sprouted oat pancakes

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It’s pancake season! Yay! Now that Fall has finally arrived in Los Angeles I’ve ditched my smoothie breakfast and transitioned into warmer foods. I’ve been on a pancake kick the last week and after a few trials have developed a delicious new recipe to share.

I’ve posted a few times about the amazing benefits of sprouting. When whole grains are sprouted their nutrients are easier to absorb and digest. You can sprout oat groats (whole oats) the same as you would buckwheat. Once sprouted you dehydrate the groats then grind them into a flour. This is a fun but time consuming process. You can also buy sprouted flours in many health food stores and online. If you can’t get your hands of sprouted flour, regular oat flour will work just as well!

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Because oats are loaded with protein these pancakes make a filling breakfast. I got ten pancakes out of this recipe using a 1/4 c. measure. This makes each pancake nearly 5 grams of protein. I usually spread almond butter on my pancakes to bump up the protein for a well rounded breakfast. These will usually have me full until lunch. Getting adequate amounts of protein for breakfast is important for so many functions in the body.

This recipe is great for that nearly rotten banana you might have in your kitchen and aren’t sure what to do with. I love using mashed fruit in pancakes for texture, flavor, and as a binder. I only used 1 egg in this recipe because I used the banana. I didn’t add any additional sweetener to the batter as I prefer pancakes that aren’t very sweet because there is a chance I might want to put a little maple syrup on top. And by little I mean 1-2 teaspoons tops! Don’t get crazy with the sugar early in the morning, the last thing you want is a major crash mid-morning ;)

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If you have leftover winter squash or sweet potato on hand that can work well in the recipe too. Here’s an example of an older recipe that uses teff flour and sweet potato. I cringe a little linking to old recipes as my photo skills where not that great back then but the recipe is good! Also, I have fully switched over from making pancakes on a non-stick pan and only use cast iron like my Mom and Grandma taught me. It makes a huge difference in getting a nice browning on the outside and moist inside.

This is the first recipe in 2.5 years of blogging that uses an egg. After nearly five years of making vegan pancakes it was fun to use an egg and taste the results. Please note I use the highest quality local eggs from pasture raised chickens.

If you don’t want to use an egg feel free to sub it out for more banana or a chia/flax egg. To make a mock egg mix 1 tablespoon ground chia/flax with 3 tablespoons of warm water. Stir well and then place in the fridge to set for at least fifteen minutes, a hour is preferable. Once it’s set use it like you would a regular egg. sproutedoatpancakes1

Sprouted Oat Pancakes

Makes about 10 pancakes

 

Ingredients //

  • 1 & 1/2 c. sprouted (or regular) oat flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp. Himalayan salt
  • Dash of nutmeg
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 tsp. melted coconut oil
  • 1 & 1/2 c. milk (I used pumpkin seed milk)
  • 1 egg
  • Extra coconut oil for cooking
  • Pomegranate seeds for topping
  • Almond butter
  • Maple syrup

 

Method //

  1. Heat your cast iron pan over low heat.
  2. While the pan is warming mix the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, vanilla, salt and nutmeg in a medium size mixing bowl.
  3. In a small bowl mash the banana well with a fork. Stir the coconut oil into the banana.
  4. Pour the milk into the flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon. Fold in the banana and egg.
  5. Add 2 teaspoons of coconut oil to the skillet and bring heat to medium low.
  6. Wait a minute or two for the skillet to get warmer then make the pancakes by using a 1/4 c. measure.
  7. Cook on the first side 2-3 minutes and flip, cook 60-90 seconds on the other side.
  8. Serve warm with pomegranate seeds, almond butter and a bit of maple syrup if desired.
  9. Leftover pancakes can be kept in the fridge for several days. Reheat on a pan.

Enjoy!

xoa

oil pulling

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Today I want to share a practice that has done wonders for my dental and oral health, oil pulling. This ancient Ayurvedic practice known as kavala or gundusha, helps reduce bacteria and plaque in the mouth as well as strengthen teeth. I started oil pulling a few years ago and have been doing it regularly for the last year. My last three dental visits were amazing and my teeth are super sparkly.

Oil pulling is super easy. Swish 1-2 teaspoons of  coconut oil around in your mouth for 15-20 minutes and spit it out. The oil pulls out the toxins stored in your salivary glands. The less toxins you have in our mouth the less bacteria and plaque will accumulate.

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There are many folks out there that make all kinds of claims about oil pulling. Traditionally it was done with sesame oil but I prefer coconut oil as it has so many antibacterial and antiviral properties. Here are two studies one regrading gingivitis and this one on microrganisms that go into more detail. I’ve tired all sorts of seemingly odd health remedies and oil pulling has worked really well for me. Oil pulling along with daily flossing, brushing, and morning tongue scraping has my dentist asking me what I do. I actually educated him on oil pulling a while back and now he’s recommending it to his patients!

The first few times I tried oil pulling I couldn’t do it for more than ten minutes, my jaw was tired and I was scared I was going to swallow all of the toxins back down. Now I can do 20 minutes no problem. It’s totally fine to work your way up. If your jaw is exhausted you are probably swishing too hard, slow and steady here! The oil will get thicker as you swish (it doubles in size) and according to Dr. Bruce Fife it takes about 20 minutes for the plaque in your mouth to breakdown. Not to worry though, that isn’t long enough for the body to reabsorb the toxins.

Some folks prefer to start with melted coconut oil. I use it as-is, it will melt quickly in your mouth. Whatever you decide be sure to purchase high quality, raw organic oil.

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Oil pulling has become part of my morning ritual. I like to do it after I meditate while I am making my breakfast. It’s important to spit out the oil into the trash as it can eventually clog the drain. Afterwards I rinse my mouth well with water and brush my teeth. I oil pull about five times a week and that has worked well for me, it is safe to do everyday if you like.

Have you tired oil pulling? I’d love to hear your experiences below. Wishing you a gorgeous day.

xoa

Autumn Salad

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Hello friends! I hope you are having a great weekend. I came up to Ventura for the weekend to enjoy some ocean air and spend time near Ojai. Yesterday Jason and I went on this incredible herb walk. I’m still editing the photos and will share a post this week, so much to say about it!

I’ve got a new autumn salad recipe that we have enjoyed the last couple of days. It’s easy to make and will keep in the fridge for a few days. It would make an awesome dish to bring to your Thanksgiving dinner too! There are lots of ways to prep the kale and I like it best when the kale is slightly steamed. It makes is much easier to digest and it’s great served warm or at room temperature.

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Butternut squash is the star of this salad and is one of my favorite fall foods. The bright orange color of the squash indicates it is loaded with carotenoids which help fight cancer and beta-carotene which our bodies convert to vitamin A. This is a key vitamin in fetal development and our bodies do much better with getting it from whole food sources than synthetic supplements.

Chinese medicine considers butternut squash a warming food that nourishes the pancreas and spleen. It is said to be a medicinal food for diabetics and people with stomach problems. This amazing squash is also loaded in vitamin C and is a delicious anti inflammatory food.

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Pomegranates are one of my favorite fruits. I loved eating them growing up and they are incredibly beautiful to look at! To brighten the salad and add more antioxidants I used pomegranate seeds. Pomegranates boost our immune systems and help reverse damaged blood vessels. In Chinese medicine pomegranates strengthen the blood and heart.

This year I have really into millet as it’s easier for my body to digest than other starches like quinoa and it’s so versatile. More about the health benefits of millet in this recipe. Millet can be cooked like quinoa or rice. I prefer 1 c. millet to 2 c. water for a fluffy texture.

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Winter squash is super economical and if you want to save time you can often find it cubed at your grocery store. I have a bunch of different peelers, lately I’ve been using this one for squash and it has worked beautifully. The blades are super sharp which is exactly what you want when peeling winter squash – much safer to use!

Here is a great video on how to get those magic seeds out of your pomegranate! I learned this trick in culinary school and it really works! If you get a large enough fruit you will have plenty of extra seeds for your morning breakfast. Enjoy!

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Roasted Butternut Squash and Kale Salad

serves 4

 

Ingredients //

  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 & 1/2 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. Celtic salt
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper
  • 1 c. cooked millet
  • 1 large bunch of curly kale, chopped
  • 1 Pomegranate, seeded
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 1-2 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted
  • Celtic flake salt
  • Fresh ground pepper

 

Method //

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place the cut squash in a large mixing bowl. Toss with the coconut oil, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Line coated squash on the prepared baking sheet.
  3. Roast until the squash is tender about 25 minutes. Flip halfway through and remove from oven when done.
  4. While the squash is roasting lightly steam the chopped kale then place in the large mixing bowl.
  5. Add the cooked millet, squash and pomegranate seeds to the kale and toss with your hands.
  6. Next add the juice from 1 lemon and 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. Toss gently to coat. Add more oil and/or lemon juice of you like. Serve with flaked salt and fresh ground pepper.

 

The salad will keep for 3 days in an airtight container in the fridge. Allow to come to room temperature before serving. Hope you are having a beautiful Sunday!

xoa

 

inspired living: kristen dilley

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I am excited to post the second interview in our Inspired Living series! Last year I stumbled upon Portland Apothecary’s Instagram account and was fascinated by their approach to preventative medicine and desire to share herbalism in their community. Portland Apothecary was founded by herbalists Elie Barausky and Kristen Dilley. They offer some of my favorite wild crafted seasonal remedies and teach seasonal wellness workshops in the Portland area.

When I reached out to Elie and Kristen about interviewing them for the blog they were so warm and engaging. It was clear they love sharing their passion for wellness and that made me want to post them on the blog even more!

In this heartfelt interview Kristen shares how she begins the day with gratitude, the importance of taking walks without her phone, and how she and Elie are creating space for self-care in their community. Be sure to take notes on Kristen’s phenomenal reading list, it’s full of gems!

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What are your self-care musts?
Drinking a daily blend of red clover, nettle, oatstraw and raspberry leaf tea, taking a walk at least once a day without bringing my phone and doing at least three rounds of the qi gong exercise ‘bringing down the heavens’ taught to me by the late (and great) Suzanne Friedman.

Do you have a morning or evening ritual? If so, tell us about it.
With my first couple breaths I make a mental note of what I’m grateful for, this really helps put the rest of the day in perspective. My evening ritual has always been to read, and often I pose a question to my dreams in hopes of an answer!

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How do you stay inspired?
Walking. I walk everywhere, and now I walk even more now that I am a mom. I am inspired by how people live, how they choose to arrange their space, what the cycles of each ecosystem presents. When I am in the city I hardly ever drive, you miss so much that way! Walking has been my daily practice for as long as I can remember. Rebecca Solnit has a great book, Wanderlust: A History of Walking that is really inspiring.

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List a few books that changed your life. * I am very eclectic!
Angela Davis, Women, Race & Class stopped me in my tracks in my early 20s. Not only for the content, but her style of writing. She is so accessible, inclusive and direct. Angela Davis is such an inspiration to me in how she communicates.

Peter Tomkins & Christopher Bird, The Secret Life of Plants. This book blew my mind and really made me see plants in a different way. It might have helped pave the way to my current life that is full of plants in every way!

Lloyd Kahn, Shelter. Endless hours of fascination seeing how many different ways humans can choose to live. So much here to think about.

Leslie Marmon Silko and James Wright. The Delicacy and Strength of Lace. A really beautiful exchange between writers. Timeless. Letter writing is a practice that I would like to return to.

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Where do you enjoy silence?
Before having a child I would’ve had a different answer! Now, I take silence and try to really inhabit that space whenever and wherever I can get it!

What does wellness mean to you?
To me, wellness is a balance of physical, emotional and spiritual bodies. It means learning how to be gentle with myself, when to give it my all and when to step back. It’s a real dance, and I’m still such a student.

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How do you create community?
Elie and I have dedicated ourselves to the Community Supported Herbalism model so that of course is the first thing that comes to mind. We are focused on providing for and educating our community about seasonal wellness. We are starting a class series called The Seasons of our Cycle which is focused on women’s health, and now we are beginning to collaborate with Sweedeedee (an amazing local cafe) and Magic Hour Astrology to host a seasonal dinner focused on seasonal foods, herbs and the moon cycles. We are really trying to bring the act of self care into different fun, beautiful and inspired events.

What are you most grateful for?
Air, water, love, the opportunity to live fully. All of nature, really just all of it. I’m so grateful for so much, and even more so right now in this particular time in world politics and unrest. I don’t take the life I am able to live for granted at all.

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For more info on Kristen and her private acupuncture practice in Portland visit Nightengale Acupuncture & Herbs.

Hand and herb photos by Cheryl Juetten, and the rest are by Elie Barausky.

homemade coconut butter

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It’s recipe time! Just as we were settling into cooler weather we’re back in hopefully our final heatwave this year. I’ve been working on new fall recipes but it’s just too hot to turn on the oven today so I’m sharing a superfood staple in my pantry – homemade coconut butter. If you already buy this from the store you’re going to love how easy it is to create at home. If this coconut butter stuff is new to you, welcome, it’s AMAZING!

Coconut butter is the blended fleshy part of the coconut. It can be used just like you would use any nut butter, as a spread, in baking, smoothies, sauces and by the spoonful. Blend a heaping spoonful with filtered water and you have a quick coconut milk! Coconut butter is very versatile, slightly sweet and loaded with healthy saturated fat which gives us energy.

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This incredible superfood supports thyroid function, enhances the liver, soothes anxiety and frazzled nerves. Coconut butter also has high amounts of lauric acid which has antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties that boost our immune systems. If want to learn even more facts and improve gut health try my coconut yogurt.

You can make coconut butter in a high speed blender or food processor. I prefer using my Vitamix over the food processor because it’s faster, easier, and produces a smoother texture. Be sure to purchase organic, unsweetened coconut flakes and have some melted coconut oil on hand in case you need to adjust the consistency. I usually add 1-3 tsp. of melted coconut oil to get things moving really well in my Vitamix and like very smooth texture.

Once you have the coconut butter base you can add different ingredients for variety. I love it with ground vanilla and/or cardamom. Cinnamon works well, cacao powder, or even a touch of raw honey. Experiment and see what you like best.

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Homemade Coconut Butter

 

Ingredients //

  • 1 lb. unsweetened coconut flakes
  • Pinch Celtic sea salt
  • A few teaspoons of melted organic coconut oil

 

Method //

  1. Pour the coconut flakes into your blender or processor. Add the salt.
  2. For the Vitamix use the tamper to push the flakes into the blades, this will speed up the process and make sure the flakes get blended. It will take about 1-2 minutes. Add melted coconut oil by the teaspoon if you want it super smooth.
  3. For the food processor scrape down the sides every few minutes to make sure the flakes get blended. It will take about 10-15 minutes. If you need to add some coconut oil to help smooth out the consistency add it by the teaspoon.
  4. Blend or process until you have a creamy consistency.
  5. Pour out and store in airtight glass containers.
  6. Coconut oil will solidify at 77 degrees. In the cooler months place the jar of coconut butter in a bowl of hot water and let it soften.
  7. It will keep for a couple of months, if it lasts that long! Does not need to be stored in the fridge.

 

What are your favorite uses for coconut butter? I’d love to know!

xoa

end of summer fig smoothie

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Happy Sunday friends! I hope you are having a lovely weekend. We’ve been eating loads of figs from the market even though summer is officially over. I’ve been happy to find the most beautiful figs and enjoy eating them plain or on a bowl of chia pudding. To spice things up I decided to create a smoothie out of them and omg, SO GOOD! Can’t wait for you to try for yourself.

Figs are one of the oldest cultivated plants. They are often thought of as a fruit but botanically they are flowers. The inside of the fig is where the flower blossoms, pretty cool right? Figs are one of the highest plant sources of calcium. Figs are loaded with antioxidants and fiber. They are one of my favorite prenatal and pregnancy foods to recommend as well.

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Traditional Chinese medicine views figs as having a neutral temperature and as one of the most alkalizing foods. Alkaline foods help balance acidity which is common in diets that rely on processed foods and lots of meat. Figs are great for treating constipation because of their high mucin content and work well to clear coughs and sore throats.

In Ayurveda figs are cooling and sweet. They are a wonderful source of iron and help keep our blood strong. Ayurveda maintains that if you have low digestive fire (agni) you should avoid figs, especially with dairy.

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To really get that amazing fig flavor I used a combination of dried and fresh figs. Soak dried figs for 10-15 minutes in just enough water to cover to make for smoother blending. If you don’t have access to raw, ground vanilla, scrape out seeds from a vanilla bean! You’re going to want serious vanilla flavor in this, trust me!

I threw in a cardamom pod and a pinch of saffron threads to bump up the earthy flavors. A little saffron goes a long way so stick to a pinch ;) This smoothie is a favorite afternoon pick-me-up.

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End of Summer Fig Smoothie

serves 2

 

Ingredients //

  • 1 c. fresh almond milk
  • 3 large dried figs
  • 3 large fresh figs
  • 1/4 tsp. ground vanilla
  • 1 cardamom pod (or 1/8 tsp. ground)
  • 1 pinch cinnamon
  • 1 pinch Celtic sea salt
  • 1 pinch saffron threads

 

Method  //

  1. Add the almond milk and dried figs to a high speed blender. Process until smooth.
  2. Blend the remaining ingredients and blend  until creamy.
  3. Pour into glasses and enjoy!

 

This smoothie will keep for 2 days in the fridge when stored in a glass, airtight container.

xoa

tune in and reflect // first day of fall

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Fall has officially arrived! The equinox took place last night and I am grateful for the transition into one of my most beloved seasons. This time of year always carries a particular excitement about what’s to come. In my school days I remember that feeling of anticipation of the first day back at school. I loved heading back into classes and how fun it was to see how everyone changed over the summer. Even though the seasonal shift felt fast, fall has always been about tuning in and self-reflection.

Living in Los Angeles has required me to tap into a new level of awareness about my surroundings. I’ve become more sensitive to the subtle changes in seasons here that are quite different from other cities I have lived in. During autumn I like to take short trips out of the city to experience trees changing in the way they did where I grew up. Seeing all the shades of orange and red as the leaves turn takes my breath away. I love my neighborhood so much but I miss those epic fall scenes a great deal. The beauty of southern California is that I don’t have to drive too far to get my fill of changing leaves.

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To welcome in the autumn season I spent Sunday with Jason at a beautiful beach just north of Ventura. We looked for shells, watched the surfers, and laughed out loud every time a flock of these teeny white birds scurried by. Their legs looked like the lightest, tiniest sticks I had ever seen. The leaves haven’t begun to change much up there and I wanted to get my feet in the ocean as a reminder that we can always reset and start over.

Fall is the season of abundance and is a wonderful time to practice giving thanks. I took many moments to breathe in the ocean air and give silent thank-yous for all that I have in my life. If you haven’t done so this week, take a few moments to jot down what you are grateful for. Gratitude is such a healing practice and can often help us stay present and joyful. It’s also important to thank Mother Earth for all she gives us on a daily basis. Last night one of my teachers commented on how grateful he was to have as much clean drinking water as he wishes each day. I feel the same. Being appreciative of clean drinking water is one of the ways I ground myself in nature.

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fall5 This time of year can be very busy for us and it’s essential that we practice cultivating balance. It can be easy to get swept away in our daily activities. We need to carve out time for self-care. I find the busier I am the more self-care I need. Thinking I am too busy to meditate, write, or prepare a nourishing meal, are all signals that I need to step up in those areas. Fall is a wonderful season to really tune into ourselves, work with the changing energy of the season, and take some of our focus inward.

Spending more time with myself is one of the ways I honor the autumn season. As the days get shorter it feels natural to go home earlier, read more books, and journal about the past year. With a few months left in 2014 now is a great time to finish up projects and get clear on what we want to manifest in the coming months. Reflection is also a huge part of my self-care. I’m not talking about looking at every little thing that went wrong this year, it’s more expansive than that. Taking inventory of how I lived in alignment with my dreams and values and paying attention to the areas that need more attention and love is the name of the game.

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Now is an ideal time to share with loved ones how we want to engage with the rest of the year and make it a point to move in that direction. Since we are in the season of abundance and a new moon is right around the corner, we have loads of support on many levels.

How do you plan to take care of yourself this season? What are some of your desires for the rest of the year and how can you follow through on them? In what ways are you connecting with nature and giving thanks for all that you have?

Wishing you a beautiful and restorative fall.

xoa

healing broth

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Good morning friends! I’ve been up in Ventura this weekend to relax and rest. I am so grateful Jason’s family has a nice place up here by the ocean where we can slow down and unwind. It’s amazing what a couple of days away from bustling Los Angeles can do for my energy, health, and over all outlook on life!

I got up early to cruise around the Ojai farmers market while Jason worked with a patient. The drive from the house to Ojai is so beautiful and the air always smells sweet. I hit up my favorite stands for leafy greens, herbs, fruits, and veggies. The Ojai market is hands down one of my favorites. It’s small but everything is local and the farmers are so cool. I love being able to talk for twenty minutes for someone about purslane!

For the last eleven days Jason and I have been on a pretty intense cleanse. To keep our electrolytes and mineral levels in balance and stay hydrated, I’ve been making some version of this healing broth for us to drink throughout the day. It really makes a huge difference in how we feel and I wanted to share the recipe with you. The healing broth can be consumed warm like a tea or you can use it as a base for soups or to cook beans/grains in.

Healing broth helps to alkalize our bodies and provides key nutrients that we need to detoxify and restore our bodies. As we begin transitioning into fall, drinking a small portion (1/2-1 c. is all that is needed) of broth daily is a great way to keep our immune systems strong. At the first sign of a cold drink as much of this as you can and take a ginger detox bath. These two home remedies never let me down! I cook a very large quantity so it will last a long time. I figure if I’m going through the process of making it, might as well have it last!

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I like to use a wide range of plants in this broth to give it layered flavor and as many nutrients as possible. Not all broths are created equal and this one is truly therapeutic. I love using medicinal mushrooms in broths for their adaptogenic compounds and immune strengthening capabilities. Fresh ginger and turmeric are a staple in my fall and winter soups to bring down inflammation and keep digestive fire strong. Using a combination of root vegetables gives the broth a sweet flavor and when paired with the kombu (a seaweed) makes this a mineral power broth.

I use a large quantity of ingredients than most recipes out there to ensure this broth has grounding and restorative properties. If you have a crockpot that is large enough that works great. You can also cut the recipe in half for a smaller slow cooker. The longer the broth cooks the richer it will become. Like most good broths, the flavor gets better with time and I don’t even use salt with this one! If you want to use salt, I suggest adding it at the end to individual servings. A small squeeze of lemon juice is wonderful right before consuming as well for brightness and intensify the flavors. My healing broth is so calming and I can’t wait for you to feel the benefits for yourself!

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Healing Broth

makes about 6 quarts

 

Ingredients //

  • 1 small celery root with stalks
  • 1 medium fennel with stalks
  • 1 rutabaga
  • 1 medium purple onion
  • 4 small new potatoes
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 large leek
  • 1 medium daikon with leaves
  • 4 large leaves of curly kale
  • 3 small zucchini
  • 10 cloves garlic
  • 6 inch piece of ginger
  • 6 inch piece of turmeric
  • 1 bunch flat leaf parsley
  • 1 large dried maitake mushroom
  • 1 handful dried shitake mushrooms
  • 1, 6 inch strip of kombu
  • 5 springs fresh thyme
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 10 juniper berries
  • 3 tsp. coriander seeds
  • 24 c. water

 

Method //

  1. Prep all the vegetables! Wash the fresh vegetables well. Cut the celery root, fennel, rutabaga, and onion into chunks and add to a large stock pot. Rough chop the carrots, leek, daikon, kale, and zucchini. Add them to the pot.
  2. Peel and smash the garlic and add it.  Slice the ginger and turmeric lengthwise and combine the rest of the ingredients into the pot. Fill with 24 c. of water and bring to a boil.
  3. Once boiling, cover and reduce heat to low.
  4. Simmer for at least 2 hours.
  5. Strain the broth and let cool to room temperature before storing. Strained ingredients can go right into the compost.
  6. Keep in glass containers in the fridge for up to a week and appropriate containers in the freezer for 3-4 months.

 

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Here’s to drinking to our health this season! Enjoy!

xoa

Inspired Living: Erin Scott

ErinScott15 For a long time I’ve wanted to start an interview series on my blog. I am so happy that it’s finally happening! I love learning how women take care of themselves, create meaning, grow through challenges, and show up in their communities. The Inspired Living series comes from my desire to connect around what’s really important in our lives with the people I admire.

The women I feature will be family members, friends, and women I’ve worked with or dream of meeting one day. My wish is that these incredible souls will touch your life as well and that you will find wisdom in what they have to offer.

To kick off this series I am thrilled to share an interview with my dear cousin Erin Scott, creator of the gorgeous blog Yummy Supper. Erin is an amazing author, home cook, and photographer based in Berkeley, California. She creates beautiful, seasonal recipes that are accessible and fun to make.

Last month Erin’s first cookbook was published and everyone that I recommended it to is raving about it! She’s got a genuine spirit that comes through so clearly in our interview. I can’t wait for you to get to know her!

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How do you take care of yourself?
I try to take a walk every day. I’ve never been someone who has craved exercise per se, but a daily walk is good medicine for me in so many ways – from clearing my mind, to restoring my often-achy shoulders, to reminding me to breathe deeply. Plus walking around my neighborhood keeps me connected with the seasons and I get a little thrill watching nature’s magnificent show, like that first burst of cherry blossoms in spring time or the yellowing gingko leaves in fall. There’s so much beauty out there.

Name a favorite seasonal meal.
Oh it’s so hard to choose just one! Whatever season I’m in, that’s the one I’m in love with, those are the foods that call to me. It’s starting to feel a little cool and fall-like here in Berkeley, so my cravings are autumnal this morning. I can’t wait for Warren Pears to come into season – I like serving the juicy beauties with Stilton, Honeycomb, and Smokey Pecans. I’m not sure that counts as a meal – but I could easily dig into a platter like that for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Parmesan Polenta with Garlicky Rapini and Black Olives is also sounding really good right now – that creamy, comforting polenta goes so well with a zesty pile of rapini. You can even toss a poached egg on top, if you’re so inclined. Yum!

Best advice you’ve ever taken.
Don’t hold back. When I was about 6 months into my blog, I was so excited and inspired, but I had no idea that this hobby would lead me into a new career. I had outgrown the point-and-shoot camera I’d been using and I knew I needed a new camera. I was afraid to spend money on my hobby, as that felt too self-indulgent and decadent. A wise friend said, “Erin, don’t hold back. Really let yourself go for it and see where it takes you.” I was scared to invest in myself in that way, but I didn’t hold back, and now 5 years later, I’ve used that camera to shoot 3 cookbooks, including my own!

ErinScott9 Share a couple of your heroes and why the mean so much to you.
My mom. Really, my mom was the one to introduce me to the pleasures of real, healthy food. Back in the 70s when I was a kid, mom shopped at the coop in Seattle and always made sure to feed me really well. She was committed to organic well before the days of Whole Foods. There was no white bread or sugary cereals in our kitchen. Mom made foods lovingly from-scratch and when she could, she grew her own food: first in a little community garden in the city, and eventually she built an incredible one acre organic vegetable garden in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas. Mom never sacrificed taste for health – she’s always been a passionate eater and her food is delicious! I grew up cooking alongside my mom, licking my fingers and enjoying the whole experience.

Alice Waters. She is incredible. I have so much respect for Alice and all she’s done to support organic farming, healthy eating, and edible education. First, she created Chez Panisse, a magical restaurant (and my favorite place to eat on this planet), which is infused with deliciousness, beauty and warmth. Second, she has written cookbooks that have changed my life. If you don’t own Chez Panisse Vegetables, run and get it now. It’s brilliant – simple, seasonal and so so good. Third, instead of selling out and marketing her name to the food industry, Alice started the Edible Schoolyard Project, where she has devoted her time and effort to educating kids (and families) about where food comes from and how to turn that food into a nourishing meal. Her advocacy work is tireless and endlessly inspiring to me.

ErinScott4

How do you connect to nature?
5 years ago we tore out our back lawn and filled our little backyard with veggies, herbs and fruit trees. It’s a small space, but it’s so packed with beauty, deliciousness and life! Whenever I can I love to be out there, even just to snip some fresh herbs. Our kitchen overlooks the garden, so when I’m cooking I can watch the birds picking up little tufts of dry grass for their nests, the occasional hummingbird pausing at the lavender patch, or the squirrels enjoying a fig or two from our massive tree. The garden always makes me smile.

I do like to get further out into nature with my family. We are all beach people and try to get our dose of the ocean whenever we can. My mom lives in a sleepy beach town north of SF and that’s one of our favorite spots. We also have friends who live in Santa Barbara and we get some really good beach time there too. I recently tried paddle boarding for the first time and I think I’m hooked! Being able to be out in the ocean without much gear, just enjoying the experience… I can’t wait to do it again!

ErinScott3 What motivates you to create?
Honestly, sometimes I’m really unmotivated. Right now for example. It took so much creative juice for me to create my cookbook – from the recipes to the writing to the cooking to the photography. It was an incredible experience and I put everything I had into that project. Now, I find myself a little tired, a little spent. I know once this whirlwind of the book tour is over, I’ll need to find quiet time, time to rest and refuel. I know I’ll need to find enough quiet space so my natural desire to create can find room to play, to explore and dabble without pressure. Some people are motivated to create when they have a deadline, but I’m the opposite. I need room to be slow, to make mistakes, to explore without expectation.

Where do you find inspiration?
In our little garden, at the farmers’ market, in nature.

ErinScott13 How do you continue to evolve and grow as a person?
Since hitting my 40th birthday, I see more and more just how little I know, and how much more learning and growing there is to do in all areas of my life! Once I got over the notion that I had to have everything figured out (something I believed in my teens, 20s and 30s), I started to really have fun, and out of that fun has come all sorts of rewarding work that I never expected.

I think the potential for evolving comes from letting go, but also from a curiosity to learn and grow. I try to be open to new things, to surrender to the things I have no control over (I guess that would be most things, right?), and to fully embrace the scary and wonderful unknown.

What are you committed to?
Loving up my family and friends, and do doing work that brings joy, beauty and deliciousness into other people’s lives.

ErinScott11 List a few books that changed your life.
Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse Vegetables, Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ One Hundred Years of Solitude, Patti Smith’s Just Kids, and Frances Hodgson’s The Secret Garden.

What are you most grateful for?
My kiddos, my husband Paul, my larger family, and friends. For finding work I love. I’m grateful for it all!

 

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Isn’t Erin wonderful?! Be sure to check out her recipes below and her colorful Instagram account! xo

Recipes for the photos I used in this post (from top to bottom):

Quick Homemade Ricotta + Lemony Garden Pasta

Quinoa + Kale Patties

Phyllis’s Raw Asparagus + Fennel Salad

Autumn Breakfast Porridge

A Salad For The Edible Schoolyard

A Simple Zuni Dessert

my food journey

goodfood

For starters I’m not vegan. Phew! Now that I got that out of the way I’m pretty much done with this post right?! Kidding! Trying to crack a joke because to be honest I am a little uncomfortable writing this. There is so much going on in the media right now around veganism. I felt it was important to share my experiences and professional opinions with you. I often get asked many questions about what I eat and also figured it was about time for this type of post. With the exception of honey all of the recipes I’ve shared here are whole food and vegan. That is going to begin to shift a little here and there. I wanted to address it upfront before I just throw in a recipe with eggs or ghee and you’re like wait, what?!

I want thank you for the support over the last 2.5 years. It’s truly been incredible. I’ve grown a great deal since the blog started and my life has blossomed in amazing ways. When I began this blog I was living in a motel on the Pacific Coast Highway in a tiny town in Northern California. I wasn’t exactly sure where I was headed when I finished the plant-based culinary program I was in. When a friend reached out and said she had a place for me in Los Angeles I figured that was a good city to begin the next chapter of my life. Looking back I am aware that nothing happens by mistake, this is totally where I am supposed to be right now.

Before I dive into my food journey I need to say that food choices are intensely personal and political. They are steeped in our different cultures and family values. Writing about food and having access to the kinds of fresh foods and medicinal herbs that I do is a huge privilege. I have always recognized and been very grateful for that. I am sensitive to the reality that not everyone gets to go the organic farmers market or spend time debating what they are going to have for dinner. It is a luxury.

Coming from this place of reverence for my life and the way I get to live it has always kept me from being preachy about food. I’ve also had health issues over the years that have been healed by foods and herbs, some of which people in the vegan community would frown upon. My goal is to create an inclusive community around nourishment and making conscious choices about what and how we eat. I’ve had the privilege of working with many people over these last years and none of them were alike. There are similarities and threads that connect us together, but we all have different nutritional requirements that are based on many factors.

I refrain from judging peoples food choices in life and on the blog because it isn’t helpful for anyone. I’m much less interested in labeling myself vegan or paleo or anything like that. I am much more interested in the feelings that come up for us around food and how we take care of ourselves through conscious eating, but you knew that already ;)

I often tell my clients that what we eat is just as important (in some ways more so) as how and why we eat. Eating a specific way doesn’t equate to wellness. Feeding ourselves is the most basic form of self-care and in my experience and practice that is an area in many of us that needs some deep healing. Learning to take care of ourselves by consuming local organic produce is incredible. Healing our bodies with small amounts of ghee can be equally as valid and deeply healing. There isn’t a right way and I like to remain open to the truth that wellness is non-linear and ever changing.

Ultimately you don’t even need to read the rest of this post. I mean of course I want you to as I’ve been working on it for what seems like for ever, but really this big topic of eating animals boils down to learning to listen to our bodies and live in alignment with the universe. When I’m living in agreement with my purpose and feeling connected to the planet I want to eat in a way that supports my community, the earth and all sentient beings as often as possible.

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Nearly five years ago I stopped consuming animal products, gluten, refined sugar (yes even honey and maple syrup) and processed foods. Even though I wasn’t eating animals, calling myself vegan felt weird because I wore leather and to be honest was never much of an activist. I stopped eating those foods because I was constantly sick and I hoped changing my diet would help.

From the time I was in high school until my late 20’s I had major problems with sinus infections and digestion. I had taken loads of antibiotics over the years but never found a solution. As I got older my sinus problems got worse. I was also chronically fatigued from overworking myself and generally felt some sort of ill feeling the majority of the time. In 2009, after my sixth sinus infection that year I made my first appointment to see a Naturopath.

My boyfriend at the time knew a lot about holistic health and all sorts of stuff that was new to me. He told me the Naturopath would ask about my diet and my poop and that is pretty much what happened during our first session. After my appointment I bought a book about cleansing at the recommendation of a friend. I trusted her and went for it. That 21 day cleanse changed my life.

What I loved most about that cleanse was that it was food-based, holistic, and didn’t ask me to give up too many things. For me it was the refined, processed breads and loads of cheese that was hard. That cleanse is not vegan but I decided to make my 21 days vegan just to see what that was like. I’d had a fantasy about not eating animals and thought this was a good time to try it out.

About 10 days in I experienced a terrible healing crisis. A healing crisis is basically a deep detox with uncomfortable symptoms. If I knew then what I know today I would have done things much differently but I’m glad I went through all of that. After the 21 days I felt the best that I had in years. I decided I was done with the refined grain products, sugar, and animal products and never really looked back.

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Shortly after adopting this new way of eating I spent over half a year living in Berlin, Germany. At the time there wasn’t much happening in way of plant-based, local food but I knew how to cook so I got really into hanging out at the local markets, chatting with the few organic farmers and spending time eating in a way that was quite new to me.  I cooked about 90% of all my food while overseas. I started my first blog about self-love and began seeing the deep connections between food, nourishment, and self-care.

Up until that summer my life moved pretty fast. My time in Berlin was slow. I had few obligations and spent most of my days practicing yoga, hanging with friends, and making simple, healthy plant-based meals. I felt lighter and happier than I had in ages. I practiced yoga six days a week, a very rigorous practice that made me feel balanced, strong and more emotionally open than I can ever remember being.

I was so happy and at peace during my time in Berlin that it was rare that I ate my feelings. I also didn’t eat on the go or in the car and made it a real point to enjoy my meals at the table, outside, or with friends. Eating in this way made me see how I often ate out of sadness back home or ate in a rush. It’s hard to enjoy food and truly nourish yourself when you’re in a hurry or stuffing yourself to the point you are beyond full to not feel uncomfortable emotions.

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Flash forward a year and I’m in Puerto Rico for a few weeks at the Ann Wigmore Institute experiencing a very intense cleanse. I was there participating in their certification program and to say my experience was life changing would be an understatement. I happened to be there at a very special time when the institute was quiet and our group was very small. During my time there I learned more about my digestion than I ever imagined possible and how to prepare the cleanest, most nutrient rich healing raw and fermented foods. It was such a gift to learn from the teachers. I cherish my time there so much. It’s where I learned how to grow wheat grass, what the setiva plant looked like and how to guide others through safe cleanses. I owe a great deal to this magical place.

When I came back from Puerto Rico I decided to leave Portland to attend a plant-based culinary school and enroll in a holistic nutrition course. I had been on so many adventures since I changed my diet and lifestyle and I was passionate about learning more and sharing what I learned with others.

The little tumblr blog I started gained some traction and people started to email me about their health. People who had known me back in my Tuna Helper (not even kidding) and cigarette (crazy right?) days were amazed that I was preparing all of this colorful food and writing about how taking care of myself was a huge priority in my life. They wanted to know how, why, and if I could help them.

Without even labeling what I was doing or charging for it I became a nutrition and wellness coach. By the time I finished culinary school and moved to L.A. life was in full swing. I set out to work as a personal chef. That lasted all of six months as it wasn’t for me but I learned a ton and met some interesting people along the way. I also saw firsthand how little attention people paid to how they eat. I can talk for hours about the healing properties of such and such food but lately I’m more interested in the how and why pieces. How do we incorporate healing foods into our lives? What gets in the way of us being able to nourish our bodies?

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Shortly after moving to L.A. I started working with a Naturopath to help balance my hormones. Before moving here I was diagnosed with PCOS. I later learned this is a common diagnosis for women who took birth control pills for years and consumed large quantities of sugar and refined grains growing up. I read so many books and tried vegan diets for hormone balancing but in my case it was not successful.

My period had been gone for months, I had painful cystic acne on my face and was really afraid of what was happening. I tried a number of other alternative healing modalities and nothing helped. A few months before moving to L.A. I started taking western medication for PCOS because I was in so much pain and wanted relief. When my Naturopath suggested a non-vegan supplement to not just mask my symptoms but heal my body I said I’d try it. In weighing the balance of western drugs or herbs and an animal-based supplement, I went the natural route.

I’ve struggled for years with the moral dilemma of consuming animals and foods made from animals. Making the decision to take this supplement weighed heavy on my heart but it was so much better for my body than the synthetic drugs. The medication I took for the PCOS depleted my vitamin and mineral levels and gave me the most intense sugar cravings I ever had. Coming off of the medication, healing myself with herbs, supplements and foods was the second time in my life my body responded well to natural treatment. It was nothing short of a miracle to me.

Getting the PCOS diagnosis was really hard for me. Sitting in a doctors office discussing the possibility of freezing my eggs at thirty-one was a really hard conversation to have. At the time I had no idea if I wanted kids and couldn’t believe I was having to even think about this stuff. Coming to terms with re-introducing animals into my diet after years of not eating them was something I thought about, meditated on, and wrote about at length.

Today my hormones are in much better shape. I feel healthy and strong. I have an immense gratitude for Mother Nature and all of the ways she feeds and nourishes me. I bring so much awareness, gratitude, and mindfulness into my food choices. I spend lots of time connecting to Mother Earth and believe it has a huge impact on what I eat and how I live. And the icing on the cake, my cysts are gone and have regular periods!

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The power we have to inspire and influence the people around us is not lost on me. Through every step of this journey I have seen the impact of simply showing up with a delicious home cooked meal. Sure it was challenging in the beginning, especially while traveling, but not impossible. Living in Europe after changing my eating habits in such major ways was a really good test. It also gave me a new found appreciation for the abundance of fresh food that is in my life on a daily basis.

My food journey has shown me that healing is a process and that our bodies know what is best for us. It can take time and work to connect to them and learn the subtle (and often not so subtle) signals they send. The more we practice the more fluid it becomes. We live in such a fascinating time. We can find books and research on every diet that proves why that one is the best. Ultimately though we have to do the footwork and soul searching ourselves. We must learn to hone and trust our intuition, be brave and willing to take care of ourselves no matter what.

So what do I eat? Mostly plants. Loads of them. I love to sprout and ferment because it helps my digestion and it’s super fun to watch things grow. I love medicinal herbs and enjoy talking to the farmers at the market. Occasionally I eat eggs, grass fed raw butter and meat and sometimes fish. Eating locally is important to me though I also eat select foods from around the world. I steer clear of refined sugar and every once in a while savor a delicious artisan bread. Above all its about balance and nourishment. I pay attention to the signals my body sends and I feed it accordingly.

Over the last six years I have developed a relationship with nourishment that I never imagined possible. Everyday I prepare a meal I say thank you to everyone and everything that came together to make it possible. So much has to happen to get food on my plate and I could (and have) meditated on that for hours. Food is energy and we can work with its energy to create health in ourselves and each other. The more I infuse my meals with intention and love the more my heart, mind, and body come into balance.

I try to eat at least one meal in silence everyday. Eating without distractions is a meditation for me and has been one of the most powerful practices in my life over the last years. I also share meals with loved ones as often as possible. When we eat in community and give in that way we restore our bodies and each other. Food has the ability to bring us together so that we can heal and enjoy life as one.

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Thank you for taking the time to read my post and be part of my journey. The amount of gratitude and love I have for all of you is endless. Wishing you well at whatever stage of your journey you are in right now. Know that you have support and don’t have to do this alone.

xoa