Eat Cake and then do the Bridge Pose!

I’ve made two birthday cakes from scratch in the last couple of weeks, so I thought I’d tell you about them today. Because who doesn’t like cake? (I don’t see any hands raised…Everybody loves cake!)

I can make a cake from scratch, no problem – it’s the decorating that gets me. Just call me the queen of lopsided. Highly skilled in filling divots with extra icing. Nothing ever so bad that a good handful of sprinkles can’t make better. That’s me.

I was bemoaning the fact on Facebook last month when I baked a cake for M’s birthday, and here’s what my friend Val had to say:

cakeThese days, my heart warms to see a lopsided, real ingredient cake. More often, a perfect, symmetrical synthetic cake from the store is our effort to show love. Your handmade one is the real thing. It reminds me of the choices you make to spend your time on things that matter to you.

 

Isn’t that wonderful! It made me feel better right away. Because she is 100% correct. So pfffft that my sprinkle-drenched over-frosted-to-cover-the-divot cake was lopsided. It was delicious and I made it by myself for my son.

cupcakes

 

Today we’re going to a 59th birthday party for Mr C’s cousin who lives in Vernon. Feeling bolstered by Val’s wisdom, I volunteered to bake the birthday cake. I’m not sure how many people will be there, so rather than baking a two-tiered cake, I made cupcakes instead. They look very pretty on my wire cupcake stand. This is chocolate cake from scratch, with a chocolate whipped cream icing that is very similar to chocolate mousse.

And lucky you….I’m giving out the recipe! Now go eat some cake!

Nita’s Deep Dark Chocolate Cake Recipe
Mix together dry ingredients:
2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup baking cocoa (the dry powder)
1 1/2ย  tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
Mix together wet ingredients:
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla
Mix wet and dry ingredients together.
Add 1/2 cup hot coffee & 1/2 cup boiling water.
Pour into 2 cake pans (batter will be very thin). Bake @350 30 – 40 minutes until done.

Chocolate Whipped Cream Icing
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla
Whip until stiff.

โ™ฅ

Now that you’ve eaten all thatย  cake, you can work some of it off doing a bit of yoga during the April A-Z Blog Challenge:

BBridge Pose

Lay on your back with your arms down along your sides. Bend your knees so your feet are flat on the floor. Scoot your feet up as close to your bum as you can comfortably get them. Push down through your feet and lift your bum into the air any amount.

Any amount means one inch, six inches, twelve inches – whatever feels good.

I like to press my lower back down into the floor and then slowly peel my hips up off the mat, raising my back one vertebrae at a time until I’m resting on my shoulder blades. I roll myself back down the same way. But that’s just me. You do what feels good for you.

Once you’re up there, you can wiggle around a little bit and get your shoulders underneath you.ย  If you’re way up there, you can lace your fingers together underneath your bum and push your arms into the mat to help get more lift in the hips.

If this hurts your neck don’t do it.

You might find that bridge pose feels really good in your mid & lower back. You might find it feels really good across the front of your chest.

Here’s a short video tutorial so you can see what it looks like:

And because every pose should be adjusted for every body, here is a great modification using a strap for those of you who are blessed with abundant bosoms (so that you don’t smother yourself), or using a block for those of you who haven’t developed the strength to hold yourself in the pose just yet. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

A letter to you, my friend, and an asana for the letter A

Good morning!

I wasn’t going to do it. Right up until supper time yesterday, I wasn’t going to do it. But then…I changed my mind.

Snap! Just like that.
snap_zoidberg_futurama

I’m participating in the 2016 Blogging from A to Z in April challenge.

In the very first blog post I ever wrote, way back in 2010, I mused about how much I missed letter writing. Real letters, on beautiful stationary. Written with pen in hand and cup of tea at elbow, settled in at the kitchen table to compose a chat in which I would be spending the next hour thinking about and spending time with the letter’s recipient: you, my friend.

In that very first blog post, I wrote about how I hoped this blog would be a way to keep in touch with family and friends.

I still hope that. Especially now that I no longer call Whitehorse my (primary) home. I don’t know how many of my old friends or family read my blog. I know the blog has strayed away from it’s original purpose…letters from – and to – home.

I want to return to that original purpose, and so I’m taking the opportunity provided by the A – Z challenge to write a letter every day via this blog. I don’t know what I’ll say just yet. Maybe a bit of reminiscence, a short little personal essay or a simple up-date on my day.

Whatever I write each day, I’ll try to make it personal. A glimpse into what I’m thinking about, musing about. A struggle I’m having or something I’m celebrating. I hope you’ll read along and join in the conversation by leaving a comment. I promise to write back. ๐Ÿ™‚

And since the rules of the A-Z Challenge are that you must blog according the the alphabet, I am going to include something alphabetical at the end of each post that is related to YOGA. Yup. Yoga. I’ve started my daily practice again, and it’s very personal and important to me. I’ll put it at the end of the post in case you aren’t interested in this part of my life. And if you are, maybe you’ll want to try doing one or two poses with me. ๐Ÿ™‚

Today is a beautiful spring day. The sun is shining, the lake is literally a mirror, the first green leaves are unfurling and the birds are singing their hearts out. I am sitting at the kitchen table. When I lift my head and look out the window, this is what I see:spring3AThe letter A: Asana

The Sanskrit definition of the word asana is to be seated in a static position. However, in the yoga world, it has come to mean assuming and holding any yoga pose. Yoga poses are, in essence, exercises that create strength, balance, flexibility and improved circulation in the muscles and joints in the body, and encourage serenity, patience and calmness within ourselves and in our interactions with other people. In short, practicing yoga asanas promote well-being in both body and mind.

In the spirit of the Sanskrit definition, to be seated, here is your asana for today:

Make yourself comfortable in your chair. Sit in a way that is the most relaxing to you. Close your eyes. Put one hand over your heart. Let your lips curve into a small smile. Breathe slowly through your nose for a few moments. Listen to the sound your breath makes. Notice your ribs and belly moving as you breathe. Feel the chair against your bum and your back, the soles of your feet inside your shoes or pressed against the floor.

Pay attention to the little pause at the top of your inhale and at the bottom of your exhale – a slight pause, a moment of stillness.

Just be. Just for a moment.