About Me

My photo
Springdale, Arkansas, United States
Yoga and reading are my passions - followed closely by jewelry-making and cooking plant-based meals. My husband is my guinea pig for my recipes and thankfully he's a willing subject! Be sure to visit my Etsy store: https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheBookishYogini?ref=search_shop_redirect

Friday, December 20, 2013

Hello all my Yogi and Yogini friends!  Remember to take time out for your Yoga practice - there's nothing like some Yoga to help center yourself during all the madness of shopping and travel during the holidays.

Remember there will be no Yoga class at Metfield in Bella Vista on Dec 24, 26 or 31.  Also, no SilverSneakers YogaStretch on Dec. 23 or 28th.  There WILL be YogaStretch at Branchwood on Dec. 30th, thanks to Peg Corcoran, who will be subbing for me.

Merry Christmas to you all!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Yoga Opportunities in Bella Vista

I love teaching Yoga!  There are many opportunities to take a variety of Yoga classes in Bella Vista, Arkansas.  Check out this link:  Bella Vista Yoga.

News >From Recreation Manager Clem Morgan
Thursday, October 17, 2013 -

Yoga class, anyone? Bella Vista Village's Recreation Division offers yoga in the morning, afternoon and evening!
SilverSneakers Yoga Stretch, also referred to as chair yoga, is offered at the Branchwood Recreation Center at 9 a.m. each Monday and Saturday. The class is taught by Carrie Ridgeway. The cost is $3.50 per class or $30 for a punch card, which is valid for 10 classes. The class is free to SilverSneakers Members. The Branchwood daily facility fee or a monthly or annual fitness pass is also required.
SilverSneakers Yoga Stretch is offered at Riordan Hall at 8:30 a.m. each Monday and Wednesday. Instructors are Nancy Keesling and Carolan Weaver. The class is free to SilverSneakers members. The cost for non-SilverSneakers members is $2.50 per class. Additionally, non-SilverSneakers members are required to have a current photo identification card issued by the Property Owners Association or pay the Riordan Hall facility fee of $2.25.
SilverSneakers Yoga Stretch will move your whole body through a complete series of seated and standing yoga poses. Chair support is offered to safely perform a variety of seated and standing postures designed to increase flexibility, balance and range of movement. Restorative breathing exercises and final relaxation will promote stress reduction and mental clarity.
Yoga for Active Adults is offered at 4 p.m. each Tuesday and Thursday at the Metfield Clubhouse. Instructor Carrie Ridgeway leads the class. The cost is $3 per class or $25 for a punch card, which is valid for 10 classes. Participants without a current POA-issued photo identification card will be required to pay the Metfield facility fee of $2.25 per class.
Yoga for Active Adults is also being offered at the Branchwood Recreation Center at 4 p.m. each Wednesday through Nov. 13. The class is led by Carrie Ridgeway. Robin Smith will offer Yoga for Active Adults at 4 p.m. each Tuesday and Thursday, beginning Nov. 19. The cost is $3.50 per class or $30 for a punch card, which is valid for 10 classes. The Branchwood daily facility fee or a monthly or annual fitness pass is also required.

Yoga for Active Adults classes offer a flowing style of Hatha Yoga that helps create core strength and increase flexibility and balance. Poses flow one into the other linked with the breath. The class is suitable for students of all experience levels. Students should bring a yoga mat. Other optional accessories include a yoga strap, yoga block and a blanket or cushion.

Evening Yoga, led by Maureen Neagle, is available at 6 p.m. each Monday and Wednesday at Riordan Hall. The cost is $3.50 for one class or $36 for a punch card, which is valid for 12 classes. Participants without a current POA-issued photo identification card will be required to pay the Riordan Hall facility fee of $2.25 per class.

Yoga classes are also offered at 9 a.m. each Tuesday and Thursday at Riordan Hall. Instructors Maureen Neagle or Carolan Weaver lead the class. Bring your own yoga mat! The classes are free with a current POA-issued photo identification card. Those without a photo identification card will be required to pay the Riordan Hall facility fee of $2.25.

So grab your friends, visit one of our three recreation facilities and enjoy an hour of stress-relieving yoga exercises.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Gong Relaxation Anyone?

Last Saturday, I attended my second "Gong Relaxation" at It'z OK Yoga Studio.  If you want to experience a deeply relaxing, meditative state, attend one or more of these sessions with Pat Talbot.

So what is gong relaxation?  The gong (example below): 

is an ancient instrument.  The healing vibrations it produces have been used around the world. Listeners can benefit in many ways, including stilling the mind and strengthening the nervous system to effectively deal with daily, stressful situations.  All participants need to do is relax comfortably on their mats and breath deeply to experience sound healing.   Here's a link to a really informative website about gong therapy:  Gong Sound Healing.

The sessions at It'z OK Yoga studio usually last for an hour and a half.  The first few minutes are spent in focusing on our breathing and some gentle stretching that helps the nervous system to prepare for the sound vibration.  Then participants relax stretched out on our mats in Shivasana (final relaxation pose) with eye pillows (often scented with lavendar) and absorb the sound of the gong for the next 45 minutes.  I had no idea what the gong would sound like - actually I thought it would be very quiet.  In reality, it can be quiet and then build to a fairly loud sound.  Each sound vibration merges into the next.  It's a really cool sound!  At first, there is the tendency to fidget on your mat, and for the mind to flit from one thought to the next, but then things settle down and that's when the relaxation starts.   At the end, we spend a few minutes enjoying our feelings of relaxation and well-being while sipping on some delicious Yogi Tea, homemade by Pat, while talking amongst ourselves.

Each time you experience a gonging session, you may have a different experience.  The first time I went, I had no trouble at all letting go of the thoughts jumping here and there, and truly relaxing.  Towards the end, I had a sensation of a warm blanket gently covering my body - but there was no blanket there.  This last time, I felt a lot of involuntary muscle twitching and jerking going on.  Some say this is a sign of your body letting go of some concern or worry.  I have to agree, that this was exactly what was happening as I had gone through two medical tests in the two weeks before, which had turned out to be fine.  My intention that I had set at the beginning of the gong session was gratitude for health, so, now I feel like I've totally let go of the worry and LIFE IS GOOD!!  

If you are interested in going with me to a gong relaxation, let me know.  The next one is Saturday, October 19th at 3 pm.  (I probably won't make it to this one as it is Craft Fair Weekend).  Then another on Sunday, October 27th at 3 pm.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Chickpea Crockpot Pie with Biscuit Topping

Just made a new vegan recipe today in the crockpot.  It turned out very nicely, although my prep time took a good bit longer than the 10 minutes noted in the recipe!!  New recipes always take longer to make, as I keep re-reading the ingredients and directions to make sure I'm not missing anything.  Still, that doesn't stop me from making some often-times disastrous mistakes!

If you are interested, here is the link to the recipe:  Chickpea Crockpot Pie with Biscuit Topping.  I changed a few things, as usual - no celery (Fred is not a fan), and subbed frozen corn for the green peas.  Probably could have added frozen green beans, but I didn't have any.  Oh, well.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Banned Book Week September 22-28

September 22-28 is the American Library Association's Annual Banned Book week.  Join me and others in challenging our immensely important right to intellectual freedom to read what we choose to read.

To quote the ALA website:   "The American Library Association promotes the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one's opinions even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular, and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those viewpoints to all who wish to read them."

So, what are some titles that have been banned or challenged at one time or another?  How about:

Here are some lists to help you choose your next "banned" book to read:

100 Most Frequently Challenged Books 1990-1999

100 Most Frequently Challenged Books 2000-2009

According to my reading records, I have read 30 books from the Banned Book Lists.  I would have to say there was only one title I could not finish - "Naked Lunch".   Also, of these books, there were only seven that I rated below a "4" on a scale of 1-5, with a rating of  "5" meaning "It was amazing!".  

Happy Reading!!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Recent New Recipes

This past week I tried several new recipes.  Some were keepers, some were not so hot, or were not worth the long preparation time.

The non-keeper of the week was for Red Quinoa and Sweet Potato Croquettes.  I had made another flop of a recipe with red quinoa previously, and had frozen the leftover quinoa, so I thought this would be a great way to use the leftovers.  Well, these little "burgers" were lacking in flavor, and took WAY too long to prepare, even though my quinoa was already cooked.

The first keeper recipe was Polenta and Beans from FitSugar.

This was very tasty, even though my polenta rounds didn't get as crispy as these in the author's picture. I really liked that this recipe came together very quickly.

The second keeper recipe was a conglomeration of several recipes for Spanakoritzo - Greek Spinach with Rice.  My recipe was closest to the one on this website:  White Hot Oven.  The changes I made were that I used white basmati rice instead of long grain white rice; added a green onion, chopped, added 1/2 tsp dried dill weed, and used a 5.6 oz package of organic baby spinach; did not use any lemon juice. This was delicious!  If you wanted to lower the carb content, you could use half as much rice as called for.  

The last new recipe was for Key Lime Ice "Cream" from this website:  Laura's Gluten Free Pantry.  As usual, I made a few changes - for one of the cans of coconut milk, I used Lite Coconut Milk.  Since I couldn't find Key Limes, I used 2 large regular limes.  Now, Fred didn't like this as much as I did - only because he's not a fan of tart things.  I thought it was fabulous!

Monday, September 2, 2013

September is National Yoga Month

The month of September is National Yoga Month!  Yah!!!  If you've never tried yoga, maybe this is the month for you.

Yoga has become very popular in Northwest Arkansas, and I'm happy to be a part of this movement.  It has now been about a year since I first tried yoga, and was hooked immediately.  So much so, that I started taking classes towards my Yoga Alliance 200-Hr RYT designation.  After becoming "certified" in Yoga and Indoor Cycling through Fitour, I chose YogaFit as my training source for continued yoga study.  YogaFit allows me to spread my training out over time, which allows me to practice what I learn at each training, building proficiency, and not forcing my body to do things that, at age 53, may be more challenging than to a 20-something body.  Another benefit of taking longer to achieve the 200-Hr designation is I can spread out the cost of training.  Since starting with YogaFit in January 2013, I have now completed four of the eleven classes required for the 200-Hr RYT designation.

If you are looking to try yoga, the Bella Vista POA offers classes at Branchwood, Riordan Hall, and Metfield (beginning Sept 10!).  You can go to the Bella Vista POA website under "Recreation", then click on the clubhouse you are interested in to find classes and times.   There are also a number of studios and gyms in Bentonville, Rogers, Springdale, and Fayetteville where you can practice yoga.

One can always practice at home too!  The beauty of home practice is you choose the time.  There a tons of free yoga classes on the Internet and on YouTube in particular.  One of my favorites on YouTube is  Dr. Melissa West.  She has beginner, intermediate, and advanced classes and all kinds in between.  A neat iPhone app I found is Yogify.  This app has several free classes, and you can choose to buy more at a reasonable cost.

Bottom line, the key to maintaining a regular practice is finding a time, a location, a price, and a style that you enjoy.

Peace and Namaste'

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Comfort Food...

In our household, our favorite comfort food is pasta.  Not just any pasta, but Pozza's Pasta.

Growing up in Springdale, Arkansas, near the Italian community of Tontitown, I learned at an early age that the only good pasta is homemade, thin, egg noodle pasta.  I'm not even sure that I ever tasted that semolina "crap" until I was grown and moved away to some place that didn't have Pozza's Pasta.  I love this stuff so much, that when we lived in Massachusetts, I ordered a case at a time shipped to my home!

Of course, you can cook your noodles and serve them up covered in a delicious marinara sauce, but on an evening when you're tired, and just want some comfort food, this is how I serve it up.

Boil your noodles until they are soft, but not mushy.  Drain the water, but keep the noodles in your hot boiling pan, but not on the stove top.  Add a good dollop of the butter of your choice (we like Earth Balance), then add a good bit of grated Parmesan cheese and stir until the butter is all melted.  Sprinkle with some garlic salt, stir.  Then divide it up onto plates, and sprinkle dried parsley on top (mostly for decoration!).  Yum, yum  -  comfort food!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Do you listen to audiobooks?

Recently CBS aired an item about the "new" popularity of audiobooks in the literary industry.  Here is an older episode they aired:   Audiobooks Give New Life to Literature.   The one thing they failed to mention was the ability to borrow and download audiobooks FREE of charge from public libraries.

Personally, I have been listening to audiobooks for at least 13 years, maybe longer.  When I first started listening to audiobooks, it was by cassette tape.  Remember those? Almost always I would borrow them from my local library.  Once in a while I would purchase audiobooks, but they were generally more expensive than the hardcopy book.  Then along came audio CD's and MP3's, and my favorite of all time - downloadable audiobooks - a FREE service from my local library.

If you want to try downloadable audiobooks, just go to the website of your local library, for instance, Bentonville Library.  Then click on the tab Downloadables, then choose Library2Go

and begin your search for reading material.  You will need a current library card number and PIN # to log in and download your book.  If you don't have a card, your library's website will guide you how to get one.

Several people have told me that they "just can't listen to audiobooks because they put me to sleep".  This can be a problem that, in my opinion, is directly related to the voice of the narrator.  A good narrator can lead me to listen to a book that ordinarily I might not have read in print.  A good example is Charlaine Harris's  Sookie Stackhouse series.  I may never have chosen to read this series if I had started with the print version.  The audiobook, however, read by the very entertaining Johanna Parker hooked me immediately with her quirky, southern drawl.

In my search for entertaining audiobook narrators, I have come across several websites that allow you to listen to snippets of each narrators' reading style.  The following sites are a good resource for this purpose:  AudioFile Magazine,  Tantor Audio Audiobooks, and Audiobooks by Reader.  The Library2Go website also allows you to listen to a sample of your selection before downloading.

There are many ways to listen to audiobooks.  My favorite device is my iPhone.   (It is ridiculously easy to download audiobooks from the library to your iPhone.)  My husband bought me a wireless Bluetooth  device that works great for listening since there are no pesky wires, and I can easily answer any incoming phone calls with the push of button, pausing my audiobook.  So -  I can clean house, work in the yard, or cook while listening to a book!  Multi-tasking!!   I also listen this way while driving - which is much safer than earplugs, as I have one ear open to traffic, and it's totally hands free.  

Have I convinced you to try audiobooks?????

Monday, August 19, 2013

New Yoga Class For Active Adults Starting

Breaking News!   Beginning September 10, I will begin teaching a new class: Yoga For Active Adults, from 4 to 5 pm each Tuesday and Thursday at Bella Vista Village's Metfield Clubhouse, 3 Euston Road.

The class will offer a flowing style of Hatha Yoga that helps create core strength and increase flexibility and balance.  Poses flow one into the other linked with the breath. Suitable for students of all levels and experience.

Students should bring a yoga mat.  Other optional accessories are a yoga strap, yoga block, and a blanket or cushion.

The cost is $3 per class or $25 for 10 classes when a punch card is purchased. Class participants, without a photo identification card issued by the Property Owners Association, will be required to pay the Metfield facility fee of $2.25 per class.
For more information, or to register, call 855-8165.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Homemade Ice "Cream"

Growing up, we had a tradition that on each of our birthdays, we would have cake (usually Betty Crocker) and homemade ice cream.  Our ice cream recipe made the MOST DELICIOUS ice cream.   In actuality it was closer to ice milk than ice cream, as it had no eggs in it.  

Since adopting a vegan/vegetarian eating plan, I have adapted my Mom's recipe to be vegan.  It tastes pretty darn good, especially with chocolate syrup and chopped peanuts on top.  (Fred would disagree on this count!)  

Here's my recipe for 
Cuisinart Dairy-Free Ice Cream:

3 cups non-dairy drink (soy, almond, rice, or hemp milk)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup organic evaporated cane sugar

Today I used 1 1/2 cups West Soy Organic Unsweetened Soy Milk and 1 1/2 cups Rice Dream Rice Milk.

Mix all ingredients, stirring until sugar is dissolved. It you're not ready to freeze this, store in the refrigerator until you're ready to turn on the Cuisinart.


After about 30 minutes or so, the mixture should be frozen. Transfer your ice cream to a freezer-safe container and place in the freezer immediately if you want a harder ice cream.

This ice cream freezes pretty hard in the freezer section of your refrigerator.


Saturday, August 3, 2013

Jalapeno, Bell Pepper, and Bean Salad

My husband found another tasty looking recipe for us to try on Facebook.  I adapted the recipe a bit to suit our taste buds.  The original recipe called for 3/4 cup of sugar in the dressing, which involved cooking the dressing in a pan on the stove top until the sugar dissolved.  Why add more empty calories and one extra step to the preparation, when it tastes quite fine without the sugar?

Jalapeno, Bell Pepper and Bean Salad

1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1 can sweet corn, drained and rinsed
1 jalapenos, minced
1 red onion, diced (optional, I will leave this out next time)
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 orange bell pepper, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup organic canola oil
1 tsp black pepper
3/4 cup organic apple cider vinegar

Mix all ingredients together and let sit in fridge several hours or overnight.  One serving is equal to about one cup.  Makes about 8 cups.

Jalapeno, Bell Pepper, and Bean Salad
Makes a HUGE bowl!

Look at all those veggies!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Very Chocolatey Brownies

In honor of Caitlyn, who is leaving the Library and moving far, far away, on Wednesday I baked my first recipe from The Joy of Vegan Baking by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau (which Caitlyn gave me).  A copy of this book is available through the Washington County Library System or Carrie's personal library :-).

Holy moly!  These are VERRRRRY Chocolatey Brownies!  Delicious, if you love chocolate.  My husbands' response to tasting them was "Yuck, these taste like you dumped a can of cocoa in them."  He's not so far from the truth, as they call for 3/4 of a cup of cocoa!

This is a definite repeat recipe, although I have not calculated the nutrition facts yet - that may make them a once-in-a-while treat.  The good thing about them, is they are oil-free, egg-free, and dairy-free!  Yes!  But not sugar-free!

With a little coconut ice cream...

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Eggplant Pomodoro Pasta

My sister, Dina, was just here for a visit, along with one of her twin sons, Christopher, who is in the Marines.  He is shipping out to serve a term in Okinawa, Japan very soon.  We will miss him greatly while he's gone, but hopefully, my sister and I will get to take a LONG trip to visit him in a year or so.  Plus there's also Skype!

Having a bountiful garden this year, Dina brought me some eggplant and squash from her garden.  She also found a couple of recipes for me to try out using the eggplant.  Eggplant is an excellent source of  fiber and manganese.  It is a very good source of enzyme-catalyzing molybdenum and heart-healthy potassium.  Eggplant is also a good source of vitamin K and magnesium as well as heart-healthy copper, vitamin C, vitamin B6, folate, and niacin.  Eggplant also contains phytonutrients such as nasunin and chlorogenic acid.  (Source:  The World's Healthiest Foods)

Below is the recipe I chose, due mostly to its' simplicity!!  It turned out pretty tasty, and a little bit spicy - which we liked.  I served this dish with some buttered Naan bread.

Eggplant Pomodoro Pasta (adapted from Eating Well)

2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium eggplant, (about 1 lb), cut into 1/2-inch cubes.  I did not peel my eggplant.
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans Hunts Basil, Garlic and Oregano Diced Tomatoes (I used one can tonight, but it definitely needed more liquid for sauce)
1/3 cup chopped pitted green olives
2 T. red-wine vinegar
4 tsp. capers, rinsed
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
2 tsp. dried basil
12 oz pasta (We have preferred Pozza's Pasta, a local brand, for as long as I can remember!)
Parmesan cheese, to taste,

1)  Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add eggplant and cook, stirring occasionally, until just softened, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds to one minute.  Add tomatoes, olives, vinegar, capers, pepper, crushed red pepper, and basil, and cook, stirring, 5 to 7 minutes more (while the pasta cooks).
2)  Meanwhile, cook pasta in boiling water according to package directions.  Drain and divide the pasta among six shallow bowls.  Spoon the sauce over the pasta and sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.

Eggplant Pomodoro Pasta

Friday, July 26, 2013

Be Here Now

Recently I finished reading Be Here Now by Ram Dass (formerly Richard Alpert), written in 1971.  The edition I purchased is the Nook e-reader enhanced version, complete with the reproductions of the author's handwritten text and illustrations.  Thankfully, there is a transcription of the handwritten writings, as I cannot tell which direction to turn my Nook to read some of the drawings/writings!  The author was obviously under the influence of LSD or some such mind-altering drug when he did the original writing.  I didn't let that scare me off though!   Notwithstanding the books idiosyncrasies in style, it does have a lot of good ideas.   In fact, I actually quite liked the book.

I often struggle with trying to do too many things at once, with the result that none of the things I'm working on get my full attention.  Sometimes, my husband has made me realize that I wasn't REALLY listening to what he was saying, since I could not respond to his question or statement - my mind was somewhere else.  If anything, this book has awakened more awareness that I need to BE HERE NOW more often than not.  Give my full attention to the person I am talking with.  Give my full attention to the recipe I am preparing.  Yoga helps us to return to the NOW by focusing on our breath and noticing how we feel in different asanas.  

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Summer Salad

My favorite summer salad that is soooo easy to prepare is Black-Eyed Pea Salad.  The first time I ever had this salad was in Newnan, Georgia.  Each week I attended an oil painting class and once a month we would have an "Eating Meeting", where each student would bring a dish and we would paint, then eat, and then paint some more.  Donna Haynes brought this dish and I fell in love with it!  Donna is a talented painter, and she and her husband now run a Bed and Breakfast in a beautiful, historic home in Pine Mountain, Georgia called The Chipley Murrah House.  Her paintings grace the walls of the house, surrounded by Victorian style furniture and the gorgeous gardens outside.  Callaway Gardens is a short distance away.  We've been to Callaway a couple of times to see the azaleas in bloom.  One summer we went there and saw The Beach Boys in concert.  That was fun!

Black-Eyed Pea Summer Salad

1 can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1 can white shoe peg corn, drained
1 cucumber, peeled and diced
1 tomato, chopped (can use a can of diced petite tomatoes if you don't have a fresh tomato)

Mix all ingredients and marinate in Italian dressing of your choice in the refrigerator.  The longer it marinates, the better it tastes!  Will keep for several days in the fridge.

Monday, July 22, 2013


My sister can make ANYTHING!  Believe me, she's AWESOME!  The recipe below is from my dear sister, Dina at Five Cats From Crazy.  These lotion bars are SO easy to make!  To use a lotion bar, warm it up between your hands for a minute or less, then glide it down your legs, or any area that needs moisture.  Your skin will feel a tiny bit oily/greasy at first, but it rapidly absorbs.  These bars are especially good for itchy, wintery skin.  The ingredients can mostly be found at Ozark Natural Foods, on-line, or from any good natural foods store.

Final Product After Hardening

Top View of Mold
After Pouring Into Mold

4 oz shea butter (try to find deodorized shea butter as regular can have slightly "off" smell, can also use deodorized cocoa butter).  I couldn't find anything labeled "deodorized". 
4 oz beeswax pastilles
5 ounces jojoba oil (can use sweet almond oil instead)
4 grams Vitamin E Oil (optional)
2 tsp Essential Oil of your choice (Fred loves Eucalyptus & I love Lavendar)

1. Weigh out ingredients.  I weighed and put all (except fragrance) in a coffee can and then put the can in a pot of boiling water to melt it all together.  Stir with a disposable spoon.  **Crimp the top of the can also, to make it sort of have a spout for easy pouring.

2. Mix well, stir in essential oil, and pour into molds or lotion bar containers. **Found clear plastic molds at Hobby Lobby that makes 4 rectangular or 4 oval bars.  This recipe made exactly 4 bars for me.

3. Mixture will harden in approximately 1-2 hours. The cooler the mixture is upon pouring it, the less pockets you'll get in it (but don't wait too long to pour it!).  When hardened, they will pop out of the mold easily.  
Before everything cools/hardens in the coffee can after pouring, wipe it out well with a paper towel.  Would NOT advise washing or pouring down sink because of hardening beeswax.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Southern Beans & Greens

One of our favorite plant-based recipes is Southern Beans & Greens. It's relatively easy to make and doesn't take very long - maybe 30 minutes. Leftovers taste even better than when first cooked!

Southern Beans & Greens - adapted from 21DayVegan Kickstart Program - GF (Makes about four 1-cup srvngs)

1 cup water
3 cups drained, cooked or canned (2 cans) black-eyed peas (or great northern beans, not good with pinto beans)  (Note:  to cook beans from dry, soak overnight covered by  2-3 inched water, then cook on low in crockpot 8-12 hrs covered in fresh water - 6 cups per 1b.)
½ tsp crushed garlic (about 2 small or 1 large)
4 cups chopped or torn kale, collards or turnip greens, center ribs removed, lightly packed
Freshly ground sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Green Tabasco sauce, to taste (added at plate)
Nutritional Flakes, to taste (added at plate)

1)  Combine beans, water, and garlic in a large sauce pan (I used a big enamel pot).
2)  Place chopped greens on top of beans  and bring to a boil.
3)  Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until greens are tender, about 15-20 minutes.  
4)  Remove from heat and stir in oil, salt, and pepper.  Add Tabasco sauce at plate to taste.

Nutrition (approximate as analyzed by "MyFitnessPal" app):
Calories:  181 per cup
Fat:  1.1g
Chol:  0
Sodium:  500.2mg
Pot:  483.3mg
Carbs:  30.6g
Fiber:  11.8g
Sugars:  3.7
Protein:  13.3g
Vit A:  49%
Vit C:  22.7%
Calcium:  12.4%
Iron:  18%

Good with sliced tomato and cornbread

Thursday, July 18, 2013

I'm Still Here...Summertime Busyness...

Wow!  I had not realized it's been more than two months since I've posted anything on my blog!  I am still here!!  A lot has happened since 5/12/13.

My husband lost his Mother on May 29, 2013.   She will be greatly missed.

We gained a new daughter-in-law on June 15, 2013!  She is a wonderful young lady!

I attended YogaFit Kids Yoga and Level 2 teacher training in June.  Then I just finished YogaFit Level 3 training last weekend!  Whew!!

I am third from the left.

July has seen my husband teaching swim lessons four days a week, plus outdoor and indoor aqua pilates classes.  I think he is growing flippers for feet!!

I am currently teaching only the SilverSneakers YogaStretch Classes two mornings a week at Branchwood, but additional teaching opportunities are on the horizon starting in September at Metfield Country Club in Bella Vista.  Stay tuned for official times and dates.

This summer is speeding by.....

Peace and Namaste'

Enjoy one of my favorites by MC Yogi:

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Memories on Mother's Day

Mother's Day can be sad for those of us who have lost our Mothers.   This summer will be six years since my Mom lost her long battle against breast cancer.  There is not a day that goes by that I don't think about her in some way and feel her prescence.  So many little things.  Sometimes all I have to do is look in the mirror to think of Mom, because I favor her so much.  Other times, I will say something and think, "Oh, my, that is exactly like something Mom would say".  Sometimes I feel her spirit soaring on the whispering winds in the trees.  I miss her.

My mother was an amazing woman.

She loved her family more than anything else.  Mom and Dad always worked together throughout their entire marriage.  First in the Pharmacy, then in the Real Estate office.  It takes a special couple to be able to work together, all day, day after day successfully.  They did it well.  She loved being able to take care of my nephews when they were small.  She loved reunions and digging into genealogy.  She loved the community of friends that she and Dad found in the pow-wows that they attended.

She loved reading.  One time, Mom and Dad and I read the same book by Stephen King, "Dream Catcher".  Now - this is a strange story with some even stranger characters and events in it.  Afterwards, we would burst out laughing when one of us would mention a particularly weird and gross thing from that book.  (You'd just have to read it!)

She loved flowers and plants.  Many of the plants in her yard were transplants from other locations.   There was a lovely little vine that she got a start of from a rock wall in Eureka Springs, plants from her Dad's yard, and so many more.   I remember vividly one occasion when, even though she was not feeling that great, she insisted on digging up a rose bush at one of their rent houses to transplant to her yard.  Digging in the dirt refreshed her spirit.

She had a Zen/yoga-like philosophy.  When any of us were suffering through a difficult time, her response was to remember that "this too shall pass".   One time my husband and I were meeting Mom and Dad for dinner at a restaurant near their farm.  First, you must know that my husband is very time conscious, and is ALWAYS on time or early for appointments.  Well, the designated meeting time for dinner came and passed, and my husband was getting antsy.  Mom and Dad finally arrived, and when we commented that we wondered if they'd gotten lost, she said, "Oh well, time is of no importance".  Mom was a peace-maker, she was always the defuser in tense situations.  She would often tell an upset family member, "Now, just calm down".  She didn't like conflict any more than I do.

She loved music of ALL kinds.  If you looked through her CD's, you would find:  Rock, Pop, Jazz, Country, Bluegrass, Classical and Jazz.  One of her favorite songs was, "All the Gold in California" by Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers.  When the line:  "All the gold in California is in a bank in the middle of Beverly Hills, in somebody else's name," would come up, we would all sing it together at the top of our lungs.  It was hilarious!  We all went to Branson twice to see Andy Williams, and once got to see Glen Campbell.  A month before she passed away, I took her to see "Cats" for the second time, at the Walton Arts Center.  She loved that musical, and named one of her cats "Macavity", after the mystery cat from that show.

In her last year, one of her favorite songs was "I Can Only Imagine" by MercyMe.  To this day, I can't listen to this song without crying, because I love and miss Mom so much.  I can only imagine what it will be like to see Mom and Jesus in Heaven.


Sunday, May 5, 2013

Back in the Swing of Things

Whew!  This week has been a blur since we returned home from Long Island.  We got back Tuesday evening and I went back to work at the Library the very next day.  I was ready to get back to a routine.  I LOVE working at Bentonville Public Library!  If you live in Benton County, Arkansas, get a library card if you don't already have one!!  Go to this website:  Bentonville Library and find out exactly what to bring with you to get your FREE card, and check out all the very cool FREE things BPL has to offer, i.e, downloadable ebooks and audiobooks, free music downloads, free magazine downloads, and tons of other resources.

Wednesday afternoon I taught my first class at the NWACC Bella Vista Center.  Yippee!  I had five students sign up, so the class was to be held!  Most of my students are new to Yoga, so I offer lots of options for poses that may be more challenging here at the beginning.

I returned to my volunteer chair yoga class at Concordia Retirement Center on Friday morning.  It was so good to see these folks again!  This week we had a smaller than normal class though, probably because IT SNOWED in Northwest Arkansas - the first recorded May snow in history!  Yikes!!

Friday evening was spent visiting with my Navy nephew, Wesley.  We are all so proud of him and his brothers for the accomplishments that each have achieved.

On weekends, I like to cook up several dishes that we can eat now and freeze the extra for later.  This weekend I made a new recipe called Spicy Chickpea Salad.  It is VERY spicy (might have used the whole jalapeno instead of half - oops!)  This will be a very handy summer recipe. I adapted it from this recipe:  Spicy Chickpea Salad.

Spicy Chickpea Salad

I also prepared my Spinach Chickpea Burgers.  They remind me of Salmon Patties that I used to make in my pre-vegetarian days.  My husband likes to take these Chickpea Burgers with him on busy teaching days as a quick meal-on-the-go.  He likes them cold or hot!  They are good with some mustard spread on top also.

Spinach Chickpea Burgers

The last new recipe I tried today was adapted from this recipe:  Asian Roasted Broccoli with Cashews.   Delicious!  The garlic caramelized, the cashews were divine, and the broccoli was tender yet crunchy.  Definitely a repeat.

Asian Roasted Broccoli with Cashews

Well, it's time to prepare for tomorrow's SilverSneakers YogaStretch Class, so must go.

Happy cooking!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Top 5 Things We Loved about Long Island, NY

1.  Getting to spend time with family:  our son, soon-to-be daughter-in-law (and her wonderful family!), and our grandson.  Since we live so far away from them, this month-long stay was a luxury that has spoiled us getting to see them so much!

2.  The  Vineyards.  Out of the 60 some-odd vineyards on the North Shore, we were able to visit a good number of them.  The off-season timing of our visit to New York worked in our favor, as many times we were the only visitors in the tasting rooms and were able to enjoy many long conversations with the vineyard owners and staff.  Our favorite vineyard, by far was Castello di Borghese Vineyard.  They have the most wonderful Cabernet Franc as well as a luscious White Pinot Noir.   On our last visit there before going home, we got to meet the owner of the vineyard, Bernard, whose thick Italian accent was a delight to hear.


3.  The ocean.  We took advantage of our month-long stay to visit as many shoreline hiking trails as we could.  My favorite was Inlet Pond Preserve, right here in Greenport.  At the beginning of every sunny, warmish day, I would say to Fred, "Let's go back to Inlet Pond!", he would respond, "What is it with you and Inlet Pond?".  "It's just sooo pretty!" I would respond!

Montauk Point 
Shadmoor Preserve
Inlet Pond Park
4.  The parks and preserves.  There are tons of places to hike on the Long Island.  We hiked at Arshamomaque Preserve, Inlet Pond Preserve (twice!), Mashomack Preserve, Montauk Walking Dunes, Montauk Point, and Shadmoor Park.  

Inlet Pond Park
Walking Dunes of Montauk
Inlet Pond Park
Mashomack Park and Preserve
Arshamomaque Preserve
5.  The friendly people of Long Island.  Everywhere we went people were so friendly and welcoming to these two Arkansans.  The staff, teachers, and fellow classmates at NOFO Wellness in Cutchogue made us feel like we were natives.  There was one lady in Spinning Class who said she has a cousin who lives in a town in Arkansas with a lot of lakes and in an area called "The Highlands".  We said, "Hmm, we live in "The Highands", in a town with a lot of lakes".  Turns out the cousin actually lives in Bella Vista, AR too!  The folks remodeling the apartment above where we were staying were also great!  They were more than willing to help us out with anything we needed.  The friendly, family-owned shops and restaurant owners were to fun to visit with.  It turned out that even though quite a few attractions were not open yet in April, we were fortunate to see the North Shore as most natives to the area know and love the area.