Mayan Hot Chocolate w/Butternut Squash

A few years back, my former Corporate gig brought me to visit Rancho La Puerta. A beautiful spa and wellness retreat in Tecate, Mexico. Although a visit to this gem would be pricey on the average pocketbook, I love to have a little piece of the heavenly ranch at home once the cold air starts rolls into the north states. Their Mayan Hot Chocolate recipe does the trick. The surprise ingredient is pureed butternut squash! It adds a rich creaminess to the delicious beverage.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked butternut squash pulp
  • 3 ½ cups milk
  • 3 ounces Ibarra brand Mexican chocolate
  • 3 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ⅛ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Directions: 1. In a blender, puree the squash with 1¾ cups of the milk until perfectly smooth. 2. In a large saucepan, mix the remaining 1¾ cups of milk, chocolate, and spices. With a whisk, stir over low heat until the chocolate is melted, then add the pureed squash. Do not boil. Strain through a coarse sieve to remove any trace of the squash fiber. 3. Reheat gently in a heavy saucepan. Serve in little demitasse cups, with a crisp cookie for dipping.

Holy Moly, Mercury Retrograde…

I woke up this morning at 5:00am from a few incredibly vivid dreams. The imprint when I woke was the type of one that lets you know your entire entity was working through many dimensions of thought and being. And then I cried…a lot. It felt like a pressure valve release to whatever my body was healing while I slept. It can be easy to feel completely alone in these moments, but then I remember that there actually is an entire Universe out there playing a roll. We are never alone.

Knowing that we all experience things differently, when retrograde Mercury comes about, it is an amazing reminder to slow down and take stalk. Be patient and honor what comes up. This is when I like to remind myself to acknowledge and respect whats happening around me but to try to keep grounded on my own path. Lessons will be brought up which ignites a natural push-or-pull but all for reasons of urging personal growth. As empathetic beings, we can easily get wrapped up with what comes along in our daily encounters with the tremendous energy during these planetary shifts. We’re all on this green planet together – the gentler we are on ourselves, the gentler we will be with others.

If you have time, flip thru Instagram for the beautiful photos of the blood moon from this morning and the full moon heading into lunar eclipse from last night. It’s a collage-type of reminder that we are all here together, seeing and experiencing the same things from different vantage points. Enjoy the show and the time to meditate, reflect and go with the flow.

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Point of View x Beth Hoeckel

Self-Care. It’s a Real Thing.

For months I had been dreading to get back into shape. My entire life my weight and health has fluctuated often while staying within a recoverable spectrum. Blame it on my love for all food – including a reasoning that greasy food should still grace the dinner plate every now and again. But as much as I love pizza (I mean LOVE the damn thing), I also really love when I get into a routine of healthy salads, sautés, green juice and anything that can come from my Vitamix. More importantly, I love the way it makes me feel. A glow from within.

Just this past week, I set aside the fact that this frozen tundra known as winter in Minnesota (currently the harshest on record) has consumed the landscape and with it, a good amount of motivation, to make the leap. I went to a local holistic urban wellness spa, where I also happen to work as a coordinator two days a week, and set myself up for a 90 minute therapeutic massage. Something I used to do for myself on a monthly basis for stress management when I worked in the Corporate world. This body work, however, was different. I was able to let go and set into a meditation that I had not been able to do for the last year. It was amazing.

Simply creating the space for this release to take place opened up so much more than I had realized it would. Sometimes it is best to wait to open up/let go when we are still processing to protect ourselves and our progress (it took me a year!). And I still have so much to work through but this initial self-care step truly was ready and needed. I began attending yoga classes again…which is hard. Yoga is phenomenal..but it will take a while to work towards the place I was in my practice. That’s ok. We’re exactly where we are supposed to be..right? Or at least that is what so many teachers have said, it can be hard to encompass but also can lift a monkey off of your back to let yourself be where you are.

I’m beginning to actively move back into a healthy eating regime including a ton of salmon, avocado and berries with Omega-3s and Antioxidants, saving pizza for special occasions…maybe. All of these changes from just simply taking time to prioritize my health (mental and physical) and get some body work. A positive domino effect that I want to keep moving forward. Off we go!

Love and light,
Rachel

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Emotional Abundance

Rarely do I feel that I have no thoughts or emotions towards just about everything in my life, but I strive to let those pass by without attachment. Key word being strive…I try, with all the hours of yoga classes nipping at my heals, I try. It’s easy to get stuck and dwell, run my mind in circles over the topic at hand. With negative thoughts, it can feel more like a rabbit hole with quicksand inside.

A few weeks back, I started a radical acceptance mediation course at home on CD. I love it. There is one gem that I want to share (although I give the whole thing 4 stars!), it is simple but all encompassing. When negative thoughts or experiences are present, try to open up to them from the heart versus constrict and focus on one particular aspect (or for me, known as the rabbit hole). To actually feel our emotions and move through them instead of shoving them down or to the side…which can sometimes later fester in worse or more destructive ways. I’m paraphrasing here but the concept alone has truly expanded my healing.

It is not always easy to sit with uncomfortable emotions but now that I’m more actively practicing to do so, I can feel where I was putting emotional band-aids on before.

I have had the tendency in the past to want to rush to the good stuff, ignore or skip the bad or uncomfortable stuff. Meditation helps to see that the “bad” stuff also serves a purpose and actually helps lead to a deeper and more real connection when its time for the “good” stuff.

Ah, the light (and darkness) of awareness.

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Blog love: Why It’s Good To Feel Alone, Angry and Depressed via MindBodyGreen

It’s Saturday, Folks

We push and push and push ourselves. Daily…and for all sorts of reasons both internal and external. Especially this time of the year – so many errands and multiple to-do lists and not to mention the general holiday stress that comes with weekend pressure and a countdown…but it’s Saturday! I for one am going to take this one easy…on myself. How are you going to kick back?

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Loving the Foods Our Bodies’ Love

I love a good come back story.

Especially when the method is one that is healthy, forward thinking and real…by real I mean avoiding quick-fix gimmicks or compromising important aspects of life. It is even better when these stories are shared and the benefits can transfer to other people in relatable situations. If food is added into the equation (as it should, always!), you get great websites like Paleo With Love and encouraging postings like this one from Dawna Stone on MindBodyGreen.

So much of what we think, feel and do is driven or effected by the nutrients or fuel we put into our bodies. It only makes sense that food is at the center-point of any health goal. Sometimes this is easier said than done…that is where appetizing recipes can push interest into passion. This wild salmon recipe from Chef Ryan fits that bill – packed with Omega-3s, perfect for this dry season (and currently -11 degrees in Minnesota). The sweet potato mash looks hearty and filling yet light and still comforting. I’m looking forward to what will be breezing my dinner plate this evening.

It is my personal belief that every body needs or tolerates different foods in different ways – paleo, vegan, pesca-tarian, etc. – it’s about what works in your body regardless of what your classically trained yoga teacher tells you. There are just some universals like processed foods are not great, refined sugars should be limited or eliminated and vegetables are good…many bright minds debate on this topic but I feel strongly that we each have our own path (which can, of course, change with our bodies over time). Naturally the cleaner the ingredients, the better for you. Organic when possible, local is ideal, seasonally grown is superb.

TeoZirinis

Let’s All Go Have Breakfast by Teo Zirinis.

Glorification of Busy

It does seem that as a society and culture, we place value in staying busy…having a full calendar of work and social gatherings, staying on top of all home tasks and chores, doing and having it all. The American dream? I’m not sure I agree. It is somewhat counter-effective to our wellness to not stop and breathe every now and again. Giving ourselves time to take stock or just enjoy a simple cup of tea. I’m loving these graphics for the impending holiday season and beyond as we look to a new year of goal setting…

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Radical Self-Acceptance

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I love meditation. The attention to breathing, the absence of visual stimulation and the feeling after a session. A weight has been lifted off of my brain. This, of course, goes without saying that it can be a process to develop a steady and on-going practice. Good resources are not always easy to find…sometimes the meditation will pull on strings not ready to be worked on just yet or the guide’s voice is reminiscent of a past school teacher who gave a bad grade. These are valid reactions to digging deeper – and a sign there is more there than the initial thought or emotion. When placing myself into a position to open up and work within, comfort and a feeling of nurturance is key.

One resource that I’ve returned to for ideas is the Sounds True catalog – both online and print are available. Last night, I began the guided meditation Radical Self-Acceptance with Tara Brach. Although is had been quite some time since I’d done a complete hour of meditation and guidance, I had no trouble tuning in since I was ready to develop my practice further. Session one on The Suffering of Self Aversion was powerful. It addresses the way we deal with shame and our layered emotions – conscious and subconscious – around our aversions and coping behaviors without judgment on what we perceive to be our own negative qualities. The meditation and talk she gives helps to place building blocks around these qualities to grow in a more positive perceptive.

Sneak peak into the chapters for session one:

  • Relating to the anxiety of imperfection
  • The root of suffering
  • Fleeing from the face of shame
  • Strategies of judgement and conformity
  • Awakening from your substitute life
  • Mindfulness and love
  • A meditation on welcoming the guests (from Rumi)

Each section includes literary and buddhist examples to illuminate Tara Brach’s teachings. This guide could be used for variably anything that is happening in life for anyone looking to grow.

The complete set includes a total of four sessions, I’m greatly looking forward to adding this info my nightly routine this week. If you’re looking for something to dig a little deeper, this might be for you.

The House Guest

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

– Jelaluddin Rumi,
translation by Coleman Barks