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

3-6 fresh basil leaves

1/2 lemon

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt to taste

3 tablespoons of soaked hemp seeds (optional)

1 drop 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 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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Southwest kale and “fried” green tomato salad

Summer means tomatoes and I am grateful to have locally grown varieties of tomatoes from Loam Agronomics! Salads is what I want to eat the most in summer! This maybe my new favorite salad…. what does one do with green tomatoes and kale? Make a salad of course! The kale and green tomatoes in this recipe are both from Loam!

Traditionally green tomatoes are eaten fried.. but I decided to lightly pan cook them for a healthier option.

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Ingredients:

2-3 stalks of fresh kale

1 small avocado

1 lime

1 large or two small green tomatoes (an sub any fresh tomatoes and leave uncooked as well!)

A drizzle of your favorite fat or oil to cook the tomatoes

Salt to taste

1/2 teaspoon Chili powder

Hemp and pumpkin seeds as topping

 

Method

Wash and tear kale into bit sized pieces. Dry well. Mash the avocado, add some salt, a few pinches of chili powder and lime. Massage the kale with the avocado (use as much as you need to massage kale and some more.. it will make a nice creamy “dressing”). Set aside massaged kale in fridge to stay cool. Slice the green tomatoes, add to heated pan with some coconut oil or olive oil. Pan cook on both sides with some sprinkled chili powder . You only want to sort of sear the tomatoes but not cook to a mushy texture. Let tomatoes cool off slightly. Add salt to taste on the tomatoes after removing from pan.

Add the massaged kale to a salad bowl, top with the tomato slices, sprinkle on some hemp and pumpkin seeds. Squeeze some lime and enjoy!

 

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Vegan Chard Tacos

I have loved Chard and any variety of if for a while now, but getting a fresh bunch in my CSA box from Loam Agronomics is just wonderful. Nothing like vegetables hand harvested the day before we get them! Does it get any fresher?

Usually I put an egg on my cooked or sauteed chard.  When I was cooking for one of my chard loving clients (she wanted chard almost every week), one day I showed her a picture of my meal with the cooked chard with an egg on top. Ten minutes later she was in the kitchen with me making herself a fried egg to eat for lunch with the chard I has just prepared for her. Eating chard and eggs can be contagious! Well this recipe is not chard and eggs because sometimes I enjoy them as tacos!! Yes.. one can have Chard tacos too!! After all I am living in Texas and the taco love has rubbed off on me.

So you know how they say, have your cake and eat it too? What if you could eat your tacos and feed your cells too? Chard is full of wonderful nutrients. Read on.

And always remember to have a little good fat with your chard to help absorb those amazing fat soluble vitamins! In this vegan chard tacos recipe, our good fat will be the olive oil and avocado!

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Ingredients:

1 bunch chard

2-3 tortillas (homemade must be nice, I eat tacos very occasionally- sheepish grin, so I buy these amazing grain free almond flour tortillas made by Siete Family foods!

1/2 red onion

3-4 cloves garlic (add more if you LOVE garlic!)

1/4 teaspoon coriander powder

1/4 teaspoon cumin powder

1/4 teaspoon chili powder (add more or less to taste)

Salt to taste

A few slices of lime

1 avocado

A few sprigs of fresh cilantro

1 and a half tablespoon olive oil

 

Method:

Mince garlic cloves and finely dice the onion. Add olive oil to the heated pan. Cook onion well for about 10-15 minutes stirring occasionally so it is somewhat caramelized and very soft. While onion is cooking, chop the greens and the stems. I keep the stems of the chard separate as they have a longer cooking time. Once the onion is almost done add in the stems and cook another 10 minutes till stems are softened, you may also cover and cook for 5 minutes with a tablespoon of water to quicken cooking time. Add the half tablespoon oil and add in the garlic and cook another few minutes till fragrant. Make a clear spot in the pan and add the spices, saute a few minutes till fragrant. Then add the chopped greens and cook till wilted or longer to suit your taste. In my tacos I like it well cooked but as a side dish I may cook for a shorter time.

Serve the cooked chard hot on your favorite tortillas, top with some cilantro, avocado slices and a squirt of lime!

 

 

Coriander and Curry Roasted Kohlrabi and Beans

 

Would you dive into this plate of Coriander and curry roasted Kohlrabi and green beans? Okay I added a couple of potatoes too!

If you have ever had “gobi aloo”  or “beans aloo” then you may enjoy this twist on it with Kohlrabi!

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Kohlrabi is one of those vegetables that often gets neglected because I hear “Oh I don’t know what to do with it” but it’s so delicious.. to me it tastes a lot like cauliflower when cooked. Many love it raw in salads too. I think its so diverse and can be used in so many ways. Plus so many benefits of eating this cruciferous vegetable! Read on!   I like to use every part of it including the skin. I save the leaves for stews or broths or to saute and eat with my eggs!

 

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One evening I was craving something spicy and flavor, but it had to be quick and healthy too! On my counter I looked at the beautiful Loam Agronomics purple Kohlrabi and green beans washed and ready to cook! Plus I had a few potatoes too! And some of the fresh green coriander also from my Loam CSA box. Coriander and Cilantro both are my favorite. Why you need more coriander in your cooking- read on!

Here is what I made for dinner.. quick, simple, easy and flavorful! Make it as spicy as you wish. As I always suggest.. recipes are guidelines… suit your taste and wellness goals!

 

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Ingredients:

2-3 Kohlrabi

2 small potatoes (optional)

2-3 handful fresh green beans

1/2 teaspoon Turmeric (add more if you wish!)

1-2 tablespoons fresh green coriander (substitute 1 teaspoon dry whole seeds or 1/2 teaspoon dry powder)

1/2 teaspoon chili powder (add more to your taste!)

1/2 teaspoon garam masala  or curry powder (add more to your taste!)

2-3 tablespoons ghee (enough to mix in with all the vegetables)

3-4 cloves garlic

1/2 red onion

Salt and pepper to taste

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Method:

Ensure all the roasting vegetables are washed and dried. Mince the garlic and finely chop the red onion. Hand break the beans into 3 segments. Cube potatoes and unpeeled Kohlrabi (you may add leaves or save for another dish!).

Add all chopped and prepared vegetables to a roasting pan or Pyrex dish. Toss with ghee and spices and green coriander.

Roast in preheated over for about 30-35 minutes at 375 F or until potatoes are cooked through. You may toss all the vegetables at half way point.

Top with cilantro! Serve hot as a side!

 

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Dill-icious Egg Salad

 

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Egg salads always take me back to my birthday parties as a kid! We would serve egg salad sandwiches.. and when I say we I mean my mom and grandmoms! Yes I would always help make the sandwiches for the party! By help I mean I would be a part of the assembly line. They would sit on the swing in the verandah, there would be lots of home made mayo (we didn’t really get store brought mayo then!), fresh boiled eggs and loaves of bread. One person would apply the filling of the egg salad, one person would slice the edges and one person would package the sandwich into the damp napkin! I would help by eating the ends with little bits of the egg salad, dipping in to the bowl of homemade mayo. If you haven’t tried home made mayo and egg salad.. the mayo makes the salad for sure. Every now and then I crave my egg salad..many a times I eat t he salad as is and sometimes I indulge with some fresh sourdough or sprouted grain bread too. Egg salad will always be a favorite for me!

This egg salad comes together quick and easy! I got fresh dill from my Loam Agronomics CSA box and pasture raised eggs from Whitehurst Heritage farms, and wanted a cold breakfast! Dill is one herb I always forget to use, but not recently, thanks to Loam I have been using it on so many things. Its delicious and also has so many benefits. Read here.

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Ingredients:

2 eggs boiled and cooled and peeled (great to use pasture raised eggs, even better if from a local farm!)

1 -2 teaspoons mayo (I make my own home made or use Primal Kitchen brand)

A few quirts of mustard

1 teaspoon chopped fresh green onions

1 teaspoon chopped celery (optional, I love the crunch)

1 teaspoon chopped nuts (optional)

1/2-1 teaspoon fresh chopped dill (my first batch I added 1/2 a teaspoon and the second batch I made with even more dill.. suite your taste!)

Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Mash peeled eggs with a fork, toss in all ingredients! Enjoy by itself or on toast or crackers. Serve for breakfast or snack or tea time. Double or triple the recipe to serve more people. This serves one person.