Updated: Jan 2
As Winter light, temperatures and time drop we sense we are nudged to let go of the mind and go with inherent intuition/inner-knowing and rest to await the next creative cycle. Contrary to what we think of the state of “dormancy” we know it is a very complex phase. It is a phase of rest, resourcing, and deep repair and blood building for the future creative cycle (Spring). Rest is not easy, rest involves a gracious capacity to harmonize and balance the body’s reaction to external and internal stimulation. It is a graceful way of being alive.
Our hearts, internal lightning rods, keep the rhythm “drum beat” in perpetual motion and orchestrate inner flow and balance.
The kidneys are the regulator of our biological rivers, the circulatory flow of fluids in the body. They manage and eliminate blood toxins. They regulate blood volume and produce several hormones that help to control our blood pressure, make red blood cells and activate vitamin D.
The heart of Winter nourishment is to sponsor restfulness, nourishing the kidneys, encouraging circulation to prevent stagnation, boost immunity and warm up the entire body.
Antioxidants: Nuts, mushrooms, turmeric, radish, avocado, winter squash, mustard
Sedatives /Calming Foods: Oats, sage, eggs (nerve health), turkey, lettuce
Diuretics: Horseradish, wasabi, celery, green tea, eggplant, artichokes, fennel
Heart & Circulation health: Tomatoes, onion, beets, ginger, peppers, saffron, chilies, sea veggies, sprouts
Kidney & Bladder Nutrition: legumes, parsley, stone fruits, cranberries, corn, pumpkin seeds
Immunity Boosters: Berries, sweet potatoes, bean sprouts, Vitamin C, fermented foods, cruciferous veggies, garlic, thyme
Harmonizing Adzuki Bean and Mushroom Stew
As a legumes family member, adjuki beans are naturally packed with protein. They are a delicious, versatile and affordable vegetarian protein option. They are smaller in size and cook faster than regular beans and also have relatively lower anti – nutrient factors that are common causes of legumes digestive discomfort.
They are an excellent source of iron, essential B vitamins, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and folic acid. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, adzuki beans nutrition is said to support kidney, bladder and reproductive function. Adzuki beans are believed to remove excessive “dampness” from the body, something commonly needed as we transition from winter to spring.
1 ½ cups adzuki beans
1 medium red onion, diced thinly
3 garlic gloves, minces
1 cup shiitake mushrooms, cubed
A pinch of chili flakes
3-inch kombu piece
4 bay leaves
2 cups butternut squash, peeled & cubed
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
½ teaspoon fresh ginger minced
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ cups broth
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 cup chard chiffonade
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
Soak adzuki beans overnight in purified water.
Pour out soaking water and rinse adzuki beans one last time. To fresh water in a pan add beans, bay leaf and kombu. Use a bean water ratio of 1:4 to make sure to use enough water to be absorbed by the beans during the cooking process. This avoids leaching out nutrients into large volume of cooking water. Bring to a boil with a lid on. Let them gently simmer for up to an hour or until soft.
While the beans are cooking, thoroughly mix butternut squash cubes with 2 Tbsp of olive oil, turmeric, pepper and salt in a bowl. Then spread them in a single layer on a roasting pan lined with parchment paper. Roast at 400 °F for 15 min or until slightly crispy but not too dry.
In a stew pot, add 2 Tbsp of olive oil, onion, mushrooms, garlic & ginger. Season with salt, pepper and chili flakes. Sauté until the mixture is aromatic and translucent, about 5 to 8 min. Add cooked beans mixture to the pot and mix well. Drizzle red wine vinegar and cook for 2-5 mins and then add broth and the roasted squash. Let it stew together for about 10 minutes.
Turn off the heat and add chard chiffonade and mix well. Garnish with lightly toasted pumpkin seeds, fresh herbs such as cilantro, mint, or green onion.
Live in Peace