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Being the Light of Winter

Winter Solstice Blessings

Winter Solstice Blessings

Winter has kissed us crisply on our cheeks. December 21st  marked the winter solstice. As the sun sunk into the sky that brisk day, daylight reached its minimum. For three days, the sun lingered along the horizon, coddling us with the longest nights of the year. Now, the sun begins its ascent into the northern sky. The days grow incrementally longer, slowly tempting us with the promise of sweet spring as each day passes. This time of year invites emotional comfort, new beginnings and cleansing traditions.

Consider transitioning from holiday feasts to that of a gentle cleanse. I am a proponent of cleansing by way of nutrient dense juicing. Vegetable juice offers a high concentration of nutrients that your body can readily assimilate. Incorporating daily juices will help fend off illness during the cold months ahead. Juicing is also an affective platform to launch better eating habits. Often, a short three-day juice feast will encourage your body to crave healthier foods. Many times a cleanse of this nature is exactly what your body needs to purify from the rich holiday menus, gently guiding your diet towards fresher, lighter meals and wholesome raw foods. You may drink four to six quarts of juices during a proper juice feast. Hunger should not be an issue, for your body is flooded with pure nutrition. If you choose to undergo a juice feast, please click HERE to learn more. Whether you are inspired by a full juice cleanse or simply want to add a juice or two to your current daily diet, the following green juice recipe will be a wonderful staple in your regimen.

Green Juice

2 apples

1 bunch celery

½ inch fresh ginger

1 lemon

1 cucumber

1 bunch greens of choice (try kale, spinach, chard, parsley, etc.)

Wash then cut all the ingredients into a size and shape that will fit through your juicer. Push the vegetables through the juicer. Collect all the juice in a bowl, cup or jar and drink immediately. Refrigerate any remaining juice in an airtight container, and be sure to drink it within the day.

Yields approximately one quart of juice.

The Green Star GS1000 is the juicer I personally and professionally use. It is a twin gear juicer designed to press the juice out of vegetables. In doing so, the nutritional integrity of juice stays intact. Juice pressed from this machine oxidizes at a slow rate. Because of this, you can make your juices in the morning, store them in airtight containers in the refrigerator, and they will stay fresh and nutritious throughout the day. The Green Star is ideal for juicing green leafy vegetables like kale, herbs and spinach. It produces the highest yield of juice from fruits and vegetables, giving you the most out of your produce in both quantity and quality. I love my Green Star! It is, by far, the best juicer I have used. It is the juicer of choice for many raw food restaurants, schools and chefs.

Winter Shana

Winter Shana

You are all wrapped up, cloaked from head to toe, snuggled warmly from Winter’s chill. Realize your body lives, it breathes, under all those threads and layers. Don’t neglect what you can’t see. There are many things you can do to keep your body vibrant during these cold months. Juicing is clearly one of the best habits to embrace, keeping you healthy and beautiful from the inside out. However, you should also nurture yourself topically, because caring for your skin will keep you looking and feeling young. Staying hydrated with supple skin in the winter can be easy.

For a silky, soft body, lavish yourself in moisture. Your skin is the body’s largest organ. It has the ability to absorb nutrients, filtering it directly into your bloodstream. Be aware of how you choose to moisturize yourself. Are you buttering yourself up with seductively scented toxins (from name-brand lotions) or nature’s purest ingredients? Where your skin is concerned, it makes a difference. Though you are not slathering your favorite lotions on your morning toast, if you apply it to your skin or lips, you are indeed consuming it. Try using edible oils on your body. Coconut oil is a simple and deliciously refreshing alternative to manufactured moisturizers. Coconut oil is one of the most moisturizing oils while not leaving a greasy feeling. It is pure and smells like sweet dreamy summers. Avocado oil is another luxurious oil. It’s said to be excellent for problem skin such as extreme dryness and eczema. It softens, increases elasticity and leaves no greasy residue while moisturizing the skin. Experiment with various oils of your liking, gifting your body a healthy, NATURAL luster.

Be Light & Play

Be Light & Play

As you settle into this darkened season, it is important to kindle the LIGHT within yourself. Learn to see the magic and beauty in everything around you. As merry as the holiday season was, don’t rely on it solely for positivism and joy. Reach within for true solace and enchantment. By doing so, you will begin to see your world through sparkling fresh eyes. Embrace the gifts of the winter. Allow yourself to love what you may have resisted in the past. Shed preconceived thought patterns. Begin anew. Renew and awaken right this very moment.

Never underestimate the power of positive thinking, and learn to live in the world like a lighthearted child. The next time it rains, get wet. Few things are more memorable then hiking in the rain, smelling the pine filtered air, sensing the dense quite of the landscape, knowing you are alone but amidst everything at once. Play. Jump in a puddle to see how big of a splash you can make. Laugh. Forget your umbrella. Or, on a thick foggy morning, walk along the ocean, listening to the unseen waves, feeling the sting of mist on your cheeks. Or, simply stay home, safe and cozy. Build a fire and light candles. Be grateful for weather that promotes snuggles, rest and quiet moments. If you are bright within, you will create a brilliant world around you. Practice seeing, feeling and expressing joyous light in every moment.

Raw Vegan Mango Torte

Raw Vegan Mango Torte

Season’s greetings, or rather, season’s eatings. As those around you invest in their favorite weight gain strategies, take a moment to consider the bigger picture. Is it health and vitality that will greet you on the other side of 2010 or will you face the promise of a renewed gym membership and dietary angst? If weight management and health often grace the top of your resolution list, take heed of your deepest wishes. Do this now and every day. Live in the moment. Desire better for yourself, and provide yourself the same attention, nurturing and support you would give a dear friend or loved one. You are important. Treat yourself like it, and honor yourself with compassionate LOVE and deep RESPECT.

Blessings in radiant health, renewal and peace!

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Spiced Peach Cobbler

Sweet Summer Peaches

Sweet Summer Peaches

Spiced Peach Cobbler
By Chef Shana

For the crust:
2 cups walnuts
½ cup raisins
½ cup dates, pitted

• Place all the ingredients in a food processor fitted with the “S” blade. Be sure to evenly distribute the dates and raisins. Separating the dates will keep them from clumping together while being processed.
• Process until coarsely chopped.
• Remove ¾ cup of the mixture and set aside. This reserved mixture will be used for the crumbled topping later.
• Continue to process the remaining mixture, the crust, until finely chopped.

Walnut Crust

Walnut Crust

• Pour this crust mixture into an 8×8 baking dish. Evenly distribute along the bottom of the pan then press firmly in place, forming a bottom crust.

Pressed Walnut Crust

Pressed Walnut Crust

 

For the filling:
6 ripe sweet peaches, thinly sliced

Ripe Organic Peaches

Ripe Organic Peaches

Sweet and Juicy

Sweet and Juicy

Sliced Peaches

Sliced Peaches

 

Ground Cinnamon

Ground Cinnamon

½ tsp cinnamon

A dash, a pinch, a smidgen of nutmeg...

A dash, a pinch, a smidgen of nutmeg…

1 smidgen nutmeg

Psyllium

Psyllium

1 Tbl psyllium
¼ tsp lemon zest
½ cup dates, pitted

• Place half of the sliced peaches into a food processor fitted with the “S” blade.
• Add the remaining 5 ingredients: dates, cinnamon, nutmeg, psyllium and lemon zest.
• Process into a smooth sauce.

Spiced Peach Sauce

Spiced Peach Sauce

• Pour the sauce over the reserved sliced peaches and toss until completely incorporated, coating all the peaches evenly.
• Pour this mixture onto the prepared crust in the baking dish.

Sliced Peaches with Spiced Sauce

Sliced Peaches with Spiced Sauce

• Sprinkle the reserved crust topping evenly over the top of the mixed peaches and serve.

Cobbler Crumble

Cobbler Crumble

Note: As with all raw fruit desserts, this peach cobbler is fresh and full of enzymes, so it oxidizes quickly. It will last one to two days refrigerated, but it is best when served immediately.

Spiced Peach Cobbler

Spiced Peach Cobbler

“A Georgia peach, a real Georgia peach, a backyard great-grandmother’s orchard peach, is as thickly furred as a sweater, and so fluent and sweet that once you bite through the flannel, it brings tears to your eyes.”
~Melissa Fay Greene, ‘Praying for Sheetrock’

Spaghetti Alla Puttanesca

Spaghetti Alla Puttanesca

Spaghetti Alla Puttanesca

By Chef Shana

 

Spaghetti Alla Puttanesca


4 large zucchini, peeled
2 large garlic cloves, minced
¾ c. fresh parsley, minced
½ c. fresh oregano, minced
½ t. Himalayan salt plus extra salt for step #2
1/8 t. red pepper flakes
1/3 c. cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
1/3 c. klamata or black olives, coarsely chopped
1/3 c. capers
3 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced

1) Peel the zucchini and spirulize it into spaghetti shapes. If you do not have a spirulizer, simply slice the zucchini into long ribbon-like strips with a potato peeler until you have a bowl of flat “noodles.”

2) Place the zucchini “pasta” in a mixing bowl and sprinkle with a generous amount of salt. Toss gently and set aside. The salt causes the zucchini to weep, riding the zucchini of excess water. If this step is omitted, the salt in the sauce will cause the zucchini to weep once the dish is assembled, creating an unwanted soupy consistency.

3) Mince the fresh herbs and garlic separately then heap together and mince together, blending the flavors into one another. Place the garlic herb mixture in a mixing bowl then stir in the remaining ingredients. Set aside.

4) Once the zucchini pasta has released its water (about the time is takes to complete step 3, gently squeeze and pat it dry with a cloth towel. Place the pasta in a serving dish and poor ¾ of the herbed mixture over it. Toss to completely coat. Top with the remaining mixture and serve.

Serves 2-4

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