Recipes for Nourishment in the New Year

Welcome your new year with nourishment

I’ll admit, partially I just love the alliteration of these words.  Yet, it’s not just that they sound nice, it’s truly the right time to heed them.  Throughout the Fall I hadn’t noticed many people who had chronic colds, or fevers, or flu, but in just the past week it seems those sicknesses have emerged in lost voices, sinus headaches, and the many-times-overheard mantra of ‘it’s just going around.’

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I’ll be the first one to admit, it’s hard to heed our own advice. Pragya paradha, or ignoring our intellect, is one of our greatest challenges to health and happiness.  In my latest post, I wrote about some tips for staying healthy during the holidays.  I was able to practice most of what I wrote about, and I hope it brings me out clear on the other side.  After driving 700 miles through 7 states to visit 4 families over the past week, I know what I need now is nourishment: warm, home-cooked foods filled with good oils and nutrients.

According to Ayurvedic understanding, this deep winter is the time of transition between Vata and Kapha dominance.  The elements involved are space, air, water and some earth.  Notice what is missing – FIRE. It’s cold, and it’s a deep cold, sinking into our bones.  We may notice imbalance in the space and air elements in dryness of our skin and nasal passages (despite a constantly running nose), anxiety, insomnia, and constipation.  A Kapha imbalance tends to show up with heavier qualities, mucus, lung congestion, lack of hunger, and sticky, yucky colds.  We need warming teas, lightly spiced grains, and healthy soups (keep reading for recipes!)

In this post I am going to share three recipes that I have made recently, which feature ingredients key for winter eats. First, I’m going to share some tips for making ghee, then we’ll use it in two simple, vegetarian, filling dishes showcasing qualities we want in our foods this season: quinoa and sweet potato. I used these dishes to entertain last week – they have proven to feed (and please) a crowd!

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Ghee: Making your own
Best Season to try this Recipe: All seasons

Making ghee is super simple to write about, yet don’t be discouraged if it takes you a while to become confident in making it.  I have burned my ghee many times, but you’ll get it right eventually – and it’s so worth it to make your own ‘liquid gold!’

1 pound unsalted organic butter

That’s it!  Using a heavy-bottomed pot, melt your butter over medium heat until liquid.  Keep a wooden spoon nearby, you are going to want to stir it often, to prevent burning.  Allow the butter to bubble and boil, while you stir often, scraping the bottom of the pot.  There will be a foam that rises to the surface, some say scrape it, others say leave it – I leave it.  The foam will subside after a few minutes, as the milk solids begin to sink to the bottom of your pan. (A pan with a light colored bottom will be easier to note burning.)  The idea of making ghee is to remove water, and remove the milk solids – two things which once removed, allow ghee to last almost indefinitely as a pure oil.  As you notice more and more solids in the bottom of the pan, continue to stir.  The toughest part is to cook the butter long enough so all the water is removed, but to finish before the milk solids burn.  The butter will take on a deep golden color, and you may just begin to smell a faint burning scent as the milk solids turn light brown – take the ghee off the heat, and set on a cool burner to cool.  Allow all the solids to settle, then pour the golden liquid off, through a cheesecloth if you have it, into a clean, dry glass container.

Cover your ghee, and store in a dry place – it does not need to go in the fridge!  Each time you use the ghee, only dig in with a clean, dry, spoon, which will prevent any molding.

I’ll be holding a ghee-making and using workshop at Dharma Door soon, I promise to let you know the details on Adena Rose Ayurveda, and in my newsletter.

Beneficial qualities of ghee: Ghee has many incredible qualities, being cooling, calming, and strengthening.  Having less cholesterol than butter, it is a healthier option.  It can be used at a low heat for frying. It’s nourishing to the nervous system, including the brain and spinal chord, as well as other tissues like the skin.  It can safely be used in the eyes to combat dryness and redness.  The use of ghee in food stimulates agni, or our metabolic fire.

Colorful Quinoa
V, + P (mildly), – K
Best Season to try this Recipe: Autumn, Winter, Spring

1 c quinoa
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp cinnamon
salt to taste
freshly cracked black pepper to taste
1/4 c dried cranberries
1/2 pomegranate
1 tsp ghee

Rinse the grains at least once with water, then cover the grains in a sauce pot with water, so it looks like there is a bit less than twice the volume of grain.  Add allspice and cinnamon, and cover and simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the quinoa is cooked.  Fluff, then add salt and pepper to taste.  Add cranberries and fresh pomegranates seeds, as well as the ghee. Stir and serve warm (also good at room temp.) Brown rice can also be substituted, which is a wonderfully nourishing grain for Vata and Pitta.  The cooking time for brown rice will about about 45 minutes, and you must use a bit more water.

Beneficial qualities of this recipe: Quinoa is high in protein, and full of magnesium, calcium, iron and fiber.  It is slightly warming, so this quality combined with it’s nutrition balances Vata.  It is quite light, though, and a bit astringent, so it also balances Kapha.  The spices are all gently warming, and they, along with the ghee stimulate digestion.


Sweet Potato and Leek Soup
V, + P (mildly), – K
Best Season to try this Recipe: Autumn, Winter, Spring

2 leeks
2 cloves garlic
4 medium sweet potatoes
6 cups water
1 can cooked white beans
1 tsp ghee
juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp sea salt
2 tsp. turmeric
cayenne or black pepper to taste

Clean your leeks by cutting off the tip of the root first, and trimming excess green stuff (use mostly the tender white stalk.) Then, slice the leeks length-wise, just leaving about 1/4 inch attached to the base.  Rinse under water, opening the layers, to release dirt.
In a large stock pot, heat your ghee on med-low heat, then add turmeric, cayenne or pepper and leeks with the salt.  Stir to coat and let cook on medium heat for five minutes or so, until leeks have softened. Mince garlic and add to the pot.
Scrub the sweet potatoes, and chop them into rough cubes (leaving the skin on is ok!). Add them to the pot, stir and cook for a few minutes. Add water and beans. Bring a boil, reduce to simmer and cook until sweet potatoes are soft, about 15 – 20 minutes.
Turn off the heat, then using a regular blender or stick blender puree the soup until creamy. Add olive oil and lemon juice.

Beneficial qualities of this recipe: Sweet potatoes are a root veggie, of course, and this connection to the earth makes them sweet, hearty and satisfying.  They also contain many wonderful nutrients and minerals borrowed from the earth.  They are grounding for Vata, and their sweet taste is heavy, which also balances Pitta.  Leeks and garlic are pungent, giving a gentle kick of warmth, aided by the turmeric and cayenne, to prevent this recipe from increasing Kapha.

I adapted this recipe from the one I found here!

May you have a year full of love, health, courage and success ~ Adena

O Great Spirit of the East, the land of the rising Sun, Who holds in Your right hand the years of our lives and in Your left the opportunities of each day. Brace us that we may not neglect our gifts nor lose in laziness the hopes of each day and the hopes of each year.

One response to “Recipes for Nourishment in the New Year

  1. Pingback: Motion of the Ocean: Practices for the New Moon | Awarenivore: by Adena Rose Ayurveda·

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