Live with Joyous Balance
Updated: Jan 30
This week’s theme: Live with Joyous Balance
This week is the final week of our Wellness Within 2021 series, and we thank you for coming along for the ride! Our final theme, live with joyous balance, really encompasses everything we have discussed all month. Ignite the fire within and cleanse and renew allow us to reflect on healthy choices and self-care, planning with purpose provides focused goal setting for meal planning and prep for the week, and fueling the brain and body allows you to tune into what feels right for you and nourish yourself in a loving way. Living with joyous balance makes space for all of this by being true to yourself – if you want to eat the cookie, eat the cookie, guilt free. Make sure that your actions are reflective of how you feel. It is ok to indulge occasionally, as it provides a mental and emotional boost, but ultimately it is important to tune into how your body feels and honor those feelings. There may be weeks where meal prep is on point and you are feeling great. There will be other times when holidays or celebrations have you stretched thin and grabbing a quick meal option or snack on the go is better than being cranky and hungry. Be prepared but also be flexible.
When it comes to eating healthfully - I gravitate towards simple and minimally processed ingredients, because that makes me feel good. I might bake and cook a lot, but for me, living with joyous balance means choosing healthful ingredients that nourish my body. Think of the 80-20 rule, they say to eat well 80% of the time, and allow that 20% for indulgence in whatever capacity that means to you. Deprivation is not a healthy or joyous balance, and so by modifying recipes for comfort foods and snacks, I feel satisfied without feeling deprived. For basic baking recipes, I try to swap refined sugar for maple syrup, honey, or coconut sugar when possible. Sometimes I will swap oil for applesauce as well to lighten the food. Applesauce, honey, and maple syrup are all locally harvested ingredients and have lower glycemic load than refined sugar. Additionally, maple syrup and honey both contain antioxidants which help fight inflammation in the body.
That said, this weekend is my birthday, and I will have my cake and eat it too. I LOVE the local Italian bakery down the road from us, and they make the BEST cakes. I will be enjoying a slice or two of that as well as some other homemade treats. There will be dairy, gluten, and refined sugar, and that’s ok! The best foods are the ones made authentically and enjoyed with love and happiness.
For this week’s recipe, we have a double whammy: Chocolate Oat Milk and No Waste Oatmeal Raisin Cookies made from the oats discard. I used cacao powder, dates, and maple syrup as the main sweeteners here. This recipe is a little more complex and time consuming but WELL WORTH IT! Not only is making your own oat milk more economical and environmentally friendly, the cookies are super soft and chewy and can even be eaten for breakfast! You can skip the sweetener step if you just want plain oat milk as well. Remember how in my meal planning video I talked about layering ingredients? This is a great way to batch cook, and the chocolate oat milk goes great in chia puddings too! Have fun with your food, enjoy the cooking and prep process, and live with joyous balance by doing what is best for you in the moment.
Chocolate Oat Milk
9 cups cold water
3 cups oats
6 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa
6 Tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
1. Mix the oats and water in a pitcher or large jar.
2. Soak them in the refrigerator for around 24 hours.
3. Add the whole mix to a blender and blend on high for 30 seconds (do not over blend).
4. Strain out the solids using a fine mesh sieve or nut milk bag.
5. Save the solids for cookies!
6. If you want to keep the oat milk regular you can stop here or add a little bit of maple syrup. For the chocolate oat milk - add the cocoa, maple syrup, salt, and vanilla to your blender, then pour the oat milk back in.
7. Blend for a few seconds just to mix everything. Chill and enjoy.
Make sure to shake well every time you pour a glass, since it will tend to separate.
Makes 8-9 cups of oat milk.
No Waste Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Strained solids from the oat milk recipe
½ cup smooth unsalted peanut butter
¼ cup maple syrup
5 pitted dates
½ cup nuts (I use cashews and almonds)
½ cup raisins
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
1. Preheat the oven to 375.
2. Blend the dates and nuts together for a few seconds until they form a powdery solid.
3. Mix this in with the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl.
4. Scoop on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 20-25 minutes.
Makes 18-20 cookies.
Be sure to check out Harp and Wellness tomorrow on YouTube. Nicole will walk us through a a heart chakra meditation on Saturday at 3 pm ET to complement our weekly theme. This is our final weekend of Wellness Within 2021; we hope you enjoyed it! The fun doesn’t stop here though, you can continue to visit Nicole on her YouTube channel, and next month I will be launching new posts on soups, seed starting, and deep winter planning for spring. Stay tuned!!
To access Harp and Wellness on social media:
Thank you for tuning into our Wellness Within 2021 series to kick off your New Year!