GF Crepes with Cinnamon Orange Honey

gf pancake (1)

Traveling through India inspires me to share with you something we’ve been enjoying. Dosas, rotis, chapatis and rice flour “pancakes” have been favorites with our group this year, and are easy to make at home for a healthy and delicious breakfast.

ganges

Based on the simple flatbread called chapati, this egg-free recipe can be modified to your tastes. Make the batter a bit thicker by adding less water and you have pancakes. Make it thinner and you have a more delicate crepe.

There is no milk in the dough, just ghee for cooking. If you want to make it completely dairy free, replace the ghee with coconut oil. For a more savory version, swap the cinnamon and cardamom for fenugreek, dill, garlic or fennel.

Mung dal is yellow in color and also known as split mung bean. Look for it at Indian or Asian markets, or save yourself time and go to my favorite source, the online store Banyan Botanicals

rice lentil pancake-sm l

It’s quick to make, just read through the recipe before you begin as there is a bit of prep you need to do the day before serving.

Gluten-free Crepes
Serves 4-6

1 c rice
1/2 c mung dal
water for soaking
2 c water for batter
pinch pink salt
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t cardamom
2 T ghee

Cinnamon Orange Honey
1 orange
1/4 c raw local honey
1/2 t cinnamon

To Make the Crepes
Combine the rice and dal in a large bowl. Cover with 3 inches of water and soak 8-10 hours. Drain. Transfer to a blender or food processor, and purée with the two cups of water and salt until smooth. Transfer back to the bowl, cover with a towel, and let stand six to 12 hours at room temperature, or until the batter is fermented and slightly bubbly on the surface. Stir in the spices and mix well.

Preheat your oven to its lowest setting. Melt 1 T ghee in a large skillet or iron griddle over medium heat. Let it get hot, then ladle the batter onto the skillet. Allow it to cook about three minutes or until it is golden on the underside. Gently and cook another minute or so until both sides are golden. Slide onto a baking tray and set in the oven to keep warm while you make up the rest. Add more ghee as needed.

To Make the Cinnamon Orange Honey
Juice the orange and pour the liquid into a small bowl. Add the honey and cinnamon and whisk together until well blended. Pour over the crepes for a perfect March breakfast.

Ideas for Serving
Pair it with half a grapefruit for a citrusy wake up in the morning, or lather it with almond butter. Serve it with your lunch or dip it into hummus or plain yogurt for a snack. For a lovely dessert, slice bananas over it while it cooks, fold it in half and drizzle with honey or maple syrup. It is also good on its own and excellent for soaking up the last drops of juices, sauces and soups.

The leftover batter can be refrigerated and used within 4-5 days.

morgan and pancake copy

parmarth niketan ashram rishikesh
Parmarth Niketan Ashram, Rishikesh
moon over rishikesh-sml
Moon over the Himalayan foothills at sunrise today

 

I am posting photos of this exquisite trip here and here if you would like to taste a bit of the nectar. Meanwhile, I wish you all light, love and peace.

Namaste. 

 

MA’s Chocolate Tart + Dosha Bars Giveaway

Melissa Ambrosini Chocolate Orange Tart

Nowadays we make friends in such new and interesting ways – over the ethers of email, blogs, social media. I call them “my blog friends” and at least for me, it’s not until I actually get to be with this person in person that I realize I have never actually met them in person. 

Such is the way with Melissa Ambrosini (love that her initials are MA). Melissa is the divine beauty who writes and blogs and generally loves the world from her bright perch over Sydney’s seafront. After years of connecting via Skype and following each other’s travels on Instagram, Melissa just called to say that she’s coming to visit. I love that odd feeling that combines looking forward to seeing a great friend with the anticipation of meeting someone new. (Robyn Field, you’re next!)

In honor of friendship, which is the divine love I am celebrating this Valentine’s Day, Melissa has given me permission to share her Chocolate & Orange Tart. I hope you love it. I know you will love her.

Melissa’s Chocolate & Orange Tart

For the base:

2 ½ c shredded coconut
½ t vanilla bean powder (I used vanilla extract and it worked just fine)
½ t cinnamon
4 T coconut oil
1 egg
Pinch of salt
½ t liquid stevia (if you don’t like stevia, try 1 tablespoon maple syrup)

For the filling:

Zest and juice of 2 oranges
1/4 t liquid stevia (or to taste)
3 eggs (free range and organic)
6 T coconut oil
3 T cacao powder
2 T cacao butter, melted

Blend all base ingredients in food processor. Line the base of a pie pan with non-stick paper. Press base mixture into the pan and up the sides about 1 cm high. Press and pack firm. Bake in an oven on 140 degrees until golden brown, then remove from oven to cool down.

To make the filling, whisk eggs in a saucepan. Add coconut oil and place on a gentle heat until oil is melted into eggs while stirring constantly to avoid the eggs clumping. Once melted, add orange juice, orange zest (reserve a generous pinch for garnish), cacao and stevia. Keep stirring until the mixture starts to get silky. Avoid it getting too thick as the oil will separate.

Take off heat. Press the mixture through a strainer into the cooled base, leaving only zest in the strainer. Shake the pan until the filling covers the whole base evenly. Place in fridge to set (approximately 2 hours). Serve with grated orange zest on top.

Note: You can make these into little tartlets if you prefer.

Melissa Ambrosini's Gut Healthy Brownie

This recipe, along with the gut-healthy chocolate brownie  pictured above, and made with the genius of a sweet potato, are two of many gorgeous recipes in Melissa’s Glow Kitchen Recipe eBook.

As you’ll see from her recipes, Melissa chooses high protein, clean foods, influenced by the seven principles of Body Ecology (a system that seems to me to come straight from Ayurveda, especially Ayurvedic principles for Vata Dosha). If you are Vegan, I have many healthy, nutritious, belly-loving and mouth watering, chocolate recipes for you here.

Dosha Bars

By the way, Love came to me last month in a box of Dosha Bars – delicious, unsweetened fruit and seed snacks made of ingredients that balance the three doshas. To share that love we’ve teamed up to offer 3 winners a sample kit with 3 Dosha Bars (each kit includes one of each flavor–Cherry Chakra to balance Vata, Blueberry Balance for Pitta balancing and Apple Cran Awakening to balance Kapha) AND a 12-pack of Dosha Bars (including 4 of each flavor) for one lucky lover! If you like to stay healthy in the midst of a busy life, please check out their website to learn about this young, Ayurvedic team and let’s show them some love for all their generosity.

We’ll pick randomly from the comments. So please let us know, what are you celebrating this Valentine’s Day? How is love showing up in your life? I love stories of love, so do share.

I hope Love fills you with its gifts this weekend and always. Namaste!

 

 

Breaking Bread When Your Heart is Broken

Sarah Britton's Life Changing Loaf
Sarah Britton’s Life Changing Loaf

Our little village, recently lampooned by James Corden, is enjoying rain today. In fact, we are more than enjoying it. We are all breathing a collective sigh of relief.

This happens every year around this time. We almost hold our breaths for rain. Never more so than this year – after all the fires across our state, after an especially hot summer, after three years of drought – rain is something we celebrate.

life altering loaf

I feel the same thing in my heart. Rainy and grey. Ever since I received a certain email three weeks ago, everything is upside down. The lights are out. I feel cold and soaked. Only there wasn’t a drought, it wasn’t too hot, the only fires were those of love, and this is a rain that doesn’t let up.

So what to do on a rainy, autumn Sunday when you have a broken heart, and you don’t feel like doing or eating anything, but you know you must?

Try out Sarah Britton’s Life-Changing Loaf, of course, and because your life is so altered, alter it according to the ingredients in your pantry, and then call it the Life-Altering Loaf, for times when nothing is what it seemed to be.

life-altering-loaf

The Life-Altering Loaf of Bread, adapted from Sarah Britton’s My New Roots

1 cup gram (also called mung bean flour) or chickpea flour
1 cup sunflower seeds
½ cup flax seeds
½ cup hazelnuts
1/4 c poppy seeds
2 T chia seeds
4 T psyllium seed husks (3 T if using psyllium husk powder)
1 t baking soda
1 t fennel seeds
1 t dried sage
1 t fine grain sea salt
1 T maple syrup
3 T melted coconut oil or ghee
1½ cups water
optional: 1/2 cup raisins

In a loaf pan combine all dry ingredients, stirring well. Whisk maple syrup, oil and water together in a measuring cup. Add this to the dry ingredients and mix well until everything is completely soaked. Let sit out on the counter for at least 2 hours, or all day or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Place loaf pan in the oven on the middle rack, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove bread from loaf pan, place it upside down directly on the rack and bake for another 30-40 minutes. It’s done when it sounds hollow when tapped. Allow it cool completely before slicing (difficult, but important).

Store bread in a tightly sealed container for up to five days. Serve toasted with almond butter, cinnamon and honey for breakfast, your own homemade farmer’s cheese, yogurt or kraut with lunch, or slathered with a favorite nut butter and apple slices bananas for an after-school snack. It is also good with a rainy day soup like this one i wrote about in my very first post ever.

life-altering loaf of bread

If you want to know why this bread is good for you be sure to read Sarah’s post. She is a great writer, photographer, and recipe creator so her blog is very worth a visit. My version swaps out oats for bean flour for even more of a high protein, high fiber, gosh darn this is so good for you kind of comfort food.

My take on why it’s good for you? Because breaking bread is holy. It reminds me that all things break. Bread, hearts, relationships. But that ultimately  all things are shared. Even those breaks. Especially those breaks.

So I invite you to make this, and then break bread with a friend. More than anything I made this bread so I could share it with people I love. Because right now, as much as ever, I am getting by with a lot of help from my friends.

[Oh, and because life is so altered right now, I am switching things up. Instead of my annual Ayurvedic Autumn Cleanse, I am offering 10 on 10 – 10 recipes for your nourishing at-home Autumn Cleanse sent to you on October 10, for free.  That’s next Saturday, so if you sign up now you’ll give yourself time to prepare.]

Thank you always.
Love always.
Namaste! 

Pumpkin Love: Poetry in a Pie

healthy thanksgiving pumpkin pie

Pumpkin is like a mother: embracing, enhancing, enveloping. Whatever you give to pumpkin she highlights, holds, affirms.

Have you ever noticed, for instance, the way pumpkin embraces ginger, softens into cinnamon, rises up for nutmeg. She is tasteful with clove, grounding for cayenne, elegantly delightful with the green herbs of basil, sage, tarragon and thyme.

No wonder pumpkin pie feels like a warm hug.

pumpkin pie

Pumpkin is a power food when it comes to weight loss, heart health, anti-aging, and immune strength. Low in calories, pumpkin is full of fiber and rich with the antioxidants, the chemistry of youth, that help your body forgive and forget the occasional food trespass.

It is the added sugar, wheat and heavy creams that weigh down dear pumpkin, diminishing its power to lift you up. Fortunately, pumpkin is so forgiving that forgoing sugar, grain and dairy does not have to mean forgoing flavor.

How like a mother ~ forgiving and so giving!

gf paleo pumpkin pie

Personally, I think food tastes better when you can actually taste each ingredient. So it was a delight yesterday when the boys followed each bite with a chant of “Mmmm, this is so good!” But I was certain after our house painter swallowed it down with eyes of delight, gently offering me his plate afterwards with a serious, “Best I ever had, Señora.”

If it is good for someone who doesn’t owe me a compliment and isn’t used to our food ways, then I think it must be good for all. I know it is good to all, so when you serve up this pie for the holidays you can be sure you are loving your loved ones as mother nature loves you. And that is lot to be thankful for. 

grain free dairy free sugar free pumpkin pie

For this, I roasted two small pumpkins at 475F for about an hour, or until a knife ran through the middle with ease. But Pacific makes a good organic purée in a box you could use if you have less time, or want to make it in a jiff.

Healthy Pumpkin Pie

Pie Crust

2 c Hazelnuts, toasted
4 medjool Dates
hefty pinch pink Salt
1/2 t Vanilla
dash Cinnamon

Pulse all the ingredients in your electric blender until you have a chunky pulp. Press into a pie pan, spread evenly and refrigerate.

Pie Filling
1 c Cashews, soaked 2-4 hours
2 medium Pumpkins (or 4 cups Pumpkin purée)
6 Dates
1 T Coconut Oil
1 t Cinnamon
1/2 t Nutmeg
1/4 t Ginger
1/4 t Clove
1/2 t pink Salt
optional: generous splash Cardamom
2 T Chia Seeds (more if you like it firmer)
Optional: 1-2 T Raw Honey

Set your oven to 475F. Pierce your pumpkins and bake 30 minutes or until a knife cuts through easily.

Allow to cool. Slice open and remove the seeds. Peel the pulp from the skin and place in your electric blender. Add dates and purée. Drain the cashews and add along with the coconut oil and spices to your purée. Blend thoroughly. Taste and adjust your seasonings. I like lots of cinnamon and nutmeg so might have added more. Add honey according to your taste.

Add Chia Seeds, pulse lightly, just enough to mix in the seeds. Pour into the crust, cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.

When ready to serve, dress it up with a shower of cinnamon, a border of hazelnuts, a maze of honey, or a waltz of raspberries. Serve with a dollop of honey or maple syrup infused yogurt.

healthy pumpkin pie

Know your dosha

If you are Vata: You might prefer it with another 2-3 dates.
If you are Pitta: Replace the honey with real maple syrup.
If you are Kapha: Increase the amount of ginger, cinnamon and clove.

If there are leftovers, this is delicious for breakfast. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Gluten free, Sugar free, No Bake Apple Pecan Pie

no bake apple pie
Two years ago at our Yoga Therapy Training, I served a gluten free, dairy free, no sugar added, homemade apple pie. The recipe was requested. It has taken me these years, but at long last, here, finally, it is.

Unfortunately, when I first came to write it up last month I couldn’t find the recipe. Fortunately, that meant I had to try it a few times before it came right again, and that meant a lot of apple pies this autumn. Yes, we are blessed!

raw-gf-apple-pie

The saying An apple a day… is truer than everApples support your liver to help your body process and releases toxins in our air, water, food – more important now than ever. Apples help clear your colon, also more important than ever – as everyone, even mother earth, needs extra support now in eliminating waste.

Apples are good for your bloodeyes, skin. Apples are cool, so they are Pitta-reducing and anti-inflammatory. They are sweet, so they are Vata-reducing and tonifying – especially when sliced, tossed in fresh lemon juice, and sprinkled with cinnamon, as in this recipe. They are also light enough to be good for Kapha, reducing blood sugar and helping you feel full with less, thanks to so much fabulous fiber.

That makes apples tridoshic, meaning they love everyone, so everyone gets to enjoy this super food, super “free”, super pie!

sweetie apple

Be sure you use your favorite apple. Since they aren’t going to be cooked, they will taste in the pie the way they taste in your hand when you eat straight from the fruit basket. I used “Sweetie” apples, but anything fresh, crunchy and sweet will be good.

For the decoration, I wanted some red so used a Fuji, but a crispy green apple would give a lovely color, too.

apple pecan pie

I added a bit of almond butter to make it an extra high protein, high fiber, high nutritional meal I could have for breakfast, or for the kids as a midday snack. The almond butter makes the filling a bit more caramel-y, but if you feel that is too nutty for you, leave it out. It’s still great.

Also, if you are allergic to nuts you can skip the pecans and just make a crust of dates. Yes, just dates. Or, if it’s safe for you, add a tablespoon of coconut oil, and/or toasted sunflower seeds,

If you want it fully raw, skip the pecan toasting. I’ve done it that way and it works, too. But toasting draws the divine essence from pecans, giving golden, nutty grounding to the crisp, sunburst of the apple.

glutenfree apple pie

Easy, No Bake Apple Pecan Pie

Pie Crust:

2 c Pecans
10 Medjool Dates, pits removed
1 T Coconut Oil
A hearty pinch of Himalayan Salt
A pinch of Cinnamon
A dash Nutmeg

Pie Filling:

6 Apples
6 Medjool Dates, seeds removed
1 Lemon, juiced
2 T Almond Butter, optional
1 T Raw Honey, also optional
1 hefty pinch of Himalayan Salt
1 hearty dash of Cinnamon
1 light dusting of Cardamom, optional
1/4 c Chia Seeds

To make the crust:

Toast the pecans until they are very lightly brown. Put them aside. In your electric blender, macerate the dates. Add the coconut oil and spices and mix. Toss in the pecans and pulse lightly three times, just enough to break up and integrate with the dates, but careful not to turn this into pecan butter.

Press the crust into a pie dish (mine is 9.5″). Cover with a plate facing up so the slight bowl of the plate presses into the crust and so that the crust is entirely covered. Place in your refrigerator if you have a few hours before filling, or into your freezer if you don’t.

To make the filling: 

Again, start with the dates. Blend on high speed until they are completely mashed. Juice your lemon and set aside 1 tablespoon for later. Add the lemon juice, almond butter honey and spices to the dates and blend well. Slice your apples and add. Blend until the mixture starts resembling a very chunky apple sauce. Add the chia seeds. Pulse a few times to blend thoroughly. Pour this mixture onto the pie crust. Spread evenly. Cover (I turn the plate that was sitting on the crust over and use to cover) and place in your fridge. Allow to set at least four hours.

apple pie

Garnish: 

This doesn’t need a topping, but if you like the apple rose on top, just core an apple and slice very, very thin. To keep the slices from browning as you slice, put each slice as you cut into a bowl with that remaining lemon juice. Once all the pieces are cut and in the bowl, sprinkle a dash or two of cinnamon and toss. The set each piece, one by one, in an overlapping circle around the outer edge. Continue making smaller circles towards the middle until the pie is covered. Then set a pecan or a few thin slices of lemon rind in the very center.

This is so simple and so quick: apart from the 4 hours in the refrigerator to let the chia seeds do their work, you can make this start-to-finish in 15 minutes.

apple pie

I guess you could call this a trick on a treat, because it seems like dessert, yet it’s delightfully good for you. Let me know if you try it, and any variations you enjoy.

being silly at the bay: napping after a yoga therapy training picnic
being silly at the bay :: protecting from the sun :: napping after a yoga therapy training picnic

What sort of tricks or treats are you doing this hallowed e’en?

8 Great Breakfast Recipes

Now that summer is here, some of you have been asking what to eat for breakfast. I am not sure things need to change as much as we like them to here in our everything-at-your-fingertips world. A bowl of porridge is, after all, a very good meal, and good enough for most of the world.

rice-pud

But for those of you feeling underwhelmed or overheated by your morning choices, here’s some inspiration from foodies around the blog world. All of these recipes are Pitta-balancing, meaning they reduce internal heat. They are listed in order of best to… well, least best – but too utterly gorgeous to pass up.

These last recipes are “least best” because they include either sugar, or cooked honey, or wheat, which we best avoid. But substitutes can be made: coconut sugar or maple syrup for the first two, a gluten-free, almond meal, or coconut flour for wheat. (NB: Traditional Ayurveda will say that wheat is a grain and grains are good for Pitta. But it is usually dear Pitta who has wheat intolerance, allergies, or sensitivity.)

We should begin the way we mean to go on, and that most definitely applies to breakfast. So, I hope these recipes inspire, delight, beautify, energize and set you off on a summer day exactly as summer should be lived – with grace, ease and joy.

coconut porridge
Coconut Porridge from The Wholesome Home

Being under Ayurveda’s influence, we begin, of course, with a porridge. But this is no ordinary porridge: this is no-grain Coconut Porridge from The Wholesome Home.

Whole Living's Cardamom_Quinoa Porridge
Whole Living’s Cardamom Quinoa Porridge

From Whole Living comes another nice twist on the classic: Cardamom Quinoa Porridge with Pear.

blueberry muffins
Blueberry Muffins from The Wholesome Home

For Pitta folks and summer lovers, breakfast can seem fussy. After all, who wants to be in the kitchen when you could be at the beach? These Grain-free Blueberry Muffins, also from The Wholesome Home, pack up tidy for a carefree breakfast picnic under the sun.

Banana & Almond Meal Pancakes from Roost
Banana & Almond Meal Pancakes from Roost

For those with an appetite, these Banana Almond Pancakes from Roost offer a fortifying fill of protein, fiber and fruit.

Veggie Tacos with Cauliflower Tortillas
Vegetables and Cauliflower Tortillas from Roost

For those with a savory palate, grain-free Vegetable Tortillas, also from Roost, would be divine, and seasonal if you replace Spring Asparagus with Summer’s fresh Kale, Zucchini, or colorful Squash.

What Katie Ate's Buckwheat Pancakes
What Katie Ate’s Buckwheat Pancakes

In these Buckwheat Pancakes with Spinach, Ricotta and Pine Nuts from What Katie Ate, I’d skip the Sour Cream: seems like the Ricotta would be enough for a creamy base.

Tartelette's GF Waffles
Tartelette’s GF Waffles

Anything from Helene Dujardin at Tartelette is good as well as gorgeous. These Gluten-free Blueberry Waffles could be made with almond meal or coconut flour instead of potato flour for an even healthier Sunday start.

La Tartine Gourmande
La Tartine Gourmande’s Tartes aux Mirabelles

And, this is what I mean by “least best,” but oh so tempting… Gluten-free Tartes aux Mirabelles, an Italian Plum Tart, from La Tartine Gourmande.

Karen Mordechai Sunday Suppers's Breakfast Picnic
Karen Mordechai Sunday Suppers’ Breakfast Picnic

Finally, some photographic inspiration from the innovative Karen Mordechai at Sunday Suppers.

Karen Mordechai Sunday Suppers's Breakfast Picnic
Karen Mordechai’s Breakfast Picnic Blackberry Jam

Wishing you a joyful, and delicious, summer.

Namaste!

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.

Click for Print Version

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!

Pumpkin Smoothie

Pumpkin Smoothie
Speckled with spices for warming, grounding delight

I declared one of the days earlier this week a Day of Bed Rest, and spent my waking hours working with my computer in the comfort of pj’s, pillows and privacy; no clocks, no appointments, no deadlines, no rush. It is Autumn, after all, the season of Vata, giving us permission to shut it all off, dial it all down, turn it all in, stay home, build a fire, and, once in a while even, pass the whole day in bed!

Luxuriating in the spaciousness of life without time, I surrendered ~ and found myself nourished by time off, time away, time to myself.

For lunch that day, I indulged in an Autumn-balancing, Vata-reducing, grounding, warming, deeply restorative and utterly gorgeous, golden Pumpkin Smoothie.

Image
Autumn’s Golden Color

It made me think that Autumn is gold for a reason: the bounty of this season is so rich!

It is a simplified and Ayurvedafied recipe inspired by Oh She Glows and suggested by a very wonderful and deep Yogi Pamela Hunt Cloyd. Try making this yourself and see if it doesn’t just make you feel golden.

Pumpkin Smoothie

2 T Chia Seeds
1 c Pumpkin Puree (easy to make or in a box from Pacific)
1 Banana
1 c Almond Milk (make your own or sugar free from your favorite food supplier)
1/2 c Almond Meal (you can also make your own by soaking, rinsing then grinding your almonds)
1/2 c Coconut Milk
1 coin Ginger, peeled (or 1/2 t Ginger Powder)
1 t Vanilla Extract
1 t Cinnamon
1/4 t Nutmeg
1 Pinch Clove, optional
2 Dates, optional
maple syrup to taste, optional

Soak the Chia Seeds in 1/4 cup water overnight, or at least for one hour. Put all your ingredients in your power blender and blend until very smooth and very creamy. Add chopped Dates for more sweet body, or maple syrup to flesh out and unite the flavors.

Then slip into your silky sumptuous self and sip slowly.

Image
Beauty and Nourishment for my Beloved

~

What a reminder that Food is Love!

Lisa’s adorable daughter enjoying her Pumpkin Smoothie!

Enjoy!

 Namaste ~

How to Make Coconut Yogurt

I made a 3 minute  video, which you will see below, to show you how I make Coconut Yogurt. It is very simple, and a lovely meditative process, but if you’ve never done it before, it really helps to have someone show you how.

Sugar free, dairy free, delicious, exquisite Coconut Yogurt

First, here is the recipe ~

COCONUT YOGURT

4 Young Coconuts
Probiotic tablet

In a blender, thoroughly mix the water of 1 coconut with the meat of 4 coconuts. Pour into a clean bowl and stir in the powder of 1 probiotic tablet. Cover and put in a dehydrator at 110F, or place in a warm, dark place like the top of your toaster set to warm, and leave for a couple of hours. Taste every now and then. Once it is sour, seal well and place in the refrigerator.

coconutyogurt

After 24 hours, it will be fabulous. Nothing compares.

With pistachio, cardamom and honey, it makes a great breakfast, or snack, in late Autumn/Winter, the Vata seasons.

#homemade coconut yogurt

~

Please let us know if you try it, how you make it, and how you like it!

Photo: Jules Clancy of StoneSoup.com

If you do enjoy making your own Yogurt, check out StoneSoup.com for more Yogurt recipes. Author Jules Clancy shares beautiful photos, like the one above, and across her website a variety of sumptuous recipes for a beautiful, healthy life.

~

Namaste! 

Banana Coconut “Half Domes”

These are the dog days. Here in Yosemite it is 100 degrees: Hot, Dry, and Dusty.

Visiting Half Dome

Our rustic, little cabin provides shade but little relief beyond that. It is designed for winter: to keep the heat in. It is a star splashed midnight before it finally cools enough to sleep.

At dinner time we come home from our daily hikes, almost boiling over ourselves. We can’t cook. We can’t add heat to heat.

Even our bananas had heat exhaustion

Coconut water is our refuge. Banana Coconut Ice is our delight.

Coconut Banana Ice

Here’s how I make it:

Mash 3 bananas in a blender if you have it. We don’t, so I use a potato masher. The kids enjoy using their hands. Pour in one, to one and a half, cup/s coconut milk. Add a small pinch of pink salt and 1 teaspoon maple syrup. Stir well.

Pour the mixture into an ice cube tray, evenly distributing. You can put wooden stirrers, broken in half. or a toothpick, into the middle of each cube, standing straight up, to make them like popsicles. Put in the freezer for 2-3 hours, minimum.

Half Dome, Yosemite National Park

We didn’t have “popsicle sticks,” so we put them in a bowl and named them, after Yosemite’s famous monolith, “Little Half Domes.”

For refreshing elegance, you could serve them in a bowl with fresh berries, garnished with mint. For an elegant refreshment, add two to three cubes to soda water and garnish with mint.

Yosemite Falls

Despite the heat, it is all worthwhile as Yosemite is one of the greatest reminders that nature is majestic, eternal, infinite and insistent ~ and you are an integral part of this wonder. As the Yogis say, “Tat Tvam Asi,” meaning You Are That!

Wish You Were Here

Namaste !

Are You Too Sweet? 4 Ways to Reduce Blood Sugar

RePosted from Cooking Up the Cure: Fighting Cancer with Food

Elevated blood sugar levels are associated with a number of disease, including inflammation, poor immune function, tumor proliferation, diabetes, headaches and chronic fatigue. Thankfully, there are many foods that help lower your blood sugar. Here are four key ways to maintain good levels.

1. Avoid refined carbs and sweets, including commercially produced whole wheat bread, orange juice, fake butter, and soy milk. Check your labels!

2. Follow the Good Carb Formula, choosing whole grain foods that offer at least 1g. of fiber per 10g. of carb.

3. Avoid eating carbs alone, especially on an empty stomach! Add a protein or healthy fat ~ something like almond butter, coconut oil, sardines, light meat tuna, etc. ~ to balance blood sugar levels.

4. Eat more of these:

Stephen Swain Photography
  • Apples with Peel
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Avocados
  • Barley
  • Blueberries
  • Chamomile tea
  • Chard
  • Cherries
  • Cinnamon
  • Flax-seed Meal
  • Garlic
  • Goji Berries
  • Green tea
  • Leeks
  • Lemon & Lemon Rind
  • Parsley
  • Nuts
  • Oat Bran
  • Olive oil
  • Onions
  • Raspberries
  • Seeds
  • Sweet potato
  • Yams

Namaste! 

Spring Detox Smoothie

Energizing, Awakening, Detoxifying

At first look, this Breakfast Smoothie is a blush-colored beauty! But at first taste, it is a bit of a surprise: the kind of surprise that yanks you by the collar, drags you from bed, alerts all five senses, concentrates the mind, and shouts, “Wake up!”

When you go back to check, Really?, the second taste gives you a shudder. The kind of shudder that shakes off sleep, powers up the daylight, revs up your juices, sends that blush of beauty to your face, and stirs all the cells in your body to declare “Yes, I am Alive!”

After that, it is delicious.

If this is a helpful way to start your day, here is how to make it. I adapted it from Whole Living, who add fresh ginger ~ a pungent and, therefore, great for Spring, but too much for me. I replaced it with cinnamon ~ also pungent, but gentler ~ and added Honey. Otherwise, the grapefruit was overwhelming.

Gorgeous Ingredients

Spring Detox Smoothie

1/2 Grapefruit, peeled
1 cup Strawberries
1/2 Apple
1 t Honey
1 dash Cinnamon

Put the fruit in a VitaMix or powerful blender. Add 1 cup water and liquefy. Add honey and cinnamon. Blend another 10 seconds, and pour into glasses. Makes 2 servings.

from Whole Living

I served this to guests when they arrived at my recent Spring Detox Cooking Class at Casa De Luz because the grapefruit offers a light, bright, energizing way to  get more of the bitter taste in your diet, which in turn will give you a healthier, happier Spring.

Would you like a free lunch at Casa De Luz? It is our hip, new, North Park, Vegan, communal Eatery and they are giving a nourishing soup, salad and main course for free to one person who comments below about your love for Smoothies, Juicing or Casa De Luz. I’ll pick a name from the comments on Sunday, and announce it here. So please let us know what you do to stay healthy in Spring and come back to visit Sunday.

Namaste! 

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!

Sesame Bliss

Ganesh DelightsLast night we had dinner at home with four wonderful, conscious friends. One of them, Ninh-ji, who began his life in Vietnam, brought the dessert. It looked at first like a delightfully simple silken tofu warmed in an electric pot. Indeed, that is all it was, but served with a ginger syrup, it became divine, sweet succulence. Plus, it turned out to be only the first of three dessert courses!

The next two desserts were utterly inspiring for their color, artistry, alchemy. Little bite-size delicacies of sesame, rice and mung beans, almost like deconstructed Kichari reimagined and delicately sweetened. These treats were not only a delight to the senses, but such healthy, whole body nourishment that when offered seconds, you felt permission, nay encouraged, to say, “Yes please!”

Ninh-ji had carefully selected each of these treats from his favorite local Vietnamese Bakery, telling us that they are very complicated to make. “Not even my mother was able to make this and she was a great cook!”

I looked today for a picture or recipe online, but don’t know the names and found nothing quite right. I did find this Blog with its colorful, photographic list of many Vietnamese desserts. Also, while not as gorgeous, this site has recipes.  And, for cultural culinary adventurers, there is a whole world of Asian sweets to explore here.

Sesame Balls

Instead, I remembered a recipe received yesterday that would make a good substitute. These Sesame Bliss Balls from the Chopra Center are not as artistic, but they are simple to construct, flavorful and every bit as fortifying.

I had to share them with you as they are ideal for the Autumn Balancing Act: Sesame is tonifying, healing and hydrating. Ginger is soothing, calming, and immune-boosting. Cumin and Cardamom work with Ginger to aid digestion and add flavor. Ghee is a prime healer, with innumerable benefits ~ a few of which are mentioned by the Chopra Experts below.

I am off to make these now for a gang of young boys. Lead by our 13-year old, they have been running around the neighborhood all afternoon, engaged in a playful “Battle,” and are now calling out for snacks worthy of a Victory Feast! Wish me luck…

Namaste ~ 

I invite you to celebrate Urban Food & Gourmet’s Grand Opening with Ayurvedic Herbal Treats and Freedom Pies

Amanda DeWitt @ the newly opened Urban Food & Gourmet

Have you heard of Urban Food & Gourmet?

It is a new South Park Shop & Deli for California Creatives, Modern Peace Warriors, Radiant Lighthouses like you. Dedicated to tickling your palate, feeding your fires, sweetly singing your body electric and levitating your heart, it is run by the amazingly talented Amanda DeWitt who has poured her heart into this sumptuous place.

Offering unique, healthy, often artisanal and organic, delightful food, Amanda is devoted to Gluten-free “Grab and Go” items to keep life effortless for Urban Angels with appetites.

Last May Amanda invited me to contribute to this creative venture, so I’ve spent the summer concocting nourishing delights from my own kitchen. We call the collection Dancing Plums, because, yes, sugar plum fairies come to life and dance their dreams into being in the form of sweet, herbal, I-Love-You edibles.

Maha Shakti Detox Protein Shake Powder is a whole meal in a glass

Expanding on Amanda’s Circle of foodly Compassion, Dancing Plums’ creations are, or offer alternatives that are, gluten, dairy and sugar free, but which are mostly devoted to the Ayurvedic traditions.

There is the Maha Shakti Detox Protein Powder in Chocolate or Vanilla, with Grass-fed, Organic Whey or Organic Vegan Protein and loads of good-for-you herbs, Omega’s, greens, vitamins and minerals; my Rejuve Jam, based on recipes for the All-Star Ayurvedic Health Tonic Chyavanprash and inspired by my 97 year old grandmother who taught me to make jam from the berries we’d pick in the morning; the maha-comforting, mega-healing Kichari in an easy-to-make, take-home “Kit” of Organic Split Mung Beans and Organic Brown Basmati Rice; Seasonal Masalas to give you the essential spices medical authorities now list as Super Foods; and Brahmi Bark, a chocolate “Smart Bar” for mind-enhancing restoration in one sweet bite.

Rejuve Jam trips the inner light fantastic

Tomorrow is the Grand Opening of Urban Food & Gourmet and these are the details ~

Noon to 8pm, Saturday, September 10th, Urban Food & Gourmet at 1947 Fern St, 92102. I will be there from about 1 to 3 pm, but there will be great people and extraordinary food all afternoon and evening.

When I get there I’ll have samples of my various “Dancing Plums Ayurvedic Specialties,”  including a couple of Moksha Pies (Moksha, you will remember, means Freedom and these are gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, bake-free and mind-liberatingly extraordinary pies). So it would be utterly delicious to see you there.

To give folks a taste of the Maha Shakti Detox Protein formula, I’ll be mixing it into a Date Shake, which tastes like Heaven. Or Love. Or Heaven in Love with You.

Here is the recipe ~

Date Shake
2 Servings

4 Dates
1 Banana
1 tablespoon Maha Shakti Powder
1 cup Coconut Milk (Apple Cider is also good)

Blend all the ingredients until smooth. Add more Coconut Milk or dilute with Coconut Water if you like a thinner blend. Drink slowly and savor.

It makes a great breakfast, dessert or after-school snack. Thankfully it has a huge nutritional impact because some days it’s the only thing I fancy.

With Amanda in front of the Dancing Plums shelves at Urban Food & Gourmet ~

I like this article on Amanda and her motivation for opening this store. It really is a gift to our community ~ as are you! Let us know if there are other ways we can help nourish that shiny light of yours. 

Namaste! 

Glorious, Guilt-free Dark Chocolate Pudding

Chocolate Medicine

A couple of weeks ago I asked, “What do you crave?” Across the vast interconnected web of planetary health-wizards and cultural creatives came the resounding answer, “Chocolate!”

Why, of course. Chocolate is a stimulant, so it is not surprising in this hyper-active world of ours that we look for an easy, edible pick-me-up. Plus, combined as it usually is with sugar and fat, it can be undeniably delicious.

Perhaps more than the stimulant, for some of us it is that sweetness that is craved: a little comfort, relief from the stresses of every day life, a bit of soothing reassurance. Of course, too much of that and instead of a lift, you get a false high and then a deep, enduring bottom.

In fact, studies show that people who snack on chocolate regularly are more depressed than those who only eat it now and again. Ayurvedic Practitioner Alex Duncan wrote a great article about that on his blog, Ayurveda & Life.

But did you know that chocolate can be good for you?

Cocoa Beans

The source of chocolate, Cocoa beans are chock full of heart-healthy anti-oxidants, anti-depressants such as serotonin and dopamine, brain enhancing neurotransmitters, and the “love” chemical phenylethylamine.  The Ayurvedic taste of pure chocolate is Bitter which means it has a cleansing, dilating and therefore cooling, anti-inflammatory action, almost like an air-conditioner to the inner body. It is usually craved by Pitta’s – people who run hot and benefit from the heat-reducing qualities of chocolate.

Another delicious benefit is that bitter (cocoa) unites with sweet to help alleviate pain. In Ayurveda, we understand that the sweet taste provides a feeling of contentment or pleasure to the body and comfort to the sense organs. It is no wonder we sometimes consider chocolate like  a medicine.

Combining dark chocolate with whole, fresh foods like banana, almonds, or avocado (yes, really!) gives you a great snack to satisfy cravings ~ in moderation, of course.  As long as you use pure 100% cocoa (nibs or powder) with healthy ingredients, a little now and then can help you remember that life, as with food, is a love story!

Raw Chocolate Pudding

This Chocolate Pudding has been a favorite around our house, and neighborhood, all summer ~

“No Cook” Chocolate Pudding
Serves 2

1 Avocado
2 tablespoons Raw Cacao Powder
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Pinch of Cardamom, Turmeric
Dash of Himalayan Salt
Maple Syrup to Taste

Blend the ingredients together until it is a smooth consistency. Spoon into bowls and dive in!

The original recipe for “No-Cook” Chocolate Pudding came from Whole Living, but their recipe calls for Honey which has a heating action on the body. For Summer, Maple Syrup is recommended by Ayurveda. Coconut sugar is another option. Careful though – this doesn’t need much!

I also like to add Cardamom for a little digestive boost, not to mention that exotic peppery note. Turmeric will help keep the tissues clean and the channels clear after any heavy food, as this is.

Maha Shakti Detox Protein Powder

For extra medicinal goodness, I add a spoonful of my Maha Shakti Detox Protein Powder, one of my Ayurvedic Specialty Foods now carried at the recently opened Urban Food & Gourmet in San Diego.

Meanwhile, I hope you are enjoying the last days of August, especially the juicy bounty of late summer’s colorful harvest!

Namaste ~