Tag Archives: fall

Vanessa King on Cast-Iron Goodness

November’s featured self-care tip comes from the locally renowned teacher and nutrition muse Vanessa King.  All hail the cast-iron skillet, the home cook’s tool to make every dish a comfort meal.


In the fall, I take my cue from nature and shed my excess outer layer and settle into self-nurturing activities like cuddling and cooking in cast-iron pots. Heavy, earthy, steady, metallic, cast-iron pots are grounding and warm. Plus, cast iron cooking has 3 health benefits that makes the weight workout worth it:

1) Cast-iron pans release iron into foods, meaning that foods cooked in cast-iron have higher iron content
*Note that the enamel-covered cast-iron pans, i.e. the pretty colored one, will not have this iron-enriching benefit
2) A seasoned cast iron dish is naturally non-stick, without the use of chemicals
3) You can cook with less oil

In the fall, as energy moves downward and inward, quiets and darkens, it’s fun to spend time in the kitchen, making life-affirming deliciousness for yourself and company.

Vanessa King is a nutrition specialist and AcroYoga teacher living in Washington DC. For more info and additional benefits of cast-iron visit http://MakeYoga.org/about

Amani’s Old-Timey Immunity Boosting Fire Cider

This tip comes straight from the incredibly knowledgeable and green-savvy herbalist and pharmacist Amani El Sawah of Go Green, Get Healthy and Village Green Apothacary. When I asked Amani for some herbal wisdom to detox and keep the body strong through winter, without missing a beat she suggested this fiery brew of nature’s best immunity boosters. Get out your jars and a enthusiasm for home-based remedies for this month’s self care tip :


Old-Timey Immunity Boosting Fire Cider

A traditional herb-infused vinegar containing warming and
antimicrobial herbs and spices to aid in circulation and support the
immune system. Try it in salads, soups, dips or straight up for a tasty
way to enhance your health, especially during cold and flu season.
There is no wrong way to make fire cider, but for those of us who
need recipes, here is one method:

1 Quart apple cider vinegar
½ cup horseradish, grated
1/8 cup chopped garlic
½ cup chopped onion,
½ cup grated ginger
1 tsp cayenne (can also use fresh hot peppers, chopped)

Place all ingredients in a quart jar and cover with apple cider vinegar.
Cover tightly and keep in a cool, dark place for 4-8 weeks. Strain into
a clean jar. You can also heat up the vinegar for a quicker steeping

Sumptuous Vegan Pumpkin Curry

Autumn is my favorite culinary season. Bountiful crisp apples, vibrant hearty greens, grounding root veggies and pumpkins! Pumpkins can be a bit intimidating to work with at first, but it’s such a divine seasonal treat and worth the adventure. For this recipe, choose small cantaloupe-sized pumpkins that are heavy. Those are the sweet cookin’ kind. You can sub butternut squash as well. Enjoy this absolutely rich, complexly spiced dish that is incredibly easy to make. And it’s made from completely plant-based ingredients. I recommend pairing with brown rice and sauteed kale. To your health!

Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 25 min
Serves: 8

Pumpkin deliciousness

2 small pumpkins, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes, about 1 lb
5-6 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped, 1 cup
1 large yellow bell pepper, coarsely chopped 2 cups
1 yellow onion finely chopped, 2 cups
1/4 cup of fresh ginger, finely minced
4-5 cloves of garlic, smashed and finely minced, 2 tbsp
1 15 oz. can of chickpeas, rinsed and strained
1 13.66 oz. can of coconut milk
2 cups of veggie broth
3 tbsp coconut oil
2-3 cinnamon sticks, snapped in half
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tsp: crushed red marash pepper, ground turmeric, cumin, and cardamom
salt and pepper to taste
optional: zest of one lemon, about 2 tsp

1) Heat a large dutch oven for about 2-4 minutes over high heat.
2) Add coconut oil and onions. Immediately reduce heat to medium high and sautee for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3) Add ginger and garlic and spices. Continue to sautee for another 2-4 minutes. stir frequently, allowing the flavors in the base of your sauce to meld.
4) Add pumpkins, carrots, and broth, and 1/2 of your coconut milk. Raise heat back to high. Cook for another 5 min minutes.
5) Stir in chickpeas, peppers, lemon zest, and remaining half of coconut milk. Reduce to low heat, simmer for another 3-4 minutes.
6) Serve and enjoy!