"The two basic items necessary to sustain life are sunshine and coconut milk."
-Dustin Hoffman, Midnight Cowboy
I really couldn't agree more.
As we shiver in the wake of the shortest day of the year, those of us in chilly climes struggle to surrender to the limited daylight, and the blues that set in all too easily. You may not know me well enough just yet, but I am a NOTORIOUS grump the moment the mercury plunges below freezing.
Okay, truth…the moment it falls below 50F I start to get a bit snarly. But that's beside the point.
I am, in fact, a cat. I really just want to lounge around in a patch of sun all day.
Mmmmmm...but for those of us who are able to magically walk around on two legs, life (and finances) tend to dictate otherwise. Sigh.
Here's the thing. We need every bit of sunshine we can get in the long winter months, any way we can. Here's how to make it happen:
1. Mainline Vitamin D
I'm not kidding. If it's winter, even if you are the outdoorsy type, you aren't getting enough.
And that leads directly to depression, anxiety, lowered immune function.
It's an easy fix. Pills are fine, but for seasonal superpowers, knock this back twice daily: Source Naturals Vitamin D-3 liquid
2. Get Thee In The Sun
Swathe yourself in soft (animal-friendly!) fabrics, and head outside. Go ahead, brave it. Even for 20 minutes. It will help you sleep better, drastically improve your mood, and boost your immune system.
The outside air will revive you, I promise, but if the idea of venturing out is just too unbearable, wrap yourself in something sensual and curl up in a sunny window. Close your eyes and let the warmth tickle you.
Either way, protect your skin with one of my all-time-favorite beauty potions: Simplers Botanicals Carrot Seed Oil.
Carrot seed oil has amazing anti-aging, wrinkle-fighting, skin-repairing properties, and is a natural sunscreen.
Three drops in a dollop of your day cream will cover your face, neck, decollate, hands, and forearms.
3. Let The Sunshine In
In the precious hours of daylight, amp up your sun and heat absorption by keeping your windows sparkling clean: white vinegar first, then anoint the corners of each window with a drop of pure lemon, grapefruit, or orange essential oils. I'm in love with these from my dear and delicious friend ContessaCreate. Ask for healing solar power to come into your home and your heart, and give thanks. Then, when the sun goes down, light up your den with creamy candles and fairy lights. (If you opt for the battery-operated candles, go for eco-friendly rechargeables-more of an investment upfront, but worth in in the long-haul, and so much easier on the planet.)
Take a cue from our pagan ancestors, and prepare meals using lots of yellow and orange foods, harnessing the energy of the sun. Try pumpkin, squash, sweet potatoes, and LOTS of citrus fruits.
Speaking of sunshine and coconut milk...after all that cleaning and frolicking, don't you just need a nibble?
Luscious Lemon Cakes
1. Make the lemon curd first:
- 1 cup fresh lemon juice (about 4 to 5 lemons per cup. Zest first, then juice.)
- ½ cup water
- 1½ cups xylitol or coconut sugar
- 4 Tbsp. cornstarch
- ⅛ tsp. Himalayan pink salt
- Zest of 2 lemons (zest finely, and zest extra!)
- ⅓ cup plain, full-fat organic coconut milk
- 2 Tbsp. vegan butter (Olive oil Earth Balance is one of the healthiest choices)
Using a food processor/blender, combine lemon juice, water, xylitol, cornstarch, and salt. When the mixture is smooth, pour it into a saucepan and add lemon zest. Turn the heat under the saucepan to medium, and whisk until the mixture comes to a full boil, about 10 to 15 minutes. Allow to boil for one minute undisturbed; the mixture should have noticeably thickened and started to turn clear. Remove from heat.
Add coconut milk and vegan butter. Whisk until everything is fully combined. Allow the lemon curd to thicken and cool in the saucepan until it reaches room temperature. Set aside.
2. Now make the rest.
1 cup all purpose gluten-free flour
1/2 cup xylitol or coconut sugar
pinch of Himalayan pink salt
1/2 cup vegan butter
2 cups of lemon curd
1/4 cup all purpose gluten-free flour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium sized bowl, stir the flour, xylitol, and salt. Then cut in the butter, until you have a fine crumb. Press the crust mixture into a greased, 8×8 inch cake pan. Bake for 15 minutes. While the crust bakes, whisk together 1/2 cup of the lemon curd and the 1/4 cup of flour, until smooth. Add an additional 1/2 of curd, and whisk until smooth. Add the remaining curd and whisk a final time. (Don't dump all the dry mixture into all the curd at once-you'll get lumps.) When the crust is done baking, pour the filling mixture into the pan and return to the oven. Bake for 30 minutes. The filling may still look a bit jiggly, but fear not-it will solidify when cooled. Cool at room temperature, before garnishing with a sprinkling of xylitol (entirely optional. please note: xylitol is far from a perfect sweetener, but it does work exceptionally well in this recipe. Avoid it if you have even a slight sensitivity) , cutting, and serving. Store leftovers in the fridge.
Now, get naked beneath a fuzzy throw, and share these with a friend.
A very close friend.