It’s not always easy to be with what is, especially when we’d like things to be different. Living in a world of conflict and chaos is hard. We get busy, distracted, frustrated, angry, sad, maybe even hopeless. Instead, we might try being present with what is right here, now, within ourselves and our own lives. Contentment is a state that we can cultivate with open hearted mindfulness, acceptance (seeing things for what they are), and gratitude. When we begin to see the essence of who we are and the things that matter in our life (like relationships, pets, nature and beauty) and have gratitude, we elicit a sense of peace and ease in the present moment apart from any external events. By living with contentment we can experience inner peace and harmony in all aspects of our lives. Is contentment just a form of spiritual bypassing? I don’t think so.

Contentment really does help us live in a difficult world. In fact, I believe that a true core of inner contentment, where we are at peace with ourselves, allows us to act in the world with discernment, wise judgement, and clarity of thought. We can then respond to life from a balanced center of being and with kindness of heart. Just imagine if everyone lived in this space. We can have inner peace and contenment as our ground of being and still desire and work for change. Perhaps this is the only way that we can create change.

The sanskrit word for contentment is santosha. Santosha just so happens to be the name of the retreat center we are going to for our new “Inner Peace Retreat” in June. Taking time for yourself may feel like self- indulgence when we live in a world of conflict. However, I believe it’s one of the wisest and most responsible acts that we can do. “Inner peace creates world peace”! You are invited to join us this June.

Orange Molasses Ginger Cookies
(gluten free) OMG

Shanti is patient &  hopeful

I first made these cookies years ago for a retreat, and this revised version for our Self- Care for the Holidays cooking class, using freshly ground ginger brought back from my 2023 trip to India. (Don’t worry, you don’t have to go to India. You can use any ginger powder.) These are not crispy cookies like ginger snaps. I like crispy but my husband likes soft, so it’s a compromise. These have a slightly soft interior with a nice ginger taste, and an orange essence that pops in your first bite.  I made them instead of a cake for my ocean dipper friend Amy’s 50th birthday. It’s easier to eat a cookie on the beach in 20- degree weather!

3/4 cup soft or melted coconut oil (or butter/vegan butter)
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup brown sugar (or coconut/ date sugar)
2 eggs (or flax eggs)
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
1 – 2 tsp. fresh grated ginger
zest of 1 orange
2 cups all-purpose gluten free flour (or flour of your choice)
1/4 cup almond flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ginger powder
1 tsp. cinnamon powder
1/2 tsp. cardamom powder
1/8 tsp. ground cloves

Plus, a bit of extra sugar set aside in a bowl to roll the cookies in or sprinkle on top before cooking.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Mix all wet ingredients with electric mixer.
Mix all dry ingredients in a second bowl with a wooden spoon.

Then add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix with electric mixer.

Place bowl into refrigerator for 15 minutes or up to one hour.
Take out of the refrigerator and roll cookie batter into small balls (about an inch and a half in diameter).
Dip and roll cookie ball into a small bowl of sugar (or you can press cookie on pan with a fork and sprinkle the tops with sugar before cooking).

Bake on a cookie sheet for about 8 -10 minutes.
Take out and cool on a wire rack.  Enjoy!

Best Ever Cranberry Orange Muffins

I was going to call these holiday muffins but they are too delicious to save for holidays only. Perfect for the winter season, gluten free, with a bit of warming spices, a great flavor combination, not too sweet, pleasantly tart bites of cranberry against a background of aromatic orange.  Highly recommended by my husband and me and Shanti too. Don’t wait too long, make a batch now.

To have on hand:
2 mixing bowls            electric mixer
measuring cup            measuring spoons
citrus squeezer            wooden mixing spoon
zester or grater            muffin pan

dry ingredients

1½ cups all-purpose gluten free flour
¼ cup corn meal
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cardamom

wet ingredients
¼ cup brown sugar or (coconut or date)
¼ cup coconut oil (or butter, or vegan butter) melted
zest of 2 oranges
juice of 1 orange
¼ cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs or 2 flax eggs (1 flax egg = 3 Tbsp. water to one Tbsp. ground flax
and whipped with a fork until it gets gelatinous)
½ cup yogurt
1½ cups fresh or frozen cranberries


Preheat oven to 425

Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl. (flour, corn meal, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon & cardamom)

In another bowl use an electric mixer to mix sugar and melted coconut oil or butter.
Add zest of oranges, fresh squeezed orange juice, maple syrup, vanilla, eggs & yogurt and mix again.

Pour liquid into dry ingredients and mix gently with the electric mixer.
Then fold in fresh cranberries.

Pour into muffin pans (greased with coconut oil).
Bake at 425 for 5 minutes
Turn oven down to 350 and bake for 20 more minutes or until done. To tell if they are done insert a wooden toothpick pick into the center of one of the muffins before removing the pan from the oven. If it comes out clean or with a few crumbs but not wet, they are ready.


Golden Milk

A simple and delicious ayurvedic beverage for Vata (autumn and winter) season. It aids digestion, calms the nervous system, supports a healthy anti-inflammatory response and
helps you sleep well.


2 cups milk of your choice (cow’s whole milk or plant milk, I like    almond.)
1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
1/4 tsp. ginger powder
1/4 tsp. cinnamon powder
1/4 tsp. cardamom powder
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg (plus optional pinch more for topping)
twist of black pepper
pinch of sea salt
1 tsp of vanilla
2 to 3 tsp. maple syrup to taste
1- 2 tsp. ghee or coconut oil

Place all ingredients in a saucepan and heat to warm. When coconut oil or ghee has melted, place all in a blender and blend. Pour all back into saucepan until it comes to a simmer.
Use a frother if you’d like extra foaminess. Top with ground nutmeg if you like. Enjoy!

Masala Chai

This is my favorite fall and winter tea. It is warming and delicious.
Feel free to adjust the spices to your taste. Don’t forget to find a cozy spot, sit and enjoy!

Masala Chai Concentrate
(Warming spices and tea with milk)
adapted from

for one batch of chai (serves 4)

1 inch of fresh ginger
2 cinnamon sticks
1 star anise
5 cloves
1 Tblsp. dried rose petals
14 cardamom pods
5 black peppercorns
1 tsp. fennel seeds (optional)
½ tsp. fresh grated nutmeg
5 cups water
5-6 tsp. black tea leaves
¼ cup maple syrup

In a mortar & pestle crush the ginger, then place in a saucepan.
Add lightly crushed cinnamon sticks, star anise, cloves, rose petals, cardamom pods,  peppercorns, & (optional) fennel.
Grate the nutmeg and place in pot.

On medium heat dry roast all the spices for a minute, until you smell the fragrance.

Pour the water in with the spices and bring to a light rolling boil for 3 – 5 minutes.

Add in the black tea leaves and mix well.
Simmer the spices with the black tea for 5 minutes.
Do not over boil or the tea will get bitter.

Remove the pot from the heat and pour in maple syrup.
Allow spices and tea to steep fifteen minutes with the maple syrup.

At this point you can either
1. Cool and strain the spiced tea concentrate and place in the fridge for later use. When ready for a cup add part concentrate and part milk and heat. Grate a little nutmeg on top.


2. Add 3 cups milk of your choice to the spiced tea.
Bring to a rolling boil. Watch carefully, it will start to bubble and froth. Just before it is about to spill over, remove the pan from the heat, wait 5 or 10 seconds put back on burner and bring to another boil. Then shut off the heat and let cool to your desired drinking temperature, strain, add grated nutmeg, and find a cozy spot to enjoy.  Or strain and refrigerate for later.