Spinach and Feta Lasagna

Ok guys, here is the recipe for the Spinach and Feta Lasagna I made the other night. It was so good and warm and very filling. I happened to have 2 small zucchinis I needed to use up so I added that to the pot and it was a perfect choice. It is important to wait the suggested 30-45 minutes for the liquid to soak up at the end just watch it as the sides and bottom and can get a little brown. I cooked my for a little over 3 hours.

ENJOY!!!

Spinach and Feta Crock Pot Lasagna – Layers of spinach, feta and light ricotta nestled between sheets of lasagna noodles. The easiest Lasagna you will ever make! Just throw all the ingredients in the Crock Pot and walk away.
 

Ingredients

  • 4 cups tomato sauce
  • 12 to 15 no boil lasagna noodles
  • 1 container (32-ounces) Light Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 3 to 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 bag (8-ounces) fresh baby spinach leaves
  • 2-1/2 cups Shredded Low-Moisture Part-Skim Mozzarella Cheese, divided
  • ½ cup shredded Parmesan Cheese, divided

Instructions

Lightly coat the inside of the crock pot with cooking spray.

  1. Spread 1 cup tomato sauce on the bottom of the pot.
  2. Arrange a layer of the no-boil lasagna noodles over the sauce. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese, feta cheese, salt, pepper, chopped garlic, oregano, parsley and eggs; mix until thoroughly combined.
  4. Add spinach and mix until well incorporated.
  5. Spread ⅓ of the ricotta mixture over the pasta.
  6. Sprinkle a layer of mozzarella and ⅓ of the parmesan cheese over the ricotta mixture.
  7. Top with a cup of tomato sauce.
  8. Repeat these layers until all the ingredients have been used up .
  9. Top the lasagna with a layer of lasagna noodles covered with tomato sauce and sprinkled with mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
  10. Cover and cook on HIGH for 3-1/2 to 4 hours.
  11. Turn off the crock pot and let stand 45 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed.
  12. Cut and serve.

 

Slow-Cooker Chicken Tagine

I haven't made this in years and I am so sad that it has been so long! This recipe is so good, warms you up from the inside out.

I went a little rogue with the recipe(shocking I know!) but here it is:

8 Boneless Chicken Thighs

2 cloves of garlic minced(I added an additional one because I omitted the onion)

1 inch of fresh ginger minced

1 can of Garbanzo Beans

1 cup of chopped carrots

1 cup of Chicken Broth

1/3 cup of Rasins

1/3 cup chopped apricots

2 tsp ground corriander

2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1tbsp of honey

1/2 cup of pitted green olives

1 box plain couscous

Salt and Pepper

Grab your slow cooker and turn on high. Sal and Pepper the Chicken thighs then add to the cooker. In a large bowl add the stock, all the spices, honey, minced garlic and ginger.  Whisk together and pour over the chicken.  Add carrots, olives and garbanzo beans, apricots and raisins. Cook on high for 4-5 hours. Serve over couscous. I added chopped almonds as a garnish. 

Don't worry if you make too much, this freezes really well.

 

Zucchini, Basil & Spinach Soup To Brighten A Cold Day

This soup is a new favorite in my kitchen because it packs a ton of flavor with a few simple ingredients, comes together quickly, and is a lovely shade of green.

I like to think of pureed soup as a tasty base for whatever add-ins I have around, which adds texture and turns soup into a satisfying meal. I topped this version with cooked quinoa and roasted cauliflower, but you can mix in anything you'd like. I'd love to try it with:

  • Roasted butternut squash cubes
  • Roasted sweet potato
  • Steamed broccoli
  • Raw zucchini noodles
  • Spiced chickpeas
  • White beans
  • Brown rice

Ingredients

  • olive oil or butter
  • 2 large leeks, trimmed, washed, and sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 medium zucchini, roughly chopped
  • 4 cups vegetable broth or water
  • salt and pepper
  • 2-3 big handfuls of baby spinach
  • 1 medium bunch of basil, stems removed

To serve

  • a few spoonfuls of cooked quinoa per bowl
  • roasted vegetables (I used cauliflower)
  • fresh herbs, finely chopped

*** I skipped the leeks and used extra garlic, I also added a can of white beans to make it a little thicker. Salt & Pepper & Nutmeg(always with greens) to taste...

Preparation

1. Coat the bottom of a large pot in olive oil or butter. Add leeks and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, until softened. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds.

2. Stir in zucchini. Add broth and season with salt. Bring to a boil and simmer for another 3 to 4 minutes until the zucchini is cooked through. Stir in spinach and basil and remove from heat. Let it cool for about 5 minutes.

3. Using a stick blender, blend until the consistency is smooth. You can also do this in a regular blender in batches. Just be careful with the hot liquid.

4. Serve in a bowl with quinoa, roasted vegetables, and herbs.

Pumpkin Hummus!

I made this PUMPKIN hummus last week and it was gone in a day so I had to make more and I'll be eating this all day for the rest of my life! So good and super easy to make check it out:

You’re only five ingredients away from a wholesome snack...

The hummus can be made plain, with just the ingredients below, but you can also add extra flavor with spices such as rosemary, thyme, or smoked paprika. Because the hummus already contains pumpkin purée, I didn’t use tahini to avoid it becoming oily or runny. Feel free to experiment and add some tahini if you want, just be sure to play with proportion or remove some of the pumpkin purée to keep it the right consistency.

Ingredients

1 cup chickpeas
1/2 cup pumpkin purée
2 tbs olive oil
1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
Juice from a wedge of lemon
Optional spices (thyme, rosemary, smoked paprika, etc.)

Lavender & Blueberry Lemonade

A little somthin' somthin' yummy to keep you cool as the weather starts to get warmer...

Bluberry & Lavender Lemonade

A lemonade recipe with lavender to cool you off on a hot summer day.  I actually prefer lavender leaves to the flowers; the herbaceous camphor like flavor compliments the lemon  and give the drink a super fresh taste instead of a sweet flowery taste. I also love lemonade with mint, rosemary or a combination.

 

6-8 sprigs lavender flowers with stems

1 1/2 cups boiling water
3/4–1 cup white sugar (depending on desired sweetness)
Handful of blueberries
10 lemons
2 Tbsp. water
6 cups cold water
Ice


Place lavender and berries in a bowl,  pour boiling water over and steep for 5 minutes. Strain the lavender, stir the sugar into the lavender water to dissolve, then pour into a pitcher over ice. Add freshly squeezed lemon juice into the pitcher, add cold water and stir.  Adjust sweetness and lemon strength accordingly. Garnish with a few fresh lavender sprigs, a berry and enjoy!

Yin Yoga??? What the heck is that???

What is Yin Yoga ?

Yin Yoga is based on the Taoist concept of yin and yang, opposite and complementary principles in nature. Yin is the stable, unmoving, hidden aspect of things; yang is the changing, moving, revealing aspect.

A Yin Yoga class usually consists of a series of long-held, passive floor poses that mainly work the lower part of the body—the hips, pelvis, inner thighs, lower spine. These areas are especially rich in connective tissues. The poses are held for up to five minutes, sometimes longer.

Yin Yoga is for you if you are tired, over-stimulated, when your energy is too erratic, your mind overactive, whether you are craving for energy or you feel you have too much of it.

Any kind of dynamic form of yoga caters for this aspect of keeping yourself busy. Although the mind may calm down as a result of the active exercise, you are still feeding the part of you that wants intensity and wants to be stimulated. You just happen to have found yourself a healthier stimulus!

I am not saying cut out the dynamic yoga, I love Vinyasa  a lot myself and benefit from it greatly. I just think it’s a good idea to also balance all the on-the-go aspects of life and a great way to do that is through Yin Yoga.

Try this simple sequence at home:

Standing forward bend 2 minutes

Suptabadaconasana 3-5 minutes

Wide leg seated straddle 5 minuted

Spinal tiwst 5 minutes each side

1/2 pigeon 3-5 minutes each side

Supported bridge(use a block, folded balnket or large book) 5 minutes

Legs up the wall 5 minutes

 

 

 


 

The benefits of Upward Facing Dog(Urdhva Mukha) and Cobra(Bhujangasana)

Upward-Facing Dog or Urdhva Mukha Svanasana is one of those poses that can become mundane as it is repeated so often in a vinyasa class. But this is a powerful pose that has many benefits when done correctly. I have a teacher that encourages lingering in Up Dog for 3-5 breaths before moving into Down Dog. Check out some reasons why lingering in your Up Dog is a good idea:

1. Reverse your hunchback...
Upward Dog is a backbending pose, and a great one at that
2. Stretch your abdomen...
Aside from opening up your chest, this pose also helps bring space to your abdomen
3. Strengthen your back...
In this pose, you’ll be flexing all of your back muscles in order to create the backwards arching shape that comes with this pose, and you’ll be using the strength of your back to lift your body off of the ground
4. Open your heart.
This pose is heart opener. When you practice heart-opening postures, you are communicating to your body that you are safe and secure. You may notice that when you are feeling sad or scared that you naturally collapse your chest and hunch your shoulders

Need an at home yoga sequence??? (Play list included!)

Looking for something to do while your snowed in?? Here's a little yoga sequence for you to do at home, I even put together a playlist for you too (if you have any questions send me a message: jenna@jennahillyoga.com).  This sequence could be 30-60 minutes.  Hold poses for a little less time for a shorter version.


-Start on backs with knees bent 10 breaths eyes closed
-Knees to chest, spinal twist(both sides 10 breaths)
-Knees to chest, rock up onto hands and knees
-5 rounds of cat/cow tilts
-Plank(10 breaths) lower to belly for shalambasa(5 breaths) then down dog
-Low lunge(10 breaths)1/2 split(10 breaths)Runners lunge with open twist(10 breaths) step forward to chair and fold forward
-Step back to plank lower for cobra or up dog(3-5 breaths) down dog
***repeat on other side
-3 Sun Salutation A
-Chair(10 breaths and yes you can!)forward fold, plank, vinyasa back to down dog
-Knee to nose x3 warrior 1, warrior 2, reverse warrior, plank, vinyasa, down dog *** repeat on other side then 1 more time on both sides
-Child's pose(1min), table, thread needle(both sides 5-10 breaths)down dog
-1/2 pigeon(10 breaths each side)
-Come on to back, knees to chest or happy baby
-Spinal twist(both sides about 5-10 breaths on each)
-SAVASANA(3-5minutes❤️❤️❤️)

DO NOT SKIP SAVASANA

http://open.spotify.com/user/12136136417/playlist/6bxsW7zFs0gN8YzwVo7N6g

Having touble staying still during meditation???

QUESTION: "I've started meditating, but I find sitting for more than 5 minutes so difficult! Am I doing it wrong?"

No you are not doing it wrong and sometimes 5 minutes is enough. But depending on what your wanting from your meditation practice there are some ways to increase the length of time. Try one of the options below and see how it goes. Keep in mind, that like yoga mediation is practice, sitting for extended periods of time doesn't happen over night...‪#‎patience‬

1. Focus on the breath,
2. Repeat a word or statement(mantra) over and over in your mind
3. Listen to a guided meditation.
4. If sitting is uncomfortable try laying down with knees bent or even child's pose
**If you can only do 5 minutes(or less!!) that is totally fine. Stay consistent and try adding 1 minute every time.

Sweet Potatoe & Quinoa Chili

Looking for something warm and hearty that is healthy, easy to make and very budget friendly???
I made this the other day, it is good and very easy to make. I froze the left overs( I like to have my freezer stocked with soups and things in the winter)so I can have for an easy dinner at the end of the week. Feel free to be creative an add in whatever you like, I added ground beef and didn't use onion. Happy eating!!!
http://thesimpleveganista.blogspot.com/2013/03/sweet-potato-quinoa-chili.html

PEANUT AND COCONUT NOODLES

Ingredients

1/2 cup organic smooth peanut butter
4 garlic cloves
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 full fat can coconut cream, or coconut milk
1 tbsp red curry paste
1/4 cup reserved pasta water
1/3 cup chopped peanuts
12 oz broccoli slaw
1 green pepper, sliced
3 oz fresh organic spinach
2 tbsp soy sauce
12 oz thin whole wheat spaghetti

directions

Prepare spaghetti according to package instructions.

In a large skillet add the coconut oil and sliced pepper. Cook for 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic cloves and broccoli slaw and cook for another 3 minutes or so. Add the coconut cream, pasta water, curry paste, soy sauce and peanut butter. With a wire whisk, whisk until the peanut butter dissolves and the sauce is properly combined with the veggies.

Add the fresh spinach and chopped peanuts and incorporate well. Turn heat off and toss the cooked pasta with the sauce. Serve while still warm.

Note: I used 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water because I used coconut cream. If you use coconut milk you may need just 1-2 tbsp of the reserved pasta water.