Looking to focus my attention elsewhere for the time being.
Hangs “We’ll be back soon” sign on door.
THIS WEEK’S BOX
1 Quart Strawberries
Green and Red Leaf Lettuce
THIS WEEK’S MENU
Santa Fe Caesar Salad (romaine lettuce, pinto beans, serrano chili, avocado)
Asparagus Frittata with Tomato
Orange-Balsamic Glazed Tempeh, Roasted Asparagus with Locatelli, Honeyed Tarragon Carrots
Fresh Soba Noodles with Ginger and Peppers
Red and Green Leaf Salad with Roasted Beets, Goat Cheese and Lemon-Mustard Dressing
Gardein Piccata with Spinach Spaghetti and Broccoli
Never FAIL Salad Dressing
This is my go-to salad dressing, originally from my mom who probably got it from someone like the Galloping Gourmet. You can dress it up, but I’m offering you the dressed down version so you can throw in whatever you have on hand. It’s perfectly fine as is, but you can toss in things like fresh herbs, scented olive oils, minced garlic or shallot, flavored salts, white wine vinegar (instead of the lemon juice), etc.
1-2 teaspoons smooth Dijon mustard
juice from half a lemon
Generous pinches of salt and pepper
2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (amount depends on how rich you want to make it; if you use more oil, use more mustard)
Whisk together the mustard, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Drizzle in the olive oil while whisking to form an emulsion. Taste for flavor, toss well with greens, THEN add additional salt/pepper if necessary.
Week Two of my farm share was still just as exciting as Week One. Week Two delighted us with a pint of the farm’s own clover honey.
WEEK TWO BOX
1 head of red leaf lettuce
2 bunches of asparagus
2 bunches of spinach
1 quart strawberries
1 bunch radishes
1 pint of clover honey
1 bunch of oregano
WEEK TWO MENU
Big Italian Salad (lettuce, red onion, tomatoes, black olives, fresh basil and oregano with shaved Pecorino Romano cheese)
Radishes, Salt, Buttered Baguette
Escarole, Spinach and Cannellini Bean Soup
Spinach with Israeli CousCous and Feta
Roasted Asparagus, Spinach Linguine with Pesto and a Fried Egg
How much longer will you go on
letting your energy sleep?
How much longer are you going to stay oblivious
of the immensity of your self?
Don’t waste time in conflict,
lose no time in doubt -
time can never be recovered,
and if you miss an opportunity
it may take many lives before another
comes your way again.
I get territorial about music. I’m a firm believer that nothing is any good if everyone likes it, yet I’m quick to jump back from obscure-for-obscurity’s sake hipster junk food. This lady, Bat for Lashes, strikes the perfect balance. She’s brilliant during a yoga practice. Her music dredges up that mysterious, witchy-woman vibe that we don’t always get to play with. You know, all sidelong glances and shit.
But please don’t steal her from me and make her a big star.
Pecorino Spinach Quiche
I love New Jersey produce, especially from the Delaware Valley area in the north-western part of the state. The end of summer corn and tomatoes here are unsurpassed, even world-famous. So this year, my husband and I joined in the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) movement. Essentially, locals buy a small share of a farm and receive weekly boxes of fruits, vegetables, flowers, even eggs. Depending on the size of your household, you order either a full- or half-share. You pay in advance for about 6 months of produce. The farm benefits from a consistent stream of financial support and a demand for their produce, while the buyers get super fresh, local fruit and veg, rare heritage seed blends, and a direct connection to those growing the food we eat.
Our Farm Share runs from the end of May to the end of November, with our last box coming the week of Thanksgiving. Each week, you’ll hear about what we found in our box, my menu for the week, and one or two recipes.
WEEK ONE BOX
2 bunches spinach, 1 head of red leaf lettuce, 1 head of romaine lettuce, 1 bunch asparagus, 1 bunch radishes, 1 box of strawberries, 1 bunch mint, 1 dozen eggs
WEEK ONE MENU
Maple Mashed Sweet Potatoes, Steamed Asparagus w/Mustard Crema, Gardein Scalloppini Finished in White Wine and Butter
Pecorino Spinach Quiche, Red Leaf Salad w/Pesto Dressing
Elaine’s “Big Salad” (mix of lettuces, scallions, radish, tomato, corn, cucumber, avocado, tahini dressing)
Scrambled Tofu, Garlicky Kale, Naan Bread
Quinoa, Roasted Shiitake Mushrooms Spinach Salad
WEEK ONE RECIPE
Pecorino Spinach Quiche, serves 4 (pictured above)
1 tablespoon olive oil or butter (or a mixture)
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 bunches spinach, washed well and roughly chopped
3 very fresh eggs
1 1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup grated Pecorino cheese (Pecorino Romano, Locatelli, etc.)
1 pre-made whole wheat pie crust (if frozen, defrosted)
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Heat the oil in a deep skillet. Add the onion and saute until translucent. Add the spinach and a 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Toss the mixture over on itself until spinach is well-wilted all the way through. Press any extra moisture out of the spinach mixture and set aside.
Meanwhile, lightly whisk the eggs in a large bowl. Whisk in the milk, cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Tip in the spinach mixture and mix well. Pour the quiche base into the prepared pie crust. Bake for 40 minutes. If center hasn’t set, bake another 10-15 minutes. If edges of crush brown too quickly, cover them in foil.
Originally, I’d intended to write this post about the home practice blues. When you’d rather stay on the couch than unroll your mat. When you have dinner to make (and you’re hungry). When you worked late last night and can’t find the energy to get up early and squeeze in a practice before rushing back to work. Home practice can be a challenge just to fit into your schedule – and this is supposed to be easier than getting to a studio class!
If you create a beautiful space, have your props on hand, cue up some tunes, (and forgive yourself when you don’t have the yoga in you), you can develop a home practice. I started my home practice because studio classes were too expensive and inconvenient. I get to class once or twice a week and try to keep up my home practice another two or three days. Like everything else, it’s a balance.
Here are my tips for developing a satisfying home practice.
Set up a sacred space. Well, ‘sacred’ is subjective. I practice in the living room because that’s where I feel most comfortable. I tried the logical places: my office or the finished basement, but it just never felt right. I like to be where the action is, where the big windows are, where the fireplace is, on hardwood flooring, etc. Find a space in your home where it feels right. You might search for a space with a hard floor and an empty wall. Don’t give up – try new spaces if the most obvious ones don’t work.
Have your props ready to go. It’s a good excuse to say, “Well, I can’t practice Revolved Triangle because I don’t have the blocks I need.” Not good enough though. Get yourself the basics: 2 blocks, 1 strap, 1-2 Mexican blankets, and a mat. Keep them out in plain sight, not hidden where you’ll forget about them.
Amuse yourself. When I’m setting out for a serious practice, I’ll put on music or work it out in silence. Check out my Top Ten Sexy Yoga Tunes. But if I’m just interested in fifteen minutes of quick sun salutations before dinner, I’ll admit to practicing in front of the TV. I know, y’all hardcore yogis are gonna be pissed, but it’s the truth. Roseanne, Trailer Park Boys, Parks and Recreation, AbFab, 30 Rock, whatever. True, you should embrace silence and use pranayama to stabilize your breath, but it’s YOUR home practice. Do whatever works to get you practicing. Also, the consistent, glowing telly makes rolling off the couch and onto your mat a little easier.
OK, you got your space, your props and your tunes. Now what? If you’ve never had a home practice, it can be hard taking what you know from class and applying it all by yourself. That can be remedied by doing A LOT of yoga in classes. Eventually you’ll learn what sequences you like and you’ll have a mental encyclopedia of go-to poses ready to pull from. Plus, you’ll understand alignment so you can keep yourself safe when you practice at home. Some people like using yoga videos to bridge this gap (lots of people seem to like Shiva Rae’s videos), but they’re not for me. Books are more my style. I like Gary Kraftsow’s sequencing in Yoga for Transformation. And you can do what my teacher Tom does and just try to cram as many poses from Light on Yoga as you can into an hour and a half. Web-wise, there’s a new crop of sites providing online video yoga classes, some with well-known teachers. Yogaglo is one of the best. Since I’m a total Type A, here’s my nerdy yoga organizational secret: I keep a three-ring binder with clear page sleeves filled with sequencing, pose breakdowns, target area exercises (core work!), poems, mantras, articles, photos of beloved teachers, etc. I tear out the “Home Practice” section from Yoga Journal magazine, or print out stuff I like from the internet. It all goes in the binder, which I keep right at the top of my mat during practice. This keeps my asana flowing. When I finish one pose, I know exactly where I’m going next. I don’t need it called out.
Give yourself Savasana. Don’t skimp on Savasana (or any pose) because you know you can get away with it. In class or at home, yoga is not about competition or achievement. It’s about love. And sitting with what’s uncomfortable, even when it sucks. Try not to shortchange your breath, even in a challenging pose. Keep your holds as long as you can. In class, you’d keep that hold – why shouldn’t you at home?
Practicing at home brings yoga into your personal life. Your husband walks by when you’re in Wheel. You have to move framed art off the wall to work your Handstand. You have this amazing opportunity to listen to your body’s wisdom. It’s like eavesdropping on the natural universe, and at home, you can keep yourself even more grounded. Relinquish the need for external approval. Free from criticism (or flattery), you can practice freely and cultivate witnessing awareness. Take with you only what you need. And relax, ’cause you’re at home.
What are your secrets for a successful home practice? Any sequencing resources you care to share?