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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Henry's 1st Birthday Cake


The morning of Henry's first birthday I swooped him out of his crib, covered him in kisses, and told him all about the moment I first laid eyes on him...how the doctor held him up and he stretched out his long arms and legs, and I shouted He's Huge!

The night before his birthday, Dylan and I ate sushi and remembered that one year ago at that exact time, I was in labor, and he was fighting hard to keep it together.  We reminisced about our first days as parents learning how to take care of Henry at the hospital.  I remember feeling calm and warm and cozy during those first days of motherhood.   I felt like a giddy little girl playing house and a capable and joyful adult woman wrapped up in one person.  Over the course of the next year, these initial feelings of contentment and confidence would certainly be replaced with moments of complete frustration and total uncertainty,  but I'll never forget the feeling of becoming a mom; it was the sweetest feeling of my life.

If I could give Henry even a fraction of the sweetness he's given me this year, I was going to try with his first birthday cake.  I wanted it to be sweet, but not too sweet, delicious and a little nutritious.

Henry's Whole Wheat Carrot Cake
with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting


2 1/2 c whole wheat flour
1 lb. grated carrots
1 Tsp. baking powder
1 Tsp. baking soda
1 Tsp. cinnamon
1/2 Tsp. ground ginger
1/4 Tsp. nutmeg
3/4 Tsp. salt
1 c coconut oil
1 ripe banana mashed
1 c organic light brown sugar
2 Tsp. vanilla
1/2 c water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour two 9'' cake pans.  In a mixer, cream together the coconut oil, banana, sugar, and salt.  Once combined, add the vanilla, carrots, and water.  Combine all dry ingredients and slowly incorporate the dry into the wet.  Divide the batter into cake pans and bake for 30 minutes (rotate half way through) or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Let the cakes cool completely and frost!

Frosting
2 8 oz. packages of organic cream cheese
2 sticks of organic butter
1 Tsp. vanilla
1/4 Tsp. salt
1/2 c maple syrup



Henry got his very own miniature cake to demolish, but he chose to be very refined about the whole thing, preferring Dylan and I to feed him little bites.  





Clearly I'm thrilled that he liked it!


And we're still eating it!


Happy Birthday Sweet Boy!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Pumpkin Bread



This week I whipped up a super healthy, just slightly sweet pumpkin bread, and we all loved it!  Baking for my family sure makes me feel like a mommy :)


 Henry eats his crumbled in yogurt, and I like mine for breakfast along side yogurt with a dollop of almond butter and pumpkin butter and a few fresh grapes.



Here's the recipe!

 Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease a loaf pan

1 3/4 c oat flour (whole wheat would also be delicious)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger

1 c pureed pumpkin (fresh is best!)
2 Tbsp. coconut oil (or any oil you like)
2 Tbsp. apple sauce
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 c coconut sugar ( this is my sweetener of choice right now, but honey, agave, or maple syrup would be great)
1/4 c water

Mix wet ingredients together and slowly incorporate the dry mixture.  Bake for an hour or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Enjoy!


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Easing Into Fall

Henry has the sniffles and I'm a little fatigued, but we are keeping our spirits up because we really love the Fall.


Our family trips to the farmer's market on saturday mornings are quickly becoming the highlight of my week.  I love to see what new produce is fresh and in season.  Henry has been eating a lot of apple sauce and Butternut Squash puree.


Fall is vata season when air and ether are the dominant elements.  When vata is balanced, we can feel creative and carefree; when it's imbalanced we can feel anxious and spacey.  Our bodies can take on the attributes of the leaves and become crackly in the joints and dry in the skin.  Here's how to stay healthy and balanced this vata season:
  • eat warm, cooked foods.  forget about the salads of summer and cook up hot dishes with warming spices like cinnamon, cardamom, allspice, and clove
  • sip warm drinks throughout the day
  • dress in layers and keep your chest and neck covered
  • slow down your pace and get plenty of rest
  • practice yoga that restores your energy: slow pace, inward gaze, a lot of focus on legs and feet

Here's a delicious, warming oatmeal recipe to begin any perfect Fall day.

Apricot, Cardamom Oatmeal with Coconut and Almonds


a heaping 1/3 c oats
1 Tbsp. shredded, unsweetened coconut
4 dried, organic apricots (diced)
1 pinch cardamom
pinch salt
milk of your choice
sweeten with honey or agave

Cardamom is such a delicious spice.  I feel very special and exotic every time I eat it.  I will warn you that when you add too much cardamom, your oatmeal can taste a little like soap, and when you add too little, you can't taste it.  It may take you a few tries to get it right.  A nice pinch is usually perfect, and any trials are well worth the effort.


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Body Image After Baby

I've been wanting to blog about my feelings toward my body since becoming a mom, and when I picked up the September issue of Elle magazine, I was inspired and excited because Keira Knightly just said it so perfectly:


".... as a woman, you hate certain parts of your body. You go through those periods where you look in the mirror and you think, Oh, if only I had different legs or arms or whatever. You go through pregnancy and labor and then feeding the kid and you go, Wow, my body is totally amazing, and I'm never going to not like it again, because it did this, and this is fucking extraordinary."

Since being pregnant and giving birth to my precious Henry,  I have a new found love and appreciation for my body.  I no longer criticize or judge it; I don't agonize over food choices or guilt myself for something I've eaten.   My body made a life and sustains that life, and I'll never say a bad thing about it ever again.  


We don't have to have babies to love our bodies unconditionally;  it's just a choice.  You are a beautiful miraculous creature, and you should tell yourself so every day.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Summer Belly

In recent weeks, my belly hasn't been feeling so good.  My digestion has felt sluggish and my tummy  bloated.  When a handful of my students started complaining about the same thing,  I dug into some ayurveda research, and lo and behold, we are not crazy; summer is the culprit!  In the summer, our digestive juices decrease as a cooling mechanism.  With fewer stomach acids, we need to costume lighter foods during these warm months.  I must have veered off course and forgotten to eat for the season!

Now is the time for lighter fare: salads, fruits, lots of veggies, less meat,  less dairy,  more smoothies, more fish!  I made this super light and yummy dinner for Dylan and myself, and we both woke up the next day feeling amazing.


Grilled tofu on top of ginger, garlic brown rice, spinach salad with grilled apricots and almonds, and roasted radishes.

I've also been drinking one Apple Cider Vinegar, Ginger, Agave Drink each day to further help my body flush out toxins.  It's really delicious and refreshing.


Place a few ice cubes in an 8 oz.  glass, add 1Tbsp. apple cider vinegar, 1Tbsp. agave nectar, and 1/2 Tsp. of freshly grated ginger.  Fill the glass with filtered water.  Mix well and enjoy!  Your belly will thank you :)

Here are two yogic techniques that massage the internal organs and help regulate digestion.  

Belly Roll



Roll up a towel or blanket into a long, fairly thin roll and lay down on your belly with the roll right under your navel.  You don't want the roll touching the rib cage; you want to feel it in the soft, malleable part of the belly.  Make a pillow for your head and rest for a few minutes with one ear down and then switch.  

Uddiyana Bandha 

Inhale into Bridge Pose; exhale through an open mouth and get completely empty of air.


Once empty, draw your navel in and up.  Keep lifting the belly as you slowly lower your hips.


Stay empty as your hips touch the ground and continue to hollow the belly as much as possible.  The stomach actually travels under the rib cage.  When you need to take a breath, release the belly first and then breathe in.



May all your belly's be happy!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Simplicity...

When Henry was born, I remember my mom telling me that babies really simplify life.  Months later,  I was shaking my head at the preposterousness of this statement when the task of going back to work and finding a nanny made my brain hurt.  Packing for our first trip required check lists and research.   Motherhood was so many things, but simple it was not.

Today, however, for the first time, I understood.  Henry and I love Fridays.  I don't teach at all, and we belong to each other all day.  We go to music class in the morning and the park in the afternoon.  That afternoon, we were laying on a blanket in the grass; there was a perfect breeze and happy people all around us.



We were watching the leafy branches move with the wind, and I asked him, "Do you know how lucky we are to be doing this right now?"  That's when I got it.  What would I be doing right now if I didn't have Henry?   I wouldn't be noticing the beautiful sound that the leaves make when they rustle in the wind or delighting in the way the breeze feels on my skin.  I'd probably be running around town with head phones on, not taking a moment to even look up.  The question of how Henry and I will spend our days is uncomplicated; they will include some naps, some smiles, a swing set, some tears, a possible melt down, maybe a milestone.  We do roughly the same things everyday, but life is never monotonous.  It's perfect; it's simple.

Slow down and look up.  





Monday, June 29, 2015

Mornings


Mornings have always been my favorite time of day.  Breakfast is far and away my choice meal (and when it comes to this meal, I lean emphatically to the side of sweet vs. savory),  warm beverages are soothing to the soul, and for me, mornings are just sacred.   My love for the start of the day has not wavered since becoming a mom, not even during my sleep deprived days.  For me and Henry, mornings mean that we get a fresh start.  So what if I forgot a burp cloth yesterday and all day long I wiped your face with a diaper;  today is a new day!

I savored the mornings during our beach vacation.  I would feed Henry in bed, meditate on the porch, and enjoy breakfast with my guys and the ocean.  While my wraparound porch is now a small living room scattered with toys and bottles and the sound of the ocean has been replaced by the overly loud hum of my AC unit, I've managed to keep these peaceful mornings going.

I still nurse Henry in bed for his first feeding; this gives me another half hour of rest which helps because Henry is a 6am kinda man.  I used to bring him into the living room first thing in the morning and put the TV on to stay awake, but now I make it a point to keep my mornings quiet and TV free.  This is hard as my family works on the Today Show, but that's what DVR is for ;) Once Henry is full, he plays in what we refer to as his office while I sit down with a mug of warm water and lemon to meditate for fifteen minutes.

 Here he is, hard at work.



 I highly recommend drinking warm water with lemon to start each day, before any other food or drink goes into your body.  Sleeping is the body's reset time when our digestive system has the opportunity to rest.  Drinking warm water with lemon first thing in the morning helps us clean our bodies and eliminate toxins.

I'm proud to report that for the first time in my life,  I'm consistently meditating at the same time every day without making excuses; even better, I look forward to it.  I read Yoga Girl by Rachel Brathen on my vacation and was so inspired by not only her dedication to her mediation practice but her love and devotion for it.  I set a timer on my phone for fifteen minutes, settle into a comfortable seat, and Henry's gurgles and squeals provide the sweetest background music.  After my meditation, I make breakfast, and while I eat, Henry and I discuss what's on the agenda for the day: swing sets, play dates, music class?


My oatmeal of the moment is Coconut Vanilla Oatmeal with Dried Blueberries



Add a heaping 1/3 cup of oats, 1 heaping Tbsp. dried coconut (unsweetened), 1/2 Tsp. good vanilla,  1 Tbsp. dried blueberries, and a pinch of salt to a mug or microwave safe bowl.  Add a splash of water and then cover the oats with the milk of your choice.  Microwave for two minutes and stir.  Throw on a few almonds, drizzle with maple syrup, honey, or agave, and a sprinkle with a little more salt.

I'm super into microwaving my oatmeal these days.  Its quick and convenient but also makes for tastier oats...maybe they just taste better because its easier, I don't know ;)  I also stress the importance of salt in the oatmeal; it brings out the sweetness of the maple syrup and makes the oats more flavorful.


I hope you're enjoying your mornings as much as I am :)