this body is not me

This body is not me.
I am not limited by this body.
I am life without boundaries.
I have never been born,
and I have never died.
Look at the ocean and the sky filled
with stars, manifestations from my
wondrous true mind.
Since before time, I have been free.
Birth and death are only doors
through which we pass, sacred
thresholds on our journey.
Birth and death are a game of hide-
and seek.
So laugh with me,
hold my hand,
let us say goodbye,
say good-bye, to meet again soon.
We meet today.
We will meet again tomorrow.
We will meet at the source every
moment.
We will meet each other in all forms of
life.

-Thich Nhat Hanh
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sweet potato scallion latkes

Today is the last day of Hanukkah, so we gotta go out with a bang! If you’re tired of regular potato latkes by now, give this yummy sweet potato version a try. This once-a-year treat disappeared too quickly to take pictures! Making them is definitely a patchke (Yiddish for pain-in-the-butt) but totally worth it!  Here’s what you’ll need:

1 large sweet potato, peeled and grated
1 large white potato, peeled and grated
1 onion, peeled and grated
1 Tbsp salt
1 egg
1/3 cup white spelt flour
2 scallions, sliced
olive oil for frying

So, start with the patchke part- grating up the potatoes and onions. I do this by hand because I like the texture, but if you’re just not up for it, you could try grating the potatoes and onion in a food processor. Then mix together all the ingredients in a bowl. Coat your frying pan in oil and while the oil heats up, form the potato mix into 2 inch balls, gently squeezing out excess moisture. Place the balls into the hot oil and press them flat with a spatula. Let them brown on medium heat for about 5 minutes, then flip and do the same for the other side. Serve them hot with apple sauce and sour cream, the traditional Hanukkah accoutrements.

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how to get your kids to eat their fruits and veggies: making a rainbow platter

The current recommendation for children and adults is to eat 5 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Yup, you read it right, 5-9 servings, every day, in order to provide your family with all the health benefits from the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, flavonoids, carotenoids, and other components that plant foods contain. Eating 5-9 servings every day will give your family maximum protection against disease. So how on earth do you get your kids to eat their vegetables, and to even to like them? Here are 5 tips that have worked in my home, as well as a fun project to do with your kids- make a rainbow platter!   I’ll start with the rainbow platter. 

Start simply and tell your children that it’s important to eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables every day to stay happy and healthy. Then provide all the colors of the rainbow in fruit and vegetable form, such as apples and strawberries for the red, carrots and oranges for the orange, bananas and corn for yellow, avocado, celery, and lettuce for green, blueberries for the blue, and beets, grapes, and purple cabbage for the purple.  Chop up all the ingredients you choose to use for the colors, and let them get creative assembling their rainbow.   Eat as you chop.

We also used sprouted almonds to make clouds for our rainbow.  I think it was a hit!  (I admit the adults helped eat it too…)

Wondering how you’ll get organic fruits and veggies without spending a fortune?  First off- you only need a small amount of each item, such as one carrot, one apple, one celery stick etc, so whatever you buy should last all week long.  When possible you can save money on organic produce by buying in season, as well as buying in bulk (think bags of apples instead of loose).  I hope this rainbow project will improve your children’s motivation and enjoyment of fruits and veggies as much as it does mine!

Now, heres 5 extra tips for encouraging young children to like fruits and veggies that I have used with success in my home:

1.) Start early developing your baby’s palette by offering your baby only pure, fresh, fruits and vegetables. There really is no need to feed babies out of a jar when fresh food can be prepared very simply and easily. Early foods to try at 6 months onward are: mashed banana, baked sweet potato and winter squash, grated or steamed apples and pears, avocado, and halved blueberries.

2.) Limit sugar consumption, and remove all hydrogenated oils from your family’s diet. This means reading labels and making things fresh at home.

3.) Keep trying! If your child doesn’t like certain fruits or vegetables, simply continue to make them available during meals. It can take a very long time for a child to accept a new food, so don’t give up! Just keep offering healthy foods, and they will learn to recognize the flavors and slowly start to enjoy them (or at least tolerate them). Sometimes I tell my kids they have to try one bite of everything I make, just to taste it. And that they don’t have to love every single thing they eat.  Over time my kids have acquired a taste for many vegetables that they didn’t initially love at first sight.

4.) Model the behavior you want to see. When your child sees you truly enjoying your fruits and vegetables at meals, they will probably follow suit. Eventually.

5.) Experiment! Your child might like plain peppers and sliced purple cabbage, but prefer their broccoli stir fried with tamari. Maybe they will eat raw carrot sticks when dipped in hummus, or prefer cooked carrot from a soup. Maybe they’ll eat their potatoes only when dipped in ketchup, or avocado only when sprinkled with salt.  Maybe they’ll like celery if served with peanut butter. Try cooked versus raw, and different condiments and flavors to see what your child likes best. Go with whatever works!

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sauteed spinach and sundried tomaotes over pasta: Gluten Free

Here’s a really yummy recipe that is distinctly Mediterranean in flavor and can be easily made gluten-free. There’s something I really love about spinach and sun-dried tomatoes together! Here’s what you’ll need:

1 large bunch fresh spinach
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes (see how to make your own below)
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup olives, with liquid
1 Tbsp marjoram or oregano, dried
1 Tbsp fresh or dried thyme
1 and 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
4 Tbsp olive oil (or enough to coat pan generously)
1 package gluten-free pasta of your choice
(we used brown rice spaghetti and it came out awesome. You can also use a package of regular wheat pasta if you like it better.)

So, start by washing the spinach and making sure it has no little buggies on it. Meanwhile, cook your pasta, drain, and set it aside. While the pasta cooks, coat your pan with oil, and saute the onions for about 4 minutes until a bit translucent. Add in the garlic, salt, and spices, and cook for 1 more minute, then add in the sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, and olives. Cook for about 5 minutes until the spinach shrinks down. Toss in your pasta and serve. Excellent on its own, and pairs well as a side dish to fish or chicken. Makes 4 large servings.

How to make sun-dried tomatoes at home: You can easily make your own “sun-dried” tomatoes in the summer when tomatoes are in season (and therefore more affordable). Simply buy a whole bunch of organic cherry or mini roma tomatoes at your local farmers market and slice them in half. Arrange then on baking trays and bake at 175-200 degrees for 6-8 hours.  Store them in the freezer for yummy winter eating!

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healing miso soup

Now that the weather is finally getting a little colder, today I’m feeling the urge to cook up a pot of healing and nourishing miso soup. But no matter the time of year, anytime I am feeling under the weather, or slightly run down, I find that eating miso soup really helps to rejuvenate my energy and my immune system. Miso is an amazing healing food, known to be an effective therapeutic aid in the prevention and treatment of heart disease, certain cancers, and hypertension, especially if taken regularly. Miso soup consumption is linked with up to a 50% reduced risk of breast cancer according to the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Miso paste is a fermented soy food containing probiotics, which can aid in healthy digestion. This healing miso soup recipe has a high vitamin and mineral content, and is recommended as a regular part of a healthy diet. The mushrooms, ginger, and seaweed add extra therapeutic qualities to the broth. And it’s super yummy too!

what you will need:

1 onion, chopped
1 inch ginger root, peeled and sliced
2 tbsp organic cooking oil, canola or olive
2 carrots, chopped
2 cups leafy greens, washed and chopped (I like bok choy, tot soi, collards, kale, or green cabbage
1 large handful of shitake mushrooms (about 1 cup), thinly sliced
2 tbsp tamari
8oz firm tofu, cubed (about 1/2 a package)
1 strip of dried wakame seaweed (optional adds minerals to your broth)
1/4 cup chopped scallions (optional)
2 qts water
1 Tbps miso paste per serving, to taste (you will need about 1/2 cup for the whole pot)

To begin, coat your pot with the cooking oil and turn heat on to medium high. Add the onions and ginger, and saute for about 3 minutes, until onions are translucent. Add in the sliced mushrooms and tamari, and saute for another 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in the remaining veggies, tofu, and strip of wakame seaweed. Stir together and let cook for another minute, then add the water and bring to a low boil. Let your soup simmer on low for about 10-15 minutes, until all the veggies are tender. Turn off heat. Now it’s time to dissolve the miso paste into the broth- be sure not to boil your miso paste! It has live probiotics and in order to preserve the therapeutic quality of the miso you will want to dissolve the paste into the warm broth before serving, but after the cooking is all done. You can either add the dissolved paste into each serving, 1 tbsp per serving, or into the whole pot if you are eating it all at one sitting, 1/2 cup for the whole pot. To make sure the paste dissolves evenly, scoop out about 1 cup of broth into a bowl, and whisk the paste into the broth, then add back into the soup. Garnish with chopped scallions if desired, and serve it up. Makes about 8 large servings.

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holiday gift ideas: natural hand-crafted body products by eathwise medicinals

One thing I love about fall and winter is that I finally have a bit of time to sort through all the herbal tinctures, herbal-infused oils, and dried herbs that I have made and collected in the warmer seasons. For many years I have been using these home-spun supplies to make hand-crafted gifts for the holidays that have been much enjoyed by family and friends, including herbal salves, balms, and natural body products.  I have been developing these natural body product recipes over the past many years, and this year I am making my products publicly available for the first time.  Now is your chance to enjoy these hand-crafted natural body products for the holidays! You can click on any of the items listed below to see the product description, ingredients, pictures, prices, and amount I currently have in stock.  All of the items listed here are 100% natural, food-grade quality, and organically and/or ethically grown and harvested.  

vanilla body balm

wintermint lip balm

coconut creme

lavendar hand salve

rose hydrosol

lavendar massage oil

I have limited amounts of each body product available, as I make very small hand-made batches every time in order to ensure quality control. If you would like to order something that you see here on my blog, please leave a comment below or message me personally on facebook.  I am able to put together custom orders, designed just for your own needs, as well as gift wrap a selection of items for you in a natural wicker basket if you’d like to give something here as a gift.  I truly hope you enjoy these wonderful natural body products as much as we do!

 

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homemade vegetable risotto

Today I made a homemade risotto inspired by the “spanish rice” that I sometimes buy packaged in boxes for a quick meal. I think this is even tastier, just as easy, and it is a geat way to get in your daily organic veggies at an affordable price. Vegetable risotto makes a great side dish to any meal, and even my kids like to eat it. (They especially like it with the feta cheese added, although I admit they do like lots of veggies and they’ve even been known to complain if I made pizza that DIDN’T come with a side of spinach…) I’ll take my blessings where I can get ’em!

What you’ll need:

1 cup organic white long-grain basmati rice
1 cup tomates, chopped (I love mini roma tomatoes sliced in half)
6 small collard leaves, carefully washed and chopped, or 4 large leaves (roughly 1 cup tighly packed)
1 carrot chopped
1 stalk celery chopped                                                                                             

1 shallot (or small onion) chopped
2 tsp red chili powder
2 tsp organic garlic powder
1 and 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
1 cup sheep feta (optional)
4 Tbsp canola or olive oil (just enough to coat the bottom of your pot)
2 and 1/2 cups water

Start by chopping the veggies and then adding the shallot and oil into a pot and sautee for a few minutes until translucent. Add in the spices and salt, and let cook far another few minutes. Add in all the chopped veggies, stir, then add in the rice and water. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes covered, until water is absorbed and rice is tender. Turn off heat and let cool with the lid still on for 5 minutes, then toss with crumbled feta cheese, and serve. Makes about 4 large servings, and it works really well as a leftover lunch, especially when served with a side of scrambled eggs.

Hope you enjoy 🙂

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