I’m writing you from Tulum, Mexico right now with sand in my toes and salt in my hair. I’m one happy girl right now! Tulum has long been my soul spot, you know that place in the world where your heart softens and opens up a little more to hear the whole universe sing with beautiful synchronicity.
I traveled here last week with the Integrative Wellness Retreat team to lead our winter Ayurveda, Alignment + Yoga Retreat, a longtime dream finally recognized thanks to my partners in crime – Amanda and Jenn. I met these incredible ladies last year when we gathered in Malibu to guide a group through a grounding fall retreat by the ocean. The three of us have bonded over our mutual love for Ayurveda, shamanism, and a wanderlust that pulses deep through our veins, and seem to effortlessly compliment each others skills to bring to life these balanced retreat experiences. Amanda is our physical therapist and yoga teacher, she guides us through morning meditations and yoga practice, then leads illuminating alignment workshops that shed light on your daily movement and how to bring balance and healing into your life through your yoga practice. Jenn is the powerhouse event planner behind the retreats, negotiating the nitty gritty and seamlessly making the magic come to life on site. And I get to play the kitchen magician, creating nourishing meals inspired by the local and seasonal energy of our location, and sharing the ways we use food and self-care rituals to plant the seeds of self-love for radiant health. There’s so so much to share about this retreat, and I plan on doing a full recap when the adventure is over, but in the stillness I’ve taken for myself to rest and reflect in the days following our retreat, a bigger topic has emerged this week that seems fitting to share: authentic self-love.
With Valentine’s Day coming up, I think the idea of love is on everyone’s mind. And I don’t know about you, but this holiday for me usually brings up subtle undercurrents of disappointment from quiet unspoken expectations. The flowers you never got, the intimate dinner you didn’t have, the meaningful words on a letter never written. You see, there’s this culturally learned idea that love comes from outside sources. We seek our self-worth through the approval of our lovers, our friends and family, and (eek!) even our social media following. And in this never-ending quest to satisfy our unquenchable thirst for true love, we move further and further away from the authentic source: our hearts.
So this year I’m writing this as a reminder to myself and as an encouragement to all who read this to aim for self-love and being true to your heart. To me, this kind of self-love means….
- Appreciating who are you in the present moment and where life has led you, your uniqueness is beautiful and meaningful – own it!
- Speaking your truth, even when it’s tough.
- Upholding healthy boundaries that honor your needs and respect others, not being afraid to say no when a situation doesn’t feel right to you, and only saying when yes when you really, truly mean it. Skip the quiet guilt or resentment from unequal exchanges of energy.
- Speaking, thinking and acting in ways that uplift your spirit and fosters positive growth.
- Treating your physical/emotional body as if it were a gift on loan from someone you love dearly.
- Doting on that gift! Taking lavishly long baths, lathering yourself in luxurious oils, preparing food that truly excites you to savor each bite.
- Giving thanks to yourself each and every day for all the work you do
When you fill your cup up so full with self-love, it has nothing else to do but overflow and spill into the lives of each person you encounter each day.
Oddly enough, I can add baking to my personal list of self-love tools. It’s become a unique meditation for me where I find pleasure in the meticulous detail and intention that goes into the process. I like to sing mantras and other sweet songs into the experience, making whatever I create that much sweeter. For Valentine’s Day, I wanted to create something out of my ordinary using my favorite heart opening ingredients of rose and raw cacao. These rose and cardamom scented biscottis dipped in a raw chocolate glaze and sprinkled with orange zest, pistachios and rose petals took my baking experience to the next level. Biscottis are a new recipe experiment for me, but the result was just the rare treat I was craving. I used eggs and sprouted spelt flour as my base for this recipe, but I encourage you try to a gluten-flour (like oat, almond or quinoa) and flax eggs if you’d like a more gluten-free and vegan alternative.
CHOCOLATE DIPPED CARDAMOM ROSEWATER BISCOTTI
2 organic local brown eggs
1 cup coconut sugar
2 tbsp fresh orange juice + 2 tbsp orange zest
3 tbsp rosewater
3 cups spelt flour (or gluten-free oat flour)
1 tsp aluminum-free baking powder
1 tbsp cardamom
¼ tsp sea salt
Preheat oven to 375F. Beat eggs, sugar, rosewater, orange juice and zest together until light and aerated. Stir in the flour, cardamom, baking powder and salt, mix until a dough begins to form. Transfer to the dough to a floured surface, gently roll into a log and press lightly to form a approximately 1-inch high and 8-10 inches long. Place diagonally across a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake in oven for 20 minutes until the loaf is golden and firm to touch, but still slightly moist. Remove from oven.
Cut the loaf diagonally into 1-inch thick slices. Lay flat across the baking sheet and place back in the oven. After 15 minutes, turn the heat off and leave the baking sheet in the oven to continue to allow the biscotti to dry out. The biscotti should not be soft in the middle, they should be crisp all the way through. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire cooling rack. While cooling, make the chocolate glaze below.
1/2 cup coconut oil
3/4 cup raw cacao powder
1/3 cup maple syrup
½ tsp cardamom
½ tsp rosewater
pinch sea salt
Combine all ingredients a high-speed blender, purée until smooth and glassy. If the mixture is too runny, add in more cacao and blend until it becomes a thicker chocolate sauce. Pour the glaze into a bowl and dip in the biscotti, using a spoon to spread the chocolate evenly across one end of the biscotti. Sprinkle with chopped pistachios, orange zest and rose petals – or desired toppings. Place in the fridge for 10-15 minutes to harden the chocolate, especially if you’re making these on a warmer day or live in a hot climate! This chocolate dipping sauce is not tempered, therefore it’ll be a little more finicky than a melted bar.
Note: You may use a dark chocolate bar in place of this homemade dipping sauce. Simply chop the chocolate and melt slowly in a double boiler, here’s a simple technique to try.
2 tbsp orange zest
2 tbsp Crushed rose petals
2 tbsp finely chopped pistachios
Makes 10 biscottis