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Archive for March, 2009

Hare Krishna! Some more veggie bento delights. Enjoy ūüôā

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Contents: Panda (I tried, lol) onigiri, jab chae (Korean stir fry noodles),  string beans pakora, steamed asparagus, and some fruits.

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Contents: Yellow rice w/ green peas,corn, and carrots, samosas, spicy strawberry pineapple chutney, pineapple chunks, and some chocolates.

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Contents: Onigiri, Soba (Japanese buckwheat noodles), barbecued tofu, and fruits.

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Contents: sushi rice, stir fried veggies, veggie sushi pakora, kiwis, strawberries, and chocolates.

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Have you ever heard of a Sea Dragon? What about a Leafy Sea Dragon? If you haven’t, I’m not surprise at all because I myself never even knew that they existed. My limited knowledge of distinct sea creatures¬† are only up to seahorses and jelly fishes, credits to my previous zoology class, LOL! I had my first encounter of this amazingly beautiful creatures when my husband took me to the Tampa Aquarium¬† in Tampla, Florida. While strolling inside the aquarium, we saw this poster advertising about sea dragons exhibit, and it indeed intrigued me. I got my camera ready and headed to the exhibit hall, but when I got there, the management forbid the people in using the camera flash in taking pictures because it causes stress to the sea dragons :(, which I think is reasonable enough to protect this endangered species. Despite the dimmed lighting, and the swarm of people, I managed to took some decent pictures.

While watching the sea dragons, swimming beautifully inside their “protected” cage, I can’t help but wonder on how did Krishna (God) made them. Krishna must have made hundreds and millions of beautiful creatures that we haven’t seen yet, or some that are still undiscovered, and some that we might never see again.

More pics:

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2006-01-13    

¬†¬† ¬† Friday morning, and I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. It was a hot and humid day, and ¬†I couldn’t wait to take a cold and refreshing shower. Since I wasn’t in a good mood at early in the morning, I decided to skip breakfast in order to avoid my mother’s never ending litany. I went all the way to the bathroom and immediately brushed my teeth when suddenly a loud knock was pounding the bathroom. In a moment, there was a total silence then a not so pleasing sound to my ear follows, ” how many times I have to tell you to not to take shower on Fridays!” It was my mother yelling with all her might. I was like, oh my god! How did she even knew that it was me taking shower? Anyway, to make matters worse, she threatens me that if I disobey her, she won’t give me a penny for the entire week! Sweet! So, I think I got my ultimatum and just waved my white flag. Yes, that’s my mom with all of her “traditions”, or to put it properly, her superstitions, and I can’t even reason out with her. Is our common sense being reduce to a fraction just to¬†accommodate¬†superstitious belief?

I really don’t have anything against superstitious stuff, but if it’s too much sometimes, then that’s the time that it gets into my nerves. I myself have couples of superstitious things, but it’s quite justifiable. For example:

1. I always wear pink or baby blue outfit whenever I have a job interview because I feel like it’s a lucky charm to get that dream job.

2. With regards to my faith, whenever I cook, I don’t do a pre-tasting of any food that I prepared because I believe that I am cooking to please Krishna (God) rather than pleasing my sense of taste. After that, I offer the food to the altar. When the offering is over, I wash first the offering plate before I could start eating the sanctified food.¬†

I know it may sounds bizarre and people ask me if how is it possible that the food is palatable since I don’t pre-taste it? The only answer I could give is that it’s magic!

¬†¬† ¬† ¬†Now, my other practice which most people still consider superstitious may sounds unimaginable, but trust me, I’d been doing this since I was younger and that is, I don’t eat egg, fish, and meat. Yes, I’m a full-pledge vegetarian. I remember what my parents told me when I decided to become a vegetarian, ” You will not survive”, “Animals are meant to be eaten”, and lastly, “WHAT SUPERSTITIOUS BELIEF IS THAT?” It was a big slapped on my parents’ face. The reason I¬†abstain¬†myself from eating animal flesh is that I believe in karma; moreover, when I was little,my aunt told me a scary story that if I eat pig, I’ll also become a pig on my next life! That pig tale alone manipulated my vulnerable ten years old mind to change my diet.

¬†¬† ¬† In conclusion, superstitious beliefs may or may not be rational, but I guess it all depends to the person wether to follow it or not, what what good or bad to make out of it. It could be base on ignorance that if we don’t pray on Friday the 13th, then something bad will happen, or it could also be base on knowledge like don’t do unto others what others don’t want to do unto you.

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Last week, I posted this article “Caring for Every Devotees By: HH Radhanatha Swami. As I was trying to submit this article to another domain, the devotee in charged of that site asked me for any authenticity proof regarding the article in order to avoid any conflict. It could either be a permission from the author itself, or a URL from which where the article was first posted. Since it’s impossible for me to get the first one, I settle for the later. I managed to find the URL, and I feel relieved. I would like to thank the kind mataji who informed me about this authenticity matter. What a lesson learned!

The article posted below is only an excerpt from the whole original article. To read its entirety , please click here.

I recieved this article from my aunt in New Zealand, and I couldn’t help but share it. While I was reading it, I remember a phrase I’ve heard from one of Ravindra Svarup prabhu’s lectures. It¬† may not be the exact words, but the meaning and contents are the same:

“When we become a devotee, we work hard to become a perfect devotee. But, what’s next after we become a perfect devotee? That is we should work hard to become a human being.”

Remembering this, made me realize that most of the time we forgot that we’re also human beings who are working on the path of self-realization. Along that path, we’ll make mistakes and make progress, and along that path we forgot compassion because we’re too focused with our “philosophical” pursuits.

Caring for Every Devotees

By: HH Radhanatha Swami

How to apply these principles today, in our society of devotees, is a great challenge. But it is essential, because without it so many problems will play havoc in our society. For a society to be strong, all members must know their duties, and everyone should care for each other. Care means personal attention in serving each devotee. This is the one of the greatest needs of our society. We are preaching the most personal theology in the world: Krishna is a person and every living being is also a person. Everyone has an eternal relationship with God; every one has an eternal relationship with His part and parcels. As Krishna says: “You cannot show love for Me unless you show love for My devotees, and even show love to those who forgot that they are My devotees.” Sometimes in our society we become so highly philosophical that we forget that we are people.
Devotees need encouragement and basic facilities to be happy and serve
Krishna throughout their life.
A devotee has given his whole life to serve this mission, and then he becomes very sick. He needs help. He lays sick on the floor “I can’t do my service.” And we say, “You are in maya. You are not the body.” “Thank you. Philosophically it’s true: I am not this body and I am in maya, but I need your help to get out of maya and transcend this body. I need the love, support and care of a Vaisnava to take me through this.”
Srila Prabhupada was so caring to his devotees. On the first Gaura Purnima festival the only existing building was not yet finished. The first night that the devotees were there Srila Prabhupada got up in the middle of the night to look in each room to see if each devotee was properly taken care of, to see if everyone had a mosquito net. He would also ensure that there was prasadam for all of them and when they were getting sick he was very concerned about their health.
In Vrindavana, during his last months on the planet, Srila Prabhupada was so sick that he couldn’t even walk. When he had to go upstairs two British devotees would pick him up and would carry him in his chair. One of these devotees had a boil in his foot, and once, while he was carrying Srila Prabhupada, something hit the boil. The devotee said “Oh!” and tried to hide it, but Srila Prabhupada understood. Srila Prabhupada could not eat for months and had lost so much weight. His body was only bones. In these state most people would think about themselves. What was a little boil for a big, strong, young devotee, in comparison with Srila Prabhupada’s condition? Still, Srila Prabhupada asked: “What is your problem?” “No problem, Srila Prabhupada, no problem” said the disciple. But Srila Prabhupada insisted: “No, no, please, tell me”, and then he saw the boil and told him exactly what medicine to put. He told him to take the leaf of a certain tree, put it in mustard oil, boil it, and apply this at least three times a day. The next day, when that devotee was carrying Srila Prabhupada upstairs, Srila Prabhupada asked: “How is your foot? Let me see.” And for the next several days, until the boil was completely cured, Srila Prabhupada would inquire with attention and concern. How much do you think this increased the love of that devotee for Srila Prabhupada? He felt: “Srila Prabhupada is so concerned with such an insignificant disciple like myself. I am not a big preacher or anything like that.” This is bhakti. When devotees have physical or mental difficulties it’s an opportunity for us to express our love for them. It’s an opportunity to express our love for Krishna through serving a Vaisnava.

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Baking and decorating cakes are two of¬† my fave things in the world. For the past three years that I’d been baking and learning to decorate, I managed to accumulate couple of photos of the cakes that I made. Some are funny, some are ok, and some are even odd looking, LOL! I really enjoy baking and decorating cakes because it’s not just fun, but it’s also a stress reliever for me. To all the devotees who’s planning to embark in the world of baking and decorating cakes, you won’t regret it. It’s not just good as a source for extra income, but it can also be a good way to serve Krishna and the Vaisnavas. Hare Krishna :D.

For Bake and Decorate part 1, please click here.

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Bento is a Japanese way of preparing lunch boxes. It is mostly made up of rice, fish, meat, and egg. But now a days, bento has evolved, and it has lots of varieties.¬† Japanese moms actually designed bento boxes for thier kids in order to encourage the them to eat a variety of foods. Also, it helps in tricking the kids to eat foods that they don’t like to it at all, and one classic example is the greenly leafy healthy veggie. I used to religiously eat my bentos when I was at grade school, even if it includes the veggie that I totally despised before, the bitter gourd.

Lately, I’d been longing to make some bentos, but the only thing that stops me from moving my butt is my laziness. Then one day, my husband and I needs to go to Tampa for¬† some business, and he told me to packed some lunch since it’s gonna be a long day (duh! he just hate to eat outside,LOL). While checking the cooler to see if what can I whip from our almost bare fridge, making bento lunch boxes pops in my head right away.

Making bento is actually easy. You don’t need to make it fancy and intricate as the Japanese folks does, but to have the basic things in making it is a big help. So, for the basics, you just need rice (sushi rice), nori (dried seaweeds/sushi wrapper), some veggies and fruits, small containers (like a small paper/cupcake cup). You also need some toothpicks to sometimes¬† hold the food in place, and of course your bento box ( I just use the regular rectangular box). All of these are very easy to avail at your local Asian store. Once you have all of it, then you’re good to go.

When it comes on how to arrange your bento, there’s no pattern at all if which comes first. Whatever suits your needs, then go for it! All you need is your creativity and imagination, and just do things out of the box! You can make pakoras or samosas and have it arrange anyway you want. You can also put some accents for more colors, like cherry tomatoes, grapes, or even m n’ms will do.

If you’ve never tried making a bento box, now is that time to do it, hahaha! If you have problem with your kids on letting them eat some healthy foods, do it the bento way, and I’m pretty much sure it’ll work.

For more detailed steps and how tos in making a bento, I suggest to visit this site, http://lunchinabox.net/. If you have more questions about this, please don’t hesitate to ask. I’m just a click away, and I’ll be happy to be of service.

Some of the simple bentos that I made for my husband :).

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Contents: Seaweeds rolls, onigiri, veggie balls, kiwi, strawberry, candy,cherry tomatoes, and grapes

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Contents: Rice balls, veggie dogs, tofu, vegetarian brownies, gulabjamon, cherry tomatoes, and grapes.

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Contents: Rice rolls w/ cream cheese, tofu, veggie balls with broccoli and marinara sauce, edamame, and kiwis.

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Contents: Rice rolls, zucchini pakora, broccoli, and veggie dogs.

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Contents: Rice balls, steamed asparagus, spring rolls, and stir-fried noodles.

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And that’s me pigging out, ūüėÄ LOL!

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Here is also a video of cute bento boxes. I’m sure we can get an idea or two from this video.

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The week before Gaura Purnima, I was praying to Krishna to please let me do some service, for I’d been completely absorbed with work and school. Five days before the event, I got a call from Mother Nataka. She was asking me if I can do some cake for Radharani’s club fund raising for the temple. The moment I heard her request, I just said yes right away. I didn’t even asked her for the details because I was just overwhelmed with joy that Krishna fulfilled my desire for doing devotional service. I may sounds exaggerated here, but having the chance to do some service (in any possible little ways) is something that I really value, for it rarely comes to me. With my crazy busy life of going to school and working at same time, doing my part as a wife, as a friend, and as a daughter, now you know why I’m thankful. I don’t even mind not having time for myself. I arrive a little late at the temple because I was having some last minute fixture for the cake (I also fallen asleep¬† a bit while fasting, LOL), but when I got there, it was all worth it because the devotees were happy with the cake. Matajis from the Radharani club told me that they don’t want to cut the cake because it’s too cute to be eaten :). Anyway, they decided to auctioned the cake (as a whole piece) in order to raised more funds, and luckily an Indian couple bought it for a $100. I wasn’t there during the auction, so I missed the chance to asked the couple if I could have a tiny slice of the cake just to have a taste of it, LOL!

I don’t have money to donate for the temple, since I’m just a poor student. But, doing this somehow made me feel useful, and not just eating for free on Sundays. Thank you dear blue boy.

NOTE: I know my Lord Caitanya cartoon character doesn’t look at his best, but I promise to make him better next time.

Radhe Syam with their ever magnanimous presence.

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Sri Sri Gaura Nitai! The cutest ever.

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Jaya Nrsimhadeva! I just love His loving eyes.

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He build a house in which the whole world can leave. Jaya Prabhupada!

More Radhe Shyam pictures:

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Temple and devotee pictures:

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More pictures of the cake I made:

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