The Staples Are My Favourite

One of the reasons to get things at Infinity, other than it being convenient, is that I am able to stay focused on what I need rather than what I want … we’ve tried to stay with functional products and art that is useful, like pottery or Bolga baskets.

I live to eat

My morning ritual involved an ayurvedic chai blend from Indian Stores, but a year and a half ago, I changed my recipe to half loose leaf tea (with herbs and spices of course) and half Chaga powder after trying one of Grace Michaud’s Chaga Chais at the farmers’ market. I use the Suro Chaga powder we carry at the store. Since I’m limiting my dairy, I use Isola Bio’s Millet Beverage or Natur-a Rice Beverage to whiten my chai. Millet milk, although a bit expensive, is naturally sweet and also helps me limit the sugar in my diet.

One of my breakfast favourites is steelcut oats cooked with organic raisins, and topped with some local berries picked in the summer, a tablespoon of Wespoint’s tamari almonds and a couple of teaspoons of  roasted sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds. Having a big batch of seeds roasted and stored in my fridge makes for a relaxing morning, while I sip my chai and try to get in a bit of restorative yoga for my back. The batch of roasted seeds serve a dual purpose – they add a great flavour to a kale salad or my current favourite – grated beet & carrot salad with a splash of apple cider vinegar, Bragg’s soy sauce and Udo’s Flax oil, topped with some fresh chives from the garden.

I use Westpoint’s Millet flour to make savory pancakes. I soak different types of lentils – mung, split yellow peas, black turtle beans, soy beans – usually a combination of two legumes – overnight. I grind the lentils in my blender with some salt, asafoetida, red chilies, curry leaves (optional) and add 1.5 cups of millet flour for every cup of dry lentils I soaked. I do a coarse grind and keep the batter somewhat thick – thicker than the pancake batter you might have for breakfast. I let the batter ferment overnight in my oven, that is turned off but has the oven light on. The heat from the lamp ferments the batter by picking wild yeast from the air. Once fermented, the batter freezes well and the pancakes are high in protein. I eat them with chutney and salad or a stew. These pancakes are native to the state of Kerala in India, and called Adai. If the batter is thin, the pancakes are more like thick crepes. They’re still tasty – you just need to make more …

Westpoint spices are a big part of my kitchen – mom swears the cumin powder and turmeric beats the ones she uses in India. I argue with her that it’s because they are organic but it’s a pointless conversation since neither of us are willing to change our position!

A bit about my favourite body and cleaning products

My skin welcomes a blend of Seabuckthorn oil (Weleda), Now Jojoba Oil and Now Apricot kernel oil (1:2:2) everyday after my bath, whether it’s winter or summer. I use Now Coconut Oil for my hair everyday before I shampoo. Ideally the oil should be massaged into the hair and scalp and let sit for a couple of hours before it’s washed off. Many Indians from southern parts of India actually put coconut oil in after they’ve washed and dried their hair but I avoid the greasy feeling so I’ve reversed the strategy. Weleda’s Seabuckthorn Body Wash is the one I like – not daily as I don’t want to strip the oils from my skin. (Creamy body wash rather than clear ones are better on dry skin.) . I also use Wild Moon Organic’s Ram’s Rub when I want an exfoliating body scrub and want to skip the oiling bit because I am know I am going to be late …

I love Seventh Generation’s Dish Soap – the lemongrass clementine scent we carry. But I also use it as a cleaning product by blending it 1:1 with Simply Clean’s Vinegar Plus and diluting the mixture with 2 parts water. An easy non-toxic way to clean sinks, stoves and bathtubs. A tip from Ann Yanciw.

And when it comes to giving …

Since I’ve reached my minimalist limit for Bolga baskets and pottery, I choose to indulge my craving for new colour combinations / glazes by sending them to other homes along with Rainbow Glass’ upcycled vinegar, oil and soap bottles. Tete Jaune artist Yvonne Thermann’s bottles have made way to many of my sister’s friends’ homes in Boston, Massachusetts as they’re super unique, beautiful and of course, functional.

And another great product I love to gift (and use) is Wild Moon Organics’ Wild Rose Face Cream. It’s a luxury but a small dab makes me start my day feeling like a queen!

By Rashmi Narayan

PS I forgot the most important staple, which sits on my cell phone desks at home and work, and on my lunch box – the 3×3 fluorescent post-its. If it weren’t for this sticky friend, I wouldn’t have gotten this blog done!

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