Your Wise Self (and Salted Caramel Brownie)

We’ve talked a bit about “shoulds” in previous posts and how we can get caught up in shoulding ourselves at the expense of trusting our inner knowing (stay tuned for a more detailed post on shoulding). We learned not to trust our intuition if doing so meant losing the support or approval of our caregivers when we were little. Despite our best intentions (what kid doesn’t want a little love and approval!?), we may have drowned out our inner knowing to the point that as adults we doubt ourselves and our ability to make decisions that support our highest good. If we take away those external benchmarks and expectations (which now manifest as “shoulds”), how do we know what is okay for us from the inside? How can we learn to distinguish what is truly us from our inner critic? I’d like to introduce you to your “wise self.” We all have one. Just as sure as our inner critic has a place at the table, our wise self has one too–albeit our wise self is a much more gracious dinner guest. Your wise self is the part of you that wants what is truly best for you: you may call it your higher self, intuition, or the part of you that is connected to source –whatever you call it, it speaks to us all the time. The question is, can you hear it? Connecting to your wise self is easier than you may think. Simply cultivating an awareness that this part of you exists can be enough to shift us. You can also consult your wise self to manage a stressful situation or in the midst of a difficult decision. If you are battling out the critic or judge in your head, turn to your wise self and ask for the truth of what’s going on. It may look something like this:

Be still. Breathe. Ask for guidance. Breathe. Be still and listen.

Your wise self is like your ship in the ocean: it will help you ride the waves and get you back to safety. Think of it as your personal navigation system that takes you back to your true self. The knowing has been within you all along. caramel salted brownie   This little treat made its debut at a dinner party last year; it was served to us by our friend Nicole and it was a complete and utter show-stopper. Not only did we devour it after our lovely meal, but I proceeded to eat the leftovers we were sent home with for breakfast the next morning! After all, with simple wholesome ingredients, no wheat, refined sugars, or dairy, it’s practically oatmeal! Of course I had to have the recipe and have since made it quite a few times with a similar reception. The original, more cinnamon-y, recipe comes from Baker Bettie and can be found here. My slightly tweaked version is below. Thanks for sharing Nicole!

Salted Caramel Brownie

Salted Caramel

  • 1 cup almond butter
  • 1 cup pure maple syrup
  • ¾ cup solid coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¾ tsp Himalayan pink salt

Brownie Batter

  • ½ cup raw cacao powder
  • 2 cups almond flour (bought or ground in your blender)
  • 1 ½ cups salted caramel sauce from above
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly oil an 8×8 brownie pan. Make the caramel sauce first by blending all ingredients together in a powerful blender. Make sure your maple syrup is room temperature or it will make the coconut oil stiffen. Blend until silky smooth and thoroughly combined (Bettie recommends at least two minutes). In a separate bowl, add the brownie ingredients and 1.5 cups of the caramel sauce. Reserve the remaining sauce in a bowl for later. Pour into brownie pan and bake for 12 minutes or so (do not over-bake–fudgey consistency is where it’s at!). Once cooled, spread the remaining caramel sauce on top with a spatula. Be sure to lick the spatula clean when done! Serve warm with a dollop of coconut vanilla ice cream and let your wise self have the day off.

The Revival (and 7 Layer Tex-Mex Pasta Salad)

A few days ago I got called out by a good friend (thanks Yammykins!) on my MIA blog status: I’d not posted since December 21 –EGAD! The truth is that things have been so intense on all levels of being, I literally fell into survival mode. I was stretched emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually. My inspiration and creativity was an afterthought and the longer I neglected that side of me, the harder it seemed to be to find the spark and go deep. I was spread so thin and my plate was so full (as it were). I grappled with identities and questioned my contribution to the blogosphere, feeling at times that I was jack of all trades and master of none. My inner perfectionist (you know the one) cut her all-or-nothing card, and, I didn’t have it in me to prevail. On top of that, the reality of limited time and my hectic schedule meant that I really had to focus and let some things fall by the wayside.

Upon being prompted, I realized it was time to make a return to this channel of expression, showing up as who I am now: a recently engaged, soon-to-be Masters of Counselling Graduate! And the timing couldn’t be better! I’ve slowly been making my way back into the kitchen and my heart, head, and stomach are hungering to make, bake, and create again! So please take me back! I apologize for my absence, but I promise it has all felt like part of a divine recipe. I don’t quite know what’s coming out of the oven, but, despite my four month hiatus, I am showing up now. What better way to mark my re-entry into the blog world than with a tex-mex pasta dish, vegan and gluten-free. Life is good!

Tex Mex

Originally inspired by the famous “Seven Layer Dip” that seems to show up at potluck and parties everywhere, this dish is delicious served hot, or cold as a pasta salad. The recipe here is vegan, but feel free to sub in your dairy originals if that’s your thing.

7 Layer Tex-Mex Pasta Salad

Sauce

  • 1 pack of msg-free taco seasoning
  • 1 can of black beans, rinsed and divided
  • 1 cup vegan sour cream
  • ½ cup of your favourite salsa

Pasta Dish ingredients

  • 2 cups kamut or brown rice fusilli, cooked according to package instructions
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 cup mixed orange and yellow peppers, chopped
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • ½ cup of Daiya cheddar shredz
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley or cilantro
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Sea salt to taste (this will depend on how salty your seasoning pack is).

In a high powered blender, blend sauce ingredients together until smooth. Assemble remaining ingredients, letting the pasta cool first before adding if you are going for the cold salad version. Mix in the sauce, sprinkle with a bit more Daiya, and serve!