Summer Mindfulness Challenge Results

Last month I challenged readers to "locate a food item you have never eaten before, photograph it, then explore it mindfully with all five senses (sight, sound, smell, touch, taste), write a few lines about what you discovered, and email me the photo/description". Four adventurous souls accepted the challenge and this is what they discovered.....

Dragon Fruit (both N.B. and K.W. tried dragon fruit)

"It’s shaped like an extra large egg – perhaps the size of an ostrich egg, and cuts easily in half with a knife.  It’s very much like a  kiwi in terms of texture and taste.  Like the kiwi it shares the black crunchy bits inside and tastes better cold (in my opinion), although not quite as flavorful.  The skin is tougher than the kiwi and once cut into slices you can easily peel it back and eat like an orange. Overall, very enjoyable and refreshing." ~ N.B.

Cricket Chips

Cricket Chips (Chirps) "Chirps Chips are the most delicious taco chips that I have ever eaten! They have a wonderful wholesome flavor. I was unable to finish my bag of Chirps because a friend disappeared with them."   ~ W.S.

(I also tried Chirps, and they ARE really good! ~ P.R.)

"A cross between a plum and an apricot. They are sometimes called Dinosaur Eggs. It was really good. Did you know there are actually four types of pluots?" ~ G.K.

Thanks for your mindful experiments during July, KW, NB, WS, and GK. All were so great that each of you will receive a complimentary copy of my CD Opening the Door to Meditation.

Farm Share Bingo

If you want to increase your mindfulness, join a CSA. A highlight of my summer is the weekly mystery bounty from our farm share or CSA (community supported agriculture).

We have participated in the First Root Farm CSA for several years and I always enjoy arriving for pickup on Tuesdays to discover what my share of the week's harvest will be. I think of this weekly adventure as farm share bingo...a root vegetable or two unused from the previous week pairs perfectly with something from this week's share, along with pantry items at home...and BINGO!

Beets, carrots, baby lettuces and spicy greens from our farm share came together with a couple of apples and a can of pineapple from the pantry into Glowing Salad this week (from my collection of favorite recipes from Debra's Natural Gourmet)'s as pretty as it is delicious! BINGO!

Summer Thunder

As we enter the steamy months of summer, everything seems to expand and become larger than life, including rain storms. There is something awe-inspiring, fear-provoking, and finally soothing when listening to a summer rain storm. Perhaps not so unlike our thoughts and emotions? So, for this very rainy, awe-inspiring, reading a book on the couch, kind of 4th of July, I share with you a mindful haiku...

Rumblings of thunder
Now the rain's steady cadence
Listening to summer

Tomato Pie: Love at First Bite

More mindful culinary musing....Until two years ago, I had never heard of a tomato pie much less tasted one. Then my sister, Hilary Gould, shared a recipe with me for Tomato Pie, a southern delicacy. Since I had an abundance of heirloom tomatoes from our local CSA farm, I gave the recipe a try. It was LOVE at first sight and first bite. Tomato Pie has become a late summer favorite in my house and hope it will in yours....Enjoy!

Hilary's Heirloom Tomato Pie

 1 unbaked pie crust
3/4 cup plus manchego cheese (shredded)
2T EVOL(extra virgin olive oil)
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 1/4 pounds mixed heirloom tomatoes
Kosher salt
3/4 c mozzarella cheese (shredded)
1/4 c mayonnaise
3T breadcrumbs
3T chopped chives
3T chopped parsley
1t chopped fresh thyme
Ground pepper


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees 
  • Heat 1T  EVOL over medium heat, add onion and cook, stirring until golden -- cool
  • Thinly slice tomatoes, toss with 1t kosher salt, place in colander and let drain for approx 30 min
  • Combine 3/4 c manchego, mozzarella, mayo, breadcrumbs, 2T chives and 2T parsley, thyme, 1/4 t kosher salt, 1/4 t pepper and the sautéed onion in a bowl.
  • Spread mixture in unbaked pie crust 
  • Arrange the tomatoes on top
  • Drizzle with the remaining 1T EVOL and season with pepper. 
  • Bake until the tomatoes are browned (about 50 min).
  • Top with the remaining 1T each of chives and parsley

Mindful Moments

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -- I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference."  ~Robert Frost

What road did you travel this summer? Did you make time to diverge from the usual to find the extraordinary in the ordinary? Mindfulness is about stepping off the well traveled road every once in a while to notice life as it unfolds in the present moment and not in the rearview mirror.  I am grateful for these moments, which cannot be planned or anticipated but simply appear when one slows down to the speed of life. 

A few glimpses of my summer mindful moments are represented in the pictures below. I invite each of you to share reflections of your summer mindful moments, moments when the ordinary became the extraordinary, through photos, poems, or prose with my blogging community.  Please email me your submissions and I will share them in future blog posts.

Lake Michigan Sunset

My Summer Labyrinth Quest

I am fascinated with labyrinths and their use in meditation and health. On my summer travels I explored a number of labyrinths in the Midwest that I found on the worldwide labyrinth locator. Each of these five labyrinths are unique but are similar in their ability to allow the user to stop, take a breath, observe and proceed. Please share photos of your favorite labyrinths by emailing them to me and I will post them here. Enjoy!

Ellsworth Labyrinth Garden, Ellsworth Michigan
11 circuit, Medieval/Santa Rosa labyrinth. Constructed in 2004 by members of the community of Ellsworth. It is located on the banks of Lake Ellsworth and surrounded by perennial gardens. mosaic stepping stones line the outer edges of the labyrinth made by community members representing their hopes and wishes. (

Sacred Sparks, East Jordan Michigan
Linda and Jerry Aydlott have lovingly constructed this classical labyrinth on the land behind their gallery and store in Northern Michigan. Labyrinth, goddess garden and rustic fairy walk at the back of their property are all open to visitors to explore. The labyrinth is a 7-circuit design, 50 feet in diameter and was constructed from field stones in 1998. (

Raven Hill Discovery Center, East Jordan Michigan
Constructed from field stones, this rustic classical labyrinth graces the front entrance to Raven Hill Discovery Center. It was constructed in 2004 and is 35 feet in diameter(

Nelson's Herbs, Edwardsburg Michigan
Imagine a labyrinth constructed of over 560 lavender plants...that is what I experienced at Nelson's Herbs. A fragrant meditative walk. Originally built in 2004, it is 60 feet in diameter in the medieval/Santa Rosa style. (

Saint Mary's College, Notre Dame Indiana
Located near the entrance to Saint Mary's College, this is a 7-circuit classical design constructed with black river rocks with circular pavers to line the path. Twin finger labyrinths are near the entrance allowing you to "walk the labyrinth" with your hands. (