Fragrant & Spicy: Indian Chole Palak

Happy World Vegetarian Day! Most of us love our greasy burgers, perfectly seared steaks, and bacon (Yeah..don’t forget the bacon). Even if you don’t want to commit to a life sans-meat, everyone should make an effort to incorporate more veggies and fruits into their diet and less animal prodcuts. Why, you ask?

1. You’ll feel better and live longer

Eating animal products has a negative affect on our overall heart health. A diet full of fat and cholestrol can lead to heart disease, like clogged arteries. Plus you’ll feel less sluggish overall.

2. You’ll save money

Eating vegeterian is cheap. Browse the produce aisle at the grocery store. Now browse the meat section. See a difference? If you’re concerned about protein, tofu is actually pretty affordable in comparison to meat. Protein can also be found in things like beans, chickpeas, soy and nuts.

3. You’ll save lives

Many of us have seen videos online of the horrible conditions farm animals live in. That’s the reality of it.

4. You’ll help the environment

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has reported that the chemical and animal waste runoff from factory farms is responsible for more than 173,000 miles of polluted rivers and streams.

Have you seen cowspirarcy? It’s a pretty eye opening movie when it comes to our consumption of animal products. Check it out on Netflix.

Convinced yet? If these reasons don’t move you to at least try to eat more vegetarian based dishes, then you don’t have a heart. Kidding. Bacon is wonderful. But so is this traditional Indian dish called Chole Palak, made from spinach and garbanzo beans and plenty of fragrant spice, like garam masala. Go on, try it. It’s pretty simple.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 19 oz can of chickpeas a.ka. garbanzo beans
  • 3 cups of chopped spinach
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2″ piece of fresh ginger
  • 1 green chili
  • 3 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seed
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • basmati rice
  • naan bread
  • lemon wedges

Supplies

  • sautee pan with lid
  • blender or food processor
  • spatula or potato masher
  • measuring spoons
  • knife

1. Drain and rinse the can of chickpeas a.k.a garbanzo beans in a colander.

2. Cut up the tomatoes, green chili and ginger. Add them to a food processor or blender to make a puree.

3. Heat the olive oil in a sauce pan at a medium/low temperature and add the diced onion. Continue to sautee them until their soft and brown, appx. 5 minutes.

4. Once the onion is sauteed, add the cumin seed and let that heat up together for appx. 2 minutes. Then add the puree of tomato goodness + coriander, turmeric, red pepper. Let that simmer for about 3 – 4 minutes on medium heat.

5. Add the chopped spinach, salt, and 1/2 cup of water. Cover it. Let that continue to cook for 5 minutes.

6. Add the chickpeas and mash them up a bit with a spatula or potato masher. Add the garam masala and let it cook on low heat, covered, for 7 – 8 minutes.

Remove the lid and let the aroma of garam masala transport you to India. And you thought only meat tasted this good! 😉 Serve it over warm basmati rice and top it off with a lemon wedge, if you like. Dip the naan bread into the sauce or use it to scoop some of the chickpea and spinach concoction.

See! Eating vegetarian isn’t that bad. If you’ve decided to go vegetarian or have tried to incorporate more plant-based foods into your diet, let us know in the comments! We could use a little inspiration.

Day in the Life with Essential Oils

Essential oils are all the rage right now. From tupperware-style parties in homes to health food stores, these plant-based oils can be found almost everywhere. If you’re like me, then you might have been a bit skeptical at first. Some people believe they can cure anything from the common cold to even cancer. I became curious about these potion-like oils and started experimenting. I will say they do affect my mood and some oils definitely help when it comes to clearing toxins in your skin and balancing sebum. As someone with sensitive skin that is prone to acne, this seemed too good to be true. However, they do come straight from mother nature so there must be some truth to it.

Come explore with us as we try out different essential oils throughout our daily routine.

 


No matter how much sleep you got the night before, waking up in the morning can be a nightmare for some of us (hi, yes. that’s me. I’m a bear in the a.m.)  Many of us try to counteract the drowsy feeling with loads of caffeine, which can irritate sensitive stomachs and cause a horrible mental crash later. I like to start the morning on my mat with a diffuser by my side while I do a few simple yoga poses to get the blood and energy flowing. In the morning I especially love the scents of citrus like lemon, grapefruit and orange. Citrus is incredibly invigorating and will definitely help you wake up and give you the mental clarity that is so desperately needed.

1. Morning Pick Me Up Recipe: Use 10-20 drops total per oz. My favorite scent is lemon so I tend to use a little more.

  • lemon
  • grapefruit
  • peppermint
  • orange

After I’ve woken up my body with citrus essential oils and yoga, I wash my face to really feel recharged and ready to go. Many face washes and soaps can have chemicals that strip your face of its natural oils, which leaves you feeling either too dry or too oily. But unscented castile soap is known for having organic, all-natural ingredients like olive oil and coconut oil. Lemon is added to the face wash because it acts as an astringent and tea tree oil can help with acne.

Note: Lemon is a photosensitizing oil, meaning it can cause skin irritation after sun exposure so be careful!

 

2. All Natural Face Wash Recipe

  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 2 tbsp raw honey
  • 15 drops lemon essential oil
  • 1 tbsp tea tree essential oil

If you’re going through a stressful time or ate too much pizza the night before, then you may have a few acne flare-ups you need to deal with (we’ve all been there. And pizza is totally worth it). Tea tree oil is known for its anti-acne properties and lavender is known to calm irritated skin. The combination can be powerful so only add a small amount to the affected area with a q-tip.

 

3. Skin Care Blend Recipe

  • 6 drops of tea tree essential oil
  • 6 drops of lavender essential oil
  • 2 drops of peppermint or lemon essential oil

Add to 1 ounce of jojoba and apply with a q-tip essential oil


We’re all too familiar with that dragging, tired feeling we often get in the afternoon. Around 3 o’clock everyday I start yawning and grabbing for the coffee. Caffeine is a quick fix but it can leave you feeling super sluggish and can cause trouble sleeping even hours later. For an afternoon recharge, I use a USB diffuser on my desk with the essential oils below to keep my mind sharp and on track.

Sidenote: This little USB diffuser is one of my personal favorites because of its size. If you travel you can pack it in your bag to use in your hotel after a long day.


 

4. Afternoon Pick Me Up Recipe

  • 6 drops of rosemary
  • 3 drops of lemon
  • 2 drops of frankincense

After a long day when I simply can’t take anymore and I’m officially exhausted, I love unwinding with a warm bath (and a glass of wine. or three). Making your own bath salts is pretty simple and can have a huge impact on your mind and body. The scents help your mind escape to relaxation while the warm bath soothes aching muscles. This combination of oils, especially the eucalyptus, is perfect for alleviating symptoms of a stuffy nose or a sore throat.

5. Breath Easy Bath Salts Recipe: per 1 oz. of bath salts.

  • 4 drops of Eucalyptus
  • 3 drops of rosemary
  • 2 drops of lavender

There it is, a day in the life with essential oils. Finding ways to add these oils into your life can be simple and doesn’t have to be a huge overhaul of your everyday routine. Since everyone is different, some oils may work better with you than others and some scents you may not like at all, and that’s okay. Take time to experiment and find what works for you.
What recipes have you come up with and how do you like to use them?

International Peace Day

International Peace Day is a day for us to pause and reflect within our community. As inhabitants of earth, we owe it to ourselves to continue the movement toward world peace. We need to have an open conversation with one another about what that means to us and how we can work together to achieve it. You may seem insignificant in this world, but the movement must start somewhere. Whether that’s taking to social media to voice your opinion or simply showing kindness to someone who is different then you, no act is too small.

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world” – Mahatma Gandi

To start the conversation, we’re making a peace sign wreath to hang in our home or office. When people ask you about the wreath, just talk about what peace means to YOU.

What you’ll need:

1. Wire Wreath Frame, like this one

2. Floral Wire, like this

3. Twigs of all shapes and sizes and plenty of ’em

4. Scissors

5. String Lights, optional.

Pick out 3 or 4 twigs that are the approximate diameter of the

wire frame to create the center of the peace sign and attach them

to the top and bottom of the frame with the floral wire.

The wire can be hard to manipulate as you weave it under and

through the wreath. Don’t get frusterated!

You’ll learn your groove.

Continue to add twigs and branches that fit the size and mold

of the wreath. It’s okay if the twigs don’t align to create a perfect

circle. Nature can be far from orderly and it adds to the wreath’s charm!

Once you’re finished you can add string lights like these or leave it au naturel.

Change for Change in Nepal

Nepal encountered a devastating earthquake on April 25, 2015. Homes were lost and more than 9,000 people were killed and another 23,000 were injured.  Many livestock and other agricultural amenities were destroyed during the 7.8 magnitude earthquake. These animals and tools are essential to the livelihood of the Nepalese.

We have evolved our partnership with Heifer International to focus on the people of Nepal. Heifer International is a nonprofit organization working to bring sustainable income to impoverished communities through agricultural cooperatives and education.  Over the years our gracious customers have donated approximately $150,000 to Heifer International. Moving forward, we want to narrow our scope and specifically assist in Nepal.

The World Bank reports nearly 66% of Nepal’s total population relies on agriculture for their livelihood. By donating to Heifer International, funds will directly benefit two project villages: Kewalpur and Mulpani in the Dhading district. The goal of these projects is to improve overall nutrition and well being through sustainable farming and improved breeding of goats. Communities receive extensive training on farm enterprise analysis and planning. This teaches how to improve income level through farming and business management techniques.

 

Heifer International also works to empower women farmers by increasing social capital through community groups and education. Women are taught how to effectively breed, feed, house and vaccinate goats. By arming these women with knowledge, they are not only able to improve their family’s nutrition but also their self worth. In turn, the women “pass on the gift” of possibility to others in the community by providing education and the opportunity to purchase and raise healthy goats.

We cannot create this lasting impact on Nepal without the help of our customers. Every time you add your loose change to the peace pipe at the front, your donation will directly assist in building social capital through improved farming, agriculture and business management.

Cool, Green & Refreshing

  • Mint soothes aching stomachs and aids with indigestion and inflammation.
  • Cucumbers contain tons of B Vitamins which is great for stress and anxiety relief. They also have lots of soluble and insoluble fiber (on the skin), meaning they help you stay full longer AND aids in digestion.
  • Limes contain Vitamin C, a vitamin with antioxidants that helps the muscles in your eyes as well as signs of aging. Plus the antioxidants are beneficial to your overall heart health!

 

Are you ready to refresh your body? Grab the following ingredients and tools:

  • 3 English Cucumbers a.k.a. Hot House Cucumbers, thinly sliced with the skin left on. Put a few aside for garnish.
  • 1 bunch of Mint
  • 6 limes, juiced to make 1/2 cup
  • 3 quarts of Water
  • Sugar, to taste

Makes 4 servings.


Step 1: Add 1/2 cup of water to the blender and slowly add the sliced cucumber and a hanful of mint leaves. We left the skin on because (a) it adds beautiful green color and (b) that’s where all of the insoluble is to help with digestion! Continue to add the cucumber until all of it is pureed and mixed up.

 

Step 2: Take the blended cucumbers and remove the seeds by using a strainer over a pitcher or other container.

Step 3: Add the lime and remaining water to the pitcher. You can either add the sugar to the pitcher (to taste) OR add it to each individual serving.

And you’re done! Wasn’t that easy? We love the vibrant green and how it contrasts with the gold accents on the stemless wine glasses.