Light My Fire

"This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine" was one of the many, potent take home messages shared by the 32 participants this weekend at a three night four day yoga and ayurveda retreat we shared together at Cedar Ridge. Coming home, I feel inspired, clear, peaceful and scrumptiously exhausted, and I am gratefully reminded of the importance of keeping one's internal light bright so we are able to peacefully and blissfully walk this path.

At this crucial time on the planet, awakening and purifying the internal fire within each of us is of utmost importance to navigate the cultural and global challenges we are facing. Our world is undergoing unique shifts that require each of us to do our part to balance and nourish the antikarna, or inner instrument.

Loving, earthen food, coupled with a balanced life and regulated practice are both foundational and nourishing for this sacred journey.

Here are three prana-rich recipes to balance the palette and awaken the digestive Agni!

GRANOLA MUFFINS

1 1/2 cups whole grain flour (spelt, kamut, etc)
1 cup granola of your choice (be sure to note sweetener used in granola and opt for an unrefined sugar, honey or fructose as best choices)
1/4 cup sugar (brown, demerrara, or sucanat are best)
3 tsp non-alum baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
3/4 cup prunes
1/4 cup ground flax
1/2 cup warm water
3 Tbsp each molasses and honey
1/4 cup oil (sunflower, sesame or walnut are great choices)
1 cup milk (almond, rice or soy)
1 tsp vanilla

Begin by chopping the prunes into raisin-sized bits, then soak in a bowl with boiling water just to cover. Preheat oven to 400F. In a large bowl combine the flour, granola, sugar, baking powder, salt and spices. In a small bowl whisk together the flax and warm water, letting it get gloopy for a minute. Then add the molasses, honey, oil, milk and vanilla. Strain the prunes (drink the juice if you're so inclined) and stir into the flour mixture. Pour in the liquid mixture and stir until just moistened. Spoon into a lightly oiled muffin tin. Bake for 20 minutes at 400F, then lower heat to 350F and bake 5 to 10 minutes longer (test with a knife inserted, if it comes out clean they are ready). Makes 1 dozen muffins.

CHICKPEA & ARTICHOKE STEW

4 cups water or veg stock
2 medium onions, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 garlic cloves, minced or chopped*
2 tbsp olive oil*
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp sweet paprika*
4 medium red or white potatoes, cut into 1/2" cubes (about 4 cups)
1 sprig fresh rosemary (1 tsp ground dried)*
5 leaves fresh sage, minced (1/2 tsp dried)*
1/2 cup pureed winter squash or sweet potatoes
3 cups drained cooked chickpeas (two 15-oz cans)*
1 1/2 cups drained quartered artichoke hearts (14-oz can, in water)*
sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
lemon wedges and grated pecorino or parmesan cheese to garnish (optional)
(You may also choose some fresh chopped cilantro for garnish)

In a soup pot, bring the water or stock to a simmer. While the water heats, saute the onions and garlic in the oil (using a separate pot) for about 8 minutes, until soft. Stir the turmeric and paprika into the onions and saute for a minute. Add the potatoes, rosemary, sage and the simmering water or stock. Cook for about 12 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Stir in the pureed squash or sweet potatoes, and add the drained chick peas and artichoke hearts. Remove the rosemary sprig, add salt and pepper to taste, and return to a simmer.

Serve with lemon wedges and top with grated Romano or Parmesan cheese

LEMON TAHINI DRESSING

1/2 cup tahini
1/2 water
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1-2 garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Whirl it all up in a blender and serve on your favorite vegetables, raw or cooked.

Eating is our first and ever-revolving interaction with the environment outside of our selves: If the choices surrounding nourishment are based upon love and harmony, our bodies, our lives, and the impact we have on the world around us, will purely, and clearly reflect just that. ~David Frawley

Namaste and Bon Appetit!