“Calmness is the cradle of power”
– Josiah Gilbert Holland

 

I’ve been thinking….
 

As always, December brings thoughts of gratitude, wholeness, review and new beginnings in January. How are we feeling? Does it feel like we’ve been  stuck for the last year in repetition of Covid? Does it still feel isolated and hard? Are we getting used to the new normal? What else can we do to care for ourselves and those we love? What can we do to prepare ourselves for a new lifestyle, perhaps a more limited lifestyle? Maybe a more virtual lifestyle? Maybe less social, more isolation? Who can we reach out to assist in these still challenging times? If you own a business, how are your employees? Friends? Family? What can we do together to bring about ease and grace and fluidity?
Now more than ever I believe the answer to those questions is that we can care for ourselves with love and compassion, with clarity and support. But how best to do that?
Looking around it’s easy to make assessments about finances, social media, what others are/are not achieving. It’s easy to make judgments and comparisons especially if you are on social media a lot, which frankly a lot of us are these days because our lives are still not back to being social in person as much as we were used to.
With that in mind, I’m offering a free three day clinic introducing you to the idea of self compassion. Let’s begin 2022 with a fresh set of ideas for ourselves. Let’s learn what it takes individually to start practicing compassion with ourselves.

I’d love for you to join us! There are a limited number of spots available so act now. Register to attend at the link below:

https://www.calmyourchaos.life

 

Recipe of the Month:
Hot Apple Cider and Vegan Christmas Cookies

 

This apple cider is sure to keep you warm on these cold December nights! This recipe serves 10 and requires a large, 8 quart crock pot to cook in. Enjoy!
Ingredients:
  • 12 gala apples, or fuji apples, cored and cubed
  • 2 green apples, cored and cubed
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 ginger, thumb sized, peeled
  • 2 teaspoons whole clove
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 cup brown sugar
Directions:
  1. Place the apples, cinnamon sticks, ginger, cloves, and salt in an 8-quart (7.5-liters) slow cooker. Pour the water over the apples.
  2. Cover and cook on high for at least 8 hours, or overnight (up to 24 hours).
  3. Remove the solids from the cider, pressing the pulp to extract as much liquid as possible.
  4. Whisk in the brown sugar until dissolved.
  5. Serve hot, or store in the refrigerator to serve later. Reheat before serving.
Vegan Christmas Cookies!

 

Christmas cookie season is upon us! This awesome recipe from Nora Cooks’ blog is completely vegan and delicious. She provides super easy step-by-step instructions for how to bake and decorate the perfect cookies. You can make these cookies with friends and family or on your own too. Have fun!

Ingredients: 
(cookies)

  • 3/4 cup vegan butter (earth balance preferred), slightly softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional, but so good)
  • 2-2 1/4 cups all purpose flour, divided (correctly measured)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

(icing)

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup (can omit, but it makes the icing very shiny)
  • 1-2 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk

Directions:

  • In a large bowl either using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the vegan butter for about 1 minute until creamy and smooth. Add the sugar and beat on high speed for 2-3 minutes until fluffy and light.
  • Now add in the almond milk, cornstarch, vanilla and almond extract (if using). Beat on high until it is all fully combined, about 1 minute. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Add 1 cup of the flour to the wet mixture. Sprinkle the baking powder and salt on top of the flour. Mix on low speed, until just combined. Now add 1 more cup of the flour and continue to mix on low until just combined; don’t over mix. The dough should feel similar to play dough when you work it in your hands, but it will look crumbly in the bowl. If it seems too wet for rolling, add another 1/4 cup of flour. You want the dough to be thick, but not dry.  always use the full 2 1/4 cups of flour. If the dough is too wet, your cookies will spread.
  • Using a spatula, scoop all of the dough out of the bowl; use your hands if needed to push it all together. Divide the dough in half and roll into two balls.
  •  On a flat surface, add a sheet of parchment paper. Sprinkle a little flour on it, then add half the dough. Sprinkle a little flour on top of the dough, and roll it out to about 1/4 inch thickness. Place a sheet of parchment paper on top. Repeat for the second ball of dough, and then stack them with parchment paper. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or overnight.
  • Once the dough has been chilled, set it on the counter for 10 minutes while the oven is preheating to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Cut into desired shapes using a cookie cutter and place them on the prepared baking sheets. Continue re-rolling the dough until it is all used.
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes, in the middle rack of the oven, until very lightly colored on top and around the edges. They will appear underdone, but they will firm up considerably as they cool. Let them cool for 5 minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack to let cool completely before icing.
Icing Directions:

  • Whisk all icing ingredients in a bowl. If it seems too thick, add a little more almond milk. It should be smooth, glossy and not runny. If too runny, add more powdered sugar. You can dip the cookies in the icing, or use brushes, spoons or a squeeze bottle.
  • *If you want really pretty cookies, first make the icing thicker, by using only 1 tablespoon of almond milk. Using a decorating tip, outline the cookies with the thicker icing. Then add a little more milk to thin it and flood the inside with icing. This way the icing doesn’t spill over the cookie edges.
  • Decorate with sprinkles as desired. The icing will take several hours to harden completely. The cookies will stay soft for about 5 days at room temperature.

Recipe link: https://www.noracooks.com/vegan-sugar-cookies/

Yoga Pose of the Month:
Yoga Nidra

Our focus this month is on Rest First and then Begin Again. With that in mind, our Yoga pose focus is simply Yoga Nidra – the Sleep of Yoga. Never be intimidated, nervous or afraid to rest. In the centuries old practice of yoga, REST has had and always will have a place (think Savasana at the end of every single practice.)

“Yoga nidra, or yogic sleep as it is commonly known, is an immensely powerful meditation technique, and one of the easiest yoga practices to develop and maintain. While the practitioner rests comfortably in savasana, this systematic meditation takes you through the five layers of self, leaving you with a sense of wholeness. No longer do you have to dread spending hours sitting on the floor waiting for liberation.” There are many benefits to this pose, here are five:
1. Anyone can do this pose
2. There is no incorrect way to do the pose
3. Yoga Nidra is easy to incorporate into your everyday life
4. It is a simple way to reduce stress
5. This pose can help you learn about yourself more intimately.

Link: https://yogainternational.com/article/view/5-benefits-of-yoga-nidra
Picture link: https://www.massagemag.com/yoga-nidra-for-self-care-130592/

“Set peace of mind as your highest goal, and organize your life around it.”
– Brian Tracey