Noodles with Miso-Tahini Sauce

October 29, 2010

The CheesiestOne of my favorite comfort foods is noodles and sauce.

When I was a kid it was Kraft Dinner, yes it’s true. I liked it with very little milk, no added butter, lots of ketchup, and I loved leftovers the next day fried in in the frying pan. I thought I could live on this!

Now my healthy and just as yummy & comforting recipe for noodles and sauce includes lots of veggies, lightly steamed or stir-fried, udon noodles (I love kamut noodles), and a delicious no-cook sauce made from

  • Miso
  • Tahini
  • Ginger 
  • Unpasteurized Local Honey 
  • Water

 There is a wonderful miso producer in Souther Ontario, called Tradition Miso. The website states “Our miso is unpasteurized and certified organic, contains no sugar, preservatives or filler. Unlike the commercial product, Tradition Miso is made the old way, aged up to three and four full years.”

I also love that it’s sold in glass jars, and let me tell you it is delicious!   

I also use Tahini from Nuts To You Nut Butter, another Ontario producer, the nuts and seeds are pesticide-free and organic, they arrive at the Paris, Ontario plant where they’re roasted, air cooled, then turned into a liquid paste before being put in glass jars, capped and shipped across Canada.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do, I think it kicks Kraft Dinner’s butt.

Noodles with Miso-Tahini Sauce

Ingredients

  • Udon Noodles (or other spaghetti/fettuccine type noodles), enough to make about 3 cups cooked
  • olive oil
  • 1 medium carrot diced
  • 1-2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pepper (any colour), diced
  • 2 cups Kale, Swiss Chard, Bok Choy, chopped
  • any other veggies you want to add
  • 1 cup grated daikon radish (optional, I like the pungent taste mixed with the sweetness of the sauce)
  • 2 tbsp miso
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tsp honey (more to taste)
  • 1 thumb ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • water to thin to desired consistency 

Directions:

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil add  1 tsp sea salt and the noodles, cook for 10 minutes or so, or according to package directions
  • Meanwhile heat olive oil  in large skillet over medium heat, add the carrot, celery, garlic, and pepper. Cook about 3-5 minutes. Add the chopped greens and cook another minute or so, just until the greens wilt.
  • Combine miso, tahini, honey, ginger and water in a bowl or large measuring cup (makes it easy to pour the sauce), until nice and smooth.
  • Drain the noodles and in a big bowl mix the noodles, veggies and sauce together, top with grated daikon radish
  • Serves 2 hungry people  

Rideau Canal Route

October 25, 2010

Here is a 15km route from Elation Centre to the canal.
View Interactive Map on MapMyRun.com

Guest Post by Alison: 30-Day Challenge

October 24, 2010

The following is a guest post by Alison Tait, a participant of the Be Elation 30-Day Yoga Challenge.

I am committed to my yoga practice.
But the thought of yoga every day for 30 days was initially a bit daunting.
Interesting all the thoughts that arose before accepting the challenge:

  • I have a busy job and how will I find the time?
  • I travel quite a bit – how will I do yoga on the road?
  • From a physical perspective, won’t doing yoga every day be too much?
  • Will I get bored?
  • Is yoga every day a bit obsessive?

I realized that the obstacles I created in my mind are often how I approach something new and different….
With some apprehension and sometimes with negativity
Maybe we do this so that if we fail we are only reinforcing a view we already held….
The reality was surprisingly different.

I rolled out the mat each and every day for 30 days – sometimes early in the morning and sometimes late at night…
The minute I sat on the mat a calmness descended and I felt myself decompress
If I only had 15 minutes, I dedicated the 15 minutes to being right there.
I found that as the days passed I relaxed into the postures in a way that I never had before.
My tight hips let go and my knees touched the ground in sukasana effortlessly.
It was not about the length of time but the quality of time spent on the mat and
my ability to focus left me with a strong sense of well being.
I enjoyed going to the studio more often than usual – the group energy was revitalizing at the end of a long tiring day.

But what surprised me most was a deeper appreciation for the moments alone.
Being bored never materialized as I explored different dimensions of the postures, resulting in my practice subtly changing every day.

There are times in life when we sometimes can feel stuck – in our jobs, in our busyness, in our relationships, in our exercise routines, in our reactions to situations and in our patterns of thinking.

My commitment to yoga every day allowed me to recognize and perhaps better understand the endless possibilities that are always present in our lives.

Hogs Back Falls Route

October 22, 2010

This is a 15km route from Elation Centre to Hogs Back Falls and back:

View Interactive Map on MapMyRun.com

Smile -Yoga’s good for your health

October 20, 2010

Joy (Edit)

We all know Yoga is booming and anyone with a regular (even once per week) practice knows and feels the benefits. I love to see that research is proving what we have known for so long – Yoga is good for body, mind and soul. 

  • Studies have shown that Yoga eases stress, lowers blood pressure, and increases muscle flexibility. That’s important because by our mid-40s, we lose elasticity in our tendons, ligaments and joints – which increases our risk for injury.
  • Japanese researchers found that people who are less flexible have stiffer arteries, and a higher risk for heart disease.
  • Studies also show that physically challenging classes – like Yoga or dance, where you have to do specific movements – helps build new brain connections, which speeds up your thinking and sharpens your memory. Because as opposed to walking on a treadmill, you actually have to think about what you’re doing.”

One of the most wonderful things about teaching Yoga and taking a class is the big smile we all feel from the inside out! 

See you at Class! 

  • New to Yoga or just getting back to it – Join our next 3-week Beginner Workshop starting Saturday, November 3rd.
  • Looking for a deep release of your stiff muscles – check out our Deep Stretch  and Hips Yoga classes
  • Want a great fat-burning, muscle-building, mind-centering workout – our Vinyasa Yoga classes are just for you! 

What people are saying… “Why I Love Elation?

  • It’s like my second home – coming to a new city, it was easy to meet and connect with like-minded energizing people in a supportive environment. Quickly, I became part of a wonderful community.
  • Classes are challenging physically, mentally and spiritually –I surpassed what I thought I could ever accomplish – thanks to a very talented group of teachers.
  • Yoga Teacher Training– exceptional learning and transferability both on and off the mat – one of the best investments I’ve made.”

 

Pasta with Kale Pesto and Roasted Squash

October 16, 2010

Since running the Army Run Half-Marathon in September, I have taken a bit of time off from doing long runs and speed work. My hips have felt tight and, like many runners experience after a race, I was feeling a bit let down and without a goal. Runners need goals! Perhaps it was the beautiful weather over the Thanksgiving weekend or maybe the feeling that if I don’t get back to my running routine now I never would, whatever the reason I finally snapped out of it and have had a couple of amazing runs in the last few days. I am back feeling the Elation that for me comes with running – stress gets burnt away and I feel strong. And I also feel HUNGRY. I forgot what a energy-burning machine I become when I focus on my training.

So here I am in the kitchen, finding that I haven’t eaten enough today, and I need supper immediately! I scan the fridge for something quick and filling. I decide to roast a delicata squash from Bryson Farms and make some kale pesto to have with a big bowl of pasta. The squash has a sweet taste and you don’t have to peel it. The diced squash cooks in about 15 minutes, which is just enough time to cook the pasta and whirl up some pesto. Voila, dinner is ready!  This is creamy and full of flavour, perfect to refuel body and soul, and to keep me running strong!

Pasta with Kale Pesto and Roasted Squash

Time: under 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Delicata squash (no need to peel)
  • 1 – 1 ½ cups, spelt rigatoni (Vita Spelt brand is delicious)
  • 2 cups packed kale, de-stemmed and chopped
  • ½ cup pine nuts (or a mix of pine nuts and raw walnuts)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • About 10 sun dried tomato slices, roughly chopped
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • Olive oil (¼– ½ cup)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
  2. Thoroughly wash the squash, then halve it lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Place cut side down on cutting board and cut into thin crescent-shaped slices.
  3. Lightly spray a baking sheet with olive oil and spread pieces into an even layer, making sure there is space between them. Roast, stirring squash pieces once or twice, until golden brown and tender, about 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water a boil to cook pasta according to package directions.
  5. To make the pest, in a food processor, pulse together kale, nuts, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, salt and lemon zest until mixture is smooth and salt has dissolved. With motor running, slowly drizzle in the oil until fully incorporated. Taste and add more salt, if necessary.
  6. Drain pasta, reserving a little cooking water. Toss pasta with kale pesto and some pasta cooking water if necessary to help it coat pasta. Serve topped with roasted squash.
  7. Unused pesto will keep for a few days in a covered container in the fridge.

Yield: 2 servings, (or one big serving if you just came back from a long run)

Canal Route

October 11, 2010

This is a 15km route from Elation Centre to the Rideau Canal and back.
View Interactive Map on MapMyRun.com

Britannia Beach Route

October 11, 2010

This is a 7.5km route from Elation Centre to Britannia Beach.

View Interactive Map on MapMyRun.com

Guest Post by Jane: I Just Want To Be Sure

October 10, 2010

The following is a guest post written by Jane Brown, who regularly teaches Vinyasa yoga on Mondays and Tuesdays and will be teaching the new Meditation Workshop starting in November. She’s a retired high school teacher/councelor with a long-time meditation practice.

Walking through Wall Space Gallery in Westboro Village I notice a lovely hand built pot. On its surface is a drawing of a laneway leading to a little house and the words “I JUST WANT TO BE SURE” stamped into the clay. Yes! All my life I have wanted some certainty, something I could count on, something sure.

It was that same feeling that brought me to the practice of meditation in my late twenties.  Absolutely nothing felt solid: home with two young children, a strained marriage, moving to Boston….. I had always been a worrier and had a strong sense that I needed to stay vigilant; if I didn’t, something bad would certainly happen.  The uneasy feeling in my belly translated into being super organized and super capable but generally feeling on edge.  The Cambridge Zen Centre was just around the corner (fate or happy circumstance).  I started to attend sittings there.  Meditating with a belly full of unease was not always a pleasant experience.  But I began to know the pattern of thoughts and feelings that was robbing me of the ability to enjoy my life.

And so began the daily practice of coming into stillness, observing the multitude of thoughts and feelings arising, returning over and over to the breath and to the spaciousness of the moment. Breathing in and breathing out, opening my heart to my life as it is.

The practice of meditation is so simple and transforming but so difficult to put into words. Here is my attempt:

Stillness,
The core of my being
I come into stillness
To know who I am

Observe,
The thoughts and the feelings
Without attachment
Know they’re not me

Breathing,
Into my body
Enter the space
Of peace and of calm

Allow,
All that arises
Have no resistance
It is as it is

Open,
Into this moment
Coming from stillness
Be who I am

Express,
All that is in me
Let it come freely
Let Life live me

Let Love live me

Thanksgiving on a Vegan Diet

October 8, 2010

Thanksgiving is upon us and what is someone committed to a vegan diet to do, when most people associate the Thanksgiving meal with meat. When I’m invited to a festive dinner that will most certainly include “the bird”, my approach over the years has been to totally enjoy the company, bring one or two kick-butt veggie dishes and engage in great conversation with family and friends. I never discuss my views and no one makes a fuss if I don’t have turkey on my plate (more for everyone else).

What do I serve when I am hosting a Thanksgiving meal? I’m glad you asked! Below is a menu that I have prepared featuring recipes from my all-time favourite cookbooks and chef authors. I built the menu around a Thanksgiving Tart, which includes walnuts, cranberries, chickpeas, spinach, parsley, and thyme, and around Pumpkin Pie & Chocolate Truffle Mini-Tarts  for dessert. Roasted veggies are a must, as well as a rice dish – wild rice, cranberries and hazelnuts just scream festive. I chose a salad to add greens and a lightness to the menu and the ingredients in the salad are easy to find – substitute baby greens for the spinach if you want, walnuts for the pecans and apple for the pear. I love mushrooms and the soup is rich, earthy and loaded with flavour, it’s not heavy so it works perfectly as a starter and it’s easy to make. The cranberry sauce and the scones add another festive touch and I love including a recipe from a friend.

Choose one or two recipes, or make the entire menu; my hope is that these recipes inspire you and allow you to see how delicious and satisfying a vegan Thanksgiving meal can be. Thanksgiving is about family, friends and gratitude; food prepared with loving-kindness and compassion for all completes the picture.

Enjoy!

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