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Saturday, January 29, 2011

ANOTHER 101 Cookbooks recipe...

I'm in the middle of the immersion right now - so far, the biggest challenge is figuring out when to squeeze in my homework. I have a ton of reading to finish for Monday and so far I have done exactly almost none of it. So logically, last night I eschewed productivity in favor of a Birthday party. What are these "adult responsibilities" you speak of...?

When my friend Amanda said that she was having a POTLUCK birthday party on Saturday, my first thought was "how am I going to find time to cook anything on Saturday??" Desserts were out - she's got those covered. I was in the immersion from 9:30 am to 6:30 pm, and I need my morning hours to get reading done... so with only an hour and a half to get home, change, shower, whip something together and head over to the party, I knew I needed something that a) I had most of the ingredients for already, and b) I could prep the day before, toss the ingredients together and run. But it still had to be delicious.

Oh, 101 Coobooks, you save my life. I'm pretty sure I owe Heidi my first-born child (sorry Ben). Or at least several blog mentions. Done. I didn't mess with this recipe at all, so instead of re-typing everything, I'll just link to the recipe for Lemon-Scented Quinoa Salad.

Amanda's party was fantastic as always - it helps when all the guests are awesome cooks and bakers. Unfortunately, I forgot to bring my camera :( Besides my quinoa salad, we had sweet potato samosas, roasted veggies with Tatziki, bread and cheese, cherry-hazelnut blondies, pear chocolate cake, marble bundt cake with raspberry sauce, and mini almond cakes (noticing a theme here...?). Luckily, I decided long ago that it was perfectly ok to have more than one dessert.
Hopefully I'll have time later this weekend to blog about the actual's already been really interesting and full of food for thought. Basically we've been doing a lot of yoga, some yoga history and philosophy, a LOT of yoga-related anatomy and physiology, and I've been meeting some really cool people. I think it is going to be more of a mental/emotional challenge than a physical challenge. I kind of want to dive more into the history of yoga and development of the various schools, but that won't happen until immersion two - plenty for the philosphy nerd in me to chew on though ;)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Mother-Daughter night and easy Red Lentil Soup recipe!

Sometimes I manage to talk my mom into coming to yoga with me - more often than not I end up bribing her with soup... or rather, I mention that I made soup, and she then invites herself over to eat some of said soup after class (secret - I would have invited her anyways).

We had a great time, and mom was a total trooper. In Anusara each class has a sort of theme or philosophy behind it that then informs the asanas we practice that day. Last night we talked a lot about balancing doubt with certainty, and how we always need a little bit of each - certainty comforts us and gives us context; doubt is what keeps us coming back. We leave class knowing that we have shelter and food to return to and that comforts us, but we wake up each morning with no idea what the day will bring.

Speaking of comfort, Britany's post earlier this week about the brillance of soups that you can just throw in a pot and let them do their thing reminded me that I haven't made lentil soup in a while! This soup is deceptively simple, easy to get creative with, and has all those warming, comforting qualities that go perfectly with freezing January weather.

This recipe, like my last one, originated at, but again I added some little things of my own, and I also made some mistakes because I'm only human and sometimes when I cook, things get crazy. Sometimes, humans open the bag too fast causing lentils to explode all over their kitchen counter. Humans also occasionally realize they forgot about the shallots, and so end up rushing frantically to chop them, sautee them in a separate, way too small pan, and then add them to the already cooking soup. These are not actual cooking steps and I would not recommend following them.


- 2-3 T olive oil
- ½ sweet potato or yam, chopped into little cubes (no bigger than 1cm)
- 1 onion (any color), chopped
- 2-3 shallots
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes
- 6 cups chicken broth
- 1 and 1/3 cup red lentils (red lentils cook much faster than other types)
- ½ cup brown rice
- curry powder (2-3 tsp)
- salt (as much as you need)

( I don't normally buy pre-packaged lentils, but the store I went to apparently stopped carrying them in bulk and I was too lazy/time constrained to go anywhere elses so I splurged and bought Bob's Red Mill.)

In a big soup pot over medium heat, combine the olive oil, sweet potato, onion, shallots and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring occasionally, over medium heat and let the onions brown and start to caramelize a little.

Note the rogue lentils on the counter - this is real life, people.

Stir in the broth and bring to a boil, then stir in the lentils and rice, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes. By this point the rice will be cooked and the lentils will have totally fallen apart into lentil mush. You can also adjust the thickness by adding more water if you need. Towards the end, stir in 2-3 tsp. of curry powder and some salt (taste the soup before adding salt to see how much you need – a lot depends on how salty your chicken broth is).

Then, you can add whatever toppings you want! Heidi suggests Kalamata olives, feta cheese and sliced toasted almonds. I had none of these on hand, but I HIGHLY recommend squeezing some fresh lemon over your soup - this was the standard garnish for lentil soup in Turkey, and it really adds a nice flavor. I used lemon and some chopped smokehouse almonds, my mom tried lemon and a dollop of sour cream.

Since it's happened at least twice now, I'm thinking that these yoga/soup nights with my mom will become a regular occurance. Also, Anusara immersion at The Om Collective starts TONIGHT! Ahhhh!!! So excited....

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Hey there lurkers!

I know you're out there, I see you on my stats page! Three of my friends told me on Monday "hey I read your blog about...blah blah blah, I really liked it!"... who knew?

Don't hide away all introverted in cyberspace, tell me about yourself, even if I have NO idea who you are. What's your story? Where are you from? What's your favorite movie that's so bad it's good? Stuff like this is always interesting, plus comments make me look cool and popular.


Sort of.

But seriously don't be a stranger :)

I finally took my new kicks out for a run today around Lake Calhoun and let me tell you, running in the snow without proper spikes or anything is NOT's very slippery. And slow. I shuffled around the lake like an 80 year old grandma but still made it back in plenty of time to grab a snack and get to Laura's yoga class before choir. Almost makes me wish I had a treadmill. Definitely makes me wish I had room in my apartment for a treadmill.... and also someplace to practice my inversions other than a wall that borders someone else's apartment. I would probably be concerned if my neighbor was always making noises that sounded like throwing dead bodies around.

OK that's all, I'm not feeling extra creative tonight. I'll leave you with an inspring hump-day quote:

Eighty percent of success is showing up ~ Woody Allen

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Happy Birthday, Ben!

Dear Ben,

Today you turn 28. When we met as freshmen in college, we were both 18 - how crazy is that?

I didn't know you, but I thought you were cute. Apparently you though I was cute too, but we somehow neglected to mention this to each other for about eight more years. You were one of my best friends all through college. I will never forget walking to reading night together and re-casting Star-Wars using players from major league baseball teams.

Somewhere along the way, we nicknamed each other Stinky and Smelly. You were my date to president's ball senior year, even though we were just friend

Even after graduation, we were there for each other through good times and bad, and spearheaded the best Twins blog of all Twins blogs, We bonded over LOST, Ken Burns documentaries and general nerdiness, but somehow STILL managed to avoid talking about our feelings...

And then, one day, we finally did. And now we get to spend the rest of our lives together. I could not ask for a more kind, loving and wonderful person to be with...even though we have to live together for like...50 YEARS... I have no doubt that we will love and support each other through everything. So, even though today is your birthday I just want you to know that I'm thankful *every* day that you're here. And that sometimes, you still call me Stinky :)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Easy like Monday morning...

Some people get up to go to work on Monday morning. I sit at my kitchen table listening to the Eat Pray Love soundtrack and enjoying my coffee and Breakfast. Maybe the life of a student isn't so bad :) Oh by the by, have I mentioned how much I love my new cup from Anthropologie? It's actually part of this set, which for some wierd reason I am completely in love with. I actually am considering registering for it... the giant sea-creature theme makes me feel like a kid...I like things that make me feel like a kid.

Watch out little boat...the squid is coming!

She's goin' down Cap'n!!

Fun Fact: When I was little, my friend Ellen and I would order gummy bears as an ice cream topping for the sole purpose of drowining them and making sound effects like "nooooo! save meeee!!!" How sadistic is that, right? But now, as an adult, I can indulge this strangeness by sinking tiny boats in coffee.

Perfect breakfast: plain yogurt, half a pear and some Kashi Go Lean cereal topped with honey and cinnamon

Sunday, January 23, 2011

In with the new

Due partly to being a student with no income, and partly to the upcoming wedding/honeymoon situation which is going to be quite expensive, I decided shortly before Christmas to do my best not to buy anything I didn't absolutely need until I start work in June. This is going to be HARD. Part of why I'm posting it here is to keep me honest - Ben is also helping to keep me honest.

So, logically, this post is about all the new stuff I got this weekend!
Don't worry, I didn't break any rules - all of it was stuff I either didn't buy, or didn't not need (aka, I needed it, but for some reason the double-negative seemed appropriate here).

On Saturday I went shopping with my dad - even though I'm a real adult now, we still have our post-Christmas tradition of going shopping for my present(s) and then having dinner somewhere fun just the two of us. This is honestly one of my favorite days of the year - my dad and I hang out a lot but for some reason this day is always really special. For example, my dad never, ever, tells me what to do with my life but on our post-Christmas day two years ago we had one of the best, most life-changing (for me) conversations we've ever had (if anyone wants to hear the story, I can post it at some point. It sort of relates to my upcoming wedding). We hit up the Anthropologie sale and Len Druskin and came away with the following spoils:

I LOVE the skirt... I tend to gravitate towards pieces with fun details, and this is totally work-appropriate too. The bathing suit was mostly because I have Thailand on the brain...but check out the cool tag! Just about awesome.

Now on to the things I didn't not need. While in Istanbul, I realized how old and worn out my running shoes are, so my sister and I made a trip to Run n' Fun today. She stocked up on new shorts and socks and I got these babies (please ignore disgusting boot tray):

They're the same brand I always buy (Asics) but I upgraded one level to the Gel kind...they're super comfy, I can't wait to go running in them once the temperature gets above 0 (barf). And last but not least... the absolute necessities (aka necessary to pass my classes). Some of these are for school, some are for the yoga immersion:

So that's about it! A fruitful weekend, but now I have to read a ton of articles about healthcare for my evening class tomorrow. Wheeeee....

Friday, January 21, 2011

Vegan + Delicious = ??

Yesterday one of my FB friends (actually a friend of Ben's) stirred up some chatter about whether or not vegan food could ever be tasty. I've definitely had some pretty bland, not too appetizing vegan food but I *do not* think this means that vegan and yummy are mutually exclusive. In fact, just the other day I realized that one of my all-time favorite dishes to make is in fact vegan.

I should mention that I generally like food that could probably be classified as "weird hippie food", so just keep that in mind before proceeding, but I have to say that this dish is not only tasty but also very simple to make (and cheap depending on the ingredients you decide to use), and it freezes/reheats very well. The original recipe comes from, one of my favorite cooking blogs. Heidi uses tofu, cauliflower and green beans but you can really use any combination of veggies you want, and I usually omit the tofu. I've made it with a cauliflower/potato combo, and also with a cauliflower/butternut squash combo, both were delicious.

1 cup coconut milk
1-2 tbsp. curry powder (I like the Lunds brand, or the blend from Bill's Imported Foods)
1 tsp cayanne pepper (optional - I added it because I like spicyness :) )
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup water
3 (approx) cups roasted vegetables
1 onion, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
Quinoa or rice to serve the curry over
toasted cashews (optional)

1) chop the veggies into about 1 inch pieces, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast on a baking sheet until done (about 30 min). While these are roasting, chop the onions and garlic. Set aside.
2) toast the cashews, if using (you can probably use the same baking sheet). Set aside.
3) Pour 1/2 cup of the coconut milk into a large skillet or saucepan and bring to a simmer. Stir in curry powder, cayanne pepper and salt and work out the clumps.
4) Then add the chopped onion and minced garlic and cook for about a minute, then add the remaining coconut milk and water and cook for a few minutes to reduce the sauce and soften the onion. If the sauce gets too thick you can add more water.
5) Add the veggies! Cover and simmer for a minute or so...
6) Serve with quinoa or rice and top with some toasted cashews. Yum :) (I usually use quinoa just because of the nutrition content - high protien and fiber - but I'm sure brown or white rice would be great). This is also a prime opportunity to continue reading about such relevant issues as Johnny Depp's guitar.

I know of several other awesome vegan recipes, so just watch me prove the haters wrong :)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Drinking From the Fire Hose

We gain strength, courage and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face...we must do that which we think we cannot ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

I may have overdone it a bit. In the last 2 days, I have attended no less than four yoga classes. two days. After two days of almost no practice at all. My muscles are pretty pissed at me right now - my left hip flexor in particular. Too bad, hip flexor. Deal with it.

Four classes in two days is probably a bit much even under normal circumstances - but yesterday I really wanted to do a hot class, and I also really wanted to go to Laura's pre-choir class to get back into my inversions practice - so I did both. I'd already planned on going to Ali's anusara class tonight because immersion starts next week and if I'm going to be drenched in anusara for an entire wekend every month I should maybe, um, go to some anusara classes... but then my friend Ellie asked if I wanted to practice with her at 8am in St. Paul, and how can you say no to a friend? So I did both.

Speaking of this whole Anusara Immersion business, and of overdoing it - I'm super excited but also nervous. I'm pretty sure I know how Harry Potter felt on his first day at Hogwarts when he said to Ron, "I bet I'm the worst in the class." Not that I'm the yogic equivalent of a muggle, but I've only been practicing for a year and a half so in the grand scheme of things I'm really a beginner and I'm guessing a lot of the yogis in this immersion program have been practicing for years. [nightmares of me falling on my head while everyone else effortlessly brings their legs into full lotus while in some crazy one-armed handstand to].

Yes...I KNOW that yoga is about learning to let go of attachments and comparisons, and nobody is bad at yoga it's just where you are in your practice blah blah blah etc. I'm aware of all of this - however, the extreme perfectionist in me is very afraid of failure right now. But hey - maybe this is just another chance to practice real-life yoga and work on not worrying whether I look like a complete doofus. Before I started Business School, I heard the core curriculum referred to as "drinking through a fire hose", meaning there's just so much information coming at you it's almost imposslbe to take it all in. I spent the vast majority of my first year feeling terrified that I didn't fit in, that I would fail - I held on so hard to my fear that I missed out on a lot, both academic and otherwise. Maybe the best solution is to turn directly towards the firehose, open your arms and embrace whatever you manage to hold onto.

Could I have decided to just not do the immersion? Absolutely. But it feels like the right time - and if I've learned anything in the last few years it's that you should never underestimate the importance of listening to your gut.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Ode to lazy mornings

I think one of the things I'll miss the most about being in school are the lazy, quiet, solitary mornings when I can just sip coffee and not worry about having to be anywhere for a couple of hours. It's not that I like to sleep in - actually I'm rarely in bed past 7 - but I think that lazy mornings are less about when you wake up and more about the length of time between getting out of bed and having somewhere to be.

For example, this morning I woke up at 6:30, relaxed and peaceful knowing that I wouldn't have to catch the bus until 9:15. Althought the details of a lazy morning vary (and sometimes include baking), there are some common elements that can help contribute to the enjoyment of this soon to be rare occasion:

1) The attire - some sort of comfy pants (pajamas, sweatpants or yoga pants are good), comfy slippers or mucklucs, and a sweater or sweateshirt (should ideally be at least 2 sizes too big for your body)

2) The caffeine - a large quantity of hot, strong coffee that you do not have to rush to finish is also key for this kind of morning.
3) A delicious breakfast - home-baked or otherwise (in this case hot cereal with coconut milk and pumpkin butter), and of course some quality reading material ;)
It's not that I won't be able to have lazy mornings when I re-enter the real world... just that I'll have to get up at 5am to really enjoy them, and I doubt Ben will be 100% behind that strategy. So if you have the chance, I highly encourage you to get up an hour before you normally would and enjoy some peace and quiet before the rest of the world.
Photo from

A leaf fluttered in the window this morning, as if supported by the rays of the sun, a bird settled in the fire escape, joy in the task of coffee, joy accompanied me as I walked ~ Anais Nin

Monday, January 17, 2011

Caffeinated Wedding Updates

8:30 am and I've already downed half a pot of coffee... I see where this day is going. I also tried some new hot cereal by a company called Better Oats. The flavor is mutligrain Chai Spice, and it was pretty delicious! The ingredients list is also relatively unthreatening and I'm guessing the Chai Spice flavor is responsible for the 2 or 3 things listed that aren't whole grains. Yum!
Also, turns out I needn't have feared the return to yoga - it was totally fine. Sure, my hamstrings were a little tighter than normal, and my revolved crescent lunge was a bit wobbly but overall it just felt good to get back into it. planning! I finally booked tickets for our honeymoon to THAILAND! I am seriously beyond excited for this, I've wanted to go to Thailand for years. We'll be flying into Bangkok, staying there for at least a couple of days, and then spending 8 or 9 nights in Koh Phangan, laying on the beach. Can't wait.
My friend Alex and her mom have been planning a shower for me - Alex is a fellow yogi and nutrition freak, so we've been working on a travel/yoga theme with asian food from Nancy at Zen Asia and ayurvedic guest favors. I refuse to apologize for my dorkiness.

I also ordered a bunch of sample invitations from and I am so excited! They are so much less expensive than anything I have found in MN, and in my opinion much prettier. Here are pictures of all the options so far - we've already decided the small green one in front will be for the shower, but between the others it's hard to pick!

Here's a picture of my bridesmaid dresses:
And the flower colors I want to use: appreciated. I have a couple more samples on the way as well that are bigger versions of the small green one, just in different colors. OK time to tackle the day - and unpack....boooo....

Sunday, January 16, 2011


Back in the U.S. of A! The journey home was a bit rough... our whole group went out for dinner the night before we left, and some friends and I went to another bar after dinner. One friend wasn't feeling too well, so a few of us went back with him and I ended up going to bed around 12:30 (anticipating a 6:30 wake up call) which isn't too bad... but THEN.... bear with me, this is about to get personal.

Around 1am I got the worst cramps EVER. I felt like a giant ugly troll decided to grab my uterus and wring it out like a wet dishcloth. And I didn't have any painkillers. I wanted to sleep, but I didn't want to wake anyone up at 1:30 am so I just toughed it out in the fetal position in my bed until 3am, when I knew some of my classmates who were on an earlier flight would be awake. I then took about 4 Advil and konked out for about 2 hours.

We then had a twelve hour flight from Istanbul to Chicago and a four hour layover in Chicago before heading back to Minneapolis. By the time I actually got to bed it was 7am on Sunday morning, Istanbul time so I had essentially just pulled two all-nighters. I still don't feel awesome but I think another night of good sleep should set me on the right track.

You can read in detail about the Istanbul trip at, but here are some more pictures from the latter part of the trip:

In the old village of Cumalikzik, near Bursa
Outside of Durumzade, our favorite kebab stand in Istanbul!
Inside the Hagia Sophia
Farewell cruise on the Bosphorus
Keith, Ellie and I enjoying some wine on the Bosphorus cruise
Tonight is going to be my first night back to Yoga... going to a candlelight class. We'll see how this goes... I'm a little nervous which is why I'm taking it easy with a candlelight class. I really wanted to practice while I was in Turkey but there was just no space in the hotel room, and free floor space in the gym was limited, plus there was really no place to practice in private and I felt really awkward practicing in front of everyone in the gym... so I think I've practiced twice in the last two weeks. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

More Pictures from Istanbul

Sorry to make this more of a picture post, but I have a feeling most of my posts for the next couple of weeks will be this way - I'm putting more effort into writing the class travel blog (, so (maybe thankfully?) I won't be as wordy here :)

The Blue Mosque at dusk

Inside the Blue Mosque

Spice Market

Crazy dude with a cat on his head and a lazy least I hope it's a lazy eye!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Hi from Istanbul!

Not much time to write, I'm pretty jetlagged and worn out from a long day of tours, sightseeing and group dinners. Ellie and I went running this morning at 6am - apparently jogging is not so common here in Turkey so we got made fun of several times... probably people thinking "what are these weird blond girls doing running about in the dark?"... Anyways, I should be getting to bed but here are some pictures from the first day:
Landing in Istanbul

View overlooking the Bosphorus

Fruit for sale on the street
Lanterns for sale at the Grand Bazaar
More later!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Off to see the world!

Hey everyone - or all five of you that read this blog (hi mom).
I'm off to Istanbul for two weeks! The school wanted student bloggers for each of the January study abroad trips, so my friend Ellie and I will be blogging about our trip at

New Years eve was fantastic - I spent it with Ben, my sister and a bunch of wonderful friends at my friend Tessa's place... and actually I think that about sums it up. It was a fun, low-key night.

See you all when I get back to the states!

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