Negative Ions for Positive Vibes

If you can’t hit the beach to soak up the negative ions, then bring the negative ions into your home!

Certain natural environments, like mountains and beachs, contain an abundance of negative ions. When we breathe in these negative ions and they enter our blood stream they produce biochemical reactions that are said to help relieve stress, increase serotonin production (the “feel good” hormone), boost the immune system, clean the lungs and neutralize free radicals. They also help purify the air of allergens, germs and dust.

Himalayan Salt Lamps are a convenient way of bringing these health benefits into your home as the salt particles contain negative ions. And I am particularly loving these miniature plug-ins right now. Not only do they double as night lights, but they give off the most enchanting glow.

Washable Bamboo Paper Towels

I feel like I’m on a secret mission to find the most common items. Like paper towels. Stores are sold out within an hour of opening, and online stocks seems to be non-existent. At least for the moment. Going back to my eco-friendly tree-hugger roots, I’m reminded that paper towels really aren’t a necessity. They are a luxury. Buy hand towels! Or alternatives like these reusable bamboo paper towels, which I just ordered.

Spicy Cilantro Kale Pesto

Here is a fun twist on the classic basil pesto. Serve this spicy cilantro kale pesto as an accompaniment to grilled meats and vegetables or spread generously on warm crusty bread. I used cotija cheese, which is a salty dry cheese similar to parmesan. Feel free to use parmesan if you can’t find cotija.

1 bunch kale, stems removed & leaves chopped (about 4 cups, packed)
1 bunch cilantro, chopped (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup grated cotija cheese
2-3 cloves garlic
1 jalapeno, seeded
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Place the kale, cilantro, seeds, cheese, garlic and jalapeno in a food processor.

Start processing the mixture. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until it has all been incorporated.

Continue processing until the pesto has reached the desired consistency.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Quick Guacamole

Quick Quacamole

4 avocados, pits removed
1/2 small red onion diced
1 small tomato, diced
1/2 jalapeno, seeded & minced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
Juice of 1 lime
Salt to taste

Scoop the avocado flesh into a mixing bowl.  Add the remaining ingredients.  Use a fork to mash the ingredients together to desired consitency. Serve guacamole with tortilla chips.

Khichari – a nourishing Ayurvedic lentil stew

I was first introduced to this dish years ago by my good friend Ilana Sobo, who is a clincial herbalist and Ayurvedic healer, and it immediately became one of my favorite things to make, and to eat.  Khichari is a traditional Ayurvedic meal that is often eaten for its nourishing, cleansing and rejuvenating properties.  The rice and lentils make a complete protein while the addition of veggies makes it a one-dish meal.  But the herbs and spices used in khichari are where the real healing power comes from.  The combination provides potent digestive aid, soothes inflammation, promotes circulation, is antiviral and antibacterial, and helps to break up and eliminate toxins from the blood and organs.  This is a basic recipe, so feel free to get creative with the addition of your favorite veggies.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients
1 cup red lentils
3 TBSP coconut oil or ghee
1 tsp whole cumin seed
1 tsp whole coriander seed
½ tsp black mustard seed
1 small onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1” knob of ginger, peeled & minced
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric
¼ tsp ground black pepper
4 cups water or chicken broth
Chopped cilantro, garnish
Fresh grated coconut, garnish
Lime wedges, garnish

Instructions
1- Rinse the lentils several times the drain well.

2- In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the cumin, coriander and mustard seeds and toast for 2-3 minutes, until fragrant.

3- Add the onion, carrot and celery, garlic and ginger. Sauté for 3-5 minutes, until vegetables begin to soften.

4- Add the ground cumin, ground turmeric, black pepper and drained lentils. Stir well and cook for another 2-3 minutes to toast the spices and lentils.

5- Add the water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low.  Cover and simmer lentils for 20-30 minutes, until tender.

6- Serve stewed lentils over rice. Garnish with chopped cilantro, shredded coconut, and a lime wedge.