Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Pseudo Game of Twister

Yoga Journal posted an online article titled “Five Ways to Break the Ice Before Class”, and it was quite helpful to new students (http://blogs.yogajournal.com). The blogger, Erica Rodefer, had me reflecting on my most recent awkward yoga moment that made me giggle in the same fashion I did that particular day.
Recently, a Hatha III class was added to the schedule of this particular studio and the time slot fit into my schedule perfectly...sign me up! This specific scenario- new class, unusual time slot, new level- places a lot of yogis into that ‘gotta break the ice’ situation. Since I had matted up to this particular yogi a couple times over the last several weeks, I figured the third time had to be the charm. Unfortunately, nothing. Nada. Prior to Sukhasana, it was another awkward moment between minds and mats.
Then, something more awkward yet humorous occurred: somewhere during a sequence when we were flipping our Dogs to Wild Thing. The fellow yogi’s foot landed on my hand and remained there for a good 10 seconds. I started to giggle, and the foot was then quickly removed. Two things went through my mind during those 10 seconds. First, I flashed back to a memory of my grade school friends and I during a game of Twister; Second, I was thankful for the distraction because of the deep muscle pain rumbling in my left Levator Scapula. I wished for that foot to return- to squash my hand and help me forget about my back muscle. Alas, I had no such luck.
Namaste. The mats started rolling up and I had sukham, my comfortable shot of connecting with this spirit. Seriously, that yogi probably felt pretty embarrassed about the hand smash and couldn’t look me in the eyes to initiate a conversation. It was up to me to make this happen. In my usual fashion, I made a joke out of it, telling the yogi, “You know, I was really hoping that foot would return so I would stop focusing on my sore back!” Eye contact, a large drop of the shoulders, and a relieved, sigh-filled laugh from my fellow yogi filled the air...resulting in a more formal introduction.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Getting The Brussels Sprout Off Of Death Row

Surprise, Surprise, the first blog I post is about...food. But this is a really tough case I am taking on, pleading to judge and jury to give Brussels sprouts a pardon. Believe me, I tossed stones and sentenced the poor veggie myself. My first and last sprout experience was when I was around nine years old and I had to be hospitalized at the Navy Hospital in Millington, Tennessee. I came out of recovery and was later served a dinner with four green alien spheres on my plate. My mother sternly directed me to consume these foul smelling objects and like a nine year old, I complied. Immediately the sprout shot back out of my mouth due to the child gag reflex and the nauseating effects of anesthesia. I lined up those four buggers on my plate execution style and condemned them to culinary purgatory.  It was my friend Sarah who told me about a great meal she had that included ‘something she doesn’t eat’; you know, sprouts. She inspired me to give the lil’ guys one last time to take the stand.
Unbeknownst to me, Brussels sprouts are loaded with folate, magnesium, iron and selenium. Hhmmmm, maintaining blood sugar and normal muscle and nerve function, increasing mental alertness and helping to protect against heart disease and cancer--no further questions your Honor. Well, no, there is one question, how am I going to prepare this vegetable to where I can gulp it down?
I decided to tweak an old asparagus recipe that mimics the Asparagus with Toasted Almond dish from Del Frisco’s Steakhouse (I don’t know if they still serve it).
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Parmesan
1lb. fresh Brussels sprouts (halved)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 c  fresh parmesan cheese
Fresh ground pepper
Garlic salt
Toasted almonds or hazelnuts
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a jelly roll pan with foil and place the Brussels sprouts cut side up in the pan. Drizzle with olive oil and season with garlic salt and fresh pepper. Roast for 15-17 minutes. Place in a serving bowl and toss with lemon juice. Add the toasted nuts and sprinkle parmesan cheese on top and serve.  
So, what’s the verdict?