Acts of Kindness

Today, I have constantly been the recipient of “acts of kindness.”   At first glance, I would normally go into my “I don’t deserve this” rant, but rather  appreciated how there was a kind person (even two) for every grumpy person I met.

I had a normal friday full of stuff to do as usual and one of them was to wait at the dealer for my oil change.  I’ve been putting off this task for a while now because I hate wasting an hour waiting there and I usually don’t have good experiences at auto dealers.  To my surprise, I received the best service today.  The service rep and the cashier were super nice and my car got done quicker than expected.  Hmmm..

Off to the farmer’s market… I usually get flustered at the market either trying to find parking, getting cut off in the line to pay for my purchase, or people pushing and shoving to get the best strawberries.  Upon arriving, this lady waved at me to signal that she was parked in front of me and she was leaving.   Wow!  That was a first.  Then, went to get some tomatoes from the same vendor I always go to and he gave me a handful of jalapenos and told me to “make a kickass salsa” tonight.   These guys are always nice and friendly, but what a gesture!  Finally finished my rounds at the market at the food vendors to get some lunch.  Bought some yummy spring rolls and the guy gave me extra of every ingredient.  My spring roll was about 3 inches in diameter and looked like a mega burrito.  I didn’t even ask for extra.

To top off my friday, a wonderful friend and yoga teacher, Jennifer, offered me her extra ticket to His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s sold out event next tuesday!

How coincidental is that His Holiness will give a teaching entitled Eight Verses of Training the Mind: Awakening the Heart of Compassion.

Yikes! A real lesson of, “give what you want to receive” in action!  Can’t wait!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday’s Feast

There’s no other perfect way to end the week but with food!  Since friday is a farmer’s market day for me, I’m thinking friday’s feast is a perfect blog post today.

I am in love with eggplant this week.  Not only is the deep purple the new black this season, but eggplant warms my belly.  I got some Japanese variations today for making what I call eggplant caviar.

Very sweet!

The one and only eggplant I got from my garden

I’m not a recipe type person and when I do have a recipe, I hardly follow it.  So here it is:

First roast these beauties whole until soft.  Optional to peel the skin off.  Chop them up, mash them up.  Crush some garlic.  Heat some oil and add the garlic til brown.  Add the mashed eggplant.  Stir around for a bit.   While that’s infusing with garlic, wash and chop some cilantro and Thai basil:

Oh! I wish there was a smellablog cause the basil is so fragrant it's making my tummy growl

Add the chopped herbs, some salt to taste and stir until the herbs wilt a bit.  You then have this:

Eggplant caviar

How to eat this?  Like a dip.  In a salad boat.  With some crackers, cucumber coins, any veggie, pita bread with some cheese.  The possibilities are endless. I ate mine like this:

scrip scrap lunch

Topped my lunch off with these gooey sticky mochi squares:

it's brown rice with hemp seeds

Toast them and they look like this:

Drizzle with some raw honey... yum!

Who said it was officially fall?   Today is the missing end of summer.  90 degrees today and for the rest of the weekend calls for a watermelon, pineapple, and strawberry smoothie:


Oh!  look at this purple manduka mat called the black magic… ohhhhhh how I wouldn’t love to sink my toes into this!


Have a delicious weekend!!!

Bits of Summer

As summer comes to an end and I try to practice non-attachment, I can’t help but want to preserve the  hot summer days (or what it seems like lack of this summer).   I’ve been dehydrating a tons with all my farmer’s market deals to make up for the lack of hot summer nights… at least the tastes of summer can linger on for a bit longer.

A simple blend and mix of some of our favorite fruits were dehydrated into fruit leather/roll ups.  So far our favorite has been watermelon, apple, bananas, and berry mix.   Figs were great too… especially if you get a whole tray of them for $2 that yielded about 30 roll ups!

who knew watermelon could be dehydrated
puree it -- no sugar added
into the dehydrator they go... see you in the morning
best breakfast ever!

Today is a gloomy friday but farmer’s market was vibrating with lots of color as usual.  Remnants of summer fruits linger and fall crops are creeping in and new things to taste.  An interesting fruit I found today are jujubes.

jujube fruits

I don’t recall seeing these last year, but there were a mob of Chinese women picking through these and I got brave and asked them what they were.   Out of the mob, one woman (probably the only one who spoke english) told me they were sweet and taste like dates only they are fresh.   I didn’t know how to pick them so I grabbed these and put them in my bag.

Inside of a jujube

The are sweet.  They texture is dry, almost like biting into styrofoam but definitely much more tasty than the wax coated jujube gummy candy that the name may remind you of.  They are commonly called red dates or Chinese dates and are eaten fresh like you would an apple.  They can be candied, dried, and even made into tea and wine.  In Chinese and Korean medicine, they are used to alleviate stress and calm sore throats.  The sweet smelling leaves are often believed to make couples fall in love ;)  All good reasons to buy more of these jujubes… plus it’s name is so cute!

Another veggie I am totally in love with this season is bittermelon and it’s leaves:

bittermelon leaves

Yes, it is bitter.  But it’s also sweet at the same time.  My mom always told me to balance my palate out.  Eating too many sweets is no good.  She told me bitter foods help fight disease and illness.  Good thing I listened to her because these little bitters are credited by the Okinawan’s long life expectancies in Japan.   I love to just sautee the melon in some coconut oil and sprinkle some salt and pepper on it or scramble them with eggs.

bittermelon leaves scrambled with eggs

And to top off the bits of summer today, we brought our own sunshine and had a picnic in the park:

salmon summer rolls for the kids
bittermelon summer rolls for me
these summer rolls scream sunshine

The first few crops of peanuts at the farmer’s market today helps make saying goodbye to summer less painful.  If you like peanuts, boiled fresh peanuts are yummy in the tummy!

fresh boiled peanuts

Life couldn’t be better!  Have a great weekend!

$40 A Week and Free Ultima

farmer's market finds

Move over Rachel Ray!  Look at what I bought for $40 at the farmer’s market.  A whole armful of fruits and veggies that will feed my family for a week:  6 bunches of lacinto kale, 4 ears of corn, 3 big bunches of grapes, eggplant, 10lbs of valencia oranges, 2 heads of lettuce, 5 lbs of cucumbers, nectarines, plums, sweet melons, bitter melon, and a whole box of strawberries.  This would normally cost me about $60-$70 but being that I am always running late everywhere I go, I got to the market 15 minutes before they closed and got a great bargain!  Woot!  Woot!  I knew my lack of time management was good for something🙂

Now gotta start eating those strawberries.  All 9 baskets of them!  Some I will freeze for smoothies.  Speaking of… here’s a recipe I scrapped together after running around in the hot sun at farmer’s market:  strawberry, banana, pineapple, coconut butter, and orange flavored ultima.  Yum!!!  As you can see I’m still reminiscing about the tropics.

Ultima flavors: grape, lemonade, raspberry, orange

Putting the orange Ultima mix into the smoothie gave it the liquid I needed without the need to dump excess juice to mask the flavors of my fruit.  The folks at Ultima Replenisher recently sent me a box of free samples of their electrolyte sports drink mix.  I’m not a fan of sports drinks because of the way they leave a sticky *smack*smack* after taste in my mouth.   I first discovered Ultima when I went on my first teacher training bootcamp.  They advised us to bring an electrolyte drink… and for good reason because not only was the training challenging but trying to stay hydrated in the hot power yoga sessions were also a challenge.  Ultima keep me hydrated without the *smack*smack* and nauseous feeling because it has zero sugar and zero artificial ingredients.  The last thing I want to drink when I need to replenish is red #40 and blue #10, sodium, and fructose corn syrup.  There were 4 flavors that came in my free sample pack:  grape, raspberry, lemonade, and orange.  My favorite is orange.  I love to munch on some oranges after a sweaty yoga class because they are so refreshing and the Ultima mix was just as refreshing.   Other great things about Ultima:  they are non-GMO, vegan, no MSG, no caffeine, and only 10 calories per serving.  Another cool thing to do with the Ultima mix is to make ice cubes.  Great for the kids because they love ice chips!

Thanks Lauren for sending me these new flavors to try.

Now off to washing those veggies!

How to do Eka Pada Galavasana (Flying Pigeon/Crow Pose)

… at the friday farmer’s market, of course!

Step 1:  Find an isle.  Inconspicuously walk there to claim your space before there’s a mad rush of organic maniacs.

Step 2: Place your right ankle on your left knee, squat down, right knee to right elbow, right foot hooks to left arm, heart forward, palms flat.  Quietly begin to shift your torso forward and lift your left foot off the ground.

Step 3:  Focus!  The ground is hot.  Never mind if anyone is laughing at you.

Step 4: Lift.  Lift.  Lift.  and BREATHE.

Step 5:  Quietly and inconspicuously land your feet before your face hits that hot pavement.  Get up, wipe your hands, walk away, and sample the fresh blueberries.🙂

Waiting and waiting and waiting for those pictures :)  Have a great weekend!