Just like all of my past winter breaks, this one came and went too fast for my liking. It was amazing to spend time with family and friends, time that I’m incredibly grateful for and look forward to every year. Despite the craziness of the holidays, however, I managed to make time for testing out some yummy new recipes, discovering my passion for hot yoga, and realizing my goals for 2015.
Christmas is my favorite time of year with the lights, music, and parties making everything and everyone feel happy and magical. The best part of Christmas? The food of course! The holidays are a time when I truly let myself indulge and eat as many delicious things as I would like, because what other time of year can you have gingerbread cookies and pumpkin pie? Also during my break, when I’m by myself for most of the day and the rest of my family is at work, I rely on cooking and experimenting with new recipes to keep myself entertained. The result of this is WAY too many goodies floating around the house (but they’ve all been adapted to be healthy!). I love this time though, because it allows me to give my all to cooking and get creative with ingredients, time that I don’t normally have at school. This year, some of my many recipes included chocolate soufflé, whole wheat gingerbread cookies, cranberry pecan brussel sprouts, rich dark chocolate cupcakes with spelt flour, and coconut mango rice. Many of these recipes will follow at the end of the post to give you a chance to try out each one and impress all of the people you love!
While home, I also discovered a new yoga studio. Before this break, I had never tried hot yoga as a result of some horror stories I had heard. But I decided to brave, and I kept an open mind going into my first class. Besides, who can resist an amazing student discount? Going to this class was a life changing decision. The teachers are amazing and teach classes that empower you and make you want to push yourself and dedicate yourself to your practice. I left every class dripping in sweat and already looking forward to class the next day. Although I had done yoga before, I never went consistently like I did the past two weeks. It’s true when they say yoga makes you become more aware and more grounded. Not only would I leave feeling less stressed, but I developed an awareness of everything in my life that I can and can’t control. These two weeks truly made me evaluate how I want to go about each day, taking one step at a time. I’m going to miss this place so much when I head back to school and I can’t wait to pick it up again when I come back in the summer!
A new year also brings flurry of resolutions to everyone you know, each person vowing to lose weight, eat healthy, etc. While I don’t make resolutions and don’t like the idea of using the new year as an excuse to make a change that you could make at anytime, there are a few simple intentions I want to remind myself of and try to do everyday. The most important goal I have for myself is to try to focus on the positive. Instead of whining about the small things, I want to practice gratitude and just take a small moment every day to be thankful for the people in my life and the opportunities I’ve been given. I want to begin meditating each day, even if it’s just for three minutes, to deepen this awareness. It’s so easy for us to get caught up in the craziness of our lives and the demands of work and school that this silent break can allow us to focus on what we want in life, and let go of the things that no longer serve us.
My second goal is to work more on this blog. I want to begin posting regularly and make it all that it can be. A lot more posts should be coming your way!
Thank you to everyone who has supported me with this, despite its small beginnings, and I can’t wait to share more with you all!
Whole Wheat Gingerbread Cookies (adapted from Amy’s Healthy Baking)
- 1 1/4 C whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- Dash of allspice
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tbs unsalted butter melted
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 C molasses
- 3 tbs pure maple syrup (for a sweeter version, add 5)
- Preheat oven to 325
- Whisk together the dry ingredients
- Mix the wet ingredients, adding the molasses and maple syrup last
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until thoroughly mixed
- Let the dough chill for at least 30 minutes. If sitting overnight, cover the dough and then let thaw a little when removed
- Roll the dough into small little balls, there should be about 12-15
- Bake for 13-15 minutes and enjoy warm!
Brussel Sprouts with Cranberries, Pecans, and Gorgonzola
- 1 Brussel sprout stalk, or 2 small bags
- 1/2 cup fresh cranberries
- 1 container of gorgonzola cheese
- 1/2 cup to one cup of pecans
- 1 tbs maple syrup
- 1 tbs balsamic vinegar
- Olive oil (start with 2 tbs, add more as they cook so they don’t stick)
- Salt and pepper
- Wash and chop brussel sprouts in half
- Heat olive oil on medium heat in a large pan
- Add the brussel sprouts and cover for about 3-5 mins, until they get a nice roasted look on them
- Add a little splash of water or some olive oil and turn down the heat to medium-low or low and cover
- Let cook for about 10 minutes or until tender. I prefer my brussel sprouts a little crunchy, so I do it for less time
- Add the maple syrup and balsamic vinegar, stir.
- Add in the cranberries, and cook for about 5 mins until the cranberries are soft
- When done, remove from heat
- Stir in the pecans and gorgonzola. The gorgonzola will get soft and melty…mmmmmm
- Serve warm and enjoy the beautiful colors of this dish!
Dark Chocolate Spelt Flour Muffins (adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie)
- 1 C Spelt flour
- 6 tbs cacao or unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate bar, chopped (or 75% dark chocolate if you prefer more bitter)
- 3/4 C pure maple syrup
- 3/4 C water
- 1/4 C almond butter
- 1/4 C greek yogurt
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350
- Grease a muffin pan, this will make about 8 muffins, more if smaller
- Whisk together the dry ingredients
- Mix the wet ingredients
- Pour the wet into the dry ingredients and stir until thoroughly mixed
- Add the chocolate chunks and stir
- Using an ice-cream scoop, distribute the batter throughout the muffin tin
- Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean
- Enjoy warm and try not to eat all of them in one sitting (I had to leave the kitchen)