Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Cooling Tips for Summer's Heat

Some of us love the heat and can bask in the sunshine for hours (Vata people in Ayurveda terms). Some of us get cranky and irritated by the heat and duck into shade whenever possible (pitta people in Ayurveda terms). If you identify with the latter here are a few tips to stay cool and collected this summer.

  • Take cool showers
  • Mid day, dunk your feet into cool water or splash cold water on the face and in the eyes
  • mist your face and your eyeballs with organic rose water, especially if you sit in front of a computer screen all day
  • Drink lime, mint, peppermint or cucumber water (just soak your desired flavor in a canister of water overnight to infuse the flavor) or coconut water from the store is also a great option
  • Rub coconut oil on the skin, coconut is cooling so it will help cool the body
  • Eat things like cucumber, avocado, coconut, fennel, fresh basil, dill, mint, cardamon, coriander/cilantro, cumin, saffron, lime, leafy greens and fresh fruit
  • If you are going to treat yourself to ice cream, enjoy it in the afternoon
  • Eat lighter meals 
  • Do not put ice in your drinks. Room temperature drinks actually help your body to cool off quicker
  • If you drink alcohol remember this, beer is cooling and wine is warming. Red wine is more warming than white so in the summer, maybe switch to white wine if you don't drink beer. However, all alcohol turns warming to the body once your body starts to digest it so watch out in the hot sun.
  • Keep hydrated with mostly water 
  • Enjoy the lakes, rivers, ocean and pools whenever possible and get in some relaxing time :)
Have a wonderful, refreshing, summer!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Home Made Nut Butter Cups

My husband loves peanut butter. I love peanut butter (or any nut butter) and chocolate. But I have been trying to stay away from sugar on a daily basis. Every now and then I allow myself a sweet treat, but most of the time I still try to make it somewhat healthy. So I decided to make my own nut butter cups. Instead of just chocolate and peanut butter, I made a crust that added a little more chew and a whole lot more satisfaction!

3/4 shredded organic unsweetened coconut
1/2 cups organic almonds or cashews
3 tablespoons organic cacao powder
1/8 tsp coarse sea salt
2 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup pitted dates

Mix all together in a food processor until a gritty texture.
Press into an 8x8 pan or press into muffin baking cups if you want to make your own individual "PB cups"
Freeze for 10 minutes

Take out of freezer and layer on favorite nut butter: My favorite is almond. But cashew or peanut butter tastes fantastic too. Make the layer about 1/8-1/4 inch thick.
Freeze for 5 minutes.
Melt 1.5 - 88% organic dark chocolate bars (or whatever your favorite chocolate is) with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil, over low heat until completely melted. Stir often.
Pull pan out of the freezer and pour melted chocolate and coconut oil mix over the nut butter.
Freeze for another 10 minutes. Pull out and serve immediately. Do lot let these treats sit out too long or they will melt.
Store in the refrigerator.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Grow Something Edible, Anything!

Our back yard with experimental pallet gardening. Hint: strawberry pallet garden was the most successful, or using it for creeping vines or flowers. Large vegetables did not have enough root space.

Grow Something Edible

You don't need to start planning an acre garden or tell your significant other you are going to dig up the entire back yard. How about starting slow with the few things that you like to eat on a regular basis at home. Maybe you decide you want lettuce, kale, collard greens or spinach. Maybe you like sugar snap peas or beets or cucumbers. Or maybe herbs are less intimidating and you start with some basil, thyme and/or oregano. Whatever it may be, plant something that is edible this summer, and then eat it! You will be amazed at the pride that you feel when you grow your own food. You will also learn to appreciate food in a whole different way.
For me, the biggest things about creating a garden is that I feel a deep connection with the earth, the sun, the rain, the wind....the universe. Each one of the elements effects the food that I am growing and I am thankful for each one in their own way. It also has allowed me to deepen the understanding of life in how there is a beginning, middle, end and back to a beginning that leads into another middle and another end, the circle of life. Seeds become a plant, become a fruit or vegetable, become food and scraps (food becomes part of me and scraps become compost, which becomes dirt) and I am fueled to become something even greater and the dirt is made so that I can plant and nourish my next round of food. The cycle keeps rolling on. And so does life. How we take care of ourselves directly effects our health and well being. By lovingly growing food for us and our family we harvest so much more than just food, we are able to serve up edible love. So go ahead, try it, it is not that complicated. I promise you will smile ear to ear next time you pick up that salad or eat that cucumber or strawberry that was grown by you! Plus, your grocery bill will thank you.

Need some inspiration once you have home grown lettuce, here is a recipe that a dear friend from Growing Places Indy gave me. It is my go to salad dressing. I also use it as a dip or a dressing for grain salad mixes:

6 TBL Olive oil
3 TBL Balsamic vinegar
1 TBL Honey or maple syrup
1 TBL Soy sauce
1 TBL Mustard
2 cloves crushed or chopped garlic
1-2 inch ginger shredded
Pinch of Cayenne pepper
Salt and Pepper to taste

Throw all ingredients into a glass jar and shake until well combined. Pour desired amount over salad. Keeps in refrigerator up to 2 weeks....but I doubt it will last that long :)