Monthly Archives: June 2011

Ayurvedic Eating in Albuquerque

Perhaps I can best sum up Ayurvedic eating and Annapurna’s World Vegetarian Cafe with this quote:  “When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use. When diet is correct, medicine is of no need.” – Ancient Ayurvedic Proverb.  Ayurveda is the “science of life” and an Ayurvedic diet is part of living a balanced life.  I’ve just begun to learn about it, but you can find an introduction here.

Curious, I finally stopped in at Annapurna’s World Vegetarian Cafe on Silver and Yale to see what this restaurant has to offer.  Annapurna is a Sanskrit word meaning “complete food.”  The dishes are vegetarian, vegan, and are prepared according to Ayurvedic principles.  Meals are organic and prepared from scratch.  The seasons and 6 tastes are part of planning an ayurvedic dish.  The menu and more information can be found here.

I convinced my parents to join me for this outing.  We ordered the Malaysian Stir Fry, the Portabella Sandwhich, and the Veggie Burger.  The stir fry consisted of brown rice, tofu, seasonal vegetables, and a spicy marinade.  It was so rich with a fine balance of flavors.  The portabella sandwhich was a hit too.  The texture was great and it was very flavorful.  The veggie burger was least popular in our group, but still tasty.  The sandwhich and burger were accompanied by salads and a choice of sides (we chose fries and soup).  I ordered coconut water and was pleasantly surprised when it arrived in a freshly opened coconut with a straw and spoon to scoop out the white coconut meat.  So refreshing!

Annapurna's exterior walls are covered in colorful murals.

If you’ve been feeling like your diet is falling short of ideal, I recommend trying Annapurna’s (2 locations in Albuquerque and one in Santa Fe).  You’ll feel good about your meal, knowing it’s fresh, organic, balanced, and delicious.  Where do you turn for your good-for-you meal when eating out?

~R

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my garden of eden

gardening, sun sail

my garden being shaded by our sun sail

My garden has officially started to look like a jungle!  I have already harvested lettuce, spinach, arugula, eggplants, tomatoes, green beans, and snap peas.  My green chili and zucchini are about 3 inches long and my corn is about 6 inches.  Our garden has been pretty successful this year and we haven’t run into any problems yet this growing season.  However, we had to buy a sun- sail to provide some relief from the scorching hot sun.  It seems to provide some relief to our tomato and eggplants while also looking somewhat stylish.  What do I have in my garden you may be asking yourself?  Well, I have a variety of vegetables including carrots, beats, zucchini, corn, green chili, jalapeno, tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes, brussel sprouts, cucumbers, and a number of different herbs.  This is our largest garden we have ever planted but I’m hoping by the end of the season it will be well worth the work.  We started our plants in March and by the last frost day they were well established.

my brussel sprouts

We haven’t encountered many pests yet and I have two fat lizards living in there along with a bunch of lady bugs that have taken refuge.  I believe that both of those inhabitants are good for my garden.  How is your growing season going?

S

Urban Escape

Next time you need to relax, but you don’t have the time to drive to a hot spring and you don’t have the cash for a full spa day, I suggest Albuquerque Baths.  The concept is inspired by the long history of communal bathing:  Japanese bathhouses, Russian banyas, and Scandinavian saunas.  Longing for some quiet and relaxing time to spend with my dear mom, we visited Albuquerque Baths one afternoon this week.

We arrived at around 2:30pm and stayed until about, gulp, 6:30pm.  In the ladies’ locker room we changed into our swimsuits, rinsed off and headed outside to the quiet and cozy courtyard.  There, we alternated from deck chairs to the hot tub to the plunge pool (neither of us could bear the sauna that hot afternoon); often just dangling our legs and feet into the water.  During the time we were there, only 5 others arrived and left in the pool area.  The courtyard walls sheltered us from the surrounding sounds of the city and a peaceful waterfall contributed to the tranquility of the afternoon.  I highly recommend this as a great way to spend the afternoon by yourself, with your spouse, family, or friends.  (I know, I’m very thankful to have taken the time off for such mellow afternoon.)

In addition to the sauna, hot tub, and plunge pool, Albuquerque Baths offers massage, body scrubs, and salt glows.  For access to the pools and sauna it’s $15 per person, or $10 from 10am to 3pm.  Spa services are extra.  Their pools are filled with bromine; only residential pools may use salt water.  Click here for some info about bromine.  (Basically, it’s less irritating than chlorine and definitely does not smell as strong.)

Next time you need a quick escape, consider your local bath house :)

1218 Broadway NE
Albuquerque, NM 87102
Telephone: (505) 243-3721
(By the way, there is a ladies’ only session where swimsuits are optional.)
 
~R

“Pillows Made Fresh Daily!” – Sachi Organics

A local shop, Sachi Organics, produces organic pillows daily and sells them right here in Albuquerque.  My first thought upon hearing about organic pillows was “Why?  I’m not ingesting it”  Then I started thinking, “Well, I do rest my pretty little head on on it for 7-8 hours at night; breathing into it and my eyelashes grazing the material as I blink.”  I’ve decided that a pillow is a rather intimate object.

My last pillow was a memory foam pillow.  Before that, I slept on a down pillow.  (What’s your pillow preference?)  The down pillow became too flat and I was constantly trying to fluff it up.  Hence, the memory foam.  That was nice at first.  My head would sink in with my neck still comfortably supported.  But it was kind of hot and, now, the thing is like a brick.  So, I found myself in the market for a new pillow and I happened upon Sachi Organics, a shop in Nob Hill that is family-run and produces and sells organic pillows, bedding, and mattresses.  (They also sell locally made beds.)  All organically certified, they use cotton, kapok, wool, and buckwheat hulls for their pillows.

The shop itself is simple and straightforward:  retail space is in front with a view of the sewing area and with more production space in the back.  This purveyor was friendly and the building feels fresh – maybe a reflection of the pillows?  It was a welcome departure from shopping at discount warehouses or huge department stores where pillows are wrapped in plastic and stuffed into large bins.

After testing out the pillows on their comfortable mattress, I chose the kapok filled pillow.  Niccolo (he who made and sold my new pillow) informed me that it’s their most popular pillow and often used as a substitute for down pillows.  After one night of rest with my new locally made organic pillow, I’m rested and happy.  Here’s to good pillows and sleeping well!

Sachi Organics

Nob Hill (Production and Showroom)
3708 Central Ave. SE
505-268-9738

Santa Fe (Showroom)
523 W. Cordova Rd
505-982-3938

~R

The San Pedro Wilderness

the view at 10,000+ feet. Beautiful!

Over the course of a few weeks the ‘San Pedro Wilderness‘ had been brought up on many occasions.  So, I did some research and convinced my husband to take me up there for a backpacking trip over Father’s Day weekend.  He LOVED this idea and of course couldn’t refuse such a request.  So, we packed our backpacks with about 30 lbs. and left on a Friday afternoon.  The drive took us about 1.5 hours and I must say it was well worth it!

the one mile hike to San Gregorio Lake

We ended up at a beautiful trail at about 10,000 feet.  The hike was a mile long on Trail 51 to San Gregorio Lake.  We found the perfect spot to spend the night and set up camp.  After, we explored the area around the entire lake and found some pretty amazing sights!

red pine cones? Are there such a thing?

Some of the things we found included a meadow of flowers, some beautiful hosta type plants, red pine cones and a crystal clear lake.

can you find me? 'Hosta' type plants?

What I especially loved about San Gregorio Lake is that it is not crowded like the Jemez and the weather was nice and cool.  It was wonderful to get away from the heat of Albuquerque.  I loved the crisp mountain air and I can’t wait to go back!  We hiked about 4 miles total on friday and totally killed it at 10,000+ feet!

Good things to know…..

1. It’s free! even the parking.

2.  No campfires!

3.  Pack in/Pack out.  There are no garbage cans.

Happy Hiking!

S

A Twilight Hike in the Bosque

My recent ventures to the Rio Grande Nature center have opened my eyes to a lot of fun outdoor activities that our city has to offer.  When we visited last week I came across a flyer that advertised a ‘twilight hike in the bosque’.  This caught my attention because I couldn’t recall a hike that I had been on in the bosque at night.  I signed our family up right away and was excited to see what it would be like.  We met at the Rio Grande Nature center at 7:30 p.m. and paid the $3 parking fee.  The walk was free and I even persuaded a number of friends and family members to join us.   :)

This hike was kid friendly and we were led by some volunteer educators.  The course we followed was a two-mile loop that was an easy slow-paced stroll.

the small black dot on the top left side of this photo is a bat

We stopped at different points along the way to listen to the wild-life.  We heard coyotes, toads, swallows, hummingbirds, and ducklings.  My favorite animal that we encountered were bats.  They were flying above the trees and eating insects.  This hike wasn’t what I expected because we didn’t really use our eyes to explore we used our other senses.  Our hike ended while the

the moon as we ended our twilight hike

moon was rising and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

The Rio Grande Nature Center offers twilight hikes in the Bosque whenever there is a full moon but you have to call them to make a reservation.

505-344-7240

S

 

Out in Nature from Day One

via cedarsongnatureschool.org

Why would anyone want to go to preschool?  You go from being a carefree kiddo to cooped up in a classroom playing with blocks and learning to use hand sanitizer all at a pre-set 70 degree environment complete with carpet and fluorescent lighting.  In retrospect, it sounds like great conditioning for my office job.

Then I saw this awesome video about a strictly outdoor preschool on Vashon Island in Washington.  The kids are outside for the entire class (3 hours) where they explore plants, bugs, and mud.  Class is not necessarily every day and parents understand that no matter the weather, the kids will be outside so they have to be properly clothed (e.g. rain boots and rain jackets).  The kids explore the forest getting very muddy and their teacher sneaks in short science and math lessons throughout the class.  They sing songs, learn social skills, and overcome the physical challenges of being outdoors.  The school is “an entirely outdoor education program designed to integrate children with nature and engage them in quality outdoor activities which stimulate their innate curiosity about the natural world.”  Besides, what kid doesn’t look totally cute all bundled up and playing in the forest?

I admit, I’d probably be a little hesitant to send a kid off in cold temperatures, but they look so well-adjusted in their weather-appropriate clothes examining leaves and finding their way through all the shrubs and trees.  Would you send your kid to a school like this?

~R

Mudd Volleyball Fun

our mudd volleyball team

Our mud volleyball fun started on Friday as we went to the site off Rio Bravo and 2nd street to set up camp.  We brought our pop up tent for shade along with some tarps, chairs, and a table.

game time preparations

Our first game was at 9:20 a.m. on Saturday morning, we arrived early at 7 a.m. to beat the crowds.  The buzzard for our game began and we lost 16-25.  It bruised our egos but we were ready for the next match which was against our friends who take this tournament very seriously.  The Shark’s have been playing together for 5 years and needless to say kicked our butts!  Our last 3 games ended in victory and we ended the tournament with a 3-2 record.  I would say I’m pretty proud of that record considering none of us have played volleyball together before.  We didn’t make it to the winners tournament, but that is ok because it was the best time we have had helping our local hospital raise money.  Our preparations for next year are underway.  We have recruited other team mates to buy some pop up tents, we have come up with a theme for our tent, and I can’t wait to do this again.  It was a great time for everyone!

S

Rio Grande Nature Center

on our way to explore the Rio Grande Nature Center

My husband and I decided to go on a morning hike with some friends to geo-cache.  My favorite place to hike in the city is the bosque.  I love that it is flat, windy, and shady.  It is perfect for introducing hiking to little ones, not to mention it is close to home.

view from the observatory

We ended up at the Rio Grande Nature Center.  It is smack dab in the middle of the city-off of Rio Grande Blvd. and Candelaria.    Parking is $3 and then you get to explore at your own pace.  Our exploration of the Rio Grande Nature Center took us to see native plants and a protected wild-life sanctuary – where we saw ducks, turtles and hummingbirds.  We also visited the observation deck inside the building (open daily @ 10 a.m.) where you can listen to the ducks quacking outside in the sanctuary.  It’s quiet, calming and tranquil.  After you are finished exploring you can take a short walk across a ditch to the bosque trail and continue your walk along the river.

entering the observatory

Happy Hiking!

S

Wellness Is Getting Dirty Sometimes

Photo courtesy of the Official Carrie Tingley Hospital Foundation Mudd Volleyball 2010

This weekend Sway and I will be sloshing around at the Mudd Volleyball charity tournament in support of the Carrie Tingley Children’s Hospital.  Basically, this is exactly as it sounds:  a one-day volleyball tournament played with teams of 8 (4 gals & 4 guys) on courts that are mudd pits.  Depth of the muddy water is mostly knee deep but can be waist high.  As of Monday evening, there were still spots available for mudd volleyball teams.  No, it’s not as sexy as say, a beach volleyball tournament, but in New Mexico we care less about being sexy and more about having fun!

Photo courtesy of the Official Carrie Tingley Hospital Foundation Mudd Volleyball 2010

What:  Mudd Volleyball (ages 14 and up only)
When:  Saturday, June 11th
Where:  Albuquerque at the corner of Rio Bravo and 2nd Street
Why:  Carrie Tingley Children’s Hospital

~R