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Archive for August, 2009

Mmm My Aunt Linda's Super Healthy POWER muffins allow the whole famly to power through the day!

Mmm My Aunt Linda's Super Healthy POWER muffins allow the whole family to power through the day!

How do you make a healthy muffin that doesn’t taste like cardboard? Ask a Freyer…

To keep with the family theme of this week, I want to showcase another talent in my family…cooking. Cooking is also an extraordinary talent honed by the women in my family, and mostly all of our bonding happens over a good solid meal.

My Aunt Marina was a gourmet food stylist, while my mother has brought her Italian roots into modern cooking.

My Aunt Linda, is also a fantastic cook in the health food arena. She has mastered cooking for specific diets…Heidi is a vegetarian and gluten and lactose intolerant, while the boys in the family scoff at anything that looks “healthy”.

To satisfy the tastes of her family and yet keep them healthy, she has perfected a slew of recipes for all meals and has become a muffin master.

Every morning, at the crack of dawn, my aunt will make a fresh batch of the healthiest, tastiest POWER MUFFINS that even the anti-health-food boys in the family can’t live without.

yummmmm

yummmmm

Just the smell of them in the mornings draws you down to the kitchen to their tastiness.

After becoming instantly addicted to these morning treats that kept me energized all day, I begged her for the recipe. Every muffin is made as healthy as can be, with all natural sugar substitutes and extra whole grain everything. She says she makes different ones each day and experiments constantly….

Try Truvia as a natural sugar substitute instead of Sugar or the synthetic Splenda...

Try Truvia as a natural sugar substitute instead of Sugar or the synthetic Splenda...

honey also works well as a sugar additive thats natural and healthy...you can also add honey to warm muffins instead of butter

honey also works well as a sugar additive that's natural and healthy...you can also add honey to warm muffins instead of butter

experiment with different healthy additions like Flaxseed!

experiment with different healthy additions like Flaxseed!

Some of her key ingredients are low fat buttermilk instead of skim milk, Truvia (an all natural sugar substitute) , wheat flour, oats and honey. Also, you can experiment and add in Flax seeds and all sorts of grain additions to add extra vitamins and minerals to your breakfast. Using spices like nutmeg and cinnamon will also give your muffins flavor without the need for excess filling ingredients. She also uses pretty much all organic ingredients!

Also make sure you do not overcook them for a minute! These healthier ingredients dry quicker and as soon as they are too cooked that’s when you get the cardboard taste…so watch them carefully!

Honey Graham Muffins

1 1/4 c graham cracker crumbs
1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 c white flour
1/2 c oatmeal                                           Mix all together in a large bowl
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
3 tbs melted butter (I use light butter)
1/4 c honey
1 egg                                                       Mix all together
1 c buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c raisins                                          Add if desired
Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients until just mixed – don’t overmix!  Spray muffins pans with Pam and bake for 18 minutes at 375.


Applesauce Oatmeal Muffins

1 c whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 c white flour
1/2 c oatmeal
1/4 sugar (I use Truvia-8 packets)            Mix all together in a large bowl
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/4 c applesauce
2 tbs oil
1 egg                                                   Mix all together
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Mix liquid ingredients to dry ingredients and add (optional):
1/2 raisins
1/2 c walnuts

Spray muffin pan with Pam and bake 18 minutes at 375.

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Freyer Girls at the dance studio...from left: Heidi, Megan, myself, my mother, Aunt Linda, Petra

Freyer Girls at the dance studio...from left: Heidi, Megan, myself, my mother, Aunt Linda, Petra

So I didn’t get a chance to post yesterday. I was a little distracted while visiting my Aunt Linda and my cousins Heidi, Petra and Christian in Wilton and Fairfield Connecticut.

Heidi and Linda just opened up a new pilates, ballet and yoga studio in Fairfield called “Pirouette, Pilates and More“.

Moving our bodies has always been a huge part of my family. My Aunt’s and cousins’, Heidi and Petra, dancing inspired me to keep dancing when I was young up through college. It also inspired my mother to get back into dancing when I was about 5  years old. Since then, my mother has also become a seasoned dance teacher, choreographer, yoga and pilates instructor.

My Aunt Linda...Ballet teacher extraordinaire

My Aunt Linda...Ballet teacher extraordinaire

My cousin, Heidi, dance and pilates instructor...

My cousin, Heidi, dance and pilates instructor...

My aunt Linda, an accomplished Ballerina, has been one of the top ballet teachers in Connecticut for years, while Heidi is an incredible teacher, especially in her private lessons. Heidi has danced all over Connecticut and New York City. Their students have gone on to dance all over the country and even in the New York City Ballet. She has now become a seasoned pilates instructor as well.  have had the privilege of dancing a piece choreographed by Ted Thomas (formerly of Paul Taylor Dance Company) with Heidi and take many of her classes.

I have since strayed from dance, largely due to injury and burn out from the psychological pressure of the dance world environment, and I have found my real passion in movement through yoga.

My mother, Susan, has always been my inspiration to keep my body moving

My mother, Susan, has always been my inspiration to keep my body moving

My mother was actually the one that first got me into yoga. She thought it would be fantastic for my anxiety, and after getting injured from dance, I needed a physical release that would help rehab my body. At first I was resistant, to put it lightly.  My mom persisted, giving some restorative classes to me and my friends the night before SAT’s and dragging me to an afternoon workshop or two.

It wasn’t until I really needed a mental and spiritual fix at a time when when my body had contracted pneumonia, that I finally embraced yoga on my own. It finally just clicked for me.

Now that I’m planning on returning to India to train as a teacher, I have been thinking about teaching in Connecticut with my family. Lo and behold, my cousin – in-law (my cousin Scott’s wife) Megan, has been teaching at the studio and some surrounding studios and has developed quite a following.

Megan, trained in Om Yoga, is a wonderful addition to our family and the studio. An artist and roller derby veteran, yes roller derby, she exudes a harmony, humility and kindness about her that is priceless.

The newest Freyer-girl to the family, Megan, is not only an amazing yoga teacher, but an artist and roller derby veteran! Shes pretty badass...

The newest Freyer-girl to the family, Megan, is not only an amazing yoga teacher, but an artist and roller derby veteran! She's pretty bad ass...

So yesterday, all of us Freyer girls had the wonderful experience of taking her class. It was incredible. Maybe it was the fact that all of us women were coming together, doing something wonderful for our bodies and souls, or maybe it was Megan’s gentle yet inspiring and motivating teaching techniques, but I have never felt so spiritually restored after a class.

Megan definitely pushed my physical limits in this class, stretching and adjusting us in Monkey pose, Hanumasana. We did a special modification by putting our front foot up against the wall and sliding back, while she would come around and adjust our hips to be more square…YOWZA!  My Aunt Linda had no problem sliding right into her splits on both sides, however, after a sunrise run, my hips were a wee bit tight.

We also experimented with Bird of Paradise pose and some different ways to get into side plank and headstand. So many new ideas!

The best thing about the class was the laughter and joy. The great thing about the women in my family is they never take themselves too seriously, and always try to find the joy in our experiences. Turning every day, every dance class, into an adventure. The next task is to get the boys involved!  I can’t wait to go back down to see them again!

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Natarajasana...you can reach the right arm back and pull the foot closer to the head, but I wanted to show the beginner pose which is great for strengthening biceps/triceps!

Natarajasana...you can reach the right arm back and pull the foot closer to the head, but I wanted to show the beginner pose which is great for strengthening biceps/triceps!

So I’m heading down to Connecticut today to visit my Aunt and cousins. My cousin Heidi and my Aunt Linda have been running very successful dance studio in Connecticut called Ballet Ecole for many years, and have recently opened a new studio named “Pirouette, Pilates and More“. Both are classically trained and unbelievable dancers who inspired my love for dance. They also both love yoga!

So in honor of them, this week my pose will be…

Dancer’s Pose or Natarajasana

The pose is a dedication to Lord Shiva...Lord of the Dance...(photo: https://i2.wp.com/media.collegepublisher.com/media/paper344/stills/77yq1o51.jpg)

The pose is a dedication to Lord Shiva...Lord of the Dance...(photo: http://media.collegepublisher.com/media/paper344/stills/77yq1o51.jpg)

Nata is the Sanskrit word for “Dance”, while Raja means “king”…so the pose actually means “Lord of the Dance” and sometimes attributed to the Hindu god Shiva.

Lord Shiva is one of the primary Hindu Gods. He is depicted in many manifestations, including Shiva “The Destroyer” or as the “internal dancer”. Depending on the day, or what my mood is, sometimes I call upon different visualizations of his character to help me reach he pose’s fullest expression. For instance, if I am coming up against some major obstacles in my life or day, I will visualize my self as the “destroyer” in this pose. Full of power, my body becomes my own bow and arrow and I am ready to take on the world!

The thing I love about this pose is that it literally activates, utilizes and strengthens your ENTIRE BODY.  From your ankles, thighs, hips, biceps, shoulders, triceps, lower back…everything benefits. The places I usually feel it most are my thighs, lower back biceps, shoulders, and a deep stretch in my hips.

The pose has also helped me recover from a  sever sprained ankle. The ankles are strengthened and challenged to support your entire body in this pose in an awkward way.

Internally, your lungs expand, your kidneys are massaged for better functioning, your spine is challenged in flexibility and your abdomen is activated. Obviously this pose helps strengthen your ability to balance and focus.

In Ashtanga yoga, which is the main type of yoga  I practice. Using a mudra in the extended forward hand helps this focus.

This pose is a wonderful ‘heart opener’, to the point that once you relax into your fullest expression, you really feel like a free warrior spirit release in you…almost like you are invincible. You really dance in this pose!

To practice Natarajasana

  • Stand in Mountain Pose.
  • Inhale and shift your weight onto your right foot firmly, and lift your left heel backwards to your left buttock as you bend the knee, press your thigh bone back and pull the knee cap up to keep the standing leg straight and strong .
  • with your left hand- grasp the outside of your left foot or ankle. Lift your pubis towards your navel, and press your tailbone towards the floor.
  • Begin lifting your left foot up, away from the floor, and back, away from your torso. Extend the left thigh behind you and parallel to the floor. Stretch your right arm forward, in front of your torso, parallel to the floor, while pressing the thumb and index finger together.
  • Press your shin towards the back wall using thigh strength to elevate your trunk upward. Engage your core to protect your back.
  • Focus on a spot far in the distance and engage ocean breathe.
  • Remain in this posture for about 5-10 breathes.
  • Release, sweeping the forward arm up and back and repeating on the other side. Perform each side twice.
  • Remember to always practice this new poses for the first time in the presence of a seasoned yoga teacher!

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