I’m at the BlogHer conference in downtown Chicago mingling with 800 other women (promise I’ll link to some great food and yoga blogs once I process all the info that’s pouring into my brain).
The first day, I decided to get some exercise by walking from the train station to the conference center. I was wearing sandals and carrying a heavy laptop bag. I got lost. One hour and five blisters later, I finally arrived. I was smart enough to take a cab back to the train station that night, but once I made it to the suburbs (where I’m staying with a friend) I had to walk another mile to their house. My friend’s husband, Brad, was with me, and he watched as I limped and cringed.
“Ow, ow, ow,” I said as my sandals rubbed against my blisters.
I slipped off my shoes.
“Ow, ow, ow,” I said again as the sharp little pebbles on the roads and sidewalks cut my feet.
“You’re a yoga blogger!” Brad said.
“What does that have to do with anything?” I asked.
“Some yogis walk over hot coals and stuff,” he pointed out.
Now that he mentioned it, I did recall reading a passage in a book about firewalking at a yoga retreat. Although none of the yoga classes I’ve attended have involved hot coals, we do practice in bare feet. Still, smooth wood floors and soft sticky mats may help strengthen my soul, but they don’t sturdy up the skin on my soles.
Walking home that night, I stepped off the sidewalk and onto the grass. It was long and cool and damp. It cushioned my bare feet and brushed in between my toes. I completely forgot about my blisters as I focused on how nice it felt to observe the world through from the bottom up. It had been a long time since I’ve walked barefoot in the grass.
To some, barefoot hiking is a hobby. Richard Frazine wrote a book about it called The Barefoot Hiker, and Common Ground, a sustainable living magazine, wrote an article about it here.
How often do we take time to feel the crunch of leaves or the slick slime of moss or the powder puffs of dirt through our feet and toes? Not to mention walking barefoot is gentle on the planet. I think I will start taking off my shoes more often, especially outside.
As quoted on this website, Sitting Bull said: “Healthy feet can hear the very heart of Mother Earth.”
The other night I made brown rice risotto.
I ripped the recipe out of O magazine awhile ago and have been hanging onto it. The chef/writer, Colin Cowie, promised he was sharing a “labor-free” variation of the dish that usually requires a lot of stirring. Labor-free – now that’s my kind of meal.
Here’s what I did: I cooked 1 cup of brown rice in an organic free-range chicken broth. Meanwhile, I cooked mushrooms in a skillet for a few minutes (the recipe calls for an assortment of cremini, white jumbo, and shiitake, but we only had one type) and then I set the mushrooms aside. When the rice was ready, I mixed in the mushrooms. Then I mixed in 1 cup of grated parmesan cheese. I served it with a crisp greens salad. It was delicious. You can use other vegetables (asparagus) or ingredients (seafood) in place of mushrooms.
It’s one of those meals that will go into the “let’s make this again” category in my recipe box.
2 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced thin
4 teaspoons sun dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained, chopped
½ tablespoon pine nuts
2 teaspoons Kalamata olives, pitted, sliced lengthwise into quarters
1 tablespoon fresh basil, thinly sliced
2 pieces WASA Multigrain Crispbread (may substitute any WASA variety)
Toast pine nuts in small skillet until lightly browned, set aside.
Place 1 ounce mozzarella on each crispbread.
Sprinkle with ½ tablespoon of basil, 2 teaspoons sun dried tomatoes, 1 teaspoon Kalamata olives, ¼ teaspoon pine nuts. Serve immediately.
TIP: Substitute any nuts for pine nuts. Substitute feta cheese for mozzarella if desired.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Nutritional Value Per Serving
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