My first bite of Middle Eastern gastronomy was around age fifteen. There was a lovely Lebanese woman in her seventies who owned a food cart in a small shopping mall. She made her falafel like giant vegetable burgers with hearty chunks of chick peas, tahini, fresh parsley, garlic, lemon, and other magical ingredients she had in her secret stash. She would not share her ingredients or recipes with me except explaining a little cultural background and what basic ingredients went into her tasty street food. Her kibbhe was not the traditional raw ground lamb though. She instead baked finely minced lamb and seasonings into a square patty that was quite thin and crispy. I cherished her food. I later found out she was an aunt of one of my friends.
Wool dryer balls are a great alternative to chemical laden dryer sheets and fabric softener. They bounce around in the dryer with your load of laundry, helping to circulate air, which makes your clothes dry faster, reducing the time needed to run your machine. Of course, they work best with small to medium size loads because they need room to move around, but they will help with static cling and soften your clothes, all without the use of chemicals. Energy saving, money saving, and eco-friendly? Who could ask for more?
I met Jess Tsomo and Kat Tsomo ten years ago while visiting Tsogyelgar Dharma Center, located on West Liberty Street in Ann Arbor. A few years after that I moved here to Ann Arbor from New York, so as to make Tsogyelgar the center point of gravity in my life. Kat, Jess, and I share a precious and magical bond as disciples of Buddhist Siddha Traktung Yeshe Dorje—the founder of Tsogyelgar Dharma Center. (Editor’s Note: For more information about Tsogyelgar, see the Cover Story in Issue #64 of the Crazy Wisdom Journal, September through December 2016, available in our archive online at crazywisdomjournal.com)
With summer just around the corner and lots of gardening to be done, what could be better than a pretty warming pillow to soothe those sore muscles? Stuff the pillow with some dried lavender for soothing aromatherapy. To heat the pillow, place in the microwave for thirty seconds, pull it out and shake it, and heat it for another thirty seconds. You can also warm it in the oven by placing it in a cold oven on a cookie sheet. Turn oven on to 200 degrees. Shake pillow after five minutes, and put it back in the oven for another two to five minutes, checking it often to make sure that it is not too hot. Be cautious, it could burn you if you get it too hot. You can also try putting it in the freezer if you need a cool pack instead of a warming pack. Enjoy!
In this column, Crysta Coburn writes about crazywisdom-esque people and happenings around Ann Arbor. This issue features local blogger Chrissy Barua, Author Judy Wenzel, and owner of Petals + Butters, , Sri Lankipalli.
I love seeing the flash of dark color against white snow when the chickadees come to eat at my birdfeeder. Chickadees are one of a handful of birds that stay in Michigan when the snow comes calling and their songs are sure to lift your spirits when the day is gray. This little chickadee pin looks deceitfully hard to make, but is really rather simple. It will make a great gift for a friend who needs a bit of a mid-winter cheer.
John and Ruth Loomis opened the doors of their new venture, The Cheese Shop of Saline in the fall of 2017.
As the warm breezes shift to cool caresses on our cheeks and we pull out the warm handmade quilts from grandma and sweaters from mom, many of us turn our thoughts to gift giving. The Julbok is a pre-Christian Swedish tradition that lives on today. Some say he pulled the Tomten’s cart full of presents during the winter solstice. Some say he was the one giving out the presents. Still others claim
that he is a prankster that makes sure whomever is receiving the present is worthy of it! Traditionally, the Julbok was made of the last harvest of straw and thought to be good luck. However you celebrate as we move into winter, this sweet little Julbok is sure to be a great addition to your seasonal decorations, a Yule tree, or even as a gift topper.
I reflect on my experience with learning mindfulness cooking and eating practice during silent retreats at a Zen Buddhist Sangha in North Carolina. I examined the concept of gratitude when planting, harvesting, preparing and consuming food. Although these times were for deep contemplative study and complete silence, there was a common language spoken around the kitchen counter and table that I call reverence.