Tuesday, January 3, 2012

How to Make a Vision Board plus Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cookies (Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free, Vegan)

I've written about vision boards a lot over the past couple of years, and I often get asked how to make one, so I thought I would share my personal vision boarding process. I really don't think there is a right or wrong way to make one, but this is what works for me. Of course, you can make it at any time during the year, but I love the idea of starting a new calendar year with a fresh vision board. In all honesty, I have yet to make mine this year because the timing hasn't felt right. I've got a big board, lots of photos and magazines, but a somewhat misty vision. After being gone from home for two and a half weeks, there's a lot of emotional dust that needs to settle before I can be clear on what I want this year. But I can tell it's almost time...

Okay, so you want to make a vision board? Here's what you'll need:
  • A couple of hours of free time (you might be quick and do this in 30 minutes or less, but it takes me a while...)
  • A large piece of paper, poster board, or cardboard
  • Pens, pencils, markers, paint, glitter
  • Magazines, photos, your imagination
  • Glue, tape
Basically, go back to being a kid and get out as many art supplies as you can find! Then what?
  • Spend ten minutes getting your "meditative" brain on. In other words, rather than wracking your brain trying to decide exactly what you want to happen this year, spend ten minutes just being in your body and letting your monkey brain float around. You can try: meditation, yoga, dancing, or listening to music. Sometimes I like to grab some crayons and a piece of paper and just let the colors flow on the paper, without regard to what I'm actually drawing. The act of letting go of the outcome seems to open me up to my own creative process. 
  • Once you're feeling the introspective juices flowing, you're ready to vision board away. No TV in the background please, but certainly put on some of your favorite music if you want! This is the fun part. Tear out pictures from magazine, cut photos, write down words or phrases that come to mind. Just make a big pile of everything that's coming to you, and don't judge or question why something feels right. If you like a photo, but don't know what it represents, put it on there anyway. If you cut something out, but then it doesn't feel right when you place it on the board, let it go. Your vision board can be all pictures, all words, it can be something you draw yourself or just photos you've cut out. It can be literal or metaphorical. It just has to speak to you in some way. 
So what's the point in doing a vision board? 
  • Once you've got all the images you want, turn your board into a beautiful collage. This is like a visual mantra for you this year. I put my board up on my bedroom wall where I can see it when I'm meditating or doing yoga. Of course, the idea is to make manifest all of the visions on your board. The cool thing is that you really never know exactly how that will happen. I like to keep past vision boards on a separate wall, where I can look at them and be reminded of where I've been and where I'm going. 
  • Why do I make vision boards? Because they allow me to clear my mind of all the clutter and simply focus on where I'm going. When I look at my vision board, it reminds me what I'm working on, mentally, emotionally, and physically. And it is that rather than any magical power of the board that makes vision boards work. And I do believe they work. 
Which is why I still need to make my vision board, and why you should make one too. 

Now, for cookies.

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cookies (Print-Friendly Version)

After tasting these, a friend declared that they reminded him of cinnamon toast crunch cereal. But unlike the super sweet cereal of your childhood, these cookies have a subtle flavor that can be enhanced by the sugar on top. I used coconut palm sugar on the cookies, but play around with whatever type of granulated sugar you like. If you want to stay completely sugar-free, just skip the cinnamon and sugar on top altogether. These would also be delicious as cookie sandwiches with caramel sauce!

3/4 cup dates or prunes
2 tablespoons flax seed meal or chia seed meal
1/2 cup boiling water

1 3/4 cups  (270 grams) sweet white rice flour (see note below)
1/3 cup (50 grams) teff flour
2/3 cup (115 grams) potato starch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon stevia

2 tablespoons coconut palm sugar (or any granulated sugar)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly oil or grease 2 cookie sheets.
  2. Pour boiling water over dates and flax seed meal in a blender. Set aside for ten minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together flours, starch, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt. 
  4. After the dates (or prunes) and flax seed meal have sat for ten minutes, add the coconut oil and stevia to the blender. Blend together until pureed. 
  5. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir together until well mixed, then knead until a dough forms. Roll the dough out between two sheets of parchment paper. You want the dough to be 1/8 - 1/4 inch thick. Use cookie cutters to cut into whatever shape you like. This dough is delicate, so I only roll out about a handful at a time and use a spatula to transfer to the cookie sheet. 
  6. Bake for 12 minutes. Allow to cool a few minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring to a cooling rack. 
Makes approximately 42 two-inch round cookies. Will last for weeks stored in an airtight container at room temperature (I know this because I sent them to a friend; they got lost in the mail and arrived a month later, and were still good!)
    Note: Sweet white rice flour is also called glutinous (not glutenous) rice flour or mochiko. It's usually found in Asian grocery stores or even the Asian section of your local grocery store (that's where I get mine). It is NOT the same as white rice flour, and if you try subbing in white rice flour in this recipe, I have no idea what kind of result you'll get. None. No clue. Don't even want to waste my flour to try it.


    Ricki said...

    Happy 2012, Iris! I love vision boards as well. I used to do them annually, but then switched to simply making a list of goals. . . I think it's time to go back to the boards. :)

    The cookies look great and I'd love to try them. I notice the ingredient list says dates, but the instructions (#4) say prunes. Does it matter which I use? Thanks!

    Debi said...

    Now that I'm on my computer and can see the picture in bigger pixels, I can see that the cookies are definitely not pancakes. But, Cinnamon Toast Crunch pancakes would be a great idea! :D

    gfe--gluten free easily said...

    These cookies look so cool, Iris! Not your run of the mill cookies at all. ;-) And the photos are fabulous ... no wonder one was selected by Foodgawker!

    Love your advice on making a vision board, too!


    Jo said...

    They look very healthy. :) Would love for you to share your pictures with us over at foodepix.com.

    seeks said...

    You mention dates in the ingredients but prunes in the directions. I can't really eat dates, and though I know prunes aren't nearly as sweet, do you think they'd work?

    Iris said...

    Nice catch Seeks! That's because I made them with prunes originally and then decided to try them with dates. Honestly, they tasted about the same either way! I'll go fix that in the directions, thank you!

    Charis @ MannaTreats said...

    those look nice! Thank you for sharing!


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