Author Archive

October 24, 2018

Kabucha & Zucchini Spaghetti

Japanese Pumpkin to Calm the Moving Vata Energy of Autumn

20181016_164025My lifelong obsession with pumpkins spans back to my single digit years. I fantasized about growing one as tall as I was, like the pumpkin pictured next to the kid on the seed packet. I never did. I also never even thought about eating one. Maybe the shorter growing season in northern Newfoundland was to blame, but I never saw anyone actually grow a pumpkin. Most families in my little community had a garden to grow potatoes, carrots, cabbage, even some lettuce in the later years, but never pumpkin. In my early 20’s I moved to the west coast and found out that pumpkins, in addition to being carved on Halloween, were also food!

I never looked back. Life brought me to Japan for a few years where the autumn pumpkin dishes made me even more in love with pumpkin (or kabucha in Japanese), and then to India where pumpkin is not only beautifully incorporated into meals but used in Ayurveda as a healing food. The markets in both these countries sold only a green pumpkin variety that I eventually realized is a lot more like what we call butternut squash here. The flesh is not as wet as our orange pumpkins and seems to work better in my pumpkin recipes.

The recipe below was inspired by my most recent squash/pumpkin epiphany, that pasta doesn’t need to always be topped with tomato sauce. Indeed “pasta” doesn’t even necessarily need to be pasta with all the zucchini available to be spiralized at the market these days. Zucchini is probably my second favourite vegetable…or maybe third behind beets, argh…so hard to choose!

Adding squash/pumpkin to your diet will help create physical and mental balance as the seasons change. Fall brings an increase in vata energy, which ayurveda teaches can leave you feeling scattered and overwhelmed. Pumpkin soothes this by bringing a calming kapha element to your foods.  A tasty way to enhance your ability to navigate the high energy schedule of the season.

This recipe is especially easy to make if you have pumpkin pureed and frozen in your freezer already. The recipe portion is for one person because often I pull this together when I am home alone for a fast lunch. You can easily multiply it by however many people you are serving.

Squash Spaghetti

  • 1 cup baked and pureed butternut squash/pumpkin* I have never used the can puree but that may work too.
  • ½ onion chopped finely
  • 2 cloves pressed garlic
  • One large zucchini (spiralizeded)
  • Salt/ pepper
  • Your favourite cooking oil
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Butternut squash Puree; baked, pureed, and then frozen into handy 1 cup portions.

Instructions

Saute the chopped onion and garlic in oil in a frying pan. Add the squash puree and salt/pepper to taste. Mix in pan for 2-3 minutes. Put aside. Saute spiralized zucchini in oil/salt/pepper to taste until desired softness. Top zucchini with squash sauce. You could use pasta instead of zucchini. Or you could top pasta with the zucchini and the squash sauce.

*No pureed squash/pumpkin in your freezer? Just cut a whole squash in half, scoop out the seeds & pulp. Brush oil the edge. Place cut side down on parchment paper in tray. Cook on 350 for 1 hour (or until soft and easily punctured through with a fork). Remove from oven, let cool, scoop the meat away from the peel and puree.

I like to freeze the puree into 1/2 or 1 cup portions for smoothies or single portion dishes like this one!

Enjoy!

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October 16, 2018

Bringing the Bread Poultice Back

A Fusion of Ayurvedic and Traditional Newfoundland Healing Approaches.

Bread Poultice Ayurveda Traditional Newfoundland Remedy

Ingredients for Nana’s bread poultice with the addition of tumeric for an ayurvedic touch.

Imagine a  four year old boy sitting with a laptop. Elmo is teaching him ABCs through an interactive video game. His bare thigh is wrapped in cling wrap to stop a tumeric-milk soaked bread poultice from ruining the sofa below. This is a memory of my son a few years ago, and continues to be a pretty good example of the mixture of modern lifestyle and ancient ayurvedic practice that you might find happening at any given time in our home (in this case there also a definite infusion of NL tradition). Am I grateful to live in a time that has a wide array of medical options when we get sick? Absolutely! However when it is possible to avoid those by seeking out the wisdom of ancient practices and traditions that also work I am all about that too. Just ask my kids. They have been known to refer to the spice rack in our kitchen as Mom’s medicines.

Before continuing I should make it clear that I do take my kids to the doctor when they are sick. I do listen with a great deal of respect to our physician, who is very knowledgeable and amazing. I also always fill the prescription for hydrocortisone or antibiotics, or whatever is prescribed…. just in case. It turns out however that I rarely need to use them. My love of Ayurvedic and traditional approaches means that before medicating I always try a gargle, or a tea, or slap on a poultice, and by the end of the day the ailing kid/adult is often getting better on their own.

My motivation for returning to the old-school poultice approach was triggered by a common viral skin condition in kids called mulluscum contagiosum. For some reason each time one of these tiny skin bumps began the process of leaving my kid’s system he got a giant circular infection all around it (think 3-4 inch round, red & swollen infected areas!). Prescription creams did not help and with the looming threat of having to turn to oral medications I remembered my late Nana’s milk poultice. I am not sure if she did it just as I describe below but this was how I remember it.

Nan Taylor 1

My beautiful Nan Taylor showing off her fancy new washing machine. She ran with the times, utilizing a wealth of traditional wisdom while embracing everything that modern life was able to offer, right up until she left this world.

How to prepare a traditional boiled milk bread poultice

  • Boil a cup or so of whole organic milk. I also add turmeric. Nana didn’t use tumeric, but ayurveda uses it extensively as an anti-inflammatory so I pull it out for almost everything that ails you. Just ask my long suffering boys, who, in addition to wearing it, have also consumed quite a lot of it over the years for lots of different reasons!
  • Soak a slice of bread in the hot milk mixture. I use my dad’s homemade bread.
  • Wrap the bread in a cloth and apply to affected area as hot as you can tolerate it on your skin. I slid the bread into a pantyhose leg so I could then tie it around my son’s leg. Kids are squirmy and don’t sit anywhere for long so I had to keep it in place somehow. This is also why I covered the whole area in cling wrap. Tumeric can stain, and milk does not leave a happy aroma in your furniture. Ayurvedic remedies can be messy but add the energy of a four year old boy and chaos ensues!
  • Leave on affected area until bread is completely cool.
  • Repeat twice a day. After a couple of days a pus filled head usually forms in the middle, and the infected area recedes. I did this for a few days every time one of those little bumps began their red infection cycle for about a year. It always worked. My son began to call the pantyhose leg his medicine pantyhose!

If you are interested in an ayurvedic perspective on using food and natural remedies to balance your physical and mental health subscribe to the Shakti Yoga blog where you will find ayurvedic/yogic/wellness type posts, albeit at a sedate posting rate  to ensure that my Pitta/Vata personality does not overload.

Happy poultice making all!

March 27, 2018

Creamy Carrot Soup Recipe

20180326_090158Since Easter is just around the corner, and I hear bunnies love carrots, I thought this might be a timely post. I have always loved snacking on carrots. Not so much in the civilized little stick format, but in more of a bugs bunny inspired, whole vegetable nibbling approach. I still do this regularly, but from time to time I deviate from raw, or simple steaming, to yummy carrot soup. I tried a bunch of different approaches before  finally finding the favourite that I am sharing here.

The best thing about this recipe, aside from its deliciousness, is that it is so easy to make. The first few recipes I tried had me messing up most of the dishes in my kitchen as I moved from step to step. This one just uses the soup pot and the blender and will leave you wondering why you haven’t been eating this Ayurvedic super health food more often.

Carrots have been used traditionally in Ayurveda for a whole range of ailments such as cancer, arthritis, high cholesterol, and digestive issues. Of course carrots are not the whole picture but when added to your diet they can play a role in promoting overall health and wellness, particularly in these areas. For those of you who know your doshas, carrots decrease vata and kapha imbalance and promote pitta.

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carrot soup boullion

And now for the recipe.

Ingredients

2 tbs ghee (or butter)

1 medium-Large onion,

1-2 stalks celery, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

2 slices ginger, chopped

1 tbsp chopped parsley

5 cups chopped carrots (About 5 Large carrots)

6 cups water

2 blocks organic veg broth

Himalayan Sea Salt to taste

Freshly ground pepper to taste

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Instructions: Heat ghee/butter in soup pot on medium heat until it melts. Add onion and celery and cook 5 min or so until soft. Add garlic and parsley. Stir as you cook for 10-15 seconds. Add carrots and stir. Soften the broth cubes in a cup of hot water and then add this and 5 more cups of water. Simmer on med high till boiling. Reduce heat to to maintain an active simmer and cook for 25 minutes.

Pour into blender and puree until smooth. (Careful here! I ladle the soup into the blender until I get to the very end to avoid boiling hot splashes. Or you could wait till the soup cools a little). Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with a swirl of cream,or without if you don’t do dairy. I like it fine without the cream. Sprinkle on some parsley and serve.

You can make this in advance, refrigerate and serve the next day. It also freezes well.

If you are inspired to make ghee (clarified butter) check out this link to my blog post on how to make ghee. Once you have a bottle made you can use it for all kinds of cooking projects.

Enjoy!

 

March 19, 2018

Shakti Books: Night Boat

Fuji

What is the Sound of One Hand Clapping?

Book Night Boat and JizoThis famous paradoxical riddle is one of the many legendary historical zen references in Alan Spence’s biography of the illustrious Zen Master, Hakuin. These riddles, or koans, are used to illustrate the limitation of  logical reasoning, and in turn trigger enlightenment when one meditates on them with sincerity, and intensity. Hakuin taught that every life experience was a koan of some form. This story of his life is inextricably  woven into an exposition of zen art and poetry, portrayed against the backdrop of the enchanting Mount Fuji, and the bustling activity of the Tokaido, the famed walkway between Tokyo and Kyoto.

Geisha

The book begins with Hakuin as a scared, spiritually thirsty child struggling with a terror of hellfire and brimstone. Encouraged by his devoted mother he chooses a zen path despite his father’s objections.

His journey meanders through the many struggles of his seeking years as an earnest young monk, eventually arriving at his colorful twilight as the world’s most renowned and influencial zen instructor.

Alan Spence skillfully blends the man, the time and the teachings into a breathtaking zen tapestry. For those interested in learning more about the practice of zen this well-researched book provides a multi-faced exposure in the form of Hakuin’s many teachers, experiences, zen poetry and artwork. Lovers of Japanese aesthetic and history will feel as if they have just taken a stroll down the Tokaido.

Miss Fuji,

Cast aside your hazy robe

And show me your snowy skin.

 

 

January 7, 2018

Ayurvedic Cold & Flu Tea

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The ingredients above are staples for many ayurvedic remedies.

Ayurveda is an ancient mind-body science of living that developed in India. It encompasses a wide range of healthy living instruction that is both preventative and therapeutic. Charaka, the author/compiler of one of the foundation texts on Ayurvedic writes that  “When diet is wrong medicine is of no use. when diet is correct medicine is of no need”.

Ayurvedic tea cloves

A mortar and pestle for grinding whole spices.

This means is that in Ayurveda your pantry is your pharmacy, or your first line of therapy for illness. Like so many ayurvedic health and wellness recipes the cold and flu tea below includes many items that you may already have in your kitchen.

To maximize health benefits use freshly ground, organic ingredients. Whole spices mean volatile oils are not exposed to air, thereby slowing their breakdown.  Start with pre-ground spices if that is all you have, however if you plan to use food for healing impact you may want to consider building a whole spice stockpile. Each ingredient in this recipe has an anti-cold property such as anti-viral, anti-mucus, or sore throat soothing. Combining these spices enhances their overall effect.  Make this tea as a winter tonic or whip it up as a remedy if you are starting to feel a cold coming on.

Ingredients:

Cinnamon Use a pinch of powder and stir with a cinnamon stick if you have one.

Cardamom Use pre-ground or toast in dry skillet, grind in mortar to crack pods. Remove pods and grind seeds.

Cloves Use pre-ground or grind in mortar and pestle

Black Pepper Use pre-ground or grind your own peppercorns

Ginger Use powder or a couple of fresh slices. Added tip: For a sore throat lozenge, heat thin slices of ginger in ghee/or butter, dip in rock salt and suck.

Tulsi (Holy Basil Tea) Used traditionally as an anti-viral. Add if you have it. Leave it for next time if you don’t. You can find this in most health food shops.

Organic Honey to taste if desired.

Mix a pinch of each ingredient in hot water. Add honey to taste. Let ingredients settle and drink, or use a tea ball or tea bag if you prefer a clear tea.

Fancy tea cup not required but highly recommended to enhance your drinking pleasure!

Enjoy!

June 27, 2017

Cacao Power Balls

Cacao Balls blogThis recipe is just in time for Summer hikes and nibble breaks as you pause to enjoy the iceberg views this year. Date balls are an easy-to-make, healthy, snack choice for a day on the trails. The sweetness of dates allows for the addition of many (even bitter) health boosting ingredients while still maintaining tastiness. You can play around with the recipe below and add whatever super foods you find in your cupboard. This is my 2017 fave. The cacao bits add a crunchy texture that I love!

Ingredients:
1 cup walnuts, almonds (or any other nut you love)
1 1/2 cup pitted dates (I only use medjool, but I hear you can soak/boil the others first)
4 tbsp cocoa or cacao powder
1/2tsp salt (Himalayan rock salt or sea salt is my favourite)
2 tbs cacao nibs
2 tbs chia
1 tbs ground flax
1 tbs hemp hearts
Almond flour, shredded coconut or cocoa powder (to roll finished balls in)

Instructions:
Mix ingredients in a food processor or high quality blender. Shape mixture into small balls. Roll the shaped balls into almond flour, shredded coconut, or cocoa powder. This will make the balls less sticky and easy to handle.

Once coated, pop them in the freezer to pull out last minute before heading out, or eat them right away!

Cacao Balls blog3

April 28, 2017

How to Make Ghee (Clarified Butter)

ghee newsletterI was first introduced to ghee on a backpacking trip with my mom in India. Mom had some scratches on her legs that were getting sorer and more worrisome by the week. We were in an Indian ashram and the morning prayers had just been done with the purifying fire ritual. When our teacher saw my mother’s legs he exclaimed, “That has to be treated now!” He promptly pulled some burnt, ghee-soaked, coals out of the ceremonial fire ashes, ground them between his fingers, and explained that the holy healing properties of ghee, further purified by fire and morning prayers, would be the most powerful remedy possible. We were doubtful, but had already tried all of our travel pharmaceuticals, and so she rubbed this black, greasy powder all over her angry wounds. As you are probably by now expecting, the cuts promptly healed and disappeared. It was only later that we learned, in addition to being an integral part of traditional Indian healing practices, ghee is also an Indian cooking staple.

Ghee is clarified butter. It is heated carefully until the milk solids separate and is then strained into a translucent yellow oil that has a yummy, buttery, slightly-nutty flavour. Ghee has a very high smoke point, making it an ideal cooking oil because you can cook it at a higher temperature than many other oils without losing its health benefits.  It is also rich in fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D and E.

Ghee can be bought in supermarkets but is very easy to make at home. I love the buttery smell it makes in my kitchen, as well as the satisfaction of pouring the glistening finished product into mason jars. While many are intimidated by the idea of making their own ghee it is actually a pretty simple process. Just follow the steps below to make this tasty health elixir and cooking oil.

You Will Need:20170314_081849

  • A medium size sauce pan (with a heavy bottom if possible)
  • A stirring spoon
  • A fine sieve
  • Enough cheesecloth to form several layers
  • A large measuring cup with a pouring spout (optional)
  • 454g (4 cups) of unsalted butter (organic if available)

Instructions:

  1. Cut the butter into cubes.
  2. Melt the butter on Medium heat in the sauce pan.
  3. When it begins to bubble excitedly
    turn heat to medium-low.
  4. The ghee will slowly bubble more
    quickly, the bubbles will get bigger and bigger, and eventually you will see the milk solids separating and floating to the top. Depending on the quality of your pot you may need to stir occasionally.
  5. Eventually the milk solids will sink to the bottom and a
    white layer will form on the top. When you separate this top white layer yo20170314_081831u will be able to see all the way to the bottom of the pot. The ghee will have become translucent.
  6. Continue to cook until a second energetic boiling begins. The bubbles will start again as clear small bubbles, as originally seen on the first boil. At this point the ghee is ready to be removed from heat.
  7. Arrange the cheese cloth in many layers in your sieve and place over a large measuring cup, or another pot.
  8. Pour the ghee through the cheese cloth to leave just the clear translucent ghee in the receiving pot.
  9. Pour into mason jars and leave only lightly covered at room temperature until it cools. It will take a day or so before the ghee solidifies.
  10. You can keep this is your cupboard for a few months or store in the refrigerator for longer.
April 27, 2017

Shakti Books: Thief of Time by Terry Pratchett

 

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My well worn copy

Truly Profound Yogic Silliness

As I prepare to spend the Summer in the Himalayas where the seat of the Tibetan government is in exile I felt compelled to re-read Terry Pratchet’s comedic take on Buddhist traditions, Thief of Time. I know what you might be thinking, but in my defense I also watched Kundun (the life of the Dalai Lama) and read a lovely book by his holiness as well. These more sober activities were educational for sure, however Pratchet’s ridiculous and hilarious take on humanity, with a dab of Buddhist (kinda) philosophy, partially set in a monastery (sorta), was, hands down, the most fun part of setting the tone for my travels. As with most of Mr. Pratchett’s books it is as profound and truthful as it is ludicrous.

20170421_093502I have been in a love affair with Pratchett’s Discworld series for years but never thought to recommend one on my blog since the yoga focus seemed to make it a bit off topic. Yet, having pulled this book out in anticipation of being surrounded by Buddhist teachings this year I began to think back on all the other times I have also brought up these books in lighter Yoga Teacher Training discussions. I finally decided that to dismiss the yoga in these comedic works would do a disservice to the message of laughing Buddhas everywhere. Who said that joy could not be had in the yogic quest to find our own true nature?

When Terry Pratchett died in 2015, I was hit by the most intense celebrity-loss grief of my life. It was at first an immensely selfish grief, as I came to terms with the reality of never again starting a new Terry Pratchett book….ever. I have since however settled into a healthier place of gratitude for the many hours of pleasure that his books have brought, and continue to bring on every re-read (a bit of a lesson in aparigraha or non-grasping in here for sure).

death-crop.jpgFor those who have never read a Terry Pratchett book I will attempt to give you a bit of an idea of what to expect. The fact that you would find him in the Sci-fi/fantasy section of your local book store would be somewhat illuminating, however not the full story. His books are indeed littered with witches, dwarfs, vampires, and pretty much every other fantastical creature you have ever read about. There is also a whole cast of, let’s call them “interesting”, human beings. These characters are not the point however, Pratchett was obviously a student of eastern philosophy and human folly, his books are unerringly intelligent societal and philosophical commentary that somehow also never deviates from the main goal of being laugh out loud absurd.

With a house overflowing with yoga practice and philosophy books in a to-be-read cue, his books have been the only non-fiction I have allowed myself to read in years. They make me laugh out loud, they make me think, they make me not want to put them down even on the 3rd or 4th read. In fact, when I need a work break I often pull out a random Terry Pratchet Book and start reading wherever it falls open.

time-wheels.jpgIf you decide to read this book as a yogi, look forward to the most interesting (and non-traditional) take on Tibetan prayer wheels, and monastic lifestyle that you have ever read, as well as the funniest and most spot-on insight into what it might be like for non-corporeal energy to learn the ins and out of residing inside a physical body (think purusha to ahmkara for students of yoga philosophy). If this is your first Terry Pratchett book I cannot tell you how envious I am that you will be getting to read it for the first time.

And finally, best of all, the book even lends itself appropriate to be read with an open box of very high quality chocolate at your side. You won’t understand what I mean until you read, but it will not hurt to be prepared. If you are reading in St. John’s I recommend a dark box from NL Chocolate with lots of George Street and Longs Hills, or Purdy’s maple creams if you are out west, or Anne’s Dairy creams if you in P.E.I,

…or (while I wouldn’t do it this way) you could just read the book.

March 6, 2017

Yogic Sleep

 It’s the Yoga of Doing Less…a Lot Less.

blog-nidraHave you ever been in a yoga class and your teacher allowed time for a long relaxation at the end, but instead of leaving you in silence, continued to speak? Maybe you were told to relax your body, or were guided through affirmations or beautiful imagery? You may have been so relaxed that you thought you had fallen asleep, yet somehow you still followed the instructions as your teacher guided you to move from lying, back to sitting. The rest of your day may have seemed brighter, or you may have felt lighter and more energized. If this has ever happened to you then you have experienced a basic form of yoga nidra, a yogic method of inducing complete physical, mental and emotional relaxation. While benefits are experienced in short 5-10 minute sessions, the most profound impact of yoga nidra is best experienced is sessions of 30 minutes or longer.

A yoga nidra practice can alleviate muscular, emotional and mental tensions. Many also experience great shifts in negative thought patterns and habits. It is a powerful practice that can bring about deep personal insight. It is also one of yoga’s most accessible practices. It’s benefits can be experienced by anyone, in any state of health, even if they are bedridden or have never done yoga before.

blog-nidra-1Yoga Nidra translates directly as Yogic sleep, however one of the goals of this practice is actually to avoid sleep. The physical, mental and emotional release of yoga nidra is due to activation of brainwaves that are associated with deep relaxation states. When we are wide awake we exhibit a pattern of brain activity called Beta waves. When the body and mind relax, the pattern of brainwaves gradually slows, passing through two more layers of activation before eventually reaching the delta wave pattern of deep sleep. Yoga Nidra is designed to keep participants in state of brainwave activation that hovers just above the delta level.  This reflects not only the level of relaxation that we experience, but also the level of consciousness that we have access to.

In this borderline between wakefulness and sleep we are open not just to the experience of deep relaxation, but also are able to access creative, visionary states and to release emotions that may be held in the subconscious. As such, a guided yoga nidra practice has the potential to resolve deeply rooted issues, fears and stressors and to decrease anxiety, depression and stress levels. It is an ancient practice that is currently finding relevance in modern approaches to healthcare. Many healthcare organizations have begun to use yoga nidra practices with people who have PTSD, depression, substance abuse, chronic pain and sleep problems.

You do not need to be struggling with the more serious issues listed above to achieve benefit from a yoga nidra practice. People who practice regular periods of yoga nidra also report a general lowering of stress levels, better sleep and a greater sense of physical and mental well-being. I use this practice quite extensively with prenatal women to prepare them for calm, comfortable and even enjoyable births. The impact can be profound.

z-lying-on-the-grass

You can purchase yoga nidra guides from a variety of sources or write your own relaxation script to record and listen to. Many teachers offer hour long stand-alone yoga nidra classes. At this link to my Shakti  yoga nidra trainings  find out how you can learn to bring this beautiful practice into your yoga classes, and/or to develop a personal yoga nidra home practice. The next two day training is happening this coming March 10th & 17th (two Saturdays) at the Yoga Kula Co-op. 286 Torbay Road, St. John’s, NL. Appropriate for anyone interested in learning more about this powerful relaxation and rewiring practice. Contact Bobby@ShaktiYoga.ca if you have questions, would like to join a training, or host a training at your location. Enjoy!

 

January 14, 2017

A New Year’s Chocolate Re(solution)

The Solution to Mastering your New Year’s Intention? Make it This Easy!

 

20170114_1337250This year I have decided to eat more chocolate. Well actually not more. Anyone who knows me, also knows that I have actually been pretty unrestricted in this area for some time now. What I have decided to do is upgrade my stash. You might assume that I am talking about eating dark chocolate, and that would be true, however my usual chocolate is already 70% cocoa solids, organic & free trade. In fact I am fond of telling anyone who questions the magnitude of my consumption that eating this chocolate is one of the ways that I serve humanity, because altruism is, you know, just my thing.

This year though, I am stepping it up and making my own chocolate using raw cacao (not cocoa). This is something that I had been thinking of doing for some time now, but 2017 was the year that the lovely and talented Alison Nixon gave a chocolate making workshop in my area and I realized how easy it was to do this!

Why cacao and not cocoa you may ask? Cacao has many times more antioxidants than regular cocoa. It is also super high in magnesium, fibre and zinc. In fact if you crave chocolate it may be because you are low in magnesium and cacao would be the ideal way to top you back up! This doesn’t mean that regular cocoa isn’t good for you, but it is different from cacao in that it is heated at high temperatures and as a result loses a lot of its original nutrition. Cacao is the “raw” form of the same bean, but is cold pressed instead of roasted, retaining its living enzymes and making it much more nutritious.

OK, so now you know that it is good for you, but the real reason to eat this chocolate is that it is so yummy, and so creamy! Plus you can make it as sweet or as bitter as you like. The recipe below is similar to the topping of Alison Nixon’s Raw Chocolate Love Bar recipe that was included in the What’s Left to Eat Cookbook that she co-authored. I changed it up a bit but used her portions. This recipe combines the two great loves of my life, chocolate and matcha.

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Raw Chocolate Matcha Medallions

  • 250g Cacao Butter
  • 1 ½ cup (140g) Cacao powder
  • ½ cup (50 grams) raw cane sugar (Grind it up super fine in your mixer first) Other sweetener options such as honey, brown rice syrup, etc work as well.
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract (or whatever extract flavour you like)
  • A pinch of Himalayan salt (or sea salt)
  • Matcha and cane sugar mix. Use as much of either as you would like in your topping mixture. Other options are also tasty. Sea salt sprinked on top once they are half set is another favourite. Also popular in my home was raisins, nuts, pumpkin seeds, gogi berries, or anything else that makes you excited.

Instructions

  1. Chop the cacao butter into small pieces.
  2. Heat a few centimeters of water in a shallow saucepan on low heat. Place a small metal bowl in the water and melt the cacao butter inside the bowl. This ensures that the butter doesn’t get over heated. Make sure that no water (not even a drop!) gets into the bowl. Avoid boiling the water so steam, etc doesn’t make its way into your butter.
  3. Pour the melted cacao butter, cacao powder, sugar and salt into your blender for one minute.
  4. Pour the chocolate into non-stick mini muffin pans. Just a centimeter high. If you want to make bars, or bark, line a flat pan with parchment paper and pour a thin layer on the bottom of the pan. I used a flat bottomed bread pan to make large size bars. A larger pan is also fine if you are going to crack it up to make bark.
  5. Add your toppings
  6. Refrigerate for at least an hour.

*Cacao butter and powder and be bought at most health food stores. I used Organic Traditions bags and got two recipes worth of butter. The powder can be added to cereal, etc and the cacao nibs are a super bitter nibble that some like to snack on as well.