Celebrate the birth of the new Light from the womb of Winter! The Solstice heralds the beginning of these seasonal celebrations through the New Year. Scandinavians feasted at Yule. Enjoy a Yule log made of cake or throw one onto the fire, also known as bloc na Nollaig (Christmas block), or bûche de Nöel. You could celebrate an old Scottish ritual by tossing sprigs of holly into the fire. This is symbolic for burning away bad feelings between neighbours, family, or friends.
Hang the Druids' Herb of Mistletoe in a doorway to protect the home and bring healing properties into the hearth. Keep the chilly nights toasty with some Mulled Wine by making your own.
The picture above is from an ancient sacred site in the UK. Remember, winter symbolizes a time of reflection, transition, incubation, and release-the dying off of the old so new life can bloom.
Enjoy the season of rest and merriment!
Keeping Warm with Movement
Above is not only a movement for manifestation, but for keeping warm during this cold season!
Abdominal Work helps the following:
2. Heating the body
3. Strengthening your abdominals- afterall they protect your organs and back.
4. Maintaining a healthy digestive system
5. Boosting the immune system
Glowing Winter Skin Part 1
Below is one of my favorite steams for the winter wonderland days. You can also prepare small packages of dried facial steam herbs tied with glittery string to give away as gifts.
Items for Steaming
Large glass or stainless steel bowl (mixing bowl works well)
Herbs-fresh or dried
Rose petals or buds
1. Place 1 part of each herb in the bowl.
2. Pour steaming or boiling hot water over the herbs filling up half the bowl.
3. Place your towel over your head and lean over the bowl.
4. Inhale the beautiful aroma of the herbs allowing the steam to penetrate your skin and nasal passages for 5-10 minutes. Relax. It will be hot, you might want to lift the towel slightly if it's too much. Yes, you will sweat! ;)
5. After your timer goes off, gently dab your face with the towel. Now you can tone and moisturize your skin!
Ahhh..... your winter glow is on! Enjoy!
Bûche De Nöel
The Yule log cake, or Bûche De Nöel, is an elaborate creation consisting of rolled sponge cake filled with cream or icing frosted with chocolate ganache to look like tree bark. It's then decorated with edible meringue, marzipan mushrooms and holly sprigs. Below is one of many sumptuous recipes. This one is taken from Artisan Vegan Life.
- 1/2 cup Energ Egg Replacer
- 1 cup water
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup flour
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Coconut Crème for middle:
- 1 can coconut milk, chilled in refrigerator for 24 hours or more
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar or 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- Chocolate Buttercream:
- 1 can (non chilled) coconut milk
- 10 dates, soaked in water for 8 hours or more, pitted
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 6 ounces dark chocolate, melted
Chocolate sponge cake:
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the egg replacer and water (using an electric mixer with the wire whisk attachment) on high for 8 minutes until light and fluffy.
- Add the sugar and continue to whip for another 7 to 8 minutes until it doubles in volume. Altogether, it will increase about ten-fold.
- Prepare a half-sheet pan by lining with parchment and oiling or spraying the sides with non-stick spray.
- Sift together the flour, cocoa, and baking powder. Add to the bowl of the whipped egg replacer, and using the electric mixer on a low setting, combine well. It will deflate some; do not over mix and deflate it completely. Stop when the flour looks incorporated.
- Spread the mixture in the prepared sheet pan, and bake for about 25 minutes until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean, and the edges of the cake have pulled away slightly from the sides.
- Allow to cool completely in the pan.
Making the Whipped Coconut Crème:
- Open the bottom of the chilled can of coconut milk, and pour out any liquid (you can reserve this to use for soups, curries, salad dressings, cooking rice, etc.). Whip on high using an electric mixer.
- When stiff peaks form, add the sweetener and vanilla, and beat for another few seconds to combine.
- Remove from the bowl and chill until ready to use (this can be done a day ahead)
Making the Chocolate Buttercream:
- In a blender, combine the coconut milk (the entire content of the can, not just the solids), the pitted, soaked dates, cocoa powder, dark chocolate, and vanilla.
- Process until creamy and smooth, then transfer to a bowl or container and refrigerate for several hours until mostly firm (the middle can still be soft).
- Transfer to a large bowl, and using an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, whip on high until light, fluffy, and doubled in quantity. It is best to decorate with this right away, but it can be refrigerated for 3 to 4 days if necessary (it will become a little harder).
Assembling the buche de Noel:
- Remove the cake from the pan by flipping it out onto a clean sheet of parchment. The parchment used for baking will now be on the top; peel it off and discard.
- Spread the cake with the Fluffy Coconut Crème.
- Roll tightly from one end to the other, using the parchment as a guide to help lift and roll if necessary.
- Place the roll on your chosen platter – a rectangular one is great if you have one.
- Slice off a diagonal slice off of one end, and attach the slice to the log to look like a stump or branch.
- Frost the cake with the Chocolate Buttercream, and decorate with meringue or marzipan mushrooms and holly springs. Sprinkle with powdered sugar to look like snow (or use crumbled meringue).
Happy Winter Solstice!