Earth Mandala

earth day

Harrsen_Rio_02

In honor of Earth Day I am sharing our first guest post on the blog! One of my goals this year is to expand our community and share the work of people I admire. This blog started out as a very personal blog about my journey moving to Los Angeles and beginning my wellness practice.

Over the last two years my life and practice has grown and it seems fitting to honor that by inviting others to contribute. To be honest it’s a little scary opening myself and the blog up like this, but deep down I know it is the next phase on my path. There was a time in my life when I wanted to be all things to all people. That desire came from a place of lack and longstanding belief that I was not enough on my own. While I still have periods of doubt and feelings of unworthiness I do not let them rule my life. This is major and this is in many ways is the radical acceptance I try to dwell in as often as possible.

Healing and living well really does take a village. We cannot do this alone. In the spirit of our ever expanding global community I fully believe that my world becomes richer when I give people space to share their gifts. Today is a celebration of connecting with and showing reverence for our incredible planet. I could not think of anyone more fitting to share a teaching with us than the lovely Maggie Harrsen.

I came across Maggie’s Instagram feed several months ago. I was so captivated by her images as they made me feel grounded and calm. Her use of color and light was spot on and I became very interested in her teachings and ritual practices. She is a modern medicine women who has studied many healing modalities including energy healing, shamanism, meditation, plant-based foods, and Qigong. Maggie is a well traveled soul who holds space for many and supports them in a truly holistic and integrated way.

One of the reasons I am so drawn to Maggie is her clear connection and devotion to our earth. She spends a great deal of time outside and she has inspired me on many occasions to make it a point to enjoy more intentional time in nature. It is with great honor that I share her Earth Mandala with you today.

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Teaching

As the warm air of Spring arrives, a beautiful time of transition opens before us. New life emerges. As our outer world transforms so does the landscape of our inner world.  The season of Spring presents a time for us to align with our inner truth, the seeds inside of us waiting to blossom with the droplets of rain and sun. One of my most loved rituals is the practice of creating an Earth Mandala, a Healing Circle, a Flower of Life,  a cosmic diagram connecting us to the Universal oneness. It is an offering of prayer and love to Mother Earth and the Spirit of the land where you live.

This ritual was inspired by the sacred Andean Despacho ceremony of the Inka tradition. Since ancestral times, people of the Andes have used this ceremony to connect themselves with the harmony of nature and to live in Ayni, in reciprocity and right relationship. To practice Anyi is to acknowledge the interconnection between human beings and the natural world that sustains us. In Peru, a Despacho ceremony is performed by the Q’ero shaman to honor Pachamama, Mother Earth or the Apus, the Mountain Spirits. Using various natural elements as offerings to represent the stars, rivers, clouds… the shaman creates a three dimensional Mandala composition as a symbolic act of respect for all of life.

Creating an Earth Mandala is a basic ritual that will be unique to the natural world around you. The environments we live often vary – perhaps you live by the ocean, in the city, or in the mountains or desert.  Each environment is distinct and as you will see, the Mandala illuminates the beauty surrounding you and within you. It is best to perform this ritual in nature however you may also create the Mandala inside your home by placing it on the ground to connect with the Earth element. This can be an individual practice or you may feel called to invite loved ones, children and animals. You may wish to include music, instruments, like drums, rattles, or bells,  and burn herbs of white sage or palo santo. Use your intuition and bring in the elements that resonate with you.

I often use this ritual when I journey to new lands, to greet the Spirit of the land with honor and gratitude, thanking them for receiving me. Recently upon traveling to Sedona, Arizona, a dear friend and I created an Earth Mandala on the sacred red sandstone of Bell Rock. We found a special piece of land where a twisted Juniper tree stood deeply rooted. We laid down four pieces of selentite crystal to represent the four directions and used native flower petals and leaves we collected on our hike to create various outer circles. We began burning cedar, sage and palo santo and to our surprise an Earthworm rose deep from under Mother Earth to greet us in the center of our Mandala. This was truly a magical experience that presented us with a powerful message.

When you create sacred space using ritual, you will notice little miracles such as the Earthworm, are all around us. Pachamama is always teaching us. If we begin to open our eyes to remembering her ways, we will begin to see with the eyes of our heart. The healing vibrations of this ritual will be felt personally, by loved ones and by Mother Earth. By creating an Earth Mandala, your intention and action sends filaments of light to our eternal Earth Mother and to all of us Earth children.

Ritual

Center yourself in nature and gather native elements from the environment around you such as flowers, leaves, stones, shells, nuts, berries. Notice the color of the object you select and its corresponding chakra, the swirling energy centers within you. Allow this practice to be an expression of your creative spirit.

Find a sacred space and select the first element to be the center of your Mandala. This object will hold your overall intention, so begin by saying prayers into the object, bringing it into your third eye and heart chakra and then place it in the center of your offering.

Each additional element carries a symbolic meaning and is placed around the center element with intention, intuiting what message it will carry and where it wants to be placed. When you feel your Mandala is complete, gently leave your offering on the Earth, allowing the elementals (Sun, Rain, Wind, Land, Spirit) to merge with your creation.

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This ritual is an excerpt from my new book Rio Abajo Rio,  released on April 10th and now available for purchase.

For more offerings and teachings visit Puakai Healing.

spring nettle tea

nettle tea

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nettle tea

nettle tea

nettle tea

nettle tea

nettle tea

Today I am sharing a super simple spring wellness recipe using one of my favorite tonic herbs, nettles. The first time I saw nettles was at a farmers market in Portland. They looked like a fancy spearmint from far away but as I approached I noticed they were covered in fine hairs. I reached in to grab a bunch and ended up with sharp pain in my hand! I picked up the common variety of nettles in Northern Hemisphere known as stinging nettles (urtica dioica), and needless to say I have been very careful handling them since!

That sting comes from histamine which the hairs, or trichomes, inject into the skin upon contact. It can leave a burning feeling for a little while and eventually fades away. The injection also contains formic acid which can provide relief for a number of health issues including arthritis pain, gout, sciatica, hemorrhoids, and skin disorders. If foraging for wild nettles best to take a glove or pull them out of the ground.

When you cook or blend nettles the stinging hairs are no longer an issue and they are safe to eat. I was worried about this at first and overcooked my first batch of nettles. The last thing I wanted was a sore throat! I’m here to report that I’ve been eating them for years and haven’t had any problems.

Nettles are in many ways superfoods. They are ideal to consume in spring as they have many cleansing properties. Nettles are loaded with vitamins A, C, D and K and have plenty of calcium, iron and potassium. Nettles are a tonic herb meaning they promote certain feelings and specific functions in the body.

According to Chinese medicine nettles are a blood tonic, metabolic waste detoxifier and have diuretic properties. They also assist the bladder, kidneys and liver. In Ayurvedic medicine nettles are an astringent and cooling herb. Nettle increases vata and decrease pitta and kapha. Nettles can stimulate our appetite and help to fight fatigue. Nettles are often used in the treatment of seasonal allergies, anemia, arthritis, eczema and menstruation.

Nettles are most commonly used in soups and teas. You can cook them just like you would chard or spinach and they made a great addition to pesto.

The addition of fennel seeds, licorice root and star anise bring flavor and cleansing properties to the tea. It has a wonderful sweet flavor and can be consumed cool or warm.

 

Spring Nettle Tea

serves 6

 

Ingredients //

  • 6 c. water
  • 1 Tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 Tbsp. licorice root
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 bunch nettles

 

Method //

  1. Pour the water into a large pot. Add the seeds, licorice root and star anise. Bring water to a boil, cover and simmer on loe heat for 10 minutes.
  2. Add the nettles and simmer for 10 more minutes.
  3. Turn off heat and let stand 5 minutes.
  4. Strain and serve.
  5. Store tea in a glass, air tight jar for up to 1 week.
  6. Enjoy!

 

Easy right? I’ve been making a batch of this tea every week since nettles have been appearing at the farmers market. It’s a great spring tea and it offers a great deal of cleansing support.

Happy Sunday!

xoa

spring bounty bowl with lemon cumin vinaigrette

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Hello hello! I’m so excited to post this new bowl recipe for you this afternoon! It’s been such a busy week and I’ve been missing writing on the blog. This is such an important part of my life and I continue to be humbled by all of your support.

The last couple of months I’ve been plugging away at the content for our upcoming Sugar Cleanse. I created a new recipe book for the cleanse and wanted to feature one of them here. I love developing healthy recipes so much. It brings me such a deep sense of joy even when they don’t turn out right the first go around. I’ve been working on one that is so close to being right and it has become such a fun challenge.

Bowls are my favorite. I love mixing and matching beans, grains, and veggies. The combinations are endless and they always make for such beautiful and flavorful meals. This one is my new favorite combo. The other day I ate it for lunch AND dinner. Yup. That’s how amazing it is.

If you haven’t gotten into millet yet it’s awesome. I’ve been eating it as an alternative to quinoa. It’s got a nutty flavor and can be cooked soft into a porridge or more like rice. Millet isn’t a grain, it’s actually a seed and is gluten free. It’s like half the price of quinoa too which is a bonus.

For most folks millet is easy to digest and works as a great prebiotic. Millet is high in magnesium, phosphorus and antioxidants. It is alkaline and non-allergenic. Millet also contains serotonin which calms our moods.

Millet has goitrogens in it which is something to be aware of if you have hypothyroidism. “Goitrogens are those substances in food that suppress thyroid activity and can lead to goiter, an enlargement of this very important gland which resides in the throat.” – The Healthy Home Economist.

In the original dressing recipe I used more garlic but it was so intense. If raw garlic isn’t for you, 1/2 tsp of garlic powder is an option, you can use roasted garlic (would be amazing), or you can just omit it all together. Play with the recipe and adjust the taste to suit you. Remember that it’s going on all of the bowl ingredients so they will soak up the flavors.

Spring Bounty Bowl with Lemon Cumin Vinaigrette

serves 2

 

Ingredients //

For the bowl:

  • 1/2 c. millet
  • 1 c. vegetable stock (or water)
  • 1/8 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • 2 spring onions, diced
  • Heaping pinch of sea salt
  • 1 c. broccoli, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 c. green cabbage, sliced thin
  • 3 c. fresh spinach, rinsed well and dried
  • 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 c. cooked adzuki beans
  • 1/2 c. pea shoots
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1/4 c. sunflower seeds

 

For the dressing:

  • 3 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1  1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 clove garlic minced
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • Fresh ground pepper

 

Method //

  1. Toast the millet in a small pot over low heat for a few minutes until fragrant and golden brown. Careful not to burn it.. Add the stock and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and reduce heat to low.
  2. Simmer for 15 minutes until most of the water is absorbed. Turn off heat and let stand covered for another 10 minutes.
  3. Fluff with a fork and set aside.
  4. While the millet is cooking make the dressing and cook the vegetables.
  5. To make the dressing whisk all ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
  6. Melt the coconut oil over medium heat in a medium sized skillet.
  7. When melted add the onions and salt. Sauté for 2-3 minutes.
  8. Next add the broccoli and sauté for for 2 minutes. Add the cabbage and continue to sauté for a few minutes.
  9. Add the spinach and apple cider vinegar. Sauté until the spinach is just wilted.
  10. Turn off the heat.
  11. Cut avocado in half. Remove pit and slice.
  12. In a large bowl or plate add 1/2 c. of millet. Add 1/2 of the remaining components: adzuki beans, vegetables, pea shoots, avocado and sunflower seeds. Drizzle with some of the dressing and serve warm.
  13. Left over millet can be stored in an air tight container in the fridge for several days.

 

There it is! I can’t wait for you to try it. I know there are a lot of pieces but trust me, it’s worth the effort ;) Wishing you a beautiful weekend.

xoa

 

chamomile sun tea

chamomile

chamomile sun tea

chamomile sun tea

chamomile sun tea

chamomile sun tea

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The sun is so bright these days and I’ve been inspired to make sun tea. Growing up in the South tea is in my blood. It was a huge part of my life and continues to be. I don’t put loads of sugar in it anymore but on these warm afternoons few things bring me more pleasure than kicking back with a cool glass of tea and just watching the world go by.

Sun tea could not be easier to make and this one features one of my favorite medicinal herbs, chamomile. I just wrote in detail about the benefits of chamomile for a new feature on the blog. To learn more hop on over here and check it out! I love how sweet this tea is and how clam it makes me feel. You can drink it cool or warm it up if you want to have a cup before bedtime.

I bought chamomile flowers from the farmers last weekend and couldn’t wait to make this tea. All you need are the flowers, water, a big jar, and an area that gets at least 4 hours of direct sunlight. I like to brew my tea anywhere from 4-6 hours depending on the herbs I am using.

There is much controversy about bacteria growing in jars when making sun tea. I’ve been making tea this way for almost 20 years and it’s never been a problem. I don’t recommend making sun tea with tap water though, that is where many of these bacteria/sun tea stories come from. Use filtered water and if you are concerned just boil the water and steep the fresh flowers in the water. Drain after brewing 10-15 minutes.

I added a bit of mint to my tea for an additional layer of flavor. It’s not necessary. I also brewed with with the stems to make things easier. Be sure to wash whatever herbs you are using well and also be sure that your sun tea jar is very clean.

 

Chamomile Sun Tea

serves 6

 

Ingredients //

  • 1 bunch fresh chamomile
  • Handful of fresh mint (optional)
  • Water to fill your sun tea vessel (enough to cover the flowers)

 

Method //

  1. Rinse chamomile well. Cut stems down enough so that the bunch fits into your container.
  2. Add the mint if using.
  3. Fill to the top with water making sure that the flowers are covered.
  4. Put the lid on the jar.
  5. Place in the sun to brew for 4-6 hours.
  6. Afterwards strain the tea.
  7. Serve warm or cool.
  8. Store leftover tea in an air tight container in the fridge for 5 days.

 

There you go! I can’t wait to hear what tea recipes you are coming up with this spring and summer. Have a wonderful weekend.

xoa

chamomile

chamomile

chamomile

I am happy to share that this post marks the first in my new series called ‘Medicine Cabinet’. Each month I will feature a medicinal herb and share recipes on how to prepare it. I’ve been working with herbs for quite some time and researching them a great deal.

I spent most most of my early life looking outside myself for answers. When I got sick I went to the doctor. When I didn’t know how to talk to my partner I got a therapist. At a certain point I realized that I needed to learn how to tune into myself and seek my own answers. Of course I still have teachers and practitioners that I work very closely with and don’t ever see that changing. What’s different today is that I am curious about how things work.

While studying holistic nutrition I went deep into the big food groups, fruits, veggies, beans, animals. I learned so much through reading, going to lectures, and experimenting on myself. I love knowing that beets for example strengthen the blood and for a person like me who runs cool and metabolizes food quickly I need root veggies to ground and nourish my body.

After years of studying and working directly with these foods I’m branching out. I’m getting really into expanding my knowledge base to create more recipes that clam and heal. This is an exciting new journey for me and I am thrilled to share it with you. I hope my posts give you interesting and useful tips for how to incorporate some of what I’m learning into your life. I totally get that we’re all busy and don’t have time to make our own everything. Trust me there just aren’t enough hours in the day to learn all the things, make all the recipes, see all the people. I hope that the you takeaway little bits that resonate for you and that inspire you to spend just a few more minutes with yourself each day.

 

Ok, so now on to one of my favorite daises, chamomile!

 

About //
The term chamomile refers to several daises in the Asteraceae family. The two most common types are German (marticaria recutita) and Roman (chamaemelum nobile). These two varieties are similar in appearance, fragrance, and taste. They are often used in the same way though their chemistry is a bit different. Only the flowers of the plant is used as they contain the essential oils.

Chamomile has long been a favorite flower of mine. I love the sweet aroma of this delicate little daisy. In Spanish it is called manzanilla which means “little apple”. I didn’t realize how much fresh chamomile smelled like apples until I learned that. Interestingly, in Germany it is referred to as alles zutruat, which translates to “capable of anything”.

Benefits //
It’s true that Chamomile is capable of anything. It has a long reputation for effectively treating anxiety, insomnia, nervousness, and stress. It has been used for ages to treat indigestion in children as it is very soothing to the digestive tract. Chamomile provides relief from headaches and allergies, stomachaches, and menstrual cramps. In Ayurvedic medicine chamomile is considered tridoshic, meaning it supports all three constitutions.

The essential oil of chamomile is often used in treating skin issues like dermatitis and eczema, psoriasis, and burns. It is   a favorite in skin creams as it can also heal pain and smooth the skin by reducing inflammation and irritation.

Making a simple tea with dry or fresh chamomile flowers is a great way to take care of yourself. Add 1 c. boiling water to 2 tsp died chamomile and let steep for 5-10 minutes. This tea is great to drink in the evenings to wind down after the day or help you fall asleep.

Because the flower oil is not very water soluble the potent medicine in diluted when making tea. This makes the tea ideal to drink on a regular basis as the effects are likely to be cumulative.

Buying  //
Chamomile flowers can be purchased fresh or dry. I pick up fresh chamomile from the farmers market and it is readily available Spring-early Fall in my area. The German plant variety grows tall and it’s what I buy at the farmers market, the Roman variety looks more like ground covering. Chamomile is also available as an essential oil.

Notes//
Since chamomile belongs to the aster family if you are allergic to ragweed be careful. It is also advised not to drink top much while pregnant as it can be too relaxing for the uterus.

wellness wednesdays: spring cleansing foods

nettles

We are fully into the spring season and it’s time to start cleaning! My view of cleaning is holistic, so while I’m going to focus on food today, know that it’s important to consider cleaning up all areas of our life.

With warmer upon us our bodies are ready to gently detoxify. One of the easiest (and most affordable) ways to do this is by consuming seasonal herbs and green vegetables. If you want to go on a juice fast or deep cleanse please do. For everyday wellness and aligning our bodies with the season, incorporate as many of the foods below as you can and you will be off to a great start.

Below I’ve listed 4 spring herbs and  4 spring vegetables.  Each one is a detox powerhouse and they can be eaten a variety of ways, raw, cooked, or made into a tea.

 

Cilantro is an amazing heavy metal detoxifier and supports digestive function. Add a handful to your next juice for a fresh taste and detox boost.

Dandelion. These bitter weeds are a digestive tonic that have been used for centuries as medicinal herbs. Dandelion consumption can improve the liver’s detoxification capabilities. Toss these bitters in your next salad or make tea with the roots and leaves.

Nettles,  many of us know then as Stinging Nettles, are one my favorite wild spring weeds. They are a blood builder, mild diuretic, and gently cleanses the body of metabolic waste material.

Parsley is a kidney cleansing herb that is known as a nerve stimulant. Parsley is excellent in juices and makes a delicious pesto.

Artichokes protect the liver which is one of the main organs we need to be focused on this season. Their high fiber content helps to scrub out our intestinal wall which improves digestion. Steaming and juicing are great ways to prepare these vegetables and soak in their nutrients.

Arugula is a peppery green is loaded with vitamins A and C. It’s warming qualities aid digestion and like other members of the cruciferous family it has many anticancer compounds. Arugula has a fun nickname, “salad rocket” because it’s lively flavor takes a boring salad to the next level taste and nutrition wise. Also, I’ve got a post devoted to this awesome veggie, you can learn even more about it!

Asparagus is a member of the lily family and is a great diuretic.  Very few vegetables contain inulin which the friendly bacteria in our digestive tract like to eat. Asparagus also balances insulin levels – amazing how healthy these green spears are! Eat asparagus raw in a soup or shave it for a yummy salad.

Watercress is closely related to cabbage and mustard greens. It has been used for ages as a blood cleanser. This incredible green has more calcium than milk and more iron than spinach. Enjoy this green in salads, be sure to wash well as it’s grown in water and needs extra cleaning.

 

What spring foods are you enjoying right now? How do you like to prepare them? I’d love to know! Have a great afternoon and see you back here soon.

xoa

// PS there are still a few spaces left for our upcoming Sugar Cleanse! We would love to have you.

mango chia pudding

mango chia pudding

mango chia pudding

mango chia pudding

We are loving this recipe right now. I made it twice last week and it didn’t last 24 hours in the fridge ;) I haven’t posted a chia pudding in a while and now that spring is here I figured it was time.

Chia pudding is SO easy to make, it literally comes together in minutes. I prefer it once it has set overnight in the fridge but you don’t have to wait that long. Chia seeds are packed with fiber, essential fats, and calcium to boot! They look a little weird, but they don’t have any flavor which makes them versatile. Chia seeds (and powder) expand in water and works well as a thickening agent in smoothies and baked goods like my chia peach pancakes.

Mango is one of my favorite fruits. It’s high in sugar, like most fruit from the tropics and has many nutritional benefits. Mango is great for the skin as it is loaded with antioxidants. It also fights breast and colon cancers and has vision protecting properties.

If you have difficulty with tropical fruits you can sub a fruit of your choice in this recipe. Fresh or frozen will work here. If you use fresh fruit alter the amount of water for the mango portion, you won’t needs as much to get the blender. The consistency should be like a thick smoothie.

I opted for frozen mango and chose macadamia nuts to complement the flavor. This pudding makes a yummy breakfast or snack. We like to eat it in the afternoon best.

 

Mango Chia Pudding

serves 2

 

Ingredients //

  • 1 1/2 c. frozen mango
  • 1 c. water
  • 1 c. hemp milk (1 c. water blended with 2 Tbsp. hemp seeds, no need to strain)
  • 2 pitted dates
  • 1/4 c. chia seeds
  • 1/4 tsp. ground vanilla
  • 1/2 c. raw macadamia nuts

 

Method //

  1. Blend the mango with 1 c. of water on high until you have a thick sauce. Add more water as needed by the 1/4 c. to get the blender going.
  2. Pour the mango sauce evenly into 2 glasses or bowls. Set in the fridge.
  3. Blend the hemp milk and two dates until smooth. Pour sweetened hemp milk into a small mixing bowl.
  4. Stir the hemp milk, chia seeds, and vanilla until it becomes a thick pudding. Stir constantly  for 3-4 minutes then let stand for about 10 minutes to thicken.
  5. Pour the chia mixture on top of the mango sauce in even portions.
  6. Allow to set for at least 4 hours in the fridge or overnight.
  7. You can make a double batch and have snacks on hand for 4 days. Be sure to cover if you are storing over 1 day, it lasts 4 days in the fridge, covered.
  8. Serve with chopped nuts.

 

There you go! I can’t wait to hear the results. Wishing you all a wonderful weekend.

xoa

wellness wednesdays: get creative

oranges

duo1

panacota1

rhubarb1

duo2

spoons

eggs

cookies

I’m excited to be blogging today about a food styling and photography workshop I took over the weekend in Santa Barbara. I’ve been following the work of Leela Cyd for ages and am a huge fan of her gorgeous blog. As part of my personal wellness practice this year I committed to explore my creativity and dive a little deeper into photography.

So I’m a total nerd and LOVE classes, workshops, and programs. I just love learning especially when there is a hands on component. My parents had me in Montessori school until I was 11 and I’ve always been a person that learns much better by doing. This workshop was amazing. There were stations where we got to take turns styling and shooting different food scenes. Then we had time on our own to style and shoot. And the props! Omg, don’t even get me started. I didn’t even scratch the surface there.

Over the last year I’ve made more of an investment in my dishware and am getting more into the styling of the photographs. It’s a fun way to express myself and highlight my recipes. I’ve also been more into shooting food in it’s raw state – it’s just so colorful and gorgeous. Leela had these incredible shots of produce and she talked about shooting food in a natural way. That resonated with me a great deal.

Another thing I love about classes and workshops is the community aspect. I love what I do and am incredibly grateful everyday. I work alone often and it’s nice to connect with like-minded people and even people that are way different and learning from them. That is a big reason I love teaching groups as well, there is an energy when you come together for a set period of time that you don’t get alone. Lately I am realizing that I need a mix of community and solitude.

Now that I have all of these new tips and tools from Leela I am excited to start implementing them. I was so jazzed about it on Sunday I dragged Jason to a bunch of thrift stores on Sunday and came home with 8 spoons, a fork and 2 knives! They are in the dishwasher now and will be put to use very soon.

How are you getting in touch with your creativity these days? What are you exploring and learning? In what ways are you connecting with your artistic side and how is it going? I’d love to know.

Wishing you a wonderful Wednesday.

xoa

mung bean cakes with cilantro cream

mung bean cakes

mung bean cakes

mung bean cakes

mung bean cakes

Friday is here and it’s recipe time. I’ve been working on this one for weeks and it’s finally ready! As you know I’ve been sprouting a ton now that spring is here.  I love sprouts on my salads and blended into soups but I wanted to step outside the raw food arena and try something different.  Once you have the sprouts this recipe comes together quickly and makes a wonderful lunch or dinner.

Spring is an ideal time of year to cleanse the body. One way we can do that is by eating more spices which amp up our digestion.  Another way to support the natural detox process is to consume foods that are easy to digest. Mung beans tend to be easier on our digestive tract than other beans and once sprouted contain even more digestive enzymes and nutrients. The more we support our digestive tract with clean, seasonal foods, the more we shed what has been accumulating from the winter months.

This recipe is perfect for transitioning into spring. The mung beans support digestion, the spices heat the body which promotes circulation, turmeric supports detoxification and is anti-inflammatory, cilantro is a heavy metal detoxifier, and the avocado gives our body the healthy fat it needs for optimal function. These mung bean cakes are so good for us and they are delicious to boot ;)

I tested the recipe by baking and frying the mung bean cakes. I prefer them lightly fried in coconut oil, it helps to seal in the moisture and gives them a nice crunch. Baking works well but they were a little dry for my taste.

A quick note about the recipe – there isn’t much holding these cakes together aside from the ingredients themselves. That is one reason I love this recipe so much, but it is fragile. Form the cakes gently and take extra care when flipping them in the skillet. I actually used 2 spatulas to get them to flip without breaking. You can always make them into small rounds and cook them for less time. Also be sure to use plenty of oil to keep them from sticking ;)

 

Mung Bean Cakes with Cilantro Cream

serves 4

 

Ingredients //

For the cream sauce:

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1/2 lime juice
  • 3-4 Tbsp. water
  • 1 c. packed cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • Fresh ground black pepper

For the cakes:

  • 2 c. mung bean sprouts
  • 1 large handful flat leaf parsley
  • 1/4 c. hummus
  • 1/2 Tbsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • A few twists of fresh ground pepper
  • Coconut oil

 

 

Method //

  1. Make the sauce first. Put the avocado water, lime juice, and 3 Tbsp. water into a food processor and pulse until smooth.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and process well. If it’s not getting smooth add more water by the tablespoon. Adjust for seasonings.
  3. Scoop sauce into a glass container and set aside.
  4. Add the all of the mung bean cake ingredients to the food processor. Pulse until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl 2 times during processing.
  5. Heat enough coconut oil to evenly coat your skillet.
  6. While the skillet warms, form the mung bean mixture into cakes. I made 4 large ones, you could make them smaller and get 8-10.
  7. When the skillet is warmed up to a medium-low setting fry the cakes for 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden brown.
  8. Serve cakes with fresh salad and a dollop of the cream sauce. Garnish with extra sprouts if desired.
  9. Left over cream sauce and cakes will keep 2-3 days in the fridge.

 

There you go! I can’t wait to hear what you think of this recipe. I came up to Ventura for the weekend to hang with Jason and attend a food styling/food photography workshop tomorrow in Santa Barbara! OMG. I’m beyond excited for the workshop. I can’t wait to meet other food bloggers and learn some tricks. I’ll post a recap on Monday. Have a wonderful weekend.

xoa

10 reasons I love to sprout

sprouts3

Happy Monday! I hope your week is off to a great start. I’ve been working all day and it has been wonderful. A few weeks ago I took on a new yoga client on Monday mornings. Starting the week teaching yoga is such a delight. I can’t think of a better way to center myself and ease into the work week ;)

Several years ago I went on an adventure to a health center Puerto Rico. Little did I know how much that trip would change my life. I stayed for 2 full weeks and became certified in the Living Foods Lifestyle. That was my official introduction to healthy raw foods and I’ve loved them ever since. That trip had lasting and profound effects on the way I think about health, food, and holistic nutrition. I also cleansed deeper than I ever had before and began an intense year of healing.

That year I lived in 2 countries and 7 cities. It was intense to say the least! I carried my blender and sprout bags with me everywhere. Having healthy eating habits in place was instrumental in my self-care. I know I would not have been able to begin that phase of my healing journey without healthy food and sprouts were a huge part of that.

So, sprouts……I love them! They are super easy to make and this is an ideal season to start sprouting. Growing up the only sprout I ever ate was alfalfa. I loved them stuffed into whole wheat pita halves with tuna salad. It wasn’t until my 20′s that I bought a sprouting jar and started soaking and sprouting seeds. Watching the seeds come to life in my kitchen was amazing. I never felt so connected to food before.

As I mentioned in my mung bean post yesterday, sprouting is easy. And my sprouted buckwheat post shows you the way I am currently sprouting at home. I’m going to share 10 reasons I love to sprout and you can decide for yourself if you want to give it a try ;) Just so it’s clear in my 10 reasons I’m talking about sprouting beans, nuts, and seeds. I’ll give you a list at the end of what can be sprouted.

 

10 Reasons I Love To Sprout

  1. Soaking releases enzyme inhibitors which prevent the seed from growing. Soaking is the first step in sprouting and it is crucial. Soaking starts the sprouting process removing enzyme inhibitors which keep our bodies from absorbing the full spectrum of nutrients.
  2. Sprouting increases the amount of enzymes, minerals and vitamins. Lentils for example are much higher in vitamin C when sprouted. Enzyme rich foods are easier to digest and that gives our body a break from having to produce nearly as many enzymes to digest the food. This makes digestion much more efficient.
  3. The protein in sprouts is also more bio-available and more digestible. When we consume a great deal of concentrated protein it can clog our system and store as fat which in turn leaches calcium. This is not ideal. Soaking and sprouting actually increases protein – amazing!
  4. Sprouting beans, nuts and seeds makes them for alkaline forming in the body. The more alkaline foods we eat the better. This helps to reduce inflammation which is a precursor to nearly every major disease.
  5. Sprouting salad seeds like alfalfa produces chlorophyll which is a powerful cleanser. Chlorophyll is very similar to hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen.
  6. Sprouts helps to break down complex sugars in beans for example which is great for folks that have issues processing beans.
  7. Sprouts can be very energizing as they are so easy to digest. When we consume foods that are gentle on the digestive system our energy is not as taxed and we usually don’t feel tired after eating.
  8. Sprouting connects you to nature. This is huge for those of us that live in big, busy cities. We don’t always have time or space to garden. Setting up a couple of sprouting jars in the kitchen is a wonderful way to be involved in the growing process. It’s so fun. For real.
  9. Sprouting does not require the time and commitment of a garden. It’s an simple and quick process. You can have results in days.
  10. You can sprout year round and it is very affordable.

 

It is very important to rinse spouts well and not let them rot. They can go rancid quickly, especially in warm weather. So keep an eye on them. Some health practitioners recommend not eating large quantities of beans and sprouted pseudo grains (buckwheat, quinoa) raw. Personally  eat raw sprouted buckwheat 1 x per week and beans almost daily in warm months. My body does well with them. If you notice irritation or have issues cook your sprouts. It will decrease the nutritional profile but they will still be easier to digest and have loads of nutrients.

As far as grasses and salad sprouts go, they are generally safe to eat daily. Just pay attention to your body and learn what works and doesn’t work for you. There is not one right way to go about it.

All beans, nuts, and seeds have different soak and sprout times. I am working on a chart for you, please hold tight! In the mean time I will share with you what I commonly sprout. Note, nuts and some seeds will not sprout but will benefit a great deal from soaking for many of the reasons I listed.

 

Beans:

  • Adzuki: soak 12 hours, harvest at 1/2-1 inch
  • Chickpeas: soak 12 hours, harvest 1/2 inch
  • Lentils: soak 8-12 hours, harvest at 1/4-3/4 inches
  • Mung: soak 8-12 hours, harvest at 1/2- 1 1/2 inches

Nuts:

  • Almonds, soak 24-48 hours
  • Cashews, soak 8 hours
  • Macadamia, soak 8 hours
  • Walnuts, soak 24 hours

Seeds:

  • Alfafa: soak 4-6 hours, harvest 1- 1 1/5 inches
  • Buckwheat Groats: soak 12 hours, harvest at 1/2 inch
  • Clover: soak 4-6 hours, harvest at 1 – 1 1/2 inches
  • Pumpkin: soak 8 hours
  • Quinoa: soak 8 hours
  • Sesame: soak 8 hours
  • Sunflower: soak 8 hours

 

There you have it! That should get you started. I’ll be posting more about soaking and sprouting in the future so stay tuned.   Have you sprouted? I’d love to hear your experiences and favorite methods. Leave a comment and let me know.

Have a wonderful day.

xoa

Source: // Much of my material came from my Living Foods Lifestyle Workbook.