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Blending Cultures for the Jewish New Year!

Today I offer you a must-try recipe for Sweet Mung Pancakes with Stewed Apples. This dish blends ideas from the two cultures I know best: Eastern European Jewish traditions and the Vedic culture of India. How I came to embrace Vedic culture as a Jewish girl from the American south may well be the topic of a book one day, but for now, let’s focus on making something both delicious and healthy for the Jewish New Year!

As Jewish people throughout the world began celebrating Rosh Hashanah and the year 5780 at sundown on September 29th, we invoked the blessing of sweetness for the coming year by eating slices of raw apple dipped in honey. Many families will continue serving apples throughout this holy season, which culminates ten days later on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.  In India—and wherever people with Indian roots have formed communities—the mung bean is recognized as one of the most important foods to grace their tables.

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The Last of the Summer Corn

If you enjoy sweet corn, I promise you’re going to love this new recipe for Vegan (or Vegetarian) Corn Chowder! Yes, I’m not quite done with corn yet, since local markets here in the Carolinas, and many parts of the country, are still featuring organic sweet corn on the cob.

 

This chowder is a perfect dish for these last hot days of summer because, like many summer soups, it’s lovely when served at room temperature, slightly chilled, or, if this is your preference, warmed just enough to take the chill off. However it’s served, this soup starts by being cooked, which honors the Ayurvedic preference of cooked foods over raw.

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Ahh…Sweet Corn!

“As American as apple pie” is the turn of phrase for most anything associated with U.S. culture, but really—if you’re counting by the pound—corn is king! For that reason, and because it’s summer when sweet corn is fresh in local farmers’ markets or ready to pick in your garden, I will offer an easy and delicious vegan corn dish.

 

I’m not talking about just any corn. I’m talking about sweet corn, the delicious corn you can eat on the cob and that, when it’s just been picked or is still reasonably fresh, almost melts in your mouth with natural sweetness.

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Quick Vegan Meals

Now that it’s officially summer, I’ve created a new trio of recipes for you, dear readers: each one easy to make and cooling—or at least balanced—from an Ayurvedic perspective. Because one thing’s for sure: summer invites us all (even working people) to have a little extra time to relax so we can enjoy the balmy breezes or stay cool despite 90-plus degrees as the sun goes down!

 

Vegan Cilantro Coconut Sauce: For starters, let’s begin with cilantro because it is the most cooling of the fresh herbs and serves as an excellent tonic for summer when blended into a sauce. I’ve combined it with coconut cream (or coconut milk, whatever you have available), which is equally cooling and perfect for hot weather.

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Stay Cool as a Cucumber!

With the summer solstice around the corner, it’s the perfect time to plan for how to stay hydrated and cooled down during the hot months ahead. An easy way to start is with cooling Cucumber Water.

 

According to Ayurveda, cucumbers are one of the most cooling foods. Of course, you might be one of the many people (especially those with vata problems) who have difficulty digesting cucumbers. In that case, the best approach is to sip cucumber water rather than eat the full vegetable—a way to get cucumber’s benefits without the burps! You may want to scrape out the seeds, which some say is the problem. You might also peel the cucumber—sometimes grocers wax their skins, which makes them even harder to digest.

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Best Veggie Burgers!

If you like a good veggie burger, I’m betting you’ll love this fresh Vegan Black Bean & Sweet Potato Patties recipe for Memorial Day festivities! It’s easy, it’s delicious (of course!) and it’s perfect for casual entertaining during these summer months.

I haven’t had a real hamburger in about thirty years, and I’ve never truly missed them. However, I do occasionally crave that classic American experience of biting into a bun with a mound of protein, mustard and ketchup! A freshly made veggie burger will more than suffice.

Today’s recipe was inspired by delicious burgers Tom and I ate at The Present Moment Café in St. Augustine, Florida during an anniversary weekend. The chef may not be familiar with Ayurvedic cuisine, but it was nonetheless brilliant to pair hard-to-digest black beans with soft and grounding sweet potatoes. I’ve added garlic powder, gluten-free asafetida, and cumin to aid digestion.

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Spring Side Dishes

As fresh organic asparagus come streaming into our Carolina markets during March and April, they often awaken my creativity, sparking a quest to develop a new recipe for these divine green spears. Today, let me introduce Asparagus with Leeks and Shiitake Mushrooms.

This is a simple dish of steamed asparagus with sautéed leeks and shiitakes. I added the shiitakes because they’re delicious—and also because they’re known to improve immunity.This year our pollen levels have hit record levels, and many people have succumbed to head colds because their immune systems were weakened by allergy season. So, in years to come, I’ll remind readers to pull out this recipe at the beginning of spring!

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Spring Cleaning with Vegan Collards

When spring marches in, we naturally want to throw open the windows of our home and clean out all the dust and cobwebs. In the same way, Ayurveda recommends that we give our bodies an annual spring cleaning! Once the autumn chill descends, and all the way through the cold winter, we tend to eat heavier foods. This way we can put on a little fat to stay warm. Spring invites us to help the body transition to the new season by eating lighter foods.

I always recommend a mung soup fast along with light vegetables for a few days or a week at the beginning of spring. This helps to detoxify the colon, liver, kidneys. Cooked greens of any kind are a great side dish to support a spring detox, and today I’d like to generate some enthusiasm for collard greens. Collards belong to the dignified family of Southern “soul food,” brought to

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My Favorite Things: Capomo

Today I’m introducing a new section of the Sacred & Delicious Blog called My Favorite Things, and I’m launching it with a yummy coffee alternative called Capomo! If you love the taste of coffee but have given it up for any number of excellent reasons, which I enumerate later, you’re in for a treat!

Capomo is the name Tattva’s Herbs gives this coffee alternative made from the maya nut, which they claim is one of “nature’s premier antioxidants.” That may be, but I love this drink just for its divine flavor! Want some “bliss in every cup”? Try Capomo!

You can make Capomo in a coffee pot, drip coffee maker, or with a Melita. I gave all of those kitchen gadgets up when I swore off

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All Things Chocolate for Valentine’s Day

Today, dear friends and fellow chocolate enthusiasts, I offer you an incredibly delicious gluten-free and vegan chocolate cake with which to tempt your sweetheart on the occasion of Valentine’s Day. When Sacred & Delicious was first published in October 2018, Biblio Reviews wrote this: “The vegan Dark Chocolate Layer Cake was the best vegan cake I have ever made!”

I’ve adapted the book’s large sheet cake recipe to create a smaller cake you can bake in a heart-shaped pan or as a traditional 9-inch layer cake. Yes! A gluten-free and vegan cake that is moist, not overly sweet, and still delicious enough to make having seconds hard to resist. Just ask my husband!

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