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YOGA THAT LETS YOU BE YOU

Zesty Spinach Soup October 4, 2011

I’m so grateful that the temperatures are cooler….fall is truly my favorite time of year.  It’s also the time when I bring out my big soup pot….another one of my favorite things is a meal that can be made in one pot.  Simple ingredients, minimal time, and oh so good yummines that just gets better as the week extends.  The first soup made this season in our family kitchen was Zesty Spinach Soup from Tosca Reno’s Eat Clean Cookbook.  This soup is great for a quick meal packed with vital nutrients, and most of the ingredients may already be in your pantry.  If you’re real hungry it’s nice to pair it with a green leaf salad, or a grilled provolone cheese sandwich on seeded bread.

This soup includes a hearty helping of spinach which contains high levels of readily absorbed calcium.  And let’s not forget the quinoa, which is a relative to the green leafy vegetable.  Quinoa  is a complete protein, which simple means it includes all nine essential amino acids. Quinoa is also well-endowed with the amino acid lysine, which is essential for tissue growth and repair.  It’s also a good source of magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorus.  But, even with all of that good health news….the bottom line is its good, and very satisfying. 

Let’s get to the YUM!  You’ll need the following ingredients:

2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 red onion, peeled and coarsely ( if the onion is large, half will work fine)

1 thick carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped ( 1-2 handfuls of baby carrots sliced on an angle will work fine)

3 cloves garlic, passed through a garlic press, or finely chopped

1 tsp of sea salt

Pinch of black pepper

6 cups low-sodium chicken, or vegetable broth

1 14.5 oz can of low sodium, petite diced tomatoes

1/2 cup of quinoa

2 cups white kidney beans, well rinsed and drained

1 tsp curry powder

Pinch of ground nutmeg

3 cups baby spinach

Heat oil over medium heat in a large soup pot, add onion and saute until translucent.  Add carrots, garlic and salt.  Saute until vegetables are golden, about 5 minutes.  Add stock, tomatoes, quinoa, beans and spices.  Bring to a boil, cover and simmer over low heat for 15-20 minutes, or until the quinoa is tender.  Add the spinach and cover.  Season with salt and pepper and serve hot.

Enjoy!

Want more info on Quinoa?  Visit: WHFoods: Quinoa – The World’s Healthiest Foods

 

Got Flax…….? September 8, 2011

Filed under: Recipes — YouYoga @ 7:34 am
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Yes!  You bet I do, and I’m excited about it.  If you seen my smoothie recipes you’ve noticed that most of them call for ground flax-seed.  While at Costco the other day I discovered a 40 oz bag of fine milled organic flax-seed produced by Nature’s Path.  I was truly thrilled….who knew that ground flax could make one gitty? 

Well one reason is, no longer will I have to take the extra step of grinding the flax-seed in my mini grinder!!  Also, I’ll now easily be able to add some omega-3 to any of my dishes: cereal, yogurt, muffins, pancakes, sauces, yes smoothies, and anything else that requires mixing and blending.

Not convinced flax is for you?  Here are some possible health benefits that might get you going.  Just by adding flax-seed to your diet there’s some evidence that suggest it may help reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes.  Not to mention it contains heart, healthy omega-3 essential fatty acids.  It also contains the antioxidant lignan to help protect cell function.  Lastly, it packs a punch with soluble and insoluble fiber which aids in digestion, and lets you feel fuller longer. 

At the cost of $6.99 you’ll own 2.5 lbs of health protection that you can use at your will while taking some of the “grind” out of the kitchen.  Come on…you’ve got to be feeling a little gitty now…..No?

Enjoy!

(Flax-Seed info: www.webmd.com/diet/)

 

Eat Your Greens Fruit Smoothie September 5, 2011

As we drove the city streets of Lenexa, Kansas last night we noticed that the city fountain water was running green, and the park displayed a large banner inviting all to their annual Spinach Festival.  Ahhhhhh….. Yes Spinach!!!  As the warm summer air begins to shift into cooler fall breezes it is becoming the perfect growing season for the family of greens.

There is a large variety of greens such as; kale, swiss chard, collard greens, turnip greens bok choy, but spinach by far is one of my favorite greens.  It is so versatile.  Slip it into salads, sandwiches, soups, stews, eggs, pizza, and yes smoothies too.  Slipping these cute, little, baby spinach leafs into your foods will aid in stronger bones due to its high calcium content.  Also, cancer fighting protection with it high levels of vitamin C and A.  Spinach’s secret weapon is lutein. Making it one of the best foods in the world to prevent cataracts, and macular degeneration.  Which is the leading cause of preventable blindness in the elderly.

With all that wonderful nutritional info I know you can’t wait to learn how to include spinach into your next smoothie. Wait no more… this recipe came from Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s book Eat to Live.  He calls it the Eat Your Greens Smoothie, and I for one love it.  Once again it’s all about simplicity, and I also love that you can add greens using a traditional blender…no big, expensive juicer required for this tasty treat.

Let’s get to the YUM!  You’ll need the following ingredients:

5 oz prewashed baby spinach  (a large handful works well)

1 banana

1 cup frozen mixed berries

1/2 cup unsweetend almond, or soy milk

1 cup pomegranate juice

1 tablespoon of flaxseeds

Blend all the ingredients in a high-powered blender until smooth and creamy. 

Enjoy!

(Spinach Info:  www.cookingnook.com)

 

Chuck’s Yummy Egg Surprise August 17, 2011

My husband is not a chef, and he doesn’t cook often, but when he does we’re usually in for a pretty good treat.  We were looking for something to kick up the excitement with our eggs, and I think he went above and beyond the task.  This recipe takes some time to chop veggies, but after all that work is complete it’s pretty simple.  I love simple, especially when it’s tempting to the eyes and belly.

Let’s get to the YUM!  You will need the following ingredients:

3 egg whites

splash of non-fat milk

1/4 of a small red onion chopped

3-4 baby portabella mushrooms chopped

3-4 cherry tomatoes chopped

handful of baby spinach

feta cheese

salt and pepper

red pepper flakes

extra virgin olive oil

cooking spray

1 medium-sized ramekins

***ingredients are for an individual serving***

Drizzle a non-stick skillet with olive oil over medium-high heat.  Cook the onions until they’re translucent.  Then add the chopped mushrooms and let them saute….the will shrink in size and caramelize a bit.  Last, add the chopped tomatoes.  Cook for 1-2 more minutes and set aside.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  If you like a little kick add some red pepper flakes.  A little goes a long way! 

Combine the egg whites and milk, then pour them into a ramekins that has been prepared with cooking spray. The milk with make the eggs fluffy.  Add the cooked veggies to the egg whites.  Place a handful of baby spinach on top of all ingredients.  Place the ramekins into the microwave and cook 1-2 minutes.  Keep an eye on the eggs, so it does not overflow.

Plate onto a dish and sprinkle with feta cheese.  So pretty, and oh so good! Once again have fun in your kitchen and experiment.  Switch the veggies, cheese and spices to see what egg surprise you might come up with.  Also, you could make a large batch and cook in prepared muffin tins in the oven.  Then store them in your fridge for the week to come.  This would allow for a real quick bite to start off any day during the week. Or, add some fresh fruit and have a pleasant brunch for the weekend.

Enjoy!

 

Ginger-Peach Smoothie August 1, 2011

There is nothing better than the simple satisfaction that comes from putting yummy goodness into a blender…pressing puree…and then enjoying a frothy, healthy, fulfilling smoothie.  With the invention of the smoothie there is no reason not to have time for a good start to your day.  This month’s featured smoothie is the Ginger-Peach Smoothie from Weight Watchers.  Ginger has many health benefits, as do Peaches. 

Ginger can help stimulate digestion, relieve nausea, and sooth cold symptoms to name a few. Peaches are a powerful anticarcinogenic.  Which simply means it’s believed to fight some cancers since it contains high level of antioxidants.  They are also believed to help with digestion due to their high water and dietary fiber content.  The nice thing about peaches is they can be found year round in your grocery store freezer section.  Always seek frozen fruits that have no added sugar.

Let’s get to the YUM!  You will need the following ingredients:

1-2 pieces of crystallized ginger (can be found at your local health food store.)

2 tbsp of agave nectar

1 cup of unsweetened, sliced, frozen peaches

1 banana

1/3 cup of nonfat, plain, Greek yogurt

3 tbsp of orange juice

1/2 cup of water

handful of ice cubes

Combine all ingredients into blender.  Puree until smooth.  Depending on level of hunger could yield 1-2 servings. 

Enjoy!

 

Chewy Goodness July 26, 2011

Filed under: Recipes — YouYoga @ 12:00 pm
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There’s nothing I enjoy more than a chewy snack.  It’s even better when a little gets stuck to your teeth….. creating the perfect opportunity to make a silly face while  trying to un-lodge it with your tongue.  Oh, you know what I’m speaking of, because we have all been there at least once, or twice.  There are many goodies that can create this exact possibility,  but today I’m enjoying the chewy goodness of Ginger Chews made by the Ginger People company.  Not only is this a fun little bite to eat, but it has many health benefits too.  Ginger is believed to stimulate digestion, naturally freshen breathe, relieve nausea, sooth cold symptoms and relieve headaches. 

I buy my Ginger Chews in bulk at Whole Foods.  I like to set them out in a pretty bowl for everyone to enjoy.  The great thing is that 1-2 can really settle a sweet tooth, while entertaining the mouth with its spicy, sweet, chewy goodness.  If you haven’t had them before, I truly recommend giving them a try.   Want to learn more?  I got my information about the benefits of ginger from http://hubpages.com/hub/Ginger-The-Benefits-How-to-Use

Enjoy!

 

Linguine with Zucchini and Chickpeas July 18, 2011

Filed under: Recipes — YouYoga @ 9:31 pm
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It’s truly summer, and it’s burning hot!  While it’s nice to eat the offerings of the season we don’t want to spend tons of time cooking, or heating our kitchens while we’re doing it.  So, I like to search for recipes that eliminate both issues.  I’ve come across this 20 minute meal from Real Simple magazine.  It’s fast and it calls for summer zucchini, but most important….it’s yummy.

Let’s get to the YUM!  You will need the following ingredients:

12 oz linguine ( I opted for the whole wheat version)

2 tbsp olive oil

3 small zucchini, cut into half-moons

1 15 oz can of chickpeas (garbonzo beans), rinsed

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 tsp of crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 cup grated parmesan

kosher salt

In order, to make this truly 20 minuets get your pasta water boiling before you start chopping veggies.  Cook pasta according to package and reserve 1/4 cup of water, drain and return to pot.

Heat oil in skillet over medium heat.  Add zucchini and 1/2 tsp of salt.  Cook zucchini, tossing often until just tender, 4-5 minutes.

Add chickpeas to skillet, along with garlic and red pepper flakes.  Cook until heated through, 2-3 minutes.

Toss the pasta with the reserved pasta water and 1/4 cup of the Parmesan.  Add the zucchini mixture to the pasta.  Plate and serve.

Imagine the possibilities of this dish.  You could interchange the veggies and the beans….maybe even the style of pasta to make a new and fun version that is still seasonal, quick and yummy.  Have fun with your food, and don’t be afraid to mix it up.  Who knows what new creations you’ll discovery in your own kitchen.

Enjoy!