Hot Yoga (As in Heated, not Sexy)

My stepmom asked me what hot yoga was the other day, as I was going to be there when she dropped off my new bike. 

Apparently she was not picturing yoga done in just under 100 degrees, but rather a very sexy flow of come hither postures. If you’ve ever done hot yoga, you know ain’t nothin’ very sexy going on as you try to twist yourself into a variety of backbends and balances all while sweating profusely from pores you never even imagined you had. 

So this new yoga studio opened, the only hot yoga studio we have in town. They ran a Groupon that was a screaming deal in and of itself ($29 for a month of unlimited. They usually charge $100.) And as if it were meant to be, I got an email from Groupon that same day telling me I got 10 bucks off my next Groupon purchase. NINETEEN DOLLARS for my whole sweaty month. I went 4 times a week the first two weeks. It was amazing. I detoxed and detoxed and detoxed some more. 

I loved it. I really did. However, I felt like maybe I needed a break, so I haven’t been back since Saturday (it is not Thursday). 

Like most things I do, I believe I overdid the hot yoga. The instructors at the studio are amazing. They’re great, and I can easily pop up into a headstand now thanks to one of them. I’m also beginning to work on handstands. I just think 4 days a week on top of the 20+ hours I already teach drained the hell out of me. 

So I’m going back on Sunday, and finishing out my Groupon. Then going back once a week as a drop in. There’s something extremely gratifying about a cold river rock being placed on your third eye during savasana after you’ve pushed yourself beyond the brink for an entire hour. And when the classes are small, they give tiny shoulder rubs with mint lotion that feels like that icy/hot stuff, but better. So yeah, I’ll totally pay that $15 drop-in once a week. 

And maybe if I’m lucky, I’ll look sexier when I come out of the studio.

 

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Misadventures in Coconut Milk

Ever get burned by coconut milk?

Ever think you’d even have to consider that question? Yeah, me either. Until last night.

About twice a week I make my own coconut milk. That crap from the store in a carton is loaded with, well…crap. Highly processed corn derivatives, sweeteners, yuck. And making it is super easy. Some chipped coconut, some boiling H2O, Vitamix, boom. Coconut milk.

Unless your three year old flips the “variable” switch to “high” without you realizing it. For those of you non-Vitamix users, you can put your Vitamix on high and when you turn it on you go from zero to F5 tornado inside the blender. Or, you can keep the switch on variable, start the blender low, and crank it up to F5 slowly. The latter is the way to go, unless of course you’d like to cover your kitchen in whatever it is your blending. Or, give yourself lovely burns on your forearm and forehead.

Because that is seriously what happened. Vitamix filled to max line, variable switch set to high, BOOM.

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Note the chipped coconut on the blender. I’ve been sweeping it up off the floors of not only the kitchen, but the dining room and living room as well. Aside from the fact that it felt like someone had set a small smoldering fire on my forearm and along the hairline of my forehead for the majority of the night and into this morning, I believe I’ll survive.

Luckily I was able to enjoy a nice relaxing cup of hot green tea with honey and freshly made coconut milk to calm my nerves.

How to make your own coconut milk (without getting burned)

  • 1 cup chipped coconut
  • 3-4 cups boiling water

Place chipped coconut in Vitamix and pour boiling water in. Make damn sure that switch is set to variable and the nob is turned to one. Turn Vitamix on, slowly crank nob up to 10. Let blend at F5 tornado force for about 1 minute. The longer you blend, the more coconutty the milk will taste, and the more coconut fat you’ll accumulate on the top once it’s cooled.

The coconut milk will need to be strained. I use cheesecloth over my container secured with a rubber band. Pour contents a little at a time into container through the cheesecloth. When there’s a pile of coconut bits on the cheesecloth, take it off, rinse, and replace.

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Continue until all the coconut milk is strained. Store in container* in refrigerator. I have absolutely no idea how long it stays good, as I use mine up in about 3 or 4 days.

*I started this post about a week ago and completely forgot about it. As I went through re-reading, I realized I make my coconut milk in a plastic container. What am I thinking?! Pouring near-boiling liquid into a plastic container…it’s BPA free, but I’m sure that high heat is causing release of God knows what toxins into my coconut milk. I’ll be purchasing a glass container to use in the future, and you should too!

Can Your Tongue Have an Orgasm?

The first time I ever saw a butternut squash I was dumbfounded. I mean it’s kind of intimidating at first, right? All bell shaped and the color of a dreamsicle and stuff. Squash in general used to kind of baffle me, but particularly the butternut variety. The first thing I learned to make with a butternut squash was soup. Creamy, velvetty, sweet, delicious butternut squash soup.

I used to make it using Greek yogurt. Then the Paleoness happened, and I had to find something else. So like everything else in my Paleo cooking experience, I pulled out a can of full fat coconut milk. Talk about nectar of the Gods. This stuff is the dopeness. It goes good in coffee and tea, I use it as a substitute for milk when baking, you can pop open a can and leave it in the fridge over night then whip it as a replacement for whipped cream, or whip it then refrigerate again and re-whip to use as frosting on cakes or cupcakes, it’s the base in all of our veggie and fruit smoothies…basically I can’t live without coconut milk. Or coconut oil. Or coconut flour. Or chipped, shaved, or chopped coconut. My boyfriend thinks I was a coconut in a past life. I may very well turn into one in this life.

I think I got off track. Soup. Butternut Squash Soup. Oh yeeeaaahhhh. So, first I started substituting the Greek yogurt with coconut milk. That’s all I used, was squash and coconut milk. And it was delicious. Then I had some butternut squash soup at a restaurant and they had nutmeg in it.  And it was amazing. So I started sprinkling some of that in mine too. But then…oh, then. 

BACON.

Sorry veggie friends. It had to happen. It was kind of an accident. I needed to use up some bacon, and that naturally sweet squash combined with the saltiness of bacon just seemed so…perfect. And it is. It’s perfect. It’s easy and it’s delicious and it’s good for you and if your tongue could have an orgasm, this is what it would be. Maybe I should re-title this blog entry as Tongue Orgasm. <—-Nevermind, I did. It was originally Velveteen Soup. Tongue Orgasm > Velveteen Soup.

So if you’ve never had a tongue orgasm, make this soup as soon as humanly possible. Pretty sure winter squash season is coming to a close soon!

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(I’m a runner, a yogi, and a cook, not a photographer. But even taken on the iPhone with no filter that shit looks fantastic, yeah?!)

Butternut Squash Soup (aka La Lengua Orgasma)

  • 1 large or 2 small butternut squash
  • 1 can full fat coconut milk (don’t make me ramble about how the fat in coconut milk is good for you, just buy the full fat kind!)
  • 2-3 strips bacon
  • 1/2 teaspoon-ish nutmeg

Roast the squash by cutting in half lengthwise, scooping out the seeds and guts, and laying face up on a cookie sheet. Put in oven at 400 F until you can easily poke the meat of the squash with a fork (45 mins-1 hour). Scoop meat out of skin and into your Vitamix (or Blendtec or food processor or blender). Add the can pf coconut milk and blend until smooth. If you like your soup thinner, add some regular old water, or I like to use home-made coconut milk because it’s thinner (like the coconut milk out of a carton. I suppose you could use that too if you like xanthum gum in your soup).

While the squash is roasting, fry your bacon until crispy. After it cools, chop it into bits. Serve soup in bowls (depending on the size of your squash, this will make 3-4 good sized bowls). Distribute nutmeg and bacon bits between bowls. Commence tongue orgasms. 

My Quest for The Holy Grail (or, Why the F%#k Don’t Paleo Pancakes Taste Like Pancakes!?)

I like love pancakes. Everything about them. I like them light and fluffy made with white flour, or hearty and thick made with whole grains. I like them with pumpkin puree mixed in, or topped with berries or bananas or chocolate chips and walnuts. No matter what you put on or in a pancake, it is delicious. Unless, of course, it is a Paleo pancake.

You know this if you’ve tried them. Paleo pancakes are not pancakes. They are eggy souffle type things that are incredibly hard to flip and almost always taste like crap. Since I went the way of the Caveman I have tried no less than 13 different Paleo pancake recipes. None of them were delicious. A few weren’t even edible. Not a single one had the texture of a pancake, that’s for damn sure. I mean, I get it. You can’t re-create the texture of grains if you don’t use grains. All I want is something very very close to a pancake, that is also delicious.

And so began my quest to CREATE the mufucka. Browsing through Paleo pancake recipes, I took note of all the different ingredients people used. Coconut flour. Tapioca flour. Almond flour. Almond butter. Eggs (50 bajillion of them). Baking soda, baking powder. Coconut milk. Bananas. Then I looked at the ones that turned into souffle le mess. All of these had at least three eggs, so I knew I had to limit the amount of unborn chickens in my Paleo pancakes. I’m a big fan of adding bananas for moisture in almost any bread-ish recipe, so I threw one in. And I decided to throw caution to the wind and add more coconut flour than any of the other recipes had used. I’m guessing they try to limit it because that stuff is peeeeee-ricey, but whatevs. I’m not looking for a cheap Paleo pancake, I’m looking for a yummy one.

And thus was born, my Paleo Pancake! Don’t get me wrong here. It’s not exactly like a pancake. I feel that Paleo pancakes will never get there. But it is a damn good substitution. It’s also still not particularly easy to flip, but it was easier than the multitude of other Paleo “pancake” recipes I’ve tried. It also turned out rather light and fluffy, almost like the inside of a real pancake!!! I get giddy just thinking about it. I used grassfed butter on my griddle because I was out of coconut oil, so the outsides browned extremely fast. I think if coconut oil was used you’d get a more golden brown pancake. I didn’t cook the second batch as long as the first, and the inside did turn out a little more souffle-ish, so I’m thinking the key with these suckers is a lower heat for a longer time. Since this was a trial run I also kept these free of any add-ins, but next time I might try some walnuts inside. They ended up tasting like a whole-grain pancake, but with a lighter texture.They were a bit salty, I’m guessing from the bakng soda, but I never use salt when I cook and I’m super sensitive to the way it tastes, so people who eat more salt may not even notice it. I was also out of maple syrup (make sure you’re using 100% pure organic maple syrup if you use some!) so I put grassfed butter and a little (by little I mean miniscule) honey on top. Overall I was damn pleased with myself, and so was my tummy. In the next batch I’ll probably cut a bit of the baking soda, and maybe add a little more almond butter.

Are you about to die in anticipation of the recipe? Fear not! Please let me know if yours turn out good, or if mine were a total fluke of nature and will be gross when I make them again (please God no, I can’t handle more pancake recipe searching!)

Recipe makes 4 pancakes about the size of my hand. The smaller you make them, the easier they are to flip.

  • One banana (the riper the better, overly ripe is great too)
  • One egg + one egg white
  • Two tablespoons coconut flour
  • One tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda (remember my salty-ness)
  • One heaping 1/2 teaspon cinnamon
  • One tablespoon almond butter
  • 2-3 tablespoons coconut milk

Mix everything but the coconut milk together. You can throw it all in a Vitamix (or blender of some sort) or mash everything with a fork in a bowl if you like your bananas chunky. Add coconut milk until you have a thick batter. Melt a half tablespoon grassfed butter or coconut oil on griddle. Cook over low heat, turning once, 3 ish minutes on each side (maybe longer, I’m a poor judge of time). Top with whatever sounds delicious to you and enjoy!

***Update***

I’ve made these pancakes 4 or 5 times since the original post, and they’ve turned out great each time. I was feeling like something particularly decadent the other morning, and this beast is what happened:

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I topped the pancakes with coconut whipped cream, raspberry reduction, and toasted coconut. It was like a berry bread pudding dessert almost. Yes, I ate 4 of them.

(Wo)man’s Best Friend

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My dog is a bastard. Seriously, he is the biggest bastard ever. He has obnoxiously stinky farts. He gets in my bed under the covers when he thinks I’m not paying attention. He constantly steals my son’s snacks directly from his hands. Technically, he’s not even my dog! He came as a part of the package deal when my boyfriend moved to Norman from Texas 4 months ago. Unfortunately for me, my boyfriend is the worst dog walker ever, and since LaMotta (for all you boxing fans out there, this dog only thinks he’s the raging bull- he’s pretty much the tiniest boxer ever) is a hyper hypo, I took it upon myself to start training him to walk properly. At first he was more concerned about eating his leash than anything else. Finally he learned to run with me. Sort of. The first mile is always me jerking the leash to get him to slow down to my pace (this dude’s all about sprints, but me…not so much). Getting to the point, I was completely remiss in walking LaMotta over the holidays. Between my kiddo being at home all day and then going on runcation to Florida, I’m pretty sure he got like, two walks in the last two weeks. So I take him out  to do our usual three miles and he acts like a total BASTARD! Again with the leash eating, this guy. And stopping every five minutes to sniff and pee, sniff and pee. The funny thing about LaMotta is he has most definitely become my dog since the running started. He wants to lay next to me. He wants to sit on my lap on the couch. Ohhhhhh….I love that bastard.

12 Vatos Locos, 2 Vans, 196.9 Miles

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Above are the lovely ladies of Vatos Locos. Some dudes ran with us too, but this was a great pic, so there you have it. Ragnar Florida Keys 2013 was by far the BEST way I could possibly have started my new year. I only knew one person on the team (and hardly knew her at all), this was my first relay race, much less a 200-ish mile relay, plus I’d never been to Florida. Aside from being forced to eat at restaurants a few times (I only caved to non-Paleo food once, and it was beer…give me a break here), I had a fan-flippin’-tastic time. My 3 legs totaled 18 miles. The second leg, a 10 miler, was at 2am. Pretty sweet right? I was glad it wasn’t the 8 mile leg through the Everglades…at night…without van support. A la veeeee! We slept, ate, and bonded in a van for 2 days. I would totally do it again. Oh, wait, I am doing it again! Hood to Coast in August, and this time the boyfriend gets to come. Padrino (Hood to Coast will be his 11th 200 mile relay…what the what?!) gave us the invite to join his team when some other runners bailed. I may even try to cut ten or so seconds off my miles.