Cinnamon Pecan Frozen Coffee

I love coffee! I love the way it smells, the way it tastes and what it means to me. No, but really... I have at least 4 different ways to make coffee in my house. Living in Italy transformed my relationship with coffee from a sleep over every once in a while to a full fledged committed relationship. Though some would say I am not a TRUE coffee drinker because I often drink decaf, I beg to differ. Coffee was a part of my every day ritual in Italy. I would go to the same cafe, where they quickly learned my name, and as soon as I would walk in the door they would look up and say "ciao, vorrai un cappuccino decafinato?" (would you like a decaf cappuccino?) and with a giant smile on my face I would reply "si, grazie mile." Many hours were spent laughing with friends, learning Italian and creating memories in that cafe. Even thinking of it now brings tears to my eyes and warmth to my heart. 

Flash forward a few years with long work hours and a busy schedule. I noticed that coffee with cream was no longer working for me. I was getting jittering and anxious after drinking it and would crash a few hours later. It wasn't until I discovered adding adaptogens and fat to my lattes that I was able to have a cup every day or at least a few times a week. I no longer get the jitters or feel anxious as I am fueling my body with herbs that are helping it to adapt to stress as well as fat that keeps the caffeine from hitting my blood stream so harshly. 

One of my favorite coffee companies is Chameleon Cold Brew. Cold brew is great because it is less acidic and has a deep and smooth flavor. Of all the brands I've tried, this one has the best flavor, is organic and is ran by people who are truly passionate about sustainable and organic coffee.  I love to heat it up over the stove in the morning with a bit of homemade nut milk and then add it to my blender with ghee, adaptogens and spices. Its the perfect start to the day. Now that the weather is heating up, I enjoy a cold coffee mid morning or early afternoon. I created this Cinnamon Pecan Frozen coffee. It is slightly sweet and completely delicious. I used Astragalus for lung and immune support, cordyceps for an extra energy boost and endurance and reishi for adrenal and nervous system support. Tocos is great to add to any coffee drink as it is a bio-available form of vitamin E and adds a delicious creaminess. You could certainly leave the adaptogens and tocos out (but, like why?). It's the perfect addition to a hot summer day.

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Combine everything in a high speed blender and blend on high for 30 seconds to a minute. Pour into your favorite glass and enjoy in the sunshine. 

Goddess of the Month: Chelsea of Juniper and The Sea

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A couple months ago I won a photoshoot with a local company called Juniper and the Sea. If you are unfamiliar with them, you should definitely check out their work. They are working to create a safe space for women to strip down (literally and figuratively) and have the most beautiful boudoir photos taken. These are boudoir photos like you have never seen before: They are for you and nobody else! Organic, raw and sensual without being overtly sexual. Chelsea and Simone have a gift of seeing your essence and capturing it in that moment. 

I didn't know exactly what to expect. I was told to show up with a clean face and dry hair. When I walked into the space I was welcomed with herbal tea, warm and inviting lighting, hugs and a team of amazingly talented women who transformed me into a woodland nymph. With Kendrick Lamar as my soundtrack (um, yes please) I worked with Chelsea and Simone to pick from the outfits I brought. I changed and we got started. Now, I teach women how to feel comfortable in their bodies; how to love the skin they are in. Full transparency, this is so challenging for me, at times. With Chelsea and Simone, I felt natural and comfortable to just be me in their presence. They gave suggestion of directions for me to turn my head, but pretty much gave me free range to move as my body loves to move. The last few photos I shot topless. I have never done a nude photo shoot before and have always been curious. I never once felt insecure about my body or felt like I needed to be a different size or a different shape. They made me feel safe and comfortable. Before I knew it, it was over and they sent me on my way feeling lit up and totally empowered!

When I got the photos back, I have to admit that I had a moment of wishing my body looked a little different. Wishing that I hasn't put so much weight on in the last couple of years. When I was showing them to a friend and she was saying how gorgeous they are, I realized that my body is beautiful exactly as it is. It doesn't mean I can't work to make it more fit or to lose weight, but that it is also just as valuable now as it would be if I lost 10 lbs. It took someone else looking at me and telling me I was beautiful to fully accept it. And you know what? That is ok. Sometimes we need the reflection of another to recognize the beauty within ourselves. 

I am counting down the days when I can do another shoot with these Goddesses. If you feel called to do this. DO IT!!! It is honestly one of the most beautiful and lasting gifts you can give to yourself. Without further ado, here is the beautiful interview with Chelsea.

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What inspired you to create your own business?

"We worked together and had previously shot weddings, but we wanted to give a different experience and capture something different. Both dealing with health and body image issues we thought it was important to document and make women feel good in their bodies without it needing to be sexualized."

Why boudoir photos?

"We wanted to tap into something that wasn’t being done in Portland and give women a space to feel liberated about themselves and their bodies and what they’ve gone through or what they are going through rather than just creating sexy photos that weren't for them or doing it for someone else to look a certain way. We wanted a space for women to feel comfortable and tap into that vulnerability or to celebrate whatever was going on. " 

Who is the most inspiring woman in your life and why?

"My Grandmother. She was such a tough person. She had 6 siblings all from different fathers and she raised all of them. She dropped out of high school and worked as a cleaning lady and she still does and she is 72."

What is your favorite meal?

"I feel if I say for Simone and I, it’s definitely steak."

What is your process in manifesting your dreams and your goals?

"I think it’s finding a balance so that we give ourselves time to give everybody else everything we can. A lot of this is a journey for us as well and I feel like if we ever feel burnt out or down on ourselves then we can’t give this business everything we want to. So I think its finding that balance and continuing to feed off the women we photograph. its a mutual back and forth."

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What is your morning ritual?

"For me, I wake up and, recently, I have been making a latte or tea. I usually stretch or hang out for a minutes. Especially now, I enjoy sitting outside. I give myself an hour or so to do that before I go to work. "

How do you honor your feminine body?

"I know I have struggled a lot with body image. For a long time I was tom-boyish and didn’t feel womanly. I played sports and didn’t feel feminine in the way that society feels so. I feel honored in expressing myself in anything that feels good. Whether that is doing typical girly things like going to get a massage or my nails done, but also just going outside if I’m feeling stagnant or wearing things that show off things that I like about myself. Just taking care of myself, staying in-tune and listening to what my body wants rather than just tapping into what you’re “supposed” to do to feel good."

Where do you find bliss in your life?

"I find bliss from just disconnecting from social media. Uncapping from the normal day: Getting outside, in nature and spending time with my partner. Mostly just getting outside and working in the ground."

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What does self-care mean to you?

"Self-care for me is taking a break. Just doing things that can shut my brain off from being inline with everything that is going on on around us. Just to chill and recharge. Walks, a bath, turning phone and computer off, not feeling like I need to reply instantly and giving my brain a rest."

If you could offer one piece of advice to women, what would it be?

"We are all in this together. Things are going to be ok. What you are going through, the person next to you is probably going through. Whatever we are going through is valid and to just be kind to each other."

Meet Chelsea:

She loves embroidery. In fact, she's super talented at it. You can find her crafting and thrifting in almost all of her free time. She also totally understands dietary restrictions, and would prefer to bike everywhere. She dreams of living on a lot of land and growing her own food. She tans really easily, loves folk music, and may or may not have a ton of house plants.

Honey Matcha Mask

I woke up this morning with a puffy face.  Partly from not drinking enough water yesterday and partly because I am on my cycle. I don't have any anti-inflammatory masks lying around so I thought I would make my own. This simple mask is anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial,  loaded with anti-aging properties and is super nourishing and moisturizing.

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Matcha Honey Mask:

  • 1 T honey 
  • 1/2 tsp culinary matcha (my favorite is Mizuba Tea Co)
  • 2 Drops Rose Essential oil (you could also use lavendar)
  • Tiny splash of apple cider vinegar (optional: I mostly used it to thin it out a bit)

In a small bowl combine the first three ingredients. I recommend using a local, unfiltered and unheated honey as it is in it's most organic state. Mix until combined and see if you feel it needs to be a bit thinner. If so add the tiniest splash of ACV. Spread a thin to medium layer over you clean, dry face and let sit for 15-20 minutes. This is a slightly drippy mask so I recommend draping a towel across your chest or wearing a shirt you don't care if it gets dirty. Rinse off and follow with your favorite serums, moisturizers and SPF (Currently using this one.)

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Why honey?

Honey is a pretty much a miracle. It never goes bad, it's a perfect food; you can survive off honey and water (if needed) for a long time and it is loaded with so many amazing benefits not only for our body but for your skin. Here are a few amazing skin benefits of honey:

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  • Antibacterial: removing bacteria and impurities from the skin. This is why it is especially beneficial to those who have acne-prone skin or who struggle with acne. 
  • Antioxidant: Honey is loaded with anti-oxidants which naturally help to slow the aging process
  • Moisturizing; Honey is a humectant which means that it draws moisture from its environment and help to retain it in your skin. 
  • Gentle Exfoliant: honey acts as a natural exfoliant by gently removing impurities from your pores. 
  • Scar Reducer/heals burns: Honey's anti-inflammatory properties help to reduce inflammation in the skin which helps the skin to heal more quickly. It also speeds up the regeneration of skins cells
  • Pulls extra heat out: In Ayurveda, when the eyes become overheated and have a burning sensation, they create a barrier or honey around the eyes to help pull out the extra heat. The same thing happens when you do a mask with honey. You will notice your skin warming up and continuing to release heat a few minutes after you mask.

Why Matcha?

Matcha has many of the same properties that honey has: anti-oxidants, protects the skin against sun damage (due to the polyphenols and catechins), anti-inflammatory and evens our skin-tone and scarring. Matcha and honey are a match-mate in heaven for a mask as they both amplify the benefits of the other. 

Why Rose?
 

Rose is very hydrating to the skin and also smells lovely, calms the spirit and connects you to your heart. If you do not have rose essential oil, you can use lavender. Just make sure you use a high quality essential oil that is not hot (burns the skin).

If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment below. Happy Masking!

 

Resources:

ttps://www.skincarebyalana.com/blog/amazing-skincare-benefits-green-tea-matcha/https://www.dabur.com/daburhoney/benefits-of-honey/honey-for-face-and-skin/using-honey-for-face-and-skin#Scars-new <3 https://www.dabur.com/daburhoney/benefits-of-honey/honey-for-face-and-skin/using-honey-for-face-and-skin#Scars-new <3 https://beautisecrets.com/does-honey-heal-scars

Creamy Blackberry Nicecream

Now that the weather is starting to heat up, I crave something cool mid-day or after dinner. Dairy ice cream is usually not my friend and I try not to keep ice cream (dairy or not) around because I end up eating it and then not feeling so great. One of my favorite summer treats to make is nicecream. Nice cream is a banana based frozen treat that you can make super simple or add superfoods, fruits, nut butters, etc to make it extra creamy and delicious. 

The other night I was craving something sweet and pulled a few things out of the freezer. What came from it was a super creamy, super delicious "ice cream" that will now be a staple for the coming summer months. The trick to making this super delicious is waiting until you bananas are very ripe (not completely brown, but lots of brown spots) before freezing. Not only will it make it sweeter, but the starches in the banana break down more the riper the banana gets allowing it to cream up more easily. 

  • 3-4 very ripe frozen bananas
  • 1/2 cup frozen blackberries (you could also play with other berries)
  • 1 T cashew butter (I use Artisana)
  • splash of nut milk
  • pinch of salt

Combine everything, except the milk in a high speed blender. You will need the stopper for this. I use the "frozen dessert" setting on my vitamix. Use the stopper to push the ingredients into the blender. If needed, add a splash of milk, but not too much or it will become too runny. Continue to blend until creamy. Scoop into a glass container and freeze for 20-30 minutes before serving. If you're feeling extra, you can make my Chocolate Peanut Butter No-Bake cookies and make a nicecream sandwich. 

 

 

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Moon Cycle Survival Guide

I was 11 when I got my moon cycle for the first time and along with it came all the symptoms. The women in my family have all coped with heavy cramping, bloating and hard periods. I'm talking doubled over, nauseous, mind-numbing cramps from knees to mid back, black out pain. I'm grateful I have a hippy yogi mom and to grow up in an Ayurvedic home to help me learn what would work for my body. 

When I went to a gynecologist, they thought maybe I had endometriosis, but that was quickly thrown out. The next "resolution" was to put me on birth control, which we did not do. Over the years I tried cutting out all sugar, caffeine, hard cardio, warm compresses, prescription pain medication (which just made me high and didn't actually take the pain away), you name it, I've most likely tried it. 

Over the years I have collected recipes, remedies and techniques that have helped me to cope. For me, one of the most powerful tools I learned is to just recognize that this is how my body cycles. I put this guide together to make it as gentle as possible. Not saying this is how all women's bodies cycle. If you truly feel like something is off, I recommend finding a naturopath or gynecologist that you like and trust to see if there is something else going on. I am not a doctor and am just sharing what I have found works for me. 

Warm Gingner Tea: 2-3 Days before my cycle and the first few days of my cycle, I sip on ginger tea. This is an Ayurvedic recipe and it makes a huge difference. Ginger is anti-inflammatory and will help with bloating, indigestion and cramping. I will make a big batch of this tea each morning and sip on it throughout the day. Adding a bit of honey will up the anti-inflammatory factor. 

  • 4 cups filtered water
  • 3 inche fresh ginger root, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 cup nut milk
  • honey to taste (optional)

In a saucepan, bring the water and ginger root to a boil and let it roll until reduced by about a 1/3. Add the milk and remove from the heat. Pour into a mug and add honey to taste.

 

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  • Pain Management: I used to pop 4 ibuprofen every 8 hours when I was on my cycle because it was the only thing that would touch the pain. I finally found a combination of supplements and herbs that really work.  I work in a chiropractic clinic and we sell a product called Formula 303. These magical pills are an herbal muscle relaxant made from valerian, magnesium and passion flower extract. They work like a dream not only for cramps but also tension headaches and muscle tightness. I take 2 every 3-4 hours to stay on top of the pain for the first 3 days of my cycle. I have found that these are not as effective is the cramping is already really bad. I have to make sure I take them at the first sign of cramping. I also take a dose of CBD each morning and evening to help with inflammation and pain. I currently use Select CBD.  I have been really happy with this source but don't necessarily think its the only one or the best one out there. Do you research and make sure you are getting it from an organic source. I will be doing a whole blog post on CBD soon.  When things get really painful I will add a Valerian Tincture, as well. This is formulated by the doctor I work for, but you can find valerian tinctures at most health food stores. 
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  •  Free and Easy Wanderer: This is a Chinese herb combination developed to help support the female reproductive system. When I am good about taking this every day, it makes a difference in my cycles. I take one dropper-full each morning in my glass of water. 
  • Ashwadangha: This Ayurvedic herb is truly amazing for the entire body. It helps to support the adrenal glands, nervous system and reproductive system. It very high in iron (if you have extra heavy periods, mix ashwagandha with molasses and nut milk). I take this herb almost every day. I feel that it helps keep my body in balance, and it also strengthens the uterine wall. Sun Potion is my favorite source for powdered extract. It is organic and tested for heavy metals (this is extremely important for products that come out of India). Portland Ashwagandha Farm makes a really great tincture as well. 

Note: I am also planning a post on adaptogens to support  your moon cycle so stay tuned for that!

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  • Warm Epsom Salt Baths and Hot Water Bottle: I'm a sucker for a warm bath. When cramping is really heavy, I light a candle, fill the tub, add epsom salts and climb in. I use this time to meditate and connect with my body. Sometimes I read a book, but it really helpful for me to just sit and listen to my body. I will place my hands on my abdomen and breathe through the discomfort. The warm water and epsom salts help to ease the cramping as well as low back pain and body aches. On days when a bath isn't possible or it's just too hot outside, I will curl up on the couch with a hot water bottle tucked next to tummy. This makes a huge difference and feels warming and comforting to my body. 

  •  Movement: Some people find it helpful to do cardio or movement while on their cycles. My body does not like it. I have a tendency to do very gentle and slow yogic stretches and gentle slow walks. This way my body is still moving, but not exerting. It's already working so hard to expel what no longer serves it. Some yoga poses that feel very soothing to my body are child's pose, gentle camel pose, and sitting in easy pose with both hands gently cradling your abdomen. Breathe all the way down into the bottom of your abdomen and breathe it all out. Whatever type of movement you choose to do during this time of the month, make sure you are connecting with your body and not pushing. 
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I am sharing these tools in hopes that it will provide some sort of support or help for other women. I know that I felt like this was just going to be my life and I couldn't do anything about it. It took me asking questions, trial and error and my yogic upbringing to find the things that worked. That being said, our bodies are always changing and always evolving so tomorrow I could wake up and none of these things work. Learning to tune into my body and truly listen has been the most powerful tool. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email me directly or leave a comment below. 

Cacao Magic No-Bake Cookies

One of my favorite childhood treats was chocolate peanut butter no-bake cookies. They were one of the few treats my papa would make. My favorite part was licking the pot while they set in the freezer. I haven't had them in years because I don't really eat like that anymore. When my husband asked for cookies the other night when it was 85 degrees and roasting in our house, I was like "um, there is no way I am using the oven." I remembered these delicious cookies and thought to myself, "I could totally make an upgraded, healthier version." You can use regular cacao powder in place of the Cacao Magic, but the cacao nibs add an extra delicious crunch as well as protein (each serving of cacao magic has 10 g of plant based protein) and superfoods. The cold brew adds an amazing element of flavor, but can also be omitted. 

Ingredients:

In a saucepan, over medium heat, melt the butter, peanut butter, vanilla and coconut sugar. Stir to combine and add cacao powder and cold brew. Once everything is melted and combined, remove from heat. Fold in the oats. With a cookie scoop or tablespoon, scoop cookies onto a lined cookie sheet. Press down on the tops to flatted into a disk shape. Place in the freezer for 20 minutes. Devour with zero guild because you're eating superfoods and protein :)

Makes 10 cookies.

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Blueberry Lemon Cookie Bars with Coconut Butter Matcha Drizzle

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A few Saturday's ago I went to my friend Lauren's (founder of Mizuba Tea Co.) house to play with matcha and coconut butter. From this was born a delicious, refined sugar free, gluten free blueberry lemon cookie bar with a matcha coconut butter drizzle. *Queue drooling*

These little bars go together quite quickly and are filled with antioxidants from the blueberries and matcha, all the good fats and whole grains. 

Cookie Layer:

  • 1 cup GF oat flour
  • 1 cup GF oats
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut butter (I used Artisana)
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 T ground flax seeds
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

Preheat your oven at 375.

To make oat flour put oats into a high speed blender or food processor and process until it resembles flour. Place all the ingredients in a bowl. I found the best way to melt the coconut butter was to fill a large bowl with boiling water and sit the jar in it for about 20 minutes. It will get delicious and melty. Line a 8x8 inch baking dish with parchment and grease. Press the cookie crust into the pan with clean hands. 

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Blueberry Lemon Filling:

  • 1 cup frozen of fresh blueberries
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 T chia seeds
  • zest and juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom (optional)

In a medium bowl combine all ingredients. Pour blueberry mixture onto crust and set aside. 

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Cookie Crumble:

  • 1/2 cup oat flour
  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 2 T coconut oil
  • 1 T coconut sugar
  • pinch of salt

Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl. With your fingers, mix the coconut oil into the flour until it resembles peas. Sprinkle the topping on top of the blueberries. Place in the oven and cook for 25 to 30 minutes until the topping is golden brown. Let cool while you make the matcha coconut butter drizzle.

Drizzle:

Combine 1/4 cup melted coconut butter and 2 tsp culinary matcha. With a spoon drizzle, generously, over the cookie bars. 

Remove the bars from the pan by pulling at the sides of the parchment. Slice into squares and serve with tea or coffee. 

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Body Bliss Matcha Latte

The matcha obsession is real. This vibrantly green tea has a long list of health benefits including pure, unadulterated chlorophyll (the pigment that makes plants green. It helps to oxygenate your blood and produce more hemoglobin), packed with antioxidants and amino acids. Matcha is 100% shade grown and stone ground into a fine powder. Because of this, it has all the fiber and all the nutrients the plant has to offer. 

When making a matcha latte, you want to always use culinary matcha. Ceremonial grade matcha has subtle and different flavor profiles depending on how often they are harvested, where they are grown, etc. Culinary matcha is courser ground to withstand mixing it with milk, flour, sugar etc. Not all culinary matcha is created equally. My favorite is Mizuba. This company is local to Portland, organic and sourced directly from Uji, Japan. 

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All the ladies went crazy for my matcha latte recipe at my Field Trip workshop this past weekend. I thought I would share the recipe as a little teaser while I am in the process of writing my adaptogen latte ebook. This recipe has all the components needed for a nourishing and delicious adaptogenic matcha latte. Do not be afraid of the fat. Adaptogens are fat soluble, meaning they need to be combined with a fat in order to be absorbed by the body. My secret ingredient, fresh ginger root, adds a warming and delicious flavor. Ginger is anti-inflammatory and aids in digestion. You can enjoy this latte warm or over ice. I find it lovely anytime from morning to mid afternoon and still have no issue with sleeping. If you've been wanting to try matcha, this is a great starter recipe. Plus homemade is always better than from a coffee shop  :)

ingredients:

  • 1 cup hot water (NEVER use boiling water with matcha, it burns it. You want it to be hot, but no boiling)
  • 1/2 cup nut milk (if you want to make your own, check out my nut milk 101 post.)
  • 1 tsp to 1 T ghee or coconut butter
  • 1 tsp organic culinary matcha
  • 1/2 tsp Sunpotion Yin Power adaptogenic blend*
  • 1/2 inch peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 pitted date

In a high-speed blender combine all ingredients and blend on high for 30 seconds or a minute. Pour into a much and enjoy

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*Use whatever adaptogens feel good to you in the moment. If you don't have any adaptogens on hand, you can leave them out. This blend is pricey; however, i use half the recommended dose and the jar is quite large. I would say that a jar would last you 6 months using it every day (which I don't). This blend helps to boost the immune system, balance your hormones, relief stress, help with mental alertness and boost your libido. 

Note: If you're like me then matcha and an empty stomach don't mix. If i drink matcha first thing in the morning without putting something into my stomach I get really nauseous and feel like I'm going to throw up. If this is the case for you, I recommend drinking this latte with or after a meal. I have no issues when taken this way. 

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Punjabi Bharta

I love Indian food. I honestly could eat it every single day. I particularly love Punjabi food. Punjab is the northern region of India and happens to be where my husband grew up. He normally does the Indian cooking in our house, but lately I have been feeling super inspired. The last time we visited India I would spend hours in the kitchen with my Auntie watching her work her magic. It was an experience I can't quite put into words. She had a sixth sense when it came to seasoning dishes without even needing to taste them and could roll out a roti with her bare hands in a matter of seconds. 

Bharta is one of my husband's all-time favorite dishes. Bharta means eggplant in Punjabi. This dish is nurturing, smoky and delicious. Indian food is designed to have an ease on the digestive track. I stuck to tradition with this recipe as I feel like it is perfect the way it is. Traditionally served over white Basmati rice, topped with ghee and with a side or yogurt or next to a roti or naan. 

Ingredients:

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  • 2 medium eggplants
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/3 c frozen peas
  • 3 T ghee
  • 1 tsp each ground cumin, ground coriander, cumin seed, curry powder and smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp each turmeric, fennel seed and ajwain (caraway seed)
  • 1/4 tsp  each ground cardamom and ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 T tomato paste
  • 1/4-1/2 cup water

First step is to "smoke" or roast the eggplant. I do this by using two medium to large cast iron pans. Over medium high heat, place the eggplants into a dry cast iron skillet and allow them to cook for about 5 minutes. Turn the eggplants slightly so that the surface right next to the one you just cooked can be cooked. Continue to rotate every 5 minutes or so until the whole outside of the eggplant is charcoaled. Place the second pan, fave down over the top of the pan and turn the stove off. Let sit for an hour and sweat. Remove the eggplants from the plan, the skin should easily slip off. Remove all the skip and place the eggplant into a high speed blender or food processor. Pulse a few times until you have an eggplant puree. 

In a large cast iron or stainless steel skillet, melt the ghee on medium heat. Add all the spices and stir until fragrant. Toasting your spices in ghee before adding any other ingredients, releases the flavor as well as activates the turmeric. Add the onion, garlic and ginger. Cook on medium-low heat until the onions are very soft (10-15 minutes). You want them to be transparent and starting to caramelize. Add the tomato paste and water (start with 1/4 cup, if it seems too thick, continue to add water 1 T at a time. You want it to be a thick gravy-like consistently). Add salt, eggplant and peas. Stir until combined and taste to adjust salt. Serve over steamed rice and top with yogurt 

Vegan Lemon Raspberry Cheesecake Bars

I'm a big fan of treats that satisfy my sweet tooth but also nourish my body. This past weekend I was craving cheesecake but didn't want all the sugar and dairy. These bars are so incredibly delicious. They are just sweet enough with the perfect tartness. I could easily eat one of these every day (I may or may not have since I've made them...). The blueberry cardamom variation is equally as delicious with a lovely floral note from the cardamom. Either way you can't go wrong. 

Crust:

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  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cup toasted almonds
  • 1/3 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 2 T maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Combine the first 3 ingredients in a food processor or high speed blender and pulse until the mixture is combined and resembles course sand. Pour into a bowl, add remaining ingredients and stir to combine.

Line a bread pan with parchment. Pour the crust into the pan and use a spatula to spread evenly. Place in the freezer.

"Cheesecake" filling:

  • 1 cup soaked and drained cashews
  • 1/3 cup coconut cream
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • the zest of one lemon
  • 2 T maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • pinch os salt
  • 1/3 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1 T The Philosophie Berry Bliss (optional-use code BODYBLISS15 for a discount)

Combine all ingredients but the raspberries and Philosophie Superfood Powder into a high speed blender or food processor and blend on high until creamy (30 seconds to a minute). Remove the crust from the freezer and pour half the batter over the crust. Pour the raspberries into the remaining filling and blend until combined. Pour remaining mixture over the white layer. You may choose to swirl at this point. To do this use a knife and zig sag back and forth until you reach the desired patter. Place the pan into the freezer and freeze for 1 to 2 hours until set.

The serve, run a knife around the edges, remove with the tabs from the parchment and slice into squares. Store in an airtight container in your freezer. Remove from freezer 5 to 10 minutes before eating.

Blueberry Cardamom Variation:

To make the blueberry cardamom version, sub frozen blueberries for raspberries, only use the juice from 1 lemon and add 1/4 tsp ground cardamom. 

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Banana Chia Pudding

The last couple months my tummy has not been super happy. I ate too many raw vegetables and too much roughage and my body has decided it was enough. So it basically shut down digestion. As a result I have been eating very simple, warming and gentle foods. Lots of steamed veggies, rice and tofu and a boat load of this delicious, gentle banana pudding. It has good fats from the milk and chia seeds, sweetness and potassium from the banana and a delicious spice from the cardamom. It resembles banana cream pie and may be my new favorite snack. You can adjust the sweetness according to taste and top with coconut cream. I make ahead of time and store in mason jars. Will keep for 4-5 days in the refrigerator. 

Ingredients:

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  • 1 cup nut milk or full fat coconut milk
  • 2 T chia seeds
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 extra ripe banana
  • 1 T maple or date syrup (optional. I only use if the banana isn't super ripe)

Instructions:

In a saucepan over medium heat, heat the milk, chia seeds, cardamom and vanilla. Bring to a low simmer and simmer until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat. Mash the banana really well, until most of the lumps are gone. Fold the banana into the chia mixture. Pour into jars and refrigerate 2 hours until set and chilled. Top with yogurt or coconut cream and enjoy. 

Goddess of the Month: Barrett Prendergast of Valleybrink Road

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I feel like Barrett was one of the first Instagram accounts that I truly connected with. No matter what I messaged her, she should always respond with such kindness. I am always inspired by the beautiful she brings to this world. From food to the most beautiful floralr arrangements you can imagine, she has definitely made her mark. She creates recipes that are simple and easy to follow, yet so incredibly delicious. I dream of one day receiving one of her gift baskets just to have an experience of her artistic touch. We have yet to meet in person, but I can't wait for the day when we can sit and have tea and talk about life.

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To top it all off she has the most beautiful family (and one on the way). I am so grateful to Barrett for taking the time to do this interview and become part of the Body Bliss Family.

While doing this interview, tears came to my eyes. Barrett's authenticity and truth are so beautiful. I could go on and on, but I will let the interview speak for itself:

What inspired you to create your own business?

I was almost 30 and in the process of closing down the handbag line I had started with my husband, Andre. I was at a crossroads and needed to figure out if I was going to stay in fashion or take a chance on doing something else. I thought about it a lot and kept coming back to food, cooking, and entertaining…I was just uncertain on how to translate that into a career. So, I started working in a restaurant, then for some catering companies, and a few months later Valleybrink Road was born. It has now been 5 years and the business has grown in such a beautiful and organic way. I am so grateful I took a risk to create something of my own.

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What drew you to food styling and floral arrangements? 

I have always been pretty creative, making my own clothes and jewelry when I was younger. Cooking and flowers started more in my twenties and really stemmed from my love of having people over and entertaining. Everything about creating the entire experience has always brought me such happiness and fulfillment.

Who is the most inspiring woman in your life and why? 

My mom. Single mom who raised three kids all on her own, despite the fact that everything was stacked against her. Now being a mother myself and experiencing how challenging even raising and providing for one child is, I am just blown away how she did it for three with such grace and always with a smile on her face.

What is your favorite meal?

Does there have to be just one!?! I would probably say breakfast/brunch…I love the fact I can have sweet dishes like pancakes paired with things like crispy potatoes and sautéed kale. It is the best of both worlds.

What is your process in manifesting your dreams and your goals? 

I believe in saying yes. And, then figuring it out. I think that has really been a determining factor in the success of Valleybrink Road. Believe me, I didn’t have much figured out in the beginning but I had enough confidence in myself to know I could figure it out. Say yes first, and then problem solve to get it done. 

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What is your morning ritual?

I think the better question would be, what is my son’s morning ritual? Ha! It starts with Costa telling me its “wake up time” even though it is probably still dark out. He demands a quick piggy back right to the kitchen where we make tea and breakfast together. Mornings are my special mama time with costa so I really try to just focus on him and giving him my full attention. It is always a mad dash to finally get dressed and out the door so I can drop him at school and head to the office. 

How do you honor your feminine body? 

I think self care is so important…and probably realized this much more once I had a child. If I am taking a little time to care for myself, then I am not only a better mother but also, a better wife and overall human. I try to make time for simple things like a quiet bath soak, and once this next baby arrives, I will get back into my yoga and long walks routine.

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Where do you find Bliss in your life? 

I think bliss is everywhere we choose to see it. It is so easy to get caught up in the stress and exhaustion of it all….I am really trying to stay in the moment and remind myself that this all will pass sooner than we can imagine, so we better soak up all the goodness right now.

If you could offer one piece of advice to women, what would it be? 

Confidence is key. Believe in yourself first and so much will follow that simple action. 

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Bio:

Valleybrink Road is a floral design and luxury gifting company based in Los Angeles, CA. The vision of Barrett Prendergast, a florist, gifter, and lifestyle curator, Valleybrink Road is a natural extension of her love of entertaining and her passion for creating the perfect gift.

Herby Falafel Recipe

A few months back I came across a falafel recipe where you don't cook the chickpeas and I was intrigued. I have a recipe for falafel that uses cooked chickpeas and it is delicious but it doesn't have that traditional falafel crunch. I thought I would try it out. The herbs add a lovely freshness while the lemon brightens the flavor. I think these may be my new favorite comfort food.  

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  • 2 cups dried chickpeas
  • 1/2 onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup parsley
  • 2 sprigs fresh dill
  • 1 T chickpea flour (if you don't have this, wheat or GF flour will work just fine)
  • 1 T lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/8 tsp ground cardamom (if you like a stronger flavor you can use 1/4 tsp)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • oil for frying (I use avocado)

Place the chickpeas in a bowl and cover with 3 inches of water. Cover and place in the refrigerator overnight. 

Rinse the chickpeas and place them in the bowl of a food processor. Add all remaining ingredients, accept the oil. Pulse until combined, scrapping the sides as needed. Continue to pulse until the batter resemble gravel or course sand. Place in a bowl, cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight. The dough will taste a bit salty, but it will mellow as it sits and be perfect once they are cooked. 

Place a large fry pan on your range at medium high heat. Pour 1/4 to 1/2 inch of oil into the pan. Wait until hot, but not smoking (I will drop a tiny piece of the dough into the oil, if its sizzles, it's ready). Shape the dough into 1 1/2 in flattened balls (I use a cookie scoop and flatten and round with my hands). Cook 5 or less at a time, make sure not to overcrowd your pan. Cook 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden and crispy. Place on a paper towel lined plate to drain. I love to serve these atop a green salad or as wraps with pitta, yogurt sauce and greek salad. 

How Body Bliss Life was Born

Happy Friday! I realized I just jumped into the whole blog thing and didn't do a post introducing myself, what I do and why I do it. So here goes:

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Hey! My name is Amrit-Sadhana, I live in Portland. I'm originally from Central Oregon and have lived in LA, Italy, Vietnam and spent extended time in India. I grew up in a yogic home (which you've heard me say before), but what does that mean? It means that I was raised with Kundalini yoga and meditation from a young age, we didn't wear shoes in our house, it constantly smelled like chai (totally ok with that), chant music was played non stop and we had a yoga room (yes, a whole room dedicated to yoga). This does not make my childhood extra special or void of trauma, but it did provide me with some tools that I carry with me to help me to cope. In fact, it's what helped me to heal from trauma. This lifestyle is the seed/foundation of why I created Body Bliss Life. I wanted a place where I could share my knowledge and experience of Ayurveda, yoga and mediation. Where you could find inspiration to create yummy and healthy vegetarian meals and a place where being a woman is 150% celebrated. Living consciously and blissfully is my passion because I feel that we all deserve it. It's a birth right. 

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    When I discovered feminine movement, I feel like the missing piece of a puzzle was found. When I lived in LA, I met Sheila Kelley (the creator of S Factor). She invited me to come take a class (me?! pole dancing... I don't think so). Took me about 3 months to take her up on her offer and of course I was hooked from the moment the class started. Never had I been given permission to move my body without judgement or shame. I could spend 10 minutes to get from the floor to my feet and it was celebrated. Too often, we are rushed and don't allow our bodies to just move in a way that feels good. Thus began my journey. When we moved away from LA, my body missed the movement so much. I traveled back several times for teacher training so I could become a teacher. Discovering my style of teaching took some time, but I found that it works best for me to fuse my upbringing with yoga and meditation with the movement, thus was born Body Bliss Movement. 

    I have a lived a lot of life in 31 years. There is so much more to tell but for now I will leave you with a few fun facts about me:

    1.  When I was young, my father was a professional shepherd. I spent many of my childhood days on a farm "helping." In high school/college, I milked cows. You could say that I am a farm girl at heart
    2. I am semi-fluent in Italian (used to be fluent) and miss Italy every single day
    3. I have my Bachelor's in Voice Performance and sang with Los Angeles Metropolitan Opera for 2 1/2 seasons.
    4. I did a 1000 day meditation (1000 days in a row without missing one day. A minimum of 11 minutes a day and no more than 31. In Kundalini yoga when you do a meditation for 1000 days in a row, you master it.). I did bound lotus, which is when you sit in full lots and wrap your arms around to grab your toes and then bow your forehead to the ground. 
    5. Elephants are my most favorite animals in the entire world!
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    GHEE: The Good Fat

    A LITTLE HISTORY

    Ghee comes from a sanskrit word meaning "clarified butter." It had been used in Indian culture for over 5000 years. Ghee is made by simmering butter at a low temperature until the milk fat has separated. The impurities are skimmed off the top and the golden liquid is strained through cheese cloth and the residue on the bottom is discarded. Because the milk solids are removed, it can be left at room temperature and won't go rancid. 

    Ghee may be the single most important ingredient in Indian cooking. It is a staple in their household and the beginning of all Indian dishes. Ghee is held with high regard as it is made with butter from cow milk. Cows are a sacred animal in India. The mother cow is revered as the physical manifestation of the Goddess as she nurtures and mothers all of us with her nectar. Because the milk solids have been removed, it withstands high heat without becoming caustic or burning. It it also used as a base in Ayurvedic remedies as many of the Ayurvedic adaptogens are fat soluble. This means that their effect and your ability to absorb their benefits in greatly increased when fat is the carrier. 

    WHY GHEE?

    Ghee is a wonderful source of fat for many reasons. As I mentioned before it is great for high heat cooking, but it is also super nourishing for the body. Some of the benefits of ghee includes, but are not limited to:

    • Free of lactose and casein (all my lactose intolerance friends and family, you can have ghee!)
    • High in fat-soluble vitamins including A, D, E and K
    • High in Butyrate, a short chain fatty acid beneficial to gut health
    • Because it is a medium chain fatty acid, ghee helps support a healthy metabolism and supports weight loss( feeling full longer?)
    • Digestive Health
    • Anti-inflammatory

    Any recipe that calls for oil or butter, ghee can replace. I use it to roast veggies, sauté, fry, bake. I drink 1 T of ghee in my latte every morning. It helps me to feel full as well as "gets things going."

    WHY MAKE YOUR OWN

    I've been eating ghee for as long as I can remember. Growing up we used it to make Kitcheree  (I will share my recipe soon, but in the meantime check out THIS one), spread on toast, add to popcorn and melted over steamed veggies. It wasn't something you found regularly on the grocery store shelves, so we made it ourselves. In the last 5 years, ghee has become more and more popular in the United States. There are a lot of wonderful ghee products out there, but I personally feel that many of them are overpriced for what you get. I find it to be quite important that my ghee is organic. Ghee made from conventional butter may have GMOs, pesticides and toxins. If you can find organic and grass-fed butter, that is even better. If you have to choose between organic and grass-fed, I would go with the organic. 

    HOW TO

    There are several ways to make ghee at home. I am going to share my favorite. It is easier then you can imagine, costs about $4.50 and once you start you will be wondering why you haven't been doing it all along. All you need is a pound of organic, unsalted butter.

     1. Place the butter in a saucepan and turn on to medium heat.

    1. Place the butter in a saucepan and turn on to medium heat.

     2.&nbsp; the butter is melted and start to bubble, turn to medium low heat and keep at a low simmer (this is where the water is evaporating and the milk fat is floats to the bottom)  3.&nbsp;As some of the milk fat floats to the top, I take a spoon and skim it off. I do this several times throughout the cooking process. DO NOT STIR or you will have to start all over. At this point you just let the butter do its things. Keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn't burn.

    2.  the butter is melted and start to bubble, turn to medium low heat and keep at a low simmer (this is where the water is evaporating and the milk fat is floats to the bottom)

    3. As some of the milk fat floats to the top, I take a spoon and skim it off. I do this several times throughout the cooking process. DO NOT STIR or you will have to start all over. At this point you just let the butter do its things. Keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn't burn.

     4. When you've skimmed all the foam off the top, the rest has floated to the bottom and you have a golden liquid (you want to be able to see the residue through the ghee at the bottom of the pan), turn the heat off.&nbsp;

    4. When you've skimmed all the foam off the top, the rest has floated to the bottom and you have a golden liquid (you want to be able to see the residue through the ghee at the bottom of the pan), turn the heat off. 

     4. Using several layers of cheese cloth or a paper towel, strain the ghee into a jar. This can take some time. If you notice that some milk fat makes it into the jar, do another strain. If any remains, your ghee will go rancid.&nbsp;

    4. Using several layers of cheese cloth or a paper towel, strain the ghee into a jar. This can take some time. If you notice that some milk fat makes it into the jar, do another strain. If any remains, your ghee will go rancid. 

     5. Place a lid on your jar and keep on your counter top.&nbsp;

    5. Place a lid on your jar and keep on your counter top. 

    IF YOU DON'T WANT TO MAKE YOUR OWN

    90% of the time I make my own ghee, but there are those weeks when I just don't have time or I wanted to get some fun flavors to add to my dishes. When those times arise, I reach for Ahara Rasa Ghee. This ghee is truly the best I've had (besides homemade). Hot Date is one of my favorite flavors. I love throwing it into my morning adaptogenic lattes, spreading it on toast or chopping the dates up and tossing them with quinoa and roasted veggies. It adds a delicious sweetness and amazing flavor. I have also caramelized bananas in it for making a vegan banana cream pie. My other favorite flavor is the Bulb & Rind which is an amazing addition to any savory dish. It's the perfect friend to any veggies dish and I always have it in my home. This ghee is made locally in Portland and is grass fed and organic. Ran by two amazing people who care about the energy that goes into our foods and the importance of healthy fats in your diet. 

    February Goddess of the Month: Sasha Mayer of My Willows

    Another month and another amazing Goddess. Sasha is an absolute rock star. She is a single mother who has beat the odds. Her story is inspiring and beautiful. I originally heard about MyWillows through my friend Sophie. She told me she has created these amazing sunglasses that have crystals instead of arms. I, of course, had to buy a pair immediately. I loved them so much and was intrigued by the women who designed them. I reached out to Sasha to see if she would be a Body Bliss Goddess of the Month and she said YES! So grateful you took the time to do this, Sasha! It was lovely to get to know you a little more. 

    What inspired you to create your own business?

     I left an unhealthy marriage without any income and a 2 1/2 year old.  I really took a leap of faith and trusted that the universe would take care of me. I quickly got a job but realized the hours were incredibly challenging and inflexible when it came to school hours, sick days, holidays.  I knew I needed to create something of my own so that I could be home for my little boy and have a flexible schedule. 

    Why sunglasses and crystals?

    The seed of this idea was planted many many years ago but at the time, I honestly had a lot of fear surrounding starting a business on my own.  I love accessories, used to work as a sales rep for accessories brands and so, I had a very strong sense of what building a brand looked like. I think having a son and seeing how strong I was to leave my marriage, gave me the confidence boost I needed to start MyWillows!  

    Who is the most inspiring woman in your life?

    My mom!  She raised me alone as my father was out of the picture.  She also took care of my sick grandmother so it was us three girls living in one small 1 bedroom apartment in NYC.  She worked SO HARD and put her life aside to ensure that I had a great education and that my grandma was taken care of properly.  She raised me to share, love, be honest and kind and loving.  She is my number one supporter and honestly my hero. 

    If you were stranded on an island and could only take two things with you, which two would you choose and why?

    Things or people?  Number 1 would be Gavin (my son) but if we are only doing material things…probably a pocket knife and some sort of lighter or water purifier.  I think for me, making a home/shelter would make me feel safe so anything that would assist me in doing that! 

    What is your Morning Ritual?

    My morning ritual is usually - wake up, make a cup of coffee, spend 15 minutes trying to get a sleepy boy out of bed, dressed, fed and out the door to school.  It’s always a bit jarring which is why I tend to come back from his school and do yoga if my schedule permits.  

    How do you honor your feminine body?

    When you are a mom, your feminine body honestly takes the last seat…but I don’t think I could do anything without hot yoga. For my soul and body…I just need it!  I eat a clean diet and most nights I pass out close to my sons bedtime so I get plenty of sleep which I also need!  Occasionally I like to the Korean Spa and pamper myself.

    Where do you find bliss in your life?

    I find bliss when my son and I spend quality time together, when I travel, when I do yoga, when I have friends over for dinner and we laugh until we cry.  I find bliss in my work, in the product i’ve created and when I receive validation for my creation.  

    If you could give one piece of advice to women, what would it be?

    Love yourself.  Hard.  And know that it’s okay to be alone instead of in the wrong relationship.  Whether that’s a friendship or a lover.  It’s never to late to let go of things that aren’t serving you and you will see that amazing things will unfold if you do. Trust it.  When I got divorced, everyone told me “we aren’t worried about you - you’ll be ok” but with no money, no job and a toddler I really was doubting it. But it was okay and it is okay. In fact, it’s better than ok! So, whatever that voice inside your head is telling you, listen and do it.  I promise, it’s worth it. The answers are already inside you :) 
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    Chickpea Flatbread with Greens & Roasted Veggies

    Chana (chickpea) flour is a staple in Indian cooking. I love the texture and flavor it provides. Many of my favorite Indian sweets are made with a base of chana flour and ghee. These flatbreads or pancakes were inspired by my travels in India and an old recipe by Yogi Bhajan for jalapeno pancakes. These make a wonderful brunch or dinner. They are loaded with protein and absolutely delicious. A perfect addition to your weeknight meals. 

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    Flatbread:

    • 1 1/2 cups chana flour (I used Bob's Red Mill)
    • 1 1/2 cups filtered water
    • 1/2 jalapeno, seeded and chopped (if you want more heat, add some of all of the seeds)
    • 3-4 large green onions, thinly sliced
    • 1/2 tsp salt

    Roasted Veggies:

    • 1 large yam or sweet potato, peeled and cut into cubes
    • 3-4 small to medium zucchinis, cut into half moon pieces.)
    • 1 T avocado or grapeseed oil
    • 1/2-1 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp turmeric
    • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika

    Greens:

    • 2 bunches collard greens, washed, de-stemmed and chopped
    • 3 cups fresh spinach
    • 1 T ghee
    • 1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
    • salt and pepper to taste

    Optional toppings:

    • goat cheese whipped with lemon zest, lemon juice and pepper
    • cashew or nut cheese
    • labne (Lebanese yogurt cheese)
    • avocado
    • zataar

    Preheat the oven to 400. On a lined baking sheet, toss the yams and zucchini with oil, spices and salt. Bake for 25-30 minutes, stirring halfway through until golden brown and soft.  

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    In a bowl combine water and chickpea flour. Whisk until smooth. Add salt, green onion and jalapeno. Add a generous amount of oil to a cast iron skillet and bring up to medium heat. Ladle batter into pan and cook for several minutes (until golden brown), flip and cook until golden brown on the opposite side. Continue until the batter is gone.

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    In the same pan used to cook the flatbreads, add 1 T ghee and garlic. Top with the collard greens and 1/4 cup water. Stir and cover. Steam the greens until tender. Add salt and pepper to taste. Top with spinach and cook until wilted. Remove from heat. 

    To assemble: Place a flatbread on a plate and top with cheese (if using), greens, roasted veggies, avocado and zataar. Drizzle with olive oil and dive in. 

    Herby Lentil Tart

    I love this tart. It has so much flavor, is warming and comforting. I developed this recipe last Thanksgiving when I needed a main dish, but wanted to do something different. This recipe is super versatile, as you can play with the flavors in the filling. It would be delicious in the summer with  pesto seasoned lentils. You can also create mini tarts and serve as an appetizer. Enjoy!

    Recipe:

    • 1 sheet of puff pastry
    • 2 1/2 cups cooked lentils (I used French)
    • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
    • 2 T olive oil
    • 1 tsp each of fresh sage, rosemary, marjoram, and thyme, chopped
    • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
    • 1 T pomegranate molasses
    • 2 T mustard
    • 1/2 cup gorgonzola
    • salt and pepper to taste
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    Preheat your oven at 425. Remove puff pastry from the freezer and let it come to room temperature.

    Pour 1 tablespoon olive oil into a cast iron skillet over medium heat.  Add the sliced onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly caramelized. Add a sprinkle of salt and the herbs. Stir until fragrant and add the lentils. Season with a bit more salt and cook until everything is combined. Taste and adjust flavors to your preference. 

    In a small bowl combine molasses, 1 T olive oil, 1 T mustard and pepper. Pour over lentils and stir until combined. Allow the liquid to cook down by about half. Add the chopped walnuts and stir to combine. 

    On a parchment lined baking sheet, roll out the puff pastry. Brush with olive oil, leave a 1 inch border around the edge. Brush the edge with water and fold over 1/2 inch to create a raised crust. Brush the center of the tart crust with mustard. Pour the lentil mixture into the center of the crust and spread until even. Sprinkle with crumbled gorgonzola and place in the oven. Bake for 30-45 minutes until the edges are golden brown and crispy. Remove from the oven and serve warm with a beautiful green salad. 

    Oil Pulling 101: What is it and why you should be doing it

    Lets talk oil pulling! One of my favorite Ayurvedic practices.

    Oil pulling is an ancient ayurvedic technique used to cure many ailments and to disinfect the mouth. It is between 3000-5000 years old. I have been oil pulling for about 6 years now and it has made a huge difference. In fact, the last time I went to my dentist he asked me what I was doing and told me not to tell anybody about it because it would put him out of business (can I get an amen!)

    Like many Ayurvedic and Eastern philosophies and traditions, they have come to the west and been modified. This isn't always a bad things, but part of what makes these ancient techniques so effective is because they have been practiced for centuries in the same way. There is a science behind them that can't be argued with. 

    I wanted to provide breakdown of exactly what oil pulling is, how to do it and the benefits. Like many eastern traditions that comes to the west, there seems to be a lot of incorrect information out there. People who have read about it once and decided they are going to change it (which is fine, but there is a lack of understanding on why it is done a certain way). 

    What the heck is it?:

    Oil pulling is the process of taking a tablespoon of oil in your mouth (traditionally un-toasted and unrefined sesame oil, but you can also use unrefined coconut oil) and swishing (or "pulling" the oil between your teeth) for 15 to 20 minutes (yes, you HAVE to do it for this long, I will explain in a bit). Spitting the oil out and then brushing your teeth. In Ayurveda (as well as most eastern philosophies) a lot of what is going on with our health reflects in our mouth and on our tongue. Good oral health=good overall health.

    Things you need to know:

    • Needs to be done on an empty stomach (best done first thing in the morning before your brush your teeth)
    • DO NOT swallow the oil as once it is swished it is loaded with toxins from your body. 
    • Rinsing and brushing your teeth after pulling will help to remove any remnants
    • 20 minutes seems like a really long time, but I make it a part of my morning practice. When I wake up, its the first thing I do. I hop in the shower and get dressed all while pulling. By the time I'm dressed and start to do my face it is time to spit.
    • If your jaw is hurting while you are swishing, you are swishing too vigorously. You want it to be a gentle and slow swish.

    Why 20 minutes?

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    The technology behind oil pulling is that it mixes with the enzymes in your saliva to pull the toxins our of your blood. It takes the 20 minutes for this to happen. So if you only swish for 10 minutes you are probably getting the benefit of whiter teeth (which I understand, is one of the reasons people do it), but you are missing out on so many other amazing benefits!

    What's the Point?

    There are A LOT of health claims behind oil pulling. While I cannot attest to it "curing" anything, I can tell you what it has done for me. I originally began oil pulling because my teeth had become extremely and increasingly sensitive due to receding gums caused by grinding my teeth. It was to the point that I was using a prescription toothpaste (which was so gross and loaded with all sorts of chemicals that are not good for you). My teeth were so sensitive that it hurt when I smiled and cool breeze touched them. A friend of mine mentioned oil pulling so I went home and began my research. I started  every day for 20 minutes. I made it part of my morning sadhana (practice). Within 3 days, the sensitivity in my teeth had gone down significantly. I also started to notice my skin becoming clearer, some digestive issues being resolved and, overall, feeling more energized. An added bonus is that people were asking if I had my teeth professionally whitened! While I truly don't believe in a quick fix, I was seriously impressed with the outcome. While I no longer oil pull every day (usually 3-4 times a week), it is still a part of my regular routine and I am very grateful for it. Below is a list of benefits oil pulling claims:

    • Promotes oral hygene
    • Reduce Headaches
    • Increase Energy
    • Decrease teeth senstivity
    • Promotes Healthy Skin
    • Helps with digestive issues
    • Detoxes the body

    Since I began oil pulling regularly, I have noticed some pretty amazing shifts in my body. Honestly, if the only thing it did was make my teeth sensitivity go away, I was sold. This is not to say that everybody will have the same experience. This was mine and I wanted to share it as it has been a really great tool for continuing to learn new things about my body. If you haven't tried it and are curious, check it out. You've got nothing to lose. If you have tried it and have a success story, please share. I believe in creating a community where we can share our successes and discuss our different opinions. Happy pulling!

    Resources:

    • I like to use Napa Valley Organics Sesame Oil which is cheapest from Thrive Market
    • This is the website I have referred people to for years. Its a great resource for oil pulling- http://www.oilpulling.com/

    January Goddess of the Month: Tricia of Your Joyologist

    This Month's Goddess has a special place in my heart. Growing up in the Sikh community, mantra is in my blood. There is a technology behind repeating something over and over again. It sneaks into your subconscious and you start to believe it. This also goes for negative mantras. This is the exact reason I chose Tricia as the January Goddess. She makes beautiful mantras for you to carry with you, drink from and hang on your wall. Not only are they positive and uplifting, but empowering. She remind people to LIVE their lives, to find their passion and to take each breath with intention and meaning. 

    What inspired you to create your own business?

    The sudden loss of my father was a big wake up call to me as to how many people are just existing and not truly living and how short life really is.  I knew that I wanted to do more to make a difference but didn’t know how, so I started in the world I knew, which was the touring concert world.

    Why affirmations and mantras?

    I have personally seen a huge transformation in my life from using affirmations.  When you choose to truly use them powerfully by actually working to believe what you are saying you will start to be woken up to all that truly lies within you.  Also, they are quick to the point turn around to get out of any negative thought patterns that surface!

    Who is the most inspiring woman in your life and why?

    Oh that is a tough one! If we are talking in my direct personal life, I have to say my mom and this is something I am recognizing more and more now that I am a mom.  She has always always always been there for me, even when she questioned my choices. She has been so hard working my entire life, something that growing up I didn’t appreciate because I wanted her around more, but she was working so hard for us as a family to support us. 

    For as long as I can remember, even back as a trouble making teen I could tell her anything, and call her at anytime and she would be there for me.

    Also honorable mentions to Sophie Jaffe, Robyn Youkilis, and Tristan Prettyman all badass heart conscious ladies who are doing their best to raise babies AND have a meaningful career serving others and themselves. 

    If you were stranded on an island and could only take two things with you, which two would you choose and why?

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    I’m not going to lie…this question drives me crazy!  I need more details! What exists on the island?  Are these food items, personal items, any item period?!?!  ha!  So I will just go with the first two things I think of. My vitamix to make creative meals from what I find (but is there power there?).  Any device that could play pandora music stations as I like music to change up my days and shift my moods but I need variety. 

    What is your morning ritual?

    HA! feed my infant (breastfeeding a four month old) then feed my toddler.  Life with a new baby hasn’t afforded me much space for a ritual….but we are just this week working on getting her on the 7-7 sleep schedule and once I have a week or so to try to catch up on the last almost 5 months of little sleep, my goal is to wake up at 6am before the kids and have a little time to handwrite out an intention for the day, perhaps do some morning pages in and get a little 20-30 minute workout in!

    How do you honor your feminine body?

    By loving it wholly no matter what state it is.  Yes, my intention is to get exercise in the am but that is because I feel more alive that way, not because I need to lose weight or be a certain size.  I will no longer stand for shaming my own body!

    Where do you find Bliss in your life?

    Where don’t I find it?! Honesty I find it in making a home cooked meal, in singing out loud with the radio while driving, while going to be before 10pm, in watching my daughter learn something new.  So often it is in the little moments. 

    If you could offer one piece of advice to women, what would it be? 

    Cut the word Should out of your life!  It is so ingrained in us and we don’t even realize how much that word controls our choices.  Try taking it out and most of the time you will find the word that replaces it is WANT which is such a more powerful word that puts you in control of your life. 

    Bio:

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    My name is Tricia.  I am 32 years old.  I am 5’10”.  I love green juice and yoga, and wine, and gluten free pizza, and laughing a lot.  I am a rock and roll roadie at heart, and by first career.  I speak wise words, deep thoughts, and cuss like a sailor.   I believe food is medicine.   I have lived/am living a freaking amazing life full of breakdowns and holy shits of the good and bad kind (well really they are all good as breakdowns lead to breakthroughs).  I create my life moment to moment.  I believe it is all possible.  I savor life.  I love being alive.  I love you.  I believe in you.