Get Your Buns in the Kitchen with Mise en Place

Get Your Buns in the Kitchen with Mise en Place

There is this fantastic concept that comes from French cooking, and adopted well beyond the French, called: Mise en Place (pronounced: mees en plah). It means “putting in place” or “everything in its place”. It refers to the set up required before cooking, and in professional kitchens it would refer to the organization and arrangement of ingredients that a cook would need access to during a night of fast paced food prep. 

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Meditate Babies! Helpful Tools for Practice

Meditate Babies!  Helpful Tools for Practice

Time has been moving so quickly, and more than ever it feels necessary to practice a few minutes of meditation each day. This is a practice that I have been trying to cultivate for years. The days where I meditate, I see that I am more focused, productive and my energy moves more steadily throughout the day - Without fail. But it take s a lot to make this habit stick!!! I have been playing around with some simple tools to help me. Here are some favorites:

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VEGETARIAN SPRING ROLLS + EASY PEANUT SAUCE

VEGETARIAN SPRING ROLLS + EASY PEANUT SAUCE

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!

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Herbal Infuse Me!

Herbal Infuse Me!

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...

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Meet Sam!

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.

The Basics of Indian Dal

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

INGREDIENTS

  • 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

DIRECTIONS

  1. Sauté the ground coriander, chopped onion, carrots and fresh ginger in the coconut oil until sizzling and releasing a fantastic smell.
  2. Stir in the lentils and add 1 cup water. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Add the coconut milk and simmer for an additional 20 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat and add the cilantro leaves, scallions, lime zest and juice and salt and pepper.
  5. 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!

Add spice!

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!)

Garnish!

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!!!!!!

Enjoy!