This method of "roll up a bunch of tasty fresh veg and dip in something delicious” is great for summer time eating, when the produce is abundant and spending time in the kitchen is less savory. I also love "rolls" for camping or big family gatherings, because it's fun to make and eat outside, and you can get everyone in on the roll up fun! I find this can be especially good for picky eaters, young or old. Kids that are picky eaters like to have some authority over their food. Allowing them to pick the fillings will give them a connection to their food that will get them excited about eating their creations!Read More
Times feel crazy.
Some days stagnant and some days blaring with noise. Grief and sorrow. Anger and confusion. Joy and celebration.
Change is so rapid that it is hard to keep up. Do you feel it? Do you feel how fast it is all moving? Yet, some things seem like they will never change?Read More
I love things that are simple. And nourishing. And tasty. And make me feel good....so I gotta tell you -- I love these long herbal infusions!
Most herbs, roots and flowers need many hours to fully release all their lushy nutrition, and so to reap more of the benefits of the plant, the long infusion is the way to go...Read More
I met Sam at a kundalini yoga class a number of months back. I was instantly drawn to her effervescent and energetic spirit! Samantha is a kundalini instructor, body talk practitioner, a business matrix magician, and co-owner of a super cool studio space in Vancouver, Washington called Enlightened Brilliance Studios. The space offers yoga, workshops, kirtan, astrology, dance, mind-body wellness services, cosmic inspiration and more!
Samantha and I will be leading a 10 Day Winter Cleanse together at Enlightened Brilliance Studios, kicking off on Saturday February 13th. We will couple the nourishing, curious and cozy winter cleanse with kundalini kriyas designed to bring in the light and warm up your bod!
I asked Sam some of my favorite q's about cozying up to winter, nourishment and her personal philosophies on food, health, wellness and everything else! Enjoy getting to know Sam!
WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?
As soon as I wake up I make a conscious decision to embrace being joyful. What works for me is asking the question: "what sorts of awesome, amazing, magical things will I do today?” I like to leave things open and ask "How will my life take shape?” This is a practice.
I know that I worry easily, especially if I try to plan and strategize too much. So I try to practice going with what the day brings instead of worrying so much about achieving my plan. I find that this allows me to cultivate presence and embrace surprise.
I also like to listen to fun music. I drink almond milk + wheat grass. I visualize my shower as rainbow light. Small daily things that I do that I think of as little meditations.
WHAT MAKES WINTER SPECIAL?
Winter is a time of contraction. It creates more coziness, more togetherness. People tend to come together more in winter. Winter is more contracted and more internal—this inward focus helps you to see your internal thoughts, and notice your dreams. We spend more time indoors and we spend more time tending to our inner worlds.
I also think winter is a fantastic time for incubation and ideas and inquiry. Winter is a good time for restructuring, redoing, looking at your life, looking at your business—and asking--what do I want? What will I put energy towards?
HOW DO YOU NOURISH YOURSELF IN THE WINTERTIME? WHAT DO YOU DO TO GENERATE LIGHT FOR YOURSELF IN THE DARKNESS?
I love baths. Salt baths with essential oils. I like to bring my journal into bathtub and listen to fun music. When I am feeling low I write. Writing helps me to get the message that is causing my upset. If I can get the message I can let the rest dissolve. Cry it out. Cuddle myself and give myself space….
WHAT ARE YOU READING? WHAT’S AN IMPORTANT/LIFE-CHANGING BOOK FOR YOU?
The Secret Language of Your Body by Inna Segal. This is a book that I have turned to again, again! I actively use this book to change my feelings in the present moment. So in that way, I see It as more of a transformational tool.
I’m also enjoying the book Outrageous Openness, Letting the Divine Take the Lead by Tosha Silver. This book has been fun to read as I participate in the form that Enlightened Brilliance Studios is going to take!
WHAT MAKES A GOOD TEACHER?
Someone that is compassionate -- so that they can feel what their students are feeling. Someone who has empathy — and is actively curious about where their students are coming from. From this place they can really begin to listen. Listening is huge because it can lead to what really needs to be addressed.
A good teacher can tap into the information that the student really needs, and can present it so that the student can receive the message themselves. Almost to the point that the student thinks that they figured it out themselves. This sort of deep knowing can be really transformational--it's amazing to see people own their knowledge!
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE BRAVE?
To acknowledge that there is fear and pressure as part of growth—and to accept it -- to decide that it is ok. Choosing to be clear and present in the moment instead of giving in to fear, pressure and distraction. Continually moving forward and taking action.
I also think that it is important to believe in yourself/your vision/your cause so much, that your inner current is stronger than the energy that pops up to get in your way.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST CURIOUS ABOUT FOR 2016?
How my stewardship of Enlightened Brilliance Studios will unfold. We took over the space on 11/11/2015, and right now it is all new and open and exciting! I’m very curious about what it will settle into.
Personally I am curious about how my food paradigm will change. How will my relationships change? How will I change? What will my life look like once everything is how I would L O V E it to be -- infused with joy, excitement and fun? Rather than operating from a place of obligation or fear of loss.
I WANT GET DREAMY DURING THE WINTER CLEANSE...WHAT IS A RECENT DREAM OF YOURS?
Well…how about a favorite dream?
I am with a group of people and we are climbing a number of stairs into the sky. The stairs are made of real gold and they are quite soft, so when we step down it effected the step, left a little indent. It was delicate and precious. Once we got to the top, a bunch of gods and goddesses are there, and they are celebrating and dancing and are beautiful. And then a buddha begins rising up behind it all -- just like the sun. Everything about it felt so real!
WITH BREVITY…WHAT IS YOUR PHILOSOPHY IN LIFE?
Everything is food: the people you are with, the place that you are in, the music you listen to. Everything is food and it is all feeding your soul. Prioritize feeding yourself that which will nourish and lift you up. Be mindful to protect yourself and be gentle with yourself.
I recently shared this recipe at Chuck's Produce, where I do F R E E monthly seasonal cooking demonstrations. This is a go-to recipe for myself throughout the winter and early spring, because is is simple to make, warming, satisfying and nutrient dense. Plus, Dal is a fantastic source of proteins for a balanced vegetarian diet.
Most Dals favor lentils as a the bean of choice, though other beans can be used. Dal suggests that the beans have been skinned and split, it can also suggest that the beans will be braised resulting in a stew-y delicious dish. You can produce Dal's with whole beans as well. I like to use small tender beans like mung, adzuki or peas if I am not using lentils. Though, you could use the same cooking method described below to make a stewed bean dish with chickpeas, or bean of your choice. You will simply need to adjust cooking times as most beans require 1.5 - 2 hours to cook.
Here is a handy dandy guide to soaking and cooking beans! Image courtesy of Active Vegetarian - a great plant based diet resource!
The other reason I wanted to share this recipe is that it is endlessly versatile. You can change the beans, the veg, the broth or cooking liquid, and/or the spice profile to make a wide variety of simple bean dishes. I offer a few tips below for ways to Change it up!
I hope you enjoy this one--let me know if you try it, and how you make it your own!
Simple Indian Dal Recipe
- 1 cup red lentils, rinsed well
- 1 cup water
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 carrots, finely chopped
- 1 can coconut milk
- 4 tsp Coconut Oil or Ghee
- 2 inch fresh ginger root, finely chopped
- 2 tsp ground coriander seeds
- 1 bunch chopped cilantro
- Sauté the ground coriander, chopped onion, carrots and fresh ginger in the coconut oil until sizzling and releasing a fantastic smell.
- Stir in the lentils and add 1 cup water. Simmer for 20 minutes.
- Add the coconut milk and simmer for an additional 20 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and add the cilantro leaves, scallions, lime zest and juice and salt and pepper.
- Leave to stew for 15 minutes, before serving.
- Serve with sautéd greens or over a cooked grain of your choosing.
- You could also thin this some with water or broth to have a soupier dal.
- This stores beautifully, so make a big ol’ batch.
Change It Up!
Here are a few variations that are simple and delicious. Dal is sure to become one of your go-to meals!
This recipe would is delicious with a variety of different spices. Instead of coriander try: your favorite curry blend, garlic + turmeric, dried or fresh basil, lemongrass + chili pepper. If using a white bean try omitting the coconut oil + milk, and use water, stewed tomatoes + thyme or herbs de provence.
Use Your Favorite Vegetables
You could sub out the carrots for your favorite seasonal veg. Winter squash, potato, parsnip, cauliflower, celery, red pepper, summer squashes, or tomatoes (fresh or stewed) and many more. Apples would even be delicious! Simply sub sub out in step 1. Check to make sure veg is cooked through-if not, cook a bit longer.
Try Different beans
The cooking time will be longer, but you could use a variety of beans to make Dal. Try different lentils, mung beans, adzuki beans or even navy beans. You will need to adjust cooking times, 45min - 1 hour. You will also want to be mindful to add a bit more liquid when necessary. See the Handy Dandy Bean Cooking Chart (also linked above!)
If you know me, you know I love to garnish! Garnishes add fresh elements to your dish, pops of color and different textures which can simply transform a meal. Good garnishes for DAL:
- load up on chopped herbs: cilantro, parsley, mint, scallions, basil, etc.
- slices of radish or tomato
- toasted nuts and seeds: walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, almonds, cashews
- stir in cold butter, ghee, olive oil, coconut milk, or plain yogurt , or honey when serving
- Different Sea Salts and Black Pepper
- Squeeze of lemon or lime
- Your favorites!!!!!!
I sat down with Sweethome to talk routines, winter, coziness and dreams -- to get us all pumped for the upcoming Winter Cleanse.
I started practicing yoga with Sweethome at North Portland Yoga in the fall of 2014. I had just moved back to the Pacific Northwest, was building a tiny house, was unsure of what would come next—and I deeply craved a spiritual practice and a space for me to investigate this new time and this new place. A dear friend brought me to a class with Sweethome and I was hooked. Sweethome offers a strong yoga practice, but what I love most is the space that she creates for inquiry and connection. Connection to ourselves, to “that which knows us better than ourselves”. Connection to each other, through the blending of our voices in chant and the honest (and rare) conversations that follow. And connection to place-in the Pacific Northwest, on this planet, in this universe. She’s the real deal.
We will be leading a Winter Cleanse together that will blend 10 days of Ayurvedic cleansing practices and support with 10 cozy mornings practicing yoga and meditation with Sweethome. It's all kicking off January 16th at North Portland Yoga -- Register Here!
Until then, get to know Sweethome a bit better!
WHAT IS A TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?
I am up early, 4-6 am. I light the candles on my altar. I make a cup of coffee. I do some writing. I practice mantra and the lovingkindness meditation. Now I am also pulling tarot cards. It is always changing. Sometimes just meditation, sometimes gentle movement.
And then I move into my day. I take care of my animals. I teach yoga throughout the day.I am cultivating a discipline of writing. I am always thinking about how I am going to make connections throughout the day. Sometimes that is through collaboration. I have video, music, and service projects that I am involved with at this time, but sometimes that collaboration is through simply participating in the world. I just love the interactions that I have with strangers.
Sometimes I forget to eat. Sometimes I make dinner and sometimes I don’t. Though I get great satisfaction when I supply my girls with a bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables. And I like days where i make a big pot of food for my household. I have a minimalistic life, and I like it that way. Sometimes I don’t have a good handle on being organized and efficient, but in general I do feel prepared for what is to come. Sometimes I get a lot done in a day and sometimes it feels like simply living.
I feel fortunate in the big picture—even when I am fumbling.
WHAT MAKES WINTER SPECIAL?
One of my favorite things about Portland in the winter is that one week when it snows, and the city shuts down. In those moments, you have nowhere you have to be. No where to go. You are always in the right place because that is where you are.
The winter sort of stops things.
I also like the sky in winter, the light of winter, there is a softness to the light. The softness of the rain. Winter is a soft time of year, an internal nesting time.
HOW DO YOU NOURISH YOURSELF IN THE WINTERTIME? HOW DO YOU GENERATE LIGHT WHEN FEELING THE DARKNESS?
I love to give and giving is a part of this whole season. I love to give the things that I make with my hands: bead work, knitting, in the summer it is the fruits of my gardening.
I also like “New Years” and the invitation to set intentions, to investigate the unknowns of what is to come. In winter, I take care of my inside world, the inner psyche—and our surroundings are an expression of that. During winter I take care of the inside of my house—the inside of myself. I clean up. I prepare.
WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?
Right now I am reading a tarot book and the Sun Magazine. I have also been listening to the On Being podcast, I recently enjoyed an interview with the poet Marie Howe --- It made me want to be a student of hers.
WHAT MAKES A GOOD TEACHER?
Someone who can begin with a subject and talk you into a sweeping expanse touching upon many other things, you forget where it all began, but then they bring you back and it all connects . A good teacher reminds us that everything is connected when we don’t see it. We might get lost but a good teacher brings it all back together. I think in order to do that, a teacher needs to be loose enough to not be preoccupied by their own self involvement…they don’t have to prove their point or be too rigid, because what they actually say is not as important as what is speaking in everybody else.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE BRAVE?
Allowing yourself to be scared….if you are not willing to be scared you will never be in a situation where you need to be brave.
WHAT DO YOU DO FOR PLAY?
I experience play when I am teaching. I am in love with the world when I am teaching. When I am biking, that is a sort of play. I had a great day the other morning because every interaction with strangers was funny and witty and we felt connected.
I don’t have a favorite—they swim in and out as needed.
I am teaching a class at SunGate studios “Mantra for Life” and with it I want to establish a practice of mantra that supports health wellness, so that is where my focus is at now.
I WANT TO GET DREAMY DURING THE WINTER CLEANSE...WHAT IS A RECENT DREAM OF YOURS?
I see an old friend. I am happy to see him. I walk up and we hug but my left arm is tucked up to my front side like someone with a broken arm in a cast, yet my arm was not broken. We held each other close, but my arm was there, separating us. I hold people close, yet with distance. I know this about myself.
THE CLEANSE WILL ASK US TO GET CURIOUS ABOUT HOW 2016 WILL UNFOLD... WHAT ARE YOU MOST CURIOUS ABOUT FOR THE NEW YEAR?
Hmmmmm…. I’m curious about how my life will shift with one of my daughters leaving for college. She and I have a close relationship and have since she was born.
I am also curious about where my business will take me—my work is a big part of my life and my lifestyle. I am curious about how my work can be more impactful to the world.
The Winter Cleanse is about warmth, curiosity, and coziness. The winter time is a fantastic time to tune into your body and give it the nourishment and attention that it needs. In winter, we naturally turn inward to cultivate energy for the year to come--let's get curious about what that year will hold...
THIS CLEANSE IS PERFECT FOR YOU IF YOU ARE LOOKING TO:
- prioritize your health and wellbeing this year
- shed some weight (physical – emotional – spiritual)
- feel more in control of what goes into your body and how you spend your days
- have more energy to do what you love with vitality
- Two hour pre-cleanse chat introducing the energies of the season, the three Ayurvedic body types (Doshas), and details of the cleansing practices
- Lifestyle tips including what you can be doing while cleansing—to get the biggest bang for your buck
- Cleanse Program Manual with daily checklists and seasonal, cleanse appropriate recipes
- Meal and batch cooking plan ideas
- Seasonal Dosha Balancing grocery list
- Cleanse supply pack including cleansing tools, herbs, spices, salts, teas, essential oils, and more
- Guidance for a gentle, comforting fast for winter, including recommendations for organic fresh pressed juices and recipe for a detoxifying soup
- Tips for transitioning back into “the real-world”–without losing your cool
- Unlimited email support from me!
Find more information about the S E E D Cleanse and the practice of seasonal cleansing here.
If you would like to cleanse One on One or with a small group, please Contact Denise.
Winter Cleanse Events
***Kick off on January 16th. Cleanse runs from January 18th - 27th, 2016***
Take your cleanse experience to the next level with 10 days of early morning yoga designed to balance the cold, dry elements of winter.
- Pre-Cleanse kick-off for registered participants on January 16th 1:30-3:30p.m. at North Portland Yoga
- Yoga class 6:30-7:30 every morning, January 18-27th, led by Sweethome at North Portland Yoga
- Cleanse Program, Winter Goodie Bag, guidance + support from Denise
Early Bird Price: $250 per person before January 13th. $280 starting on January 14th.
Winter Cleanse + Daily Kundalini Kriya with Samantha Brown
***Kick off on February 7th. Cleanse runs from February 8th - 17th, 2016***
Compliment the cleanse with a daily kundalini kriya designed to heat up the body and tap into new found energy.
- Pre-Cleanse kick-off for registered participants on February 7th at ebStudios
- Yoga class 6:30-7:30 every morning, February 8th-17th, led by Samantha Brown at ebStudios
- Cleanse Program, Winter Goodie Bag, guidance + support from Denise
Early Bird Price: $250 per person before February 4th. $280 starting on February 5th.
Emotionally, the wintertime and especially holiday time, can leave us feeling frazzled, spread thin, and like our time is not our own. To attain some balance I encourage you to practice slowing down, resting up and tapping into your intuition. In order to do that, we need to create a bit of space for ourselves to just be -- and we need to practice saying NO.
It can be challenging to say no. We don't want to disappoint, or miss out on the fun, or close the door on an opportunity. But if we are spread too thin, we simply cannot bring our best selves to the table, and we begin to feel like we don't have enough. We don't have enough time, energy, resources--to make it through--and that is a lousy way to feel!
Say NO to those things that don’t light you up-up-up! There are thousands of distractions available to you everyday--thousands! Be a rebel, listen to your body and say no at those times when it is not a spine-tingling, gut warming --YES!
Then, practice listening to those beautiful YES moments -- those sweet little sparks that you are eager to watch grow. I find that water is very helpful when trying to tap into intuition. Water allows us to soften. Water helps to dissolve those things that no longer serve. Water is patient. Water is powerful. Embracing these qualities of water is great therapy, especially in the wintertime (Vata time of the year) when it is colder, drier, and we tend to constrict in order to create warmth. Water helps us to feel held and completely enveloped, whether we are drinking a cup of tea, listening to the sounds of a rushing river, or sinking our bods into a nice hot bath.
To celebrate saying NO and cultivating your sweet, supple intuition, I say treat yourself to a delicious herbal bath.
I made this super tasty herbal bath at a moon medicine class I participated in at Wild Craft Studio School. We called is a psychic bath, and it was!
You will need:
- 1/2 cup Dead sea salts (those green ones were amazing and so softening)
- 3/4 cup Epsom salts
- 2 T dried Mugwort - for psychic dreaming!
- 2 T Yarrow - to establish boundaries and provide protection
- Hand full of Pine Needles - to provide a sense of place and clarity to perception
- 1/2 cup Chamomile Flower - to relax the belly and to tap into that gut wisdom (and to feel like you are steeping in a dreamy tea!)
Dump it all into your bath and let your heart and mind take you where it is ready to go. This is a delicious way to care for yourself this season. Let the water soften and dissolve all that you are ready to let go of, and bring clarity to all that you are ready to embrace.
Remember, when you give yourself the care that you need and the space to cultivate what you deeply desire, you radiate light to all of those around you--and that is a beautiful thing!
So...have the courage to say NO. To disappoint, (it will be temporary). To trust that a door meant to be open will not close.
And sink into some beautiful self-care this holiday season...