Monday, August 30, 2010
This was inspired by my recent Sunday trip to a local farmer’s market. This is my little Disney! The rainbow of peppers, tomatoes, potatoes – from white to purple and everything in between.
Luckily I forgot to bring enough cash, so I was forced to stop at a certain point. Later that day my family was treated to a warm tomato-zucchini salad with wilted spinach and here is the recipe:
Warm Tomato Zucchini Salad with Spinach
2 yellow zucchini squashes, sliced
3 cups of baby spinach
3 garlic cloves – sliced
4 medium tomatoes, halved and sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
Balsamic Vinegar – optional
Heat olive oil in a sauté pan and cook garlic for about a minute, then add zucchini and sauté for a couple of minutes, add white wine, salt and pepper and sauté another minute or so. Transfer into a salad bowl with a slotted spoon. Place spinach into the pan that still has the liquid. Cook until barely wilted and drain. Transfer to the salad bowl. Add tomatoes, balsamic vinegar if using. Adjust seasoning and enjoy!
Thursday, August 12, 2010
My dearest teacher, I want to thank you for all the support and love you have given me over the years. I wouldn't be what I am now without your continuous encouragement, which came in so many forms. You praised and scolded me. I could be a "frog" one day and "your brightest star" the other. I remember working on my headstands at your beautiful house on the lake. I remember how you drove 25 miles through the snow to support me when I taught my first yoga class. You were there for me when I opened the studio too. You shared your wisdom through the words you spoke, books you gave me and, most importantly, through the way you lived. You'll always hold a very special place in my heart. Rest in peace, Stuart. I will never forget you.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Buckwheat is a fruit seed that is related to rhubarb and sorrel. Whole buckwheat is a very nutritious food. The protein in buckwheat contains the eight essential amino acids and is also high in lysine. Buckwheat is also rich in many B vitamins as well as phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper and manganese. Buckwheat is also a good oil source of Alpha-Linolenic Acid, which is one of the two essential fatty acids we must have to be healthy.
I truly believe it deserves a lot more attention in this country. My solution to painlessly add buckwheat into our diet was to use buckwheat flour in a dessert that I knew they wouldn't refuse. How about an Apple Pie? Plus I got to squeeze in walnuts - another power food that my older one dislikes for some strange reason. Feel free to experiment with other flours. I used spelt, teff and oat and it came out great.
European Apple Pie with Buckwheat Flour
1/2 cups of raw sugar
1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup of buckwheat flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 small eggs
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tart apples, chopped
3/4 cups of walnuts or pecans
Preheat your oven to 350. Mix the first 6 ingredients in a large bowl.Beat eggs and vanilla in a small bowl, then pour into the dry ingredients and mix well. Fold in apples and nut and pour into a greased 9 inch pie dish. Bake for about 1/2 hour or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Serve warm. May be with your favorite ice cream! Here is my absolute favorite for today... in caramel flavor...
Friday, July 2, 2010
Another simple, but wonderful culinary creation came out from combining some left-over ingredients, that were sitting in my fridge. ("wonderful" as per the in-house food critics...)
There was a bunch of broccoli rabe begging to be used. I could have simply steamed it, but that would be too boring. Life is too short to be boring.
Broccoli Rabe Salad
1 bunch of Broccoli rabe, hard stems trimmed
2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
1/2 red pepper (this is how you get stuck with left-over ingredients!), chopped
1 can of cannellini beans
1/2 cup of organic white cheddar, shredded
Fresh basil- small bunch, torn into pieces
2 tbSp Olive oil or more to taste
1 tbSp white wine vinegar or more to taste
Heat olive oil on medium heat in a large sauté pan. Add broccoli rabe, cover and steam for a couple of minutes until it wilts a bit, then open the lid and let the moisture evaporate. Add garlic, salt and pepper and toss for a minute or so, remove from heat. Add tomatoes, peppers, beans, cheddar and basil and mix well. Eat warm with some fresh crusty bread of your choice.
Thursday, July 1, 2010
I've been a fan of Tao Porchon-Lynch for a while. Last night I finally got to meet her! Since I was supposed to be in Westchester, NY on Wednesday anyway, I made arrangements to take her class at a local club. Last night when she walked into the room, I realized she was everything I was expecting and so much more. She was wearing a beaming smile , bright red high heel shoes and a matching red top... Yeeees!
Tao is a 92 year old inspiration and a testament to the power of Yoga. This former actress, who was born in India and lived and taught all over the world, teaches 7 yoga classes per week, leads regular workshops all over the US, conducts 200 and 500 Teacher Trainings, takes large groups on annual trips to India, Nepal and Sri Lanka and enjoys ball room dancing with her 20-30 year old partners, who can barely keep up with her. This busy schedule would make most of us dizzy, but not Tao!
5 years ago Tao undergone a total hip replacement and was told by her doctor that she wouldn't be able to do all the things that she used to do. In response to that she sent her doctor a photo of herself doing Lotus in a Shoulderstand... Tao says that if someone says to her that she can't do it, then she must do it.... Her motto: "There is nothing that you can't do!"
Ananta Yoga Studio is planning to host a workshop with Tao this fall (the tentative date: 10/30). This will be a unique opportunity for all of us to meet the living legend, someone who'd studied with Indra Devi herself, and someone who proved by example that yoga is the perfect way to keep your body, mind and spirit healthy. Viva Tao!
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Orzo and Vegetable Bake - Italian Style...
1 box of orzo 12 oz or 16 oz
1 eggplant, cut in 1 inch cubes
About 3 cups of organic spinach
1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce
2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup of grated Parm cheese (can be less)
Salt, pepper, olive oil
You can use any combination of vegetables for this. I would imagine bell peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, cannellini beans etc would work just fine. Sprinkle eggplant with salt and let it sit in a colander for about 30 min (feel free to skip this step is pressed for time). Boil pasta. While the pasta is cooking, heat oil in a sauté pan, add eggplant and cook until barely soft - a couple of minutes. Add spinach and cook, stirring, until wilts. Add the sauce, mix well and bring to boil. Drain pasta and transfer to a large Pyrex casserole dish. Spread in an even layer. Top with the vegetable mix, sprinkle with cheeses and bake until the cheese melts. About 15 minutes. Enjoy!
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
How 'bout a delicious, nutritious dinner in less than 15 minutes? Here we go...
1 bunch of organic broccoli
1 cup of quinoa (red or white)
2 tbsp of almond oil (olive oil will do)
1/4 cup of parm cheese (feel free to skip that for a vegan version)
1/4 to 1/4 cup of sliced almonds, toasted
salt, pepper to taste
Cook quinoa according to directions (usually 2 cups of water per 1 cup of quinoa). While the quinoa is cooking, toast the almonds, then cut the bottom half of the stems from broccoli and chop up the rest. Heat oil in a large pan and sauté or stir-fry broccoli, until cooked, but still crisp. Add salt and pepper, stir in cooked quinoa, almonds, cheese if using and serve.
Monday, April 19, 2010
It's easy- although time consuming - to make Sour Cabbage at home.
A gallon size jar, a large dish for mixing
About 6.5-7 Lbs of cabbage (late harvest type if possible)
50-60 grams of salt - non-iodized! Gray salt is the best
You can add carrots (can be up to 1/4 of the cabbage weight),
Bay leaves, caraway seeds- optional
For a spicy kind: garlic, pepper, etc - optional
Slice the cabbage thin, leaving the center part out, grate the carrots if using, mix all the ingredients together in a large open dish or basin. Keep mixing and squeezing by hand until juices run.
When done, place in the glass jar (you can use an enameled bucket - not plastic), pack it tight. Make sure you do not fill the jar all the way to the top - the juices will need room. Cover with clean whole cabbage leaves, then cover with cheese cloth, then put a press on top (another jar filled with water will do). Place the jar onto a plate (again, since the juices may run over the top) and keep at room temperature for about 3-4 days. On the next day (or when the foam forms on the top), you'll need to puncture the cabbage all the way to the bottom in several spots with a knife or a rolling pin or a long wooden spoon handle. This is a very important step. You'll need to do it 3 times a day. Then you can move the jar to a cooler place for about 2 weeks.
Or you can keep it in the warm place and once it's done, cover with a lid and put into a fridge.
The Sauerkraut is ready when the foam is gone and the juice are gone and the top layer is slightly wilted.
The process of Sour Cabbage making requires a presence of a "good" bacteria. Sometimes a wrong bacteria gets in and the cabbage comes out slimy smelling funny. You can still use the final product, however, it will have to be rinsed first and then cooked (in soups, stir-fries, etc)
Here is a quicker version of Sauerkraut:
For 1 gallon jar of Sauerkraut:
1 head of cabbage,
3 large carrots,
2 tbSp salt
1 tbSp sugar - optional, but that's what speeds up the process
700ml of warm water
Slice and grate cabbage and carrots, mix it up. Dissolve salt and sugar in water. Pack cabbage into a jar and power the liquid over. Keep at a room temperature for 3 days, puncturing all the way through daily. After 3 days transfer to the fridge. It's done.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Back in the days when vitamin supplements were not available and fruits and vegetables weren't dragged over the Equator, people really looked forward to spring and first vitamin packed greens: spinach, French sorrel, nettle... French sorrel is a very unique plant with quite a bit of pleasant tartness, similar to lemon. If you find it in a garden store, plant it in full sun and it will keep coming back year after year. In addition to having a pleasant taste, it promotes digestion. Sorrel is great in sauces, pies (think Rhubarb!) and salads.
If you lucky enough to find nettle growing wild ( Appalachian Trail /Broadwalk in Warwick! ) - bring some gloves along: raw nettle can sting your skin. It's not harmful, just a bit unpleasant. Nettle is not as tart as sorrel.
Light nettle and sorrel Soups are very popular in Europe. Here is one version for you. My kids call it French Egg Drop Soup... If you don't know what French sorrel or nettle is AND don't want to find out, then use organic spinach instead.
French Sorrel Spring Soup
6-8 cups of organic vegetable broth
3 medium potatoes, cut into small pieces
Large bunch of French sorrel, chopped
2 eggs, beaten
Cook potatoes in the boiling broth until done - don’t overcook. Add sorrel and then slowly add the eggs, stirring all the time. Done!
This is almost as easy as opening a can!
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Paneer - Home Style Indian Cheese
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
I suspect my family members pray for various natural disasters...When that collective prayer is answered, I am forced to close the studio and come home after work or better yet - stay home altogether. That usually means a five course dinner and baked goodies. Last night, instead of fixing knees in Warrior 2 in my Iyengar class I've got to experiment with a whole baked eggplant. As the flood waters crept to my studio, the blender was going... It resulted in a tasty dip, that could also replace ketchup for your home baked fires or your veggie burger. It can served as a side dish too, which it did last night.
Backed Eggplant Dip
1 large eggplant
2-3 Tbsp of tomato paste
1-2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1/4 tsp of coriander powder (or your favorite spice mix)
About 1 tsp of olive oil (optional)
Small bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped
Salt, pepper to taste
Cut several slits on the eggplant. Place it on a foil lined baking sheet and bake at 500F for 45 minutes. Let it cool, then peel the skin off. Transfer all that soft, gooey, baked goodness into a frying pan, add tomato paste and garlic and cook on medium heat until the liquid is evaporated. Remove from heat, add coriander, olive oil, salt, pepper, cilantro and pulse in a food processer/blender/chopper until smooth. Cool to room temperature and enjoy!
Friday, March 12, 2010
"Be the change you want to see in the world" --- Mahatma Gandhi
How, here is something heartfelt. I am sure anyone who is on any path of self improvement and/ or spiritual development has come across this at least once.
You live your yoga, read all the great books, go to seminars, workshops, satsangs, meditate, work on yourself, control your mind and reactions, trying to cultivate positive thinking- whatever it is that you do. But... you're only human. You slip, you make mistakes, you go back to your old ways - even if it's for a split second. You're not an enlightened being- you just want to become one. Simply being a better person is already a great intention!
It all goes well until you slip. Have you noticed how those around you are quick to turn around and point out your fall?
"You read all those books and still do things like that?",
"Yoga is not really helping, huh?",
"That's a strange thing to say for a yogi!"
"I wouldn't expect that from a yoga teacher!"
You know what's interesting? Those comments come from people who are not on ANY path themselves. Because the ones that are on the path know how hard it is to stay on and to keep going. Plus they are busy working on themselves, because they know that you cannot expect anyone to change in order to please you- you need to change yourself. Certain people are not on any path for various reasons. Sometimes it means that they not ready - the time just hasn't come yet. Sometimes it means that they just prefer to watch other people improve and change (and notice their falls in the process), since they believe that the World owes to them to be in a certain way, the way they expect. The latter also means that they are just not ready. No one can be blamed for that.
So, it all comes back to us - those who are on any path of self discovery. It's our responsibility to be vigilant. Even the greatest spiritual seekers where provoked and tempted (Jesus was tempted by demons in the desert, Buddha was tested by Mara). It is just a part of the process. The higher you climb the harder it may get. You will be provoked and poked again and again, until the day when none of this will have any power to affect you anymore. Until then simply take every poke as a lesson, as an opportunity to burn one more veil, and as an opportunity to grow.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
If I have to be stuck on a proverbial deserted island, then please drop me off with a few bags of potatoes. I love them mashed and boiled, roasted and fried. Ok, I'll even admit that sometimes I zoom by a Wendy's drive through window to get French fries....
Potatoes are tasty, versatile and, according to the Gerson Therapy Diet, very healing and nutritious.
My rosemary plant moves in with me for the winter and there is nothing like fresh rosemary roasted along with potatoes! How about a yummy, cozy variation of good old roasted potatoes, which can be a perfect main course or a side dish at a family gathering? Here we go!
Roasted Rosemary Potatoes Mix
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1"-2" cubes
4-5 white or yellow potatoes, peeled and cut into 1"-2" cubes
1 large onion, cut in half, then sliced into 1/2 rings
5 cloves of garlic, peeled
2-3 Tbsp of unrefined sunflower oil (you can use olive oil instead)
Few springs of fresh rosemary
Salt, pepper to taste
Your favorite spices: anything from red pepper to paprika - be creative!
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Place potatoes, onion, garlic, and rosemary into a roasting pan, sprinkle with oil, salt, pepper and spices if using. Mix well. Bake for... I dunno... until done... about 20 minutes, stirring at least once in the process. Enjoy!
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
I didn't want to see the Avatar. Seeing the military uniforms in the preview was enough and I am not into Action or Sci-fi. But so many people liked it and told me that I "have to see it", that I decided to check it off my list and see it for the "special effects". After two failed attempts (it was sold out by the time I got there), I am trying again. We're the car and on our way in sleet and ice, hoping that most people would stay home and we'd have no problem getting tickets (smart people did stay home that night).
As we slowly make our way down the mountain I engage into a long monologue about our culture going the wrong way with its technological advances, that are slowly killing us, about few small cultures, like American Indians, who did choose the path of harmonious and spiritual living, but could not withstand the bulldozer of the "civilized" way of living. Remember "Dances with Wolves"? As I was talking about that I didn't really know what the Avatar was all about. How wild is that? Turns out, the movie was about going up the spiritual path, about the Universal Energy, the oneness of all, and the Union with the Divine. Turns out it's one the best movies about Yoga ever made.
Whatever they spent on Avatar wasn't wasted on creating useless, senseless entertainment. It was used to send a powerful, profound message: we are heading towards a grim future, filled with wars, living on a "gray" planet. Unless... we stop, think, feel, connect to the Universal Energy that surrounds everything and slowly make our way back.
Friday, February 12, 2010
French cuisine can be intimidating. Just thinking about all the steps involved in Bouillabaisse preparation makes me want to take a day off. But the everyday French "style" cooking can be simple, inspiring, and economical. Step one: open your fridge and see what you have. Step two: decide what to make (can be daunting)
Here is my take on it, inspired by the latest issue of Vegetarian Times:
Pasta and Roasted Vegetables with White Wine Sauce
(ok, this is not a traditional French dish, but the cooking style is) This dish is Vegan if you skip the parm at the end.
Fresh vegetables - whatever you have: sweet peppers in any color, asparagus, mushrooms (I used shiitakes), Brussels' sprouts (just love them), baby artichokes, zucchinis or yellow squash, eggplant, onions, garlic, tomatoes. Any combination! About 4-5 cups
Herbs: parsley, basil or cilantro - chopped.
1 box of pasta
2-3 Tbsp of Olive Oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Chop all your veggies up to fill a large roasting pan, spreading it thin, add salt and pepper to taste, add 2-3 Tbsp of Olive oil, mix it well and bake for 20 minutes in the oven preheated to 400 degrees. Stir, then add chopped tomatoes, if using, and bake another 10 min.
Meanwhile make pasta - any pasta you like will do. Cook according to directions, drain well and transfer back to the pot.
Remove the roasting pan from the oven and transfer the veggies into a dish. If you using herbs, you can add them now. Deglaze the pan for 5 min. with 1/2 cup of white wine. You can do it on the stove or, if using a Pyrex pan, in the oven. Then add 1/2 of cooking water from pasta. Add the wine sauce to your vegetables, mix well, adjust the seasoning and add to pasta.
Serve with grated Parm or Romano cheese.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Everything in the physical world changes. Absolutely everything. Yet we refuse to accept the fact and keep clinging to whatever made us happy, gave us pleasure and joy.
You buy a carton of wonderful, fresh, organic milk. It tastes so good, it's full of nutrition and you just love it. Few days go by and it's not the same milk anymore. Under certain conditions it can turn into another delicious and nutritious product that may be even better for you. But very often it simply goes bad and can harm you. So what do you do? You keep the new milk product in the fridge and enjoy the new taste and the new qualities or you simply toss the spoiled milk out. We clearly understand that the milk will never be the same, remove it from our fridge and forget about it.
Why can't we be as wise when it comes to relationships with friends, jobs, spouses and lovers? Why do we go on obsessing over relationships that went sour when we know for sure it can only bring harm? It's important to remember that clinging restricts the flow of life - the only constant we can rely on. And if you feel the need to cling now - remember: "this too shall pass"...
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
My life is a constant flow from one thing to another. Different jobs, places, people, projects, tasks, chores, and commitments – it’s a constant kaleidoscope of things throughout the day. And then a snow day comes… I welcome being stuck in the house with nowhere to go and nothing to do (well, that is very relative). I can do all the things I dream about doing during the course of my on-the-go, crazy, fast paced life. I can knit, read, do an extra long yoga practice, soak in the tub and I can bake something yummy for my kids. They are stuck in the house with me. How cool is that! We can even play a game together. What a perfect life! (The life I can only take for a day or two…)
So, here is one of my snow day projects: Mayo Cookies… My mom used to make them. It may sound strange to some of you who are conservative when it comes to food, but they are truly delicious and simple. I will not attempt to describe the taste. Try for yourself.
Snow Day Mayo Cookies
4 oz of Mayo
4 oz of butter
1.5 cups of sugar
½ tsp of baking powder
1 tsp of vanilla extract
4 cups of flour
Large non-stick baking sheets
Preheat the oven to 350. Mix all the ingredients well, roll walnut size balls and flatten them lightly. Bake for 10 min and check. Do not over bake.
Happy snow day!
Monday, February 8, 2010
I am in the car with my husband, heading to a party. Usually I am in charge of the entertainment and he is at my mercy, but today my iPod is dead, so he plugs in his phone, which doubles as an MP3 player. Red Hot Chili Peppers...I feel discomfort and lower the volume. It doesn’t help. I close my eyes and try to relax. I used to like that stuff. What's wrong with me? I begin to slip into meditation and the only word that's left in my head is "disharmony". That's it! I am just not in-tune with that music anymore. We are on two different wave lengths.
Every tune, word, dead and thought has a frequency. You can raise your frequency by avoiding thoughts and feelings of low vibrations. Feelings like greed, jealousy, hatred and any thoughts associated with it. You can also raise your frequency through various spiritual practices.
If you like a tune, that's because your soul's vibrating in unison with that music. It may change during the course of your life or even throughout the day. Some music can inspire you to do great things, some can push you to do bad and crazy ones. In general, most religious chants, songs and mantras have a high frequency, so does classical music. Most of it, but not all by any means. AC/DC does not have a high frequency... sorry, mom!
Same goes for TV programs and movies. I am sorry to say, but most TV programs, especially News Channels have a tendency to bring you down. Everyone notices that, but people continue to watch. Why? It's easier to vibrate on the lower wave length. It requires less effort.
Everything has an effect on you. You affect everything around you as well. That's why it's so important to watch want you "emit" as well as to choose wisely what you "put" into yourself. You are so careful with what you eat, but being careful about what comes into your body through your eyes and ears is just as important. Enjoy things that sound like "harmony" to you and strive to raise your vibration.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here came up in deep meditative state and do not belong to the writer :-) I am in no way "yogier" than you just because you like your AC/DC nice and loud. Namaste!
Saturday, February 6, 2010
You can buy your butternut already cut into 1 inch pieces. That will speed things up even more.
Preheat your oven to 400. Place your butternut chunks into a large Pyrex baking dish, add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil (I use Organic Olive Oil Spray), toss to coat well. If you like spice, you can add nutmeg, or cumin, or paprika, or cinnamon. I use a Moroccan spice mix. From Ayurvedic point of view, you can use various spices to adjust the recipe for your dosha or unbalanced dosha.
Bake until almost ready (about 30 minutes), then sprinkle with brown sugar, lower the temperature to 350 and bake a little longer. May be 5-15 minutes more – you’d have to keep checking.
Serve with rice or toss with spinach and Kalamata olives to make a warm salad (perfect for all of you Vatas out there who can’t have cold salads in the winter) Be creative!
Thursday, February 4, 2010
This recipe is quick, nutritious and healthy. If you know me you also know that I don't have time for time consuming fancy meals, but the final result looked fancy and tasted great.
You'll need a muffin pan (non stick if you have it) lightly greased with Olive Oil (I used Organic Olive Oil spray)
For the Mini Meatloaves:
Ground Turkey - about 1.5 Lbs
Spinach - about 4 cups of fresh (cooked, chopped and squeezed dry)
or 1 pack of frozen chopped spinach (squeezed dry)
Feta Cheese - about 1 cup
Lemon Juice - 1 Tbsp
Salt and pepper to taste
You can add paprika if you want- feel free to experiment with quantities and ingredients!
For the Sauce (the sauce is optional if you short on time, ingredients or just feel lazy):
1 small onion, chopped
1-2 cloves of garlic, chopped
Small bunch of Parsley (optional), chopped
You can add some celery or cilantro - experiment!
1 Tbsp of flour
2 Tbsp of butter
1 cup of Organic Half and Half
Spinach - about 4 cups of fresh (cooked, chopped and squeezed dry)
or 1 pack of frozen chopped spinach (squeezed dry)
About 3 Tbsp of Dijon Mustard
Salt and Pepper to taste
Just mix up all the ingredients, fill up the muffin pan and bake at 350 for about 30 min. Now you can really appreciate the speed and simplicity of this!
Heat butter in a non stick frying pan, add chopped onion and cook until translucent. Add garlic, flour, and herbs (if using) and cook a bit longer. Add spinach and cook until wilted. Add cream, mustard and heat through. Avoid boiling. Use a blender (I used a hand held blender) or a food processer to bring the sauce to a smooth consistency. You can thin it with more cream if desired.
Serve your minis with the sauce on top (or without- it will be pretty juicy) and your favorite grain on the side. We went for buckwheat, but I am sure quinoa or rice would go well too.