Friday, 28 September 2012

Tomato Couscous Salad

A quick and easy dish using a couple of those garden tomatoes many of
you are harvesting right now.  Recipe from Peak of Market.

1 cup (250ml) couscous
1/4 cup (50ml) lemon juice
1/4 cup (50 ml) olive oil
2 large tomatoes, diced
1/3 cup (75 ml) onion, diced
1 medium zucchini. diced
1/2 cup (125 ml) fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/2 cup (125 ml) feta cheese, crumbled

In a medium saucepan, bring 1- 1/4 cups (300 ml) water to a boil.
Stir in couscous and cover.  Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes.
Fluff couscous with fork.  Let cool uncovered for 10 minutes.

Stir in remaining ingredients except cheese.  Refrigerate at least 4 hours.
Add cheese and serve.

Spoon into lettuce cups or use a a filling for pita bread.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Ephesus, Turkey

Ephesus, inland from the port city of Kusadasi Turkey,  is considered one
of the best archeological sites in the western world. It all started around
1000 BCE as a Greek settlement. The site that exists today was founded in
the 4th century BCE by Lysinachus, successor to Alexander the Great. But
it was the Romans that made Ephesus the great Aegean port of its time when
the population rose over 250,000. What remains of the city dates back to this
era. The city went through three phases of construction mostly due to the
silting up of the harbour. It also played an important role in early
Christianity. Paul lived here between 52-52 CE. Two Great Councils of the
early Church were held in Ephesus in 431 CE and 449 CE. There are also the
ruins of the house the Virgin Mary was brought to by St.John the Evangelist
where she spent her last days. The ruins of this house are just outside the
centre of Ephesus.  Over time Ephesus had been invaded and sacked and
suffered damage by earthquakes. Sadly Ephesus was deserted when the
harbour had silted up so badly it no longer could function.  By 1090 CE it
was only a village.

The tour through the ruins starts at the top of a hill and visitors work their
way down getting impressive views of the colonnaded street and the Library
of Celsus with its statues to wisdom, virtue, intellect and knowledge. There
are many structures still with beautiful stone work such as the Temple of
Hadrian with its facade portraying gods and goddesses and the Gate of
Hercules.  Everyday life is reflected in the ruins of the baths, gymnasium,
brothels and latrines. On the hillside is a modern structure covering a
restored section of Terrace Houses, homes of the wealthy. The structure,
which covers a path of clear walkways built over the ruins, allows visitors
an opportunity to observe what has been recovered in these elegant homes.
Floor mosaics and wall frescos give modern visitors and idea of their
lifestyle. The great theatre could hold 25,000 spectators. It has been used
for concerts in recent times but suffered some damage due to the stress of
the enthusiasm of many music fans.



Monday, 24 September 2012

The Use of Props

Some schools of yoga use props when teaching the yoga poses.  Iyengar Yoga
is one of them.  The benefit is to allow beginners achieve proper alignment in
poses without risking injury.  If your hands do not reach the floor, use blocks
or a chair seat.  If your hands do not meet behind your back, use a yoga belt.
If you cannot grasp your toes, again use a belt.  You learn the proper position
of the poses and, gradually, as your body starts to open up, you can reduce or
eliminate the prop altogether.

There is a downside to props.  Sometimes we become too reliant on them and
stop working towards the goal of a classic pose.It is easy to choose comfort
over challenge.  If you are studying yoga as a form of physical exercise, you
stop receiving benefits when you stop challenging yourself.  Be brave and
persevere.  You may even find yourself trying poses you didn't think you
would even attempt.  I like to think of my yoga as a journey.  It may take me
20 years to get there but I hope to stay on my path.

Robin  Hood's Major Oak in Sherwood Forest

Friday, 21 September 2012

Seeded Romano Biscotti

A recipe I got from either Bon Appetit or Gourmet magazine.
I often make them small and serve as crackers with cheese.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2  1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup grated Romano cheese
3/4 cup mixes seeds (poppy, sesame, sunflower, or your favs)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp coarse sea salt

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line large baking sheet with parchment paper, foil, or
one of those handy non-stick baking pads.

In large bowl mix flours, baking powder, and 1/2 tsp salt.  Stir in cheese
and seeds.  In smaller bowl beat eggs until fluffy.  add wine and olive oil.
Stir wet mixture into dry ingredients to form a dough.  Form dough into
a loaf on prepared baking sheet.  For smaller biscotti make two loaves.
Sprinkle with the course sea salt.   Bake 25-30 minutes until small cracks
appear and loaf seems firm when touched.  If making smaller loaves check
after about 20 minutes.

Slide loaf onto large cutting board and cut crosswise into 1/4 inch slices.
A really sharp serrated blade makes job easier.  Place slices upright on
baking sheet.  Mine always fall down so I just lay them flat.  Reduce
oven to 325F and bake 20-25 minutes or until biscotti are dry to the
touch.  If you had to lie your biscotti flat, you can flip them halfway
through the baking time.

Let cool completely and store in airtight container or bag.
Makes about 24 large biscotti.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Iyengar Yoga Quote

"It took me whole decades to appreciate the depth and true value of yoga. Sacred texts supported my discoveries, but it was not they that signposted the way. What I learned through yoga, I found out through yoga."
~B.K.S. Iyengar –Light on Life, p. x

Monday, 17 September 2012

Handstand (Adho Mukha Vrksasana)

Inversions can be not only difficult but also scary.  You are turning your
world upside down.  I can do a respectable shoulder stand by pushing off
the wall but I am nowhere near handstand and headstand.  First, I do need
to get my weight down.  Secondly, I need to work on my shoulder strength.
There are many poses that can be done as preparation and we do them in
our classes.

Below is a picture of my teacher, Susan, in a handstand.  I don't find this
pose as daunting as a headstand so this is one of my goals.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Gourmet Eggs

One of those handy recipes that can be made the night ahead of a brunch on
Sunday or a holiday.  Recipe came from a cousin-in-law many years ago.

3/4 cups crushed cracker crumbs (Ritz is my fav)
3 tbsp melted butter
12 hard cooked eggs, sliced
12 strips crispy cooked bacon, crumbled
1 pint (500 gr) sour cream (make sure it does not have gelatin)
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp instant minced onion
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 cup shredded aged cheddar (or cheese of your choice)

Mix cracker crumbs and butter.  Sprinkle on bottom of baking dish (I use
an 8" x 12" pan).  Arrange sliced eggs over crumbs.  Mix together remaining
ingredients except cheese and spread over eggs.  Sprinkle cheese on top.
Cover dish and refrigerate overnight.  Heat oven to 350F and bake for
30minutes.  Garnish with more crumbled bacon if you wish.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

York, United Kingdom

One year ago I happened to be in the lovely city of York in the north of
England. My group happened to arrive at the same time a the York Food
and Drink Festival. The town was bustling.  We stayed at the Royal York
Hotel attached to the train station.  City centre was in easy walking
distance from there.  There were loads of food and drink booths celebrating
the bounty of Yorkshire as well as local entertainment.  Of course there is
the famous Yorkminster.  We went to an evening service and were lucky
enough to hear the men's choir.   York is a great place to visit with lots of
shopping, interesting museums, and lovely walks. The Festival dates for
2012 are Sept.21-30.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Wide Angle Pose (Upavista Konasana)

You may want to sit on some height or do this pose against a wall depending 
how open your joints and hamstrings are.  Sit on the floor with legs apart and 
toes pointed up. Your hands are behind you.  Your pelvis should be upright.  
Gently press your legs into the ground and remember to breathe.  
Hold 30 seconds and repeat a couple more times.

You can do a forward bend also from this pose.  Hinge from the hips and bend 
forward keeping back straight.  If you can get to your toes with your back still 
straight,  grab on. If not, use two yoga belts or towels looped around your feet.  
Gently pull to activate muscles.  Avoid the temptation to cheat by curving 
your back.  The bend comes from the leg/pelvis sockets.  A lot of people are 
tight there so be patient. 

Friday, 7 September 2012

Ham and Swiss Puffs

Recipe from a very old Family Circle cookbook.  Great make ahead recipe for brunch.

2 cups ground cooked ham (about 1 pound)
2 cups grate Swiss cheese (about 1/2 pound)
1/2  cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
12 slices sandwich bread, toasted
6 eggs
2-1/4 cups milk

Combine ground ham, grated cheese, mayonnaise or salad dressing and mustard.
Spread mixture on 6 slices of toast.  Cover with remaining slices of toast.
Cut each sandwich diagonally into four triangles.
Stand, crust edge down, into a buttered 9" x 13" pan.
Beat eggs with milk.
Pour over sandwich triangles, cover and chill at least 4 hours or overnight.
Bake at 325F for about 35 minutes or until custard sets.
Let cool slightly so it is easier to cut.  

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Iyengar Yoga Quote

"Yoga, an ancient but perfect science, deals with the evolution of humanity. This evolution includes all aspects of one's being, from bodily health to self-realization. Yoga means union -- the union of body with consciousness and consciousness with the soul. Yoga cultivates the ways of maintaining a balanced attitude in day-to-day life and endows skill in the performance of one's actions."
~B.K.S. Iyengar

Monday, 3 September 2012

The Body Positive Boost - Anna at Curvy Yoga

In case you need to hear it, I wanted to remind you that you’re beautiful.
In case you need to hear it, here’s permission to take some time to yourself today—even just five minutes of quiet before bed.
In case you need to hear it, yeah; it’s okay to eat that.  Yes, even that.
In case you need to hear it, that person who said that hurtful thing about you?  They were wrong.
In case you need to hear it, your yoga practice is gorgeous—not because you do every pose perfectly, but because you do them in your own way.
In case you need to hear it, I deeply appreciate you being part of this community.
In case you need to hear it, your body is already summer, beach and whatever-else ready.
In case you need to hear it, you are fierce.
In case you need to hear it, people do appreciate you, even if they’re not always the best at showing it.
In case you need to hear it, you are loved.
What else do you need to hear today?  ♥!

xo xo xo