Friday, May 20, 2011

A Reminder to Remember

Back in March I went on a Yoga/Pilates/Meditation holiday on Fuerteventura . It was my reminder holiday, a reminder that in January I told myself that 2011 was going to be about balance and inner peace.

Well, off I went and since I've only sporadically done yoga and pilates, I was a bit nervous. I was about to do them everyday, at least two times a day, for a week... I wasn't sure how I felt about that. When friends would say, "That will be great!", I would answer, weakly, "Yeh-hes". (What I would insert now, if I could, would be that worried looking emoticon)

Needless to say, it was an amazing experience. Yes, at least twice a day I did bend my body into shapes it wasn't always willing to go into but the experience was much, much more than that. It was about the people I met and shared time with. In Berlin, my life is somehow split into two: the public hostess and the private (self professed) cat lady who has a hard time leaving her cozy apartment on days off. The funny thing was, I wasn't expecting to connect to "others"on this trip at all, rather, I thought it was going to be a solitary experience- just me and my out of shape body. How wrong I was.

As always, food was a focal point. I love wandering around super markets in other countries, checking out all the stuff- from weird things in jars to locally grown produce. We also were fortunate enough to have one of the best restaurants on the island nearby, offering tapas like I have never known before- delicious. One night, I even had the pleasure of raiding (permission granted) the villa's fridge to make an emergency dinner for our group when we found out last minute that the whole island shut down to celebrate carnival.

But, the real highlight was Jo, the nutritional advisor for Azul Fit. She offered me a special consultation/cooking course where we made olive tapanade, roasted eggplant, homemade whole grain breads, cocoa-dried fruit truffles and quinoa cake. It has sparked a true interest in such healthy and tasty food. I wish Jo would cook for me everyday... then I'd surely have balance and inner peace.

(I highly recommend Azul Fit Villa for a one of a kind, healthy, relaxing, centering experience. They have two locations and I was in the Villa, up on a hill in the small town Villaverde, completely disconnected from any hustle and bustle. Jamie, Karissa and the entire team go out of their way to make your stay an experience to cherish. I definitely cherish mine. Thanks to the entire Azul Fit family!)

Not Jo's recipe but tasty all the same:

Quinoa Muffins

Makes 12


1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1/4 cup vegetable oil, such as safflower, plus more for pan
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
3/4 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup raisins
3/4 cup whole milk
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium saucepan, bring quinoa and 1 cup water to a boil. Reduce to a simmer; cover, and cook until water has been absorbed and quinoa is tender, 11 to 13 minutes.
Meanwhile, brush a standard 12-cup muffin pan with oil; dust with flour, tapping out excess. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, raisins, and 2 cups cooked quinoa; reserve any leftover quinoa for another use.
In a small bowl, whisk together oil, milk, egg, and vanilla. Add milk mixture to flour mixture, and stir just until combined; divide batter among prepared muffin cups.
Bake until toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool muffins in pan, 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Man cannot live on Quinoa alone...

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