Meatless Monday – Roasted Cauliflower and Carrot Soup with Tricolor Carrot Salad

Roasted Carrot and Cauliflower Soup
Happy Meatless Monday! Soup, salad and bread. Yum.


Official Meatless Monday Blogger

I love summer. The sun on my face and heat on my skin make me feel alive. It’s a time of year when ice clinking in tall glasses of water and taking big bites of fresh tomatoes off the vine is an acceptable dinner.

May-August is my time.

September is beautiful but makes me sad because cold weather is rolling in. You can’t see it but it’s there, hovering in the background.

But, I must admit there is something vaguely sexy about the fall. Turtlenecks and flip-flops are standard uniforms. It’s still warm enough to grab a drink outside, but you can rock a hat. The heat of summer still lingers in the air like perfume at the end of the day…

And while I miss summer, soup season makes it bearable. I am nothing if not a lover of soups.

This roasted cauliflower and carrot soup  I found in the New York Times is a perfect blend of summer and fall flavors. The lemon keeps it light as the rooted flavors of carrot and cumin keep it grounded. It’s yoga, for your mouth. The miso adds umami. Its a soup that makes you want to lay down on your back and exhale… I took the liberty and added (and subtracted) a few things to suit my palate. Not that the Times doesn’t know their stuff but hey, I like things the way I like them.

All jokes aside, this is a great meal for after a long yoga practice or any kind of workout. The soup is filling without being heavy and the carrot salad has crunch with layers of sweet and savory because of the dressing. I had mine with bread because I’m a girl who likes to sop things up.

Don’t judge. Sometimes a dish is so good you want every drop. And the truth is, it’s much classier than me licking the bowl. I’ll let my dog keep that party trick.

 

Enjoy. Happy Meatless Monday.

Namaste y’all.

 

Ingredients

  • cauliflower- one head choped
  • carrots – one pound chopped
  • onion- one large chopped in chunks
  • garlic – one head unpeeled
  • celery- one stalk – roughly chopped
  • 4-5 cups stock or water
  • corriander seeds- one tablespoon
  • cumin- one tablespoon
  • smoked paprika
  • salt pepper
  • juice from one lemon
  • lemon zest
  • cilantro (dried) – one tablespoon
  • olive oil
  • miso- 1 tablespoon

 

Ingredients for Salad

  • tri-color carrots
  • scallions
  • cucumbers

 

Dressing

  • balsamic vinegar
  • honey- one teaspoon
  • dijon mustard- one teaspoon
  • soy sauce
  • garlic- minced one teaspoon

 

 

Directions

  1. Place veggies in a pan and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Makes sure to coat the garlic bulb with oil so it doesn’t burn.
  2. Roast veggies and garlic bulb in 425° oven for 35-45 minutes (check frequently- I like veggies roasted but not mushy)
  3. Transfer veggies to a large heated soup pot that has 2 tablespoons olive oil
  4. Add spices and sauté veggies for six minutes
  5. Add miso and broth
  6. Bring to a simmer and then lower heat
  7. Cook for 10 minutes
  8. Blend until smooth in very small batches
  9. Serve immediately

 

For the salad 

  1. I spiralized the carrots and cucumbers.
  2. To make the dressing put all of the ingredients into a blender (or whisk in a bowl if you are looking for a forearm workout)
  3. I cut the scallions into the thin slices and and tossed with the dressing.

 

Meatless Monday – Sweet Potato Pancakes

Sweet Potato Pancake
Sweet Sweet Potato Pancake

Official Meatless Monday Blogger I don’t know if I had latkes on the brain or what, but wham- I had an urge to make a sweet potato pancake. However instead of apple sauce and sour cream, I opted for a healthier topping made with apples and cucumbers! Ingredients For pancakes (yields 6-8 pancakes)

  • 1 sweet potato grated
  • 1 small onion grated
  •  3 tablespoons egg substitute or 1 egg
  • 2 heaping T of quinoa flour (or whatever flour you have handy)
  • 1/4 t baking powder
  • 1 t cumin
  • small handful chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 T olive oil

Apple Cucumber Salsa

  • 1 apple
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • 1/4 onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 small handful cilantro

1. To make the pancakes combine all ingredients with the exception of the olive oil, only use 1 T. Reserve the rest of the oil for cooking (or use a non-stick spray) 2. Drop batter into a hot pan that has either the olive oil or the non-stick spray 3. Cook pancake on each side for 4-5 minutes or until browned Salsa preparation

  1. Roughly chop all ingredients
  2. Pulse in food processor until mixed but not mushy

Scoop a spoonful of salsa on each pancake and enjoy!!

5 Tips to Teach Yoga from a Mindful and Trauma Sensitive Perspective

Yoga keeps him young

Creating a safe space for students should be the number one priority of any yoga teacher. As a teacher who is moving into the world of yoga therapy, I understand that the idea of what’s ‘safe’ varies. Getting properly trained in trauma sensitive yoga has been an invaluable tool when it comes to teaching in a wide variety of non-tradtional settings. The more I’ve learned, the more I have been encouraged to share my experiences and tips for creating a meaningful class.

1. Do your homework

I’m constantly reading about new approaches to teaching in this ever evolving field. In addition, I spend time talking to my former teachers who are experts in yoga therapy, trauma-senstive yoga and doctors. There isn’t an end to the learning process. Spending time learning about where you are going to teach a new class can provide assurance that your first class will be provide the best experience possible for your students.

2. Be prepared and flexible

Having a clear plan is always the way to walk into a studio and this is certainly the case when teaching in non-traditional environments. But when class starts and how people are moving doesn’t fit the plan- I must adapt. The same holds true when I teach a trauma-senstive/therapeutic yoga class. A few weeks ago I had planned a class for a group of students at Riker’s Island Correctional Facility. When I walked into the dorm there was a lot of talk about a search that had been conducted overnight, as a result the group was very stressed. Rather than work through the more powerful flow I had mapped out, it made sense to cut that part of class short so I could teach a few poses that released stress. In addition, I took the class through a longer guided meditation. The more tools you have in your toolbox the easier it is to adapt on the fly.

3. Know your audience

When you are teaching in a space with people who have suffered trauma it’s vital to understand their backgrounds and potential triggers. When I am working with women who have suffered sexual abuse, I’m careful not to do poses that could be deemed sensual. Cat/cow provides a good example of this. It’s a fairly innocuous pose in a traditional yoga setting, it’s great for warming up the spine but with women who have had a history of abuse it’s potentially a huge trigger.

4. Listen. Listen more. Listen again.

Active listening skills are required in trauma sensitive teaching. It’s vital to be able to listen to verbal and non-verbal cues. Are students comfortable? Are you talking too much? Or not enough? In a traditional setting with experienced yogis, silence is golden and allows for exploration. But when working with women who have been abused or PTSD patients silence can be scary. Listen with your eyes, ears and EQ (Emotional Intelligence).

5. Know your limits and have a network

As yoga teachers it’s easy to get connected to your students especially when you work with folks who suffer from PTSD, have physical illnesses or are in challenging situations like prison or rehab. I stay true to what I know to do with the body as a yoga teacher. I stay honest with myself about my skills and training. I am a certified therapeutic yoga teacher who has done trainings to work with folks who have chronic illness, addictions, are in prison and who suffer from PTSD. I’m not a therapist, a physical therapist, nutritionist or doctor. But I have built and continue to build a strong network of these folks who understand the value of yoga. Having a rolodex of names allows me to refer a student to the right person when they ask something out of my depth.

One last critical component to teaching trauma sensitive yoga is self-care. Providing a space for healing is rewarding but can be draining physically and emotionally. Knowing how and when to recharge is a part of my routine. I make sure that there is one day of the week when I am not teaching- at all. That is my day to take my own classes and relax. My daily meditation practice is also a way that I stay  emotionally fit. As a Therapeutic yoga teacher I’ve also reaped the benefits of the TY practice. My bolsters, blankets and blocks are never far from me. Practicing what I preach has become a necessary part of my practice.

Yoga is now being widely recognized as a was to compliment many traditional treatment plans. The more that I’m educated, the larger impact I can have.

Namaste y’all.

Adventures in Teaching Yoga – Riker’s Island (Liberation Prison Yoga)

rikersbarbed

In 30 years, the number of women in jail has increased by over 800% [Source: Institute on Women & Criminal Justice]. Most of these women are imprisoned as a result of drug-related charges; however other leading causes of incarceration are immigration status issues.

M. comes to class each week. She doesn’t speak a lot of English but is one of the first students to sit on her mat. I make sure that during class I make eye contact with her and nod so she understands she’s moving safely. Part of me feels stupid for not speaking Spanish and by next week I will know at least how to say inhale deep and exhale slow.  Though we speak mostly in smiles, gestures and nods, I can see her body relax during guided meditation.

I’m frustrated with myself. It’s easy to take life for granted. It’s just one more thing that these women teach me.

Here’s some startling information about women in prison:

The vast majority of women in prison—85 percent to 90 percent—have a history of being victims of violence prior to their incarceration, including domestic violence, rape, sexual assault, and child abuse. And racial disparities strike here too: Girls of color who are victims of abuse are more likely to be processed by the criminal justice system and labeled as offenders than white girls, who have a better chance of being treated as victims and referred to child welfare and mental health systems. This disparity is particularly devastating for gender nonconforming girls, who are up to three times more likely to experience harsh disciplinary treatment by school administrators than their heterosexual counterparts.

In addition to intimate partner violence, other risk factors contributing to women’s criminal behavior include substance abuse and mental illness. It is estimated that up to 80 percent of women prisoners suffer from substance addiction. While it would be much more cost effectiveto treat these women than imprison them or pay for foster placement for their children, they are refused such rehabilitative measures—measures that could facilitate their integration back into society as productive members.

-Center for American Progress

This week instead of the noise, I couldn’t help but notice the beds.  I use the term bed loosely. The mattresses are about 3 inches thin and sit atop metal cots which sag even when empty. While I’ve seen them before, on this particular Tuesday they were glaring. Maybe it was because I was on the third floor with the sentenced women. I guess in my head I rationalize that many of the women on the fifth floor will be going home. Because they are consider detainees, the energy feels more transient.
I don’t know. Maybe I was stuck on the beds because I’m more familiar with my surroundings. Whatever it was it created an opening, a desperate moment of clarity…
As the CO announced class I took in utter lack of privacy of prison dorm life.  I averted my eyes and felt flushed with shame. There wasn’t anything happening- but the dorm is their space. Some women were sleeping and others were talking. And a CO is there the whole time watching all of it. I’m not waxing political with commentary (yet)- but a stark reality is clear. This is their life- at least in this moment.
On the third floor 12 students came to their mats. I am glad but try to hold back because I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. But maybe it won’t. In the common/dining/yoga area the person watching TV turned it off and went back inside the dorm. It pleasantly surprises me but also gives me pause. These women have to adapt at the drop of a hat. I can never forget that. I’m the visitor. It doesn’t matter (to me anyway) that I choose to be there. These women must be able handle whatever comes their way, even if it’s a yoga teacher with some mats.

During class more people started to watch.  J, who is in her sixties said she was too out of shape to do it. But J’s friend told her to stop making excuses and try, since she ‘d never done yoga, how could she know what she could do and couldn’t do. It was a fair point, I thought.  Without fail at the end of class there is a greater sense of serenity on every woman’s face. I think back to M. on the third floor. She may not understand every word I say. But she is learning how to move in her body.

When I leave Riker’s I’m consistently struck with the need to do more.
More for the women there.
More for women in prisons everywhere.
I watched the documentary Crime After Crime about Deborah Peagler and her 27 year incarceration for death of her incredibly abusive boyfriend. The system was not set up to support her. In fact,  statistics show that because she was abused and called the authorities she is over 80%  more likely to end up in prison (Center for American Progress).
And then I think about the women who get out and their struggles to transition back to the world. It seems overwhelming and at times I have to fight against the voice that says what the hell is yoga going to do? What can I do? Without fail I come back to M.’s face sitting there on her mat, moving, breathing and maybe knowing that she is important. Her body is important. Her ability to inhale and exhale into a better life is possible.
So I’ll be back next Tuesday and the Tuesday after and the Tuesday after that. Two weeks ago Seane Corn, a yoga activist spoke at a yoga festival. She said that as yogis we can no longer be silent and passive. We have an obligation to take the love we have found on our mats and share it to bring change to the world.

On Friday I was standing on the corner of Sixth Ave and Canal. The weather was perfect. I had an early day and I got to wrap it up by tasting a custom blended tea for my upcoming workshop. Later, I took a class and capped off the night with some chores, a glass of wine and Netflix. Tired, I crawled into my bed more grateful than I have ever been for the comfort of my bed. And I think of M. and know that in the morning I need to wake up and do more.

It’s the beautiful burden of being free.

Namaste y’all.

Interested in finding out more about Liberation Prison Yoga? Click here

Food Yoga- Meatless Monday!!

Zoodle


Official Meatless Monday Blogger

I just read an article about the damaging effects of dividing time between a computer, phone, tablet and TV. It apparently shrinks the brain. So I’ve decided to put my phone away while I bounce from laptop, TV and kitchen while I type this post. I already feel smarter.

Earlier this week the mail delivered a treat. I’m now the proud owner of a spiralizer. Oh sure, many people have been using this for years, but since it’s new to  me  dear reader, it’s now new to you. This gadget has already changed my life. It transforms veggies into ribbony strands and curly shapes. And trust me, this isn’t just cool, the shapes allow for dressings and sauce to cling.

Happy-and-excited-gif

I spent my weekend enjoying this amazing east coast ‘pre-fall’ weather, bike riding, doing yoga and spiralizing everything I could get my hands on. On Friday I made a spiral cucumber, carrot, red onion salad. I added a bit of my lemon tahini dressing and tapped my toes as I chomped away. And since I’m pretty real with you when I write, I’m not ashamed to say that when I woke up at 3am for water, I had a large bite. I may or may not have had said salad for breakfast on Saturday.

Don’t judge.

Or do. I can take it.

No matter what your feelings, I’ll still share this easy Meatless Monday recipe.

Ingredients

  • squash zoodles (you can also use a mandolin- but I can’t really be trusted with one)
  • cherry tomatoes
  • red onions, very thinly sliced
  • mushrooms sliced (I used shitake, but hey grab whatever you have)
  • garlic minced (3 cloves)
  • spinach or any greens that are handy
  • olive oil- three tablespoons
  • splash quality balsamic
  • salt, pepper and white pepper
  • lemon juice from one lemon

In one pan sauté all of the veggies and ingredients except the zoodles.

  1. Heat the pan (with 2 tablespoons olive oil) over medium heat first add the onions, then garlic, then the mushrooms.
  2. In a second pan heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and quickly toss the zoodles for two minutes.
  3. Combine the sauce and zoodles
  4. Serve immediately

Delish.

Fair warning. Stay tuned for spiralizer recipes. If you see me running through the farmers market with loaded down with veggies and laughing with crazy eyes, keep movin’. It’s safer that way.

Namaste y’all.

Staying Mindful Inside Asana

I know most of you must have seen the video of Rachelle Brooke Smith doing standing bow on a tiny ledge in NYC. She’s been called crazy, arrogant and irresponsible for filming it. Granted, it’s looks a bit crazy. I love rockin’ standing bow as much as the next yogini (especially because I am a hot yoga fiend) but on a ledge? Not so much.

But, if I’m getting really honest…I have probably pushed my own limits with poses that may have been dangerous for my body, though none admittedly would have sent me hurtling to death. I’m thinking specifically of hip openers. Over the past few months I’ve been playing with the full expression of kurmasana. On more than one occasion I have given myself that extra exhale in my hips to find the space to get back flat and belly on the floor. I know I should have waited. I wasn’t working from a place of steadiness and ease, but with ego.

You know that little whisper that says… just another half inch and I’ll be right there…Yeah, yeah I know my quads aren’t quite engaged and my breath is a touch short but one.more.push…

Maybe you don’t. If so, that’s awesome. My ego puts on make-up and passes herself off as determination. She’s tricky, that one.

I’m reading Sparks of Divinity, The Teachings of B.K.S. Iyengar (From 1959-1975). The book is a collection of journal writing, conversations and teachings complied by Noëlle Perez-Christiaens. After seeing this video and thinking about my own desire to ‘progress’ my practice one quote in particular jumped to mind. Iyengar said to Perez-Christiaens, ‘You want to do a pose to master it and put it in your pocket; I do it to do it. Be detached from the results.’

Brooks-Smith said she was feeling confident or she wouldn’t have done the video. While I love finding new places to explore and open up in my asana practice, I think my feet will stay firmly planted on the ground and detached from the results.

Namaste y’all.

Food Yoga! Meatless Monday – Mushroom Tagliatelle

Mushroom Tagliatelle

Happy Meatless Monday!!


Official Meatless Monday Blogger

I know it may be hard for you to give up meat completely. Like everything else we learn, it takes practice. I have had my own struggles with going meatless. The reasons that we may or may not choose to eat meat is person. But I do think it should be a choice that we make. Being informed about what we are putting in our mouths is our responsibility. My practice has led me to examine my decisions about my carbon footprint.

By actively choosing to cut out meat one day a week, you are taking a step to help the planet. That small act of kindness may not seem like a big deal, but it is. So, try it. Cut out the meat one day a week. I’m hear to help!

Before I dive into the recipe, check out this interesting video from MeatlessMonday.com

Mushroom Tagliatelle

Ingredients

  • mushrooms of your choice- I used shitake and baby bella (about 2 cups)
  •  onions – chopped
  • garlic- three cloves minced
  • mushroom broth- one cup
  • juice from one lemon
  • splash white wine (optional)
  • olive oil- one tablespoons
  • flour- one teaspoon
  • Italian seasoning- one tablespoon
  • 4 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
  • salt and fresh black pepper
  • Tagliatelle enough for 4 people (or any wide flat pasta)

Directions

  1.  Get salted pasta water going in a large pot
  2. Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat
  3. Add garlic and onions. Sauté until onions are translucent
  4. Stir in flour and spices until it becomes ‘roux-like’ (smooth and pasty)
  5. Add mushrooms and broth- stir. Add optional splash of wine
  6. Add lemon juice and three tablespoons of parsley
  7. Stir once more and turn off heat
  8. Cook tagliatelle
  9. Drain pasta (reserve a few tablespoons of liquid if your sauce is too thick)
  10. Toss pasta in skillet with sauce
  11. Serve!!

I gobbled this immediately and can’t wait for leftovers…

Namaste y’all