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A recipe post, FINALLY!  As I promised earlier, here’s one of many recipes that I want to share.  My all time favorite cookie is oatmeal raisin and I think that this version is a pretty decent alternative.  It’s not grain free since it has quinoa in it but I think the quinoa lends more flavor than a boring oat.  I have been using a basic cookie recipe and changing the add-ins based on the flavor I want and this came out of that.  I will share the basic cookie dough recipe, and a chocolate chip version, in a future post.

 

 

Quinoa Raisin Cookies

Makes about 30 cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened (or coconut oil)

1 cup coconut sugar (or 1/2 cup coconut sugar, 1/2 up Zsweet)

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups almond meal or blanched almond flour

1 cup quinoa flakes

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup raisins

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix dry ingredients together and set aside.
  3. Cream butter and sugar together.
  4. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
  5. Add dry ingredients to the butter mixture and beat well.
  6. Fold in raisins.
  7. Drop by the teaspoonful onto cookie sheet, flatten slightly, and bake for 8 to 10 minutes.
  8. Let cool for 10 minutes before moving to cookie rack.

Compared to some of my other recipes, this uses more sweetener.  I have played around with both the amount of sweetener and the form.  I’ve tried more coconut sugar but it was way too sweet.  I’ve tried less and paired it with stevia and didn’t like that combo much either.  The flavor and sweetness were fine but the texture was not the same.  Of course, the raisins are plenty sweet themselves so the cookies will still turn out if you cut the sugar by one-third or half.  Another note is that this recipe works well with either blanched almond flour or natural almond meal.  I ran out of almond flour and have been using Trader Joe’s almond meal and they bake equally well.  If you play around with the recipe, let me know how it works out for you.

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Hello blog, I’ve missed you!  I hadn’t intended to stay away for so long but summer came, family activities picked up, and here I am, months later.  One of the things that’s taken up my time is my new fitness routine.  I’ve been practicing yoga for over a year now and in the last few months have upped the frequency to almost daily.

I first tried yoga eons ago when I was in college.  Back then it seemed to be more of a new age-y activity.  The class was for the gentle, meditative type of hatha yoga and my instructor’s name was Coco.  She had long, gray, braided hair, complete with feathers.  I stopped going after a few classes because it always seemed that I would fall asleep as soon as we got into corpse pose.  A nice respite from an afternoon of classes, but I could have easily achieved that in the comfort of my own dorm room.  Flash forward to last year when the neighbor who runs the daycare my daughter attends recommended hot yoga to me.  My first thought was, “Uh, yoga? I don’t think so.”  My second thought was, “Isn’t it gross with all those hot, sweaty people dripping on you?”  She went on to explain that, no, it wasn’t nasty and that the heat really helped to loosen her muscles and relieve her arthritis.  She gave me a couple of free passes, I thanked her and promptly forgot where I put them.

After a couple of months, I started thinking about trying yoga in earnest.  For me, the thing with exercising has always been consistency.  I’m not the type of person who loves to work out.  I do it because I’m vain and want to look good and if it’s going to happen on a regular basis, I better love it.  I also wanted something that didn’t require a ton of equipment or weights or lots of space.  I had been training with weights and trying some primal-friendly, cross-fit type workouts and while I was improving my muscle tone, I didn’t want to be tied to heavy weights as I travel quite a bit for work.  Yoga was my answer on those two fronts.

So I signed up for a free week of classes and, wouldn’t you know it, I ended up going everyday for five days.  I would have been there seven days straight if it hadn’t been for the business trip that interrupted my free yoga.  It was all the things I thought it would be – hot, sweaty, drippy.  I was tired and sore but I also felt renewed and refreshed.  Yoga is all about uniting and balancing opposites.  In order to fully “be” in a posture, there is both pushing and pulling, extending and compressing.  The muscles have to be engaged in every which way.  And you have to breathe.  Sounds simple but when you’re trying to hold a pose, the breath instinctively stops.  Reversing that tendency and breathing through the pose is what will get you through it.  This facet of training the body is what I was missing from other types of exercises.  What I really value, though, perhaps even more than the physical aspect, is what it does to my mind.  Taking 60 or 90 minutes a day (a huge luxury in and of itself) for my type-A, obsessive, multi-tasking self to quiet this chaotic mind is a humbling challenge.  I have experienced some emotional releases mid-pose that have caught me off guard and almost threw me off my feet.  I’ve recently entered into what will be a life-altering commitment and yoga is helping me to grasp and process it.  Yoga for me is not just a practice but a space; somewhere for me to both stretch and think, exert and let go, rejoice and grieve.   No matter how long of a day I’ve had and how I feel going into it, I always come out feeling better and rejuvenated.  Physically speaking, I am probably in the fittest shape I’ve ever been and my body continues to evolve.  I have more flexibility, better posture and I feel more symmetrical.

So I’m going to wrap up this yoga love fest.   I hope you have a chance to try yoga for yourself, you might like it.  I’ll be posting a recipe shortly, I promise!