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…3, 2, 1 Happy New Year! December 31, 2011

2012 is swiftly approaching and since I am a glutton for punishment, I usually like to review my New Year Resolutions from last year to measure my progress. Oh, right – um, save money, lose weight, eat less junk and exercise. Oops! Forgot about those ones!

To borrow words from one of my favourite writers, Robert E. Howells, “New Year Resolutions are sewn with the seeds of their own demise. Why bother?” I know we’ve all been there. But Mr. Howells suggests that although goals are important, right now we should focus on…well, right now. My interpretation is that somewhere between penny pinching and spending my money with reckless fervour, or swearing to go on a no-carb diet to living on ice cream and bagels, or whatever dichotomies prevail in your own life, there exists a peaceful balance. Just as somewhere between mourning the goals we could’ve or should’ve achieved four years ago and the ambitions we could or should accomplish next year, there is simply “right now”. I think, at least for me, the real resolution is discovering the “balance”, the “right now”, the “today”, the “this moment” and loving it, imperfections and all.

These days, I come to that place of balance by revelling in therapeutic cooking. There’s nothing like preparing great food that can simultaneously draw out the methodical mad chemist and the free chaotic artist in me. At any given moment, I am the child licking cake batter off the spatula, or the teenager cooking dinner for her boyfriend for the first time, or the woman carrying out a labour of love for her family. This is my place of balance and of “here and now”. What’s yours?

While we’re on the subject of cooking, I’m still on my chocolate train (yup, gonna ride this one ‘til the wheels fall off! Then it’s straight broccoli and celery for 2012!) Oh right, no more extremes – I forgot! Here is the latest recipe, “Passion Pot de Creme” from our Rejuvenate Your Prana Kitchen (an egg-free, no bake version with cashew cream). Simple and delicious – just the way we should aim for our lives to be in the New Year.

Photo courtesy of Martin Phung

Recipe:
For the chocolate pot de crème:
8 oz. of good quality semi-sweet chocolate (I used Callebaut semi-sweet chocolate chips – use your favorite kind)
2 tsp of orange zest (other options: ground coffee, cinnamon, etc.)
1 C of plain almond milk
½ C finely ground almond
1 tsp of vanilla extract

For the cashew cream:
1 C raw cashews (soaked in water for 30 minutes)
3 oz dates (soaked in water for 30 minutes)
1 tsp vanilla extract
Water as needed (use soaking water from the dates)

Directions:
1. For the pot de crème: melt chocolate in heat proof bowl (e.g. I placed the bowl in a shallow pan filled with water to create a double broiler)
2. Mix orange zest in melted chocolate. Remove from heat.
3. In a separate bowl, mix the almond milk, vanilla and ground almonds. Pour mixture into melted chocolate and whisk until evenly blended.
4. Pour into 4 small ramekins. Place in the fridge for at least 2 hours. The pot de crème should be thick and rich like pudding after refrigeration.
5. Make the cashew cream: Drain water from cashews and place in a blender, add with dates and the soaking water and the vanilla (the amount of water added should be just enough to cover the solids). Taste and add more sweetener if desired (remember that the chocolate will be quite sweet so the cashew cream should have a milder taste).
6. To assemble: Dollop cashew cream on top of chilled chocolate.
7. Garnish with berries or chocolate shavings and serve chilled.
8. Enjoy!

Oh, and if you’d like to get some of Alanna’s tips on centering and finding balance through Yoga, you can read her post on December 30th over at The Edmonton Tourist (a blog by our friend Robyn, which is thoughtfully composed with healthy doses of real life and humour).
Happy New Year from Rejuvenate your Prana! If you are in the Edmonton area, be sure to check out our upcoming workshops in 2012, where we will be providing “wellness escapes” from everyday busy life through yoga and nourishing foods. Namaste.

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Rejuvenate Your Prana with Jana and Alanna June 29, 2011

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Explore your Doshas through yoga and delicious nourishing foods with Yogini, Alanna MacGurry and Fusion Chef, Jana Phung. Upcoming workshops will be posted on this site!