Winter Solstice Yoga Retreat

Winter Solstice Yoga Retreat: Winter Sky

Winter Solstice Yoga Retreat: Winter Sky

spindrift scudding
sand and sleet stinging eyes we trudge
backwards into storm

Mary and Jerry free fall into the 35 mile per hour winds

Mary and Jerry free fall into the 35 mile per hour winds

We had a wonderful Winter Solstice Yoga Retreat last weekend.  Rick so nicely captured our beach walk in his haiku (above).  Our hearty group was not daunted by the high winds and cold air.  We simply bundled up and went out into the winter elements.  The walks were invigorating!

The yoga practice last weekend felt innovative and playful because I have some new yoga “toys”.  I have a headstander, which is a stable padded u-shaped bench on which one can do headstands without putting any pressure on the neck or head.  It is a great way to invert and to strengthen the abdominals (because you have to use them to get up!).  It just so happened that Christine also bought one earlier this year and she brought hers along.  I am also the proud new owner of yoga chairs which are great for doing backbends, inversions, and standing poses.  Oddly enough, the chairs can be used for modifying poses (great for beginners), but they can also be used to intensify a pose (great for intermediate to advanced yogis like this particular group).  I will later write a blog post about using the chair in yoga (for both beginners and for more advanced students of yoga)

Below are some photos from last weekend.  And following the photos are some recipes from some of the meals we enjoyed.

Rick took this photo of a barred owl.  The owl was on a low branch just off the road outside our home.

Rick took this photo of a barred owl. The owl was on a low branch just off the road outside our home.  He seemed to greet us as we headed out on our beach walk.

Wildlife abounds at Ocean Shores.  Again, just outside our home, we came across this buck on the way back from the beach.  He was fearless!

Wildlife abounds at Ocean Shores. Again, just outside our home, we came across this buck on the way back from the beach. He was fearless!

A whir of activity. Why do I purchase props when I can simply backbend over Grace while Jerry spots me?

A whir of activity. Why do I purchase props such as yoga chairs and headstanders when I can simply backbend over Grace while Jerry spots me? (photo by Skye)

Woodstove and Candles

Woodstove and Candles (photo by Skye)

Face Rocks (photo by Skye)

Face Rocks (photo by Skye)

The breakfast table: Jerry brought her delicious home pressed apple cider.  It is the best in the world made from a variety of apples with fantastic names such as Northern Spy, Liberty, Holstein, Melrose, Kingston Black, King, Ashmead, and Kernel apples!  Thank you Jerry!

The breakfast table: Jerry brought her delicious home pressed apple cider (richly colored orange drink in the photo!). It is the best cider in the world made from a variety of apples with fantastic names such as Northern Spy, Liberty, Holstein, Melrose, Kingston Black, King, Ashmead, and Kernel apples!

Pacific Coast Winter Walk: Carol and Fran

Pacific Coast Winter Walk: Carol and Fran (photo by Rick)

Grace and Jerry's miraculous Warrior III on driftwood with tide coming in (and strong winds!).

Grace and Jerry’s miraculous Warrior III on driftwood with tide coming in and strong winds!

Christine and Craig (near the trail head and out of the fierce wind)

Christine and Craig (near the trailhead and out of the fierce wind)

Weatherwax Preserve: after being wind whipped, some of us decided to walk the sheltered forest of this preserved forest in Ocean Shores.  I love this photo as I managed to capture the moss of the rainforest and light.  After being in the wind, everything here was so quiet.

Weatherwax Forest Preserve: after being wind whipped on the beach, some of us decided to walk this sheltered forest  in Ocean Shores. I love this photo as I managed to capture the moss of the rainforest and the light. After being in the wind, everything here was so quiet.

Skye and Grace admire and photograph the beauty of Weatherwax Preserve.

Skye and Grace admire and photograph the beauty of Weatherwax Preserve.

Yoga Star:  we actually had a professional photographer take photos of the group doing yoga on Sunday morning.  As always when a photographer is present, we are more aware of our alignment and we work 10x harder! I took this photo, but the professional photos will appear on my website next year.

Yoga Star: we actually had a professional photographer take photos of the group doing yoga on Sunday morning. As always when a photographer is present, we are more aware of our alignment and we work 10x harder! I took this photo, but the professional photos will appear on my website next year.

Frittata with Chard and Roasted Red Peppers (serves 4-8)

1 bunch chard
1 large leek, chopped (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tsp minced fresh thyme
1 tsp minced fresh marjoram
1 tsp salt
2 large roasted red peppers (1/2 cup)
6 eggs
½ cup milk
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
½ cup grated fontina cheese
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 F. Wash chard, remove stalks, dry the leaves, stack and cut into ribbons. In large pan, sauté leeks in oil and butter over medium heat until soft. Add spinach, herbs and salt. Saute about 7 more minutes, until spinach is well cooked. Remove from heat, stir in peppers and cool.
In large bowl, beat eggs with milk and add breadcrumbs and cheese. Stir in spinach mixture and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Bake in a buttered 9×9 pan for 40 minutes until center is firm and crust is golden. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Little Quinoa Patties (makes 12 patties)

2 ½ cups cooked quinoa, at room temperature (I cook it a few hours before putting this together)
4 large eggs, beaten
½ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh chives
1 yellow or white onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Gruyere cheese (since I doubled the recipe, I used 1/3 cup of each)
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup whole grain bread crumbs, plus more if needed (since I was making these gluten free, I substituted this with rice flour, but they are tastier with bread crumbs)
water, if needed
1 tablespoon olive oil

Combine quinoa, eggs and salt in a bowl. Stir in chives, onion, cheese and garlic. Add the breadcrumbs, stir and let sit for a few minutes so the crumbs can absorb some of the moisture.

Form 12 one-inch patties. If too moist, add more breadcrumbs, if too dry, add one more beaten egg or add water.

Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-low heat, add patties. Cover and cook for 7-10 minutes until the bottoms are deeply browned. Flip and cook 7 minutes more on side two (or until golden brown). Note: can also be oven baked

Butternut Squash and Hazelnut Lasagna (serves 6) (labor intensive but worth it!)

For Squash Filling:
1 large onion, chopped
3 tablespoons butter
3 lb butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and but into ½ inch pieces
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon white pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
4 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
1 cup hazelnuts (4 oz) toasted and coarsely chopped

For Sauce:
1 teaspoon minced garlic
3 tablespoons butter
5 tablespoons flour
5 cups milk
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper

For assembling lasagne:
½ lb fresh mozzarella, coarsely grated (2 cups)
1 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (3 oz)
12 sheets no-boil lasagna

Make filling: Cook onion in butter, until golden, about 10 minutes. Add squash, garlic, salt, and white pepper until squash is just tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in parsley, sage, and nuts.

Make sauce:
Cook garlic in butter in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderately low heat, stirring, 1 minute. Whisk in flour and cook roux, whisking, 3 minutes. Add milk in a stream, whisking. Add bay leaf and bring to a boil, whisking constantly, then reduce heat and simmer, whisking occasionally, 10 minutes. Whisk in salt and white pepper and remove from heat. Discard bay leaf.

Assemble lasagna:
Preheat oven to 425 F
Toss cheeses together. Spread ½ cup sauce in a buttered 13×9 by 2-inch glass baking dish (or other shallow 3 quart baking dish) and cover with 3 pasta sheets, leaving spaces between sheets. Spread with 2/3 cup sauce and 1/3 cup filling, then sprinkle with a heaping ½ cup cheese. Repeat layering 2 more times, beginning with pasta sheets and ending with cheese. Top with remaining 3 pasta sheets, remaining sauce and remaining cheese.
Tightly cover baking dish with foil and bake lasagna in middle of oven 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake until golden and bubbling, 10-15 minutes more. Let lasagna stand 15-20 minutes before serving.

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6 Responses to “Winter Solstice Yoga Retreat”

  1. Herb Says:

    beautiful I love Rick’s haiku and the face rocks especially.

    Like

  2. Kathleen Conroy Says:

    Hola, I’m on the coast in Uruguay and am almost wishing I was on the coast in Washington, this looked like such a great yoga retreat! Sorry I missed it, but it was fun to read about nonetheless. ciao

    Like

    • frangallo Says:

      Hi Kathleen, Lucky you to be in Uruguay! The group at the Winter Solstice retreat did a private booking. They book a retreat with me twice a year, winter solstice and summer solstice! I can’t wait for you to join in on one of the retreats next year at Ocean Shores (In addition to the day retreat in Issaquah!). Do check out my website to see 2013 schedule of retreats. http://www.frangallo.com

      Like

  3. stephanie Says:

    keep the mossy rainforest pics coming please!!!!
    captures the PNW!

    Like

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