Eggplant Rollatini with Vegan Ricotta

Vegan Ricotta: (from The Vegan’s Club)

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1 cup almonds

14 oz tofu

1/2 tsp salt

4 tbsp Nutritional Yeast

1/2 tbsp garlic powder

1/2 tbsp onion powder

1/4 tsp pepper

1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk

1. Boil water in a small sauce pan

2. once water is boiling, put almonds in the boiling water for 2 minutes

3. Drain the tofu and squeeze/pat most of the water out

4. Drain and rinse the boiled almonds in cold water

5. Put almonds in a kitchen cloth and peel skin off the almonds.

6. Place the skinned almonds, tofu, almond milk, & spices in a food processor or blender and blend until relatively smooth.

Eggplant Rollatini:

1 large eggplant or 2 small, sliced 1/4 in. thick, length wise

3 cups spinach, wilted.

1/2 cus Quick Delicious Tomato Sauce

Tomatoes, sliced (optional)

Vegan Ricotta (see above) - recipe above will give you quite a bit of extra, keep it in mind for meal planning!

Vegan Mozzarella for top of rollatini for baking.

Basil

Quick Delicious Tomato Sauce:

1 can tomato sauce

1 tbsp tomato paste

1/8 cup water

basil

small tomatoes (optional) 

place all  ingredients in small sauce pan and bring to boil, use immediately

Instructions:

1 Preheat the over to 350 degrees

2 Make the ricotta.

3. Put the eggplant on a large pan on the stove and cook both sides briefly until eggplant is soft.

4. Once eggplant is finished, take spinach and rinse, toss spinach onto the hot pan until wilted (apx 1-2 min)

5. Begin “stuffing” the eggplant: 

Spread sauce or vegan pesto (I bought this at Trader Joes) lightly on one side of the eggplant.  

Place a dollop of the the tofu ricotta on the wider side of the cooked eggplant along with a little spinach and maybe some small tomato slices & roll.

6. Place the Rolled eggplant in a baking dish & bake at 350 for 7-10 minutes

7. remove from oven and pour the extra tomato sauce on top, optional: add “cheese” lightly on top: vegan mozzarella (trader joes block or almond shredded mozzarella)   

8. Place the oven on Broil and broil for apx 5 minutes until the cheese is browned.

9. Sprinkle with Basil & serve! 

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I Practice today so I can practice tomorrow

For those of you in class this week you heard me ramble on about “practice” and it could have been one of those “screw you Heather Moments” that we have… but I ask you to consider this quote and the evolution of how it may begin to resonate with you and that change.

When I first read this… I practice today so I can practice tomorrow… I thought, yes! keep my body in motion, I practice and allow that evolution of my practice to become “tomorrow’s practice”.  That a practice is ever-changing! And I practice today to continue that practice. So that when I am older and my body ages, that practice remains! You know...! So that when I’m 95 I’m doing a handstand and practicing a split! 

BUT! Then I started to repeat that quote and the evolution began.... as it gave me excitement for my tomorrow’s practice I realized how much MORE that really meant.  A practice is more than physical, (and if its not for you today - it may be tomorrow), because its about the alignment and the trust that builds between the mind, body and heart in your practice.  And at the end of every class, you make that motion after savasana to MOVE your practice OFF of your mat and into the world! Because you and your intention and your energetic body - you just aligned! You just aligned the body to speak to the heart and the heart to speak to your mind and the mind to speak to your body. You just faced intensity and relaxation at the same time, you just faced discomfort and instead of backing away, you listened to your body, you controlled your body with your breath and you GOT THROUGH IT.  And heck! You may have set an intention while you were there and that intention evolves - with your practice - with your life.  

Imagine your practice walks with you… not back on a 2.5’ x 6’ foam pad!!! Move with your breath, set an intention for gratitude so that when all else fails, you still can pay gratitude to SOMEthing… your body, your breath, your feet, your hands, your surroundings.  When you practice moving with your breath, creating space with your breath. When all else fails, you have your breath.  To be mindful of, to create patience with, to come back to YOU and how YOU feel and what you WANT.  Your practice is so so so much more than just being a nimble 95 year old… you practice patience and gratitude today so that if ever it feels like all else fails…. oh wait…. you’ve practiced this… I am……..“Gratitude” “Patience” “Trust” “Whole-hearted” “Health” “Fulfilled” “Honest” “Forgiving”

You practice today so you practice tomorrow.

The Confines of our mat

So last night... we experimented with rolling our mats up and practicing...an experiment that some may have hesitated and had one of those "screw you Heather" moments.  But its a different sensation to practice without a mat.  A sense of fear and instability sets in that one might fall, slip, lose alignment.  

Would taking the mat away become a sense of freedom? That yoga isn't just front to back that it can be one giant circle? That there are no limits. But you see it and we all do it - if we end up too far away from the top of our mats to step back, we step forward and re-adjust.

Or would taking the mat away lost a sense of confidence & comfort? That there are no more boundaries, no telling where you are or where to go next because there is no front, back nor edges to your practice. 

Is there something to be said about a mat and its confinement? Or is it a space signifying a place of security, "home", a place to be fully self-aware.  So when we roll off of our mat at the end of class and place our hand on the floor, we take a moment to recognize the physical different of the confines of our mat and we begin to take our practice into the world. 

Ch-ch-ch-changes

“Change” a strong word.  Many associate the word with political campaigns, and pending on that may feel empowerment, freedom, resentment, disappointment… Change.  A scary word when it comes out of the macro-fields and into our micro-worlds we live in.  Change, uncertainty, unknowing, fearful.

Most change we cannot anticipate.  We jump into uncharted waters, where no two paths equal.  Change is approached with force, by the self or by its exhibitioners. Where no one really knows what will happen. they just know this will be different.  And maybe that difference is temporary.  But if or when you return, you will undoubtedly be a different person than you were before.  

“He that will not apply new remedies must expect new evils, for time is the greatest inhibitor.” 

- Sir Francis Bacon.

Time forces change to occur.  That lives unravel and realign, together or apart, but no two are the same.  But if we force change to not occur, we find that everything in our world becomes different - “evil”.  

This week, I want you to think about time.  Is it a friend or foe? When time brings change, can you embrace the push to the future and the pull of the past as life?  

 

My thoughts on this matter… maybe time doesn't change us. It unravels us.  By the ways we deal with changes in our lives, every time we learn something more.  We learn one more thing about ourselves that makes us who we are, who we’ve become, who we’ve really been all along.  But in order to do this, we must learn to listen.  To shed our ego (our mind) and ask for directions from our guide (our hearts), who guides us with the light of our true selves.  We begin to change who we once were, and become who we’ve been all along. 

But when our minds and time collide, we are trained to close our eyes and run in hopes that change will not occur, and time will not change us.  

My question for you: Are you fighting time, instead of enjoying it?

Ho'oponopono

Thank you. I love you. I forgive you. I'm sorry.

Ho'oponopono is an ancient Hawaiian practice of reconciliation and forgiveness. Taught by many healers in all different times.  Some healers taught it to heal the mind, others to initiate self-healing and self-forgiveness.  But oddly enough, one healer in particular, was not telling those who needed the healing to repeat this wording… he was saying it to himself.  And through the power of his thoughts and his new outlook, brought him a healing power people without even being in their presence.  Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len worked with psychiatric prisoners, none of which he actually met with.  He would examine the chart of the prisoners and look within himself to see how he created this person’s illness - as he improved himself, the patient then improved.

Dr. Len’s story is a frightening realization that we not only have control over our lives, but if we are so grounded in ourselves, we can heal others.  Many times we talk about grounding in class. 

Within the meaning of this mantra, lies the significance of self-worth, self-healing and the complete and utter power to control your world and all that is around you.  The Secret, a very popular book and soon to be movie, lies the secret of a happy life, to envision, to believe, to have no doubts, that what you truly and deeply want, in that present moment can be, if you are present. 

 

Ho’oponopono - Thank you. I love you. I forgive you. I’m sorry.

Repetitively saying this mantra, when life gets just a little off track.  When that person in your life that you WANT to care so deeply for just puts you down…again. When your job that you thought you would LOVE you hate and resent it.  When you’re anxious and scared. When you’re angry with yourself.  

 

Thank you….

      Because you only want what’s best for me.

      Because you have once made me happy. and you will again.

      Because you care, like no one else cares.

      

I love you…

     I do.

     Because you are my passion, my purpose.

     Because loving YOURSELF is the. most. important. part.

     Because you are beautiful. Inside and out.

 

I forgive you….

     You don’t mean to say what you’re saying in the way that you’re saying it.

     You never meant to hurt me.

     You are teaching me to live my life, by the rules of me.

 

I’m sorry….

     I was angry. 

     I never should have doubted you.

     It was no ones true intention.

 

Breathing in, and out, repeat: Ho’oponopono, Thank you, I love you, I forgive you, I’m sorry.

To bring you in to the present moment, to not search for faults and hurts and regrets and change.  To accept this situation, this day, week, month, year, years…as it is.  Nothing less, nothing more.  And when you come to terms with that, you have the ability to be that much happier.

This week's theme: Yeah...life's "unfair"

We find that our world tends to have a way of competition, of jealousy, of perfection - and striving for such.  We find undeserving people receiving undeserving praise.  Like that guy at work getting promoted for an idea he didn't think of, or the homecoming of an estranged friend that suddenly gets a party thrown in their honor, or the tragedy of the word "inheritance" and the unfathomable things money does to people.  But who are we to claim these things as unfair? As the receiving person may consider it just that.... fair.

We hear many times people say, "life's not fair".  But could we allow ourselves to believe that unfair is only deemed "unfair" when seen through the eyes of the beholder?  

When the person next to you in yoga class goes into a handstand for their first try, and you, you've been practicing for years and almost have lifted your leg... well in the eyes of the beholder that can be seen in many different ways:

Jealous.  Unfair.  

But what about excited? proud? What about actually putting yourself in that persons' mind for just that one moment and taking yourself out of yours....wouldn't you be happy? When the undeserving co-worker gets his raise...if you were them.... you'd be happy too, wouldn't you? Happiness is not something to strive for... its the ULTIMATE goal.. but a broad word to set as an everyday intention as happiness is an everyday emotion, but its the ULTIMATE glory we strive for.  So I ask you to set an intention this week to take yourself out of you... and put yourself (for a moment) in someone else's shoes.  Maybe we begin to be inspired to stay in the moment, maybe we aim to separate ourselves from the "if that were me..."s and the "But I did...."s and maybe just by living in someone else's perspective we can be happier living in our own.

Maybe?

Shaved Butternut & Carrot Salad w/ Dates & Sunflower Seeds

Sent by the wonderful Tuyet!

2 Tbl White Balsamic Vinegar

1 tsp whole-grain Mustard

2 tsp minced shallot (1 shallot)

Salt & fresh ground pepper

3 Tbl Extra Virgin Olive-Oil

4 oz Butternut Squash (1 squash peeled)

3 small carrots, peeled

2 oz dates, thinly sliced (apx 1/2 cup)

1/4 cup roasted, salted sunflower seeds

4 oz baby arugula

 

 

1. Combine first 4 ingredients in a small bowl, pour oil in slowly, steady stream and whisk constantly.

2. Using a mandolin or vegetable peeler, shave squash & carrots into a large bowl.

3. Add dates, seeds and arugula. Toss.

4. Serve Immediately

The greatest gift of all

You can choose to love or hate the holidays.

The gearing up and the stress of gift giving and parties to attend and what to wear and who is going and what to bring.  

But its the time of year that you get to dwell on what someone else wants, what might make someone else smile when they open their gift.  If we didn't have this time of year, how much we might miss about knowing our friends and families' wants and wishes and desires.  The time of year we get to step out of our own and think WHAT in the WORLD would my mother want... what does she need... what would make HER happy.

And sometimes we get wrapped up in the costs! And retailers all over the world take this time of year and run with it. But they're right, right? When ELSE other than Christmas does everyone stop - get out of their shoes for a moment - and think about what to buy someone else.

I mean it's kind of beautiful in a sense.

What if... you made a gift for every person you care for? Yes.. you get them their Uggs and their jackets.  But what if we all stopped and took a look at your life intertwined with that person and MADE them a gift? Something you can share... 

Gifts made are those gifts that stick around. Every mom still has ONE colored noodle necklace made by... yours truly :) 

At the beginning of the holiday season, my friends at Lulu Lemon challenged me to give presence this year.  And I CONFESS - I still email in public... but I bring attention to the fact I am doing it, and that's got to be Step 1 in my 10-step CPAA (Cell Phone Addict Anonymous).  Giving presence isn't just about putting away your phone. Its about being in the "right now" and finding love in every minute of it.  Breathing in deeply when you smell that tree, and pulling over on the side of the road when you see that colorful flashing house! Wishing someone else Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas. Giving your time to thinking and being with someone else.

This season - can you step back and commend yourself for thinking of others before yourself?  Can you give your presence - maybe by making a gift or visiting an old friend, instead of walking around a shop..or looking for the best deal online... can you give someone else the most precious gift you've ever been given? Your time.

PUMPKIN SQUARES!!!!

These are my fav! It came from a kinda grossly unhealthy recipe and a good friend deciding to make muffins into bars! 

Picture to come....

 

Pumpkin Squares

2.5 C GF Flour OR 1.75 C GF Flour and 1.75 C Oats

1 C Agave or .75 Local Honey

2 tsp baking soda

4 tsp cinnamon

.5 teaspoon ground cloves

.5 tsp nutmeg

4 Tbs flax + 12 Tbs hot water (put in separate cup)

2 cans pumpkin 

1/2 cup coconut oil

1 cup dark chocolate chips (just tried these AWESOME vegan chocolate chips - highly recommend!)

 

Preheat the oven to 375

Mix together dry ingredients 

Whisk together pumpkin, coconut oil, agave and flax eggs

Mix all together and pour into a large greased brownie sheet 

 

And VUALA! Perfect for the holidays or a great breakfast snack!!

** Not looking for so much flour?? the less flour the more fudge - a little crumbly to get out of the pan but still - amazing!

 

 

Its starting to feel like the Holidays

After skiing this weekend.... and seeing snow again! We're even seeing Christmas Decorations in Target!?!?

So first things first...Thanksgiving! As you all know the trouble of Thanksgiving... marking the first feasts of the season! Well I find it harder and harder each year to disguise the things I can eat as foods for everyone! So as I told my Barre class Monday... I do promise I will get you the wild rice recipes! I just have a few options to try first ;)

Starting off though, I'll play around with some breads...

Apple Raisin Bread - went pretty fast - not as fast as the Pumpkin Squares, but I'll get to that too!

Gosh! I truly apologize for taking so long to write in...

I took a muffin recipe with some modifications, but doubled the recipe as you will be entertaining (and for right now, Alex and I would be sharing them with his roommates and my parents (who I like to call my roomies) to get the most reactions).

Apple Raisin Squares

2 Flax Eggs (2 Tablespoons flax, w/ 6 Tablespoons warm water, let them sit in the bowl for a little bit) - mayyybeee though you can ALWAYS use 2 real eggs

1 3/4 cups Almond Milk (or any type of Dairy)

1.5 cups Raisins (I'm a big fan of the jumbo mixed raisins that Trader Joe's sells)

1 large chopped apple (peeled and cored) or 2 small apples

1 banana

1/3 cup Coconut Oil

1/3 cup Agave Nectar

1 Cup All Purpose GF Flour

1 Cup Coconut Flour

2 cups Oats

6 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoon nutmeg

4 teaspoons Cinnamon

you could add chopped walnuts if you wanted to :)

Instructions

Set the oven to 400 degrees

In one bowl, allow the flax to mold together to form the egg, stirring a little bit (or whisking your egg).  Add the wet ingredients and then mix in the dry ingredients.  Grease the baking dish and pour into the dish. Cooking for about 20 - 25 minutes.

And serve! 


Getting ready for the annual cookouts

In New England, the 4th of July is a special time of year! When the weather is finally warm and we attend our annual cook-outs, fireworks displays and parades - a lot of tradition goes in to this holiday.

It's also a creative time of year, to put away the oven mits and find food to bring that requires no heat!  This year, like every year, I try to find something with Blueberries and Strawberries - easy to make the dessert festive!

Berry Coconut Tart

I call it a tart because it looks like one.... but its more like a cream pie ;)

Preparing...

  1. Take coconut cream out of the can and place it in a cup, cover it and place it in the fridge for 3-4 hours.
  2. Soak almonds in water 
  3. optional: soak dates in water for a few minutes before running through the food processor.

For the crust...

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  1. 10 - 12 Dates
  2. 1 1/2 C Almonds
  3. 1/4 water
  4. 1/4 Flax Seed

Run the dates and the almonds through a food processor.  Then pulse in the flax seen and mix in the water.  Line a pie dish with a little coconut oil for non-stick and pour in the dough-y mix.  It should come out forming a ball.  PRESS the doughy ball into the pie dish and freeze the crust. 

For the filling...

  1. 1 can of coconut cream
  2. 1/4 C almond/coconut milk
  3. 1/8 C Agave Nectar
  4. optional: a dash of coconut flakes (unsweetened)

Whisk the coconut cream and almost milk, then add the Agave and coconut flakes getting all the clumps of the coconut cream out, forming a smooth filling.  Pour over the frozen crust

Toppers!

Fresh strawberries and blueberries, or make it your own and add some black berries! If you're celebrating the 4th of July (like myself) maybe create a red, white and blue flag!  My sister pointed out that I could have easily created a normal american flag, but I felt bad that some people may not get blueberries!  Also a great dessert for any regular cookout to totally fool those cynics who believe that food is not good if there's no cream or cheese.

Nutty Chewy Granola Bars

Ever gone to a restaurant and promised yourself you're going to make what you ordered at home.  Those words, "I could make this" or "this is easy to make" falling out of your mouth?  And then you come home only to find there is no recipe online for those homemade muffins at the 'Big Bean' in Newmarket, NH?

And so I introduce....

 Nutty Chewy Granola Bars

Nutty Chewy Granola Bars

Mix Up:

3/4 C Mixed dried fruit (from Trader Joe's) or Dates  

1/2 C (be generous) Natural Nut Butter (I used half Almond and half Peanut Butter)

3/8 C Agave Nectar

 

Mix In:

1/3 C Flax seed

1/2 C chopped nuts (I used cashews) 

1 1/3 C Oats (make it Gluten free by using GF oats)

1/2 C Unsweetened Coconut

1/2 C Dried Raisins/Craisins/Chocolate Chips - make it yours!

 

1.  Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

2. Put the Dried mixed fruit/Dates through a food processor to make a thick base.  (I washed my mixed fruit first to give it a little more give and stick to them before I put them through the food processor)

3. Add the "Mix up" ingredients to the dried fruit mix.

4.  Once mixed, add the "Mix in" ingredients. 

5.  Pour onto a baking pan and PRESS PRESS PRESS down on the mixture!

6.  Bake for 45 minutes to an hour or until the edges turn brown.  

7.  When they're done, wait until cool to cut, the heat will make them fall apart.

Enjoy!!

Opening Day

Power yoga, Yoga for Athletes and Tai Chi! All in fun and games :) 

Thank you to the amazing people who came today to explore and see the new Yoga Room! You are all so supportive and I cannot wait to share more with all of you!!  

For those interested in the 8-week session of Tai Chi on Monday evenings, the session begins next week, going 8-weeks with no class August 4th!

 

Let the free week of classes continue! 

Yogi on...