On Hiatus

Hi All,

I wanted to let you know that I’m taking a break from Drops of Magic and focusing on a new wellness (for lack of a better description) blog called Eat less sugar. You’re sweet enough!

I will be back at some point, especially when I find another intriguing stranger for my 100 Strangers Project. In the meantime though, if you like recipes, nutrition, fitness and inspiration, come see me at

http://eatlesssugaryouresweetenough.com/

Hope to see you there :)

Yoga Wisdom

Below is a beautiful article by my beautiful cousin, Judith Windover that I just had to share. Namaste xo

A Day in the Life of a Buddha: Yoga

Dr. Oz recently asked his fans about their experiences with yoga. With almost 40 years of yoga and yogic practices I suddenly realized the vastness of my experiences and was eager to share. It is this experience I share with you here, now.

Even if you are a seasoned yogi or yogini, it is important to remember to start out slow. Learn the absolute basic postures first. Give your body, mind & emotions time to adjust to not only the asanas but to the breathing and many other hidden aspects that take place with each pose.

At best yoga can be the catalyst of a deep inward exploration into expansion of consciousness. At worst it is daily and weekly physical exercise.

Fear creates mental and physical rigidity, that is why it is essential you connect your mind and body to your breath. Vigorous asanas that move you quickly from one pose to the next make this body, mind, breath connection more difficult. Hatha yoga is one of the slowest and most grounding practices, meaning it connects you more deeply to the inner workings of your body and mind through breath. This will become important once you realize yoga is just as much a practice of body consciousness as it is about spirituality and movement.

There is no place for ego in yoga. That said, don’t compare yourself to anyone including yourself. Forget about what the person beside, behind or in front of you is doing. Don’t compare yourself to others. More importantly, don’t compare yourself in what you do today versus what you did yesterday, last week, or even one or two poses ago. Be content with yourself in this moment, and in this moment, and in this moment.

A teacher who constantly instructs you on breath-work, form, and safety is vital to your overall wellbeing and continued practice. Incorrect form, holding your breath, competing with others, and pushing yourself carelessly through poses will only result in rigidity, frustration and possible injury.

Try various yoga practices and styles until you find the one that fits you where you are in the moment. The style of yoga you practice is a reflection of where you are in the moment as well as any and all visible and invisible changes taking place within you. Thus your style of yoga practice will most likely change as you change, thus the reason why Power Yoga worked last month while Hatha Yoga is what you need today or vice versa.

Understand that the human body is a very precise scientific machine with a built-in healing system at cellular level. Each cell in the body contain intelligence, memory, and emotion. Whenever we undergo any type of trauma it is often stored at cellular level away from consciousness and is oftentimes released through particular asanas (poses) at the most inopportune time, the result of which will most likely see you weeping uncontrollably in tears and heaving convulsions. Try not to be embarrassed by this. Rather, accept this as part of the healing process even if you never knew you were in need of healing.

Yoga is meditation in motion, an expansion in consciousness, and is not limited to your hourly practice or the mat. Take everything you learn about yourself, your body, your mind and emotions and practice it in your moment to moment encounters with self and others for the rest of the day.

Yoga is often a catalyst for healing and deep spiritual yearning and growth. For this reason you may find yourself wanting to periodically retreat from others, to spend more time in silence with yourself, more often in Nature. At times this may cause you inner conflict, stress and worry because you will perceive yourself as losing interest in and with the world. You may fear there is something wrong with you, but there is not. We often spend our lives vacillating back and forth between doing and being inward and outward. This ebb and flow is natural to living and is a huge part of the spiritual yogic journey. Think of your yoga practice as a guru or teacher who is there to instruct you on how to embrace the moment and yourself in each moment. When you are in the moment you are closest to Oneness. Master not the moment for the moment needs no master. Instead, master yourself in the moment. This is the ultimate goal of Yoga.

Bless you and have a blessed day,
Namaste.
Judith Windover

11

Joker & Harley Quinn

The other night I was discussing the 100 Strangers Project with my friend, Simone, who had just returned from a trip to Berlin. She said that she had seen gangs of homeless street kids and their dogs every time she took the subway there and what colourful subjects they would have made for my photo project. I instantly imagined all the unique and eccentric characters walking the streets of the city and fought a strong desire (fuelled by a couple of glasses of wine) to hop on the next Berlin bound plane.

A few days later, however, I spotted a group that looked like the Canadian version of the vagabond gypsies Simone and I had been discussing and I really, really wanted one of them to be my sixth stranger. I approached one guy, my card held out to him, quickly explained the project, then asked if I could take his photo. He looked at me, abruptly said “No”, and turned and walked away. During this exchange, out of the corner of my eye, I had noticed a man watching us, so I thought “What the heck. I’ve got nothing to lose” and approached him instead. He agreed to let me take his photo. Then chuckled and told me that the other man said no because he wasn’t very photogenic. I asked him his name and then his dog’s name. He said he was called Joker and his dog, Harley Quinn, like the comic book characters.

001

After chatting with him for a while, I found out that Joker is originally from Ottawa and Harley Quinn, whom he described as Quebecois, is from Montreal. He became her guardian when she was a puppy and they’ve been travelling together for years, crisscrossing  Canada a few times.

Sometimes when I see people and their pets on the street, I feel sort of hopeless, both sad and scared for them. There was something about Joker though, that made me not too worried for him and Harley. A toughness or inner strength maybe? He definitely had the vibe of a survivor.

Part way through our conversation, Harley Quinn lifted her paw and put it in Joker’s hand, staring at him and I could see the powerful bond between the two. Joker and Harley Quinn make such a great team and I really think they’re going to be okay. I wish them all of the luck in the world and I hope they have years of endless adventures together.

Thank you Joker and Harley Quinn for being my sixth strangers. Safe travels.

New Year’s Detox

I LOVE the holiday season and part of the reason I love it so much is that we all have carte blanche to do a little guilt-free binging. Huge boxes of chocolates are lying around, beckoning us as we innocently walk by. Nights on the town, eating, drinking and then eating and drinking some more. And holiday feasts, with second and third helpings and lots of holiday bubbly and holiday wine.

But what happens when January rolls around and you’ve got a depleted bank account and a bulging muffin top?

It’s Detox time.

I found an ultra-healthy recipe a couple of months ago and have been saving it for the January bulges and blues. So, if you want to get back on track fast, blend this for breakfast for a couple of weeks and I guarantee you’ll have your waistline and your energized self back in no time.

2014 Power Detox Smoothie

  • 1/2 bunch parsley
  • 6 kale leaves
  • 1 cucumber, peeled
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 2 organic apples
  • 1 cup blackberries (or blueberries)
  • 1 cup pomegranate juice
  • juice from 1/2 lemon

Blend. Drink. Glow.

detox

Photo Challenge: Joy

photo (7)

Pure joy, playing in a buttercup patch.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/12/27/weekly-photo-challenge-joy/

The Christmas Market

Visiting the German Market on Christmas Eve brings back happy childhood memories of visiting my Oma and Opa in Northern Germany and gorging on huge bars of marzipan, schnitzel and frites. I always went to Germany an average sized child and came back one or two sizes bigger. Every single time.

The market food, decorations, mistletoe, music, bustling crowd and, the thing my inner child loves most, the bright, colourful carousel, all make my heart smile. It also signifies the beginning of my long awaited Christmas holidays. So, with a bratwurst in one hand and a gluhwein in the other, I am ready to get festive and indulge!

Merry Christmas xo

Soup Sisters

My lovely city is in  the middle of a cold spell. So uncharacteristically cold that I feel like I’ve been magically transported from Vancouver back to my birthplace, frigid and snowy Ontario. The ground is blanketed in a layer of sparkling, diamond-like frost, it’s been endlessly sunny out, 10 degrees below zero and so dry my skin is starting to crack. Very strange for a temperate rainforest. And as the freezing cold weather continues, I’ve become extremely worried about homeless people and outdoor animals. This (global warming) weather has got to be a shock for all beings living outside in southern BC.

Last weekend I braved the cold and took my little Terrier out for a two hour walk in the sub-zero weather and when I got home, chilled to the bone, all I could think of was a hot, steamy bowl of soup from Whole Foods. Soul warming, stick to the ribs, soup. So off I went to the grocery store to get a huge bowl of chicken noodle. On the way there I noticed two homeless guys camped out on the sidewalk. One had a huge down comforter wrapped around him, and the other had….nothing. Yikes, I thought as I walked by. Are these two going to survive the cold spell. Especially the blanket-less man?

Into the store I went. I grabbed my soup and couldn’t wait to get home to chow down. As I walked back home though, I looked at the man sitting on the cold sidewalk with no blanket. I approached him and heard myself asking if he wanted some soup. It was almost like my voice had a mind of it’s own because part of me really, really wanted that soup. I walked home, soup-less and thought, well that was a microscopic drop in a gigantic bucket. I think part the reason we feel so powerless when it comes to homelessness is that it’s such a huge problem, most of us don’t feel like we can help instigate even a small change, so then just do our best to ignore it.

I checked my email later that evening and saw a reminder that I had signed up for a cooking class two months ago, that I had completely forgotten about. Soup Sisters and Broth Brothers at the Dirty Apron Cooking School, the very next night. Serendipity.

I bundled up with a toque, scarf, mitts and puffy jacket and off I went to the Dirty Apron, ready for my first cooking course ever and an introduction to the philosophy of the Soup Sisters. The organization was started by Calgary resident Sharon Hapton, three years ago. On her 50th birthday she decided that she wanted to give back to the community and cooked a huge batch of soup for a local shelter. And from that random act of kindness, the Soup Sisters were born. The Soup Sisters help feed and shelter women and children fleeing domestic violence and their counterpart, the Broth Brothers, work with youth living on the street.

My Sunday night class gathered in the large, welcoming kitchen of the cooking school, ready to cook for a cause and prepare four batches of soup. Three batches to be given to shelters and one to be eaten that evening by us, the students. All, Chef Takashi instructed, were to be made with love. He is a firm believer that one should only cook when feeling happy and positive as the chef’s emotions influence the quality of the food and, ultimately, the person who eats it. As I looked around the room at the smiling faces, I was pretty sure our soup would be infused with good intentions and lots of love too.

Creamy corn clam chowder was the soup my group was preparing and we chopped, stirred and tasted as Chef Takashi guided us along and shared his wealth of culinary wisdom with us.

At the end of class we all sat at a long communal table in a lovely dining room decorated beautifully for the holidays. The table was situated under two sparkling, vintage lead crystal chandeliers that cast a warm glow over the entire room.

Shortly after we were seated, we were given a glass of delicious local wine to sip as we chatted about the evening. Next we were presented with a fresh salad of mixed greens, dressed with a pomegranate vinaigrette and prepared by the Dirty Apron. And then we were served our very own creamy corn clam chowder. A lovely and delicious ending to the beautiful vibe of the evening.

My experience making soup with the Soup Sisters warmed my soul and gave me a goal for 2014 of getting more involved with the organization. Fundraising probably, as I found out that evening that Harper has struck again and they, like so many other charities, lost a substantial amount of government funding last year.  This is a season that is so hard for many people, especially those fleeing dangerous situations and facing the incredible challenge of rebuilding their lives, how can you not want to help?

Forget the “made in China” trinkets at the mall, this is what Christmas is all about. Thank you Soup Sisters for reminding me of that.

And now, the soup…

The Dirty Apron’s Creamy Clam & Corn Chowder

Serves Two

Ingredients:

·         4 slices double smoked bacon, cut into ½ inch slice

·         2 shallots, diced

·         ½ carrot, diced

·         2 garlic cloves, minced

·         4 unpeeled red potatoes, small chunks

·         8 oz clam nectar

·         20 fresh clams

·         4 oz white wine

·         8 oz heavy whipping cream

·         Juice of one lemon

·         1 corn on the cob, grilled

·         1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped

·         1 tsp fresh chives, finely sliced

·         1 tsp cornstarch mixed with 1 tsp cold water

·         Salt & pepper

In a saucepot, heat white wine over medium high heat and add clams, steaming with lid on until all clams have opened.

Then remove clams from pot and separate meat from shell.

Reserve both clam meat and juice for later use

In a separate saucepot, sauté bacon over medium heat until brown and crisp.

Transfer bacon to paper towel for later use.

Next, add shallots, carrots and garlic to the bacon fat pan and suate. Add the potatoes, clam nectar and bring to a boil.

Simmer until veggies are tender.

While the soup is simmering, grill the cob of corn and then cut kernels.

Add the cream, clam meat, lemon juice, corn thyme and bacon to saucepot.

Bring back to a boil and add corn starch, stirring until desired consistency is reached.

Season to taste and garnish with the sliced chives.

037

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 190 other followers