Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Zensational Day of Yoga

Several times, I have joined that wonderful man of mine at a local studio for Baptiste Power Yoga.  The room is heated to around 85-90 degrees and at the end of the class, there's enough sweat on the ground to warrant building an ark.  Despite feeling somehow zen and centered at the end of it, my ass definitely got worked.  Half the time I actually felt more like this:

Baptiste Power Yoga is definitely the closest kick-your-ass workout I can think of next to boot camp.  As I've been doing four days per week of the latter, I knew I couldn't muster up the strength for a zenful ass-kicking, but I've definitely been missing my time on the mat.  So when my awesome friend Becky asked if I wanted to join her for a fun day of much tamer Vinyasa Yoga and bicycle riding, I jumped at the chance.

Our day began with a one mile bike ride to the park for a free AM yoga session.  Apparently, this happens once a month.  I never knew!  The weather was gorgeous and as much as I wanted to concentrate on my breath and my being, I could not get over the beauty of the day.  Even though giving in to my distractions might have been against the rules (I have no clue if I was breathing, ya'll), I still wound up feeling completely refreshed and renewed and connected with the universe at the end of the hour-long practice.  Yoga outside just might be my new favorite place to do yoga.  Who needs walls?

After the park, we had a two hour break to ride around and eat lunch before taking our practice inside for a two-hour Hands-On Yoga workshop.  Basically, it was Vinyasa yoga meets massage.  As we went through poses, instructors came around to adjust us deeper into the poses or lightly massage certain areas affected by the pose.  I'd be lying if I said I didn't fall asleep at some point!  I mean, heck, we went through TWO shavasana, what did they expect to happen?!  Not to mention, I'd done about a zillion sun and moon salutations at this point.  My body was fatigued!  But in a good way.  Upon waking, the workshop ended, I ate a few strawberries and a cookie before pedaling off into the sunset (home).

It's interesting.  During boot camp, I find myself thinking, "I need to get stronger. I need to get stronger".  During yoga, I found myself thinking, "damn, my body is strong".  The thing is, I think both are correct.  I don't know that I will ever reach fitness perfection, which is ok.  I like always having a goal--to get stronger.  However, slowing down and paying attention to my body allowed me to see and be grateful for how strong I already am.  And that's enough to get me back to my mat on a regular basis.  Namaste!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I'm Stuffed!

Dinner is complete and I'm stuffed!  And so was the pepper that I ate!  I absolutely LOVE stuffed peppers and sadly admit I have not made them enough.  Perhaps it was because tonight, in the process of cooking, I nearly burned the house down (and regretted removing the fire alarm from the kitchen).  Alas, once I got the smoke out of the house and got things back on track, I wound up making a delicious and healthy meal (adapted from the lovely Gina at Skinny Taste)!

Turkey Stuffed Peppers
1 lb lean chopped turkey meat
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 red onion, diced
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp cumin powder
Salt to taste
3 large sweet red bell peppers, washed
1 cup fat free chicken broth
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups cooked Israeli cous cous
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup reduced fat shredded cheese
Panko Bread Crumbs

Heat oven to 400°. Pour 1 tbsp olive oil into saute pan and heat on a medium flame. Add onion, garlic and cilantro to the pan. Saute about 2 minutes and add ground turkey. Season with salt and and cumin and brown meat for several minutes until meat is completely cooked through. Add 1/4 cup of tomato sauce and 1/2 cup of chicken broth, mix well and simmer on low for about 5 minutes. Combine cooked cous cous and meat together.

Cut the bell peppers in half lengthwise, and remove all seeds. Place in a baking dish. Spoon the meat & cous cous mixture into each pepper half and fill it with as much as you can. Place all stuffed pepper halves on the baking dish and pour the remainder of the chicken broth on the bottom of the pan. Top peppers with cheese.  Cover tight with aluminum foil and bake for about 30 minutes.  Remove peppers from oven & remove foil.  Sprinkle peppers with panko bread crumbs, broil for 3 - 5 minutes (until crumbs are browned).

Dig in and prepare for your mouth to be amazed!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Breakfast of Epic Proportions

There's really no other way to describe the awesomeness of the most important meal of my day!  Thanks to my new love of Pinterest, I discovered this gem about 30 seconds before stepping into the kitchen for breakfast prep this morning.  So lucky to discover such a yummy treat and glad to have farmer's market goodies on hand to help make it my own!

Baked Egg in an Avocado
1/2 avocado with pit removed
1 egg
2 small asparagus stalks, chopped
3 grape tomatoes halved and quartered
1 tbsp Feta cheese
Jalapeno Hot Sauce (green Tabasco, anyone?)
Salt & Pepper to Taste

Preheat oven to 425F.  Slice the avocado in half lengthwise and remove the pit.  If necessary, scoop a little more space (depending on size of your avocado and the pit hole).  Put the asparagus & tomato into the hole.  Crack the egg into the hole and top with feta, jalepeno sauce, and salt and pepper.  Bake for 10-15 minutes on a baking sheet or in a cast-iron skillet(until the egg is cooked how you desire).  Prepare to be full and happily satisfied for the next 5 - 6 hours. 

Depending on how much of the avocado you remove to make room, you can add just about anything to the dish to customize it to your own style of delicioso!  Spinach, salmon, peppers, bacon, broccoli, zucchini...the list is endless.  Sadly, I only have one more avocado half and I just cannot decide...Anyhoo, I hope you try it!  Make it your own and enjoy!