Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Plank Pose Panzanella

Every Sunday I make a few loaves of bread for the week. We love it for the first few days but by the end of the week, I always seem to have half a loaf of homemade bread that's in need of using.

This week I'm chopping up my lovely herb loaf leftovers and making panzanella, which is an italian bread salad. It is vegetarian and if you opt out of the mozzarella, it is vegan.

Plank Pose Panzanella

4-6 cups cubed bread
1/3 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 cloves garlic
1/2 chopped red onion
4 tomatoes, wedged
1/2 cup kalamata (or any other) olives, halved
handful of fresh basil
1 cup chopped mozarella (optional)

1/4 cup olive oil
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Combine bread cubes with 1/3 cup olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic. Toss to coat and spread onto cookie sheet. Toast bread in preheated 400 degree oven until brown (about 8 minutes).

Let cool. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl, add the bread and top with dressing, tossing to coat. It's best if you let it sit for about half an hour before serving.

Plank Pose

Plank Pose is also called the "top of a pushup." From hands and knees, place the palms of your hands on the mat, spreading the fingers wide. Step the legs back, one at a time, until you come into plank pose. Keep both legs straight, lifting the backs of the knees toward the ceiling. Tuck your tailbone in and engage your buttocks. Draw the navel in and look slightly forward. When ready to come out, drop the knees to the mat and return to a neutral position.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Greenie Beannie Machinie

Texture makes the difference between a "good" sandwich and a "great" sandwich. No one likes to eat moosh. While you wouldn't think to find green beans in a wrap, to me this seems like a natural addition. You get protein and good fats from the hummus (we used "white bean pesto" hummus) and lots of vitamins, fiber and texture from the veggies.

Greenie Beanie Machinie

Lavash bread (or tortillas)
black olives
fresh, uncooked green beans

Spread hummus on lavash bread in a thin layer. Top with generous amount of spinach and follow with sliced tomato, sliced black olives and a handful of green beans. Roll carefully to form a wrap.

Friday, July 23, 2010

An "Organic" Poptart is Still a Poptart.

If you haven't already noticed, this blog is an all-vegetarian (and mostly vegan) cooking blog. But what does this have to do with yoga?

Yoga is much broader and more complex than just an exercise class, and is comprised of an ancient Eastern philosophy, that in itself is broken up into smaller ideas. It is those ideas, and that philosophy, that tells us who we are, why we are here and how to live in this world. (Wait, what? The title said Poptarts. Get to the poptarts lady....I will, I will, wait for it!)

One of those ideas is the concept of ahimsa or non-violence. Ahimsa is a rich and subtle practice that not only tells us not to, for instance, physically harm someone else, but also not to physically harm any living thing, including our neighbors, ourselves and animals. From the most obvious (not hitting someone) to the most subtle (not harming ourselves, not thinking harmful things) ahimsa is a deep practice. Most vegetarian yoga teachers are so for that very same reason. To eat meat, you are eating another living thing that must suffer to get onto your dinner plate.

The other reason you might go vegetarian, aside from ahimsa, is that it is, in general, healthier than eating meat. I say that, knowing full well that a diet of grilled cheese sandwiches is vegetarian, but not healthy.

So here are my tips on being a healthy vegan and vegetarian:

1. An organic poptart is still a poptart.
It may be vegetarian, it may be organic, but it ain't good for you. Beware of labels that are misleading, like "Organic," "trans-fat free" and "Natural." Pay attention to ingredients and nutrition labels.

2. Broccoli = Broccoli
When reading ingredient labels, if you can't pronounce it, or if you don't know what it is, don't eat it. Again, Doritos may be vegetarian, but why eat them when they are chock full of mystery ingredients?

3. Better yet, ditch the box
There are so many "vegetarian convenience" food items available, it is easy to get sucked into some pretty bad habits. While I do have tofu and a box of veggie burgers in my house, the rest are single ingredients meant to make a meal: fresh vegetables and fruits, flour, sugar, rice, pasta, etc.

4. And while you're at it, ditch the can
Soda is a chemical soup that is not good for you in any way. It's full of sugar and calories and even diet soda, being calorie free, manipulates the body's hormones and thyroid, resulting in weight gain. Your best option: plain, filtered water. And not bottled water either. Get yourself a filter and a reusable bottle and befriend your tap.

5. No one is Going to the Hospital with Protein Deficiency
Almost everything you eat has protein in it: vegetables, fruits, beans.....Add to that tofu and quinoa and there is no way you are going to get too little. Our country has an unhealthy obsession with protein that results in serving sizes that are just not accurate. The best way to go is to eat a balanced diet: two servings of vegetables on your plate each night, one serving of carbs (rice, pasta, etc) and a serving of protein (beans, nuts, tofu, etc).

6.Snack Right
It's common to reach for a bag of chips when hungry, but I encourage you to reach for some fruit instead. Fruits and vegetables are a "free ticket" item in my house and apples are the kids' favorite. It's full of fiber, filling and even helps to keep teeth clean. Your waistline will notice the difference, trust me. Eat your weight in plants, be careful about the quickie carbohydrates.

I'm sure I'm going to come up with a hundred more tips after I post this, so add your own into the comments section, if you have any!

Go, eat, be healthy!

Curried Tofu Salad

Curried Tofu Salad

1 (12 oz) package of extra firm tofu, drained and cubed
1 large carrot, grated
1 chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped peanuts (or other nut)
1/4 cup chopped dates (or other dried fruit. Raisins work well too)
1 glove garlic, minced
1 green onion, chopped

1 tsp curry powder
1 Tbsp mayonnaise (or vegannaise)
1Tbsp white vinegar
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1Tbsp soy sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place tofu on lightly greased cookie sheet. Cook tofu, stirring occasionally, for 25 minutes. Then remove and cool.

In the meantime, mix the sauce ingredients with a fork until smooth. Set aside.

Combine salad ingredients: carrot, tofu, green onion, fruit and nuts. Top with sauce and stir thoroughly. Chill in the fridge for an hour before serving.

You can use this as a sandwhich or wrap filling, or simply enjoy with crackers!
This recipe was added, by me, to allrecipes.com and you can find it there too!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Warrior Breakfast (Part II): Vegan Banana French Toast

Warrior Pose comes in three variations. So here is breakfast part two, with warrior 2 on the side.

Vegan Banana French Toast

1-2 bananas
1/2 cup soymilk

Smash a ripe banana into 1/2 cup soymilk. Mix with fork, smashing the banana as you go, until the mix looks thick and lumpy. Add a few dashes of cinnamon. Dip your bread into the mix, making sure it covers both sides.

Meanwhile, heat up a skillet and add a small amount of vegetable oil. Put your bread on the pan, fry on medium heat for about 3 minutes on each side. It will tend to stick, so when you go to flip the bread over, use a stiff spatula to scrape as you go.

Repeat on the other side.

Top with banana and apples slices (or any fruit) and maple syrup.

Warrior II

Once again start from standing, with a wide stance on your mat, with feet wider apart than shoulder distance. Turn your right foot out to the right and hug the left toes into your midline. With an inhalation, lift the arms shoulder height, with the exhalation bend into the right knee to bring the thigh bone parallel to the floor. Keep your knee moving toward the pinky-toe side of the foot. Soften the shoulders and breathe for a few rounds. Just like your french toast, be sure to flip your pose over and cook the other side.

Warrior Breakfast

Ok, I'll admit I'm not the biggest fan of breakfast. Usually I dish up a quick piece of toast. But I hear breakfast is pretty important, so here is my go-to meal.

Cook up Oats as according to package instruction. Top with a small pat of butter, honey, soymilk and fruit/nut mix.

Follow up with warrior 1 and you're on your way to a beautiful day!

Warrior 1:

From standing, take a wide stance on your mat. Turn the right foot all the way out to the right and hug the left toes deeply in toward your midline. Pivot and face the right foot, raising the arms overhead. On your exhalation, bend deeply into the front leg, keeping the back leg straight.

Stay a for a few breaths and then repeat on the other side.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Karmaflower Risotto

*Karma is a complicated idea from the East that basically says we reap what we sow, good and bad. This dish is one you can definitely feel good about, because it uses no butter or cream and replaces the rice with cauliflower. Waistline friendly and if you decide not to use the parmesan cheese, it is also vegan.

1 head of cauliflower
3 cloves garlic, minced
1.5 cups vegetable broth
1/2 to 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Roughly chop cauliflower and process in food processor until it looks like grain or rice. Add cauliflower and garlic to large pot, combine the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook for about an hour or until liquid is mostly absorbed.

In my version we also added a little bit of chopped portabello mushroom and a few sprigs of fresh parsley from the garden.

Serve hot and enjoy!

Welcome to the Yogic Kitchen!

I am a lover of food and yoga and the way I eat reflects the way in which I live in this world. After much posting on facebook of all my various recipes, I finally decided to pop on over here and create a one-stop shop where you can find veggie-friendly meals, with a big helping of nutrition, and a little yoga on the side. I might even garnish with a bit of sass.
Thanks for wandering over my way and Happy Cooking!