“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
Sage advice from ’80s hottie genius, Ferris Bueller. Well, my darling, Ferris – 30 years later – life flies by. With everything at our fingertips we’ve managed to distance ourselves from the world around us. More technology = less face time (or more “Facetime”), less connecting and less participation in our own lives.
Kids are becoming little fatties that need to be told how to play – do kids even get the opportunity to scrape their knees any more? Dodgeball and Red Rover were responsible for many a painful clothes-lining or nose-bleed, but those are feelings I will always remember… fondly.
All I’m saying is that being present in life is a challenge, but being present inside our own bodies is becoming a rare thing. After a lifetime of being a dancer and following that up with acting, my spacial awareness and physical grounded-ness is something I cherish and has served me since I was a child. It’s no secret that endorphins are good… blah blah blah… exercise is good… we get it… Duh.
What I was missing was the pride in myself physically – don’t judge me yet – I don’t mean “hotness”, I mean that sense of accomplishment you get from knowing what you are truly capable of. I think we are all capable of so much more than we think.
Something very special entered my life on September 2, 2014 – so special I needed to tell everyone I knew. I was still getting over losing our special puppy, George, and I was floundering in a job I didn’t want after losing a job I did want. The weight of my winter bled through the summer and I wasn’t going anywhere. I drank too much, I slept too little and I retreated from life. I didn’t want to get better – I didn’t believe I was worthy of getting better.
That very special thing that came along was Aerial Yoga. I joined Branch Yoga and went on the second day they were open. I’ve seen gorgeous and warm Marlene, Karey and Bart grow a three person operation in the basement of a health food restaurant in Etobicoke to a place that has created a community. But I digress…
My first aerial yoga class was scary and a little intimidating, but completely life changing – you challenge your relation to the earth itself. Halfway through the class poses become completely inverted and all of a sudden you are hanging and every muscle you have melts away. You become taller and stronger and learn to trust yourself in new ways.
For the final five minutes of the class you “cocoon” in final relaxation – likely the reason everyone in the room has come in the first place (I know I have). In my first class – in many classes since – I felt something transformative. Tears streamed down my cheeks as I was cradled like a baby – completely supported and completely protected.
Feeling complete, I finally just let go.
These cookies are a dedication to Marlene, Karey, Bart and all the lovelies at Branch that came after. To anyone who is learning to love themselves again and to those that are trying to get there – here is something sweet and substantial… like you.
HEALTHY QUINOA & CARROT SPICE COOKIES
makes 2 dozen
This recipe was adapted from the book “Quinoa: The Everyday Superfood”. It’s a great grab and go snack or even breakfast. It seems like there’s lots going on here, but it’s really simple and the ingredients are likely things you already have on hand. Who knew quinoa could make such a delicious dessert!?
These cookies are a little different – they are almost akin to a muffin top – crispy edges with a soft and spongy almost cake-like centre.
2/3 cup water
1/3 cup quinoa
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup grated carrots (approx 4 carrots)
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1/4 cup ground flax seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
Bring the water and quinoa to boil in a small saucepan with lid on, reduce to simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave covered for a further 5 minutes. Remove from the lid and fluff with a fork. Allow to cool.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease with butter.
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar. When it turns lighter in colour add the eggs and vanilla. Beat thoroughly until airy.
In a separate bowl mix the remaining ingredients including the cooled quinoa. Fold into the wet mixture in 3 batches until well incorporated.
Roll dough into golf ball sized portions and place an inch apart on the prepared cookie sheet. Gently flatten slightly and place on the centre rack in your oven. Bake approximately 10 minutes – they will still be quite soft and just starting to brown on the bottom. Allow to cool completely on the baking sheet. You may need to cook in batches.
Store in a covered container in the fridge for up to 1 week.