Spiced pumpkin bread

IMG_1369The time is here for all things fall, and I relish the days in San Diego where there is a slight crispness and coolness in the air. Pumpkin no longer feels pre-mature and neither does apple cider. Yesterday was a gorgeous day as some dear friends and I supported our friend Earth Mama as she catered a completely gluten free, vegan, deliciously hearty farm to fork meal down at Suzie’s Farm.

It was their seasonal Farm to Yoga event. The autumnal spirit was alive as the sun went to sleep a little sooner and the lights strewn across the grand eucalyptus trees met the dark of the new moon. It is the definition of hyper-local dining, as Kristin (Earth Mama) harvested heaps of kale just the day before in the field we served the dinner, and used Suzie’s own butternut squash, and other herbs and ingredients for the feast.

Included in the menu was a Harvest Kale salad with a creamy tahini herb dressing, butternut squash soup, quinoa flatbread pizzas, one with a pumpkin chipotle sauce and market veggies, the other with her grandfather’s Sicilian marinara with yams, onions, and a walnut pesto drizzle, and finally the delicious almond flour spiced cookie with IMG_1360coconut caramel and stewed apples. It was incredible.

Before I went down to the event, I enjoyed my Sunday morning by baking some gluten free spiced pumpkin bread and cooking up some chai spiced apple cider. You can bake a pie pumpkin from the market first or if you use canned pumpkin, I suggest Farmer Market Foods BPA free lining canned pumpkin. Let me know what you think and mostly, enj

Spiced Pumpkin Bread

2.5 cup almond flour

1/2 cup pumpkin (feel free to increase the amount of pumpkin and decrease the amount of almond flour if you would like, perhaps 1 cup pumpkin to 2 cups almond flour)

1/2 cup organic unsalted butter or ghee

1/3 cup maple syrupIMG_1343

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp celtic sea salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice mix (made up of cinnamon, cardamom,

nutmeg, ginger and cloves)

few extra shakes of cinnamon

1 tsp all spice

1/4 cup almond butter

Preheat the oven to 350. In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. In a separate mixing bowl, combine the wet ingredients. Stir the wet into the dry ingredients and blend using a mixer. Bob’s red mill almond flour is a bit coarser, and can result in a bit of a grit. If you like that, hand mix and you are good to go! If you want a finer texture, either blend with the mixer, or, ideally, use this wonderful almond flour here.

Scoop into a bread load pan and bake for about 35-40 min. Keep an eye on it, you will know when it’s done by its golden top and clean fork or toothpick check. I like to make a little warm drizzle for the top and I usually just melt some butter on the stovetop on low, and add some almond butter, maple syrup, and a few shakes of cinnamon for a extra decadent and healthy topping!

IMG_1346As for the chai spiced apple cider, all I did was cook some apple juice on the stove top with some mulling spices and few Tulsi Chai Masala herbal tea bags. Strain and serve. It was soo good!!

Happy November,

Whitney

Autumn smoothie: Cinnamon vanilla mesquite malt

IMG_0764Yes, fall is here as much as it will be in San Diego. The sun is softer and kinder, and the silence is growing louder as we move towards winter. Yet, it’s still warm enough to delight in smoothies.

Here is a fall inspired shake with warming and grounding spices to assist in your seasonal transition, and just enough coolness to stay comfortable in the overextended heat. And don’t forget, I have put together an autumn cleanse packet for this purpose to help you detox and rejuvenate this fall for only $53.00. It comes with all the whole foods recipes, kitchen medicine, shopping list, daily routine guidance, self-care protocol, and email support from me! It will be available online for one more week so check it out here for more information!

Now back to the shake. This mesquite is different from the mesquite you may think of when grilling food. This superfood (nutrient dense) is ground up powder from the pods of the mesquite plant. Mesquite is so rich and decadent in its molasses, nutty flavor and caramel notes. It’s very high in minerals and protein. It’s low-glycemic, contains healthy doses of soluble fiber, and doesn’t cause spikes in blood sugar as it digests so slowly. It’s has been used for centuries by Native populations as a sweetener and flour. It’s originally from South America and the the Southwestern U.S.

It’s great in deserts, energy bars, smoothies, pancakes, and warm tonics as well. Enjoy!

Cinnamon vanilla mesquite malt

1 C unsweetened almond milk
1 organic banana
1-2 T Mesquite powder, to taste (SunFood is a good brand)
1 T almond butter
1/2 tsp maple syrup
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
Several shakes of cinnamon and cardamom
A handful of organic frozen grapes (never buy conventional grapes, they are most definitely on the dirty dozen list and highly sprayed with chemicals)
Blend and enjoy.

I just returned from a gorgeous trip to the Pacific Northwest. Enjoy a few photos from autumn in full effect!

Warmly,

Whitney

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Introducing our Autumn Cleanse Packet- available now!

DETOXIFY   |   PURIFY    |    GROUND 

  

   AUTUMN CLEANSE PACKET 2013

Autumn Cleanse 2013

This 10 day cleanse will support you to heal from the inside out to obtain more energy, increased mental clarity, a stronger immune system, a deeper sense of inner peace and calmness, and a more vibrant and healthy YOU!

This packet provides:

  •  Whole foods, plant-based recipes
  • Cleansing tea and tonic recipes
  • Daily routine guidance
  • Self care protocol
  • Kitchen Medicine for support beyond your cleanse
  • Email support
  • Re-integration tips and bonus recipes

Cost: $53.00 includes everything listed above.

Purchase the cleanse below through Paypal. You will then receive an email from me with the password to receive your PDF through the link on this page above, “Autumn Cleanse 2013”.

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Thank you and happy cleansing!

Whitney Kear

Founder, Nourishing Roots: A Pathway to Healthy Living

Nourishing Roots Self-Care Workshop Sept. 7

green-tea1Join us Saturday, September 7th for an Ayurvedically-inspired late summer Self-Care workshop.

Are you tired? Worn out? Are your days just too packed, leaving you irritated and on edge? Do your joints ache, or are you just continually hot? Or are you doing alright, and just need a steady boost to keep your energy levels up and mind clear?

Learn nourishing, simple, and enjoyable ways to take care of yourself during this heat and other times of the year. Feel inspired and empowered to nurture yourself with the food choices you make and through body care.

We will have a lot of fun crafting in the kitchen, as well as a beginning portion of the workshop dedicated to a short lecture.

Learn:
*What herbs are best for you at this time of year
*Appropriate food and beverage choices for this time of year
*Daily routine guidance for balance in mind, body, spirit
*Ways to prevent burn out, emotional overwhelm, and other symptoms that can manifest in the heat.
*Have fun learning new recipes, and reconnect with the part of yourself that knows how to sustain self-care in the midst of our busy lives.

Please bring several reusable containers, preferable mason jars or something similar so you can take some goodies home.

Cost: $45.00 pre-register. $55.00 after September 3rd.
Address provided upon registration.

Pre-register here:

http://nourishingrootsselfcare.eventbrite.com

(Unfortunately, eventbrite applies a $3.00 fee) You can also pay through paypal at the email address: wkcheer3@aol.com.

or send a cash/check made out to Whitney Kear. Please email whitneykear@gmail.com for address.

Thank you!

Whitney Kear, Founder of Nourishing Roots: A Pathway to Healthy Living

8 tips to stay cool & a summer smoothie

579525_192731874212541_265001032_nI’m in the middle of a very well received late summer cleanse.  Fall is near, but summer is still here. Summer in Ayurveda is classified as the season where Pitta predominantly rules. Pitta governs all things hot, bright, sharp, expansive, active, and intense.  Pitta imbalances can provoke a myriad of less optimal emotions and a sense of discomfort in the body, such as irritation, anger, judgement, and jealousy.  Physical symptoms may include strong body odor, inflammation, itchy eyes or skin, hair loss, or heartburn and loose stools. According to Maharishi Ayurveda, “a Pitta-aggravating lifestyle that revolves around overworking, frequent time-pressure and deadline-oriented activities, and long commutes become twice as stressful in the heat of summer.” So let’s lighten up, move slower, let go, and let ourselves float down that proverbial flowing river a little more.

Here are some ways to stay cool in your heart, body, and head (and great ways to brighten the whites of your eyes as well!) I’m also running a special for my WHOLE FOODS, CUSTOMIZED GUIDED CLEANSES so please contact me at my email below to schedule a free consult if you are interested. I love helping people to nourish themselves.

1. ORGANIC UNREFINED COCONUT OIL:

Coconut oil is full of healthy fats and for those of you worried about fats, please worry no longer. The fats available in coconut oil are so important and nourishing for your brain, eyes, and bodily tissues. In some parts of the world, coconut is a dietary staple. For example, the population known as the Tokelauans, which live in the South Pacific, derive over 60% of their calories from coconuts. They are reported to be in excellent heath with no evidence of heart disease.

The Lauric Acid in Coconut Oil Can Kill Bacteria, Viruses and Fungi, Helping to Stave Off Infections

Use coconut oil in your smoothies, as a replacement for butter in cooking and baking, and my absolutely favorite, massage your scalp, temples, and the soles of your feet (or better yet your entire body!) with some coconut oil before showering to aid in cooling your body.

2. ROSE WATER:

Rose water is revered in Ayurveda as a powerful way to cool the mind and heart. It’s anti-inflammatory properties are very effective in calming red, irritated skin. It’s astringent properties make it a great toner. The scent of rose is very calming and is shown to promote emotional well-being, and decrease levels of anxiety. Purchase some rose water spray from the store or purchase rose essential oil and dilute it with filtered water for your own rose spray! Bring some with you throughout your day and spray a mist of 3 whenever you need a cool, refreshing treat.

3. SHOP LOCALLY:

64553_144412889044440_659288154_nMother Nature is undeniably intelligent. Simply take a look at what is available at your local farmer’s market and, EAT THAT! Let these foods cool you from the INSIDE OUT. Gorgeous, leafy greens, cucumbers, watermelon, fresh herbs mainly CILANTRO AND MINT are highly cooling, fresh green beans, radishes, summer squash, etc.  Do your best to limit consumption of spicy foods, lots of oil, or alcohol as that will only increase the heat in your body. Lean towards lighter meals, and beware of too much red meat or red wine!

4. COOLING TEAS:

Steep some cooling herbs such as hibiscus, fresh mint, fennel, lemongrass, spearmint, and raspberry leaf. Add a drop or two of stevia and you will have a delicious, cooling, tea tonic to help stave off the heat and any headaches throughout the day.

Note* Even though ice cold drinks may be thought to cool us down the most, they actually shock the system and can create unnecessary ama (toxins) in the body. Up your chill a notch and drink your beverages cool, not cold.

5. WALK BAREFOOT ON THE GRASS OR OCEAN:

Probably doesn’t take much convincing here that a nice barefoot stroll on the beach or in a lush park will cool your nerves and get you grounded. The energy of the Earth draws the heat downward from the upper body and can then be recycled for a fresh start!

6. EXERCISE EARLY: Get your circulation flowing and heart pumping earlier in the day before it gets too hot, which prevents you from cooling down appropriately.

7. ADD LIME TO YOUR WATER:

1002419_204985172987211_1578489615_nFresh lime will help not only detoxify the channels of the body,  cleanse your liver, and get your digestive fire kindling, it will help keep you cool before you even have a chance to get hot! If you’re up by sunrise, enjoy a warm cup of water with fresh squeezed lime.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8. FRESH UNPASTEURIZED JUICES AND SMOOTHIES:

IMG_5680Hit up your local Whole Foods or invest in a juicer so you can provide your body with unpasteurized fresh juices. Freshly juiced fruits and vegetables are highly alkalizing to the pH of your body, and assimilated immediately, offering fantastic cleansing, detoxing, and energizing effects. One of my favorite combos is kale, cucumber, celery, apple, and lemon. Juice some fresh grapefruit and lemon for a medicinal tonic for your liver and gallbladder! Also, smoothies are a great way to eat lightly while getting the nutrition you need. It takes such a load off of your digestive system and allows you to utilize its energy much more quickly and efficiently.

To feel your best, stay away from refined flour, processed foods, fried foods, frozen and canned foods, and sugar other than my select 4 in the form of raw honey, maple syrup, dates, or coconut palm sugar. With that, I leave you with a summer smoothie recipe.

Enjoy!

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Blueberry rose smoothie:

  • 1/2 C fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 peach or a handful of grapes
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 T Chia seeds
  • 1-2 dates, pitted
  • 1 T Spirulina or other green powder such as Vita Mineral Greens
  • A nice shake of cinnamon, cardamom, & rose hip powder (or a splash of food grade rose water)
  • 4-5 Sprigs of Mint
  • 1 C sparkling or purified water
  • Squeeze of fresh lime juice

Blend thoroughly. Enjoy!

I OFFER WHOLE FOODS CUSTOMIZED GUIDED CLEANSES to help gently detoxify, nourish, and support your physical, emotional, and mental well being. Please email me at whitneykear@gmail.com to schedule a free consultation to see if working together may be the right fit for you.

Chocolate chip carrot-ginger bread

Hello my fine spring birds,

IMG_7925Please excuse me for not posting this past month. Life has been so full, I’ve been lucky to find time in the kitchen myself (a rarity!). And alas, what tastes better on a Friday evening after a warm Spring day rounded with work and warmth? Well, besides local Green Flash brewery’s Hop Head Red, this gluten free, refined sugar free chocolate chip carrot-ginger bread.

When our proverbial winter snows melt inside our bodies just like the spring water that now runs down the side of the mountains, we tend to get congested with the common symptoms of a runny nose, a sore throat, and cold like symptoms. Overall, it is best to support your health this season with lighter, less oily  foods and less dairy to prevent mucous in the body. Steer clear of cold drinks which shock the system and slow digestion; instead, sip warm ginger tea with some lemon throughout the day to aid digestion and enhance cellular detoxification.

While more suitable Spring recipes are on the way, this post returns to the comfort and joy of warm, aromatic, spice filled bread. Carrots are full of nutrition, enhancing vision, aiding a healthy heart, offering tons of Vitamin A and antioxidants for beautiful hair, skin, and nails, and also known as a potent food for cancer prevention. While you begin to adjust your palette to Spring’s offerings, may this recipe continue to nourish and ground with you its warmth and subtle sweetness.url

Please note that I do my best to measure things but that this recipe is based on approximations so PLEASE use your intuition and creative flare to taste!

-2 1/2 cup almond flour (available in bulk at Whole Foods)

-3/4 cup shredded carrot

-1/3 cup dark chocolate chips

-1/3 cup sunflower seeds

-1 T fresh grated ginger

-2 eggs

-1/3 cup organic unsalted butter/ghee/oil of your choice (melted)

-approx. 1/4 cup grade B maple syrup (it has more minerals and a richer flavor)

-1/2 tsp baking soda

-1/2 tsp baking powder

-1/2 tsp salt

-approx. 1-1.1/2 tsp cinnamon

-approx 1/2 tsp allspice

-approx 1/4 tsp cardamom (optional)

Additional optional ideas: Vanilla, unsweetened shredded coconut, raisins.

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Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix dry ingredients (almond flour, sunflower seeds, chocolate chips, spices, baking soda, baking powder, salt) in a medium mixing bowl. Then mix your wet ingredients (egg, maple syrup, butter, carrot, ginger) into another mixing bowl. Combine the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and whisk until blended.

Use some butter or oil of your choice to grease your bread pan. Transfer contents into your bread pan and place into the oven. Bake for 40-50 minutes or so, or until a knife inserted in the loaf comes out clean.

Let me know what you think and please share!

Enjoy,

Whitney 

Blood orange chocomaca shake!

“The beautiful is that which we cannot wish to change”

Swedish Forests

~Simone Weil, spoken to me by the late Dr. Allan Anderson.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Today many of us gathered in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, luckily another reason to get together in person and share food, love, stories, and just plain be in each other’s presence. I didn’t realize how welcomed that was until I saw some of my favorite shining faces, and received some very good hugs, that I needed some face time!

It’s been a very full and alive month! The incredible 90 year professor I cared and cooked for passed away 6 days ago. I feel so immensely blessed to have been ready to be a part of this most intimate transition. Being with him during the last 5 months of his life was truly a gift that I feel has just begun giving. Being by his side during those final weeks/days helped me transcend my self and show up with the fire of love and devotion.

IMG_6343Dr. Allan Anderson, retired professor of philosophy and religious studies, Chinese scholar, poet, author, incredible being, and lover of ‘quietude.’ This man very well may be the greatest man I have ever met in my life. We created a very deep and special bond that crossed rivers of spirituality, philosophy, writing, poetry, animals, nature, and all things sweet and thoughtful. I learned so much from him, yet all the while, he never gave advice. He loved coyotes and said the Mexicans had a saying that “next to God, coyotes are the most intelligent.” He drank Irish breakfast tea and loved orange marmalade jam, listened to beautiful Spanish flamenco, and said the haunting sounds of the loons flipped his heart upside down and took him home. He said some of the happiest days of his life were when he visited Sweden as a boy and had a toy boat to play with all by himself every day, all day long. He said the forests there were astounding because there was no underbrush and each forest was like a resounding cathedral of trees. He never forgot the smell of a lady when at 8 years old, playing on the sidewalk in London, a woman walked by smelling of Lavender. “Oh, a l-a-a-a-a-d-y”, he said to himself as she swished by in her bountiful skirt.

Goedhuis1112013T182136His cat, Sweet Love, was his ‘mini-tiger’ and was the ultimate caregiver. He believed in fairies. He steered clear of sacramental language. He dreamt of white ponies and desert sunsets. He called me ‘treasure’ and every time he said I love you, it felt like it was the first time he was saying it.  He gave no energy away yet offered it all, shining from his loving eyes. He never complained. He taught me how to ‘stand sure’, unafraid to rock the boat.

You can purchase his books here and here is his biography and education/background to give you a taste of the indelible mark this man has left on our world.

“All the world is a prayer whether I pray or no, and the prayer I might have prayed. God knew and heard as though.” ~A.W.A.

Allan William Anderson was born in Hastings, New Zealand. Anderson is Professor Emeritus from San Diego State University where he taught philosophy and religious studies for nearly twenty-five years. He received the Excellence in Teaching award from the state of California in 1970.

Professor Anderson is a scholar in the areas of philosophy and comparative religion. His specific expertise lies with his insight into the nature of spirit and self-transformation. His research on the I Ching, the first of the ancient Chinese classics produced two books: Self-Transformation and the Oracular and Reflections on the I Ching. His studies of Daoism led to his original translation of the Tao-Te-Ching. Anderson’s dialogues with J. Krishnamurti and his subsequent meditations on Krishnamurti’s teachings resulted in his most recent work, On Krishnamurti’s Teachings.

Accomplished academically his soul is that of a poet, his pen and mind happiest in verse. From this fertile ground we have Songs from the Mifflinger Sea and a little cove of Nonsense. These poems are written in the spirit of Edward Lear and beautifully illustrated by Leslie Rhea Lewis.

:: Background and Education ::

Anderson’s formative years were spent in England. He came to the United States with his parents in 1936. His father was Roy Anderson the highly influential president of ministry for the Seventh Day Adventists. The senior Anderson was a gifted speaker and traveled widely in his evangelical duties. Allan would especially welcome the opportunity to see his father preach before African-American congregations. He was deeply moved by the un-self conscious immediacy of these events. In his early twenties Allan broke with the Seventh Day Adventists and the promising career his father and the other church elders had envisioned for him.

Anderson completed his undergraduate work in 1944 at Columbia Union College. He received a B.A. in History and a B.S. in Science. That same year Anderson entered Potomac Seminary in Washington D.C. in an effort to become an Episcopalian pastor. He completed his seminary work with a Masters of Theology in 1947. Later that year Allan was sent by his Bishop to interview before the Standing Committee of the Episcopalian Diocese of New York as the final step in his admittance to the clergy. In an unprecedented move the Standing Committee rejected the Bishop’s recommendation and denied Allan’s petition. He was told that he would not fit in with the church since “he was too independent.” Shocked, the Bishop asked Allan to interview before the Standing Committee in Connecticut but Allan received the committee’s rejection as a relief. He now felt free to study and practice religion outside the constraints of any institutional denomination.

Anderson enrolled at Trinity College the next year to study Literature. He received an M.A. in English in 1951, with a Master’s Thesis on the “Indian Elements in the Works of Shelley.” In 1954 Allan entered Columbia University and Union Theological Seminary simultaneously in order to study Sanskrit and pursue his interests in philosophy and comparative religions. In 1960 he was awarded his Doctorate with a dissertation titled, “A Comparative Study of the Concept of Sacrifice in St. Gregory or Nyssa and Sri Aurobindo.” In the years immediately after receiving his Doctorate, Allan made a formal study of the Chinese language.

I hope something listed here in his honor was of inspiration to you. As I rest and rejuvenate, I give my immunity a boost and energy a lift with this BLOOD ORANGE CHOCOMACA SHAKE.

DSC_0547The oranges offer tons of vitamin C, while the cacao offers antioxidants, trace minerals galore, and lots of boosters for serotonin and dopamine in the brain, making it a mood enhancer. Maca is wonderful for hormones, suitable for both men and women. For women, it is especially helpful in regulating periods and easing abdominal cramps. It boosts energy, nourishing adrenals, and has a delicious butterscotch malty flavor.

Enjoy and let me know what you think.

Ingredients:

2 blood oranges, peeled. (regular oranges are fine too, or any fruit for that matter!)

1 T cacao power

1/2 T maca powder (Can purchase at Whole Foods or herb section at People’s Co Op)

1 tsp cinnamon

2 ice cubes (optional, not necessary if almond milk is cold)

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 heaping T almond butter

2-3 dates or sweetener to taste such as raw honey, maple syrup or coconut palm sugar

dash of sea salt

*** Optional additions: dash of vanilla, few shakes of cardamom, few shakes of turmeric, small knuckle of fresh ginger.

Blend until smooth and enjoy!

IMG_6402Madly singing in the mountains, whereabouts unknown,

Whitney

Hazelnut Cardamom-rose mini sandwich cookies with a chocolate orange mousse filling

urlWhy on Earth is it so prudent and downright fulfilling to your bones to nourish yourself? Well, let us count the ways!!

I want to ask you how you would feel/what you would do if you could ‘indulge’ per say in a life of sweetness, health, AND wealth- enjoying cookies, scones, brownies, and all the mainstream “no-no’s” WHILE maintaing healthy weight, increased energy, optimal digestion and still feeling incredibly comforted and certainly satisfied? Well, alongside my greens, and other balanced whole foods, that is what I do by cooking with all organic, gluten free, refined sugar free, and whole foods products.

A friend said recently, “How do you bake all these cookies etc and not gain weight?” For me, it’s not separate from the rest of my diet. It’s not either ‘healthy’ or ‘unhealthy’. When I eat something with sugar, I don’t separate it or categorize it from the rest of my food, or feel the need to ‘make up’ for it. I don’t hide my chocolate in the far reaches of my cabinet. I don’t feel guilty for crafting delicious desserts. Why? One, because everything I source from is a whole food so it’s not processed in a way that my body can’t assimilate. I use natural sweeteners such as raw honey, maple syrup, and dates. It is in its natural form and actually makes me feel good, sustainably! Theobroma cacao (raw cacoa) is one of the healthiest foods on the planet when it’s not altered from its natural form! It’s known to actually boost the mood, fill you up with antioxidants, and calm stress.

Two, for my particular constitution, the natural sweet flavors you can taste in dates, rice, or yams, are very grounding and comforting for me. For some individual body constitutions, too many sweet tastes may not be grounding or comforting for them and may contribute to stagnancy or lethargy so it’s helpful to know your healthy balance. Three, I’ve healed a lot of my own emotional attachments around food through the years and eat sweets from a balanced perspective, not necessarily in response to stress or upset. Along with that, I just completed a 10 day Ayurvedic winter cleanse to reset my system from any accumlated toxins. All a welcomed dose of liberation!

We all have ways that work for us, and new ways we can implement to reach even greater success. What is our version of success? Success is a malleable trait. It shows up and reminds us more certainly in moments when we’ve achieved greatness in the world around us like passing an exam, running a marathon, paying off a credit card, or strengthening a relationship. Success’ ways may also show up like the moon, more soft, supple, inward with her graces, and just for you to know. Through your integrity and honesty, that which often you only know its status, the self-nurturing you guide inside during difficult moments, or the remembrance to own your power when the world may be spiraling around you, is undoubtedly success, a Hail Mary YES! of accomplishment for listening to yourself. What is your current understanding of success? Perhaps you have different definitions of success for different aspects of your life.

IMG_2154When that listening results in a desire for some wholesome sweet treats, here is a fun mini sandwich cookie with luscious flavors. You will most likely find, if you are transitioning from a diet of processed sugars, these cookies may initially be less sweet than you are used to while your taste buds re-sensitize to the colorful spectrum of natural foods.

Roses represent romance for a very practical reason actually, they literally soothe the heart and calm emotions. In Ayurveda, it is balancing for all three doshas and very helpful for Vata’s and Pitta’s due to its soothing and cooling nature. It also kindles the digestive fire which maintains healthy eyes, skin, mood, digestion, and much more. In its calming properties, it’s also known as an aphrodisiac.

Now we have cardamom. The two pared together on the palette conjure up a sumptuous, luscious, and even sensual environment to enjoy with pleasure and sweet glee. Cardamom, a warming spice, is also tridoshic, and has a sharp flavor often used in desserts. It holds potent cleansing and digestive properties. Trust your senses and play around with this recipe, feel free to make adjustments!

Cookies:

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped hazlenuts
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 T cardamom
  • 1 T crushed & dried rose petals
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup butter/ghee

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix dry ingredients in medium mixing bowl. Mix wet ingredients in separate mixing bowl. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Place parchment paper on cookie tray. Roll cookie dough into flat 1 1/2″ rounds. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Raw Chocolate Orange Mousse Filling:

  • 1 to 1 1/2 avocado
  • 1/4 cup raw honey, dates, or maple syrup 
  • 1 whole fresh sqeezed juice from an orange
  • 1/8 cup cacao powder
  • dash sea salt
  • dash cinnamon
  • dash vanilla

Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth and creamy. Adjust any ingredients to taste.

Once the cookies have cooled a bit, assemble your mini sandwich cookies with a layer of mousse filling in the middle. Feel free to sprinkle unsweetened coconut flakes on top of the mousse. Eat warm or place in the fridge to set.

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You are the ultimate sweet treat.

-Whitney

Welcoming a New Era~ Winter Solstice and the Maya

No food recipe this post. Rather a deeper recipe to life. Please enjoy and share~

This Friday is the shortest day and longest night of the year: the winter solstice. In many cultures and wisdom traditions, the winter solstice is celebrated as a major celestial event and a potent time for prayer and ceremony. Especially this year, 2012, there have been many prophecies about this date. Popular within mainstream media are tones of fear-based doom, catastrophe, and ruin. While working on a documentary film in Guatemaya on the Maya, I had the honor to experience the living wisdom and ways of the indigenous Maya. During my times there, I participated in sacred fire Mayan ceremonies at Tikal and other ancient Maya sites throughout Guatemaya.

As Tz’utujil Mayan Daykeeper Tata Pedro Cruz says, ‘there is no world that is going to end’, but rather we will experience a return of ancestral wisdom. This date of December 21, 2012, a movement from the 4th world to the 5th world, was prophesized nearly 1,400 years ago by the Maya and falls on the Winter Solstice 2012 on the Gregorian Calendar. This date is viewed as a rebirth, and the beginning of a new era, the 5th World of the Sun. It is prompted from, and signified by, the solar meridian crossing the galactic equator, and the earth aligning itself with the center of the galaxy.

For the first time in 26,000 years, at sunrise on December 21, 2012, the Sun will rise to join the intersection of the Milky Way and ecliptic plane, resulting in a great cross of stars and planets in the sky. This cosmic cross is seen to embody the Sacred Tree, the Tree of Life, known in most spiritual traditions across the globe. It is speculated that this alignment within the center of the galaxy will allow a pathway for cosmic energy to move through the earth, cleansing the earth and all life, resulting in a raised level of consciousness.

Traditionally, on the solstices, the rays of the sun directly hit two tropical latitude lines. The Maya, the most accomplished astromoners of ancient time, pin pointed it and other celestial events with profound accuracy and also charted the planets and other celestial bodies well into future time. Many of the Mayan temples are aligned with the sun during sunrise and sunset of the solstices and equixones. For example, at sunrise on the summer solstice, the sun is directly aligned with the center of the Tulum Temple opening. Their temples and structures were constructed in alignment with the movement of the cosmos and this natural time in order to enhance their connection to and understanding of the Earth and the Sky.

Within the calendrical system of the Mayan Long count (a ‘mathematical year’ of 360 days used to be used to track larger cycles of time), we are ending a 13 Baktun (A Great Cycle of 5,125). Simultaneously practiced, the Mayan’s Tzolkin calendar follows a cycle of 260 days, comprising of 20 glyphs (day signs) and 13 tones (numbers), each pairing up and cycling through until a new calendar year. It consists of 13 months, each with 20 days. It’s evidenced that this cycle has been followed unbroken for roughly 3,000 years, assisting to align those who follow it with the cycles of the Earth and the cosmos. This cycle is viewed as sacred and important for several reasons. For one, it corresponds to the 9 months gestation cycle of human beings. It also correlates to the Venus cycle and its emergence as a morningstar. The 20 day signs also relate to our ten fingers and ten toes. It is a living system that allows your natural rhythm to match the Earth’s natural rhythm.

According to the Maya, we are beginning a New Era. That cycle will collectively encourage a transition from duality and separation, to unification within ourselves, each other, and the planet. It is my understanding that, rather, it is a time to listen to the great messages of the Earth and to consider our contribution and service to the greater whole when we make choices, not just our own personal gain. For some of us, this concept may be challenging to grasp, while for others, this is a welcomed relief. Wherever one is in their life, they can begin to move from ego-based living to heart-based living. What that means will vary for each of us. It’s not always easy, yet the rewards can be deeply fulfilling and a true testament to the courage and power of the human spirit. Ultimately, it’s remembering that we all have the blood of the Earth running through our veins and are one humankind, here to help lift each other up, not break each other down.

It may often sound like an arduous or idealistic task, but we have witnessed society begin to stand their ground even just in this past year. From the OCCUPY movements across the United States, to empowering social media tools, to a more independently-operated presence on the internet, to increased interest in natural medicine, yoga, and acupuncture, people seem more apt to voice their opinions about our current state as an individual and a society. Tz’utujil Mayan Elder Tata Pedro says, “To have peace in the world, we must first find peace within our communities.”

The Maya and many other indigenous cultures have been wildly misunderstood and they have much wisdom to impart with us that our society has been searching for in unquenchable ways. Their guidance is richly steeped in ceremony, history, tradition, science, and connection with the Earth. The astronomical and scientific events taking place signify this transformation of consciousness.

There will be many celebrations across the globe this day. Ceremony will be taking place at Tikal and all across Guatemaya. Please join us as we move towards a healthier planet for all life and within ourselves. We are the opening to a new way.

If you would like more information about how you can be involved and learn more about the ancient Maya, please contact me. Enjoy this trailer on the Maya below:

Double layered pumpkin cake with stewed fruit almond maple filling

The Lamb by William Blake
Little Lamb who made thee
Dost thou know who made thee
Gave thee life & bid thee feed.
By the stream & o’er the mead;
Gave thee clothing of delight,
Softest clothing wooly bright;
Gave thee such a tender voice,
Making all the vales rejoice!
Little Lamb who made thee
Dost thou know who made thee
Little Lamb I’ll tell thee,
Little Lamb I’ll tell thee!
He is called by thy name,
For he calls himself a Lamb:
He is meek & he is mild,
He became a little child:
I a child & thou a lamb,
We are called by his name.
Little Lamb God bless thee.
Little Lamb God bless thee.

The professor I cook and care for read this poem over and over with sheer delight as we sit in his 7th story ‘treehouse’, watching hummingbirds dart to and fro. That pure innocence, vibrance, and well intent of an eager child. Through my years of practicing yoga and meditation, the professor is endearing yet another quality of ‘sitting’. We simply sit. His favorite condition is that of ‘quietude’, he says.

“Not many people are comfortable with that condition”, he follows up.

“People think you’re odd. Somehow, not quite with it.”

Yet in our treehouse, he sits for hours, exploring the depths and ponderings of his wise mind in a 90 year old body. He repeats many stories and thoughts throughout the day. In this repetition, I somehow have come to believe that I need to hear it again. There is still something there for me to learn.I’ve learned through old students of his what an influential teacher he was during his career. As a professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies, as he would enter the room to teach his full classes you could hear a pin drop supposedly, everyone waiting in silence for this wise soul to begin his teachings, his true teachings. He taught a class just on the Feminine alone, and alongside, on the Masculine.

This week we discussed India. He spent 4 months there earlier in his life. He spoke of the Ganges and it’s powerful Presence. “Presence” is the word he most likes to use parallel to God. We discussed why and the nature of inclusivity and exclusivity and its power within words.

“I was simply stunned by how clear the water was. Even though there has been so much dumped in it over time, it’s crystal clear. I scooped up water in my hand and simply contemplated it, meditated upon it, and couldn’t believe how clear it was. Oh boy that river, has a very powerful Presence. Very powerful.” he said as he held his fragile hand in front of his chest, palm carved like a bowl. Since he’s been such a profound teacher to so many, I then asked him if he has ever had a teacher.

“No, I’ve never had a teacher.” he said. “Did you want one?” I asked.

“No, not particularly. See, my notion is, most teachers are utterly dreadful at teaching. They don’t know how to teach” he said.  I had no argumentative qualms about that. I understood and felt grateful to the true teachers I have received. He continued on about India.

“Though I was surprised that I didn’t find a Guru in India. I was disappointed. I was hoping to find someone that would be worth listening to.”

The way he stated that lends understanding to the strength and conviction in his defined nature. His desire in finding a ‘Guru’, had nothing to do, at least consciously, with belonging or fitting in. It said nothing of being incomplete or lost and confused. He was hoping to find someone ‘worth listening to’. It’s inspiring.

So, as we live, for feed our memories, we feed our stories. The stories that hold the lifeline of our passions, dreams, and perceived failures. We feed them with thoughts. We feed them with reflections. We feed them with choices. Life marries the Earth’s children for a delicate ball of joy, celebration, and human inquiry. In what ways does the food we eat support this notion? What tantalizing tastes and smells come galloping in, looking for a nourished playground in which to be received?

The autumn enjoyments of warmth and spices near never get old for me. Cinnamon, clove, cardamom, and nutmeg waft through the kitchen, naturally clearing the air of any cobwebs leftover from summer. Almond flour grounds our bodies, providing comfort in its sustenance. So, please do, for your Thanksgiving feasts, or any night of delight, try this double layered gluten free pumpkin spiced cake. It’s worth celebrating with those you love, or with that favorite fork!

Let me know what you think. I spent an afternoon making this a la Roost inspiration before gathering with friends to watch the Presidential election returns. The cake at least calmed any hesitancies as we awaited news of our country’s future.

~Double layered pumpkin spiced cake with stewed fruit maple almond filling~ 

  • 2 1/3 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup puréed pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup (Grade B has more minerals)
  • 1/2 cup ghee

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease 2 round cake pans. Mix the dry ingredients in a medium sized mixing bowl. Then mix the wet ingredients separately. Add the wet ingredients to the dry. You can blend the batter if you would like, it creates a very smooth consistency. Bake for 20 minutes.

Filling:

Stewed fruit:

  • 2 organic ripe Bosc pears, cored and chopped
  • 1 organic green apple, cored and chopped

Heat 1 T or so of ghee in a sauce pan. Add 1/2 tsp of cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, ginger, or any sweet warming spices you desire. Let the spices infuse into the oil for 1-3 minutes, making sure not to burn your spices! Add your pears and apple and continue cooking on low-medium heat. Add more oil if needed. Cook until soft and tender, about 10-15 minutes. Set aside.

Almond maple filling & glaze:

  • 1/4 cup ghee
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 3 T maple syrup
  • 1 T cinnamon

Heat ghee on a saucepan until just melted. Remove from heat and whisk in the remaining ingredients. Set aside and allow the filling to cool and thicken. You may place it in the fridge but more than 15-20 minutes will start to harden it.

Once your cakes are out of the oven, let them cool. Then apply a layer of the filling with a layer of stewed fruit stacked on top. Be careful not to use too much in the filling so you have enough for the icing and perimeters of the cake. You can also mix the fruit with the glaze if you’d like and apply all at once. I like doing it separately because then I can arrange the fruit in a beautiful pattern on top! Then place your second cake on top of the first and coat the entire cake with the icing.

Enjoy with the sumptuous reckoning that you are the culmination of all of Earth’s rich, sweet, and blossoming spices. You are the opening to a new way.

Lots of Love for a Happy Thanksgiving holiday spent with humble appreciation and authentic feasting~

Whitney