Sunshine Soup

#SunshineSoup

It’s all about the light really, isn’t? These holidays ~ Hanukkah, Solstice, Christmas, New Year’s? Aren’t we all in some way, each in our own way, celebrating light? Its sustenance… its return… its birth… its miracle… its warmth… our dependence on it….

carrot #soup

I had a teacher who used to say, “Eat Light. Plants do. Why can’t you?”

In this darkest of seasons, here is a soup of sunlight. With its saffron swirl, it offers vitamins A, D and E to strengthen your color and sight, and selenium to keep your moods sunny and bright. It’s a warm break from winter’s toil, and another good reason to celebrate the return of light, and the approach of a new year.

#tarragon

The brazil nuts offer a rich base note to the carrots’ creamy sweetness, while the tarragon weaves through with a unique pungency, and the orange zest gives that bite of bitter that makes it all beam. It’s so simple, you might be surprised by what a grand dish it makes.

Carrot Tarragon “Sunshine” Soup
Serves 2-3

2 t ghee (or coconut oil)
1/2 t ground turmeric
2 t tarragon, chopped (dried is okay if you can’t find fresh)
1 small onion
3 cloves garlic
1″ piece of ginger, peeled
1 lb carrots
1/4 t sea or pink salt
1 dash red pepper flakes
2 cups vegetable broth
8-10 brazil nuts, lightly toasted
1 orange

Roughly chop your carrots, onion, garlic, ginger. Grate the orange peel to make about a teaspoon of zest and set aside. Juice the orange and measure out about 1/4 cup.

Melt 1 teaspoon ghee in a sauce pan on low heat. Add the turmeric and 1 teaspoon of the tarragon to the ghee and give it a good swirl. Add the chopped vegetables, red pepper flakes and half the salt. Allow this to “sweat” by cooking on low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent.

Turn up the heat, add the broth, and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat so it just lightly boils for about 10-15 minutes, or until the carrots are soft.

Put your toasted brazil nuts, and a bit of the soup mixture in a blender and mix until the nuts are completely broken down and throughly integrated. Pour in the rest of the soup and purée. Add water if the consistency is too thick. Pour the purée back into the sauce pan, cover and warm over a low heat.

Meanwhile, melt the remaining ghee in a small saucepan. Add the remaining salt and tarragon. Stir over a very low heat for about one minute. Turn the heat under the soup off. Stir in the orange juice. Ladle into bowls, drizzle with the tarragon “butter” and sprinkle with orange zest. Serve piping hot.

#sunshinesoup

On a recent day devoted to cleaning out the pantry, we had it for lunch with gf crackers and this cilantro pesto. But it’s not just a worker’s lunch. In elegant bowls garnished with a stalk of fresh tarragon, it would be an inspiring starter for a New Year’s dinner. I’m sure Champagne’s sparkle would delightfully pair with this bowl of sunshine.

I wish you a Happy New Year ~
With light and love in every bite!

#Carrot Tarragon Soup

Holiday Home Made

#footscrub

I am not much of a holiday shopper. I hope that doesn’t sound humbug. I just don’t think the shopping mall has much to do with the spirit of the season, and I’d rather walk on the beach with friends, or travel to the mountains with my family, or share a meal with loved ones. I prefer the gift of time… the gift of togetherness… the gift of nature…. gifts of love.

foot scrub

Home-made presents give the gift of all of the above – your time, your caring heart, nature’s beauty and love. Here are six last-minute ideas you can make in quick time, with ingredients you probably already have in your cupboard – all in the comfort and peace of your own home. After all, this is still the season when we should be doing less, turning in, and staying warm!

#peppermint #footscrub

1. Soothing Foot Scrub: With magnesium to calm, cinnamon to warm, and peppermint for that holiday tingle.
2. Radiant Skin Facial Moisturizer: With rose at the heart of these delicious ingredients, Ayurvedic skin care is Edible Beauty.
3. Cookies: Delicious Cardamom or darling Gingerbread.
4. Dessert Bread: Liscia’s Cardamom Banana or Drisana’s Primal Coconut.
5. Chocolate Pâté: Wrap in a red, silk ribbon for extra richness. Keep refrigerated until gifting.
6. Dark Chocolate Pomegranate Bark: A colorful, healthful recipe demonstrated in this charming, short video from Melissa Clark of the NYT.

chocolate-pate

Thank you for joining me on this culinary journey of Nature’s love. I wish you days of light, seasons of joy, generous gifts of peace ~

Namaste!

Related Posts

Thanksgiving Loaf

#Walnut Loaf

Last year over the Thanksgiving holiday we wandered up to Door County, Wisconsin to visit our friend, the unique and immensely talented Hans Christian. On exotic, multi-stringed instruments, Hans plays a music that transports you to sacred heights.

He played a number of these instruments on my husband Bhava’s most recent album Songs of My Soul, which he also produced. So we went up last Thanksgiving to visit, see his studio, and listen to a few of Bhava’s tracks as they were being engineered. This is a cut from that album, over images from my husband’s memoir Warrior Pose.

It turns out that Hans is also a great cook. And while we didn’t get to try it while we were there, he talked us through his favorite Thanksgiving recipe. This is my reconstruct from the barest of notes. I hope it does it justice. It certainly is hearty and delicious – already a tradition in our home.

#walnut loaf

Hans’ Thanksgiving Nut Loaf
Serves 8

4 cups Brown Basmati Rice, cooked
2 cups Walnuts, chopped
2-3 cups Cheddar Cheese, shredded
1 cup Celery, chopped (feel free to add more and be generous with the celery)
2 tablespoons Caraway seeds
4 Eggs
2 tablespoons Tamari
1 tablespoon Ghee (or Coconut Oil), just barely melted
1/2 teaspoon Pink Salt
Fresh-cracked Pepper
Dusting of Red Pepper Flakes, or Cayenne, or my favorite, Aleppo

Set your oven to 400 degrees. Line a loaf pan (8.5 x 4.5) with parchment paper. If you don’t have parchment, oil the bottom and sides with ghee, or coconut oil.

Put 1 tablespoon cheese to the side. In a large bowl, mix together the rice, walnuts, all the rest of the cheese, celery and caraway seeds. Whisk the eggs together and stir into the rice mixture to completely cover. Add the tamari, ghee/oil, salt, and peppers, this time just lightly mixing to spread the seasonings through.

Spoon the mixture into the loaf pan. Use your clean hands, or a spatula, to press down and push it into the corners. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top.

Set the loaf pan in your oven, and cook for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

#Thanksgiving #Walnut Loaf

Served with a sauce like Barbara’s “Best Ever Vegan Gravy” will round out the Thanksgiving flavors. But the true test of Thanksgiving perfection? Friday leftovers! This makes an incredible sandwich by lightly reheating the slices and placing between two pieces of toasted bread generously smeared with a Curried Aioli ~ 2 T Mayo, 1 clove garlic, 1 t lemon juice, and a few shakes of your favorite curry powder stirred together well. Pile on the greens and your feast of thanksgiving just got portable!

#walnut loaf

Bhava’s CD turned out beautifully. For divine music and meals, friends and family, beauty and the quiet solace of  nature and places like Door County ~ we are grateful.

#Hans Christian
~ Click to sample Bhava’s CD ~

We wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving!

*Namaste*

~ ~ ~

Primal Pumpkin Coconut Bread

give thanks #thanksgiving bread
Last week we returned from a Holistic Health Cruise where a variety of presenters discussed a diversity of topics. But when asked, all seemed to agree on one thing: With all the popular diets these days, Paleo, Vegan, Atkins, South Beach, Raw, one’s head could really spin. So what do they all have in common? Avoid processed, refined, packaged, and focus on organic, seasonal, whole, “you could have gathered it yourself” foods. Once again, we return to Ayurveda, where individual differences are appreciated and the only absolute is to source from nature.

#pumpkin bread

So, along comes the divine Drisana Carey with this Primal Pumpkin Bread that had us all begging for the recipe. Before I could even ask,  she was generous enough to drop the book containing the recipe at my doorstep.

It is called “primal” because the recipe aligns with the principles of Mark Sisson’s  Primal Diet, a mature approach to eating like our ancestors, yet thoughtfully considering the stresses and environmental toxins of our modern lifestyles. On his website, where he touts the immense health benefits of pumpkin, Sisson offers an alternative recipe for Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie which actually looks like a great improvement on the usual in terms of both health and taste. 

#thanksgiving pumpkin bread

Speaking of Thanksgiving, this Primal Pumpkin Bread, with all its protein and clean energy, would be a great meal to begin the holiday. After all, it is so real, so whole, so natural, so delicious, you could say it’s the very taste of thanks-giving!

It would also make a great holiday dessert ~ with all the potassium, magnesium, healthy fats and antioxidants to help balance the season’s excesses.

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The creamy frosting makes it especially moist, creamy and teasingly wonderful. You could make it Vegan like the one topping these Lemon Cupcakes, or replace it with something like this Vegan Cinnamon Frosting. And while I love baking up pumpkins, you can also make it quick and easy with a box of pumpkin puree. 

#pumpkin puree

Primal Pumpkin Coconut Cake

1/4 cup ghee or coconut oil, melted
6 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup maple syrup (Drisana substitutes half the maple syrup for molasses “to add iron and potassium”)
1/2 cup cooked pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon clove powder
1/2 teaspoon fresh nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1 apple, chopped
1/2 cup coconut flakes
1/4 cup pecans
3/4 cup dark chocoloate chips

Melt the ghee/coconut oil in a small saucepan and set aside. Grease a bread pan, or muffin tins. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Crack the eggs into the bowl of an electric mixer or into a large mixing bowl. Beat with your mixer or wire whisk. Add in vanilla, maple syrup, pumpkin, and mix until thoroughly combined. Sift coconut flour, ghee or oil, spices, salt, and baking soda. Slowly add the dry mixture to the pumpkin mixture and beat, or whisk, until there are no lumps. Stir in the coconut flakes, chopped apple, pecans and chocolate chips. Pour the batter into your baking dish or muffin tins. Bake for about 30 minutes for bread, or 15 minutes for muffins – in any case it is done when a toothpick comes out clean.

Remove it form the oven and turn onto a wire rack to cool, then generously cover with the Cream Cheese Frosting.

Honey Cream Cheese Frosting
1 cup organic whipped cream cheese (Tofutti for Vegans, or make it yourself)
2 tablespoons cup honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Beat cream cheese, honey and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer until fluffy. Spread on cooled cake.

also best

Drisana brought this delicious cake over to join in celebrating Haunani, who is having a baby in December. Remember Haunani from this post? She is a divine, light-filled, love-drenched soul. We are grateful for her presence in our lives and wish her, husband Tad and their soon-to-emerge baby, perfect health, every happiness, infinite love. We are also grateful to Drisana and Mark Sisson for this gluten-free, nutrient-rich, potent pumpkin pleasure.

What are you grateful for this holiday harvest season?

Namaste!

*

Gluten Free Cookies

glutenfree-chocolate-chip-cookies

After reading David Perlmutter’s book, Grain Brain, we are going gluten-free. For me, that is not difficult. Wheat has been off the menu for a while now. But there are those in the house who feel that life is just not complete without a chocolate chip cookie after school.

In an effort to prove that life can be effortless, delicious and complete without wheat, I am on a search for the world’s best GF Chocolate Chip Cookie. Along the way, I’ve found these delicious looking treats ~

  1. Easy Gluten Free Peanut Butter and Nutella Cookies from Life Made Sweet
    2. Almond Joy Cookies from Salmonberry
    3. Gluten Free Classic Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookie from Recipe Renovator
    4. GF Peanut Butter Cookies with Chocolate Chunks from LivLife

But we are looking to be sugar free, too, so I’ve been busy in the kitchen adapting recipes. The photo above is my favorite recipe so far. I’ll post that for you next week.

Meanwhile, what are your favorite Gluten-free recipes?

I look forward to experimenting with your suggestions.

Namaste! 

Sweet Potato Chai Smoothie

#Sweet Potato Chai Smoothie

So here’s how spacey I can be: I put a sweet potato in the oven on Monday, thinking I’d have it later in the day with ghee and a sprinkle of Autumn spices. After an hour, its sweet aroma called me from my office. “Done!” it was signaling. I went and turned the oven off.

On Tuesday night,  3 hours away on a road trip with my mother, just before falling asleep, I remembered that little packet of Ojas, still sitting all by its lonesome in that now cold oven. Uh!

#sweetpotato

What happened? Too embarrassed to tell my husband, I let it remain there until I got home late the following night, whereupon I gently drew it from those dark cavernous racks, slid it into a safe, cozy place in the fridge, and then in the morning, knowing I had to use it or lose it, popped it in the blender and made a breakfast smoothie.

Sweet Potato #Smoothie

Being morning, following a full week of teaching and traveling, I knew it would offer the grounding I needed, but also wanted warming spices to rev up the morning fires. So I added a bit of fresh ginger, splashes of cinnamon, dashes of cardamom, and a sprinkle of fresh grated nutmeg. That, along with fresh Almond Milk, made for the gentlest, Autumn-welcoming, home-coming breakfast I can remember. Ever.

Sweet Potato #Smoothie

But then, as I mentioned, my memory is not that reliable… especially in Autumn. You see, in Ayurveda, Autumn is what we call the “Vata” season. Vata relates to the air element, which is windy and can make us restless, scattered, spacey. To balance the light, mobile, dry, cool qualities of Vata, we want to favor foods that are substantial, nourishing, wet and warm (either by lightly cooking and/or spicing). It’s almost like we are looking for foods we can sink into, foods we know will love and take care of us, foods we can trust.

I was having what we call in our house “a Vata moment,” and that sweet potato was just what I needed to restore balance. Amazingly, given how long it had sat, it was as good as if it had just been baked. That’s a food you can trust.

#vata-reducing

So here’s the recipe. If you omit the water, you’ll have something like a Sweet Potato Pudding, a great healthy dessert or snack. But I made it into a Smoothie because I needed something drinkable. That’s just the way mornings are for me.

Sweet Potato Chai Smoothie (or, Sweet Potato Pudding)
Makes enough for 2

1 small Sweet Potato (or half a large one)
1 cup Almond Milk
2 Dates
1/2″ inch coin Ginger, peeled
1 generous shake of cinnamon
A more reserved shake each of Nutmeg, Clove, Cardamom
1 t Raw Honey

1/4 cup Purified Water
Option: 1/8 t orange zest

Pierce your sweet potato and bake at 400° F for about 45 minutes. Allow to cool. Put it in your blender with everything, except the water, and mix on high until it is smooth. At this point, you’ll have something like a pudding. You could spoon this into dessert bowls and enjoy it like  a sweet snack, or for a Smoothie, add water until you get the consistency you desire. Pour and serve, with a spoon!

#SweetPotato #Chai Smoothie

This is so good you won’t believe it is good for you: tonifying, balancing, grounding, it is both Vata and Pitta pacifying. For Kapha, add more water, more ginger and clove, and maybe even a good shake of cayenne.

Given how healing and hormone-balancing sweet potatoes are, this is another truly delicious example of Mother Nature loving you. To Mother’s nature in you, Namaste!

Flourless Chocolate Cake

On Sunday, Celeste came over for a class we called “Learn to Love the Kitchen.” Given she had just been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, I wanted to include something really delicious and easy to make so she wouldn’t feel it’s a diagnosis of labor and deprivation.

Sunday with Celeste
Sunday with Celeste

Celeste arrived after a morning of writing. Not very purposeful writing, and not even very useful, but full of flow and ease, and a healing making right with the world kind of sweetness.

You see, I was taught to write in a stream of consciousness: “Don’t think, just write.” “Put pen in hand and begin.” “Let it flow.” “Be uncensored.” “Afterwards,” they would say, “you can go back and edit.”

This way of writing has been like therapy for me. It helps keep me alive to the river of life. It restores my faith that all is flowing towards some ocean, symbolic in Yoga for expanded consciousness, the cosmic mind, our oneness.

It’s one reason I put this quote from Norman MacLean on my personal website ~ “But when I am alone in the half light of the canyon all existence seems to fade to a being with my soul and memories… Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it.”

Nutella Mousse

“Under the rocks are the words…” he goes on. And it feels that way to me. Writing helps dislodge the rocks, underneath which are buried the words. There, a river runs through, and everything fades to a being with my soul and the memories…

Hazelnut Mousse

Sometimes I think I write for my life. To unfurl the coiled and sometimes twisted emotion, energy, experience and restore balance, perspective, peace.

At least that is how it began. Now I write to cultivate a divine essence, or a relationship with that. It’s a relationship that includes food, Nature,  you, even my own spirit ~ elated as it is to now be so free.

Homemade, healthy Nutella

In his novel, A River Runs Through, MacLean writes: “My father was very sure about certain matters pertaining to the universe. To him, all good things – trout as well as eternal salvation – came by grace; and grace comes by art; and art does not come easy.” 

Which makes me think not only of writing, and blogging, but of the kitchen, and all that we do to maintain health. Maybe our work is our art, and even our diagnoses can be seen not as labor and deprivation, but as acts of art leading us towards grace.

Nutella Pie_4
The art of our labor came for Celeste and for me, in this Flourless Chocolate Cake, which I affectionately call, “Nutella Pie.” It is simple, with only about 5 main ingredients. It is also messy. MacLean promises all good things – trout as well as eternal salvation… and that must include chocolate cake, don’t you think?

This little delight is made with hazelnuts, almond milk, dates, eggs, and some spices. It is not made with sugar, flour, dairy, or any junk. I ran the nutritional data on it and it seems to have about 150 calories per slice, plus a lot of vitamins, minerals, fiber and good-for-you love. I served it with a Coconut Cream Coulis and strawberries, but raspberries would be pretty, too.

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Hazelnuts, 1 cup
Dates, 6 large, pitted and chopped
Almond Milk, 1 cup
Vanilla Extract, 1 Tablespoon
Coconut Oil, 1 Tablespoon
Eggs, 3 large
Pink Salt, a pinch or two
Raw Cacao, 1/4 cup scant
Cinnamon, 1 big shake
Cardamom, pinch
Maple Syrup, 1-2 Tablespoons, (optional)

Set your oven to 335F. Pit and chop the Dates, then soak them in pure water for at least ten minutes. Toast the Hazelnuts lightly (about 3-4 minutes in a toaster). Put the nuts in a Vitamix or electric blender and grind until it is a powder. Drain the dates and add to the hazelnuts, along with the Almond Milk, Vanilla and Coconut Oil. Blend until it is creamy. You might have to stop, stir, and blend a few times to get it to really come together.

In a small bowl whip the eggs with the salt. Add to the hazelnut mixture and blend some more. Once that is creamy, add the cacao, spices, and maple syrup.

Grease a 9″ round pan, or muffin tins,with a dab of coconut oil. Pour in the mixture and smooth with a spatula or the back of a spoon. Bake for 2o-25 minutes for the cake/pie, or 15-20 minutes for the minis.

Serve warm or at room temperature with plain yogurt or this Coconut Coulis.

Coconut Coulis

Coconut Milk, 1 can
Raw Honey, 1 Tablespoon

Chill the Coconut Milk for at least one hour. Spoon it into a bowl and blend with the Honey. Whip it until it gets a bit fluffy and thickens. Drizzle over your Chocolate Cake. It is also wonderful with fresh fruit.

Nutella Pie_1

“Study after study shows that cocoa flavanols can disarm cell damaging free radicals, preserve cell membranes, protect DNA, prevent the formation of artery clogging plaque, improve blood flow to the heart, lower high blood pressure, and prevent blood clots that can cause a heart attack or stroke. ~ Bharat B. Aggarwal, PhD

I hope you enjoy this delicious reminder that food is a love story, and that Mother Earth is always loving you!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Namaste ~

Cardamom Cookies

Cardamom Cookie

The ever sunny, always giving, Randy-Skippy-Arjuna (RSA) Spicocchi brought these over for dessert recently. We had what we call our “India Dinner,” an evening we host one month before departing for India where we teach at the International Yoga Festival in Rishikesh. We prepare a multi-course Indian meal together with our fellow travellers (photos here), so they can meet each other and learn about the adventure ahead. These divine little treats, laced as they are with India’s own peppery and exotic Cardamom, were the perfect sweet complement.

You may have noticed I don’t write often of sweets or treats. There are two reasons for that. The first is personal: I am Kapha enough that dessert, bread, pasta and the like, had to be struck from the plate long ago. The second reason is well explained here.

Cardamom Cookie Stack

On the other hand, every now and then we are asked to provide a dessert, or want to show our love with a treat. Some people find the stresses of the day melt away a little more easily with a morsel of something warm, soft and sweet, and, with chronic stress being arguably more dangerous to your well-being, melt away I say. Plus, some of you have asked for more baking… and, they are gorgeous, aren’t they?

Cardamom Cookie 1

I had an Acupunturist once tell me that when it comes to diet, it is important to break the rules now and then. His theory was that the digestive system needs to be challenged occasionally, and he pointed to Fergus the Forager as proof. Given that I had a bad “frites” habit at the time, I was happy to adopt that professional justification.

I could justify it Ayurvedically, too. After all, digestion is a fire. The dosha, or bio-energy, of fire is Pitta. Pitta is muscular, competitive, success-oriented. It loves a good challenge. Pitta naturally distinguishes between good and bad, right and wrong, healthy or not. Discernment is a positive quality of Pitta. Whether it is your vision, your mind, or your digestion, if you have positive Pitta, it discerns.

2013-01-31 08.26.18

I wonder then, dear reader, professor of all things healthy, connoisseur of true food and enduring nourishment, if we could say that the small intestine ~ that most Pitta of organs, responsible for the second stage of digestion, the stage where the essential is separated from the non-essential ~ actually needs a break from perfection once in a while to test its clarity, strength and power, and keep it in good working order?

What if, too, that is the principle behind all metabolism, including your mental and emotional metabolism, the heart and soul’s capacity to digest information, experience, life itself? Could cultivating your inner fires of passion, devotion, discipline, clarity, discernment really help you release the non-essential, preserve the essence, heal and grow in wisdom and compassion? I offer my husband as a thought-experiment.

Cardamom Dough

How’s that for justification?

In truth, this cookie is pretty healthy. We use a GF flour, coconut palm sugar which has a low glycemic index, good-for-you ghee instead of butter, Himalayan salt with 88 trace minerals, and, of course, Cardamom which is a Pitta support, helping metabolize sugar, and reducing those levels in the blood where it can be so dangerous.

GF flour

So when cookie cravings arise, try these. My husband saw them and pronounced them the prettiest cookies ever. After tasting one, two, and then three, he also declared them to be the very best cookies ever. From my very own world expert on cookies, that felt good to hear.

One more plus ~ I made them in less than ten minutes (plus cooking time)!

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Cardamom Cookies
Recipe adapted from Randy Spicocchi

Organic GF Flour, 2 1/4 cups
Baking Soda, 1 teaspoon
Pink (Himalayan) Salt, 1/2 teaspoon
Ghee, 1/2 cup room temperature
Organic Coconut Palm Sugar, 1 1/2 cups
Ground Cardamom, 3 teaspoons
Organic, Free-range Eggs, 2
Vanilla Extract, 2 teaspoons

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.
 In a large bowl, cream together ghee and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in cardamom, eggs and vanilla extract until well combined.
With the mixer on low speed, gradually incorporate the flour mixture until the dough comes together and no streaks of dry ingredients remain. Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place on prepared baking sheet.
 Randy likes to sprinkle a combination of cardamom and the palm sugar over the top “for added sweetness.” I like it for the dusting of contrasting color.

Bake for about 10 minutes, until cookies are set and very light golden around the edges.
 Allow to cool for 3-4 minutes on baking sheets, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes about 2 dozen.

Baking Cardamom Cookies

Cardamom is mother nature’s answer to our occasional need for a sweet splurge. Isn’t she amazing to always anticipate our needs? Next time you need a little extra comfort, I hope you will enjoy these Cardamom Cookies and savor Mother’s Love.

Cardamom

What warms your heart when life’s seasons turn cold?

~

P.S. Have you seen my new website, with information about my upcoming Winter Cleanse?

Thank you & Namaste!



			
		

Ojai Valley Inn’s Gingerbread Cookies

Ojai InnLooking for something serene and a bit special for our end of the year retreat we took the advice of our Ginseng Yoga Studio co-owner Cindy Bennett and headed to the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa.  We arrived just in time to wander about before dark, to enjoy the natural setting and get our bearings.

Ojai Mountains

Have you ever walked through a grove of Eucalyptus after the rain?  It is one of the things I most love about southern California winters, and one of the delights that greeted us as we explored this beautiful valley. Eventually we stopped at one of the many restaurants at the Inn, the causal  Cafe Verde, to peek at a possibility for breakfast in the morning, and possibly warm up with a cup of tea.

Oak Grill

Instead we came upon a group of families gathered around the large open kitchen, where the chef was giving a Cooking Demonstration, showing the children how to make Gingerbread Cookies. I didn’t get there in time to take photos of the demonstration, or of the kids, but I did get the recipe!

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It is not Ayurvedic to eat a lot of sugar, but if we put that aside, and if you make this with Ghee and gluten-free, then you have a fairly healthy cookie. After all, the spices are Ayurvedic, exactly the ones we use to fan the digestive fires, which might be helpful this season, no? I mean, who couldn’t use a little more fire in the winter?

Making gingerbread

Gingerbread Cookies

3 cups flour, I’d use gluten-free: like Bob’s Red Mill
1 1/2 t Baking Powder
3/4 t Baking Soda
1/4 t Salt
1 T ground Ginger
1 3/4 t Cinnamon
1/4 t Cloves
6 Ghee
3/4 c Coconut Sugar
1 large Egg
1/2 cup Molasses
2 t Vanilla

In a small bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves until well-blended.

In a large bowl, beat butter, brown sugar, and egg on medium speed until well-blended. Add molasses and vanilla and continue until well blended. Gradually stir in dry ingredients until blended and smooth.

Divide dough in half. Set in two bowls and cover. Let sit at room temperature for at least 2 hours and up to 8.

Preheat oven to 375F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Place 1 portion of the dough on a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle flour over dough and your rolling pin. Roll dough out until it is 1/4-inch thick. Use your gingerbread cookie cutter to cut out cookies. Place cookies on the baking sheets about 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake 1 sheet at a time for 7-10 minutes.  Remove from oven. Allow to stand until cookies are firm, then move to a wire rack. Once cookies are cool, decorate away!

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Wishing you a Joyful Holiday and a Happy New Year!

Namaste!

~

All photos are from the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa website, with permission. 

Related Posts I’ve enjoyed:
Stephanie Weaver’s GF Gingerbread Cupcakes
Whitney Kear’s Pumpkin Cake
Kerala Rose’s Indian Buttery Cookie

Soup for Sophia

What do you serve for lunch at The Sophia Conference?

LauraSpeakW

After a huge morning of friendship, inspiration, art, poetry, yoga, contemplation, dance, music, beauty, laughter, sisterly sharing and divine feminine wisdom that is so whole-person, whole-earth, whole-span-of-existence, deep-down nourishing that you feel perfectly filled up in that satisfying, down-to-the-bones sort of way…

LargeCircleW

How do you create a feast to follow Anne-Emilie Gold Cultivating the Voice of the Sacred Feminine

HugsW

Or Shannon Thompson of Shakti Rising leading women back to their “sacral truths,” remaining in that raw place long enough to heal the wounds of competition and betrayal, so we can join together as sisters, promising to honor, respect, protect, defend… and speak truth to one another.

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Sharing and releasing, laughing, loving and learning can be hungry work! How then create a bounty to warm and nourish beautiful bellies, and match the grace of the day?

Signw

Last year’s Tuscan White Bean Soup was hearty, and especially suitable for the stormy day we had. But while that is a vegetarian soup, and utterly delicious, it is not vegan nor gluten-free. We had an alternative soup on hand, but were surprised by how many chose the alternative, and saddened to have a divide in our culinary experience when united is the very purpose of the day.

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So this year our Ayurvedic lunch would be vegan and gluten-free. Inspired by recipes found throughout this blog, and prepared with enormous, enormous help from Paige Sapp and Liscia DiGiacomo who poured great love and devotion into “all this yumminess,” and Georgia Ferrell whose detailed, attentive and fluid orchestration was priceless, we managed to serve a feast of replenishment. Hopefully, it inspired more divine realizations, authentic voicing, truth-telling and sacred connections.

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So what did we serve? Lunch centered around a Curried Vegetable Ragout, something my mother, appropriately for this occasion, calls Thanksgiving Harvest Stew. We made it Vegan by replacing the ghee with coconut oil, leaving out the Korma sauce (contains milk) and instead doubling up on the spices, adding chopped tomatoes and an additional cup of Coconut Milk (which we had fresh, as we were also making Coconut Yogurt and had coconuts galore).

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We also left out the yellow pepper and festive cranberries, adding instead heaps of zucchini, spinach, bok choy and chard, and garnishing it with toasted pepitas for a healthy crunch.

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We served it with hearty breads, gluten-free crackers, a variety of  Seasonal Salads,  Rosemary Roasted Vegetables, this Coconut Yogurt, a vegan Raita made with Coconut Yogurt, this Cilantro Pesto and a gorgeous bowl of Yam Puree.

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For dessert, it was a Fruit Compote with fresh Coconut Creme, organic, fair trade Chocolate of every shade, and Carolyn Kull’s I Am Awakening Raw Key Lime Pie, a recipe everyone wanted.

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Altogether it was a symphony of flavors, a rising harmony with a light, clean resolve. Much like the Sophia Conference itself: integrating, uplifting, energizing, satisfying.

I think food should be like that: a complement, a support, a reflection, a symphony even. For food, after all, is a love story.

I hope you will love this ~

Soup for Sophia

4 tbsp coconut oil
1 T curry powder
1  t ginger powder
1 t garam masala
1/4 t ground red pepper, preferably something rich like ancho or aleppo
1  yellow onion, chopped fine
3-4 cloves garlic
1 potato, chopped into small pieces
4 carrots, diced into bite-size coins
2 celery stalks, diced
1 head cauliflower, broken into small pieces
1 lb. french beans, cut in thirds
1 zucchini, chopped into bite size pieces
4 cups vegetable broth
1 bunch kale, torn into pieces
1 bunch collards, chard or bok choy, torn
1 bunch spinach
optional vegetables: broccolini, yellow crookneck squash, snap peas
2 heirloom tomatoes,  chopped and seeded
1 can organic coconut milk
salt and pepper, to taste
½ cup pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, or pecan pieces, toasted
optional: gluten free tamari, to taste

Clean and prepare all the vegetables. Melt oil in a large pot over medium low heat. Add spices and sauté for one minute. Stir in onion and cook until transparent. Add the garlic and stir.  Add the potato and sauté until its edges begin moving towards translucence. Stir in carrots and celery, and sauté another few minutes. Add cauliflower, french beans and zucchini. Stir thoroughly to coat all the vegetables.

Add the vegetable broth and bring to a boil.  Cover and reduce heat to low for five to ten minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, then add the greens. After 3-5 minutes mix in the coconut milk. Allow to simmer a few minutes so the flavors and juices merge. Season to taste.

Garnish with nuts or seeds, and serve warm with your favorite bread or crackers.

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Immense gratitude to Tara Eby of In-Sight Photography for these images that really helped capture the soul of Sophia. If you are interested in learning more about “Sophia” activities, or can help us move towards non-profit status, you are invited to visit  Sophia.

#fruit compote

Since “everyone” wanted the I Am Awakening Key Lime Pie recipe, I am giving away a copy of Cafe Gratitude’s I AM Gratitude Recipe Book  as a Sophia Gift. Please comment below. Let us know your favorite recipe for cultivating the divine feminine.  I’ll pick at random from commentors early next week.

P.S. Congratulations to Amy Steckdaub for winning the book. Fully deserved as you give us so much of your time and love in service to The Sophia Conference.

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Namaste!

 

Curried Pumpkin Ravioli

This is something where you might want to cheat.

That is, some might call it cheating… just please know that if you are in a hurry, or tired at the end of the day, there is a quick way of doing this which will get you the same elegant meal in almost no time.

As for me, over the Thanksgiving weekend I came up with a new motto ~ Move like a swan, slow and easyIt is a pace I try to remember when dashing to and fro. “Celebrate your Kapha,” I remind myself.

Slowing down has wonderful implications in every area of life, perhaps nowhere more sweetly than in the kitchen ~ especially when there are children volunteering to help.

So, if you have an adorable niece or a couple of kitchen loving children, and you are not in any great hurry, I invite you to consider making these curried pumpkin dumplings from scratch. You might make it a dedication to the slow food movement : preparing, tasting, digesting, and enjoying each moment together – adagio, as the Italians who started the movement might say.

Because we wanted them gluten-free, a good idea for everyone these days, we wrapped the pumpkin purée in rice paper. The result is a bit like a dumpling, with a great texture and taste, and kid-friendly fun to make.

But as I said, you can do this in about ten minutes if that is what serves you best. Just purchase pumpkin ravioli pre-packaged, but freshly made, of course. Cook according to directions, and serve with the bok choy, persimmon and truffle sauce. It will be every bit as good… especially if you savor slowly!

Curried Pumpkin Ravioli with Bok Choy, Persimmon & Truffle Oil
Serves 4

Rice Paper
1 lb pumpkin purée: make it yourself, or choose a pure purée like Pacific Food’s
3 tablespoon ghee, or Earth Balance Spread if you are Vegan
3-4 shallots, very finely chopped
2 teaspoons curry spice
1 teaspoon clove
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3-4 tablespoons finely grated parmesan or pecorino cheese, optional
2 leeks
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 head bok choy, torn into pieces
1 persimmon, chopped
3-4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
truffle oil, keep it real
1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts, toasted
salt and pepper

Melt 1 tablespoon ghee in a medium saucepan over a medium heat. Add shallots, curry, clove and nutmeg, and sauté until shallots are translucent. Fold in the pumpkin purée and mix well. Warm thoroughly, turn off heat, and stir in 1 tablespoon cheese if you are using.

Prepare a large baking tray with a thin film of olive oil. Wet your rice paper one at a time, according to package directions. Shake off excess water and lay on a large plate. Place one spoonful of curried pumpkin on the rice paper 1.5 inches from the bottom edge. Fold this edge over the purée to cover it completely. Fold in the sides, and roll up. You should end up with one side transparent and the other side covered with many layers of rice paper. If there are too many rice paper folds it will get chewy. In that case you can cut the ends off with scissors.

Place each finished roll on your lightly oiled tray. Once you have rolled up all the curried pumpkin purée, cover the tray very lightly with a damp towel and set aside.

Melt 2 tablespoons ghee. Sauté coriander seeds one minute on medium low heat. Stir in garam masala. Allow it to fizzle for a few seconds then add the leeks and cook until they soften. Stir in the garlic, bok choy, persimmon. Turn up the heat and sprinkle generously with balsamic vinegar. Toss and cook a few minutes, until it gives off a sweet aroma. Turn off the heat. Place the pumpkin ravioli dumplings on top of this bok choy mixture and cover to warm the pumpkin filling.

Divide and transfer gently to your plates. Drizzle with truffle oil, and sprinkle with hazelnuts.  Serve with the remaining parmesan cheese in a small bowl on the side, for those who are not Vegan.

I served it on a bed of spinach and followed it with a simple arugula salad.

I hope you enjoy this. Let me know, along with whatever wonderful twists and tastes you add, and who you choose to share with you this slow food moment.

Above all, I’d love to hear : what makes you feel nourished with gratitude?

I wish you a golden blessings and everything to be grateful for!

Namaste!

~

Want to keep it simple and traditional? Here is an alternative – a beautifully illustrated, hand-made pumpkin ravioli from Amanda Marshall. If you try it, send a photo and let me know what you think.

Cardamom Rice Pudding

rice pud'“As many of you know, last week, a crazy frankenstorm named Sandy hit the East Coast of the U.S. leaving millions without power, thousands evacuated from/lost their homes, several lost their lives, and it wreaked chaos and havoc across the northeastern seaboard, and affected people as far west as the Appalachians,” wrote Jenn Oliver of JennCuisine and Barb Kiebel of Creative Culinary on their blogs earlier this week.

In response to the devastation, Jenn and Barb had a great idea. “Food brings people together in good times and bad, and food can bring us together this time, to help those in need. We decided to create this event to bring the food blogging community together, so that we can join hands, and meals, and support for the victims of Sandy.”

So they asked food bloggers “that you post a comfort dish on your blog and share this need with your readers” and to post today, November 8th, with “something that you would make for someone in need, to help them feel at home. But more importantly, let’s encourage everyone to donate to relief efforts.”

rice pudding

I wanted to do this right away. We are so far from our friends and family back East and feel so helpless as we watch them valiantly respond. If only we could invite them in, give them shelter, warm food, loving support and quiet refuge. We can’t do that in person. We can’t serve up comfort food live. But we can do something more important…  we can support them with our donations to and let them know how much we care.

Basmati Rice

As I thought about it, I knew I wanted to create something that would be satisfyingly comforting. Not just comfort food that fills you up, making you feel full but also regretful, but comfort food that comforts and nourishes.

Cardamom

I also wanted it to be something that you could make with ingredients you’re likely to have at home, so that whatever storms you are facing in your life, you can stay in, get cozy and make up a warm bowl of nurturing comfort. After all, food is a love story, and comfort food should be like a mother’s loving embrace.

So in honor of all the heroes and survivors, I offer a warm bowl of Rice Pudding, and invite the rest of us to make whatever contributions possible to help our Eastern neighbors.

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This Rice Pudding makes a delicious breakfast, snack or dessert. It is especially Vata-reducing – great for children, anyone recuperating, and anyone needing a pick-me-up. I hope you will try it and let me know what you think.

Riso Pudding Cropped

There is still time to post your own favorite comfort food to your blog and help with Support for Sandy. Go to Jenn Cuisine for details. And there is always time to make a donation to the Red Cross to support those in the path of Hurricane Sandy, many of whom remain without power, even now as another huge storm hits.

To all those who suffer anywhere, our hearts are with you!

4th Favorites

What are you cooking up to celebrate the holiday? Here are some of my easy-to-make favorites to add refreshing color and taste to your celebration.

Photo: Heidi Swanson, 101 Cookbooks

1. Heidi Swanson’s Corn Salad from her 101 Cookbooks Blog.

2. The Jazzy Vegetarian Laura Theodore’s Vegan BBQ.

Care2.com’s Raw Blueberry Cream Pie

3. Raw Blueberry Cream Pie from Care2.com.

4. A good old fashioned Berry Pie from Patty’s Food.

Our family united one 4th of July to celebrate my mother’s birthday

~

“We seek peace, knowing that peace is the climate of freedom.” ~ Dwight D. Eisenhower

Freedom is what you do with what’s been done to you.” ~ Jean-Paul Sartre

“All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man’s life, lifting it from a sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom.” ~ Albert Einstein

“Yoga is a way to freedom. By its constant practice, we can free ourselves from fear, anguish & loneliness.” ~ Indra Devi

“Kaivalyam, true freedom, is being fully established in that which is beyond change.” ~ Vyaas Huston

~

I wish you a very Happy Holiday, rich in the nourishment of true freedom!  

Six Reasons to Celebrate with Chocolate

Raw Chocolate Truffles on Daniel Max’s Blog

How do you feel about Valentine’s Day? Best day of the year, or commercial imposition? Invention of the Hallmark industry, or a wonderful reminder to love, love, love?

However you see it, most of us seem to agree ~ the day presents a delicious opportunity to enjoy one of nature’s most luscious gifts: Chocolate. Scientifically named Theobroma, or food of the gods, chocolate treats us to a heavenly experience, pointing to the feast that is our divine nature.

Being divine means that chocolate is good for you ~ as long as it is raw, unfussed, and minimally processed, of course. Here are six good reasons why.

Six Reasons to Celebrate with Chocolate

Chocolate Reduces Pitta

Chocolate will transport you from peeved to passionate in one time-stopping, evocative bite. When my Pitta clients sheepishly admit to a daily indulgence in dark chocolate, I congratulate them. Sometimes there is nothing better than chocolate to help you release stress and restore a deep, sweet breath. Just one bite is the perfect medicine.

The Science: My friend Nicole Plaisted, Herbalist, Medicine Woman, co-founder of San Diego Herb Co. and a Theobroma Expertoma explains, “Chocolate contains PEA, a chemical known as the molecule of love. This same chemical is found in Blue Green Algae and is known to increase concentration and focus by balancing the right and left hemispheres of the brain. It is one of the reasons we crave chocolate.”

Chocolate is Anti-aging

Chocolate helps keep you looking young and feeling great, while quietly, potently staving off disease.

The Science:  Chocolate is off the charts on the ORAC Index, which measures antioxidants. According to Nicole, “Cacao has the highest antioxidant content of any known food. Antioxidants slow the aging process by preserving cells and preventing their decay.”

Italian researchers found that eating 100 grams of dark chocolate a day for 15 days lowered blood pressure in a 15-person study. This University of L’Aquila team also found that the body’s ability to metabolize sugar was improved. Both results are credited to antioxidant levels.

Chocolate Makes You Smart

Chocolate is loaded with minerals that feed the neural networks, balancing brain chemistry, enhancing memory, increasing clarity and combating depression.

The Science: “Mineral rich foods can be hard to come by but fortunately the food that we love most of all is one of the most mineral dense foods we can eat,” says Nicole. “High in magnesium and iron, Cacao nourishes our nerves, brain, heart, bones, and supports the free-flowing life forces in the body. It is also full of trace minerals which, combined with enzymes from raw foods like fruits and vegetables help to build new cells which can extend the life of the body.”

Chocolate May Help with Weight Loss

A chocolate bar processed with hormone-laced milk solids, artificial fats and vats of chemically altered sugar is not slimming. But pure, raw cacao seems to be.

The Science: Cacao seems to diminish appetite, thought to be due to its monoamine oxidase enzyme inhibitors (MAO inhibitors) which allow more serotonin and other neurotransmitters to circulate in the brain. According to Dr. Gabriel Cousens, MAO inhibitors facilitate youth regeneration and rejuvenation, and encourages weight loss naturally.

Chocolate is Bliss

The Science:  “Another reason to love chocolate is the molecule of bliss called Anandamide, from the Sanskrit word Ananda for bliss. This molecule is a cannabinoid neurotransmitter and mimics the endorphins you get when working out,” says Nicole. Cacao contains enzyme inhibitors that decrease our bodies’ ability to breakdown anandamide. This means that anandamide may stick around longer, making us feel good longer, when we eat cacao

Chocolate is Seductive

To really draw out the flavor of chocolate you have to warm it in your mouth, press it up against the palate, slowly allow it to melt, and gently roll it around so all its various tastes can be enjoyed across the landscape of your tongue.

Have you ever tasted Fortunato no. 4? Listen to chocolate farmers and chocolatiers describe their first tasting of this sensuous delight.

Nicole’s Hot Cacao

“Now that you know your favorite food is so good for you, all the more reason to enjoy it,” says Nicole. “Try this yummy, guilt-free hot chocolate recipe: 1 can coconut milk, 1 can water (use the coconut milk can), 2 tbsp Cacao powder, and your sweetener of choice. Add 2 cinnamon sticks and let it simmer on low heat for 15 mins. Enjoy with your loved ones.”

~

Happy Valentine’s Day. May you remember that, even though chocolate is delicious and good for you, love requires no person, no element, no thing ~ for love is an energy that eternally abides within.

If you really knew how much love is in you, seeking you and surrounding you, your heart would burst.  So have a cup of hot cacao and sip on that.

Namaste!

Cardamom’s Divine Delight

Calling all foodies, bloggers, wizards and mermaids, adventurers, lovers, dreamers and inventors, Buddhas, Sages, Sadhakas and Yogis! Inside of you is something eternal and infinite; something as great as a mountain, as vast as an ocean, as beautiful as a star, as sweet as honey, as miraculous as a rainbow. It is a power that knows no bounds. A capacity to create, to heal, to love, to light up the world. You were born to know the magnificence of life, the power within, the radiance of your own truth, the joy of service and the deep, delightful endurance of love.

In this divine time when we string lights on every tree, mantel, and eave, allow me to celebrate the miracle of you. Allow me, if you will, to celebrate all that light and love alive in you, dancing, pulsing,  surging, radiating through you with the most divine of spices, Cardamom.

Cardamom Pods

To me, Cardamom is love and light in a pod. It is beauty and wisdom, knowing just what we need physically, while inspiring us emotionally. Cardamom is the journeyer’s companion, the sensual spark to a Yogi’s inner flame.

Oh Cardamom, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways… Next week, I will! For now, I give you three comforting, delicious ways to stay warm and grounded this time of year. 2 out of 3 are Vegan and all 3 are, or can be made, gluten-free. Therefore, they make excellent “hand-crafted” gifts, and hearty, conversation-starting party foods.

cardamom rose truffles
Cardamom Rose Delights

1 cup shredded coconut
6 medjool dates
1 tbls almond butter
1 tbls coconut oil
1 tsp cardamom powder
2 tsp rose water
pinch of salt

Process all ingredients in food processor until mixture is quite smooth. Form into balls or press into molds. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.

Melissa’s Incredibly Moist Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

3/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups Pamela’s gluten free baking mix
1 egg substitute (Melissa uses oil, water, & baking powder mix)
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 bag vegan choc chips
Pinch of cinnamon
Pinch or two of cardamom

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all the ingredients together, adding water (or spiced apple cider as I did) as needed to moisten and form balls. Cook on parchment paper ~ 10-11 min. They may look soft but do not overcook.


Liscia’s
Cardamom Banana Bread

2/3 cup raisins or currants
1/3 cup dark rum or apple cider
1 cup unbleached White flour (or a gluten-free flour of your choice)
3/4 cup whole-wheat flour (or more gluten-free flour or Liscia says try rice flour!)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
3 ripe bananas
1/3 cup canola or corn oil (Liscia also likes coconut oil)
3/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
2 eggs
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, lightly toasted

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-10 inch loaf pan.

2. In a small saucepan, combine the raisins or currants with the rum or cider, and bring to a simmer. Turn off the heat, and let the pan sit for 10 minutes.

3. While they are soaking, combine in a large bowl the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cardamom. Mix well. In a smaller bowl mash bananas with a fork. Add the oil and brown sugar, and beat for 1 minute. Add eggs beating more. With a spoon, stir this mixture into the flour mixture until the ingredients are well blended. Stir in walnuts, the soaked raisins, and their liquid. Pose the mixture into greased loaf pan.

4.  Bake the bread 50-60( but check around 30-40!) until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove the pan from the oven, place it on a rack, and let the bread cool for 10 mins before you remove it from the pan. Wrapped well, this bread keeps at room temperature for 5 days, and longer if refrigerated.

Caramom:Ginger Flower
Cardamom Flower

Celebrating You as the light we celebrate this season, reminds me of St. Teresa of Avila‘s powerful call to the awakened life ~

“Christ has no body now on earth but yours,
No hands but yours, 
no feet but yours;
Yours are the eyes through which 
Christ’s Compassion is to look out to the world;
Yours are the feet by which he is to go about
 doing good;
Yours are the hands with which he is to bless us now.”

Katariina Fagering’s Jesus-Ubuntu

May we all take up the call, inspired by the season, encouraged by our saints and sages,
and fortified by Cardamom’s loving light.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holy Days ~
Namaste! 

Tis the Season: Yam Fries

It is what we call Ymas Season around here. Ymas as in Yams spelled dyslexically. Which I am, so I can. Yam I am.

Ymas stands for Yam Mass. As in celebrating the divinity of Yams. As in Yam Heaven! So we are cooking Yams in a variety of heavenly ways, and I have two of those wonderful ways for you here.

Yam Fries

I made these Yam Fries yesterday and they went so fast, my husband barely had time to ask, “What happened to those orange potato-y things you made?”

Oops.

They were delicious! Here is my recipe. You can use either Sweet Potatoes or Yams, and yes, there is a difference. I prefer Yams.

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I am also loving our friend Whitney Kear’s recipe for Spiced Yams. She posted it on her blog just after serving it to 50 divine women at our Sophia Conference last month. Here is what she wrote about it ~ 
Sophia Lunch: Spiced Yams in Center
So on this decadent day, I made some nourishing, very easy to make, Spiced Yams. This is a great dish for such holiday times when a large portion is desired- or of course, it is also so simple to make for just one. The yams and the spices used are very comforting, warming, and grounding for this fall season. The cinnamon help to break up any Kapha producing qualities from the yams, and the ever popular cardamom aids in digestion. These high fiber, low glycemic golden gems are great sources of Vitamin A (beta-carotene), C, and B6 offering anti-inflammatory, and anti-oxidant properties.
~

Culinary Creative Process

6 yams
1/4 cup ghee or butter (vegan: coconut oil)
8 dates (pitted and chopped)
1 Tbs. Lemon Juice
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. cardamom
a few handfuls of chopped walnuts
a few handfuls of currants

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pierce yams in several places and place on oven tray. Bake for about 55 minutes. Cool Slightly. Cut yams in half and scoop out pulp into large bowl. Discard peel. Add all other ingredients and stir until fully blended! Season with sea salt and pepper.

Gather your friends and dance into winter satisfied in the belly and warm in your heart~

Whitney’s Spiced Yams

Enjoy & Nourish!

Celebrating the glory of your existence ~

Whitney
Hearty. Golden. Grounding. « Nourishing Roots 

Laura & Whitney preparing the Sophia Lunch

~

The bija mantra YAM, pronounced yum, is said to be the sound of the Awakened Heart. Does that mean a Yam will light up your heart? Awaken greater love? Open the gates to Heaven?

I think so!

Enjoy your Yams and let us know if the doors of your heart fly open.

Namaste!