Quick & Easy Kitchari for those “on the go” days

For this one you will be pre-making your spice mix so that you have it on hand for busy times. This is a warming blend more appropriate for fall and winter. Leave ginger out and decrease turmeric by ½ in summer months, as these two spices are warming.

1tbsp coriander seeds

1tbsp cumin seeds

2tsp fennel seeds

1tbsp turmeric powder

2tsp ginger powder

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Dry roast the seeds in a cast-iron pan on medium low heat until the aroma comes up. Transfer the seeds to a wide bowl and let them cool completely. Grind the roasted seeds to powder in a grinder (dedicated to spices) or by hand with a mortar and pestle. Pour them back in the bowl and then add turmeric and ginger powders. Store in a glass jar in a dark cupboard.

Warm pan and melt 1tbsp of ghee. Add 1tbsp of spice mix, ½ cup of white basmati rice and ¼ cup of split mung. Stir together for a couple of minutes. Add 4 cups of water and simmer for 45 minutes in a pot on the stove. If you are using a pressure cooker, bring to pressure and cook for 18 minutes

Kitchari Recipe for those “I’m relaxed and feel like cooking” moments

Kitchari is an incredibly simple yet satisfying dish that is wonderful as a staple food to incorporate into your weekly routine. It can be eaten plain or accompanied with vegetables.

Kitchari is an incredibly simple yet satisfying dish that is wonderful as a staple food to incorporate into your weekly routine. It can be eaten plain or accompanied with vegetables.

1 ½ tbsp ghee

½ tsp cumin seeds

½ tsp coriander seeds

½ tsp brown mustard seeds

1/8 tsp asafetida (or hing) optional

½ tsp mineral/rock salt

½ tbsp fresh grated ginger root

½ tsp turmeric (fresh or powder)

¼ tsp cardamom 

½ cup white basmati rice

¼ cup split mung beans (if split is not available use whole, soak for 4-8 hours and cook well)

1 strip kombu cut into small pieces (optional)

3-5 cups water more as needed (amount of water depends on how soupy you want it. The more liquid the easier it is to digest.) 

Warm pan and half of the ghee. Simmer cumin, coriander and mustard seeds till the aroma comes up. Add rice, split mung and kombu. Stir together for a couple of minutes. Add 4 cups of water and simmer for 45 minutes in a pot on the stove. If you are using a pressure cooker, bring to pressure and cook for 18 minutes.

Put the remaining ghee in a small pan over medium heat. Add salt, ginger root, asofoetida, turmeric and cardamom. Simmer till aroma comes up. Add to main mixture and let sit for five minutes so the tastes can “become friends”. You can also use this spic mix to cook your accompanying vegetables. Just warm ghee and spices, add veggies, stir. And then cover halfway with water and put a lid on it. Cook until veggies are desired texture or till they turn a bright vibrant color. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Moon Milk for Deep Sleep

Working to improve your sleep hygiene so that you can sleep better and have more energy during your days? Try this tasty and ojas building drink!

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Ayurvedic Moon Milk encourages deep and restful sleep. Find a source for responsibly produced milk. Milk that comes from happy cows nourishes us on many levels inside and out. If you live in the Finger Lakes, I recommend Interbrook Farm’s raw milk CSA, or contact your local Cooperative Extension for a list of farms in your area. If you are not consuming dairy at this time you may substitute with coconut milk or rice milk (make sure they have no added sweeteners).

  • 1/2 cup whole milk (raw, organic, non-homogenized is best)

  • 1/2 tsp. ghee

  • A few dashes of cinnamon (about 1/8 tsp.)

  • 1/8 tsp. of cardamom

  • Dash of nutmeg

  • 1 tsp. of maple syrup (optional, I find the milk already sweet so I rarely add it)

Slowly warm milk with spices, and sip before bed. The herbs help the body to digest the milk and will help cool the body and pacify the mind. Be sure to indulge in this drink at least two hours after your last meal.

Gheetastic!

How to make ghee

From an Ayurvedic perspective, incorporating Ghee into your diet is one of the easiest and most enjoyable way to increase your overall wellness. I love the way it tastes, and it has cultivate an increased sense of satiation and calmness in my life. I cook my oatmeal, rice, and beans with it. Just add a teaspoon or two right to the pot. I also saute all my veggies with it. (Heat the ghee. Add your spices, wait to the smell comes up and then stir in veggies to coat them with the ghee and spices. Add water and cover to cook.) You can also use it on toast or bake with it.

BENEFITS OF GHEE

  • nourishes and protects brain

  • heals and repairs digestion and the digestive tract

  • Rich in essential nutrients, minerals, and vitamins

  • increases ojas (vitality)

  • supports agni and balances all doshas

  • detoxifying emotionally and physically

  • high smoke point

HOW TO MAKE GHEE

Start with the best quality unsalted butter you can fine - ideally grass fed and organic. When you first start making ghee, start with a small amount (like 2 sticks of butter), and then once you get the hang of it, you can increase to larger batches.

  • Place butter in a sauce pan and melt the butter over medium heat.

  • A white froth will form (you can scrape this off or strain out later) and you will hear popping sounds of moisture evaporating.

  • Monitor the ghee. When popping sounds slow, hover and watch ghee closely to make sure it doesn't burn.

  • When the solids on bottom of pan turn golden brown (after about 10-15 minutes), remove from heat.

  • Cool. Strain into clean jars. Skim off last bits of foam.

  • Store in covered jar on counter or in fridge.

Cooling Summer Veggies - pacifying pitta for balance & wellness

Summertime is the Earth’s exhale. The flow of energy is very much UP - all energy is above ground in the form of leaves, fruits and a general sense of abundance. The two most prominent elements are FIRE and WATER making it the season of Pitta.

  • When Pitta is in balance we feel: intelligent, clear, perceptive, courageous, good leadership, good discrimination, organized purposeful, focused.

  • When Pitta is out of balance we experience: burning sensations, redness, heat, excessive sweating, blood disorders, diarrhea, skin rash, inflammation, acne, impulsivity, recklessness, aggression, control, criticism, anger, irritability.

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The ancient system of Ayurveda teaches us to that what we eat, our self-care practices and daily routines can help us find balance in the face of this intense season. Increasing your awareness of how your choices, the environment and seasons are affecting you can help you navigate the dynamism of life with more grace and ease. Eating cooling foods can help bring balance to the summer’s heat.

This spice combination has a light refreshing taste and is perfect for lunch or dinner. Lovely on sweet potatoes, adzuki beans, or on your favorite summer veggies. Recently I have made this with summer squash, swiss chard, cucumbers, peas, cabbage, and kale. Experiment and and have fun!

  • 1/2 tsp. fennel powder

  • 1/2 tsp. coriander powder

  • 1/2 tsp. fresh grated ginger

  • 1/2 tsp. mineral salt

If needed, you can substitute fennel and coriander seeds. Just grind lightly in a mortar and pestle or dedicated spice grinder (no coffee flavor sneaking in here!). Make sure to use fresh ginger and not dried ginger as it is too warming and drying for the summertime.

Warm oil (ghee, olive, coconut, or sunflower) in a pan and add spices to oil. Cook for a moment on medium heat till the smell of the spices “come up”. Then ad in your veggies, stirring to coat the veggies with the spices. Add enough water to partially submerge the vegetables, cover and cook on medium till they are cooked to your liking. Turn off heat a little early and let sit. Serve with a grain and beans or if you like, a small serving of meat.

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 If cooking dried beans, you can start the spices in the bottom the pot with oil and then add your water and beans and cook them like usual. Beans should be pre-soaked 6-8 hours. You can add a strip of seaweed and a little extra ghee to make them more digestible.

Enjoy! Let me know what creative ways you use this recipe template.

The Freedom of Routine

Earlier in my life, I experienced such debilitating depression and anxiety that it became clear that I needed to make some changes. I found yoga and began to make changes in my life to improve my health. I also made a promise to my self to follow my passions. I became extremely cautious about stagnation, which at that time I associated with depressive behavior…and I thought that could be accomplished by being ON THE MOVE. My primary goal was to stay effervescent, happy, and to not get bored. I moved something like 20 times in 6 years and traveled and worked at lots of different places and had lots of different experiences. Meanwhile, my practice deepened and guided me in to new layers of exploration and understanding….

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Last winter, my yoga practice led me to make a pilgrimage to India with my philosophy teacher Douglas Brooks. The experience was even more profound than I expected it to be. And in some ways it had unanticipated results. The texture of India spoke to a deep part of me that needed more color, beauty, meaning, and community When I put foot back in the states, I experienced a dense contraction that pulled me deeper inside myself and practice (ok it was winter in the Northeast, so that likely played a part). But I felt a deep swell of energy that directed me. Things needed to change, with in and with out. And so came a series of changes in my life….

The most significant being that I took a full time job as Assistant Director of Community Engagement at Hospicare. I joined a great team working collectively for a common mission. And… I found myself in a routine, that which I had previously feared the most. But instead of it being a constrictive experience, it’s actually been quite expansive! A regular schedule has actually made MORE space in my life. Space that has been filled with more self-care, yoga, vitality, and clarity!

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Of course it did require that I pull back from teaching weekly public classes. But my daily routine, pranayama, meditation, asana found its home in the early morning when the day is still and sweet. I began going deeper into the practices of Ayurveda and established a Dinacharya or a daily routine that includes a meaningful engagement with my food and skin care in a way that an erratic schedule never allowed for.

In yoga, moksha is our experience of freedom. And from a tantric perspective, liberation is not something to be gained by controlling the body or leaving the body. It is precisely the gift of embodiment that gives our spirt the chance to take form, engage with the world and create and express. So the next time you are feeling distress, try softening into your routine and connecting with your self-care rituals that are woven in throughout your day. Embracing the boundaries of your body and your routine may just help you experience more freedom!