A watched pot (turtle nest) boils in Oak Island

A volunteer waved us left as we approached the tiny runway shaped to help guide baby turtles towards the sea. During our evening walks we noticed these small runways lined with green edges, centers brushed smooth carefully made ready for turtle nests incubating in the warm July sand past 50 days.  

“They’re coming. Please walk over and behind.” The excitement of new life. A small group of people composed of “nest mothers”, volunteers, and the vacationing and local curious was hovering over the patch of sand with a square grate the size of a doormat. The patch had a small crack where the sand caved in the size of my hand. This was an indication of restlessness, cracking, and movement below. The crowd of children, adults and more volunteers grew on either side of the runway as the sun began to set. We all waited. And waited. So did the turtles. They were waiting for the sand to cool as a sign of the waning sun that would make it easier to hide from predators. As the sun dipped, they rose and boiled like small dark shadows rising out of the growing hole in the ground.

Am I seeing this? The instinct is to shed light on this miracle. But light is exactly what they are avoiding. Light disorients budding life. They turn away and go in the wrong direction. “They have been listening to the ocean this whole time, they know to move towards the sound,” a volunteer explained while encouraging us to use our “inside voices” so the turtles can hear the ocean calling them. Or is it the magnetic pull? The ocean is like the mother’s heartbeat for a human baby emerging out of a uterine water sac. The baby moves towards the light, and a turtle also moves towards the moonlight on the water. Lights on the beach confuse them, they move in the wrong direction away from the water and into the grips of a predator. The beauty of turtles rising together. This I’ve learned affords survival of the species, many are sacrificed to predators so a few can live and serve a larger commitment to life. We humans have so much to learn from these tiny dark, squiggly, directed shadows. We can stand by, watch, guide, and mostly care enough to stay out of their way and keep other humans from staying out of their way…waving them to go around or stop shining light on the fragile eyes looking for the ocean. It is a practice of humble awe. A gentle suggestion that perhaps we are not the center of all life.

Sea turtles are a protected species. The Oak Island Turtle Protection Program is on a mission to monitor and protect the sea turtles and to foster community-based conservation…basically to wave us away from trampling the turtles and to welcome us to come close without shining light and with hushed reverence. In the three weeks of living here sitting on the sand alongside the turtle runway was the first and most satisfying sense of community I have experienced. No power, monetization, or exclusivity. The simplicity of a random community of curious humans channeling and watching small shadows scurry to glistening dark waves. It was magnificent.

The turtles are protected from industrial pollution and natural predators. We are among that list of natural predators. In my efforts to learn about the region I now call home, I researched a few cookbooks available at the local library. One of the cookbooks entitled “The Beachcomber’s Handbook of Seafood Cookery” by Hugh Zachary (1969) shares a Sea Turtle Stew recipe. The author prefaces the recipe with a story about gathering eggs from the beach, a culture of turtle hunting, followed by a plea.  He writes,

“I saw a couple of huge loggerheads that had been killed, wantonly killed, on Long Beach, not for their meat, but just for the fun of killing something so large, apparently. I like turtles. I like turtles better than I like some people – namely people who would kill a big loggerhead just for the experience. Loggerhead turtles are a vanishing breed. It’s fun to go turtle hunting during a full moon in a warm month on a nice night. It’s an interesting experience to find a big turtle on her nest and watch her lay eggs and cover them with her awkward, instinctive, and utterly laborious movements. My sympathy goes out to the big beast who comes out of her natural element to try to fight the odds against the survival of her species.

Let’s don’t eat loggerheads.”

Zachary, Hugh. (1969) The Beachcomber’s Handbook of Seafood Cookery. Kingsport Press: Tennessee.

On the margins of this recipe page, the library added a note about the law protecting sea turtles.

from the Beachcomber’s Handbook of Seafood Cookery (1969)

We humans can be both predators and conservators, vicious and curious. Sitting there watching the baby turtles a representation of life itself flapping, flailing, scurrying, blind and confused, I was reminded of the choice. As food curious as I am, I am okay letting turtle meat remain a mystery. I don’t know what my line is for eating other living beings, is it endangered animals? Or like Mr. Rogers who avoided anything that had a mother? Eat flesh out of necessity or politeness? Practice a generally plant-based diet? I don’t have my own answer, let alone have one for you. All I can say is that I hope to be aware of and own my choices today. Tomorrow may be different. Last evening it felt good to be among a community of humans who chose to stand together and aside watching life emerge out of a dark small crack in the earth.

Thank you baby turtles. I hope you live a long life and return to this beach as a place of safety and care. We’ll wait for you.

For lunch today, cereal with frozen blueberries sounds refreshing.

Wishing you thoughtful eating,


Recipe – Egg Curry

Good for a Cold Day Tomato Onion Egg Curry
  • 4 eggs
  • 3-4 Tbs oil
  • 1 Cinnamon stick
  • 2 Cardamom pods
  • 1 medium onion sliced
  • 1-1/12 teaspoons of turmeric and chilli powder
  • 3/4 teaspoons of cumin and coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon of fresh grated ginger
  • 1 garlic clove crushed
  • 1 chopped tomato
  • cilantro, fried onions, green chillies and garam masala to sprinkle
  1. Bring 4 eggs and enough water to cover to rolling boil. Turn off. Cover. Let sit for 15 minutes. Drain. Peel. Dust with 1/2 teaspoon each of turmeric and chili powder.
  2. Fry eggs in 2 tbs oil. There will be agressive popping sounds and splaterring. Stand back. Fry until surface acquires color and texture. Remove from pan with slotted spoon and set aside.
  3. In the same pan, add more oil if needed, add cinnamon and cardamom. Fry sliced onions until soft.
  4. Add ginger, garlic, salt, tumeric, chili powder, cumin and coriander with a 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 chopped tomato. Cook 10 mintues until tomatoes break down and forms cohesive sauce. Allow oil to separate in order to roast the spices and flavor the oil.
  5. Return eggs to pan. Add another 1/2 cup of water to create a gravy. More if you like it thinner. Simmer on low for 5 minutes.
  6. Garnish with chopped cilantro, garam masala, green chillies and fried onions (store bought is fine).
  7. Serve and enjoy with khichuri or plain rice. With the gentle heat, a hint of cinnamon, and chili-ginger heat, this was perfect to warm up on a cold snowy day.

Like most intuitive home-cooks I feel challenged by measurements and exact timings. Please use this recipe as loose guidance and inspiration, comment below with specific questions and I’ll attempt to answer.

I don’t follow recipes: I love Cookbooks

I don’t follow recipes. Why then you might ask, “Do you have so many cookbooks?” Fair question.

Cookbooks are for me narratives, sometimes exotic, sometimes familiar, always poetic.

Here is a fantastic example, from Bangkok: Recipes and stories from the Heart of Thailand by Leela Punyaratabandhu:

My great-grand parents always greeted guests with a silver bowl of cold water – not from the fridge but from a terra-cotta jar that was used to store filtered rainwater. Just one sip of that water would leave guests wondering how my great-grandmother had fit their whole garden of tropical blossoms into a single bowl.

How beautiful and elegant an offering! A whole garden in a sip. This description introduces a recipe for Flower-scented water.

Granted not all books are so lush in exotic imagery soaked in rain and flower-scented. However, even the most down to earth, undesigned community or family cookbooks that list ingredients and command us to, mix, retain a hidden narrative of efficiency, a love language of service.

I may never gently float fragrant freshly blooming flowers like jasmines, roses, ylang-ylang in 12 cups of boiled tap water. But isn’t the idea that is so real and possible, beautiful?

Definitely Thai for dinner tonight served with dreams of flower-scented water.

What dreams will you serve with your dinner tonight?



Cooking With Essential Oils and the Blondeyogi

Thank you, blonde yogi, for cooking with me! We tried Beef Stew with Rose Mary Oil, DoTerra Winter White Chocolate with Cinnamon and Clove oil, and Toast with Wild Orange Butter.

Here is what I learned from the experience:

  1. Oils are easiest to incorporate in beverages, hot or cold. The Winter White Hot Chocolate was a delicious concoction of almond milk, spices, and white chocolate. So soothing. Here is the recipe.
  2. Oils are also perfect additions to flavored oils and butter. Our buttered toast with two drops of Wild Orange Oil and a touch of honey was my favorite.
  3. The taste of the stew with Rosemary oil was perhaps the most subtle. I like the idea of a collection of essential oils as both part of a medicine cabinet and a flavor pantry. Reach for whatever you have.

The experience was a change in perspective about how I use essential oils beyond the yoga mat and take the practice into the kitchen. I can see myself including bergamot, peppermint, ginger, lemon, cloves, cinnamon etc in my teas and adding oils like rosemary, thyme, oregano to olive oil or butter for dipping warm bread. Maybe I need to move my oils closer to the kitchen. Hmmmmm……

What are your favorite ways to use essential oils in your recipes?

More hungryphil-wobblyogi experiments to come! OnGuard Pancakes, next. Join me blondeyogi.

Wishing you good eating, moving, breathing and Happy Thanksgiving for readers in the U.S.,


P.S. I was not the only one who liked the buttered toast the best! Thank you, Blonde Yogi Junior for taste testing with us!


Khichuri for Atiya


Comfort food is not always easy on the eyes. Khichuri does not “look” delicious but it is soft, warm, roasty, soupy, buttery and all things comforting. Often served for a big crowd since the rice and lentil stew expands, offers protein and warm stick-to-your-ribs comfort. It can be easily modified to the season and personal taste. It tastes like a South Asian version of Italian Risotto or Asian Congee. This week, this dish was Atiya, my baby’s request.  Perfect for the changing of the seasons. You will certainly find this in any Ayurvedic/ Yoga recipe book.

Usually, I make this with a sunny side up egg curry in a light tomato sauce. Today I was out of tomato sauce. So, instead, I made a spicy omelet with fried onions, cilantro, and chili peppers.

Basically, the dish requires rice, lentils, and water, cooked together to make a thick soup. That’s it. Everything else is up to family/ personal preference. Throw in whatever spices and vegetables you like.

Here is how I made mine today (tomorrow and next month might be different)

Wednesday Night Khichuri

  • 1/2 cup of lentils (red and yellow mung dal mixed)

  • 1 cup Jasmine rice (makes it extra mushy, Basmati is the traditional choice)

  • 2 cups of water

  • 2 cups of chicken broth (or vegetable broth, or just more water)

  • 1 Bay leaf

  • 1 Cinnamon Stick

  • 3 Cloves

  • 1/2 teaspoon Ginger Paste

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon turmeric

Cook over medium heat in a big pot until the rice and lentils break down and become a super soft mush (about 40 minutes). Fry an onion sliced, 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, 1 garlic clove sliced in 3 tablespoons of ghee or butter. Add the golden onion mixture to the rice. Stir in. Today I also added a chopped tomato for a bit of brightness. Other days I add carrots or peas or other veggies.  You may need to add more liquid to make it as soupy as you like. As it sits the Khichuri tends to absorb all the liquid and set up. You can always add more broth when you heat it back up.

Serve with store-bought fried onions, ghee, and a lime wedge.

You can add a sunny side up fried egg, an omelet or an egg curry. You can also serve with fried eggplant or a spicy beef curry.  Really, anything goes well with Khichuri.

If you make this in a pressure cooker, it takes about minutes for the rice to breakdown. After you carefully open the lid, add the fried onions. All done in 15 minutes. Today I had time and had my pot simmering for an hour while I watched Chopped on Food Network (Love that show!).

Try this or something that brings you comfort.

Wishing you a happy fall season,







Community Church Cookbooks…….


……show us a lot about the power of food to bring a community together. Someone had to collect the recipes, each named person wrote down and shared something from their table, someone typed the pages, someone organized the book, someone punched the holes, someone tied the yarn that bound the book….the book has recipes, scripture, has anecdotes about how to preserve love. The gentle and fragile binding of the cookbook holds the congregation and what each of them materially and spiritually consumes. It is a record of loving effort.

Imagine putting together a cookbook with your loved ones, maybe its a collection of places and restaurants you have been with each other or alone. A shared biography of iPhone- Instagram food pictures. It doesnt’ have to be glossy and polished with professional photography. It can be messy, incomplete and loosely tied. It would still hold already shared or hoped for shared joy.  Save this for a  quick weekend project on a cold winter day when you are at home while a warm pot of stew simmers on the stove.

The poem about “how to preserve love” in the cookbook made me smile,

Give as much as you can away for it dries up immediately when put on a shelf.

Mixed with kindness, it is your best recipe for happiness.

Thank you to Rachel Perrin, my most nurturing and steady mother-in-law, who shared this mid-1970s cookbook from Villa Rica Baptist Church in Georgia and taught me how to make biscuits, coconut pie, pecan pie, chicken and dumplings, meatloaf and so much more.

Happy cooking and sharing everyone,



Turkish Red Onion Salad

I want to remember this recipe because it was so light, bright and delicious. The recipe came from a Try the World Box. Remember it with me!

The addition of Sumac made this otherwise plain Tilapia Fish Sandwich, Turkish. Although it was included in the box, you can get Sumac in any Middle Eastern or South Asian grocery store. The spice looks red but instead of heat, it imparts a lemony brightness to dishes.

I am not a big raw onion fan, however, this “salad” was so flavorful and versatile that it’s worth keeping in mind for any grilled meats or sandwiches. Here is my variation of the recipe (I didn’t have the kind of vinegar or herb called for in the original recipe):

Turkish Red Onion Salad

  • 2 red onions thinly sliced

  • 1 medium cubed tomato

  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro

  • Juice of one lemon

  • 1 tablespoon good extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 2 teaspoon vinegar (whichever kind you prefer)

  • 2 teaspoons Sumac

Mix in a bowl and let sit. Serve with your grilled or fried, fish or chicken.

The lemon and vinegar tempers the onion and adds brightness. The sumac amplifies the brightness with an almost floral note. Combined with the mayonnaise on the toasted baguette and flaky fish it made a worthy and fancy fish sandwich.

Dear vegetarian friends, I bet it would be tasty on a grilled eggplant sandwich too.

Try it and let me know what you think!

Wishing you all happy eating,



Crunchy Fried Smelt


A spur of the moment made-up recipe that worked well. Writing and sharing the recipe so I don’t forget.

  1. 1 bag frozen Smelt (thawed out)

  2. 1 teaspoon each turmeric, chili powder, coriander and salt [you can add any spice mix of your choice, for example, Cajun would be tasty too]

  3. 1/2 cup of besan (chickpea flour) and 1 cup flour [rice flour would work too]

  4. Combine the ingredients. The fish holds so much water that adding water isn’t necessary. In fact, you may need more flour for the batter to stick to the fish.

  5. Shallow fry in vegetable oil or olive oil.

Serve hot sprinkled with lemon and salt. Dipping sauce of your choice.


Chicken Meatballs – Gluten free and Versatile

This Monday, I have no weekend food exploits to report. School has begun, summer is waning. Sigh.

Saturday, at home, we had a fun and messy summer dinner together of grilled king crab legs on the porch. It involved crab legs, rolls, corn, coleslaw, butter and not much else. A rare combination of easy and decadent.

Friday night was teriyaki grilled salmon, white rice, tofu and broccoli stir fry and pineapple sweet and spicy chicken meatballs.

The Chicken Meatball dish was an effort to offer a quick protein snack or dinner for my dancer daughter.


Asian Chicken Meatballs

  • 1 pound of ground chicken

  • 1 cauliflower shredded (in a blender with water and drained, or use food processor)

  • 1 tsp ground ginger

  • 1 tbs soy sauce

  • 1 tbs sauce of your choice (sweet chili sauce works well)

  • 1/2 cup coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage and carrots) or green onions, spinach or any shredded veggie can be added. You can also skip this addition.

  • Mix in order to incorporate the cauliflower throughout.

  • Form into small ball shapes.

  • Pan Fry.[or bake if you prefer]

  • Enjoy as a snack, a meatball slider or toss with additional sauce and vegetables for a dinner dish with rice or noodles.

Its gluten free, veggie filled, freezes well, versatile and tasty. It would be a good sandwich for school, after school snack or dinner. I can adjust the taste of this recipe by tossing the meatballs in bbq, Indian curry, thai curry, honey mustard, or any sauce and vary the flavorings within. As long as some liquid is added, the shredded cauliflower does all the work for this recipe.

As school and daily dance practice begins I’m looking for a variety of snacks that are nutrient dense and portable. What else besides, protein bars, nuts and dates, turkey sandwiches, can she take in her backpack?  Recommendations? All you soccer, gymnastics and dance moms out there, what do your kids like?

Here is an article about what ballet dancers eat. Helpful but not very portable suggestions.

Wishing all of you a wonderful week ahead,




Chia Seed Pudding – The Art of Recipe Testing


This week one of my struggles included trying to recreate the recipe for turmeric and ginger chia seed pudding that I had in Breckenridge over the summer. I searched online to find a similar recipe and thankfully found many. My first task was sifting through all the recipes in order to find one that spoke to me. This exhausting search and rescue operation in this era of information overload is a tricky one. Most of the time I just give up and reach for a book or a trusted and vetted source. For this odd recipe, that was not an option. Partly because I wasn’t looking for an exact taste. I was looking for proportion and general direction. How much chia seed to add to how much liquid to yield a pudding consistency? Flavor is something I could play with and find with my own palate.

First try: Too much liquid, good taste. Too runny.

Second try: Unsweetened almond milk, too much turmeric, good thick consistency, wrong flavor.

Third try: Getting closer to something healthy, filling and tasty for breakfast. Now to add the best combination of fruits and granola.

Hungryphil’s Morning Chia Seed Pudding

  • 1 cup chia seeds (course ground in coffee grinder)
  • 4 cups sweetened almond milk
  • 3 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 1 teaspoon of a mix of ground cinnamon and cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric (and a pinch of black pepper to help bring out its goodness)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon rose water

Mix together with a whisk. Set overnight in the refrigerator. Serve with toppings of fresh fruit for brightness and granola for crunch.

I can see why conventional recipe testing wisdom dictates at least three. It was a philosophical task for me to notice these small differences in quantity or procedure that affect the overall taste and makes something different. It made me aware of the pungent bitter power of turmeric, the heat of ginger, the viscosity of blooming chia seeds, the lightness of almond milk, the notes of cinnamon, cardamom and rose water that sing over the soft sweetness of agave nectar. It is not the best thing I’ve ever tasted but it feels good to eat on mornings when chewing seems like such a chore. It brings me back to being on vacation, exploring coffee places in the morning with my nieces, and finding something odd and nourishing together. Am I recreating the emotional memory or the physical taste? Like most of what I cook,  I suspect both.

Here is another recipe that looks promising. The  yellow turmeric makes it soothing for the third  solar plexus chakra (Manipura). My yogi friend Debra talks about the chakras in her blog unfold-yoga.

My recipe is still a work in progress but I am happy with the basic consistency and flavor. My dancingtiya approves. Try it, tweak it and make it your own. Notice the details on the way.

Wishing you all a fulfilling bright and yellow weekend,


IMG_3602 2