Yogohana: Yoga Community

My friend Tiffany, who I met through Sweatpink SF, invited me to an event called  “Yogohana.” I was not sure what to expect, but I left feeling connected, calm, and excited for the next Yogohana meet up.

If you’ve seen “Lilo & Stitch” you know “Ohana means family” (if you haven’t seen it, stop what you’re doing and please go watch it). After walking into the event, we were given glow bracelets and necklaces to wear. There was a nice crowd and great music going while everyone munched on snacks and drank while chatting. The lighting was low and the atmosphere was like a health-focused introverted extravert’s dream come to life. We were all connected through a love, or curiosity, for yoga or social connection.

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We were able to greet our neighbors before moving into the main sequences of the class. The low lights, music, and floating rings of light resting on limbs as we moved through Warrior II and adho mukha shvanasana (downward-facing dog) created an almost magical ambiance.

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My favorite part of the class was the amazing partner stretch sequence. I forget the power of touch–even with a stranger–and how wonderful it can be. I stretched with my fellow SweatPink SF blogger, Tiffany. With some moves we mutually supported each other, we laughed throughout some, and at points we acknowledged our own weaknesses and took a break to respect where we were physically. It was all about communication and tuning into your own body.

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Disregard my concerned expression—this is my “resting” face

After stretching we also had a wonderful mini dance series, which was followed by savasana. Afterwards, we all hung out and chatted, talked about the fitness scene in the bay area, and enjoyed the provided refreshments. I can’t wait until the next monthly event to meet new people, get deeper in my stretches, and let loose a little more bit more while I dance.

Be sure to check out the  Yogohana meet-up happening November 18 if you are in the Bay Area!

Ted Talk Friday: The Psychology of Your Future Self

Dr. Dan Gilbert is one of my favorite Positive Psychology researchers; this short talk is so engaging and fascinating. I think it is so fascinating how greatly we underestimate how much we will change during the next decade. This talk really provokes me to think about how this underestimation will impact my lived experience–from what I do to where I live. Even with this knowledge, I’m sure I will still underestimate the amount of change that will occur in the next years; while this might be a negative feature, I think it also serves to protect our sense of self.

 

 

 

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Do you agree with Dr. Gilbert? Do you expect to change within the next year? 10 years?

Gratitude in Action

We talk so much about gratitude; usually we talk about expressing gratitude, but it often revolves around reflection–or events in the past we now feel grateful for.

But what about the gratitude of the NOW? Of the present moment?

I had a surreal day where I made a particular effort to be mindful of my gratitude in the moment, and it truly enriched my experience. Living in California has been both the scariest change and this biggest blessing in my life. I had the chance to go horseback riding along a beach trail and every moment felt like a magical gift.

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I love horses. Sure, they smell and there are more flies, but these are wise animals. I feel a strange sense of security and calm when riding. It was a quiet, peaceful ride along near the beach, through a woodsy trail, culminating at a pristine beach.

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We had to leave our phones behind (a wonderful exercise for living in the present) so while we couldn’t take great selfies, we could fully embrace the beauty and experience. I felt so calm, centered, and fulfilled afterwards and will continue to seek out experiences that force me out of my routine, cut me off from technology, and let me immerse myself in deep gratitude.

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Do you practice gratitude in the now?

Herb Infused Stuffed Squash

I recently received garlic herb Miracle Noodles and I was dying to use them in a fall inspired dish. I had a delicata squash to use and after I had such success with my last stuffed squash dish, I couldn’t resist running with this variation.

This screams comfort food to me; it’s a hearty blend of fall flavors, herbs, and garlic. I always love cooking and the inspiration struck me around 8pm after I had already made dinner so it became two days of lunches. This is also surprisingly budget friendly–a perk of eating seasonally that goes beyond the environmental benefits! (Delicata squash are only $.99 at Trader Joe’s!)

Ingredients:

1 delicata squash

1 tbsp canned pumpkin

1 tbsp broth

1 tsp coconut oil

1 tsp amore foods garlic paste

1 bag garlic herb miracle noodles

1 small bunch green onions

1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped

Directions:

1) Puncture delicata squash skin with a fork and cook in microwave on high for 4 minutes.

2) While the squash is cooking, prepare Miracle Noodles according to directions on the bag.

3) Heat coconut oil in a small skillet on the stove and briefly sauté green onions and mushrooms until tender.

4) In a separate bowl, mix pumpkin, broth, and garlic paste.

5) Add the pumpkin mix to the stir fried veggies and noodles and mix well.

6) Carefully remove the squash from the microwave and cut open (watch for the steam that will come out), then de-seed the squash with a fork.

7) Set seeds aside for roasting if you want–they make for a great crunchy snack!

8) Fill each half of the squash withe the Noodle mixture.

9) Enjoy!

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What’s your favorite part of eating seasonal produce?

Veg Fest 2017

When you see a car with an advertisement for artisan almond milk, you know you’re getting close to a Veggie Fest! I went to the World Veg Festival put on by the San Francisco Veg Society last weekend.

I have been to a few similar festivals in the past, and this one was certainly smaller, but they had very high quality companies (with great samples)!

I was insanely excited to see Lakanto had a booth. I have an ongoing love affair with their sugar free, naturally sweetened line of chocolates and I was thrilled to see all their new products.

I so regret not buying the matcha latte mix! It was insanely good. They blended it with unsweetened almond milk and it was divine. I have a love-hate relationship with matcha; sometimes the flavor comes across too strong or bitter, but this was so mellow, well-balanced, and sweet.

I already knew I loved their chocolate, but I still had to sample every flavor just to make sure 😉 I love the crunch in the cocoa nib chocolate!

The drinking chocolate was new to me, and I loved it as well. It had such a rich, decadent mouth-feel with a great lasting flavor.

Aside from the taste, all of these products are so nutritious and are great alternatives for less healthy versions of an overpriced Starbucks latte, Hershey’s chocolate, or artificial hot cocoa mixes.

I have been dying to try Ripple (a pea-based milk), but I was hesitant to buy a whole bottle in case it was awful!

I finally had my chance to try it, and it was delicious. I tried the unsweetened vanilla and was impressed. It has a slightly nutty mild flavor and is a great alternative if you want to try a higher protein plant-based milk.

I have heard about Imperfect Produce, but was thrilled to see them at the festival. This company is SO cool. So you know how most produce in the grocery store looks pretty and perfect? Well nature is not perfect so all of that ugly produce usually gets grown away…

This is so wasteful, especially when we think about the hunger and food deserts that plague our country, and the world at large. Imperfect Produce works with farmers to salvage the ugly fruits and veggies and deliver them to your doorstep, like a CSA.

I signed up immediately. It is reasonably priced, supports a wonderful mission, accepts SNAP benefits, and saves the ugly produce of the world! If you live in the Bay Area, Seattle, or Portland, sign up!!! They are expanding quickly, so definitely look out for when they come to your city.

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What do you think of eating ugly produce? Have you ever been to a Veg Fest?

Ted Talk Friday: There’s more to life than being happy

This talk really rings true for me. I have been fascinated with the field of Positive Psychology for years, and people often believe the focus is only on happiness, which is certainly not the case. I think Esfahani Smith offers four pillars that really sum up what it means to live well beyond the superficial notion of being happy. The pillar of “Storytelling” resonated particularly strongly with me; I worked in a psychology lab focused on narratives and wellbeing, and Dan McAdams’ work (referenced in this video) is groundbreaking. I hope you enjoy!

 

 

 

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Do you agree with her pillars? Which pillar speaks most strongly to you?

Shishito Pepper Rice Stuffed Squash

I was beyond excited to see a box of Shishito peppers in my CSA box this week! I got so many fresh goodies, but these peppers are so trendy right now…so of course I have been wanting to try them. I’ve heard they are particularly fun because they are mostly mild, but every once in a while a super-spicy pepper sneaks in! I decided this called for a new recipe; I looked up a few recipes and found that the peppers pair well with garlic and ginger. I had a few delicata squash lying around from my Trader Joe’s expedition, so soon a seasonal idea was brewing…

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I have seen great results from recipes that blister the peppers on high heat, and luckily my trusty air fryer heated those peppers up in about 8 minutes!

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Look at how toasty and charred they got?! My favorite. I had to eat a few right then and there–these peppers have a great mild flavor with notes of citrus–I definitely see what the fuss is all about.

I use the ultimate squash life hack–always pre-cook in the microwave! I swear this trick has saved me hours of agonizing while attempting to chop a raw squash, plus it is faster and uses less energy. So I microwaved my delicata squash (whole) for about 4 minutes, before de-seeding it and stuffing it with my rice mixture.

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Look how preeetttyyy

The last step involved one final cook through to make sure the squash was fully tender, which also let the flavors in the rice mixture come together even more and crisp up on top.

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Yum, I’d say it turned out pretty well! I’ll let you know how it heats up as leftovers at work.

 

 Ingredients:
1 bag miracle rice
1 tbsp liquid aminos
1 tbsp pickled ginger
1 delicata squash
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp coconut oil
6-8 blistered shishito peppers

Directions:

Roast shishito peppers at 425 or air fry them until crispy (about 8 minutes).

Place whole delicata squash in microwave for 4 minutes.

Prepare Miracle rice according to directions on the bag. Combine prepared rice with coconut oil, liquid aminos, garlic, pickled ginger, and chopped roasted peppers.

After cutting open the delicata squash lengthwise (be careful of the steam escaping), de-seed the squash and stuff it with the rice mixture. I was able to generously fill both halves of my delicata squash.

Place the stuffed delicata squash back in the over (or air fryer) for approximately 10 minutes at 400 degrees or until the top looks crisped and browned. Enjoy!

Use code HANNAHOCTOBER for a discount when you order from miracle noodle 🙂

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Have you tried Shishito peppers? Do you stay on top of the foodie trends?