Lunch for Sophia

What do you serve when you have 75 Yogis over for lunch? I’ve found that the easiest way to address all the likely eating styles is to make it whole food, plant based: vegan and gluten-free. Of course, I have to add Ayurvedic, nourishing, and delicious ~ and I want eye-opening, mouth-watering, belly-tapping delicious.

So, at the Sophia Conference this past weekend, this was our menu:

1. Soup for Sophia: Prepared with love in our “Dancing Plums” kitchen with talented friends, personal chef Georgia Ferrell and Yoga teacher Paige Sapp. The recipe is here.

Sophia Lunch #AyurvedicSoup
Tara Gita: In-Sight Photography

2. Pumpkin Quinoa Salad: A rich, hearty salad from Wendy McGuire’s Ganosh Gourmet.

#Pumpkin Quinoa Salad

3. Edible Flowers & Vibrant Greens: Also from from Wendy McGuire’s Ganosh Gourmet.

#Edible Flower Salad
Tara Gita: In-Sight Photography

4. Incredible Desserts: Bourbon-vanilla brownie bites, Carrot cake with bourbon-vanilla-flecked cream cheese frosting, Chocolate-nut bars all prepared with nourishing beauty by author and gluten-free chef Stephanie Weaver of Recipe RenovatorRaw Key Lime Pie made by Carolyn Sanders Kull from Cafe Gratitude’sI Am Grateful recipe-book.

SWDesserts

#vegan carrot cake
Tara Gita: In-Sight Photography
#raw #vegan #chcololate crispies
Tara Gita: In-Sight Photography

#keylimepie #raw #vegan

5. Peace Tea: A unique and sweet blend handcrafted by Katie Parham and Nicole Plaisted of San Diego Herb Co.

#sandiegoherbco
Tara Gita: In-Sight Photography

Everything was incredibly wonderful, and brought forth with so much beauty and grace. Thanks to everyone who contributed. You live in my heart with oceans of gratitude.

WHAT IS THE SOPHIA CONFERENCE?

I thought Lori Naylor described it perfectly ~

“My experience of the Sophia Conference was simply magical. Thank you for this gift of love, devotion, and Divine Sisterhood. It represents the ways of our grandmothers and the generations of women before them; to gather together in love, nurturing and nourishing each other so they can return to their families, friends, and communities filled up, to give again. It is women tending to women so they can tend to others. We have lost this practice in our culture and the Sophia Conference was a reminder that tending to one another is a spiritual practice we cannot afford to lose. Our daughters depend on us to maintain this tradition and continue to pass it from generation to generation.”

#GoldMusic

#celebration

#Hemalayaa

#Hugs

tara

Thank you Tara for so many wonderful photos. Thank you sweet sisters who attended this year or past! Thank you sacred sisters and brothers everywhere who seek to nourish this world with your love and your light.

Namaste!

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.

best1

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!

*

Healing Foods: Keeping Cancer at Bay & Warrior Pose Giveaway

Bhava_0211Did I ever tell you that my husband had cancer?

You will already know that, of course, if you follow his Sacred Practices blog, if you take Yoga with us, or if you’ve read his new book, Warrior Pose.

I didn’t know Bhava when he had the cancer. We met one year after his recovery. When we met, I fell head over heels, swoosh, in love.

Every day since, that love is affirmed, strengthened, deepened. I am grateful for a decade now of oceanic bliss, and a vibrant aliveness that grows and expands, even with another birthday just celebrated and time flowing by.

It could be said that this entire site is something of a paean to that love, exemplifying one aspect of a shared life: the foods we love, and the way we love them. Everything that shows up here was made first, lovingly, for him, and sometimes by him, or with him.

So I thought, in honor of his book, his recent birthday, his vibrant aliveness, and the healing that is in Mother Nature’s foods, I’d write a little about our food habits and what we do, as often as we can, to keep the cancer far, far away. It’s a good practice for all of us. I invite you to share it with anyone who could use the guidance and Bhava’s inspiration.

8 Healthy Food Habits to Keep Cancer Away

#foods that fight cancer

1. Eat Fresh

You want high energy? Eat high energy foods. Eat foods that “eat the sun,” foods that are locally grown, recently picked, farm to table, lightly cooked or raw.

Bhava and I eat something raw daily. How much depends on the season. But in every season, the food you eat should be as alive as possible. Simply put, make it fresh.

2. Eat Organic

If you have cancer, EVERYTHING YOU EAT has to be organic. No toxins. No microwave. No exceptions.

3. Eat Vegetables

Artichokes Fight CancerIf Mother Earth loves you and food is her way of showing you, vegetables are her super heroes. They have the power to save you, even from your worst habits!

Did you know, as an example, that apart from being startlingly beautiful, artichokes have three unique cancer-dissolving molecules? Try adding a handful of artichoke hearts to your meals, or enjoy this vegan spinach artichoke dip for a healthy snack.

We eat vegetables of every color, shape and size every day, and we eat them chopped, juiced, blended, raw, steamed, lightly sautéed, or baked. We are not shy when it comes to vegetables, nor should you be. Be bold. Try every kind, every which way. Let it be an adventure. Ask your local grower for tips on preparing vegetables you are not familiar with. Allow a relationship to blossom.

4. Eat Brassicas

There is a saying that “Cancer hates cabbage.” In fact, cancer hates the entire cabbage family, called the Brassicas, whose kin include broccoli, cauliflower, collards, kale, bok choy, brussels sprouts, mustard greens, and watercress.

Numerous scientific studies are finding that Brassicas help fight cancer due to their relatively high content of glucosinolates, which have shown anticarcinogenic properties. In our house, our daily cornucopia of vegetables will always include broccoli, cauliflower, kale or collards. We also enjoy watercress and mustard greens in the Spring.

5. Eat (Blue) Green

#GreenSmoothie

Power up your vegetable nutrition by treating yourself to a daily dose of algae. My favorite is spirulina, a fresh water, blue-green algae similar in makeup to the sea vegetables of Japanese cuisine: dulse, kelp, nori, kombu, arame, wakame, and chlorella.

We make a morning fresh pressed Juice or Smoothie four to five days a week, always with a heaping spoonful of spirulina, sometimes with chlorella too, or with the VitaMineralGreens blend of land and sea greens because they give us sample jars every time we go to BhaktiFest, and because it is true quality.

Detoxifying, rejuvenating, immune supporting and liver loving, blue green algaes are a must. Be sure to source well : clean, non-toxic, organically cultivated.

6. Eat Berries

The antioxidants in berries help fight cancers. Bhava has blueberries and strawberries with every breakfast, and I always toss a handful into our Smoothies. Lately, my favorite berry for a Smoothie is the Himalayan Goji. For a sweet treat, add blueberries, raspberries and Goji berries to a Fig Smoothie.

NaturalNews.com
NaturalNews.com

 7.  Eat Turmeric

Oh Turmeric, how do I love thee? Let me count thy ways….

The most researched spice in the world today, turmeric is revered for its cancer-fighting, tumor-reducing potency.

I believe so fervently in turmeric that once, a few years ago, when there was a false suspicion that Bhava’s cancer had returned, a voice inside me silently shouted, “But that’s impossible. Not with all the turmeric he takes!” Turns out that voice was right.

Again, don’t be shy. Add it to everything ~ smoothies, sautés, home-made ghee, almond milk. If you are overly generous, its astringent aftertaste will overpower. But with measure, it goes with anything.

8. Eat, Don’t Eat

Occasional Fasting is good for you. It gives your digestive system a rest, promoting proper metabolism, deep tissue cleanse and proper elimination.  It’s a bit like tidying up your room weekly, or taking the garbage out. Once in a while, we just need to do it. My husband called this his Organic Chemotherapy: Regular 24-hour fasts were central to his healing.

Start by skipping dinner on Mondays. Once you feel comfortable with that, consider skipping breakfast on Tuesday. By lunchtime you will have completed a 24-hour fast. Or, simply reduce your portions. Eat less. Give your body a chance to catch up, a pause to heal.

allium-bulbs
In the vegetable family, Alliums – onions, garlic, leeks, shallots, chives – are also widely known for their anti-carcinogenic properties.

I like to focus on the positive. When you choose to eat as nature intended, you enjoy rich flavors, colors, aromas, textures, and an aliveness that excites. But since we are talking about cancer, a life-threatening disease, it is important not to mince words. Here is what not to eat: red meat, pork and poultry, dairy, sugar, processed foods. We know they feed cancer. Best to avoid altogether.

Forever? Maybe not. But until you are recovered, absolutely. A whole food, plant-based diet is essential if you want to reverse chronic disease.

yellow1

If you need convincing, read the science… Or dive into Warrior Pose, my husband’s true story of overcoming the worst odds: a broken back, a broken spirit, and suddenly “terminal” cancer. I have three copies of this highly acclaimed book to giveaway. Just comment below and you will be added to the drawing. We draw randomly and anonymously, and will pick names from the proverbial hat on Tuesday. Please leave an email address or a way to contact you in case you win. Your email address will not be made public. We love and respect you too much for that.

Bhava Ram Heals #Cancer

Wishing you golden health, vibrant aliveness, deep love, and the
clarity to remember: You matter. Live accordingly.

Namaste ! 

~

Congratulation to Warrior Pose book winners Chris, Emma and Anne. We wish all of you could have won, but it is available at Amazon for a bit less than retail, and at libraries across the country.

Related articles

Raw Giveaway, Recipe & Summer Cleanse

Last week I mentioned meeting Raw Foodie Mimi Kirk. It was at a party in her honor celebrating the launch of her new recipe book, Live RAW Around The World.

RAW World

Mimi is a very youthful, vibrant, free-spirited, energetic, dynamic, beautiful 75 year-old on a mission to tell the world that you can age without getting old. In her two books, the first was Live RAW, she narrates her own story of reversing “age-related diseases,” and gives her formula for living well, along with recipes for living food and generative meals.

#Raw #Pasta Checca
Raw Pasta Checca from Mimi Kirk’s first Recipe book, Live Raw

Mimi generously gave me permission to give you this recipe below for a summer pasta she served at her book launch and later demonstrated during her talk on “living raw.”

Raw Zucchini Pasta al Pesto from Live Raw Around the World
Raw Zucchini Pasta al Pesto from Live Raw Around the World

Zucchini Pasta with Creamy Pesto Puttanesca

3 large Zucchini, peeled optionally (I like to striate the peel for color)
1 c Basil Leaves
1/2 c Walnuts (due to a family allergy to walnuts, I use sunflower seeds)
2 T EVOO
1 large clove Garlic
1/2 c Parsley Leaves
1/8 t dried Chili flakes
Himalayan Salt
Fresh ground Black Pepper
2 T Capers, crushed in garlic press
1 T Capers, whole
1/2 c Olives, raw if possible
1/4 slice Lemon for juice
Parsley for garnish

Peel Zucchini, if desired. Run through a spiralizer if you have one, or use a potato peeler for more of a “fettuccini” noodle. Place zucchini strips in a large bowl and massage with a little lemon and olive oil. Let rest for 10-15 minutes while you make the pesto. The massage agin to soften. Pour off any liquid.

Place the Basil, Nuts (or Seeds), Salt and Pepper in a food processor and pulse. Drizzle in Olive Oil while the blender is running. Stop, scrape the sides and taste. Adjust seasoning to your liking. Add more olive oil to make the pesto creamy. Smooth, thick, and pourable is what you are looking for. Add chili flakes and stir. Remove pesto from the processor ad a squeeze of lemon. Toss the pesto with the Zucchini pasta, capers and olives. Serve with a garnish of parsley.

http://vedawise.com/2013/08/06/summer-cleanse/
Summer Cleanse! Photo by Shannon Jones

Summer is a great time to clean up with a five day raw diet. If you are ready to cool, soothe and purify, I invite you to join us for my new Ayurvedic Summer Cleanse.

Also, if you would like to learn Ayurveda, and you are or could be in San Diego in late September, I invite you to join my husband and me for a weekend Immersion into Ayurveda.

And one more thing ~ Mimi also gave me permission to give away her new book to 5 fabulous Food: A Love Story followers. If you would like a book, please enter a comment below. Names will be randomly chosen on Monday, and mailed to you next week.

Raw Pizza from Mimi Kirk
Raw Pizza from Mimi Kirk

Thank you, thanks to Mimi, thanks to all the teachers of true health and wellness, and thanks to the principle of love that is in all of nature’s true foods.

Namaste!

~

Post Script: Thank you, everyone, for your enthusiastic comments. It is touching and so inspiring to see so many people dedicated to healthy living and a healthy world. Thank you for that dedication! Winners have been chosen: Congratulations to Jamie, Tommy, Mary, Samuel and “Anonymous!”

Soothing Pitta with a Summer Treat: Pistachio Truffles

Pistachio Truffle Creativity is a fascinating process, isn’t it? While it’s not an epic but a trifle, this sweet little truffle, like so many creative delights, evolved from waves of inspiration, flowing from many different people, places, cultures. Upon reflection, it’s a wonder it evolved at all.

First, I found something entirely new at our local corner grocer: pistachio cream It is delicious, but too sugary, so I thought, “I can make this, but better and healthier,” and I went and bought Pistachios.

Then we had visitors from India who brought these Pistachio Rolls, called Kaju Pista, which are like a Pistachio/Cashew Marzipan: photo They were delightful, but also too sugary. So I thought, “I can make this, but better and healthier,” and I went and stocked Rose Water.

Then I met this woman, a Raw Foodie I will tell you about in my next post: Mimi Kirk And she inspired me to go (mostly) raw for one month as a Pitta-reducing Summer Cleanse, which I will share with you also in my next post.

Then Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks posted photographs and a recipe for this gorgeous “Tartine” which I made for the boys as a summer snack:

Screen Shot 2013-08-01 at 9.44.55 AM

But we didn’t have avocado so it was super messy, as the Macadamia mixture had nothing to bind it to the bread. So I thought, “How could this fresh burst of nutty, nourishing flavor be delivered in a hand-held edible that would support both the exotic tastes and our need for high-powered, healthy eating?”

Then I got out the Blender. #Raw #Paleo #Vegan Truffles You could think of these as energy bars. They are packed with protein, purifying greens, and cooling ingredients to calm late summer’s Pitta. There’s no sugar, no grains, no dairy, so they’re okay for Vegans, Raw foodies, Paleos and Veggies. You can make these raw as I did, or enhance the flavor by toasting your pistachios first.

Pistachio Truffles

1/2 c Pistachios
1 t Rose Water
1 t Coconut Oil
1 T Coconut Manna
2-3 Medjool Dates
1 t Chlorella (for color and energy), or any powdered greens
1 t Maple syrup, optional
a few granules Pink Salt

Blend the ingredients together in a high-powered blender until smooth and thick. At this point, you can refrigerate the mixture for up to 24 hours. It is a bit easier to shape when the mixture is cool. Put on plastic gloves or use saran wrap to separate the mixture into 1 inch pieces and roll into balls.

You can roll them in raw cacao or coconut flakes, or for something really delightful, fill them and/or roll them in Heidi Swanson’s Orange Macadamia Nut, to which I added basil leaves instead of squash blossom, lavender flowers and a pinch of Pink Salt.

#raw Green Pistachio Truffles
Before rolling in coating

Here is why they are really, really good for you as well as really, really delicious: Chlorella, is an energizing, purifying green food that keeps your body and mind clean and supple. Rose and coconut are cooling according to Ayurveda, which means they not only help you beat the heat in summer, but will help reduce inflammation in your tissues – which is important because that reduces pain and stiffness, and because inflammation is the underlying source of the major chronic killer diseases in western countries.

Besides, Pistachios are high in protein and fiber which tonifies and strengthens. Dates give you the sweet taste to soften Pitta emotions, which can get pretty intense and inflamed. Lavender, orange, basil, mint, and their flowers (pictured in the photos) draw in nature’s color, aroma and florals, which is also soothing for Pitta who benefits greatly by “stopping to smell the roses.” #Raw Pitta-reducing Pistachio Truffles

These Truffles are on our Menu for this weekend’s Summer Cooking Class where we will enjoy Summer Kitchari, and a host of no-cook, cooling foods for strength, vitality and comfort especially when things get hot.

Next, I’ll be posting on Raw Pasta, another great summer meal, with a Raw Cookbook giveaway (I have 5 books to give and will mail anywhere in the world). I will also be announcing a short Summer Cleanse, so stay tuned. We have lots of summer goodies coming along.

You are the reason Mother Nature evolved to nourish and delight. She loves you – and her food is her love offering. If you love summer’s bounty, please add a comment in the area below and let us know what you love best. We’d love to hear.

Wishing you sweet, soothing summer days. Namaste!

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!

Rounds, Roots and Shoots: A Vernal Salad

potato saladA quick post to share what I am looking forward to once our Spring Cleanse is complete: Baby New Potato & Asparagus Salad with Marcona Almonds and Micro Greens. It’s crunchy, salty, moist, hearty yet light and fresh, and sweet in an Ayurvedic way. As any meal should, it inspires all the senses, incorporates all six tastes and harmonizes the best of a local harvest.

potato salad

Baby New Potato & Asparagus Salad with Marcona Almonds & Micro Greens

Salad
8-10 Baby New Potatoes
10-12 very fresh Asparagus Stalks
1 Zucchini
3-4 Spring Onions
1/2 c chopped Dill
1 c Marcona Almonds (Trader Joe’s sells them roasted with Rosemary)
1/2 c Microgreens

Dressing
1 clove Garlic
1 t Dijon
1 T Mayo (can be Vegan)
2-3 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Lemon juiced
1 T Apple Cider Vinegar
a dusting of Red Pepper (my favorite is a gift from my sister: Aleppo Chile Pepper from The Spice House)
Black pepper, to taste
Himalayan Salt, to taste

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook about 15-20 minutes, until a fork easily slides through the middle. Meanwhile, if you have a double cooker or a steamer, put that on top of the boiling potatoes and blanch the asparagus for a 3-4 minutes only. Otherwise you can drop them into boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Rinse the asparagus immediately with cold water and place in a bowl of ice water. When the potatoes are done, drain and put them in a bowl of ice water too.

Slice the zucchini thin and cut the rounds into quarters, so they are mini bite-size. Slice the spring onions all the way up into the green. Add the zucchini, spring onions, almonds and dill to a salad bowl and set aside.

Mix up the dressing by mincing the garlic. I always make my dressings in a jar because with a lid on tight, you can really give it a good shake and prove to the world that even oil and vinegar can sometimes mix. So put your garlic into a small jar with the juice of half the lemon and the rest of the ingredients. Shake until it is creamy. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Drain and dry the potatoes and asparagus and cut into small bite size pieces. Toss together with the zucchini, spring onions and dill. Give the dressing a good vigorous blend and pour onto the salad. Taste and adjust. I found mine needed the juice of the entire lemon.

Serve on a bed of lettuce with a carefree sprinkling of microgreens.

Options: Chopped, hard-boiled egg; avocado slices; sun-dried tomatoes for that bit of sour; sunflower seeds for added crunch; garden-fresh snap peas for even more sweet green; basil, cilantro, or mint for more savory zing. This salad is really happy company to just about any of Spring’s edible delights so let your garden or your local farmer inspire your whims.

bhava scarfing potato salad

My husband likes it, and I hope you like it, too!

spring salad

 

What you are looking forward to now that Spring is here?

Namaste!

Vegetable Kofta

It is our last few moments in Rishikesh. Bhava and I are packed and ready to go. Dehradun. Delhi. Newark. San Diego. 36 hours of travel.

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It is worth it. To sit by the Ganges, Hike in the Himalayas. Listen to sages. Be in the presence of enlightened ones. Meet international Yogis, adepts and Sadhaks. Soak in the bhav’ with my Bhava.

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We were up early this morning, enjoying our final hours with “Ma Ganga” ~ Meditating in the predawn by the huge window in our room that overlooks this storied river; listening to her soothing yet powerful flow, while stirred by the punctuating cries of pilgrims heading to pay homage to Shiva at Neelkanth Temple, on the eve of Shivaratri. Then to the Ghat for Puja, flowers for Ma Ganga, and Sadhana with our fellow Deep Yogis.

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We just had an early lunch at the Green Hotel before our beloved friend Madhav heads over to fetch us for the airport.

What did we have for our last meal? Why Palak Paneer, of course, along with Vegetable Kofta, a kind of Vegan Meatballs in a curry sauce, without meat,  wheat, eggs ~ just pure delight. It’s the ultimate comfort food. Something I need lots of now, as departing this heavenly realm is never easy for me.

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With this last hour, we could go back to the river, but at this point, that feels maudlin. It is hard enough to leave. Just thinking about it, my heart starts to crack. Instead, we look forward, thinking about all that we have to return to  ~ our precious family, our friends, students, fellow Yogis, even our own holy waters – the Pacific.

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I am also looking forward to sharing some of the Indian specialties we’ve enjoyed here, starting with these delightful Koftas.

Kofta

While it includes a few “exotic” ingredients, the spices are usually carried by Whole Foods or  your local spice shop. Otherwise, order in small quantities online from a reputable purveyor. Having said that, it does require one special ingredient: Gram flour. Also known as Besam, it is simply ground chickpea and is used in cooking, in natural home remedies for skincare, and in Ayurvedic treatments all over India.

Apart from having a high protein content, when mixed with an equal proportion of water, gram flour can be used as an egg-replacer in vegan cooking. You can find it at any Asian or Indian market, but in the meantime bread crumbs will work.

Vegetable Kofta Curry

Koftas

1 c Cabbage
1 Carrot
1 Red Pepper
1 c Broccoli and/or Cauliflower
2 Bananas
1 Onion, chopped fine
2 T Gram flour (or bread crumbs)
1 t Garam Masala
1 t Ginger Paste
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 t lemon juice
Himalayan salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 T Peanut Oil (an alternative could be coconut)

Curry

1 c Tomato purée
1/2 Onion chopped
1 t Chili paste
1/2 t Ginger paste
1/2 t Garlic Paste
1 t Cumin seeds
2 t Coconut powder (flour)
1 t Fenugreek seeds (or powder)
1 t Turmeric
1 t Coriander
1 t Cayenne
2-3 Green chillies, sliced fine (or 1 t cayenne powder)
1 c Water
2 T Oil (ghee, Coconut Oil, Safflower Oil, etc.)
1/4 c Cilantro, chopped

Grate the vegetables for the Kofta and mix together in a bowl with the rest of the Kofta ingredients. Wet your hands with water and with your hands divide into 10-12 small portions and roll into round balls. Fry the koftas in hot oil until they brown all over (I will try baking these instead), and put to the side.

To make the curry sauce, heat the oil in a pan and toast the fenugreek seeds for about 1 minute. Add the cumin seeds and onion. Sauté until it turns a golden brown.

Stir in the ginger paste, coconut powder, spices and salt. After about 1 minute, add in the tomato purée and the water and bring to a boil.

Add the koftas made earlier and cook for 5 minutes.

Garnish with chopped coriander and serve with paratha or roti.

This recipe is a westernized  amalgam of two very different recipes from Cooking with Sapana  and Sindhi Rasoi to whom I am so grateful. If you make these before I get home, please let me know how you like them, and what adaptions you make.

~

Meanwhile, how about coming with us to India next year? It is not only magical, it is life-changing. And the food is endless delight!
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Be home soon! Namaste! 

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.

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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.

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Beauty and Nourishment for my Beloved

~

What a reminder that Food is Love!

Lisa’s adorable daughter enjoying her Pumpkin Smoothie!

Enjoy!

 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!

Fresh Ideas for 2012

Happy New Year!

I wonder, how can I serve you best this year? There are ideas hatching and plans underway, but I am always keen to get your feedback. After all, I write because you eat! So, please let me know how I can help you.

Meanwhile, since there are so many great recipes already out there but little understanding of the fundamentals of flavor and nutritional health, that I thought I’d take a trip around the various kitchens of the world this year, choosing classics, favorites, and mouth-watering, head-spinning, tongue-tickling, belly delighting dishes to adapt according to Ayurvedic principles. That way, in addition to mouth-watering, head-spinning, tongue-tickling, and belly delighting, the adapted recipes will be phenomenally, fantastically fabulous for your health.

I am calling it Six Tasting the World! What do you think?

In order to take a trip like this, there us much to consider, lots to plan and a great deal of organizing to do. So while I am getting ready, I thought I’d share with you a list of my online favorites to freshen up your pantry of recipes and resources.

Friends:

Sally Tinker Smith blogs about all the things she loves and she is such a love herself that every post is like coming home! Stephanie Weaver is a Gluten-free Goddess, relentlessly renovating recipes to make delicious, digestible dishes for the more than 2 million Americans with Celiac, and everyone else who wants a break now and then from the all-persuasive glutenous grains.

Shruthi, who blogs over at Cardamom Kitchen, is full of joyful esprit and spice-laced loveliness. Plus, she is a genuine genius when it comes to the application of Ayurveda to western ways. Another blogger friend is Kate who is absolutely the picture of Ayurvedic radiance, and her blog is the real deal.

While it is not about food, Pamela’s Walking On My Hands is a blog about learning to live with grace ~ deep wisdom I can always use. Also not usually about food is Gypsy Love Cafe from the amazingly creative, deeply soulful, wildly free and artistic Katariina. I always love seeing what she’s up to.

Classics:

A few everyday classics I turn to for inspiration are 101 CookbooksDeborah MadisonMarc Bittman and Sunfood.

Others:

A few others I enjoy looking at, mostly for the photography, are Jenn’s Gluten-freeTartelette, Glutton For Life and Journey Kitchen.

General:

For an integrated approach to the foodies’ search for pleasure, health, sustainability, and global justice Ecogastronomy is cool. Because they are getting nutritious foods into food banks nationwide, SuperFoodDrive is super awesome! At the Well, Tara Parker-Pope reports on the nexus between medical science, nutrition, and family health with a surprisingly fresh, engaging voice, and of course, Slow Food and Edible Schoolyards remind us that the world is full of very good, very sane people!

New Year’s Eve

I wish you all the magic of the cosmos, every happiness in the world, all the love of our Mother Earth, and every dream to come true in 2012. This is our year. Let’s grab hold!

Namaste! 

~

Dressing Up with Cardamom

What do you feel like eating these days? After all the cake, cookies, bread, rich foods and sweet drinks? I don’t know about you, but in between the holiday celebrations I want plain and simple: simple to make, simple to eat and, frankly, simple to digest.

So the other day I made this ~

Cheese Melt with Garden Greens & Yogurt Cardamom Dressing

The next day I made this ~

Kichari with our own Garden Greens & Yogurt Cardamom Dressing

And the next day I was so in love with this dressing, I ate it straight from the jar…

Dipped with bread or rolled up greens, it makes a tasty snack

This dressing is divine ~ utterly perfect when you want to eat plain and simple, yet unique and magical enough to accompany any New Year’s Eve dinner.  So here is the most wonderful dressing you will ever make, just in time to celebrate the most wonderful person you are and the most wonderful year you are about to begin.

Freshly ground Cardamom

But first a little about Cardamom:

Cardamom has this special “Prabhav” which is a word that sort of means magic. It is a way of defining herbs and spices that have a special potency, or a very unique intelligence that our own terrific human intelligence can’t easily explain or categorize. In the case of Cardamom, it has this particular way of strengthening digestion, while helping to increase moisture throughout the body. If you think about it, that means that Cardamom simultaneously kindles your fire while watering your system. Since water usually extinguishes fire, that seems like magic to me.

Plus, it is so medicinal while tasting so incredibly other-worldy. Because it is warm and moist, cardamom is excellent for Vata, meaning any place, season, time or person in which the Air element is dominant, a condition which shows up as windy, cold, dry, erratic or scattered. Cardamom warms, grounds, hydrates, soothes and improves digestion ~ especially helpful after the holidays, no?

Ground Cardamom gives this Dressing its Prabhav

It’s best to purchase Cardamom in pods, not only because these tiny flowers of ginger are gorgeous but because once ground, flavor escapes quickly. When ready to use, peel open the pods, shake out the seeds and grind. Use a mortar and pestle ~ the seeds submit easily. A spice mill or coffee grinder will do just fine, as well.

Once you make this Dressing you can keep it in a tightly covered jar in the fridge or a week, although it is delicious on everything, so it is not likely to last. And remember that to be Ayurvedic, salad follows the main course, of course!  

Click on Recipe for a Print Version

~

Finally, I want to thank you for journeying with me through the Ayurvedic kitchen this year. In 2012, I plan to travel the world, so to speak, exploring diverse culinary traditions and adapting recipes according to Ayurvedic wisdom to enhance wellness. The working title is Six Tasting the World. Let me know what you think.

I hope you will join me on this great adventure, starting in January by first establishing the basics. Meanwhile, I wish you a safe, happy, and fulfilling New Year celebration.

See you in the New Year.  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! 

Late Summer Salsa

From Jenny’s Garden

Tomorrow Bhava and I will be teaching at the Karma Yoga for a Cause Fundraiser to benefit Shakti Rising. It is such an honor to be invited to present our teachings on Yoga and the Divine Feminine and to Chant the Body Sacred at this event. Shakti’s recovery programs help so many women hurt by trauma and abuse learn to restore their spirit, reclaim their power, remember the light within, and become leaders of emerging women-centered services and societies that benefit all.

All people everywhere ~ men, women, adults, children ~ benefit when women learn to love themselves. And to love one another, too, so today I am sending out love to Jenny Barrett, the creator and Maha Shakti Power Generator behind this event.

The “Shakti Butterfly”

Last Sunday we met up with Jenny and other friends at the San Diego Botanic Gardens to see where we would be teaching and  run through the day’s program. As we were leaving, Jenny gave us each a few vegetables picked that morning from her home garden. I received a small tomato, a long green pepper and the cutest little orange pepper that looked like a baby bell but bit like a sharp-toothed hoary dragon!

Of course, I went home and made Salsa which was especially handy as I had kichari preparing in the Slow Cooker, something I like to wrap with a teaspoon of yogurt and a few arugula leaves in flour tortillas to make burritos for the children.

It was fun to forage for the ingredients for this Salsa, using only what was on hand, and eating with the season by preparing foods that had been (mostly) picked that day. It was also simple to make.

First, I picked and shredded Cilantro from our garden…

Chopped an apple from the Japanese farmer who sells crunchy Fujis at our local Market…

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Sliced and diced a cucumber brought to us from Suzie’s Farm….

Minced the peppers, removing their seeds…

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Then I ran for a fire extinguisher as this was the hottest little pepper north of the Tijuana River!

Finally, I cut up the tomato and stirred it all together in a bowl with a squeeze of lime, a pinch of Himalayan salt and a drizzle of olive oil.

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Thanks to the surprisingly potent pungency of the baby orange pepper, this Salsa was exceptionally spicy, so I renamed it “Salsa Chutney.”  Like a chutney, it compliments almost any dish, but only a small amount is needed.

It is the peppery pungency of Salsa that helps digest beans and rice, and any heavy meal that might include meat, fish, grains, dairy. Heat, including the heating action of a pungent taste, draws circulation to the abdomen which increases the digestive power.

Refreshing ingredients like apple, cucumber, and cilantro balance the heat of the peppers, keeping blood, muscle, bone, neurological and immune tissue cool, strong and intact.

In late Summer, we need to release the heat that has accumulated in our tissues over the three months of warm weather, because too much heat applied to anything will burn, deplete and ultimately destroy. For that reason, Mother Nature, in her loving wisdom, gives us apples, plums, gooseberries, grapes, nectarines, sweet melons, sweetcorn, zucchini, celeriac, green beans, green leafy vegetables and other cooling foods to restore balance.

It is really important to pay attention now and eat seasonally. Autumn sees nature wither and die back, bringing with it challenges to our health, so it is crucial to be here now, so to speak, with your meals. Late September’s Harvest is the key to readying you now for a healthy Autumn.

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Late Summer Salsa Chutney Recipe

1 small Tomato
1/2 Cucumber
1 Pepper of your choice: bell, jalapeño, serrano…
1 Apple
1 bunch Cilantro
1 Lime
Olive Oil
Himalayan Salt

Chop the vegetables and apple into small bit-size pieces. Stir together in a bowl. Season with lime juice, salt, even a bit of Sambal if your peppers are not as hot as Jenny’s. Drizzle with oil and serve.

CookingwithSorrel.com

Karma Yoga for a Cause will be catered by Sorrel and Fall Weiss whose gorgeous, natural foods are captured and celebrated on their website, cookingwithsorrel.com.

And so with extraordinary teachers, inspiring events, friends from all over and the beguiling sisters Sorrel and Fally catering, we know we are all going to be very well nourished! I hope you can join us.

Even if you can’t, wherever you are, I wish you a beautiful late Summer Sunday.

In honor of the love present everywhere in nature and in support of the love blazing in your heart ~ Namaste!