Yoga and Forest Bliss in Issaquah!

Last weekend, Cathy’s beautiful artistic home and yoga studio in Issaquah, Washington became the setting for a wonderfully relaxing and energizing yoga retreat.  The theme of the retreat was WELLNESS and, all weekend, I observed with delight how the retreat participants  set aside a full day to bring wellness, health, and balance into their lives!

We had unusually hot weather for this part of the world.  We had record breaking 80+ degree days this early May!  While we did yoga, we were cooled by the trees enveloping the yoga studio at Crystal Creek.  It felt as if we were in a tree house!   We started the day with a long yoga session.  We were all very hungry by the time noon came along and, as usual, Cathy fed our bellies and our souls with her scrumptious organic lunch.  Some of us hiked while some retreat participants chose to enjoy the sunshine on the deck overlooking the trees and mountains.  We all ended the day with deep relaxing stretches via yin and restorative yoga.

Issaquah Day Retreats are one-day long, a short distance from Seattle, and held twice a year, in May and in October.  The next ones are scheduled to take place October 12 and October 13, 2013.  Let me know below if you are interested in signing up for one of the days.

Following are some photos from the weekend, as well as two recipes from lunch:

Tulips welcome you at Crystal Creek home and studio in Issaquah, Washington!

MAY Tulips welcome you at Crystal Creek home and studio in Issaquah, Washington!

Morning Yoga on Saturday!

Morning Yoga on Saturday!

Tulip Table Setting.  Absolutely delightful!

Tulip Table Setting. Absolutely delightful! (yes, these are real!)

Morning yoga on Sunday.

Morning yoga on Sunday.

Head to Head Half Moon

Head to Head Half Moon (so cute!)

Inversion Assist

Peacock Pose

Strawberries and Grapes

Strawberries and Grapes

Hiking on Saturday

Hiking on Saturday

Hiking on Sunday

Hiking on Sunday

Soaking up some rays!

Soaking up some rays! (seriously, we almost never get this much sun in this part of the world, this early in the year!)

Tuscan Kale Salad (bowl in the background)

Tuscan Kale Salad (bowl in the background): recipe below

Tuscan Kale Salad

This traditional Tuscan salad is made with strips of Italian black kale, fresh lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, crushed garlic, red pepper flakes, grated pecorino Tuscano cheese and bread crumbs. These bright, refreshing flavors combine to bring the sunny taste of Italy to your table. Kale is among the most nutrient-dense commonly eaten vegetables. One cup provides 1,327 percent of the Daily Value  for vitamin K, 192 percent of DV for vitamin A, and 88 percent for vitamin C.

4-6 cups kale, loosely packed, sliced leaves of Italian black (Lacinato, “dinosaur,” cavolo nero) midribs removed
juice of 1 lemon
3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, mashed
salt & pepper, to taste
hot red pepper flakes, to taste
2/3 cup grated Pecorino Toscano cheese (Rosselino variety if you can find it) or other flavorful grating cheese such as Asiago or Parmesan
1/2 cup freshly made bread crumbs from lightly toasted bread

Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and a generous pinch (or more to taste) of hot red pepper flakes.
Pour over kale in serving bowl and toss well.
Add 2/3 of the cheese and toss again.
Let kale sit for at least 5 minutes. Add bread crumbs, toss again, and top with remaining cheese.


Chickpea and Roasted Tomato Soup with Fried Rosemary (was served on Sunday)

1 pound / 500 g Roma (plum) tomatoes
4 tablespoons olive oil
salt & pepper
1 large yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 cinnamon stick
3 cans chickpeas, drained
4 cups vegetable broth
1 tablespoon sour cream

Fried rosemary, for garnish (toast rosemary sprigs in olive oil for 1 minute on each side)

Preheat the oven to 450°F/230°C. Slice the tomatoes in half and place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast the tomatoes until they’re soft and caramelized, 25-30 minutes. Set aside.

In a large, heavy pot, warm 2 tablespoons of oil over med-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the paprika, cumin, and cinnamon stick and toast the spices, stirring often, for 2 minutes. Add the chickpeas, roasted tomatoes, and broth, stir to combine, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the chickpeas are very tender, about 45 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.

Transfer about 2/3 of the chickpeas and broth to a blender and purée. Return to the pot and stir in the sour cream. Season the soup with salt and pepper and serve, garnished with fried rosemary.


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2 Responses to “Yoga and Forest Bliss in Issaquah!”

  1. Nora Brown Says:

    Looks like everyone enjoyed their time at this retreat. I would love to join you sometime in the future! The tulips are beautiful and I can’t wait to try the Tuscan Kale!


  2. frangallo Says:

    You will love the Tuscan Kale!! It is divine and very easy to make and equally nutritious.


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