chai spice GF banana pancakes + on yoga practice

chai spice banana teff flour pancakes

banana teff flour pancakes with chai spice

As I’ve previously mentioned, what I really want to use This Brown Kitchen as is a place to serve all things wellness in my life. One of my focuses and intentions this year was to focus on being mindful of what is going on my life and to prioritize wellness. For the most part, I think I’ve done a pretty good job and have found so many ways to incorporate better decisions in regards to life and food into my everyday. An idea I’ve recently come across is Ayurveda. Now to be clear, I have known about Ayurveda and its principles for a long time as I did happen to grow up in an Indian household. What I’ve never done however is place emphasis on applying those principles into my day to day life. Last week, I started to. Of what I’ve learned about Ayurveda is that in a concise way of putting it, the idea is centered on addressing all aspects of well-being and healing for both the body and mind. 

As my birthday was this past weekend and spring is finally in bloom here in MPLS, I decided this would be the perfect time to revisit my intentions and refresh my goals for this next year of life. My first area of focus almost accidentally ended up being on my yoga practice – which just so happens to coincide with many of my wellness goals. While I’ve practiced yoga for a few years now, this is the firs time I’ve been so consistent about my practice and making efforts in class to really hone in on the movements and breathing that coincides with each pose. As much as I love a high intensity spin class, yoga has opened up an entirely different realm of wellness focused exercise that stretches me both mentally and physically. Whereas in a spin class the music is SO SO loud and the instructor is basically yelling the different adjustments at you so you’re not really focused on each movement and its effect for what it really is, yoga almost forces you to pay attention and listen to your body. Each day is different, and as one of my instructors mentioned, some days you have a good day in class, and some days you don’t. There are some evenings where you can go through your flow with minimal effort and others you’re pouring sweat after just one downward dog. Some nights my mind is running through all the to-do lists I have going on, and then the next day I am so present in my practice it’s weird. But – those days where you finally get into a pose that you’ve been struggling to reach for week and can hold another pose for just one breath longer are what all those other ups and downs are for. There are wins and losses each time you practice, but in the long run you notice the difference – it’s kind of like a metaphor for life as my instructor told us. 

chai spice banana teff flour pancakes

chai spice banana teff flour pancakes

So in the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing my full on wellness plan. I finally got around to reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, and in her search for leading a happier life she was very meticulous and structured about following what she preached with lists and graphs and tables. Not that I’m a total Type A, but I think some structure will at least provide some much needed guidelines to practicing what I preach, so to say. I’ll be sure to keep y’all updated.

Another way I’m trying to be structured about my wellness? Meal planning.

I’m one of those people who needs a meal plan, because if I don’t know what I’ll be eating through the week I will just grab whatever food is right in front of me, good, bad, or ugly as it may be. And one of the meals I have written out in my meal plan section of my #bulletjournal is this pancake recipe. While I’m pretty loyal to my faithful smoothies in the morning, I need to switch it up so as to not get bored and to give my system a break too. These guys are pretty simple and easy to whip up, plus I make a batch that’s enough for two breakfasts so I can eat one hot of the pan, and wrap the other one up in my tupperware to take to work to eat the next morning. You could easily add in some of your favorites like blueberries or chocolate or seeds right into the batter, I like mine with some homemade fruit syrup (literally just frozen fruit, lemon juice, and water in a pot – boiled until thick), and you should definitely make a batch over the weekend to eat in bed, brunch style. (:

chai spice banana teff flour pancakes chai spice banana teff flour pancakes

banana teff chai spice pancakes

prep time :: 10 minutes
cook time :: 10 minutes
yields :: 4 medium sized pancakes

ingredients ::
1 ripe banana
1 egg
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/4 cup almond milk
1 tablespoon water
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
1/4 cup teff flour
1/8 cup coconut flour
1 tablespoon chai spice

directions ::

  1. in a mixing bowl, mash the banana, removing large lumps, then combine in the other wet ingredients until well mixed.
  2. add in the dry ingredients and combine. batter should be thick.
  3. heat a non-stick pan up to a medium heat and add about a 1/4 – 1/2 cup of batter to the pan, cooking for about 2 – 3 minutes on each side until cooked through.
  4. serve warm with your favorite toppings.

brown rice breakfast bowls

brown rice breakfast bowls with all of your favorite toppings

Hello, friends!

How was your weekend? The weather has FINALLY started warming up here in the mpls – meaning I can walk outside without having to wear a jacket. Seriously something so small as one layer being taken off is so freeing. 

brown rice breakfast bowls with all of your favorite toppings

brown rice breakfast bowls with all of your favorite toppings  brown rice breakfast bowls with all of your favorite toppings

Something that I started this past week is what I’m calling #40daysofwellness. I’m 9 days in and with 31 more days to go I’m feeling so good. One of my new year’s resolutions (YES! Did you already forget about your intentions for 2017??) was to prioritize wellness this year, and while there have been some week’s that I’ve been better about it than others, I think I’ve done pretty well so far. Giving myself this challenge was a way to kind of check in with the intention I set – reminding myself to make better food choices – like do you really need to eat a handful of candy that’s sitting out at the office?), exercising more – trying to either get to the gym or go to yoga 3 or 4 times a week, and getting better with my sleep schedule – yup, I’ve been in bed before 10pm almost every night and the mornings have definitely gotten easier as a result. Are you doing anything to prioritize wellness?

brown rice breakfast bowls with all of your favorite toppings

brown rice breakfast bowls with all of your favorite toppings

Another big focus area of mine has been to be better about breakfast. I’ve packed my breakfast to take to the office for the past two months – and for someone who went through years of skipping breakfast entirely I think that’s pretty good. I’ve done everything from granola in a tub, chia pudding with fruits and almond butter, green smoothies in mason jars, and green or peppermint tea. It’s definitely been a wonderful way to start the day. And because I’m also someone who tires of routine easily, I’ve had to experiment with different options. This week, I tried a brown rice breakfast bowl. It’s like oatmeal, just with brown rice which I personally think is texturally better and more filling. Toss it in a pot with some delicious milks and warm spices, and top with all your faves. It’s really one of those non-recipe recipes. Do with it as you please and make it your own! Here’s to another wonderful week and be sure to share your fave on-the-go breakfasts with me (I need all the inspiration I can get!)!

brown rice porridge
  1. 1 cup long grain brown rice
  2. 2 - 2 1/4 cup water
  3. 1 13 oz can coconut milk
  4. 1/2 cup almond milk
  5. 1 heaping tsp vanilla
  6. 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  7. 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  8. 2 tbsp coconut sugar
  9. 1/4 tsp salt
  1. rinse the rice and add to a stove top pot. add the water and milks to the pot and turn the heat up to a medium.
  2. stir in the vanilla and spices and bring the rice up to a boil - turn the heat down to a medium low and cover the pot - let cook for 60 - 70 minutes stirring occasionally until it reaches a thick oatmeal-like consistency.
  3. if the rice is thickening too quickly, add an additional 1/4 cup of water. cook until the rice is soft but still holds its shape. turn off the heat.
  4. if storing overnight, let rice cool to room temp before storing in fridge, reheating when needed. if serving now, add the warm rice to a serving bowl and add desired toppings. enjoy!
this brown kitchen

kheer – inspired breakfast chia pudding

This kheer inspired breakfast chia pudding is a delicious breakfast scene!

a yummy breakfast chia pudding

Let’s chat about breakfast shall we –

The most important meal of the day? Until recently I wouldn’t have agreed with that statement, but as of late I’ve been all about the breakfast. Most of the time it’s a quick toss together of ingredients I can scrounge up in the fridge that will likely be blended together in a smoothie or tossed into a plastic container that I can munch on while catching up on emails in the first hour of work. Maybe it’s because I’m not a morning person, but breakfast has never been a big hooplah for me. It’s just so much effort in the morning to cook something up especially when I snooze my alarm about five or six times and then realize that I still need to pack my lunch, toss everything in my work bag, and attempt to look somewhat put together for the office. Enter this chia pudding.

this chia breakfast pudding has the flavors of indian kheer and is topped with berries and coconut, yum!  kheer inspired breakfast chia pudding topped with fruit, almonds, and coconut

kheer inspired breakfast chia pudding

this breakfast chia pudding is the perfect morning meal topped with fruit

Although I have been attempting to wake up a little earlier each day (sometimes it works better than others) to organize life, the one thing I have been focusing on is making sure I actually eat breakfast. I can’t count the number of times in the last couple of years that I’ve haphazardly just picked up a granola bar or just skipped breakfast entirely as I run out the door. Let’s give a big round of applause to me for not doing this anymore. What makes this endeavor eating something anything seriously absolutely any possible thing easier is the make ahead breakfast. I’ve tried the overnight oats – my roommate is obsessed with them – I personally could live without ever eating them again, I’m a fan of smoothies but that much sugar every single morning can be excessive, and sometimes a breakfast scramble just takes too long. This chia pudding solves all problems. It’s slightly sweet but still nutritious, delicious with lots of yummy toppings, and can easily be packed and made ahead of time should you fall behind on your morning time table and need to eat a hearty breakfast in the car on the way to work. 

The flavors are inspired from another pudding recipe that I’m just obsessed with – kheer. I’m not lying when I say that my mom makes the BEST kheer in the world. It’s so sweet and floral-y and like a big dose of happiness in a bowl. Ugh I love it. But of course what makes it good is all the sugar in it, which I’m trying to be more mindful of consuming. So when developing this recipe I was uber careful of the amount of sugar that was in it – you can even make this without the sugar if you want! I topped my little bowls of pudding off with berries, toasted almonds and coconut, and cacao nibs. You could add pistachios or maple syrup or any fruit of your choice. I’ve been mixing everything up the night before in a container and then adding all the toppings in the morning and taking it to work – easiest breakfast ever! Happy eating!

kheer inspired breakfast chia pudding
  1. 2 cups almond milk
  2. 1/4 cup coconut milk
  3. 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  4. 1/4 tsp rose water
  5. 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  6. 1/3 cup chia seeds
  7. fruits, toasted coconut, toasted almond slices, etc. for topping
  1. in a large sealable container, add the milks, sugar, rose water, and cardamom. stir to combine.
  2. add the chia seeds and stir.
  3. let the chia pudding form overnight - I stir the pudding an hour after combining everything together to keep the chia seeds from sinking to the bottom (this is optional as you can always do this in the morning too.)
  4. top the chia pudding with toppings of your choice and enjoy!
this brown kitchen

cumin roasted sweet potato tacos

cumin roasted sweet potato tacos

these roasted sweet potato tacos are the ultimate breakfast

these sweet potato breakfast tacos have a spicy kick

Happy Thanksgiving week, y’all!

You won’t believe it but it snowed on Friday. The day I left Minnesota to come back to Texas for the holiday this week IT SNOWS. LIKE WHAT. It was my first snow ever – and definitely not my last seeing that I’m heading back to Minnesota for the rest of winter – and it was quite the experience. First I made a huge ruckus in the office because three snowflakes floated by the window and I got too excited. Then the real snow started coming down and I was like omg look at the snow I can’t wait to go build a snowman. Then when I went outside I discovered that snow is in fact wet and not fun to walk through when it is pelting down at you. Then I thought that best way to remove snow from my side window was to roll the window down – this is when all the snow fell into my car and I decided that the best way to remove it was with my bare hands. Then with my freezing cold hands I had to drive two blocks to park my car in a garage and couldn’t get the window defogger to work so I drove approximately three miles per hour while hunched over the steering wheel hoping I didn’t run into anything. And that was my first snow experience. Hopefully it gets better from here – although I’m being told that probably won’t be the case.

In the mean time, I’ll be enjoying a 75-degree Thanksgiving in Texas where I will 100% over-indulge on mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie. It’s going to be great.

Make yummy breakfast tacos - be a breakfast hero  is there really a better way to start the day? choose a breakfast taco with spicy sweet potatoes

these sweet potato breakfast tacos have a spicy kick

Being that I’m back in Tejas even for just a week, it only seemed fitting that I make tacos. As many great things that there are about living in Minnesota, the one thing it’s missing is good tex-mex. Like sometimes your girl just wants to eat good breakfast tacos. Is that too much to ask? To keep with the theme of Thanksgiving, I used some sweet potatoes roasted with some ground cumin. For some reason I just can’t jump on the sweet potato casserole train – we had some at our Friendsgiving last week and at our office Thanksgiving party and I think I’m just on the savory sweet potato team…hence these savory sweet potato tacos. You can use a store-bought imli chutney – but I just think the homemade version is SOOOOOO much better. Make these for breakfast or make these for dinner. You won’t regret it. HAPPY THANKSGIVING, FRIENDS.

cumin roasted sweet potato tacos
for the chutney
  1. 1 slab of tamarind
  2. 5 cups of water
  3. 3 cups of granulated sugar
  4. 1/2 tbsp salt
  5. 1/2 tbsp red chili powder
  6. 1/2 tbsp ground cumin
  7. 1/2 tbsp ground fennel seeds
for the potatoes
  1. 1 sweet potato, cubed
  2. 1 tbsp olive oil
  3. 2 tsp ground cumin
  4. 1/4 - 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  5. 1 tsp salt
  6. 1 tsp pepper
for assembly
  1. red onions, sliced
  2. goat cheese, crumbled
  3. cilantro, chopped
  4. lime wedges
  5. eggs, in desired style
  6. avocado, sliced
for the potatoes
  1. 1. preheat oven to 375 degrees F. dice sweet potatoes into small cubes and lay on lined baking sheet. add the olive oil, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper to the potatoes and combine until the potatoes are evenly coated. bake for approximately 25 minutes - until potatoes are slightly browned.
for assembly
  1. 1. warm the tortillas - either over a stove top pan or in the oven.
  2. 2. prepare the eggs - I like a fried egg, just heat up some olive oil in a pan to medium heat and crack the egg into the pan. cook until the edges are slightly browned and whites are cooked through.
  3. 3. slice the desired toppings - onions, cilantro, limes, avocados, cheese, etc.
  4. 4. lay out the tortillas - add the sweet potatoes, toppings, then the egg. drizzle on the chutney and squeeze on some lime juice. enjoy!
this brown kitchen