Pumpkin, Kale & Sausage Pasta

Last night, at our Yoga & Wine event at Yogaworks Walnut Creek, I wanted to share some food to bring us together socially after class. Because it’s mid-fall and pumpkin is ALL AROUND us (Trader Joe’s), I went for savory pumpkin. I also brought along a few bottles of wine because we all love a party, right?

I also made Pumpkin Hummus, which was jammin’ along with some cut carrots.

After searching the inter-webs and Pinterest, I decided that a combo of kale, pumpkin and sausage was perfect because (a) it sounded delicious and (b) I had each readily available in my fridge!

Now anyone who knows my cooking style knows that my approach to following recipes is pretty liberal. By that I mean that I hardly ever measure ingredients – I just wing it with a shake of this and a pinch of that. My poor husband, who is a Scientist and accustomed to following recipes for biotechnology drugs with EXTREME PRECISION, gets very uncomfortable with my approach. The truth is…it’s not perfectly repeatable and it’s in no way scalable but it’s all I know!

So here it is…adapted from Fine Cooking.

  • Sea salt
  • 1 package Aidell’s mini chicken-apple sausages, cut into small pieces
  • Olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cups 3/4-inch-diced peeled, seeded pumpkin (or just buy the prepared bag at Trader Joe’s, like me!)
  • 3 shakes champagne vinegar (or dry white wine if you aren’t alone in your house with your kids and you’re trying to stay on the wagon thus refusing to open a whole bottle that will sit in the fridge staring at you every time you open it)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 10 oz. kale: trimmed, ribs removed, leaves cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Bowtie pasta (I used most of one box)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano; more for serving
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat.

In a heavy-duty 12-inch skillet over medium heat, heat the sausage. Push the sausage towards the edge of the skillet and add the olive oil. Add the onion and cook until golden and the sausage is well browned, about 8 minutes. Stir in the pumpkin, vinegar, and garlic and cook 3 to 4 minutes. Add 3/4 cup of the stock and cook until the pumpkin is almost tender, about 12 minutes (it took me a while to get the pumpkin tender because the TJ’s chunks are kind of large). Add the kale and the remaining 3/4 cup stock, cover, and cook until the pumpkin and kale are tender, about 4 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in the boiling water according to package directions until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water and then drain well. Add the pasta to the skillet with enough of the pasta water to coat the pasta and vegetables generously. Stir in the Parmigiano and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with additional Parmigiano.

Vino & Vinyasa!

Last night, we had the extraordinary pleasure of enjoying Kathe Oster at Yogaworks Walnut Creek for a yoga fundamentals class. Because it was Friday night, Kathe treated our FFF lady-crew to a relaxing yoga session, which included some foundational instruction I’d never experienced. The thing is that I’ve done quite a lot of yoga. But even in the “Level 1 / 2” classes I’ve attended, I’ve always felt like my practice is just beginning and everyone else’s is well underway.

I came across this quote recently and believe it applies really well to how I felt at last night's yoga class.

I came across this quote recently and believe it applies really well to how I felt at last night’s yoga class.

Kathe took her time explaining proper positioning, alignment and BREATHING. She guided us through many breathing exercises while gently taking us through a series of asanas (yoga poses) including sun salutations and warriors. Kathe didn’t rush at all but took the time to guide us through each series with patient instruction, giving endless cues about form to prevent injury. I felt so empowered in her class! Understanding so many of the subtleties and deep knowledge of the asanas that many classes or instructors presume each student already knows made me feel capable of any pose Kathe suggested. While we didn’t do anything “crazy” (e.g. headstands!), I left last night’s class feeling not only refreshed but powerful and able to challenge myself to a yoga practice based on a strong foundation. At one point, it occurred to me that we normally like to snap photos during our events to give you an idea of how much fun you missed. But, when I thought of pulling out the camera, I changed my mind. All the focus, power and deep body awareness those ladies harnessed would have been lost the moment I pointed the lens their way. While capturing memories is awesome, it just would not have been the right thing to do in that moment. Thank you Kathe for a lovely class! Check out Yogaworks Walnut Creek.

After the class, we had some food and wine and got to catch up. I brought along Pumpkin Hummus and Pumpkin / Kale / Sausage Pasta. It was pretty yummy digs!

Have you ever tried yoga? Did you ever feel intimidated in a fitness class? Share your experiences in the comments!

Hiking Yoga

Image

A peaceful yogi morning

Hello There!

I’m writing to you this afternoon from the comfort of my bed. It’s been a lovely but crazy weekend and I’m feeling the effects! Add to that my mama and sister sleeping over (which always means a late night and LOTS of giggling and wine drinking) with some “spring forward” and you end up with a very tired Tanya come Sunday afternoon!

This morning, a few of our FFF lady-crew joined me for Hiking Yoga in Berkeley. What a fun idea! We met our instructor at an entrance to UC Berkeley at 9am. We walked (mostly UPhill!) for a while. But this wasn’t your average “walk” through the neighborhood. We got to urban trek through parts of Berkeley I’ve never seen, including a series of hidden stairways. We’re walking along a sideway and boom, the car lanes disappear and a pedestrian staircase takes over, winding it’s way through a beautifully landscaped garden. After walking for about 5 minutes and passing through a plaza that looked like it came out of 1600s England, we stopped for our first yoga station. 

Image

my lady crew

The yoga was light with a series of deep breaths with arms overhead followed by forward folds. After some more awesome twists and turns through the hills, our second yoga station was held in the center of what felt like 3 houses’ backyards. This stop included some warrior poses and a little back stretching twists. 

Overall, I felt so grateful to get to start my Sunday with a beautiful trek through the hills. I’ve always thought I’d seen most of the magnificence of the Bay Area (since I’ve lived in nearly every corner!). But this morning, I learned that that simply isn’t true. Our region is choc-a-block with architectural grandeur, landscaped goodness and breathtaking views. If you haven’t yet tried a Hiking Yoga adventure, I highly recommend it! Check them out at http://www.hikingyoga.com/ and be sure to tell them Fun Fabulous Fierce sent you!

Image

These lucky folks have an expansive view that includes the Bay Bridge, the entire city and the Golden Gate Bridge. All that view AND a golf-course-like lawn? Seems like an awesome place to call home.

Missing my Lady Crew

Today Tina and I met for a while to talk about the future of FFF. We’ve got some HUGE plans that we can’t wait to share with you. Here’s a not-so-subtle hint…weekend retreat, anyone?!?

Stay with us because it’s going to be epic! It’s only going to be more and more awesome from here. 

And speaking of awesome, are you joining us for Hiking Yoga this Sunday? If you haven’t yet signed up, check out our Events page for deets. You may already know that I’m a HUGE nerd and I love architecture. Combine that with a few of my other loves like, YOGA, my FFF lady-crew and giggling with my mom and sister and you’ve got the recipe for Tanya’s most awesome Sunday morning ever. Sadly Tina won’t be with us but I’m certain we’ll rock it so hard she’ll be sad she chose a measly weekend in Tahoe over us. 🙂

Hugs!