My latest article published with Elephant Journal. Enjoy!
My latest article published with Elephant Journal. Enjoy!
Elephant Journal has been a daily read for me for a couple of years now. I’ve always wanted to write for them but let some many of my doubts and “shoulds” get in the way. I finally broke out of my little comfort zone and submitted. Which is kind of ironic since the article is actually about being stuck. Published. Today.
Enjoy, share and do something to get out of your comfort zone today!
I’ve made stuffed peppers in multiple combinations over the years but this batch turned out exceptionally well. It only takes about a half hour of prep and then bakes for another half hour. It’s low fat, low calorie, gluten free, vegetarian and can easily be made vegan without the feta or by using a vegan cheese. Enjoy!
6 large poblano peppers
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup brown rice
1 can diced tomatoes with chilies
1 can diced tomatoes
1 large white onion
4 cloves garlic
1 package feta cheese (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
12 oz package Yves Meatless Ground (or other meat substitute)
Boil 1 cup of brown rice in 2 cups of water until almost done. Cut the tops off the poblanos and place in boiling water for about 6 minutes. Remove and rinse in cold water. Saute garlic and onion in olive oil until tender. Add the diced tops of the poblanos and cook for 4 minutes. Add the can of tomatoes with chili, fake meat, cooked rice, italian seasoning and feta. Taste the mixture before adding more salt if you are using feta…it’s pretty salty. Stuff the peppers and place in a large baking dish. Add the other can of tomatoes on top.
It has been a great experience reading and practicing with the 40 Days book again. We are now on day 19 and firmly into the theme of equanimity. So far the most common thing people have shared with the group is that they have trouble finding time to get on the mat. The busier I am the less likely I am to prioritize my asana practice but that is exactly when I need it most. I’m finding that the commitment I’ve made to this group has landed me on the mat many times I would rather not and times I felt like I didn’t have the time. I’ve discovered when I take the time to do it anyway, I become more productive in the time I have off the mat. Things that don’t have true importance are left in the wake and that is exactly where they belong. Most of us intuitively know this is the case yet we find all kinds of excuses to skip prioritizing ourselves. Next time you want to skip yoga, exercise or any other commitment to your health just remember that the more you take care of yourself the more energy you have available to stand for others.
Yesterday I began the 40 Days to a Personal Revolution program by my teacher, Baron Baptiste. It always seems like there isn’t a good time to start something like this but that is exactly the thinking that keeps us stagnant! So I just went for it and brought along some students and friends for the ride. The program consists of daily meditation and yoga as well as weekly “excavation” questions. As an example, one of the questions for week one is: “Where in my life am I flirting with disaster?” The excavation questions are just that…serious excavation and perhaps the most difficult part of the program.
There are many reasons I wanted to do the program now but I’ll share why it is really important to me now. In the last year I’ve had 3 surgeries. One on my right shoulder in September 2010 from an old overuse injury related to golf and two major abdominal surgeries in March 2011 and April 2011. Without going into too much detail the surgery in April was at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale and there was a serious concern for cancer. Thankfully there was no cancer and I am fully recovered. Of course all of those surgeries as well as the pain I’d been having from a belly full of tumors seriously restricted my physical yoga practice over the last year.
While I was going through all of that, I made several promises to myself. You can imagine what goes through your head when flirting with your mortality up close and personal! All of the promises revolved around taking better care of my body, eating better, paying more attention to my spirituality and recommitting to my meditation and yoga practice…being more present and thankful for everything in my life, everything that brought me to this point whether “good” or “bad.” In other words, exactly what 40 days to a Personal Revolution is all about. Why now exactly? After getting back from Baptiste level 2 training and being accepted into level 3 I realize more than ever that time is ticking. We only have so much time in this life and we don’t know when it’s over. The best time to be about your business is now. When I realized the 40 days would end the day before Thanksgiving it seemed like a sign I could no longer ignore. If you want to change your life, don’t wait. Jumping in is the scariest part. Once you’re in the process the rest will take care of itself.
I’ve tried several new recipes lately that I’ll be sharing with you over the next few weeks! All are great for fall, low-calorie, tasty and extremely satisfying. The first is Baked Polenta with Spinach and Cheese, based on a similar recipe I found with swiss chard as the main ingredient. It’s an easy one dish meal that can be prepared ahead of time and then placed in the oven when you get home from work. It serves 6 and has just 280 calories per serving. It reheats well or is good cold as a leftover, a fact to which my sister will attest! Good additions or substitutions to this casserole would be a seasoned meat substitute, swiss chard, salsa, tomatoes and/or asparagus. If you use Spark People to track nutrition, calories and fitness goals, you can add the recipe to your meal planner by clicking here.
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large white onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1 pound spinach
3 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup polenta (coarse cornmeal) or yellow cornmeal
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
2 large eggs
2 cups coarsely grated low-fat mozzarella cheese (about 8 ounces)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly oil 2-quart glass baking dish. Heat oil in heavy large deep skillet over medium heat. Add onion; sauté until tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in garlic and crushed red pepper, then spinach; cover and cook until spinach is tender, stirring occasionally.
Uncover; stir until any excess liquid in skillet evaporates. Season with salt and pepper.
At the same time bring 3 1/2 cups water and salt to boil in heavy large saucepan. Gradually stir polenta into boiling water. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer until polenta is very thick, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
Whisk ricotta and eggs in bowl; whisk in 1 cup hot polenta. Stir ricotta mixture into polenta in saucepan. Spread half of polenta mixture in baking dish. Spread half of spinach mixture over. Sprinkle with half of mozzarella. Repeat layering with remaining polenta, spinach, and cheese.
Bake until puffed and brown on top, about 45 minutes. Cool 30 minutes.
There are so many benefits to drinking water! Since the cells that make up our body are mostly water it’s important to keep hydrated. Water is involved in many functions such as temperature regulation, digestion, elimination and lubrication of the joints. Dehydration symptoms include tiredness, headache and constipation. Water helps us feel full which can aid in weight loss and maintenance. With all these great reasons to drink water why is it so difficult? Well, it can be boring! Many people don’t enjoy the taste of plain water which has led to a proliferation of flavored water on the market. While the convenience factor is high, flavored water often contains other ingredients that might not be as good for us as plain water. An old standby is adding fresh lemon but sometimes it’s fun to get even more creative.
I recently saw a bottle of cucumber, lemon, rosemary flavored water. The unusual combination piqued my interest. I’ve been a fan of cucumber lemon water ever since having it at a spa years ago. Of course I had to try this version, but like most commercial products of this type it was too sweet. Having dinner guests this past weekend offered the perfect excuse make my own! I usually just add cucumber and lemon to my pitcher and squeeze them a bit by hand (if you don’t have a juicer this works perfectly well). This time I juiced one cucumber, one lemon and muddled the rosemary to release the flavor. Then I filled the pitcher the rest of the way with water. Voila! My own refreshing water without any sweeteners or chemicals. Get creative with your water and let me know if you discover any must try combinations.
Summer is the perfect time for cold, refreshing soup! When I needed a dish to bring to the yoga community potluck at Balance Yoga tonight, this is the first dish I wanted to make. It’s been such a hot summer that even thinking about cooked soup makes me sweat. As a general rule in Ayurveda you don’t drink cold beverages or eat really cold foods since they tend to dampen agni (the digestive fire). However Ayurveda also says to eat with the seasons and when it’s hot outside a cool dish can be just what you need. If you’re eating according to your Ayurvedic constitution, dieting or eating seasonally, this soup is a great choice. Served cold to room temperature, it’s great for all doshas in hot weather (unless of course you have trouble digesting greek yogurt, cucumbers or honeydew). Vatas might enjoy a little sunflower or olive oil drizzled on top, pittas might benefit from the cooling effect of an extra scoop of yogurt and kapha could take the lightness of this dish a step further by adding some diced cucumber and honeydew as garnish. It’s ridiculously easy to make and tastes cool and refreshing. Play with the spices and proportions of the ingredients to make your perfect version. Enjoy!
Cucumber Honeydew Soup
1 large seedless cucumber (or remove seeds)
1/2 honey dew melon (about 2-3 cups chopped)
5 oz container of plain greek yogurt (plus extra for garnish if desired)
3 teaspoons turmeric (or to taste)
2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
2 teaspoons white pepper (or to taste)
2 leaves basil
1 leaf sage
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Adjust portions to taste. Serve chilled, at least 4 hours.