown meat first, put off to side, and then add back in when adding water.

Rice, Lentil, Veggie Pilaf cont'd


1.  Heat oil and butter.  Saute onions and carrots.  Add in garlic.
2.  Into this saute, add rice and orzo.  Stir frequently allowing them to brown.  Next add lentils
3.  Splash in white wine and let sizzle for 30 seconds.  Then add tomatoes and enough stock or water to come about 1/2 inch above pilaf.
4.  Cook on low heat at a simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 30-45 minutes.  The best way to test this is to take a spoonful to taste.
5.  Once rice and lentils are soft to the bite, remove from heat, uncovered and sit for 5-10 minutes.
6.  Scoop into serving dish and ENJOY!


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Trip To the Farmer's Market

A Trip to the Farmer’s Market

Fashionably late.  That's how we arrived at the Bristol Farmer's Market this morning.  I consider myself an old hat at market shopping.  It began in New Jersey when I started visiting the weekly farmer's market, at first subconsciously searching out connection and community amongst the producers of our local food.  I graduated on to a market consumer.  I would take a bag and go to a market for my meal ingredients; I’d go to the local farmer’s market in New Jersey, then I ventured out to a Delaware farmer’s market while on vacation.  A few times, while visiting my sister in Vermont, we’d frequent the market in her town.  Then last season I got to experience the farmer’s market from a vendor’s perspective.  My younger sister and I baked for the Saturday morning markets.  Our name was Conscious Creations and we baked sweets and breads with local and organic ingredients.

So when it was time to think about the farmer’s market this morning, I knew we should arrive about an hour after the start.  Fashionably late. What a perfect time to arrive!  The hustle and bustle was just beginning.  Vendors were all set up with their bounteous tables arranged for our viewing.  Small groups of people seemed dispersed around the park.  Two women purchased flatbread pizza slices to snack on as they chatted it up with the vendor, a woman who bakes her own flatbreads each week.  I glanced around and caught a scene of several girls sitting by the fountain with a dad knelling beside them as they all snacked on lunch they had just purchased.

With our basket in hand, my daughter and I strode around the market.  It’s located in Bristol, Vermont a quaint little American town, at the town green on Main Street.  The late summer day in Vermont, thick and lush, promised the humid heat from strong sun’s rays through the layer of cloud that hovered among us.  The market has a circular layout and we began our first circuit; just to see what we were dealing with here.  We know our goals: something to eat now and produce to eat later.  That first circuit rarely does the trick, often we’ll continue for a second or third glance at the various vendors and options before we make our choices.  Today was no different.

My daughter initiated our consumption by deciding on a cup of freshly made lemonade.  And what a great choice it was!  We stood by while the owner/operator of maybe, 15 years old, cranked the juicer as he squeezed our lemon into a blue tinted cup.  He went on to throw a slice of that same lemon in the cup with the juice, 2 heaping tablespoons of sugar, a handful of ice, and he filled it with cold water.  Putting another cup over the concoction, he gave it a few good shakes and passed it our way.  Wow – what a refreshing beverage.  From there we headed right, clockwise in our circular path, of course, to the flatbread tent.  We agreed on a flatbread with bits of bacon, thinly sliced potatoes, leeks, sprinkled with parmesan cheese.  At this point, I felt pretty confident that I needed to start with the produce shopping.

On this particular day, and most this season, there were three produce vendors in attendance, each with their harvests from their local farms.  I knew I wanted a salad so I went to the stand that looked like it had most of my ingredients.  I loaded my basket with a simple variety: 3 ears of corn, a head of red leaf lettuce, a cucumber that would make a good basis for my salad.  Then I couldn’t resist the pint of strawberries wisely set up by the check out area.  I threw in 3 different colored peppers: red, orange, and yellow, in anticipation of our family pleasing sausage, peppers, and onions on rolls dinner!  And I just tossed in a couple of zucchini, an old stand-by.  The teen in charge rang me up and I tossed all of my items in the basket.

We continued our stroll and next came upon our housemates and their Mountain Warrior Farm stand We scored a free freshly made samosa – yum!  Meanwhile, a small gathering of interested consumers gathered around the stand to hear more about the Chaga Chai drink for sale.  Traditional Chai tea had been mixed with Chaga, also known as cinder conk, is a fungus in Hymenochaetaceae family. It is a fungus parasitic on Birch and other trees and believed to have medicinal and immune-tonic properties (

We finished our circuit purchasing a few onions from another produce vendor who lives on our street and copped a squat.  Sitting on the rim of the town green’s fountain, my daughter and I enjoyed our snacks and took in a few moments of everything that was around us.  Aside from all of the food vendors, there were a few crafters and some non-for-profit agencies set up.  All of this was hosted by live music on the pavilion, children frolicking around the green, and lots of people talking as they frequent the town’s farmer’s market.  The best news I can share with all of you is that this experience is replicated throughout the U.S.  Find a farmer's market in your area, cleanup a basket from around the house, and go take care of yourself as you shop!