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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Yoga and a Zen Recipe

I did a yoga class today at a neighbourhood studio. It was the first class I've done in about 3 years. Even though it wasn't the best class ever (the teacher wasn't all that experienced), it was wonderful to have an hour to myself and it reminded me how much I love yoga.

I used to do yoga once a week religiously for years. I started doing ashtanga (power yoga) because I was young and stupid and thought that an activity wasn't worthwhile unless it burned calories. But eventually I got tired of it and found I really wanted more of a restorative experience, especially since I already do so much cardio and high intensity exercise. I also got sick of the competitive attitude I was finding in some power yoga classes. I'm definitely not extraordinarily flexible and never really got to a super advanced level in yoga. I once accidently showed up to an advanced class at my old yoga studio and I was not made to feel welcome. So anyways, I switched to hatha yoga, a much gentler form, and never looked back.

Unfortunately, with no major income right now and significant tuition costs from school, I can't afford to pay to go to a yoga class regularly. Luckily, I spoke to my boss at the JCC, where I teach spinning, and she said I was welcome to drop in and do some classes there. So after Sherma starts next week, I'm hoping to get there on Tuesdays for a 1pm hatha class. I love being forced to slow down my body and my brain for an hour...I think it's really good for a neurotic, a-type like myself. Today was a nice treat which I feel I earned: I got 95% on my final paper for my Theories of Personality course!

Here is the recipe I tried last night and it was delish. I love cooking with nut butters. If you don't want to use peanut butter, you could use cashew butter. The pineapple, vinegar, soy sauce and chili give it a sweet, sour, salty, spicy combo that I love. Of course, you can just omit the chili if you don't like heat. This would make a great filling for wraps or serve over rice, which is what I did last night. It's also make entirely in one pot so there's not much to clean up. It can also simmer for a long time, so you have flexibility if you aren't sure when you will be serving it.

Pineapple Peanut Chicken

1 lb ground chicken or turkey
1 onion, diced
1 large knob ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can crushed pineapple with juice
2 tbls soy sauce
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1/2 head cabbage, thinly sliced
Chili flakes, to taste (optional)
Crushed peanuts (optional)

Cook chicken in large pan or skillet over medium heat, until partially cooked. Add ginger, garlic, onion and pineapple with juice and cook until chicken is done and onion is softened. Add soy sauce, rice vinegar and peanut butter and turn heat down to low. Add cabbage and chili (if using) and simmer at least 30 minutes. If serving over brown rice, sprinkle each serving with some crushed peanuts.

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