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Introducing Kokum with a Vegan White Bean Soup

It’s bitter cold in North Carolina and across much of the country as I write this blog—a perfect time for a wintry Vegan White Bean Soup. I’ve seasoned it with kokum as a way to introduce this fruit that is unfamiliar to most Americans, although it has been used in Ayurvedic cooking for millennia.

Dried kokum is used in Indian cooking because of its sour taste. What makes kokum unusual is that, unlike other sour foods—lemon, lime, vinegar, tomato—kokum does not increase pitta’s fiery nature. If you have pitta problems and eat too much of these other sour foods, you can set yourself up for a lot of pitta maladies. These include acid indigestion and acid reflux as well as skin problems, headaches, and

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Resolution 2019: Seek Balance

Ayurveda teaches that all of nature, including our bodies, is always in search of balance. When our physical doshas are out of balance, they invite various forms of illness and disease into our bodies. Whenever our lifestyle is out of balance for too long—all work and no play, or vice-versa—we can easily spiral downward into fatigue, burnout, anxiety, and depression. For all these reasons I’m proclaiming my resolution right here and now with each of you as my witnesses:

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All Things Pumpkin…continued!

Have I told you that I love fresh pumpkin  (see Spiced Pumpkin Pound Cake)? As the holiday season moves toward its peak, what can be better than a fresh Puréed Pumpkin Soup. The markets are still filled with sugar pumpkins, the sweet edible pumpkins used for pumpkin pies and all things pumpkin.

Pumpkin, like squash, is one of the favored foods of Ayurveda because it is so easy to digest. It’s ideal for vata and pitta. For watery kapha, it’s still fine if balanced with warming spices. I’ve chosen cinnamon, cardamom, allspice and fresh ginger—

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Holiday Cooking Tips for Modern Lifestyles

As often described in articles about holiday entertaining, it can be challenging because emotional expectations are often so high—both your own and your guests. You may be trying to create a picture-perfect event that is a dream come true for your family. When entertaining friends, you may hope to out-do your last kitchen performance. Expectations aside, holiday preparation is particularly daunting for people who work forty-plus hours a week. Double that for working parents. And of course, entertaining is the most stressful for perfectionists, who want their house to be impeccable, their food to be amazing, and who want to look stress-free and gorgeous, even when they’re totally frazzled.

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Post Halloween Detox

Post-Halloween Detox!

If you or your kids plan to eat a lot of Halloween candy, then I highly recommend that you plan a pot of Mung Soup with Vegetables for the day after! According to Ayurveda, mung beans are one of the healthiest foods on the planet and the greatest source of vegetarian protein, because they’re so easy to digest. This soup is made from whole mung beans, which have a scraping action. Translation: eating cooked mung beans will detoxify the body, specifically the colon, liver, kidneys, and the lymph system.

You can make a simple mung soup with a few spices and serve it with vegetable sides or, as I do, you can cook the soup with vegetables to make it a heartier dish. My preferences are Swiss chard and winter squash or a combination of

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Bring on the Cucumbers!

cucumber and coconut milk soup

Ayurveda’s common-sense dictum is that opposite qualities balance one another—whether in the body, the mind, or the emotions. So, to quell the last of the summer heat, I call for balance and say, “Bring on the cucumbers!”

In this lovely summer soup, the cooling power of cucumber is augmented by coconut milk, cilantro, and mint, all which cool the metabolism even further. Fresh ginger, cumin seeds, black mustard seeds, and lime all aid digestion besides being richly flavorful. They are also warming foods, which bring balance to the dish for vata and kapha types, who tend to be cold natured.

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Zucchini Soup in 20 Minutes or Less

If you like zucchini, you will love Creamy Zucchini Soup. This tasty soup will help you make an easeful transition from summer to fall. And another thing about this dish that is great is that it takes no more than 20 minutes to make, start to finish!

 

During September and October, and even into November in some places, zucchini is being harvested before the first big frost. As the nights are getting cooler in many parts of the country, this warm, gingery vegetable soup is a perfect accompaniment to a veggie burger, a pasta entrée, or a sweet potato stuffed with black beans! As cold and flu season approaches, one

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Cannellini Summertime

A few days ago my husband, Tom, walked into the kitchen and asked if we had any white beans. I thought What on earth for? and then, more politely, asked, “Why?”

“Thought I’d make some white bean hummus.” He smiled and assured me he’d get it started after golf, despite a 2:00 p.m. tee time. Although he has created some great dishes, this was not going to happen, I knew.

I said, “What if I make it instead?” Ask and ye shall receive! I must say, though, that it

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Cauliflower Steaks Three Ways

I tasted this scrumptious cauliflower dish at The Well Fed Community Garden in Raleigh in late May when Arthur Gordon, of Irregardless Cafe fame, created the dish on the spot! He gathered up whatever looked fresh and interesting at the farmer’s market along with herbs growing in the community garden and—voila!—came up with this amazing dish! I’ve adapted it only slightly to serve eight instead of eighteen and made it a tad milder so it doesn’t bring on more heat in this sweltering summer.The complete dish is a cauliflower “steak” that is rubbed down with a mixture of fresh herbs, roasted or sautéed, and topped with a red pepper cashew sauce. The first time I made this myself, I ran out of time and served only the first part of the dish, pictured here—cauliflower with herb rub. That alone was delicious! So, if you want a simpler dish to make for a July 4th bash, you won’t be disappointed.

A third option, also simplified from the original, is to skip the marinade. You chop the florets, grill them (or sauté them in a little salted oil), and top them with the cashew sauce.

If you want to go the extra mile to impress your guests, I recommend making the full dish: rubbed cauliflower steaks with red pepper cashew sauce. The sauce is simple, and you can use it over any of your favorite vegetables. I’ve found it wonderful over grilled summer squash, plantains, and sweet potatoes—foods I like to see on a summer menu!

Finally, if you want to replicate Arthur’s dish more precisely, you can add some hot sauce to the red pepper/cashew mixture. It’s a flavor I always avoid, but I know many people love it!

Wishing you all the freedoms hoped for when our forefathers proclaimed their independence on July 4, 1776!

Lisa with Arthur Gordon, founder of the Well-Fed Community Garden and Irregardless Cafe.

 

 

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