Eat Dessert First

Oh, Baby. 

I am not one of those who usually dies for chocolate.  I like it alright.  But I wouldn't tackle someone for a taste.


But these?  These rock my little world. 

Originally, they were a no bake brownie recipe from Julie Morris.  (Google her to watch her in action making magic).  I tweaked them a bit, and made them into balls for easy consumption, and also to hide them in my pocket more readily (did I say that out loud?) 

Anyway, here's the recipe: 

1 cup raw walnuts

8-10 pitted medjool dates

1/2 cup powdered cacao

1 T. ghee or coconut oil

pinch of sea salt

raw cacao nibs


Super simple, super food:  In a food processor, chop the walnuts until they make a course walnut flour.  With the food processor on, slowly add the pitted dates. Then add the powdered cacao and the salt.  The mixture should hold together when you pinch it in your hands -- if it doesn't add either a little more ghee, coconut oil, or water.  

Roll them into balls, then roll them in more cacao and/or raw cacao nibs.  You can make the outsides even more scrumptious by rolling them in gogi berries, ginger flakes, coconut flakes, or add a little cinnamon or fennel powder to the cacao before rolling. 

My favorite part about these is that they are loaded with anti-oxidants and micronutrients, taste like dessert and can be eaten for breakfast.   







Hanker for a Hunk of Chocolate


I tend to be one of those slightly odd individuals who does not gravitate toward chocolate.  Strange, I know. However, amidst my embarkment upon a significant cleanse the day after Thanksgiving, I have been hankering for something sweet, and due to the health benefits of dark chocolate and my limited choices otherwise, chocolate it is.  

For the record, since the day after Thanksgiving, my diet has consisted of a whole food vegan mash of sort:  a.k.a. no wheat, dairy, alcohol, caffeine, soy, sugar, tomatoes, or animal products, to hit the big ones).  I am also taking some supportive supplements.

Oh, and now?  Chocolate.  I am pleased to say I am taking chocolate.

So, I will start at the beginning.

This morning I was on the website for the cleanse I am doing and came across an afforded dessert via  It looked tasty, and... as my norm, I fiddled with the recipe a fair amount and couldn't exactly tell you what the original would taste like. However, the one I made was absolutely phenomenal.  I recommend it to anyone who is interested in a sweet little spot.  I would bet my life that even those of you allergic to cleansing would enjoy it immensely.


 Here it is:

First, a quote from our sponsor (the doc whose website originally posted the recipe):

"A healthier version of Reese peanut butter cups, these chocolate cashew butter cups deliver plenty of heart-healthy flavonoids and healthy protein. If cashew butter isn't your thing, feel free to substitute with your preferred nut butter - almond butter and organic peanut butter work just as well, though both are less naturally sweet than cashew butter, so you may want to add a little more honey to the filling."

- Ben Kim



You will need mini baking papers (about 1/4 the size of a standard muffin paper), and a round, metal pan to place them in for freezing.



Chocolate Ingredients:

1/2 cup cacao powder (we had some our friend, Lelir, grows, harvests, roasts, and processes on her land in Bali)
1/4 cup rice syrup (a natural, low glycemic sweetener)
1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)
1/8 teaspoon organic almond extract
1/4 teaspoon organic vanilla extract

Filling Ingredients:

1/2 cup cashew butter
1+ tablespoon cacao nibs (optional, but ohh so necessary for the crunch)
1 tablespoon rice syrup
Dash of fresh ground Himalayan pink salt, to taste (... remember how those Reese PB cups tasted with a little salt in the peanut butter part?)


1. Combine the chocolate ingredients above. Mix well.

2. Use a spoon to spread this mixture on the bottom of each mini baking paper.  Your chocolate should be about 1/4+ inch thick and fill approximately 18 papers. You may use all of the chocolate.  (Note:  Melting the coconut oil in a pan of hot tap water will allow the chocolate to be thin enough to spread flat in each paper.)

3. Put these prepared liners in the round, metal pan (to help each cup maintain its shape) and place in the freezer. (I used a 10x10 round cake pan and 18 fit in it perfectly.)

4. While the cups are setting in the freezer, combine the filling ingredients, again mixing well.

5. Once your filling is ready, take the muffin pan out of the freezer and fill each cup with the cashew filling, spreading evenly among the quantity of papers.  Note:  I found that the filling ingredients to be a bit stiff, therefore I opted to dip my finger in remaining liquid coconut oil and spread the filling around on top of the chilled chocolate.  Works great!)

6. Place the cups back in the freezer for 10-30 minutes.

7. Peel the cupcake liners off and enjoy!

 Seven Chakras... Seven steps to NIRVANA!

Caution:  Don't eat too many... there is nothin like a whole food, vegan, macrobiotic food coma.  I should know.

A bit more seriously:  Ayuredically, this dessert is great if you are looking for a little energy boost in a way that does not vitiate vata.  It is sweet, salty, and nourishing to the dhatus (tissues), and is a great snack for the new or full moon, or for women during menses... OR just a great pick-me-up coupled with a chai (Search this site for a complementary chai recipe over to the right side of this blog window.)



Enjoy Nirvana!!!! 






Winter Inspired Tummy Luvin' Goodness

I write this on a full tummy, so I do hope my food coma doesn't affect my ability to communicate.

This morning, a student, fellow yogini, karma yogini and all around sweet Devi (goddess).... sent me a recipe, referring to it as "my recipe for today" because SHE planned to make it today.  I decided to steal it, and modify it drastically, considering we are sort of "stranded" in the snow out in Vernonia.  The driveway as I am leaving the YogaFarm... it just stopped snowing.I made sure to integrate the six ayuvedic tastes, and a good dose of healthy fat to keep nice and warm.  This recipe is generally tri-doshic, balancing for any one of us, especially particularly during the winter months. The six tastes* are sweet, salty, astringent, bitter, sour, and pungent.  They all made it into the modification of this recipe, and my tummy and entire body are grateful for it!

Doing my best with what was in my stranded kitchen, here's what I came up with.... close but quite different than the original recipe (as all good meals tend to be in my house)...

I must say, I outdid myself in the kitchari department.


Slow Cooker Kitchari, Greens,  & Cardomom Applesance 

You can make this recipe using your slow cooker on either the low or high setting. This recipe will cook quickly on high so be ready to come back to it after 3 hours. It will take about 6 1/2 hours on low. 

1 1/2 cups sprouted rice and quinoa blend (you can use any variety of brown, red, or wild rice and quinoa--it's a great way to blend and use up small amounts of grain)

1 cup dry french lentil beans (mung beans would be ideal, but french lentils were all I had and worked great)

 1 teaspoon ground garam masala

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon lemon rind

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon dried ginger (or 2 teaspoons fresh grated)

6 cups filtered water

1 can organic coconut milk (full fat for the vata or pitta type, low fat for kapha)

1 teaspoon sea salt

Place the grains, legumes, ground garam masala, turmeric, ginger, and water into a 3-quart crockpot. Cover and cook on high for 3 hours or on low for 6 1/2 hours. After the grains and legumes are cooked, stir in coconut milk and salt. Be sure to stir in any additional ingredients about 30 minutes before the end of cooking time. Turn off heat.

Carmelized Onions:

Heat a 10 or 11-inch cast iron or stainless steel skillet over medium heat. Add the oil, then add onions and salt. Saute for approximately 40 minutes. Turn the heat down as they cook so they don't burn. By the end of cooking I am using low heat.  Place them atop or beside each serving. Add a good sized serving of greens (especially for Kapha Dosha). Garnish with cardomom applesauce.


Tonight I happened to have some organic baby spinach and red chard in the fridge.  First I made a quick dressing with olive oil, balsalmic vinegar (oil to vinegar 1:3), a clove of garlic, sea salt and pepper (fresh ground), and 2 medjool dates for sweetness, and blended them all together in my VitaMix (these blenders surpass any I have ever had for use, power and clean-up).  I blended it and then tossed my chopped greens with it.  Simple and very yummy. (By the way, this is my favorite simple dressing.)

homemade cardomom and cinnamon applesauce

This part is super simple:  just cut up about 10 organic apples of your choice, and put them in about 1/4 cup water in a big saucepan, cover, place on low heat... and watch them, stirring occassionally, until they are soft. Add 1/8 teaspoon cardomom, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, cover for another 3-5 minutes.  Transfer to a Vitamix (or megablender of some sort, food processor would also work)... and blend until desired consitency.  I used gala and fuji apples.  You can add about 1 heaping tablespoon on the side of your kitchari. 


*Where are the six ayurvedic tastes in this meal?  

Sweet:  slow cooked whole grains and coconut milk

Pungent:  Black pepper

Sour:  unsweetened applesauce and balsalmic vinegar

Astringent: (this is the "make your tongue dry" sort of flavor) skins of the apples and rind of lemon

Bitter: lemon rind

Salty: sea salt

Serves 4 to 6.

*  Thank you to Lauren Trank for sharing the original recipe, which came from




Sweet for the Season

gluten-free and no refined sugar.... an organic, ayurvedic dessert dreamWhen the rains come and the leaves have all abandoned their branches, I get a craving for something warm and sweet. Ayurvedically, this makes perfect sense. The autumn time is the culmination of Vata:  wind and cool, dry (until the rains soak in).  The body feels this cool, windy season engulf us, and craves warm, sweet, oily foods.  Entering this season consciously, attending to the cravings of the body intuitively, and balancing the doshas can be done simply and deliciously.

Yesterday, after a chilly morning of picking chantrelle mushrooms in the forest, followed by a cold-to-the-bone, windy afternoon... something warm and soothing was indeed in order.

In my freezer, I had a bounty of organic peaches we purchased in the gorge a while back, as well some frozen blueberries, and wild blackberries I had picked and was saving for a perfect dessert.  

On this chilly, windy afternoon, I opted for a crostata -- one of my favorite, easy and elegant desserts.  I also love it because I can spice it up to make it even more ayurvedically delicious, casting a medicinal benefit on what might otherwise merely induce a sugar coma.


Here is the recipe, and I will explain the medicinal and beneficial aspects of it below: 


Ingredients for the pastry:

  • 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill organic rice flour
  • 2 tablespoons raw sugar or maple sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon earth salt
  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) very cold, organic, salted butter diced
  • 2 tablespoons ice water


Ingredients for the filling:

  • 2-3 cups frozen or fresh sliced peaches
  • 1 cup (approximate) organic berries of your choice (I used blackberries and blueberries)
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1/4 cup rice flour
  • 1/4 cup raw sugar or maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon earth salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice 
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) very cold, organic, salted butter diced


For the pastry, place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl and mix loosely with a fork or pastry blender. Add the butter and mix with for, or pastry blender until the butter is the size of peas.  Add the ice water all at once and mix with a fork.  Removed fork, and turn the dough onto a well-floured board (rice flour) and form into a disk. Wrap with plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Flour a rolling pin and roll the pastry (pressing some with the flats of your fingers) into an 11-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Transfer it to a baking sheet, lined with foil or parchment paper.

For the filling, place peaches and berries in a heap on the crust.  With fingers, lightly toss the chunks with the orange zest.  Leave a 1 1/2-inch crust border.

Combine the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice in the bowl and mix loosely.  Add the butter and mix until crumbly with fingers.  Sprinkle evenly on the apples. Gently fold the border over the fruit to enclose the center region, pleating it to make a circle.

Bake the crostata for 25-40 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the fruit looks tender. Allow to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Now for the ayurvedic and medicinal thoughts:

Cinnamon and ginger are very warming... Baked fruits are soothing to vata, as is a slow-baked, sweet, buttery dessert.  If one wanted to make this dairy free, in addition to gluten-free, you could use coconut oil instead of butter.  Using maple syrup and maple sugar (crystalized maple syrup) further addresses high vata for the season (the slow, dripping of sap from a maple tree helps to energetically balance the high winds of fall, one of Vata's most favorite seasons).  In addition, hand-prepared foods, minus food processors, blenders, etc. embue the benefits of energetically connecting to the food through the creation of our hands.  Each time we interact with the ingredients, we are provided an opportunity to infuse the ingredients and the final product with Love.

Conscious preparation and consumption of food rich with Prana is one of the most powerful ways to heal the body and balance the dhatus (tissues).  

Everything is connected. 




Kitchari-Hit the "Body Reset Button" with this Simple Ayurvedic Dish website, is my favorite, and one of the best sources for ayurvedic supplements available in the United States. It is a great source for supplements, information, and deepening your understanding of Ayurveda. The following information is from their site. Enjoy!

In Ayurveda, things that we ingest are divided into three categories:

1. Poison
2. Medicine
3. Neutral

Poison is defined as anything that hinders digestion. Medicine is considered to be anything that we ingest that aids the digestive process. Neutral is anything we ingest that gives support and nourishment without either aiding or hindering the digestive process.

Kitchari is a unique because it falls under both the neutral and medicinal categories. It not only provides nourishment for the body, but, due to its spice combination, also benefits digestion. This makes kitchari an ideal food of choice during times of stress on the body, such as during an illness, periods of overwork or change of seasons. It is also an especially good food to use while on a mono-diet as part of an internal cleansing regime.

There are several variations to a basic kitchari recipe and the one below is basic, easy to start with, and balancing to all three doshas (vata, pitta and kapha). You will find that the ingredients are readily available at most health food stores, including New Seasons, my favorite locally owned and operated whole foods market.

2-3 TBS ghee (clarified butter)
½ tsp black mustard seeds
½ tsp cumin seeds
1 small pinch of asafoetida ("hing") powder (you can leave this out, if you can't find it)
½ cup split yellow mung dal, rinsed well, soaked overnight and drained. (It is best to use mung dal with the hulls still on if you tend toward constipation)---you can also use green mung beans, whole or split.
1 tsp rock salt (Himalyan is best.. it is the pink salt)
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 cup white basmati rice, rinsed well and drained.
6 cups warm water
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
4-5 thin slices of fresh ginger root

In a heavy-bottomed pot, heat the ghee on medium heat. Ghee burns easily, so be careful. Sauté the mustard seeds and cumin seeds in the ghee until the seeds pop. Then add the drained mung dal, asafoetida powder, turmeric and salt. Stir until the mix almost starts to stick to the bottom of the pan. Then add the rice, water, cumin powder, coriander powder and ginger. Stir well, making sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pressure cooker or pot.

Cover and bring it to a boil on high heat. Then turn the heat down and let it simmer until both the rice and dahl are mushy.

You may have to experiment with how much water you use to find a consistency that you like. (The more water, the thinner the consistency). A thinner consistency is preferable if your digestion is weak. You will notice that kitcheri will thicken when it cools and you may need more water than you originally thought.

In order to provide the best quality of energy to your body, Kitcheri should be made the day that you wish to eat it and served hot.

Fresh cilantro (great for pitta - ok for vata and kapha)
Coconut (great for pitta, good for vata, but not so good for kapha)
Lime (ok for everybody; unless pitta is very out of balance)

Enjoy the benefits of hitting your "Body Reset Button" with kitchari.


Walk On the Wild Side I


A couple of weeks back, I had the great opportunity to travel to a house in the country and to take a class on "eatin' in the wild". We harvested all sorts of jewels from the forest floor and made a feast that blew our minds with flavor and culinary pizazz! I will post these in sections, as there are many photos and recipes... I must add a "caution note"... there are many plants that grow in the forest that are quite deadly, so only eat what you are sure is what it is.

Ayurvedically, greens are a great addition to one's diet this time time of year. In particular, those greens that are bitter and astringent. These flavors help to clear the kapha, or earth and water, that tends to accumulate over the winter. Spring is the time to cleanse the digestive track, and spring, wild-harvested greens are a great way to do just that. Not to mention, miner's leaf is also rich in Vitamin C and has been found to positively impact blood pressure and purify the blood.


Miner’s grass is very soft--google it if you want to see what it looks like up close). Spinach or mache is another option, particularly if you can't go "miner's leaf hunting" and find yourself at your local organic market instead.

Here's the recipe:
Miner’s grass (remove some of the really long stems ½ way up)

Top with:
Blueberries, raspberries if compatible seasons,
A blue cheese, Oregon of course, and organic
Wild violets if you an find them (another great thing to google and surely identify... there are also any other wildflower edible options)

Cukes might be good, too, thinly sliced - or cattail stalks.... but we'll talk about that in a later post :)

Get creative and shoot for something sweet and light.
Here's an option:
Cookie’s rhubarb wine 1 part (or any other wine of a sweet variety)
Rice wine 1 part
Light Olive oil -- 1 part (always first cold pressed and virgin)... not too strong or dark in color as that would overpower the delicacy of the miner's leaves.
Sea salt
Natural sweetener -- raw honey is best, or stevia leaves, lightly ground, or just a touch of agave

Variations to consider.....
A honey/cinnamon dressing or a honey mustard variety?
Mix well with dandelion greens since they grow in similar areas (yep, just the greens that grow with dandelions... but you can also buy these at New Seasons)

Enjoy exploring your spring harvest... you don't get any closer to nature than THIS!

Britt (and the others who walked with me on the wild side!)


Our spring retreat is just a little more than a month away, get a jump start on your own spring cleaning with these tips, and a recipe perfect for a springtime tea at the bottom. Visit for more!

Although the heavy spring rains aren’t convincing me that is, indeed, spring, I know it is. Generally speaking, the weather is getting kinder, and the evenings lighter… There is a lovely columnist, who writes for named Joanna Johnston. The following entry is written by her. Enjoy the spring, shed your winter coat, and any left over insulation if you are part bear :) … Even though it is 47degrees (yes, 47, as I write this in Vernonia). It IS Spring somewhere amidst this bristling wind. I just know it.


And, now, how to Spring into Spring... from Joanna Johnston and

Spring is a time of increased warmth and wetness. Winter is predominantly a cold, damp season which causes kapha dosha to accumulate (earth and water elements). Now is the ideal time to reduce this build up of kapha (such as excess weight gain) to prevent feelings of sluggishness, as well as other kapha-related problems such as spring colds and hay fever.

* Set your alarm for 7am at the latest; preferably earlier as sleeping later will further aggravate kapha. Massage your body with warm sesame or sunflower oil, followed by a warm shower. Dry skin brushing is excellent for stimulating lymph and reducing cellulite. Use firm sweeping strokes towards the heart to aid the elimination of fluid. Saunas can be a useful for drying up excess secretions.
* Practice vigorous exercise to get the lymph moving in the body, preventing congestive problems. It is also one of the best ways to stimulate a sluggish digestion and aid detoxification. Make your yoga practice dynamic and stimulating. Sun salutations are ideal as they build up heat, working all the major muscles. Kappalabhati pranayama is also good for generating internal heat and burning toxins.
* A spring ayurvedic diet recommends more bitter tastes (eg: herbs such as dandelion), as well as spicy (eg: fresh ginger herbal tea) and astringent (eg: all pulses). These tastes open the channels of elimination, clearing excess mucus and moisture from the body. Reduce kapha-aggravating sweet, sour and salty foods which could cause water retention at this time. In common with the winter diet, minimise raw and cold foods, favoring warm, lightly cooked meals. Lighter grains such as quinoa, millet and barley are all Kapha reducing, but minimise wheat dominant foods.
* Use a neti pot to give the nose a daily rinse with warm, salt water over a sink. This not only helps ward off colds and hay fever, but will also improve your pranayama. Read David Frawley's ‘Neti: Healing Secrets of Yoga and Ayurveda' which includes information on adding herbs to your neti to aid detoxification.
* For a spring cold, help clear mucous by eating light, warm, simple foods as you rest. Soup is ideal. Avoid dairy products, sweets, fried foods and yeasted bread, as it increase congestion. Fresh ginger tea is excellent, especially with raw honey added once the tea has cooled down. Raw honey clears mucous and kapha due to its heating, drying and channel clearing effect. It is the best sweetener for kapha types and is good for all in spring.

Kapha-Clearing Tea, perfect for the spring...

1/4 teaspoon dry ginger
1 clove
1/4 teaspoon dill seed
1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seed
1 cup boiling water

Mix the dry ingredients together, Add the boiling water, Steep for 5 minutes, Strain and serve. Add raw honey (make sure it is raw) to sweeten if you desire.


Enjoy… and now is the perfect time for spring cleaning!


Naked By the Creek

this pic I took yesterday on our land... we did a little blessing in the morning and the well is being drilled today... Know where your water is...

Naked by the creek, huh?...
Okay, so it has been too cold to get naked by the creek. but three weeks ago, sitting in 90 degrees ad 80% humidity almost 24/7, what I longed for most was to sit naked by the creek . Naked by the creek and SCREAM! Scream, because in Bali, I found myself living in a paradox: the island and the magic that surrounds me brings forth everything that needs to be healed. Everything that needs to be awakened, moved, expressed, and shared. And at the same time, there is nowhere to cry out loud. Nowhere to roar like a lion, or even howl at the moon...

Everywhere we go, on this island of 3 million people, there are, um... people. And they don't speak my language, so if I just happened to let a blood-curdling one rip, just to get it out.... just to move some stuck energy... I wouldn't really be able to do much except smile and say, "Pas!"... which means delicious. It's complicated.

But I am home now. And at this moment, I am lying on the couch in our little apartment in Vernonia (or some prefer to refer to it as my "single-wide" but I'm just not there yet.) I am waiting for my husband, who is a few miles down the road planting trees on our land, and waiting for the well driller to get water (we hope). It is quiet here. I can hear a fly in the window across the room, and the hum of the cooling fan in my Apple. I like that.

Being home is good. It feels very much like home. It is also wildly transitional. I am acclimating myself into my skin again. Into the climate, into wearing shoes, hot showers, jeans, and sleeping under blankets. My body isn't yet ready to jump back into busyness, and I am teaching Nia less. Teaching Yoga less. Actually, interacting with people a bit less, in general. I miss teaching, but that's how it goes. I am settling into the "space" this new life is offering me, and we will see what magic comes forth. It always does.

This summer I intend to listen to my deepest voice more closely than ever. I intend to garden, be in nature more, listen to the waterfalls by our new cabin in the woods, camp with friends, pick berries, cook, and plant more seeds. Seeds of what is to come, and seeds of change. And, I intend to pray. Prayer "creates space" naturally. It comes from the mystery, from ether, and it returns to the mystery, to ether. And I choose to surround myself in these possibilities that I feel deep within my soul.
Space is important. It allows us to transition naturally from where we have been to where we are now, which prepares us for wherever it is we are going.

Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.
Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.
The winds will blow their own freshness into you...
while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.
~John Muir

Calming Tea

Here is a super easy-to-make tea that will help you rest and quiet your mind. It is delicious, and to-be-sipped slowly, and you will feel the relaxation seep through your body. It’s very soothing and safe for daily use.

1/4 cup dried chamomile flowers per cup
1/4 cup vanilla soy milk, rice milk, cream, milk, or half-and-half per cup
Honey, agave, or maple syrup to sweeten

Pour boiling water over the chamomile, cover, and steep 15 to 20 minutes, until strong
Add the soy milk and sweetener to taste.



As I am studying Ayurveda, part of the journey has been to more consciously integrate my ancestry... It is said that one can never fully relinquish unproductive, familial patters until one opens the heart completely to all that has been, is, and ever will be in one's lineage. The art, and grace, of non-resistance: Accepting everything as it is, exactly as it is, and realizing that beneath the illusion that there is "something wrong with me" or "dysfunctional" going on, that we are all whole and complete... safe... and enough... and good enough... and already all of the things that we hope to become are already within each of us..... Already, we are whole.

And so, this Ayurvedic practice includes adding photos of our relatives and ancestors to daily prayers, and to express gratitude for all of the ways that those who have walked before us have laid a perfect path for us to live these blessed lives we are living today. Another way is to awaken the ancestral recipes and ways of nourishment that your great grandmother, grandmother, and mother practices regularly as "sadhana" or spiritual practice, to nourish their children, spouses, churches, and neighbors.

One of my favorites is my Grandma Eleanor's, (my father's mother's) recipe for coffee cake. A german, and eventually, mid-western favorite. I've modified it to make it a bit more healthy, and it is still a sweet cake no doubt... great for cool, windy days, with butter or ghee, or whip cream if you prefer. Serve it warm or room temperature. And even the kids will enjoy this sweet, scrumptious, nourishing cake.

Pray while you make it. Pray while you bake it. Pray before you eat it. Pray while you eat it. Let it become the prayer itself.

Coffee Cake
Grandma (Eleanor) Bensen's Recipe

1/2 C jaggary, palm, or natural brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
2T spelt flour
3T melted butter
1/2 C chopped nuts (optional; I like to use whatever is regional... walnuts or filberts are great for the Pacific Northwest)
Mix together with a fork before mixing coffee cake

1+1/2 C whole spelt flour
3t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/2 C jaggary, palm or natural sugar
1/4 C oil (sesame, walnut, or my favorite: coconut are great choices)
1 beaten egg
1/2 C milk (real milk, coconut, almond, or rice all work really well)

#1 - Directions: # 1 - put 1/2 cake batter into greased and floured, round 9" cake pan
#2 - Sprinkle 1/2 Streusel/Filling/Topping on top of 1/2 of cake batter in pan
#3 - Spread or dollup the rest of the cake batter on top of the Streusel/Filling/Topping
#4 - Sprinkle the rest of the Streusel/Filling/Topping on top

Bake at 375 for 25 - 30 minutes - you know it is done when a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

I would love to have you share some of your favorite family recipes with me... no worries if you think they aren't healthy, too meaty, or whatever it may be... if you and your family love them, and they have crossed generational timelines, then they are indeed nourishing. Send them my way and I will share them ~ and if you'd like, I can modify to make them a bit more "yogic"...


Boosting Your Immunity

As winter approaches, our immune system may need a bit of a boost to support us in managing the changing seasons and the traditional cold and flu influx that comes our way. Drawn from the Ramana Maharishi Ayurvedic Physicians, here are seven tips to help stay strong—from the inside out.

1. Choose intelligent, easy-to-digest foods. Intelligent foods include fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and light dairy products. If you choose fresh, whole foods that are not altered by processing, then your meal is going to wake up the intelligence of nature and convert quickly to life-enhancing nectar (Ojas). Foods that are processed, canned, frozen or packaged are harder to digest, and thus create Ama (digestive waste). Also, because they are old, denatured by processing, or include harmful ingredients such as chemical preservatives, they no longer contain nature's intelligence. Organically grown foods are best because not only are they free of harsh chemicals, but they also contain more minerals. Vegetarian proteins such as panir (homemade cheese), milk, and pulses (split-mung dhal, lentils and other small, split beans) enhance health and immunity.

2. Cook with immune-boosting spices. Cook your food in a way that doesn't disturb the food's natural intelligence. For instance, if you add mild spices to cooked vegetables, grains and legumes, the food will convert more quickly to Ojas (Again, Ojas is the really good stuff that is like “nectar” in the body and boosts us from the inside out). Spices add good flavor and have a yogic property. They support digestion and make the nutrients easily available to the body. Different spices also have specific immune-boosting properties. Turmeric has an immune-modulating effect because it is detoxifying and enhances the intelligence of the immune cells. Cumin burns Ama, and black pepper clears the channels so Ojas can reach the deeper tissues.

Immunity Spice Mix
(From The Answer to Cancer by Hari Sharma, M.D. and James Meade, Ph.D.)
6 parts turmeric
3 parts ground cumin
3 parts ground coriander
6 parts ground fennel
1 part powdered, dry ginger
1 part ground black pepper
1/4 part ground cinnamon

Mix the spices together well. Heat one teaspoon of the spice mixture in one tablespoon of ghee, using medium-high heat, until the mixture releases an aroma. Remove from the heat immediately so it won't burn. Add this spiced ghee to cooked rice, vegetables, or other foods.

Eat immune-boosting foods. Apples support the immune system because they contain antioxidants and both insoluble and soluble fiber, which cleanse the bowel. All sweet, juicy fruits (such as pears, peaches, plums, sweet pineapple and mangos) enhance immunity because they transform quickly into Ojas. If they are tree-ripened, they convert almost instantly. Pomegranate seed juice and pomegranate seed chutney are also excellent boosters of immunity, because they enhance digestion and elimination without increasing Pitta dosha. A papaya after lunch enhances digestion and increases immunity.
Leafy greens such as Swiss chard, kale, mustard greens and spinach, when cooked and spiced with the immunity spice mix, are great immunity-boosters because they provide iron, calcium and other nutrients while simultaneously cleansing the bowel. Broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower contain antioxidants, flavonoids and other immune-enhancing nutrients. Whole grains such as quinoa, amaranth and barley also have immunity-fighting effects, because they provide cleansing fiber and contain many essential nutrients.

Last but certainly not least, ghee and milk are cherished in the ayurvedic tradition for their Ojas-enhancing effects. Ghee is the most easily digested fat, contains essential fatty acids, and is a great immunity booster. Both milk and ghee should be organic and free of additives, and milk should be boiled with a pinch of cardamom before it is drunk in order to make it easier to digest. Drink it alone, away from meals, to avoid indigestion. If you have never heard of Ghee, you can buy it at New Seasons Market, or your local health food store is likely to care it.

4. Cook your food but not too much. Food becomes more digestible when you cook it. But you don't want to cook it too much, as that reduces its immune-boosting effect. The food should be soft and easy to chew, but not mushy.

5. Eat at the proper time. Eat your main meal in the middle of the day, when the sun is highest and digestion strong. Eat lighter at breakfast and at night, when digestion is weaker. This will enhance immunity. It's also important to eat your meals at the same time every day. Your digestion gets used to a routine, and becomes more efficient.

6. Eat the proper quantity. Eating just the right amount enhances Ojas and supports the immune system. Sip a cup of room-temperature water with your meals, so the meal is part liquid. Eat to only 3/4 of your capacity, in order to leave some space for the digestive process to take place. If you eat until you are really full, it creates discomfort and Ama.

7. Choose foods for your body type and for the season. It's not correct that you can eat anything you want, as long as it's good food. If you want to stay healthy, you need to choose foods that will bring balance to your body type and for the particular season. Whatever influences from the weather and climate is causing an imbalance, you need to counteract them with the food you eat.

Eating cold salads in winter (Vata season), for instance, is not a good idea, because raw salads only increase the cold, dry, light qualities of Vata, when what is needed is a warming, grounding, nourishing diet.

I hope this information is useful for you. Don't forget my favorite recipe website: It is packed full of yummy vegetarian options for ayurvedic, healing recipes!