Bring Balance into 2014 with a Cup of Tea

January 1, 2014 § Leave a comment

I want to wish all my readers a Happy New Year and prosperous 2014. Thank you all for following and I hope to share more insightful information, recipes, restaurant reviews and food stories with you this year.

Guest contributor and local Ayurvedic practitioner Madhuri Phillips has co-written the book “Your Irresistible Life” with Glynnis Osher where they share how to stay in balance by following Ayurvedic practices during the various season. I have been following Ayurveda for over 20 years and use its simple practices in my daily life. This book is great a resource for staying in balance throughout the year. ~Lily

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The Top 5 to Thrive in 2014: Ayurveda Has Solutions

By Madhuri Phillips

Ayurveda, the sister science to yoga is gaining popularity here in the West as it teaches us how to return to living in harmony with nature amongst the busy-ness of our daily lives. This 5000 year-old system of natural medicine has sound, effective and simple tools for helping us to maintain balance in mind and body. Here are 5 Ayurvedic tips to keep you thriving:

1) The very first thought of your day sets the tone for how your day will unfold. Consciously set a positive intention because what you focus on expands. If you’re not sure where to start, a simple affirmation such as “Today is a great day!” gets you moving in the right direction.

2) Scrape your tongue. Before you drink or eat anything use a tongue scraper (buy a your health food store) or even the back of a metal spoon to scrape the toxins (in Ayurveda we call this ama) off of your tongue.

3) Drink warm water with a squeeze of lemon in the morning to cleanse the body and organs and assist with elimination.

4) Breathe deeply and often. Meditate and be still for at least 5 minutes a day. And, get your body moving. Be sure to exercise daily too: walk in nature, dance in your living room, play with the kids, allow it to be fun and invigorating!

5) Drink CCF Tea to keep your digestion strong and healthy. This is Cumin, Coriander and Fennel tea (recipe below) and assists in detoxification, reducing gas, indigestion, bloating and balancing the ph levels of the body.

Ayurvedic CCF Tea

Take 1 tsp of each cumin, coriander and fennel seeds. Put 4 cups of water and the seeds into a pot and bring to a boil. Once the mixture has reaches a boil, turn down the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Madhuri is an Ayurvedic Practitioner (CAS), Bio-Energy Practitioner & Yoga Teacher Trainer (ERYT). Along with her popular Ayurvedic Yoga DVD, her book, “Your Irresistible Life: 4 Seasons of Self-Care Through Ayurveda & Yoga Practices that Work” is now available. Explore how to work one on one with Madhuri at: www.madhuriayurvedayoga.com. Purchase Madhuri’s book at http://glynnisandmadhuri.com/your-irresistible-life/

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Burma Superstar Restaurant San Francisco

December 4, 2013 § Leave a comment

tea leaf salad

Burma Superstar is a popular restaurant in San Francisco with multiple locations in the Bay area. My friends took me there for dinner and we ordered the tea leaf salad, a veggie noodle dish, and coconut rice with the okra tofu.

Burmese food is inspired by the various countries that it shares its borders with, that’s India, China, Laos and Thailand. The tea leaf salad was very lightly dressed with lemon juice and oil and had tea leaves that was imported from Burma. It was quite an usual flavour and the nuts and seeds balance the astringent quality of the tea.

burma superstar

The noodles were taught, the way that I like them, and the sauce went quite nicely and the broccoli. The curry was delicious and okra is one of my favourite asian vegetables. The coconut rice was a bit sweet and went nicely with the spiciness of the curry.

white sangriaTheir cocktail menu was impressive and I tried the white sangria that came with a lychee as a garnish. It was a refreshing and light drink which is what I wanted. Burma Superstar does not take reservations so arrive early. Visit their website for more information on their menu, locations and hours. www.burmasuperstar.com.

Hot Lemon Ginger Honey Tea

April 10, 2012 § Leave a comment

In the cold Northern Parts of India,  a tall cup of hot lemon ginger honey tea is satisfying. The heating qualities of ginger warms the body and after chai, this is my second favourite Indian tea. At home in Canada I make this tea on a brisk winter’s day or if I feel a cold coming on. In India you can get variations of this drink by omitting an ingredient, lemon ginger, ginger honey etc. You can make a herbal version of this tea or lightly steep a tea bag until the tea turns a golden amber. Adjust the quantities to satisfy your taste.

Makes a cup of tea
Prep time 5 minutes

Ingredients:
1 tbsp (15 ml) ginger cut into matchstick pieces
1/2 – 1 tsp (2 – 5 ml) lemon juice
1 – 2 tsp (5 – 10 ml) honey
1 cup (250 ml) hot water
tea bag (optional)

Method:
1. Combine the ingredients in a glass or mug and enjoy.

Chai Chai Chai

January 31, 2012 § 5 Comments

India’s most popular beverage is chai and no matter where you are, there is always someone trying to sell you chai. This winter break I travelled to India and spent some time at the beach. Everyday as the sun began to set, the chaiwallah, person selling chai, appeared and strolled along the beach selling chai. On the train the sound of chai, chai, chai echos throughout the compartment as the chaiwallah paces up and down the train. Surprisingly train chai is some of the best chai in India and only costs 10 cents a cup. My kids loved this sweet and milky chai so much that they would keep the exact change ready in their pockets for when the chaiwallah came around.

The recipe for chai varies greatly from region to region and can be made by simply boiling water, milk, tea and sugar together. Street chai in India is usually made like this in a big pot with loose leaf tea and strained into small clear glass cups. Chai can also be made with the addition of spices and the recipe varies in each region based on the climate and availability of spices. In areas with a cooler climate, chai is made with spices that have warming qualities like ginger and served in larger size glasses.

My recipe for chai is very simple and focusses on the soothing flavour of cardamom. You can try adding other spices to the chai, keeping in mind the balance of the flavours of spices. If you really love chai and don`t always have the time to make it fresh, you can find a full spectrum of chai products at chai.com. At chai.com, you can find tea bags, loose leaf tea, liquid concentrates and chai latte mixes by organic and fair trade companies and also conventional brands. Chai.com sells interesting flavors of chai like coconut green tea chai, chocolate chai, and white Ayurvedic chai to name a few. On cold and raining days in Vancouver, I find it never hurts to keep a couple of tea bags handy.

Cooking time 20 minutes
Makes 2 large cups

Ingredients:
2 cups (500 ml) water
5 cardamom pods
2 cloves
1 tsp thinly sliced ginger
2 tsp (10ml) loose leaf black tea or 2 tea bags
1 cup (250 ml) soymilk
1 tbsp (15 ml) sugar

Directions
1. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil.
2. Pound the cardamom and clove in a mortar and pestle and add to the boiling water.
3. Simmer the spices on medium heat until the oils release a fragrant smell, about 10 minutes.
4. Add the looseleaf tea or teabags and boil until the desired darkness is achieved, around 2 minutes.
5. Remove the teabags and add the milk. Turn the heat to high and bring the chai to a boil.
6. Add the sugar to the boiling mixture and turn off the heat.
7. Strain the chai before serving and enjoy.

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