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Archive for the ‘Wellness Wednesday’ Category

Pistachio Nut Butter with a touch of honey. It's actually very easy to make your own pistachio butter.

Lately I’ve been “shopping” in my own pantry and fridge to use up goodies already on hand and keep some money in my pocket. There is so much upheaval and need in the world on any given day, but lately it seems like so much is going on. It gets a bit overwhelming sometimes. So I’m focusing on having an attitude of gratitude and creating more with less.

It just so happens that I am lucky enough to have a surplus of pistachios at the moment, so I decided to make a nut butter with them. It took all of five minutes, turned out great, and I already have some easy recipes ideas in mind to use it in. Anything that’s good, I’ll share with you.

Of course, it’s quite delicious on its own. Or melted a bit on top of ice cream, in a sandwich, or mixed into oatmeal. Those are just a few ideas; as you can see, there are tons of uses for this stuff, as with any nut butter. Leave your ideas in the comments.

Stay tuned for some upgrades to West of Persia. I’m working on an Amazon store for the site, and also have a cool giveaway coming up.  Have a great day!

NOTE: Take a look at your blender or food processor’s instructions for making nut butters, and adjust your use of your machine as needed when making this, or any,  nut butter. I made mine with my Vita-Mix, and just used the wet blade (I don’t own the dry blade).

Homemade Pistachio-Honey Nut Butter

For approx 2/3 cup of nut butter:

  • 1 cup pistachios, shells removed
  • 2-3 Tablespoons oil (I used grapeseed oil)
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1-2 Tablespoons water

1. Grind the nuts in your machine until they’re broken down into chunks, but NOT pulverized.

2. Now add in oil, a Tablespoon at a time. Also add in honey and about half a tablespoon of water. Grind on low as a paste begins to form.

3. Stop blender, scrape down sides, and re-blend, adding water IF NEEDED little by little to get (or keep) things moving. Repeat this step as needed. Stop blending when the desired consistency is reached. I like my nut butters chunky sometimes, so I left this pistachio butter on the chunky side this time.

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Self portrait of me in between takes of a Yoga photo shoot last fall. Note the peaceful look. I credit the Yoga 😉

Hey Gang!

If you need some Yoga to help sweat out those Valentine’s Day sweets, and you live in the New York City area, today might just be your lucky day, a true Wellness Wednesday:

A month of UNlimited Yoga at ISHTA Yoga in Manhattan is on offer via Groupon. For $30. Yeah, you read right: 30 bucks!

I’ve yet to try out ISHTA, but it’s been on my list of “must-try” studios for awhile. Now I’m IN to check it out.

I dug around on their website and elsewhere online, and I like the following:

  • They have lots of class options throughout every day. Even random times, like mid-afternoons.
  • The Union Square location is convenient.
  • The reviews I’ve read are quite good.
  • Several teachers I’ve been meaning to try out teach there.
  • One class at a typical Yoga studio can cost $15 to $20. Dunno about you, but this can put a serious dent in my budget. The opportunity to take unlimited classes for the cost of two classes is awesome. And to do this for a MONTH? Wow!
  • Not ready to do this? It’s okay, you have until July 17, 2011, to activate the coupon.

This is about as much vetting as I can do short of checking the place out myself. Sooo. . . .

Click this link if you’re interested:

ISHTA Yoga Deal

Another food post soon, my dears. Have a lovely Wednesday. Be well!

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What once seemed impossible eventually can become merely challenging. This Forearm Stand, Scorpio variation took a good while to get. Optimism certainly helped; simply believing it was possible, then doing the work went a long way towards making this pose a reality for me. Photo by Marisa Train.

Today I’m sharing some motivating words I found posted on Karen Rauch Carter’s wonderful website. Do check it out. She’s a feng shui expert and so much more. Her book, “Move Your Stuff, Change Your Life” is one of my favorites!

A vendor at the farmer’s market shared this poem with Karen. She posted it on her website, and I just had to share it:

The Optimist Creed

Promise yourself:

To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.

To talk help, happiness and prosperity to everyone you meet.

To make all your friends feel that there is something in them.

To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.

To think only of the best, to work only for the best, and expect only the best.

To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.

To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.

To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile.

To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.

To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and to happy to permit the presence of trouble.

– Optimist International

Yep, all of the above is a tall order, but if we move towards optimism, that’s an accomplishment. Just like in the Yoga pose pictured. . .I had to take many baby steps to move towards it. Each step, even the mistakes–especially the mistakes–were steps in the right direction.

Have a great day, everyone. I’ll be back soon with some food posts, just in time for Valentine’s Day.

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Hey guys, I’m so excited to have a spare moment to post. Things have been busy around here in Bria’s World. I’m getting deeper into planning mode for the upcoming Yoga Retreat I’m putting on in Upstate New York. (Click the link for more info).

Work continues, with 3 new Yoga classes on my roster, plus private clients and subbing gigs,  and I also have a special project I’m in the very early stages of thinking through/planning. I’ll keep you posted on all of that. So today’s post is just a quickie, to let you guys know I recently got my very own Vita-Mix blender, and to share a round-up of recent samples with you.

Faster smoothie-making via my new Vita-Mix blender gets me to this happy moment much faster. That can only be a good thing.

I’ve been wanting a Vita for AGES, and I recently found one at a great price, placed my order, and am now learning all about it. The very first green smoothie I made with it was rockin’! The texture was sooooo much better than what my regular blender was able to produce. And faster, too. What sometimes used to take me a good ten minutes to make on certain mornings now takes more like 3 minutes, tops. Talk about a way to ease the stress of mornings. I like getting up and getting to things, but I’m not always the most organized (or rational!) person in the morning. Ha ha! So just having the Vita cutting my smoothie prep time so dramatically really helps, silly as that might sound.

So my getting a Vita is good news for all of us, because it’s sparked my creativity, and I’ll be creating more recipes with it going forward. Of course, I’ll try to make sure the recipes are workable for non-Vita users as well.

I also got some really great samples that I’ve been making my way through. First up, tea from LeafSpa:

Organic, fair trade tea. Sign me up. Find this amazing stuff at LeafSpa.com

I haven’t yet made my way through all of the samples they sent me, but I can say with certainty that the Decaf Chai was divine. You can tell I’d be all up in the bag, not just from the tear on it, but from the water splash stain:

Loved this decaf chai by Leaf Spa.

Thanks, LeafSpa, for these excellent samples. Take a look at their site; they not only sell amazing teas, but natural spa products that I’m sure are sumptuous as well.

Moving on:

Lately I’ve been using this coconut oil from Tropical Traditions in a lot of my cooking. It has a lovely coconut scent when cooking, but the scent and flavor disappears seamlessly into the final product.  I’ll admit, I WAS worried that the gorgeous coconut scent would seep its way into certain recipes and clash with the other flavors. Happily, that didn’t happen at all. Thanks, Tropical Traditions, for the generous,  HUGE 32 ounce sample:

Tropical Traditions virgin coconut oil is working out quite well in my recipes.

So that’s it for now. I’ll be back soon with a full report on my Vita. Have a great day, everybody!

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Plank variation. Yoga requires us to hold it together (literally!) and let go at the same time. It's a great metaphor for life. Photo by Conrad Turner, shot in Sept. 2008.

The issue of letting go came up in Yoga the other day. Letting go is so freeing, but so many times, we’re simply not ready to let go. Our bodies hold onto things, and letting go completely isn’t always the best or most feasible option in a given moment. This can happen with our minds and with our emotional states as well.  In other words, choosing to let go (or not) is much more than simply a bodily issue.

And heaven knows, this difficulty letting go happens so much in relationships, jobs, and many other areas of our lives. Sometimes letting go has to be done in stages if it’s to be done at all. Sometimes life pulls the rug out from under us, so to speak. I’ve certainly had situations where the Universe did the letting go for me because I wasn’t ready to let go on my own volition.

Kapotasana, pigeon pose variation.

So I said to my students, if letting go and taking that leap of faith seems like too much, why not just loosen our grip a little bit? Ease up on our muscles and joints and bones a tiny bit. We can do that on the Yoga mat, in the gym, when exercising outdoors. On another level: Go a little easier on that person you love but who gets on your last nerve more often than you’d like to admit. Most of all, let’s all try to ease up on ourselves. Just a bit to start.

Because the relationship and energies we create with and within ourselves have a huge impact on how we relate to the world around us and to others.

By easing up just a touch, we make space and room energetically for fresh, healing energies to flood into our lives. Into our bodies, into our hearts, souls, and our minds.

It’s a radical concept, I know. But I’ve been practicing it myself lately and feeling more at ease. Maybe you can try it too and see what happens. Or what doesn’t happen. Sometimes nothing bad happens, but we’d never know if we didn’t ease into a slightly less comfortable moment.  Like one of my teachers says, “See what’s on the other side of the pain and discomfort.”

Loosen that grip. Step out on faith. Let go, if only in stages.

Shanti!

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