Bay Leaf Tea
I know winter has gone. So it can be surprising when colds come on just when you thought you were safe! But actually, the change of the season is when it happens most. So arm yourself. This time or next time, you'll be ready! I really want to share this recipe with you. But you have to PROMISE ME you're going to read the warnings first! They're IMPORTANT!
- DO NOT use Eucalyptus by mistake. It is POISONOUS. If you can't tell your trees, don't make this tea! Or ask a plant expert friend to show you a bay tree.
- SIP IT CAREFULLY! It can give you a wasabi like burn in your head if you drink it too fast, and the reaction can be delayed. So sip slowly until you're familiar with your beverage.
Now onto the recipe!
- 10-15 Fresh Bay Leaves from a tree near you
- DON'T use the leaves in the little jar in your cupboard. Mediterranean bay leaf, that most people cook with, is not the same!
- Take the leaves off the stems, wash them and make sure there are no bugs on them.
- Put them in a pot with 3-4 cups water.
- Bring to a boil and simmer 3-5 minutes.
While it is coming to a boil, the scent will be strongest and you can inhale it. THAT'S THE TIME TO BE MOST CAREFUL! Again, the burn can be DELAYED so breathe slowly at first and take your time. The longer you boil it, the softer the burn will get. It is still effective though. I use this every time I start getting a sniffle. Have I mentioned that I'm allergic to antibiotics? And now it seems I'm allergic to Chinese medicine too? So thanks to Bay Leaves, I've been well for about 1.5 years now. Woohoo!
Super Simple Chutney, or call it Satvic Salsa.
· 2 tomatoes
· A chunk of a red bell pepper, or whatever veggie you have handy that you’d like to blend in
· Curry leaves from 5-7 large stems, or a generous quantity of any favorite fresh herbs.
· Celtic Sea Salt, Himalayan Pink Salt or Indian Rock Salt (sendha nimak or kala nimak) --or your own favorite pure unprocessed salt. Note: Do not use American rock salt like you would put in an ice cream maker. It is processed and maybe not even edible.
*Rinse everything and shake it dry.
*Cut the tomatoes in half or quarters (to make blending easier). Toss them in the food processor. That would be my first choice but of course you can use a blender.
*Pull the curry leaves off the stem. Toss them in.
*Toss in the piece of bell pepper
*Add a teaspoon or two of your Real Salt (use plenty if you have good salt.)
*Blend it for a minute or two or until the curry leaves are in small enough pieces to add flavor. This will only take a few seconds if you’ve opted to use a vitamix or blender.
This week’s featured recipe:
Make your own Almond milk! (I was stumped for a recipe this week, thanks Kasia!)
Level 1: Super Easy
In my soy, wheat and dairy free days I used to make this delicious drink almost daily. I never measured what I used so thanks to Kasia for sharing this proportion.
But before we proceed to the recipe, here is an IMPORTANT note on almonds. You want truly RAW almonds because the ones you buy in stores labeled Raw are not truly raw. It is not that they have been roasted or cooked either. They have been irradiated or bathed in chemicals. This is obviously harmful and should be avoided. Some grocery stores import truly raw almonds from Europe. However, you can still get truly raw almonds from California, and you can get them at a “farm stand” online. Google Briden Wilson Farm Almonds if you don’t see another option you like better. I think you can also get truly raw almonds on Amazon and Ebay but personally I like knowing exactly what farm they came from and the people who grow them.
Now for the recipe!
Soak 1 cup of almonds overnight in 3 cups water. In the morning, drink the soaking water, or if you are concerned about phytic acid, discard it.
Either way, put 3 fresh cups of water in the almonds and grind in your Vitamix. I would grind it for a minute or two on high, but make sure it’s completely creamy (no grit left at all!) before you’re done grinding or you’ll miss the experience.
If you don’t have a vitamix, just use a blender. It may take longer. If you can’t get rid of all the bits, you can strain it with a cheesecloth or something similar.
If you like it sweet you can add dates, maple syrup or any other sweetener that works for you and then blend it again, or just add it at the beginning.
If you want to get extra fancy you can soak part of a vanilla bean with the almonds and puree it too.
Cream Gravy (Goes great with French Broad burgers and mashed potatoes)
Ease Level: 2 (pretty easy)
For vegan version, use coconut oil and hempmilk or your favorite dairy substitute.
Melt a half cube of butter in a pan on medium heat. Add a 1/2 cup of lentil flour and make a roux. Keep stirring vigorously. Stirring constantly, add 1.5 cups milk. When it begins to thicken a bit, add ¾ cup water. When it thickens a tiny bit more, add ¼ cup cream. Bring to a good boil, add salt to taste and remove from heat. Add pepper at the table.
This is an outstanding traditional gravy to serve over mashed potatoes and also makes a really great eggless hollandaise! Try adding ¼ tsp of your favorite spice to give it a regional flavor. Tarragon has been suggested to me but I confess I haven’t tried it yet!
Chia Coconut Bliss Balls
This recipe is gluten free, powerful, vegetarian, vegan-friendly, powerful, raw-friendly, paleo-friendly, nut free, soy free, corn free and just plain good. Did I mention powerful?
Ease level: 1 (super easy)
If you’ve ever attended an Art of Living silence retreat, you might have tried this delicacy.
This power-version was invented by me just last week, still longing for the taste, chew and crunch of a bliss ball I’d tried the day before. (Thanks, Sejal!) I didn’t have almonds or walnuts on hand so improvised this and found it to be good enough to share. This version is darker, seedier and imparts tons of energy.
So forget energy bars! Most of them are full of soy and bad sugar anyway. Roll these into balls and eat them as is, or flatten some of them into “bars” and store in baggies for a quick, high-energy snack. You can of course add almonds or walnuts if you like. I didn’t and they were good without, so I’m sharing this nut-free recipe with you as is. If you decide to add almonds, grind it all together. If you add walnuts, add them in at the end to leave some crunch.
1 cup of pitted dates
¾ cup chia seeds
½ cup of coconut
¼ cup poppy seeds
2 tablespoons coconut oil, ghee or butter
1 tablespoon of maple syrup (optional)
Dump all the ingredients into your food processor with the regular blade. Run for quite a while: 3-5 minutes or until all the ingredients bind together into one ball flinging around inside. Open the food processor and roll the mixture into balls and set on a plate.
Lick off any bit from your hands that didn’t get onto a ball. Wash your hands before serving! (Spoken like a true hygiene freak.)
Note: This works in the food processor because it grinds all the ingredients together without getting too hot. If you don’t have a food processor, I would probably not use a blender or Vitamix. The Vitamix will get everything very hot (but would still probably work with the dry container, thought it may not be raw anymore) and the blender may not work at all. As a workaround, try borrowing your neighbor’s food processor in exchange for some of the balls!