it’s the pretty blonde woman’s turn

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i took a rodney yee workshop at a Yoga Journal conference about 10 years ago. a pretty blonde woman sat next to him on stage. his wife. she was so pretty. i wanted to know more about her. i don’t think she said a word. understandably, i guess, this was his world. she let him shine.

now it’s her turn.

this interview with her placed a lump in my throat, a time or two. her stories are real, intentional, humble…

including the one about what she told her yoga teacher in the middle of yoga teacher training about “just doing this to deepen her practice… she had no intention of actually teaching yoga.”

(sounds very, very, very familiar….)
ya gotta watch the video for that one.

but she shares one thought in particular that’s really got me thinking…

“if one woman would stand up and tell her story,
the whole universe would break open…
tear the armor, show the world who you are,
and give others the confidence to do the same.”

even though i’ve heard this before in many different ways, seeing her actually do it, feeling how moved i was by her story, has me pondering how i can share more of my own. i hope it inspires you to do the same.

no matter what, i’m looking forward to reading more of Colleen Saidman Yee’s story in her book, Yoga for Life.

i had a wave of panic…

me & dad almost to rob

i had a wave of panic a few years ago, when i was in a yoga workshop and the question was asked, “where in your life is there potential disaster?” the first thing that came to mind was not making an effort to get to know my dad as the cool dude that he is.

don’t get me wrong, i know him. for my biggest life decisions… like divorce, surgery, direction, babies… the person’s opinion i hold closest in my heart, is my dad’s. in no way is this dissing mom. it’s just that she’s probably been part of the whole talking-it-to-death process along the way.

i go to dad when i’m serious. surprisingly, he’s never phased. (hhhmmm. maybe mom has prepped him…?) he’s always supportive. in the most sincere way. this is not someone who would tell me what i want to hear. he gently presents all sides of the situation, and ends with something along the lines of, “i believe in you. you’ve got this.”

so… this year, to prevent any potential disaster, i got the courage to ask dad if he’d like to go out on dates with me. he seemed happy about this. he calls me with plans. (plans that have included chick movies and starbucks… stuff i might like 😉

he picks me up at my door. he pays. he is thoughtful. a gentleman.

dad is a really cool dude.

happy birthday, dad.
may we have many, many, many more dates.

Mexican Cacao Brownies from The Plantpower Way

Mexican Cacao Brownies
gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, naturally sweetened, actual nutrition
from my current cookbook obsession: The Plantpower Way by Julie Piatt and Rich Roll
cute pan courtesy Christmas gift from Anthropoligie 🙂

mexican cacao brownies

Pure decadence. Worth the extra ingredients you might have to buy if you’re not used to baking gluten-free/vegan. Buy them. You’ll want to make these again. I promise. Oh, and all of the funky ingredients happen to be one aisle… just ask for the Bob’s Red Mill section 🙂


3 T ground flaxseeds (I bought this at Sprouts)
6 T filtered water
coconut oil, for greasing the pan
3/4 cup garbanzo flour (I bought Bob’s Red Mill brand, right next to the flaxseeds at Sprouts)
1/4 cup tapioca flour (while you’re in the Bob’s Red Mill aisle…)
1/2 cup cacao powder (can often find in bulk section, or buy brand like Nativas  or use cocoa powder if you don’t want to buy cacao. difference is cocoa powder is processed… nutrients are stripped, but some say it doesn’t matter  if you’re baking because you’re heating the nutrients away anyway)
1/4 t baking soda
1/4 t xantham gum (Bob’s Red Mill section)
1/2 t Celtic sea salt (I used Kirkland sea salt)
1 t cinnamon
1 cup almond meal (yea! Bob’s makes this too)
1 (3.5 oz) high-quality dark chocolate chili bar (I bought Sprout’s brand)
1-1/4 cup organic cane sugar (I used Safeway brand organic coconut sugar)
1 cup + 2 T vegan butter (Earth Balance)
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 t vanilla
9 oz bag vegan chocolate chips ( I buy these at Sprout’s)


1. In a small bowl, whisk together the ground flaxseeds and filtered water until the mixture forms an egg-like consistency.
2. Preheat oven to 350.
3. Line the bottom of a 9″ square pan with parchment paper and lightly oil sides with coconut oil. (I oiled the whole pan, no paper)
4. In a large bowl, sift together the flours, cacao, baking soda, xantham gum, salt, cinnamon. Add the almond meal and stir with a wooden spoon.
5. Create a double boiler by bringing water to a boil in a small saucepan. Rest a small metal bowl over the top of the pan, add the chocolate bar, and let sit until it’s melted. Stir occasionally.
6.In a mixer, add the sugar, vegan butter, flaxseed “egg,” almond milk, and vanilla. Mix until smooth. (I don’t have a counter-top mixer, I used a hand mixer.)
7. Add the melted chocolate and mix again.
8. Making a well in the center of the dry ingredients, pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and mix well with a rubber spatula. The mixture should be thick and gooey. If it is too dry, add a very small amount of almond milk, 1 T at a time. However, it should be perfect!
9. Fold in 3/4 of the bag of chocolate chips, saving the rest for sprinkling on the top.
10. Pour into the pan and spread out evenly with a rubber spatula.
11. Bake for 25 minutes or until a fork stuck in the center comes out clean.

Let sit until cool before cutting. This is key. Once they cooled, I put them in the refrigerator. They are awesome.

Chef Julie’s note:

You can choose to omit the cinnamon and swap the chocolate chili bar for a mint dark chocolate bar instead for a fresh twist.

Chef Denese’s note: 
I topped them with a dollop of Coconut Milk Whipped Cream. You can buy the So Delicious Brand at Whole Foods, or whip up your own batch in 2 minutes:

Place a box of So Delicious Original (not Lite ) Culinary Coconut Milk in the fridge overnight. While you’re at it, place beaters and a small metal bowl in the freezer. If you forget, no big deal.  When you’re ready to make the whipped cream, squeeze the box of coconut milk (like a tube of toothpaste) into the cold metal bowl, add a very small dash of vanilla (or, I prefer vanilla bean powder), and a small squirt of raw honey…….. beat until whipped cream consistency.  Dollop on a brownie and you’re in heaven.

coconut milk
I’ve tried all brands of coconut milk for this… Trust me, the So Delicious one is the best, or the can of Native Forest Organic Coconut Milk (green can on left) is good too.  (Trader Joe’s brand has a plastic-y taste to me.) I keep a couple boxes/cans in the fridge at all times in case we get a craving for whipped cream. For the canned version, open the can and scoop out the solid top half into the bowl, leaving the liquid in the can. (put it in a glass jar and save for a smoothie.) Follow the same process, add the vanilla and honey, beat until creamy consistency.



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