RECIPE: CARROT BROWNIES (VEGAN, GLUTEN-FREE, REFINED SUGAR FREE)

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Healthy yet yummy? Veggies and dessert? I’ve got you covered.

Here is a recipe of a vegan, gluten free and refined sugar free cake that is gooey and rich in chocolate flavour. You can have the best of both worlds: the benefits of the carrots (fibers, beta-carotene) and the satisfaction of eating a brownie.

You can have your cake and eat it too! Happy?

 

Ingredients:

400 grams of carrots

60 grams of ground flaxseeds

40 grams of buckwheat flour

6 tablespoons of raw cacao powder

1/2 tablespoon  of powdered ginger

1 tablespoon of vanilla

1 tablespoon of cinnamon

1 pinch of sea salt

160 grams of dates (pitted)

1 tablespoon of maple syrup

 

Instructions:

1- Peel and cook the carrots until soft. Let them cool down.

2- Preheat the oven at 180°C.

3- In a food processor, mix the carrots with the dates and maple syrup.

4- Add the spices, the sea salt and the cacao powder and mix again.

5- In a bowl, you can mix together this carrot “puree” with the buckwheat flour and the flax seeds.

6- Let it sit for about 15 minutes.

7- In a nonstick baking pan, pour your chocolat-ey dough and bake it for about 35 to 40 minutes.

8- Let your brownie cool down before eating.

 

Health benefits:

Carrots have a high content of beta-carotene, which helps prevent oxidative damage in our body.

Cinnamon can help to reduce inflammation and help to lessen the rise in blood sugar after eating.

Ginger can help to relieve nausea or other digestion pains. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and helps to boost the immune system.

Dates are rich in fibers and help to have regular bowel movement.

Flaxseeds are a good source of omega 3 fatty acid.

 

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FOOD FOR THOUGHT: NON-ATTACHMENT

Chin Stand - Champ Fleuri - Butte

When you do yoga, you will happen to hear the words Abhyasa (Practice) and Vairagya (Detachment). In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali says that we have to develop practice and detachment, in order to progress on our yoga journey.

We should always practice consistently and with enthusiasm. It can be about our yoga practice, about implementing yoga in our everyday life by being a better person (working on ourselves every single minute of each day) , about our life dream (doing something towards our dream everyday without giving up), about our relationships (we should try and practice being a better friend, a better partner, etc).

But, we should not be attached to the outcome (of the practice or effort). We should learn to enjoy the journey of the practice, learn to remain consistent no matter how slow the progress is coming or no matter how quickly good we become.

This philosophy can help with a lot of things. Here are my “work-in-progress” elements:

  • I practice yoga almost everyday with curiosity: I’m trying to improve my forearm balances, my handstands and my “leg-behind-the-leg” asanas. But I try not to be attached to the results: Even if I don’t remain long in my forearmstand, or handstand, I’m satisfied with what I’ve dared to accomplish. I am enjoying the journey. I won’t be grumpy if I’m not arriving at the destination.
  • I practice being a good friend or partner but I try to stay detached from the way the other person feel about me (yay… I try). I know I do not own the other person, I cannot force him to care more, I cannot wish for her to change. I want to love the people close to me exactly the way they are.
  • I’m trying to work towards my dreams without any expectations. Doing a little bit of research on that, networking with one or two people, lauching a little personal project, etc. I’m not expecting it to work right away. I try to be patient. (Well, to be honest, I should work a little more towards them… :p ).

But, as we learn, being detached does not mean not caring … hence the importance of practicing everyday.

RECIPE: EAT-THE-RAINBOW QUINOA SALAD

Quinoa, pomegranate, veggies, mint

“The sun is shining, the weather is sweet… Lalala…”

What about a fresh and tangy kind of salad for a beautiful lunch break under the sun? (I love quinoa salads as I can get a huge batch ready during the weekend and eat it during the week at lunch time).

As always with me, this quinoa salad has been made intuitively. That’s to say, I don’t have the exact measurements… So just take this “recipe” as an inspiration for your own rainbow-style quinoa tabouleh!

For one person:

About 1 cup of quinoa that soaked overnight

1/2 a pomegranate

1/2 a red bell pepper

1/2 a yellow bell pepper

1 tomato

1/2 a cucumber

A big handful of fresh mint leaves

A handful of soaked raisins or cranberries

For the dressing: lemon juice + olive oil + Himalayan sea salt to taste

Easy peasy instructions:

  • Cook your overnight soaked quinoa according to the package guidelines.
  • Chop all your veggies in small squares and chop your mint.
  • Collect the seeds of the pomegranate.
  • Add all your veggies, mint, pomegranate and raisins to the quinoa (that has cooled down).
  • Add your lemon-olive oil dressing.
  • Stir and… Enjoy!

Voilà! Bon appétit!

PS: As always, try to buy organic and fresh products when possible.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: PRESENCE

Coeur - Fanny

We seem to be all so busy today. We crave for multitasking and achieving more and doing everything quicker.

But in this race against the time, we often forget to nurture the moments spent with people, may them be our family, our friends, our partner, our acquaintances or even ourselves… (How much time a day are we REALLY spending on self-care, i.e. on CONSCIOUSLY doing something we love, something we are passionate about?)

To me, the biggest gift anyone can give to somebody (or to oneself) today is the gift of presence: Being totally there – physically and consciously- for the person in front of us, the person we are spending time with.

So, for the week to come, I challenge us (yep! That’s right, I’m challenging myself as well!) to:

1- Make time for ourselves or a friend, a family member, or another person we care about. Let’s give our precious time: Schedule a date. Maintain it. Show up.

2- Pay attention to what the other person says. Pay attention to our interaction. Turn off our phone, email, WhatsApp, and all the other social media apps. Let’s focus on the individual in front of us. If we decide to make time for ourselves, we shall do the same thing: UNPLUG and enjoy the time that we are giving ourselves.

3- Be authentic. Let’s listen. Let’s ask questions about their well-being, their dreams, their plans and their fears.  Let’s show genuine interest. Do the same thing if you have decided to focus on self-care: What is our biggest dream? What does make our heart soar? Why are we afraid to go for it?

4- Have a positive attitude. Show the other person his own worth and strengths.

5- And as always… never forget to laugh… Keep it simple, keep it natural. It’s not healthy to be too serious all the time!

And… let’s see the difference our conscious interactions are making in our connection to ourselves or to the people we love and care about.

NAMASTE

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: SMILE

Papaya Girl

Guess what guys! Smiling and laughing are a good way to balance our hormones and make us feel happy!

I’m reading a book about health and hormones by Dr Jacky Thouin in which he explains how laughing helps the body release “happy” hormones such as serotonin, endorphins, oxytocin. These chemicals are also the ones produced when you are in love or when you are doing something you like (such as doing sports, soaking in the sun or enjoying a spa day).

And even when you “force” yourself to laugh or smile, the same effects are produced: Your body will secrete the very chemicals produced when you are experiencing pleasure. Being happy makes us smile. The other way is true as well: Laughing or smiling helps us feel good.

So go ahead, and move the corners of your lips up… Here you go! You’re smiling lovelies! Take the time to feel all the alterations of your biochemistry. Slowly and slowly this will help you fall into a state of wellness and happiness.

Side note: The chemicals produced when you are happy are the very ones that would attract potential love mates. Yep! Happiness is attractive!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: FINDING BALANCE

Headstand

Yoga can teach us how to find balance.
Throughout our yoga practice, we ought to find balance between flexibility and strength, between fluidity and stability, between letting go and holding a pose, between being compassionate with ourselves or challenging and pushing ourselves.
These yoga lessons can also be translated into our everyday life so that we experience balance in things we do or say.

Let’s take the example of the edge between compromising and unyielding. Being mindful and putting things into perspective can help us know when to take a step back and make compromises, or when to be firm and take charge of our beliefs and convictions.

If you feel you’ve entered a pattern of complaining about a person or a situation in your life; stop and think twice.Turn your complains around. Have a FLEXIBLE mind. Look at your own behavior and see if you are not to blame or judge as well. Then, start to give the universe or the other person what you “wish to get”.

You wish people were friendlier? Just go ahead, be friendlier yourself first and smile at strangers in the street.

You wish people were more “social”? Stop criticizing them about using their iPhone all the time and be the one to turn off your phone when you are on a date, at a family dinner or with friends.

You wish people were more helpful? Go and help this woman carrying her suitcase up the subway stairs. Positive vibes are contagious!

But, your core values -may that be honesty, integrity and respect eg- are your foundations. They are what make you grounded. Be FIRM and don’t let anybody make you doubt those convictions. You can be unyielding about those fundamental values: Don’t let anybody disrespect you, abuse you, play you, or whatever. Even if the people who are doing this to you are your (so-called) friends, partners, boss. You will forgive them at one point. But first, stand up for yourself and leave them. Don’t let anyone attack or use you in any kind of way. You are worthy of love and respect.

Namaste.

RECIPE: CAYENNE AND HIMALAYAN SALT FUDGE (Vegan, Gluten-free and refined sugar-free)

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Best thing ever!!!! My father (who is a non-vegan and who  is fond of treats) even told me that he loved it. And I can assure you that it’s not easy to satisfy him with my healthy/vegan/green cooking. But this… this… he ate almost the all fudge by himself!

The fudge is really sweet, rich and moist thanks to the carob, banana and pear. And the sugar-free glaze is spicy, savory and bitter with the cayenne pepper, Himalayan salt and raw cacao powder. The contrast is toothsome. All in all, you’re in for a treat, believe me!

Ingredients for the fudge:

100g of buckwheat flour

100g of ground gluten-free oats

25g of chestnut flour

5 tablespoons of carob powder

5 tablespoons of pure cacao powder

2 big and ripe bananas

1 pear

6 tablespoons of pure agave syrup

8 tablespoons of coconut milk

4 tablespoons of flaxseeds

3 teaspoons of cayenne pepper (more if you like it hot!)

Himalayan Pink Salt

For the glaze:

2 tablespoons of coconut milk

1 tablespoon of coconut oil

1 tablespoon of raw caocao powder

1 tablespoon of raw carob powder

1 teaspooon of cayenne pepper

Himalayan pink salt

Pre-heat the oven at 200°C.

Put all the ingredients for the brownie in the food processor.

Oil a tin with some good coconut oil.

Bake it for 25 minutes at 185°C.

Once the fudge has cooled down, you can spread the glaze all over it (first you will have mixed all the ingredients together of course!).

Enjoy!!!! And I promise you will!

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RECIPE: SPICY BANANA BREAD (VEGAN, GLUTEN AND REFINED SUGAR-FREE)

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I was craving something sweet when I came across the recipe of Vegan Banana Bread by Deliciously Ella. I twisted the recipe a little bit according to what I had in my fridge and kitchen closet, so here is my spicy version of this delicious treat.

Ingredients for a yummy and soft banana bread (for 5 people):

– 6 ripe bananas

– 2 cups of chestnut flour

– 1 cup of freshly ground almonds

– 1 cup of buckwheat flour

– 4 tablespoons of ground flaxseeds

– 1 tablespoon of psyllium husk

– 1 pinch of Himalayan salt

– 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder + 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg powder + 1/2 teaspoon of coriander powder + 1 teaspoon of ginger powder + 2 teaspoons of cinnamon powder

– coconut oil for the cake pan

How to?

Pre-heat the oven at 160°C.

Then mix the ground almonds with the chestnut and buckwheat flours, the ground flaxseeds, the psyllium husk, the salt and the spices.

In a food processor, blend the bananas.

Add this puree to the “flour bowl” and mix all the ingredients together until you have a smooth yet sticky dough.

Oil a cake pan with the coconut oil and pour in the mixture.

Bake it for 1 hour.

Let the cake cool down and “dry” a little bit.

Enjoy!

Options: You can sprinkle some coconut flakes or add some banana slices on top.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: BROKEN THINGS

Spring Mannheim - March 2014

I’ve read an interview of a couple that has been together for more than 65 years. When asked about their secret for a long-lasting and happy love, they answered: “We made it work because we were born in a century in which when something was broken, we actually fixed it instead of simply throwing it away.”

I find this quote quite inspiring and full of wisdom.

It also reminded me of the Japanese art and philosophy of Kintsukuroi or “repairing with gold”. Kintsukuroi is the art of fixing ceramics by joining the broken parts together with something precious such as gold or silver. This aesthetic method is also a poetic philosophy of existence: Kintsukuroi means embracing the imperfections by emphasizing the cracks of an object. The breaks and the repair belong to the life of the object: They make the ceramics even more beautiful. The damage actually turns the pottery into a unique treasure.

Kintsukuroi

It makes us wonder, right? Our generation is more about wanting everything shiny and perfect. We want the latest trend: The latest iPhone, the latest iPad, the coolest car. A hole in the shirt? Throw it away. A mark on the iPhone? Buy a new one.  And it often goes the same way when it comes to:

– love: The relationship has just become a little bit too difficult to “handle”. It’s easier to stop here and start something fresh and fun somewhere else…. for a while. And then, it gets weird again.. so we go and look for something even more entertaining. Easier that than actually working on overcoming a “plateau” in a relationship…

– food: When a tomato is too ripe, when a banana is a little brown or when a pear has too many brown marks, we are likely to throw them away. We have so many more perfect fruits and veggies, right? Why eating those weird-looking products?

But did you know that it’s actually healthier to eat the bananas that are really ripe (and therefore the ones that are black/brown) and that we made the best jams out of the ripest and softest fruits.

Did you know that you could turn a broken glass into a romantic piece of jewelry or a torn scarf into a (decorative) sailing boat? It’s also all the philosophy behind Hermès petit h collection. When I used to work at Hermès, I was mesmerized by all the beautiful objects that Pascale Mussard designed out of broken materials, left-over leather fabrics or defective ceramics. She is gifted to give all these damaged goods a second (and wonderful) life. She is the queen of upcycling and treasure hunting. She knows how to look at things differently and how to breathe life into items that seem to be discarded. She sees beauty everywhere and in the little things.

So next time, we want to throw something away, we should wonder how to give the object a second life. Next time we want to throw a ripe banana away, we should consider throwing it into a blender and just make a cream out of it: We won’t even see the brown marks anymore. Next time we want to throw a torn jeans away, we should just think and see if we cannot turn it into a cool summer shorts.

And… next time, we want to give up on somebody, on a relationship, we should see how to bring a new life into the relationship, how to work TOGETHER on making this connection grow stronger. I guess everything is a practice. Our partner will never be perfect. And we are far from being perfect as well. So why not making this work by seeing our life as a piece of art in the making. It will take consistency, courage and strength to work on it, but I’m sure it will be a unique and wonderful artwork to stare at afterwards!

Let’s shine today and open our heart.

NAMASTE