Healing and becoming whole with nature, beauty and yoga's wisdom.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Colorful & Green San Francisco



The week before Thanksgiving I was lucky enough to join my husband on a business trip to San Francisco. Having been there several times in the past, I always came back east calling it my West Coast New York City because of it's busy city streets and rich cultural mix. Now that some time has gone by since my last trip to SF and I see the world from a different lens than before, I now call it a more colorful and greener New York City. Don't get me wrong, I love where I live but San Francisco's layer's of colorful paint, buses that run on electricity rather than gas, attention to adding green wherever they can plus a surplus of thrift shops sure left me thinking about coming home and making a few more earth friendly and beautifying my space with what I have changes.

Here are a few pictures from my trip including the best yoga school's I visited, a yoga lover's airport surprise and a bright coral top I picked up in my new favorite San Franciscan boutique www.miramira.com. This top is not only my souvenir but it sure did brighten up my suitcase and it's New York City's autumnal inspired wardrobe picks of brown, black and pumpkin orange clothes. If you follow my blog, you know I believe in the rule of three colors when it comes to packing light. However the next time I go out to the West Coast I'll be sure to add a bright color just because the sun touches you a little differently out west.


An adorned Women's Building. See the wires from which the buses receive energy to run.

Planters over store fronts


The most creative and rich in spirit Yoga School in town www.sf.laughinglotus.com They also have a New York City school.


A nice find for a grounding practice www.yogagardensf.com


The trees on the west coast are super enormous and having left New York City where we lost about 400 trees in Central Park due to hurricane Sandy, I'm looking just a little bit more into trees these days.

I love how this semi sheer coral knit top from www.miramira.com  is short in the front with the perfect tail in the back to cover up my back side.

 

I'm also crushing knee high wooly socks these days for extra warmth and breaking up my monotonous yoga tight look. Socks, shades & necklace www.lailarowe.com booties www.ninewest.com tights www.marialouisaboutique.com




After going through security in San Francisco Airport you'll pleasantly find this sign and a yoga space before entering the food court. The space is a little heavy for my senses but an awesome effort from SF Airport!


Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Easiest Veg Butternut Soup Recipe You'll Ever Find




Last month when Autumn's chill became the norm here in New York City and the marketplace appeared to be taken over by pumpkins, squashes and knobby gourds, I searched the net for heart warming & healthy soup recipes to include this seasonally orange family of veggies into my family's diet. First and foremost do know that gourds are not edible. During my online search every recipe I found was super confusing plus called for too much prep and cook time.

What I did learn was that each soup recipe I read had a common thread I could follow to create my own. Through experimentation and plenty of taste testing I came up with the easiest and purest golden butternut squash recipe you'll ever find. No blender, hot oven nor peeling and straining needed. I do want to stress that I passed up on cooking with pumpkins and the seasonally gorgeous red turban squash because they take some extra muscle and patience to cook up.

One night in October I served my golden butternut squash soup over rice with a bunch of steamed broccoli on the side and my husband said "Yum, did you make this soup or store buy it?" When I told him I made it from scratch and how quick and easy it was, he smiled and said "One day I'll make it for you." This one is for you babe!


All you need is:






2 cups of organic vegetable broth

Salt and pepper to taste

A medium sized golden butternut squash

A medium sized yellow onion

2 tablespoons of canola oil

2 cups of water






The tools you need:


Butcher's knife

Cutting board

Nonstick frying pan

Spatula

Steamer basket

Medium sized pot and lid to hold the steamer basket

Deep pot to cook & simmer your soup

Slotted Spoon

Soup ladle

Oven mitts

Fork

Soup spoon







The how to:


Thickly slice your squash. Avoid the pitted middle. If some of the slices have pits, no worries and no need to pit nor peel the slices as of yet.






Place the steamer basket filled with squash slices in a medium sized pot with 2 cups of water. Bring water to a boil, cover, continue to let the water boil as you steam the squash and step aside.






Start slicing your onion and peel off it's paper like shell. Dice it up!






In a nonstick frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons of canola oil for a minute. Then add onions. Move the onions about with your spatula and cook them until they sweat. Set them aside in a small bowl.





Check on your squash. Use an oven mitt to remove the hot lid off the steamer. With a fork pierce through the squash and feel if it is cooked through. It will feel soft. If it is, then remove the basket (use your mitts) from the hot water and set it on a counter top to cool.

While the squash is cooling off for about 10 minutes, it is a good time to adjust or turn on music plus set the table.





Once you don't see steam coming from the squash and it is warm to touch, take your soup spoon and start spooning out the pits. Once your slices are clear of pits, start spooning the squashes mushy flesh into your deep pot. I like to call it my cauldron.






Add 2 cups of vegetable broth and onions. Set a low flame and let your soup simmer for about 10 minutes.






Use your slotted spoon to mash up any leftover squash chunks that haven't smoothed out with the heat.






Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with bread or over rice with steamed broccoli on the side. Enjoy!


Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Cerridwen, Celtic Moon Goddess & Keeper of the Cauldron of Wisdom



It has been intense since hurricane Sandy came through town. Lives and land was lost in New York and New Jersey as well as everyday conveniences such as electricity, hot water, and mass transit were shut down or spotty in some areas. Parks were closed because so many trees fell down and loose branches were at risk to fall. Also buying gas meant waiting on line for hours because the harbor was closed last week to fuel carrying barges. Fortunately my family and friends are OK and my home never lost power. However living amongst this chaos made me revisit what I felt during 9/11. Feelings of disbelief, sadness, crankiness and streaks of compassion.

The storm peaked last Monday night. The wind sounded like a freight train that zoomed several times past my window and this was the first time I saw lightening that was green, blue and magenta in color. By Thursday Nov. 1st my birthday, I ventured a little further away from home to teach a yoga class in a neighborhood that had power. Here I saw 4 people sitting at a table for 2 at Starbucks sharing one outlet. I noticed how families were walking together on a Thursday afternoon and opening restaurant doors hoping to get a table to eat warm food. Despite the pain and hopelessness I could feel in the air, I also sensed humility, love and compassion was being birthed.




Even with Sandy's blow, I still cherish this time of year. The nights grow longer and colder while the veil between the spirit world and the mundane world grows thin. Our thoughts turn inward and towards our ancestors. What I've come to learn from my Celtic ancestry is the ancient sabbat Samhain is what we now call Halloween. They both celebrate the past, those on the other side and a death to what no longer serves us. The Celts regard Nov. 1st as a fresh start and New Year. Being that the Celtic New Year is my birthday, the vibe of acknowledging the past while pressing the reset button feels right to me.

I sense people who've felt Sandy's shake and sat in the cold and dark without electricity for days have recently taken a good look at their lives. Themes of starting over, oneness, patience and conservation are riding on the wind. I find it interesting how deep introspection and working as a community to survive came before today's presidential election.

These pictures were taken 2 days before the storm. At the time I was contemplating Cerridwen the Celtic Moon Goddess who is depicted in the modern world as the ugly old green witch with warts on her nose who stirs up potions and looks into her steaming cauldron for messages about the future. Cerridwen is a crone/aged goddess but she by no means is dark and ugly. She is a moon light bearer of wisdom, an aspect of Mother Nature and her folklore is vast and rich. Her most well known history links her to the legend of King Arthur's search for the Holy Grail.




Cerridwen bestows the magical power of reflection.


Vintage Betsey Johnson tunic, tank & tights www.forever21.com


By reviewing, clarity and a new vision comes to life. I guess you can say your power gets turned on.




On the night of the storm this was my personal prayer to Cerridwen:




Lady of Magic, Moon Goddess Cerridwen, keeper of the cauldron of wisdom and transformation. I call on you tonight.




Guide us during this time of world evolution from the old patriarchal regime's ways to the new age of equality for all living beings including plants, all animals and natural resources.


www.karmaorganicspa.com meet me at sunset nail polish, bracelets gifted from India, booties www.forever21.com


Dark Mother, as we scry and look into the water show us answers to accelerate our transmutation. We won't brood over the past nor jump to far into the future. Rather we will receive your divine guidance to shape and shift us and bring the energy of transformation into our daily lives and communities.

Lady of Mystery, Mother Nature, I honor you on this long dark night.




I practiced plenty of deep squatting/malasana variations during this period as I've always envisioned and refer to the pelvis as a deep and wide pot when I lead classes.


Skull ring www.marialouisaboutique.com

I wish you ease and connection!