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What are the benefits of mindfulness?

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In addition to the aforementioned benefits, the following list are also realistic outcomes from practicing mindfulness:

Gains in working memory

Stress reduction

Less emotional reactivity 

Relationship satisfaction 

Numerous research articles have run studies on mindfulness and have discovered meditation has been directly related to self-reported positive affect. More interestingly, these results reveal that even short-term commitment show marked differences in the brains of people who practice mindful meditation versus those who do not practice mindful meditation. A study involving people with mindful practice ranging from one month to twenty-nine years were compared to a pool of people who hadn’t meditated. When shown graphic pictures, the former group was better able to disengage from the stimuli and instead focus on a cognitive task versus those who had no practice with mindful meditation.

More insights and explanations from these research studies, along the other uses of mindfulness can be found here: http://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/07-08/ce-corner.aspx 

 

We invite you to practice mindfulness with us as we guide you on your journey to your inner wise self. Join us this January 1st for our “Get Clear on Your Year” retreat.

Get Clear on Your Year – Week Retreat

 

Thai Mushroom & Kale Soup

Thai Mushroom SoupIngredients

  • 1 large onion cut into chunks (bite sized)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 inch piece of ginger minced (more if you love ginger)
  • 2-4 cups mushrooms – brown, misbirth shitake or cremini – the older the better for flavour
  • 2 cups kale chopped (or bok choy, diabetes and pregnancy or spinach, this site or dandelion leaves)
  • Extra firm tofu – cut into small cubes
  • Mushroom bouillon (or veggie if you don’t have mushroom)
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1 – 2 tbsp organic soy sauce
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • Fresh cilantro chopped coarsely for garnish
  • 1 can of coconut milk

Preparation

  1. In a large soup pot, soften the onions, garlic and ginger at a low temperature using a bit of water and put a lid on the pot letting them sweat and release their yumminess to the broth to come.
  2. Add the mushrooms and continue to cook at a low temperature, adding a cup of water after a few minutes.
  3. While this is cooking, fry the tofu in sesame oil until brown.  Turning it often so it doesn’t stick and frying evenly on all sides.
  4. When mushrooms are soft add 3-4 cups of water to the pot and add the bouillon cubes & coriander seeds.  Any bouillon flavour will do as long as it’s vegan & preferably organic so it doesn’t have any nasty chemicals in it.
  5. A few minutes before serving add the coconut milk, tofu, kale, soy sauce & lime juice to the pot. Reduce the temperature and serve when the kale is soft – takes a minute or so.  You can use bok choy if you don’t have kale.
  6. Garnish with bean sprouts and fresh cilantro just before serving.  Hot sauce is an option too.

Butternut Chili in Pumpkin Bowls


whats-fresh-791x1024Butternut Chili in Pumpkin Bowls

This is a perfect way to celebrate the fall harvest – chili made from fresh tomatoes, dosage peppers, zucchini and squash, served in a tiny baked pumpkin:  the bowl you can eat!

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 4 bowl sized pumpkins (look for pie pumpkins) wash the outside well
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • ½ cup diced celery
  • 1 sweet red pepper, diced
  • 2 – 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small butternut squash, cubed
  • 1 small – medium green zucchini chopped
  • 1 medium carrot chopped
  • 2 cups black beans (1 lg can), drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups diced tomatoes (use canned if you don’t have fresh)
  • 1 tbsp chili powder (or more to taste)
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 3 – 4 cups vegetable broth – enough to cover the veggies in the pot
  • Sea salt, and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Prepare your pumpkin bowls by slicing the top off about ¾ of the way up. Scoop out insides of the pumpkin using a grapefruit spoon. This takes a few minutes and can feel kind of gross – but it’s fun too!  Save the seeds (minus the flesh) to roast them with some olive oil, salt and chili powder.  Serve the seeds on your salad if you want.
  2. When your pumpkins are empty and cleaned out, brush the insides with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. You will be eating the pumpkin flesh with the chili.  Put the pumpkins onto a baking pan and into the oven for 30 minutes at 350F.
  3. While the pumpkins roast, make the chili. In a large pot, add a bit of water and heat. Add chopped onion, garlic and celery and sauté for a few minutes until soft.
  4. Reduce heat to avoid burning. Add the chopped pepper, zucchini, carrot and squash and cook for 10-15 minutes until softened.
  5. Add the black beans, tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, paprika, vegetable broth, and stir. Simmer on low-medium for another 5 minutes.
  6. Remove pumpkins from the oven and fill the bowls 3/4 of the way full. Place pumpkins carefully back into the oven (again without top) and bake for another 30 minutes.
  7. Once they are cooked, turn oven off and leave pumpkins in the oven with lid on to stay warm. They will stay hot in the oven for another hour if necessary.

Garnish with fresh basil to serve.

Notes:

Chili is something easy to make with any veggies you have so make it your own.  Add corn, green beans, and peas or substitute the black beans for any other bean you prefer or mix them up.

Serve this with a colourful fresh salad and crusty rolls – great for dipping! Enjoy!

 

 

Celebrating the Autumn Equinox

Today marks the start of the Autumn Equinox. During this season our awareness is directed inward. We reflect on what was achieved during our past growing season, purchase become aware of which seeds haven’t grown or developed, and celebrate our personal harvests. This is a time to consider the power of gratitude, blessings and to give thanks. The Autumn Equinox reminds us to balance all parts of ourselves, the active and the passive, the known and the unknown, the outer journey and the inner journey and the intuitive, the conscious and the unconscious. From this place of unity new doors open, new directions and new possibilities are revealed.

An Invitation to Turn Withinautumn-equinox-1024x848

As Earth progresses along its orbit, passing through a balanced equinox point at the end of summer, its axis begins to lean away from the sun, bringing the southern hemisphere closer to, and moving the northern hemisphere farther away, from our radiant star. As a result, the sun’s rays hit the northern hemisphere at an indirect angle and less solar energy reaches this part of the world. This waning sunlight initiates a distinct and perceptible shift in our terrestrial environment as the sweetness of summer begins to fade and the top half of our planet retreats from the heat of the sun.

The Earth, like our bodies, breathes with unyielding rhythm and there is no better time to observe this divine truth than during a change of seasons when the breathwave of our planet can be experienced through all the senses. This yearly cycle, mirrored in every breath we take. When considering how the planet breathes, the autumnal equinox occurs during the inspiration cycle which can be likened to puraka or the inhalation. With the downward-moving inhale, all elements are magnetized toward the Earth. That which was exhaled during the effulgence of summer, is reintegrated. Plants surrender their vegetation in response to shorter days and cooler temperatures. Their leaves, drained of life-giving sustenance, eventually fall in the ultimate display of impermanence.

Moisture and heat are absorbed into the ground and air currents begin to circulate near the surface to catalyze these natural processes. As vehicles of the universal breath, we can interpret these environmental cues as a reflection of our internal seasons and emulate the perennial wisdom of the planet by letting go, slowing down and taking time for regenerative practices.

The autumnal equinox is the beginning of a cosmic dunk into darkness. With each passing day, nighttime arrives a little earlier and lingers into our waking hours. With this gift of environmental down-time, we are encouraged to welcome and not resist the centripetal force of consciousness that pulls us inward. This is a time for meditation and rest. Use this opportunity to surrender to your inner gravity, ask difficult questions and listen deeply for what arises. Get curious as you dive into the darkness.

This is a time to dig up anything that may be churning beneath the surface, a time to invite such thoughts and emotions to gently rise and dissolve. As a guide, you may consider the following contemplation questions either in meditation or in journaling to facilitate this inner exploration.

  • What has been my personal harvest this year, what has grown into full expression and brought me joy? Begin each sentence with I celebrate…
  • What seeds of insight will I collect and re-plant in the next season? I nourish…
  • Where am I holding back or ceding to doubt? What fears are stalling me? I am afraid of…
  • Where am I creating struggle or holding on? How can I conserve energy by releasing any unnecessary effort in this cycle? I release…
  • What am I most grateful for? I am grateful for…
  • Am I housing any latent anger towards myself or others? How can I liberate myself from it? I forgive…
  • Do I presently feel ashamed or embarrassed by any behaviors or decisions I have made? How can I lay them to rest? I accept…
  • Do I feel guilty for any of my thoughts, words, or actions? How can I make a conscious change? I resolve…
  • If my body were to speak, what would it say to me? I hear…
Practice Regenerative Yoga in Autumn
 
As we approach the transition from summer to fall, Ayurveda prescribes a gradual shift from cooling breath and postural practices that pacify pitta to those that heat internally to strengthen the fire element in preparation for the colder climate ahead. The vata dosha also benefits from postures that keep us close to the ground, particularly those that draw energy from the upper centers of the body including the head, throat and heart, into the lower centers of the belly, sacrum and hips.
 
Check out this beautiful flow devoted to the Autumn Equinox.
 

Article courtesy of Gaia: http://www.gaia.com/article/autumnal-equinox-yoga-ritual

 

 

Banana Cranberry Muffins

Ingredients

Yield: 12 muffinsIMG_1330

  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3 tbsp apple sauce
  • 6 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 1/4 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 5 medium bananas)
  • 2 cups + 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup whole cranberries
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts, more about sunflower/pumpkin seeds, prostate etc.

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly oil a 12-muffin muffin tin.
  2. Put the milk, youth health apple sauce, maple syrup and bananas in a blender and blend until smooth.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt until well combined.
  4. Add the banana mixture and combine, using as few strokes as possible so you do not overmix the batter. Fold in the cranberries and nuts/seeds.
  5. Scrape into the muffin tin and smooth the tops. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean, about 20 minutes.

Blueberry Kale Salad

This salad is so pretty to look at, adiposity easy to create, and incredibly healthy for your brain, your blood, your whole body really!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6  cups (more or less) curly kale leaves, thick stems removed and leaves tornBlueberry Kale Salad
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 tbsp mushed avocado
  • 1/2 tsp each sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 small avocado, peeled, pitted & cut into bite sized chunks
  • 1 small green apple, cored and sliced into thin pieces
  • 3 tbsp raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup fresh blueberries
  • ½ cup red cabbage finely sliced
  • ½ cup broccoli in tiny florets

DRESSING

  • 1/4 cup fresh or thawed frozen blueberries
  • Flesh of one avocado
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp peeled and minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp raw honey
  • 1/4 tsp each sea salt and fresh ground black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a large bowl, combine kale, lime juice, 1 tbsp mushed avocado and 1?2 tsp each salt and pepper. Use your hands to massage mixture into kale, until leaves have wilted just slightly. Transfer to a serving platter. (If you’re in a hurry to serve this you can chop the kale quickly rather than tear it).
  2. Prepare dressing: In a blender, combine all dressing ingredients and 3 tbsp water (more or less as needed) and blend on high until smooth, about 1 minute.  Taste this and see if it needs anything – more ginger, honey or salt, maybe a dash of tamari…  As with any salad dressing you need to make it taste the way you like it – never just follow the recipe!
  3. Gently mix 2/3 of the dressing with broccoli florets, red cabbage, avocado chunks, and apple and spoon over top kale. Top with pumpkin seeds, fresh blueberries and any sprouts you have (optional so don’t sweat it).
  4. If you’re not vegan you can add feta cheese.
  5. Drizzle remaining dressing over top of your gorgeous creation and enjoy!

 

Maple “Butter” Tarts!

vegan & gluten free

There is no butter in our butter tarts, health but they taste awesome!

Gluten Free Tart Crust:Maple Butter Tarts

  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup gluten free flour
  • 1 tsp Xanthum Gum
  • 1 ½  tbsp. margarine
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 tbsp cold water
  1. Combine the salt, flour and Xanthum Gum in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Cut margarine into the flour mixture with pastry cutter or knife.
  3. Sprinkle oil over dough and cut in with pastry cutter. Dough should have the consistency of cornmeal.
  4. Sprinkle with cold water and loosely cut in, so all is moistened.
  5. Cover dough with plastic wrap and put in fridge for 30 min.
  6. Roll out dough in between 2 pieces of parchment paper (or plastic wrap) to ~1/8” thick.
  7. Sprinkle dough with water if it gets too dry, but don’t overwork it.
  8. Cut out tart crusts with circular cutter (bowl plastic take out container) that is 1” larger than the radius of the muffin tin cups.
  9. Form dough in muffin cups, squishing it around with your fingers to fill in any breaks in the dough or thin spots.
  10. Bake at 400°F for 10-15 min.
  11. Let cool and leave in tin for the filling.

 

Vegan Maple Butter Tart Filling:

  • ¾ cup maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp arrowroot flour
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp  vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp ground chia or flax seeds
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ cup raisins or pecans
  1. Combine the maple syrup and arrowroot flour with a whisk.
  2. Melt the coconut oil in a small pot and mix it in with the syrup mixture.
  3. Add the vanilla and ground chia/flax.
  4. Add the baking powder at the end and mix well.
  5. Stir in the pecans or raisins.
  6. Use an ice cream scoop to ladle the filling into each of the baked shells, filling only ¾ full.
  7. Bake at 325°F for 25-30 min, turning halfway through for even baking.

 

Choco-nana Butter Tart CrustChoc-nana Butter Tarts

Here is an interesting alternative for a quick and yummy tart shell.  It does not taste like any tart shell you had before, but the cocoa mixes well the banana for a yummily unique butter tart experience!

  • 1 whole banana, cold
  • 1 1/8 cup gluten free flour
  • 1 tsp Xanthum Gum
  • 2 tbsp cocoa
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  1. Peel and break up banana into food processor or sturdy blender (we use a Blendtec).
  2. Add the other ingredients on top of the banana.
  3. Pulse the blender, scraping down the sides as needed, until the ingredients combine into a Play Dough-like consistency.
  4. Roll out dough and fill muffin tin cups as in previous dough recipe.
  5. Make sure to lightly oil the muffin tin cups.
  6. Two baking options:
    1. Baking shells ahead:  
      • Bake 350F for 10-15 min.
      • Let cool and leave in tin for the filling.
      • Bake <20 min at  325°F
    2. Baking shells and filling together:
      • Fill shells ¾ full with butter tart filling (add a few chocolate chips to the filling of each tart to enhance the chocolate sensation theme!)
      • Bake for ~20 min at  325°F

Get your free pass to Toronto’s Yoga Show!

WClick to Get Your FREE Yoga Show Passe are going to be at the Toronto Yoga Conference & Show this weekend (April 1-3).  The Yoga Show is very integral to Sugar Ridge’s history since this is our 10th year attending; we’ve had a booth there before the retreat centre was built. We have met many friends there, sildenafil reconnect with them and meet new ones each year.  We may have even met you there!

Since you are reading this, we assume you are interested in what we do here at Sugar Ridge, and think you will enjoy the Yoga Show too. Click on the image to print out this complimentary pass to the show.  There are many free classes to participate in and a full marketplace of everything to do with Yoga and natural health.  Stop by and visit us at booth #707 – and you can take advantage of our show specials.  You can also enter you name in our show draw for a gift certificate towards an upcoming retreat. Someone will win a free retreat!

Spiced Whole Grain Hot Cereal

Spiced Whole Grain Hot CerealGluten Free & Vegan

This is a popular breakfast cereal that we serve each weekend here at Sugar Ridge. It is too good to be kept to ourselves, price so here is the recipe for you to try it at home!

It is an easy recipe to make and is packed with lots of protein and whole grains. Once you get the basics of it down, online you can vary it with your own favourite grains, milks, fruit, nuts/seeds, spices…..many options!

Enjoy!

 

Ingredients:

½ cup   millet
½ cup   amaranth
2 cups  water

1 cup   almond milk
¼ cup   maple syrup

½ cup   cranberries & raisins
½ cup   chopped almonds (or any nut/seed of your choice)

1 tsp    cinnamon
½ tsp    nutmeg
½ tsp    cardamom

Preparation:

  1. Put the millet and amaranth in a medium pot with the water, bring to a boil and then simmer on low for 15 – 20 min with a lid on.
  2. When the cereal starts to become dry and before all the water is absorbed, stir in the almond milk and maple syrup. Stir and continue to simmer.
  3. Stir fruit, nuts/seeds and spices and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the cereal is cooked and reached desired consistency.
  4. Cereal is good on its own, but additional milk or sweetener can be added in the bowl to make it just the way you like it!

Notes:

  • Cooking time can be decreased if the grains are soaked in the water overnight.
  • Can be made with pretty much any grain or combo of grains you prefer. We have tried oats and also quinoa with good success. Rice is another yummy option.
  • This is a great recipe for using up left over, cooked grains from a previous meal. To do this, use 3 cups cooked grains with 1 cup milk and cook it for only about 10 min.

Stuffed Squash

Finished Stuffed SquashThis recipe involves a few different aspects of cooking to prepare ingredients and then it all comes together in a beautiful feast for the eyes as well as the tummy. Read the whole recipe before you start to cook so that you see how to divide various ingredients and the order of preparation.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 1 butternut squash
  • 3 garlic cloves, sick divided
  • 1 onion, sales coarsely chopped
  • 2 green onions
  • 2 cups shiitake mushrooms, migraine trimmed, chopped
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried thyme or sage
  • 1 cup unsalted butter or vegan alternative
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 6 tablespoons coarsely chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp fresh mint
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • salt

Special equipment:

  • Kitchen twine

Preparation

Toast the pecans

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Toast pecans on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing once, until fragrant and slightly darkened, 10–15 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely chop and set aside.

 Cook the lentils

  • Wash the lentils well until the water is clear when rinsing them and drain excess water. While you prepare the veggies to roast, cook the lentils in 1 ½ cups water. Bring to a boil and then turn the heat low, stirring occasionally. Approx. cooking time is 10 – 15 minutes so the lentils stay a bit dry but they’re soft (about the texture of hummus).

 Prepare the veggies to roast

  • Trim stem and cut zucchini in half lengthwise. Use a spoon or an ice cream scoop to scoop out some of the flesh to leave a small divot down the center. Set aside the zucchini for the filling in a mixing bowl.
  • Trim stem and cut eggplant in half lengthwise. Scoop out flesh, leaving a thick border of flesh on all sides and creating a divot deep enough to fit zucchini halves inside. Set aside the eggplant filling in the mixing bowl with the zucchini flesh.
  • Trim stem and cut butternut squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Compost the seeds or set them aside to roast them. Scoop out insides, leaving a 1/2″ border on all sides and creating a divot deep enough to fit eggplant halves inside. Reserve squash filling in the mixing bowl with the zucchini and eggplant.
  • Using a fork, pierce insides of squash and zucchini halves. Using a sharp knife, make shallow crosshatch marks inside of eggplant, being careful not to pierce the skin. Trim green onions to match the length of the squash.

 Prepare the filling

  • Coarsely chop 2 garlic cloves. Combine chopped garlic, onion, mushrooms, with the zucchini, eggplant, and squash filling in the mixing bowl. Mix together and then pulse in a food processor until finely chopped.
  • Heat oil over medium in a large skillet. Add vegetable purée and thyme, or sage. Cook over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Return to bowl and let cool. .
  • Stir in cooked lentils, 3 tbsp. parsley, and 1 tsp. salt.

 Prepare the maple butterMaple butter for stuffed squash

  • In a small pot, melt the butter and combine with finely minced clove of garlic, red pepper flakes, and remaining ½ tsp dried thyme. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until butter is melted, then stir in maple syrup.

 Assemble the roast

  • Place squash halves, cut side up, on prepared baking sheet. Brush inside of each half with maple butter and season with ½ tsp. salt. Using the back of a spoon, press some of the vegetable filling into each half until interior is fully coated. Sprinkle with ¼ cup toasted pecans.Assembling the stuffed squash
  • Nestle eggplant halves, cut side up, inside squash halves. Brush inside of each eggplant half with maple syrup butter and season with ½ tsp. salt. Using the back of a spoon, press some of the vegetable filling into each half until interior is fully coated. Sprinkle with ¼ cup pecans.
  • Nestle zucchini halves, cut side up, inside eggplant halves. Brush inside of each zucchini half with maple syrup butter and season with 1/8 tsp. salt. Using a spoon, fill zucchini halves with ¼ cup vegetable mixture, spreading it flat. Sprinkle with ¼ cup pecans (reserve remaining pecans), then lay green onion and chopped tomatoes down the middle.
  • Cut 3 (18″) lengths of kitchen twine. Slip twine under one squash half, then top with second squash half, so that cut sides face each other, and press down to seal. Tightly tie twine around squash to secure. Brush top with maple syrup butter (reserve remaining butter) and season with ½ tsp. salt. Wrap squash in aluminum foil Stuffed squash ready for bakingand place in the center of the baking sheet. Using 2 loaf pans or small metal bowls turned upside down, keep squash secure on baking sheet.
  • Bake at 400°F until squash is tender to the touch, 1 ½ – 2 hours. Remove foil and let rest 20 minutes.
  • Just before serving, heat the remaining maple butter, and then stir in mint, lemon juice, 1 tsp. salt, and remaining 3 tbsp. parsley.
  • Place stuffed squash on a cutting board and cut into 1″ slices with a serrated knife, transferring to serving plates as you go. Spoon herb butter over slices, garnish with remaining pecans, and serve.

Note:

Although the recipe is quite long, this is quite simple to make, and it’s fun! When you shop for the veggies choose the squash, eggplant, and zucchini that will fit/nestle into one another. When possible, choose squash and eggplant that have a neck and bulb that are as uniform in width as possible. Otherwise you can trim it a bit so that they fit into each other.