Dal is incredibly versatile and has become a dish that I turn to again and again for a fast and satisfying meal. The versatility is really what makes me swoon. By making a few small changes to a basic recipe, you can create a whole new dish. I love to change up dal by adding different veg - depending on the season. You can also be playful with different spice profiles, as well as different mediums for the broth. For a light version use water, for something heartier go for coconut milk. Finding staple recipes that you can easily and satisfyingly change up is the KEY to cooking for yourself at home! . . .Read More
Oh boy oh boy. Everyone is sick. And if you have young kids, or know people who do, then you know 'tis the season to be on the merry-go-round of seemingly endless illness for the next 4 months. Booo! So, I offer you some cold and flu season comfort. The ingredients are both soothing (for when you are sick) and protective (for when you aren't--but are in the danger zone!)
The real magic of this bad boy come from the stock. Pictured below are the superstars in this soups: Miso paste, fresh ginger root, an insane amount of garlic, and the often overlooked white peppercorn.
I want to give some extra love to the miso paste and the white pepper in this soup.
One of my favorite super foods! Miso paste is an ancient fermented food that originated in China, 2,500 years ago, but is commonly thought of as a Japanese staple food. Miso paste is a made by fermenting beans and/or grains for months to years, depending on the type of miso you end up with. I love fermented foods for many reasons…one is that they are a sustainable way to preserve, in the case of miso, your bean or grain of choice.
I also love the health benefits that arise from the fermentation process. Fermentation uses earth energy to transform a plant food into a living health food, by decomposing the plant and turning it into something new. Fermented foods are chock full of good bacteria (probiotics), that help us to bring life and energy to our intestines, and are beneficial in helping our digestive systems break down and assimilate nutrients from our foods. If you think about the word pro-bitoic, or pro-living things, it makes sense that fermented foods are being touted for their ability to heal our guts in a world that is rampant with an antibiotic or anti-living things philosophy. It is a deep philosophical statement to choose to eat fermented foods, to choose to build good life in your body, rather than strip the "bad" away. Whether or not you want to go on the philosophy journey with me, know that miso is delicious--and that is a good enough reason to enjoy it!
Miso has an earthy, soothing umami flavor, which translates to “deliciousness” in Japanese or "pleasant savory taste”. This is a flavor that is difficult to find in our standard diet, but our bodies crave it! Finding ways to balance our intake of flavors is a good way to ward off cravings—which typically have us grabbing for packaged sweets or oily, salty snacks.
Eat miso when wanting something warm, comforting or salty. The Earth qualities of miso mean that is is a grounding, stabilizing, nourishing food to eat. Great at times when feeling ill, anxious, or “flighty”.
When buying miso, be sure to get the unpasteurized paste that will be in a glass jar or plastic tub in the refrigerated section of your grocery store. The unpasteurized miso will still be teeming with those good gut bugs-the lactobacillus, and you want those!
When it comes to color, the lighter the miso, the lighter and sweeter the flavor. The deeper in color the more robust the flavor. I encourage you to experiment with different types to discover how YOU miso!
For this soup we will use a light and sweet white miso, and we will stir a shot of it into the main stock, right at the end. By not "cooking" the miso, we are preserving the good bacteria that are alive in there!
White pepper berries come from the same vine as the familiar black peppercorns, but are harvested later and processed slightly differently. For white pepper, the hull of the berry is removed - the outer black “shell”. Check out that g o r g e o u s illustration at right. The cross-section of the berry on the left side of he drawing clearly illustrates that black hull.
With the hull much of the biting spice is removed from the peppercorn. Instead, white pepper has a more floral taste and has the most beautiful warming quality when eaten - rather than an overt spiciness. You will notice this right away in the soup broth, and I think that is what makes it so special: It warms the chest and belly without spicing out the tongue.
I like to eat this soup when it is hot hot hot. Like mouth burning, chest radiating, nose running kind of hot. It just feels more healing that way!
I hope you enjoy this delicious soup, and this season leaves you well and full of vitality!
Immunity Boost Soup
This spicy, healing, power-house of soup is great anytime, but especially when needing some added protection during cold + flu season.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or ghee
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 2 medium carrot, diced
- 8 -10 cloves garlic, peeled and very thinly sliced or crushed
- 3 tablespoons fresh ginger root, peeled and grated
- 1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
- 1 turnip or daikon radish, diced
- 1 teaspoon finely ground white pepper, plus more to taste
- 1 1/2 cups mushrooms, wiped and trimmed (I used chantrelles)
- 1 small head broccoli, chopped into pieces
- 2 1/2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
- 2 Tablespoons white miso paste
- For garnish: fresh scallions - finely chopped, cilantro finely-chopped, radish-thinly sliced (pictured are watermelon radish)
- Heat a heavy soup pot over high heat.
- Stir in the oil, onion, celery, carrot, garlic, and ginger.
- Gently sauté just until soft, but not browned. Add a bit of water if the pan drys out.
- Stir in the white pepper and 8 - 10 cups of water.
- Turn up the heat to bring the broth to a simmer, and hold there for about 15 minutes.
- Add the mushrooms, broccoli, and salt, and gently simmer for another 5 minutes.
- Prepare the miso by stirring the miso paste into approximately 1/2 cup water to dissolve. Set aside.
- After 5 minutes, stir the soup well, taste, and adjust with more salt, pepper or water if needed.
- Turn off heat.
- Ladle the soup into shallow soup bowls and drizzle about a teaspoon of the miso mixture into the broth.
- Top with a big dollop of green onions, cilantro, and a few watermelon radish slices. Fresh and crisp garnish rocks the heck out of most soups!
This New Libra Moon is all about balance, space, kindness, appreciation, and clarity -- Clear eyes, minds and hearts. I celebrated the new moon by doing one of my favorite space making activities: a wardrobe cleanse.
This little ritual started a few years ago, after I had realized that almost daily I went through the excruciating decision-making gauntlet that was: WHAT SHOULD I WEAR today/tonight/to this thing I have to go to/etc. I am already painfully challenged with decision making, and having gobs and gobs of clothing options did not help the toil. I had clothing that I had collected from others or for various occasions, or for a lifestyle that just wasn't mine anymore. Clothes were spread across different rooms, and storing them was a total chore. This little bit of chaos made me feel crazy and weak and amplified my indecisive tendencies to a deafening roar. So began the methodical, border line obsession, that is the Clothing Cleanse. Essentially, seasonally I curate a small selection of clothing, hang it in it's place-in my space, and I put the rest away. Out of sight, out of mind.
This ritual allows me to feel in control and intentional-about where I put my money and what I spend mental energy on in a day. It encourages me to be creative with what is, and imagine what could be. Having fewer, yet appropriately curated items, means that the things that are showcased are things that I love--that really work for me. I don't have space for things that are just so-so. This brings a deep appreciation for those items that I get to enjoy for a part of the year--I take care of them and treat them well. Because items rotate and new things come into my consciousness a few dedicated times a year--I break free from that graspy feeling of always wanting something else. And, decision making is more or less effortless.
Now, I live in a tiny house, so having the essentials on hand-- and only the essentials in my space-- is, well-essential. Pictured below is the clothing storage that Oliver and I share. That's not a lot of space! That means I need to be particular about what is going to take up space.
The seasonal wardrobe is in the house and the rest of the items are in a small storage closet, in 2 plastic storage containers. This includes all off-season clothing, coats, shoes, scarves, and accessories.
When it comes to "seasonal" clothing, there are plenty of items that are good for all seasons-- this means that I have to store some of those basics so that the wardrobe is manageable. I love this aspect because inevitably I will be delighted later in the year when I "rediscover" some of my favorites. This also means that the longevity of the clothing and shoes is preserved, which is great! Less stuff to buy. Speaking of which, this whole practice makes going shopping way less interesting as I get to "shop" my existing wardrobe a few times a year. I still get those little "yay--new stuff" sensations when I pull out a scarf or a sweater I completely forgot about!
This whole ritual is incredibly satisfying, and is something that has removed much stress and decision fatigue from my life. You may not be as crippled at decision making as I am--but I assure you that you would benefit from lightening your clothing load. It clears so much space!
Here are some steps to consider:
- Make space. You're going to be spreading stuff all over and depending on how much you have to deal with, it could take a while.
- Have dedicated bags ready for items you are ready to:
- items that need to be cleaned/repaired
- Have storage containers for off-season items. I have one for "Spring/Summer" and one for "Fall/Winter". I like those plastic rubbermaid storage containers.
- Most importantly--pour a glass of wine and turn on some tunes! Celebrate this space-clearing ritual. It doesn't have to be a chore!
Then begin to sort!
How do you choose what stays and what goes?
- Some items will be no-brainers--Get those items out of the way ASAP:
- Items that are clearly the wrong season (store it)
- Items that are the wrong size (toss it--unless it is reasonable to believe your size will change in the next year)
- Items you never or rarely wore when it was in-season (maybe toss it or set aside).
- Are there some items that you love, love, love--and are really looking forward to wearing?
- Put the lovers in the center of your space so you can really see them. There are usually a few pieces that inspire the whole collection, or pull the whole thing together. The pic below has a few items that I was really excited about...and the colors in the floral arrangement just screamed autumn to me and inspired a palette.
- With what is left, consider the items holistically:
- What shapes and lines do you like to carry this time of year?
- What's your lifestyle like this time of year?
- What are your shoe options for the season?
- What jackets do you have?
- Start to add complimentary items to the outside of the circle--so you can see what you are working with!
- Look for patterns in your go-to selections.
- Are there recurring fabrics or colors?
- What do you like about these things?
- Where do you imagine yourself wearing these items?
- What are you doing in them?
- Look around at the other items that you own and decide what REALLY compliments the items you have already chosen. Add those items to the mix.
- Now look over the remaining items. Could you live with out them for a few months? If so, put them away. If no, set the remaining items aside.
Place the keepers in their new home.
Once you have selected what will stay, put them away in your closet. I have a finite number of hangers and drawer space. Everything must have its place or it is too much... This may mean you will need to be a bit more ruthless about what items stay and what items are stored.
Pack away the rest.
Now, for the items that are going to be packed away in the tub:
- Make sure they are clean and not damaged.
- Make sure you have tossed a few things that just didn't work so that you don't have to reassess next year.
- I will also note anything that I wished I had had for that season but never came across. Those items go into a notes app on my phone, in a note dedicated to items to look for when I happen to be out shopping. This makes shopping more purposeful and allows for screaming deals, as you may be the only one looking for certain items off season. Last spring I scored some autumn booties at 75% off. Stoked.
- Once that is done, toss in a little satchel of lavender and love note...you will forget about some of these things and will be delighted when you open up your storage container next spring!
Now, things get really creepy!
I think this is my favorite step:
- Assess the goods that make up your current duds! I love to sketch out the different silhouettes and general outfit ideas I have. For me it is all about creating nice shapes. So fitted tops, big scarves and flowey skirts or boxy tops and matchstick pants with booties. I also assess my color palette and make sure it is still feeling harmonious. One year I might make paper dolls to take this to the next creeptastic level.
Sometimes a new scarf or a jacket will pull all the items together in a magical way. So I keep my eyes peeled for opportunities to pick those up. I don't shop much throughout the year, but when I switch out my wardrobe I usually shop a bit for very specific items: things that are going to work with what I have going on for the season. Shopping in the way feels more gratifying.
And that's it.
This is a commitment, but the time and energy spent up front, make way for clarity of mind and spirit and ease of decision making. Plus, I LOVE not being hungry for clothing items all year. I have never been a huge shopper, but I am certainly no stranger to that desire for "something new"--whatever that is. This little ritual builds in something new a few times a year--and often are items that I already own. I love that most.
Anyhow, if you're feeling inspired--- Give it a try!
Baby steps would be packing away summer shorts, tops, sandals now, so that they don't clutter your closets. You'll be able to see what you have more clearly...and you will have the delicious element of surprise next spring/summer when you pull those babies out again.
Put on some good music, pour a glass of wine, and get down to business. It feels so good to simplify your day to day choices by cleansing your closets, and with it--the angst of decision fatigue!
P.S. It is my D R E A M to help people to do this. So if you want someone to help you decide what goes, schlep things to storage, or just sit there and drink wine--you know who to call.
Hey, hey, hey!
I am very excited to announce that the Late Summer Cleanse is kicking off in September, and there are some amazing options for you to dig deep this time around.
I am partnering with Sweethome Teacup and North Portland Yoga to compliment the cleanse with some thoughtful movement. If you are a total yogi and up for a challenge, you want to take on the 10 day yoga immersion. For those of you newer to yoga or cleansing, you will love the gentle home practice Sweethome will craft with you. See below for more details about all of the options available for YOU!
Here's the skinny, if you want to shake things up:
- shed some weight (physical - emotional - spiritual)
- feel more in control (so you have more energy to let loose)
- and generally feel more banging in your bod (um, who doesn't)
---then let me tell you about the S E E D cleanse.
The S E E D cleanse has the S E E D way at it's core:
Simplify | Eat Authentically | Elevate Consciousness | Delight in what could be...
For 10 days you will rock those ideas as you:
- Simplify your days, your diet, your consumption habits
- Clean up your eating by enjoying abundant amounts of seasonal fresh fruits and veggies
- Give the digestive system a well-deserved break
- Re-energize the elimination organs to kickstart the metabolism for more vitality throughout the day
- Notice what makes you feel GOOD and create more time for that!
- Practice patience, kindness and gratitude (with creativity and humor)
- Feel empowered that you know best when it come to nourishing your body, clearing your mind and rocking your soul!
- Two hour pre-cleanse chat introducing the Late Summer cleansing practices
- Lifestyle tips including what you should 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 grocery shopping list
- Cleanse supply pack including cleansing tools, herbs, spices, salts, teas, essential oils, supplements and more
- Guided liver and colon cleanse
- Recommendations for organic fresh pressed juices (for 3 day juice feast)
- Tips for transiting back into “the real-world”--without losing your cool
- Unlimited email support from me!
You Can Expect:
- To feel lighter--in your body, mind and spirit
- Have more natural energy
- Clearer skin and brighter eyes
- To be more in-tune with your personal sense of nourishment
- Experience a renewed sense of clarity and peace
- To lighten up and focus in as Autumn approaches
Can't wait to start? Pick the option that is best for you!
Late Summer Cleanse + Yoga Immersion with Sweethome Teacup
Take your cleanse experience to the next level with 10 days of early morning yoga practice!
- Pre-Cleanse kick-off for registered participants on September 13th 1:30-3:30p.m. at North Portland Yoga: 55 NE Farragut, Portland, OR 97211
- 10 Day cleanse begins September 14, ends on September 23rd
- In the middle, a 3 Day Juice Fast: September 18th -20th
- PLUS the cleanse will be partnered with a thoughtfully appropriate yoga class 6:30-7:30 every morning, September 14-23rd, led by Sweethome at North Portland Yoga
Late Summer Cleanse + Home Yoga Practice Demonstration by Sweethome Teacup
This large group cleanse will leave you feeling extra supported and connected to your fellow cleansers. Plus, you will have the opportunity to learn a short and sweet practice to compliment your daily cleanse routine. This is a fantastic option for those that are new to yoga or cleansing (or those that are not ready for the full-blown yoga immersion option.)
- Pre-Cleanse kick-off for registered participants on September 19th 1:30-3:30p.m. at North Portland Yoga: 55 NE Farragut, Portland, OR 97211
- 10 Day cleanse begins September 21, ends on September 30th
- In the middle, a 3 Day Juice Fast: September 25th -27th
- PLUS a cleanse appropriate home yoga practice will be created for the group and demonstrated by Sweethome Teacup.
Cost: $150 per person. To register Contact Denise Here.
Late Summer/Autumn Cleanse -- 1 on 1 or Small Group
Want to participate in the cleanse with a small group of your friends? Or would you prefer a private cleanse experience? We can do that too!
You create the group and the meeting place, and I will guide you through the cleanse packet and what to expect.
Late Summer/Autumn Cleanse will be available September - December.
Please contact me below for more details!
Cost: $125 per person. To register Contact Denise Here.