Saturday, June 30, 2012

Who Am I?

There are events in our lives that we know will be memorable. I really didn’t think that today was going to be one of them. I wasn’t nervous, I knew I was in control of what I did or didn’t do, and I was determined to have fun. I never thought Mud Factor would be so symbolic. But it is, and maybe that’s why people are so drawn to the challenge. In a little over an hour you face fears, physical challenges, and a lot of mental ones. The finish line isn’t about your time, or even the race itself, but the accomplishment of having done it. I felt amazing! I could take on the world.

From the old white New Balance cross trainers that had served me so well through a year of weight loss in Jazzercise, to sharing it with a new-ish friend Stephanie who’s on her own journey, today was full of reflection for me of how far I’ve come. I wanted to run between obstacles when others were walking, I looked at a 10x20 flat obstacle on a hill as a challenge and went first, I got excited to head down face first the biggest slip and slide I’d ever seen.  I ran down ravines and then climbed back up the other side.  I swam in a murky creek 5 feet deep when I otherwise never go in water I can’t see the bottom of – because it was part of the challenge and damn it, I was doing it! Perhaps the biggest accomplishment I felt though was the last challenge – climbing a 15ft (or higher?!) cargo net rope wall at a 70 degree angle, going OVER the top and dropping down in 3 foot increments. I have a fear of heights, but somehow, the challenges leading up to it and the camaraderie of my team gave me the confidence I could do it. I also truly realized how much our fears are really just in our minds. Yoga has taught me this, but sometimes I think it’s when real life experiences that show you that truth happen, that you truly believe it in your heart.

Two years ago I never would have done this. Actually last year I probably wouldn’t have either. Three years ago I would have laughed in your face if you’d told me. There’s a reason why - I recently was at a yoga workshop and Zeina’s words have stuck in my mind - We aren’t the same people we were a year ago. Or a month ago, or last week.  How amazing we get to reinvent ourselves, decide who we want to be and create our futures, isn’t it?

At the end of the day, I sit here with a few bruises and a couple scrapes and a little sunburn on my face – still riding the high of the event. I intended to write this post and tell you all in detail about the obstacles, the tips I read before and what helped, getting hosed down and publicly stripping to my sports bra and yoga underwear, maybe talk about the ridiculous traffic jam on I-75 or the amazing salad I had afterwards at Uno’s. Perhaps tomorrow J

Before the Run
Muddy Post Run High

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Nourish: Great Grains

Last Tuesday was the first meeting of Nourish – a healthy eating group I’m leading at Divine Yoga. We talked a little bit about what our goals were for eating healthier and what it meant for us. Then we moved onto our featured theme for June - grains. One of the activities we did was a game to identify the grain dry, and cooked. I gave everyone a list of 11 grains that I had prepared. Some were easier than others!



Red Quinoa


Spelt Berries




Hulled Barley

Pearled Barley

Wild Rice


Here are some of the recipes that were shared:

Blackberry Barley Breakfast Bake

Makes 6-9 servings


· 3 cups cooked hulled barley

· 2 large eggs, whisked

· ½ tsp ground cinnamon

· Pinch sea salt

· ½ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

· 1 tsp agave or honey

· ¼ cup chopped raw almonds

· ¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut

· 1 cup blackberries, cut in half


1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray 8x8 pan with cooking spray.

2. Combine all ingredients except blackberries in a large bowl.

3. Cut ½ cup blackberries in half and gently fold into mix.

4. Spread mixture in baking pan. Top with other ½ cup blackberries (also cut in half)

5. Bake for 25-30 minutes until barley is set.

6. Cut into 6 or 9 squares. Eat alone or serve topped with yogurt


When cut into 9 squares: 158 calories, 5.6g fat, 41mg cholesterol, 44mg sodium, 157mg potassium, 24.3 carbs, 6.3g fiber, 1.4g sugar, 4.9g protein

When cut into 6 squares: 237 calories, 8.4g fat, 61mg cholesterol, 66mg sodium, 235mg potassium, 36.5g carbs, 9.5g fiber, 2.1g sugar, 7.3g protein


Back On Track Wheat Berry and Bean Salad

By Angela Liddon (Oh She Glows)

Yield: 7.5-8 cups

Salad Ingredients:

1 cup dry wheat berries, cooked and drained

2 cups cooked navy beans (or cannellini beans)

1 English cucumber, diced

1 red pepper, diced

1 large tomato, diced

2 large garlic cloves, minced

1 cup fresh parsley, diced with large stems removed

4 green onions, diced

Kosher salt + pepper, to taste

Dressing Ingredients:

2-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, to taste (I used 2 tbsp)

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tsp hot mustard (I used regular)

1 tbsp Tamari

2 tbsp fresh lemon juice


1. In a medium bowl, soak the wheat berries overnight in cold water. The next day, drain the wheat berries and place in a medium sized pot, covered in 3 inches of water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium and simmer for 1 hour. Drain and cool.

2. In a large bowl, mix together the diced vegetables (cucumber, red pepper, tomato, minced garlic, parsley, green onions). Add in cooked and drained navy beans (or other bean of choice) and stir.

3. In a small bowl whisk together the dressing ingredients (olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard, Tamari, fresh lemon juice). Set aside.

4. When the wheat berries are ready, drain and rinse and then stir into the salad. Add the dressing just before serving and stir well. Now season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Garnish with additional parsley if desired.

5. Yield: 7.5-8 cups.


The Energy Millet Salad



· 1 cup dry millet

· 2 cups of vegetable stock or water with 1/2 tsp of salt (or up to 3 1/2 cups of liquid, read notes below)

· 1/2 cup of raisins

· 1/2 cup chopped almonds

· 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

· 3 Tbsp raw pumpkin seeds

· 3 Tbsp raw sunflower seeds

· 1 cup of finely chopped parsley

· 2 Tbsp olive oil

· 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar

· 1 Tbsp honey

· salt and pepper to taste

· Garnished with chopped pear and crumbled feta or goat cheese


1. In a medium sized pot, toast 1 cup of millet seeds over medium high heat until they start to pop and become fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat, add the raisins and cover. Allow the steam to continue cooking the millet for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and place in a large salad bowl.

2. On a baking tray, combine all the nuts and seeds and toast in a 375 F oven until golden and fragrant. About 10 minutes.

3. Combine the millet, nuts and seeds together once they have cooled. Add the parsley.

4. For the salad dressing, combine the oil, vinegar and honey together and whisk until well blended. Add the dressing to the salad and toss until well combined. Season with salt and pepper.

5. Serve with greens, chopped pear or apple and crumbled goat cheese or feta.

Note: If you’re new to cooking millet you may choose to start with 3 cups of stock and drain any extra liquid that remains, once the millet reaches the desired texture. I find that 2 cups works great, but I also allow the steam to finish the work for about 10 minutes after I remove it from the heat.

Makes 8 cups.  1 cup = 286 calories.


Mushroom & Onion Amaranth

Serves 4


· 1 onion, chopped

· 8oz mushrooms, chopped

· 1 TB olive oil

· Chopped fresh oregano

· 1 cup cooked amaranth

· Salt and pepper to taste


· Cook amaranth – 1:3 ratio, for 25 minutes. Remove from heat and drain well. Rinse if you have a very fine strainer

· Heat oil in skillet on medium heat and add in onions, sauté until starting to get translucent

· Add in mushrooms, mix well and sauté

· When mushrooms are cooked, add in cooked amaranth and chopped fresh oregano. Season with salt and pepper

Makes a great quick side dish!


Lentil Tabbouleh Salad


· 1 cup lentils

· 1 1/2 cup bulgur wheat

· 2 TB olive oil

· 2 TB lemon juice

· 2 TB red wine vinegar

· 1/2 TB honey

· 1 clove garlic, minced

· 1/4 cup parsley, chopped (I used a mix of curly and italian)

· 1 carrot, chopped small

· 1/2 small onion chopped (or 1/4 red onion)

· 1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped

· 2 TB pine nuts (toasted if you have time)

· handful of spinach, roughly chopped

· sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste


1. Place lentils in medium pot, fully covered in water. Cook, covered, over medium heat for 30 minutes or until tender but not falling apart. Drain, rinse with cold water and set aside.

2. Place bulgur wheat in small pot with 1 cup water. Heat until simmering, then turn off heat, cover and set aside for 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork and drain any excess water.

3. In a small bowl whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, honey, garlic and vinegar. Set aside

4. In a medium bowl combine cooked lentils, bulgur, parsley, onion, carrot, cucumber, spinach. Drizzle oil mixture over salad and toss well. Season with salt and pepper (and some Spike seasoning if you have it). Garnish with pine nuts.

5. Chill, covered at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

This recipe could be adapted according to what veggies you have on hand. Add in diced or cherry tomatoes or diced green pepper if you have them. 

Wheat Berry Waldorf Salad

by Whole Foods (recipes shared by Kelly)

Serves 8

Wheat berries are the mother grain from which pasta, bread and flour are derived. Little wheat berries pack a nutlike flavor and are pleasantly chewy. Use a crunchy, firm, sweet-tart apple (such as Granny Smith or Gala) for this salad. From The Whole Foods Market Cookbook


2 cups uncooked wheat berries
1 cup chopped walnuts
2 medium apples, cored and chopped
1 cup seedless raisins
1 cup finely chopped parsley
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup apple juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice

  1. Put wheat berries into a large bowl, cover with at least 2 inches of water and set aside to let soak for 6 to 8 hours or overnight. Drain well.
  2. Put 7 cups water into a medium pot and bring to a boil. Add wheat berries, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 50 minutes, or until cooked through. (Wheat berries retain a firm, chewy texture when cooked.) Drain and set aside to let cool.
  3. Transfer wheat berries to a large bowl. Add walnuts, apples, raisins, parsley, vinegar, apple juice, salt, pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, olive oil and lemon juice and mix everything together thoroughly.

Per serving: 400 calories (140 from fat), 15g total fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 11g protein, 61g total carbohydrate (9g dietary fiber, 19g sugar), 0mg cholesterol, 150mg sodium

Quinoa and Black Beans


1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 bunch scallions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup frozen corn kernels
2 cups canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)


  1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the garlic, and saute until lightly browned.
  2. Mix quinoa into the saucepan and cover with vegetable broth. Season with cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes,
  3. Stir frozen corn and scallions into the saucepan, and continue to simmer about 5 minutes until heated through. Mix in the black beans and cilantro.

Nutrition Info

  • Calories: 158.0
  • Fat: 2.2g
  • Carbohydrates: 28.8g
  • Protein: 6.8g


And a few more favorite grain dishes I’ve made:


Next Month’s Nourish features a field trip to the South Lyon Farmer’s Market!

Wednesday, July 18th 4:30-6pm
Divine Yoga Company, South Lyon


Join us to talk about eating local, when to choose organic, questions to ask and look for at the Farmer’s Market, and storing fresh fruits and veggies. We’ll share ideas for cooking with vegetables that may be new to us, how to plan meals when shopping the farmer’s market and eating seasonally.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Yes, I swam in a lake

With so many things on my schedule these days, I really value the leisure time that I find. When it can be shared with Izzie and Thad, it's even better. Early this afternoon we grabbed a blanket and headed out to Trout Lake at Island Lake State Park. This lake is spring fed and you have to walk about 1/2 mile on a trail from the parking lot to get to it. There's no formal beach carved out. Those two things mean that it's a hidden gem! Not crowded, lots of little private sandy areas by the water, and beautiful clear water without seaweed.  

Growing up in Michigan we went out to the lake most weekends in the summer. Of course, going 'out to the lake' actually often meant going to Island Lake State Park (to Kent Lake beach) - which is now a quick 10 minute drive, practically in our backyard. This is our 8th summer back in Michigan and the first time I went swimming in the lake. Why? I like to see the bottom! I don't like dark water and slimy seaweed (although it's probably not technically sea-weed since it's a lake). I love the ocean, and no lake will ever take its place in my eyes, but I just may have a new favorite place to head out to on a summer afternoon!

The other great thing about this lake is that dogs are allowed. Technically they must be on leash, but everyone pretty much lets them off leash to swim in the lake. When she came back on land we kept her on leash. We've tried taking her before and she was skittish about the water, but today she ran right in! She was jumping around and then actually just started swimming where she couldn't touch - and seemed to really enjoy it! Thad and I had so much fun with her!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Downdawg Detroit

It could not have been a more perfect evening! Sunny skies, light breeze and 200+ Detroit area yogis practicing on the roof of the Madison Theatre Building. A bird's eye view of Ford Field, Comerica Park, the Fox Theatre and other Detroit landmarks. Vinyasa-ing to Eminem's Lose Yourself blasting from the speakers. Savasana with a view of the beautiful sky and a building kissed by sunset. Amazing!

The event was sponsored by Lululemon and led by Jonny Kest of Center for Yoga as a fundraiser for the Danialle Karmonos Work It Out nonprofit that brings yoga to Detroit schools to improve the health and wellness of kids in the city. How great to have an event bringing together yogis from studios across the Metro area, uniting as a greater community. You could feel the energy and hope for the city.

Thad and I went with Stephanie, Deb and Cheryl from Divine Yoga. What a fun evening!

Stephanie and I waiting in line (Deb and Thad in the reflection)

Stephanie, Deb, Cheryl, Thad, me on the roof!

Mat to Mat yogis in the D!

Thad & I


The most awesome Savasana, I had to open my eyes!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Asian Shrimp Salad Turnip Salad

Saturday I stopped at the Brighton Farmers' Market to see Stone Coop Farm, the local organic farm where we have a CSA share this year. Our shares don't start for a couple weeks so I wanted to pick up a few things. They have a fantastic salad mix and I also got some dinosaur kale and turnip greens. I was almost ready to pay when I saw some 'salad turnips'. I asked about them and apparently they are best eaten raw, no need to even peel. I'm all about trying something new, so they came home with me too!

After searching through a lot of blogs and recipes, I came across one to base my salad on, a "CSA Salad with lime ginger dressing". I made some changes and additions, so here's my version, which made a really wonderful lunch salad! I even brought one to work for a friend to enjoy too.

Asian Shrimp Salad Turnip Salad
serves 2-3



  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 small thumb fresh ginger
  • Juice of 1 large lime (or about 3 TB)
  • 2 TB Bragg's Liquid Aminos (or soy sauce)
  • 1 TB toasted sesame oil (be specific on this, it has amazing flavor!)
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • fresh mixed salad greens
  • 3 salad turnips (young turnips, you don't need to peel, just cut off root and greens), sliced thin and then chopped into strips with mandolin
  • 3 carrots sliced very thin with mandolin
  • 1/2 english cucumber sliced very thin with mandolin, then sliced in half
  • 3 TB black sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 8 cooked, tail-off shrimp per serving


  1. Throw all dressing ingredients in blender or food processor and blend well.
  2. Slice and chop all veggies, mix with salad greens.
  3. Add in cooked quinoa, gently mix.
  4. Plate salad portions, drizzle with salad dressing, mix gently. 
  5. Sprinkle sesame seeds and add in shrimp on top.
  6. Enjoy!