Noodle Buddha Bowl

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Sometimes, for dinner…  the best things are the simplest.  For years I have been making bowls of food and calling them “Buddha Bowls” – in fact one of my very first blog posts was a Buddha Bowl.  Really simple stuff, using what’s in the fridge, or garden, or window sill, whatever is available.

Today was a Buddha Bowl Day, for sure.  I have a fairly busy weekend ahead of me.. that coupled with a lot of fresh veggies in my fridge, and no real desire to cook anything extravagant; well the Buddha Bowl fit perfectly, right into my evening.

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This is the time of year everyone seems to be craving something simple, something warm, something with next to no clean-up effort. I can totally agree with all of that, the last thing I want to do is spend the final moments of daylight doing dishes. I am so very much looking forward to longer days!  One thing that I find is often forgotten come mid winter is that our bodies need extra love! I for one crave the crisp freshness of fruits and vegetables so much more when the season offers so much less.  I try to buy smart, I try to purchase mostly what is in season – this week though, when I saw the sweet peas. I couldn’t resist.

Super delicious little crunchy loves that remind me of summer, that immediately transport me to a warm and sunny day in the grass.  I think that being shot off to a different time was just as important for my inner-self as eating the little loves was for my physical body. Just a little winter break, that’s all I needed.  Well..  that and a steaming hot bowl of buckwheat noodles, covered in veggies and doused in a cashew satay sauce.

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Soba Noodle Buddha Bowl
serves two

Handful of Buckwheat Noodles
1 Large Carrot
2 Large Portabello Mushrooms
3 Rainbow Chard Leaves
Handful of Peas
1 Large Broccoli Crown
1/4 Cup Raw Cashew Pieces
Creamy Cashew Satay Sauce

Grate the carrot, chop the chard into long strips, cut the broccoli into florets and slice the mushroom length wise into medium-thin strips. Place the portabellos into a pan with a few tablespoons of water. Cook until they are soft, adding more water as needed. Bring a medium sized pot of water to a boil and add the buckwheat noodles, cook until tender. Remove the noodles with a pair of tongs, placing them into a colander and rinsing with cold water. Quickly add the peas and the broccoli to the boiling water – leave them there for no longer than a minute, removing them with the tongs and adding them to the colander to drain.  Reserve 1 cup of the boiling water for the satay sauce.

Cashew Satay Sauce

1 Cup of Boiling Water
2.5 Tablespoons Cashew Butter
2 Teaspoons Apple Cider Vinegar
1/2 Teaspoon Umeboshi Paste
1 Thai Chili
1 Teaspoon Grated Ginger

Suuuuper simple…. Add all ingredients into a jar and shake until combined.

Assembly

Lay the strips of chard on the bottom of each bowl, top with noodles, mushrooms, broccoli and peas. Slowly pour the satay sauce along the side of the bowl, filling the bottom. This will help soften the chard. Top with grated carrot and raw cashew pieces.

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Chaga Chai

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I knew there was going to be another load of snow overnight, I had heard about it days ago. I was reminded of it last night. I knew it was coming.  Yet for some reason, when I heard the big city trucks go by clearing the roadways – I was still surprised.  Hello, earth to Shanna. It’s winter. It snows.

It is actually stunningly beautiful, the perfect snow for snowmen. Not so perfect for trying to walk around in, seeing as it just keeps on coming and no one has a chance to shovel their walks fast enough. Beautiful none the less.

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A beautiful snowfall, means while it gets brighter and brighter… seeming to hit the cap on cloudy brightness at around noon, I do a lot of window gazing. Especially when it’s big flakes of snow, the kind that flutter down sorta slow. Dancing on the crisp air. Taking their time before they meet their friends on the ground. Gorgeous. Magical.

The perfect accompaniment to wintery window gazing, is a hot cup and some fuzzy slippers.  Perhaps a kitty cuddling, lazily watching the day go by. Sounds like a great Friday morning to me! One I was fortunate enough to enjoy for hours.  My hot cup of choice this morning was a fresh brewed chaga tea, mixed and infused with chai spices. Beautiful aromatics, creamy on the tongue, perfection. Healthy, too!

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Making chai from whole spices is the way to go, for sure. It allows total control on what flavors are most desired, makes room for personal flare, and whole spices keep their flavors and aromatics wayyy longer than ground spices.  Constructing a chai completely from scratch also allows for a deeper tea taste as well as an individual choice on which tea is used, not as much sweetener, you name it.  In my opinion, chai is the ultimate comforting warming drink of winter. Ginger heating from the core, clove warming from the tip of the tongue straight into the belly, creamy swirls of coconut and a big hug from black peppercorns. It’s great!

Chaga Chai
serves two

2 Cups Strong Hot Chaga Tea
1 Cup Almond Milk
2 Tsp Coconut Cream
1 Tsp Coconut Oil
1 Cinnamon Stick
3-4 Allspice Berries
7 Cardamom Pods
6 Black Peppercorns
1-2 Star Anise
1/4 Tsp Ground Ginger
Pinch of Nutmeg Powder
Pinch of Vanilla Powder
Pinch of Himalayan Salt
1 Tbsp Raw Honey
Crushed Dried Rosebuds (optional)

In a medium sized pan, toast the cinnamon stick, allspice berries, cardamom pods and peppercorns over medium heat until fragrant. Transfer the toasted spices to a small pot, adding the clove, ginger, vanilla, nutmeg, and salt. Cover with a splash of almond milk, set aside to infuse for ten minutes. Once infused, add the coconut oil and the hot chaga tea, turning up the heat on the burner to allow the tea to simmer gently and the oil to melt.  Once the oil has melted, strain the spices out, add the rest of the almond milk and remove from the heat.  Stir in the raw honey, then divide between two mugs. Top each mug off with a teaspoon of coconut cream and crushed rosebuds.  Serve with an cinnamon (stir) stick if desired!

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