Monthly Archives: January 2012

Raw Coconut-Salted Jungle Peanut-Chocolate Bars…OH MY!

Helllllloooo, Lovers!

Lastnight I had a hankering for something treat-like and had the desire to experiment in the kitchen. My kitchen handiwork has been a bit sparse and patchy lately as I’ve been either too busy (or too out of town!) to get in there, or just plain un-inspired. After spending a week with Besty and making some interesting desserts, I decided I would see what I could come up with with all the fun and delicious things I had kicking around in my pantry!

So, here is what I pulled out as my inspiration: (in order of appearance, left to right)

Organic vanilla powder, coconut butter, mesquite powder, coconut nectar, cacao powder, jungle peanuts, coconut oil and shredded coconut.

Ingredients...

So, I had a rough idea in my head of what I was going to make…chocolate balls rolled in coconut and coconut balls with chocolate. Simple…

I started with the Artisana Coconut Butter (honestly, if you’ve never tried this, go get some…it’s like nothing else). I put some into a bowl and put the bowl over hot water (double boiler idea) to melt it into liquid consistency.

coconut butter in it's hot water melting tank

It starts like this:

hard at room temp

…and turns into this!!!

you'll want to bathe in this, trust me!

So, while that was melting, I was also melting the coconut oil (I use Nutiva, I like it, it’s organic and extra virgin, doesn’t go rancid and is a good price…I just got a huge container of it at Planet Organic on sale-I use it on my skin as well, so it’s worth it for me to buy the big one). I added melted coconut oil (used the same bowl over hot water method for the coconut oil) and agave syrup (I think I might have added some coconut nectar as well but I can’t remember-use whatever kind of sweetener YOU like) to the grated coconut and then added a bit of coconut butter to thicken it up a bit until I got the “stick-togetherness” that I was looking for. (Remember, it doesn’t have to be fully stuck together in a ball because it will harden up when you put it in the fridge…what gets warm and melts, must cool down and get hard…!!). THIS is what it looked like before I put it in the pan:

coconut mixture

From there, I crushed the jungle peanuts in a bag and then added some celtic sea salt, maple syrup and mesquite powder and mixed it all up. I wanted a caramely salty crunchy nutty layer…Mesquite has an almost caramel type flavour to it and the rest of the flavours just worked together so well.

coconut layer with jungle peanut layer...

So, as you see, I pressed the coconut into a corning wear pan lined with plastic wrap (it’s way easier to get out of the pan if you line it). Then I made the chocolate and poured it over the top. The chocolate was melted coconut OIL with cacao powder, agave and a little vanilla powder. I used the Vitamix to get it nice a smooth. I had to til the pan from side to side once I had the chocolate over it so I could get the chocolate over the whole thing!

ready for the fridge!

The final product is tasty! I don’t know if I would do the jungle peanut layer the same next time…next time I might try pecans or brazils…both of those nuts are a bit heavier and might give a better flavour…alternatively, my peanuts could have been not the freshest and maybe I’d experiment with the ingredients a bit more….skip the mesquite, add salt and cayenne!! OK, so here is a pic of what it looked like…half eaten…

Voila!

You’re on your own for measurements…you know me well enough by now…just add slowly slowly and eventually you’ll get it right! If you are organized, write down the measurements as you go so if you come up with a real winner, you’ll be able to recreate it another time!!

This dessert is indeed a dessert, but it’s got no refined sugars or fats. As far as sweet chocolatey coconutty things, this one definitely wins hands down!

Enjoy, my ittle Coconut Clusters, you deserve to eat delicious things

Love,

Ida xx

ps…tomorrow I think I’ll tell you about my new love affair with chia….stay tuned!

 

Advertisements

Bikram ban of the bandeau…thoughts about appropriate yoga attire

Good Evening my lovelies!! I’m sorry I’ve been out of touch, but that’s just how it goes. It does not mean that I don’t think about you and think about all the things I am going to write about…I have a list of things but just need to wait til the moment is right…

So, today is the day I am going to write about yoga clothes, your costume, and your overall appearance in yoga class…

First off…I heard that Bikram actually BANNED the ladies from wearing bandeau tops at TT (a bandeau, for those who aren’t familiar, is a tube top, strapless tube like thing that goes around the body to cover the boobies). I heard this a while back, it happened at the end of the last training. Apparently (and, I am only relaying what I heard through the grapevine) he hates having to look at the majority of the room pulling and tugging and adjusting so he BANNED them altogether. HA! Too funny, if you ask me. And, at the same time, it seems that he might need to head in the direction of a uniform type situation for his trainings…perhaps he gets a couple girls (shorts and a couple style tops and a leotard) options and a couple boys (a Speedo and more modest shorts) options and gives everyone 2 costumes at the beginning of TT….hmmm, something to think about!!

I, myself, quite like the bandeau top. I never thought I would be able to wear one to practice in, but what I’ve learned is it’s all about the brand and style of the bandeau (which might seem weird to say, as a bandeau style is one style, but some companies make them veeeeeeery small for veeeeeery small boobies, and some are a little more generous for us, ahem, fuller busted girls). I have several brands and I oscillate between my favourites. I will admit that I do adjust it throughout the class…but this is what I know…I ADJUST EVERY COSTUME I WEAR IN YOGA CLASS BE IN TWO PIECE, ONE PIECE, PANTS, SHORTS, TOPS, TANKS…so, this leads me to the next part of the post…

INAPPROPRIATE YOGA ATTIRE.

Seriously, I cannot tell you how much nudity I’ve seen in the yoga room (I think I’ve mentioned this before but I was unable to find where…). I have seen everything you can imagine due to ill fitting shorts and tops, see-through-when-wet articles, loose or baggy shorts, too small or too big costumes and clothing that is NOT meant for exercising (ie, BIKINIS!!). Now, I’m sure in my many years and many classes I, too, have flashed a thing or two to the teacher and/or the students around me, sometimes I suspect it and sometimes I have no idea. So, that being said, I will be a little lenient with people in certain situations-first timers being at the top of that list, simply because you don’t really know what you’re getting into in your first class until the end of the class and by that time if you’ve decided to wear baggy sweat pant shorts and a white tank top, and you are looking at yourself in the mirror and faced with the reflection of your own nipples, or are in a compression posture and realise that your whole business is available to the world, it’s just too damned late to do anything about it…but you learn pdq and *hopefully* invest in something more appropriate…

Which leads me to my next thought…

When I first started doing this practice, I was down right NOT going to spend a gazillion dollars on YOGA clothes (at that time there was Lulu and Karma and that was kind of it) that I was just going to sweat in and get all stunk up…and then it happened…I got some yoga clothes for my birthday and realised that looking at myself in the mirror for 90 minutes, wearing nice, well fitting clothes that were designed for the activity I was doing was AH-MAZING! All of a sudden I LIKED going to class and looking at myself because I felt so goooood in my new clothes. I remember a student many many years ago telling me her very similar story and how she was actually excited to go to class because it meant she could wear her new Lululemon costume. (I don’t know if men feel the same way about this as women do…perhaps for men it’s just about fit..most men take quite some time in their practice before they start wearing yoga shorts…they hold onto the long board shorts or running shorts or what have you, constantly having to pull them up the leg in Triangle and pull them down the leg in Tree. I think for men it’s a comfort and fit thing…they finally get a pair of yoga shorts and their world changes…not because they like how they look-well, maybe for some 😉 – but because they feel more comfortable).

OK, so…let me list a few things that are not acceptable in the yoga room:

bikinis, loose running shorts, unlined white ANYTHING (one day perhaps I’ll regale you with the story of the man wearing a WHITE Speedo in a class in Hong Kong and me standing right behind him…), sheer leggings, panty hose (yup, I’ve seen it) or one piece leotards meant for sexy time or to be worn with something over top or STRICTLY at the beach (see, most bathing suits/bikinis are not meant for much activity…and if you DO do activity in them you’re at the beach and it’s ok for a little of your booty or whatever to be sticking out). I’m sure I am forgetting one or two things here, but you get the idea.

I know that yoga clothes are expensive, I get it. I will say that often there are sales on yoga clothes at studios because there are fashionistas out there who NEED to buy new yoga garb on a regular basis, so the studios need to put things on clearance to make room for the new stuff. And, that being said, you actually CAN find cute, well fitting, appropriate things at places other than yoga clothing stores (the GAP is doing a yoga line, as is Old Navy, Victoria Secret, Target, Zellers, etc etc). 

I will leave you with this…whatever style you prefer and whatever colours you like and make you feel happy, PLEASE try on the things you want to wear to class in your house, before you come to class, do a few yoga moves, a little bending forward and backwards, and see what happens…you’ll know what works and what doesn’t work…and that way you won’t be in class wishing you had a little more coverage in your derriere or a little thicker fabric in your tube top!

I look forward to seeing you all soon.

Love, Ida


KALE CHIPS!!

Good Full Moon Sunday evening to you, my lovelies…

I’ve been meaning to make kale chips for the past few weeks and today I finally got to it! I watched a video someone posted on FB this morning about organic vs non organic and was reminded about the silent killers and invisible poisons that are sprayed onto (and subsequently INto) conventionally grown produce. (here’s a link to the video here).

So, I stopped by Lifestyles Market for some kale on my way home this afternoon and found the most beautiful kale I’ve ever seen…I know, I know, it sounds a bit over the top, but honestly this kale was amazing!!! Tasty too.

Beautiful Bountiful Organic Kale

Isn’t that gorgeous??

Ok, so here is how I did my kale chips today…they are still in the dehydrator so I can’t tell you how they turned out (yet), but before they went in I was tempted to just eat it all un dehydrated…I made 2 flavours, I’ve got the step by step as well as the ingredients:

Kale Chips 2 Ways:

*de-stem and wash and dry your kale very well (I use a salad spinner for this).. Tear it into chip sized pieces and put into a large bowl (I had to wash it in several batches because of the bounty of the head of kale!).

*massage the kale a little to start it breaking down

Spicy Kale Chips:

*2 tbs olive oil (massage the kale first with the oil)

*juice of 1/2 a lemon

*2 tbs apple cider vinegar

*celtic sea salt (sparingly to taste, flavours magnify in the dehydrator, especially salt!!)

*cayenne pepper and chili powder-use liberally, but to taste 😉

massage it all together until all the kale is well coated.

Tahini Kale Chips (perhaps you know about my love affair with tahini dressing…seemed a good place for it!)

*6 or so Tbs tahini dressing (see recipe on my blog here)

massage until well coated.

Spread raw kale on dehydrator trays, not too full, but you don’t have to be a ninny about it either. I had two MASSIVE bunches of kale and it made 4 trays total (I did, I admit, snack on the kale along the way…for taste control you understand).

Dehydrate on 105 degrees for…well, recipes say about 4 hours, but you’ll just have to experiment to see how long your dehydrator takes…good luck if you get them fully dehydrated before you’ve eaten the lot. Good luck, I say.

Washed and ready

Spicy pre dehydration

Tahini pre dehydration

Kale Chips a Plenty!

OK, good luck, let me know if you make some good ones!

 

 


Bikram Yoga is a Beginning Yoga Class…

Good evening, Yogis.

I just finished reading a great article from the NY Times titled “How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body”, and an article about that article from the Globe and Mail titled “Is Yoga Ruining Your Body?”. Both of these articles (I highly recommend reading them) talk about strong arming yourself into doing things when you aren’t ready or able…

I just finished a post about my own experience with practicing Bikram Yoga over the years and I really appreciate these articles because I know what it is like to do something when I’m not ready to do it.

The reason I do want to write to you now though is to say that BIKRAM YOGA IS A BEGINNER’S PRACTICE…we don’t do headstands and handstands or even Chaturanga in this series because it is designed for BEGINNERS and for EVERYONE…now now, hold your horses…I know that not everyone LIKES Bikram Yoga but what I want to get across is that this series is very safe for everyone. There is no jerky movement and you are not putting force or weight on things that don’t usually have force or weight on them. (Please don’t think that I am putting down ANY other form of yoga, I’m simply saying what Bikram Yoga is about). Of course you can over do it in a Bikram class. Of course you can push yourself beyond where you need to go…of course you might get tricked into thinking you have more flexibility than you have because the heat has limbered you up, and of course you might feel sore when you practice Bikram Yoga. However, you might also feel energized and enlivened and re-newed! You might feel symptoms of chronic pain melt away and experience a heightened sense of self awareness and find yourself joyful!

The biggest thing to remember is that it is YOUR body and YOU have to find what works for YOU. There is going to be breakdown (Rajashree says that that is by design in a yoga practice), and subsequently with breakDOWN there is enevitably breakTHROUGH!

Breathe, keep your eyes open, your ears tuned, your mind clear and your heart open. Namaste, puppies.


Yoga isn’t just about Relaxation…and other interesting tidbits

Good morning my loves! It’s another grey morning out there, but the rain seems to have stopped for now and even that seems a relief.

I just watched a quickie video interview with Rajashree (Choudhury) and the final word from the new caster was something about being relaxed for the next segment. While I FULLY agree that yoga DOES create relaxation in the body/mind/spirit, I think it is an energizer in those areas as well…don’t you think? I started doing this practice (Bikram Yoga) in the summer of 2000. I did it because a couple friends recommended it to me. I had been doing other yoga at the community center and this sounded interesting (btw, I don’t even think either of them mentioned it was HOT…but maybe I just don’t remember correctly). I have been doing this practice of yoga for over 11 years and have been teaching for almost 9. I could not even begin to tell you the amount of classes I’ve taken or taught over those years.

I will tell you this, though, I have had times of more yoga and less yoga and what I have come to believe and know in my head heart and soul is that whatever you decide for you in your practice is what is right for you in your practice. There are challenges going on all over the world right now…30/60/YEAR! challenges…yogis who have decided to do a challenge because it’s happening, or because a friend is doing it or because they want to lose weight or or or. I have done many a challenge in my years and after the last 30 day I did I decided I would not do one again (that was almost 2 years ago). I found myself in that challenge begrudging the yoga and my HAVING to go to class. WHY WOULD I WANT TO EVER HATE HAVING TO GO TO CLASS?? I know, the challenge is to show you how strong you are and how in the face of adversity you really CAN do something and give you a sense of accomplishment etc etc…and so many other things it can give/show you. But when I found myself on days being angry about going to class I decided then and there that I don’t ever want to go to the yoga room feeling angry that I’m there or wishing I wasn’t…

Yoga is about whatever you want it to be about. On the surface it is so good for the physical body. It stretches the whole body, the spine, and helps to counteract the effects of daily life (the sitting, the carrying, the stress and tension we hold…). As you practice more you start to realise the mental benefits of clearer thinking, increased relaxation, quieter mind, better judgement and/or choices…and the list goes on. A few months ago there were a string of articles about how yoga isn’t actually good for your back and body. Isn’t that the truth about anything and everything if practiced incorrectly or for the wrong reasons (people often refer to the people who push themselves to do more than the body will allow or is willing and ready to do as ego driven…this includes yogis and all athletes alike…come to think of it the same goes for people driven in all areas of life…alas, that is for another post). For me now (and, don’t get me wrong, I have done many postures and things with my body at a time that my body was maybe not ready to do but I did it anyhow…and I’ve had many messages from my body that it’s had enough. Some pains I feel and have felt are movement and healing and some are self-infliced. I totally get that now and understand the difference between ego-ing into postures and practicing yoga…) yoga is truly about the union. The coming together of the body, mind and spirit. I spend my time in the yoga room reminding myself to enjoy this life and enjoy this body enjoy the sensations I’m feeling because I CAN feel them! Most of us spend our entire lives trying to find this union and see only glimpses of it…but isn’t that the fun in life?

 


Quickie Thai Coconut Soup for Dinner…

I usually have the same thing to eat…different variations, but the same idea. I have a big salad and add a cooked vegetable item…usually brussle sprouts (I was one of the only children in the world who actually looooved brussels growing up!) these days, but sometimes I cook some squash or yam if I feel like I need something more dense…lately I’ll add some quinoa if I want to go that way. I’ve been reading a bunch of posts of people on FB who are trying out vegan eating, or dabbling a bit in letting go of meat on occasion…I remember years ago I met a woman who was vegan and I thought “there is NO WAY I could be vegan…what would I eat?”…it’s been 6 1/2 years since I started eating vegan (varying degrees of raw and cooked) and I can’t believe I ever wondered what I would eat…the bigger question is what was I eating back then that I thought I could never live without??!!!

Anyhow, I seem to be craving spicy soup lately…specially today, 2nd day of double in the yoga room and I needed liquid and vegetables and spicy!! I was going to make a version of Korean Pho, but it ended up as a Thai coconut soup instead

 

Homemade Thai Coconut soup:

Sautee some onion and ginger with a little olive oil in a big pot (I used 1/2 an onion and about a half a thumb of ginger). (I start with olive oil but do most of the cooking (can you believe I’m posting about COOKING…? I’m going to write another post about this topic…me cooking) with water to keep it from burning…

Add whatever kind of spice you like here. I used Thai green curry paste…quite a bit of it…to my desired flavour.

I then added sliced mushrooms, a little more water, and cooked a bit more.

Then came the vegetable broth (just about a cup) and another cup and a half or so of water. Then came the coconut milk-about 3/4 of a can. I stirred it all together, let it simmer, added some Bragg’s for salt.

Then I popped the sliced veggies into it to cook a bit (sliced carrots, chopped baby bok choi, and big-ish pieces of green cabbage). I let it cook for as long as it took me to clean up the mess I made in preparing it. I had some brown rice vermicelli soup noodles that I had in hot water getting soft…put them in the bowl, added the soup, topped with hot sauce, chopped cilantro and basil and beansprouts. Fab. Maybe it needed a little squeeze of lime…next time.


The Only Relationship that Works is the One You’re in When You Die…

Good evening, Puppies!

That’s what a mentor of mine used to say. “The only relationship that ever works is the one you’re in when you die”…makes sense, right? I mean, the relationship you’re in now might be working but who know for how long or until when…so, how do you know that it’s actually going to work forever…

I know it sounds a bit morbid and negative but it’s not meant that way. It came into my head today when I saw on the Today show a couple who were celebrating their SEVENTY FIFTH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY!!! Really? 75 years?? Wowee zowee. Seeing as I’ve only been on this planet for *almost* 38 years, the idea of being MARRIED for 75 years is amazing to me.

What does it take in a relationship to keep people together so long? Bikram talks about Indian Marriage…NO CHOICE. Many people believe that way of thinking…but there are so many people in the world now who get married after knowing eachother for such a short time, or get married so early and then end up growing apart as they grow up and end the marriage. How do you ever know that the person you are with is the “right” one for you. Take a chance, I guess.

I am a closet “Say Yes To The Dress” watcher. I find it fascinating that people spend so much money on a dress and am enchanted at the dreams of the women on the show. I was never the little girl who dreamed about her wedding and has always had everything planned out from the style of the dress to the colour of the flowers to the day of the year (believe me, there are MANY women out there who know all of these things from a very young age). I guess I always just understood that I would get married but never really thought about it in terms of concrete plans.

Life is about taking risks and chances and just going for IT. How do you ever know if you never try? I was just thinking about it today.