The morning after

Nov 23, 2015

If there's one thing I have learned after teaching yoga for 10 years it's that I am able to offer my best self and best teaching when I show up as no one else but my authentic, wobbly self. The only way I can truly teach the way I want to and pass on what I've learned is to be myself instead of what I think a yoga teacher is supposed to be.

Last Saturday morning, I was feeling rather raw and emotional. I started talking about how grateful I am for the yoga room, for how it doesn't matter who you are or where you come from, the yoga room is a safe space, where we can be ourselves, support each other, and communicate without even having to talk. As I spoke of this, my eyes filled with tears. I carried on with class but didn't try to pretend I wasn't feeling sad (about the state of worldly events). Others were feeling it, too. I think we have enough masks in our closets. Thinking we have to carry about being something other than what we are is exhausting. Life is lighter when we can look into people's eyes, pass on a smile, a nod, a hug, a laugh.

When we all allow ourselves to be vulnerable and show up as we are, each day, even when it feels scary, we can see we're all in this together, doing our best, having fun, swearing, crying, laughing, figuring it out, or not, little by little.

(photo: Tamara Michelle Photography)

Speaking of coconut

Nov 20, 2015

Even as a kid, I didn't really like chocolate desserts, like cake and ice cream. I always chose anything but. My best friend (who's still my best friend for obvious reasons) even made me a spice cake for my birthday cake one year. I was the only kid I knew that preferred spice cake.

Now, I still prefer vanilla or spice over chocolate, and I'm always on the search for that perfect carrot cake, which has to be full of cinnamon and nutmeg, and other yummy bits, like pineapple, raisins, walnuts, and coconut. I found a really good recipe, which I altered - added more spice, as well as pineapple and raisins, so I could have everything I wanted in it. I think it turned out!

Carrot coconut cake

1/4 cup red lentils
2/3 cup coconut milk
1/4 water
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 1/4 cup gluten-free flour (I use Namaste brand)
1/2 cup almond flour
2 Tablespoons coconut flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
4 eggs
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 small can crushed pineapple
1/2 cup raisins
2 large carrots, peeled and grated
1/2 medium sweet potato, peeled and grated

Preheat oven to 325℃. Grease and flour two 8-inch round cake pans (with coconut oil).

Add raisins to a small bowl. Open can of crushed pineapple and add juice to raisins. Set aside and let soak.

In a small saucepan, bring lentils, coconut milk, and water to a boil. Stir, reduce heat, and cover. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until lentils are tender, about 15 minutes. Let cool for about 10 minutes, then stir in baking soda.

In a small frying pan over medium heat, melt coconut oil with shredded coconut. Cook, stirring often, until coconut starts to brown. Let cool slightly.

In a large bowl, combine flour, almond flour, coconut flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and walnuts. Stir until well combined.

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, coconut sugar, and maple syrup. Stir in carrots, lentils, toasted coconut, sweet potato, soaked raisins, and 1/2 cup pineapple (drained). Add to dry ingredients and stir just until combined.

Pour into prepared pans and bake until cakes are not jiggly in the middle and a toothpick inserted in the centre just comes out clean, 30-35 minutes. Do not overbake but if it's too moist, there's lots of stuff in here, bake a little longer.

Let cool in pans for about 10 minutes. Turn cakes out onto racks to cool completely before icing.

The recipe in the book calls for a really delicious coconut milk-based icing. I prefer a full-fat, traditional cream cheese icing. I mean, if my cake has lentils in it, I think I can use any kind of icing I want! (Below is my icing recipe. See the book for her icing recipe.) I also coated the cake with toasted coconut chips. Enjoy!

Cream Cheese Icing

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter
2 cups (or add until preferred sweetness) icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon cooled coffee/espresso

In a bowl, whip together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Add vanilla, then gradually add icing sugar. (If you're like me and you use lots of icing on your double layer cake, you may need to make more icing!)

(Original recipe from Coconut Every Day by Sasha Seymour.)


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