Many Thanks

I have been really blessed lately with such a beautiful life, so I wanted to pause and acknowledge this. To my friends, customers, and teachers in life, I just wanted to express a big thank you for being a wonderful part of my life. In the past 9 months in particular, many of you have been such a beacon of love and light for me. Hope I don’t leave anyone out. You are loved even if unnamed.

In gratitude to…

My family: For their unconditional love and support.
Anjali: For your friendship and skillful web design work.
Michelle D: You are always there for me. I love you!
Stephanie: For your friendship and beautiful graphic design.
Monique: For helping me shift my consciousness to a better realm.
Brenda: For your friendship.
Sandi: For teaching me about living fully. I cherish every day with you and your family.
Summer B: For your friendship.
Alice I: For always choosing love and light.
Gui: For creating an energetic space for me to reunite with myself on the yoga mat.
Paul and : For both of your great sense of humor and Paul’s beautiful photos.
Aprilani: For your friendship.
Joy and Shen: Blessing circles rule!
Shar and Art: For your open hearts and generosity.
Dania: For sharing important information with me with divine timing and your words of wisdom.
Kokua Market: For allowing me to develop new areas of my creativity.
MOA: For sharing space with me for cooking classes and for wonderful johrei energy work.
Baby aWEARness and Ashley Lukens: For sharing space with me for cooking classes, friendship and more cool stuff to come.
The Shintani’s: For an opportunity to cook for people in life-changing ways.
Kathy: For being a colleague and friend in macrobiotics here on Oahu.
Willow: For insight into the sheer chaos!
Barbara P: For helping me manifest my heart’s desire, quickly, easily, effortlessly for the highest good of all.
Nancy O: For the luscious mountain apples.
Geri: For your handcrafted dishtowels. I love them so much!
Holly & Moumen: For sharing.
Cherub & Joannie: For including me.
Divine source/mother nature: For providing everything I need.
Jeri: For helping promote me unselfishly.
Fred: Your heart is so filled with love. Thank you for touching mine. Any client who works with you is rich beyond belief.
Mavis, Ruth, Mi, Kay, Lei, Susan, Shelley, Joan, Karen, Jackie W, Arleene, Karin, and to all my incredible customers: I am honored to serve you! You make my job so wonderful! Thank you so much for your beautiful selves.

With love, Leslie

Photo by Paul Herchig of www.herchigimages.com

Adventures in Gluten-Free Baking

Sooooo many people have asked me to make gluten-free goodies, and I have honestly just resisted. Wheat is just so yummy and makes such delectable desserts. Well, I’m operating outside my comfort zone now, just experimenting, and so far the results are not bad! Possibly even truly delicious. Behold the Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins, and the Thumbprint Cookies. (I started baking on a whim and didn’t have any apricot jam, so I improvised). I have to thank Lorraine for giving me a GREAT cookbook to get me going.


My Trip to Waikiki Worm Company

I’ve dabbled in composting before, but I was told that I wasn’t doing it quite right. I had a spinning composter, but worms don’t like to get tossed around. When I changed living arrangements, I sold my spinning composter and took a hiatus from the whole endeavor.

Throwing vegetable scraps away just didn’t feel right, and after attending the recent agriculture conference, I committed to seriously getting back into composting. I made my visit to the Waikiki Worm Company this afternoon and purchased all my new composting items. Here is the store owner getting my worms ready for me.

Mindy explained to me how to set up my system. First, I have to shred paper and place it into my composting bin.
Then, I take the pile of worms and separate it from the vermicast, sprinkling the vermicast onto the paper to make a nice bed for the earthworms. It’s important to water it so that it stays moist.
From there I take the ball of earthworms and place them onto the bed and let them wriggle their way into their bed of paper and vermicast.

Now I can begin to feed them, so I grabbed some alfalfa sprouts that I had leftover from a cooking class and sprinkled them in.

Finally, it’s important to cover the food with more paper, and then wet everything down, and place on the lid.

My system is now operational! I’m heading back to her shop on Saturday to pick up some compost tea to spray on the foilage of my plants.

I’m really seriously working on getting a big container garden going. Here is my kale, basil, thyme, chives, parsley, and Maui onions…. (hard to see but they are all in there!).

Cilantro and arugula are sprouting in some other containers…

Hawaii State Agriculture Conference

On September 23rd and 24th, I attended the Hawaii State Agriculture Conference at the beautiful Ko’Olina Resort. For two days, I thoroughly enjoyed and took in as much of the information as possible, and here is my interpretation and summary of the issues for you:

  • We as a nation and world are in completely uncharted territory in terms of CO2 emissions and are in dire need of innovation and new ideas.
  • The most critical issues facing the islands seem to be the price and/or availability of energy, land, water, and the number of farmers. In addition, financing and transportation are important issues. ‘Energy’ and ‘Agriculture’ may see some big fights to come. The main recommendation is for everyone (conventional and organic farmers and ranchers) to try to “get along” and to communicate well regarding our shared issues.
  • UH’s College of Tropical Ag is working on aquaponics to meet some of the new sustainability standards set for 2050. Aquaponics helps solve problems of access to land. Some of the components of farming this way are expensive, so they are looking at ways to source items locally (e.g., fish food and fertilizers).
  • We currently have 90% of our energy shipped to the islands in the form of oil. There is a big push to move to biofuels (and I was sitting between someone from the Department of Energy and another person from the Navy who were both asking lots of questions and taking many notes), but farmers and ranchers are losing their land so that biofuels can be grown and produced. Although it was left unsaid, it was implied that the biofuels are GMO crops.
  • It’s critical that we all move to organic and sustainable methods of production. For health reasons in particular, organics were strongly recommended. We heard from ex-conventional farmers who have completely changed their methods and yielded some incredible crop results.
  • Consumers need to educate themselves that food doesn’t come from a store, it comes from the farmers. We all really need to stop shopping at places that offer “cheap” food and start prioritizing local producers. Buying “cheap” creates more long term systemic problems.
  • Ranchers and farmers are people on whom we all currently rely every day (so we really need to value and respect them).
  • Ranchers are moving toward grass fed beef. The cow is becoming a key part of the biofuel industry. It’s predicted that perhaps the ranchers will start building some bio-refineries and when this happens, they will be selling energy back to HECO. (Seems like we really ought to be nice to our farmers!)
  • Cows and worms are some pretty valuable creatures.
  • Korean Natural Farming Methods and biochar are a couple of things to seriously learn about and incorporate into current farming.

Although the mood was hopeful and optimistic, I came home concerned about our food and energy security.

Photos from the Lunch: Wraps & Spreads cooking class



Thanks again to Ruth for sharing her photos from the afternoon cooking class! I had some help rolling everything up for everyone so that we could move on to the next recipe. Looking forward to next week’s class, Lunch: Gourmet Bento Box Items

Recovering Your Health

From The Book of Macrobiotics by Michio Kushi

In order to recover and develop our physical, mental, and spiritual health, we need to reorient our way of life in the following ways:

  • we should reflect upon our own daily life, whether we are pursuing only sensory pleasures and emotional comfort, and thus forgetting our native potential for greater happiness and higher freedom
  • we should reflect further upon our daily food and drink and consider whether our meals are really balanced to produce the best quality of blood and cells as well as to secure the best mental and spiritual conditions.
  • we should also reflect upon our thought and behavior toward our family, friends, and other people and consider whether our respect and love are really dedicated from the heart and whether our behavior toward them is really serving for their health and happiness

The beginning of self recovery from all personal unhappiness, including physical and mental disorders, is our understanding of the perceptual order of yin and yang. In order to release ourselves from all physical and mental disorders changing our degenerative tendencies towards health and happiness, we must first apply our understanding of yin and yang to our daily dietary practice, how to choose, prepare, and take our food and drink. Through proper eating, our blood and body will become sound and whole. Mental and spiritual well being will naturally follow. food is creating us. If the nourishment we receive is proper, we are naturally more energetic physically, more comfortable emotionally, and more elevated spiritually than when our way of eating is imbalanced and disorderly. If our daily food is improper, our health declines, our emotions are disturbed, and our spirit becomes chaotic. Personal feelings, social relations, and our approach to any problems are influenced by what we eat. When we feel any frustration and disturbance, we should first reflect upon what we have been eating. Our physical and mental habits, as well as tendencies in our thinking and capacities of our consciousness all depend upon what we have been eating for a long period, from the embryonic stage through childhood up to the present. To change our food is to wholly change ourselves. Through food, consciously or unconsciously, we shape our destiny.