Tag Archives: Walt Whitman

Intent of the Day: Accept What You Can Do


Our intent today is inspired by the many times we’ve ended the day feeling dissatisfied, unproductive and not enough. What do you do when you feel like you don’t measure up? Our intent is to instead accept what we CAN do. Maybe it was one huge task, a bunch of small tasks or that you just got out of bed today. Accept the progress you’ve made. Celebrate the ways you showed up today and the strength you gained since the day before. Today is the building block for tomorrow!

Are you struggling with where you are in this moment?
Here are some resources to help: Continue reading

Untranslatable Too: Accepting The Contradictions Of Life

Walt Whitman is by turns comforting and disturbing me today.  It’s why I sought him out.  I’m overdue for a good cage rattling.  Time to tip myself sideways and reexamine the landscape.

So, I sent my soul out to loaf on the metaphorical grass with instructions to listen for the password primeval, knowing that footsteps of my mind and the beatings of my own heart are all that will sound.  Sure enough, the echoes came from within.  I caught my own thoughts dancing with words of wisdom from friends and relatives, and mixing with the lines of poems and songs that I carry like talismans.  These collected scraps are the stories we tell ourselves.  They are our master works, our personal legends.  The secret lies in the listening.  The gift is finding insight from both the spider’s silken whisper and the wind whistling through the web. 

It’d be so much easier, if the map of a life, the architecture of emotions, and the trajectory of action really did reveal themselves on stone tablets, in tea leaves, or etched onto our palms.  We humans like answers.  We like to think, even at the risk of over-thinking.  After all, what’s the point of our highly touted capacity for Reason, if we can’t pin a quandary to the mat and fix it’s wings in place.  But when is the butterfly more beautiful — in free flight or sprawled on Styrofoam?

I find that the echoes in my head are leery of logic.  They resist reasoning.  There are no “right answers” to the Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How of life’s decisions.  Formulas fracture in the bright light of day.  Our personal legends are notes to self, not prophesies.  This is liberating and terrifying.  It’s much easier indeed to follow a rulebook.  But somewhere between the paralysis of freedom-induced fear and the chains of rational determinism, I’m finding rest in the still point of irresolution.

Somehow, I find myself suspended between two very different gravitational forces.

On the one side, a yogic acceptance, which has learned to resist the urge to alter things — circumstances, inquiries, other people, myself — through force.  Calm comes from mastering one’s own reactions.  In other words, happiness and suffering are internal decisions not external absolutes.  The choice is ours.

On the other side, a passionate intensity that dwells in duende, the darkly mysterious primal goad to creative acts, brilliantly defined by Federico García Lorca. This is the demon of soulful discomfort, which tears at the fabric of what I am or was or should be.  It is the screaming yawl that I want to let run rampant through my chambers, scratching the walls for trap doors and hidden passages.   For how will I make anything meaningful, if I don’t allow myself to fear its destruction or loss?

Serenity and Longing.  Are they really opposites?  Love and Pain, can they ever be estranged?  If, like Depeche Mode, you despise that throw away feeling of disposable fun, then this is the one.  Life.  You are the master.  You are the servant.

Do I contradict myself?

Very well then I contradict myself,

(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

PHOTO (cc): Flickr / Humayunn N A Peerzaada

excerpt Walt Whitman “Song of Myself”

30 Days Of Healthy Indulgences: Holiday Bursts of Sugary Sweetness By Our Lady Of Weight Loss Janice Taylor

Our Lady of Weight Loss:  Holiday Bursts of Sugary Sweetness

By Janice Taylor, Weight Loss Artist, Coach, Author (www.OurLadyofWeightLoss.com)
It wasn’t until I permanently removed over 50 pounds and developed a taste for baked sweet potatoes plain and simple that I questioned the wisdom of creating a casserole that was topped with toasted white lumps of melted gooeyness.
Seriously, why would you want to mess up something so naturally sweet as the sweet potato with mini-marshmallows?.

Marshmallows date back to the ancient Egyptians.  Back in the day, around 2,000 B.C., the Egyptians combined the sweet sap of the root of the Marsh-Mallow plant with honey creating a candy fit for their gods and the Pharaohs.

In the 1920’s and 30’s,  once available only to the wealthy, marshmallows became a mass produced item.   Recipe booklets from Jell-O and Knox Gelatin reflected this happening.  Marshmallows were included in recipes on just about every page:  Banana Fluff, Lime Mallow Sponge, Cocoa Tutti Fruit and Paradise Pudding.  (Source: How Products are Made Volume 3).
By the time1955 rolled around, there were about 35 manufacturers of marshmallows in the United States, and Alex Doumak, of Doumak, Inc., patented “the extrusion process,” a manufacturing method that changed the history of marshmallow production.
Which leads us straight to my mother’s circa 1960’s kitchen and her GLAZED SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE topped with MINI-MARSHMALLOWS, and to the answer of the above question,  “why would anyone want to mess up something so naturally sweet as the sweet potato with mini-marshmallows?”
With each mini-marshmallow, I give a nod to the ancient Egyptians, their Gods and Pharaohs, I warmly remember my mother in her circa 60’s kitchen, and I indulge my sweet tooth, which apparently remains alive, well and yet manageable.
Today, I share with you two classic Holiday Sweet Potato Recipes.  The first, my mother’s famous 60’s style Sweet Potato Casserole, and my 2010 soon to be a classic, Sweet, Sassy and Sexy – Honey Glazed Sweet Potato Chips, which was met with heartfelt cheers last Thanksgiving and hopefully will be again this year!
1960’s CANDIED SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE DELUXE (topped with Mini-Marshmallows)

1 (29 oz.) can sweet potatoes or yams, drained
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cloves
dash of salt
1 1/2 cup mini marshmallows
Non-Stick Spray
Preheat oven to 350F.
In small bowl, slightly beat your eggs.  Set aside.
In medium-sized bowl, mash the sweet potatoes.
Add the rest of the ingredients with the exception of 3/4 of a cup of marshmallows.
Mix thoroughly!
Coat casserole dish with non-stick spray.
Place mixture in dish.
Add the rest of the marshmallows to the top of the casserole.  If you need more than 3/4 of a cup to make it ‘right,’ go for it!!!
Bake at 350F for approx. 20 minutes, until the marshmallows are the right shade of burnt for you!
Sweet, Sassy and Sexy – Honey Glazed Sweet Potato Chips
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons local honey (My niece has a bee farm in her backyard, can’t get any more local than that, can you?!)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
4 large sweet potatoes, sliced thin, thin, thin!
Rosemary, chopped – to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper – to taste
Kosher salt – to taste
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Lightly coat a 9-by-13 inch baking pan with olive oil spray (you can find it in the ‘spray’ aisle or make your own in one of those spray containers)
In a small bowl, whisk together the water, brown sugar, honey and olive oil – until smooth!
Place a single layer of sweet potatoes in the baking pan. Brush the sauce over the sweet potatoes. Turn to coat the other side.
Bake until tender, or until crispy.  Entirely up to you.
The trick is to coat them every 15 minutes or so.  One side and then the other (yes, even though you’ve already coated both sides).
When you get them to where you want them, transfer to serving dish and top with the Rosemary, salt n’ pepper.

Serve immediately!


From November 15 through December 14, Intentblog is launching its first-ever 30 Days of Healthy Indulgences, where every day for 30 days we are inviting bloggers from all over the health and wellness space to contribute their favorite healthy indulgent recipe in time for the holiday season. Today’s featured recipe is from Our Lady Of Weight Loss weight loss expert Janice Taylor


PHOTO (cc): Flickr /  inju

30 Days Of Healthy Indulgences: Ginger and Curry Leaf Rasam By Vikas Khanna

From November 15 through December 14, Intentblog is launching its first-ever 30 Days of Healthy Indulgences, where every day for 30 days we are inviting bloggers from all over the health and wellness space to contribute their favorite healthy indulgent recipe in time for the holiday season. Today’s featured recipe and blog is from renowned chef Vikas Khanna.

By Vikas Khanna

It’s the moment of truth in one’s life: you see something so profound that it leaves a permanent impression on your mind. For me it was everyday food rituals.

I learned to cook at my Biji – my grandmother’s side. It takes many years to understand the intricacies of the spices used in Indian cooking. The interlacing of the whole and ground spices requires a good deal of practice to get just right.

Spices are virtually indispensable in culinary art. Spices tease our senses with their enticing aromas, colors and their distinctive flavors, and have been the catalysts of some of the greatest adventures in human history, over which fortunes were made, nations discovered, and fates met.

The history and culture of Indian spices is probably as old as civilization itself and is an integral part of Indian Cuisine, which relies on varied use of spices, herbs, and seasonings to create unique tastes and aromas. 

Biji and I ground fresh spices for our every meal at home. That is a practice that I carry with me till today. At my restaurant Junoon, we have a “spice room” where spices are ground fresh every morning. This is one my favorite places at the restaurant. Generally my day begins here (weighting, grinding, creating mixtures).

There are a few things that I always follow while buying spices. I usually rely on the smell of the spices -Pungent smell indicates freshness, if they smell musty, then most likely the spices have been in storage for a while.

Also, buying smaller quantities each time ensures that I have fresh stock at all times. Spices lose flavor fast once ground, so I prefer buying spices whole and then I grind them only when and as much as I need.

The health benefits of spices are universally known. The extensive use of spices in Indian food, not only adds flavoring, but also makes for healthy eating. Spices like turmeric, ginger, garlic, green chilies have always been associated with medicinal and healing properties

Ginger and Curry Leaf Rasam

(Recipe from “Flavors First: An Indian Chef’s Culinary Journey” by Vikas Khanna)

Rasam is an immensely popular soup of South India and a must in every household. The word “Rasam”, in Tamil language, means essence, or juice and by extension has come to mean a particular type of soup that includes the tartness of tamarind or tomatoes. The ingredients used in a Rasam vary but it is basically a light, spicy soup.

Red Lentils have a tendency to cook quickly and are rich in protein, fiber and anti-oxidants.  Turmeric has been used for hundreds of years in India as a major ingredient for cooking and in Ayurveda. My grandmother used to boil it with milk and give it to us when we were kids before sleeping. A small paste was applied when we would cut ourselves and also considered auspicious in ceremonies.

The spiciness can be adjusted to your taste. At times I add vegetables to make this soup a complete meal.

Serves 4

1/2 cup dry red lentils

4 cups water

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

Salt to taste

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

10 fresh curry leaves

2 teaspoons black mustard seeds

Pinch of asafetida

One 3-inch piece of fresh ginger, skinned and finely chopped

1 medium tomato, finely chopped

2 1/4 cups water

1 (12-ounce) can coconut milk

1 tablespoon tamarind paste

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Wash the lentils until the water runs clear. Add them to the water along with the turmeric and salt and cook over medium-high heat until the lentils are tender, about half an hour, skimming frequently with a spoon.

In a heavy-bottom pot, heat the oil and add the curry leaves, stirring until very fragrant, about a minute. Remove 4 leaves and reserve for the garnish. To the oil, add the mustard seeds, asafetida, ginger and tomato and cook until the tomato begins to dry, about 3 minutes. Add the reserved lentils, water, coconut milk, tamarind, and black pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for another 3 minutes.

Season it with salt and serve hot, garnished with the fried curry leaves.

Vikas Khanna is an award winning, Michelin Starred Indian chef, restaurateur, food writer, filmmaker, humanitarian and the host of the TV Show MasterChef India. He is based in New York City. To learn more about Vikas Khanna, visit his website www.vkhanna.com

30 Days Of Healthy Indulgences: Lissa’s Quiche By Lissa Coffey

Starting today on November 15 and ending next month on December 15, Intentblog is launching its first-ever 30 Days of Healthy Indulgences, where every day for the next 30 days we are inviting bloggers from all over the health and wellness space to contribute their favorite healthy indulgent recipe in time for the holiday season. Today’s featured recipe is a super-easy, super-healthy and super-delicious vegan quiche recipe by lifestyle expert Lissa Coffey. Enjoy and share with others! 

Lissa’s Quiche
By Lissa Coffey, Coffeytalk.com

According to the Ayurvedic calendar, here in the Northern Hemisphere November through February is Vata season, when the weather is typically cold and dry. To balance Vata, it is best to eat warm, cooked foods. Vatas also crave creamy goodness, and it is particularly comforting at this time of year no matter what your dosha is!

I’m vegan… well, 99% vegan, I can’t pass up a good pastry every now and then! And I love a good quiche. That egg-y texture and cheese-y tang totally satisfies the taste buds and makes for a complete meal. Yet I struggled finding a quiche that that met my criteria of being vegan, and yet still yummy. So I made one up myself! As you do when you’re an ayurvedic vegan and a Vata to boot! Quiche is fantastic because it can be for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The leftovers are quickly reheated. Whether you have a crowd to feed, or it’s just you, it won’t last long! My non-vegan friends are always surprised that they have just gobbled up something that is totally good for them.

This recipe is super easy, and the results are truly delicious. Adapt for your own taste, and experiment with other veggies, too, just make sure you pre-cook them. I’ve used various cheese flavors, artichoke hearts, broccoli, fresh tomatoes, cut up vegan sausages, zucchini in different combinations – it’s all good. But my favorite is the spinach version, so I’m sharing it with you here. Happy Holidays, and Bon Appetit!

Lissa’s Quiche


1 prepared pie crust (I like Marie Callender’s brand)

1 box Mori Nu Firm Silken Tofu (I use the Lite version)

1 bag fresh baby spinach (I get the kind you can microwave right in the bag for easy clean-up)

1/2- 1 Cup frozen peas, cooked

1 bag Veggie Shreds cheese, any flavor you like – or use Daiya cheese if you’re strictly vegan

1/2 cup Nutritional Yeast – this is not necessary, but it does add a lot of flavor so try it!

optional: sauteed garlic, onions, your favorite spices (nutmeg is good with spinach).


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

After you cook the spinach, place it on a chopping board and chop it up.

In a large bowl, place the Mori Nu Tofu, and break it up with a fork.

Add the spinach, peas, cheese, nutritional yeast, and any additional flavorings.

Mix all together and pour into the frozen pie crust shell.

Bake on a baking sheet at 375 degrees for 50 minutes or until knife comes out clean when poked in the center of the quiche.

Let stand about 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!


Lissa Coffey is a lifestyle and relationship expert and a frequent contributor to The Today Show and other national television shows. To learn more about her, visit coffeytalk.com

PHOTO (cc): Flickr / prideandvegudice

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