A Lotus Grows in Brooklyn

Autumn Wisdom
October 27, 2010, 8:50 am
Filed under: Photography, Quotes | Tags: , , , ,


When I walked out my door this morning it struck me that the leaves on the trees in Fort Tryon Park are suddenly changing. Against the dim gray sky and slick black rocks there are brilliant yellows and reds. Perhaps it’s been happening subtly for a time now, but today the transformation is arresting. It got me thinking that one, I wished I could just walk among the trees and not be going to work, and two, that we can look to a natural phenomenon such as this for inspiration to undertake necessary changes in our own lives. On that note, here are some of the better quotes I culled this morning on personal growth. Happy autumn!

“We are either progressing or retrograding all the while. There is no such thing as remaining stationary in this life.”

— James Freeman Clarke

“The most important thing to remember is this: To be ready at any moment to give up what you are for what you might become.”

— W.E.B. Du Bois

“To change one’s life, start immediately, do it flamboyantly, no exceptions.”

— William James

“Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.”

— Anais Nin

Photo by harold.lloyd on Flickr, used under Creative Commons license.


Autumn Spring
November 20, 2009, 11:07 am
Filed under: Photography, Quotes, South Park Slope | Tags: , , , ,

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”

—Albert Camus

In New York we’ve almost passed the time of brilliantly shining leaves, yet when I found this quote yesterday it struck me as perfect for this moment. As nature hunkers down to rejuvenate itself during the winter, it’s tempting to let your spirit go into hibernation, as well. But we are capable of creating a new spring for ourselves—in our lives and our souls—whenever we choose to try. I choose now.

 Photo taken by me in Green-Wood Cemetery, fall 2006.

Sweet potatoes!!!
October 20, 2009, 10:53 am
Filed under: Vegan, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , ,

I finally made this recipe from the NY Times I’ve been drooling over:
Roasted Sweet Potato Salad With Black Beans and Chili Dressing
And oh lord, is it amazing! I think my batch could use more salt, pepper, and jalapeño, so adjust accordingly. You really can’t go wrong with sweet potatoes, which are delicious cooked any of a thousand ways. But this recipe is a great harmony of sweet and spicy. Just look at this photo I took!

Picture 102

Yowza goodness! I believe I’ll be eating only orange foods all autumn.

Why Autumn is Awesome
October 12, 2009, 3:18 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , , ,

Picture 084

It’s the baking. Pumpkin, spices, vanilla, comforty goodness … mmm. Go make these pumpkin muffins right now. Why are you still reading this? Go make these!

Pumpkin Muffin recipe on PPK

Photo of muffin by me.

Vegan Maple Syrup Drop Cookies
October 8, 2009, 11:38 am
Filed under: Vegan, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Ah, fall. I don’t know why it is that we think we only get to experience the wonderful flavors of things like maple, nutmeg, and pumpkin during this three-month period. But I am pleased as a winter-hoarding squirrel to be indulging in these scrumptious, comforting tastes at the moment.

Last night I began my foray into seasonal baking with these very simple maple syrup drop cookies, from the blog Kaji’s Mom. They came out smaller than I anticipated (perhaps because I forgot to grease the cookie sheet so they didn’t spread out much) and the icing was a little too liquidy, so I’d reduce the amount of soymilk. Otherwise, super easy and very tasty!

Picture 079

Maple Syrup Drop Cookies

1/2C margarine, softened
1/2C packed brown sugar
2Tb applesauce
1/2C real maple syrup
1/2tsp vanilla extract
1tsp baking soda
pinch salt
2C all-purpose flour

1/2C powdered sugar
1Tb maple syrup
1/2 – 1Tb soymilk
1tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease cookie sheets.

In a large bowl, cream the margarine and brown sugar. Add the applesauce, syrup and vanilla. Mix until well blended. Sift together the flour, salt and baking soda. Stir into mixture slowly, mixing until well blended. Put dough in freezer for 10 to 30 minutes for easier rolling. Shape into 1 inch balls, place on cookie sheets about 2 inches apart.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

While cooling, mix together the powdered sugar, syrup, soymilk and vanilla. The mixture should be smooth and drizzle-able, if it’s too thick add more soymilk. Pour mixture into a plastic baggie, snip off a tiny corner and drizzle over the cooled cookies. Allow the drizzle to harden completely before stacking and storing in an airtight container.

Photo taken by me at about 7 am today. Notice the sunrise glow. 🙂

Happy October!
October 1, 2009, 9:04 am
Filed under: New York miscellany | Tags: , , , , , ,

fal lleaves

I’ve always thought October was an enchanting month. Growing up in California I could pretend it was a real autumn and that some boy would carry my books down a sidewalk covered in crinkly red-orange leaves, like on the after-school specials. Bit of a problem, though, because in my hometown there were no sidewalks, no one  walked anywhere, and the only items underfoot were acorns and dry dust.

Five years after moving to the East Coast, I am still enamored of these storybook autumns. Bright mums on stoops! A rainbow of leaves in Central Park! Crisp mornings where you’re happy to wrap up in a soft scarf! Pumpkin spice lattes at Starbucks! (Okay, scratch that last one.)

So let’s all rejoice in this transitional month, break out last year’s Halloween decorations (you didn’t throw them away did you, my good little recycling blog readers? you know that stuff’s all plastic), and read some John Keats: To Autumn.  (But don’t go see the movie about him. It looks entirely too “R”omantic.)

Also, let’s appreciate this month’s birthstone, the opal. (And don’t make me say “rocktober.” Oh dangit, I said it. I apologize.)


“A variety of Opal called Hyalite, which glows bright green under short wave UV…There also appears to be some Calcite, which glows bright red.”
Photo by by Orbital Joe on Flickr, used under Creative Commons license.

Top photo of red leaves taken by me last fall in Green-Wood Cemetery.