Monthly Archives: May 2013

wednesday wisdom: make a garden

via Lonny.

via Lonny.

If you want to be happy for an hour, get drunk; If you want to be happy for three days, get married; If you want to be happy forever, make a garden.
Chinese Proverb

meatless memorial monday: have a happy day

kale avocado sammies.

kale avocado sammies.

Are you going to a barbecue today? After a heinously rainy/windy/cloudy/chilly week in the Northeast, I relish the sunshine and the chance to eat outdoors (it’s so much better, right?!). A veggie dog is on the menu for me today, but I wanted to post this recipe from Mark Bittman, a fave around these parts, and his genius sandwich that will convert any kale-hater into a kale-believer. (With parm and avocado added, it’s not hard to love this overexposed supergreen).

Mark Bittman’s Kale Sandwiches With Avocado
via from SELF Magazine
serves 4

4 tbsp. olive oil, divided
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. dried thyme or tarragon
1 lb. kale, stems & center ribs discarded
1 c. canned fava, garbanzo or cannellini beans, drained & rinsed
1 garlic clove
1/4 c. grated Parmesan
8 slices whole-grain bread
1 ripe avocado, sliced
salt & pepper to taste

In a small jar, combine 2 tbsp. oil, vinegar, mustard, thyme and 1/4 c. water; season with salt and pepper. Cover and shake until well combined. Stack kale leaves and roll into a cigar shape. Slice into thin strips; turn 90 degrees and slice again crosswise until you have what looks like kale confetti. Toss in a bowl with vinaigrette. In a food processor, blend beans, garlic and salt to taste for less than a minute. Add remaining 2 tbsp. oil slowly through the feed tube, blending, until mixture is smooth. Stir in Parmesan. Spread 1 slice whole-grain bread with 1/4 bean spread; top with 1/4 kale, 1/4 avocado and another bread slice. Repeat with remaining bread, spread, kale and avocado.

wednesday wisdom: commencement speech wisdom

National AIDS Memorial Grove at Golden Gate Park. San Francisco.

National AIDS Memorial Grove at Golden Gate Park. San Francisco.

Two paths diverge in a wood, and we get to take them both.

Nora Ephron’s address to Wellesley College’s Class of 1996, referring to the lives that women get to lead

meatless monday: the ultimate spring vegetable roundup

asparagus with mustard vinaigrette. via NYT.

asparagus with mustard vinaigrette. via NYT.

Hey! Your greens are here. Why don’t you just click through to the NYT roundup of amazingly food-porny recipes utilizing the best of spring veggies: ramps, artichokes, asparagus, peas, spinach. Hop to it, little grasshopper.

wednesday wisdom: better than bullshit

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may spotlight on: svadhishthana (sacral) chakra

Around here, we’ve been taking a look at the Chakras. Chakras are centers of prana (energy, life force) that align down the spine and correspond to vital points in the physical body. Brush up on the meaning of the seven main chakras here, take this quiz to find out which of your chakras are under/overactive, and catch up from last month’s Muladhara study here

Courtesy of Fit Yoga Magazine.

Courtesy of Fit Yoga Magazine.

Working our way up from the Root Chakra, the earth element of the Root Chakra dissolves into the water element of Svadhishthana (Sacral) Chakra. Dealing with emotions, creativity, family, and sexuality is what Svadhishthana is all about.

In my professional and personal experience, Svadhishthana (even more so than other Chakras) is a particularly sensitive one. So many of my students experience chronic lower back pain and tight hips from years and years of sitting at desks, hunched over computers, for hours on end. In addition to the physical release of the muscles around the lower back and hips (super important!), there’s also an emotional release through the muscles (super important!). In my first years of practice, I couldn’t quite figure out why hanging out in Pigeon Pose for a few minutes, although physically intense (but not painful), was enough to make me start gasping as tears streamed down my cheeks. It was a disarming experience that started to make more sense once I began a Chakra study. Trust, this isn’t a bunch of hooey.

For further reading: “The Psoas: Muscle of the Soul” over at Body Divine Yoga is an awesome post about the mysterious, misunderstood Psoas muscle (a yoganerd’s fave!) and its incredible connection to our Reptilian brain. Especially relevant to the Sacral Chakra. Mind blowing stuff and an important anatomy lesson!

At its best, a balanced Svadhishthana Chakra allows your feelings to flow freely. You express yourself with passion and integrity, but you also have the discernment to not get over-emotional. You’re creative and lively, spontaneous, and enjoy spirited and intimate relationships; you’re the fun one. As a visionary, you have no problem seeing the big picture.

An under-active Svadhishthana might lead you to be too closed off to people, relationships, opportunities. Your “Poker Face” gives the impression that you don’t let emotions out (nor do you let them in). You might come across as cold, detached, and stiff. Your sexuality also suffers.

An overactive Svadhishthana results in emotional attachment and codependency. Without a filter for feelings, you experience the highs and lows of your emotions to the utmost with no sense of balance or harmony; this eventually leads to emotional exhaustion. Creative juices may be abundantly flowing, but without focus or a “reality check,” you’ll have nothing to show for it.

Creating a balanced Svadhishthana through a physical yoga practice is all about stretching and strengthening the hips and pelvis, and stabilizing the sacroiliac joint. Pigeon, Bound Angle, Tree, and Cow’s Face Pose are excellent asana to incorporate into your practice that’s already grounded (thanks to a well-balanced Muladhara Chakra).

When meditating, visualize orange, Svadhishthana’s healing color. Draw your focus to your sacrum, the flat shelf of your lower back above your hips, and intuit that pulsating wheel of vivid orange. Also visualize the element water, and think of flowing waters to stoke your creativity and expressiveness: rivers, waves, and churning, bubbling springs. Think of the very best aspects of water: pure movement, calm and healing energy, freedom, creativity. Manifest these qualities in your yoga practice, and manifest these qualities in your relationships and creative projects.

meatless monday: avocado salad

light and lovely. avocado salad.

light and lovely. avocado salad.

Fresh off a Bay Area road trip, I would be remiss if I didn’t post an avocado recipe. Cruising through Salinas, on my way to Carmel via Monterey, windows down to inhale a strawberry aroma and feel warm California sun on my skin, Steinbeck on my brain, it’s a normal thing to see farm stand signs advertising “10 avocado = $1.” I mean. I’m lucky to find rock-like, mealy avocados on sale at Whole Foods; here in the Northeast, “1 avocado = $2.50.”

chips guac and the bay. happiness.

less light, but lovely anyway. chips guac and a bay. happiness.

Recipe inspired by Northern California, dedicated to its fine Produce. Cheers!

Roasted Corn & Radish Salad with Avocado Herb Dressing
serves 4
courtesy of Cooking Light

1/2 ripe peeled avocado, sliced
1 tsp. fresh lime juice
2 ears yellow corn with husks
2 heads Boston or Bibb lettuce
1/2 c. thinly sliced radishes
1/2 c. Avocado-Herb Dressing

Preheat oven to 450. 
Combine sliced avocado and juice in a small bowl; cover and refrigerate. Trim both ends of corn cobs, leaving husks from corn intact. Place the corn on a baking sheet. Bake at 450 for 20 min. or until tender. Cool. Remove husks from corn; scrub silks from corn. Cut kernels from ears of corn; discard cobs.

Reserve 4 whole lettuce leaves. Chop remaining lettuce to measure 4 cups. Combine chopped lettuce, avocado mixture, corn, and radishes. Spoon lettuce mixture into lettuce leaves. Serve with Avocado-Herb Dressing.