Spiritual Musings, Creative Inspiration, and Simple Vegan Recipes

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Spirit Calling

This past holiday afforded me the opportunity to look more closely at what I believe about the life of the Spirit (which is all life)….and how I can articulate it more clearly to those around me. It began with a conversation with my sister, and turned into a closer look at my spiritual calling.

This I believe…..

I believe in God, a Divine Higher power that is pure love, knowledge and truth. This same Divine nature which is the ground and the foundation of the universe is present in each of us too, and in all beings, regardless of age, gender, culture or religion.

This Divine inner nature, our true nature, is what connects each of us. As humans, we attempt to divide and separate ourselves, but because we are all truly spiritual beings, the core of who we are is the same. So try as we might we cannot ever truly be separate. Anytime we are attempting to be ourselves (our true selves) we are being spiritual and acting from this Divine center.

Of course people in different countries, contexts, environments and circumstances will follow a different path to connect with the Divine. This does not mean or imply that one path (Christianity or Islam or Judaism) is right and another is wrong. I believe it is all the same truth, but that due to our unique perspectives, contexts, environments and cultures we perceive and understand that same truth differently.

Although I do not consider myself a religious person, I am a spiritual person. I think that is a popular thing to say now, and I don’t mean to imply that there is anything wrong with being religious. I did get married in the Catholic Church, and my husband is a man of the Catholic faith. To this day I am very glad we made that choice as it provided a strong foundation for our futures together.

I also believe in spiritual calling, and that my personal calling is to connect. I connect to others, to nature, to myself and of course to that Divine Spirit and Ground of Being. (Thanks again Paul Tillich.) This call to connect is not about a job or an obligation, but this is the purpose and meaning behind all the work I do, personally and interpersonally, in my thoughts, actions and words.

This is also how I worship. I worship/ connect spiritually through still listening, ecstatic dance, heartfelt conversation, warm touch, close embrace, looking into another’s eyes. These are my spiritual practices, how my life’s work is manifest in the world.

I may not be a Christian, Hindu, or Muslim, but I do not see myself as different from these spiritual people. I am just as comfortable praising God/ The Divine/Love/ Light/ Pure Truth in Catholic Mass as in the Hanuman Temple where I learned to chant kirtan. This does not mean I have no values, or no moral compass, or a generic view of the spiritual life. It does mean that I know that the very heart, the core, and the foundation of each of these traditions worships the same God, practices the same Love, honors the same Truth. As humans we cannot see this and we let petty politics and cultural differences divide us. But love, truth, peace, and the Divine still unite us.

I daily say prayers and practice honoring and recognizing the Divine in the Universe. Daily I practice my spirit calling—to connect. Some may call this generic, New Age, or indecisive. In many senses it is. But I also recognize that I am on a journey, a spiritual journey—and believe that we all are whether we choose to see it or not. I also understand that I have a limited understanding of the spiritual realm inside this physical body. But still I choose to walk through my life on this physical earth with an expansive heart, open for more love, more truth, more wisdom and above all more God, and more Love, Love, Love.

One of my spiritual teachers told me that it is always more important to be kind than it is to be right. This is my moral compass, by inner guide, my religion if you will. When in doubt, choose kindness, choose Love , choose Truth, and that is being a spiritual person.


Molasses Oatmeal Pumpkin Seed Powerhouses

Iron Woman Cookies OR Molasses, Oatmeal Pumpkin Seed Powerhouses

(Wheat and Gluten free, Vegan, No Sugar)

These impromptu cookies were inspired by a recent phone conversation with my sister Helen. I asked her if she would be okay with being meat free while she visited my husband and I in Durham.

She hesitated, mostly out of concern that she wasn’t getting enough iron on her diet. But many foods that are the richest sources of iron are actually plant based. Molasses, pumpkin seeds and oatmeal are some of the best sources of iron. One serving of pumpkin seeds has almost 25% of the RDV of iron, 1 tbsp, of molasses has 5%, oats vary with 5-25% of RDV for iron. In contrast, about 3 ounces of roast beef has less than 10% of your RDV for iron. Easy math!

The vegetarian working group has a nice table for comparing vegan and non-vegan iron sources in an easy to read format. See below:


On to the cookies, the more important part of this post. A quick nutritional analysis has these cookies clocking in with 15% of the RDV for iron and less than 100 calories. Two cookies would actually be a tasty snack that would provide 1/3 of your daily dose of iron!! Easy, yummy and hubby approved. There won’t be any left by the time my sister arrives for Thanksgiving, so we’ll have to make another batch for sure.



1 cup gluten free rolled oats (I like Trader Joe’s brand)

1/3 cup oat flour

¼ tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp pumpkin pie spice


1 tsp finely ground ginger

1 tsp vanilla extract

½ mashed banana

½ cup unsweetened applesauce

2 tbs coconut oil

4 tbs blackstrap molasses

¼ cup pumpkin seeds


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Combine dry ingredients, stir to mix evenly.
  3. Combine wet ingredients, use whisk or hand mixer to combine.
  4. Slowly add dry to wet ingredients and blend until well mixed.
  5. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and bake for 10-12 minutes. Makes 12-15 cookies.


Iron Woman Cookies

Molasses, Oatmeal and Pumpkin Seed Powerhouses


What I Did with My Extra Hour: Homemade Persimmon Butter of Course

Daylight Saving Adventures….

Woke up SUPER early this morning (like usual) except today my 4:40 am wake up was, oops, 3:40 am. Not one to turn back over and fall asleep I spent the morning tackling some recipes that take a little more time and effort than something I would create on a typical weekend. With that I bring you:

Slow Cooker Spiced Persimmon Butter AND Gluten free, Yeast Free Sourdough Bread

My mother in law has a persimmon tree, among other wonderful fruit trees in her back yard, and has been giving my husband and I pounds and pounds of persimmons. I eat them like apples when they’re ripe…but we have about 60 persimmons to do something with. I have recently re-ignited my relationship with my slow cooker, and found a simple way to make a spread from our abundance of ripe persimmons. And it makes the whole house smell delicious!

Makes 4 half-pint jars, depending on size of persimmons


30 ripe Fuyu persimmons, coarsely chopped

1 lemon, juiced

2 tsp. Cinnamon

½ tsp fresh ground cloves

4 half pint canning jars with lids and rings


  1. Place persimmons into a slow cooker; amount should fill a 6-quart cooker nearly to the top. Drizzle the lemon juice over the persimmons, cover the cooker, and cook on High for about 2 hours. Mash the persimmons in the cooker with a potato masher. Stir in the cinnamon, cloves, and agave syrup, set the cooker to Low, and cook uncovered 6 hours or overnight. Stir several times if possible, to prevent burning during the long cooking period.
  2. After they have cooked down, transfer the persimmon mixture to a blender, filling the pitcher no more than halfway full. Hold down the lid of the blender with a folded kitchen towel, and carefully start the blender, using a few quick pulses to get the persimmon butter moving before leaving it on to puree. Puree in batches until smooth. If you have an immersion blender, you can puree the persimmon butter right in the cooker if desired.
  3. Sterilize the jars and lids in boiling water for at least 5 minutes. Pack the persimmon butter into the hot, sterilized jars, filling the jars to within 1/4 inch of the top. Run a knife or a thin spatula around the insides of the jars after they have been filled to remove any air bubbles. Wipe the rims of the jars with a moist paper towel to remove any food residue. Top with lids, and screw on rings. Allow the jars to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate the jars.

I am hoping to have enough to use persimmon butter for Christmas presents this year.

And recipe #2….


Gluten free, Yeast Free Sourdough Bread


I tried making this recipe once before, using the original recipe from “Affairs of Living” – a great gluten free yeast free blog: http://christensenka.squarespace.com/imported-20100106014405/2009/1/30/quinoa-millet-sorghum-sourdough-bread-gluten-free-vegan-yeas.html

The first two times I tried to make it, the bread was very dry and I wasn’t super pleased with the result. This time I added chia gel, as one of the comments suggested, and decreased the amount of flour. Also, I tried the “no-knead” style to preserve the natural sponginess. I find this bread works best cooked on a “pizza stone” rather than in a bread pan. I still haven’t reached perfection with my sourdough bread, but fermented foods are both an art AND a science, and there are many more loaves to bake. Happy Daylight Saving!Image