Tuesday, January 31, 2012

CYH's Song of the Moment: Atlas Sound - Quick Canal (w/ Laetitia Sadier)

I left the shore at 6:05am this morning and as I drove past Manhattan deep red arose in a corner of the sky. The sunrise was gorgeous as the sky filled with pink...this was the song playing in my car.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Warm Apple Steel Cut Oats Bowl

I have a confession. This morning was the first time I've ever cooked steel cut oats. Crazy, right? They've been one of the grains I just haven't played with in the kitchen yet but today I finally felt it was time! I woke up on this bitter cold January morning in need of something hearty and warm after my brisk morning walk on the treadmill, so I started throwing some flavors together and added something new into my mix - steel cut oats. Great choice. This recipe makes a generous 4 servings, so I'll be enjoying this batch for breakfast for the rest of the week! Hope you enjoy-

1 tablespoon coconut oil (or ghee, this is what I prefer for it's healing benefits, note: it's not vegan)
1 cup steel cut oatmeal
4 cups hot water
1 ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1 pinch nutmeg
¼ teaspoon cardamom
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1 cup of your favorite chopped apple (save about a 1/4 to sprinkle cooked oats before eating)
¼ cup pure 100% grade B maple syrup

¼ cup chopped walnuts (optional)

sprinkle of shredded coconut (optional)

Heat oil (or ghee) in a medium sauce pan over medium heat until melted. Add in the steel cut oats and toast until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
Stir in cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and salt. Take a deep breath in over the pan, it all smells SO good!
Add hot water, stir and bring to a boil. Cover and turn heat down to low; allow the oats to cook for 20 minutes.
Remove lid and stir in chopped apples and maple syrup. Continue cooking, uncovered for 10 minutes, or until oats reach your desired texture.
Serve in your favorite bowl and top with walnuts, some shredded coconut if you have some, a little of the fresh chopped apples and a dash of fresh ground cinnamon.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Spiced Winter Greens

Dark leafy greens grow best in cooler weather, making them in season right now. Whenever people ask me anything about "detoxing" I immediately bring up the importance of greens. Greens cleanse us from the inside out, almost like an internal rainforest. They are a sure way to cleanse our system(s). Celebrate the dark side this winter and welcome beautifully delicious greens into your kitchen! My all time favorite = kale. This simple recipe makes a good 4-6 servings.

1 bunch of dark leafy greens, hand shredded into roughly 2x2 squares
6 tablespoons coconut oil
sea salt to taste
3 teaspoons coriander seed powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric powder

Start by melting the coconut oil in a sauce pan and then add the spices, stir them until the aroma starts to come out then turn off the flame and let it sit. The consistency should be like pesto. Next steam your favorite leafy greens. When they turn a beautiful shade of even darker green they are perfect (should only take a few minutes). Scoop them out of the steam pot and put them in the ghee and spice mixture. Stir the greens into the mixture so they become coated with the spice mixture very well. Be willing to increase or decrease the amount of spices to suit your taste. Enjoy!

Turmeric is a spice used extensively in other cultures, and for good reason. It contains curcumin, a substance that actively reduces inflammation. Add to sauces, soups or marinades for added nutrition without changing much of the taste. Just use an apron, turmeric stains everything it touches including ceramic tile and even metal pots!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Baftani: Knit & Eat Valentine's Style!

I will be teaming with my two co-workers once again for a 2nd Baftani: Knit & Eat party, Valentine's Day style! Join us Saturday February 4th from 2-5pm for an afternoon of healthy foods (prepared by yours truly!), some simple yoga stretches, learn to knit the I-Cord by my talented friend, Pegah, and enjoy lovely decorations by my other creative friend, Diana! Please check out the original post for this event here, and sign up ASAP to reserve your spot.
Be sure to tell your friends! Hope to see you there-

Monday, January 9, 2012

Veggie Lasagna by Lauren

Growing up Italian, I feasted on ravioli, stuffed shells, and lasagna each and every week. However, even though I wasn't diagnosed with an intolerance to dairy until I was in my mid-teens, I can remember squeezing out the ricotta cheese, pushing it to the side and enjoying the tastes from the sauce and pasta in each dish. A part of me was just never cool with that ricotta! Either way, years later and I've created my own "ricotta cheese" alternative for this veggie lasagna. Best

part, I use brown rice noodles to make this dish not only dairy free, but gluten free! Tip: Don't tell anyone that this dish is vegan, gluten free, or healthy in anyway. I made this dish for Christmas dinner this year along side my Italian Aunt's traditional lasagna and every one of my family members (even my stubborn older Italian uncle!) insisted on trying it and were astonished at how good it was! Total hit!!


1/2 to 1 pound lasagna noodles (I love using brown rice lasagna noodles so it's gluten free!)

2 - 3 cups fresh spinach leaves chopped into bits
chopped mushrooms, carrots, broccoli or any other veggies you think would add to this dish

4 to 6 cups homemade tomato or pasta sauce of your choice (fresh is best, but if you buy jarred make sure it has little additives, no caNOla oil and is low in sodium/sugar)

"Ricotta Cheese"
1 cup raw cashews (soaked in filtered water overnight, rinsed and drained)
1 tbsp coconut oil (preferably one that has no taste)
1 tsp tahini
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp coconut milk
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
¼ tsp sea salt (or to taste)
2-3 tbsp water

2 tablespoons minced fresh basil (about 20 leaves)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
Chop spinach, mushrooms and any other veggies you're going to add. 

Place all "cheese" ingredients (except for 1 tbsp water)  in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. The "ricotta" will have a texture to it and that's ok, but blend it up as much as possible.  Add that last tbsp of water if needed.  

Cover bottom of 9 x 13-inch baking dish with a thin layer of tomato sauce, then a layer of noodles. Follow with a layer of "cheese" filling. Sprinkle spinach, mushroom (and other veggies if using), then add a layer of sauce.
Continue in the same order until all of the "cheese" filling, veggies and noodles are through. End with remaining noodles, covered by remaining tomato sauce.  Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until hot.

Serving Variations:
 Add meatless meat crumbles (such as tempeh) to your tomato sauce for more texture and body. 
This recipe is also great for making stuffed shells. To do so, stuff pasta shells with the "ricotta" from this recipe, place them in a baking dish, pour on tomato sauce and bake in a 350 degrees F oven for 20 to 30 minutes.


Monday, January 2, 2012

YogiTunes Documentary Film Review: Yoga Is

Yoga Is: A Film About The Transformational Power of Yoga
Yoga Is, is an inspiring, quick, 60-minute documentary on what yoga is all about. The filmmaker, Suzanne Bryant, found herself lost after losing her mother to breast cancer so she set out to explore and learn more about the ancient practice of yoga. Along her journey, both East & West, she met with some of the most prominent Western Yoga Gurus, teachers, and celebrity devotees such as Russell Simmons, Christy Turlington Burns, Michael Franti, Sharon Gannon, David Life, Seane Corn, Shiva Rea, Alan Finger, Ana Forrest, Baron Baptiste, Cyndi Lee, Sri Dharma Mittra, Eddie Modestini, Elise Browning Miller, Erich Schiffmann, Gurmukh, Krishna Das, Nicki Doane, Robert Thurman, Saul David Raye, Shyam Das. Through her journeying, she attained much enlightenment (as one could imagine conversing with such great teachers, in such spiritual places!).

What I loved most about this film was how much emphasis was put on yoga being SO much more than just a physical practice on a mat. I found myself jotting down memorable quotes that were so uplifting and true. When we step onto our mats to stretch our bodies, calm our minds, and deepen our breath, we are connecting ourselves to a higher power whether we realize it or not. We're connecting with the earth, grounding, and recharging ourselves. When we do this, we become clear. Yoga fulfills us from within, and shows us that we don't need external things to make us happy (as we're conditioned to believe through the media).

Of course, I loved how much footage was shown in India, the motherland of yoga. Any shots of India reminds me of my trips there and how simple yet beautiful their way of life is. Love and beauty is literally gushing out of every smile there. Simplifying and letting go is a huge part of yoga. India helped me understand this concept, allowing me to return home and practice it.

Music-wise, the tunes were right on. There was a continuous flow of awesome tracks from beginning to end and each made a perfect back drop to all that was being discussed. Check here for the complete list of songs.

A refreshing documentary on yoga for beginners, intermediate or advanced yogis to be inspired by. I give it a solid thumbs up, check it out!

Lauren is a guest blogger for YogiTunes, an organization that is committed to using the power of music to support positive social change.