Category Archives: Travel

Life’s Labyrinth

At Kripalu, the holistic healing center in Stockbridge, MA, I use Qigong to harness nature’s energy for nourishing my soul; I discover Metta Meditation; I learn to say Om the correct way; I understand the basics of Ayurveda. Yet, no matter what class I take and how much I love it, my feet always carry me to the Meditation Labyrinth, a twisted, circular path flanked by daises, lupins and conifers, leading to a central stone alter.

I first did the Meditation Labyrinth as a group exercise with a teacher. “Release,” as you walk towards the altar, the teacher said. Let go, become open. Be ready to “Receive” at the altar. “Return” back to your lives unburdened, open, free.

That didn’t happen to me. The labyrinth led me down a path I hadn’t expected, making me acutely aware of the imbalance in my life. I refer to it now as Life’s Labyrinth.

My eyes never left the altar on that first group-walk. I wanted to get there as fast as I could believing that was where my happiness lay. I passed others walking more slowly, singularly focused on the three stone slabs in the center, two vertical and the third resting horizontally forming a table. Two Bodhisattva statues held guard with their laughing faces. I hurried but just as I began thinking I was almost at the altar, a twist in the path led me away from it. This happened several times and I grew increasingly frustrated.

Kripalu - Labyrinth central altar Continue reading Life’s Labyrinth

To-die-for recipes from Peru

 

In a small, off-the-beaten-track hotel in Peru I made friends with chef Jorge Cuadros. He taught me a few dishes and I tested them several times in my kitchen so they were close to what Jorge had created. You won’t be disappointed. Enjoy!

Ocopa sauce

Makes two cups

This yellow-green sauce works well as a dip and also as a side especially with baked potatoes. The ingredients are available in Latin American grocery stores.

1 cup grated Gruyere cheese

2 salt-free crackers

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 teaspoon black mint (huacatay)

2 teaspoons Aji Amarillo paste

1 tablespoon onion, finely chopped

1/2 cup whole milk

2 teaspoons olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Blend ingredients together in food processor and serve chilled or at room temperature.

Chicha Morado

Serves 8

This gorgeous sweet dessert soup with chunks of pineapple and apple is sure to woo kids and adults.

2 ears purple corn, kernels removed from cobs

1/2 pineapple

2 cloves

1 cinnamon stick

6 cups water

2 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice

1/2 cup sugar

2 apples, cut into 1-inch cubes

  1. Peel the pineapple and keep the skin aside. Cut the rest of the fruit into 1-inch cubes and refrigerate.
  2. Soak the corn with the pineapple skin, cloves, and cinnamon overnight in the water.
  3. The next morning place the soaked corn with the pineapple skin and spices in a large flameproof casserole with a lid. Remove the lid and bring the mixture to a boil on high heat. Lower the heat to medium and simmer, covered, for 45 minutes. Allow to cool slightly.
  4. Work the mixture through a strainer to remove the corn, pineapple skin, cloves and cinnamon.
  5. Return the liquid to the casserole, add the diced pineapple, apple, sugar, and lemon juice. Simmer for another 8-10 minutes. Serve hot or cold.

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