I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend. What a gorgeous day it turned out to be! We had a last minute get together at our house for family and friends. Our morning was pretty hectic as my husband cleaned the house and I prepped the food. I found myself saying after we got through the day I would find time to workout. After I said this a couple times to myself I stopped a second and thought harder about why I was putting off going for a jog. I felt I had to do so much to prepare for guests that I could not take a half hour for myself. I think that is a trap we all fall into frequently. Demands of family, work and life overwhelm our schedule and we quickly let our goals and our own well-being sit on a back burner. I want you to give yourself permission to focus on yourself today and stop saying you will do it after the kids go back to school, or after you finish that project at work, or after the house is clean, or after the next business trip, etc. What would you like to do for yourself that you feel you don't have the time for? Workout? Read a book? Take a bubble bath? Work on a hobby? We tell our children to take care of themselves and to do things they love and somehow when we grow up we think we can no longer follow our own advice. We say we are too busy, or there is not enough time or other people need my attention, or we tell ourselves we will do what we want someday, just not today. I think we can all find 20 minutes to an hour in our day to recharge our brains. This should not be viewed as letting other things slide, but rather as a way to be more productive and happier. Take the time! Your family and coworkers will love the more relaxed and calm you! Plus, it is setting a great example for your kids and spouse. They will see that it is possible to have a balance between being there for others and taking care of yourself.
And yes, I did go for a jog yesterday!
One way I relax is by cooking and baking. Seriously, I read cookbooks like they are novels! I like to experiment and try new things. I came across a recipe for vegan cinnamon rolls that looked amazing. I wanted to make them for Easter brunch, but I knew one of my guests needed them to be gluten free as well. I did a little research and found I could replace the gluten the recipe called for with xanthan gum (I found it at Wegmans in gluten free aisle) and I also replaced the flour with gluten free flour. They do take some planning and are slightly complicated, but well worth it for special occasions. Whenever I post a recipe for desserts or sweets, please remember these are meant to be enjoyed in moderation and infrequently. Below is the original recipe and I put my substitutions in parentheses for anyone who would like to make them gluten free. The recipe is divided into three sections for the dough, filling, and frosting. You will need to soak the cashews overnight, so plan for that and a food processor is needed to make all three parts.
Vanishing Vegan Cinnamon Rolls
recipe from margaretsdish.blogspot.com
3 cups spelt flour (gluten free flour)
2 Tbsps vital wheat gluten (1 1/2 tsps xanthan gum)
1 cup unsweetened almond milk, warmed (not hot, or yeast will die)
2 Tbsps maple syrup
2 1/4 tsps active dry yeast
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1 egg (I used a flax-egg)
2 tsps vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
Add yeast and maple syrup to the warm almond milk and let proof for 10 minutes. While waiting for the yeast to proof, add flour, wheat gluten, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt to the base of a food processor and whisk together. Add yeast mixture, egg, vanilla extract, and coconut oil and mix until a dough forms. Using dough hook, or hands, knead dough for 5-7 minutes. This dough does not require time to rise; you can roll it out and bake it directly after kneading.
15 dates, pitted and soaked for 15 minutes
1/3 cup almond butter
2 Tbsps cinnamon
2 tsps vanilla extract
Drain the dates and add them to the base of a food processor or high speed blender. Process dates until they begin to form a paste (about 15-20 seconds), scraping down the sides as necessary. Add almond butter, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt. Process until a thick, smooth paste forms.
To assemble the cinnamon rolls: Preheat the oven to 350 F. Roll dough out into a large rectangle, until the dough is about 1/4 inch thick. Generously spread the filling over the dough, leaving about 1/2 inch plain around the edges. Starting from one of the long sides, roll the dough into a log and gently pinch along the seam to secure the dough. Slice the dough about 2 inches thick (should get 10-12 pieces) and place them spiral up in a greased pan right next to each other (even if you can fit them spread out). Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the dough is golden brown and the rolls are nice and puffy.
1 cup cashews, soaked overnight
6 Tbsps maple syrup, or to taste
1/2 tsp vanilla
1-2 Tbsp water, as needed for desired thickness
Drain cashews and add them to a high-speed blender along with the maple syrup and vanilla. Blend until smooth, adding more maple syrup to taste. If the icing is too thick, add water in teaspoon increments until desired consistency is reached. Pour icing on and serve warm.