Tuesday, October 30, 2007

in the bank

A couple days ago...Me in the bank to exchange dollars. I had 600
USD. I hand the money to the teller, she takes my bills and gives me
colones and a receipt. The receipt says, I gave her 500 USD. I ask her
to count again, since I am 100% sure that I gave her $600. She counts
the dollar bills in front of me, with a weird look on her face and
smiles with a "este $ 500, don't you know to count!". Opps, my fault!
I always lose stuff, nothing new...so feeling guilty that I misplaced
my money, or possibly dropped it in between two seconds, I removed it
from my wallet to place into my passport...Banks never make mistakes!

I had to step away from the teller, frustrated with myself, not
knowing what to do...i need to complain but i cant do it a lone, i
dont speak Spanish. I need to learn Spanish. I beg the Universe,
please help me with this. I need to learn this language or I am going
to sink in this country. I was lucky to have a friend with me,
embarrassed of the situation, I told her what happened and she told me
many stories where banks did similar things to her. A little relieved,
we walked back to the cashier and complained...We talked to the
manager and complained again...Finally they agreed to recount the
money in the cashier. That took 5 minutes and I was rightttttttttt! We
took the $600...the girl never apologized...not even a I am sorry
smile. I wanted to punch her in the eye so bad...i couldn't of course
but the whole feeling of been taken advantage of sucks...so lesson
learned, double count money, in front of the teller; watch them count
the money without blinking the eye; go to the bank with a friend
until fluent in Spanish!

and of course, don't be nice!

Heading to Montezuma

Goodbye wireless internet, goodbye city life. Its been 2 months I've
been away and now its time to go back to Montezuma. It's 5:30 am in
San Jose. I am half asleep, I couldn't sleep last night. I am nervous,
it is strange, I am not sure if I want to jump back to fire but I have
got so many new ideas, I know once I get there, it will all come
together. The festival, the yoga groups, friends coming for a visit,
friends to hang out....

I am so grateful to my friend Maria, aka Dirty Spatualas. She has been
taking me around San Jose, to find the best flour, ice-cream cones,
buckwheat (only one Russian lady in the middle of no where sells
buckwheat, her name is Irina). We found mung beans, adzuki beans,
matcha powder in a Taiwanese store that looks like a home unless you
know the secret code to enter. I am trying to convince Maria to start
consulting for new businesses. She knows every little secret place, if
she doesn't know it, she would find a phone number and call...If they
don't pick up, she will call again and again!

I have 11 boxes all packed with ingredients, new tools, plates,
cookbooks, ect. It feels like moving...I probably don't have that much
stuff in my house right now. Its hounding on me how I will manage to
get all that stuff into the bus, then into my house, then into the
cafe, but I know it will work some way or the other.

Katy is taking me to the bus station. Mark and Kati also are my
family, they have taken such good care of me here. Knock knock!
Somebody is at the door, this is Mark with a cup of coffee for me...I
am heading to MONTEZUMA!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Secret Superfood! Pumpkins!

I am amazed to learn that pumpkins are superfood!

A cup of cooked pumpkin has very little fat (.17 g), 2.7 g of fiber,
87% of daily requirements of vitamin A, 15% of daily requirements
vitamin C, along with beta-carotene and potassium. It doesn't end
here, seeds contain omega-3 fatty acids (powerful anti-oxidants). Its
loaded with alpha-carotene that help fight tumor growth!

I always loved pumpkins, but growing up in Turkey, we only eat them
sweet, very sweet indeed. It tastes great but on my New Zealand trip,
I fell in love with the savory pumpkin dishes. Especially the
pumpkin-lemon ricotta bruschetta with olive oil and pumpkin seeds, we
ate at Morrison's, best food in Nelson.

The second one is a hearty soup recipe, mom and I created at home. It
is a great cold weather soup, perfect for supper with family or to
cuddle with a bowl while watching Grey's Anatomy, my new addiction,
under cozy blankets!

Save the seeds, they make a great snack toasted and kill harmful parasites!

Pumpkin Soup Recipe

* 1 lb of pumpkin, chopped and roasted for 45 minutes
* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 1 medium onion, finely chopped
* 2 cloves garlic, crushed
* 4 cups vegetable stock or just boil water with carrots, celery, onions
* 1 tablespoon tomato paste
* 1 can of kidney beans
* 1 cup of peas
* 1 carrot, diced
* 1 potato, diced
* 2 teaspoon each of cumin, curry powder and cardamom
* salt and pepper to taste

First roast the pumpkin until well done. It will have some brown skin,
that's ok, it tastes great.

Then, saute the onion and garlic in olive oil in a large saucepan
until the onion is translucent.

Add three cups of the stock and your vegetables (carrots and potato),
spices and simmer for 15 minutes.

In a separate bowl, add a cup of this mixture and your roasted pumpkin
and blend with a hand blender.

Add the blended pumpkin to your base.

Add canned kidney beans and peas. Simmer for another 15 minutes....

Saturday, October 20, 2007

How to cook your life

There is a special invitation for the San Francisco Premiere of How to Cook Your Life on Tuesday, October 23rd at 7 pm at the Zen Center.

Edward Espe Brown will be in attendance, I love his cookbook Tassajara Cooking and I am excited to see him in the movie! It sounds really exciting.

"What is the meaning of cooking and eating for the community and the individual? Is cooking a political act? How does cooking reflect our attitude toward life and the world?

Edward Brown is a happy priest, but for sure no saint. To him, the whole world can be found in a watermelon. In his pots, rivers and mountains are cooked. Fast food restaurants, organic farmers, starving homeless people and a woman who only eats what other people discard. Doris Dörrie's observations in San Francisco reveal a world of contradictions and diversity.  80% of all Americans don't eat at home, neither do they cook. If you don't know how to cook and you are poor, you have to live on cheap and bad food. No time for cooking and eating together is a loss of community and culture. To learn how to cook means to experience and preserve the richness of one's culture and traditions."


Thursday, October 18, 2007

Love Poems from Rumi

I cannot sleep in your presence.
In your absence, tears prevent me.
You wa tch me My Beloved
On each sleepless night and
Only You see the difference


NZ pictures uploaded!

Check out my NZ pictures! I miss it very much for sure! Especially these two!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Happy Tuesday!

"The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green earth in the present moment, to appreciate the peace and beauty that are available now.  There is no enlightenment outside of daily life."

- Thich Nhat Hanh

Monday, October 15, 2007

Maple Walnut Cookies

The recipe is from Vegan with a Vengeance with some slight changes. We used wholewheat flour and more walnuts.

Makes 15.

1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons molasses
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup soy milk
2 tablespoon arrowroot or cornstarch
3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup wholewheat flour
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine oil, maple syrup, molasses, vanilla, and sugar in a mixing bowl and stir until mixed well. Add the soy milk and arrowroot and mix until the arrowroot is mixed well. Add flour, salt and baking soda, mix with a wooden spoon, fold in the chopped walnuts.

Drop on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper and bake for 10 minutes. Wait until cool, if you can! In New Zealand, you are not allowed to touch your cookies if you haven't finished your wine...That's at least what these two crazy friends of mine (Miss Supreme Cupcake and  Jason Sutter) made me believe. Pepperjack Shiraz from Australia, great wine. Highly highly recommended!!!!

Maple Walnut Cookies

Back in Istanbul with fresh memories of New Zealand, I had to post about these cookies.
Lane and I made these in about 20 minutes and Sutter finished them all in about 10 minutes.

ps. During my stay, we also had a little house guest, related to Remy from Ratatouille, he might have helped with the cookies!

Now I have to log-out from Blogger and signin to my gmail to get the recipe. It sucks that I have to login to blogger to post a picture and log out to get to my gmail.

Alex Grey

Alex Grey's work is amazing, I had seen this painting a couple years ago in San Francisco and was totally scared. Now, I am trying the buy his book from Amazon. People change.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Best quote ever...

I have no idea what this company Zain, does but this quote was in their print ad in the Emirates in flight magazine. I love it.

"If you could see the sky as your rooftop and the moon as your night lamp; if you could see the lakes as your mirror and the fields as your backyard; if you could see the birds as your choir, mountain ridges as your chart and all of the civilization as your family then you'd know that the world is yours. After all, what matters most isn't what you are looking at but what you are looking for."

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Life sucks.

A very dear friend of mine, Vihara, is in the hospital under very serious conditions. I am so lucky to have known her in Montezuma and spent so many days dancing, laughing, having great conversations and getting a chance to peek into her divine world. She has been more than a friend, an angel and a wonderful spirit...I miss her now, I miss her more than ever and I am so sad that I might not hug her again.

She wanted to have a recipe book with her specials. She has been on raw foods over 30 years and knows so much about how to eat healthy and tasty. She is so beautiful and full of light, it is hard to describe. She has also taught me how to make a raw apple pie, that I would love to share it with everyone someday.

Life is tough, it is getting harder everyday and this suffering is here to stay, no matter how much we try to keep the balance of our minds.

May all beings be happy, liberated and in peace.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


New Zealand in one word is the land of bliss...It is beautiful, no not really, it is gorgeous and peaceful. I am enjoying it a lot. This is what we had for dessert for dinner...Delicious and so good for you! I totally made it up, inspired from a dessert menu at a local restaurant but it came out really good so we wrote down the recipe.


1 cup coconut
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup cranberries
1 cup dates
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1/4 cup soy milk
1/2 cup sunflower seeds

First, soak raisins, dates and cranberries in hot water and wait 10-15 minutes, then blend everything in the food processor and make little balls and cover them with more coconut.
Sometimes dates can be very sweet, so taste and adjust. If you like to add more sugar, try agave or honey or maple syrup...

We made three versions by adding some blackberry liquor and fresh mint. Cardamom, green tea or ginger would be perfect separetely. Give it a try!