I just finished an amazing seminar from The Art of Living Foundation called YES+ (Yoga Empowerment Services Plus). Basically I learned about yoga, breathing techniques, meditation and practical advice for everyday living–but those words are so inadequate. I can say–actually, I can feel that I have changed.
So I’m a senior in college, right? This year I’ve been feeling all the stress and anxiety that comes with it and feeling like my life was off balance and out of control. I’ve been stuck on the past and worried about the future, but YES+ pulled me back into the present. After taking the course, I feel so much more balanced and calm, like I can accomplish anything. I feel like I’m beginning an incredible journey of personal growth and finally learning to live in the present moment. If everyone learned these things, we would have a stress-free, violence-free world. I wish I would have learned this at the beginning of college! Could have saved a lot of stress!
Anyway, we were challenged to keep a vegetarian diet during the six days of the course, which I thought would be very easy since I considered myself more of an herbivore anyway. I was wrong. Second day I was craving all sorts of non-vegetarian foods. I’ve survived, however, and after hearing all the benefits of vegetarianism and eating some great vegetarian food, my interest in vegetarian cooking has peaked.
We had to bring a vegetarian item to a potluck today (our last day) so I had decided to take it an extra step and do something vegan. I tried rice pudding with soymilk. Fail. Then I found a recipe for eggless chocolate chip cookies and decided to try it (replaced the butter with butter flavor vegetable shortening.) So I baked them in the morning before class. Fail. Utterly burnt. The oven was way too strong (400F). I ended up bringing a bag of mangoes to class.
Luckily, I had just a little dough left over, enough for about four cookies, so after dinner I tried round two. I put the oven lower (about 250F, I think) and baked them for maybe 15 minutes. Success. They were soft and veeeery chocolately, mmm. I was impressed. Touche, vegan baking. Touche. I think if I would have kept them in longer they might have been more crispy but I was paranoid about burning them.
I followed the recipe, except for using crisco instead of butter and adding vanilla extract, as one commenter did. Also, the only “oil” (how precise) I had was olive oil…so in it went! I don’t think it affected the flavor of the cookies though. They were still delish. This was all that was left…