Terre Pruitt's Blog

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

  • I teach Nia, yoga and stretch!

    Nia: Thurs at 9 am

    Yin Yoga: Mons at 11:30 am

    Gentle Yoga: Tues at 10:30 am and Thurs at 6:00 pm

    Stretch: Thurs at 10:30 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 / yoga / Personal Training!

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • My Bloggey Past

  • ******

    Chose a month above to visit archives, or click below to visit a page.

Archive for October, 2013

Regal Pose

Posted by terrepruitt on October 31, 2013

Sometimes in Nia we do yoga poses, I have yet to do the sphinx in a Nia class, but I do include it in the Gentle Yoga class I am teaching.  I think of it as a nice gently backbend.  I think of it as a regal pose.  I think of it as a spine lengthener and a back strengthener.  I like the Sphinx Pose.

Although, according to Wiki, the Sphinx is not nice:

“A sphinx is a mythical creature with, as a minimum, the body of a lion and a human head.  In Greek tradition, it has the haunches of a lion, the wings of a great bird, and the face of a woman. She is mythicised as treacherous and merciless. Those who cannot answer her riddle suffer a fate typical in such mythological stories . . . ”

Ha, I think I will stick with the idea of regal.

The Sphinx Pose is another prone pose, where you are lying on your belly.  Your legs are together, touching, and straight out behind your body.  Start face down, with your arms stretched out on the ground above you, as if you are reaching above your head.  Before bending back, gently press your pelvis towards the earth, lengthening your tailbone towards your feet.  As you lift your head and chest up off the ground, bring your arms back.  Stop when your elbows are directly underneath your shoulders.  Or you can bring your hands up by your ears and gently push up into the backbend.  Adjusting your hands so that your elbows are directly under your shoulders.  You are resting on your elbows and forearms, palms down, fingers together.

Continue to keep your legs together, while your toes are reaching toward the opposite wall/direction.  Your back is active, while your arms are supportive.  Reach with your chest somewhat upward and open.  Your shoulders are back and your shoulder blades are pressing gently toward the earth.

Your gaze is forward and your posture is regal.  You are strong and confident.  Breathe into the pose.  Hands, arms, neck, back, and legs are all active yet not tightly clenched.

Stay for a few breaths or as long as your practice dictates.  Release and lower to the floor, allowing your head to turn to the side.  Rest your head on your hands and repeat as desired.

This is a nice gently backbend that can be the next backbend after learning the locust pose, if your practice is one in which you are progressing from a small backbend to a “bigger” backbend.  These (the Locust Post and the Sphinx Pose) can be preludes to the Cobra and the Upward Facing Dog.  Of course, this is a great pose to practice even if you are already doing the other backbends.

This pose is great to help strengthen the muscles in the back.

If necessary a rolled towel can be placed under your pubic bone in the shape of a U to provide cushion.  The U would be “hugging the belly”.

Do you have backbends in your practice?  Is sphinx one that you do?  What backbends do you practice?

Some Benefits Of Doing Back Bends

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

Brisket In A CrockPot

Posted by terrepruitt on October 29, 2013

I have a friend who buys a grass-fed cow for beef by offering portions to her friends.  So my husband and I purchased a portion.  The meat is really amazing.  If you have read any of my meat posts you know that I prefer to douse my meat in marinades and seasonings.  Well, with this beef I don’t do that normally because the grass-fed flavor of the meat is good.  When I picked up my meat my friend gave me a few choices about some of the cuts.  I know nothing about cuts of meat.  I based my selection on this cut being one or two servings and that cut being three to four.  Of course I chose the value.  Plus a couple of the selections were new-to-me cuts.  So I was excited at the prospect of learning how to cook different cuts of meat.  Well, as I said, I was excited at the prospect.  I haven’t had as much time since I picked up the meat.  I have not spent time learning how to cook both the different cuts AND the way this meat cooks. So I have been cooking the ground beef — A LOT.  I make burgers often.  Used to be I couldn’t get my hubby to want to eat a burger that I handmade, now he LOVES them.  The beef is spectacular!  Anyway . . . I finally have to get to cooking the meat in my freezer so my first attempt — BRISKET.

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 YogaOn Facebook I asked my friend what to do and she said, “Brisket: crockpot, red wine, bay leaves, onions. Can add bell pepper, tomato sauce too. Cook. FYI: I say crockpot because I’m guessing you have one. I don’t use them, so I couldn’t fathom how much time. Brisket is one of my faves. Remember what I said: look up how to cook grass fed. Because this cow was so lean, look up veal. Not the same product, but the cooking is the same.”

I am really not a fan of brisket, unless my friend cooks it.  I had one she made once and I was so amazed.  But as she said, she doesn’t use a crock pot, but I did.

I don’t like cooked bell pepper that much so I nixed that idea and I am also not a fan of tomato sauce so I decided against that.  What I did was I looked up crockpot brisket and found a bunch of recipes.  I looked at the ingredients I liked from each one and decided I would put them together and see what I get.

Here is what I used.  I actually thought to write it down BEFORE I prepared it.

_________________________________________________________

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 YogaCrockpot Brisket

About 3 pounds of brisket
-4 or 5 cloves of garlic, minced
-1/2 cup brown sugar
-1 tsp salt
-1/8 tsp pepper   (1/4 tsp)
-1/2 tsp dry (powdered) mustard   (3/4 tsp)
-1/2 tsp cumin    (3/4 tsp)
-1/2 tsp thyme
-1 tbsp of Worcestershire sauce  (1 1/2 tbsp)

-3/4 of an onion, chopped
-1 tbsp of sherry
-1 bottle of beer
-1 cup water
-1 tsp Better than Bouillon

Mix all the dry ingredients including the Worcestershire sauce together in a bowl, then rub it on the meat.  Cover all of the meat.  Put some of the onions on the bottom of the pot.  Place the meat in the pot on top of the onions.  Put the rest of the onions on top of the meat.  Then pour in the sherry, beer, and broth (I had mixed the water with the Better than Bouillon).

Sprinkle more cumin on top.

Set it on low and cook it for 5 hours.  (I will cook it for less next time.)

_________________________________________________________

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 YogaWhen I looked up brisket I saw times from 6 to 9 hours.  So I had been planning on cooking it for 5 hours.  But then I looked up veal and it said 7 to 9 hours.  So I set one timer for 7 hours and another for 5.  At 5 hours I checked on it and it seemed done so I turned off the crockpot.  I will cook if for less next time because, as you know, it keeps cooking even after you turn off the heat.  I will also remove the crock pot from the heat next time.

The meat actually came out moist and fine.  But I would like it a little less cooked.

My husband loves meat, especially beef, so he loved it.  He kept making yummy noises.  And I actually observed him eat the meat except for one piece. Then he eat everything else then the last piece of his meat.  He saved it for last.  He wanted to savor the last bits.  As I have said before, I am blessed because he likes pretty much anything, but he loved this.

The amounts in parenthesis are the amounts that I am going to use next time.  I want a little more flavor.  But I am happy with my first cooking of brisket.  And now you know what?  Yup, my favorite . . . . leftovers!

Are you a brisket fan?  Do you have a brisket recipe?  How do you cook brisket?

Posted in "Recipes", Food | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Spot Update

Posted by terrepruitt on October 26, 2013

About three months ago I posted about putting my cat to sleep.  We did not do that, but she seemed so sick I thought we were going to have to.  Then when I took her to the vet he had a completely different opinion.  He is accustomed to seeing cats with the disease our cat has.  So he said she did not look as bad as he has seen.  She had just lost so much weight it just seemed so unlikely that a cat could survive being so skinny.  At one point she weighed over 12 pounds and at that point she was down to less than half that.  At the time I wrote the post I just kept thinking we were faced with that decision.  But we were not.  We might still get to that point, but since then we have come a long way.  The disease the cat has is not curable so it will be an on going situation, but hopefully she will live for AT LEAST a couple–few more years.

When I wrote that post everything coming out of the cat was liquid –  and had been for over a month.  And it lasted almost two months.  Part of the liquid was her throwing up.  She would eat then throw up, so she would stop eating the item that made her sick.  I think that part of the problem (and you will probably agree) was that I would give her something else so she would eat something.  I don’t think that changing her food that often was helping matters.  But she was so thin my main goal was just to get her to eat.

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 YogaThe treatment for the disease she has (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) is steroids and a chemotherapy drug.  Well, the steroid we were giving her made her retain so much fluid it affected her heart.  So we stopped that.  Now she is just getting the chemotherapy.  It is a very small amount three times a week.

At this writing we are headed into our 37th hour without vomit.  Yay!  But she did that earlier this week, almost made it 48 hours.  But that is still better than multiple times a day or even once a day.  Maybe it will be that she will make it past the 48th hour then it will happen, but then maybe the next span will be even longer.  That would be nice.  But at least the other end hasn’t had any issues since August.

She was settled on one particular cat food, but then the pet store owner gave me a can of another type of food.  When the cat hesitated at her dish, I thought, well, I’ll try this one he gave me because I liked the ingredients better.  Well, she seemed to like it.  And she seemed to like it more than what she has been eating for the past two months or so, so we made the switch.  But this time we switched slowly and today was the first day she had the new stuff “straight”.  I had been mixing the two.  They are the same protein, just different brands with different ingredients.  The new one has less ingredients (chemicals) than the other stuff so I am happy.  The new one does not have “meal” in it and I think that is what was making her vomit.  We will see.

Since IBD is where the body does not absorb all the necessary nutrients from the food, I am giving her Vitamin B12 shots.  Normally a cat can produce it, but without all the nutrients needed to function properly I don’t think her body is able to produce it.  So I am giving it to her.  I have increased it from once a week to twice a week.  It really seems to help.

The last visit (Thurs., October 24, 2013) to the doctor was good.  Again, she is frighteningly skinny to my husband and I and she even lost a couple of ounces, but the vet was pleased with her progress.  He said it seemed the heart problem cleared up . . . while there still might be an issue it is no longer the problem that he was hearing when she was on the steroid.  Her latest blood work came back fine.  They test it often to see how the chemotherapy is affecting the cat.  He seemed happy with her.  Again, he is used to seeing cats with IBD so he thinks she is fine.  Yes she is skinny, but her blood work was fine, her coat is great, no temperature, her eyes are bright, and she is stronger than she was two months ago.  Aside from being so skinny she is good.  So we are staying the course and enjoying every minute we have left with her.

She is a very good cat.  So we are doing our best to make her happy.  Fat and happy would be AWESOME, but I’ll settle for happy.

Again, thanks for listening.  I thought I would give you an update since I brought the situation up in August.  She has days when she feels great and days when she feels not so great, but I believe for the most part she is good.

Do you have a pet?

Posted in Cats, Spot | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

Goodie Jar – Check In #35

Posted by terrepruitt on October 25, 2013

Ha, ha, ha.  Seems like “The Fox” will not go away.  Two weeks ago I posted a video of a “live” version Ylvis did on Late Night.  Today I received word that some of my fellow Nia teachers are going to use the song in their Halloween Nia Routine.  They even printed out the words so that people can sing along.  I love it.  So funny.  I posted the words here:  I Give Up, What Does The Fox Say?

I am still filling my Goodie Jar with good things.  Remember this is a practice to help us recognize things that we might not stop to notice normally.  Also it is something to help us remember the good things even when there are things that are not good happening.  So . . . . really . . . . anyone can do it.  It is not too late to start, if you have not already.  There are two full months left of the year!

So . . . . how is your jar coming along?

Posted in Good Things in the Goodie Jar | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Messing Up Is Fun

Posted by terrepruitt on October 24, 2013

After Nia class once a month we meet for a visit.  We walk to a coffee house and get a beverage.  Some of us have coffee, some of us have tea, some of us have nothing, but that is not the point.  The point is that we visit.  It took almost two years for me to learn one of my students is a Naturopathic Doctor. As the teacher, often times I am busy with “teacher/business” duties.  I miss some of the interaction and conversations that my students have.  It is so fabulous to see friendships formed and conversations happen.  But I wanted to be in on some of the conversations and I wanted my students to be able to share with each other as a group.  I love when I can make a connection . . . when one person can meet the needs or desires of another.  So, so, so fulfilling.  It is difficult to learn about people while dancing . . . so an after-class visit is just the thing.  Students can share what they do and what is going on in their lives and we can get to know each other a bit off of the dance floor.  Also, I learn a lot of other things about my students and what they like about Nia.

I was sharing with one of my students something about the moves.  I was using a specific example and I said, “You know when I am talking about because you were giggling.”  And she said, “I was giggling because I messed up.”  She said after we did the move over and over and over she was still getting it wrong and so she was laughing.  She said messing up is one of her favorite parts of Nia.  I LOVE that.  I love that she “gets” that part of Nia.  Nia is not about doing it right.  Nia is about moving.  Nia understands that sometimes for so many reasons, you just don’t get it.  It could be a move you can normally do in your sleep but for some reason at that moment it is escaping you.  Instead of getting upset and frustrated with yourself and STOPPING, embrace the mistake and keep moving.  Use the opportunity to do the move in a totally different way.  If you are still able to move with the count, but the choreography is escaping you for the moment, move in a different way but with the same count.  If you are able to do the movement, but it is the count that you are having issues with, vary your speed even MORE.  Go faster or slower . . . what have you got to lose, not the count because you’ve already lost that!  Just IN JOY it, be in joy.  Have fun.

I love, love, love that my student loves messing up.  She embraces so much that is Nia.  She takes that as an opportunity to play.  To “be a kid again” and just not care.  You know how kids are — before they are taught differently — they just move and dance in their own way and they don’t care what opinion people have.  Also in the messing up and going with it, it is a lesson in letting go . . . . letting go of judgment, letting go of feeling you have to be perfect, letting go of making your body do something it is clearly not doing well – at the moment.  It is freeing to just move the best you can.

Now this is different from Nia Free Dance.  I mean Free Dance is where we are purposefully dancing to stimulate movement creativity, not dancing in a choreographed way.  Where we don’t think and we just move.  This, when you just can’t get a move and give into NOT getting it, is you dancing what you are capable at the moment in the choreography.  Get through it then join back in.  I would think you would keep trying to do it or continue with the modification you made, but it is not free dance.  It is more of a embrace-the-mess-up-and-have-fun kind of dance.

I was just very happy to hear that she was ok with messing up.  She was ok with allowing herself the freedom to not be perfect.  She was embracing and celebrating movement for Joy and not for moving exactly like the choreography.  She was having fun.  Awesome!

So do you enjoy messing up in a situation like an dance workout class?  Can you laugh it off and keep going?  Can you allow yourself to dance your way and get back on track when you are able?  Can you see the difference between this and Free Dance?

Posted in Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Icky Name, Great Pose

Posted by terrepruitt on October 22, 2013

I really like the locust pose itself, I don’t care for the name.  I think this pose is really nice because it is so easily modified so it fits well into the Gentle Yoga class I am teaching.  Everyone can do it because there are so many versions of it.  Since every body is so different and in different states of health and flexibility most yoga poses can be modified to accommodate.  Some poses require props; straps, bolsters, blocks, etc.  This one is really nice because of its simplicity.  It is a prone posture, where you lie on your stomach, and it is considered a back bend.  Locust pose or Salabhasana is the pose in which you lift your legs and chest up off the ground.

To do the Locust pose you lie on your stomach.  Your arms are at your side, hands near your hips with the palms facing the ceiling.  Forehead is on the floor allowing the back of your neck to lengthen.  Your legs are hip joint width apart.  Reach with your toes toward the opposite wall.  Firm your thighs.  Exhale as you lift your thighs off of the ground using your hamstrings and glutes.  Your legs remain straight.  There is no bend at the knees.  Your pelvis and lower ribs are pressing into the earth.

At the same time you lift your legs you lift your head and chest off of the ground.  Either looking down or up, with your chin parallel to the ground.  Wherever it is comfortable for your gaze to rest be sure to keep the neck lengthened so as not to crush the back of the neck.  Lift your arms off of the ground, keeping your palms toward the ceiling.  Throughout the lift of your upper body and while you are lifted, you are keeping your shoulders back with your shoulder blades down – toward your hips.  There is space between your shoulders and your ears.

While up in this back bend you can turn your big toes toward each other, this will rotate the front of your thighs inward.  The back of your legs are firm, muscles squeezing but not clenched, so that the back of the body is active but not cramping.

Breathing into the active muscles will help keep them active yet relaxed.  As you breathe imagine the oxygen traveling to the tense areas.

This pose is meant to be held.  So hold the pose for as long as is comfortable.  Then repeat as your routine allows.

There are many ways to modify this.  You could just lift one leg at a time, keeping your forehead and arms on the ground.  Or you could lift both of your legs, with your arms and forehead down.  Or you could lift your chest, and let your arms and legs stay on the ground.  Or you could lift just your arms.  Or you could lift one arm and one leg, or you could, lift your legs and your chest and keep your arms on the ground.  You probably see all the different ways it can be modified.  The key is to find the area of your body that is the most difficult to lift and focus on learning to lift that area.  Then once you master the difficult area you will be able to add it to the easiest one and progress from there into the back bend.

Another way to modify this which can be in addition to the aforementioned modifications is to place a folded towel or blanket under your pelvis and/or ribs.

Remember whether you do the full pose (as described here) or any modification of it, your spine is lengthening and you are keeping your shoulders back and down towards your hips throughout the entire pose.  To help with keeping your shoulders back and down, imagine opening your chest as you lift it off of the earth.

This pose helps strengthen the muscles along the backside of the body including the triceps, lats, glutes, and hamstrings.

Do you like this pose?  Do you include this pose in your practice?

Some Benefits Of Doing Back Bends

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

My First Tomato Sauce Lasagna

Posted by terrepruitt on October 19, 2013

So when I have classes to teach in the evening – Nia or Gentle Yoga, I like to have dinner planned.  Sometimes I just have the idea of what I am going to do.  Sometimes I have the ingredients and I might make something the day before that last a few days so we can just heat up leftovers.  Love them left overs.  And sometimes I prepare something that just needs to be baked.  This time I decided to make a lasagna.  I don’t think I have ever made red sauce lasagna.  I make a Chicken Divan lasagna that is super yummy, but not being a fan of tomato sauce, I don’t think I have ever bothered making lasagna with a tomato sauce. Another reason is, I really think that lasagna sauce as with spaghetti sauce is best from scratch, but since I don’t make either, it seems daunting to me.  So I have never made the effort with the lasagna because I don’t want to make the sauce.  Well, sometimes, in order to get things done, I have to take short cuts.  So I used a sauce in a jar.  It is a really easy lasagna recipe, however, I made it a bit different.

____________________________________________________________________________________

Super Easy Tomato Sauce Lasagna

Ingredients:

1/4 of an onion
1 tbsp of olive oil
1 pound of mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 pound lean ground beef*
1 32 ounce jar of the tomato/pasta sauce of your choice
12  uncooked lasagna noodles  (as many as your dish requires)
1/4 of a 32 ounce container ricotta cheese
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

You might want to use the entire jar of sauce and or add the 1/4 cup water to the dish before baking (as instructed in the original recipe)

Preparation:

Heat onion in oil.  Cook the mushrooms until half way done.  Add salt and garlic powder.  Then add the beef.  Cook beef in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring until it crumbles and is no longer pink; drain, if necessary (our beef does not have anything to drain off).   Stir in 3 cups of the pasta sauce.

Spread a thin layer of the remaining sauce into the 9 X 13 casserole dish; layer with enough noodles to cover the bottom of the dish.  Then layer the ricotta cheese and mozzarella cheese over the noodles.  Then add 1/2 of the meat sauce.  Then add a little mozzarella.  Then a layer of noodles, a layer of ricotta cheese and mozzarella cheese. Then a layer of the remainder of the meat sauce. Then add the rest of the mozzarella.  (This is where you would pour 1/4 cup hot water around edge of dish.) Tightly cover baking dish with 2 layers of heavy-duty aluminum foil.

Bake at 375° for 45 minutes; uncover and bake 10 more minutes. Note: Check the lasagna to see if it is done to your liking.  Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

____________________________________________________________________________________

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 YogaI covered mine with plastic wrap and foil and froze it.  The day I wanted to cook it I took it out to thaw for a few hours.  It was still frozen when I put it in the oven.  I removed the plastic wrap before I baked it at 375° for 90 minutes.  I left it in the oven after the 90 minutes.  I SHOULD have taken it out.  It was just the tiniest bit over done.  But otherwise it was great.

I had put it on time bake so I was not home to check it.  I arrived home JUST as the oven was turning off.  I had other things to do so I didn’t check the lasagna right away and I should have.

My husband loved it.  Since I have given myself permission to use jarred sauce, I might be making this more often.  Next time I want to add zucchini.  And, yes, we had enough left over for a couple of meals.  You know I love that!

Do you have a favorite lasagna recipe?  Would you share it?  

*I actually am not sure how much ground beef I used because ours is from a cow we bought a portion of.  It is wrapped in butcher paper with no weight.  I think it is about a pound.

The original Extra-Easy Lasagna.

Posted in "Recipes", Food | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Goodie Jar – Check In #34

Posted by terrepruitt on October 18, 2013

I forgot to post to my blog last night.  That is the second Thursday this month.  I got home from teaching my Nia class rather early since all I did afterwards was run in to pick up some spinach.  Then I got busy planning firming up the routine for my Gentle Yoga class, yet, I still didn’t work on the post.  As I was getting ready to leave I started typing one up.  When I got back from class I was interested in getting dinner on the table.  The evening just flew by.  I remembered I didn’t post at about 15 minutes AFTER midnight!  Oh well.

Here is my #34 Good Jar check in.  It is my hope that even though you are not commenting on the check-in you are still participating in recognizing and jotting down the Good Things.  There are only two and half more months to go.

I can’t wait to read them all at the end of the year.

So how is your jar going?

Posted in Good Things in the Goodie Jar | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Boneless Pork Chops In The Crockpot

Posted by terrepruitt on October 15, 2013

If you have read any of my recipe posts you probably know I love leftovers.  It just makes a lot of sense to me to cook once and have some of the meal left over for a quick meal later on.  This is really a great help for people who are busy or who’s schedule does not allow for cooking every night.  This week I am going to be busy three nights in a row.  Two nights I am subbing Nia for Hot Hula and the third night I have Gentle Yoga.  So Monday I did some cooking.  Monday I actually prepared dinner that will be our dinner for a couple of nights, but I also prepared a lasagna.  I froze it and I will put in the oven before I go to class one night this week, so it will be done around the time I get home.  I will use time bake for that so we will see.  But last night we had Crockpot Balsamic Pork.

I modified a chicken recipe I had seen on Facebook.  First of all I used pork instead of chicken.  I love chicken and I have been “missing” it.  We haven’t had any for a while.  Then the people-getting-sick-from-chicken thing came up and I was happy we hadn’t purchased any.  Then I found some in our freezer hiding behind something and I was happy.  It was purchased way before the latest issue and we had eaten the other chicken from the batch so I was so glad to have found it.  So we had just had chicken and I didn’t feel comfortable buying any so I bought pork.  I know that I like pork and balsamic so I thought it would work.

I rarely use my crockpot.  Something about cooking meat for HOURS, just doesn’t sound good to me.  This recipe called for FOUR hours on high.  Well, I figured that pork would NOT need FOUR hours so I decided to try it for two and see how it looked.

The recipe also calls for dried basil, but for some reason I thought fresh would be better.  Not sure why and not sure that it was.

________________________________________________________
Crock Pot Balsamic Pork

1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 heaping tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2 heaping tsps dried minced onion
1/2 cup of fresh chopped basil
5 garlic cloves, pressed with garlic press
2 tblsp olive oil
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
7 thick cut boneless pork chops
chopped parsley for the top

Combine the first four ingredients in a small bowl, then spread over one side of pork, saving half for the other side.  Use half the basil piling a little on each piece.  Let the pork stand a bit.  Then flip the pork over and use the rest of the dry ingredients and basil to coat the pork.

Use the garlic and the oil to coat the pot of the crockpot.  Then place the pork inside.  Pour the vinegar over.

Set to high and cook for about two hours.

________________________________________________________

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 YogaAn hour and 45 minutes later I turned my pot down to low so that I could keep preparing my salad for dinner and my lasagna for later.  I think I will cook it less next time.  I think turning it off at an hour and 45 minutes would have been better.  Although our pork was not overcooked, we just prefer it a little less cooked.

I know the thing that people think is so great about crockpots is you put it on and forget it.  Even though this is not hours and hours of “forgetting” it is still at least an hour and 45 minutes.  I would think it could be the four hours on low.

This was good.  My husband and I love garlic and that was a primary flavor . . . so I think if I want the balsamic to stand out more I will use less garlic.  If I had used dried basil – as the original recipe calls for – this would have been a super simple meal.  Adding the basil (washing and chopping) dropped it down to a simple meal.

It was good.  I can see me making this again.  And one day I will even try it with chicken.  Last night we had it with a spinach salad and my favorite Smashed Potatoes!  I did not take pictures of the finished product.  I was doing too many things at the time!

Do you use a slow cooker/crockpot?  What is your favorite thing to cook in the crockpot?  Does meat you cook in a crockpot come out well done?

Posted in "Recipes", Food | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Jazz Square Using The Clock

Posted by terrepruitt on October 12, 2013

I took dance lessons when I was young.  I cannot remember a time when I didn’t know the Jazz Square.  Of course there had to be a time because one is not born knowing what a Jazz Square is much less how to do one.  But I don’t remember not knowing how to do it.  So I actually must have learned it prior to my dance lessons, because I was young when I took my lessons but not THAT young.  Whatever the case . . . . unfortunately it was all too long ago for me to truly know . . . I knew what a Jazz Square was when I entered my first Nia Class and when I took the Nia White Belt Intensive.  While the Jazz Square is not included as one of Nia’s 52 Moves it is something we do a lot in our routines.  It could be considered part of the Jazz Dance that is one of the Nine Movement forms that make up Nia.  Well, not everyone has had dance lessons or knows how to do a Jazz Square.  So we can use the clock to help them.

Nia has a core set of moves called Nia’s 52 Moves.  Three of them actually have “clock” in their names.  One is Rock Around the Clock, another is Slow Clock, and another is Fast Clock.  So it makes sense that with those moves we would use a clock image to do the move and/or help explain and instruct the move.  I have posted before about how we use the clock to help direct other moves.  Well, the Jazz Square is one of them.  While it is called a square it sometimes might be more of a rectangle, but the idea is to use the four corners.

First thing to know is that the Jazz Square is just four steps.  So often I will just have my students march or step four counts.  Sometimes we will get the dance going with that and then move to the square.  Some people stay with the marching and that is fine.  Another VERY important thing to know AND DO is to weight each step.  As in, put all your weight onto each step you take.  When you are learning the jazz square this is of the utmost importance.  This will ensure that you are taking a left, right, left, right (or right, left, right, left) approach and not trying to use the same foot – as in left, left, right, left – and just getting tangled up.

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 YogaLet’s do a Jazz Square left-over-right.  So we will be starting with our left foot and having it cross over the right foot to the right side.  The left foot comes over to the right and lands on 2 o’clock, the right foot comes back to the back right corner and lands on 4 o’clock.   Then the left foot steps back to the back left corner – 8 o’clock, then the right foot steps over to the upper left corner – 10 o’clock.  That is one jazz square.  To keep going the left foot swings around the right foot to the upper right corner – 2 o’clock and you continue on.

So right-over-left is: right foot to upper left corner (10 o’clock), left foot to back left corner (8 o’clock), right foot to back right corner (4 o’clock), left foot to upper right corner (2 o’clock).  To keep going the right foot must swing around the left foot back up to the upper left corner (10 o’clock).

Sometimes when we are doing a fast jazz square my square turns into a diamond with step one being more at 1 and the corners a little askew.  But I have corners!

As with many things sometimes it is easier for a person to do it one way than the other.  So it might be easy to do left foot over right foot, but when you switch it is not as easy.  Sometimes that is when a student will march.  Or they will do the jazz square but not the hand or body movement that we pair with it.  Continuing to move is the key so whatever they do is great.  Eventually with practice, the can do it!

Perhaps this will help.

Key things to remember:

  • FOUR steps
  • Put your weight on every step
  • Step to 2, 4, 8, 10 – left, right, left, right or
  • Step to 10, 8, 4, 2 – right, left, right, left
  • Marching is an option
  • Have fun

Do you do the Jazz Square?  Does this help?  Can you do the Jazz Square and a shimmy?  Both ways?

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