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Celebrating The Holiday Spirit: A Year In Review

Wishing you all a happy, healthy, and positive New Year! May this holiday season make you brighter :-)
Lot's of Love,

The Holidays: Days spent with those we love, exchanging gifts, and eating lots of food. For me this time of year causes a lot of self-reflection, some anxiousness, but mostly it makes me want to slow down and enjoy the people I cherish most. Due to a series of some out of the ordinary events, I am no longer cantering at Church. In some ways my heart is sad because at the end of the day I truly enjoy it but with it has come some blessings in disguise. For the first time in years I went to bed before 2am on Christmas Eve and did not have to be up and out of the house by 7:00am. I went to mass with Anthony and just enjoyed the spiritual experience and was not on auto-pilot from being over-tired or it being my 3rd mass of the day. It was really nice to have a relaxing Christmas morning. We were even able to meet up with one of Anthony's high school friends who was in town and spend some time catching up. I usually don't get to see Anthony before 2pm on Christmas day let alone anyone else. I feel truly blessed to have been able to share my Christmas without the constraints of a work schedule.

It's around the holidays that I begin doing a year in review for myself. I dubbed 2013 The Year of My Best Self and spent a lot of time and effort getting my health back in order. I created a secret Pinterest board for inspiration and after reflecting on the pins the last few days I noticed how much of what I posted was about getting thin and healthy. Now there is absolutely nothing wrong with this, however I am going to share with you something I don't talk about most of the time. Much of my motivation for getting healthy comes from a very deep rooted feeling of not being good enough. What I've realized this year is that I need to spend more time on loving myself for who I am, what I look like, and believing that I am good enough just the way I am. I don't give myself enough credit for the amount of work I do every day nor do I acknowledge how far I've been able to take my health over the last year. How did I realize this? Well that meditation practice I told you I was starting, I've been making sure to get my 10 minutes in everyday. I'm learning to listen to my inner voice to see what it is that I need. I've consistently been listening for a week and I know that I need more self love. I'm prone to busying my mind with distractions and noise so that I don't have to deal with this. I'm at a point where I just can't take the noise anymore and I'm ready to find the peace. So onto to self love we go!

I've taken the time to enjoy some new things this holiday and allow others to help with gluten free food making. This was hard for me, I have a lot of trust issues when it comes to my food. My main meals both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were not cooked by me and in hindsight I really appreciate the people who took the time to make an effort for me to feel comfortable (and safe). I also made myself some new desserts, my favorite being (what I am dubbing) Lemony Curd Pudding! It turned out so amazing, it was like eating lemon meringue pie! It's a Body Ecology Recipe that I adjusted from this post. I followed the recipe exactly except I did not use Lakanto (at $40/lb its a bit out of my price range). Here is the recipe I used:

6 large egg yolks, room temperature (I used organic cage free eggs)
1 teaspoon Organic Pure Stevia Extract powder (Trader Joe's brand)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup filtered water
1 heaping tablespoon agar flakes
6 drops liquid stevia concentrate (alcohol free)
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 stick organic butter cut into slices

1. In a medium bowl beat the egg yolks and stevia powder with a whisk. Add lemon juice and whisk briskly to beat together. Set aside.

2. In a sauce pan brin the water to a boil. Add the agar flakes and stir to dissolve. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and keep warm.

3. In a separate sauce pan add the lemon/egg yolk/stevia mixture. Over a low flame (very low) heat the mixture while stirring constantly (you do not want to make scrambled eggs). Once the mixture starts to simmer and thicken add in the butter slice and continue stirring to melt.

4. Once the butter is melted, add the lemon zest and liquid stevia concentrate. Remove from heat and slowly add the agar mixture to the lemon/egg yolk/stevia mixture. Make sure to stir well.

5. Pour into a glass container, cover the top with plastic wrap and place on lid. Allow to cool in the refrigerator.

I also made my Gluten Free and Sugar Free cinnamon meringue cookies to serve with this. I enjoyed my de-constructed lemon meringue pie so much! It was nice to enjoy a dessert that didn't feel like a cake or cookie substitute. I think I enjoyed this better than my chocolate chip quinoa cookies! Not only did it taste good, but my tummy was very happy with me :-)

So this holiday season I received the best gift, self-realization. I am ready to take the next steps and am dubbing 2014 The Year of Loving Myself. I'm excited to see where this journey goes. Thank you for being on this journey with me and have a Happy New Year!

Let your heart speak to other's hearts. ~ Yogi Tea


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