Superfood Peanut Zucchini Noodles

Swift as the wind

Quiet as the forest

Conquer like the fire

Steady as the Mountain

– Sun Tzu, “The Art of War”

Can you feel it?

Things are heating up. There’s a buzz in the air, like we’re on the precipice of something big. It’s almost palatable, electric.

It’s not great for sleeping but it is good for getting focused. And whatever we focus on, grows…

Summer heat brings thunderstorms. As the storm approaches, sink down and root. Take slow, deep breaths.

Just stay cool.

Summer is a great time for detoxifying and introverted asana practices. It’s also the season for salads, juice, and other raw foods.

There are a few raw dishes in my culinary arsenal that have withstood the test of time. Zucchini noodles are one of them.

My love for zucchini noodles (zoodles) began with a simple salad of wide noodles (using a vegetable peeler), marinated for fifteen minutes in lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil and Kosher salt.

Easy to digest = easy to absorb the prana of the food.

My brother sent me this spiralizer for Christmas. I’ve been waiting for the warm weather to try it out.

My first project: Peanut Zucchini Noodles. I found some inspiration here:

Crazy Good Peanut Noodles (Quick & Easy, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Paleo)

And here: Easy Healthy Dinner: Peanut Chicken Noodles

Zucchini is a superfood that has incredible health benefits. Peanuts and peanut butter are powerhouse foods too, especially for men.

A Word of Caution: Please read ingredient labels, avoid trans fats, and choose organic whenever possible (especially zucchini – avoid the conventional GMO variety). Toasting nuts adds flavor and kills mold. People with peanut allergies could substitute almonds/almond butter.

Superfood Peanut Zucchini Noodles

Makes 3 servings

Sauce

5 Tbsp peanut butter, smooth or chunky
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 Tbsp Sriracha (I like MM Local)

Combine in a saucepan and warm on low until peanut butter melts. Remove from heat and set aside.

Stir Fry

1 Tbsp coconut oil
1/2 carrot, cut into 2″ slivers
1 bell pepper (yellow, red, or a combination), cut into 2″ slivers
1/2 c green onion, sliced (reserve green parts)

Preheat a large saucepan or wok on medium low. Add coconut oil, carrot, pepper. Gently stir fry for 5 minutes.

While cooking julienned vegetables, spiralize 2 medium zucchini with the wide, fettuccine blade. Set aside.

Add 1 Tbsp minced garlic and white parts of green onion to the stir fry. Cook for 1-2 minutes, or until garlic is fragrant. Turn heat off.

Add zucchini noodles and green onion parts, fold in sauce. Finish with 1 tsp toasted sesame oil.

Toppings

1/4 cup cilantro
1/4 cup chopped, toasted peanuts
Himalayan pink salt

Serve warm or at room temperature.

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St. John, USVI

Summer Skincare is Getting Juicy

Personal Yoga Retreats

Personal Yoga RetreatsLast night I trained in a temple of clouds. The gentle currents of air mingled with the sounds of water. I watched two young mule deer peek their heads above the long grasses in the nearby field. In the distance a billowing cumulus tower ignited with flashes of lightning. The blazing sunset warmed my back as I moved and stretched my body.

Summer training season is here.

I love training outdoors. As much as I appreciate the privacy of an indoor space, as soon as the weather allows I like to go to the park, trail or playground whenever possible. In public spaces there’s usually an audience, but most people are nice. Like the elderly lady last night who said, “Thank you for the entertainment.”

Summer training season is a wonderful time for Personal Yoga retreats. These experiences replenish and refuel my whole being. It’s not just exercising – it’s the whole lifestyle. Eating alchemical food, feeling GREAT and laughing a lot.

Have I mentioned that I love my life?

Personal Yoga Retreat QuicheThis is not the kind of thing that you can teach in drop-in classes. It’s means taking a whole day to focus on eating, meditating and training. That’s my life – I create my own personal yoga retreats. I’ve been doing this for over five years now. I just enjoy feeling awesome and is this is how I do it.

It’s definitely possible to do this for yourself. You just have to carve out some space in your schedule and do some basic preparations, such as:

  • Clean the house
  • Clean and groom your body
  • Get your “to-do” list in order
  • Stock the fridge with delicious and healthy food

All of this will help to minimize distractions. Once you’ve cleared your slate start your Personal Yoga retreat nice and slow. Turn your phone off (or just don’t answer it). Cook with superfoods. Take some supplements. Drink lots of fluids. Move in ways that your body and mind enjoy. Rest when you’re tired.

If you’d like some help with designing your own Personal Yoga retreat I’d be happy to speak with you. I offer free no-obligation consultations in person, by phone, Skype or Facetime.

Red Rose Mandala

Home Rituals – Berry Walnut Muffin Bread

Berry Walnut Muffin Bread 2

The warm weather has returned to the Western Slope of Colorado, which means that outdoor training season is officially here! I’ve made a commitment to working out in the mornings before it gets too hot. I usually eat a big mid-morning meal (breakfast like a king) so I’ve had to switch up my diet and lifestyle a bit.

The solution? Muffins! Hearty, wholesome and packed with good ingredients. These babies are a great mid-morning snack and carry me though until lunch. This week I played with a new recipe: berry walnut muffin bread (all the goodness of individual muffins in bread form).

Berry Walnut Muffin Bread 3

So just to clear up a few things. The ingredients in this recipe might raise a red flag for some people and to those folks I say (with love in my heart…)

Don’t like wheat? Don’t eat it. 

Don’t like sugar? Don’t eat it. 

Don’t like dairy? Don’t eat it.

But to those of us who can enjoy these foods unabashedly I say mangia! Eat with the confidence that comes from choosing the most beautiful foods. Wheat, sugar and dairy are incredibly powerful foods so long as they haven’t been tampered with.

For this muffin bread recipe I used organic non-GMO flour, organic milk and butter. The butter was on sale, otherwise I’d have used any conventional rGBH-free variety. I also used organic frozen mixed berries and non-GMO sugar.

The media has been working overtime to demonize sugar (remember when they tried telling us that butter was bad for you?) Sugar is a superfood in its own right. Sugar is listed in the Materia Medica of Chinese Herbal Medicine as a Qi (energy) tonic. And sugar, wheat, milk and butter are all recommended foods in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika:

64. Wheat, rice, barley, shastik (a kind of rice), good corns, milk, ghee, sugar, butter, sugarcandy, honey, dried ginger, Parwal (a vegetable), the five vegetables, moong, pure water, these are very beneficial to those who practice Yoga.

So let’s get cooking! This berry walnut muffin bread is fantastic. It’s almost like eating cake for breakfast. The tang from the buttermilk compliments the sweetness of the berries. I made my own buttermilk by mixing whole milk with a little vinegar (lemon juice works too) and letting it sit for five minutes.

I didn’t want the bread to be soggy so I used raspberries, blueberries and blackberries (and cut up the blackberries into smaller pieces). And I always toast nuts before baking with them. Toasting kills off any molds and enhances the flavor of the nuts.

Berry Walnut Muffin Bread 1

Berry Walnut Muffin Bread

1 Loaf

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups of flour (1 cup whole wheat + 1 cup all purpose)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp Kosher salt
1 tsp nutmeg

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk (or 1/2 cup milk + 1/2 Tbsp vinegar)

1  1/2 cups frozen mixed berries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
2 Tbsp sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x5x3 loaf pan with butter or coconut oil.
  2. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg in a small bowl.
  3. Place frozen mixed berries in a small bowl. Add 1-2 Tbsp of the flour mixture and toss to coat. Cover bowl and place in freezer.
  4. In a medium-sized bowl cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg and vanilla.
  5. Add flour mixture a little at a time, alternating with the buttermilk.
  6. Fold in the berries and walnuts and pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
  7. Sprinkle 2 Tbsp sugar over the top of the batter.
  8. Bake for 60 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Serve warm or toasted with lots of butter!

*** High Altitude baking note: decrease the amount of baking powder to 1  1/2 tsp. ***

Berry Walnut Muffin Bread Slice

 

Superfood Spinach Artichoke Dip

Spinach Artchoke DipDo you love cheese? Really LOVE cheese? So much so that you think it deserves to have its own food group? Could cheese be the answer to the world’s problems? Maybe not but cheese is still AMAZING for your bones, heart and brain. Cheese is a nutritional powerhouse that is just one of the featured superfoods in this recipe.

How about spinach? Also pretty amazing. These antioxidant-rich greens are great for the eyes, bones and heart. Spinach alkalizes, nourishes and strengthens your body with a plethora of vitamins and minerals. FYI – raw spinach contains oxalic acid which interferes with calcium absorption but cooking eliminates this problem.

What about artichokes? Did you know that artichokes have more antioxidants than any other vegetable? They’re great for the liver and contain a high dose of vitamin C. Artichokes also have anti-aging benefits and help prevent heart disease and Alzheimers.

All of this is to say that spinach artichoke dip might just be the best thing EVER. And this mega-delicious recipe is oh-so-easy to prepare. Just be ready to be asked for a repeat performance.

Here’s a few pointers on how to make this dish outstanding.

  • EXTRA garlic: I didn’t even get into the health benefits of garlic but needless to say you should add as much as you dare. Think elephant garlic-sized cloves. Garlic is an aphrodisiac so it’s best to serve extra garlicky foods with care. 
  • HARD cheeses are great for your health. I like asiago for this dish but you could also use parmesan.
  • CANNED artichokes: You could steam your own artichokes but if you’re short on time use a good canned variety that doesn’t add chemical preservatives (I like Reese’s). Select artichoke hearts that are stored in water as you won’t need any extra oil for this recipe.
  • FULL FAT DAIRY: The low-fat movement is over (thank goodness). REAL food is where it’s at and fats are your friend. Just be sure to avoid brands that use recombinant bovine growth hormones (rBGH).

 

Superfood Spinach Artichoke Dip

Serves 4

Ingredients

1-2 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 Tbsp butter or nitrate-free bacon fat

12 oz fresh spinach, chopped

1/2 of a 14oz can of artichoke hearts, drained of water and chopped

1/3 cup sour cream

4 oz cream cheese, softened

4 oz asiago cheese, shredded

1 tsp salt

1 tsp of your favorite hot sauce

 

  1. Saute garlic in fat for 1 minute. Add chopped spinach and cook until spinach is wilted. Turn off heat and push spinach mixture to one side of the pan to drain excess liquid.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl combine sour cream, cream cheese, shredded asiago cheese, salt and hot sauce. Add cooked spinach and mix well.
  3. Transfer mixture to a medium-sized pyrex casserole dish. Bake at 300 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until it’s bubbling.
  4. Serve warm with crackers, toast or tortilla chips.

 

There’s no hard and fast rules here so feel free to improvise. You could add some chopped bacon, scallions or crabmeat if you want to get really fancy. Let me know how yours comes out!

 

The Skinny on Skin Care

Emily Seymour yoga skin care
The warm weather is here! And with that comes the gradual shedding of layers, swapping flip flops for shoes, and increasing our Vitamin D intake. As with any seasonal transition it’s a good idea to give ourselves time to adjust our lifestyle patterns accordingly.

Body care is one of the many aspects of a balanced home practice regimen. Just like you might want to give your car a routine waxing it’s a good idea to give your body “vehicle” a good skin care treatment. Especially if you’re anticipating spending more time in the great outdoors.

While there are some purists who won’t practice yoga in the sunshine, I absolutely LOVE practicing outside. But there’s just nothing fun about sunburns. I’ve gotten my share of “tomato-face” syndrome from practicing during peak hours (10am – 4pm) so my advice is avoid sun exposure during that time.

Twilight is my favorite time to practice outside – the sun isn’t too intense so you don’t really need to use sunblock. But if you’re a die-hard sunblock user I recommend reading What You Need to Know Before You Ever Buy Sunscreen Again.

If you like to play with making your own body care items, I recommend reading Adventures in DIY Products. It was written by my friend Mandy who makes her own sunscreen using aloe and coconut oil. I absolutely love using coconut oil on my skin. Whenever I’m cooking with coconut oil I’ll take a little and rub it into my arms, elbows and hands. Here’s a quick overview of the many benefits of coconut oil:

  • Hydrates and conditions the skin
  • Clears away dirt, grime, and flaking skin cells
  • Has antibacterial properties
  • Soothes bug bites
  • Helps with rashes
  • Softens and shrinks wrinkles
  • Protects against skin damage
  • Prolongs tans
  • Prevents cellular aging
  • Can be used to remove make-up easily
  • Is a great massage oil

In addition to protecting our skin externally we can also nourish our skin by eating certain foods. Dark chocolate contains a high level of antioxidants which protects the skin from sunburn and cancer. The carotenes in apricots, papaya, mango, carrots, sweet potatoes and beets all help to reduce the negative effects of UVB radiation.

Staying hydrated is key. Drinking plenty of room temperature water creates a natural moisture factor which protects the skin. After spending time outside it’s always a good idea to drink plenty of fluids so as to prevent dehydration.

How do you care for your skin during the warmer months? Feel free to leave a comment in the box below:

A Taste of Divinity – Raw Cacao

Practice Create Repeat

For just a moment ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is the BEST that you’ve ever felt?
  • Where were you at the time?
  • How old were you?
  • What were you doing?
  • Were you alone or with someone?
  • Did this happen more than once?

Just sit with these questions for a minute and see what comes up. Now ask yourself:

  • Could you create this state again?
  • What would it take to replicate it?
  • What (if anything) is keeping you from feeling this way now?
  • How might you take this experience to the next level?

I’m asking these questions because they relate to my mission as a yoga teacher. For the past thirteen years I’ve been focusing on my personal evolution. My body is the healthiest it’s ever been. I’m committed to eating the most beautiful food, moving in ways that I enjoy and living a low-stress lifestyle. I am free from scoliosis-related back pain. My mind is calmer, clearer and more creative than ever before. I am learning so much and I am more in love every day.

My goal is to help people learn how to do this for themselves.

Life is not easy. We face countless challenges and seemingly endless distractions. Thankfully there are some simple ways to create heightened experiences on a regular basis. One way to do this is by cultivating a personal practice. In my humble opinion this is the BEST thing that we can do for ourselves. A personal practice is an amazing tool that helps us connect with our highest Selves – our creativity, divinity, sovereignty – call it what you will.

When you treat your body like the temple that it is you elevate your life.

If a daily yoga practice seems overwhelming to you, not to worry. There are plenty of ways to administer self-care. I suggest that you start small by picking ONE healthy habit that you can do on a daily basis, such as drinking lemon water or eating one superfood every day. A superfood is a food that is extraordinarily good for your health.

One of my favorite superfoods is raw cacao. The botanical name Theobroma cacao means “Food of the Gods.” Raw cacao is one of the most antioxidant-rich foods on the planet. It contains three natural mood enhancers which make you feel like you’re in love. The health benefits of raw cacao are far more powerful than conventional chocolate.

Raw Cacao:

  • Aids in weight loss
  • Promotes healthy skin
  • Is high in antioxidants
  • Enhances mood
  • Contains essential minerals and vitamins
  • Improves brain function
  • Promotes heart health
  • Is an aphrodisiac

I have a little side project called Amaroons. I make handcrafted macaroons with raw cacao powder, coconut, almonds, maple syrup, vanilla and Himalayan sea salt.

Amaroons make a wonderful gift!

I’m happy to announce that my Etsy shop is open for the holidays.

Your purchase supports my independent small-business and will help to expand my operation. Thank you for your support.

Amaroons Raw Cacao Superfood Macaroons
Amaroons – Raw Chocolate Macaroons

Raw Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffles

I’ve had raw truffles on the brain lately so I figured that was my body’s way of telling me to make some.

You should ALWAYS make your own raw truffles. You don’t need a food processor or a high powered blender. Most health food stores carry the specialty ingredients (or you could order them online).

Store bought raw truffles are ridiculously expensive – I’ve seen them sold for as much as $8 for a four pack.

The best part about making your own raw truffles is that you can use any ingredients you want. For instance, most raw dessert recipes call for agave but I prefer maple syrup or honey.

Raw honey provides a great pre-workout energy boost. It’s a powerful antioxidant that promotes digestive health, strengthens the immune system, eliminates allergies, calms the nervous system and can help stabilize blood sugar levels.

If you’re going to eat dessert then make it count.

I use raw cacao in no-bake chocolate desserts because of the incredible nutrient content. Cacao is one of the most antioxidant-rich foods on the planet. It’s high in fiber, magnesium and iron. It contains the alkaloids theobromine, phenylethylamine and anandamine – three natural mood enhancers which make you feel like you’re in love.

Like raw honey, raw cacao is considered to be the food of the gods.

I used peanut butter but you could use any nut butter – almond, hazelnut, or sunflower seed (if you’re allergic to nuts).

Virgin organic coconut oil is yet another amazing superfood. Coconut oil has been getting a lot of bad press lately, but I just ignore it (remember when butter was supposed to be bad for you?)

Tip: If you have a little extra coconut oil on your measuring spoon give your sun-kissed skin a treat while you’re making these.

Raw Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffles

Makes 20

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup organic raw cacao powder
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed coconut milk
  • 3 Tbsp raw honey (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp organic virgin coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp Himalayan salt
  • Chopped toasted nuts for coating

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients except for the chopped toasted nuts into a medium bowl. Blend with a wooden spoon until combined.
  2. Transfer to a glass tupperware container and chill for at least an hour.
  3. Place chopped nuts in a small bowl.
  4. Using your hands, roll truffle mixture into large marble-sized balls. Roll truffles in the chopped nuts, applying gentle pressure.
  5. Store unused truffles in the fridge.
  6. Bring truffles to room temperature before consuming. Savor, enjoy, and share the love…

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Superfood Peanut Zucchini Noodles

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