Sunday, January 13, 2013

Power Yoga

I just returned today from a fabulous yoga class: Power Yoga at my local YMCA. The beautifully fit instructor, Liz, had us set up poolside to do our yoga practice. To be honest, I grumbled inside when I heard that we were going to be on the pool deck. I've never been one to introduce extra heat to my yoga practice, and I actually felt like fate was working against me (or working to my benefit, as I found out later).

We started with a quiet, grounding mountain pose, then very slowly started building heat in our bodies by doing a number of sun salutations. My muscles perked up and took notice! She then took us through a more fluid, vinyasa style yoga practice. About a third of the way through the class, I was sweating--sweating even more than when I attend my Zumba class! Maybe these hot yoga teachers are on to something! (I'm still reserving judgment, however!) I was amazed at her gentle, but focused approach. She gave quiet encouragement, and beautifully re-positioned students to get the most out of the pose.

Toward the end of class, she said something when we were in a reclining twist that just hit me right between the eyes! "We are as young as our movable spines. Take care of your backs." And yes, isn't that the crux of all yoga practices? Being mindful of our bodies (especially our spines and backs) so that we can keep them malleable in order to reduce injury.

I was amazed at how good I felt after the rejuvenating practice, especially since this weekend my body decided to have another flare up. No fun, and Jeff even questioned my decision to go to yoga. But honestly, I believe the moving and strengthening got to the center of my muscles and just made them respond lovingly. I will definitely be adding this class to my exercise repertoire! Namaste.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Gluten-Free Bread Using Bread Maker

I realized that I have been making many changes to my bread recipe, but hadn't shared the changes. This is a recipe that I use playing with different ingredients depending on my mood. The ingredients that I've changed are all in the recipe separated by or, so have fun experimenting! If you have tried this recipe and have found little tricks that work better for you, please let me know! Thanks a bunch! Enjoy!

Flour Mix
1 cup brown rice or sorghum flour
½ cup teff flour
½ cup garbanzo bean flour or chia seed flour or GF oatmeal
2/3 cup tapioca starch
1/3 cup potato starch or corn starch
1tablespoon xanthum gum
Scant T sugar
¾ tsp baking soda

Other Ingredients
4 oz. sour dough starter (substitute flour with gluten free flour)
2 XL eggs or 3 small
10.5 oz lukewarm tap water
1.9 oz. vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey or molasses (I prefer the molasses)
¾ scant tsp. apple cider vinegar
Scant 1/8 tsp dry instant yeast
1 ½ tsp salt (last ingredient to be added)

Putting it all together
  •  Using a standing mixer with whisk attachment, at a medium/low setting beat the starter with water, eggs, oil, vinegar, and yeast.
  • Add flour mixture and beat for 2 min. Add salt beat 1 more min.
  • Put in bread machine pan and hit start. 
  • A half hour before the bread is done, preheat the oven to 375ยบ. Put a pan on the lowest shelf of the oven.
  • When the bread is done, immediately remove the bread and place in the preheated oven directly on the rack.
  •  Add a handful of ice cubes or a cup of cold water to the tray and bake for 15 minutes. This will give the bread a firm, heady crust. 
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few hours on a cooling wrack.
  • Once cooled, use a bread knife to cut loaf. Separate each piece with a square of wax paper. Store in freezer. Your bread will last longer this way, and it really tastes best warm or toasted.