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.

Watermelonade to the Rescue

Oh blazes it’s hot! Please note, I am NOT complaining … I’m just sharing.

Our home for the summer runs on an old electrical panel with old glasses fuses. This means that when we blow a fuse, rather than ‘flip’ / reset the breaker switch, we actually have to replace the old blown glass fuse with a new one. A bit of a pain, especially as parts of Dawn’s house is also run on the same breaker as our Airstream. So when running a toaster, nothing else can be run. Same goes for the Vita-Mix, microwave, etc. The thought of an air conditioner right now is hugely desirable, but with only 15 amps of power being shared between us both I fear that we’d be blowing fuses left, right and centre. Hence, we open all the windows, run our fantastic fans on high, extend all the awnings.

What’s a girl gotta do to keep cool? Hide in the basement / yoga studio is one option. The second option came up from visiting a health fair yesterday. A juice bar served a simple slushy-like watermelon concoction that inspired me in to making my own! So I’ve come up with a name that I will copyright (unless of course, someone has beat me to it prior to this moment)! Watermelonade 🙂

Here’s the recipe for your cooling refreshing pleasure. Of course, any organic ingredients are preferred over the conventional variety. Go for at least organic lemons / limes:

Watermelonade Refresher

  • Cut up ⅓ to ½ watermelon (dependant on the melon size)
  • Add 3 cups of ice (filtered water ice is best)
  • 2-3 cups of water (to taste and for mixing ease)
  • 1 whole peeled lemon (and if you’re feeling adventurous, add in a peeled lime!)

Directions:

  1. Combine all the ingredients in the VitaMix.
  2. Use the plunger to mix all the ingredients (the ice will freeze up without further plunger coaxing).
  3. Sweeten to taste (or not — I prefer the juice as is), using stevia, maple syrup or organic sugar, if you must.
  4. Garnish with fresh mint or basil leaves.

Nouvel Air

Before the mad rush of an intense day of travel towards Sudbury, slaDE and I decided to spend the day unwinding and enjoying the delights of Nouvel Air (a dropzone 1 hour south of Montreal). Our friend and host Michel Lemay treated us to a late evening last night of conversation. But we were knackered and enjoyed a late morning lie-in before heading to the NovelAir dropzone. What a splendid facility — equally impressive but very different from their new flagship dz (Parachute Montreal). slaDE did video for Michel Lemay’s 4 way pickup team for a few jumps. And then we knocked out 3 spectacular 4 way jumps that had my mind reeling. They were some of the BEST skydiving jumps I’ve done in all my years. Fluid, peaceful, quiet and highly successful. We averaged 18 points on each jump. WOW! Pretty cool to get personal coaching and jumping with a National Champion. What a difference can made to my skill level!

We enjoyed an evening of raw food, great companionship and yogaFLIGHT amongst friends before reluctantly leaving, preparing ourselves mentally for the big trek ahead of us tomorrow driving cross-Province.

VitaMix Fruit Ice Cream Recipe (use organic ingredients if possible)
Fruit ice-cream / sorbet can be made quite easily with frozen fruit plus the addition of plain unflavoured yogurt if a creamier texture is preferred.

  • The basic “rule of thumb” for making ice cream (or sorbets) in a Vita-Mix is 3 cups of frozen ingredients to 1 cup of non-frozen.
  • You need to keep the ratio of unfrozen ingredients to frozen at approximately 1 to 3 or 4 for it to make a soft scoop type consistency. For a stiffer consistency, use only frozen fruit.
  • If you can’t buy frozen fruit or berries, just freeze your fresh ones. By using ice, you water down the lovely flavours possible with just two ingredients (fruit alone or fruit and yoghurt). I get the best results from making smaller quantities. About 4 cups is a good size batch.
  • Started by mixing on Variable speed 1 and increase to 10 quickly, using the tamper to push the fruit down. Once you see four ‘mounds’, you are finished!
  • Use a spatula to scoop out your ice cream. Serve immediately.

 

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

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.

Gastronomical Delights


Our last full day with visiting our friends Patrick and Ann Egan here in Sarasota. And the adventures continue! Morning yoga enlivened our waking bodies before attending to a piece of citrus heaven.

We made a trek out to Mike’s homestead (Patrick’s brother) … 10 acres of burgeoning citrus trees waiting to be plucked of their lush and season-heightened fruit. We must have picked 40 lbs (1 full grocery bag and knapsack filled to the brim) of organic oranges, madarines, grapefruit, tangerines and lemons. Juicy and seedy lusciousness which undoubtedly has proven to be the best and sweetest citrus I’ve ever had the pleasure to savour. The trick will be to see if we can eat them all before they perish! Vita-Mix a.go-go. We however need electricity for Vita-Mix creative concoctions, and our next shore power stop won’t be until our weekend Houston arrival. I do believe that the fresh citrus pickings will survive for a few weeks. I must admit, this truly has been the most delightful end to our Florida stay-cation.

It’s been an incredible culinary delight over the past week, with succulent (and more often than not seafood) dishes either cooked or ordered each and every day. What a gastronomical treat! It truly feels as if we have been on vacation, with our retired hosts spending the week showing us around the city, by car, beach and boat. Today, we wanted to offer a decadent meal offering in return. When in North Carolina, we were gifted with a Venison roast that has been waiting patiently in our freezer for the opportunity to be slow-cooked. Today was the perfect day.

The garden out back of our host’s home was filled with fresh herbs that adorned our creation …. oregano, thyme, rosemary, coriander, and a hot chile pepper gave the stewed concoction a remarkable kick. A can of beer, a swig of wine and water with garlic and red onion provided a gravy of complete decadence that excelled beyond my best culinary masterpiece to date. Patrick offered a Mexican pot of pinto beans to the mix. 9 hours of simmered preparation led us to a meal of incredible taste bud divinity. A beautiful savoury spread, with plenty of leftovers for the journey ahead has completed our week of heaven in Sarasota. We’ll be back … the question, as always, is when!


On the road again tomorrow …. I so need to get back to my normal routine of earlier meals with will-power and fervent detox dedication. I swear I’ve gained 15 lbs just in the past 3 months!

What is petroleum used in??

Continuing from my blog posting yesterday of our addiction to petroleum and the mess that’s been created in the Gulf, I wanted to break the discussion down in to a more tangible realistic portrayal of how oil is used in our everyday lives. And realistically, what can we do on an individual scale, as consumers, by looking to alternative solutions to everyday products that we use, which contain derivatives of petroleum. I’m only touching the beginnings of potential. Be cre8tive and perhaps suggest some other ways, in the comment section below! I dare you to make a difference and contribution 🙂

SURPRISING USES OF OIL
SUGGESTED ALTERNATIVES
Pantyhose Silk, cotton and wool alternatives exist. Request if not available locally.
Lipstick Ask for organic or chemical-free. Vegan and hemp alternatives exist.
Crayons Beeswax and chemical free is essential.
Gum GLEE GUMis a superb alternative and can be found at health food stores.Glee Gum is all natural chewing gum made with sustainably harvested rain forest chicle.In Canada, if you can’t find that, you might find Xylitol-based natural gums at a Korean Supermarket.
Aspirin Please speak with a Naturopath or Alternative Medicine Practitioner.
Willow bark is a powerful healer, when used with care.
Solar Panels Dispose of these properly and ask about petroleum oil-free technologies.
Synthetic Fibers / Polyesters in Clothing Eco-Friendly Fabrics are available. Try to avoid organic blends (where non-organic materials can be incorporated).
Contraceptives
  • Natural, Vegan or Lambskin condoms
  • Organic Lubricant
  • Birth Control That’s Au Naturel
  • IUD
  • Vasectomy
Toothpaste My personal favourite: Toms of Mainetoothpaste was the first natural toothpaste to be given approval from the American Dental Association.Here’s a recipe from the Instructables site for making your own toothpaste!
Mouthwash My recipe:

* 8 oz water
* 1/2 tsp baking soda
* 1/2 tsp salt
* 4 drops peppermint oil
* 4 drops tea tree
* 1 tbsp 3% peroxide

My homemade mouthwash recipe has a fabulous minty taste and helps prevent bad breath.

Baby food Vita-Mix — make your own!
Petroleum jelly (otherwise known as petrolatum or soft paraffin)
~ sometimes blended with paraffin wax and used in medicines and in many toiletries and healing moisturizers
Make your own with Beeswax as the main ingredient or try the natural vegetable product known as Cremerlin.
Petroleum (or paraffin) wax
~ used in packaging, candles, matches, shoe polish, and even candy making
Beeswax or soy wax
Asphalt Alternative asphalt solutions: Solid Earth, Ecogrid (a permeable paving solution)
Disposable Diapers Cloth diapers, foregoing diapers or at least using disposable diapers that are chlorine-free or made from recycled materials.