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the most wonderful time of the year

December 8, 2009

A little late but did you have a Happy Thanksgiving?  We went to my parents for dinner.  I made a delicious vegan pumpkin pie, using the recipe in Peter Berley’s Modern Vegetarian Kitchen.

Last week, I had my last work trip of 2009.  I traveled home on the first snowfall of the season, but was lucky to actually get a flight home considering how many flights were cancelled.  Now that’s over I am really looking forward to enjoying the holiday season.  We are going to get our Christmas tree later this week and I can’t wait!  Being the dork I am, I put together a tree decorating playlist yesterday.  Now that my boy is a bit bigger, I have that child-like excitement about Christmas again! 

I would bake Christmas goodies for the whole town if I had the time and money.  Our first Christmas treat this year was my own creation, Vegan Cranberry Almond cookies.

Vegan Cranberry Almond Cookies

1 ½ cup barley flour or whole wheat pastry flour

¼ cup almond milk

Orange zest (from one organic orange)

¼  cup almonds

½ cup cranberries

¼ cup agave nectar

¼ cup earth balance

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

Chop the cranberries and almonds in a food processor (or by hand).  Using a mixer mix the Earth Balance, agave nectar, almond milk, and vanilla.  In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and orange zest.  Add the dry ingredient mixture to the wet ingredients,  Fold in cranberry/almond mixture.  Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes.

I was happy with the delicious results!  I love the combination of cranberry, orange and almond.  I was eying the cranberry bars at Starbucks while I was on my trip but restrained myself.  I did indulge in a (few) peppermint mocha(s) with soymilk though- amazing!  I always treat myself when I am away but try not to overdo it.  I find I don’t sleep well if I eat a ton of food I don’t eat regularly and I loathe sleepless nights alone in a hotel room.  

I am substitute teaching a vinyasa class next weekend.  It’s been over a year since I’ve taught and I am a little nervous but also really excited.  I’d love to start teaching again.  When I was teaching regularly I got to the point where I didn’t need notes but I am definitely going to plan a bit since I’m out of practice.  I’ll let you know how it goes and maybe post one of the sequences.

And getting a little philosophical . . .

The holidays can be stressful when they should be joyful.  I had a moment last weekend that resonated with me as a reminder that I don’t need to approach life with a fast and furious attitude.  When I was waiting at the airport, amidst delays and cancellations across the board, I was sitting across from an elderly couple.  They mentioned the length of their delay when I sat down, and a few moments later were told that their flight was cancelled.  Instead of getting right up and rushing and pushing to get in line to reschedule, they sat for a moment.  The woman was crocheting an intricate beaded scarf, and mentioned that she wanted to finish the row.  So her husband went to the counter and changed their tickets.  He came back, sat down next to his bride and complemented her on her lovely project.  He patiently waited for her to get to a good stopping point and then they calmly got up to go find a hotel.  I was amazed at how they truly took each moment as it came and were able to maintain calmness through a stressful situation.  So this holiday season when my stress rises I am going to take a deep breath and try to find a little bliss in the present moment.

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