Terre Pruitt's Blog

In the realm of health, wellness, fitness, and the like, or whatever inspires me.

  • I teach Nia! THREE group classes a week!

    Tues, and Wed 9 am

    Thurs 8:45 am

    Please see my website for details! I sub for the City of San Jose and the YMCA so check my website for dates and times!

    I am also available for private Nia and/or Personal Training!

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CeCe’s Creative Christmas Card Display

Posted by terrepruitt on November 25, 2014

In January of this year my friend posted a picture of the Christmas cards she received.  I loved what she did with them and asked her if I could post her picture and idea on my blog.  She is super sweet and she said yes.  She created a Christmas Tree with her Christmas cards!  January is obviously after Christmas and I thought if I posted it in January we would forget about it come December.  So I told her I would post it closer to Christmas so that we could use the idea for Christmas 2014.  She had asked if I wanted a better picture because the one posted here I took off of FB.  I said no.  I do believe it is a bit blurry, but I think blurry is good so all the photo cards she received aren’t posted clearly on my blog.  It is about that time of year when we start thinking about sending out Christmas cards.  And here is a great idea of what to do with the cards you receive.  In the past I have posted about what I do with my Christmas cards, I do put them on the wall, but I really like the idea of putting them in the shape of a tree.  Thanks, CeCe.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia at the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Zumba, PiYo, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex City of San Jose, San Jose Group Ex classes, YMCASuch a great idea.  A lot of people don’t get or put up actual trees for a multitude of reasons, but this is a great way to still have a little tree spirit.  It is also a great way to display the cards.  I love it.  I didn’t ask her how she did it, but I think if I were to do it, I would start with the top card and add a row as I receive cards.  But my rows would start from the middle so I would always have a trunk.  Yes?  Does that make sense?  Would that work?

Oooo!  You could also attach some flat ornaments to the wall.  Hanging them in between the rows of cards.  Yeah, That would be nice.  I might just do that.

I was a little sad last year because I estimated that we sent out twice as many cards as we received.  While we do not send out cards just to get one in return, I just love cards and I was a bit sad that it seems as if the tradition of sending out Christmas cards seems to be disappearing.  Although, it could also be that Thanksgiving 2013 was the very LAST week in November with no time after before December started.  That always makes for a super busy Christmastime and I remember having not received a lot of cards when that happened previously.  It is the same this year.  Thanksgiving is the last week in November.  Too close to Christmas.  It would be nice to have at least a week after Thanksgiving before December starts.  Or we should celebrate Thanksgiving in October, like Canada.  That would give us enough time to enjoy it more.  Anyway . . .

Last year we had a great Christmas tree.  It was severely misshapen, but after we decorate it, it looked beautiful AND it lasted a long time.  Even after we put it outside and my husband cut it up for collection, it smelled fresh for days.  This year we might have two trees.  A real tree and a card tree!

So there you have an idea of how to creatively display the Christmas cards you receive and have a “tree” at the same time!

What do you think?  What do you do with the Christmas cards you receive?

Posted in Misc | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Still Practicing Living In The Moment

Posted by terrepruitt on November 22, 2014

I sometimes think life is always trying to teach us lessons.  I admit that sometimes I am oblivious to the lessons.  But I also think that sometimes I can see them.  I also think that sometimes the lessons are a practice.  It is not as if I go through life, have something happen, see the thing I am supposed to learn and then – BAM!  I got it.  Lesson exposed, lesson learned, I’m good.  Nope.  Sometimes it is a practice.  Just like yoga and Nia or learning an instrument.  Continuous or multiple exposures helps you learn the art of it.  Last month I wrote about “The Art Of Letting Go“, where I went with a friend to an evening event called Paint Nite.  The idea is to paint something in two hours being led step-by-step by an artist.  My idea was to just let go.  To know that my painting was not going to look exactly like the original, but it would look like something.  It would bear a resemblance to the one I was taught to paint.  I liked it because it was blue.  Well, I have been doing things that remind me to concentrate and be in the moment.  Yes, I write about this often because it is something I need to be reminded of constantly.  I need to live in the moment.  I need to concentrate on what I am doing.  I need to enjoy what I am doing.  I need to fully sense and experience what I am doing.

I think my first post about this was me talking about brushing my teeth.  I stated that I brushed my teeth while doing a lot of different things — all the time.  I am better now.  I used to think that if I brush my teeth while doing something else I could save time, but what ended up happening was that I was concentrating on the other task so much so that I didn’t know if I brushed the upper left side so I would do it again.  Then wonder if I brushed the bottom right . . . the point is, I think I ended up brushing a lot longer because I was not concentrating on just brushing my teeth, than if I would have JUST brushed my teeth.  I am better at that now.  I start to step away from the sink and I remember that I will be done faster if I just get it done than if I go . . . do whatever.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia at the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Zumba, PiYo, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex City of San Jose, San Jose Group Ex classes, YMCAI did another Paint Nite and I really had to concentrate on what I was doing in order to keep up with the artist.  It is my opinion that she was going really fast.  I couldn’t keep up, so listening and talking and participating in what was going on around me put me WAY behind the instruction.  I just had to buckle down and concentrate on what I was doing so that I could listen to what she was saying so that I could do the next step she explained.  I was concentrating so hard on what she was saying that I took a swig of paint water.  YUP!  I was listening to her, I reached behind my canvas, grabbed the cup and brought it to my lips and took a sip.  I realized it tasted odd and spit it out – mostly in my cup, partially on my friend.  (Thank God, she is so understanding and forgiving.)  That was me not paying attention to the cup I was grabbing.

But I like this creation better than my last.  I learned so much from my first time, that I was able to do this one better, but I actually had the opposite problem.  I wasn’t using enough paint.  But I think — still not, sure it was the water I need more of.  Regardless, I learned some more and I really like this painting.  No, it is lacking the soft lines of the original, but I like it.

One of the other things I am doing that requires one to clear one’s thoughts is archery.  I wanted to see what shooting a bow was like.  I wanted to use a “regular” bow, but that is not the popular bow to shoot.  We were shooting one of those fancy things with what remind me of pulleys on each end.  We weren’t even using what they call a “recurve”.  Whatever bow you use the target is the target so learning how to get the arrow where you want it to go was the interesting part.  Not that my arrow always went where I wanted to go, but I was taught the premise.  But the instructor (Mike at Predator’s Archery) really emphasized concentration.  He shared his (award winning) techniques regarding targeting and shooting the arrow, but he emphasized again and again how you have to concentrate.  And you might be surprised on what you concentrate on, but that is not the point of this post, the point is you have to not think about distracting things.  Live in the now and focus on the task at hand.

Focusing and concentrating really goes a long way in getting things done.  We are always multitasking because that is just how life is.  In most situations you cannot not think about more than one thing, but sometimes just DOING one thing really helps you get it done quick and with focus so that you can move on to the next thing.  Things like to have your undivided attention.  I will continue to practice focus, concentration, and living in the now even though the world around me as a whole thinks I need to do fifty things at once in order to be productive.

What do you thing?  Do you think that less can be more?  Do you think sometimes if you just do ONE thing (instead of multitasking) you can get it done faster and better?

 

Posted in Misc, Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Balancing Like A Cat

Posted by terrepruitt on November 20, 2014

Ok, not really, but it seems as if many of us are always seeking balance.  Balance in our diets.  Balance in our lives between work and play.  Balancing our budgets.  Balance between saying yes and saying no.  Balance within the body between all of the delicate (yet amazingly strong) systems.  There is a lot in our lives that require the act of or the state of balance.  In Nia we practice balance a lot, in all of the realms:  physical/body, mental/mind, emotional/emotions, spiritual/spirit.  Yoga practices that balance too.  When I ask the students in gentle yoga what they would like to focus on, they often say balance. When we think of balancing or when we think of balance poses we might think of standing poses, but not all balance poses are standing poses.  I’ve already posted about the Gate pose in my post titled Finding Balance In The Gate.  That pose is done on one knee and one foot.  There is also the Extended Cat pose or Utthita Marjaryasana.  That is a great balance pose.

One of the reasons Utthita Marjaryasana is such a great balance pose is that being so close to the ground and being on two limbs helps alleviate the fear of falling.  Yet it is a balance pose.  The two sides of the body have to work together.  This pose is done on one hand and one knee, the opposite hand from the knee.  We are using opposing limb extension to create a situation in which we need to balance.  So if extending left foot, you extend right hand.  If extending right foot you extend left hand.

This pose starts on the hands and knees.  Often times I have my students start on JUST their knees with their body upright and their thighs lengthened.  I like for them to position their knees directly under their hip joints.  I also want them to see their thigh bones perpendicular to the floor.  When they come down onto their hands I want that 90° angle to remain in the knee joint.  So with knees directly under the hip joint and the knee bent at a 90° angle we are on our hands and knees.  The wrist are directly under the shoulder joint, palms on the earth.  The spine is in neutral position.

In our example we will use the left foot and right hand.  Extend the left foot back with the ball of foot on the floor, raise the right arm bringing the hand in front of you to shoulder height.  Use the “karate chop” position, so the side of the hand is towards the floor with the thumb side to the sky.  Then move your foot so you are only balancing on your big toe.  Then, if you are able, use your glutes to lift your leg keeping it in the straight position.  Your leg is stretched out behind you, your foot is flexed.  Gently reach with your heel away from your extended hand.  Gently reach with your extended hand and the crown of your head away from your extended foot.

The hips remain squared to the floor.  One reason we slowly move the leg into the lift position is to ensure that the hips remain facing the floor.  The top of the foot, along with, the knee faces the floor.  The ankle, the knee, and the hip are aligned.  I prefer the foot that is on the supporting leg to be top-of-foot on the floor.  But you can curl your toes and be on ball of foot.

It also might help during your set up to bring the supporting hand in a little towards the heart center.  It should still be even with the shoulder joint; not higher or lower, but it can be toward the center if that gives you more stability.

This is a balance pose so if you looking at one spot on your mat it helps.  Also remember to breath.

Once you are comfortable with the pose and can balance on opposing limbs the foot can be lifted off of the floor without going through the steps of “ball of foot” to toe positions.

This pose engages the core, the arms, and the legs.  It is great pose to activate the stabilizing muscles.

Do you do the Extended Cat Pose in your practice?

Posted in PiYo/Pilates/Yoga | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Something New To Something Old

Posted by terrepruitt on November 18, 2014

I have posted about Nia’s 52 Moves.  They are moves that Nia has decided to include in the Nia Routines.  They are moves that work the entire body.  They exercise the brain and the nervous system.  As I have explained before they are not moves unique to Nia.  Many dance modalities and exercise modalities incorporate them into their practices. It is somewhat like Bikram Yoga in that they have a set number – 26 Postures – that they move through.  The moves are yoga moves, but if you were to practice Bikram Yoga (Hot Yoga) you would know which poses you are going to be doing.  That is what Nia has done.  They have just gathered 52 Moves and we use them in our Routines.  Of course, not ALL moves we do in a Nia Routine are part of Nia’s 52 Moves.  We do more than just those 52 movements.  Sometimes we do other dance moves.  Sometimes the movements we do can be likened to actual dance moves.  There is one move that we do that I compare to a Pas de Bourrée.  Or more accurately what I learned as the Pas de Bourrée.

Today one of my students asked me what I was saying and I said it so fast and learned it so long ago I never really thought about it.  So I decided to look it up and give it a little attention.  After class I was thinking about when I first learned it and it was so long ago I don’t even know where I learned it from.  It could have been my brief foray into tap and ballet.  I am going to assume so.  It seems like I don’t know where I learned things like Kick Ball Change, grapevine, Cha-Cha, and the Pas de Bourrée.  I am also thinking that I learned it when I was young because I don’t remember ever researching it.  Where I think I would be more intimately familiar with the name had I learned it as an adult.  But then . . . I really remember also learning it as a “drunken sailor” so . . . I don’t know.

Carlos Aya-Rosas (Nia’s co-founder and the choreographer of the Aya Routine) does not call it a Pas de Bourrée in the routine Aya he actually just puts his feet together then out and that is how he describes it.  I instruct it as a Pas de Bourrée.  But it is not a Ballet Pas de Bourrée which has one lifting up on ones toes.  So that could be why I think of it more as a “drunken sailor”.  That visual really helps people do it.  Although in some venues that might not be the best of descriptions.  It is also like trying to walk on a swaying ship.

So as I said, Carlos, brings his feet together then steps out.  When I do it I cross my foot behind, shift my weight and come up a little bit on one foot then step out.  It is more of a Jazz Pas de Bourrée than a ballet one.  So three steps (Jazz) as compare to four to five steps (Ballet), with no pliés or pointes.

The Free Dictionary says:

pas de bour·rée  (pä d b-r, b-)
n. pl. pas de bourrée
“A small stepping movement, often executed on pointe, in which the dancer either skims smoothly across the floor or transfers the weight from foot to foot three times as a transition into another movement.”

I am grateful for my students who remind me to revisit things I know, in order to refresh or learn something new.  It is somewhat like the beginners mind when I go back and revisit something.  I know how I learned to do the step, but it is nice to take it further and learn more about it.

Are you familiar with the Pas de Bourrée?  Have you taken Ballet?

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Awesomeness In A Jar

Posted by terrepruitt on November 15, 2014

Once a month or so . . . I think my last check was September . . . I like to check in on your Good Things Jar project.  Are you putting things in your Goodie Jar?  If you are not participating the actual container do you take time out of your busy day, your busy week, your busy month to thing about the good things?  Do you have a moment when you are grateful?  I always have good things, but I will admit, last month for some reason I was really “busy” and I didn’t put much if anything in the goodie jar.  This month -so far- I did stop and put a few things in.  I was able to make note of a few things at once.  One of my latest documentations for my good jar is a Nia Class I just did on Friday.

I have a student who really likes Nia andDance Exercise, Nia, Nia at the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Zumba, PiYo, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex City of San Jose, San Jose Group Ex classes, YMCA she wanted a class closer to her home. So she approached a gym or actually a club near her home and asked them if they would consider having Nia classes.  Well, we met with the club and we agreed to have a “demo” class.  A regular Nia class but one that would I would do free of charge and they would allow anyone that is not a member of the club to attend and they would invite their members.  Well, first of all, I am thankful that I was allowed this opportunity.  At this point we don’t know that we will have another demonstration there.  Along that line we don’t know if Nia will ever be a class that is offered there, but it was nice to have the opportunity.  It is always nice to introduce people to Nia.  This was probably the first time many people had heard of Nia or even seen the name.

But I am especially grateful to and for the five students of mine that showed up.  Actually there were five regular students, one who is a Nia teacher herself and another Nia teacher in addition.  So six showed up from what I am thinking of as “Camp Nia”.  I am so honored to have such wonderful students that they came to support me and Nia.  They came to help show the members of the club how great Nia is.  So that list of people is going in my Goodie Jar.

I have another thing associated with this class that I will make a note of and put in this jar.  This is something I have never put in the jar . . . but I am grateful for EVERY DAY!  That is the bodies amazing ability to heal.  While I was leading the class I scratch the back of my left hand.  I didn’t really make contact with my right thumb very hard, but it was hard enough to draw blood and it was at just the right angle and spot that my left hand went numb and tingly at the same time.  One of the next moves was a fast small chop that we do from the wrist, somewhat as if you are giving someone a “karate chop massage”.  Well, I could not do that with my left had without a lot of pain.  So I didn’t.

I finished the routine and was only slightly aware of the odd pain-numb sensation until I went to get up on the floor and push up with my left hand.  OOOOO!  That didn’t work.

The rest of the day I was VERY aware of my hand.  It started to feel better than I would do something and realize it was not better.  But as the night wore on it got better and better.  I am convinced I hit my hand in such a way that I temporarily injury a nerve.  I am soooo grateful that it is almost 100% back to normal.  So THAT is going in my goodie jar.  WHEW!

What about you?  Thanks for listening to my good things.  I would love to hear about yours?  What have you got?  C’mon, if you are not doing the Goodie Jar project perhaps you would like to make note of the good things here?  

Posted in Good Things in the Goodie Jar | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Dancing With Persimmons

Posted by terrepruitt on November 13, 2014

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia at the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Zumba, PiYo, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex City of San Jose, San Jose Group Ex classes, YMCAOk, not really, but Salsa is a dance.  In my post where I had asked what to make with all the winter fruits and veggies I said I had about seven persimmons and I did.  I didn’t know what to do with them and I know we are going to be get more in the next delivery.  I know I can always make Fancy Toast, but I wanted something else to do with them.  All I found when doing a quick search on the internet were cookies and cakes.  I wanted a savory persimmon recipe.  So I searched for “savory persimmon recipes” and I found one on the ad infested Organic Authority.  It is a persimmon salsa.  I thought, “Why not?”  So below is my version of Persimmon Salsa, which is not too much different from theirs.  I just cut up the persimmon smaller, used tablespoons instead of teaspoons, and used a different, milder, pepper.

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Persimmon SalsaDance Exercise, Nia, Nia at the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Zumba, PiYo, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex City of San Jose, San Jose Group Ex classes, YMCA

5 small Fuyu persimmons
2 tbsp minced shallots
1 tbsp PLUS 1 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp minced fresh basil
2 tbsp minced fresh mint
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 tbsp minced Anaheim pepper
salt
pepper

Peel the persimmons and cut into tiny chunks.  Mix the shallots, lemon juice, basil, mint, ginger, and pepper in a bowl.  Season with salt and pepper.  Let the flavors meld together for at least two hours.  Then serve however you would like.

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Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia at the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Zumba, PiYo, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex City of San Jose, San Jose Group Ex classes, YMCAMy idea was to let my hubby munch on it as an appetizer.  I wanted to serve it on crackers. That is why I cut up the persimmons really small.  If I were just going to plop in on some meat, I might not finely “chop” the persimmons.  Even though I thought I would have leftovers and would end up putting some of it on chicken (or perhaps pork), I thought I’d start small since its original purpose is to pile it onto crackers.

Next time I make it, I will pair it with some meat.   Instead of using it to flavor the meat during cooking, like I do with marinades, I will just use it raw as a topping.

I also think the next time I make it, I might use a little more pepper since he couldn’t taste the pepper at all.  Before the flavors all settled it wasn’t too hot.  I was careful to avoid the peppers though when I tasted it.  We will see.  My husband really liked it even though he didn’t experience any heat.

Anaheim peppers are supposedly less hot than the jalapenos that the original recipe called for.  I was going for “less hot.”

So now I have another type of relish, salsa to use during the holidays.  It can be used as an appetizer with crackers or used to add flavor to meat, just like the cranberry relish recipe I just posted. (click here to go to: A Quick And Yummy Way To Use Cranberries).  I normally try not to post recipes so close together, but I had Nia class this morning and have to rush off to yoga tonight.  I don’t know where the day went.  I had this post all typed up and ready to go. . . . so two recipe post close together!

I won’t be eating this salsa by the spoonful because of the peppers, but the cranberry relish . . . . no telling.

What are you doing with all of your persimmons?  Do you just eat them as you would an apple?  Do you have a favorite recipe?

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

I Learned A Lot Today, Thanks To Our Veterans

Posted by terrepruitt on November 11, 2014

It is Veterans Day today.  A day where we stop and thank our Veterans.  Many thank our Veterans all year round, but this is the day that the government and some stores are closed, other stores have sales, cities have parades, and Facebook feeds are full of black and white pictures in a proud display.  I am grateful for the freedom that has cost so many so much.  Thank you, Veterans, for your sacrifices and service.  Since it is a city Holiday the community centers where I teach my Nia class and yoga class on Tuesdays were closed.  So I decided to take advantage of my morning off and attend a class.  I went to Tai Chi at the YMCA.  The schedule indicates 30 minutes “Intro to Tai Chi” followed by 45 minutes of “Tai Chi”.  My plan was to attend the first one then I would just hang around for the second one to see if I could do it without disturbing the class too much.  Well, at one point several people exited the class.  But the other woman who was new to the class stayed . . . so I thought, “Ok, I’ll stay too.”  We didn’t really follow the clock.  The first portion of the class seemed as if it was Tai Chi exercises, then the second portion was the actual Tai Chi moves.  I learned that there are different styles of Tai Chi.

The instructor went through the beginning slowly as we all followed along, a couple of times.  Then he told us to do it on our own a couple of times.  I couldn’t remember the moves so I was following my neighbors.  Then the instructor did it again with us, then he said to do it on our own without watching our neighbors.  Well, that kind of worked.  Then he asked another woman in the class to take the intermediate people and he would take the beginners.  I felt bad because if there had been a cut and dry end and start I would have left so as not to disturb the intermediate people.  But at the end of class, as I was leaving I thanked the woman who took over the intermediate students and she said that it was ok that is how they do it.  So I felt better.

Right before we broke into the two groups the instructor asked us if we had any questions.  I was going to ask how many moves he had just shown us, but I let it go thinking it was about five.  Then the instructor said to us (me and the other newbie), “So those first two moves are called . . . “.  And I laughed, because what I thought was about five moves was actually only two.  He also explained that he practiced and taught the Chen style.

Just like yoga there is more than just one type of Tai Chi.  In looking for the names of the first two moves (I forgot what he called them.  “Pestle Warrior” did not bring up the move.) I came across this explanation on WikiHow:

#5 of part 1 of 4

“Experiment with different styles. Because all Tai Chi is good, it’s more important that you do any rather than worry about which style is right for you. But once you get immersed in the world, you may want to experiment. Here’s a brief rundown:

—-The Chen
style mixes up the tempo, going very slow and then being explosive. It can be difficult for beginners.
—-The Yang style is the most popular. It has a steady tempo and, as discussed above, uses large frame movements. It’s probably what you think of when you think of tai chi.
—-In Wu, the movements are almost microscopic. This makes it easy to do, but difficult to master — there’s a lot of focus on powerful flows of energy and inner, pressured movements. The movements are very slow and deliberate.
—-The Hao style isn’t very widely spread. You probably won’t find a teacher that practices it.”

So as this says I DO think of the Yang style when I think of Tai Chi.  However, I think the Chen style with mixing up of the tempo is good.  It really aligns with the “balance” of it all.  Fast – slow.  Hard – soft.  Steady – explosive.  Reminds me of the song in the Nia Routine, Zensation, where the focus of the Kata is Tai Chi and we move fast and slow.  We change the tempo.  That is the Chen style of Tai Chi.

I was very happy I was able to take Tai Chi class.  I even came home and practiced.  I don’t know when I will be able to get back to the class, but I want to try to remember the first two moves.  I am not certain I am doing them exactly right, but I will practice what he said was the most important part and then if I need to be corrected at least I will have a solid base.

And thank you again to ALL the Veterans!

Did you know there are different styles of Tai Chi?  Do you think that you think of the Yang style (as the article states)?  Have you ever taken a Tai Chi class?

Posted in Misc | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

A Quick And Yummy Way To Use Cranberries

Posted by terrepruitt on November 8, 2014

I received cranberries last year a couple of times in the organic produce box that we buy.  At least one batch went to waste.  I think — I can’t remember, but I think we ate some from the next batch, but not a lot.  So part of that container went to waste.  I was convinced that I could make something with them, but I had no idea what.  Everything I looked up just didn’t seem appealing.  I asked a question on my blog about what people are eating.  I mentioned cranberries, asking what to do with them and one of my students replied with a very delicious and EASY recipe.   It is a “no cook” relish.  I didn’t know that I would like it, I am not a relish fan.  But this is fresh fruit and not a pickled variety.  Also, this student, this friend, has supplied me with great recipes before so my trust level is high.  The recipe is so easy.  Sometimes I think that adds to a recipe.  If it is something you can whip up quick it helps it taste better.  The relish is raw, no cooking involved.  That is one way that it is easy.  It is a cranberry orange relish.  It is delicious!

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia at the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Zumba, PiYo, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex City of San Jose, San Jose Group Ex classes, YMCA___________________________________________

Cranberry Orange Relish

a little over a cup of cranberries
1 apple
1/2 of a medium to large size orange
a little less than 1/3 C sugar
maybe a little salt

Remove the core from the apple.  Leave the peel on.  Then cut the apple into large chunks.  Cut the orange into chunks — LEAVE THE PEEL INTACT.  Put the cranberries, apple chunks, cut up orange WITH THE PEEL ON, sugar, and pinch of salt into the food processor or blender.  And pulse until the ingredients are mixed up and finely chopped.  Scrape the sides down, if necessary, in between pulses.*

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I served it on some boneless pork chops.  It was awesome.  I figured since my husband likes Porky Pork Chops, which has apples, the relish with cranberries, apples, and oranges would be good.  And it was.  It was soooooooooooooo good.  We had some leftover.  And my friend mentioned eating it on crackers.  So I wanted to try that.  DELISH!

This relish is so good you don’t need to put it on anything, you can eat it by the spoonful!

It is also so good, I can imagine it on a variety of things.  It would be good on chicken, on some salad greens, on pancakes, on waffles, on French Toast, or served as a fruit “bruschetta”.  I don’t eat dressing/stuffing, but I imagine it would give your holiday dressing a little zip.  I know . . . and I mentioned it in the post that netted me the recipe . . . that my sister-in-law put cranberries in her dressing so this would be just a little bit more umph!

It would be yummy as an ice cream topping.  Perhaps it could even go on a fruit pie.

Really it can go anywhere your imagination goes.  I wanted to post this recipe in time for Thanksgiving in case you wanted to use it for Thanksgiving Dinner.   (Or Thanksgiving Lunch – as is the case with us because someone has tickets to the 49er game so we have to have dinner at noon!)

To see my friend’s write-up of the recipe (she used about 4 cups of cranberries or a 12 ounce bag – which she says is about 3 cups) go to my post and scroll down the comments.  Then go make it and tell me what YOU put it on.

Thank you, again, for the recipe Joan!

Doesn’t this sound good?  Doesn’t this sound easy?  What are you going to put it on?

Posted in "Recipes", Food | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Growing Herbs

Posted by terrepruitt on November 6, 2014

As is my schedule I like to stop by the store on my way home from my Nia classes.  I prefer the store near my Tuesday/Thursday Nia class, it seems to have better produce.  But on Tuesday I am rushing from Nia to yoga so I don’t get to do any shopping at that store.  This past week I wanted to make Boneless Pork Chops In The Crockpot on Wednesday so I would have them for Wednesday’s dinner and Thursday’s dinner.  So I went to a different store on Wednesday after class on my way home.  I decided to buy fresh basil for the recipe.  Argh!  The basil was anything but fresh.  It all looked like it was growing something.  Something black and fuzzy.  There was enough nice leaves in each bunch, but I hate buying fresh herbs as it is because they go bad so quickly.  If I bought ones that were already bad that would really not be good.  So, I decided not to buy them.  I stood there wondering if I should ask the produce guy if they had more in the back, I decided not to.  I did decide to buy tomatoes which I had already passed.  So I had to go back over to them.  I was approaching the tomato display from a different angle and what do I see?  Basil.  A live basil plant.  Ahh-ha!  I don’t know how much the black, fuzzy basil cost because I didn’t see a tag on the shelf, but there was a PACKAGE of basil (that was also black and fuzzy) that was the same price as the plant so I thought it was comparable enough.  Plus this plant was not black and fuzzy.  It was not perfect, but it was WAY better looking than the other options.  So I bought a basil plant.  How does one grow basil?

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia at the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Zumba, PiYo, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex City of San Jose, San Jose Group Ex classes, YMCAI never thought of growing basil because, just like cilantro, I thought I didn’t like it.  According to Organic Gardening basil is susceptible to fungal diseases such as “Fusarium wilt, gray mold, and black spot”.  I think the plant I bought might even have the wilt disease because there were a few wilted leaves.  But that could be because it needed water.  I am convinced the bunches in the store had gray mold AND black spot!

Of course, I have no idea about how to grow it, the first site I looked at was the one referenced above.  The article I linked to talks about growing basil outside.  I want to grow it inside.  A further search on that site returns this information:  “Basil: Start basil from seeds and place the pots in a south-facing window—it likes lots of sun and warmth.”  Well, I didn’t start it from seed.  But I believe I have it in a south-facing window.  It will get a lot of sun and warmth there.

SF Gate gave me more information.  It said that as soon as it flowers, the plant will die.  So I should start a new one right now.  So basil is an annual, but you can have basil all year round.  This sounds like it will take a little bit of work.  But I am frustrated enough with buying a bunch of basil when I need it and then having half the bunch go bad.  I don’t use basil that much . . . but with plants to snip from I might.

The article says:

–the plant needs about 12 hours of light daily
–to encourage new growth it should be trimmed every few days
–the plant likes warm humid air
–feed the plant every two weeks with nitrogen rich food

I am going to root a cutting from the plant so hopefully I will have a plant with enough basil on it by the time this one dies and I can just keep going.

We’ll see how this goes.

Help.  What can you tell me to help me keep this plant alive/keep a crop of basil going?  What else can I make (besides pesto) with basil?

Posted in Food | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Getting To Sleep

Posted by terrepruitt on November 4, 2014

I don’t know about you, but I seem to use the time after I get in bed before I fall asleep to think about all that I have to do the next day.  I lie there and prepare my to-do list.  Often times it has “roll-over” stuff.  Stuff that I didn’t finish during the current day so I need to roll it over onto the next day’s to-do list.  Sometimes my to-do list includes grocery shopping so then I might be mentally preparing a grocery shopping list.  Sometimes my to-do list includes learning or doing a Nia routine . . . so then I am thinking about that.  Sometimes the schedule of the day might include writing a blog post so then my mind goes into what-to-write-mode.  As you can imagine with all that planning other things pop into my head too.  Planning of menus might turn into reminders that I need to contact a friend to make plans for lunch or dinner.  Thoughts of a Nia routine might have my mind wandering to that song I heard on the radio earlier in the day . . . what was it?  Coming up with an idea for a blog post can have my thoughts all over the place.  While this might seem very productive . . . . all this thinking and planning . . . it is not because I am in bed and I should be going to sleep.  I recently read something about what productive people do that helped me get to sleep.

Nia, Nia Classes, YMCA, City of San Jose, Yoga, I can’t even remember where I read it, but it was a list of things successful and productive people do.  Ya know, the usually list that includes “have your staff do all the things you would like to get off your plate.”  Yeah, ok.  Well, in addition to the things on the list for people WITH staff there were a few things that people without staff could do.  One of them, of course, was make a list of things you need to do.  Well, I think we are all familiar with that.  In fact I have a lot of lists.  And as I said, one of the things I do when I am supposed to be going to sleep is mentally move the things from my current to-do list onto the next day’s to-do list.  But – to me – the key thing the article said about the to-do list was to let is be a tool to let you concentrate.  Allow the list to take all the things you have to do out of your head so you can concentrate on the one thing you are doing at the moment.

Well, I have never used a to-do list like that . . . exactly . . . that I am aware of . . . but maybe . . . it sounds right, right?  Sometimes I think I fret over my to-do list, but perhaps, sometimes I do allow it to help me concentrate.  But one night I was so busy mentally reviewing my to-do list as I laid in bed needing to go to sleep, I thought, what if write it down right now?  Yes, I do have a to-do list on my desk, but what if I write down all my thoughts now so I can get them out of my head.  So I did.  Some of the things I wrote down weren’t even necessarily “to-do” items, they were just thoughts.  But I needed to get to sleep and not think about them so I jotted them down too.

I liked it.  It worked.  I bet this is not new to many of you.  As I said to-do lists are not new to me, but writing it down to empty my thoughts right before I go to sleep was new to me.  I hadn’t thought of doing that before.  Especially because I have a to-do list.  But when I go to bed and start reviewing it, that is not helpful.  So re-writing it and any thoughts that interrupt my relaxation really helped me.

Do you have to-do lists?  Do you have trouble falling asleep?  Do you feel you think too much about too much when you should be sleeping?  Have you ever wrote your thoughts down to help you fall asleep?  Do you think this might help you fall asleep? 

Posted in Misc | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »