2015 ‘The Year of Living Mindfully’

zen proverb

Happy New Year!

I’m dubbing 2015 the year of living mindfully. 

What does it mean to live a mindful life? It’s not about being serene or having an unrealistic vision of a state of constant peace. Living mindfully is about living in the moment- it’s about staying aware and present. When we can be with what is happening and allow things to be as they are, we can be open to anything. Maybe it’s making a change. Maybe it’s being more connected with other people. Maybe it’s simply a way to find a sense calm.

This year, I’ll be posting about meditation, therapeutic yoga and mindful eating. In addition stay tuned for videos and podcasts about living in the present moment. Each month with have a theme and focus.

I’m not just talking about something to do for the month of January, I’m talking about taking small steps to change your life- forever. I hope you’ll join me.

The journey begins January 12!!!

Happy New Year.

Namaste y’all.

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Meatless Monday – Easy Peasy Pasta

photo-41

 

From the guardian:

Curbing the world’s huge and increasing appetite for meat is essential to avoid devastating climate change, according to a new report. But governments and green campaigners are doing nothing to tackle the issue due to fears of a consumer backlash, warns the analysis from the thinktank Chatham House.

The global livestock industry produces more greenhouse gas emissions than all cars, planes, trains and ships combined, but a worldwide survey by Ipsos MORI in the report finds twice as many people think transport is the bigger contributor to global warming.

“Preventing catastrophic warming is dependent on tackling meat and dairy consumption, but the world is doing very little,” said Rob Bailey, the report’s lead author. “A lot is being done on deforestation and transport, but there is a huge gap on the livestock sector. There is a deep reluctance to engage because of the received wisdom that it is not the place of governments or civil society to intrude into people’s lives and tell them what to eat.”

 

I’m not the government and I certainly am not interested in telling you what to heat. But….if you are interested in finding an alternative to meat even one day out of the week, keep reading!

Pasta is an easy meal and fresh pasta cooks up faster than dry and has a fresh taste! To create the meal in the photo I roasted some veggies and sautéed a few more, tossed the whole thing with lemon, olive oil et voila!

Ingredients (4-6 servings)

  • Cherry tomatoes (2 pints, sliced in half)
  • Eggplant (cubed)
  • Garlic (1/2 bulb, unpeeled)
  • Fresh spinach (one bunch, chopped)
  • Red onion (thinly sliced)
  • Fresh oregano
  • Basil (two teaspoons, dried)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Lemon (one whole, juiced)
  • Olive oil
  • Fresh pasta for 4-6 people

Directions

  1. Toss tomatoes and eggplant with olive oil, basil, salt, pepper and place in roasting pan. place garlic in roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil until covered.
  2. Roast in preheated 375º oven and roast for 25-35 minutes.
  3. While veggies are roasting prepare pasta water. Remember fresh pasta takes only a few minutes to cook. Also sauté spinach and onions in a pan with olive oil, a splash of lemon juice, pinch of salt and pepper.
  4. When the veggies are finished remove them and place them on a large serving platter.
  5. Cook the pasta, drain and toss with lemon juice, olive oil, fresh oregano and black pepper.
  6. Serve immediately!!

Mange!!

Namaste y’all.

 

Meatless Monday – Spinach Mushroom Soup!

 

spinach mushroom soup

 


Official Meatless Monday Blogger

There’s nothing like a cup of soup to set the world right. There are so many great things about soup:

  • It can be an entire meal
  • It can be rich and creamy
  • It can be slim and lean
  • It freezes well

This recipe was inspired by Veggie Belly! The trick of adding a pinch of baking soda to keep the spinach green.

54037-Thats-brilliant-gif-cxnC

 

Spinach is delicious and so good for you. It has a healthy dose of vitamin A and is known for being high in iron. Remember Popeye the Sailor who got his super strength from spinach? Well, brain pickings.org had some interesting information about the cartoon hero. I always wondered why he ate so much spinach…

 

Popeye, with his odd accent and improbable forearms, used spinach to great effect, a sort of anti-Kryptonite. It gave him his strength, and perhaps his distinctive speaking style. But why did Popeye eat so much spinach? What was the reason for his obsession with such a strange food?

The truth begins more than fifty years earlier. Back in 1870, Erich von Wolf, a German chemist, examined the amount of iron within spinach, among many other green vegetables. In recording his findings, von Wolf accidentally misplaced a decimal point when transcribing data from his notebook, changing the iron content in spinach by an order of magnitude. While there are actually only 3.5 milligrams of iron in a 100-gram serving of spinach, the accepted fact became 35 milligrams. To put this in perspective, if the calculation were correct each 100-gram serving would be like eating a small piece of a paper clip.

Once this incorrect number was printed, spinach’s nutritional value became legendary. So when Popeye was created, studio executives recommended he eat spinach for his strength, due to its vaunted health properties. Apparently Popeye helped increase American consumption of spinach by a third!

– Via brainpickings.org

 

popeye1

 

 

 

Ingredients

  • olive oil – 2 tablespoons
  • onions – 1/2 cup chopped
  • garlic cloves – 2 peeled and minced
  • potatoes – 1 cup peeled, diced
  • spinach – 4 cups tightly packed fresh, tender  leaves
  • fresh oregano – 2-3 sprigs  (or freshly dried oregano)
  • baking soda – A pinch of  optional
  • button cap mushroom tops – 15 large
  • dried mushrooms – 2-3 soaking in 4 cups of hot water (for at least 30 minutes)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

Preparation 

  1. Heat a medium, heavy bottom sauce pan with the olive oil.
  2. Add the onions, and sauté on medium heat until translucent.
  3. Add the minced garlic cloves and cook for 30 seconds or until the garlic is fragrant.
  4. Add the mushrooms and sauté on medium heat till they brown, about 5 minutes.
  5. Then add the potatoes, a pinch of salt and 4 cups mushroom water.
  6. Bring to a boil. Then reduce heat and simmer until the potato cubes are cooked.
  7. Add washed spinach leaves, oregano and salt to the pot (keeping in mind you’ve already added a little salt to the soup in the previous stage).
  8. Immediately add a pinch of baking soda to the spinach; this will keep the spinach green when cooking; but this step is optional.
  9. Boil for about 1 minute or till the spinach is wilted.
  10. Turn off the heat. Using a hand/immersion blender, puree the soup till smooth. If you don’t have an immersion blender, pour the soup into a regular blender and carefully puree. If the soup is too thick, add ½ cup water and blend again.
  11. Serve warm, with a sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper.

 

 

It’s soup yoga!!!

Sometimes you have to hold it around your hands and take a big warm sip.

 

Namaste y’all.

Meatless Monday – Whole Wheat Pasta with Slow Roasted Tomatoes and Lemon

Pasta and Tomatoes

“When bananas blush, they turn brown, not red. And when tomatoes blush, you’ve probably said something really naughty.”
― Jarod Kintz99 Cents For Some Nonsense

 

Tomatoes are versatile delicious. Why not make them them the star of your Meatless Monday dish? Roasted tomatoes with pasta is simple, elegant and scrumptious. Since you are only using a few ingredients- don’t skimp and go for quality especially when it comes to the tomatoes and pasta.

 

Enjoy!!

 

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs tomatoes halved
  • One bunch of basil
  • Olive oil
  • 4-5 garlic cloves with the peel on
  • Freshly shredded cheese (optional)
  • Quality flaked sea and and fresh black pepper
  • Fresh thyme
  • Whole wheat pasta- I used fresh whole wheat. But there are many great quality dry pastas that aren’t too expensive

 

 

  1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees . Stem the tomatoes and slice them in half lengthwise. 
  2. Lay the tomatoes, cut side up, in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with the thyme and garlic. Separate one bulb of garlic and place 4 cloves still with peel on parchment, soak peel with olive oil. Roast for 40 minutes. Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees and roast the tomatoes until caramelized, about 20 minutes more. 
  3. Turn off the oven and leave the tomatoes inside for 10 minutes, then remove to a rack and let cool completely. 
  4. Remove garlic from oven and peel
  5. Prepare pasta according to package directions.
  6. While pasta is cooking chop a handful of fresh basil (thyme would also work nicely)
  7. Squeeze juice from one whole lemon mix and with peeled garlic using a fork. Set aside
  8. When pasta is done drain and toss pasta, tomatoes (include and juicy oil from roasting pan), lemon garlic mash and basil.
  9. Top with fresh black pepper and shredded parm or piave vecchico or don’t use cheese to keep it vegan.
  10. Serve with salad and crusty bread!!!

 

Namaste y’all!!

Meatless Monday – Grits with Sautéed Vegetables

photo-39

 


Official Meatless Monday Blogger

 

If you have a case of the Mondays, breakfast for dinner can help. It’s like ending the day from the beginning except better because it’s over in a matter of hours and you are at home. Boom.

 

One of my favorite things for breakfast is grits.

 

What are grits? You’ll have to excuse me as my gaze hazily travels off in the distance… I love grits. They remind me of my mom cooking weekend mornings, Sunday brunch, cold weather and jazz. If you’ve never had them, this probably gets you no closer to knowing what they are. About Food gives a more substantial definition:

Grits are confusing to both the Southerner and non-Southerner alike, so let me break it down for you. According to The Food Lover’s Companion, the word “grits” is really a shortened way of saying what it really means, “hominy grits.” Grits are derived from hominy. The Food Lover’s Companion further cites hominy as being one of the first foods that American Indians gifted to the colonists. Hominy is dried corn kernels with the hull and germ removed. When this dried hominy is ground, it turns into what we know as grits.

 

 

Fun Facts About Grits

  • The annual World Grits Festival is held in April at St. George, South Carolina. The town claims to be the ‘Grits Capital of the World’, eating more pounds of grits per capita than anyplace else in the world. Via Food Reference 
  • Three-quarters of grits sold in the U.S. are sold in the South, throughout an area stretching from Texas to Virginia, sometimes referred to as the “grits belt”.[3] The state of Georgia declared grits its official prepared food in 2002.[4] Similar bills have been introduced in South Carolina, with one declaring: Whereas, throughout its history, the South has relished its grits, making them a symbol of its diet, its customs, its humor, and its hospitality, and whereas, every community in the State of South Carolina used to be the site of a grits mill and every local economy in the State used to be dependent on its product; and whereas, grits has been a part of the life of every South Carolinian of whatever race, background, gender, and income; and whereas, grits could very well play a vital role in the future of not only this State, but also the world, if as Charleston’s The Post and Courierproclaimed in 1952, “An inexpensive, simple, and thoroughly digestible food, [grits] should be made popular throughout the world. Given enough of it, the inhabitants of planet Earth would have nothing to fight about. A man full of [grits] is a man of peace.”[5]

 

 

People who love grits take them very seriously. Trust. I grew up eating grits for breakfast. For most of my life I was a grits purist and would only eat them with a dollop of butter, salt and if I was feeling jazzy some pepper. When my mom added cheese to the mix I definitely changed my tune. I have heard that there are people out there who eat grits with milk and sugar like cream of wheat. I do not understand these people.

That’s cool, they get to live here too. (side-eye)

mondays

 

This recipe is fast and delicious.

 

Ingredients

You should use whatever veggies move n’ groove you and your family. When I was grocery shopping I grabbed a few things that were on sale:

  • Red pepper
  • Green pepper
  • Onion
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Heirloom cherry tomatoes
  • Garlic
  • Italian spice blend
  • Shredded cheese (1/4 c)
  • Pat butter (optional)
  • Olive oil

 

Directions

For the grits

Prepare according to package.

For a extra blast of flavor you could:

  • substitute veggie broth for water and…
  • after the grits are done toss in 1/4 c of shredded cheddar cheese
  • go the extra mile and sprinkle crushed red hot pepper and a dash of smoked paprika

If you like your grits super creamy stir, stir, stir while they cook. For thicker grits use a little less liquid.

 

Keep it vegan and leave out the cheese… there are always choices. See your case of the Mondays is fading away.

 

For the veggies

  1. I halved the baby tomatoes and roasted them with olive oil and italian seasoning- roasted them in a 375° oven. I roasted the veggies while I cooked everything else. You could easily sauté the tomatoes- I am just a fan of roasted tomatoes.
  2. I put the brussels sprouts in the food processor and pulsed a few times
  3. Sliced the peppers and onions into strips
  4. Minced fresh garlic
  5. Heat 2 T. olive oil in a pan or skillet
  6. Sauté veggies starting with the onions and garlic
  7. Add the peppers and spices
  8. Add the brussels sprouts
  9. Add enough liquid to steam the sprouts (maybe 1/8 c. I used a splash of broth and lemon juice)

Scoop veggies on grits and dig in!!!

 

Happy Meatless Monday!!

 

Namaste y’all

Meatless Monday – Roasted Tomato and Eggplant Soup with Roasted Pepper Sandwich

Roasted Tomato and Eggplant Soup

 

 

 


Official Meatless Monday Blogger

I love eggplant. I once someone who hated eggplant. We broke up. Not because of the eggplant. But it definitely should have been a warning sign.

Eggplant is delicious and versatile! It can be roasted, baked, grilled, sautéed, stuffed and in honor of this Meatless Monday- it can be blended into a delicious soup. I’ve paired the soup with an open-faced sandwich. The soup is substantial enough to have as a meal but dunking things into soup is a fun pastime.

Let’s stop the chit-chat and get down to business.

This soup does require a little more work than many soups which you can throw into a pot and simmer. The layers of flavor will make you glad you took the time to roast the veggies first. I’d never steer you wrong when it comes to soup. My soup game is pretty serious.

 

Ingredients

  • One whole eggplant peeled and cubed
  • One pound of tomatoes (of your choice) quartered
  • Two red potatoes cubed
  • One large onion- roughly chopped
  • Four cloves of garlic
  • Four cups of stock or water (but stock is yummier- for real)
  • One tablespoon flour
  • Italian seasoning – 2 heaping tablespoons
  • Crushed red pepper (optional)
  • Large pinch of salt
  • Olive oil

 

For the sandwich

  • Roasted red peppers (I used the kind in a jar)
  • Sautéed onions
  • Lettuce (your choice I had Boston on hand)
  • Lemon garlic aoili
  • Cucumbers
  • Feta
  • Bread – baguette (or your favorite sandwich bread)

 

Directions

  1. Coat veggies with olive oil and spices.
  2. Roast all veggies in a pre-heated 375° oven.
  3. Transfer veggies to a large soup pot that has been heated with one tablespoon olive oil.
  4. Add stock bring to boil add flour, stir and reduce to very low heat
  5. Cook for another 45 minutes.
  6. Transfer to blender in small batches and blend until creamy.
  7. Return to pot and reheat for five minutes.

 

Sandwich directions

  • Use whatever ingredients move you.
  • I’ve had people say that they miss protein on a sandwich- add a bit of feta or mushrooms.
  • A dollop of hummus or pesto also adds depth.

 

Happy Meatless Monday!

 

Namaste y’all.

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.

 

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.

Vegan Diaries – Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed peppers are usually healthy idea gone horribly wrong.  A mixture of beef, cheese, rice, tomatoes, onions topped with more cheese sounds amazing but if you’re thinking about your health, not so much.

I don’t think you have to give up flavor when you eat for optimum health.

This brings me to quinoa. It’s magically delicious and good for you.

Now we can flip the script on this meal that was a fat laden calorie catastrophe

Come with me to stuffed pepper heaven. C’mon, don’t be shy.

Ingredients (enough for four fantastic peppers)

  • Quinoa
  • 1 small onion (I used a red one)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 handful cilantro (or parsely)
  • 5 mushrooms
  • 5-6 stalks of asparagus
  • 3 T olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

  1. Cook quinoa according to package directions
  2. While the quinoa is cooking put all veggies except for the asparagus and 2 mushrooms into a food processor
  3. Roughly chop the veggies in the food processor
  4. Chop the asparagus and mushrooms by hand (I did this for texture- you may choose not to)
  5. Saute the mixture in a pan with the olive oil
  6. Fold in quinoa once cooked
  7. Stuff yer peppers
  8. Now if you like crisp peppers go ahead and dive in (This is actually quite good on a warm night- and actually I shoved some spring greens in the pepper first. Yes, shoved- that’s a fancy culinary term.)
  9. If a cooked pepper is what you are after, put the stuffed peppers on a cookie sheet in a 350 degree oven for 35-45 minutes or until the peppers are tender.

Go on now- get to cooking.

If you have a tasty stuffing that you’d like to share- please, please do!!! I collect stuffing recipes like…a person who collects stuffing recipes.

Food yoga. It’s real.

Namste y’all.