Homemade Almond Milk and Pulp

I really love the taste of freshly made almond milk. Here is the most basic recipe to make your own at home. It’s cheaper than buying it in a box, and you are guaranteed freshness and premium quality of nutrients. Although it does take some thinking ahead for the soaking process. But once that is done, the whole process takes less than 10 minutes.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw organic almonds, soaked overnight
  • 3 cups water

Steps

  • blend together in a high speed blender
  • over a bowl, pour mixture through a nut milk bag (a colander lined with cheese cloth will work fine)
  • extract all the liquid by massaging the bag or squeezing the cloth
  • you will be left with delicious almond milk in the bowl and almond pulp in the bag or cloth

This will give you about 3 cups of milk. The milk will stay good for a couple days in the fridge. You can add dates or cacao powder or anything you like to the milk to make it a delicious treat. The pulp can be dehydrated to become almond flour, or used to make some tasty raw deserts or spreads. 

Almond Coconut Milk

So simple and so delicious. Homemade almond milk is a staple in my house. I use it for so many things. From drinking straight up, to using it on raw granola, to having it in my smoothies or mixing it up in a dessert. It is a must. And making it fresh really doesn’t take that long. For the basic recipe click here. 

Here I wanted to mix in some coconut because I have had the store bought one and it is delicious!!! So naturally I had to make my own. Because of how delicious it is, I cannot make it too often. It doesn’t last 20 minutes in our fridge 😉 And I like to have almond milk ready to go in the fridge. 

 

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almonds, soaked at least 8 hours
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup shredded coconut

Steps:

  • Put everything in blender
  • Blend
  • Squeeze through nut milk bag
  • Enjoy within 3 days!

Make sure to save the pulp to create some tasty recipes with it!!

Almond Rawcaroons

I try not to waste food if I can help it. Especially when it’s something as great as almond pulp. After making a batch of delicious almond coconut milk I had the leftover pulp and wanted something sweet. I had several things in mind I wanted to do but I choose to go with what would be the least amount of prep. So I created these delicious little balls of energy. 

As usual, pardon my lack of photography skills, not only do I have none, but I had made these for a camping trip we just had, and as we were packing I realized I hadn’t taken a picture, so I snapped one quickly and got back to packing. These were so easy to make and tasted delicious and filling. 

 

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup packed almond pulp
  • 3/4 cups almond butter
  • 10 soft medjool dates
  • 1/8 cup maca (optional)
  • pinch of salt

Steps:

  • Put everything in a food processor and process until well combined
  • Scoop out and either dehydrate for 10 hours, or roll into smaller balls and keep in freezer

 

Almond Butter Slushy

On a nice warm day like today, a slushy is refreshing. Since I had just made a batch of almond milk and felt a little nutty, I whipped this up for my family at snack time.

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  • 4 medjool dates, pitted
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 2 TBS raw cacao powder
  • 3 cups  almond milk
  • 2 cups of ice

Put everything in the blender in that order, blend, serve and enjoy!

Will make about 4, 8 oz servings. We enjoyed ours with a bowl of sweet strawberries.

40 days of confinement and a Shiitake broth recipe

 

If you are here just for the recipe, go straight to the end of this  post, as I am starting it with a story about my postpartum days. 

 

My 40 days of confinement, inspired by The First 40 Days, are officially done.  I made the decision to stay home with my daughter for the first 40 days postpartum, eating warming nourishing foods and practicing self care while tuning in to my daughter’s energy, thanks to the book The First 40 Days. Read more about that in this post.

I am so incredibly grateful that I was supported in doing this and I am proud of and happy with myself to have made this commitment. I received such amazing nourishment from friends and family, I’ve been very gentle with myself, and have been relishing on what it feels like to be home with no obligations other than being with my family.

It has been an incredibly inspiring time. I started filling up my days with more reading, more learning of subjects that I had been interested in for a while and just never made the time for, more singing with the kids and more self care. All these things are going to stay with me as I slowly start to re-integrate in the outside world. My daughter is calm and happy. Her siblings treat her with gentleness and love, and we are all around a happy and healthy family. Make no mistake, “healthy and happy” does indeed include sleep deprived, at times frustrated and impatient, and learning to adjust to life with a 4th child while stumbling through past parenting successes that are no longer successes, and needing to find a new path. Thats for a different post. But the appreciation for happiness is only truly possible when one fully accepts life’s challenges as well. 🙂

I highly recommend mothers take this time postpartum. I know this is common for a lot of cultures, but here in the United States, not so much. And if you are like me, with no immediate family near by (other than my sister in law, who is amazing with the kids), or grandparents, then taking the time to just BE with my new born is something that comes with a lot of pre-planning.

Other than making sure there is always someone to be with my older kids, and the endless hours of snuggling with my new love, the two most beneficial things I got out of this time at home was the nourishing foods and the self care.

I really tuned in to my body and followed my gut’s intuition, literally, to feed myself. Unsurprisingly, not once did I crave salads, or smoothies, or anything cold. I stayed away from most flours as the thought of the weight in my stomach sounded too, well, heavy. I was eating a lot of soups and stews and warm oats, with almond milk. Lots of fatty foods such as avocados, coconut and olive oil on everything. No nuts or seeds as is, in butter or milk form was great. I avoided dairy other than the occasional yogurt craving that actually felt good on my digestion and abundant amounts of ghee. No eggs or cheese. Out of nothing other than the lack of desire for them. I am vegetarian so meats and fish and bone broths were not in my diet, though I do recommend eating lots of bone broths for meat eaters as it is highly nourishing and replenishing while being incredibly gentle on the digestion.

As for physical activity, I didn’t do anything for the first 4 weeks other than very mild stretching to open up my chest and get some blood circulating. Since I wasn’t leaving the house I didn’t go for walks. It was hard yet I surrendered easily in to this as I was committed to being with my newborn, at home, away from cold winds or bright sunshine, or harsh noises (we live in a city). At week 4, I started increasing the frequency and intensity of my stretching and adding some mobility drills to get my joints supple and prepared for when I would eventually start exercising again. I would also perform frequent heat massages on myself, on my ankles, elbows, knees and wrists, with sesame oil. At week 5, I started doing some very gentle core awakening exercises added in to my stretching. Week 6 is when I start leaving the house, going for walks on the beach, then to the beach and home. Now, starting week 7, I have started a very gentle and mild exercise routine. It’s not much of a routine really as it is more of a permission to exercise whenever I have the time. With four kids, including a new born, I get to do a couple exercises here and there throughout the day. I have no actual “workout” time carved out yet. And I have not started doing cardio either. I am focusing on rebuilding my core and improving my flexibility, while increasing the intensity of my walking before I start adding anything more intense. Next will be walking stairs and then bike riding.

I will eventually be writing a more extensive post on my exercise regimen with examples of how I am bringing myself back to a place of strength and balance in my own body.

Self care was very important for me during this time. I had friends come over and provide healing sessions. I got some reiki, body talk, sound healing, cranio sacral and massages. When I didn’t have someone working on me, I worked on myself. I performed frequent self massages, took candlelit bubble baths (once the bleeding had stopped, which for me was after 6-8 days). I journaled, read, meditated, colored and drew, and worked on my own vibration either through song or tuning forks. And on occasion I would make myself yummy nourishing foods that weren’t being provided.

Now that the 40 days are up, I am committed to keeping a lot of these practices alive. I am continuing to feed myself gentle foods for the digestion, mostly because it feels really great that way, and also because we are in between autumn and winter and warm nourishing foods are of the season.

I am excited to start feeling in to my body more and more. The hardest part for me is not finding the motivation to exercise but rather making myself slow down and really take it slow. I am strong and can do a lot, even postpartum I can do more than some of my fitness clients, so not getting caught up in my strength and slowing down is a challenge. This is one of those times where I am choosing to NOT listen to my body, as it wants to keep going, but to tune in to my EXPERIENCE and knowledge instead. I know that taking it slow now will set me up for a much more empowering and healthy future.

One of the harder things for me to be coming out of the 40 days is the real distractions and demands that come from having 4 children. I was really enjoying spending all my time with my new baby, massaging her, singing to her, watching her coo at me and responding. Laying luxuriously for hours in bed and nursing and snuggling and not rushing her or forcing her in to anything. Now that the 40 days are done, we don’t really have the support of friends and family in the same way. My husband is working and I am with the kids, who need me to cook for them, play with them, take them places and so on. I don’t mind it as it is my chosen life, but I am saddened that the cocoon phase is over. I still spend a lot of quality time with Haumea, but she is quickly strapped in to the carrier even though she could spend a longer time lounging in bed with me, because the other kids need me. The pacifier comes out way more often than I would generally be okay with just so I can finish making breakfast for hungry and agitated little people before sitting down to nurse her.

Regardless of how you enter life postpartum, it is a huge shift. Wether is is your first or your 4th, it is a huge shift. But entering life postpartum after giving myself those 40 days of “confinement” feels so much more gentle and empowering. While I am tired and have very little time to myself without a child on my body, my mental state feels strong and peaceful. The upsets arise, as they always do, but I generally have the patience to handle with them more peace than I once had. I have my own internal struggles, as well as the shifting of roles and dynamics in my marriage as we navigate this new territory, yet I do not have fear, or frustrations at the unknown.

My husband and I have been disconnected, not in a negative way, just in a way that happens because I have taken on caring for a new born and he has taken on being with older kids more and taking them out of the house when he can. We have always done everything together, and right now we are dividing ourselves to better serve our family. It is a necessary step in the process yet it is time for him and I to reconnect and talk about how we will make our relationship a priority again in the near future.

My capabilities, desires and needs are shifting and I know his are too. Talking about those and understanding where we both are in this transition will help us grow stronger, keeping resentments and attachments out of the equation.

We are all adjusting, and keeping communications open and clear during this time are of the utmost importance if we want to keep on thriving as a couple and a family.

The 40 days are up, and I feel so ready to take on this new life, with all it’s challenges, upsets, beauty and joy.

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Below is the recipe for what quickly became my favorite postpartum nourishment: Mushroom broth that I got from the book The First 40 Days. The first few days, when my digestion was very sensitive and my insides felt like a ghost town, with lots of empty space and gas bubbles, I would drink this  while eating avocados. I didn’t really want much else. As my organs slowly started finding their way back and my intestines had more support I started adding oats or congee to the broth. Now I make it and keep eating with oats or congee as I truly love it. It is becoming a staple in my house.

As with any broth, you can build your own, add or substitute ingredients given what you have on hand. There is no wrong when it comes to making broth as long s you have enough liquid with your veggies!

 

Shiitake Mushroom Broth

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Makes 2 quarts (2L) (I’m not gonna lie, I always wish it makes more, i need to start doubling the recipe…)

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 leeks, green parts discarded, white parts roughly chopped
  • 2 TBS olive oil or other cooking oil or ghee
  • sea salt
  • 2 cups (85 g) fresh shiitake mushrooms, or 1 cup dried
  • 1/2 cup dried reishi mushrooms (20g)  (optional but I highly recommend it as it adds great immunity properties and flavor!)
  • 1 cup (60g) cremini or white button mushrooms
  • 2 strips kombu (helps with digestion and flavor)
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 4 medium tomatoes, halved, with seeds is fine
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 inch knob of fresh turmeric, unpeeled, halved
  • 2 cups (140g) roughly chopped green cabbage
  • 1 loosely packed cup (50g) roughly chopped parsley
  • 2 TBS lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup miso paste (optional as it is my personal add-in that wasn’t in the original recipe)

Steps:

  • In a large pot over medium heat, brown the onions and leeks in the oil with a pinch of salt.
  • Quickly rinse the mushrooms and kombu under running water. Add everything but the parsley, cabbage and lemon zest to the pot, with 3 quarts (2.8L) of water, or enough water to cover the veggies by 1 inch.
  • Cook for 1 hour over medium, low heat, covered.
  • During the last 20 minutes, add the cabbage, parsley and lemon zest.
  • season the broth to taste. Remove from heat and strain.
  • I add 1/4 cup miso paste at this point (this isn’t in the recipe but this is the way I have taken to make it as I love the flavor)
  • Store in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months

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A Birth Story with a Recipe :)

September 14th, 2017

 

Drinking ceremonial hot chocolate as my contractions get stronger. I am waiting for you baby as you work your way to the birth canal. It is now 9am. I feel strong, confident and ready. Connecting with you in early labor feels sweet. You are gentle, patient and peaceful. No intense emotions or feelings of being rushed. I am eager to meet you my love. We got this. We are working together and in harmony. I love you.

Last night at 11pm is when it became clear that labor was starting. I felt this surge of hormones, I started getting fidgety, slightly irritable, impatient and warm. “The tub! We must blow up the birthing pool!”; “We need to move the TV, my birth altar is not set up!”; “I have to go to the bathroom, NOW and Taru is in there! Why is he in there!?” Oh shit this is happening. Am I ready? Running through checklists in my head. Do we have all “the things?” Did I prep enough? Do we have enough food? What are we missing? Leif where are you?? Oh right, you’re blowing up the pool…. I was so tempted to ask him to stop doing that so he could come upstairs and move the TV for me, but I decided to sit on the couch and practice patience. The baby was definitely not coming NOW. I won’t give in to my frantic mind. Slow down. Breath. Wait. I am so ready for this. I’ve been so ready. I have everything I need and I AM everything I need.

“Babe, can you please move the TV so can I set up the altar?” He had come back upstairs and was as fidgety and excited as I was “Oh my god, we’re having a baby!”.

Setting up the altar allowed me to slow down, tune in to the energies I was calling in for this birth: gentleness, patience, strength, warriorship, breath, connection with baby, softness. And it allowed me to connect with all my goddess friends who provided objects for me to put on my altar. Once that was done, I decided to take a shower and try to get some rest as the contractions were still mild and far apart.

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My sleep was frequently interrupted with contractions and trips to the bathroom, yet I was grateful to be able to rest. Around 3:30am the intensity picked up a bit and I had to focus my breathing in order to allow for the contractions to pass. But again, I was able to fall asleep in between them. At 6am they got stronger still and I was laboring in bed until about 7:30am when the kids came in. I decided to get up and wash my hair, because if baby is coming today, when will I get the chance to wash my hair again? Plus I want to smell nice for myself while I am in the heat of labor. The shower seemed to have slowed things down a bit so I tried to stay on my feet and move and dance and cook. I made curry in the crockpot. I was feeling somewhat impatient again. Is this going to pick up? Are the contractions going to get closer together soon? Or am I going to be mildly laboring for days? Can we just get this thing done? The mood swings between impatience and staying in the moment were an added indicator that labor was really happening. “With each breath, I oooooopen my cervix”; “Come on already, get stronger and drop that baby!”; “I gently welcome your arrival in due time baby”: “Why am I still smiling  and not crunched over my exercise ball in contraction agony??”.

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It’s 9am and the kids are outside playing with Leif. I make myself a ceremonial hot chocolate, light the candles on the altar and say my quiet thanks to all my support team, present at the birth and energetically there. I set up a few symbolic items next to me on the table (a felt heart for love and gratitude and softness, a butterfly for transition, change and happiness, a clear quartz crystal for amplified energy and connection to spirit). I pull out my journal and start writing. This is what I need to slow down and become fully one with what is happening. No more impatience, no more fidgety energy, it’s time to drop in and connect with baby.

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I feel strong, confident and ready. Connecting with you in early labor feels sweet. You are gentle, patient and peaceful. No intense emotions or feelings of being rushed. While I kept on expecting those and almost calling those in, I am grateful this is not how you are doing this right now baby. I am eager to meet you my love. We got this. We are working together and in harmony. I love you.

 

After this little focused moment of drinking and journaling, things started picking up. I let my midwives know that it is almost time, and I get to work. I walk and dance in order for gravity to work with me. I hum with each contraction and invite baby to drop. I don’t rush. I allow baby to set the pace and I allow myself to get taken by the pace of each contraction. My biggest work here is to fully surrender and relax as much as possible in to each contraction so that baby can do it’s thing. I stay on my feet as much as I can as gravity will help baby to drift downward more easily. Baby is doing most of the work here and I am supporting that as much as I can. I manage to step out of my own way and I surrender. That is my biggest work right here, right now. I have stopped wanting to rush the process yet a part of me wonders if this will be a long birth as everything feels so….peaceful. I keep on expecting things to feel so intense and draining. But it never really gets there. The contractions hurt, and they demand my attention and focus, and as soon as they are over I am able to be fully present to the outside world, not too caught up in my active recovery. This is a new way of laboring for me. I am aware of what is going on around me. I feel when Kekaula, my 5 yr old boy, comes to me and comforts me. I hear Tika, my 9 yr old daughter, and respond to her when she asks me if I need anything. I feel it when Leif, my husband, and Jolan, my 3 yr old son, come and use the tuning fork on my sacrum when the contractions feel very intense. The tuning fork helps so much in managing my pain.

 

Kristin, my doula and dear friend, arrives. She looks beautiful in her white dress with large green feathers. Festive and radiant. What a gorgeous gift to get to see her during this beautiful and physically painful and demanding time. She sprays me with some delicate essences and puts a cold cloth on my neck. I didn’t know I needed that until she did it. It’s the little things.

 

I keep dancing and walking around. Going to Leif for a few support contractions. In all honesty, I like laboring alone. I don’t feel the need to have Leif physically supporting me during the pain. It’s nice when he does yet I don’t seek it out or demand it. It’s almost easier to focus my attention on the work when I am at it alone. I go back to the ball on the ground. My favorite place to be for most of the hard labor. Nancy, my midwife, arrives close to 12pm. Kara, my other midwife, shortly after. I can smell Kristin’s amazing cooking coming from the kitchen. Ghee and onions. Something tasty is being created for us. I am laboring hard by then, yet still present and peaceful. This labor is so different from the others. I am grateful and a part of me still doubts. If things don’t pick up, can our baby be born soon? Is labor supposed to feel so sweet, so serene, so…..perfect?

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I throw up. Ok! I am transitioning! If I had any doubts about it before, I know myself in labor and throwing up is a sign that my cervix is opening up even more and I am moving in to the next phase of labor. And yet. This baby is not intense. This baby is not rushing me. This baby is not demanding of my energy or attention. Its is doing its thing and asking the bare minimum from me. In labor, the bare minimum is still a lot, but this my fourth time, it feels so simple and beautiful almost. Kekaula comes to me often with gentle touches and rubs. He is so sweet, and caring, and thoughtful. His energy quiet and loving. I am so grateful for his presence.

 

I feel the baby drop. The pain has moved from my belly and upper womb space to my pelvis and lower abdomen. And the pain is getting more sharp. It’s going to be time soon. My moans are becoming longer, more focused, more intense. And yet. I’ve experienced such excruciating pain in previous labors, is this all this is going to be? I mean it HURTS, and I want it to be over soon, yet I feel like it could hurt so much more. Or have my pain management skills improved since the last birth?

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“Aurore, do you want to get in the water?” Nancy asks. “YES”. I had been wanting to go in yet a part of me was worried that getting in too early would slow things down. I wanted to get in the water when it was really time to push. And it was time. Baby was ready, I was ready, the midwives were ready. It was going to happen soon. And I was grateful.

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The water is warm and I immediately feel better being in it. But the pool is uncomfortable. We got a cheap kid pool off Amazon because I couldn’t find an inflatable birthing tub for rent and I didn’t want the aqua doula. I was slightly regretting it then. I couldn’t get comfortable as my butt was at the bottom of the pool, making contact with a too hard surface: the ground below me. I couldn’t let my body keep opening the way it needed to for the baby to come out. I try to relax. I can feel Kekaula putting his hand on my heart and keeping it there. Giving me his love and strength as I work hard to get his sibling here. Jolan follows suit and gently touches my face. While I am loving the comfort from my boys I am having a hard time getting comfortable and allowing for contractions to really do their work. We try putting a towel under my bum but that doesn’t’ really do enough. I try to have a few more contractions and invite the baby to keep descending but it’s clear that my favored birthing position won’t work here. I flip over on to me knees, allow for my face to rest on the side of the pool and after a couple contractions there I know it’s time. I start to push. It hurts. I am not a fan of this position but it’s what I have to work with right now. I bear down again and push. I put my hand on my vagina to feel if the head is close. It is. I hear Nancy confirm that. Everyone is in position. Baby is coming. It’s all up to me now. Baby has done it’s part, now it’s all up to me in how long it will take for the baby to actually be born, it’s all in the pushing now. I know this. How hard I push, combined with how much I allow myself to OPEN will be the answer to how quickly we meet our baby. So I push. HARD. I try to ignore the sensation that my anus is turning inside out and about to be ripped off. I feel the head. I hear the voices telling me they see the head. “The head! It’s not all the way out Aurore, one more push.” I push hard and I feel the head completely clear. That took so much out of me. “You are safe, you got this, you are safe”. Kara’s voice in my ear as she hugs my head. I guess the effort this is requiring is being witnessed. It’s not just how I feel, I am actually working really hard to push this baby out. “One more push Aurore, you got this!”. It’s all up to me now. I can get this over with now if I choose. SO I PUSH. And I let out a warrior cry. And I reach down with one hand as the baby slips out of me and is being handed to me from between my legs. It’s done. I did it. WE did it. This was the hardest push of all 4 babies. But it was quick. And it’s over. I am so relieved. I lay back with relief and exhaustion and happiness. “It’s a girl! Is it a girl?” I lift the baby up off my chest. It’s a girl! Welcome sweet face!!!

 

It’s over. Well almost. Maconium is all around me in the tub. I need to get out. I can’t sit in here and deliver the placenta unfortunately. I need to go on the floor mattress. It’s those last little efforts once the baby is out that feel so incredibly demanding. Getting on the mattress is such a feat of strength. As I get out of the tub I feel a gush down my legs. “Ewwww! She’s pooping!” I hear the kids. Brown liquid all over me. Maconium in my waters. A lot of it. This is why you came early my little doll. It wasn’t safe for you in there anymore. Thank you for coming early and keeping yourself safe.

 

Once on the couch it took you minutes to find my nipple and you wanted to stay there for the first few hours post birth. It was so sweet and nice to see you latch on so easily and effortlessly and eagerly. Breastfeeding is a breeze with you. We lay peacefully together on the mattress as I birth the placenta and final birthing details happen (Did I tear? No. How is my blood pressure? Good. Do I have a fever? No.)

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Now I get to take a brief shower while the midwives check you out and make sure all is good with you too and then I get to snuggle with you in bed for a whole week.

 

I love birthing. I love the process, I love the outcome and I love the post birth week. It’s the sweetest week I ever experience. Falling in love with a new being, spending hours looking at her quickly changing features. Figuring out her cues and sounds and signs. The post birth week is one of my favorite weeks ever.

 

Welcome Haumea.

 

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Reflecting on this birth as well as all my other births, here are the things I wish to share.

From my own experience, the way a baby comes in to the world is somewhat of an indication of who this baby is. Who I am in pregnancy, is also an indication of who this baby is. From the moment conception happens, our energies are blended and we influence each other. By looking back on who I was with each pregnancy and how each labor went, and then seeing who my 3 older children are, that information is very relevant to me. I can describe my mood in pregnancy followed with my experience of labor with each child and explain how those impressions are present in each one of my children.

 

Being able to discern where my energy ends, where baby’s begins and where we are blended is something that came with practice and lots of awareness. I was too young and stuck in my ego with my first child to be aware of those things. It’s upon looking back that I became aware of the details and started paying attention in following pregnancies. With each consecutive pregnancy I became more fluent with this understanding and pregnancy became increasingly more spiritual and meaningful.

While this last birth was not the shortest, it was by far the sweetest. And I can say with certainty that the reason for that is because of who I was bringing in to the world and because of who I am at this point in my life. The increased awareness that baby does the work in labor and my job is to step out of the way really helped my body open and soften the way it needed to. Allowing for sweetness to take over. Because as soon as I regarded the labor pains as the actual work and effort that baby was doing to get here, instead of the dreadful experience that is unavoidable in birth, I became so much more accepting of and even touched by the contractions as I was seeing them as an expression of my baby. And instead of wishing the contractions away or struggling through them, I would softly speak to my baby, encouraging her and supporting her as I knew this was an effort for her as well. Isn’t that a sweet reminder of what parenting is all about? Releasing control and stepping out of the way of our children so they can do the work they came here to do, and just support them as best as we can in their endeavors.

 

I’ve always loved labor. I know it sounds kind of crazy but I do love labor. I like seeing how far my body will go, how much I can stretch my physical comfort zone. I like the feeling of working with my baby to allow for it to be born. I like the deep commitment it takes to be fully present with the experience. I like the meditative state that is required to labor naturally at home. I like paying attention to the phases of labor and how I manage myself in each of those. I love how much of a spiritual experience it can be when I allow myself to soften and have contact with spirit instead of being stuck in my pain.  And I really love the feeling of my baby coming out of me, the actual birthing part. There is nothing like the sensation of having life literally come out of me.

I was made for this. My body responds to pregnancy and birth in a way that makes it that I cannot deny that I was meant for this. And I am so incredibly grateful that I got to do this 4 times.

 

 

 Ceremonial Hot Chocolate Recipe:

(I got this recipe from a beautiful book “The First 40 Days, the art of nourishing the new mother”)

*2 cups milk of choice (I use homemade almond milk)

*3 TBS cacao powder

*1 TBS corn meal (for added thickness and texture)

*1 TBS coconut oil or ghee

*1 tsp cinnamon

*dash of cayenne (optional)

*sprinkle of seal salt (optional)

*sweetener to taste, I used about 2 tsp honey

Warm the milk in a saucepan. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend on high until everything is well incorporated. Drink warm.

This gave me some good sustenance for my laboring hours. And when I threw it all up, the coming back out part wasn’t too unpleasant as the flavors were so potent! Sorry if this is TMI, this is a birth story after all…. 😉

 

Luxurious Chocolate Chai Latte

Just as the title states, luxurious, hint of chocolate, creamy and decadent, this beverage is a weekend treat. After making my Black Tea Mocha a few months back, I knew I was on to something with replacing coffee for tea in all the specialty coffee drinks. I like coffee, but I prefer tea. My warm beverage drinking world has opened up even wider!

This is a perfect fall beverage. While I enjoy chai tea at any time of the year, I feel more drawn to it during the fall and winter months because of all the warming spices. And if you’ve been following me for a while now, you have surely caught on to what a chocoholic I am, so naturally finding ways to sneak that delicious superfood in where ever I can has become quite a skill 😉

And lastly let’s not forget about what makes this drink so luscious: coconut butter. That’s right. I’ve been using coconut butter in drinks for a while now to add healthy fats and decadence. A winner every single time.

While I would love to say I get to enjoy this beverage quietly in a cozy chair while reading a book, the truth is, I generally have 3 minutes to myself before I have to brace the cup and raise it high above my head while I get jumped on by one of my children, or shoved off my seat by another or even just have the cup grabbed out of my hand because “Can I have some?”. In any case, how ever you get to enjoy this Latte, it is well worth it and will put a smile on your face 🙂

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups steeped and strained chai tea (I buy mine in bulk and prefer the slightly spicy kind)
  • 1 cup almond milk (or any other milk), for this drink I used almond coconut milk that I had just made, and it was such a divine choice 🙂
  • 1.5 TBS coconut butter OR 3TBS coconut cream (the rich stuff from a can)
  • 2-3 dates
  • 1-2 tsp cacao powder (Depending on how chocolatey you want it)

Steps:

  • Put everything in blender and blend on high until you get a little foam at the top
  • pour and enjoy!

Creamy Pumpkin Coconut Sauce

I love the fall for all the cooking/food making inspiration!!! It’s my favorite season when it comes to kitchen time 🙂 My very first seasonal recipe was this Salted Caramel Chai tea infused concoction I made. The kids and I have been devouring that one with sliced apples, soooo tasty!!!

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And now I am looking forward to all the pumpkin and squash recipes I will be coming up with and getting inspired by!! This was another semi-accident. It was late and I needed to get dinner ready fast. I had this leftover baked pumpkin and it only took a few moments for me to realize that the fastest way to eat that (other than straight out of the skin with a fork), was to throw it in the blender with a few other ingredients to create a soup. No wait! I’ll make it a sauce so we can have it over pasta 🙂 And there it was, minutes later, our tasty family dinner.

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I topped my bowl off with some homemade spicy seeds.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup fresh raw pumpkin seeds, not dried or cooked (I just keep the seeds after taking them out of the raw pumpkin)
  • 3/4 cup almond milk or coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup cooked pumpkin or squash
  • 1/4 cup coconut cream (from a can, organic toxic free if possible)
  • 1/4 tsp real salt
  • 2 TBS fresh parsley minced
  • 1/4 tsp dried sage

Steps:

  • if you dont have left over squash, then bake it in the oven for about 45 minutes
  • put first 3 ingredients in blender and blend on high until nice and smooth
  • add other ingredients and blend until the herbs are nicely incorporated but not fully blended
  • serve how ever you like!
  • we did it over zucchini pasta for a light yet satisfying dinner

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Check out my other zucchini pasta recipes here:

With tomato sauce

With sesame peanut sauce

With rawlfredo sauce

Salted Caramel Infused with Chai Tea

Delicious caramel free of refined sugars, butter and health concerning ingredients? Ummm yes please! Creamy and sweet, with a hint of saltiness paired with the subtle chai tea flavors make this caramel sauce a winner in my sweet indulgences lately. Not only that, but it is (almost) raw, vegan and super quick to make!

I’ve had this caramel in some almond milk for a sweet drink, on top of homemade ice cream, with strawberries dipped in it, but mostly just out of the jar with a spoon.

This sauce was an accident. I had set out to make some chocolate creation. After putting the dates, mesquite and coconut oil in the blender, I realized that I was out of cacao powder (gasp!!!) How did I let that happen?? AND I was out of almond milk. I was sipping on some chai while I was making this, so I figured I would use that to get the blender going. After tasting it I quickly recovered form my chocolateless upset. It was delicious. Salt came to mind very quickly and in a matter of seconds the blender was going again to create this beautiful concoction that I have made a few times already.

While I am proud of my creation, I must admit, it’s hard to screw up when using such wholesome and delicious ingredients.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup Coconut oil
  • 10 soft Medjool Dates (approx 1 cup)
  • 1 tsp mesquite
  • 1/4 tsp salt (more or less to taste)
  • 1/4 cup chai tea (more or less depending on the consistency you like)

Steps:

  • boil some water and pour over chai tea, let steep for 5 minutes and strain
  • add all ingredients to blender and blend on high until a nice and smooth texture is acheived
  • store in an airtight container int he fridge for at leaf a week (maybe more?)

Note: Depending on the ingredients and how things got mixed, the caramel may or may not harden while in the fridge. The first time I made it it got hard in the fridge but quickly soften when put in some warm water. The second time it kept it’s creamy texture but I needed to put it in some walt water to be able to pour it over ice cream. No matter the texture though, it will become liquid again when warm and it will always taste delicious 🙂

Lemon Chia Pudding

This pudding is light, sweet and simple. Just a few ingredients away from a nice treat. I just scored a huge box a deliciously fresh figs so I topped this pudding off with them and it was a perfect edition, but I think any fruit will do 🙂

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Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups milk (I used almond milk)
  • 2 soft medjool dates
  • 4 TBS chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 4 figs for topping
  • drizzle of chocolate sauce for extra decadence

Steps:

  • put the milk and dates in a blender and blend on high until well incorporated
  • add chia seeds and lemon zest and blend on low just enough to mix the chia seeds but not too much as to break them down, you can also do this by hand
  • IMPORTANT: let sit for a few minutes and blend on low for a couple seconds, do this a few times. You’ll start seeing the chia seeds floating around in the milk and staying there, that’s what you want. If you skip this step you will end up with a pile of chia seeds at the bottom of your dish and the milk on top.
  • pour in desired cups or bowls and put in fridge to set for at least 2 hours, or overnight is great too
  • top it off with fruit and chocolate sauce if desired