Intro to Vedic Cooking

This beautiful piece is located at the dhyana Center.

 

Last Saturday, I was fortunate to take a two-day course, titled Edible Ayurveda, with my brother at the Dhyana Center, which is located in downtown Sebastopol. My brother’s friend, DeAnna Batdorff, is the owner of the center. My brother and DeAnna have been good friends for about 20 years, which is around the same time he began studying Ayurveda. Seeing my brother with DeAnna warms my heart because he loves studying with her! 🙏📚

 

The Root Beer Float, a popular drink found at the dhyana Center’s Apothecary Bar. Finally, I got my hands on this drink!

 

 

The best of friends: DeAnna and my brother.

 

Our weekend actually started Friday, which was when my brother and I stopped by the dhyana Center to say hello to DeAnna. It also gave me the opportunity to meet Mary Sheila Gonnella, a certified nutrition consultant and Ayurvedic practitioner, who was also going to teach the course with DeAnna. Mary Sheila runs Occidental Nutrition.

 

Mary Sheila Gonnella, one of the instructors of Edible Ayurveda.

 

I had individual consultations with both DeAnna and Mary Sheila, and both made the same helpful suggestion: to spend more time on myself–including plenty of self-care. You see, four years ago, I stepped in and became a caregiver to three family members: my parents and older brother. They are all okay right now, but taking them to doctors appointments, running errands for them, going grocery shopping, etc., can get very taxing on me. 😣 I’m attempting to work through my challenges and what better way than with the help of DeAnna and Mary Sheila. I’d also like to give some credit to my brother, who ‘started the ball rolling’ a while ago when he suggested I seek some holistic assistance at the dhyana Center. 🙏🏽❤️🙂

 

 

Every student taking the course received this study guide.

 

The first day of class had a lot of great information. During the six-hour course, we learned about Balanced Nutrition, Elemental Theory–including Ether (Cold), Air (Dry), Fire/Water (Hot) and Water/Earth (Wet)–Mindful Eating, Micronutrients and Macronutrients, amongst other, interesting topics. The main idea of the course is to maintain a healthy lifestyle and to maintain your doshas (body constitution).

 

 

Sprouted Chickpeas

 

On Sunday (the second day of class), the class met at the Ceres Community Project, a local business with a kitchen accommodating about 15 or more people. The Ceres Project is located in Sebastopol, but also has offices in Santa Rosa and San Rafael. They provide healthy meals for those who are challenged with cancer—including meals for the person’s family too. The meals from Ceres are organic, fresh, sustainable and locally grown–whenever possible. DeAnna and Mary Sheila utilized Ceres’s kitchen to show us hands-on how to make some of the recipes (located in our guidebook) and how this food is beneficial to your health. 🍎

 

 

Coconut for the Chutney that was made during Sunday’s class.

 

In between the time DeAnna and Mary Sheila were cooking, we all assisted in either grating and cutting up vegetables, adding spices to a specific dish, preparing the main dish or washing and drying dishes. It was heartwarming to see everyone come together for a common goal. And I know each student was looking forward to tasting the different items DeAnna and Sheila were putting together.

 

Before fermentation:: the Raspberry Shrub.

 

 

After fermentation: Behold, the Raspberry Shrub.

 

 

Just some of the ingredients used for the Chile Verde salsa rub for the chicken.

 

 

Chicken with Chile Verde salsa.

 

Hands down, the chicken with Chile Verde sauce was so delicious and very simple to make! I’m not a fan of super spicy food, so it surprised me that I couldn’t tell that the sauce had a few Serrano chilis in it.  🌶️🍗🤔

 

I 💚 Kale!

 

Kale was used to make the stuffing that was placed inside and around the chicken. This was an awesome addition to the chicken, which I intend to repeat when I make this recipe at home.

 

The final product, which also included a tasty salad.

 

 

Someone really enjoyed his meal!

 

 

A probiotic dessert. It includes pistachios, raisins, kefir and nectarine chutney

 

For those who have very little experience in the kitchen, this course is user-friendly—and a must!

My purpose for taking the course was to learn about Ayurveda and the benefits it provides. I know that by incorporating some Ayurvedic practices into my life, it will help my overall health. ❤️

For more information on the Edible Aryuveda course or on the center, visit the website at The dhyana Center or call (707) 823-8818.

Happy New Year, 2017

2016 was one heck of a year! :/ It entailed lots of learning and growing into a new role in my family with regards to my parents and brother. It has also meant making some sacrifices and encountering some challenges–professionally and personally. It’s been a very stressful year, one filled with sadness and happiness. I intend to remain optimistic that things will get better in the new year.

I’m intending that 2017 will be filled with new opportunities, experiences and meeting new people. I also pray for good health (especially for my family), many blessings, happiness, love, laughter and much more for everyone else–including myself and all of you. 🎉 😀 🎊 ❤

Still Missing You

Virita_Mexicali 1996

A decade has gone by and I still think about you. You left a huge void in your family when you were called by God. Your brothers and sisters, your nieces and nephews, aunts, uncles and your numerous cousins–including myself–mourned for you. 😢 Your voice still resonates with me and every time I see a butterfly, I’m reminded of your humility, love and dedication for your entire family. I know you’re in a better place–free of pain–which you bravely fought just before it took your young life.  🙁 💖

I love you cousin and you’ll always be in your family’s thoughts and hearts.  ❤️ 🙂

My College Graduation

Well, I finally did it. I completed my college career a week ago today! This journey of mine was a long time coming and I’m so happy and glad this part of my life is finally over!  😀

I’m also grateful to my family and friends, who were there for me from the very beginning and until the very end. They knew how important it was for me to finish my education and respected my diligence to my studies.  🙏

My most proudest moment on graduation day came when my brother and my mother (as well as my father and sister too) were there to see me receive my degree. The last year has been difficult for both of them since they’ve both been ill. Actually, it’s been difficult for our entire family. Another proud moment that day came when I received two honors: one for Distinction by my school’s Communications Department and the second for Cum Laude.  🎓

I certainly intend to utilize my Bachelor’s degree in Communication and Media, and intend to find a job in my field or one related to it (i.e. journalism, social media, etc.). In fact, I still dream of finding work in the area I am most in my element in. On that last note, if you’re familiar with this blog, or are one of my family members or a close friend, then I guarantee you already know where that is.  😎

My intentions are that God or a higher power continues to listen to my prayers in: 1) helping me find a job where I can best utilize my skills and experience in; 2) watching over my parents, siblings and other family members, and making certain they’re well (health-wise); and finally 3) allowing me to accomplish my other dreams and goals–personally and professionally. 😀 ❤