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.

Berry Ginger Smoothie

Yummy early winter goodness, when fresh berries are not necessarily available. Thank you to The Well Daily for this recipe!:

Berry Ginger Goodness Smoothie (serves 1)

  • 1 cup almond or hemp milk
  • ½ avocado
  • 1 banana
  • 1 teaspoon spirulina
  • 1 cup frozen berries of choice
  • 1 teaspoon flax oil
  • ½ cup coconut water
  • 1 teaspoon fresh bee pollen
  • 1 teaspoon hemp seed fresh ginger root, peeled, sliced (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon cacao powder

1. Pour the almond / hemp milk into a blender. Add the banana, frozen berries, coconut water, hemp seeds, cacao powder, avocado, spirulina and flax oil.
2. If it’s a chilly day or you’re feeling a cold coming on, add the ginger root.
3. Blend away and sprinkle with bee pollen for vitamin B-12. Serve.

Autumn Falls Upon Us


Today is the first day of Fall / Autumn, a time for inner change and harvest. Think ~ colours-of-the-sunset harvest vegetables, abundant earthy goodness and sturdy flowers (sunflowers!!!). Where Summer is about spontaneity and letting loose, Autumn, for me, is a time to reflect and do some deep inner housekeeping. Routines start to take shape as I consider doing more yoga and maybe check out a women’s networking group (check and check btw). I start to look at my goals from the Spring and begin a new plan for Winter. Possibly even make a plan for a vacation somewhere hot. I love the vibrant colors of Autumn, the fresh foods at the market and also the cooler evenings and gorgeous sunsets. I also love the rain. This to me signifies that it’s time for cleansing, yet again. Autumn feels very masculine to me, therefore I look to my partner for support, snuggles and warmth. Stews and soups begin to make their way to our dining table where we become thankful and vibrantly aware of our abundance and health. Here I am eternally grateful for our Vitamix. The perfect appliance for making rich hearty healthy soups.

Hope you enjoy this recipe from the  Minimalist Baker


Sweet Potato Coconut Curry Soup
A sweet and spicy Vegan soup with sweet potato, coconut milk, and yellow curry powder. Plenty creamy with a slight crunch
and heartiness from spicy baked chickpeas
Serves: 4


Ingredients:

{Soup}
  • 1 medium white onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 large sweet potato, cubed
  • 2 Tbsp yellow curry powder
  • ½ tsp chipotle (or cayenne) powder
  • ¾ tsp sea salt + ½ tsp pepper
  • 3 cups coconut milk (either light coconut milk or plain coconut beverage)
  • chickpeas

{Spicy baked chickpeas}

  • 1 can chickpeas (2 cups)
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp yellow curry powder
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp ginger powder
  • pinch chipotle (or cayenne) powder


Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 (for chickpeas).
  2. Then start the soup by sweating the onions in a large pot over medium heat in ½ Tbsp coconut (or olive/canola) oil. Cook
    for a few minutes and then add garlic and stir.
  3. Season with ¼ tsp each salt and pepper and stir. Add sweet potatoes, curry powder, chipotle (or cayenne) and stir.
  4. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  5. Add ¼ tsp more salt and pepper, coconut milk and cover.
  6. Bring to a simmer and then reduce heat to low. Simmer for 25 minutes more.
  7. In the meantime, prep your chickpeas by tossing them in olive oil and spices and spreading evenly on a baking sheet. Bake
    for 25-30 minutes or until crispy on the outside and slightly soft on the inside. Remove and set aside for serving.
  8. At the end of 25 minutes, taste and adjust seasonings as needed. I added about ¼ tsp more salt and a pinch more chipotle.
    Then puree using an immersion blender, food processor or blender (we use our Vitamix). Transfer back to the pot if needed and keep heat on low
    until ready to serve.
  9. Will keep in the fridge for several days and the freezer for a month or so.

Yoga and Healthy Living on the Road

Susan smilesWonderful seeing men in our morning yoga classes!With very little sleep and a lack of desired preparation for today’s ‘Healthy Living on the Road’ workshop, I was running on pure adrenaline in addition to being a wee bit nervous about standing up teaching about what I deem healthy choices in my life. slaDE was laid back and open to me being the commander to our onstage workshop — it sure has helped that I’ve spent a lot of the winter preparing material for this very workshop. The confidence boost I received from our yoga students during our class was a welcome burst of energy (the Vita-Mix smoothie helped with this as well — recipe Day #2 is published at the end of the post) that carried me through, feeling on top of the world. Again this morning, another 40 students blessed us with their presence. I am blown away by the unexpected but amazing interest in yoga this year. Packing the tent full each day with breathing and stretching beings has offered an incredible energy and lightness to Alumapalooza 2011, and I felt that this was a missing component last year.

We were absolutely delighted to run into our Canadian Airstreamin’ friends whom we made a wonderful connection with last year. Turns out that we were to be staying in their home town once we made our way north of the border. Synchronicity is such a delightful component to our adventurous life, like a puzzle that strangely falls in to place without the slightest effort or know-how. In this puzzle that we call life, I feel that what is most relevant is the intention and authenticity behind the love, relationship and gifts that we extend in to this world.

Fast forward a few hours …. the ‘Healthy Living on the Road’ workshop turned out to be a marvellous success. At least 80-100 people spent the full hour listening to me provide a steady stream of alternative options for health that have allowed slaDE and I to lead a very healthy lifestyle when travelling in our Airstream (practicing what we ‘preach’). slaDE led the audience through an active stretching session that would hopefully inspire movement in the participants’ daily lives. Time passed incredibly fast and I was able to whirl up a quick smoothie for tasting in our handy-dandy brandy-new Vita-Mix (with a shiny stainless steel brushed finish). The concoction must have been a hit with it disappearing within minutes! After our workshop, slaDE and I demoed yogaFLIGHT after the happy-hour draws and announcements. From there, a man name Jerry volunteered to try this form of ‘yoga flying’. You see, Jerry was easily 300 lbs and 6’4″ tall. Yikes! Many people were contemplating the intelligence of slaDE offering his services to Jerry, but it’s amazing the strength and flexibility my husband has! This moment in time captured was priceless, for all those involved and witness!

Child's PoseVita-Mix Smoothie Recipe Day 2: Morning Zing Smoothie

• ½ blender of water and ice
• 2 stalks celery
• 2 sticks carrot
• small handful of kale
• handful of spinach
• ½ inch fresh ginger root
• 2 apples
• 3 large wedges of watermelon (without rind; any seeds liquify beautifully in the VM)
• 1 tsp cinnamon and cardamon
• 2 tsp of lemon juice to cut any green taste (for newbie green smoothie drinkers)

The Yogic Circle

To start the day off brilliantly, we decided that I’d offer to make Vita-Mix smoothies (in small sample cups — recipe Day #1 is published at the end of the post) for each of the students that turned up to class. I’ve always been an adamant believer in a hearty nutritious breakfast, and with the addition of a Vita-Mix in to our lives, I love the fact that over the past 3.5 years since owning it, my morning ritual (for the most part) has consisted of experimenting with the alchemy of smoothies. I rarely follow a recipe in my prep. My concoctions are purely experimental. Luckily, my husband is a willing guinea pig to my creations. And so would the students in our yoga class be for the remainder of the rally. Sweet!

Here we are again in the yoga tent, continuing to breath and connect. That is our mantra, stretching both the body and mind. 40 eager students showed up, experiencing the joys of a morning practice filled with spirit and presence … yoga at its heart and most pure. Our turnout was deemed to be so successful that a second class during the day was suggested by the event organizers. However, with several yogaFLIGHT workshops planned over the next few days during an already hectic schedule, our large morning class seemed sufficient in holding the space for the demand of those wanting do yoga. But that didn’t mean yogaFLIGHT demos would stop. In fact, slaDE continued to twirl curious people on his feet throughout the day as a growing interest was sparked by the sheer beauty of the playful experience — ‘Flying Yoga’, what a concept!

What gathering of people isn’t complete without a joining of food dishes? Potlucks rule in my world! Always a welcome treat to savour other delicacies beyond my own sometimes boring / bland contributions I dub an evening meal. As an added bonus, potlucks at Alumapalooza are a great way to spend time with new and old friends, tasting unique and healthy dishes whilst enjoying the company of fellow Airstreamers (a class of their own).

This year, we have our new Nikon camera as a means to add depth to my passion for photography. I love using a camera when unique characters, opportunities and visions present themselves. And Alumapalooza thus far has been filled with magic moments worth capturing (where would I be without the ease of a digital camera?). I hope you can share in the enchantment we felt through the eyes of both slaDE and myself in our photos.

Vita-Mix Smoothie Recipe Day 1: Simply Green Smoothie

  • ½ blender of water and ice
  • ⅛ cup flax seed, ground to a fine meal
  • 1 tsp cinnamon, cardamon and nutmeg
  • ½ cup each of frozen: blueberries, cranberries, pineapple
  • 1 peeled orange
  • 3 large wedges of watermelon (without rind; any seeds liquify beautifully in the Vita-Mix)
  • 1 banana
  • handful of kale
  • small handful of spinach
  • dash of lemon juice to cut any green taste (for newbie green smoothie drinkers)

Preparation:

  1. Grind the flax seeds in the Vita-Mix with a bit of water.
  2. Fill the container with the remaining water and ice.
  3. Add all other ingredients and turn Vita-Mix on low until the mixture is moving smoothly.
  4. Blend well on high for 1 minute until creamy, cold and frothy. VERY thirst quenching.

Homebodies

A drizzly day matching our sniffling noses (mine more from minor allergies to the pets rather than the cold that Jen is suffering from). Nice to have the option to stay warm and dry on a damp tepid morning, visiting and cooking splendid food!

As a team, we collaborated on and cooked a succulent vegetarian meal that amazed even my culinary experimentations (I rarely follow recipes, making it up as I go). Hence, the recipe that follows may not be exact to complete measurements.  Add the spices to what you feel intuitively works for your taste buds!

The Remnants of Winter Stew

  • a whole butternut squash, cut into large chunks
  • 6 peeled potatoes, cut into medium chunks
  • 1 onion diced
  • handful of mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 stalks of chopped celery
  • 3 cups of spinach
  • 2 cups freshly cooked mung beans
  • 1 can of mixed beans
  • 1 can of garbonzo beans
  • 1 can of whole tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp each of finely chopped garlic and ginger
  • chicken stock to taste
  • spices: cayenne, turmeric, fenugreek, coriander seed, cumin, curry powder, pepper
  • sesame oil and ghee used to fry

The onions, celery and mushrooms were fried in ghee until almost caramelized. The squash and potatoes were added and left to simmer in a cup of chicken stock for about 30 minutes. The spices were fried in ghee and then added to the potato mixture halfway through. In another pot, the tomatoes and beans were heated up, ready for the final addition of the hearty root vegetables. The spinach was added in the last few minutes in order to retain it’s textures and colour. Served with organic yogurt for a lovely finishing touch!

Yummy Vegetarian Burritos!

When staying in Kitty HAwk, North Carolina, our driveway hosts offered to make us a lovely dinner. That night, with a sly grin on his face, David whipped out his handy dandy favourite cookbook, swearing by the recipes found in ‘The Moosewood Restaurant Low Fat Favourites’ cookbook. The Sweet Potatoes Black Bean Burritos were some of the best Mexican fare I’ve ever had: tested, tried and loved (no cheese needed).

Here’s the recipe for your enjoyment! I just HAD to share 🙂 — Please note, this is a copyrighted recipe, direct from The Moosewood Restaurant cookbook.

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burrito

  • 5 cups peeled cubed sweet potatoes (4 potatoes)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tsps canola or veg oil
  • 3 ½ cups diced onions (2 red onions)
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh green chile
  • 4 tsps ground cumin
  • 4 tsps ground coriander
  • 4 ½ cups cooked black beans (three 15-oz cans, drained)
  • ⅔ cup lightly packed cilantro leaves
  • 2 tbsps fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 8 eight-inch flour tortillas
  • Fresh Tomato Salsa
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place the sweet potatoes in a medium saucepan with the salt and water to cover. Cover and cook on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions are tender, about 7minutes. Add the cumin and coriander and cook for 2 to 3 minutes longer, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  3. In a food processor, combine the black beans, cilantro, lemon juice, salt, and cooked sweet potatoes and puree until smooth (see Note). Transfer the sweet potato mixture to a large mixing bowl and mix in the cooked onions and spices.
  4. Lightly oil a large baking dish. Spoon about ⅔ to /4 cup of the filling in the centre of each tortilla, roll it up, and place it seam side down, in the baking dish. Cover tightly with foil and bake for about 30 minutes, until piping hot. Serve topped with salsa.

Laundry Tips and Recipes

Being the change that I wish to see in the world is all about taking personal responsibility for the planet which we all share, love and call home. Because we live in a world (and climate) that necessitates clothing in our daily living, today’s tips and recipes focuses on how we can make a difference in the way we approach washing our garments. For me, my most important focus is in doing laundry is about energy conservation and being cognizant about what goes into the septic system. Here’s a few interesting facts from the Laundry List website

  • Approximately one quarter of Americans use an ENERGY STAR washer. There are no ENERGY STAR dryers on the market.
  • Less than 4% of Italian households own a dryer. [Yay for the Italians!]
  • Apartment communities can save 330 percent more water, equating to a savings of 8,216 gallons of water per year per unit, by utilizing a common-area laundry room instead of an in-unit washing machine.
  • We estimate that 8% of households line-dry their laundry during 5 months of the year. If all Americans who currently do not use a clothesline started to use one for ten months of the year, we could avoid 12 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere, annually.

For the very last reason listed above, I wanted to provide you with a list of 10 reasons about how line drying your clothing can have a significant impact on your life, as printed by the Project Laundry List:

Top Ten Reason to Line Dry

10) Save money (more than $25/month off electric bill for many households).

9) Clothes last longer. Where do you think lint comes from?

8) Clothes and linens smell better without adding possibly toxic chemicals to your body and the environment.

7) Conserve energy and the environment, while reducing climate change.Learn how!

6) It is moderate physical activity which you can do in or outside. You can even lose weight!

5) Sunlight bleaches and disinfects.

4) Indoor racks can humidify in dry winter weather.

3) Clothes dryer and washing machine fires account for about 17,700 structure fires, 15 deaths, and 360 injuries annually. The yearly national fire loss for clothes dryer fires in structures is estimated at $194 million.

2) It is fun! And can be an outdoor experience that is meditative and community-building. It may also help you avoid depression.

1) Demonstrates that small steps can make a difference. You don’t have to wait for the government to take action!

Did you know that: you don’t even need soap to wash most loads. The agitation of washing machines often cleans the clothing on its own (especially with High-Efficiency washing machines). But because most of us have grown up with the use of strong detergents and softeners in the cleaning of our clothes, below I’d like to gift you my all-time favourite, environmentally-friendly laundry detergent recipe.

Laundry Detergent Recipe:   Mix –

  • 1 cup  grated Fels Naptha soap (or Ivory soap),
  • 1/2 cup washing soda
  • 1/2 cup borax

Use 1 tablespoon for light loads; 2 tablespoons for heavy loads.

laundry-soap

Furthermore, as a booster to your laundry, Tipnut.com recommends white distilled vinegar as an incredibly versatile resource: Color Brightener; Color Protector; Whiter Whites; Yellowed Items Reviver; Heavy Duty Pre-Soak; Lint Busters; Fabric Softener; and, Ring Around The Collar Remover.

Herbal Summer Recipe: Medicinal

Mountain Rose Herbs is one of my favourite sources for online bulk herbal, culinary and aromatherapy supplies. At the moment, they’re having a DIY herbal recipe contest that can fall in to 3 categories: medicinal, culinary, or body care. In return for a winning entry to one of the three classifications, a $200 gift certificate is generously offered. And the caveat? This contest ends tomorrow, Sunday, May 16. 🙂

It’s interesting to have a diverse blog like mine that not only covers the terrain of our Airstream travels but also offers green-friendly tips and thoughts, recipes for the body, soul and health, travel experiences and advice, plus so much more. I’m curious however. Does this make my blog a bit too confusing and unfocussed? Or do you like the diverse array of topics and articles?

Anyway, enough of my rambling … on with the promised recipes, posted as three separate entities below.

Recipe #1 of the Mountain Rose Herbs Recipe Contest

Medicinal ~ Summer Bite / Sting / Splinter Poultice

bentoniteClay is known for its ability to purify and pull poison out of a bite / sting to the skin’s surface, keeping the poison from spreading; Echinacea lessens an allergic reaction and Lavender disinfects.

Yield = 1/8 cup Clay Poultice (paste)

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon Bentonite Clay
  • 1 tbsp Distilled Water
  • 12 drops Lavender essential oil
  • 1 teaspoon Echinacea Root tincture

Combine the lavender e.o. with the echinacea tincture. Mix the the water and the clay together, using only enough water to form a thick paste, and slather it on to the wound area.

Let the clay dry for about 20 minutes. There may be a slight pulling sensation as it dries … this is a normal sensation. Rinse the clay poultice off with cool water and reapply, if necessary.

For a more powerful poultice, mix equal parts of bentonite clay with apple cider vinegar until it forms a creamy paste. Apply the paste liberally to the problem area and let it set on the body for about 45 minutes. Rinse as above. Be sure not to use any metal bowls or silverware when mixing this recipe as the bentonite clay could react badly with any metal used.

Herbal Summer Recipe: Culinary

Recipe #2 of the Mountain Rose Herbs Recipe Contest

Culinary ~ sKY::s Super Green Superfood Smoothie

VitaMix SmoothieSmoothies are a cre8tive force that I tinker with almost every day, and rarely do I duplicate the same ‘recipe’, as I tend to blend whatever I have available.
The quantities in the smoothie can vary depending on how many you will be feeding and how green / sweet  you like your smoothies. And if you don’t have some of the ingredients, don’t fret! Mix and match whatever you can that appeals to your sense of taste and adventure.

Vita-Mix Smoothie Ingredients:

  • 2 – 5 cups liquid  (I tend to use water or Almond Milk) but Juice, Herbal or Green Tea, Soy /Nut Milk and yogurt are options as well
  • 1 frozen Banana
  • 1 peeled Orange
  • 1/2 cup frozen fruit such as Blueberries, Strawberries, Mango, Pineapple
  • 2 tablespoons Hemp Powder (or Protein Powder of choice)
  • 2 handfuls fresh greens (Spinach, Chard, Kale, etc)
  • 1 tablespoon Chia Seeds (awesome protein source)
  • 2 tablespoons Flax Seed
  • 2 tablespoons raw Cacao Nibs or 1 tablespoon raw Cacao Powder
  • 1 tablespoon of Bee Pollen
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup Aloe Vera Juice
  • a pinch of cardamon, cinnamon and sea / Himalayan salt
  • a splash of vanilla extract

VitaMix smoothieFor the adventurous, add:

  • a few Dandelion Leaves
  • 1 teaspoon Spirulina or Blue Green Algae
  • 1 tablespoon of Maca Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Açaí powder
  • 1 teaspoon hemp and/or coconut oil

Try to source ingredients which are organic and/or as local and fresh as possible.

Blend all ingredients in a highspeed blender (placing solid or frozen ingredients in last — we use the Vita-Mix and LOVE it!).
Secure lid and blend. If necessary, add more liquid to reach the desired consistency. Serve immediately. One super-healthy, super green smoothie.

Experiment with quantities and varieties of fruits and veggies. I suggest that you give yourself permission to be a discerning alchemist. Take notes as you go to what succeeded and what ingredients were not so desirable. Let your taste-buds be your guide. Most of all, have fuN experimenting, and savour the healing and healthy experience of nourishing your body with goodness!

PS If you are interested in learning more about raw foods and where to find the Superfoods I live by, shoot me an email and I can forward you more information! Mountain Rose Herbs is a good place to start but I have other sources as well, and if interested in a Vita-Mix, you can get free standard shipping through me (anywhere in North America) and save :)!