Monday, March 21, 2016

EASTER CHOCOLATE

     I spent the last month keeping my eyes peeled for the organic chocolate easter bunnies I buy every year for the boys. They were nowhere to be found. I searched online. I had scouts looking in Montreal. I had a tip that a health food store in the city was selling dark chocolate bunnies, but when I showed up hoping they had the milk chocolate versions too I discovered that even the (wax crayon-like) dark chocolate ones were sold out. So in addition to being unable to find organic chocolate easter eggs for our egg hunt (as usual), this year I even had no bunnies.
     It was time to take matters into my own hands. I picked up a stack of organic milk chocolate bars, a fancy new egg shaped candy mould, and some fancy foil wrappers for the eggs. I made my own.
     It's really ever so simple. You melt the chocolate in a double boiler, pour into lightly greased moulds, freeze for a few minutes, then pop them out. 
      Making the eggs was simple too - I just heated a saucepan on the stove, held the flat end of an egg on it until it melted a bit and then pressed another egg onto it really hard until it stuck. I have to say I was pretty darn proud of myself.

     Since I've been on an experimental no dairy, no gluten diet I decided I needed a chocolate treat to celebrate the Spring Equinox too. 
     This here is the one of the BEST desserts ever. I kid you not. I can't wait to make a peanut butter and chocolate version next time. Many thanks to www.veganricha.com for this one......
CHOCOLATE CARAMEL MOUSSE PIE
with Almond and Hemp Coconut Crust

Makes a 9" pie or tart pan

Crust:
1/2 cup almonds
6 Tbsp hemp seeds
3/4 cup coconut 
1/8 tsp sea salt
8 soft dates
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp almond milk

Method: Soak the dates for the caramel layer in hot water while you make the crust. Grease your tart pan or pie plate with coconut oil. Process just the almonds into a coarse meal in the food processor. Add the hemp seeds, dates, 1/4 cup coconut and the salt and pulse until the dates are incorporated. Add the rest of the coconut, as well as the vanilla, maple syrup, and almond milk and process until doughy. Press the dough into the pan.

Caramel Layer:
1 cup soft dated (about 11 - soaked in hot water for 15 minutes)
2 Tbsp almond butter
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1/2 cup almond milk
pinch of sea salt

Method: Drain the soaked dates. Puree them in a blender or food processor along with the rest of the ingredients. Spread onto the crust. Place in freezer for 15 minutes before adding the mousse.

Chocolate Mousse Layer:
1/2 cup full fat coconut milk (just the solid part)
2/3 cup dark or semi sweet chocolate chips
2 Tbsp almond butter
2 Tbsp coconut oil
2 tsp vanilla
1/8-1/4 cup maple syrup (depending on how sweet you like it)

Method: Heat coconut milk until it is almost boiling. Pour into a bowl and whisk in the chocolate chips. Then add the rest of the ingredients. Pour onto the chilled caramel. Freeze until set and serve frozen.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

THE POWER OF THE GONG

 
 If you've ever taken a Kundalini Yoga class you may have experienced the immensely powerful sound of the gong. I fell in love with the gong because it enabled me to tap into a transcendent reality and connection with a vastness beyond my finite self. I was hooked.
     The gong is a transformational tool for deep healing and rejuvenation. A Kundalini Yoga class consists of a sequence of asanas, mudras, bandhas, pranayams, and mantras which open the flow of energy to create a receptive body-mind state. The gong can then be played during savasana when the students are relaxed and in a meditative state. The gong cleanses the subconscious mind and awakens transcendent states of awareness.
     Unlike most musical instruments, the gong sound envelope is unpredictable, non-linear, and trans-spatial. The gong produces a complex synthesis of blended overtones that allow the listener to experience sound in a completely new and entirely unique and personal way. The sounds produced by the gong are so new and intricate that the human mind is unable to categorize it. The powerful sound waves of the gong suspend the thought waves of the mind, bringing the listener to a zero point that is known as shuniya - nothingness - where inner truth can be accessed. The gong is the the yogi's instrument for creating a spontaneous meditative state that only requires the listener to let go.