I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.
- R Tagore

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Guest’s pick! Recipe of the week: Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies (they’re vegan!)

We love these cookies so much…and so do you! They are simple, chewy and delicious. Enjoy them as dessert or an afternoon treat with a herbal tea. The fresh ginger root really makes a different, so that little bit of  extra “work” is so worth it.

Ingredients:

4 cups spelt flour (or gluten-free flour)

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

2 flax eggs (2 tbsp ground flax mixed with 4 tbsp warm water)

1 cup coconut oil

2/3 cup molasses

1 cup brown sugar

4 tsp fresh ginger root, grated

 Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Prepare flax eggs by combining ground flax seed with warm water in a small bowl, and let sit.

In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt. In a separate bowl, combine ginger, molasses, oil, sugar and flax egg.

Mix the wet ingredients with dry until just combined.

We use a large trigger ice cream scoop, but you can also use a tablespoon or roll balls. Place cookies on prepared baking sheets 2-3 inches apart.

Bake 7-8 minutes for smaller cookies, and 12-14 minutes for larger ones.

 


Date Added: August 17, 2014 | Comments (0) | Filed under: Whole Foods Living



Guests’ Pick! Recipe of the Week: Balsamic sweet potatoes with blue cheese and toasted pecans

Balsamic sweet potatoes with blue cheese and toasted pecans

Yes, we agree, it is a very long title for a dish, but it is delicious! This recipe is actually from the magazine Food & Drink (summer 2012) and has been hanging out in the Shanti kitchen files since that time. We all have those recipes that look so delicious in the magazine, so we tear them out and have the intention of making them…Well 2 years later, we finally did! ……WHY did we wait so long??

Everyone loved this simple dish. It is very filling and packed with a lot of nutrients.

Sweet potatoes are high in antioxidants since they are a rich source of vitamin A (beta carotene), vitamin C, as well as a good source of B vitamins and minerals (manganese).  Sweet potatoes are also a good source of  fiber (especially with skin on).

Pecans are an excellent source of vitamin e, essential fatty acids as well as vitamins and minerals like manganese, magnesium, copper and zinc.

As for the blue cheese, a little goes a long way:)

Food always disappears so fast, sometimes we cannot capture it. Photo from recipe in Food & Drink magazine summer 2012.

Ingredients 

2 large sweet potatoes

3 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup coarsely chopped red onion

1/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans

3 tbsp parsley

2 tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp cayenne (optional)

1/2 crumbled blue cheese (or feta if you’re not a fan!)

salt and pepper to taste

Directions 

Preheat oven to 350.

1. Place pecans on a baking tray and toast for 5-6 minutes, stirring half way through. (Careful not to burn them)

2. Peel sweet potatoes (optional, depends whether organic or not) and cut into 1 inch chunks. (The recipe called for boiling the potatoes, but we decided to roast them.) Roast in a baking dish for about 40 minutes with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and a dash of salt and pepper.  Test with a fork to see when they are ready(tender), be sure not to overcook..it’s not mashed potatoes!

2. Once sweet potatoes are cooked, in a bowl, toss with pecans, red onions, cayenne, and additional salt and pepper if you like.

3. Top with crumbled blue cheese and parsley.

Enjoy!

 


Date Added: August 3, 2014 | Comments (0) | Filed under: Whole Foods Living



Organic Abundance & Seasonal Delicacies

The Shanti garden is in full bloom …especially those zucchini and cucumbers crawlers (They sure know how to make themselves at home!) Just this week we harvested rainbow Swiss chard, zucchini and garlic scapes from the mandala garden. From the HugelKulture, we harvested peas, beet greens, green and purple beans, a few cherry tomatoes (a gift from the God’s), cucumbers, and a few different kale varieties.

The Shanti kitchen is getting creative with all of this fresh, organic and seasonal produce. We made our favorite beet dip (recipe is in Shanti at Home cookbook) with fresh herbs from the garden. The vibrant color of this dip is almost as hard to believe as the amazing taste.

We also experimented with a new phyllo recipe (inspired by closet cooking) instead of our usual Zucchini and Feta Pie with spelt crust.  It’s full of fresh herbs and a combo of Shanti zucchini and local Wolfe Island ones from Okee’s farm.

Okee’s Farm has also been providing us with salad greens (since May 1st!), snap peas, beets, cherry tomatoes, green onions, cilantro, and more!

We have even been sprouting mung beans here in the Shanti Kitchen and making basil-garlic scape pesto at least once a day:) Why would we do that, you may wonder? Because we can…and we LOVE it!!!

 


Date Added: July 19, 2014 | Comments (0) | Filed under: Living Seasonally & Locally



Asana of the Week with Wendy & Darin: Child’s pose

Balasana, also known as child’s pose, is a resting/restorative pose practiced

in the fetal position. It is a wonderful counter pose for backbends. The name is

derived from the Sanskrit words “bala” and “asana”, which translate to “child” and

“pose”. Its main focus is the thighs, although it’s also useful in relieving back,

shoulder, neck, and hip strain. When performed with an open mind Balasana

can induce a great sense of physical, mental and emotional relief.

The Benefits of Child’s Pose:

• Releases tension in the back, shoulders and chest

• Recommended if you have dizziness or fatigue

• Helps alleviate stress and anxiety

• Compresses the body’s internal organs and keeps them supple

• It lengthens and stretches the spine

• Relieves neck and lower back pain when performed with the head and

torso supported

• It gently stretches the hips, thighs and ankles

• Normalizes circulation throughout the body

• It stretches muscles, tendons and ligaments in the knee

• Calms the mind and body

• Encourages strong and steady breathing

About the Authors

Darin and Wendy have been studying, practicing and living yoga for more than 20 years. Their desire to explore this ancient philosophy has taken them on many journeys around the globe. Both are trained in classical Hatha yoga, in the Sivananda tradition, and have studied extensively a form of energy and chakra yoga, Agama Yoga, in southern Thailand www.agamayoga.com. Their daily Spiritual Heart (Hridaya) meditation practice follows Ramana Maharshi’s Self Inquiry Method.  During the winter season they take the opportunity to deepen their practice by participating in 10 day silent medition retreats in Mazunte, Mexico at Hridaya Yoga School  www.hridaya-yoga.com . – See more at: http://www.shantiretreat.ca/2014/04/#sthash.baitU7KM.dpuf


Date Added: June 18, 2014 | Comments (0) | Filed under: Living with Yoga



Asana of the Week with Loren Crawford: Pigeon
Pigeon pose has many permutations, ranging from a full resting version (pigeons get tired too!) to a big bold back bend. This bound version has always made me feel open and creative. Having long limbs helps with finding some of these deeper binds.
My word of caution when doing any deep back bend is to a) not do too many as they can over stimulate the adrenals, and b) make sure you are stable in your pelvis and lumbar – especially those of you who are very flexible (it is easy to compress vertebrae and over years of doing this quite literally cause deterioration).  Be happy, proud (and safe) in pigeon!
About the Author
Loren Crawford is Canada’s first ParaYoga certified teacher. He offers yoga to Ottawa and online communities: yoga classesyoga workshops200-hr and 500-hr yoga teacher training, online yoga classes, mentorship and yoga therapy. Loren strives to weave the teachings of the tradition of yoga into the modern physical approach for a unique and powerful experience.
http://www.lorenottawayoga.com/


Date Added: June 16, 2014 | Comments (0) | Filed under: Living with Yoga



Asana of the Week with Lacey Budge: Sirshasana

Headstand (Sirshasana): a whole new way of seeing the world!

Headstand, and inversions in general, are seen as one of the most important groups of asanas. Performing headstand includes many physical and energetic or pranic benefits.

As humans beings, we spend so much time standing on our feet, so when performing headstand, we begin to reverse the effects of gravity on our body. On a physical level, the inversion increases blood flow from the lower extremities of the body (feet) to the higher ones (brain). This increases the amount of oxygen that is being delivered to the brain and stimulates glands (pituitary and hypothalamus glands) important for mood, energy levels and overall well-being. As an extra bonus, this all happens with little effort from the heart which is so designed to pump blood upward to the brain.

Headstand also improves circulation and digestion and strengthens the arms and upper body. Headstand can cultivate a greater sense of self-confidence when practiced regularly.

On an energetic level, as energy and life force is carried from the lower chakras to the higher chakras, a sense of clarity and concentration may follow. This is also a great way to bring energy from the lower parts of our being, to the heart, third eye and crown. When headstand is held for longer duration (3-5 minutes), you may begin to experience deep sense of stillness and calming of the mind.

About the Author

Lacey teaches yoga at Shanti Retreat for programs such as mid-week getaway, Sunday Cycle and Stretch as well as  Spa and Detox Days. She is traditionally trained in the Sivananda yoga style, yet draws upon various styles and includes teachings from inspiring instructors during her classes.


Date Added: June 9, 2014 | Comments (0) | Filed under: Living with Yoga



Asana of the Week with Ichih Wang: Side Crow
As one seeks balance, imbalance is just right around the corner.  The very thing we seek is also seeking us.  Let’s face it, who isn’t seeking more balance?
Side Crow (Parsva Bakasana) is a dynamic and liberating pose improving physical and mental concentration.  It may look advanced, but it’s relatively easy to do once you get your balance.  The posture will strengthen the arms, wrists and abdominal muscles, improving digestion.  The key to securing your balance, is to lower your forehead gaze and transfer your weight onto your hands as you lift your feet of the floor simultaneously.  Modify the pose by using both elbows as leverage for a hip and knee as I have done here in the photo.  It’s fun to practice, requires focus ~ Give it a try and let me know how you do.
About the Author
Ichih Wang is a Yoga Teacher, and a Yoga Life Coach based in Ottawa, Ontario Canada.  Enthusiasm to love your life is contagious around Ichih Wang. She has been around the world 3 times and visited over 60 countries, lived on 3 continents and 4 cities as a search to connect and be a student of life.  Her life travels and training experiences are infused in her yoga and life teachings, connecting people to their own abundant possibilities. She is known for her inspirational style of yoga teaching that incorporates both eastern spiritual philosophy and western techniques for mind (mental), body (physical) and spiritual life transformation.You can find Ichih Wang’s workshops and retreat information on www.LiveLifeYoga.com


Date Added: June 2, 2014 | Comments (0) | Filed under: Living with Yoga



Asana of the Week: Ayurveda..Springtime and side bends with Mona Warner
Sidebends to eliminate kapha dosha
According to Ayurveda, spring time is an ideal time to move the accumulation of the water element (kapha dosha) out of our systems. Kapha accumulates in the winter, leaving us feeling heavy, dense, cold and sticky (like mucous). The primary site of accumulation of Kapha dosha is in the lungs. From an asana perspective, we need to warm things up to liquify kapha, and so I have found flowing side-bends followed by gentle inversions to be great.
The following side bend sequence includes a flow to generate heat and liquify kapha dosha, side bends to open through the ribs and lungs, as well as a gentle inversion to allow for the physical and energetic elimination of kapha.
Start standing in mountain pose (feet a comfortable distance apart):
- stack your bones,
- ground into the earth through your feet to lengthen your spine to the sky, and
- stack your head on your neck.
As you inhale (breathe in) flow your right arm out to the right and up to the sky. As you exhale (breathe out) keep your feet grounded as your right arm moves over your head and your torso bends to the left side. Once you get to the place in the side bend where you cannot keep going, bend your knees slightly, allow your right shoulder to come forward of the left one, and circle your right arm down towards the floor and all the way back up to mountain with one arm over heard.
Repeat this flow 5 to 10 times. Then repeat this same flow to the other side.
When you are done, notice if there’s a difference in how you feel in your body-mind – heavier or lighter? colder or warmer? dense or liquid/fluid? sticky or clear?
About the Author
Mona Warner is the founder of Janati Yoga School in Kingston, Ontario. She is a teacher of yoga and ayurveda and offers a light yet profound approach to yoga…Did we mention she is hilarious…and everyone loves her! Mona feels  everyone has their own path to walk – and they won’t all be the same. This is where cultivating open-mindedness is really helpful (or at least it has been to me). I do not believe in “one way” for every body… I believe in helping every body to find THEIR way – be in in yoga, Ayurveda or life.
www.janatiyoga.com


Date Added: May 28, 2014 | Comments (0) | Filed under: Living with Yoga



Asana of the Week with Andrea Robertson: Grasshopper pose

Grasshopper pose with Andrea Robertson

A massive power pose, grasshopper has it all. It’s a twisting, arm-balancing, hip-opening, and major arm-strengthening pose all in one!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I just finished leading a group of 22 amazing women this past weekend for a Women’s Wellness Retreat at Shanti. I am still feeling the effects from the weekend, the awakening felt from all as we grew strength from one another, shared joy, laughter and much needed moments of stillness. I feel complete gratitude toward the Shanti family and the outstanding group of strong women who attended the retreat.

My featured pose is called Grasshopper, a strong pose intended to open the hips, spine and draw strength from the core and upper body. Grasshoppers are seen as symbols of good luck and happiness, it is seen as a sign of nobility. Grasshopper’s have a knack for seeking out warmth and light and knowing just when to jump so they can be symbols of knowing when to trust yourself and take a chance that will propel you forward. Another feature of a grasshopper is that they have an organ in their front legs that let allow them to locate things by sound vibration, which would be another metaphor for listening to your inner voice. Try a new venture, take a leap and jump forward, grow and embrace change.

About the Author

Andrea Robertson, founder of Body and Balance, provides group and personal fitness plans, group and private yoga classes, and she teaches and trains at numerous locations around the city of Ottawa. Andrea offers several retreats a year in Canada at Shanti Retreat and around the world.


Date Added: May 14, 2014 | Comments (0) | Filed under: Living with Yoga



Banana Walnut Oat Muffins – a result of too many ripe bananas!

By Lacey Budge

I love being creative in the kitchen especially when it means turning leftovers into a new masterpiece or experimenting with recipes when you really have to use something up. In my case today, it was too many bananas. I made muffins, banana chips in the dehydrator and froze the rest in freezer bags to have on hand for smoothies. My inspiration came from a recipe in the cookbook, Refresh, but as always, I felt the need to add my own touch!

This recipe is delicious, made with organic spelt flour and has no sugar- sweetened with dates and bananas. I also love the crunch of the walnuts.

Ingredients

1 cup dates

6 ripe bananas, blended

2 cups rolled oats

4 cups spelt flour

3 1/4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1.5 tsp sea salt

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup apple sauce

1 cup walnuts

Instructions

Preheat oven to 325 F. Coat muffin tins with coconut oil.

Soak dates in 1 cup of warm water for 10 minutes. Blend dates with water until smooth. Add bananas with up to 2 cups of water, blend until smooth.

In a large mixing bowl, combine oats, flour, baking powder and soda, sea salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

In a sauce pan, on low heat, melt coconut oil if required. In a separate bowl, combine oil, apple sauce, vanilla and banana-date puree.

Add wet ingredients to dry as well as the walnuts. Mix until flour is just combined.

Scoop 1/2 cup of batter per muffin into the tray. I like to place a walnut on top of each muffin as a nice treat (and decoration).

Bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean (the best test!). Cool for 10 minutes.

Best enjoyed straight out of the oven as an afternoon snack or in the morning for breakfast with some almond butter.

About the Author

Lacey Budge

Lacey is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, Yoga instructor and manager at Shanti Retreat, located on beautiful Wolfe Island. She is always looking for unique, wholesome and creative recipes for the Shanti menu. Lacey loves all things food including experimenting with raw food, seeking out local ingredients, spending time harvesting in the garden and of course sharing food with others. Any meal prepared with love is a good one!


Date Added: April 26, 2014 | Comments (0) | Filed under: Whole Foods Living



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