Herb Spotlight: Cardamom for a Happy Belly

ayurveda, Herb Spotlight

Cardomom seeds add such a vibrant, deeply wooded flavor to stews and other dishes. It’s always a surprise when I’m struck with a big seed in my spoonful of kitchari but the flavor is kind of refreshing. Which is why I’m not surprised that in some Asian cultures chewing a cardamom seed is a remedy for bad breath. It also helps the gassy people get it all out, which is beneficial for everyone!

Scientific Name: Elettaria cardamomum Cardamom Illustration[aka: brown cardamom, Java cardamom, Bengal cardamom, Kravan, white cardamom, Siamese cardamom, and red cardamom]

Magickal Stats: Elementally air, ruled by Mars, Mercury & Uranus

Parts Used: Seeds, essential oil

Improves Function of:

  • Liver & Gallbladder
  • Digestive System

Aides in Relieving Symptoms of:

  • Flatulence & Colic
  • Nausea & Stomach Issues
  • Bad breath, tooth & mouth issues

Assists Spiritually With:

  • Promoting the combination of love, attraction and a union of equals
  • Enhance inspiration in a project

How Does It Work? 

Cardamom has a lot of antioxidants which makes it great for healing skin and bulking up the immune system. It also contains a volatile oil that aides in digestion and treats intestinal spasms and other stomach issues. This oil also helps to move blocked food through the intestines and digestive tract. I commonly use these seeds in kitchari, an Ayurvedic and Indian stew that helps regulate the digestive system.

What Do I Do With It? The seeds can be cooked or made into a tea just as long as the oil is extracted from them before taking orally. Essential oils can also be put into a bath for stress and depression relieving aromatherapy. Also simply chewing the seeds can remove bad odors from the mouth.


Indian Bean and Rice Stew or Kitchari

ayurveda, Carajuana's Kitchen, Recipes

Two people, one milk allergy. Well, I guess it’s 2 milk allergies because we’re both allergic. We also like to eat at restaurants from time to time but hate bothering the chef and server with changing their recipes. This means we often walk out with full bellies that don’t digest very well. After a couple of days of uncomfortable movements I always turn to kitchari.

I know it’s probably not wise to mention bowel movements when writing up a recipe but shoot, that is one of the beautiful things about eating it. Ayurvedic thought systems like to cleanse by eating kitchari for 3-5 days 3 meals a day so that the digestive system can regulate itself. This mode of healing stems from the belief that the stomach was the center of the body, that if the digestive system was regular and enjoying itself the body would be freed up to heal itself more readily. This is all the more prevalent in our modern GMO, pesticide, additive ridden food system. Our body likes to digest kitchari and because of that it works sort of like a zamboni. If I still have your attention despite all the talks of BMing, here’s an amazing stew that can make you feel like a million bucks.


2 TB ghee (coconut oil, olive oil and other fats work as well)

1 TB ground cumin

1 tsp fennel seeds

1 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp ground coriander

a dash of cinnamon

1 cardamom pod

1 clove

3 carrots; chopped

2 celery stalks; chopped

1/2 white onion; chopped

2 garlic cloves; diced

6 cups water or stock

1 TB tomato paste

1/2 cup brown rice

1 cup mung beans

1/4 cup red cabbage; chopped

1 cup kale; chopped

Directions: In a large stockpot heat the ghee or other fat that you chose. Put the cumin, fennel, coriander, turmeric and cinnamon in the pot and stir while they toast. When the spices have released their aromas put the carrots, onion, celery and garlic into the pot. Stir regularly until the onions are translucent and spice mixture coats the vegetables. Now add the stock or water. Add in the mung beans (soak overnight to help digestion) and brown rice and stir. Now slowly pour in the water, bring to a boil stirring regularly. Boil for about 5 minutes then turn down to a simmer and cover for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes add chopped up kale and cabbage, cook for about 5-10 minutes longer. Cook and stir until the kale is wilted and before the cabbage loses it’s color to the broth.


I hope you enjoy this recipe, it’s one of my favorites for kitchari as we move into a new season. <3<3



What’s In My Cup? Golden Milk Tea

ayurveda, Recipes, What's In My Cup?

This is a good time of year to get into Golden Milk tea if you haven’t already. That’s because it improves your immune system, aside from this Winter friendly effect it has countless other amazing health benefits. I like to drink golden milk before bed because it helps me sleep. The first time that I tried it I was skeptical that it would help me sleep as I sat on my bed to enjoy my bright orange cup of warm milk. I woke up confused 2 hours later because all of the lights were still on.

This is legitimately my favorite pre-bedtime drink, it works for me every time. Because I have so much trouble relaxing I re-shaped this recipe from the usual golden milk tea. Usually this Ayurvedic beverage  is made with honey or maple syrup along with ginger and cinnamon. I take those ingredients out because I’m mainly using this to sleep and I have a lot of trouble with sleeping, but they have a lot of medicinal properties. I just add them to my hot lemon water in the morning to keep them in my daily routine. Turmeric has countless benefits among which are immune building, relief from the common cold, relaxation, anti-depressant and pain relief. There are more benefits I’m sure but I’ll save that for another post.


1.5 cups of oat milk (use whatever milk you prefer to drink)

1 tsp ground turmeric

1 grind of black pepper

I like to heat up the milk and then add the turmeric and black pepper. Continue heating until the desired warmth is reached and remove from the heat. Whisk thoroughly to ensure all of the turmeric is mixed in. You can heat the mug filled with almond milk in the microwave or on the stove. If mixing on the stove keep the heat medium to low and whisk constantly to ensure it doesn’t burn. I like to snuggle up in bed with my warm golden milk and a good book without too much suspense or adventure in the plot. Drink the milk and just resonate with the one word mantra: Relax.

Monday Night Dinners Dessert Hour: Lavender Whoopie Pies


Nom Nom Nom I am a sugar fiend. Ever since I quit dairy and tobacoo I’ve let my other vices go wild. I get seriously weird on the sugar and the caffeine on a regular basis, which has seriously messed with my sleeping and mood patterns. But whatever, dessert is luxurious and if I learn moderation it’s all good. Which is why I baked the most decadent dessert yesterday that I have under my belt.

It all started when one of my favorite patients at work brought me fresh lavender, I immediately knew that I wanted to bake with it. I found a recipe online for these lavender whoopee pies and history has been made. I shifted the recipe to be natural and dairy free for my and the lover and pulled out a truly delicious piece of heaven.


Whoopee Pies:

  • 1/2 cup coconut milk yogurt, unsweetened
  • 1/4 cup almond milk, unsweetened
  • 4 tsp dried lavender
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup earth balance soy butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs

Vanilla Frosting:

  • 1 cup earth balance soy butter, softened
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 TB almond milk; unsweetened


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor combine yogurt, milk, dried lavender and vanilla. Blend for 1 minute, scraping the mixture from the sides once. Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer and diligently rub spatula against strainer to get all of the oils out of the lavender. Make sure you empty all of the contents from the processor to ensure all of the lavender is used. Set the bowl aside and reserve for later.
  2. In a medium-large mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt for 30 seconds. For about 2 minutes in a separate mixing bowl whip butter, oil and sugar on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. One at a time, blend in the eggs. Slowly add the flour mixture in three parts, only adding the next phase of flour when all is incorporated. Be careful not to overmix, balance is a virtue.
  3. Transfer batter into piping bag fitted with 1/4-1/2 inch round tip. I’ll be frank with you, I don’t have a piping bag and I made mine out of a plastic baggy. Just cup the tip off of the corner. Pipe little cakes onto parchment paper covered cookie trays. Start in the middle and let the dough expand, making each about 1 3/4 inch rounds about 2 inches apart. Bake in preheated oven 7 minutes, or until tops of cookies appear cooked. Remove from tray immediately to cooling rack.
  4. In an electric standup mixer combine butter and vanilla until white and fluffed. Next add in the milk and slowly add powdered sugar until desired texture is reached. Mix about 5 minutes. Once cookies are cooled spread frosting on the bottom of two cookies and press together. Store refrigerated in airtight containers, they do best placed with wax paper between them.

Monday Night Dinners: Salad Edition


I love vegetables, now. My mother used to make only frozen veggies and generally overcook them to mush status. As I have grown and now cook my own food, I spend most of my time trying to do super duper delicious stuff with my veggies. Since Summer has rolled around it seems all of our vegetable intake is from the grill or from a big bowl of delightful salad. It is such a wonderful way to hit multiple nutritional needs with very, very little work. Salad craft is all about the textures you’ve created.

This salad is inspired by the Flagstaff Farmer’s Market since I bought most of the ingredients there. I love the sprouts and pumpkin seeds for crunch and the red bell peppers and tomatoes for rich flavor profiles. The combination of greens lets us get used to kale fresh while having our familiar spinach leaves strewn about. Whip it up ahead of time for a killer at a neighborhood BBQ.


3 cups baby spinach leaves

4 large leaves of kale

1 yellow tomato

1 persian cucumber

1/4 large red bell pepper

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds/pepitas

1/4 cup sunflower sprouts

salt and fresh pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients in large bowl and toss. I put my dressings on the side to avoid any over/under dressing for my guests. But I generally ALWAYS use Goddess dressing :D. Enjoy your veggies!

Monday Night Dinners


This recipe is just a side, not a complete meal. But I am super excited about these potatoes. They remind me of the my grandmother’s red rosemary potatoes that we so lovingly called ‘Greek Potatoes’ as kids. If you haven’t noticed thus far you’ll see that my recipes usually serve two people at the most. This can feed 1-3, but it is quite easy to multiply this recipe for a larger family.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.


-2 TB earth balance ‘butter’

-1 TB olive oil

-3 russet potatoes

-2 TB rosemary

-1/2 TB salt

-1/2 TB black pepper

-2 cloves garlic

Prepare 9×13 casserole dish by smearing ‘butter’ evenly through bottom of dish. Wash potatoes thoroughly and cut into 1” cubes, make sure to cut chunks as evenly sized as possible. Put potatoes into dish and douse with olive oil. Crush rosemary as you add it to potatoes, next add salt and pepper. Mix all of the spices and potatoes up with your hands. Crush garlic and break into a couple of pieces, place around dish evenly so that the flavor disperses throughout.

Bake at 400 for about 30 minutes, or until potatoes have lightly browned and a knife slides right through them like room temperature butter.

What’s In My Cup?

Recipes, What's In My Cup?

Tea!! Playing with herbs in nightly tea is a wonderful tradition because you can pay attention to your medicinal needs that day. I am having a couple of naggy issues at the moment with my health.

I quit smoking cigarettes about 5 weeks ago and my throat has been really suffering, I believe it’s a healing crisis but the crisis is real. My mood has also been extremely messed, I’m constantly hard on myself and in turn on the ones around me. I snap at people and have a very short temper right now. Today’s mixture combines these two needs, and is dang tasty!

This Specific Blend Will Aid In:

  • Anxiety and Depression Relief
  • Uplifting and refreshing
  • Expectorant
  • Throat soothing

Simply Mix Together:

1 tsp Chamomile

1/2 tsp Licorice Root

1 tsp Spearmint

1 tsp Kava

Boil 6 oz water, pour over herbs in tea ball or bag. Let steep for 5-15 minutes or until you have acquired the desired decoction. I really appreciated the mellowing effects with a tinge of the uplifting quality of Spearmint. Although I used this as a night time tea, the Spearmint felt necessary for its amazing ability to draw happiness in to the one who blesses it. The licorice will not only help the throat soothe but it also works as an anti-inflammatory, specifically in the liver. Get a little detox along with the other great healing that will take place.

These herbs work together nicely to get me exactly where I needed to be: happy, healthy and with some soothing throat qualities.

Hold your cup as you let the tea’s aroma seep into your senses and meditate on the mantra: My Best Is Wonderful

Monday Night Dinners


This is the most delicious dairy free alternative to scalloped potatoes. Mayo has been an awesome way to explore new fats, it especially works with keeping chicken oh so very moist.  In this case the mayo based sauce provides a scalloped potato effect in the potatoes while keeping the chicken nice and juicy.

Makes for great leftovers 😀

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 


-3 chicken thighs

-2 russett potatoes, peeled and sliced (1/8th” thick)

-1/2 white onion, roughly chopped

-1 tsp kosher sea salt

-1 tsp crushed black pepper

-2 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled

-2 whole sprigs thyme

-1 TB olive oil


-3 TB Mayonaisse

-1 TB thyme

-2 TB Worcestershire

-1 tsp liquid aminos

-1 tsp kosher salt

-1 tsp crushed black pepper

-3 TB olive oil

1. Peel and slice potatoes to about 1/8th of an inch. Sprinkle all chicken thighs with kosher salt and set aside. Pour 1 TB of olive oil on bottom of 9×13 casserole pan and spread to cover entire bottom. Chop onion roughly and crush garlic clove.

2. Line potatoes on entire bottom of pan, try to cover entire bottom. Place onions and garlic evenly around on top of potatoes.

3. In medium sized bowl put mayonaise, thyme, Worcestershire, salt, pepper and amino. Mix thoroughly. Once all mixed together pour olive oil slowly into mixture, whisk continuously as you pour olive oil. You’re finished once you have a thick-liquid consistency.

4. Place chicken thighs evenly on potatoes and onions in casserole dish. Pour entire bowl of mayo mixture over chicken and attempt to spread as evenly as possible.

5. Put fresh herbs around the outside of the chicken, between the chicken and the dish.

6. Put into oven for 50 minutes or until juices run clear from chicken. Once cooked let sit for 10 minutes for the juices to set.

What’s In My Cup?

ayurveda, What's In My Cup?

I made some slow brewed iced tea for this post. I am a huge fan of hibiscus if you haven’t noticed yet, you will. This time I threw together some flavors of herbal relief that I have been searching for as I want to keep my spark but also decompress more often. I wanted a pitcher of tea around that would be both refreshing and relaxing.

I’ll pour a cup when I’m looking for a mellow jolt in the afternoon. It is a refreshing zing with a back taste of warm mint. Good for the lazy day off or the lunch break refreshment.

This specific blend will aid in:

  • Circulatory System health
  • Inflammation
  • Migraine relief
  • Gastrointestinal health
  • Nausea

Simply mix together:

3 TB Hibiscus in a separate tea bag

3 TB Lavender in a separate tea bag

1 Spearmint tea bag

Pour 1.5 quarts water over bags and let sit in fridge in covered pitcher for at least one day. You can leave it longer per your taste just remember that hibiscus doesn’t mess around, it will be flavorful quickly even with a cold steep. Remove tea bags and keep pitcher in fridge, it should remain good for 1-2 weeks.