Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Harvest Grains Recipe

I shared a favorite healthy dish with several yogis a couple of weeks ago. I had quite a few requests for the recipe so I thought I'd provide it here.

Trader Joe's has a great dry mix of grains called "Harvest Grains."

It's a blend of couscous, baby garbanzo beans, and orzo. I use the mix as a base but I've also served it as a side dish with Smart Balance butter and a little sea salt. It's delicious and very healthy.

I use the entire package, following the cooking directions. I then add:

Cooked asparagus
2 cans organic garbanzo beans
Feta cheese
Dried apricots
Drizzle of olive oil
Cumin, coriander, salt and pepper to taste

There are many, many ways to augment this basic recipe. I've also added tomatoes, broccoli, and/or golden raisins depending on the ingredients I have on hand.

The beauty of this dish is that it can be prepared before an event, chilled, then served. It serves a lot of people and generally is filling enough to be enjoyed as a main dish.


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Refomer #2: Double the Fun!

I had the great fortune of *finally* adding another reformer to my home studio this week! The new machine is in even better shape than my current reformer. It is also a Balanced Body Allegro model (the industry standard for Reformer training).

I am now offering "duet" sessions (2 people per session). The benefits of a shared session include significant cost savings and shared, collective energy that translates into more fun.

So grab a friend and call or email me for available times and pricing.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Figoco Is Yum-O

To borrow Rachael Ray's adjective, I've found something that is really yum-o!

My director gave me a goody bag not too long ago with treats from Trader Joe's and this was one of the items:

Some culinary genius over at TJ's had another ingenious idea when this product was created. Combining figs and cocoa is nothing less than sublime!

I've used this spread on toast (with cream cheese), on crackers, waffles, and even served it alongside Brie cheese the other night. I've also dipped in with just a spoon more than I'd like to admit.

I continue to be amazed at the quality and value that Trader Joe's prides itself on. This product is a shining example of what they do best.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Breaking Up With Soy

My love affair with the soybean is over, I'm sad to say.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I simply can't ignore all the reports on soy's impact on our health and the environment any longer. As much as I've tried to see the redeeming qualities of soy, it would be wrong for me and perhaps somewhat neglectful (since I am, after all, in charge of what my child consumes) to continue stocking our kitchen with all soy products known to Trader Joe's. And that's a whole lotta soy!

I was doing a great job of ignoring the negativity surrounding soy until I opened last week's issue of Sacramento News and Review. I consider the News and Review a great rag (source?) for all things liberal and somewhat saucy, so I definitely took quick notice when their environmental columnist devoted quite a bit of real estate to soy's dirty little secret.

Turns out that Clif Bars have been under close scrutiny lately for claiming that their products are organic when in fact they are using soybeans that are treated with chemical solvent hexane. "What is that?" you're asking.

Hexane is really nasty stuff, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA, certainly a good source for these types of issues, classifies the hexane solvent as a neurotoxin and hazardous air pollutant. Simply stated, you don't want this garbage in your body.

And guess what? All those soy products that you love so much from our beloved TJs, our supermarket staple, Amy's, and the old tried-and-true Gardenburger are all treated with hexane. It gets worse. Before you order that next soy latte or pour your child a glass of cold, vanilla soy milk, consider this: Vitasoy, WestSoy, Soy Dream and Silk are all in on what I call the "hexane hoax."

Yes, we have been duped.

But the bright side is there are some companies that are playing clean in the soy game. They are: Eden Foods, Helen's Kitchen, Tofurky and Wildwood.

So what to do?

We have a case of Silk soymilk that I plan on finishing. And two pints of Silk soy creamer that I'll enjoy. We're all still working on two packages of soy cheese and we just finished the last of the soy yogurt. I finished off the final scoop of my soy protein powder, yet we have two rather big containers of soy shake mix.

My plan is to responsibly use the rest of our soy products and replace them with organic dairy items, rice milk, and almond milk. I won't be buying Amy's items anytime soon, same for Clif Bars, and Gardenburgers are out, too.

It's disappointing to have to part ways with foods that you've grown to love but I'm a firm believer that there are always decent replacements. The threats that hexane present to our bodies and our environment simply cannot be ignored.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Soy Is On My Mind

I am a complete soy girl. I love my vanilla soy milk, my soy coffee creamer, my soy cheese, my soy bars, my soy protein powder, my soy shake powder and my soy ice cream. And edamame, which is soy in its purest form and with a bit of sea salt, is nothing less than heaven to me.

So it's been a little troubling to read about all the dirty soy facts that are now surfacing. Turns out that the innocent soy bean may not be so angelic and might just be downright bad for you.

Even as I write this, I am troubled by misleading health information that we are fed on a daily basis. At one time, soy was the darling of the nutrition world...pure, high in protein, low in fat, a real gem.

Now I'm not so sure.

Given the fact that I eat buckets of soy, I'm reluctantly facing the facts of soy's less-than-pristine profile.

And I'm going to have to get back to you on the findings since the information on soy's bad rap is PLENTIFUL and deserves a careful look.

In the meantime, I'm cutting down on my soy consumption. I think we're bringing organic cow's milk back in the house and cheese, too. We're adding rice milk back in and stocking up on Lara bars, instead of soy bars. I've just bought an ice cream maker so that we can make our own frozen yogurt (with organic non-fat yogurt and agave syrup). I've pushed the protein powder into the back of the cabinet and just purchased whey powder instead.

I'm making these difficult yet necessary choices for myself and for Ben, not because I am paranoid about what I read, but because the evidence that I have read about soy, thus far, has warranted some big changes in our home.

I'll keep you posted as I learn more about the downfalls of soy.