A Yoga Photo Shoot

When I decided to try my hand at teaching yoga in Boston I realized I was in need of some marketing materials, after all, I did work in advertising for 10 years. So I did what any good account person would do…I enlisted the help of my most creative friends.

It started with a logo. A very talented co-worker at my old agency, Christian Haas, @chaas, created the below for me in his spare time. He captured exactly what I was envisioning, something that speaks to the playful and calming aspects of my practice. Thank you Christian and happy birthday!

Then I decided I needed a bio picture or two. I was planning a trip to NYC last weekend and figured what better backdrop for a photo shoot than Central Park? My sister’s friend Will kindly agreed to take the photos. What we thought would be a few shots turned into many. The weather was perfect and we were having so much fun we kept shooting until we ran out of light. Here’s one of the trusty lighting assistant.

And below is a sample of the photos we took.

Which do you like best?

And staying in the yoga vein, my latest article is up on MindBodyGreen today about the side effects of yoga.

Have a great weekend everyone and if you’re on the east coast, stay dry!

Vegan Corn Soup

On my walk home from the Amtrak station on Tuesday, the Copley Square farmers market was in full swing so I made a little pit stop. One of the booths was selling 6 ears of corn for $1.50. Knowing this might be the last of the summer corn, I just couldn’t resist. Plus, that’s a really good deal. ūüôā

When I got home, I tucked the corn in the fridge and thought I would use it in some salads or maybe we’d have corn on the cob sometime this week. But then I started thinking about soup.

When I lived in San Francisco, boy that sounds weird to type, I ate soup all the time. Partially because it was 58 and foggy 75% of the time but also because I worked downtown near about 5 different San Francisco Soup Companies. Like most people, my lunch hour wasn’t really an hour but more of a hurried run to the nearest restaurant to grab something quick to eat in front of my computer. Soup Co.’s southwestern corn chowder was an old standby.

It’s not exactly cool in Boston yet so I wasn’t really craving a heavy corn and potato based soup like the ones I’m so used to eating. Then I remembered reading this post about corn broth and decided to play around with building flavors in the stock and letting the corn be the star.

Vegan Corn Soup

6 ears of summer corn

8 cups water

1 red onion

1 bell pepper, I used a combination of yellow and red

1 tablespoon Earth Balance or butter

1/2 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon garlic, minced

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon salt

First husk the corn.

Then remove kernels from cob. The easiest way I’ve found to do this is to place a small bowl upside down in a larger bowl. Put the corn on the smaller bowl as a stand of sorts. Then run your knife down the cobs. The kernels will fall into the larger bowl instead of all over the counter and floor.

Once all kernels are removed, place the corn cobs and water in a large pot. Bring to a boil. Turn heat to medium high and cook for 40 mins.

Strain broth through a fine sieve. 8 cups of water made a little over 4 cups of broth.

In a pan, saute onions and peppers in Earth Balance and oil until lightly brown. I used both Earth Balance and oil because I wanted a really rich flavor but you can use one or the other if you prefer.

Add garlic, red pepper flakes and 3/4 of the corn kernels, saute for 1 minute. Reserve the rest of the kernels to use at the end.

Add corn broth to the vegetables and bring to a boil. Then simmer for 30 minutes.

Take pot off stove and using an immersion blender, blend until smooth.

Add remaining corn kernels and simmer for 5 additional minutes.

I ate mine with hot sauce and cilantro. Green onions would also be a tasty addition.

Enjoy!

New York Weekend Part 1

Hello from an Amtrak in Connecticut after a wonderful weekend.

Sarah had the a long weekend off work so I headed to New York for an extended stay on Saturday. We had such a good time. It’s always hard to leave but knowing we’ll see each other in Chicago in 4 weeks makes it easier, plus now that we’re on the same coast visits should be more plentiful.

Here’s a quick recap of our weekend.

Starting with a few pictures I snapped while on the train.  The below is from somewhere in Rhode Island.

And of course, this is a view of NYC right before you head into Penn Station.

Such a fun city. We started out with a weekend brunch with my sister’s best friend Lindsey and her mom. We went to Barbuto in the meatpacking district for cocktails and breakfast. ¬†The weather was so stunning so we sat out on their patio.

I¬†‘m actually not much of a brunch person because I don’t like eggs but I was able to find a couple of sides that were delicious. I had the saut√©ed greens and some heavenly crispy potatoes with parmesan cheese. And, thanks to my friend Kristy I have now learned how to tap and shoot on the iPhone so my food pictures should be a lot crisper. Thank you Garza!

Coffee.

After breakfast we headed to UrbanSpace which is sort of like an upscale flea market. They had lots of jewelry, clothing and food booths.

Here’s a picture of Sarah and Lindsey.

 

We walked the High Line after brunch. It’s an old freight track that they converted into a public garden. If you’re in NYC and haven’t had a chance to walk at least a little portion of it, I’d recommend it.

That’s it for now, I’ll be back tomorrow to recap the rest of our weekend, plus some more eats. And because I couldn’t resist, the photo below is one of the many that we took during our photo shoot over the weekend. ¬†Big thanks to Will Pine for spending all afternoon shooting me in various yoga poses throughout Central Park. I’ll share the other photos later this week. ¬†Check out Will’s website if you have any photography needs, he’s very talented.

Very last thing, if you didn’t get a chance to read it, my latest article is up on MindBodyGreen.

Have a great rest of your day.

 

New York City Bound

Happy weekend. ¬†I’m on my way down to New York to see my sister. She had a long weekend off from the hospital and Michael will be at work prepping for a big meeting all weekend so it seemed like the perfect time to get away.

One of the things I was most excited about when we decided to move to Boston was being so much closer to my sister. It’s only a 3.5 hour train ride from Boston to NYC and there’s no waiting in a security line or checking baggage or any of the other headaches that come with air travel. Plus, free wifi, albeit super slow so we’ll see if I can even publish this post.

We have lots of fun on tap for the weekend. ¬†Hitting up some yummy veggie restaurants, brunch with my sister’s best friend and mom, watching football, possibly some apartment hunting for Sarah and a yoga photo shoot for me.

I’ll recap everything on the train home on Tuesday but until then I’ll leave you with a recipe for a parsnip potato mash.

With Michael’s hours so crazy I’ve been making foods that will stay in the fridge for many hours between the time that I eat dinner around 8 and when he eats at 11 or 12, sometimes 1! Mashed potatoes are one of his favorites but I often can’t leave well enough alone. I bought some parsnips at the store earlier this week and thought I’d marry the two.

Garlic Parsnip Potato Mash:

If you’re not familiar with parsnips they are a root vegetable. ¬†They taste sort of like a cross between carrots and celery and tend to be fairly sweet. I like the combination of their flavor with the creaminess of potatoes.

10-12 red potatoes (I’m sure yellow potatoes would work here as well)

4 parsnips

1 tablespoon garlic, minced

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 cup unflavored almond milk (or whichever milk you prefer)

2 tablespoons Earth Balance (or regular butter if you prefer)

1/2 tablespoon salt

Wash and chop parsnips and potatoes so they are roughly the same size. Place in a pot and bring to boil.  Boil until tender. 25 minutes or so.

Drain veggies.

In a pot, over low heat, saute garlic in olive oil.  Watch the garlic really closely, it will burn quickly. A minute should be enough to get it golden brown.

Add parsnips and potatoes into the pot with the garlic. ¬†Add milk, butter and salt. ¬†Mash with a potato masher to desired consistency. ¬†I’m a fan of lumpy mashed potatoes personally.

Enjoy!

“Lisa, how ’bout some beef?”

I was never much of a meat eater before I became vegetarian. I didn’t really enjoy the taste of meat or fish or eggs for that matter. So I started cutting out meat in college after a rather horrific nightmare about cows. When I’d come home to visit, my papa would always ask the same question in his thick Hungarian accent, “Lisa, how ’bout some beef?” He never really understood how I could give it up so easily. But it felt natural to me.

As time went on I started cutting out more and more. ¬†First beef, then lamb, turkey, chicken. Pork was the long hold out but eventually it no longer appealed to me either. I’m sometimes asked if I ever crave meat and I can honestly say that I don’t. Except for one little thing.

Tuna salad sandwiches.

Maybe it’s because I have such fond memories of them. ¬†My papa made the best tuna salad! He would bring it home from his restaurant on Friday afternoons in a big tub. I remember eating spoonful straight from the container, which thinking back on it now seems sort of gross. But it symbolized the start of the weekend and the ease and freedom of our Friday night dinners.

As I’ve gotten more and more comfortable with vegetarian cuisine I’ve started experimenting with recreating my favorite meals. ¬†Today’s recipe is a spin on tuna salad sandwiches made with chickpeas and cashews. ¬†It takes a lot of liberties when compared to my father’s tuna salad but it’s still delicious in its own right.

Curried Chickpea Salad

Just a note on chickpeas and all other beans before we begin. ¬†I’ve started buying dried beans in bulk instead of in cans. ¬†They are SO much cheaper and you can control the amount you need. They also require little work.

Soak the beans in water for at least 3 hours and then rinse. Transfer to a pot and cover with water. Add salt, bring to a boil, then reduce to medium heat for 40 mins. Drain and they’re done.

If that just felt like a lot of work, canned beans work perfectly well here too ūüôā

1 cup of chickpeas

1/4 cup soaked cashews. Place cashews in a bowl covered with water for 2 hours. I’m sure almonds or walnuts would work as well but I haven’t tried either personally.

1/2 bell pepper chopped

1 rib celery, chopped

1 1/2 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1  tablespoons honey mustard (or whatever mustard you prefer)

Juice of half a lemon and a teaspoon lemon zest

1/2 tablespoon curry powder

2 tablespoon water

salt to taste

Chop veggies and zest lemon.

Using a food processor combine cashews, vinegar,  mustard, lemon juice, lemon zest, 1 tbsp water and salt,  pulse until smooth.

Add half a cup of chickpeas to the cashew mixture with second tbsp water and pulse again until smooth.

Remove cashew mixture from food processor.  Add remaining chickpeas and pulse a few times. No need to go until smooth, leave much of the texture.

Add cashew mixture and chickpeas to bowl.

Add bell peppers, celery, curry powder and more salt if needed.

Mix.

Serves 2 if you have to eat it on the tiny store-bought gluten-free bread. Here’s mine, with a side of Oprah of course.

You can also eat it more like a dip.  I had it with tortilla chips yesterday for lunch.

Enjoy!

This House is a Home

It took a week and a half but we’re just about there. We did 7 runs to recycling bins, visited 5 furniture stores, unloaded a car full of stuff to Goodwill and moved our couches 18 different times but it was worth the effort. The house finally feels like a home and it’ll be a good place to hunker down when the winter comes. Especially with the working fireplace!

Here are a few snapshots.

Kitchen:

Living room part 1:

Alternate view:

Living room part 2:

View of the river:

The living room is long and narrow so we had trouble configuring it. We didn’t want to put the dining room table under the window, which seemed like the most logical way to break up the room. I know this is not something a food blogger should admit but we don’t really use our dining room table. We eat most of our meals at our coffee table, in front of the TV. Eeek. And that window is so beautiful we thought curling up on the couch looking out on the river was a much better use of the space anyway.

Master bedroom (and Eli):

Another view:

Guest bedroom (and the lone box to be unpacked):

Improvement from the last pictures, right?

I’ll be back tomorrow with a recipe. ¬†I’m taking requests if you have anything you’d like to see made. Or a favorite recipe you’d like made vegetarian or gluten-free.

Until tomorrow, I’m off for a run and to enjoy our new home.

Vegan Gluten-Free Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

I love peanut butter cups. I mean, love, love, love. When my brother, sister and I were little we would come home from trick or treating and collectively dump all of our candy on the kitchen table. I’m not sure if the sharing thing was something our parents made us do or if we were just nice kids. ¬†I think it’s the former. Anyway, my sister and brother always went for the fruity candies first: skittles, sour patch kids, gummies of all kinds. I always went straight for the Reese’s.

To this day I still love the combination of chocolate and peanut butter. And as anyone who’s ever lived with me can attest to, I must have dessert after dinner every. single. night. Lately, that dessert has been Justin’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups.

They are heavenly. On our last trip to Whole Foods I bought an entire case! Michael just shook his head knowing full well that not one would be wasted. But, it got me to thinking…surely I could make these for cheaper on my own. If I could make them vegan and gluten-free, all the better.

So off I went this morning to Whole Foods. Yes, I’m that crazy lady on her orange scooter that must get to the grocery store before 11am so I can pick up gluten-free graham crackers before it starts raining. If you’ve ever scooted in the rain you’ll understand the urgency. No fun.

I adapted this recipe from Alicia Silverstone’s book The Kind Diet. It’s a good starter book for those beginning their vegetarian/vegan journey and gives a lot of substitutes for everyday items like butter, milk, even cookies.

To make these gluten-free I used S’moreables graham crackers in place of regular crackers. I eat them on their own or with chocolate chips (another dessert favorite) sometimes.

Vegan, Gluten-Free Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

1/2 cup earth balance (or butter if you don’t wish to make them vegan)

3/4 cup peanut butter (if you can get your hands on natural peanut butter I would recommend it)

3/4 cup of graham crackers (this came out to about 8 crushed crackers, but S’moreables are really small, I’d say 5 normal graham crackers)

1/8 cup maple syrup

1/8 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup unflavored almond milk (rice, soy, regular cow’s milk works just as well)

1 cup vegan dark chocolate chips (milk or semi sweet if that’s what you prefer)

1/4 chopped peanuts (optional)

cayenne (optional)

Sea salt

Melt butter over low heat in a sauce pan. Once melted add graham cracker crumbs, peanut butter, maple syrup and sugar. Stir until melted and smooth.  Remove from heat.

Place 2 tablespoons of mixture per cupcake wrapper. I used a regular size cupcake tin but it would work just as well with the mini tins.

Melt chocolate and milk over low heat. Stir until smooth.

Place chocolate over peanut butter mixture.

Sprinkle with a little sea salt. Add cayenne and crushed peanuts if desired.

Chill in the freezer for 2-3 hours.

Makes 12 cups.

And just because I like the juxtaposition of the healthy cilantro laying against the recipe for peanut butter cups…

Enjoy. I already have!

Weekend and Kale Salad with Miso Dressing

Happy Monday.

Hope you had a great weekend.  Ours was filled with more house stuff, some restaurant exploration and a lot of football.  Plus a little bit of cooking of course.

We spent most of Saturday furniture shopping, picture hanging and picking up the last odds and ends for the house. ¬†Our furniture is being delivered on Wednesday at which point I promise apartment pictures. ¬†We’re almost there!

We also tried out one of the many vegetarian restaurants in the city. ¬†We had an early dinner at Veggie Galaxy in Cambridge on Saturday. ¬†It has a diner atmosphere but the entire menu is vegetarian. ¬†Although everything looked wonderful, both Michael and I decided on veggie burgers. ¬†I’m on a burger kick apparently. ¬†We had their Chipotle Black Bean and Mushroom Chickpea patties, both were very tasty. ¬†I meant to take a picture but by the time I remembered I was half way through my meal.

Regardless, we did remember to snap a picture outside.  Of Michael!!  See, he does exist.

michael

On Sunday we went on an early morning run and then grabbed coffee at Thinking Cup, which ended up being this adorable coffee shop.  They had great coffee and a yummy chai latte.  Then we had breakfast at Globe.  Although it was nice sitting outside the food was just okay.

The rest of the weekend looked a lot like this.

Couch time, work and football.

What happened to the Pats?  I move here and they lose to Arizona?

Although the 49ers are looking good!

Anyway, none of the above has anything to do with kale salad except for the fact that it’s super easy to make so you won’t miss even a little of the game to make it.

Kale Salad with Miso Dressing

For the salad:

1 bunch of kale, torn and steamed

1 carrot, peeled into ribbons

1/4 cup pepitas

For the dressing:

2 tablespoons white miso

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

1/2 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 teaspoon Bragg’s liquid aminos (you can substitute soy sauce or tamari)

1/4 teaspoon garlic

Juice of half a lemon

2 1/2 tablespoon water

pinch of sugar

Wash, tear and steam kale.  If you prefer raw kale just wash and tear into a big bowl.

kale

Peel carrot into ribbons, add to bowl.

Mix all dressing ingredients in a separate bowl with a fork.  Add water last.  Depending on how much juice your lemon has you may not need the full 2 1/2 tablespoons.

Toss dressing with salad.  If you are using raw kale be sure to massage the dressing into your kale.  You should use your hands to work it in well.

Add pepitas.

Serves 2.

Enjoy!

Southwestern Quinoa Salad

Happy Friday all. ¬†I was watching the news this morning and noticed that the meteorologist puts a Pats logo on the Sundays when the Patriots play at home on the 7-day forecast. In California they limit the use of ‘weather icons’ to things like St. Patrick’s Day and 4th of July. ¬†I guess I have some things to learn about Patriots mania. ¬†Amazing.

Speaking of amazing check out the kale I got at the farmers market this morning.  Along with other goods.

I also spent some time at the Boston Public Library getting my new library card.

For those of you with kindles or ipads, you must, must get a library card and check it out. ¬†You can download e-books for free in seconds. ¬†I’ve never read so much in my life. ¬†San Francisco and Boston both have the service so I imagine it’s fairly common.

Anyway, I’m sure you’re not here to listen to me ramble about weather and library cards. (Or maybe you are, hi mom!).

So as promised, a recipe.

Southwestern Quinoa Salad

I took yesterday’s quinoa and made a delicious salad today. ¬†Which is another beautiful thing about quinoa, it stays for a few days in the fridge. ¬†Just make sure to put it in a covered dish so it doesn’t dry out, and fluff with a fork when you’re ready to use it again. ¬†When Michael and I were both working full-time I would make a big batch on Sundays and we’d keep it the fridge for easy lunches or dinners throughout the week.

For the salad:

3 cups of perfect quinoa

1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed

1 ear of corn, you can also substitute a cup of frozen corn if it isn’t in season

1 pint of cherry tomatoes

Optional: hot sauce, avocado, cilantro and green onions (we’re divided on cilantro in this house so I usually add it at the end just to mine)

For the dressing:

Juice of one lime

1/2 tablespoon chili powder

1/2 tablespoon of cumin

1 teaspoon fresh minced garlic

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar, white wine vinegar would also work but add a few pinches of sugar if you substitute

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon water

Add quinoa and drained black beans to a big bowl.

Boil corn if using fresh.  Once cool, cut kernels from the cob and add to bowl.

Halve cherry tomatoes.  Add hot sauce, avocado, cilantro and onions if using.

Mix all dressing ingredients together in a separate bowl.

Add dressing to quinoa mixture.  Toss.

You can serve right away but the salad will also be good once the dressing has had a chance to merry with the quinoa so leftovers may be even tastier.

Hope you all have a great weekend.