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Aaaaah! Valentine !!!

IMG_1653 Sad that so much of the real Valentine gets wrapped up in the hype of material ....the roses, the diamonds, the chocolate, dinners, and so much more. For more than a decade , my husband who is a yoga teacher, shares these chocolate covered strawberries with his students. And yes , I make them.

The whole experience is one of love and the joyous results! Blending the different chocolates to make a perfect balance of sweet and bitter ! Love ! The strawberries ....each one wiped down with a damp towel! Love! Dipping them in the melted chocolate! Love ! Laying each one on the Silpat mat ! Love Arranging them on plate when cooled ! Love ! Sharing ! Love ! The thanks and enjoyment of the strawberries by students ! Love ! Teacher student relationship ! Love ! Joy of doing for loved one ! Love !

Happy Valentine ! Just Love !

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No borders !

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2015/01/img_1037.jpgSo what that there was no recipe ! No plan ! Just BEING ! A quiet meditation! Actually more like a pondering on the completion of a fun spice class in San Francisco. The dance of the spices continued way after the class and the students were gone. The true nature was being honored! Empty Kitchen! Empty Classroom and yet the lingering aromas of the spices remained.

Inspired by that a unique spice blend was born!

Coriander Fenugreek Cayenne Black sesame seeds Nigella seeds Bay leaves Basil Curry leaves Rosemary Dried orange peels Ginger Cardamom Cumin Fennel seeds Black pepper Turmeric Hibiscus

Recipe you ask !!!! Sniffed. Touched. Blended. I can only say that the blend is absolutely brilliant. It crosses all borders !!! It is being titled The Spice Blend without Borders for now !!!

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Many things happening on this journey !

2015/01/img_1844.jpgYes! The journey has taken many thousands of steps since the last post! Loss of family! Loss that comes with more loss! But the mantra is strong!

I am grateful ! I am thankful! I am ever hopeful! Loss has been balanced by gaining new friendships! Gaining a new year to sow seeds , plant and reap the harvest!

Today is Makar Sankranti in Indai! A harvest festival! Giving thanks ! No intentions! No resolutions ! 2015 is a practice of everything being perfect for Now ! Just BEing!

Wising all a peaceful, joyful and a wellBEing Year ahead of them !

Hugs Hugs Hugs

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SpiceArapy!!!!!

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IMG_0313.JPG It all started with pumpkin, radishes , pomegranate and more Trimmings! The pot beckoned the trimmings The trimmings inspired the spices The water found its level Time simmered along The nourishing broth was born !! Sitting. Sipping. Savoring.

Sending healing love all around !!!

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Realize the Value not just the price !

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IMG_2108.JPG This creamy Cauliflower soup is made from the cast off trimmings that typically end up in the compost ! In cooking mindfully and Divinising the food , the cauliflowers encompassed so much more! I am filled with gratitude in recognizing it always !

Stalks and leaves of 4 medium sized cauliflowers 1 large potato, peeled, quartered Smoked salt for seasoning to taste( 1.5 - 2 teaspoons) 1/2 gallon( approximately, )water 1/4 teaspoon saffron strands or one large pinch( optional) 1 lemon

In a large Dutch oven, bring all ingredients to a boil. Simmer for at least 35-40 minutes. Blend till smooth . Add more liquid to get soup consistency of choice. Finish with a splash of lemon juice.

Find a sunny corner. Ladle into bowl. Be grateful! Savour!!

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To Market ! To Market ! To Pray, Love! Eat !!!!!

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Woke up this morning with the added excitement of Market Day. I love to absorb the vibrancy of the Farmer's Market produce. The light breeze whistles and sings through the tents. The apples, persimmons, oranges, grapes and strawberries reflect the transitory season in Northern California Bay Area . We are saying goodbye to summer and slowly welcoming the Fall!!!! I am grateful and in the moment of feeling blessed am chanting the Om and the Gaytri Mantra as I pick bitter melons, purslane, ladies fingers , green pumpkin and more. The farmer smiles, folds his hands and softly says, " thank you for blessing and praying for my veggies "! I fully experienced that moment! Bitter melons , sautéed with onions, nigella seeds, dried mango powder, turmeric and paprika. The pumpkin is simmering in its own juices with the Bengali Paanch Phoron 5 spice. The sour in it is a dash of coconut vinegar.

The preparation of the dishes was fully infused with love. An intention of nourishment for the body and soul. This is real cooking! Real food! So, don't just know your food and farmers but know the people and what they feel when they cook your food !!!!THINK !!!LL!

I am enjoying my journey on the Divinity and Spirituality of food and cooking! A new level of wellness!

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Dancing Goddesses !

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IMG_1155.JPG Summer seems to have slipped by! Falling into Fall guided by the goddesses! Bringing out the crock pot! Time for slowing down the energy especially in the kitchen. Mindfully enjoying the Farmers Markets ! Mindfully nurturing ! Mindful of the kitchen orchestra...listening to the joy of the pots and pans ! Mindfully doing the dance of the kitchen Goddess! Mindfully Nourishing the body, Mind and the Soul !!!

FALL INTO MINDFULNESS !

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For the love of Spices !!!!!!

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Spices inspire my life ! We roast them and toast them We pound them We grind them and selflessly they give their fragrance, taste and themselves to our food and our health! A spoon of cumin seeds rubbed together between my palms is a connection to the beautiful women on the farm who have toiled hard to harvest the seeds. Crack the peppercorns and you spike the dish with stories, travel and long forgotten history! Spices keep me totally mindful when cooking a dish. It could be the simplicity of one spice or the complex layers of flavors of many, many spices. Jeera Aloo , a simple rustic dish of potatoes and cumin seeds. The complexity of food of the royal Courts of India ....more than 20 different spices in one dish. Spices are wrapped around traditions . The Masala Dabba..... A common spice box in every Indian household. Picture the continuity of blessing when the mother packs the spice box for her daughter when she gets married. I moved far away from home after marriage and everyday when I used the spices from my box, I was connected to family . This deep connection to the spices for so many decades resulted in The Spice Whsiperer. Just recognizing the gift of people and connections on the path of self discovery.

Namaste all !

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WTF!#* Turnip Tapas

20140709-164952-60592859.jpg These began with pure inspiration and creativity. A by product of Mindfulness in the kitchen!

6 medium turnips, peeled and sliced 2 tablespoons olive oil 2 tablespoons mustard seeds, yellow , brown or black A pinch of saffron...6-8 strands 1 level tablespoon of paprika 2 tablespoons of sherry vinegar Salt to taste

Heat olive oil in a pan on medium heat. Add the mustard seeds and toast them a couple of minutes till they snap, crackle and pop in sound and release a nutty aroma. Add the saffron and toast a minute. Now add the turnips , paprika and salt. Stir well. Cover and cook for about 5-7 minutes till turnips are tender. Finish off with the vinegar and cook another minute or so to dry off the liquid.

Serve garnished with cilantro or parsley! Here they were served with a plum grilling jam and spiced amaranth!

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WTF !#*~

20140630-115518-42918640.jpg World Through Food !!! WTF ! The turnips were cradled and peeled with a paring knife. The goal was not to not break the peel , but just to use peeling turnips as my MINDFUL EXERCISE ! I felt the hands hugging the turnip! I saw the hand , the thumb and the fingers, move the knife to create a strip of peel, and turn and turn again! I heard the slice and peel sound. A gentle whoosh whoosh whoosh ! The turnips lay together having shed their outer layer. They gave up their splashes of purple. The peels curled in joy as though rejoicing in the knowledge of the karmic Wheel of action ! This MINDFULNESS resulted in unbroken peels of all the turnips. This MINDFULNESS resulted in a heightened sense of awareness ! This MINDFULNESS resulted in a burst of creativity to combine saffron, mustard, smoked paprika and sherry vinegar to make Turnip Tapas !

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ABUNDANT SELF of the plum trees!

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20140620-113147-41507050.jpg The plum tree in our backyard is following its true selfless nature of bearing fruit. It provides the foragers, the birds and squirrels and yes, us! Thankful for the Abundant tree a plum , vanilla, honey butter is born. Cooking the plums for hours over a medium low heat is an amazing experience if you let it BE ! The whole house was fragrant with tones of plums and vanilla and then honey. There was a heightened sense of awareness especially for the nose and the eyes. As the plums cooked their color and smell changed. The added caramelization and reduction added a richness . A truly MiNDFUL exercise. Here is the intuitive recipe:

8-10 cups plums ( 7-8 pounds approximately ), washed well 2-3 cups honey depending on the sweetness desired 4 vanilla beans slit

Place plums in a large pot. Add 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil on medium heat. Lower heat and keep on simmer for about an hour and a half, gently stirring every 20 minutes or so. The plums were truly mushy and falling apart. Let them cool and fish out the pits that had sort of settled at the bottom. To get a smooth texture , put the plums through the food mill. They , then went back into the pot with the vanilla beans in. Once again, simmering on a low heat and this time being stirred every 10-15 minutes. You don't want them to be charred at the bottom. I enjoyed the stirring as i am a follower of the traditional principle of transferring the cook' s energy and intention to the food. This was my loving energy in the plum butter in the making. If you don't have the time this can be done in the slow cooker/ crock . After several hours( almost 5 hours for me ) the mush had thickened and it was time to sweeten it. Whether you add honey or sugar , you will need to cook again on low heat for 15-20 minutes at least. Cool and Jar! Share and Enjoy!

Yield :1/2 to 3/4 gallon depending on the consistency!

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Birthing a WRACO !!

20140618-135821-50301904.jpg Could not make up my mind about this being a wrap or a taco ! The WRACO was born!

1 pack, organic, extra firm tofu, sliced 12-14 corn tortillas 1 1/2 cups BBQ sauce of choice or homemade 1 cup salad greens of choice 2 avocados 1 small red onion, chopped 1 pint cherry tomatoes , halved 3 limes, juiced 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped 2 Serrano chilies, chopped fine ( optional) 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil Salt Pepper to taste 1/2 teaspoon toasted, cumin seed powder ( optional)

In a pan, simmer the tofu slices and BBQ sauce, till thick and it almost oats the slices.(15-20 minutes approximately) In a mason jar add the oil, lime juice, salt, pepper, cumin powder and shake a few minutes. Place the greens, avocados, onions, tomatoes, chilies and cilantro in a bowl. When ready to assemble the taco or wrap , add the dressing and toss well.

To ASSEMBLE ! Put about half a cup of the salad in the middle of a warm corn tortilla . Top with a couple of slices of tofu. Wrap and fold ! ENJOY!

Makes about 6-8 servings !

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Hum hum hummus !

Have you heard your Garbanzos snap, crackle, pop??If you soak them, hear them !!

They were slow cooked for about 2 hours! About 4 cups cooked garbanzo beans 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 1 large clove garlic 1 large, juiced lemon 1/4 cup tahini All lovingly blended till smooth.

Bowled

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5 minute Tastiest Tomato Soup !

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1 10 ounce package soft silken tofu 1 ( around 18 ounce ) bottle of your favorite , organic ARRABBIATA pasta sauce 1.5-2 cups water or vegetable stock for a bolder flavor Salt and pepper to taste

1. In a blender, add the tofu and sauce and blend till smooth. 2. Pour into a pot . Add water ( less for a thicker soup and more for a thinner consistency). 3.Heat the soup on medium high heat, stirring occasionally . 4. Season and Enjoy ! Note: garnish simply with cracked black pepper, or chopped parsley or croutons ! The soup tastes great on its own !

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Kitchen ! Go from Stressed to Blessed

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20140526-141522-51322239.jpg With busy lifestyles, it is is not uncommon to be stressed about the kitchen. Healthy food that needs to be tasty, convenient and trendy! Follow these tips and feel less stressed: 1. Open your mind. 2. Be Creative. 3. Build a recipe by available ingredients and favorable tastes. 4. Add the intention of love and good health to the dish when you are preparing it. 5. Be joyful , keep it simple and have fun cooking.

RECIPE for a BLESSED PASTA DISH !

1/2 kilo or 1 pound whole wheat pasta ( fusili, penne or your choice ) 1 kilo or 2 pounds of vegetables in season and choice( asparagus, baby tomatoes, spinach or other market greens, carrots, peas....) 1/2 pound fresh paneer or 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes 6-8 garlic cloves chopped or 1 teaspoon asafetida if you don't use garlic 10-12 basil or tulsi leaves, chopped fine 1 teaspoon Italian seasonings ( optional) NO need to run and get some ! 4 tablespoons olive oil or ghee

1. Prep the vegetables that you are going to be using. 2. Heat a pan . Add the fat. Add the garlic or asafetida . Add the pepper flakes. Add the prepared vegetables. Sauté a few minutes till they are tender. 3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add some salt. Cook pasta as per instructions. Drain. 4. Toss pasta, vegetables , basil leaves ,crumbled paneer or Parmesan cheese together. 5. Season with salt if necessary. Enjoy with the family.

This will serve 4-6 people.

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STRESSED to BLESSED !

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STRESSED to BLESSED !

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Practice these simple 5 steps and go from STRESSED to BLESSED!

1.BREATHE DEEPLY. HOLD . EXHALE even more DEEPLY. Repeat THREE to FIVE times.

2.In the MOMENT find one THANKFUL  THOUGHT .....Thankful for your family, to be alive, to be healthy, friends,...

3.THINK OF SOMETHING THAT WOULD TRULY BE DEVASTATING  !  And then feel thankful that it is not so.

4.Take a moment to look at NATURE. The blue sky out of the window, a sunset, a plant , a flower, a bowl of food !

5. HUG someone . If no one is around then give a hug to yourself pouring a whole lot of love!

Nothing trendy about this. It is just following the intrinsic wisdom and human values that we already have. 

From Stressed to Blessed can be incorporated into every aspect of our lives.....work, personal, daily, weekly and everything that we do!  No game, no challenge .This is just about BEing! 

Start your journey NOW!

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Hello Namaste All !

Sorry, that The Spice Whisperer has been off the grid on the blog! Yes, life happens !Many things have been roasting, toasting and grinding in the mind ! Spring has cleansed and the focus is now on making very simple life moment a sacred one! Aaaah, the joy of a sacred kitchen. I am the goddess that stirs the living, healing, nourishing energy into the pot . Then watch that magic shared with family and friends !

FOOD for THOUGHT :

Just take a moment to simply honor what you are eating! CONNECT with the FOOD !

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Spring ! Spring! Sprung !

Seasons and Time have a way of surprising us! Just the other day I was Happy New Year- ing !! Of course I knew that winter would end , no matter the temperatures in California, and yet here I am into Spring! I am not ready but who cares..SPRING has SPRUNG upon us . So, I surrender to it. A walk through the Farmer's Market and my bags are filled with citrus , three different colors of cauliflowers and asparagus that is sweet and tender! Baby portabellos, nestled next to garlic chives and you know The Poetry goes on!

So the intention to RE Balance my life is on. And how do I do this ? SIMPLY - FIVE

1. Being present in every moment.

2. Being Accepting of Me.

3. Being Grateful ! No matter what.

4. Being Joy and sharing it.

5. Being Thankful of every moment.

For the Solar calendar this is the joyous New Year and I choose this time to simplify by Simply-Five !

Did you think this would not translate into the kitchen?

My Spring Bowl of Cauliflower with Paanch Phoron! The Five spice blend of Bengal.... Cumin seeds, fennel seeds, mustard seeds, nigella seeds and fenugreek seeds.

2 cauliflowers, cut into flowerettesq, washed and rinsed 3 tablespoons of the five spice mix(Paanch Phoron ) 3 tablespoons olive oil 2 medium lemons, juiced Salt to taste Cracked pepper to taste

Heat a large pan on medium heat. Add the oil. Keep the heat low as you do not want the olive oil to reach smoking point. Add the spices to the oil and gently toast them till you hear some Snap! Crackel! Pop! Add the cauliflower and salt. Raise the heat to medium high. Toss the cauliflower pieces well. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes. Remove lid and toss the cauliflower. Check for done ness. You want them to be fork tender . Cook for a few more minutes without the lid . When done, remove to another bowl. Add the pepper and lemon juice. Toss well and serve. This can be served hot, warm, at room temperature and chilled! If using 2 cauliflowers for their color, this will serve at least 8-10 servings!

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Bra Bra Brassicas .......the joy of being a Brussels Sprout!

Some love these cute, baby looking cabbages! Others just can't stand them! Well ! I love them and today tried them with nigella seeds , red chili flakes , lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil.

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The kitchen always teaches some amazing life lessons. You may be making your brussels sprouts a particular way. Why not make a CHANGE !

For Sharing with 4

1 # or so of Brussels sprouts, cut into quarters 1 /2 teaspoon of nigella seeds 1 lemon, juiced 1/4 teaspoon or more of red chili flakes 2 tablespoons of olive oil Salt to taste

Heat the oil in a pan. Medium heat. Add nigella seeds and chili flakes. Toast for about half a minute. Add the sprouts. Sauté . Cover and cook for about 8-10 minutes.

Don't over cook. They should be just fork tender. Season and finish with a dash of lemon juice.

A small but daring change in the kitchen creates a freshness in the mind !

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