Beyond this being a maiden voyage in leading retreats, it was also my first time cooking gluten-free. I wanted to make the entire experience easeful and welcoming for every woman joining me, so our menu was vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free, and soy-free. Guess what? It was friggin delicious.
I was never much of a cook. Being in the kitchen made me nervous and rattled my confidence. I was scared to be creative and quite frankly, became easily frustrated with the planning and process of preparing a meal.
When presented with the challenge to prepare meals for 10 women while camping in the woods with only a single burner stovetop to cook on, I faced my fear and lack of confidence and dove in. I wanted our food to represent my values and to show these women how grateful I was for them joining me.
Turns out cooking with love (and a healthy dose of research), can really pay off. I faced my fears, and ate them, too!
Don't take my word for it though. Check out this flattering write up by Nicole Fiamingo, a Philly area gluten-free blogger who attended my retreat! Women's Weekend in the Woods by GF Flamingo. Keep your eyes peeled for an Autumn Women's Weekend in the Woods!
This recipe was an absolute hit! Inspired by Meg Towsend during the 21 Day Ayurvedic Cleanse I participated in this Spring, this variation of kitchari satiates all six tastes, especially the sweet tooth!
½ cup basmati rice
½ cup mung bean dal (or lentils/split peas)
1 zucchini, chopped
1 large celery stalk, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 sweet potato (small cubes)
1/3 cup hulled pumpkin seeds
2/3 cup milk (almond, soy, coconut)
1.5ish Tbs ghee, coconut oil, or Nature’s Balance
1 Tbs Bragg’s Amino Acids
Splash lemon juice
¼ cup maple syrup
Churna Spice Mix (about ½ to 1 tsp each): fennel, fenugreek, cardamom, cumin, coriander, ginger, turmeric, clove, cinnamon, asafetida, mustard seeds, pinch of cayenne
- Soak the rice and dal for about 2-3 hours prior to cooking. Strain the soak water and set aside.
- Heat a bit of ghee or your oil in a large pot with about a 1 Tbs of the spice mixture to release their flavor. Add the uncooked rice and dal and coat with the spiced oil mixture stirring constantly. When they have all been coated and look slightly toasted, add 3 cups of water, including the soak water. Bring to a boil. If you are using sweet potato, add the cubes here. Add a pinch of salt, reduce to simmer and cover.
- In a separate saucepan, heat about 1 Tbs ghee and spices and pumpkin seeds. Saute until the seeds turn light brown, stirring constantly. Add Bragg’s Amino Acids and stir for about 30 seconds. Add milk, lemon juice, maple syrup, and cook on medium for about 3 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, and zucchini and simmer on low for 15-20 minutes until veggies are tender.
- When the rice/dal mixture is cooked, add the sauce mixture to the pot and combine.
- Adjust flavor accordingly. Consider adding more cinnamon and maple syrup for sweet flavors (maybe a handful of raisins, too!) and cayenne pepper or siracha for spice.