I woke up to the darkness. A faint pink glow began to slip under the blinds, I slipped upstairs quietly not to wake my husband or the pup. After opening all the blinds and putting my lime-green tea kettle on the stove, I sat down to check my email. Instead I found myself staring over the top of my computer at the colors in the sunrise, I can't remember the last time I was awake early enough to see that moment of the day...
I loaded everything into the car, my stomach full of butterflies as I drove to class. Soon I was sitting on my yoga mat in a circle of 20 women and 1 man (married to another classmate). We were all shifting nervously in our cross-legged position, listening to our teacher describe the syllabus for the next year. What we would need to accomplish, what hurdles we'd have to leap inside ourselves in order to reach a stillness that would help us focus our attention outward, what would lead us to become yoga instructors ourselves.
We went around the room sharing why we wanted to become yoga teachers, how long we've been doing yoga, name, age, etc. One or two people cried, some were just there for personal reasons with no intention of becoming teachers, some were couples, some were mother and daughter, all ages and walks of life. And none of it mattered, the coolest part was the complete acceptance that happened. We were all there for one common reason, yoga, and that was all that seemed to matter.
I'm so excited to see where this leads. Yes - I want to become a yoga teacher, and I have a few ideas for the future...but there's always the unknown and I've learned in life, to leave a little room and a lot of excitement about what the unknown will bring.
But for now, let's talk food. This salad was awesome! First of all, the vinegar takes it to a whole other level...do it. I'm not usually a huge fan of raisins in savory foods, but the vinegar makes it happen. It tames the sweetness and blends the spices...like I said...do it. You can add chicken or shrimp for a protein, or a tangy, creamy, goat cheese would be amazing (if I was ever going to say amazeballs - I would say it here). My only warning is...barley tends to be...err...full of fiber so don't eat this before a job interview or major life event, unless you know your stomach can handle it. But Barley is a superfood; a whole grain full of fiber that helps ward off cancer, supports digestion, gives a healthy dose of vitamin E, vitamin B (niacin), lowers cholesterol, and rich in antioxidants. (Source)
Curried Barley Salad
(adapted from Cooking Light)
1 cup pearled barley, uncooked
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder or blend
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon whole cumin seed
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 green onions, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
8 baby carrots, chopped
1/4 cup (handful) raisins
2 cups arugula
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Salt & Pepper to taste
Sour cream, goat cheese, chicken, cilantro, shrimp (Optional toppings)
2. In a saute pan, add the vegetable oil, curry powder, coriander, and cumin seed and lightly toast the spice paste over medium heat for about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic, onion, red bell pepper and carrots. Add a dash of salt and pepper, and cook for another 5-7 minutes.
3. Sprinkle in the lemon zest and add the cider vinegar, stirring well for 1-2 minutes. Use the vinegar to get all the cook flavor bits off the bottom of the pan. Finally add the raisins and arugula, stir in for another 2-3 minutes.
4. Add the cooked barley to a large bowl and pour the veggie mixture over it. Re-season with salt and pepper and mix in the 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Enjoy with a dollop of sour cream, tangy goat cheese, some cooked chicken or shrimp, or some freshly chopped cilantro.