bondage & sweetness

bondage & sweetness

Passover, the annual Jewish celebration of freedom, ends on Friday. The Passover story is of a people liberated from slavery more than 3,000 years ago. And while it is a time of celebration with family, it is also a time to question and contemplate what currently holds us personally in bondage.

Today I would like to share a few Passover questions (inspired by Rabbi S. Buxbaum) you might feel called to reflect upon. Regardless of your religion or spiritual beliefs, these questions can be a potent entry point for some deep personal exploration.

  • Has anything ever happened to you which seemed bitter at the time but later turned out to be sweet?
  • How have the hardships in your life helped you become a better person?
  • In your day-to-day life, do you really love what you do or are you more like a captive to aspects of your life (i.e., work)?
  • What is holding you back the most?
  • What are the gifts in your life that make it all worth it?
  • If you could fully express gratitude to someone in your past who really made a difference in your life, who would it be?

I’d also like to share a traditional Passover recipe with you, one of my favourite seder dishes since childhood, Charoset.  This sweet, fruity dish holds a special, symbolic place as its colour and texture are meant to recall the mortar that the Jews used to bond bricks while enslaved in Egypt. It also reminds us to always look for the sweetness in life.

Charoset is so simple to make and especially delicious the next day after the flavours have soaked into the apples. Mix all ingredients well in a bowl. Cover and let sit in the refrigerator overnight. Traditionally served with Mazos, but I like it just out of the bowl on its own. 

  • 3 firm apples chopped finely or shredded
  • 1 cup walnuts chopped
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (or to taste)
  • 1 TBS honey
  • 6 chopped dates or a handful of raisins
  • 1/2 cup good red wine
  • 1 TBS lemon juice

Our life may be full of moments of real and perceived bondage. In those moments, may we all have the opportunity to pause, feel into the sweetness that life also gifts us and allow ourselves to be reminded of the lessons, consciousness and transformation that is waiting to be revealed. 

Full Moon in Pisces Crystal Ritual

Full Moon in Pisces Crystal Ritual

Tonight we will experience a Full Moon in Pisces. The Dakota Sioux people call this the “moon when all things ripen”.
As the last sign on the zodiac wheel, Pisces is about endings and transitions. It’s time to surrender, symbolically wave the white flag, and accept the things we cannot change. As Pisces is also a dual sign, it means we will experience some of life’s paradoxs, like being a Spirit being in this very human and physical world.
When the full moon arrives, it’s time to create space to take stock of what has and has yet come to fruition. A full moon ritual is a time to get quiet, reflect, and celebrate. Unlike the new moon, the full moon represents fruitfulness and completeness and brings with it a lot of energy.
I’ll be celebrating tonight and you might want to as well. Here’s a Full Moon Ritual you can use to ground your heightened states, revel in your successes and strongly release that which is no longer serving you.
PISCES FULL MOON RITUAL
What you’ll need:

  • Candles
  • Altar Space
  • Pen & Paper
  • Smudge: palo santo, sage, ceremonial tobacco
  • Crystal or semi-precious stone (one you feel comfortable releasing)
  • Water in a bowl, if inspired, throw in a few flowers

Cleanse yourself, your altar/space, and chosen crystal with sage, palo santo, or ceremonial tobacco along with lighting candles and incense. Have your paper and pen ready to write. If there is a prayer or chant that you would like to use, have it available to recite.
On a piece of paper, acknowledge all of the blessings that have manifested in your reality since the New Moon or even in the past month. Muse about the amazing opportunities, love, experiences, and people you are grateful for.
Next, take your crystal and while holding it, allow everything you are ready to release from your life currently (such as old negative beliefs, people, or experiences) to be absorbed into the crystal.
Once finished, take this crystal outside and giving the energy and thanks to Mama Gaia, bury the crystal in the ground and ask Gaia to take this energy you no longer need from your life. Ruled by Neptune, god of the seas, Pisces is the zodiac’s mermaid as it is ruled by Neptune, god of the seas. Wash your hands and feet in the bowl of water. Or even pour the water over your head and allow yourself to be completely cleansed.
Release any expectations and place your trust in your moon magic ritual that your invocations have been heard.
love & pranams,
carla

Raw Chocolate Raspberry Cream Brownie Cake

Raw Chocolate Raspberry Cream Brownie Cake

I feel that I must begin this post with an apology. This recipe is so good, so outrageously good, that if you eat it in company, you probably won’t even be able to talk. You will just have a huge grin on your face, your eyes staring in the distance and be in a complete chocolate/raspberry/deliciousness daze. I make a lot of raw recipes, and this one is really one of the best. Definitely worth all the steps!
Brownie Base

  • 1 cup almonds (ideally sprouted and dehydrated)
  • 1 cup walnuts (ideally sprouted and dehydrated)
  • 2/3 cup dates, pitted and soaked in hot water
  • 1/2 cup raw cacao powder
  • 1 TBS vanilla
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil melted over very low heat

Blend almonds and walnuts in a food processor into smallish pieces. Add the dates, cacao powder, and vanilla. Process until the dates are completely broken down. Add the melted coconut oil and process to incorporate. Press into a 8-9 inch spring form pan. Place in the fridge to harden.
Raspberry Cream

  • 2 cups raspberries (frozen and defrosted is fine)
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • few drops of liquid stevia (to taste)
  • juice of one lime
  • 1/2 cupcoconut oil melted over very low heat

Blend everything except the coconut oil in a high speed blender until smooth. Add the oil and blend to incorporate. Pour the cream over the brownies and spread evenly. Chill in the fridge for several hours.
Chocolate ganache
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup almond butter
1/2 cup cacao powder
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
Melt coconut oil over low heat. Add remaining ingredients and whisk until smooth. Pour over raspberry cream and spread evenly. Chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour. Garnish with raspberries, coconut, flowers or anything you like!
Serve and enjoy!

And yet another Florentine!

And yet another Florentine!

OK, I’ll admit after my last Florentine posting I’ve been a little obsessed about finding new variations – perhaps a little healthier and less sweet. And I think I’ve found one! Incredibly simple, super delicious and my kids voted this one their favourite.
Florentines

  • 1 2/3 cups of slivered almonds
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup or honey
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup additions – shredded coconut, hemp hearts, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, a mix, anything!

Pre-heat oven to 315C. Mix the egg white, sweetener and vanilla together. Add the almonds and anything else you desire. Drop spoonfuls onto a parchment paper lined sheet and gently flatten with a wet fork (to prevent sticking). Bake for 18-20 minutes and let cool before removing.
You could certainly drizzle chocolate on the bottoms for a more authentic version, but even without, these are fabulous. Buon appetito!

Fabulous Florentines

Fabulous Florentines

I admit I have a sweet tooth, although for many years I’ve been pretty good about limiting my sugar consumption and experimenting with healthier variations when I bake. Recently on a trip to Vancouver and as I stopped in at Whole Foods, some Florentine cookies caught my eye. Oh, the divine Florentine! This Tuscan cookie was first described in the 17th century and is a mix of nuts, candied fruit and a chocolate bottom. Needless to say, I broke my refined sugar rule and enjoyed a couple of these delicious treats on my trip.
Upon my return home I was determined to come up with a healthier but still delicious alternative – and came up with this recipe inspired by Oh She Glows.
Who wants to try the real thing with me next May (2017)? I will be going to Italy for my Embracing Shakti retreat and then traveling to Rome & Florence. Sarà favoloso!!

  • 1 & 3/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 3 tbsp almond flour or gluten-free all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp orange zest
  • 1/4 cup hemp hearts
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1/4 tsp fine grain sea salt
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1/2 tsp stevia powder
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp coconut cream (don’t shake! use the thickest part on top of the can)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4-1/3 cup dark chocolate, melted (I used 70% chocolate and cut the sweetness with some unsweetened dark chocolate  – you can do this to taste)

Preheat oven to 280 C. Mix almonds, almond flour, orange zest, raisins, hemp hearts, salt, sugar and stevia in a bowl. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt butter and add coconut cream and maple syrup. Turn up heat just until it boils. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Mix into almond mixture until combined.
On a parchment lined cookie sheet, drop tablespoon amounts onto the sheet and press down lightly. space cookies well as they will spread. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Remove and let cool completely. Turn over each cookie and brush with chocolate. Let cool again. Devour!
 

Gloriously Green Pudding

Gloriously Green Pudding

So I know pudding is usually not green, but trust me, this is super healthy AND super delicious. Kale is the king of the leafy green veggies – it is loaded with Vitamins A, K, C and a wealth of other nutrients. Parsley is a rich anti-oxidant and contains highly beneficial essential oils. And the fruits are also packed full of nutrients and amazing flavour. If you have some green-a-phobes in your house, try blindfolding them for a taste test – guaranteed to make them change their mind. If possible, use organic ingredients. Enjoy!

  • 2 cups of kale
  • 1/2 cup parsley
  • 1 orange, peeled and cut into pieces
  • 1 apple, cut into pieces
  • 1 frozen banana, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 cup frozen raspberries

Mix fresh fruit and greens in a high-speed blender. Add frozen fruit and blend well. Garnish with raspeberries and best consumed immediately, although can be refrigerated for a short time. Serves 1.