Balance and Baking

As you well know, I am a firm believer in balance. I crave it. I long for it. I search endlessly for it day in and out.

I started working out again, after taking a break for a couple of weeks. I still make sure to move my body an hour a day, usually just doing yoga or going for a walk, but suddenly it has turned winter here in Manitoba now and it is COLD!

Cold to me = being stuck inside, sitting around and being lazy which = feeling down and being tired all the time so that is why Saturday I just couldn’t take it anymore and got off my butt to do my total body cardio workout. It certainly energized me and left me feeling oh so good… at first.

The problem is that every time I start doing cardio work outs again, I get really unpleasant. It just happens. Every. Time. I get addicted to the workout endorphin kick and then if I miss a workout, I turn into a nasty person that you do not want to be around, which is not so good when you are a mother and homemaker, believe me.

So I wonder if the working out is worth the let down afterwards. Plus, after I work out I NEED food. I get a ravenous appetite and want to eat all the time. I become a crazy baking/eating machine! That is why I love yoga. It is so perfect in every way. It is not all in-your-face awesome, but it is subtle and gentle and satisfying. When you watch someone doing yoga, it seems so effortless and relaxing, as if they aren’t really getting a workout at all. Sometimes I feel like that with my yoga, it gets easy and a little boring so I put it away and go back to my cardio workouts. When I get bored of the cardio and return to the yoga again, I see how difficult it really is and it is anything but boring or easy.

Yoga is not only a great workout, but it also great life practice. Yoga requires discipline of your mind. It requires mindfulness and patience. In yoga, you pretty much have to lose your head and forget everything else that is floating around your mind. There is no room for worry or fear when you are concentrating on your breath and the poses.

Whenever I hit the mat, even for just 30 minutes, it paces me for my life as a mother. Yoga helps me to relax, stretch, meditate and practice mindfulness, which I carry out into my every day life, bringing about many benefits not only for myself but for everyone. No more bitchy, unstable, endorphin-addicted mama. I am calm and relaxed, mindful of my tasks and patient with my children. If I miss a morning of yoga, it’s no big deal. I don’t get super-down about it, I only feel like I need the stretch or the time to be mindful and clear my head again, and so I do it.

So those are some of my thoughts and why I love yoga and will never divorce it. It is my love.

But anyways, back to balance. I believe that there is a time for everything in life. A time for working your ass out, all the while promising yourself that you will indeed take a break from baking and eating delicious baked goods and commit to more raw veggies. And a time (after you forget how hard you just worked out and what you promised yourself) for hitting the kitchen, baking like mad and eating your delicious warm, baked goods on the couch, watching Disney movies cuddled under blankets. Balance I tell you.

Here are two recipes that I have baked and eaten during the cold post-workout winter afternoons with my beautiful girls.

Chocolate Walnut Brownie Bite Cookies

Chocolate walnut brownies in cookie form. Enough said.

Makes 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 1/3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 3/4 cup sunflower oil
  • 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, sea salt and chopped walnuts. In a smaller mixing bowl, whisk together the sunflower oil, maple syrup and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients in the large mixing bowl and mix until combined. Drop a tablespoon-sized amount of the cookie dough onto the baking sheet. Repeat to make 24 cookies. Bake one batch at a time for 6-8 minutes until very lightly browned, looking almost underdone. Allow to cool before removing from the pan.

And now for a healthier treat.

Nutty Peanut Butter Raisin Granola Bars

I have been working on perfecting a granola bar recipe for months now. This recipe is one that I find to be just perfect. Soft and chewy, not too sweet, loaded with healthy nuts and oil and sugar-free to boot! This recipe reminds me of the Nature Valley Fruit and Nut bars I used to be addicted to. Yum.

Makes 12 granola bars

Ingredients

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup spelt flour
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup pecan pieces
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
  • 2 flax eggs (1/4 cup ground flax seed + 1/3 cup warm water)
  • 3/4 cup crunchy natural peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350F. Combine the oats, flour, raisins, pecan pieces and sunflower seeds in a large mixing bowl. Whisk together the ground flax seed and warm water in a small bowl and set aside to thicken. In a separate, smaller mixing bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, maple syrup and applesauce. Add the flax eggs to the rest of the wet ingredients in the smaller mixing bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the oat/nut mixture and stir until combined. Pour the granola mixture into a non-stick 9 x 13 inch baking pan, spreading the mixture evenly in the pan and press down with a baking spatula. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until lightly browned. Allow to cool and then cut into 12 equal bars.

I love to workout.

I love to do yoga.

I love to bake.

And I love to eat.

P.S

I’ve typed my last six posts one-handed while breastfeeding my babe! That is how much I love this blog and believe that you need these recipes. 🙂

16 thoughts on “Balance and Baking

  1. Pingback: Whole Wheat Vegan Calzones | Live. Learn. Love. Eat.

    • I often do power yoga by Rodney Yee, a DVD that I got at chapters. You can order yoga DVDs online from the Gaiam website. I am starting to try some Shiva Rea yoga now too. I did her prenatal yoga DVD during my pregnancy, but her actual yoga DVDs are really challenging.

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      • Youtube.com also has a lot of great beginner practices. Just search for Beginner Yoga and try a few 🙂 Esther Ekhart has some wonderful practices.

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  9. This is one of my favorite recipes ever. I made it for my son’s preschool with sunflower butter instead of peanut butter, and added molasses instead of maple syrup and 1/3 cup brown sugar. I must have had 10 parents request the recipe and then thank me later after making it for their families. It is just a wonderful healthy recipe that’s great for bake sales and potlucks. Thanks!!!!!!

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