Week III • Creating Your Kosmic Kitchen
SETTING UP YOUR KOSMIC KITCHEN
We believe a Kosmic Kitchen is a place where magic is made. It is a sanctuary. A place where we go to nourish ourselves and our creativity, and through this practice, we can heal. To set up this space, it is important to focus on both the practical and spiritual elements. In this week, we'll show you how to set up your Kosmic Kitchen, what herbs you need, and how to create magical herbal meals everyday.
KOSMIC KITCHEN TOOLS
Here are some of the tools we have, and things we find most useful around the kitchen.
Mixing Bowls | We like stainless steel and ceramic versions, great for mixing big salads, kneading dough, and for prep work
Pinch Pots | Perfect containers for prep work, and for literally pinching frequently used herbs and spices from while cooking
Cast Iron Pan | This is an all around kitchen staple, it cleans easily and can go from cooktop to oven
Green Cookware | Non-teflon and non-aluminum pans only, these pans can be toxic after long term use
Multiple Sizes of Pots + Pans | We usually have at least one big and little of each in our kitchens
Earthenware | We love having at least one clay pot in the kitchen, or earth based vessel, they are lovely to use during group meals or special occasions
Baking Dishes | Glass or metal, but not non-stick. Use parchment paper for covering pans so food doesn’t stick.
Cast Irons | Can easily be used in the oven for frittata, pie, roasting veggies, and more
Sharp Kitchen Knife | Makes cooking much more fun and less frustrating with a clean cut. Also, prevents the knife from slipping and getting cuts and keeps food fresher.
Pastry Scraper | Great for cutting dough, chopping vegetables, or simply clearing off your cutting board
TUPPERWARE + STORAGE
Glass Tupperware| Makes food easy to see and makes taking food to work so much easier
Re-usable Plastic Bags | Great alternative to ziplocks, can be used for marinating meat or packing snacks
Bee's Wrap | A great alternative to plastic wrap, that can easily be washed and used again and again
Produce Bags | Keeps your veggies fresh and are reusable
Bulk Bags | Use these at the grocery store vs plastic
Mason Jars | Use these for boquets, herbs, storage, and for food on the go
Plastic Mason Jar Lids | Great re-usable lids, that are much easier to take on and off, and won't rust
Vita Clay, Hot Pot, or Crockpot | Some sort of device that help you 'set it and forget it' during busy weeks
Dishes, Bowls + Silverware | Find a nice set of dishes you really love and enjoy eating out of. This can make all the difference when serving and eating meals.
Blender | For smoothies, soups, big batches of salad dressing
Food Processor | For pestos, spreads, dips
Dehydrator | For dehydrating soaking nuts + seeds, then freeze after in a mason jar to store
Hand Immersion Blender | An easy way to make creamy soups and smoothies, right in your mug or jar
Mandoline Slicer | Perfect for thinly slicing veggies for picture worthy salads
Spiralizer | We love the handheld type, cost effective and an easy way to make veggie noodles on the go
Tea Towels | Hand dyed or linen, you can also buy a bundle of flour sacks and dye your own
Cookbooks | We keep some of our favorite cookbooks out and about to keep us inspired
Wooden Spoons | There is something magical about the feeling of a hand carved spoon, these are easy to buy at boutiques or local thrift stores
Pottery | We love collecting pottery, these vessels have personality and keep our tonics extra warm
KOSMIC KITCHEN SUPPLIES
CREATING A SANCTUARY
A Kosmic Kitchen isn't just about gadgets. It's also about setting intentions, honoring the earth, and creating a sacred space where healing can happen.
SUPPORT FARMERS + THE EARTH | Buy organic, non-GMO, and local whenever possible/affordable. Purchase herbs that are mindfully harvested or grown, and that aren't endangered.
STAY WILD | Incorporate wild greens and edible mushrooms when possible. This keeps our diet diverse. Make sure you are getting the right species, proper identification of plants is essential.
PROMOTE HARMONY | Stay organized and clean up after meals. This will promote harmony, and encourage you to keep up your kosmic practice.
INCORPORATE ADAPTOGENS + TONICS | Add into soups, dressings + drinks whenever possible. This will build up your nervous system and overall wellness.
CREATE A PREP DAY | Dedicate one day a week to cooking in bulk. We love to commit Sundays for making bone broths, power powder balls, grains, etc.
MAKE AN ALTAR SPACE |Light candles and incense, buy fresh flowers, hang inspiring photos, adorn with crystals and sacred objects, anything you can do to make the kitchen feel sacred. Create a place where healing can happen each day.
ADD SOME MAGIC | Set healing intentions before stepping into the kitchen. Do some breath work or light some incense to clear your mind and the space. Sing mantras or songs while making medicine and ghee. These positive intentions will infuse into each meal, and lure you back into the kitchen again and again.
"All medicines should flow from the love and awareness of a mantra."
-Dr. David Frawley and Dr. Vasant Lad | The Yoga of Herbs
MEal PLANNING + PREPPING
You may be wondering, how does this all come together? We suggest dedicating a couple hours one day a week to prepping ahead. Decide what meals you're going to make, shop, and prep. Keep a list on your fridge of what your core meals, snacks, and tonics are. Make extra, so you can enjoy the leftovers for lunch the next day. Brew extra tea, and store the remainder in the fridge. Dedicate one day for prep, so the rest of your week can feel like just maintence work.
Create a prep day
We dedicate at least one day a week to prepping, it only takes a couple hours to make your life easier for the whole week ahead. Here are some of our tips + tricks.
SOAK + SPROUT | Nuts, beans, and grains. Look at your meals for the week...what will you need to soak overnight before preparing?
PREP + STORE PRODUCE | After getting your produce for the week, begin by washing, drying, chopping and storing everything neatly in your refrigerator. Things like peppers, carrots, and celery are easy to prep ahead.
DARK LEAFY GREENS | Try removing the stems ahead of time, and chop or tear the greens into bite size pieces. You can discard the stems or chop them up to add into stew and soups. They also freeze well, and can be added to broths later on.
LETTUCES | Can be washed, dried and torn into bite size pieces. Store in plastic bags or containers that can be well sealed.
CARROTS, BEETS + POTATOES | For veggies like these, wash well to remove excess soil, remove skins if needed and chop to desired sizes for meals during the week. To get the most out of your vegetables, save the green tops of the carrots and beets to use in seasonal green pestos. Store in well sealed containers.
FRESH HERBS | These plants can be showcased on the kitchen counter by simply cutting off a bit of the stems for freshness and placing in a small glass jar with water. Think of it as a green kitchen bouquet. This way, the herbs will always be in view and keep you inspired.
HERBAL EXTRAS | Make one or more of these, like your seasonal pesto, miso-ginger immune soup balls, herbal honey, salad dressing, power powder balls, ghee, or herbal vinegar + oil. Any one of these recipes takes only minutes to make, but provides your weekly meals with the extra special nourishing flavors of herbs. There should be some overlap throughout the weeks, so you won’t always have to make all of the herbal extras. Just keep note of which ones you will need to re-stock when assessing your refrigerator prior to shopping.
HERBAL TEA 101
Herbal teas are an essential part of any witch's kitchen. Whether you're taking an everyday tonic tea to balance your doshas, or treating something acute, teas can be a wonderfully effective and affordable practice. There are many ways to make herbal teas, we'll introduce you to four of our favorite ways: decoctions, infusions, overnight infusions, and milky teas.
We recommend 1TSP to 1TBSPN of cut and dried herb per cup of water. Start with a lower amount first, and see how you feel. When working with new herbs, or herbs that aren't usually "everyday" (like kava kava, passionflower, and echinacea), be sure to do your research. Herbs are powerful, and our bodies are unique.
HERBAL TEA MAKING ESSENTIALS
DeCOCTIONS: Roots, BArks, Berries, AND seeds
Extracting medicine from heartier plant parts takes more time and energy, so they need a slow simmer of heat.
FIRST | Add about 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of cut and dried herbs to the pot, per each cup of water or milk. Add at least a 1/2 cup more water, as the it will evaporate. Cover and bring the mixture to a slow simmer.
THEN | Allow the decoction to simmer for 15-30 minutes.
FINALLY | Strain out the herbs, and store in a mason jar/fridge for a couple of days, or immediately serve.
HERBS FOR DECOCTIONS
dandelion root - burdock - astragalus
ginger - mushrooms - shatavari
ashwagandha - turmeric
GREAT as MILK DECOCTIONS
shatavari - ashwagandha - turmeric
INFUSION: LEAVES, FLOWERS, and powders
Simply boil hot water, and pour over your herbs. An infusion, or herbal tea, is one of the oldest forms of medicine.
How to make an infusion
FIRST | Boil your water.
THEN | Place 1-2 teaspoons of cut and dried herbs in the cup via a tea bag or strainer, and then pour in the hot water.
NEXT | Cover with a saucer and let it steep for 8-10 minutes. This keeps any beneficial essential oils in the plant from evaporating.
FINAL STEP | Serve and enjoy. If you're looking for a medicinal dosage, you will need about 3-4 cups a day, which is the size of a quart mason jar.
HERBS FOR INFUSIONS
tulsi - chamomile - skullcap - lavender - linden
mint - catnip - rose- lemon balm
chickweed - calendula
OVERNIGHT INFUSIONS: ROOTS, Leaves, flowers
Great for springs herbs with high vitamin and mineral content and demulcents. An overnight infusion extracts the medicine without hot water, which helps the plants maintain their high nutrient content.
How to make an overnight infusion
FIRST | Add your herbs, dried, fresh, or powdered to your jar, and add in room temperature water. We reccomend 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of cut and dried herbs per cup of water.
THEN | Allow the mixture to steep overnight.
FINAL STEP |Strain, and enjoy!
HERBS FOR AN OVERNIGHT INFUSION
nettle - raspberry leaf - lemon balm
chickweed - cleavers - red clover - tulsi
slippery elm - marshmallow root - licorice
calendula - catnip - alfalfa
HErbS 101: A simple guide to everyday herbs we love.
VATA | Since vatas are comprised of DRY + COLD, it is important to nourish with remedies that are WET + HOT. Think about hot infusions, decoctions, milky teas, and broths to nourish and stay grounded.
PITTA | Since pittas are comprised of WET + HOT, it is important to nourish with remedies that are DRY + COOL. Think about infusions, decoctions, and cooling herbs to stay balanced.
KAPHA | Since kaphas are WET + COLD, it is important to nourish with remedies that are DRY + WARM. Think about infusions, decoctions, broths, and light and warming herbs to stay well.
NOw we will go over some of our favorite herbs to have handy in our kosmic kitchen When Making teas. AS you learn more about herbs, keep in mind the herb's energetics and the idea of opposites for balance.
ASHWAGANDHA | Withania somnifera
Parts Used: root
Energetics + Tastes: sweet, warm, astringent, and bitter
Actions: adaptogenic, tonic, astringent, rejuvenative, aphrodisiac and nervine
In Sanskrit, Ashwagandha means, “that which has the smell of a horse, as it gives the vitality and sexual energy of a horse.” Used in Ayurveda as the top rejuvenative herb for its safety and effectiveness, ashwagandha is used to support those with a vata constitution or those that are dry, run cold, have anxious tendencies and digestive issues. This adaptogen helps promote restful sleep, reduce anxiety, depression, and arthritic inflammation. Its warming nature raises the metabolism, stimulates digestion, clears mucus and improves circulation. Its secondary sweet flavor indicates its deep nutritive, hormonal properties as well as its ability to strengthen and nourish the nervous system. Great in golden milks, lattes, power powder balls, and ghee.
ASTRAGALUS | Astragalus membranaceus
Parts Used: roots
Energetics + Tastes: sweet and slightly warm
Actions: adaptogenic and diuretic
Considered a primary herb in Chinese medicine, astragalus is a specific adaptogenic tonic for those under immunological stress or who have a weakened immune system. It's been used traditionally to invigorate vital energy or qi. Because of its sweet and warming energy, it strengthens digestion and raises metabolism. Astragalus has been heavily researched in the field of oncology, is well tolerated and supports the immune system. Great in soups and broths. Consult a doctor before using if you have a serious immune condition.
BLACK PEPPER | Piper nigrum
Parts Used: fruit
Energetics + Tastes: spicy and heating
Actions: stimulant, expectorant, and carminative
Used daily in most meals, black pepper is beneficial for food congestion, coldness, poor circulation and to dry mucous. It’s used to counteract cold and damp symptoms and to stimulate digestion and warmth. Sprinkle a little on cold foods or when intaking a lot of raw foods. It has the ability to recirculate vital nutrients and is less irritating to the gastric mucosa that cayenne. When used with honey it is a powerful expectorant and mucus-cleanser, drying up secretions. There’s also something really lovely about the sweet and spicy flavor when mixed with honey. Great addition to golden milks.
BURDOCK | Articum lappa
Parts used: root
Energetics + Tastes: bitter, slightly sweet, cool, and astringent
Actions: alterative, diuretic, diaphoretic, nutritive, and demulcent
Burdock is known as a ‘heat-clearing herb’ and has a strong action in cleansing the blood and lymphatics. Because of its sweet and cooling nature it's used to treat pitta or fire conditions. It's used to clear congestion, reduce swelling and dispels toxins through the skin and urine. The root is more nutritive however and is often found in traditional foods and is referred to as ‘gobo.’ Its nutritive and demulcent qualities help to soothe inflammatory skin conditions such as acne, eczema, psoriasis and boils. Burdock is delicious is herbal vinegars, stir-fried with other veggies or added to bone broths.
CAYENNE | Capsicum frutescens
Parts used: ripe fruits
Energetics + Tastes: spicy, hot, and drying
Actions: stimulant, expectorant, astringent, hemostatic, carminative, alterative
We’ve all experienced cayenne’s heating properties at some point. One pinch too many and our nose is running, eyes burning and mouth salivating. Though too much can be uncomfortable, this stimulating action is where it's medicine lies. Cayenne’s affinity for the digestive and circulatory systems means it stimulates and dispels internal and external cold. If you already run hot, use caution when intaking cayenne as its strong medicine can irritate the mucous membranes. Another benefit of cayenne is its ability to direct or catalyze nutrients and medicinal qualities of other herbs. You’ll see it used it a lot of formulas this way to help drive the medicine to certain parts of the body, especially in warming up cold conditions. Externally, cayenne mixed in oil or creams, makes an excellent pain reliever for arthritic joints, sore muscles and any nerve pain. It also works well as a hemostatic medicine to stop the bleeding of surface cuts, take away the pain and disinfect the wound. You’ll find us using cayenne in soups, dressings, honeys, and hot cocoa.
CHAMOMILE | Matricaria chamomilla
Parts Used: flowers
Energetics + Tastes: cooling and bitter
Actions: anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory, nervine
Famously known as a sleep aid, but this herb can be used for anxiety and frazzled nerves all day long. It's known as a nervine in Western Herbalism, which essentially means it helps to calm and sooth the nervous system. The bitter notes in chamomile stimulates the digestive juices, making digestion easier all around. Because of its anti-spasmodic properties, chamomile tea is great for those with irritable stomachs, especially those triggered by stress or PMS. As a carminative this herb has compounds that sooth the digestive tract and ease indigestion. It's cooling nature and anti-inflammatory properties make it a great remedy for Pittas who're running too hot, or those with red and inflamed skin issues. Great as a simple infusion with a touch of honey, pairs well with lemon balm and lavender for extra nervous system support. In the Asteraceae plant family, best to avoid if you have an allergy to daisies.
GINGER | Zingiber officinale
Parts used: rhizome
Energetics + Tastes: spicy, heating, and sweet
Actions: stimulant, antispasmodic, carminative, emmenagogue, expectorant, and diaphoretic
One of the most widely used herbs, ginger is well known for its warming and anti-nausea effects. Dried ginger is more of an internal warming stimulant. It is hotter and drier than fresh which makes it a better stimulant and expectorant for reducing kapha (mucus) and increasing digestive fire. Fresh ginger is used more as a warming diaphoretic and is better for colds, cough vomiting and for vata conditions. For menstrual issues, it's effective in relieving cramps due to coldness and helps to promote menstruation.
LICORICE | Glycyrrhiza glabra, G. uralensis
Parts Used: roots
Energetics + Tastes: moistening and sweet
Actions: adaptogen, demulcent, anti-inflammatory
Known as the harmonizer in traditional herbal formulas. It's an adaptogen that nourishes the adrenals and helps with fatigue due to its moistening properties, supporting the waterways of the body. Licorice can also be used to soothe inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract, sore throats, dry cough, etc. Licorice also helps to regulate immune function, and is great for those with seasonal allergies. Avoid using licorice if you have hypertension or high blood pressure. If you're on any medications it's best to consult with your healthcare practitioner or herbalist before use, licorice can actually enhance the effectiveness of some pharmaceuticals, making their actions more intense.
NETTLE | Urtica dioica
Parts Used: leaves, seeds, roots
Energetics + Tastes: lightly bitter and cool
Actions: astringent, expectorant, diuretic, galactogogue, nutritive and hemostatic
This nutrient dense ‘wild plant’ is high in minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium. Nettles are also rich in chlorophyll, vitamin C, carotenoids, B vitamins and has 10% more protein than any other vegetable. Enjoy fresh nettle in foods to receive its nutritive benefits. To avoid its lively sting, make sure to blend well or blanch in boiling water before eating. Traditionally, nettle has been used as food and medicine with an affinity for the small intestines, bladder and lungs. Prepared as a cool tea, it's helpful for urinary problems and inflammatory conditions. Nettles are also considered a restorative tonic for the kidneys and bladder. As a warm tea, it's used for asthma, mucus conditions of the lungs and diarrhea. Freeze-dried nettle capsules are used to treat allergies. Since freeze-drying preserves most of the antihistamine-like effect, it helps tonify and firm inflamed tissues. We love putting fresh nettle in our wild, frittatas and vinegars.
PEPPERMINT | Mentha piperita
Parts Used: leaves
Energetics + Tastes: cooling and drying
Actions: antispasmotic, carminative, and diaphoretic
Peppermint is a refreshing and cooling herb for the summer season and for pittas. Because of its anti-spasmodic properties, peppermint is a great ally for those who have digestive issues like indigestion, cramping, and bloating. While this plant can be a tremendous ally for those who're suffering from IBS and other digestive issues, it can irritate those with GERD and acid reflux because it relaxes the sphincter muscle that is located between the stomach and esophagus. Needless to say, this herb works!
SHATAVARI | Asparagus racemosa
Parts Used: root
Energetics: sweet, bitter, cold
Actions: adaptogenic, demulcent, nutritive, expectorant, diuretic
Referred to as the ‘queen of herbs,’ shatavari has traditionally been used for the enhancement of the immune response, as a fertility and pregnancy tonic, to increase milk production (galactogogue), and to treat conditions like ulcers and spasms. It’s sweet and demulcent properties make it one of the best adaptogenic herbs for moisturizing the tissues along with being cooling, calming and nourishing. Because of its cooling nature, it's regarded as an important herb to reduce Pitta or fire and is considered a rejuvenative for pitta-types. We love adding shatavari powder to our golden milk, power powder balls, and herbal honeys.
SKULLCAP | Scutellaria lateriflora
Parts Used: leaves
Energetics + Tastes: cooling and bitter
Actions: antispasmodic, trophorestorative, nervine, and sedative
Skullcap is an herb native to North America, used by the Cherokees and other tribes to promote menstruation and ceremonially to honor the transition to womanhood. These days, Western Herbalists use this herb to restore the nervous system, both acutely and long term. It's great for those who're high anxiety, irritable, or having restlessness while sleeping. Skullcap is also great for high stress situations or work environments. Taking it during the day is all dependent on dose, just have one cup of tea, see how you feel, and go from there. We love paring it with chamomile and lavender in teas for extra nervous system support.
THYME | Thymus vulgaris
Parts Used: leaves and flowers
Energetics + Tastes: warming and drying
Actions: expectorant, bronchodialator, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal
Thyme is in most kitchens, but normally used as a spice versus a medicine. This plant can come in handy when you see the beginning signs of a cough. It's commonly used within more complex protocols for whooping cough, bronchitis, laryngitis, and other respiratory issues.
TULSI | Ocimum sanctum
Parts Used: leaves and flowers
Energetics + Tastes: warming and pungent
Actions: adaptogenic, anti-spasmodic, carminative, expectorant, and nervine
Our "gateway adaptogen” also known as Holy Basil is one of the most pleasant tasting herbs dried or fresh. Known for its ability to calm the nerves and uplift ones spirit this is a great plant to take daily, over time to soothe a frazzled nervous system. Use by herbalists to help relieve mental fog, stagnant depression (kapha) and allergies to mold and dander.
TURMERIC | Curcuma longa
Parts used: rhizome
Energetics + Tastes: spicy, bitter, warm, astringent
Actions: emmenagogue, aromatic stimulant, alterative, antibacterial, and carminative
Turmeric is one of our most beloved herbs. Used primarily in food preparations it has a strong affinity for the digestive, respiratory and circulatory systems. It's bitter and warming flavor signal its ability to warm and move stagnation in the system. It is used to aid digestion, regulate menstruation (by working with the liver), as a skin tonic, and to promote proper metabolism. Turmeric can also be used externally mixed into a paste with honey for sprains, bruises, oran itch. You’ll find us adding this golden powder to dressings, lattes, dips, vinegars, curries, and herbal honeys.
Choosing balancing remedies is easy when you have the HERBS + foods you need Handy.
SOME KOSMIC TEA RECIPES TO GET YOU STARTED
SEED + NUT MILKS
Seed and nut milks are one of the easiest things to make, you'll never want to by stale, bottled almond milk again! We promise. Plus, they're a great vehicle for adaptogens, and powdered herbs in general.
Soaking nuts in salted filtered water overnight helps to neutralize enzyme inhibitors, as we learned last week. These inhibitors protect the seed from sprouting before they are ready to meet the world, but also block our absorption of all their key nutrients. To receive the full potential from our foods, we must unlock these nutrients, and sprouting and soaking is the key!
Cashew Mlk: with Turmeric, Cinnamon + Honey
A creamy herbal mlk that soothing, grounding, and anti-inflammatory.
INGREDIENTS + MATERIALS
a blender or food processor
a quart sized mason jar
1 cup of cashew nuts (or nut/seed of choice)
6 cups of filtered water
a pinch of sea salt
1/8 tsp of tumeric
1/8 tsp of cinnamon
1/2-1 tbspn of honey, or more to taste
- Put the cup of nuts into a quart sized mason jar and pour 3 cups of filtered water over it. Put in a pinch of sea salt and cover the container.
- Let the nuts soak in the water overnight, or a few hours. Then pour off the water and wash the nuts off some with fresh water.
- Blend the soaked cashews with 3 cups of water, your powdered herbs, and honey, and then strain back into your jar. And, enjoy!
Pro tipS: Try adding in dates, Apricots, OR stevia to make the mlk naturally sweet. MAKe SURE TO USE RAW AND UNSALTED NUTS AND SEEDS.
Sometimes, our digestive systems need a break. Eating simple food like porridges can help soothe our systems yet keep us nourished. We lean towards porridges like congee and kitchari during the cooler months, but they can also be enjoyed year round. Feel free to infuse the flavors you love into these comforting dishes.
Kitchari: Meals as Medicine From Ayurveda
- Traditionally, kitchari is used in Ayurvedic medicine during a treatment called Panchakarma which a rejuvenating and cleansing program for the mind, body, and consciousness. It is given to patients throughout this week long program because it is high in protein, vitamins, complex carbohydrates and is easily digested. During times of healing, it is important that the body focuses on coming back into balance rather than digesting a dense heavy meal. Basically, its Ayurveda's idea of chicken soup.
- The herbs used in kitchari also play important roles in the health of the body. Here are a few of them and their benefits:
- TURMERIC | Strengthens digestion and helps improve intestinal flora | Warms and stimulates the formation of new blood tissues | Promotes proper metabolism, correcting both excesses and deficiencies | Energetically, it is effective for clearing the chakras, purifying the channels of the subtle body
- FENNEL SEEDS | One of the best herbs for digestion | Excellent herb for digestive weakness in children or in the elderly | Calming to the nerves, as the seed's aroma acts upon the mind and promotes mental alertness
- CORIANDER | Increases digestion and absorption | Used with cumin and fennel to promote the assimilation of other herbs
1 cup basmati rice, soaked and rinsed
2 cups mung beans, soaked and rinsed
2 Tbsp coconut oil
2 tsp mustard seeds
2 tsp fennel seeds
2 tsp coriander powder
2 tsp cumin powder
2 tsp turmeric
6 cups of water
pinch of salt
- In a large pot, saute seeds in coconut oil on medium heat until they begin to pop.
- Add the other spices along with the rice and mung beans, until coated.
- Next, pour in the water and sprinkle in the salt. Bring pot to a simmer and cover to cook for about 20-30 minutes depending on your stove top.
- Recipe adapted from the book The Yoga of Herbs by Dr. David Frawley & Dr. Vasant Lad
Congee: Healing Rice Porridge
- These days, digestion has become a big topic of conversation. Whether its getting “regular”, what fermented foods to eat or what strain of probiotics are the best, people are talking about their guts and how to get them healthy. Something the Chinese figured out more than 2,000 years ago, is a delicious, digestive-harmonizing dish of rice porridge, called Congee or Jook.
- Traditionally, congee is eaten for breakfast and is part of a typical “qing dan” diet that consists of eating simple foods, ”mostly grains, beans, vegetables, and fruits…” According to Bob Flaws, "qing" means clear or pure and light. "Dan" means bland. The foods that support this kind of diet is believed to be be the foundation of good health and long life in Chinese medicine.
- Contrary to the typical American “grand slam” breakfast, full of refined wheat, sugar, caffeine, and animal protein, congee offers the nourishment of those highly dense breakfast foods, without creating excess, resulting in inflammation and mucus, which slows down our system.
- The Chinese are known for adding herbs into congee as a way of “eating your medicine.” A wide spectrum of common ailments are treated with herbs and vegetables cooked in with the congee. A simple bowl of congee is a great way to give our digestion a break which further promotes healing in the body. A good source for what specific plants to use is The Book of Jook by Bob Flaws or Healing with Whole Foods by Paul Pitchford.
how to make a pot of congee
1 cup rice
6-8 cups water
Add rice and water to a medium pot, bring to a boil, then reduce to low (the lowest your stove can go) for at least 2 hours. If time permits, consider cooking for 2-6 hours, since the longer the congee cooks, the more medicinal it becomes.
- Add bone or mushroom broth while cooking for a richer flavor.
- Add in a few dried slices of reishi or astragalus for a medicinal kick.
- Prep your toppings ahead of time --- shredded veggies, soaked seaweeds, dark greens + chopped fresh herbs
- Use a slow cooker to make congee overnight or cook congee in a clay pot like a donabe.
porridge Books + Supples
MEDICATED HERBAL GHEE
Last week, we covered how to make a simple ghee. Another way to get your medicine is infusing powdered herbs into your ghee. The traditional practice of making medicated ghee is done by cooking a large pot of butter with water over a fire, for several hours or even days until the water is extracted. Since few of us have time for an intensive practice like this, the modern version is still effective, but much less time consuming.
How to cook powdered herbs with ghee
Just like making a simple ghee, add the butter to the pot to heat. Once butter starts to melt, add in about 1 ounce of powdered herbs and cook as you would a simple ghee. Strain + store. Adaptogens are what we typically infuse into ghee since it acts as a vehicle to carry medicine into the tissues of the body.
How to Make a flavored ghee
An easy way to make medicated ghee is by simply adding in powdered herbs after the ghee is made and slightly cooled. You can also add spices like turmeric, cayenne, cinnamon or cardamom for more flavor. Again, you can mix in 1 ounce of adaptogens.
Spiced Ghee ideas
Shatavari • Cardamon •Fennel • Dried Rose Petal
Ashwagandha • Turmeric • Ginger • Cayenne
Tulsi • Rosemary • Garlic • Ginger
If you know us, you know we're always finding ways to infuse our food with a daily dose of adaptogens. These sweet + salty adaptogens-bites are a versatile recipe we adapted from our teacher, Rosemary Gladstar's famous "Zoom Balls." Adaptogens are medicinal herbs that have a particular ability to restore balance to some of our most important body systems---the endocrine and immune systems. Traditional systems of medicine have worked with these plants for thousands of years, while western science has been researching their effectiveness since the 1930s.
WHAT AREA ADAPTOGENS?
1. NON-TOXIC to the recipient.
2. Produces a NON-SPECIFIC response in the power of resistance against multiple stressors including physical, chemical, or biological agents.
3. NORMALIZING influence on physiology, irrespective of the direction of change from the physiological norms caused by the stressor.
4 cups seed butter, we use sunflower butter
1 ounce carob
2 cups honey (local, raw & organic)
1 ounce carob powder
1 ounce greens powder (We love Wooden Spoon Herb's Stress Ease Blend)
1-3 ounces adaptogens or herb powders of choice
1 Tbsp cinnamon or cardamom
1 tsp cayenne powder
1/2- 1 cup shredded coconut flakes, lightly toasted
Dried rose petals, optional
HOW DO THEY WORK?
Though science doesn't have all the answers, they've seen through research that adaptogens "work to stimulate the neuroendocrine and immune systems via multiple metabolic pathways. They affect the brain, nerves, endocrine glands and immune system by helping re-regulate, normalize and enhance function." We find that taking adaptogens daily, since they work best over time, allows us to be less reactionary, less emotionally triggered and able to bounce back more quickly from stressful situations.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the nut butters and honey until smooth. Add in the herbs and greens mix until well combined.
- Next, add the carob powder, cinnamon and cayenne.
- The consistency should be thick enough to make into balls but not dry enough to feel the powdered herbs. So don’t be afraid to add more powders or nut butter to get the consistency you want.
- Roll into silver dollar size balls and roll into coconut flakes + dust with dried rose petals. Store on a baking sheet or Tupperware in the fridge. Makes about 40- 60 balls depending on the size.
Adaptogens + TONICS for the doshas review
Vata: Balancing Cold + Dry with Warming + Nourishing
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)
Warming + Grounding adaptogen
Number one herb in Ayurveda for Vata imbalance.
Withania somnifera is its species name, som, means “sleep.”
Its used to nourish Vatas who're out of balance by soothing fatigue, stress, anxiety.
It's an adaptogen that supports the immune system, stabilizes blood sugar + balances hormones.
Use this nervine in PM rituals, try adding ashwagandha powder to a milky tea to support restful sleep + to wind down from the day.
Part of the nightshade family, important to note if you're on a diet avoiding this group of plants.
Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra, G. uralensis)
Moistening + Sweet
Glycyrrhiza glabra, is an adaptogen that nourishes the adrenals and helps with fatigue due to its moistening properties, supporting the waterways of the body.
A demulcent used for inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract, sore throats, dry cough, etc.
An immunomodulator that helps to regulate immune function, great for those with seasonal allergies.
Known as the harmonizer in traditional herbal formulas.
Avoid using licorice if you have hypertension or high blood pressure. If you're on any medications it's best to consult with your healthcare practitioner or herbalist before use, licorice can actually enhance the effectiveness of some pharmaceuticals, making their actions more intense.
Pitta: Balancing Hot + Wet with Cooling + Cleansing
Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus)
Cooling + Moistening
This adaptogenic herb is commonly used in Ayurveda for women. Shatavari is a cooling, sweet and building herb, great for those who are feeling dry, depleted, and fatigued
More specifically, it's known traditionally as a female reproductive tonic. It's used to enhance libido and promote fertility, and for women who feel their hormones are a bit off
It’s often used as a galactagogue, an herb that helps mothers produce more breast milk.
Because it's a demulcent, it's great for soothing and healing inflamed tissues, both internally and externally. Meaning sore throats, inflamed digestive systems, sores, etc.
Try adding the powder to warm milk with a touch of cardamom and honey, a perfectly soothing late night herbal latte.
Also a mild diuretic, so best to avoid if you're already on intense diuretic drugs.
Best to speak with a practitioner first if you're eliminating any phyto-estrogenic foods and herbs, have excess Kapha or mucuous in the body, or have an major medical hormone related conditions.
Chamomile (Matricaria recutita, Chamaemelum nobile)
- Cooling + Bitter
- Famously known as a sleep aid, but this herb can be used for anxiety and frazzled nerves all day long.
- It's known as a nervine in Western Herbalism, which essentially means it helps to calm and sooth the nervous system.
- The bitter notes in chamomile stimulates the digestive juices, making digestion easier all around.
- Because of its anti-spasmodic properties, chamomile tea is great for those with irritable stomachs, especially those triggered by stress or PMS.
- As a carminative this herb has compounds that sooth the digestive tract and ease indigestion.
- It's cooling nature and anti-inflammatory properties make it a great remedy for Pittas who're running too hot, or those with red and inflamed skin issues.
- Great as a simple infusion with a touch of honey, pairs well with lemon balm and lavender for extra nervous system support.
- In the Asteraceae plant family, best to avoid if you have an allergy to daisies.
Kapha: Balancing Cold + wet with Warming + Cleansing
Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum)
Our "gateway adaptogen,” also known as Holy Basil, is one of the most pleasant tasting herbs dried or fresh.
A nervine known for its ability to calm the nerves and uplift ones spirit, this is a great plant to take daily and over time to soothe a frazzled nervous system.
Used by herbalists to help relieve mental fog and aid with stagnant depression, which is excess Kapha.
Helpful for those with allergies to mold and dander.
Tulsi is easy to grow during the summer months, we love making fresh tulsi pesto or a simple infusion.
Schizandra (Schisandra chinensis)
Schisandra chinensis: Known as the "five flavored fruit," the berries are sour, sweet, bitter, astringent + pungent.The berries have a tangy flavor that tastes great in drinks, sauces, desserts.
Sour quality is beneficial for frequent urination or drying up excess fluids, a Kapha imbalance. Its anti-inflammatory properties are beneficial for wet coughs and asthma.
It's a nervine that has a dual effect on the nervous system, having a mild stimulating quality and at the same time it helps reduce anxiety, and is calming.Known to be beneficial for normalizing blood pressure.
In Chinese Medicine, it's best to avoid this herb when acutely sick with a viral or bacterial infection.
Pesto is a deliciously simple way to pack in the nutrients of the season! It doesn’t always have to be basil either. We love to add in wild medicinals too, like dandelion greens, chickweed and sorrel. Whatever is growing around our feet is usually the most magical anyways.
Back in Florida, we'd make holy basil pesto since it was so abundant in our garden. Here in Northern California, growing holy basil has been a real summer treat. The plant has an interesting way of being grounding and somehow simultaneously makes you feel lighter.
In our early gardening years, we made an entire pesto with holy basil for a dinner party. Everyone was so calm and euphoric, it was almost as if we were all on some sort of high! It was a beginners mistake, but no was complaining.
Pesto for every season!
Use beet tops in the winter, nettles in the spring, tarragon in the summer, and kale in the fall.
How to make Wild Pesto
1 cup packed of fresh seasonal greens and herbs
1/2 cup of soaked or sprouted nuts/seeds of choice
fresh lemon juice
2-3 cloves of garlic
2/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil or more
sea salt to taste
blender or food processor
a good knife
It is best to soak the nut or seeds of choice in warm salted filtered water over night, covered. Otherwise most of the nutrients will be hard to break down, due to the phytic acid that incases all nuts, seeds, and grains.
Pre-chop the garlic so it spreads evenly throughout the mix. Then, add all of the ingredients into the blender until smooth.
Add more oil to make it creamier, or after it has dried out a bit in the fridge. You can also add a local hard cheese if you desire a heartier pesto.
The traditional way to make pesto is to chop all the ingredients fine and then add the olive oil last, a very long and meditative process…but oh so yummy!
Dressings are always stocked in the fridge, ready to add a little something extra to a grain bowl, salad or to toss with roasted veggies. Adding herbs to our dressings means we're getting another chance to eat our medicine + get our EFA's throughout the day. If you've never gotten into the ritual of making a homemade dressing, you'll see how easy, delicious, and inexpensive it can be. Below are a few of our favorites!
tricks for Stellar Dressings
- Pick your Oil | A good rule of thumb is mixing the most balancing oil for your constitution as the base of your dressing. If the flavor is strong, like hemp oil, blend with a good glug of organic olive oil to balance the flavors out.
- Oils for the doshas:
- VATA: olive oil, walnut + flax
- PITTA: pumpkin, borage, hemp, coconut, evening primrose, black currant, cashew + avocado
- KAPHA: sunflower, borage, evening primrose, black currant
- 'The Mason Jar Shake' | One of the easiest ways to get that silky emulsification that makes dressings so yummy is adding all your ingredients to a pint sized mason jar and shaking until their nice and blended. A pint jar will usually get us through a week's worth of salads.
- Make Ahead | Prep your dressing ahead of time. This can be on your prep day, or when you have a few extra minutes while making dinner at the beginning of the week. Your future self will thank you.
- Presto! Make Pesto Dressing | Making a dressing is super easy if you've already got your Wild Pesto made. Simply thin out the pesto in a bowl with a little more acid + oil until it resembles a dressing consistency. You can also do the 'mason jar shake' to mix everything together.
More times than not, when we're invited over to dinner at a friend's house and we ask what to bring, they'll say, "bring one of your famous salads!" For us, salads aren't just reserved for warm weather when fresh delicate salad greens are in abundance. We enjoy salads anytime by making them warming or cooling, depending on the season. Below, you'll find our favorite tricks to make an amazing salad all year long!
Its All About Texture
Adding a mix of greens + fresh herbs always makes a salad come alive. Here are some ideas for the seasons: Spring/Summer: Little Gems, Escarole, Spinach, Nasturtium Leaves, Basil, Cilantro, Mint + Arugula
Fall/Winter: Kale, Chard, Mustard Greens, Cabbage, Rosemary, Thyme + Marjoram
Fill It Out
Roasted Veggies, Sprouted Grains + Legumes create a heartier dish you can enjoy as a meal or a side. Spring/Summer: Roasted Tomatoes, Seared Beans, Roasted Turnips, Wilted Spring Onions + Fava Beans
Fall/Winter: Roasted Beets, Winter Squash, Farro, Rice, Sweet Potatoes, Fennel, French Lentils + Fingerling Potatoes
Get a Good Crunch
Adding toasted nuts + seeds is part of what makes our salads feel special. Toasting a batch of seeds will make this salad come together in no time.
Seeds: Sunflower, Pumpkin, Sesame + Shredded Coconut
Nuts: Almonds, Walnuts, Pistachios + Cashews
A Touch of Sweetness
We love adding a hint of something sweet to our salads. It rounds out all the tart + bitter notes, and helps us incorporate all six tastes.
Fresh Fruit: Apple, Pear, Strawberry, Blackberry, Raspberry
Dried Fruit: Chopped Dates, Currants, Apricots + Raisins
Dress It Up
Salads are just a vehicle for a good dressing, right? That's not entirely true, but making an herbal dressing each week is the cherry on top and will help make your salad come together in a flash. Plus, its another way to eat your herbs!
Dressings: Cardamom + Roasted Strawberry, Adaptogenic Miso-Ginger, Wild Pesto, Creamy Turmeric Tahini + Herb Vinaigrette
I. CREATE YOUR SANCTUARY | Pick a day over the weekend to organize + clean your kitchen for the week. Store + label dried goods in jars so you can easily find ingredients. Pull out you favorite linens to use for meal-time or any other special objects you'd like to be in your kitchen sanctuary. Adding indoor plants creates and even more inviting space.
II. MORNING MARKET TRIP | Take the morning or afternoon to go shopping for the week. Whether that's at the local farmers market or grocery store, getting all your supplies for the week will make nourishing meals come together easily. Bring reusable bags withy out help eliminate plastic waste.
III. THREE REMEDIES | Don't overwhelm yourself with making all the medicines at once. Choose three remedies that you feel called to work with this week and pay attention to how they made you feel. Whether that's eating consistency, doing a personal oil massage or choosing and adaptogen, make your rituals feel as luxurious as possible.
IV. MEAL TIME INTENTIONS | Make space before eating to honor your food, the work you're doing and the people around you. Giving gratitude helps us ground into our bodies and creates space for more intentional eating. Notice how you feel before eating, during + after. Did you taste your food? Smell it? Did you really enjoy what you cooked?
V. PREP FOR THE DAY AHEAD | Try to get into the routine of preparing for the day ahead. Do you need to soak grains or beans for the next day's meals? Or make an over night infusion so your tea is ready in the morning before work? Whatever it is, set yourself up for a nourishing day by taking a few minutes the night before to prep. How did it feel to have a few things done ahead of time?
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