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Pumpkin Soup

All the ‘Fall Feels’ in this savory and spicy soup. It’s warming, grounding and easy to digest. My rendition is based off this recipe from Joyful Belly, the Ayurvedic school I am about to attend in October.

This soup will satisfy a sweet tooth without the inflammatories of sugar or dairy being added. Loaded with vitamins, and souper (haha) easy to make. I had everything right in my pantry.

It’s medicinal qualities are: clear, light, easy, hot and mobile. In Ayurveda there are 20 Gunas or characteristics. Knowing which qualities your food possesses help help you to balance your Dosha, or constitution.

Not sure what your Dosha is? Take a quiz now.

Ingredients

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp black pepper

1/4 c coconut cream

1 tsp coriander seed

2 tsp cumin

2 clove garlic

2 tbs ghee

1 inch fresh ginger

1 half lemon

2 cans pumpkin puree or 4 cups freshly roasted

2 tbs Himalayan salt

1/3 cup yellow onion

1 tsp tumeric

4 cups chicken bone broth (could use vegetable stock)

2 cups water

Putting It All Together

Prep: Place all dry spices together in small bowl

Chop Shallots, garlic and ginger

In a large soup pot, on medium heat, melt the ghee. Sauté onion, garlic, and ginger until soft.

Then add the dry spices stirring for a minute or so, until they become fragrant. But be careful… if your oil is too hot they can burn easily.

Next throughly stir in the pumpkin, add the stock and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce for a simmer and add the coconut cream.

Let cook for 30 minutes. Blend all ingredients.

Option: Top with the coconut flakes and some pumpkin seeds.

Enjoy this Vata & Kapha pacifying soup!

The Taste of Santa Fe

Isn’ it curious how one bowl of soup can drum up so many memories?

Santa Fe is known for many things:

Like whether you prefer red or green chili sauce, how there are more healers there the ‘regular’ folks, it’s rich culture, and so much more…

But I always return to their take on chicken soup, Pozole.

 Savory & Spicy 

If you ever have a chance to go, make a reservation at Cafe Pasqual’s. A quaint restaurant with local fare that is affordable and made with love. I go there every trip.

It’s coming into flu season here. Yesterday I woke up feeling as if I had swallowed razors. Rumor has it this virus turns into a nasty head cold. The rest of me actually felt pretty good, but who knew what would happen next?I knew exactly what I needed.

The Taste of Santa Fe

The nurturing effects of a bone broth, with the clearing capabilities of roasted chili’s. Everyone know’s the healing effect’s of chicken soup, but today we will explore it from an Ayurvedic perspective.

Of course, I didn’t follow a recipe, I followed a taste in my heart. But I did make you one 🙂

The Broth

  • 6.5 lbs Chicken (whole, bone in, organs removed)
  • 2 tbs. Coriander Seed (a small handful)
  • 4 tbs. Dried Oregano (another handful)
  • 1 tbs. Black Peppercorns
  • 1 tbs. Himalayan Salt
  • 1 tbs. Garlic Powder.
  • 1 tbs. Ancho Chile Powder
  • 1 tbs. Cumin Seeds
  • 1 tbs. Minced Garlic
  • 1/2 tbs. Dried Lemon Peel
  • 1/2 tbs Dried Thyme
  • 1 tbs Paprika
  • 1/2 tbs Dried Rosemary
  • 1/2 tbs Dried Sage
  • 1/2 tbs Hing (asofoetida)

Let every thing boil for minimum on hour, but I recommend a little longer. You want the chicken to be falling off the bone. Not listed here is all the scraps from the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic that I used in the soup. Don’t worry, it will all be filtered out.

 

 

The Soup

  • 2 Poblano Peppers (2 oz)
  • 2 Sweet Italian Peppers (2 oz)
  • 2 Jalapeños (1.3 oz)
  • 2 Small Yellow Onions (2 oz)
  • 1 Monster Carrot- Was the size of 4 regular carrots! (10.3 oz)
  • 4 Celery Stalks (4.25 oz)
  • Portobello Mushrooms (5.25 oz)
  • Hominy- This is what makes is dish unique (20 oz can)

I roasted ALL the vegetable first. This concentrates the flavor, and also makes them have a more warming effect on the body. Which is great for cold climate, and when you have the chills.

I did this preparatory work while the stock was bubbling away. The  mushrooms and peppers only take about 20 mins, while the hardier veggies like celery and carrots take longer. So you may want to check it from time to time.

When the chicken is done grab a very large container, and put your strainer inside of it. You may also want to place a cheese cloth on top of it to strain the smaller things. Dump everything in, pull the strainer out, and plan in another bowl to continue draining and cool.

While the chicken is cooling, put the strained brother back into the soup pot. If you have a lot of fat, you can skim it off by holding a spoon horizontal and letting the beads float in. This is called clarifying. I did not have much, and left mine in for flavor. It is a lean soup anyhow.

I got about 12 cups of broth.

Chop up your roasted vegetable and put in the broth. Bring it up to a low simmer. Pull all the meat off the bones, omitting the skin, bone, cartilage, and anything that is not straight meat. Dice the chicken, and put in the simmer soup pot.

I had about 30.5 oz of chicken meat.

This nostalgic soup make 8 hearty bowls worth, with the following macros: 306 calories, 25 carbs, 6 fat, and 38 protein.

Between my garden and my CSA, I had plenty of peppers. The soup was delicious, but not as spicy as I had hoped. If you prefer a more subtle warm up, stick with this recipe. Next time I think I will add some chipotle chilis in Adobo sauce to the stock. …Historically this soups is made with New Mexican chili peppers, and pork instead of chicken.

You may also like to garnish this soup with avocado & cilantro.

Pictured here is: David Frawley, esteemed author, and founder of the American Institute of Vedic Studies; and friend Neva Ingalls, Owner of Inner Domain, a Yoga and Ayurveda Training School.

Here is break down of the qualities that this soup contains per ingredient, I used www.joyfulbelly.com as my reference, and includes link for every ingredient in case you would like more information. Every craving something? Look it up and see why.

  • Chicken- grounding, nourishing, sweet
  • Yellow Onion- warming, diaphoretic, grounding, sweet
  • Carrot- stimulating, purifying, sweet
  • Celery- detoxifying, pungent, bitter
  • Black Pepper- destroys mucus, pungent, stimulant
  • Coriander Seed- digestive aid, bitter, pungent
  • Oregano- anti-bacterial, anti-fingal, warming
  • Garlic- pungent, moving, decongestant, expectorant
  • Cumin- aids digestion & assimilation, drying, blood purifier
  • Hing- aids digestion, expectorant, stimulating
  • Sweet Pepper- pungent, sweet, bitter, anti-inflammatory
  • Hot Pepper- pain killer, anti-inflamatory, anti-bacterial, improves digestion, stimulating, warming, euphoric, thins mucus
  • Pozole (corn)- diuretic, drying, warming, sweet
  • Mushroom- immune stimulant, detoxifying, grounding

All pictures, except the one of me, are taken by me.

Sweet & Savory Summer Snack

Sweet & Savory Summer Snack

Mmmm this snack is oh so satisfying!

 

Every once in a while I just get a hankering for beets and olives. Usually when this happen’s I make my way to the salad bar; pairing it with a hardboiled egg, chickpea salad, artichoke hearts, and some tuna fish over romaine.

Yesterday I went to Chestertown’s super cute wine and cheese shop. I got a black & Green olive medley, some Etna Salami (Pistachio & Lemon Scented), and the most delicious Farmer’s Cheddar that has crunchy flavor crystals. Soooo good! 

I had a little cheese and olive left over so I cut up a medium size beet and whipped it together with the remainder of the olives and cheese. 

Ingredients: 

2.5 once of Farmer’s Cheddar

1 Medium Beet (2.8 ounces, not pickled)

10 olives – Black & Green

Instructions:

Diced everything, stir and serve! 

 

Pesto Perspective

Pesto Perspective

There are a lot of great smells in the summer season, but fresh basil & garlic are two of my favorites. The aroma will permeate your house, enticing even those that might not be ‘into that kind of stuff.’

A weekend out of town and your basil plant begins to bud. Once that happens you might as well call it quits. To keep your plant producing those pungent leaves, give it a good cutting, and it will come back even stronger.

I made this recipe based on the amount that I cut from my garden, which was approximately 3.75 ounces. It can easily be adjusted to taste.

Ayurveda’s Perspective of Basil

It is a warming herb with sweet, bitter, and pungent tastes. It balances Vata & Kapha, while increasing Pitta. A little goes a long way. It’s qualities are: mobile, hot, easy, dry

Commonly Used For:

  • Respiratory Health (mucus buster)
  • Enhanced Digestion
  • Mental Clarity
  • Improving Quality of Sleep
  • Anti-inflamatory

How do you know if this ingrediant agrees with your Dosha? What the heck is a dossier? Take this quiz!

To find out more about Ayurveda’a perspective on the other ingredients used in the recipe please see the resources listed at the bottom of this page.

My Recipe

Basil-3.75 ounce (a packed blender full)

First cold pressed olive oil- 1 cup

Cayenne Pepper- a dash

Lemon Peel- a dash

Minced Garlic- 1 teaspoon

Garlic Paste- 1 squirt

Sea Salt- 1 teaspoon

Black Pepper- 1 teaspoon

Parmesan 1/4 cup

Nutritional (Brewers) Yeast- 1/4 cup

Blend it all together. You may have to open the lid and stir things a bit. Your house will smell so good!

The nutritional yeast and parmesan cheese can easily be substituted for one another.

Some information in this article came from:

https://www.joyfulbelly.com/Ayurveda/ingredient/Basil/91

http://www.mapi.com/ayurvedic-recipes/spices/basil.html

Summer Soup with Homemade Stock

The summer garden is bountiful, especially with squash…

My husband came home from a cookout with tons of extra rotisserie chicken the other day.

It was far more then we could ever eat, and I am not one to waste.

I LOVE HOMEMADE CHICKEN STOCK

…and it is especially tasty when it is rotisserie and you have tons of herbs from the garden to enhance it!

This light and refreshing soup took two days to make, but you could do it in one. The beauty of soup is that is doesn’t have to be exact measurements. I sort of just go with my gut, and use what I have on hand.

Stock Ingredients

Chicken- 5 thighs, 2 breasts, 3 drumsticks, and 3 wings

Basil, oregano, thyme – stems and all

1/2 tsp. of cumin seeds

2 Bay leaves

1 tbs of black peppercorns

Onion tops and scraps (bulb goes in the soup)

Instructions:

Bring everything to a boil, then put a lid on it and bring down to a simmer. You are going to lose some water through the process, so best to start out with as much as possible. As it condenses your flavor will become more rich.

At a minimum cook it for 1 hour, but I like to do it until the meat is falling off the bone. Bones give stock so much more flavor.

Let cool and strain the stock from the soup. Pick all the meat out from what has been strained, and place back into the broth. Discard everything else.

 

Soup Ingredients

1 whole onion bulb

2 normal sized squash

2 normal sized zucchini

One large container of portable mushrooms

Instructions:

Let everything cook until it is soft.

Here is where you choose if you want it to be a one or two days soup.

One day: There will be fat glistening on top. If you are ready to eat right away take a large spoon and place just below, all the fat will run into it. Skim off as much as you can.

Two day: Place in the refrigerator overnight. The fat will solidify, and will come off in a couple large hunks. This is very easy. I prefer this method as it gives all the flavors time to meld.

Heat and enjoy!

‘At One’ with a One Pot Meal

Growing up, my cooking was experimental to say the least….

Frankly it years of trial and err.

The thing is I like good food.

So I learned~ as I am not one to waste, or eat something gross.

Anyone that knows me knows that that I need regular ‘feedings’ or I get hangry lol.

Eventually I figured out the flavor profiles that work well together. My mother is an excellent cook. So perhaps some of it came by osmosis, the rest by incessantly asking questions and LOTS of research. The one thing I haven’t grown out of is throwing in a little of this and a little of that.

Now, if I have a certain taste for something, I can create it, and I rarely use an exact recipe. For me that is the ‘oneness’ in cooking. Being present with what my body is craving, gathering the ingredients, and preparing my feast. It is only when my thinking mind get’s involved hat I get myself into trouble.

So I go with my gut …And I try to get the best available ingredients.

 

 Spicy Italian Sausage with Broccoli and Onions

Main Ingredients

(In order of preparation and placement)

½ Half-cup Arborio rice

1 Container Hatfield spicy Italian sausage (no nitrates)

1 Medium white onion

2 Handfuls broccoli florets

2 Cups chicken broth

Spices

(I keep mine alphabetized)

Ancho Chile powder

Celery seed

Garlic powder

Oregano

Black pepper

Red pepper flakes

Sea salt

Thyme

Turmeric

Directions

Preheat Oven to 350

Use a large, oven safe pan/dish with a lid.

When setting this up have a vision of paella, everything is meticulously spaced out. In my perfect world I would get a bite that had sausage, broccoli, onion, and rice all in the same spoonful.

 

The Layers

Put rice in the bottom of the pan

Slice the sausage into bite size pieces; place it on top of the rice

Slice the whole onion and arrange between the pieces of sausage

Place broccoli evenly on top of everything else

SLOWLY pour the broth over everything, be careful not to disturb the even layer of rice on the bottom

Add the spices to taste, and use your gut to decide the best amount for you J

 

The beauty of a one-pot meal: easy cleanup & that the flavors all marry together so well. Especially when the rice soaks up the essences of all the components.

Royal Reflections & Tea Meditation

 Royal Wedding Reflection

Bryan and I got engaged the eve of Thanksgiving 2017. Harry and Meghan announced their engagement that same weekend.  During the period of time I was preparing for my own life transitions a lightbulb went off in my head. Marriage is the ultimate ‘Yoga’. It is a sacred union. The root word of yoga means to ‘yoke’ together like oxen…Or like a beautiful horse drawn carriage seen in fairytales.

My wedding was a union of families, Harry and Meghan’s united a global community. As I watched this event I felt as though I was taking part in a moment of history. That the sum of all moments in time have lead to this very one. Not just for them, but for all of us.  Now more then ever, the people of the world can recognize that we are sharing these moments as a whole. Each breath we take as individuals, is shared on a much large scale. We all breath together, even the Earth.

It just goes to show how our everyday experiences really are part of a greater whole regardless of whether there is a Royal Wedding taking place or not…each of our actions as individuals lead us to actions as a whole. From backyard, to city, state, country, earth, to the universe…I am reminded how even the smallest of actions  have a grand impact. This keeps me mindful, present, and always believing that dreams really do come true.

Tea Meditation

Use the highest quality water you have, strategically pick your vessel, and begin to heat the water. Listen to the sounds the water makes at it heats.

Pick the tea that you wish to use. Be mindful when picking your tea, pondering the desired flavor and effect that you wish for it to cultivate within you.

Once the tea has been picked, take a good look at it, before it goes into the water.  If it is loose leaf look at the colors, shapes, and textures. If it is in a bag, look at how it is packaged and notice these same qualities.

Then, close your eyes and smell it. If it is not very strong, give it a squeeze to release some of the aromatic oils. Do you have a physiological response, like your mouth watering? Perhaps a memory or a feeling arises?

As you place the tea into the cup, watch carefully as you begin to slowly pour the water over it. See how the water changes colors, gaining new characteristics. Watch your tea steep for the proper amount of time. While this is happening watch the steam rising, feeling the warmth of the cup, and soaking up the smell in your nostrils. Take a few long inhales letting the scent pervade your being.

Take the tea out of the cup allowing it to cool a bit. At first sip just take in a small amount of fluid. First noticing it initial taste. Swirl it around your mouth a few times as the digestive process begins. Does the flavor change? As you swallow notice of there is an after taste? Does the tea change from when it enters your lips until the time you swallow? After you swallow, does it leave you with a feeling?

Take your time in consuming your glass of tea. Let all of your senses be part of this experience, for the entire experience. After the tea is gone, take some time to reflect on the process, and how you are feeling now.

Anything can be a meditation by being fully present in whatever you are doing. The simplest of activities can be made into a connection.

About the Photos

Top: I attended an event at Costal Retreat to watch the wedding, and my friend Abby Rose made scones, whipped cream, lemon curd, and strawberry jam. YUM!

Middle: Taken from my own wedding by Jolie Conner Photography at the Wentworth Mansion in Charleston, SC.

Bottom: Friends Jen Kock of Physically Fitch and Aundra Anderson of Fit with Aundra had a ‘non-bachelorette’ evening for me, and bestowed me with beautiful tea cup, tiara, sash, Magic Mike, and so much more…:-)

My Favorite Resources

 

There is so much information out there these days. I wanted to give y’all a taste of my personal favorites and go to resources.

Places that I believe to be credible sources of information.

Yoga

Sequence Wiz is a the program I use to create my lesson plans. They have the cutest little stick figures. Moreover, the have helpful article and videos.

Yoga International has a wealth of information. I will frequently send clients links to their articles and videos. They have quite a bit for free, and even more for what I think is a fair price.

Eckart Yoga was one of the first online yoga video programs I actually enjoyed doing. Now there is a sea of intructors out there but Ester continues to be amongst my favorites.

Tara Brach has my absolute favorite podcast. She does Insight Meditation and lectures. She is actually from the D.C. area.

The Yoga Alliance and International Association of Yoga Therapists are the two main bodies that uphold the standards for my practice. IAYT has tons of research on there website too.

Ayurveda- The Science of Life

Joyful Belly Is probably my most frequently used resource. Not only does it have great recipes, but quizes that you could do for days. It stays stored in your profile, then makes diet recommendations based on the information you get from your quizzes. Sometimes I will have a craving for something, like avocado for example, so I just look it up and see what it means.

John Douillard’s Life Spa Is a bit heavy on the sales, but has excellent articles, podcasts, videos, and information in general. I try to follow his 3-season eating guide.

Vedic Astrology is a subject I have become increasingly interested. I’m not talking call Miss Cleo psychics. This is real science. When a person is born the planets are in certain places. This creates a birth chart, and other wise depicts your personality. Even more fascinating is how your birth chart fits in with what is happening in the cosmos in current time. If the full moon effects the tide, and we are made mostly of water, why wouldn’t it effect us. Ever heard of Mercury Retrograde?

Planetary Influence is a place I go to see what is happening generally. It gives month by month detailed movement of the planets, how they are affecting us and each other. Jackie from At The Core did my birth chart reading, and I go to her when I need to sift things out. She is helpful with lifestyle suggestions, and my growing as a yogi.

Janet Kane is a personal friend and lives in Chestertown. She does Mythic Astrology, based on Greek Archetypes. Even though her astrology is western, my birth chart with her has striking parallels to the one with Jackie. The information is quite valuable, just presented with different, more familiar language. Her monthly emails are hilarious!

Social Media

It wouldn’t be right of me to share the pages I am commonly on without putting my own social media pages up. My Facebook page is a place for articles, tips and tricks, recipes, memes, occasionally my jewelry, and all things that relate to yoga.

My Instagram is all what I think are pretty pictures, most taken by me, or for me of me lol. The caption is usually related to some type of yogic philosophy. Since yoga means ‘Union’, my Instagram is a place where I can graphically show people how yoga relates to me in my everyday life. Much like this blog.

I LOVE BOOKS! But that will have to be for another time 🙂