On Friday, we invoke the muse of motherhood to shine her light of inspiration upon us.

Last week, a dear friend of mine gave birth to her second son, Samuel. It was a fast, yet perfect birth — he arrived only 24 minutes after Sarah and her husband arrived at the birth center! Whether a labor is quick or seemingly endless, smooth or turbulent, drugs or no drugs, as mothers, we share a common state afterward: we are drained. My favorite postpartum “gift”  for friends is to cook nourishing, strengthening food (I love cooking from the Ayurvedic tradition): this Kitchari recipe (NOTE: use 1/2 cup mung dal or red lentils, NOT 2 cups of dal. My veggie choice is sweet potatoes and fresh chard or kale), and these recipes below from my friend Michele Schulz: an Ojas rejuvenating milk (I use fresh almond milk or raw cow’s milk), and vegan and gluten free, Three Jewel Cookies (mmmm…), all of which I have been preparing since 6 am this morning and leaving shortly to deliver!

Even now, when I’m feeling exhausted, I often make this kitchari and Ojas milk!

Ojas Milk (Rejuvenating Milk)

This energizing, wholesome, protein-rich drink can be enjoyed for breakfast as well as an uplifting, afternoon snack. It is said to enhance the production of ojas, strengthen immunity and rejuvenate after illness. Makes 1 cup (I usually make double.)
– 10 – 12 almonds, soaked overnight and peeled
-2 large, fresh dates, soaked overnight in filtered water  (alternative: 2 T. date sugar)
-1 cup liquid (organic cow or goat’s milk, non-dairy milk, or water)**
– a few pinches of cinnamon, cardamom and/or nutmeg (more or less of each to your liking or to suit your dosha or doshic preference!)
– a pinch or two of saffron
– Option: 1-2 T. freshly ground flax seeds for thickness and additional fiber

Place liquid and all of the spices except the saffron in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Remove spiced liquid from heat, add the saffron and allow liquid to cool slightly. In a blender, puree a small amount of the spiced liquid with the almonds. Remove the pits from the dates and add the dates, their soaking water and the remainder of the spiced liquid to the almond mixture. If using ground flax seeds add them at this time. Blend to create a smooth and creamy consistency.

* Soaking and peeling the almonds increase digestibility, decrease the heating nature of almonds with skins and begin to activate dormant enzymes. In a pinch, to save the effort of peeling, you may opt to use already blanched, whole almonds. Make this an exception, rather than a habit. It is still necessary to soak the almonds to soften them before use.

**Ayurveda considers the combination of fresh dates (sour taste) and dairy (sweet taste) incompatible. If using fresh dates – dates that are moist and soft, like Black Sphinx or Medjool –  use water instead of dairy. If using dried dates or date sugar, dairy is acceptable.

Elemental Wisdom © 2008 by Michele Schulz
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Three Jewels Cookies
Makes 12-18 “Jewels”

Cream together:
1/4 c. melted extra virgin coconut oil
1/3 c. maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Mix together:
1 1/2 c. sorghum or brown rice flour
2 T. poppy seeds
2 T. arrowroot powder
1 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 pinch rock salt

Preheat oven to 325 °F. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture. Mix well to create a soft and slightly crumbly dough. Press dough together between palms to create 12-18, 1” balls. Bake on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet for 12-15 minutes, or until slightly browned.

The Alchemy of Taste ©2007 by Michele Schulz

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ALSO, a helpful resource! Two midwife friends of mine share about the Ayurvedic postpartum tradition. What was your favorite post-birth strengthening food or drink or tradition? Please share in the comments below!