Fresh Corn Polenta

Fresh Corn Polenta

Nourish

There’s something about exciting about corn season. It takes me to a happy place where I was born and lived until almost 6 years old. We lived by a Pennsylvania dairy farm surrounded by cornfields and rolling hills, where the scenery was lush and the smells in the air were plenty. It was long ago; however, the smell of fresh corn still sparks those childhood memories of walking through cornfields and swinging on a creekside tree swing.

I found a recipe for polenta from fresh corn from Yotam Ottolenghi. Polenta made from fresh corn seems obvious, but I’ve never thought to make it. This is a slight variation of the recipe (proportions and my cooking time) and I would even try different or no cheeses in the dish, depending on with what I paired it. The photo shown here is with Ottelenghi’s eggplant tomato sauce he used with the polenta. I think it would also taste great with a mushroom sauce.

Serves 3-4

  • 4 ear of corn
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 5 oz feta, crumbled
  • salt & pepper

Remove the husk and silk from each ear and shave off the kernels.

Put the kernels in a medium saucepan and cover them with the water. Bring to a boil then cook for 12 minutes on a low simmer. Using a slotted spoon, remove the kernels from the water into a food processor. Reserve the cooking liquid. Process the corn for several minutes to breakdown as much of the kernel case as possible. Add some of the cooking liquid if the mixture becomes to dry to process. (I didn’t have this problem.)

Return the corn paste to the pan with the cooking liquid and cook, while stirring, on low heat for 15-20 minutes. As the mixture thickens toward a mashed potato consistency, stir more frequently. Fold in the butter, feta, salt and pepper and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Add more seasoning as desired.

 

 

Transitioning into Fall

Transitioning into Fall

Daily Practice

In order to be in balance and to stay grounded with what is around us, we need to seek or find grounding and balance within ourselves…the best we can. Create a ritual for yourself – maybe something as simple as a 10-minute mediation to steady the mind. Or, start your morning with some gentle sun salutations and balancing postures to invigorate you and prepare you for your day. Finish the practice with a forward fold and a cozy Savansana.

Fennel and Leek Soup

Fennel and Leek Soup

Nourish

This is great for a warm day is soothing on the belly. It’s light and cooling, with a nice touch of sweet, pungent and bitter qualities. Fresh herbs would work perfectly – for the flavor I wanted I only had dry herbs on hand. Also, if you enjoy the flavor of fennel, I suggest adding ½ teaspoon or more of crushed fennel to stock.

  • 3 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 large fennel bulb with stalks, coarsely chopped, stalk ends and fronds set aside
  • 3 leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced and cleaned
  • 3 stalks celery, roughly chopped and divided
  • 1 small red potato, diced
  • 3 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ tsp dried fennel, crushed
  • 3 pinches dried summer savory
  • 3 small pinches dried rosemary
  • ½ cup parsley, coarsely chopped, and more for garnish
  • ½ raw pumpkin seeds
  • ½ tsp Aleppo pepper (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, sauté leeks in olive oil until the leeks start to soften. Meanwhile, in another pot, heat stock, water, fennel ends and fronds, fennel seed, 1/3 of celery and chopped parsley on medium heat.

To leeks, add fennel, fennel stalks and remaining celery. Cook until fennel starts to soften, approximately 5 to 10 minutes, stirring often. Add potato and a generous pinch of salt. Stir then add all the contents from the pot with the stock. Add the summer savory and rosemary and bring to a boil. Once it boils, bring to a simmer, cover and cook for about 25 minutes.

While the soup is simmering, lightly toast the pumpkin seeds in a skillet for 1 or two minutes. Immediately remove and pulverize in a food processor. Add a ladle of liquid from the soup to saturate the pumpkin seeds and set aside.

Remove large pot from heat and add the pumpkin seed mixture. Blend soup well with an immersion blend or transfer to a blender. Add Aleppo pepper if using and salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with parsley.

Serves 6-8.

Vibrant Quinoa Salad

Vibrant Quinoa Salad

Nourish

I posted this long ago, but it wasn’t under a typical recipe heading. This is a tasty Summer/Spring salad, but it’s great for during any warm weather spell.

Combine the following chopped herbs in food processor with 1/3 cup or more olive oil. Add lemon or vinegar if desired,

  • 1 bunch cilantro
, packed
  • 1/2 cup parsley
, loose
  • 1/4 cup each dill, mint & tarragon

Mix with the following:

  • 2 cups (more/less as desired) cooked quinoa
  • small sautéed onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/2 to 1 serrano pepper, deseeded and chopped
  • 3-4 green onions, sliced
  • generous handful of arugula, chopped
  • salt & pepper to taste; I also added cumin
  • feta, optional

If you don’t like the taste of tarragon, you could skip it or experiment with another herb…basil, sorrel, lemon thyme.

 

 

2 Simple Breath Techniques for Managing Stress

2 Simple Breath Techniques for Managing Stress

Daily Practice

Try These Soothing Techniques to Calm Your Mind and Body in Times of Stress or Anxiety. 

Calming the mind during stressful or uncertain times can feel overwhelming. Navigating fear and uncertainty can be challenging for the mind and body as well. The breath can be used as a simple tool to support the mind and body and tap into our inner resilience. Breathing naturally soothes the nervous system, which helps calm the mind. 

Today, I’m going to share with you two simple breathing techniques that you can do from home. Even though both of these techniques are easy, the trick is to remember to do them regularly. Developing a regular practice will help you build a healthy habit and reduce your overall stress level over time. You can do these sitting in a chair during the day or by simply lying on the floor. The beauty of this practice is that it’s incredibly versatile and easy to do from wherever you are at the moment, with whatever energy level you have.

Diaphragmatic Breath

You may have heard of the diaphragmatic breath, or belly breath before. The diaphragm is the most important of the muscles that helps move air in and out of the lungs. Attached to the ribs and lumbar spine, the diaphragm is shaped like a parachute or dome. When the diaphragm contracts on an inhalation, the dome pushes downward and if the abdomen is relaxed the belly will gently expand outward. On an exhalation, the diaphragm relaxes and moves back up.  Belly breathing can help most people feel relaxed. As you practice it, periodically pause and observe any changes in the mind or body.

Benefits of this Exercise

In our day to day lives, it’s easy to become overstimulated with electronics or notifications on our phones. This belly breathing technique will help quiet the mind and calm the nervous system from everyday stresses. The exhale helps to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is the nervous system in charge of controlling your body at rest (these are functions like digestion and heart rate). 

  • Helps quiet the mind and nervous system. 
  • Exhale helps to stimulate the parasympathetic stimulus nervous system. This is the nervous system in charge of controlling your body at rest (things like digestion and heart rate). 
  • Eases fears of unknown, uncertainty and doubt, and monkey mind.  
  • Helps restore your sense of self, internally. 

How to Do It

  1. Sit in a comfortable upright position, or lie on your back on the floor. 
  2. Relax your shoulders, letting go of all tension in your upper body. 
  3. Put one hand on your chest and hand and on your stomach.  
  4. Breath in through your nose for two seconds, allowing the air to expand into your diaphragm. Allow your chest to remain mostly still while your stomach expands like a balloon. 
  5. Next, purse your lips and exhale for two seconds, gently contracting your abdominal muscles. If comfortable, seal your lips and exhale through the nose.
  6. Repeat this exercise several times for two minutes, in a slow and controlled manner. Afterwards, you should feel a sense of calm and relaxation in your body. 
  7. As you become comfortable with this breathing practice, explore making the exhale longer than the inhale to experience a similar (or different) calming effect.

Basic Bee Breath

This next technique is known as the bee breath, or brahmari. The name brahmari is derived from the Sanskrit term for bee. For this breath, you’ll be making a humming sound that resembles a buzzing bee. Known for its relaxing effects, this breath can help break up mental thought patterns that cause anxiety. 

Benefits of this Exercise

This exercise helps soothe the nervous system by focusing your breath and limiting outside distractions and thoughts. It can help calm the mind from racing thoughts and ease anxiety by using longer focused breaths. 

  • Soothes the nervous system with longer breaths. 
  • Helps create a calm, centered inner voice. 
  • Reduces inflammation in the body by decreasing stress. 
  • Eases your fight-or-flight response (sympathetic nervous system). 
  • Activates your body’s built-in stress release (parasympathetic nervous system).  

How to Do It

  1. Sit comfortably in a seated upright position or  or lie on your back on the floor. 
  2. Take a breath in slowly through your nostrils. 
  3. Exhale and make an “mmmmm” sound with your mouth closed. This should sound like a buzzing or humming sound. Keep your facial muscles relaxed and lips gently sealed. 
  4. Focus on the sound you make as you exhale and ignore all outside distractions and thoughts. Notice and feel and vibratory sensations in your body. This should create a relaxing and calming feeling. 
  5. Inhale again through your nostrils and exhale making the “mmmmm” sound. Repeat this exercise for two minutes. 

You can do these breathing exercises wherever you feel comfortable. Whether it’s sitting upright at your kitchen table or office chair, driving in traffic, or lying on the floor, you’ll be able to reap the benefits by simply taking two minutes to focus on your breath. Remember, no matter how overwhelmed, stressed, or busy you may feel, taking two minutes to slow down and focus on yourself can help you recenter and regain control of thoughts again.  

If you’d like to explore more, let’s get started. You can book a complimentary 1:1 consultation with me here.