Culture 3 Recipes to Make You Feel Cozy Whip up a lavender latte, vegetarian chili, or gluten- and dairy-free bread pudding to feel all cozy this winter By Amanda Kohr “Some foods are so comforting, so nourishing of body and soul, that to eat them is to be home again after a long journey. To eat such a meal is to remember that, though the world is full of knives and storms, the body is built for kindness.” – Eli Brown, Gunpowder and Cinnamon Food has the magical ability to nurture our entire being. Similar to yoga, eating provides us with a way to gift our bodies with compassion and care. By offering our bodies a cozy treat, we’re able to take a deep breath and enjoy the simplicity of a hot meal. These cozy foods are especially important around the winter months when we’re craving a sense of peace and comfort. With delicious and wholesome ingredients, these recipes are sure to wrap you up in a blanket of edible warmth. Lavender Latte There’s something about lavender that makes me feel as if I’m living in a storybook. This latte combines the soothing herb with rich espresso to create an enchanting experience. The scent of lavender has been proven to promote a calm mind, making it a great tool to help feel at peace. Begin your morning with this little gem and allow the cozy feelings to carry you throughout the day. INGREDIENTS For syrup: 1/4 cup of organic cane sugar 1/4 cup of water 1 tablespoon of dried lavender buds For latte: 3/4 cup of milk 1 tablespoon of lavender syrup 1 shot of espresso DIRECTIONS Mix the sugar and water in saucepan over medium heat until the sugar is fully dissolved. Add the dried lavender and simmer for one minute. Remove from heat and allow the mixture to steep for 45 minutes. Strain the buds using a fine mesh strainer and store in the refrigerator for about 3 weeks. To make the latte, heat the milk over low heat. Add the lavender syrup and whisk to incorporate. Pour the milk over the espresso shot. Add any leftover lavender buds to garnish. Note: This recipe makes about 1/2 cup of syrup, or enough for 8 servings. Hearty Vegetarian Chili Few things are as comforting as a bowl of chili. This warm and holistic recipe is perfect for Sunday afternoons or cool weekday evenings. I like to make it when feeding a group of loved ones and then eat the leftovers throughout the week. Slip into a sweater, put on your favorite record, and get cooking. INGREDIENTS 1 medium yellow onion 2 red bell peppers 1 cup of fresh corn kernels 5 cloves of garlic 1 1/2 cups of each beans: black, kidney, and pinto 1 teaspoon of olive oil 4 tablespoons chili powder 2 teaspoons cumin 1 teaspoon ground mustard 1 teaspoon paprika 1 tablespoon brown sugar 1/4 cup barbecue sauce 1 12 oz can of diced tomatoes 1 1/2 cup vegetable broth 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar Juice of one lemon Kosher salt to taste DIRECTIONS Chop any vegetables and dice the garlic into tiny bits. Add the oil to a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and allow them to cook for 6 to 8 minutes, or until they’re soft and translucent. Add the remaining vegetables to the pot, and allow them to cook for another 5 minutes. Stir to incorporate. Mix in the garlic, chili powder, cumin, mustard, paprika, brown sugar, and salt. Cook for one more minute and add the broth, barbecue sauce, vinegar, and canned tomatoes. Lower the heat and add the beans. Cover the pot and let it simmer for 30 minutes. For thicker chili, add 15 minutes to the simmer time. Once your chili is finished, add the lemon juice, more salt, or any other spices to achieve the desired flavor. Give it one more big stir and serve. Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Bread Pudding For me, bread pudding inspires memories of rainy days in college when my friends and I took shelter from the chill in our campus dining hall. The bread pudding was thick, creamy, and always hot. Enjoy this healthier version for breakfast or dessert, in bed or on the couch with your favorite blanket. INGREDIENTS 6 cups light day old, gluten-free cinnamon sandwich bread, cut into 1-inch pieces (I use Udi’s) 2 bananas, thinly sliced 1/2 cup raisins 1/3 firmly packed light brown sugar 1 tablespoon cinnamon 1 teaspoon nutmeg 1 tablespoon vanilla 6 large eggs 3 1/2 cups canned coconut milk DIRECTIONS Grease a 9×9 glass baking dish or cast iron skillet. Sprinkle about half of bread pieces in the bottom of the dish. Scatter the raisins and half the banana slices on top of the bread and add the rest of the remaining cubes. In a separate bowl, whisk the coconut milk, eggs, nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla, and sugar together until they are fully incorporated. Allow the bread to soak for 20 minutes, periodically pushing it down so that each cube has absorbed the egg mixture. Arrange the remaining banana slices on top of the bread pudding. Sprinkle with another dash of cinnamon, if desired. If using a baking dish, set it in a larger pan. Place the two dishes in the oven at 325 degrees and pour enough boiling water into the large pan so that it reaches at least halfway up the sides of the innermost pan. (This is not necessary if using a cast iron skillet.) Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes, or until the pudding is soft and cushiony but crisp on top. Photos by Amanda Kohr. — Amanda Kohr is a 24-year-old writer and photographer with a penchant for yoga, food, and travel. She prefers to bathe in the moonlight rather than the sun, and enjoys living in a state of the three C’s: cozy, creative, and curious. When she’s not writing, you can find her driving her VW Bug, looking for the next roadside attraction or family diner. She also roams the internet via her blog at cozycaravan.com.