ASL FILM: VERSA EFFECT


;-) Bentley Bryant
ASL FILM: VERSA EFFECT showing at the Palace Theater, 10/7/2011 at 7pm $11. pp
http://www.localendar.com/public/BentleyBryant

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Wasa with Ricotta Cheese, Pistachio and Raisin Spread

Ingredients

½ cup skim ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon honey
2 teaspoon raisins
4 teaspoons pistachios, shelled and chopped
½ ounce dark chocolate, grated
3 pieces WASA Light Rye

Directions

Soak raisins in a bowl of boiling water until soft (approximately 10 minutes). Drain and return to bowl.
Add ricotta cheese, honey and pistachio nuts to bowl. Mix well.
Spoon equal amounts of spread on crispbreads and top with grated chocolate.

TIP: Substitute cottage cheese for ricotta cheese if desired.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Serves 1

Nutritional Value Per Serving

Calories 149
Total Fat 7 g
Saturated Fat 1 g
Cholesterol 13 mg
Sodium 113 mg
Total Carbohydrate 5 g
Dietary Fiber 2 g
Protein 7 g
Calcium 13% of required daily value

Big on Arms

We are in Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II) and the teacher is walking us through the pose nice and slow. She has us begin in Tadasana (Mountain pose) and then tells us to touch our fingertips together in front of our chest. As we jump our legs apart, our arms open up too (so they are parallel to the ground).

Next, the real instruction begins. She focuses on our feet, making sure they are spaced far enough apart and turned in the proper direction. She reminds us that our back heel should be aligned with our front heel.

She pauses as we breathe.

Inhale, exhale.
Inhale, exhale.

She moves onto our legs. She makes sure that our right knee is bent so that it’s directly over the right ankle. We need to press our thigh back so we can see our second toe. She keeps us focused on our lower body, giving us directions on our tailbone, butt, and – again – our thighs. She mentions that second toe again.

Inhale, exhale.
Inhale, exhale.

You can practically hear the thoughts of every student in the studio: My arms are tired. My arms are so tired! When will this pose be over so we can put our arms down? Are anyone else’s arms tired? Or am I just a wimp? How much longer do we have to hold our arms up?

Finally, the teacher says, “I know your arms are tired.”

Her acknowledgement is a relief even though she encourages us to keep those arms lifted. “Stretch them out even further, reeeaaaaching for the walls,” she says.

She moves onto our shoulder blades – are they scrunched up by our neck? Release them.

Lengthen our torsos.

Broaden our chests.

She knows exactly what we’re doing – allowing our minds to be consumed with thoughts about our arms.

“Your brain starts to panic first,” she says. “Your body is strong and your arms can handle this.”

That’s the extra motivation we need for the last few breaths until she finally has us step our feet back together and place our hands on our hips.

I’m working out in LA for a couple weeks – my old hometown – and it’s great to be back in my favorite teacher’s class. Now that I’m here, I remember she was always big on arms.

Retraining Taste Buds

The carrots I hold in my hand are fresh from a local garden. They’re dirty and have wild bushy green tops. I wash and peel the carrots then pick up the knife. I have a long way to go until I can maneuver this utensil like those chefs on the Food Network, but I’m getting better. Faster.

I cut the carrots, chop the onion, dice the celery, slice the mushrooms and throw everything into a skillet with water. While the veggies are steam sautéing I boil tri-colored pasta in a medium pot and steam spinach in a small one. I add tomatoes and tomato sauce to the skillet. When the pasta and spinach are ready I add those too, along with garlic and oregano.

My husband, Ron, wanders in the kitchen.

“What’s for dinner?” he asks.

“Italian Skillet Casserole,” I say.

He leans over my shoulder and investigates the simmering dish on the stovetop.

“Almost all veggies,” I point out.

Cooking healthier foods has been challenging in certain ways, but one thing I completely forgot about when I started this new path is that my husband can’t stand vegetables. He’ll eat certain items (broccoli or beans or salad) because he knows they’re good for him, but he would prefer them as a side dish, not the main dish.

But it just so happens that his company is having a Vegetable Challenge this summer.

So perfect timing.

I scoop out the meal into two bowls, light some candles, and sit down.

It’s delicious, and I look at Ron to see what he thinks. He’s pushing a piece of onion, a hunk of tomato, and a mushroom slice to the side. “I can eat them when they’re small, but these big pieces…” he shakes his head.

“You need to retrain your taste buds,” I suggest softly.

He’s a good sport so he takes a huge spoonful, onion chunks and all, and gives it a go. He likes it. This truly is one of the tastier dishes I’ve made, and when I’m done I push my bowl aside and lean back in the chair.

“Hey, what’s that?” Ron says, peering into my bowl.

“Nothing,” I say.

“Uh-huh,” Ron nods, smirking.

Okay, okay. So I really do consider myself a vegetable lover, but I’ve always struggled with cooked carrots. There is small pile of them left. I guess we both have some retraining to work through.

Herbs

One of my husbands charms is that if it’s my birthday, or a holiday, or some other gift-giving event, he’ll sneak in a surprise present – a little something extra that wasn’t on my list that he thought of completely on his own. For example, one year he gave me a handheld Ms. Pac-Man game because he knew I used to love Ms. Pac-Man s a kid (one time we came across the video machine in a restaurant, and I went nuts, challenging my husband to round after round until I had blisters).

So this year – after reading and observing me write the Wasa blog, and noticing my developing interest in cooking – he gave me an herb garden. Well, sort of. We don’t have real garden space in our city place, so he gave me a kit that you can assemble right on your countertop.

Mint.
Basil.
Dill.
Cilantro.
Thyme.
Parsley.
Chives.

My mom and I put together this afternoon.

We snapped a light onto the “garden” and popped in the seed pods.

“Can it really be this easy?” I said.

It was.

We added some water, feed it some nutrients, and left it to grow.

It takes about five weeks until the herbs will be ready for harvesting.

First recipe? I’m thinking a garden herb omelet.

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