Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Calm in the Storm

Thanks, everyone, for all the check-ins during this crazy storm. My phone’s been blowin’ up with “are you okay” messages from friends and loved ones near and far, and I truly appreciate that. I am totally fine here in NYC; the storm hasn’t affected me in any bad way at all. Thankfully.

I intend to resume my normal teaching schedule tomorrow (Wednesday, October 31. Halloween!)

Follow me on The Twitter for updates on my sked.

East Coasters, stay safe out there. Sending love and light.

New Yoga photos coming soon. For now, this must suffice.

Read Full Post »

In New York City this weekend and looking for something interesting to do?

Groundbreaking Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami will be in town on Saturday, October 6, screening his 1990 film “Close-Up” at the Modern School of Film at 2 p.m..Afterwards, he’ll be discussing the film.

I have a lot of respect for Kiarostami’s work. He also directed “Ten,” one of my favorite films of all time.

From Wikipedia:

Renowned Iranian film director Abbas Kiarostami. He reportedly wears dark shades not just to appear cool, but because his eyes are sensitive to light.

Close-Up (1990), narrates the story of the real-life trial of a man who impersonated film-maker Mohsen Makhmalbaf, conning a family into believing they would star in his new film. The family suspects theft as the motive for this charade, but the impersonator, Hossein Sabzian, argues that his motives were more complex. The part documentary, part staged film examines Sabzian’s moral justification for usurping Makhmalbaf’s identity, questioning his ability to sense his cultural and artistic flair.[21][22] Close-Up received praise from directors such as Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorsese, Werner Herzog, Jean-Luc Godard, and Nanni Moretti[23] and was released across Europe.

Kiarostami was one of the few directors who remained in Iran after the 1979 revolution, when many of his colleagues fled to the west, and he believes that it was one of the most important decisions of his career. He has stated that his permanent base in Iran and his national identity have consolidated his ability as a filmmaker:

When you take a tree that is rooted in the ground, and transfer it from one place to another, the tree will no longer bear fruit. And if it does, the fruit will not be as good as it was in its original place. This is a rule of nature. I think if I had left my country, I would be the same as the tree.-Abbas Kiarostami[8]

Read Full Post »

Moist, cakey…like a cross between a cookie, a cake, and a muffin. Cream cheese icing optional. I found these cookies delicious without it.

Carrot cake is awesome, isn’t it? In cookie form, it’s pretty amazing, too. Especially when the cookie is moist and cakey at the same time, much like actual carrot cake. Bonus: cookies are soooo much more portable than cakes, or even cupcakes. Throw these in a picnic basket or lunch box, and you’re good to go.

At my last Yoga retreat.

I rigged up this recipe when looking to create a cookie  for my upcoming Yoga retreat. I wanted something with fall flavors and a comfort food vibe. I looked around online and found a handful carrot cake cookie recipes. With a few modifications, the cookies easily become healthier, with zero loss of flavor or texture.

My carrot cake cookies don’t taste “free” of anything, but they are indeed free of many common allergens, including dairy, gluten, and, if you prefer, tree nuts. Of course there’s sugar, but a moderate amount.  There is egg in them, but you could likely leave it out and just do a flax or chia “egg.” (Leave me a comment if you try it to let us know how it goes). These cookies are packed with flavor and a beautiful texture.

Carrot Cake Cookies

Yield: About 2 dozen cookies.

  • 1 cup (5 ounces) oat flour (simply grind 1 cup whole oats into a flour-like texture in your food processor or blender. If gluten free is a concern, get certified GF oats)
  • 1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice (Yes, it’s a lot. Trust me on this).
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons sunflower seed butter, at room temperature (I use Trader joe’s brand; Sunbutter brand is good, too)
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar (dark or light both work)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 3/4 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (note: these ARE a tree nut; leave out if needed. I personally prefer my cookies minus nuts, and leave them out.)

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In a nice, roomy mixing bowl, mix dry ingredients: oat flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and powder, salt.

3. In a second roomy mixing bowl, cream sunflower seed butter, brown sugar, and vanilla. Once smooth, add egg and mix until smooth again.

4. Make a well in the wet ingredients. Gently incorporate dry ingredients, 1/3 of the mixture at a time. Fold in raisins, grated carrots, oats, and walnuts (if using).

5. Stash mix in the freezer for 10-15 minutes while you prepare  your cookies sheets. I either line mine with parchment paper, or spray them with cooking spray. One of these days I WILL get a Silpat.

6. Use a cookie scoop or a spoon to make uniform sized dough balls. (I do this by hand and spoon, and each cookie is a generous tablespoon of dough).

7. Bake cookies for 9-14 minutes, until ever so faint cracks appear on the surface. I know 9-14 minutes is quite a range, but I find that variations in altitude and ovens really do make a difference in bake times. In my NYC toaster oven, these cookies are perfect at 9-10 minutes of baking. In Colorado, I had to go closer to 14 minutes, sometimes beyond, in the “big” oven, to get the right texture.

8. Let cool slightly (or a lot, your choice, but I can never wait to try these). Enjoy!

So there you have it. An easy, creative, fall-friendly, carrot cake cookie recipe that is so delicious, you’d never know it’s friendly to many “restricted” diets and actually kinda healthy.

Question Time:

What’s your favorite fall dessert recipe?

Read Full Post »

Homemade almond milk with vanilla. I get a real kick out of using my vintage style milk bottles to bottle up this creamy drink.

My new friend Ellen, who I met in Colorado this summer, taught me how to make homemade almond milk. (I met her via Airbnb when I rented a room in her place for a few nights during a Yoga workshop weekend I was attending. We totally hit it off. She reminds me a lot of my older sister).

Once back in New York, I was out of almond milk one day and pressed for time. So I decided to give her method a whirl rather than running to the store. It couldn’t be a  simpler DIY, and it’s saving me tons of money. Goodbye to buying almond milk for $4 per half-gallon. At Costco, I can get a 3lb/9 cup bag of almonds for around $8. You can really “milk” this one bag, considering you only use a cup of almonds per batch.

Almonds are loaded with vitamin E.

As for the actual recipe: The first couple of batches I made were super rich and creamy. Pretty awesome, actually. When using this milk to make my hot cocoa…oh my LAWD. Amazing! It was foamy, almost like a cappuccino.

Because I made that maiden batch on the fly, I used unsoaked almonds. The milk was a tad grainy. Didn’t bother me, but something to consider.

If you want a thinner milk, just use more water. Soaking the almonds ahead of time will get you a smoother texture, too. I prefer something in between the super rich and super thin (I’m sure there’s a bad joke in there somewhere), so I go with about 5 to 6 cups of water to a cup of soaked almonds. Foamy, creamy, dreamy!

Homemade Almond Milk

Yield: About 8 cups. Recipe can easily be halved.

  • 1 cup of unsalted almonds (soaked overnight in water, if possible)
  • 5-7 cups of filtered water (use the smaller amount of water for a thicker milk)
  • 1 Tablespoon of vanilla extract (optional, or use less if preferred)
  • Sweetener of choice (optional; I usually thrown in a couple of stevia packets. Other options to consider: honey, maple syrup, sugar, etc.)

1. If using soaked almonds, strain and rinse. Add all ingredients into blender, and blend, working from low speed to high. Add more liquid if needed. I let this run for a good minute (or more)  in my VitaMix.

2. Taste for sweetness and texture, and adjust and re-blend as needed.

3. Bottle and refrigerate if not using immediately.

Read Full Post »

I love hosting Yoga retreats. Seeing my students finding bliss in their Yoga, relaxing, having insights, making  new friends, plus enjoying beautifully prepared food, a roomy vacay house, and outdoorsy stuff…well, it’s  just awesome.

This year, my annual Upstate New York Fall Harvest Yoga4Soul Retreat is October 12-14 (Friday evening through early Sunday afternoon).
Here’s a snap from my last retreat, in Vermont in May.

We had such a blast at the last retreat. This time my Fall Harvest Retreat is in Upstate New York.

Next up? Our beloved Yoga home away-from-home in Upstate New York. Specifically the Grail house, in lovely Cornwall-on-Hudson, New York, about 90 easy  minutes from NYC. So close, but yet, a world away from the city bustle. Perfect.

The Grail House in Upstate NY, home of my annual Fall Harvest Yoga4Soul Retreat.

I got back recently from Colorado, and I can tell the difference that taking some time out for self-care and reflection has made in my own life. Maybe this is why I so enjoy creating these retreat experiences for others…because I know how powerful and important taking time out and taking care of ourselves is.

Maybe this is why many retreaters who go away with me once return again and again. Because, they, too, know the power of these getaways and immediately see the benefits in their own lives.

Fresh seasonal food will star in the retreat menu.

Besides Yoga, we have a trip to an apple orchard and a winery on tap. Plus lots of great food prepared by Chef Dave, who is new to “cheffing” my retreats, but has been studying Yoga with me for years. Did I mention he has culinary training and an amazing Yoga practice? Niiiiceeee.

Maybe we’ll get our asana on outdoors. (Weather permitting, of course!)

Early bird rates are available for the retreat for a few more days. We’re talking rates starting at $300 for the entire weekend, which includes all classes, all meals, and outings. This is a ridiculously affordable rate, so bring some friends, your love, or some fam!

Newer to Yoga? No problem, I’ve had absolute beginners at retreats numerous times, and, if needed, I’ll lead special Yoga sessions for those who are newer.

Click here for more details on retreat rates and house pics.

Click here for a sample itinerary (from a past retreat)

FAQ page is here.

Ready to book? Use this link and scroll down for the PayPal button.

If you have any questions, please drop me an email. Shanti, shanti, shanti, and I hope to see you Upstate.

Read Full Post »

Hello there! Just a quickie to let you know I recently got to guest post on a favorite blog of mine, Meals and Moves.

Have a look at my post:  Getting Started in Yoga.

Janetha’s blog is one of my faves–full of her fitness journey, day-to-day life stuff, and her two cute dogs, Randy and Penny.

Have a look at my post, but stay and check out some of the great content on her blog. It’s a goodie!

Read Full Post »

Minty green gazpacho.

Happy Summer, everyone. Having at least a little fun? Eaten anything amazing lately? Hope so.

Honestly, my eating habits have been a real snoozefest these days, and all of these heat waves have done a number on my appetite and motivation to create new recipes. Do we really need another quinoa salad blueprint? It’s just a hunch, but I’m pretty sure you can rig up your own romaine salad with sliced strawberries and toasted pine nuts. Right? Right.

Spotted so many varieties of mint at the NYC Union Square Greenmarket the other day.

However, a flash of inspiration and a tad of laziness actually inspired a recipe worth sharing:  Minty Green Gazpacho. This all happened because my Ayurvedic doc, Pratima, recommended that I limit my consumption of tomatoes. This is the amazing woman whose regimen and advice got my skin from painfully and constantly breaking out to totally clear, calm,  and makeup-free. So when she gives me dietary advice, I tend to follow it (for the most part; I’m not perfect).

Another farmer’s market shot.

I do LOVE a good gazpacho, but she’s right…it’s a bit heating for me, especially in the summer. Plus, I was looking for something soupy, cooling and velvety to enjoy for lunch one day. Something green that would nourish but not weigh me down or sap my energy. Fresh mint, zucchini, and cucumbers at the farmers inspired me.

This soup comes together quickly in a blender or food processor, and can be served hot, cold, or at room temp.

Minty Green Summer Gazpacho

Yield: 8 cups (64 ounces). Recipe can easily be halved.

  • 3 large zucchini, or 6 medium
  • 4 kirby cucumbers (kirbies are best because they are crisp, but use what you can easily get. Peel if you wish.)
  • 4-6 cups Water (amount can vary a lot due to how watery your zucchini and cucumbers are)
  • Seasoning packet or bouillon cube of choice (I used this stuff by Goya. So sue me).
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 small onion
  • Fresh mint: start with 2 Tablespoons, add up to a cup (but add in stages, as it can be strong. If you don’t have fresh mint, use another herb you like, such as basil, or a tiny amount of mint extract. Like not even 1/8 of a teaspoon of extract to start. Whether using extract or herbs, start with a small amount, blend, taste, and adjust)

1. Chop half of the zucchini and half of the cucumbers into chunks your blender can handle. Add chunks to your blender, along with liquid, seasoning packet, and garlic.  Add more liquid as needed. Blend until smooth. I used my Vitamix, and with the lid securely attached, was able to let the soup lightly cook/blend as I worked on step 2. . . .

2. As the soup blends, dice your remaining zucchini and cucumbers. Dice the onion as well. Prepare the avocado (removing pit and scooping out flesh).

3.  Now blend in the mint (or extract) and avocado. In the Vita-mix, I added these final 2 ingredients in after blending for 5-6 minutes. I blended for one more minute.

4. Test for seasoning and adjust and re-blend as needed. Pour soup into a serving bowl, and gently mix in diced zucchini, onions, and cucumbers. Garnish with fresh mint and serve, or allow to cool in fridge and serve cold.

Read Full Post »

Some recent early summer scenes:

Starting out with cupcakes in Brooklyn on Memorial Day Weekend:

Coconut cucumber cupcakes. You read right! They were amazing.

Continuing on with some amazing music, courtesy of Kristin Hoffman. Think Fiona Apple minus the crazy, Tori Amos minus the loopiness, Nora Jones minus the snoozefest…and you have captured a fraction of what this talented lady offers up:

Kristin Hoffmann.

Kristin Hoffmann and band.

Let’s move on to the hipster wedding I recently attended in Brooklyn:

Can you spot the bride in this picture?

Wedding bells!

Of course we have to have a couple of gratuitous cat shots:

Deli kitten.

My cat.

We’ll finish with a self-portrait. I am reeallllly concentrating here, trying to get the shot to work. Ha!

That intense look of concentration? That’s the look of me trying to work the camera.

Read Full Post »

Happy Memorial Day!

It’s Memorial Day here in the U.S.A.  The unofficial start of summer. I seriously can’t believe it’s here. Whoa!

Looking for a refreshing beverage to serve at festivities later? Try my cardamom and rose-laced iced tea (recipe below). There’s still time to throw the flavor-infused ice cubes in the freezer.

Looking for a thought-provoking read by an emerging Persian author? Check out Jasmin Darznik’s recent piece in the New York Times:

Home is Where They Let You Live

I read her book “The Good Daughter” last year, and we’re going to give away a copy of it here very soon. Look for that giveaway in an upcoming post. Just know this…I could barely put the book down.

On a lighter note, you might not be able to put this tea down, either. Yes, this is a re-publish of an old recipe (one Saveur magazine really liked).

Persian Iced Tea

Made with rose water ice cubes, cardamom-spiked simple syrup or agave nectar, and quick brew black tea, this Persian inspired iced tea has an exotic flare and refreshing taste:

Ingredients:

  • 6 ounces rose water
  • Black tea (I used 2 PG Tipps bags, a strong brew that’s brewed hot. You can use a cold brew tea as well)
  • 6 cups of filtered water, plus more for ice cubes
  • 2 Tablespoons agave nectar (or simple syrup, or use honey)
  • 2 teaspoons powdered cardamom (or 4-6 pods of green cardamom)
  • Fresh mint leaves for garnish (optional)

Directions:

1. Make the rose water ice cubes. Pour 6 ounces of rosewater into an ice tray and top off with more filtered water to make perfect cubes. Pop into freezer overnight, or until frozen solid.

2.  Brew the tea according to package instructions. For example, with my PG Tipps brand tea, all I needed was 2 teabags to 6 cups of boiling water. (PG Tipps is a strong brew!)  I immersed the teabags for no more than 30 seconds, and the tea was the perfect dark amber hue. Your mileage will vary, depending on the brand of tea you use, and if you use a cold or a hot brew tea. (With a cold brew tea, you don’t have to boil water. You just dump the bags into the cold water and allow them to infuse. Love that!)  So in short, carefully follow the package instructions that will yield 6 cups of tea total.

3.  Make the agave-cardamom syrup by warming agave over low heat. Or, if you don’t have agave, follow these directions for a classic simple syrup that we can then infuse with cardamom.

4. Add the cardamom powder or pods to the syrup, and stir well to allow its flavor to infuse. Remember, LOW heat here is your friend. It only takes a few seconds for the infusion to happen, so taste test the syrup, make sure you can taste the cardamom, and then remove it from the heat immediately.

5. Add the syrup, a little at a time,  to the brewed tea, and stir generously.  (Taste as you go here–everyone likes their tea sweetened a little differently, or not at all. For that matter, you could put the syrup on the side and let everyone use the amount they want in their individual tea glasses).

6. To serve, pour tea over rosewater ice cubes that you’ve placed into a tall glass. As the rose water cubes melt, their flavor will infuse into the tea. Garnish with fresh mint, if desired.

Read Full Post »

A totally easy chicken dish uses ingredients I had on hand...orange juice, green olives, saffron, lemon juice.

This is one of those throw together recipes that turned out surprisingly well. I had a few things on hand: orange juice, lemons, green olives, chicken legs, saffron. The resulting dish wasn’t sweet, despite the orangey base. It was more of a sweet and sour balance.  Served atop fluffy quinoa, and perhaps with a side salad or veg,  this meal satisfies without weighing you down.  In other words, a perfect dish to welcome spring.

This entire meal can make it to the table in about half an hour, not counting the time it takes to marinate. Which, in a pinch, you can skip.

Citrus Chicken With Green Olives and Saffron

Yield: About 4 servings. Recipe can easily be halved or doubled.

  • 1 pound chicken legs or thighs, skin removed
  • Neutral cooking fat of choice (butter, neutral oil, etc)
  • 4 cups orange juice (2 for the marinade, 2 for the sauce)
  • Juice of two lemons lemon (juice of one for the marinade, one for the sauce)
  • 1/2 cup of pitted green olives, cut into chunks and rinsed to remove excess salt
  • 4 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 2 generous pinches of saffron
  • Salt and pepper
  • Parsley or chives (for garnish, optional)
  • 2 cups of quinoa, and 4 cups of water

1. Marinate chicken in 2 cups of orange juice, the lemon juice, a pinch of salt, and 2 of the garlic cloves. Cover, and refrigerate for at least half an hour, or even up to two days.

2. Remove chicken from marinade. Discard marinade. Heat neutral cooking fat of choice over medium in a large skillet or Dutch oven. Salt and pepper the chicken on both sides. Add to cooking fat (carefully), once cooking fat is hot.

3. Allow chicken to cook about three minutes on each side, enough to get a nice brown color.

4. Add 2 cups of orange juice, garlic, olives, juice of the second lemon, and saffron to the pan. Bring to a boil, then lower and cook over a low heat for 20 minutes. (Can cover pan if you wish; the recipe works with pan either covered or uncovered, so don’t stress about that detail).

5. As the chicken cooks, cook quinoa according the package directions. (Usually takes about 25 minutes total).

6. Taste chicken sauce for seasoning. Adjust if needed. If sauce seems too dry, add a bit more water or orange juice to liquify.  Remember, the olives are salty, so you MUST taste the sauce first before adding any salt. My guess is that you won’t need to add any salt.

7. Serve over quinoa, and garnish with green herbs or chives if desired.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,007 other followers