My thoughts as Heartful Earth Cuisine turns 6 today…

Today heartful earth cuisine turns 6! I had other plans to celebrate this small but significant mark in time, but just like the past year, things happen and we change focus.

Today I choose to focus away from the sadness, grief and pain that so many have lived through in the past 12 months or more. The times like this require us to find that little or big light inside and focus on spreading it but also focus on making sure it stays light. Right?

And to celebrate the past year for heartful earth cuisine- I wanted to shared just a some heartfelt messages (click to read) I have received recently or so (wish I could share them all!)

As for my focus going forward with Heartful Earth Cuisine..

I  am more determined than ever to continue….

Helping and serving

Empowering and educating

Being grateful for my clients who choose me in their journey. They teach me so much- So much is possible, being positive and calm,  food does make a difference, the health upgrade is amazing and weight loss can be a good side effect, food as medicine does work, food and essential oils do help, getting off medications is also possible no matter how old one is, age is just a number, kids can start loving  eating vegetables, it’s about knowing their why not having will power, every bit counts, it’s a cascade effect of wellness!

Being grateful for all the little things that have made someone’s life better each day- one drop of essential oil, one plate of food, one meal, one conversation, one new thing we learned, one person, one family, one positive change at a time, one day and one moment at a time!

For going forward, I choose gratitude and I choose to be a part the healing we need today and in the future for the earth and its inhabitants in my own way. Will be sharing more on some updates for 2021

We can still make forward progress as change is inevitable, yes this was a big change year than most

We can transform and grow to move forward when things change

We can be there for others in more ways than physical presence

We can keep on our mission

We can still do our part to better lives, our own and help others too

Selfcare comes first

Curiosity and vision and thinking and knowledge are all important for forward progress

In terms of specific services-I will be updating those soon as well. Heartful Earth Cuisine focus will continue to be on promoting and supporting health and wellness, healing, curiosity, thinking and empowering, giving, gratitude and serving- using food and essential oils, the best from nature, plants, herbs, spices, nutrition and the gifts of the earth.

Sharing 4 lines of wisdom that I felt connected with today

“Our own life has to be our message.”
― Thich Nhat Hanh , The World We Have: A Buddhist Approach to Peace and Ecology


“The natural healing force within each of us is the greatest force in getting well.”
― Hippocrates

“I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think.” – Soccrates

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives,
not the most intelligent that survives.
It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”
― Charles Darwin

Paleo Nutty Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

We all need some sweet treats right? Many of us have been baking home made goodies during our stay home experience. I am usually not much of a baker but with plenty of soft bananas on hand decided to give some banana muffins a shot! But I figured I would try to make them grain free/flour free and with no sweeteners added to the recipe! Now that I have baked these twice I feel comfortable sharing the recipe.

 

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Paleo muffins with Manuka honey

 

The sweetness of the bananas was pretty good to me.. and for additional sweetness optionally one could serve these with some amazing Manuka honey! Why Manuka honey? Because why not sweeten with extra benefits- read on! I used this amazing New Zealand Manuka honey from The Kiwi Importer . Sarah selects and imports some of these amazing products from New Zealand just so that we can all enjoy them!

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Paleo muffins with NZ Manuka honey

Ingredients:

2-3 table spoons of olive oil or avocado oil or coconut oil (optional)
3 pasture raised eggs  – I used eggs from a local farm near me- Harvest Hill Ranch
2 medium over ripe/ripe medium bananas mashed well
1/2 cup smooth almond butter unsweetened- I used this one from KiwiImporter
1/4 cup manuka honey– optional for topping per taste also from Kiwiimporter
1 tablespoon pure vanilla
1 1/4 cups almond flour
1/3 cup ground flaxseed
1 tsp baking soda
A generous pinch of pink salt
1-2 handfuls dark chocolate chips (these can be unsweetened or sweetened with Monk fruit if you prefer)

 

Method:

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Paleo muffin batter

Place the eggs at room temperature.  Preheat the oven to 350 F. Peel and mash the bananas well, mix in the almond butter, add in the eggs and mix well with a whisk, add all the other ingredients, add  in the salt and then the chocolate chips last.

Pour into the muffin tin- this makes about 12 regular size muffins- some batches were bigger because the bananas were quite huge and I got a few extra!  Bake at 350 F for about 18 to 20 minutes, please check in at the 17/18 minute mark with a toothpick. Cool if you can wait or enjoy warm!!

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Made with love

As you can see they are soft and fluffy! I would definitely eat them warm with or without the honey! The chocolate chips are soft and gooey when the muffins are still warm. I only had two taste testers for these so far- both didn’t miss or know there was no flour or sweetener in the recipe.

Happy Baking! My motto is the best ingredients and love always makes the best recipes!

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Nuts About Chocolate smoothie!

Chocolate for dessert or breakfast! Upgrade your chocolate smoothie with nutrient dense ingredients, nuts and adaptogens!!

Heartful Earth Cuisine

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You are going to love this smoothie if you love chocolate (and nuts, and are nuts about chocolate and nuts)! It’s also kid friendly.. replace their regular chocolate shakes with this nourishing version.

This smoothie adds the benefits of Chia seeds, raw cacao, Brazil nuts, Walnuts and Almonds. It also includes the goodness of chlorophyl from wheatgrass without actually tasting it! Not to mention the the antioxidant properties of blueberries that are loaded with anthocyanins (the phytonutrient that gives foods the purple color).Studies show that  blueberries might turn out to be beneficial not only for improvement of memory, but for slowing down or postponing the onset of other cognitive problems frequently associated with aging.

I added one Brazil nut to get my selenium for the day (more than one maybe too much of it!). Selenium is important for thyroid support and proper functioning of various enzymes (glutathione) in…

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Saffron Cardamom Carrot Quinoa

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I usually love my carrots raw, sometimes roasted but for some reason I wanted something very different this week. I had been thinking about the warm carrot halwa we would eat in this season sitting out in the yard. So here is what I did with my beautiful bunch  of carrots from my local farm Loam Agronomics. It’s not a halwa.. but a twist on it- its quick and easy too!

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I was also thinking rice pudding but wanted a more nutritious option. I remembered how I was first truly introduced to quinoa many years ago on my visit to Peru.. where it was a staple for soups and even for breakfast cereal. This is quinoa growing on one of the islands in Lake Titicaca!

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Here is the quick recipe!

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Ingredients:

2-2.5 cups grated carrots

1/4 teaspoon cardamom spice

1- 2 tablespoons or to your taste raw local honey or maple syrup

1 teaspoon coconut oil

1/2 cup quinoa

1/2 cup coconut milk

1/2 cup water

2-3 pinches of saffron threads

1 tablespoon pistachios or almond slivers

1 drop cardmom essential oil  (optional) (to learn more on using essential oils for cooking and health please contact me here

 

Method:

Soak saffron threads in a 1-2 tablespoons of warmed water. Grate the carrots to get about 2  to 2.5 cups of grated carrots.

Warm a saucepan with the coconut oil, saute the carrots and cardamom for just a few minutes to get the cardamon to be aromatic, then add the quinoa, coconut milk, water, saffron threads. If you are using maple syrup you may add it in now or after its cooked. I used raw local honey from (Robbie and Esra at TexHoneyBees) so I waited till after I was done cooking to add in the raw honey.

Bring the quinoa and carrots in coconut and water to a rolling boil, cover partly and cook on medium setting till almost all the liquid is gone. Then cover and cook a little more on lowest setting till quinoa is cooked through and fluffy.

Once ready.. ..add more honey or maple syrup to taste as needed, add that drop of cardamom essential oil if you love that flavor. The essential oil also adds extra aroma, flavor and benefits. Serve warm topped with some nuts and seeds of your choice. Enjoy for breakfast, snack or dessert!

If you love cardamom, then try my cardamom latte recipe too!

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Cardamom Spiced “Latte”

What inspires you to cook and create? This latte is inspired by cardamom and memories and aromas and travel!

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I grew up with cardamom as a spice in many savory dishes, as well as sweet ones. Recently my parents decided to do a family trip to Jordan, our tour guide was Jordanian,  a true traveler and an amazing guide. He sure loved his coffee. Our stops were obviously focused on sightseeing but also making sure his coffee cup was refilled on a regular basis. Do you know what is special about the coffee in Jordan? They flavor it with cardamom spice!

In this cardamom Spiced Latte I bring together my love for travel, coffee, purple foods, whole foods, essential oils and yes spice! It doesn’t get more interconnected than this! Well photography as well, because not only do get to make it, I get to enjoy the beauty of the ingredients visually, then aromatically and then for a few moments to sit down and enjoy this warm, truly comforting, nourishing latte as I think back to all those delicious dishes my family, mom, grandmother, aunts and relatives prepared. I also get to transport myself to being driven through Jordan from the Dead Sea to Petra and so much more!

I know you are ready for me to get to the recipe, but I must share with you what else is special about this latte. Instead of using the cardamom spice itself I chose to use a drop of Cardamom  essential oil! To learn more about essential oils and how to use them in cooking, to support mental and physical wellness and well-being please contact me here.

I wish to make the coming year and years to come more about using food as medicine but also about educating everyone on the benefits of essential oils. If we are educated we can make better choices for our health, mind, body and spirit! So please reach out to me if you are even a tiny tiny bit curious about using essential oils for anything, and if you already know and use some I am happy to help you grow as well. Please send me a personal message via this website or here

Another surprise ingredient! Instead of coffee with real caffeine I used an herbal blend that is coffee and caffeine free, but, please keep reading. I love coffee, the aroma and the taste, mostly the aroma, but in recent years I have not found a need for caffeine! Yes when I changed how I eat I didn’t need caffeine to start or get through my day. So what is the special latte created with? My new favorite caffeine free, balanced energy blend of adaptogens and herbs, you will be missing out if you don’t learn more about this amazing blend and company, Rasa. Of course I wanted to spread the love and team up with them so we can have more people drinking Rasa! Just for YOU this is the special created by Rasa. You can use my affiliate link http://bit.ly/2LnilTs to learn more and shop for Rasa  and code HEARTFULRASA to get 20% off your first order!

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You will notice that I am not using any traditional sweeteners or creamers here! Instead I use the purple sweet potato for sweetness and dreaminess, nutrients and phytochemicals too. You can now get your anthocyanins (with purple sweet potatoes) or carotenoids (with orange sweet potatoes) or both in your latte for breakfast or anytime!! The collagen is optional but does add some additional nutrients and protein as well. I use the multi collagen in mine. Skip the collagen to keep is vegetarian and vegan!

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Ingredients:

1 cup brewed hot Rasa (and for coffee lovers you may use 1 cup brewed hot coffee or for Rasa adventurers 1/2 cup Rasa with 1/2 cup coffee)

1 small purple or orange sweet potato ( I get mine at Sprouts!)

1 drop Cardamom essential oil (essential oil must be food or supplement grade) or 1/4- teaspoon or a few pinches of cardamom powder, use less or more for your taste

1 tablespoon Ancient Nutrition multi collagen powder – optional

2 tablespoons Nutiva buttery coconut oil

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Method:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Peel and slice sweet potato. Add 1 tablespoon of the Nutiva buttery coconut oil or more if needed. In winter we may need to let the oil and potatoes warm for a few minutes before we can get all the rounds coated. Then roast in oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until cooked through. While the potato is roasting brew your Rasa and coffee!

To make your latter add 1 cup of your Rasa/coffee 1-2 rounds of the sweet potato, 1 drop Cardamom essential oil, you could also add some of that buttery coconut oil (1/2 teaspoon) and optionally add your collagen to your high-speed blender. I do love my Vitamix. Perfect for lattes and smoothies too!

Blend well till the sweet potato is completely smooth, pour into your favorite cup and as you pour enjoy the aroma of Cardamom! Enjoy a few quite moments with your cup of cardamom latte and be transported to where your mind takes you! Wander and be still with your cardamom latte! Later, save spare sweet potato and brewed Rasa/coffee for your lattes the next day.

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Lemon Basil Summer Squash Soup

Its hot in Texas and I really prefer chilled meals! Salads are great but sometimes on needs a change. I made this summer squash soup a few times for my clients and then for myself. It’s really good chilled or warm too! This is a simple and quick recipe. At home I used 4 zucchini from Loam Agronomics and a few basil leaves from my patio!

You can keep this soup vegan by using a vegetable broth or add extra protein, collagen and minerals to the meal by using bone broth too. 1 cup of bone broth can have upto 10 g of protein! To add vegetarian protein you may use 3 table spoons of soaked hemp seeds. This will also add some texture and creaminess to the soup. 3 tablespoons of hemp seeds also have 10 g of protein!

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Ingredients:

3-4 medium summer squash rough cut

3-4 cups of vegetable or bone broth or water

2-3 cloves of garlic chopped

1/2 yellow or white onion chopped

4-8 fresh basil leaves

1/2 or 1 lemon (I love extra lemony)

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt to taste

3 tablespoons of soaked hemp seeds (optional)

2-3 drops lemon essential oil (optional)

1 drop basil essential oil (optional)

 

Method:

Saute onions with olive oil till softened but not browned. Cook for about 8 to 10 minutes. Then add the chopped garlic and cook till garlic is fragrant, a few minutes, avoid browning garlic as well. Then add zucchini, 2 cups broth, a few leaves of basil. Pressure cook in instapot for 15 minutes manual release or cook on stove till zucchini is softened.  Add the optional soaked hemp seeds now. Then use a hand blender or Vitamix to blend the soup. Add salt to taste, additional basil if needed. Can also add more broth if you prefer a thinner soup, blend in and the soup is ready. Add the juice from the half lemon, add more or less to your taste. Serve warm or chilled! Optionally take your soup to another level with a drop or lemon or basil essential oils or both! If you wish to learn about essential oils and how to use them for food as well as health promotion please message me.

Kanji- a fermented drink

Just like the earth our body is another super ecosystem and science is developing a better understanding of the universe inside of us. And by universe, I am referring to the millions of microbes living inside our gut and body. The main reason we need to care for our friendly gut bacteria and microbes is that they seem to have plenty of control on our health, mood, immunity and more. Research tells us that consuming foods rich with probiotics, and consuming vegetables and foods to feed these probiotics is one of the ways of staying healthy.

I have so many fond memories of my childhood, of sitting in the backyard with my family and basking in the sun during the cold Delhi winters. One of those happy memories is sipping on this wonderful yet strange, burgundy colored fermented carrot drink called “Kanji”. We would pick out the pickled carrots and enjoy nibbling on those while we sipped the drink or eat them as “pickle” with the lunch on the lawn. My favorite fermented drink today is Kombucha, but for a glass of Kanji, I visit my parent’s home and enjoy it with them in their yard, or sometimes I am fortunate to travel back to India to enjoy some Kanji in the yard with my soon to be 98-year-old grand mom. This is how my mom makes Kanji –

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Ingredients:

4 black (or purple or orange) carrots cut into strips

1 small beet sliced

8 cups filtered water

2 heaped teaspoons black ground mustard seeds

Salt to taste

Method: Add all ingredients to a glass jar. Ferment for 4 days and enjoy!

 

If you would like to learn to make your own Kombucha I offer Kombucha classes in your home or wellness center, along with a detailed recipe, and instructions in person, as well as a detailed handout and your very own Kombucha starter tea and SCOBY! If you are in the greater Houston area I would love to help you get started with your Kombucha journey! Message via Facebook

Note: My own writings above along with the recipe were originally published in the Edible Houston Magazine 

Spicy Watermelon Rind

Hope you have been saving your Watermelon rind. Why you may ask? Read on here

Yes we can eat the rind and it does have nutrients too! Here is my cooked spicy watermelon rind recipe. Watermelon rind itself doesn’t have much flavor, almost like opa squash, just takes longer to cook.

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Ingredients:

½ onion, sliced or chopped

1 tablespoon ghee or avocado oil

¼ teaspoon cumin seeds

3–4 garlic cloves

½ teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon coriander powder

1 few pinches of cayenne (for extra spicy)

Rind from ½ small organic watermelon, sliced and chopped into bite-sized pieces (about 4 cups)

¼ cup water

Salt to taste

Fresh cilantro, for garnish

Method:

Cook onions in ½ tablespoon ghee till softened. Add cumin seeds with ¼ tablespoon ghee and cook for a few minutes, till the seeds are toasted. Add minced garlic and cook for a few minutes. Add the rest of the spices and cook a few minutes, till fragrant.

Toss in the sliced watermelon rind. Add the remaining ghee and sauté for a few minutes to mix well. The watermelon rind should be coated in all the spices and ghee.

Add a few tablespoons of water or more as needed, mix and cover for about 10–15 minutes on medium low, stirring occasionally. Continue to cook till the watermelon rind has softened and absorbed all the spices, if you have a pressure cooker it may help you cook it faster, the first time I made it I just cooked it on the stove top, next time I am trying it in a pressure cooker.

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Note: My own writings above along with the recipe were originally published in the Edible Houston Magazine 

Vegan Watermelon Rind Jerky

Isn’t it wonderful that some of the best summer produce is juicy and perfect for keeping us refreshed and hydrated? It is nature’s way of giving us what we need. As we all enjoy some succulent peaches, watermelon and flavorful tomatoes this summer we can be thankful for the fact that they are loaded with phytochemicals. Last night I ate some fresh local watermelon, the kind with lots of seeds from Loam Agronomincs and yes I saved all my rind!

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We almost always eat the skin of summer produce like tomatoes and peaches, but what about watermelon? Did you know that, according to a study, watermelon rind may provide as many nutrients as the watermelon itself? So why are we constantly tossing away food that can nourish us? This summer makes a pledge to reduce waste and consume the rind. Try watermelon rind three ways: Add it to your juicing or smoothie regime, try it as a cooked vegetable or even as a vegan jerky! It makes an amazing snack.

 

Ingredients

  • Rind from 1 small watermelon
  • Avocado oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Chili powder or a spice blend to taste

Method:

Cut the rind into 2-inch-wide pieces and then use a mandolin to make thin slices.

Toss the rind strips with a drizzle of avocado oil, add salt to taste and season with a few pinches of chili powder or your favorite spice blend. Then spread out evenly on a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Bake at 330° for about 20 minutes. Check rind at 20 minutes; at this point remove any pieces that are crispy, then continue cooking for another 10–15 minutes, as needed. I usually just eat these as a snack and they go really well with a tall glass of your favorite brew and in my case some ginger Kombucha. Want to learn to make your own Kombucha and live in the greater Houston area? Send me a message and I will get you started!

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Note: My own writings above along with the recipe were originally published in the Edible Houston Magazine 

Simple Roasted Squash

This is my favorite way to eat many “winter” squashes.

IMG_9441In this simple roasted squash recipe I used a Dumpling squash, but it can be replaced with a carnival or a delicate squash as well. I get plenty of variety of all vegetables including winter squashes from the Loam Argonomics. Eating a diverse set of vegetables is the best way to incorporate lots of fiber and nutrients.

Roasting squashes is my favorite as roasting helps to caramelize the sugars in them and makes them sweeter and even tastier! This recipe is very quick and simple, excellent to make a weeknight side or eat a whole bowl of it..squashes can be quite filling! Read on here about the benefits if squashes.

 

Ingredients:

1 small Delicata or Dumpling squash (this will serve 2 people)

1/2 red onion

1-2 cloves of garlic

1/4 teaspoon chili powder (adjust to your taste!)

1/4 teaspoon or a drizzle of pomegranate syrup/molasses (add more if you like sweeter dishes!)

1 tablespoon avocado oil

Salt to taste

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Method:

Slice the onion, cube the squash and mince the garlic. Toss all the ingredients in a baking dish or pan. Roast in a preheated oven at 385 F for about 25-30 minutes or until fork goes easily through the squash. Cook longer if you prefer a mushier texture. I don’t peel my squashes when I know they are grown without pesticides so feel free to cook longer if the skin is thicker and has not cooked in 25 minutes or so. Serve hot! When its pomegranate season, I love to top this dish with some fresh pomegranate as well!

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