yoga moves ~ extended side angle

Extended Side Angle Pose (Utthita Parsvakonasana)

One of my favorite asanas is this standing pose – extended side angle.  Standing poses are helpful in strength, alignment, agility and they help your circulatory and digestive systems function more effectively.  Standing poses help bring awareness to your posture.

Lisa Johnson from Energies Balanced

Catherine’s version of the pose. I need some work here, but it still is one of my favorite stretches.

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dig in … for a change

So it’s been 19 days since my last post, ‘what gives‘ you might ask? Well since this is a blog about my exploration of health and wellness, and it includes the good, the bad and the ugly, I will tell you what’s been going on.

Over the last two months I’ve been experiencing some changes to my nest, and I don’t know about you, but change sends me into a place where I should pay MORE attention to my overall health and wellness. Change in one area of my life usually has a ripple effect on the other areas – exercise, my food choices, sleep patterns and the list goes on. Well these last couple of months I haven’t been exercising, I definitely have been eating way too much fat and sugar (and boy have I seen the ugly side of sugar) and my sleep has been effected. Change if I’m not careful (and I haven’t been) digs into the things I love like cooking, writing and living life to its fullest.

I have been shooting pictures and documenting the organic garden (a new blog on the garden will be out in a couple days) as well as documenting the food I have managed to cook lately. It’s important to focus on the positives – what I have been doing vs. the negatives – what I haven’t been doing.

So I leave you with these beautiful images to enjoy, and these few thoughts:

  • There’s never a better time than today to make a change.
  • Change happens one step at a time.
  • So what if you’ve fallen off the bike, pick yourself up (check for broken bones) then get right back on there because today is a new day!

The Spanish Steps in April, Rome Italy 2010

 

 

 

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yoga moves ~ warrior 2

Warrior 2 Pose (Virabhadrasana)

This asana has a number of important benefits. Warrior 2 strengthens and stretches the legs, ankles, groin, chest, shoulders and lungs. It stimulates the abdominal organs and increases stamina. And it is a said to be a good pose for osteoporosis. With all these benefits, why not add warrior 2 to your daily yoga practice? Below you can see the full expression of the pose by Lisa Johnson of Energies Balanced, and below that you can compare it to my pose.

My stance should be wider (my back leg should extend farther behind me, bringing my torso closer to the ground).  My right foot is turned inward too much, and should be at a right angle to my stance.  My gaze is proper and my arms are in pretty good alignment.  What I love about yoga is that even if my pose is not the full expression yet, I still reap great benefits. I hope you find these monthly yoga moves segments helpful. Let me know if you like them. If not, let me know how they can be improved.

 

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spring has sprung

My favorite season has arrived in Austin and the birds, the buds and and the bees are in full swing, and I LOVE it.  I haven’t been in the kitchen for over two weeks – well that’s an exaggeration. I have been in the kitchen, just not cooking. With a recent lifestyle change I’m readjusting daily rituals, but things are starting to find their place so I hope to be back to cooking and back to the blog with more regularity.

Patrick and I bought our home in March of 2007, and from the first time I saw the front yard – in all its southernly sunshine glory – I began dreaming of putting in an organic vegetable garden.  Of course that meant we had to rip up the Asiatic Jasmine in the front of the yard. The Jasmine is like a 10″ shag carpet, and well that’s what has put us off this job for 4 years.  Until now! With the temperatures this week dipping back into the 70s (it’s been in the low 90s already) the iron is hot for striking.

Today we started by pulling up about a 3 foot swath of the menacing ground cover, but you can see how far we have to go. If we can just make it to this side of the Crape Myrtle I would be more than thrilled.  Once we pull up the mat of Jasmine, then we’ll till the soil to loosen the remaining vines and their roots. But I’m getting ahead of myself, and this process will be documented on the blog so you can follow along with us.  Feel free to send me tips, or the names of your favorite seeds as I look forward to sharing this experience with you.  And the most important thing about this garden is that is will supply Patrick and I with luscious organic food to transform into recipes to share with you. So in the end the garden is a benefit for you!

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sunday brunch

Last Sunday I enjoyed someone else’s cooking. I went to Central Market for a cooking class and brunch with Gabrielle Hamilton owner and chef of Prune, a 30-seat bistro in lower Manhattan. Gabrielle has also just written a peeled back, honest memoir of how she’s made an 11-year success in the restaurant business in New York ~ and more revealing how she survived getting there. I highly recommend Blood, Bones and Butter, you won’t be able to put it down.

The brunch menu included a number of Prune’s all time favorites. To taste these items you’ll have to take a class from Gabrielle, or better yet visit Prune. She is currently on a 19-city book tour, so you may still have time to see her.  I will tantalize you with the class menu, and share my own granola recipe which is similar to what they make at Prune. My recipe is an adaptation of one my oldest sister gave me years ago.

Sunday Brunch Menu

  • Bloody Mary Mix (this was virgin & for those who wanted, a beer chaser was offered)
  • Butter Crumbled Eggs with spicy chick peas, olive butter & smoked okra – Rick’s Picks smokra (I made this today for me and Patrick!)
  • Cocotte
  • Dutch Apple Pancake
  • Granola

My granola recipe:

  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup local honey
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
  • 3 cups organic rolled oats
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (this is a Prune inspired addition)
  • 1 1/2 cups of dried fruit ( I use dried cranberries and currants)

Preheat oven to 325 F

In a saucepan over medium heat, stir the oil, honey and syrup (Tip ~ measure oil first. This helps the sticky honey and syrup pour out of measuring cup easily.)  In a separate bowl toss together the remaining ingredients, and pour warmed syrup mixture over dry ingredients. Mix well until all ingredients are coated. Spread evenly in large baking dish, and bake until a dark golden brown for 35 minutes (stir several times while baking to ensure even browning). Cool, and mix in dried fruit.

Cat and Gabrielle, 2011 by unknown class participant

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oh what fun we had!

Last Sunday I launched my first cooking class for Cook With a View in my home kitchen to a full house of seven students. We filled our heads with new recipes and cooking tips, filled our bellies with platefuls of beans and grains and filled the air with continuous laughter. I can’t thank all of these women enough for spending their Sunday with me and gracing my kitchen.

I felt like a comedian on stage trying out new material. It was less scary than I thought it would be, but I wasn’t staring into a black smoke filled room of people who were waiting to pounce if I didn’t meet their expectations. I learned so much about pacing, the necessity of practicing (a new phenomenon to me since I like the thrill of flying by the seat of my pants), the value of a sous chef, and how to sleep when its all over so I don’t take my tired thoughts too seriously.  I feel like the class was a huge success and I received the kind of feedback I really needed and wanted – honest praise and suggestions. Also a huge thank you goes to Paige Thurgood my sous chef and class photographer. Without her help this class could not have been possible.

So this leads me to invite any of you on the fence about taking a class to consider the next class on March 18 from 6:30 – 9:30 pm. I will help students learn how to build a whole foods pantry; one that can support healthy food preparation. Check out the information on the classes and events tab of the website.  More classes will be added soon. Look for a healthy Mexican food class in early April.

With the success of this first class I would like to introduce the following new offerings ~ frequent cooker cards and one-on-one classes. The frequent cooker card is available to students who take group classes. After taking 5 of my classes you receive the 6th class free.  In addition to this incentive card, I am offering one-on-one cooking classes for students who want more in depth instruction for general or specific cooking ~ we will work together to tailor this instruction to your needs.  Students who have taken group classes with me are offered a discounted rate for one-on-one classes. Please contact at me catherine@cookwithaview for pricing and other information.

~cheers, cat

 

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yoga moves ~ triangle pose

For March’s yoga moves, Lisa Johnson of Energies Balanced makes this pose look easy. Lisa’s torso is active, moving upwards and sideways. It is not collapsing down on itself. Her arm is energetic and reaching skyward while she looks up at her hand. Her legs are straight and pushing down.

Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)

In this photo I am using a block as a prop for my right hand to help me reach the ground. This prop helps my right side from collapsing. You can see between the photos of  Lisa and I that areas for me to to work on are extending my left arm, and torso.

A great way to understand your own body mechanics is to ask someone to take photos of you in different yoga poses, as we have done here, and compare them to the images of Lisa on this blog, or other yoga publications.

Either practice this pose by itself each day this month, or add it to a continued practice of down dog.

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Gallery

Hatch green chile biscuits

This gallery contains 3 photos.

These green chile biscuits were out of this world tasty, but I had to share them with neighbors so I wouldn’t eat the whole batch. The end of the summer marks an important time in the life of small town … Continue reading

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San Antonio ~ food and friends

The last weekend in January I traveled down to San Antonio to spend some time with my girlfriend Sarita who moved there with her husband three years ago. I met up with Sarita Saturday morning at the Pearl Brewery District – an urban revitalization project that is sublime foodie heaven.

One of the new kids on the block in the district is the CIA, San Antonio (Culinary Institute of America), and is one of only four in the country. It is a great anchor for this burgeoning urban center.

On Saturdays a crowd comes in for the Farmers Market. The market is filled with some of the most beautiful produce I’ve seen anywhere, and I am pretty spoiled by the produce at Austin’s Whole Foods and Central Market stores. I’ve heard from friends that several San Antonio chefs are exclusively buying produce for their restaurants from this market and I can see why.

The district is also home to some very nice retail and businesses including an Aveda School Salon, clothing boutiques, restaurants, The San Antonio Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and a beautiful culinary store Tienda De Cocina owned by cookbook author Melissa Guerra.

I love this little bug netting from Tienda de Cocina that you place over the top of a pitcher ~ brilliant idea for outdoor dinning ~ it has decorative little weights on the edges that keep it from flying away in the wind. I absolutely loved this etched glassware. It’s pricey, but completely worth it for entertaining. I know I’ll be back for this.

And Sarita had her eye on this table runner we saw in a women’s clothing store around the corner.

After a couple hours of shopping and strolling the riverwalk, we headed back to Sarita’s for lunch, made from the beautiful foods we collected at the market, before I headed home to Austin. I took a bunch of photos…I hope you enjoy them.

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Gallery

winter citrus salad

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Citrus season is nature working at her best. What timing – to have citrus in season and in stores in the winter months just when cold and flu season are in full swing – well at least in the northern … Continue reading

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