a summer melon salad

a summer melon salad with arugula, watermelon, cantaloupe, goat cheese, and a honey-lime dressing

a summer melon salad with arugula, watermelon, cantaloupe, goat cheese, and a honey-lime dressing a summer melon salad with arugula, watermelon, cantaloupe, goat cheese, and a honey-lime dressing

Wow y’all, I just got through my last weekend in Minneapolis. I didn’t realize until this point how much I’ve come to love this city – it’s fresh and young while also holding onto that Midwest charm that fills its residents with kindness and pride. There are so many people living their best life and sharing what they have to offer with the community here and it has been so wonderful to be a part of that. There are of course things that I will miss here – getting my weekend coffee and alone-time at Spyhouse, wandering over to the farmer’s market on Saturday mornings, summer walks by the lakes, evenings at the many local breweries, the memories of my first winter snow, and the many people who have come into my life in this city. Before I get overly emotional about leaving this city, let’s focus on the things ahead! Like the fact that I’m moving to California this week! LIKE WHAT. Who ever thought that was going to happen?? I’m excited to explore the west coast and finally visit all those places that I’ve saved to my “places to visit” tab on Instagram – seriously, there are a lot on that list in Cali. 

While I was a bit apprehensive about moving to Sacramento, (what are the right hashtags for the city? #visitsacramento? #sactown?) after visiting two weeks ago I was super stoked to discover that one of the city’s claims to fame is being the farm-to-fork capital of America. I’m all about the local foods movement and am so excited to be in a city that really really lives out that idea. One of the best things I ever came to realize was that eating in-season foods is always a good idea. Not only is it better for your grocery budget, you’re also getting produce at its peak and getting to experience its true flavor. And that’s how this salad came to be.

a summer melon salad with arugula, watermelon, cantaloupe, goat cheese, and a honey-lime dressing

a summer melon salad with arugula, watermelon, cantaloupe, goat cheese, and a honey-lime dressing

a summer melon salad with arugula, watermelon, cantaloupe, goat cheese, and a honey-lime dressing a summer melon salad with arugula, watermelon, cantaloupe, goat cheese, and a honey-lime dressing

I love melons. Like a lot. 

I eagerly await all April and May for watermelons to show up at the grocery stores and once those striped green fruits show up I officially declare it summer. I go through one of those giant Texas watermelons every two weeks in the summer and those are the best months of the year. While I am obsessed with watermelon, I wanted to use it in a different way other than eating big cube chunks out of a giant bowl. I picked up a plump cantaloupe and honey dew melon in addition to a perfect watermelon, got a little scooper and went to town putting together these little melon balls to top a bed of greens. I think a melon-baller may be my new favorite kitchen tool. TBH this salad is one of those non-recipe recipes, and it is almost too easy. It’s so delicious, perfect for warm summer days, and also gets rid of that sweet tooth I always seem to have. The dressing is also just as easy so get to work! Getcho self a melon baller and some greens and fill up!


summer melon salad

serves 4
time :: 10 minutes prep

ingredients ::

1 small cantaloupe
1 small honeydew melon
1/2 a large watermelon
1 box of arugula
4 oz of crumbled goat cheese
a few loose mint leaves
2 tablespoons of finely chopped mint leaves
2 tablespoons of honey
1 tablespoon of olive oil
juice of 1 and 1/2 limes
salt and pepper to taste

directions::

  1. using a melon baller, ball the cantaloupe, honeydew melon, and watermelon – set aside. (use the leftover fruit from the melons in juice or a melon granita!)
  2. in a large bowl or on a large platter, set the arugula leaves. add the melon balls, goat cheese, and mint leaves.
  3. in a mixing bowl, add the chopped mint leaves, honey, olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper. mix to combine and pour over the salad leaves and melon. toss lightly.
  4. serve up!

homemade sunflower butter bars

sunflower butter granola bars - 3 ways with chocolate, dried fruit, and seeds & nuts

sunflower butter granola bars - 3 ways with chocolate, dried fruit, and seeds & nuts

Y’all. Nothing takes it out of me more than traveling does. As much as I love adventuring and exploring new cities, I always need a day to recover – I definitely not alone on that one, right?? I was out in Cali this week because drum roll please…………I’m moving to Sacramento! I don’t think I ever once thought that I would end up in California, let alone Sacramento, but here I am! I guess that’s why you should never rely fully on your quote unquote “ten year plan” because that plan can change before you even realize and then bam you end up on the west coast.

While traveling is always an exciting experience – it’s easy to find yourself without any really good snacking options – especially if you are trying to stick to an overall healthy diet. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for treating yourself on vacations and travel excursions because trying new foods at local restaurants and shops is all the jazz, but it’s those in between times like hanging out at the airport or between day trips where you don’t have your fully stocked kitchen and usual go-to snackies that can totally derail you. I was quickly reminded of that challenge while browsing the newsstand shops at the airport where the so-called healthiest options included cheese, pretzels, and a yogurt parfait. Not bad options per se – I mean hey, they are better than a bag of candy that you promise you’ll just have a few bites of and then halfway through the flight you realize you’ve scarfed the whole thing down. What I really want from snacks is the ability to fill me up between meals without eating an extreme amount of food while also being something that is easy to transport – enter the granola bar.

sunflower butter granola bars - 3 ways with chocolate, dried fruit, and seeds & nuts

sunflower butter granola bars - 3 ways with chocolate, dried fruit, and seeds & nuts

sunflower butter granola bars - 3 ways with chocolate, dried fruit, and seeds & nuts

I’ve been on what seems like a never ending hunt for the perfect granola/protein bar – something that is full of protein and yummy ingredients but also doesn’t have the texture of chalk or a stale chewy bar and is full of sugar. It’s been real hard yo. I’ve found some good options, like RX Bars or Perfect Bars, but even there I’m not a complete fan of the texture of RX Bars (though my friends will preach to the high heavens about them!) nor the super long list of ingredients in Perfect Bars (I do always have one or two of the chocolate PB flavor in my fridge for emergency lack of food situations!). Due to these issues, I started thinking about the idea of making my own granola bars. I know, it seems like a simple solution but I never put any extra thought into creating my own bar until a few weeks ago. I knew what I wanted in a bar :: something nutty in flavor without being overwhelmingly peanut flavored, some texture and sweetness without the addition of extra sugar, and a bar that will actually keep me full between meals. And now here is the final result!

These Sun Butter Bars are my JAM and I’m excited to share the recipe with y’all after doing two different tests on them.

So why did I choose sunflower seed butter over a normal nut butter like peanut? Well if you’ve kept up with m Ayurvedic learning – peanuts are among the nuts that are to be avoided/limited for Pitta types – you could certainly substitute with peanut or almond butter if you prefer those, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by my newfound love of sunflower seed butter. It’s got a milder nuttier flavor that peanut butter and is almost slightly sweeter – I make my own by just blending up roasted and salted sunflower seeds in a food processor. I made three different versions of this bar ::

Chocolate and Coconut

Dried Fruit and Coconut

Ultimate Loaded Nut and Seed Bar

You can totally customize to include your favorite mix-ins or whatever you have on hand (I like to think of these guys as those garbage can cookies where you literally toss in everything you can find in the pantry and call it a day). I personally love anything with chocolate, and these bars feel more like a treat when I add (80 – 90% cacao) chocolate. My favorite blend so far has been one with chocolate chunks, dried apricots, and cranberries. Just make sure that there is enough sun butter coating to hold the bars together and that you let them rest up in the fridge to hold their shape. Happy bar making!

sunflower butter granola bars - 3 ways with chocolate, dried fruit, and seeds & nuts


sunflower butter granola bars
yields 6 large bars
time :: 10 minutes prep, rest overnight

ingredients ::

1/2 cup of sunflower butter (I make mine homemade)
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons of coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup of rolled oats
1/2 cup of toppings/mix-ins (dried fruit, coconut shreds, nuts, seeds, chocolate, etc.)

directions ::

  1. in a large bowl add the sun butter, maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon. combine into a smooth mixture.
  2. add the oats and toppings of choice and combine until everything is coated in the sun butter mix and evenly combined.
  3. line a square 8×8″ pan with parchment paper and pour in the oat mix. press down into one even layer and add and press in additional toppings.
  4. place pan in the fridge overnight to set up. 
  5. remove un-cut bars from the pan and cut into even bar shapes. store in an airtight container (I keep mine in the fridge) – enjoy!

why I’m drinking coffee just once a week

why you should only drink coffee in certain ways based on your dosha type - ayurveda

I’m so stoked with the reactions and questions I’ve gotten about Ayurveda and how many people have expressed interest in the practice since I started talking about it on Instagram. To be clear – I’m still new at this. I’m still learning about how to most effectively incorporate Ayurveda in my life and if you can learn something along the way too, that’s really what I hope to do! Like I mentioned in this last post about the basics of Ayurveda, one of the first things to do is to figure out your dosha type. Once you figure that out, you can determine the types of foods you should be eating to balance your systems out. I’m a pitta-kapha, leaning highly on the pitta side – so for me, that means focusing on cooling and sweet foods, while limiting and avoiding acidic and hot foods. 

Ayurveda emphasizes opposites as medicine – so if a pitta type is naturally hot and acidic, you want to balance that out by eating things that pacify that with sweeter and astringent things. I’ll be writing up a post about the different types with a condensed list of foods that help balance those types out – so be on the lookout! So coming back to the whole opposites as medicine thing – being that I have a naturally acidic type – that means I need to limit and avoid foods that increase those qualities, one of those things being coffee. Literally reading that broke my heart. If you’ve followed me around on Instagram, you know that I have an undying love with weekend coffee shop time. There is something so perfect about setting up camp at my favorite shop with my laptop, book, headphones, and a big latte cup – so to find out that coffee wasn’t on the list of things I should be consuming in copious amounts was a bummer. Not that I drank a lot of coffee in the first place – but I definitely had a few cups during the week on busy days, and an extra cup or two on the weekend as a part of my coffee shop routine. 

Ayurveda emphasizes balance as a way of life, and what I like most about it is while there are certain foods the practice suggests you avoid entirely based on your dosha, it also says there are certain foods you shouldn’t eat all the time, but a couple times a week is still okay. I would definitely have a problem with completely eliminating all of my favorite things, but really it makes sense. You don’t eat cake and brownies and ice cream everyday right? (I mean if you are – power to you) But of course it comes back to the point of balance and the idea of treating yourself every once in a while. Because I lean highly towards the Pitta type, I shouldn’t be drinking coffee everyday as it increases fiery-like qualities which I already have a lot of. But – when I do have it, practices suggest that I add a sweetener like maple syrup or coconut milk to counteract with coffee’s acidic tendencies. See – balance. If you want to get really specific, you could coordinate the best times for your body to ingest coffee in the day, portion sizes, and different blends. 

So there ya go, if you see me posting less coffee on my Instagram feed, this is why. (: I’ve already come up with some alternatives when I want something similar to drink, and can’t wait to share the recipes!

what is ayurveda?

learning the basics of ayurveda | this brown kitchen

I’ve started to get questions from people on Instagram and people IRL about what Ayurveda is and why I’m talking about it. So I figured now was a better time than any to have an actual informational post about it and how I’m incorporating it into my life. 

It all started this year when I decided that one of my intentions was to focus on wellness. After some different trials and errors along the way figuring out what kind of practices were applicable to my life that I could actually continue, I landed upon Ayurveda. To be clear, I’ve known about Ayurveda forever, I mean come on y’all this isn’t new to me – I’m Indian for pete’s sake. What is new to me is formulating a practice around its fundamentals. What started as an informational search of how to incorporate Ayurvedic eating into my life turned into a look of how to follow it as a full on lifestyle. So that’s how we ended up here.

Now to the actual question – what is Ayurveda? A brief and topline answer to that question is that Ayurveda is a traditional and almost sister science to yoga, that emphasizes wellness as a way to heal the body and bring balance to life, body, and mind. Ayurveda is based on the idea of achieving that balance in our bodily systems through our diet and exercise.

The thing that I’ve come to love most about this way of living is that Ayurveda is totally personalized to you and your mind-body type, and what it’s comprised of, while focusing on balancing the different aspects of your body through food and exercise. This is where the idea of the doshas come in. Doshas reflect the three main forces of nature – wind, water, and air – and each one of our bodies is made up of a certain combination of the three. So yes – this is about where I lose people in conversation because they start to think, “wow, I had no idea Ruch was such a hippie-dippie person”. FALSE. First of all, I am not a hippie now and not even close to becoming one. To go divulge into a mini tangent, the reason I want to share my experience with Ayurvedic practices is for the sole reason that I’m not learning or practicing it in the mountains of India. I’m learning about it here in America because my culture is a mix of Indian and American. I get to view a completely different experience of immersing myself in the practice because of where I live and how I grew up, and for me it’s kind of like this crazy adventure of discovering a part of my heritage but being able to share it in a way that everyone not from India can understand too. 

So the first part of incorporating Ayurveda into your lifestyle is to figure out your Dosha type – the three different types are Pitta (fire), Vata (air), and Kapha (earth-water). Each person has a unique combination of these three types and those types guide how we should eat, exercise, and live. For reference, I’m a Pitta – Kapha, leaning highly towards the Pitta side, which is why you will see more and more recipes here and on Instagram that follow the guidelines of that type. 

While this is  super top-line definition of Ayurveda and what constitutes its practices, I at least wanted to start the conversation and share a little background with y’all. I’ll be sharing more over the next few months, covering different topics within Ayurveda, and hopefully you can learn from it too. Let me know if you have any questions about what I’m doing with this practice or if you just want to say hello!