Transition Tuesday

Hello Friends!

Today I am breaking two simple but challenging transitions that fit well together or work all on their own. If you haven’t seen the video on my IG already, head over to @leenslens to see the spilt hop & handstand hop switch transitions. These can be used to come into and out of most of your standing postures, and are fantastic ways to build in extra shoulder & core work (road to handstand anyone?!?!?!).

9A610727-B82D-403C-8B02-68899999BA8EFirst is the split hop from down dog into crescent lunge (or any other standing pose). It’s important to make sure you’ve warmed the hamstrings up a bit – any split or handstand requires open hammies! Step 1: extend left leg up – keep left pinky toe angled to the floor so hips remain square. Step 2: look between your hands, shift your body weight forward, and wrap the outer arms in towards center. Step 3: draw the belly button in & up, spread the inner thighs apart, and hop the right foot up between your hands (or close to it bc as you can see I didn’t quite make it there). Step 4: set the foundation for your standing posture and inhale to rise.

51DD437C-F88E-41E7-83E3-DC4421DA1438Next, we look at the handstand hop/switch back to chaturanga. This second transition does require a little more time to get right but it’s fun to play around with. Step 1: plant your hands shoulder width apart and extend your left leg up. Step 2: tuck the right outer hip back, wrap the outer arms in (sound familiar?!?!), and bring your body weight into your hands. Step 3: lift your hips, rise onto your right toes and kick up to handstand. Step 4: leave your right leg extended up, slowly bring left leg towards mat, bend elbows into the sides of your ribs and draw the chest forward. Step 5: keep the core and shoulder girdle tight to land with control in chaturanga. FULL DISCLOSURE – step 4 & 5 will not happen right away…most of us will take step 3 & then head back to vinyasa and that’s okay because this is just yoga!

The goal is to do this every week…we’ll see how it goes! Have fun with sprinkling this into practice!

’til next time, keep smiling! šŸ˜‰

Foodie Friday

Happy New Decade Loves!

While I am fully aware it isn’t Friday, I am sharing the recipe from my Foodie Friday post on IG so I think the title works! I am trying to be more consistent with posting and blogging but as you know I am busy and lazy so here I go posting this on a Sunday. My recipe this week is one I get asked to make A LOT but only oblige on special occasions and for special people. Lobster Mac & Cheese isn’t particularly time consuming, but it is a luxurious, decadent, delicious, main or side dish that makes everyone’s mouth water (unless, of course, you don’t eat dairy, gluten, or seafood in which case, this one isn’t for you!)!

Lobster Mac & Cheese

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  • 1 Box shells, elbows, or orecchiette
  • 2 lb lobster meat
  • 2 cups seafood stock
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 4 tablespoon flour
  • 1 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 6 oz taleggio grated
  • 10 oz fontina grated
  • 6 oz parmesan grated
  • 3 tbsp fresh herbs

 

Place pot of water on high for pasta. Add milk, cream, and stock a different pot and heat on medium. While waiting grate your cheeses (don’t buy grated cheese – it will not melt the same) & chunk lobster meat. In a deep pan or wide shallow pot melt butter at medium heat and whisk in flour to make roux. Cook your pasta according to the instructions on the box but don’t add your salt until after the water has already come to a boil (and be generous with how much you use). Once milk mixture is heated to just under a simmer turn the heat off and whisk into the roux & then add the grated cheeses, lobster meat & cooked pasta. Give everything a few minutes to marry, toss in the herbs, and BOOM prepare to impress your family and friends!

 

’til next time, keep smiling! šŸ™‚

 

 

Foodie Friday!

We’ve made it through another week and now its time to celebrate! This week I’m coming to you from beautiful Palm Springs where the sun is shining and it’s always a good time for a cocktail…after meditation, yoga, and a nice long walk of course! I’m here through the weekend & enjoying most of my meals out – if you’re ever in Palm Springs, you must try Farm, Jakes, & The Workshop – but didn’t want to leave you hanging, so today on the blog I’m sharing my ‘chicken’ tostada recipe which still needs a little work.IMG_2592.JPGĀ Of course if you’re not a vegetarian you’re welcome to sub real chicken for the vegetarian alternative but you certainly won’t notice the difference. IMG_2590

Vegetarian Chicken Tostadas

  • whole wheat tortillas
  • green cabbage (shredded)
  • red onion (diced)
  • 3 cloves garlic (rough chopped)
  • sweet potato (peeled and diced)
  • taco seasoning (chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika)
  • beer can
  • ā€™chickenā€™ strips
  • refried beans
  • cilantro
  • lime

Gather your ingredients & start by adding lime, cilantro, & salt to your cabbage. Then heat EVOO in a skillet on medium/high heat and add red onion, sweet potato, & garlic. To the veg., add 1/2 your spice mix & as things begin to stick, add a little beer to loosen, and keep cooking everything down. While the veg. is going, preheat the oven to 350 and brush your tortillas with EVOO. Put the refried beans in a pot with some beer and heat. Add the shredded ‘chicken’ to the veg. with the rest of the beer and spices, and pop the tortillas in the oven. After a few minutes all the flavors in your skillet should meld & the tortillas should be crispy – you’re ready to plate. Start with your tortilla, smear on some of the beans, pile up the veg., top with slaw, & sprinkle on some hot sauce…these suckers pack a punch & are super healthy! Mix up a margarita, kick back, and enjoy!

’til next time, keep smiling! šŸ™‚

Foodie Friday

Happy Ā New Year Friends!

I hope everyone’s holiday was enjoyable & you haven’t given up on your resolutions. I tried to keep mine really simple, be kind: to myself, to others, etc… so I will keep you posted on that throughout the year. I have been keeping myself busy trying to find a new yoga home here in Walnut Creek & planning all the travel coming up – Palm Springs next week, Philadelphia & Charleston in March, Mexico in April, Virginia Beach in May, Spain in June, and Italy in July…oh boy!! With all the travel on the horizon I have been focusing on easy, comforting, and healthy recipes while I am home. This week I have been enjoying a hearty vegetarian soup & it couldn’t have been more simple to make.img_2587

Tuscan Bean Soup

  • 1 container vegetable stockĀ 
  • 2 cans diced tomatoesĀ 
  • 2 cans tuscan beans
  • 1 big bunch of kaleĀ 
  • 1 large white onionĀ 
  • 6 cloves garlicĀ 
  • 3 zucchiniĀ 
  • 1 bag carrotsĀ 
  • 1 bag celeryĀ 
  • 1 bag small potatoesĀ 
  • 1 bunch tymeĀ 
  • 1 sm. bunch sageĀ 
  • salt/pepper
  • EVOO
  • Parmesan

Peel & small dice carrots, small dice celery, garlic, & onion, quarter and dice zucchini, tear kale from stems, quarter potatoes, & prep herbs while 1/4cup EVOO heats up in a large dutch oven on the stove top. Start with onion, carrot, celery, garlic, & potatoes in the pot and cook down for 10 minutes. Add stock, tomatoes, beans (drained), herbs, salt & pepper – cook until it simmers. Mix in kale & zucchini and allow soup to cook together for another 10 minutes. Ladle into a bowl, sprinkle on some freshly grated Parmesan (optional), and enjoy!

With this recipe I have enough soup for lunches all week & 5 more portions frozen in mason jars for the next time I have a hankering for this delicious comfort dish.

 

’til next time, keep smiling! šŸ™‚

Foodie Friday

Happy last Friday in November friends! I feel cliche saying this but I can’t believe its almost December. The older I get, the faster time goes – I just can’t handle it. Another thing that happens when you get older…it gets harder to maintain your weight. What’s even harder, is to loose weight once you’ve slipped. In 4 months I put on about 20lbs…granted I was on a medication that fully disclosed weight gain as a symptom but I don’t know if ALLLLL that can be contributed to the meds. ANYWAY, my body is detoxing and I am continuing to be healthy – eating right and trying new forms of exercise. I starting kickboxing (more on that later), and subscribed to Kayla Itsines’s SWEAT app. for Ā  workout inspiration. I don’t follow her diet nor do I follow the program as its designed but its fun & helping to keep me motivated.

Another piece is changing locations and schedules – it throws a kink into the diet & cooking regime. Between commuting into the city (yes, I am still doing that), taking care of my little family, I have less time to grocery shop prep food. I have to do my best with one big trip weekly,Ā sometimesĀ bi-weekly, to the farmers market & grocery store. With this new way of foraging I’ve needed to come up with more inspired dishes; hence, whole wheat couscous with herbs, pine nuts, cucumber & citrus. I threw this together the other night with the things in my fridge and cabinet…proof that you can make healthy, flavorful meals, if you keep a well stocked pantry & fridge. Ā The beautiful roasted squash is curtesy of Alison Roman‘s Dining In book that is full of delicious, easy, & unique recipes.

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Citrus Couscous with Herbs, Pine Nuts, & CucumberĀ 

Ingredients:

  • whole wheat couscous
  • lemon (zest and juice)
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts (dry roasted & cooled)
  • 1 tbsp harissa oil (or regular EVOO)
  • herbs (parsley, dill, and cilantro – or whatever you like)
  • 1/2 cucumber (peeled, seeded, and diced)
  • salt & pepper to taste

Recipe:

Prepare couscous according to the package (basically boil water or stock, add couscous, turn off heat & cover for about 10 minutes Ā – its like the easiest thing ever) and allow to cool. While couscous is going, throw the pine nuts in a pan on medium heat, toss every few minutes until lightly browned (keep your eyes on those suckers – they burn quickly). Add remaining ingredients and BOOM, ALL DONE!

 

’til next time, keep smiling! šŸ™‚

Spirals

Happy Sunday Friends!

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As always, life is getting in the way of finding space to write – it’s hard to get into a routine with all the changes. I try to be the most positive version of myself at all times but it has been really hard as of late. Before the move, before the new job, & before my recent diagnosis (which I will get into), I was in a healthy & comfortable routine which now is slipping through my fingers. I’m reminded of how stressful it felt to commute over an hour each way and how resentful it feels to loose that time. More than that, I’m feeling like there is no time for me & the things I love: cooking, writing, running, meditating, personal practice, & being with my fur baby. I thought I could handle everything and just take it in stride, but sometimes, it feels like I’m spiraling.

To backtrack a bit, I was diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis at the end of June. I have long suspected I had the genetic disorder – when I was about eleven my parents were told I likely I had the disease but the diagnosis didn’t come until two decades later. So now, I have to figure out what’s going on with my body and what it means for my future offspring. I apparently can’t have children naturally & can only go the IVF route if I want to carry my own. Not to sound insensitive to mothers everywhere who’ve gone that route but I never thought it would be me – to be more specific, I’d rather adopt than put myself through the emotional and financial hardship. I’m trying my best not to worry before there is something to worry about but the brain is spiraling.IMG_1592I’m not sharing any of this to garner sympathy, in fact, that is exactly what I don’t want. I am sharing because I feel like we all keep too much shit to ourselves in an effort avoid shame and judgement. I spend a lot of my time trying to put on the face that everyone else wants to see. It is so much easier to disappoint myself than to let others down or make them feel uncomfortable.

What if we all were just a little more honest about everything we’re going through and have had to handle? What if we took down the veil and were vulnerable? It may scare the shit out of me but the more honest I am, the more I can connect with others and feel like I’m not alone.

IMG_1612.jpgBefore the pity party pours in, I had a wonderful time cooking & spending time with friends yesterday (Paella curtesy of my amazing friend Alvaro). I’m reading a bit on the train when I was able to get a seat, & I keep a gratitude journal in an effort to stay grounded and be reminded of the positives. Life can sometimes be a struggle but I am confident the moments of pain, fear, and hardship make the shining moments that much brighter. I don’t want to sugar coat my life, not anymore: I haven’t been lying or sharing ‘alternative facts’ but I don’t share the not so sunny stuff – I won’t do that anymore. Life is messy and I hope y’all are ready for it!

’til next time, keep smiling! šŸ™‚

 

 

Foodie Friday & The Move

So what has it been, two weeks? Maybe 3…I’m not sure, but it certainly has been a minute. With the craziness of the move, and a lot of other things going on, I couldn’t find the time to write. Well, I have been writing – journaling, and snippets of inspiration for a book in chewing on – but not here.

ANYWAY, we survived the move! It’s officially been a week and we’re nearly unpacked. When I say nearly, I mean we still have about 10 boxes sitting in the corner and a bunch of stuff strewn all over the place, but we’re settling in. I have been enjoying all the trails right outside my door, our beautiful pool, and A LOT more space.

Since I haven’t really had time to organize the kitchen and cook many proper meals, this week Foodie Friday is a salad – but a really AWESOME one! I made falafel the other night and put together this salad to go with it. If you’re saying to yourself ‘share your falafel recipe‘ Here it is, haha, you just add water.IMG_1357So back to the salad…I am mildly obsessed with feta cheese – it goes on nearly every salad I make, & this one is no exception.

Weeknight Salad

  • Mixed Greens
  • Pine Nuts
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumber
  • Herbs (cilantro, parsley, & dill)
  • Feta Cheese
  • Shallot
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • EVOO
  • Salt & Pepper

IMG_1336I am pretty confident most of you know how to put together a salad but it’s all about the little things. For example, I buy raw nuts & toast them myself – TRUST, it makes a difference. Also, I don’t buy bottled dressing – get yourself some good EVOO and balsamic and just mixed them half & half. Last, add herbs to your salads to bump up the flavor profile – I always keep cilantro, parsley, and dill in my fridge but you can do whatever you want. Last, last, thing…just because its a salad doesn’t mean you shouldn’t add salt (salt literally brings out flavor in food). Generously salt and pepper your greens before you dress them.Ā Now that you’re in the know, you’re ready to go!

’til next time, keep smiling! šŸ™‚