Imperfection is the new perfect.

So, as we start off a new year, amongst other things, I look forward to being more diligent with updating this blog. I got on here today thinking about reposting holiday memories and pictures or posts I intended to do weeks ago– like our fun trip to Botanical Gardens Train Show and thoughts on how the magical wonder of the holidays comes back when you have little ones– but, alas, it is 2015 and it feels like nobody has the need or desire to revisit the holiday season or the year past.

So, instead I sit and think about why it is that I so often have good intentions of writing but then don’t. Sure, time is one factor, and the very un-endearing quality of procrastination that I possess another, but bigger yet is my perfectionism. As great as it is to expect top quality from myself, it’s also my biggest barrier. How many posts have gone unwritten, videos unedited,  projects ended before they began, and great ideas never taken off the ground because they were not “good enough” or “thought out enough”(when indeed they were likely over thought), and, ultimately, how many opportunities have I missed because I never put out there what was imperfect (or at least imperfect in my eyes)?

So in 2015, I say imperfection is the new perfect. Over thinking and perfecting is so 2014. Instead, I look forward to many more posts (grammatical mistakes may be included), and following up in action where my many ideas take me… imperfect and all.

 

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Lessons From The Yoga Mat: To Everything- turn, turn, turn….

just be seasonLaying in savasana (final resting pose) today I started to hear a far away tune start rolling through my head. Why the Pete Seeger and The Byrds had suddenly entered my yoga practice was a bit humorous at first, but, of course, the gentle chorus repeating within held deeper meaning.

“To everything ( turn, turn turn) there is a season (turn turn turn)””

It wasn’t the fact that autumn was mentioned at the start of class, nor that this time of change was referenced in the sequence that was heavy laden with twisting that brought on the tune. Yes, we are in a literal season of change, but the directive was bigger, yet more personal, than that.

Aside from the catchy melody, the message of being still and enjoying this season (of life) was pressing loudly. Quite often in the quiet of savasana, after I’ve disconnected from all the busy-ness and noise in my head, I hear the clearest. From within, I was reminded to really enjoy this season, and to stop worrying about the things to come or times of past.

I’ve been pondering my place as of late, and the ever-neurotic part of me  wondering if I should be doing more. I am blessed to now have motherhood as my full time job, but the driven little being inside me always seems to nag, that I should be doing more– producing more, working on more projects and pushing towards more “success”.

Just pre-class I had even found myself scanning TV jobs wondering if it was time to make my way back in that direction. Often, I’m also “nagged” to be doing more with my “first child,” HealthyStyleNY.com. “Why haven’t you gotten to this point yet? Why haven’t you done more with that?”, that annoying little side of me (aka Ego) taunts.

But then when all is quiet, I hear the Byrds singing and of reminded of my truth. That I don’t need to  worry and indulge all the useless noise. That I’m not going to miss anything, except if I don’t enjoy this season. For everything there is a season. And a purpose.  I know what my purpose is for this time. It’s confirmed every time I look into her big blue eyes. Why part of me tries to steal or diminish that joy (and importance) is infuriating. But then again that’s why I do yoga. To be reminded and hear truths, in whatever form they come.

 

Mini Oat Banana Bread Loafs (& muffins)

After Aria devoured the Simple Banana Oat cookies (recipe to come) I baked over the weekend, I went to make more and realized I didn’t have enough oats. I had plenty of ripe bananas though so I went for a simple banana bread recipe. I combined a few I found online– my main goal was keeping down the sugar (no need for it as ripe bananas are super sweet and the last thing kids need is more sugar). I did however throw a few semi-sweet chocolate chips in some of the batch as a special treat for her since I chucked the chocolate chip cookie the enamored diner waiter gave her yesterday.

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INGREDIENTS
3 RIPE mashed banana
1/3 cup honey
1 egg
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
3/4 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or regular, soy, coconut, etc)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups whole wheat or better yet whole wheat pastry flour
1/2a rolled oats
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter or oil (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In large bowl combine mashed banana, applesauce, honey, egg, almond milk, vanilla and oil/butter (if you choose to use). I used a smidge of melted butter and a teaspoon or so of coconut oil just to ensure moistness. Combine all until wet ingredients until creamy.

In separate medium bowl whisk together whole wheat flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until just combined (don’t overmix).

Pour into loaf pan, mini-loaf pans, muffin tins. Sprinkle oats over top (if desired), and bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean with a few crumbs attached.

Time for baking in a standard loaf pan is 60m but I had no time for that and found my mini-muffins and mini-loafs were good to go in about 15-20m.

Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool completely. Keep bread/muffins tightly wrapped to maintain moisture. They will last a few days and likely be sweeter on the second day!

Halloween: Cats don’t eat candy…

So, yesterday was Aria’s first celebration of Halloween. She was the cat’s meow in her sweet little leopard print sweat suit, and of course I had to get in on the fun. We hit up the kid’s party in Washington Square Park first (joined by a few more cool cats), and then did the rounds collecting candy through the West Village.

halloween healthy catswashington square park halloween paradepopcorn halloween!

Fortunately, this halloween I was able to get a little tricky and keep her toddler hands off the candy. She still has not idea what it really is, and this morning when she started asking for her “treats,” I was able hand off a banana a women in the building randomly gave her when we were walking up the stairs just back from trick or treating (thank you).  I told her dad I will have to pick up some fun colorful kid’s packs of raisins, etc to hand off to her when she started asking again.

I know as a kid we all turned our noses up at those who gave out raisins and pretzels, but as a parent of a toddler I was wishing for it.  I was super grateful to discover these in the goody bag from the park (Aria couldn’t get enough of the lemon broccoli ones– yes, lemon broccoli).  I was also indebted to out neighbors on the next block over who handed out fresh popcorn with the candy (yes, I broke all the rules and let her eat a non-packaged item from a “stranger.”) Aria was quite happy with her cup of corn and parked herself on their stoop for a good 20 minutes.  After that she scored in Marc Jacob’s makeup store on Bleeker when she walked out with samples instead of candy. They couldn’t resist her cute little face, and (full disclosure) I kinda knew that would be the case when I sent her in despite knowing they weren’t giving out candy. Trick & treat!

Best costume catch of the night: Brooke Shields walking down Bleeker as a City Bike.  Wish I would have snapped a shot.

Weekend Delight: Whole Wheat Pancakes (that actually taste good!)

It’s was rainy Sunday morning at the lake house, so breakfast got more attention than usual. I discovered this amazing whole wheat pancake recipe a while back, and ever since I made the first batch Aria’s been asking for more. She now also wants to “help”, which usually includes a spill and added cleanup, but is still super cute . I spruce up the recipe by throwing sliced bananas in the mix  (as well as on top of the finished product along with fresh strawberries).

Oh, don’t get scared off by the fact that the recipe has you adding apple cider vinegar to milk to essentially curdle it (ew). These are so light, fluffy and really delicious.  A great way to sweeten up a rainy day.

AMAZING WHOLE WHEAT PANCAKES 
Serves 2-3

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What you’ll need:

1 cup of milk
1 tsp of vinegar (white or apple cider)
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp of sugar (I even skipped this and they were still great)
1/2 tsp of baking powder
1/4 tsp of baking soda
1/4 tsp of salt
2 tsp of melted butter (and a bit for melting on griddle)
1 egg
1 banana (optional)
3-4 fresh strawberries (optional)

Directions:
Combine the milk and vinegar and let the mixture curdle and then mix together the other ingredients while it does.

In a big bowl, whisk to combine the whole wheat flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In another bowl, whisk together the egg, melted butter, and the curdled milk, until it looks fairly homogenous and smooth.

Then, whisk the wet mixture into the dry ingredients, and stir the two together until just barely mixed. Make sure any visible loose flour to be stirred in, but leave the lumps. If you stir out the lumps, the pancakes will likely be tough.

Gently stir in 1/2 a banana sliced (optional)

Preheat a nonstick griddle to 375 degrees F and grease the surface with butter.  On my stovetop I just put the flame a little above mid-way.

Add small scoops of pancake batter w large spoon.  Cook for a few minutes, until you start to see bubbling on the surface. Flip the pancakes and cook for a few minutes on the other side, Both sides should be golden.

Garnish with rest of banana sliced and some sliced strawberries.

Enjoy!

Additional HealthyStyle Note:
You can skip the syrup to kick up the nutrition factor. I use a little Agave on mine, and Aria is still happy enough with them as is (I’m all about keeping the sweet stuff away from the littles until it’s impossible to hide it from them!) Real Maple Syrup is also a much better option than a lot of the store bought stuff.