New Years is the time to make a fresh start resulting in making a hopeful resolution. Instead of something unachievable, make this year a year to live day by day and realize that change can happen at anytime of the year. Slide into the New Year with these 7 inspirational quotes.
At this point of recipe creation, sometimes the weirdest ideas turn out to be something spectacular. Spending my second Christmas in Germany I cannot help but water my mouth over all the delicious German breads and treats. German holiday treats usually include the special spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, dates, figs, raisins, clove and/or star anise. However, sometimes the people with gluten tolerance cannot enjoy such because everything has flour or a wheat-based product.
I thought why not take a banana type bread and recreate it with buckwheat flour and add holiday spices. This allows those who love Christmas be a part of the culinary adventures. I looked in my cabinet and used whatever I had leftover to concoct a holiday-spiced loaf.
Of course, if you want to traditional pastry flour you can. Also, the ginger certainly adds spice to the bread and does overpower the banana flavor. So, you can omit the ginger if you prefer the banana flavor. Finally, I blended the bananas in a food processor. This increases the liquid content and reduces the chunks. If you do not have enough banana you can use applesauce to replace some of the liquid content. A 9x5 bread pan or smaller is best.
Gluten Free & Vegan Banana Buckwheat Christmas Loaf
Prep Time: 5-7 minutes
Cook Time: 20-25 minutes
Total Time: 25-32 minutes
Makes: 9 slices
2 cups buckwheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp ginger, diced
3 large ripe bananas, blended in food processor (or half banana / half applesauce)
2 tbsp nondairy milk
2 tbsp agave nectar (or cane sugar)
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup dates, chopped
1/4 raisins, chopped (or use just all raisins or dates)
Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Place dry ingredients into a bowl. Blend the banana and add the additional wet ingredients and blend. (If you blend the ginger it will make it a stronger flavor.) Add the wet ingredients into the dry and then fold in the nuts, raisins, dates and ginger. Grease a bread pan or line with parchment paper and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a fork comes out clean from a poke test. Remove and let the bread cool before cutting.
If you read about spiritual concepts, one theory is the belief that everything is created from vibration. Whether it’s a wood desk or a human being, everything is created based on its vibrational frequency. I first understood this concept clearly when I watched the free YouTube video, “Inner World Outer World." I recommend watching this video to gain enlightenment about the connections between nature, spirituality and religion. All four parts are important to watch.
In Part One, "Akasha" viewers discover how the vibrations from music and various frequencies produce patterns that look similar in nature. They also show how when one adds cornstarch to water, the different vibrational frequencies produce objects that look similar to life form. Simply, vibration is everywhere. Even the yogis talk of “Om” pronounced “AUM” being the primordial sound of the sun (if the frequencies are changed to a level that humans can hear).
I had tickets to go to a techno concert that occurred the day after the Paris attacks in Hannover, Germany. I was down about the situation and went to the concert physically zoned into the music, but mentally worried about the future of humanity. I was dancing and observing the locals having fun completely engaged in the moment. After countless minutes of dancing next to the DJ booth, a guy set his drink on the DJ platform. The bass shook the glass and it fell on its side dumping into a puddle of beer.
I stood in front of this pool of beer for a long time. During the upbeat part of the song when the bass hit its peak I looked at the puddle and noticed vibrational frequency patterns. I first noticed explosions that looked similar to fireworks. Bursts of star-like patterns exploded within the puddle.
Since I taught aerobics, I can feel when the beat per minute of a song changes. The body moves differently and sometimes the bass or song feels “harder.” As the night progressed, so did the frequencies. The bass began to produce circle-shaped bursts that looked similar to the middle of a sunflower. It was the same pattern I saw in the YouTube film.
I kept my eyes fixed on the puddle while my mind thought about the future of the world. My concerns were discerned on the future of humanity. After seeing and reading how people reacted to each other on social media I began to give up hope on humanity as people reacted with the same bouts of hate of extremism that happened that happened in Paris.
As the music got more “magical” so did the patterns in the water. The patterns transformed into a box-like shape that looked similar to a square checkered-shape pretzel. It almost looked as if a life form was trying to create itself from the water.
I pulled out my phone and tried to take video of the vibrations to prove my experience. Ironically, every time I tried to video it my phone failed and I had no methods to capture the moment. I felt that it was life telling me to enjoy the moment and listen to the message. What I heard loud and clear was the importance to keep ascending in this unpredictable world.
A couple weeks later I traveled to Cologne, Germany to watch my favorite German DJ, Alle Farben. Alle Farben means “all colors” in English and when I first saw this DJ I had transcendental experiences from his music. His approach to music and balance in life is similar to my values and what I “preach.”
When he began to perform, I felt chills throughout my body and a vibrational pattern that was deeper than just the loud speakers shaking my body. My mind and body united and as I looked at the projector screen that shook from the sound of the bass. But, there is something to Alle Farben’s music that affects me differently than most DJs.
Visual art is a part of electronic dance music. It stimulates the brain and synergistically enhances the music. With my eyes closed, I realized my body entered a euphoric state (mind you I was completely sober throughout this experience. I do not drink or do drugs at these events). In my mind’s eye, I began to see shapes, figures and fractals, which is something I only experienced while in deep meditation. I saw colorful connections of what looked like a spinning top, the one seen in Leonardo Dicaprio’s movie, The Departed. I’m not sure why this happens to me, but when I saw Alle Farben in Hannover in May at the Kiste nightclub, his music sent me into a trance where I entered a healing state to send light and energy to people and the planet.
I believe in some sense, the vibration of music sent my mind to another dimension. I am energetically sensitive and it feels weird sometimes expressing these experiences.
All this vibration not only reminded me about the power of thought, but also the influence of music and creativity in our wellbeing.
But the reminder isn’t just the “do good to get good karma.” Although everyone should live by that principle, many people do that out of fear of not wanting anything bad to happen. And when something bad happens they don’t know how to deal with it, which in turn creates more fear. It’s living and breathing by the essence of our choices and educating our minds.
Ascension and raising vibrational patterns doesn’t happen automatically. It happens through experience, by getting outside the comfort zone and in touch with our inner world. Once we have the internal dialogue we can better figure out root causes to our problems.
Like music, if we want to experience harmony we must choose to ascend our souls and ourselves. And to that, I thank the fun and innocent German techno parties on reminding me to keep ascending. And I also thank the free YouTube video as its my go-to movie every time I need reminded about life.
To end I leave you with this, "To understand the Universe, understand energy, frequency and vibration." - Nikola Tesla
I remember the days of where homemade meals were the best parts of the day. Somehow through time and inconvenience of stress we have lost tough with nature and the ability to produce some of the best most wonderful tasting foods directly from the source.
I attended a small party at one of my favorite shops in Old Town, Sonam's Little World. Here I met a biologist who made the best tasting Christmas punch I have ever tasted. She picked two kinds of berries from the forest that morning with one being Rose Hips. Amazed, I could not believe how wonderful and sweet this "natural" beverage tasted. It literally brought my soul back to medieval memories where people sit around boiling up pots of soup and food. It was Christmas explosion in my mouth and once again the punch proved that nature is sweeter than sugar.
I knew I had to figure out how to re-create it. Her tea consisted of a deep red color that was produced from a local berry that is grown in Germany. I first used her fresh rose hips, but the color was not deep. So I decided to try again with dried rose hips and the taste still defines Christmas as the most wonderful time of the year.
The recipe is not complicated, but it just takes time to simmer. The punch tastes best warm. When it is cooled it gives off a different flavor. I always use fresh ingredients so you can certainly use fresh squeezed apple juice or 100% bottled apple juice. Also, rose hips with the seeds are okay. It will not be as orange or red, but the seeds provide many nutrients. Enjoy!
All-Natural Christmas Punch
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 30-40 minutes
Total Time: 35-45 minutes
2.5 cups water
1/3 cup dried rosehips
1.5 cinnamon sticks
1-1.5 inch fresh ginger, quartered
1 large orange, cut in half (cut one half into slices)
2.5 cups apple juice
Place the water and rose hips into a pot and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain the rose hips and set aside. In the pot, add the remaining ingredients, except for one slice of orange. Squeeze the orange slice into the punch. Simmer for 10-15 minutes. Next. add the previously boiled rose hip mixture back into the pot and simmer for an additional 10-15 minutes. When complete, strain the ingredients and serve warm. Adjust any flavorings by adding more apple or orange juice.
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Back in 2007, when I studied yoga in India my guru talked about “being smart.” His teachings had nothing to do with being book smart. His philosophies incorporated concepts about being worldly and spiritually sophisticated.
Recently, I held conversations based on authentic intelligence with people who were born on different parts of the planet. The common theme that every conversation expressed included how real intelligent people use empathy and the ability to see every side of the story and to connect the dots in certain situations. Many of these people believe that authentically intelligent people can disconnect from the ego, drama, and need for praise and can detach from impulsivity and extreme views of thinking. In simple terms, it’s about having a balanced and wise approach to life.
There are a lot of smart people on this planet. Some are amazing spiritual leaders where others have built business empires. Even the biggest “gurus” out there are smart, but may not be intelligent. Authentic intelligence includes the ability of being able to sleep at night with the decisions made.
The world is going through a major change and social media has certainly influenced our thinking and behavior patterns. This is important because when we read or see something that we disagree about, the ego goes into overdrive and wants to be heard. This is not to say that you shouldn’t express your opinion, but is that opinion doing more harm than good? Can you truly assess every side of the story before you blame or label a person?
Authentic intelligence also understands how the world works and operates. It’s not about being a liberal or a conservative it’s about having an independent mind and detaching yourself from biases.
Most authentically intelligent people I know have experienced life a little differently. Whether they were born into an extreme situation or social class, most who break themselves from the world they know begin to see the worldly differently.
When you start seeing the world differently, you begin to see life like a movie. You are the director and you watch and analyze the characters of the world. In some ways its liberating because you know people and things cannot control your mind.
One of the biggest assets to authentic thinkers is that (whether they realize it or not) they live life with their senses. For example, they listen to one thing, but hear a different message. They eat but they can taste the real pleasure of human existence. They can see, but they see through every smoke screen on the planet or understand the root of the problem. They smell, but can smell when something is not right.
How do you become authentically intelligent? Many people discover this form of intelligence differently. The main three ways I have developed what I coin “authentic intelligence” is through traveling, conversations with people from different cultures and studying yoga.
Yoga teaches nothing but wise lessons that make you humble and able to detach from matters that are not important. When you travel and truly immerse yourself into a different culture you change. Evolving is part of the human experience and you begin to compare and contrast your culture to the world. Conversations with people from different cultures are important. When you converse with others you blend and fuse each other’s life experiences to enhance empathy. Some people I know, including myself, have learned some of life’s greatest lessons from people who are greatly older or have experienced adulthood prior to the 1970s. There is something wise to be learned from our elders not born into the social media and selfie culture.
In simple terms, developing an authentic intellect takes time, patience and experience. You know you have it when you can be real but ideal simultaneously. Have you ever talked to a smart person and then later spoken with a wise person? There is a vast difference between the two mindsets and philosophies in life.
Are you authentically intelligent? Or know someone who is? MBSF enjoys learning from others and would love to hear what you think about authentic intelligence.
Have you ever tried something so good you thought you were going to die and go heaven? If so, that is how I felt about my vegan caramel apple smoothie. I'm telling you, dates are a miracle food. They are so versatile as a natural sweetener and is nature's caramel.
Forget that sugary junk stuff from a can. Why eat it when you can have an exceptional caramel for a fraction of the price and is nature approved. Germany has an abundant of apple trees. And it is no secret that fall is the best time for apples or as they say, "apfels." I began to rummage through my cabinet looking at what ingredients I need to use - then inspiration hit. I wonder what a vegan caramel apple smoothie tastes like? We've had a warm November and plenty of sun, which is rare for Northern Germany. I wanted a smoothie that had a fall taste to it.
Mmmm...inspiration served me right as I think this is one of the best smoothies or things I've concocted. I knew I wanted something creamy and thick, similar to ice cream. So, what's the secret to this ice-cream-like dream? Freezing the fruit and coconut milk. I always use fresh fruit, wash, cut and freeze it overnight or for at least 5 hours. The coolness and thickness of each is what makes this smoothie extra delicious.
But you can certainly use non-dairy milk if you'd like. Also, I use medjool dates as they are sticky and easy to remove from the nut. You can also use deglet noor dates, but if they are rock solid, you may need to dice them or soak them before blending. Keep reading for the recipe below!!
Vegan Caramel Apple Smoothie
Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Cook Time: 0 Minutes
Total Time: 5 Minutes
1 banana, frozen
2/3 apple, frozen
4 mejdool dates (make sure you remove the pit)
1/2 cup coconut milk (from the can)
1/2 tsp vanilla
Place the fruit, dates and vanilla in a blender (I have a food processor). Place 1/4 cup of the coconut milk in the blender and pulse several times. Next, blend until the blades no longer move. Remove the lid, mix the fruit to ensure nothing is stuck on the sides. Pour in the remaining coconut milk and blend until smooth. The key is to gradually add the milk. Depending on the power of your blender you may use more or less coconut milk.
Seriously, it's lip smacking good! Enjoy!
Elizabeth Rae Kovar M.A. is Author of her memoir, Finding Om and is a Fitness Trainer, Yogi, Reiki Master, Presenter and Lover of Life. To view her portfolio please visit www.elizabethkovar.com