Sweet Potatoes with a KICK

In transition from a girl to a woman to a wife and a mother, there are items over the past couple of years I’m especially grateful for. One is I do not have to cook Thanksgiving dinner. For every Thanksgiving dinner I do not prepare in my home, gratitude is intense. I am so fortunate to have my close family nearby. There my parents are, still nourishing their kids and the grandkids and their own parents on Thanksgiving Day. And when my time comes to prepare Thanksgiving, I hope to be able to do with half as much love as has been shown to me. Watching both my Grandparents and my parents cook has been the ultimate symbol of compassionate cooking, of putting others first. Being in the kitchen and cooking, or preparing food is an energetic exchange not to be rushed or begun with a flimsy foundation. Rather, a place where breath, patience and compassion combine with all the senses – taste, touch, sight, smell and hearing.

Offering nourishment to others is offering life to others and few other deeds could be more respected. Fresh foods of the recent harvest are easily transformed into a feast of a dish. Incorporating Ayurveda into Thanksgiving simply ensures you are eating fresh foods, adding lots of spices for flavor and creating moist, warm and soft foods of the fall harvests.

 

Sweet potatoes with A Kick! Great for winter, Serves 5-6

4 large sweet potatoes, washed well and cut into 2″ cubes. You can remove the skin if you’d like, I leave it on for extra nutrients (if potato is organic!)

EVOO
4-5 T ghee
Spices! Black pepper, white pepper, cayenne pepper! Cinnamon, Ginger and cardamom. Dash of salt.
¼ cup slivered almonds, soaked overnight and drained

Place ghee into the saucepan on med/low heat. Add 1/2 t of each pepper, 1/4 t ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom. Add the almonds. Allow to cook for 3-5 minutes in the saucepan. Turn down the heat so not to burn the spices.

Preheat oven to 375f. Place sweet potatoes into covered baking dish and drizzle with EVOO until lightly coated. Lightly salt and bake for 30 minutes or until easily penetrated with a fork .

Be sure Asafoetida, aka Hing, is in your spice cupboard

From NPR’s “The Salt” – Meet Hing: The Secret Weapon of Indian Cuisine by Carolyn Beans.
In response: It’s fantastic to learn how a single spice can have so many uses! Let’s relate this spice to Ayurveda! It’s a pungent herb more commonly used today for its carminative (gas relieving) properties. It stimulates movement in the body channels, particularly that of the colon. Samana vata is movement in the body governing assimilation of, well nutrients in this case. And apana vata governs downward movement – both are stimulated through Asafoetida. The spice is cleansing to the colon and stimulating for digestive power.
A little goes a long way!! At spice stands I’ve seen them mix hing with fennel. This makes it a little safer to keep the in cupboard. I keep my hing in a zipped baggie inside of an airtight jar. A reused baby food jar works well. The smell really could contaminate your whole house but try a 1/4t in your next rice dish, or vegetable soup. Many ways to incorporate, similarly in flavor to garlic and onions.  My favorite is adding a 1/4t hing to cooking beans or making it a part of vata reducing churna – perfect for fall.

Other notes of asafoetida’s ability to stimulate movement is in the blood, called an emmenagogue. Additionally, it’s a nervine which strengthen functional ability of the nervous system. Also an aphrodisiac but you wouldn’t guess that by the smell! Vajikaranas is the word for aphrodisiac. “Vaji” is horse, or stallion and these substances reinvigorate the body by reinvigorating the sexual organs. Asafoetida is used externally as well, creating a medicated paste or oil for abdominal pain, arthritic pain and painful joints.

Information for this posting comes from The Yoga of Herbs by Dr. David Frawley & Dr. Vasant Lad.

Holiday baking – Chyawanprash Cookies

Chyawanprash cookie recipes straight from Himalayan Institute!  HI fresh bakes these cookies for their cafe in Honesdale, PA. Since I’m not spending time at the institute this winter I’m bringing a little bit of HI home for the holidays by baking chyawanprash cookies for students and family members. Maybe you are still trying to pronounce “chyawanprash” (try CHA-WON-PROSH) but once you figure it out you’ll be saying it over and over!

A Traditional Ayurvedic tonic for antioxidant support, stress reduction & rejuvenation

Chyawanprash is complex herbal formula that has a jam like consistency and a history of use as a tonic and strong rejuvenator for more than 2,000 years. The combination of the 36 selected herbs and fruits along with 4 food ingredients in this nutritionally rich tonic has traditionally been used to enhance general health, increase mental and physical energy, and support the body’s natural resistance to disease. The principle herb in Chyawanprash, Amla fruit (Amalaki) is one of the worlds most concentrated sources of naturally occurring Vitamin C, and works synergistically with the other carefully selected ingredients to create a powerful and effective rejuvenating tonic and antioxidant. Regular consumption of Chyawanprash is believed to rejuvenate and fortify both the mind and body and is beneficial to people of all ages and constitutions.

Benefits of Chyawanprash:

  • Considered to be the “multi-vitamin/mineral” of classical Ayurveda
  • Traditionally used for centuries to increase immune support and recovery time from illness while reducing stress
  • Only fresh Amla berry is used not dried powdered fruit
  • Each batch lot has been lab tested & analyzed for purity
  • Contains no preservatives, and is completely natural with no synthetic additives or ingredients
  • Prepared according to traditional methods at a state of the art production facility which is GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) certified
  • Contains 5 of the 6 tastes Ayurveda says creates a balanced diet through use of all the tastes – astringent, pungent, bitter, sour, sweet and salt is the 6th taste but is not in chyawanprash as we have plenty of salt in most diets today.

Chyawanprash is based on a 2,000 year old formula, as described in an ancient Ayurvedic text. The synergy of 36 selected herbs and fruits in this nutritive tonic has traditionally been used to enhance general health, increase energy, and support the body’s natural resistance to disease. The principle active herb, Amla fgruit (Amalaki) which is one of the world’s most concentrated sources of Vitamin C, works with other ingredients to create a powerful and effective antioxidant. Regular ingestion of Chyawanprash is believed to rejuvenate and fortify both the mind and body and is beneficial to people of all ages.

Again, big thanks to the staff at HI for sharing this recipe.  I followed the recipe to a “T” except I used whole wheat flour instead of white.

Ingredients:
1 Cup Butter (2 sticks)
3 tsp. Aluminum-Free Baking soda
2 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
1/2 Tsp. Salt
2 Eggs
1/4 Tsp. Ginger root powder
1 Jar of Chyawaprash 5 Cup Organic White flour
Small amount of natural sugar for dressing
Directions: *Pre-heat oven at 350
1. In mixer or large bowel, cream together butter & brown sugar then add eggs (one at a time). Blend well then add chyawanprash (this does take some effort and gets messy). Helpful to use a spoon and a small knife to scrape it off.
2. Combine flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to the wet ingredients until blended well. Using a small ice cream scoop, scoop dough and lightly roll in natural sugar and place on a lined cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, the cookies will be lightly amber color when ready.

chyawanprash cookies

 

Lets Make Ghee Together Today!

Let’s make ghee today!

25 minute ghee making with Lisa Snowden, Ayurvedic Yoga Specialist

25 minute ghee making with Lisa Snowden, Ayurvedic Yoga Specialist

25 minute ghee making with Lisa Snowden.

YOU NEED:

-4 sticks (1 lb) of quality, unsalted organic butter, yielding 2 cups ghee.
-Cheesecloth
-Metal mesh strainer
-clear glass cup (drinking glass) Or modify the recipe with ease. Today I’m using 6 sticks of butter to yield 3 cups of ghee.

Set a timer for 25 minutes.
Get the clock going!
Place butter into a med.-large heavy pot on MED heat. Use a pot without a non-stick coating. No lid is ever necessary during ghee making as you want to remove all the water from the butter via evaporation. Keep stirring until the butter has completely melted.

At 20 minutes left on the timer, the butter is melted. Turn heat toward LOW, almost to LOW. We want to cook the butter just until it gently boils.  We begin to hear a sizzle from the bottom of the pan.  Don’t let it burn; Use a metal spatula to scrape and stir.

At 17 minutes left, the butter is foaming, sizzling and we are moments away from the gentle boil. Keep an eye on it, stirring and scraping often. Just don’t let it burn.

By 13 minutes left the butter is gently boiling, heat on LOW. See my 5 second video on Instagram demonstrating.

 

Mantra This cooking period is lovely to offer vibrational intention into the food items, and the yoga and Ayurveda tradition calls this mantra.

image and mantra article credit to yogainternational.com

image and mantra article credit to yogainternational.com

The vibrational sounds sets an intention into the food, in this case to nourish our bodies, minds and essentially assist in keeping us on our best path in life. If you are a mantra newbie, perhaps reciting “AUM” is essential – Universal Sound. The, “maha mrityunjay mantra is ancient with deep significance to the constant healing needs of the world and those within. Here is a link to Yoga International article by Rolf Solvik, President and Spiritual Director of the Himalayan Institute. He explains the great significance of this ancient vibrational recitation of Sanskrit syllables.  Within the article, Pandit Rajmani Tigunait has an audio feature explaining how to recite this mantra.

Rolf says, “Along with the Gayatri mantra it [maha mrityunjaya mantra] holds the highest place among the many mantras used for contemplation and meditation.” Regardless of how you choose to pay respect for the food and its nourishment to your body, we have these practices to draw ourselves closer to the source of that which nourishes.  The cows, the farmers and the humbling notion we all need to take a moment to think beyond ourselves.

Back to Ghee making! You’ve been stirring and mantra-lovin’!

Now we have 5 minutes left on the timer and this butter is now a golden-brown, and smelling of hot butter-like fresh popcorn!  White curds are separating (very good!) and we want to keep an eye on the ghee because when the curds turn from white to light brown then we’ll remove this from the heat and allow cooling. TIP* Remember I said we are removing all the water via evaporation? Take a clear glass and turn it over, upside down overtop of the ghee.  Place the brim just overtop of the ghee and wait for the glass to collect evaporation.  If you are collecting evaporation, the ghee is not finished.

 

Is your 25-minute timer complete, but your ghee is not?   No worries! Don’t let it burn- keep the heat on low.  Since this varies from one stovetop to the next, look for the ghee to gently simmer. Stir occasionally, and gently. When ghee is complete, we need to place the 2 layers of cheesecloth into mesh metal strainer.  Run the ghee through the cheesecloth and mesh strainer. Sometimes I use just the strainer without cheesecloth and that is fine for day to day cooking while other times I want the ghee incredibly smooth, so I include cheesecloth, too).

STORE in airtight container away from moisture to prevent spoilage.  Use clean, dry spoons when serving ghee. Does not need to be stored in refrigerator and ghee is said to improve with age.

Use the glass trick for help finalizing the ghee creation process!

Use the glass trick for help finalizing the ghee creation process!

Don’t be afraid to mess up this ghee-making process once or twice before feeling comfortable. At the beginning, I would begin smelling the ghee I made after a few weeks.  I was a little nervous I left moisture in there and spoilage was in the future.  This is why the glass trick is so helpful.  You KNOW when the water moisture is out. Enjoy and have fun bringing Yoga & Ayurveda into your household!
Namaste

Ayurveda Yoga Life with Lisa Snowden

Ayurveda Yoga Life with Lisa Snowden

 

 

 

 

Follow Lisa Snowden on her urban, travel filled-life where her goal is to, “Feel at home – Everywhere I go.” Using Ayurveda and yoga lessons, she keeps herself cool and grounded with the right tools. Her Ayurveda Yoga Life lessons will help you keep grounded, too, despite the busy, dare we say AIRY Nature of our lives in the world we live in.   Calendar of Upcoming Teachings – coming soon. Responses and comments are welcome via Lisa’s Ayurveda Yoga Life page on Facebook.
Lisa on Instagram

25 minute ghee making with Lisa Snowden, Ayurvedic yoga Specialist

25 minute ghee making with Lisa Snowden, Ayurvedic yoga Specialist

Homemade chai tea latte for a warm winter treat

This week in Kentucky the winter weather has swept in appropriately with the winter solstice on Dec 21, 2012.  Now, officially it is winter.  The nights are long, days are short and we are lucky if typical grey skies will instead let the sun shine through for even mere minutes of the day. Dry, crisp air outside and in…Especially in this old home where I type now.  The secret to my productive work day is the space heater near my legs.  The warmest part of the house is now against my legs, under the desk.  There ya go! That’s my productive winter work day-

A favorite luscious treat of mine for the winter days is homemade chai lattes, and really it’s an innocent pleasure.  This warm drink has favorite flavors of pungent heat with savory sweetness AND caffeine!  Keep it your style by choosing the style of milk from whole to skim to coconut or other milk alternative.  The best chai comes from Happy Cows raised and milked humanely.  Same goes for the coconut, hemp or whatever milk you enjoy 😉

Today’s chai recipe comes from Himalayan Institute. Two weeks ago I traveled to the Honesdale, Pennsylvania campus to complete my Ayurvedic Yoga Specialist training with Kathryn Templeton.  I think HI’s chai is now my favorite because of the ginger with vanilla. Check it out.  All your friends will force you to make this for parties and brunch get together occasions.  P.S. I totally recommend making the jump over to Himalayan Institute in Honesdale to experience the yoga and meditation programming regularly conducted at the ashram. Thanks to HI for sharing this masterpiece.

HI Style Chai Tea Latte!

2 steps, First make a 8-12 ounces of black tea and add ginger root.  Let steep.

Second, after starting the black tea, take a saucepan to pour about 3 cups of milk into over medium heat on the stove. Add sugar or jaggery* with whole cardamom, whole cloves and either 2 vanilla beans or a “spec” of quality vanilla extract.

Then, turn up the heat and stir into a soft boil.  Then remove from heat and add the black tea, removing the ginger root.  You can strain all of this through mesh, or cheesecloth.

Traditionally, chai teas are sweet so continue to sweeten to your own taste with the jaggery, or raw honey.  Only add raw honey once the milk or tea is no longer cooking.

This is delicious!  It’s great with no black tea, as well, for a decaffeinated warm, drink.

In the next post over the Christmas holiday I’ll offer recipe and instructions for nighttime rasayana, or “yummy sleep inducer” as I like to call it at home.  It will be milk, ghee and spicy sweet fest you’ll look forward to!!

*Jaggery “Gur” or whole brown sugar is a pure, wholesome, traditional, unrefined, raw & whole form of sugar made with from fresh sugar cane juice with whole molasses intact and has a much better Glycemic Index.

Your comment are welcome on our Facebook page-https://www.facebook.com/AyurvedaYogaLife

Milk from happy cow

Milk from happy cow!

Cardamom for chai!

Cardamom for chai!

Clove

Clove

 

Vanilla Extract

Vanilla Extract

 

Rice Cooker Kitchari

Greetings!
Oh kitchari….Love the taste but I’m ok updating the preparation method to provide a little more no-fail ingenuity to the kitchen routine.  I genuinely enjoy it’s tastes and feel nourished while restricting my diet to only kitchari during seasonal balance sessions. The best, simple, explanation for the mono diet aspect of an Ayurvedic balancing session, and what makes up the mono diet, is to consume food providing relaxation and rejuvenation for our digestion and senses.
Have your churna of choice ready- Maybe follow these guidelines:

Vata churna for fall and coldest parts of winter: coriander, cumin, fennel, turmeric, cumin, ginger, fenugreek, asefortida (hing).

Pitta churna, nice for summer: coriander, cumin, fennel, green cardamom, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger

Kapha churna, great for late winter and spring: coriander, cumin, fenugreek, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, black pepper or touch of cayenne.

OK so you really came here to learn how to make your Kitchari in a Rice Cooker!

My rice cooker/vegetable steamer is a Cuisinart 4 cup Ricer Cooker/Steamer. It’s a non-stick interior. This is important to know because I’ve only used this type of rice cooker and do not have experience with other models.

Rice Cooker Kitchari:
Yields two-three servings

3/4 cup WASHED basmati rice and SPLIT mung (moong) bean combination
*Generally, you will add double the amount of water as rice/bean mixture
1 3/4 cup water
1 T ghee
1 t churna, or spice mix of your needs of the dosha variety

vegetable of your seasonal choice. Today we have
1 carrot
2 small yams
2 stalks of kale

Always use no-scratch utensils in your cooker/steamer 🙂

Plug in rice cooker and add ghee. Turn the cooker onto “heat” and press the non-stick bowl into the heater (this usually makes it stay on rather than popping up to “warm” setting.  It has to feel weight, then it will stay on “cook” mode). As ghee melts, add the churna mixture and quickly the ghee will melt and spices will begin to cook. don’t overcook.  Turn device onto “warm” if needed to control the fast heat. Add the mung bean and basmati rice, wet from washing.  Mix the ghee and churna with the rice and beans, allow to brown very slightly then add the 1 3/4 water.  Stir. Cover and make sure the cooker is set to “cook”.
Just a reminder-Never allow your rice cooker to do its thing while underneath countertops as the steam is very hot and can damage woodwork, etc.

TIMER for 20 MINUTES. Use your steam basket which comes with most rice cookers today to add the root vegetables of carrots, potatoes (whatever you have!)  and replace the lid overtop the vegetables. After 5-10 minutes, add the kale or leafy greens you are in to.  by now you probably have about 3-6 minutes before the rice cooker/steamer automatically turns off, onto “warm” setting and now you have maintenance, no burn (!!) kitchari.  Delicious!  Add a touch of salt to taste.  If you reheat leftovers to make your balancing session easy, do it stovetop with a couple tablespoons of water added.

Delicioso!

Ingredients and supplies

Pre

Fresh, organic ingredients and split mung dahl
Fresh, organic ingredients and split mung da

Let those spices cook, but don't burn :)
Let those spices cook, but don’t burn 🙂

Brown the rice and beans so slightly
Brown the rice and beans so slightly

Add water and let 'er cook!
Add water and let ‘er cook

After 15 minutes, add the root vegetables
After 15 minutes, add the root vegetables

Then add the leafy kale

Add the kale and it’s almost done!

Rice Cooker Kitchari in 25 minutes

Rice Cooker Kitchari in 25 minutes

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