Archive | July, 2012

Noodle ChaCha: Restaurant Review

26 Jul

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One of my coworkers told me that there was a new restaurant around the corner from our office that was pretty yummy. I took the plunge and went with our Lab Director and IT guy to check it out.

Our Lab Director is Korean, and we are both always on the lookout for Korean food. We decided to order the Korean Kim Chi Ramen Noodle Bowl. I asked the server if it could be made without any animal products and with veggie broth. They were very accomodating!

The portion was HUGE and it was very light and filling with tons of veggies. I wish it had more Kim Chi (I’m a certified KimChi-a-holic) and was maybe spicier. In an surprise move, it looks like they didn’t use oil AND they also had green smoothies on their menu! That’s not something you see every day. Hopefully they will add more veg and vegan options to the menu if we pester them enough. They don’t have a website, but here’s a link to their Facebook page:

I went back again this week and the bowl was actually even better this time.


Chanting for Dummies, part one

25 Jul

I have to admit, I love me some chanting. Maybe it was all of the years in Catholic School of reciting the rosary, but I love to chant…and I love it even more when I don’t understand what I am saying. I’m surprised I haven’t been abducted by some cult already. I should be wearing white Nikes and drinking the vegan koolaid, er, wheatgrass, by now.You should see how many Ravi and Ana Kundalini yoga DVD’s I have. I might need an intervention.

So what’s a lonely, Sanskrit-dropout, home practitioner to do? Why, resort to Youtube, of course. I think it’s important to note here that I am woefully ignorant when it comes to Sanskrit. I fled from the prospect of a Master’s degree program because of the Sanskrit and Pali language requirement.  I worry constantly that I am chanting incorrectly, and I’m sure I am. If Richard Freeman gets corrected, then I shudder to think about what is coming out of my mouth. Right now I am only trying to tackle the Ashtanga opening chant and that is plenty for now.

Ashtanga Opening Mantra…and Star Wars all at the same time! Be still my nerdy heart!

Kino MacGregor Opening Ashtanga Mantra, call and response. She has a very pretty voice:

Sri K Pattabhi Jois Opening Ashtanga Mantra as well as some words of wisdom about Ashtanga. I think David Swenson is lurking in this video as well?  “Vegetable food, you take. Non-vegetable food, you not that taking.”:

Sri K Pattabhi Jois Opening Ashtanga mantra, Sanskrit on screen, call and response:

Richard Freeman chanting. I have no idea what he’s chanting, but it’s really beautiful:

More Richard Freeman—learning Pranayama chant with Sri K Pattabhi Jois:


How do you feel about the opening and closing Ashtanga mantras? Love chanting or hate it? All tips and suggestions are appreciated!

Engine2 Recipe: Smoky “Bacon” Beans, Broccoli and Cheeze Stuffed Potato

23 Jul

One of the things I love about eating a plant-based diet is that I can freely worship at the Altar of the Divine Spud:

Worship at the E2/McDougall Potato Altar!


Under $3.00 for a LOT of potential meals.

One thing I always loved before I started eating this way was loaded baked potatoes. I was a bacon, cheese and sour cream junkie. When I first transitioned to being vegan, this meant lots of vegan sour cream, green onions and Fakin’ bacon:

Last night I realized that I had a dilemma: no Fakin’ Bacon and I needed to eat *now*.  Hmmm…what if I could make beans taste like bacon? Problem solved!

Smoky Vegan Bacon Beans Recipe


1 can Cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

1 1/2 tsp. Liquid Smoke or hickory smoke seasoning

1 tsp tamari

1 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 /2 tsp onion powder


Mix it all up and let it marinate for at least an hour. You can cook your potato while it you are marinating the beans.



I steamed the broccoli, warmed up the beans, threw everything together on top of the potato and used Road’s End packaged vegan “Chreeze” sauce. The Cheese sauce recipe from Happy Herbivore is really yummy on potatoes, too. Check my blog entry on vegan cheese substitutes if you are curious:


This version was actually much more filling than using the Fakin’ Bacon. I think I have a new favorite, although Fakin’ Bacon will always be near and dear to my heart. I’ve been eating it since 1990 or 1991!

It feels good to be back in the kitchen again. I haven’t wanted to cook or even be in that room since Enzo died. Enzo didn’t really like potatoes or beans, but he sure did like tempeh bacon, tofu scrambler, pancakes and vegan sausage. That dog was a vegan breakfast eating machine!

Did you say, “Vegan Sausage??”

Ashtanga Yoga with Kino MacGregor in Mysore, India: Video

22 Jul


More words of wisdom from my, ahem, future teacher. Actually, I suppose she is my teacher right now, just from afar. I had to take some notes during this short video–she phrases things in a way that I can grasp and relate to as a new practitioner:

” Through the practice of yoga, you learn that if you try to overpower things, if you try to accomplish things with brute force or overactivation, then you end up hurting yourself. And if you take that same attitude to life, you end up hurting others. So rather than using the practice to..hide places of weakness or hide insecurities, the idea is to actually go directly into them. You know, lean into it. The places that scare you are the places that are most possible for you to connect with others”

And also, very apropos my practice in the last grief-filled year:

“I almost feel like the more that my heart breaks and the more that I’m able to share that, the more that the practice is working and the stronger I become.”


Give Me The Cure

22 Jul

A very humbling practice started my first full, non-modified practice week back since my hand surgery…reduced to tears during savasana again. I kept waiting for my dog to come over and sniff me or rattle his food bowls commandingly or try to lick me. No dog. No cure. No shot. No pill to take away the shittiness. Now I know why I was practicing so erratically when my father died. I couldn’t handle it. I just keep getting on the mat and honestly, I can’t even tell you why because it feels so horrible emotionally. Just stay here. Hurt. Yoga Chikitsa. Strangely, my flexibility is better and I am less stiff physically. I am puzzled by the lack of physical pain. But emotionally? Hot, gruesome, choking, swampy pain, all in my throat and chest. And meditation is still a non-stop sob fest. I don’t even fight it anymore. I start thinking about how much pain the entire human and animal population feels at any given point in time during a single day on this Earth and it makes me want to implode like a Piscean Black Hole. God, I am so dramatic! I’m laughing at myself as I write this.

Back to the mat and the Slayer Shala of one.

Corpse Pose

5 Jul


I am going to take a little break from blogging after this post. I had to put my beloved almost 15-year-old Italian Greyhound, Enzo, to sleep on Sunday. Had my first day back on the mat since surgery the day after he died, and it was so strange to not have him in the room with me sleeping on my meditation cushion in the corner. Did modified suryas on my forearms (thanks D Stark!). I spent all of savasana sobbing hysterically. Not sure if that is what “taking rest” entails, but it did that day.

RIP Enzo…I miss you, my friend. This is the first 4th of July in 15 years where I don’t have an 11 pound dog trying to crawl into my armpit to escape fireworks.

Peter Hurley’s Ashtanga Videos

2 Jul

I love it when I stumble across great Ashtanga tools online. At least all of this downtime from the surgery has been educational! From what I could find online, Peter Hurley is an Ashtanga teacher in Encinitas, CA and a student of Tim Miller…thereby proving to me once again that San Diego is the Promised Land! Very clear and concise instruction with emphasis on breath and alignment, definitely great if you are a beginner like me:

Opening chant, Sun Salutations and Standing Postures:


Seated and finishing:


Here’s a link to his website:

As well as his spirituality website—lots of interesting videos all in one place:


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