Divinely Decadent Avocado Pudding

Sometimes I need to force my way through ease, like a bungling klutz, alcoholic binging set aside. When my body seizes up from the winter’s brazen rawness, I seek comfort. Sometimes in all the wrong places. But solace comes in many shapes and sizes. And today, I turned to my VitaMix. I craved something stimulating, rich, carnal and velvety smooth. So with that image in mind, I checked through my food pantry and immediately pounced on my stock of overripe avocados (bonus buy @ 99¢ for 6). Such a luscious place to start! I dreamed up a raw chocolate-y heavenly treat, that came more from instinct than recipe.

Et voila! Here below lies a recipe of gorgeous comfort that fulfills the gap of ease that has been missing from my day. I really hope you enjoy this yummy concoction. PLEASE experiment with your own sexy ingredients! And take pictures along the way :).

BTW, Valentine’s Day is coming up. This naughty decadence is a perfect ensemble for your special someone and day / evening / event planned. Make this concoction a two-way preparatory invitation to luscious fun. If you’re going solo, you get to enjoy this blissful naughtiness all.to.yourself. ENJOY!

Divinely Decadent Avocado PuddingDivinely Decadent Avocado Pudding (veGAN = Bonus!)

Succulent Vegan Ingredients:

  • 6 ripe avocados
  • 1 cup raw cacao powder
  • 1/2 cup organic apple sauce (recipe made in Vitamix with organic russet apple – no sugar or water; 100% pure apple)
  • 13 prunes soaked in boiling water (left to cool to room temperature). Dates may give this a different taste, consistency and sweetness. Prunes is what I had. And they worked beautifully in community with the other ingredients.
  • 1/8 cup raw cacao nibs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 fruit juice (I used 100% passionfruit)
  • 3 tablespoons coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons organic sugar ~ (this can be excluded if you prefer less sweet). Honey, coconut or brown sugar could be used instead.
  • 1/4 cup boiling water (used to dissolve sweetener of choice) + prune soak water
  • pinch of himalayan salt

Experimental Toppings:

  • Chopped pistachios, cashews or walnuts
  • Dehydrated pineapple slices
  • Sea Salt
  • Fresh fruit such as strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, bananas
  • Fresh mint leaves
  • Shredded coconut
  • Coconut cream
  • Chocolate nibs
  • Chocolate covered toffee bites
  • Chocolate covered coffee beans
  • Anything else chocolate that you can handle or desire

Spinny Directions:

  1. Add ingredients to a VitaMix (a blender or food processor will suffice if you’re not lucky enough to own said VitaMix … go here to buy one if you’re interested! :)) in the order of ingredients as listed above.
  2. Twirl until smooth and lusciously irresistible (I’d say about 2-3 minutes). Use the tamper if you’re using the VitaMix.
  3. Add any additional liquid of choice until the avocado bliss pudding is the consistency you desire. If it’s a little thinner than desired, that’s okay. The more quantity, the merrier! The pudding will thicken up once it’s chilled in the refrigerator.
  4. Spoon into beautiful bowls, cover and chill (IF you can resist it that long).
  5. Take fingers or spatula and lick out entire mixing container.
  6. Be forewarned:  this pudding is a high-fat, high-calorie, highly addictive dessert. It will serve about 4 people (or good 4 body-painting for 2 >> make less thin, and skip the chilling).

VitaMix YumminessNow that’s what I call  delicious ease, grace and divinity with a creative twist!

What’s your definition of ease when life dips below the tolerable line, and much-needed simplicity and comfort is desired in your life?

 

PS. For those that don’t know me, I often speak metaphorically when I write — I couldn’t alcoholic binge if I tried :). I am, however, at times, a bumbling oaf.

I Dream of Cirque

The culmination of our tour in Las Vegas was the gift to each other for tickets to see the world-reknowned Cirque du Soleil show “O“, in permanent residence at the Bellagio Hotel since October 1998 (grossing over a billion dollars since it began!). I concur with the Los Angeles Times synopsis: “‘O’ is liquid magic …”. The mind-boggling contortionist display of pure fantastical imagination defies any sort of classification or categorization that I could give it. It’s even challenging to find words to describe the soul and beauty of the etherial quality behind the artists display of their incredible talents. The colourful, creative costumes and aerial aquatic displays … oh my! Flying silks whisked across the theatre and stage, creating a magical feel that seemed perfectly natural and unpretentious. I was completely gobsmacked and poised on the edge of my seat throughout the dazzling 2 hour performance. I felt utterly seduced and sucked in to this theatrical world of romanticism and fluidity. The display of sheer imagination felt so serenely real and other-worldly, all centered around a 1.5 million gallon pool / stage that fluxed from zero to 25 feet in depth. It was mind boggling to see the actual stage be a character, just as dynamic and fascinating as the other 11 acts. I’d be supremely privileged to attend another performance of this show …. in a heartbeat, if it weren’t so expensive! But to be honest, it was worth every penny to share in this with slaDE. A MUST see for anyone visiting Vegas!

Wikipedia provides a great outline of those enthralling acts:

O has eleven acts in total, which are performed both in, out, and above of the water.

  • Synchronized swimming: A group of synchronized swimmers perform in the pool.
  • Duo trapeze: Two aerialists perform on a single trapeze above the water.
  • Barge: A unique combination of banquine and adagio is performed on a floating raft on top of the water.
  • Bateau: A group of acrobats perform a combination of aerial cradle and parallel bars on a swinging boat-shaped apparatus high above the water.
  • Fire: A group of artists perform fire dancing.
  • Russian swing: Acrobats propel themselves high into the air with three sets of Russian swings and dive down into the water.
  • Cadre: A group of acrobats perform on a suspended frame high above the water in an artificial rain storm.
  • High dive: A group of four world-class divers leap from 60 feet above the stage into a 20-foot-deep (6.1 m) triangular section of the pool.
  • Washington trapeze: An artist performs on a fixed trapeze that swings in a long pendulum motion and is raised and lowered.
  • Contortion: Four young women with extreme balance and flexibility create graceful and lithe figures and movements.
  • Aerial hoops: A group of performers perform on hoops attached to the ceiling to perform various tricks both in and above the water.

Acts in rotation

  • Solo trapeze: An aerialist performs on a single trapeze high above the water.

Here’s the official O trailer: http://youtu.be/Vm11jzx7Ka0

 

slaDE and I have seen 3 other Cirque Du Soleil shows, all memorable and amazing experiences. But for me, I think that “O” will be the highlight of my Cirque Du Soleil viewing experiences, thus far! Do you have a favourite Vegas show? Have you ever seen any shows from Cirque Du Soleil? If so, what was your experience like? I’d love for you to share!

Lululemon Karma

lululemon yorkvilleYorkville Lululemon workshopWe’ve been incredibly blessed through out our yoga journey, with so many incredible instructors, mentors, blessings and offerings gifted to us. In light of all that has been given to us, we are happy to extend our service through the form of karma classes, and Lululemon literally gave us flight with our first very workshop in Calgary. It felt so good to be teaching a karma yogaFLIGHT class in Canada again. It’s been a while, with all our travelling commitments and nomadic calendar. I worked pretty diligently at creating the two dates we set up at the Yorkville Cumberland Lululemon store. Much followup and email conversations. It’s kind of difficult establishing a class as an ‘unknown’ within a new community. Often, the team leaders who organize the Lululemon schedule want to visit one your classes or your studio before bringing someone on board to their community events agenda. The difficulty with that for us is that we don’t have a studio nor regularly scheduled classes. However, since our photoshoot in Vancouver with Lululemon, it seems that our web presence on their website gave us some ‘street credibility’. Not that we needed it, but as we don’t fit into the typical mould of yoga instructors or yoga ambassadors, every little bit of help in establishing set karma classes within the community is an added bonus.

Tonight, we rocked the Yorkville store with 24 eager new yogaFLIGHT enthusiasts. It was breathtaking, truly. And we feel very blessed for having an abundance of classes in such a short time span, within Toronto!

Our Lululemon Photo Shoot

It’s been a while since feeling this excited at wanting to pounce out of bed and start my day (our wedding day and Skydiving in to the Blue Hole were both similar in depth and sentiment). An incredible surge of emotion welled within me from the time I opened my eyes … exaggerated and self-indulgent feelings of intrigue, excitement, nervousness, giddiness, blissful happiness, and worry (doubt as to the level of skill and/or connection Lululemon might be hoping or expecting from us) energized my spirit. I felt as if every nerve-ending within my body was electric and on fire. This incredible flowing life-force helped me embrace a sense of complete presence, savouring each and every moment of the day that unfolded. I didn’t want to miss a beat in this day of wonder and adventure.

We both felt incredibly rested … the comfortably sublime bed was a much-needed haven before the ‘storm’. And with some time to spare, we made our way down to the Business Centre to practice some of our more complicated mounts. Unfortunately, when trying a tricky knee balance, that I usually have a spotter for, I fell quite solidly on my wrists, jolting my shoulder. Lesson learned … better to approach the day with a bit more caution and grounding. I was literally flying too high!

The taxi ride to the UBC Boathouse (our location shoot for 8 hours today) was in an ultra-modern Prius. How appropriate! Never one to take taxis, I felt much more comfortable being ferried within an enviro-friendly vehicle. The weather was rather dreary and dark. Typical Vancouver winter weather. However, nothing could dampen my mood, truly! Upon arrival at the UBC Boathouse, I was in awe by the sheer beauty of the space that we were to call our play-space. A gorgeous synergy of wood, aluminum and big bold windows created a fabulous place to be creative in. The beauty of this day … the professionals looked to us for direction and catered to our every need, allowing us to feel at home from the moment we walked through the door. I savoured the camaraderie of our team. The crew was so talented with their individual skills and vision. I could get used to this! 🙂 Yet, I felt completely humbled by the experience. Who was I to be the centre of such attention? It felt surreal and almost out-of-place in my world of self-imposed introversion.

 

Through this whole experience, I’ve learned that everyone deserves the sort of opportunity that we’ve had today. A chance to be recognized, appreciated, pampered, connected with other like-minded souls while doing something that we truly love. That last point is wherein the magic lies. Loving life and what you do can only provide endless amounts of happiness, opportunity and gratitude. Offering our skills and passions to the world is where we excel and find the most gratitude and satisfaction. Care to join us on our next yogaFLIGHT adventure??!

Practise Makes Perfect

Practising yogaFLIGHT and finessing our flying for the photo shoot this Friday has been such an exciting journey. But one thing that we’ve been lacking is an outside perspective on our practice. So we came up with the idea that a gym with mirrors would be a great way to solve our dilemma. It so happens that less than a mile away, a lovely gym in Oshawa called Platinum Family Fitness has a gorgeous space with mirrors lining 2 walls. That’s exactly what we’d been seeking! With two hours of in-your-face body flight, we’re so much better geared for Friday, having seen where we could make improvements, with optimum visualization of the lines and alignment that visually is more appealing, safer and and more graceful when in the midst of yogaFLIGHT.

Best Date Ever

It was date night: 1 month shy of our anniversary, but I wanted to make it an all-together different, fun and memorable rendezvous! I’ve been secretly planning this date with my husband for a month now. When I worked with my skydiving buddy Jill at the CNE, she spoke about her friend Peter, who happens to be the owner and Manager at the Jungle Cat World in Orono {just 30 minutes from our home base in Oshawa}. From the moment I heard about this unique privately-owned zoo, I was intrigued. And when I met Peter during one evening stint at the CNE, I was intent on exploring the possibility of a ‘Behind the Scenes‘ tour of the zoo. It sounded fascinating. AND the perfect rendezvous for our mas-iversary (monthly anniversary) date night — next month marks our 10 year anniversary since we first started dating! So in the penultimate of special dates, I surprised my husband with an unforgettable date to the Jungle Cat World Wildlife Park, an excursion that will forever be etched in our memories and hearts.

We engaged in a remarkably playful and fun tour with Head Zoo Keeper Jen Bird. She was fantastic and extremely knowledgable. The love for her job shone through in her enthusiasm and generosity. The baby Cougar (aka Puma / Mountain Lion) Sassy and endangered Amur Tiger at Jungle Cat World were the highlights of our visit. Additionally, we were blessed to also experience the Safari Zoo Camp education evening shared with 20 other grade school students. We were introduced to 10 wild animals of the park. Sassy and Nadine both made an appearance, which was thrilling yet again to see them playful and at home. The evening tour of the big cat feedings was extremely informative and enjoyable. The big cats were so much more active than from our daytime tour. Carl Tordiff was an entertaining young man who is beyond knowledgable and accommodating. Kudos to such an incredible facility far beyond any ‘zoo’ I have ever visited or experienced. An incredible experience that I recommend highly to any folks of all ages. Thank you to Peter Klose for his generosity in letting us visit with the baby cats :). Check them out at their Jungle Cat World website and on Tripadvisor.

 

Danny Paradise Ashtanga Yoga Workshop

Thanks to Facebook, last Saturday I haphazardly stumbled across a listing for a fantastic workshop to be taught at the Yoga Loft in Lindsay by World Renown Ashtanga Yoga Master, Shamanic Practitioner, Prana Facilitator, Philosopher and Musician, Danny Paradise. The thought of attending a class inspired by him had me beyond excited at the thought of slaDE also experiencing the style and teachings of this truly talented Yogi. You see, although Danny is a fellow Canadian, his workshops usually have him travelling on a whirlwind schedule (8-9 months of the year — he’s been globe-trotting since 1979), leading workshops and holidays in exotic locations. He pretty much leads the dream life I aspire to, of travelling the world, spreading the love of Yoga, healthy living, and Prana, returning to his roots in Hawaii and Canada on his ‘down time’.  To give you an example of his amazing lifestyle and itinerary, he’s in: USA – August; Spain – September; Germany, Spain & Greece – October; UK – October-November; Thailand – January & February; Israel – February; Bali (the Spirit Festival!) – March; Thailand – April.; Brazil – July, and full circle back to the USA in August 2012. This dear readers comes solely from the scheduled events posted on his website. Whoa!!! Sensational :).

About 6 years ago, I had the privilege of participating in a day long workshop led by Danny at a yoga retreat in Goa, India (I spent 4 months there, discovering yoga in exchange for my web design services) as well as doing a photoshoot on the beach with Danny and friends. This was my first introduction to yoga in the ‘wild’. WOW! The strength, the beauty, the form. In addition. I thought Danny was a fabulous teacher. At the time, I had little to compare his level or style of instruction to. I was a fledgling yoga student and had no idea what the practice of yoga would truly mean to me and my life. Of course, one can’t predict the future, but yoga in itself has been as instrumental in an extreme change through my life progression as was my introduction to skydiving, 20 years ago. Fast forward 6 years to Lindsey Ontario … after experiencing many years of a wide variety of yoga and teaching styles, I was extremely excited at the thought of sharing in this workshop with slaDE~. And that we did. What started as an initial 3 hour afternoon sojourn at the Yoga Loft turned in to a 4 hour class with a lovely evening meal attended by Danny and friends from the studio. Danny did not disappoint. To this day, I find him an incredible teacher, displaying a chill laid-back humble style that is intuitive, knowledgeable, educational, entertaining and extremely valuable.

What I truly loved about Danny’s compassionate and playful afternoon Ashtanga workshop was his provision of a reading list along with notes on and time for a full Pranayama practice.  He spent a good 45 minutes discussing what yoga, shamanism, prayer, meditation and healthy living has meant to him throughout his yoga lifetime (he started in 1976 with David Williams & Nancy Gilgoff). Throughout the rest of his Ashtanga (Primary Series) class, Danny skillfully guided and encouraged us, his students, to empower our minds and make a daily practice of yoga that is “sacred, safe, meditative, healing, joyful, expanding, energetic and pain-free — modified where necessary” (whether it be pranayama, meditation or asana). Many a wonderful quote and inspirational message came from Danny. His personal thoughts and interpretations on yoga expressed the practice as being about (as transcribed from my hectic scribblings during the class):

  • consciousness and self-understanding
  • evolution
  • healing
  • soul work accessing deep levels of the brain
  • reconnecting
  • body and spiritual purification
  • aging with vitality, grace, health and clarity
  • an ancient tradition as old as the human race that delves in to the understanding of human consciousness
  • one way of eliminating fear, anxiety, disease and stress
  • grounding in the present (the only place where true healing can take place)
  • communication with spirit
  • a way of understanding aging and death
  • a gateway for emotional release
I desperately needed this reintroduction in to the magical world of yoga’s realm. Sometimes I find myself losing sight of the possibility of such presence and strength in my life, especially when my body feels weak, unforgiving and judgmental. It’s at times like these that I need Yoga most. Yoga is indeed a truly personal and private journey towards liberation. And I am most grateful for this opportunity in my transformative and educational journey.

“Though Yoga is an ancient teaching it is open to interpretation in all eras and by everyone who enters into the exploration of finding who they really are and what is their ever-evolving place in this endless creation.”

 From Danny’s website, here are a few more personal impressions :

  • Everyone is born to follow their dream.
  • Borders were created by narrow-minded men {not women!} to divide and control people, but God created a world and a universe without borders, without limitations…
  • Only a person with a tiny mind wants to lock people out or in.
  • Death is just another stage of evolution.
  • Love is an endless well available at all times from the Great Spirit…no charge!
  • Go organic! Stay Flexible…
  • Find out what’s really going on….Travel!

My thoughts exactly! What do you think? What does yoga mean to you in your life?

 

Recovering

What a joy it was to sleep in this morning. The temperatures of the past week had waned, and a cool morning breeze filled the room and warmed my soul. I couldn’t help but wake with a smile, thinking of the past month here in Montreal. So many amazing and diverse memories, all involving flight and wonderful connections. The joy in life really seems to be all about connecting. Without that strand of humanity to link one experience with another, life would feel incredibly empty. Here’s a similar analogy that resonated huge with me this week. Kate “B-girl Lynx” Alsterlun extended this analogy as learned from Eugene Poku: In yoga, the breath is like the string of a pearl necklace. The pearls are the asanas and the breath brings the asanas full circle and keeps the practice together, continuous and circular.

The morning was spent with Paul teaching us some tricks to strength in Chaturanga, Downward Dog and jump forwards, linking the Sun Salutation together as a fluid strong movement. I felt very blessed to witness his teaching style and to learn some pointers for my own practice and teaching. Before we knew it, we were on our way back to Verona for a visit with slaDE~s Mom. It would be so good to arrive back at our Airstream, to sleep succulently sound in our own bed.

Alumapalooza 2011 Final Day

What a full big day! With so many interesting opportunities to pursue today, I was torn between teaching our morning yoga class vs attending the SWAP Meet (think large flea market / garage sale, oriented towards RVers). slaDE was happy to lead the morning class through an hour of breathing and stretching. He even made the morning batch of smoothies, which was fabulously successful and tasty (see recipe below). I spent the day wandering around, photographing trailers both inside and out in conjunction with the trailer open house. I love this part of a rally. People letting me into their Airstream and in turn I come up with ideas and a new appreciation for people’s creative spark in enlivening their trailer.

The afternoon was such a blast! Airstream hosted a Rivet Master contest whereby teams would get a trial run at 3 practice rivets on an aluminum sheet with a multitude of lines to be riveted within a set time of 30 seconds. Which ever team riveted the cleanest and nicest looking rivets would win 2 chairs from Zip-Dee Awnings. Sweet! slaDE~ and I tried our best with 9 rivets and a 94% score, but Shinim and Al won hands down with 11 rivets and a perfect score. The teamwork aspect worked well for us anyway :).

Vitamix Smoothie Recipe Day 3: slaDE~s Fruity Delight

  • 3 large pieces of watermelon
  • 2 cups of pineapple
  • ½ mango
  • handful each of kale and spinach, stems removed
  • 1 tsp cinnamon and cardamon
  • 2 oranges
  • water and ice to taste

Play with the Grandkids

Dad and his wife Karen’s grandkids came to play for the weekend, and slaDE and I were swept along by all the excitement and laughter that the day brought with it. What a beautiful adventure it was to capture their essence with a camera, seeing the joy that only children seem to reflect in all that they do and play. Trampoline fun (I haven’t played ‘Duck, Duck, Goose’ since I was a child!), puppy love, horse rides, ventures on the four wheeler with Dad, and s’mores by the campfire. How wonderfully distracting it was from the task that lay heavily at hand, spread out all before me in the barn.