Sour cherry delights

At the end of a yoga session I like to bring treats; something for folks to share.  A little something to nibble on while they have an opportunity to get to know each other a better.  Yoga for me is so very much about the connection that we have with ourselves, but also about the connection that we have with others.  Teaching yoga has been an amazing opportunity to bring people, a wonderful place for me to feed people with words and movement and every so often with food.

Last week I made a raw cheesecake with layers of sour cherry and chocolate.  I was a little nervous.  I usually make these things up (like this cake).  And after a not so yummy sour cherry smoothie I wasn’t sure if I was making a good choice.  But it seems the cake was a hit.  So much so that I been kindly asked numerous times for the recipe.  You will find the “recipe” below.  I am approximating what I but in the blender.  I have been making raw cakes for about a decade now so it is all by feel now.  I hope that this approximation helps you create a yummy treat!

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Sour cherry chocolate “cheese”cake

In a high powered blender (or perhaps a food processor) put in the following for the cheesecake layer:

4 cups of raw cashews

juice of 1 lemon

2 Tablespoons of coconut oil

1/2 cup of raw honey

1 or 2 Tablespoons of water

optional (vanilla, lemon rind, cinnamon)  I did not have this in the above cake but I often do.

And blend under as smooth as possible.  Give it a little taste to see if it is sweet enough for you. I use a vita-mix with the plunger and plunge like mad!  I don’t mind if there are some whole cashews in my cake. Once you are satisfied pour mixture (should be thicker than a smoothie…or like a really really thick smoothie) into a cheesecake pan or even a lasagna pan).  Use a spatula to get all the good stuff out of your blender and to smooth out the top and put the whole thing into the freezer.

Sour cherry layer  (place in blender)

3 or 4 cups of frozen sour cherries

1/2 cup of coconut milk

3 or 4 Tablespoons of honey (or more if you like)

1 tsp of cinnamon

Blend under nice and smooth.  Poor over bottom layer and freeze

Chocolate layer (make in pot on stove)

4 Tablespoons of coconut oil

1 Tablespoons of cacao butter

2 Tablespoons of honey (or more to taste)

4 Tablespoons of cacao powder

optional (vanilla)

Over a low heat melt these ingredients together.  Poor over cherry layer and freeze.

Freeze overnight!  Serve cool.  Sometimes it takes a good 15 or more minutes to be able to cut into the cake!  But if you wait too long it will begin to return to it’s puddle state!

Enjoy!!!

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This cake goes very well with “fancy” coffee!  Last week I made some french press coffee and blended it with some coconut oil and brain octane oil.  Yum!

May you have sweet people with whom to share your sweet treats.

So much love and connection. xoxo

 

 

 

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garden love

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this is such an incredible time of year for me.  the days are full of warmth and light.  i can walk bare feet.  and my garden offers up delicious bounty.  right now the raspberries are ripening.  and this morning i ate a big bowl for breakfast.  i added fun furry blue borage flowers.  such a great combination!  and so much fun to eat blue.  (and i don’t mean dyed crap.)

i am also juicing up so much wonder from my yard.  wild and cultivated greens go into my morning juice these days.  nettle, plantain, wood sorrel, lambs’ quarters, orach, dandelion, parsley, cilantro, dill, lettuces, kale, sun flower sprouts, cukes and celery.  isn’t that a great list.? what powerful medicine!  you can find many of these greens just growing in the cracks.  leave room for them!  they’ll happily grow in your lawn.

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what fun awesomeness is growing in your garden these days?   what do you enjoy foraging?  the girls and i enjoy walking to the mulberry tree not far from our house.  so many people in the neighbourhood come and gather berries.  but there are seems to be enough handfuls for everyone.

happy summer feet to all of you near and far!  may your heart be full of colourful edible flowers!

love chantalle

 

balls

my girls have been enjoying some of my raw food again lately.  i have been making almond butter chocolate balls and peanut butter chocolate balls.  ivy and ezra both loved the peanut butter ones.  but they can’t take any nuts to school so i thought i would try sunflower seed butter.  here is my recipe.

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yummy nut/seed butter balls

1 500ml jar of nut or seed butter

1 cup of raw cacao powder

1 cup of maple syrup (yep! but you can use less if you want)

2 tsp of super awesome cinnamom

tiny pinch of salt

stir.  roll into balls.  (which i find super satisfying) roll in hemp seeds and or coconut flakes.  eat!  i like to freeze some too.

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the girls prefer the peanut butter balls by far. like they WON’T be eating these ones.  so it seems i will be eating all the sunflower seed balls myself.  unless you come over and help me eat some.  and then there will be room in the freezer for more peanut butter balls (which i guess i should have made in the first place!)  screw the school lunches!

i traveled with sue

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sue and i swam in the sea.  we did this every day.  and every day it was this holy shit feeling.  we are swimming in the ocean.  i could see it in her eyes.  the awe.  the gratitude.  the bliss.  i’m sure i had a similar expression.  i felt so buoyant.  and free.

sometimes we giggled like children.  so much was fresh.  so much was new.  like the flying fish jumping.   i yelped in delight every time i saw one.  when they hit the surface, not far from where we swam, and descended back into the water, a spray of smaller silver fish glittered.  sue had lost her prescription sunglasses in the water the day before, but still i continued to shout: “can you see all the little ones flying up? over there! wild!”   we stayed in the water until the sun was low in the sky and our fingers were puckered.  i licked the salt around my lips.

newness was driving on the other side of the car, on the other side of the road.  this newness was awkward.  worse than a sloppy first kiss at 13.  on these daily car treks i sometimes shrieked, but not usually in delight.  sometimes i was grumpy after a day of bizarre (to me) round-a-bouts, narrow roads, and steep climbs with blind corners.  i argued with paul, my dear friend, about the meaning of straight.  no way seemed straight.  nothing seemed like going forward.  it was all rough and curvy.  and i felt lost.  i slowed at every passing car.  and almost froze when buses came near!   i could not enjoy the view!   but a dip in the sea was all i needed to wash away the stink of fear.  and i tried to tell myself that i was getting smarter.  all this other side business.  all this switching it up.

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i was always excited to see fresh papayas and avocados being sold on the side of the road.  thrilled to pick a lime fresh from the tree.  happy to find kale and mizuna and mustard greens at the holder’s farmers’ market.  i enjoyed the smell of freshly brewed bay leaf tea.  and was deeply saddened by the mangoes, falling on the road near paul’s house, never to be eaten.  and just the other day, back at home in guelph, i saw dozens of neglected apples on the roadside half covered in fallen leaves.  same same.  but different.

my travels don’t often take me far from home.  but for the past few years i have been journeying to barbados.  once a year.  and for the last two years sue has joined me.  this year she was my sole retreatant!  i was her personal person!  and she was mine.

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traveling with sue was a gift.  a gift of giving and receiving.   i offered yoga and food and adventure.  she presented me with grace and surrender.  and trust.  we offered as much of ourselves to each other as we knew how.  we shared stories.  we listened.  we watched the moon grow lush and full.  we laughed.  drank from coconuts.   swam.  and swam.  we napped in the shade of beach umbrellas.   and then we swam some more.  we celebrated sue’s 61st birthday.  ate chocolate for breakfast as often as we wanted.  and then we cried.  we mourned the death of her son.  we honoured the 10 year anniversary of his passing.  we looked at his photos.   his little boyness.  his young manness.  his eye twinkle.  his 25 years of life.  sometimes we held back our tears.  i could see it in her eyes.  the ripeness of  her sorrow.  the holding it in.   our travels brought us back again and again to the joy and the sorrow.  the two holding hands, never far apart.  the warm sun against the deep loss.  the loss highly contrasted by our joy.

one day, tired after a full day of trekking, we swam in rough waters and were taken by the current.    it came upon us so suddenly.  one moment we were laughing in the waves.  the next we being being whisked away!  we were terrified.  i saw sue stuck.  unable to swim against the pull.  i followed her not knowing if we would get smashed against a rocky shore.  but unwilling to leave her.  in my haste i made my way, desperately, for rocks.  thinking i was at home in different waters with different rocks.  the waves smashed me against the jaggedness.  but i made my way to the beach with only a few sea urchins embedded in my shin, and fingers, and feet.  sue let the current pull her around the rocks and managed to find a small patch of beach upon which to land.  we looked at each other in shock.  and relief.  and we never swam at that particular spot again!  later, after a long nap and supper, sue took photos of me trying to dig out the hard urchin bits with a needle.

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ever morning, at 6:30, we faced the ocean on our mats.  and almost every evening too.  we sat side by side looking out and breathing in.  our meditation was to receive the sound of the ocean, and the birds, and the music at the bar.  our yoga to be with the dogs that liked our mats as much as we did.  to stretch and strengthen even when people were walking by.  our practice, i think, was to be together.

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our retreat offered us the possibility of being, just being in all our wildness, by the powerful sea.

the joy of going away: my first raw food yoga retreat in barbados.

maybe i could begin in the middle.  with the bats.  because they find me wherever i go.  imagine yourself lying by the ocean at sun set.  it is still very warm.  and you are doing yoga.  i am teaching you.  we are stretching our legs as the sky turns a deep pink and the bats begin to fly overhead.

i turned to sue and asked “are those bats?”  she wasn’t sure.  sue has been my student for almost fifteen years.  and she has been in class with bats before.  she has even, over the years, helped to usher the bats outside.  this time, however, we were outside.  and the bats were dancing above us.   i am wildly scared of bats when they are inside; but i am not so frightened when they are out in the open and free.  besides, the colour of the sky and the sound of the ocean was a great pacifier!i rarely teach or practice yoga outside.  i am almost always in a building:  in the church downtown, at my friend’s studio, or at my house.  teaching outside was so different.  i worried that it would be too distracting, both for myself and my students.  but i hadn’t sought out another option.  so outside it was.  i tried to balance receiving the outside world with moving in to ourselves.  we practiced early in the morning or just before sunset.  we explored the grass by the ocean side, the beach, and paul’s side yard.  all were magnificent.  i often begin my classes with a centering i learned from hart lazer.  receiving what is without pushing away or without holding on.  not an easy practice!  i begin with receiving sound.  outside was the perfect location for this practice.  we allowed our ears to open and receive the sound of ocean waves, of roosters cocking, of dogs barking, and of kids playing.  we opened to the possibility of receiving ourselves fully:  our thoughts, our feelings, our bodies, our breath.  we placed our mats over crab holes, felt the softness of sand beneath our mats, and bowed to the blue of the ocean as we folded deeply into ourselves.

 i saw many things while teaching.  i glimpsed a green monkey, saw the quick movements of a hummingbird, and watched dogs copulating.  i saw a man get naked by his car, watched my students straining in the warrior poses,  and was blessed with sunsets.  the background rich and true to life.

before leaving i was worried about driving on the other side of the road.  i definitely brought that fear with me.  i held the wheel tightly and drove cautiously around the narrow curving roads.  right and left turns became muddled.  rights were to be lefts and lefts were to be rights.  even the indicator was on the other side of the steering wheel.  and (in error) i continuously set the wipers to movement.  it was a testament to how deeply patterned i am.  i am grateful that i could laugh (and received being laughed at)!  i comforted myself with the belief that this switch-a-roo was good for my brain.  the first couple of days i hit the sidewalk a few times.  that was incredibly humbling.  my friend paul, sitting in the front passenger seat, would belt out the word “sidewalk” in his lovely deep bajan voice.  and my friends would laugh heartily from the back of the car.  i could not believe that i was so close to the sidewalk.  but i was!!!!  the wheel rims knocking against the curb was proof!  i was mostly concerned with oncoming traffic.  i wanted to hug the curb.  over the course of the week i learned to find balance (between this side and that) and i gained much confidence in my daily bajan driving adventures.

olivia and sue enjoyed a week of my raw food wares.  we ate incredible local fruits and vegetables. and lots of coconuts!!!!  i think for them (maybe especially for olivia) eating raw food all day was like driving on the other side of the road.  it was unlike their regular at home life.  i think they enjoyed it though for they sat me down and gathered recipes into their journals.  a few times over the course of our week i gave them a “break” from raw and took them to experience some local food:  roti, yam coo coo, cassava, and fish cutters.  there was even one rum punch in there.  all for the sake of balance!

our trip was full of explorations.  of trying new things.  we surfed!  we hiked.  we swam in the salty salty water until our lips puckered and our fingers wizened like children who have stayed in a bath too long.  our skin turned red from so much sun (even before 9:30 in the morning).  we swam with colourful fish and sea turtles.  we took naps.  found shade.  read books.

for me the most beautiful part of this trip was people.  the strangers.  the new friends.  the old friends.  after supper we would tell our stories.  we talked of our children.  and of loss.  we told of our husbands.  we listened to one another.  and opened our hearts.  we laughed and cried at the wildness of this life.  and of our serendipitous coming together.  it was a great gift to spend such time with such incredible people.

and i will do it all over again next year.  and because life is so ever changing.  it will be different.  unique.  and maybe you will come and join me!

traveling this way

much of the time, i admit, i think i know.  i think i know what my day will be like.  i know the schedule.  the getting up and making lunches.  the making green juice.  the kids going to school.  me teaching yoga.  and it often goes like that.  i think because the routine often proceeds as planned i forget that i don’t know.  i forget something big might happen.  or something small.  it surprises me how life is so wildly unpredictable and seemingly simultaneously constant.  life to me is at once magnificent, mysterious, gorgeous; awkward, painful and horribly ugly.

i’m thinking about all this knowing and not knowing because saturday i’m leaving on an airplane.  and because for the past few days everyone around here has been talking about the storm sandy.  today i’ve been roughing out a schedule for our trip.  you see i’m taking a few people with me.  two people to be exact.  and they will have me as their personal raw food chef, tour guide, and yoga teacher for the week.  for months now i have been planning.  gathering recipes.  imagining adventures.  and today i began to pencil in our days.  a paper for each day.  home days where we stay closer to our beach apartments and adventure days where we explore the island of barbados.  i’m happy to write out our days like this with possible menu options and possible outings.  but it started to feel silly.  because i have no clue what is actually going to happen.  and then i wondered if i don’t know what we are going to do why should i dedicate this time  planning?  i think this is why i’m so nervous.  i can feel the high vibration in my arms and chest as i type.  i feel very alive.  very aware.  but not calm.

i imagine this is how i will feel driving the rental car on the “other” side of the road.  i will feel very aware.  today while driving i tried to imagine myself on the other side of the road.  i  figuratively put myself in the lane of oncoming traffic.  i didn’t like the feeling!

this feeling: this nervousness, this excitement, reminds me of writing tests.  or delivering babies!  all this preparation gets packed up.  i close the books.  stack all the papers with scribbled notes.  and i go.  i pack a bag and go.  dive into not knowing.

this must feel like a test (like old high school or university exams) because of all the expectation i have put on myself.  because i am bringing others with me and i feel the need to perform, to please.  and i want them to have a good time.  but maybe i can’t control that.  maybe people offering retreats don’t normally say that kind of thing.  or even admit to having “only” two participants!  maybe that isn’t the best sales pitch!  but i believe this to be true.  and honest.  i can plan and hope and dream.  and then i must let it all that go.  maybe i will let experience be the driver.  and see how that feels.  i’m guessing it might feel like driving on the other side of the road:  awkward and exhilarating.

next week three lovely woman will travel together for the first time.  and when i return i will let you know (my version) or what happened.

put that box down, and eat some cake!!!!

i hurt my back.  i was putting a cooler into the back of a minivan.  it was hot hot and i was grumpy.  the girls were grumpy too.  i wanted to be cool already.  i wanted to be calm and cool.  and at the beach.  but i was rushing out of the heat.  arguing out the door.  i put the cooler into the back of the van, my back rounding with the strain.  it seized.  it gripped.  it yelled at me.  and i yelped.  i grrred:  “oh my back”.

i am fiercely independent.  that is my story.  i like to carry boxes and coolers and tables.  preferably by myself.  i can open the door with my foot.  i prefer not to ask for help.  i think i’ve mentioned that before!  i know i often carry too much.  i even use my mouth to carry extra.  if i could i would carry everything out of the car in one load.  i’m sure it is comical to watch.  my neighbours must get a regular giggle.  can you see me with my arms and shoulders laden with grocery bags and a box; there is also a cloth bag hanging from my teeth and i am trying to close the trunk of my little blue car?

i asked matthew to cut the grass with my push mower sunday morning.  i didn’t want to ask him; but i knew if i pushed it i would cause myself more pain.  like i did saturday picking up the trays of sprouts.  you see there is actually more clover then grass in my little yard.  clover flowers are beautiful; and fun to eat.  but the bees buzz in the clover grass.  we walk bare foot and sometimes we step on them.  stepping on bees is no fun.  so i asked matthew to cut the grass.  and sweetly he did.

i’m noticing how difficult it is for me to sit still.  to just be.  to undue.  i prefer to keep myself  ‘busy’.  i enjoy doing.  moving.  cleaning.  tidying.  weeding.  teaching.  selling.  juicing.  playing.  driving.  writing.  reading.  talking.  with only the occasional rest.  my back, however, was asking for more than occasional.  it also required a narrower range of motion.  and so i obliged…honestly… because there was no other choice. the kind of pain i experienced in the first few days was the sharp, shooting, and take your breath away kind.

after five days of much less doing, and some less doing, and a little less doing i am feeling much better.  i am left with only a subtle tenderness and much stiffness.   some loving stretching will assist me. i am also left with deep gratitude for the regular happiness of my body.

with a sore back i still made and ate raw cake!!!!!  in celebration of sitting down with almost nothing to do…here is a cake recipe.  i rarely use recipes anymore…so these recipes are pretty close to what i put in the blender…i just don’t always measure with cups…i use handfuls…but for your ease…i’m using the measuring cups measurements!!!

eat me cake (aka put that box down and eat cake)

crust

2 cups of brazil nuts

1/2 cups of pitted dates or figs

blend in vitamix (or high powered lender)

press into spring form pan

middle

5 cups of cashews

1/2 cup of coconut oil

1/2 cup of honey

2 cups of water

1 Tablespoon of vanilla powder

juice of one lemon

pinch of pink salt

blend in vitamix..use plunger…until smooth

poor over crust and freeze

topping    

3 Tablespoons of cacao powder

1 Tablespoon of raw honey

1 Tablespoon of coconut oil

water to blend;

mix in a bowl with a spoon and spread over frozen cake

top with berries  and enjoy

keep frozen until about 15 minutes before eating  (i have gotten some feedback recently about the time it takes to soften after taking it out of the freezer…so it seems to vary…but it may take as long as 30 minutes to cut easily)  it will be an experiment!!!!!  please let me know how long it takes YOUR cake.  and really how you like to eat it (cold, hard, soft….)

the raspberries in our backyard are delish.  and the wormies are friendly!  raspberries are amazing toppings.  and worms are great friends.