Monthly Archives: August 2009

the yogic kitchen: homemade granola

Inspired by another recent trip up to Little Compton, Rhode Island (West Coasters: it’s nothing at all like the other Compton), I decided to bring some homemade granola to share with the two other couples staying in the Horwitz family beach house. Last year, I brought homemade raspberry scones. In an effort to be more gluten-free friendly, granola seemed to fit the bill for a week of healthful living by the sea.

I’ve been making homemade granola for about two years now. It started as a brilliant idea to save money and eat more healthfully (high-end, store-bought granola tends to be expensive, and chock full of fat, preservatives, and other chemicals). The raw ingredients for making granola are cheap, easy to find, and I love the idea of adding whatever you want or omitting that which you don’t need. The original thought was this: we could buy the ingredients in bulk, make a giant batch of granola, and have a little bowl for breakfast everyday for about 3 weeks. A cute idea.

What we didn’t realize at the time: making your own granola is not at all economical, because homemade granola is so incredibly delicious, so incredibly addictive, that we ate it for every single meal and ran out in 2 days.

Consider this a fair warning: this is only a recession-conscious recipe if you can resist replacing every other meal with homemade granola. Unless you’re taking some kind of deranged Special K Challenge Diet. In which case enjoy this granola all day, every day, with a splash of vanilla hemp milk, mixed into some Greek yogurt, generously poured over a scoop of chocolate sorbet. Or, as Josh so aptly put it, eating it straight from the Tupperware as a trail-mix-like snack, (the second batch, I might add, which had to be assembled up in RI): “This stuff is like crack.”

Enjoy.

HOMEMADE GRANOLA:

Probably the best thing about this recipe is its adaptability. You can substitute pretty much anything, add more salt if you like a little saltiness to complement the sweetness of honey/agave nectar/maple syrup, bake it a bit longer to get some nice little crispy burnt clusters…and you can always add ANY dried fruits at the end (or shredded toasted coconut, perhaps? Yum).

4 c. old-fashioned oats (or old-fashioned five-grain hot cereal)

2 c. sliced almonds (or walnuts, cashews, peanuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc.)

1/2 c. packed light brown sugar

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 c. olive oil

1/4 c. honey (or agave nectar or maple syrup)

1 tsp. vanilla extract (or maple extract)

1 1/2 c. raisins (dried cranberries/apricots/mango/pineapple/apples…)

Preheat oven to 300F. In a bowl mix oats, almonds, brown sugar, sea salt, and cinnamon. In a saucepan warm the oil and honey. Whisk in vanilla.

Carefully pour the liquid over the oat mixture. Stir gently with a wooden spoon, finish mixing by hand, squeezing to create clusters. Spread granola evenly on a large cookie sheet; drizzle with a bit more honey and sprinkle with sea salt.

Bake 40 min., stirring carefully every 10 min. Remove from oven, cool, add dried fruit and stir. Seal granola in air-tight container at room temperature for 1 week; if you have any self-control it lasts up to 3 months in the freezer.

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yoga in the news: yoga facing regulation?

alison west teaching. she’s the head of the Yoga Association of NY State. (photo credit: ruby washington/NY Times)

While in Costa Rica, a friend emailed me this article from a July 11 edition of the New York TImes. Interesting room for debate, it begs the question: should yoga teacher training programs be regulated by state licensing departments? While most vocational schools are regulated (think: hair stylists, massage therapists, truck drivers, manicurists) and therefore, subject to inspections, fees and mandates, yogis and their studios are crying out against this “religious infringement.” Proponents of these regulations say it will certainly guarantee a higher quality of teaching in the yoga world; opponents say it’s a money-driven power grab by state governments to try to control a lucrative industry that continues to grow in this country.

Worth a read, especially if you’re a yoga teacher or thinking about doing a teacher training.


august spotlight on: satya & ahimsa (truth & non-harming)

In the Yoga Sutra, Patanjali challenges us to follow satya, one of the core principles of a yoga practice. The basis of satya, or truthfulness, is outlined in Sutra 2.36: Satya pratishthayam kriya phalasrayatvam (To one established in truthfulness, actions and their results become subservient). In other words, first you follow truth, and then truth will follow you. Many yogis believe this so deeply that they claim once you’re firmly grounded in satya, you are not only an honest person, you become honesty itself. Truth practice may be the most important tenet on the path to wholeness.

So if satya is such an important tenet, why does it not stand alone as this month’s focus? Because, Judith Lasater says, truth telling may “smack of irritating righteousness without another important ingredient:” ahimsa. Ahimsa (non-harming) is actually discussed by Patanjali before satya in Sutra 2.35: Ahimsa pratisthayam tat samnidhau vaira tyagah (In the presence of one firmly established in non-harming, all hostilities cease). Like satya, if we practice non-harming, we become non-harming.

Truth cannot be practiced without ahimsa. This applies to all truth practices: spoken truth, truth in your relationships, truth on the mat. By entwining satya and ahimsa into one meaningful practice, we can reduce suffering in ourselves and in those around us.

Poses for cultivating satya/ahimsa:

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining Bound Angle Pose)

Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)

Setu Bandhasana (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sirsasana A (Headstand)