Food and Gratitude. Today’s Recipe: Aloo Gobi

I told my young, adult kids I would compile a book of easy-to-make, healthy recipes for them which would include vegan and vegetarian options. Well, that project hasn’t quite manifested, so I’m posting recipes one at a time on this site for them and all you lovely readers who follow this blog and who might find the dishes appealing.

Firstly, to create a truly healthy meal the mood has to be set, not only for the cook but also for the health of the food. I am a firm believer of feeling inspired when cooking. In some cultures if the cook is in a bad mood no food is prepared. They honor the possibility that cook’s bad mood could affect the family’s health. In our fast-paced modern culture it seems respecting the food and its sources has fallen to the wayside. Speed has become a priority over quality in the food industry which certainly plays a role in the demise of our population’s health. In this blog I’m hoping to inspire the restoration of calm and gratitude in process of creating nourishment.

Before pulling out the ingredients, take a deep breath, make a little drink for yourself – whatever your preference (mine is usually green tea). Next, put on some nice music. The owner of one of our fave restaurants said, before they open and while they’re cleaning and preparing the food, they play prayer music from their culture through the stereo system. The speakers bathe the entire restaurant in music. He feels it keeps the customers satisfied and the food healthy. While cooking tonight’s dish I listened to “Tibetan Incantations”, a musical compilation of the mantra “Om Mani Padme Hum”. It’s a  form of blessing, and I like to imagine the music riding the airwaves, making the molecules of myself, the food, the atmosphere very peaceful and happy. Perhaps your preference is light jazz, classical or something all together different. The choice of music should ideally assist the cook and those enjoying the meal to slow down, breathe deep and digest well. In my heart and mind, while washing, cutting and prepping the food, I thank the planet, the resources, the elements – earth, fire, water, air – the animals, plants, and all the folks who made the food possible from the farm to the table. Just feeling a sense of love and appreciation will cover all those bases. 🙂

For the table a cozy placemat and a little candle help ignite the digestive fires of whomever is enjoying the meal, (even if it’s just me). At the end of the meal I save a little and offer it as blessing to the spirits of our land. A little spoonful is placed in a tiny, ceramic bowl near an “offering tree”. Just a tender way of showing Nature we’re in a state of abundance and sharing, and connecting with the Earth. If you’re in an apartment and can’t get to a tree that’s ok. It’s the thought that counts, and you can offer gratitude in your own special way.


The following recipe is one of our favorites. It was kindly shared with us by a sweet family who owned a local restaurant before they moved away. This has been modified to our tastes, but you can certainly find many variations of Aloo Gobi online to suit your palate.

Easy Aloo Gobi (vegan)

1/2 c. vegetable oil (I like sunflower oil)

1 hefty pinch of cumin seeds

4 medium potatoes, diced into 1 inch cubes

1 whole cauliflower, chopped into bite-size pieces

2 tsp sea salt

1 tsp turmeric

1 pinch of red pepper flakes (opt)

1 cup water

diced tomato (topping)


In large cup add salt, turmeric, pepper flakes, water, stir and set aside.

Combine oil, cumin, and potato into a large pan – sauté about 5 mins.

Add the chopped cauliflower, add cup of ingredients (previously set aside) all at once, and stir the potatoes, cauliflower, water and seasonings well. Cover and reduce heat to low-medium, allow to cook 10-15 mins, or until potato and cauliflower are soft when poked with a fork. Add diced tomato as topping.

Rice on the side

2 c. basmati rice

2.5 c. water

1 tsp sea salt (opt)

drizzle of sunflower oil (opt)

Bring the water and rice to a fast boil then immediately place on med-low heat with a tight lid and cook 15-20 mins, or follow instructions on the rice bag. When it’s done, fluff with a fork. Bon appetite!

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” 
Virginia Woolf

Ancient Rhymes. Audio to help you relax.

Sometimes it’s hard to sleep, or even rest the brain for a little catnap. I always enjoyed being read to as a kid so I thought why not read to each other as adults? Our minds are so caught up in the whirlwind of the day’s thoughts, maybe this would help folks kick back with a cozy blanket, a little cocoa and, before long, a sound sleep with pleasant dreams.

Please enjoy my reading of Ancient Rhymes, A Dolphin Lullaby, a beautiful book by John Denver, adapted and illustrated by Christopher Canyon.


A sincere and most gracious “thanks” to the friendly dolphin who allowed me a photo of his lovely face during a trip to Mexico.

Background ocean ambience: 8 hz dolphin sounds, “Guided Meditation and Relaxation (Dolphin), Artist: Diane Di Donato; Ocean Waves Crashing, Acerting Art

Terran Love Note Oracle

Today’s keywords:
• clear focused intention/goals
• rest & relaxation
• kindness
• grounded
• letting go

We are being called into action – be the cheetah! Swift, efficient and graceful. Run effortlessly through the tangle of mundane, grassy thoughts that impinge on having plentiful energy and focus. Fearlessly leap into life with a list of dreams and goals tucked close at hand. After having arrived and conquered, create time to rest and relax, thoroughly, unapologetically under the protective embrace of the Banyan tree. Being children of the Earth and stars we need to remember our roots. Banyan has her roots deeply in the ground while her limbs stretch far and wide to nurture our tired bodies and minds under her shady canopy. Banyan tree tells us the stories of others like us who need our nurturing, our warm embrace, our kindness, and how easy it is to offer this support without fostering co-dependence. 

Crow, the winged messenger, has found a luscious, red jasper stone and placed it near the edge of the great Banyan tree’s trunk. A reminder to create healthy boundaries, pay attention to our root, the base of our spine, the energy center related to stability, release of fear, meeting our own emotional needs, and letting go of people and situations that no longer serve our health, growth and happiness. When we feel overly fatigued and drained of joy it’s an opportune moment to imagine our very own root dropping from the base of the spine deep into the Earth. On each inhale we draw forth all the energy, support and peace our hearts, bodies and minds are needing in that moment. Such a simple, yet powerful act of reconnecting to our genuine state of being.

“Be like a tree. Stay grounded. Connect with your roots. Turn over a new leaf. Bend before you break. Enjoy your unique, natural beauty. Keep growing!” — anonymous

Small Acts of Gratitude in Buying & Selling Homes

While doing an online, 3D walk-thru of a home for sale I noticed a weird haze in the camera’s view. I took a screenshot and blew it up on my laptop and to everyone’s astonishment there was, what appeared to be, a very well defined ghostly apparition! It was too weird not to share with others for their input and mostly what I heard was “O.M.G.!! What the heck?!…”, but no one had a plausible explanation, except one photographer who claimed someone walked through the room at the time the 3D photo was taken. Well, if that’s the case, the person would’ve been like seven feet tall and donning a very large “sock puppet” head! LOL! I have included the image here for your consideration.

I was compelled to have a consultation with an intuitive Celtic Shaman and see what the photo revealed. She, too, was astounded and said “That’s not one entity, that’s more like five!” She also sensed that three of them were wanting desperately to cross over fully into the Light but had somehow lost their way. We had an in-depth conversation about “space clearing” and what exactly that means. With her additional background in psychology, marriage and family therapy, she explained it’s best not bust into a scene where entities are residing and demand they leave a space, or immediately resort to excising the spirit. This would come off as offensive, judgmental and careless. Instead, one should engage in a dialogue with the entities to get a sense of why they’re there, how they got there, and how to proceed from there. Some years prior she shared a home with a spirit and said to me, “It’s not so different from having a housemate. You have to come to agreements about what you will and won’t accept, and have clear boundaries.” She admitted she had never encountered a truly evil spirit, mostly those that have become lost, or who are quite happy in their space and have no intention of leaving.

I did a follow-up with her a few days later and she explained that after performing a drumming ceremony for those three lost souls they were able to move on. The remaining energy was quite powerful but did not obstruct their exiting. She was also able to see that the powerful energy was actually a portal in that house, not just a group of entities, but an actual inter-dimensional passageway. She wisely suggested that, based on my sensitivities to such things (as well as other family members), should we choose to do a walk-thru of that particular house, we must introduce ourselves to the home and explain why we’re there, that we come in peace, and then we should wait to see what the energies feel like before proceeding.  

Having been told from a prior intuitive that we have a portal in the land of our current home this wasn’t really shocking news, but kind of ironic. It seems that since I was a kid I keep coming across strange anomalies, and sometimes having the good fortune of photographing them (more on this in a later post).

Before we move out I want to properly clear our current home of any residual energies so it’s all sparkly and new feeling for the family coming in. For our new (future) abode I’m still researching what “cleansing/blessing” methods that resonate with me, which led me to this interesting link:

As with anything in life, it is the intention from a loving and sincere heart that does the magic, not the act itself.

Tomorrow, we will begin our first trek out to explore other peoples’ homes for sale and see what resonates. Personally speaking, it feels kind of invasive to have an open house where complete strangers walk through every room of your home. In the past, when the realtors were done with their showings, I would crack open the windows throughout the house and burn sage or incense and do a walk-thru to clear any weird energies the visitors left behind. But I got thinking, what can we offer the home-owners who are kindly letting us do a walk-thru in their sacred spaces?

Today I found these adorable little terra cotta “Angel Seeds” and i will leave a little “Angel” with each home as an act of extra love and protection for their space and occupants. A little “Thank You” card will accompany each angel. Selling and buying homes can leave one feeling very disconnected from the personal touch of interacting directly with the people who are taking your place or whose place you’re taking. This personal touch will, hopefully, create a more personal connection.

I like hearing other peoples’ stories and experiences about how they bless and clear spaces in alignment with their cultural beliefs, spiritual practices and so forth. If you have thoughts on this subject I’d love to hear from you as well.

“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”  — Antoine deSaint-Exupery

Suburbian Love Notes

Even out here, in the wild, wild west, in the upscale development of suburbia, on the outskirts of Portlandia’s eclectic, bustling city scene, where there are far too many SUVs and tightly manicured lawns, I’ll occasionally find what I call suburbian love notes. Those would be unexpected little creations from the cultural creatives who show their artistic flare now and then, from stacked odds and ends made of bricks, sticks and random rocks, to poetry hidden behind rain-drop covered display boxes. The latest creation was the little painted pole, which I imagined sometimes dreams of being a giant totem pole. That latter love note was decorated with images of happy flowers, birds, hearts and the tender message, “Do small things with great love.”

This terran (inhabitant of planet Earth) was duly impressed with today’s findings, as was my delightful walking companion, Bodhi. Doesn’t she look happy too?

What creative, little love notes have you left in your neighborhood lately?

GOOD NEWS: Plastics Get A New Life Purpose

So many bright, innovative people in the world now working to fix the pollution problem we’ve collectively created. Today I discovered such folks, from the U.S. to Kenya, repurposing plastic bags into woven sleeping mats for the homeless, to making durable, construction materials. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to watch the video links below and see for yourself. So inspiring!

How refreshing to see not all is dire and foreboding, as long as we keep our minds open and view problems as opportunities in which we all can benefit.

Plastic bags transformed into sleeping mats for the homeless:

All kinds of plastic waste morphed into construction materials:

“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” – Desmond Tutu

Turtle Spirit Message

I didn’t feel spun this morning, as if my energy was going in all directions, but the Turtle Spirit came to my attention and told me it was time to slow down. Really? I felt pretty mellow. But on reflection, I did seem to be moving from one task to another before completing the first one, and a couple times had to re-enter a room to remember what I left to go get. It’s those subtle, little actions that reveal the disconnect. Why is it so hard some days to breathe deep, sit still, be in the moment, not constantly think about the next move, the next thought, the next destination? Turtle has arrived to remind us to step into slo-mo speed, glide gracefully thru life’s ocean, and take in the precious moment. Keep a turtle totem on your desk, or put a turtle screensaver on your computer. Give yourself visual reminders that you have permission to slow down your movements, take in the scenery, and breeeeathe.

Here’s some positive turtle news to cheer you up, from the sands of Mumbai:

Turtles Come Back To Indian Beach For The First Time In 20 Years After World’s Biggest Clean Up, Prove We Can Make A Difference

Here’s the link:

Float on, you are a positive ripple in the world.

Memories of the Child Within

little me

The little me is smiling fine

The sun is warm, the air sublime.

I didn’t catch a crow todaySun

I crawled on the ground but it got away.

The breeze is warm and flowers are bright

We spoke about my dreams last night.

Daisies are some of my finest friends

They bring me back to my heart again.

In my hand the earthworm squirmed and wiggled

It tickled my skin and made me giggle.

When the day was done and the sky went dark

I laid by Gramma and my mind went far.

The stars twinkled bright I asked “Who turned on the lights?!”

Gramma said “God has a light switch,” as she held me tight.


The little person inside is always there

Intrigued and in awe with this world so rare.

May you give your little self a voice and some crayons

And dance to your heartbeat while the music plays on.

Panda Comes A Calling

taopanda.pngHere we sit at the midway point between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox. Many folks around the globe celebrate this time of year, from Europe to Asia. Having not grown up with any set cultural, ethnic or religious traditions, outside of the standard commercialized holidays, I’ve found myself more at home just tuning into the Earth, the smell of the air, the sounds of the birds, the position of the stars, and honoring the natural calendar. This helps me feel more grounded and at ease in a world that is following so many unnatural rhythms, the most glaring one being the Gregorian calendar. Remember the poem they taught in elementary school to remember the length of each month?

“30 days has September, April, June, and November, except poor February with only 28… sometimes 29.” LOL!

Seriously, can you imagine setting your measuring devices to that kind of illogical thinking? Let’s see that rhyme might go something like, “12 inches has my ruler, 6 inches on Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays, 3.5 inches on Friday, and variable inches the other days of the week.” What would our architecture look like using a ruler like that? 😀  So, I can only imagine what unnatural time is doing to our biological clocks, yanking us from daylight savings to standard, changing up our body’s synchronicity with the even cycles of planetary movements. Top that with societal expectations to push faster, harder and more caffeinated through our days, till we collapse from exhaustion where illness or accidents may be our only gift as they allow us reprieve from the frantic pace.  But why not listen to the body’s clues before then and take the reins on health, sanity and happiness?

To align with the energies of this auspicious time I shuffled one of my fave oracle deck cards, “Messages From Your Animal Spirit Guides,” created by Dr. Steven Farmer. In perfect synchronicity the card pulled for today was Panda! Is that not the most perfect, playful, gentle representation for the halfway point between winter and spring, dark and light, and the panda – black and white? Panda’s message reads:

“Create a sacred space for yourself in your home and/or a place of work.”

What a perfect message for us all. If your world is busy and you can’t get to a park or a cozy fireplace in your home, that sacred space may be your car, a bathroom stall at work, a cafe with earbuds in, or even just your deep breath in the moment. Make it yours, be with the moment, and set the example for those around you who are also seeking permission to do likewise for themselves.  In other words, be the panda. 

The Journey Begins has been created to share all the wonderful, eclectic, inspirational, educational, magical and entertaining jamboree of life!  Here I can share what I’ve created and discovered in hopes that you, too, will see the world in a positive light, feel the goodness that is all around and let it ripple into your being! This blog site was born today, 02/02/19, just as we approach a new moon and Lunar New Year. Lots of fun posts coming soon so please stay tuned and visit often. Many blessings!


Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton