Monday, February 23, 2009

spinach artichoke dip

I've been experimenting with "veganizing" some old favorites. I was craving for a cheesy, ooey-gooey spinach artichoke dip one night and my kitchen playtime led to this recipe below....

- olive oil
- about 1/4 of an onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced

- 2 tablespoons Earth Balance -- a non-dairy, non-hydrogenated, non-Crisco (enough said) butter substitute, available at Whole Foods
- 2 tablespoons flour
- about 1/3 cup of Silk soy creamer

- 1 can of artichokes, drained and coarsely chopped
- 1 cup (or more) of chopped frozen spinach
- 1 tub of Tofutti soy cream cheese
- 1/2 cup of nutritional yeast (for the salty cheesy flavor, available at the bulk section of Whole Foods)
- zest of 1 lemon (using a Microplane is GREAT for this -- probably one of my best kitchen tools)
- juice of half a lemon
- chopped fresh thyme

- a handful of fresh breadcrumbs
- a few sprigs of thyme

Heat the olive oil and saute the onions until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for a couple of minutes, then transfer this to a bowl.

Using the same saucepan/pot, make a roux with the next three ingredients. For instructions on how to make roux, click here.

Add the rest of the ingredients (except the breadcrumbs and whole springs of thyme) to the roux. Mix until the cream cheese is melted all the way through. Transfer to an ovenproof dish, sprinkle with breadcrumbs on top and add the thyme sprigs on top.

Bake at 350 degrees until bubbly. Enjoy with some good baguette, thinly sliced and toasted.


* Please note that all the quantities are just estimates!

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

reflections from a decision-making workshop

If God and I were having coffee and conversation, this is what I think s/he'd say...

Good dreams come from me you know,
My dreams seem impossible,
Not too practical
Not for the cautious man or woman.
A little risky sometimes,
A trifle rash perhaps.

Some of my friends prefer
to rest more comfortably,
in sounder sleep
with visionless eyes.

But from those who share my dreams,
I ask a little patience
A little honor,
Some small courage,
And a listening heart.
I will do the rest.

Then they will risk
And wonder at their daring
Run and marvel at their speed;
Build, and stand in awe at the
beauty of their building.

You will meet me as often as you want;
In your companions, who share your risk;
In your friends, who believe in you enough
To lend their own dreams,
their own hands,
their own hearts
to your building.

In the people who fill find your doorway,
Stay awhile and walk away
knowing they, too, can find a dream...

There will be sun-filled days.
And sometimes it will rain.
A little variety!
Both come from me.
So come now. Be content.

It is my dream you dream:
My house you build;
My caring you witness;
My love you share
And this is the heart of the matter.

- Charles Peguy

photo credit:
by Carlo Gatmaitan, 2008

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Sunday, February 15, 2009

February 14, El Dia de Amor y Amistad, and a yoga workshop

A friend of mine said that some countries don't celebrate February 14th as Valentine's Day, but the Day of Love and Friendship - El Dia de Amor y Amistad. I like that idea. (Thanks, RZ)

Yesterday, I also had the great pleasure of attending a 3-hour yoga workshop with Sharon Gannon of Jivamukti Yoga. The yoga practice was challenging yet light-hearted and funny; it pushed me beyond my comfort zones, yet in a loving way. I've never attended a workshop with a teacher who actually cracked a joke while we were in sirsasana. There I was, on my head, concentrating on alignment and stability and contracting my core muscles and distributing my weight evenly across my forearms AND deepening my breath, and then she cracks a knock-knock joke and I burst out laughing. While doing my best to remain in headstand. Sure enough, I had to come down from it, all the while trying to do it as gracefully as possible (yeah right!) AND trying to control my giggling so that I don't crash on the floor, or worse, crash into somebody else in the process (the room was packed with 70 or so people, and our mats were 5 or 6 inches away from each other).

Sharon Gannon has a unique way of bringing out the deeper aspects of an asana practice (the physical practice of yoga). We were practicing back bends, a pretty challenging part of the sequence. Back bends can be difficult especially if one has tight hip flexors, the psoas muscles.

Sharon said (I'm quoting as best I can), "Do you know what all that tightness is? That's all the unresolved issues. Your body is made up of every thought, every word, and every action in your life." She advised us to think of the statement "Blessings and love." She said to think of a person in your life, and on the inhale, go up into the back bend, while saying silently, "Blessings and love to..." and on the exhale, say the person's name. Let go.

That was the most loving back bend I've ever done.

February 14th was also a day of sending blessings and love to family, friends, and perhaps even the stranger on the street. Blessings and love to you. And you. And you.

"We need a witness to our lives. There are billions of people on the planet... I mean, what does any one life really mean? Your life will not go unnoticed, because I will notice it. Your life will not go unwitnessed, because I will be your witness." (from the movie Shall We Dance... yeah, cheesy movie, I know... but I loved the story of Susan Sarandon and Richard Gere's characters in this movie).

Thank you, family and friends, for being my witness.... and thank you for giving me the honor of being a witness to yours.

photo from

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God Is

Ice storm, January 2009

Yoga comes from the Sanskrit word yuj, which means "to join" or "to unite". I've been fortunate to have the opportunity to deepen my yoga practice throughout the years, and although I am still in the beginnings of this yoga path I do realize that one cannot have yoga without spirituality. A yoga practice is really a spiritual practice -- and yoga and religion are not necessarily mutually exclusive. The word yoga means union, after all.

I heard this song at a workshop I recently attended and it really spoke to me of that union.

God Is
You want to know Me? You want to see My face?
I do not age with time; I do not fit into a space
I transcend the capacity of your eye, so who am I?
It is the question of the moment;
It is the question for all time
I am you, and you are mine

I am the beginning and the end
I am the faith in your believing
I am the color of truth
I am the dreamer of your dreams
I am the falling in your love
I am the words of a prayer
I am the silence in the music
I am the music in the silence

I am your father; I am your mother
I am the man who cannot cry
I am the story in your eyes
I am the orphan of war
I am the leper begging on the corner
I am the black slave in chains
I am the Muslim bride who cannot show her face
I am the cross you carry again

I'm all you have forgotten
I am all that you have not been
I am in you -- all of this is within you
Let the journey begin...
I am in you.

- Danielle Rose

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