Roasted Butternut Squash & Sweet Potato Hash

It is the first day of the July Challenge, so I headed to the market and went crazy gluten-free, veggie shopping. I must admit that it was quite fun having to look at labels and question what I was ingesting. Those who know me are used to my peculiar interpretation of fun. Though I have been a vegetarian for 28 years, vegan on and off throughout that time and gluten-free on many occasions, I had forgotten how much garbage is in packaged food, even when it says "organic", "non-GMO" or "gluten-free". I remember being at the salad bar at Whole Foods in Venice years ago and overhearing two women conversing about the ingredients in one of the pre-made items. "For crying out loud, this is WHOLE FOODS! Nothing should have corn syrup in it!" Alas, even at the sacred WF, there is that pesky ingredient that you never thought would have been used in what you believe is whole food. Read labels. You'll be surprised what they're putting in your next meal. Anyway, I digress. Here's a recipe for you that's easy to make and you can be certain doesn't contain high fructose corn syrup; a savory dish, just mildly sweetened naturally by the ingredients. 

I hope you enjoy this simple, hearty meal. For those of you eating fish and meat, have this be your side dish. Dairy eaters can add a cheese of your choice. Everyone else, enjoy it as is. 

1 small butternut squash diced into 1/2" cubes (approximately 2 cups)
1 medium sized sweet potato diced into 1/2" cubes (approximately 1 cup)
2 cloves of garlic (use a press, otherwise chop finely)
4 large sage leaves (chiffonade)
2 small shallots (cut in half and sliced thinly)
3 tbsp olive oil
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 400º.

In a large baking dish, combine squash, potatoes, garlic, sage and salt and pepper. Pour 2 tbsp of olive oil over the mix and toss all ingredients, completely coating with oil. Place pan in center rack of the oven and bake for 30 mins, tossing again halfway through. After 30 mins, increase the heat to 450º and bake for another 5 minutes or until the tops start to brown. 

While your dish is baking, place 1 tbsp of olive oil in a pan, add the shallots and sauté on medium heat until they begin to brown. Turn heat to low and let cook for another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Remove your dish from the oven when browned to your liking and stir in the shallots. Add another dash of salt, allow to cool for a few minutes and then serve. Enjoy!

OMG! Gluten-free, Vegan Chocolate Brownies

This upcoming month's challenge is about taking care of our physical bodies. Remember, it's all about mind/body/spirit integration and wellness. Hopefully, by now you are meditating more and practicing more yoga. To complete the balancing, we will come back to clean, whole foods and rid our bodies of things that may be causing inflammation, weight gain, fatigue, allergies and a number of other ailments associated with gluten sensitivities and sugar addiction. So The Yoga Bunny's July Challenge is to take gluten, corn products, refined sugar and alcohol (okay...you're allowed one day a week :) ) out of our diets and eat more vegetables! To find out more about the challenge, you can join the FB group here

Yummy!

1 c applesauce
1 overripe banana, mashed
1 medium sized zucchini, shredded
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp agave or 1 tsp Stevia
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c dark chocolate chips sweetened with stevia (or unsweetened), melted
1/2 c cocoa powder
1 c coconut flour
1 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 350º.

Blend (any type of blender will work) the first 6 (wet) ingredients together until everything is incorporated. Combine cocoa powder, flour and baking soda (dry) together in a separate bowl and add to wet mix. Blend on medium until you get a crumbly texture.

Grease a 8x8 baking dish with coconut oil and add brownie mixture. The mixture will be fairly dry. Pat down and smooth out with the back of a spatula and bake in 350º oven for 25 minutes. 

Allow to cool completely before cutting into squares. This is important because the brownie may crumble if cut when still warm.

Enjoy! 

On Meditation

Mindfulness. Yoga Nidra. Pranayama. TM. Kapalabhati. Kundalini. Vipassana. AUM. Chakras. Nadi Shodhana. Sat Nam...This list is endless. This is the language of yoga and meditation. For laymen, this speak can be intimidating, misunderstood and isolating. It's become a commodity in the Western world, especially in large cities, and the bigger it gets the more polarizing it can be. "Spiritual" has become a bad word to those who don't ascribe, and for those who wear the label, the hypocrisy of superiority and elitism exists.  At least this is my perspective. It is this perspective that jumpstarted my heart project: promulgate yoga and meditation in a voice that is inviting, comprehensible and, hopefully, communicated in a way that doesn't send you running for the hills. It is my belief that encouraging a society that meditates will aid in the paradigm shift in which we are currently existing. If the thought, "What the fuck is this woman talking about?" has popped into your head in any way, all I'm saying is that I hope to get everyone meditating because it will make your world and our world a better place to be on a daily basis; thus the paradigm shift. Simple.

I currently have a YouTube channel with some basics yoga videos and guided meditations. To keep with the theme of simplicity, all you have to do is sit down, listen and follow along. I suggest using the meditations in the order of the chakras:

1st Chakra - Grounding through the Root Chakra  

2nd Chakra - Allow More Pleasure Into Your Life

3rd Chakra - Reconnect With Your Own Power

4th Chakra - Heart Center

5th Chakra - Communicate Clearly and Speak Your Truth

6th Chakra - Third Eye

7th Chakra - Connect To Your Higher Self

All 7 Chakras - Intention Setting Guided Meditation (the most used meditation on the channel)

Once you've gotten acquainted with each Chakra, spend time working on areas that you feel need to be addressed in your life. Of course, you can always do any of the meditations whenever you feel. 

I am currently working on more of the aforementioned list at the beginning of this post. Please feel free to make requests, ask questions and share your own experiences in the comments below. There is no question that a meditation revolution is in the works. Let's make it available and accessible to everyone.

 

 

 

Defying Tradition or Cultural Evolution? (don't let the gravitas of the title fool you...this is a food post)

I recently came across one of those BuzzFeed videos that you can't avoid if you actually look at your FB feed. When they first made their appearance on the social media conveyor belt, I found them entertaining. Who doesn't love watching old Italian women trying Olive Garden for the first time? As with everything internet, the interest wanes after only a few incarnations, ultimately transforming the uncontrollable laughter into yawns and eye rolls. That is what happened to me when I came across the What It's Like To Be Ambiguously Ethnic video? Naturally, I had to click coming from a mixed race background. I sat through the entire thing thinking that they were reaching big time with this one. I didn't find it funny at all. I was, however, manipulated into an inner dialogue that was much more important than some vacuous cackling. Why is the heritage label so important? Why do we cling to identity and is identity self-defined or are we born into one? There is nothing pure about me. My parents created that paradigm shift. Ultimately, as is the case with most of my ponderation, the final thoughts were, "Why does this fucking matter?" 

So now for the food part. I was hungry (this is how it usually begins...) A chocolate croissant and latte breakfast was prodding me with guilt as I wandered through the market, shopping for tonight's dinner. My niece had posted a Korean meal on FaceCrack (my BFF turned me onto that gem) last night and it made my mouth water. A simple, traditional meal called Bibimbap popped off of the screen, conjuring the feeling of home (whatever that means). I suddenly was craving Korean food. Into my basket went scallions, garlic, spinach and quinoa. Woooooahhh! What do you mean "quinoa"? Do you think they were eating quinoa in post war 1953 Korea? Of course not! It's a cultural travesty. What is this quinoa? A phonetic nightmare that has more syllables and way more nutrients than rice. How dare I infringe on my peoples' pantry? 

Well, Koreans are only half my people, but that's not a legitimate argument because the other 50% didn't eat the stuff either. And that is what brings us to the catchy post title (before the parenthetical remark). Distortion is the new homogenization. I know. The paradox is deafening! If you are following any of this then please find me on social media and be my friend because we must be kindred spirits. Either way, stick around for the food part (finally...).

Vegan Quasi Korean Lettuce Wraps (always organic :)
*Gluten-free if you switch out the Soy Sauce with Tamari...


I never measure anything so be creative.

Rinsed Romaine lettuce leaves
Spinach
Acorn Squash
Asparagus
Quinoa (I used sprouted, pretty multi-colored variety)
Avocado
Garlic
Scallions
Soy Sauce
Toasted Sesame Oil
Rice Wine Vinegar
Raw Honey
Toasted sesame seeds
Black Pepper

Peel and remove seeds from acorn squash. Place in your favorite Le Creuset and add whole garlic cloves that have been smushed (this is the culinary word for taking the side of your knife and beating the garlic clove down), thickly slice scallions, sesame oil (around a tablespoon), soy sauce (a splash or two) and enough water to cover the bottom of the pain. Bring to a quick boil and then turn down to stew. Stir occasionally. 

Sauté spinach in sesame oil and minced garlic. Squeeze out excess water and place in a serving bowl.

Toss asparagus in minced garlic and lightly oil. Roast in 375º oven for 10 minutes. 

Cook your quinoa as directed. Lightly fluff with a fork after it has cooled a bit.

Dipping Sauce
Mince a few cloves of garlic and a whole scallion.
Add soy sauce (1/4c), rice wine vinegar (1/4c) and sesame oil (1/8c).
Whisk together while adding a tablespoon of raw honey. Add some black pepper and add more of whatever you feel you need to taste.

Slice the avocado, place each of your veggies in serving bowls, make sure your rinsed lettuce is dry, and grab some Gochujang from your local Sprouts (yup...you don't have to go to Mitsuwa or Ktown for the hardcore stuff anymore). I was out of sesame seeds today but try not to forget them. Sprinkle them generously on everything (except the lettuce).

Take a leaf, filled it with everything that is on display and eat it like a taco. You are most welcome. :) 

Your Hapa Bunny