Being Present.

I wonder what everyone would be like if they took a moment out of their day to acknowledge their body.

Sit with their breath.

Be comfortable in the uncomfortable-ness of standing still.

There is this part of practicing yoga that forces you to be aware of what it feels like to breathe deeply. What it is like to take an hour or so out of your day to focus on what it means to sway back and forth in a forward fold.

Yoga stirs up those emotions.

You know the ones. Those sneaky bastards that are harbored deep in your spine, burrowed down in your hip bones. The stone in the back of your throat. With a gentle hand, I find myself in reclined pigeon, surprised at the release I didn’t know I needed.

How easy it is to whirlwind my way through life. Filling up every hour with plans and lists and day dreams. How simple it is to remain tied to my past while simultaneously flinging myself into my future.

To slow down. To stop the constant spinning. The never-ending planning. The “what now?” that has become my minute-to-minute mantra.

The time I take to dedicate myself to stretching is the time I take for myself. For my creaky knees and sloped back. For quieting my mind, for meditation in what ever form it will take for the day.

Yogi Tea

adapted from Yoga Yoga Austin Yogi Tea Recipe

We serve this tea after every class at the studio I work at… now I am lost and confused when I don’t have my tiny cup of spicy deliciousness… I am spoiled rotten.

To make two quarts:

  •     2 quarts water
  •     15 whole cloves
  •     20 black peppercorns
  •     3 sticks of cinnamon
  •     20 whole cardamom pods (split the pods first)
  •     8 ginger slices (1/4″ thick, no need to peel)
  •     1/2 teaspoon black tea leaves (we use decaf)
  •     Milk and Honey to taste (use local honey, helps with allergies and the like)

Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil in a 3-4 quart pot. Add cloves and boil for one minute. Next, add cardamom, peppercorns, cinnamon, and fresh ginger root. Cover and boil for at least 30 minutes. For best flavor, cover and simmer for 2 to 3 hours. When ready, remove from heat, add black tea and let cool. Strain tea. When ready to drink, add soy and sweeten to taste with honey or maple syrup.

Drink often.

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Home

Remember how when you were little you would play house? For my best friend and I it was the shed in my back yard. It was the acre of property behind her cabin. It was a silly game with make believe husbands and baby dolls that were anatomically correct (weird and awesome).

My mom has this video of me playing on my plastic toy kitchen. She comes into the room and asks what I am doing. I glance over at her with an agitated look and motion to the bright yellow phone and silently word, “I’m on the phone!”

I was (am?) a brat.

I was (am) a homebody.

To me, comfort is coming home to a place that invites you in. A place to leave your shoes on the front porch. Somewhere with soft cushions and a familiar smell.

Here I am in this city of heat, this city of unexpected thunder storms and quiet morning runs on wide, sidewalk free streets. I have found a tiny little place to make a tiny little home with a not so tiny or little man. The paint is peeling, and the house leans. The bathroom is a size of a closet and I think we have a resident mouse. The large, white trimmed windows rattle as you struggle to get them open. The concrete fence holds little windows to the street, and long, thin garden beds wait for cool fall crops.

I plan my days around walks, farming, yoga and this man. I plan my days with growing vegetables and planning dinner menus.

Sitting on the floor, we eat out of brightly colored bowls.

My house is a home because of him. Because of the hound dog that darts to the back fence because he saw a squirrel there once. Because I bike home to find a boy sitting on my counter reading John Irving because he can. This new cottage is my home because I am filling it with things that make my heart calm.

We have a habit of toasting to things that are our “firsts”. Our first trip to the grocery store. Our first bike ride. Our first shared trash can, shared bed, shared life.

So when we sat down to our first meal (on the ground, using a goodwill chest for a table), we raised our bourbon and whiskey to us.

To our tiny house, our surprising love and this newness that came out of nowhere and has settled deep in our bodies.

Kale and Mushroom Tacos

In the land of Texas, tacos and burritos have become an almost daily habit… delicious.

– Flour or corn tortillas

– Can of black beans

– Spanish rice

– 1 tbsp vegetable or olive oil

– small yellow or white onion

– red bell pepper

– 2 ears of corn

– mushroom of choice (we used crimini)

– 1 bunch of kale (once again, your choice)

– 2 cloves garlic

– 1 tbsp cumin

– 1 tsp salt

– 1 tsp chipotle cayenne powder

– Red pepper hummus (we bought ours, as I have yet to get a food processor, and can’t make mine)

– Jalapeno jelly (gifted from the farm, I will tackle this one come jalapeno season)

– Ripe avocado
Start spanish rice. Heat beans and tortillas. Chop up the onions, peppers and corn. Heat the oil in a pan and add the veggies. Saute and add in salt, cayenne and cumin. Stir until onion is soft and translucent. Add in chopped up mushrooms and garlic. Saute for a few minutes, adding the kale is last. Wilt the kale for a minute or two. Lay out a tortilla, spread on the hummus and the jalapeno jelly and then pack with all of that goodness until you can’t seem to fit anymore onto such a tiny little tortilla. I always put a slice or two of avocado on the top, because what is a taco without avocado?

Hot Hot Heat

Man oh man. Austin is hot.

People up in Seattle liked to remind me that it was hot down here. “It gets to be 100 degrees Chelsea! Can you handle it?!?!”

It may seem obvious that Texas is hot. These warnings came from my people. These are the people who know me. They know me well. They are privy to the fact that every time summer rolls around (Pacific Northwest summers to boot), I break out in a heat rash. Or I get a sunburn. Or I get heat stroke. Basically, I was made for temperate weather.

So all those who know and love me were concerned for my well-being with my somewhat irrational plan to up and move to Austin. I think they all thought I would just melt. Instantly. I would step out of my car in Austin and become a puddle on the ground.

I didn’t. I thought about it for a second, and then rallied like a champion.

Here is what you do to beat the heat in Texas:

– You drink your body weight in water. If I leave the house with out a water bottle I get a little bit panicky. Like how you feel when you leave behind your keys or your wallet. I may or may not carry around a jug of water that holds the amount of water you are supposed to drink in a day. I drink about three of them. HYDRATE!

– You swim. A lot. There is this place called Barton Springs down here, a place I highly recommend. It is a spring fed pool. It is huge. It is refreshing. It is like a little bit of heaven for these hades like days. We also spent a whole day floating down the river in inner tubes. Now if that isn’t summer, what is?

– You stay inside. This is a weird concept to me. You know you are a true Seattle-ite when you see  a sunny day and your mind INSTANTLY jumps to all the ways you can avoid being inside for the day. The difference is that in Texas it is sunny. A lot. So if you were to spend every day outside that was sunny, you would be spending 9 months of your life outside. Which sounds like a great plan, except 2-3 of those 9 months are days where the temperature creeps over 100 degrees and just meandering down the street leaves you drenched. So you stay inside. And write a blog. Or something.

– If you have a dog, you walk them EARLY in the morning and LATE at night. And they are still hot. And if you have a dog that is a HUGE goober and can’t seem to do anything normally, you will get irritated with the panting that sounds like a fighter jet. To combat said panting, you can soak a bandana in water, pop it in the freezer for a bit and then tie it around their neck. Not only do they look SUPER hip, but it cools down their body temperature. Win, win.

– You try to avoid making food that involves being around things that are warm. I have made a lot of salads (see below). Things that just involved chopping vegetables. Recipes that make giant batches so if the only energy you can muster is rolling off the couch and crawling to the fridge, you will have something to shove into your mouth, cutlery optional.

I have been here less than two weeks and this place is already starting to seep into my skin. I am coming down with a sort of routine. I am exploring and tasting and taking the city in. I am planting roots, one way or another, and making this hot, hot city a place of my own.

Wild Rice and Kale Salad

Adapted from Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook

1.5 cups wild rice

3 3/4 water

Pinch of sea salt

6 leaves of kale (your choice on which kind.)

red bell pepper

2.5 cups wild rice

1 bunch green onions

Grated carrots

Avocado (optional)

Dressing:

1/2 cup lemon juice

1/4 olive oil

1 tsp cumin

salt and pepper to taste.

Bring water, rice and salt to a boil in a 3 quart pot with the lid on. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer for 50-55 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for about 30 minutes until you mix in the veggies.

Chop the kale, green onions, bell pepper and grate in the carrots. Mix all the veggies in with the cooled rice.

Prepare the dressing by mixing the lemon juice, olive oil, cumin and salt and pepper. Whisk together. Stir into veggies and rice.

Top with avocado for some delicious fat… mm. Avocado.