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! ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ“š

 

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. ๐Ÿ˜ฃ 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. ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿฝโค๏ธ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

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 cancerโ€”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. ๐ŸŽ

 

 

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.ย  ๐ŸŒถ๏ธ๐Ÿ—๐Ÿค”

 

I ๐Ÿ’š 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-friendlyโ€”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. โค๏ธ

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

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A Day Out in Sebastopol


 

My brother and I have always been really close. There was a time when I was younger (e.g. in my teens) that if I wanted to go somewhere, such as to a concert in another city, I wasn’t allowed to go unless my brother drove me. Now the roles are reversed and I’m his chauffeur (he is no longer able to drive). Last Friday, I drove us in to the town of Sebastopol, which is about a 30 minute drive east of Bodega Bay.


 

One of my brother’s friends, DeAnna Batdorff, is the owner of the dhyana Center. In fact, he has been friends with her for over 20 years, having helped her before she actually opened up her business in downtown Sebastopol. We’re both happy to see her business thriving because she has placed her heart and soul into the Center, which has created a space for those wanting to learn about Ayurveda and it also provides a self-care sanctuary for people who desire a ‘time-out’ day for themselves.

The dhyana Center is a Ayurvedic school, a self-care studio and community center. It offers the following services: Yoga classes; a treatment center where you can receive a deep tissue massage or a pulse consultation from one of the Center’s knowledgeable practitioners; and you can treat yourself to a non-alcoholic drink in the Apothecary Bar. There is also a retail store located in the Center, which carries an array of items, like nourishing teas, essential oils and salt scrubs.

 

The Apothecary Bar at the dhyana Center. They have a variety of cooling and hot drinks to choose from.

 

Within about five minutes after arriving at the Dhyana Center, my brother asked if I wanted a drink. I replied, “Yes.” He ordered a Margarita drink for himself, which looked a little too familiar. ๐Ÿธ๐Ÿ˜†

 

The cooling, Margarita drink.

 

The Margarita consisted of cucumber, coriander, umeboshi, lemon juice and zest, honey harlequin, house-made celery tincture, sumac and salt rim. I took a sip of it and found it rather tasty and refreshing.

 

My brother, enjoying his drink.

 

As I quickly glossed over the drink menu, I chose the Mayan Elixir. This drink consisted of local, organic rose water, coconut milk, cocoa powder, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, vanilla, pink salt and brown rice.ย  โ˜•

The hot drink I chose, the Mayan Elixir.

My brother looked at me with some skepticism because I had ordered a hot drink on a warm, sunny day. I stated I wasn’t going to change my mind. After taking a few sips of the Mayan Elixir, I’m glad I chose it because it certainly reminded me of drinking hot chocolate–a favorite of mine.

After being at the dhyana Center for about an hour, we planned to have lunch at a restaurant I had been wanting to try for quite some time. The restaurant is called Slice of Life. My brother told me it had been quite a few years since he last ate there, so he was looking forward to it.

 

Slice of Life is a vegetarian restaurant located in downtown Sebastopol.

 

Sweet Potato Fries, which our waitress brought to us by mistake.

 

There are so many menu choices! Deciding what to order proved to be difficult. Do I order a hamburger, taco or pizza? My brother also contemplated the same thing…until he finally chose the Sampler Plate, which consists of organic brown rice and steamed vegetables with their sauce of the day, organic beans, guacamole and salsa on a bed of crispy corn tortilla chips, with two choices from tempeh, tofu and seitan.

 

My brother chose Slice of Life’s Sampler Plate.

 

I enjoy tacos, so I opted for a healthier choice–sans a few things it normally comes with. ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

I ordered the Street Tacos, which consists of a corn tortilla, guacamole, cilantro, onions, a drizzle of chipotle queso and your choice of raja peppers, beans & rice, roasted cauliflower or marinated tempeh–when available. I asked the waitress if they provide one or two tacos with the order; she stated just one. Because I forgot to ask what size tortillas they use, I ordered two, along with rice, pinto beans and cilantro. The tacos were good, but I wish I would have given the roasted cauliflower or marinated tempeh a try. Okay, maybe next time. ๐ŸŒฎ

Nevertheless, we had a great time in Sebastopol and we will be returning soon! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

The dhyana Center is located at 186 North Main St., Ste. 250,ย Sebastopol, California. The Center is open daily, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more information, call 707-823-8818 or go to:ย https://www.dhyanacenter.com/

Slice of Life is located at 6970 McKinley Ave., Sebastopol, California. For more information about the restaurant or its hours, call 707-829-6627 or go to: https://www.thesliceoflife.com/