In Defense of Rice Cakes

Do not judge me.

I don’t care what anyone says. Rice cakes are good.

Hear me out…

The beauty of the rice cake is not that it necessarily shines on its own. (Although some of us think it does.) No. The rice cake is not out for attention. It seeks not the approval of the masses. It steers clear of the spotlight. The rice cake is, instead, best described as the selfless supporter, the humble helper, the wind beneath the wings (cue Bette) of many of your favorite foods. Think peanut butter, avocado, hummus, cheese… NUTELLA. All of these things are fine on their own, yes. But what better way to shovel them straight into your face than atop a light, crunchy, salty little cake o’ rice?

Exactly.

So yeah. I eat rice cakes. I eat ‘em all the time. And you know what? I love them.

My most recent rice cake obsession goes like this (from bottom up):

  • Rice cake
  • Hummus
  • Sharp cheddar
  • Kosher pickles
  • Tomato relish

I know. I know. Gross, Katie. Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it. It’s all crunchy and creamy and salty and sweet and tart and PERFECT.

What about a sweet option? I’m glad you asked…

  • Rice cake
  • Peanut butter
  • Dried figs
  • Honey
  • Cinnamon

Looks like a carcass, I know.

So that, my friends, is that. Enough with the styrofoam comparisons. Give the little guy a chance.

Vegan PB Carob Bars

Vegan peanut butter carob chip bars. Shit. Yes.

I know it’s only February but… this is the best thing I’ve made ALL YEAR. I realize the competition isn’t exactly stiff. There were those fig granola bars that ended up kind of sucking… And last night I made cornbread but totally used chickpea flour instead of cornmeal. Whoops. I should start labeling my flours…

Speaking of flours… I will marry the first man who does this to me:

THE POINT IS… These are amazing.

Domestic.

I made these because a fellow teacher trainee brought them to the studio over the weekend and they were the best damn things (plural, obviously) I’ve ever put in my mouth. So I went home and immediately made a pan for myself. This is normal behavior. Maybe there was a minor hormonal bake-my-emotions thing going on. Maybe.

What I thought could have only originated at the hands of Jesus actually comes from Bridget at Bake at 350. I learned about them from my friend Jen (Peanut Butter Runner, duh) and now here they are in my little world, veganized and chocolate-free because I am difficult accommodating.

Vegan Peanut Butter Carob Bars
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

 

Ingredients
  • 6 tablespoons Earth Balance
  • ½ cup natural chunky peanut butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds + 6 tablespoons warm water (flax eggs)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • ¼ teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup carob chips

Instructions
  1. Combine your ground flax seeds and water and set aside.
  2. Using an electric mixer (unless you are the Hulk), cream Earth Balance and peanut butter together until creamy. Add sugars, flax “eggs” and vanilla and beat until smooth.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Add wet to dry and mix until incorporated.
  4. Fold in carob chips.
  5. Pour batter into a greased or parchment-lined 8×8 dish and bake on 350 for 30 minutes.
  6. Allow to cool completely before cutting. I’m serious about this. Ok. You can eat SOME of the molten goo straight out of the pan. But then put it in the fridge and walk away. Just walk away.

Swoon.

Perception is Temporary

Chickpeas, artichokes, tomatoes, tempeh, sriracha

The thing about Charlotte’s Trader Joe’s–the one I frequent, anyway–is that it’s located in a little dining/nightlife hotspot. It wasn’t always this way. Up until about a month ago much of the restaurant space was vacant. Back then I was free to come and go in my fuzzy slippers any time of the day or night. Now, however, when those of us who wish only to pop in to grab a frozen pizza and a bottle of wine on a Saturday night (winners) try to do so, we are met with lines of cars, parking spots only on the top deck and the realization that we are big ol’ losers.

It’s a tough life.

I mean, there’s no way I was going out last night anyway. Nineteen hours of yoga in a 48-hour timeframe will do this to a person. I just love it.

We’ve had a minor setback wherein our training was moved to an empty, unheated Rack Room Shoes:

Om shanti and shit?

The beautiful thing about doing this to a bunch of yogis, however, is that it’s met with: “Hey. This happened. It’s ok. How about rather than bitch about it we celebrate the fact that we got booted out of the studio because it’s packed with 70 people practicing yoga, many of whom may be doing so for the very first time and who would have otherwise been turned away if we were taking up half that space.”

Fair enough. It’s all about perception, my friends. Is it a shitty situation or one to celebrate? Is it a pen or something else? I love yoga.

Anyway, I am having a most delightful little time reading A Course in Miracles and wanted to share my favorite underlined passages so far:

Unspeakable love.

Lack implies that you would be better off in a state somehow different from the one you are in. Needs arise only when you deprive yourself. You act according to the particular order of needs you establish. This, in turn, depends on your perception of what you are.

Belief produces the acceptance of existence. That is why you can believe what no one else thinks is true. It is true for you because it was made by you.

You were created to create the good, the beautiful and the holy. Do not forget this. 

You can do anything I ask. I have asked you to perform miracles.

Everyone defends his treasure and will do so automatically. The real questions are, what do you treasure, and how much do you treasure it? Once you have learned to consider these questions and to bring them into all your actions, you will have little difficulty in clarifying the means. The means are available whenever you ask.

Tolerance for pain may be high, but it is not without limit. Eventually everyone begins to recognize, however dimly, that there must be a better way. As this recognition becomes more firmly established, it becomes a turning point.

Perception is temporary.

The abilities you possess are only shadows of your real strength.

Your worth is beyond perception because it is beyond doubt.

A good teacher must believe in the ideas he teaches, but he must meet another condition; he must believe in the students to whom he offers the ideas.

No force except your own will is strong enough or worthy enough to guide you.

I have reached a tipping point in my life where I no longer view all this personal exploration stuff as scary and overwhelming and depressing. Instead, I’m fascinated by it, motivated by it and simply can’t get enough of it. I gather from the wonderful comments and emails I’ve been receiving as of late (thank you) that you guys think I’m feeling weighed down and miserable, but the reality is I feel lighter than ever. I’m diving deep into some pretty intense stuff, but I don’t see this type of self evaluation as a negative thing. At all. And I don’t drag through my days moping around. I’m just passionately curious about all of this. Can’t get enough.

And with that… I’m off for eight more hours of yoga. Weeeee.

Caturday 1/28/12

Heads Carolina, tails California...

Happy where-the-hell-did-January-go Caturday to you and yours. Ralph is feeling feisty and spontaneous and a little bit jealous that I went to the Bahamas without her and keeps trying to talk me into another trip. Talk away, Ralphus. Mamma’s got bills to pay. And you see that ominous stack of papers piling up on the desk? Those are tax documents. Look away. Look away, lest they burn a hole through your pure, innocent little tax-evading soul.

Weaz is definitely gonna get audited this year.

Bitch, please. I got biznass expenses.

Easily the most exciting thing that has happened in our (Ralph, Weaz and me) collective life this week was that I washed my sheets. And my comforter. I will not disclose the last time this happened.

Weaz supervised.

Colonel Weazface reporting for bed-making duty.

Ralph hovered there waiting, just waiting, for the perfect moment to sprawl out on my nice clean bed leaving an army of black hair tumbleweeds in her wake. Guh-ross.

Chop chop. This bed's not gonna shed on itself.

Mmmmmmmmmbed. I'm gonna pee in it.

What is with cats and my clean stuff. They do this to my clean clothes too. Which I leave in a pile on my dresser. Duh. Because my closet is tiny and it frustrates me to try and hang things in it. This is logical.

Hey Hoarders called. They asked if you want to apply.

And with that, we’re off to sleep in our clean bed. All three of us. Every night. Don’t be so jealous.

Change Your Mind

Toast, PB, pear, cantaloupe, cinnamon

Hello, kittens. I thought very seriously about shutting this little operation down for a couple (six) months, but then I remembered I have entirely too much to say. Instead, I’ve decided to curb my Facebook/Twitter/email/phone usage. This seems to have had an immediate positive impact on my life. Onward and upward.

This is my second yoga teacher training weekend, and you know what that means: NEW AGE WEIRDO RANTS.

So grab your kabbalah bracelet and a nice hot mug of… water. Shit’s about to get weird.

Have you seen my spirulina?

Anyway. I’m actually not even delving into teacher training tonight because THIS has been consuming my life:

Everything looks cooler blurry.

I have no idea why I’m reading this book. That’s not true. I do. It’s a tangled web, a slippery slope, a long story… if you will. I believe the way this book weaseled its way into my life went something like this:

Someone posted a blog written by Gabrielle Bernstein, which I found relevant to my life. I then proceeded to stalk Bernstein and figure out her deal. Turns out she’s a drug addict turned spiritual guru often described as the “Carrie Bradshaw of spirituality.” It took me less than 30 seconds to purchase her two most recent books, Spirit Junkie and Adding More ~ing to Your Life. I regret to inform you that both books are horrendous and I read no more than 15 pages of each. HOWEVER, what I picked up on immediately was that everything Bernstein wrote about was prefaced with: “When I read A Course in Miracles…” And for some unknown reason I had to know what this book was about.

The first thing I did not see coming with this book is that is super Christian–like, written from the voice of Jesus, I gather thus far–and I am not. Not at all. Nor is Bernstein who was raised Jewish/Buddhist or “Jewbu” as she calls it. No big deal. I’m an “explorer of all faiths,” I suppose. Just didn’t see it coming.

So “Jesus” is talking to me (what?) through Helen Schucman who actually wrote it and I’m finding myself suddenly very motivated to read it all. All 1,400 pages. Because things like this keep popping up:

“Fear is always a sign of strain, arising whenever what you want conflicts with what you do. This situation arises in two ways: simultaneously or successively. This produces conflicted behavior, which is intolerable to you because the part of the mind that wants to do something else is outraged. Second, you can behave as you think you should, but without entirely wanting to do so. This produces consistent behavior, but entails great strain. In both cases, the mind and the behavior are out of accord, resulting in a situation in which you are doing what you do not wholly want to do. This arouses a sense of coercion that usually produces rage, and projection is likely to follow. Whenever there is fear, it is because you have not made up your mind. Your mind is therefore split, and your behavior inevitably becomes erratic… When you are fearful, you have chosen wrongly. That is why you feel responsible for it. You must change your mind, not your behavior, and this is a matter of willingness.”

Whew. This is the story of my life as of late. I kid you not.

Erratic behavior like, perhaps, trying to quit my job(s)? Trying to shut down the blog? Going to the Bahamas? Royally destroying relationships? Yep. Yep. Yep. Yep.

The problem, I think, is that what I want conflicts with what I do because who I am conflicts with who I tell people I am. Shwaa?? It’s a defense mechanism. Think about that.