4 catfish fillets / (Tofu, Fried Tofu or Seitan for Plant-Based Eating)
3 stalks of bac ha (Vietnamese taro stem). Option to replace with celery if you can't find it. Sliced diagonally
2 tomatoes, large chunks
2 cups fresh pineapple chunks
1 cup bean sprouts
12 okra pods, sliced
2 or more cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks lemongrass, bruised with a pestle or end of a butcher knife, cut in 3 inches and tied together with a string
2 tblsp tamarind (Option to buy as a block or in paste or liquid concentrated form.)
Nuoc Mam/Vietnamese Fish Sauce (Light Soy Sauce for Plant-Based Eating)
Add a tblsp of oil to your pot and sauté garlic, tamarind, and lemongrass. Add the cleaned catfish fillets.
Fill the rest of your stock pot 3/4-full of water. Bring to a boil, turn heat down to medium to simmer, and scoop out any excess foam.
Add tomatoes, pineapple, bac ha, and okra. Let simmer. Add fish sauce to taste.
After about 15 minutes, when the fish is fully cooked and the veggies have slightly softened, taste soup again and add fish sauce if needed.
Add bean sprouts when the soup is almost done since they cook almost immediately.
Fill your big bowl with the soup. Option to serve on rice or on thin rice vermicelli noodles (my favorite for this soup).
Happy Memorial Day weekend to all of you Rogue Yogis! Here's to all of those who served, and all of their families that stood right by their choice to serve. Cheers to everyone taking this weekend to explore and relax. *This is where I toast a glass of wine to all the BBQs going off everywhere!*
For the hubby and I, we were supposed to spend this weekend (and more) in Maui. It would've been my first time, as I've never been to Hawaii nor any of its islands. We had planned this trip over a month ago--well, my hubby's company planned the trip. The initial location was actually Mexico, but concerns over the Zica virus grew to the point of moving the destination to Maui.
Excitement built up to the day before our flight. I arranged for substitute yoga teachers for my classes at various yoga studios, which wasn't easy for Memorial Day Weekend!
We talked about the hikes, the snorkeling, the food, the food and the food. We even had time-blocked everything so we could get enough time to explore, nap and enjoy everything.
One thing we didn't talk about was the weather.
After he checked the weather, he found out that it would be thunder storming the entire week. We wouldn't be able to hike. Trails everywhere would be muddy. With an assortment of other reasons beyond our control, we made the decision not go to to Maui. No hiking, no exploring, no food.
This is where the old me would have sulked in a cave somewhere, whining about the situation. A lot of people would feel disappointed or attached to something like this. Totally understandable. But, what if you could focus on the new opportunity instead of the old one? What can happen when you seize the moment and get creative?
All this yoga and meditation practice, along with being so busy with Rogue Yogi, and having such a strong desire to explore, there wasn't much time or energy put into the negative. Standing behind my best friend, the love of my life, I wanted him to get a taste of Hawaii without us having to fly anywhere! Fun was still going to stay on our agenda. Exploring, hiking and FOOD were not going to budge, and that's just how we want it!
So, we grabbed our yogi puppycats, Franklin and Bowie, our camping gear, and our meal prep before we headed up north. Bowie the Traveling Yoga Cat
Poor Franklin. He is taking a bit longer to feel accustomed to riding in a car, despite being in many drives for the past few years. Hiding in his carrier, he couldn't come out to join Bowie in the furry excitement. Bowie the traveling Turkish Angora likes to perch on top of the dashboard, stare out the windshield, transfer to my lap, meow his commentary on the world outside, then transfer to his daddy's lap to do the same. We are a family of Wanderlusts.
According to the dictionary, the definition of "wanderlust" is:
1. a strong desire to travel.
It's fucking awesome to have Wanderlust. So equally amazing to have a life partner that has it, too. Maybe it's contagious! What if we gave it to each other?! Then, we gave it to the cat! If so, then I am not complaining! This is something many of us in this world have. Why not drive somewhere to get inspired by something new?
On his agenda: Muir Beach, Muir Woods, the Zen Center SF, Samuel P. Taylor Park
On my agenda: Spam Musubi, Hawaiian water (100% from Hawaii!), Tuna Poke Bowl with Brown Rice, and Japanese Shabu-Shabu (aka Japanese "hot pot"). Mind you, the last meal isn't Hawaiian, but they have a connection somehow, so I'll take it. Also, we just love eating Shabu-Shabu on camping trips. More on that in another post, because I can keep talking about cooking and food for days. You can read about our camping and Hawaiian cooking ideas here!
Together, we made a solid plan to go off-the-grid, get away from the city life, and take all the nature in. What was really cool was that our first stop at Muir Beach had so much modernity to its physical structure. The man-made bridges and walkways on the sand had such clean lines. Our eyes couldn't help but follow the horizontal slats all the way out into the hills. Muir Woods also had equally modern mini-bridges in its park. If you're into architecture and design, these spots would be great for you to visit.
Next up, the Green Gulch Farm Zen Center SF. Funny enough, we weren't in San Francisco at this point, but the nearby water is technically considered the SF bay, and the main Zen Center hub is in SF. Such a sanctuary. Signs directed us down a woodsy path that passed by the "conference" building. Billowy smoke puffed out of its chimney with scents of fresh wood. Private and shared rooms with large windows got our curiosity going. There were interesting architectural designs of the single rooms. It almost looked like an octagonal pagoda, with each room having a window facing outward.
A lake nearby rippled in the wind (it really was a windy day). Behind it, the farm and garden. Several small Buddha statues adorned the garden. Tags and snippets of paper tied to branches fluttered with the heavy winds. Maybe they were prayer flags from the little Buddhas. Surrounded by tall bamboo trees, these statues looked like they were right at home.
Nurseries full of baby kale, lettuce, and various plants struck our eyes with deep burgundy and green colors. Volunteers roamed about this area. Some were watering the plants. Others were tending to wheelbarrows. We guessed that these volunteers were doing this as part of their meditation experience. Being of service to be selfless, to quiet their minds, to give good karma.
The Zen Center had a separate Tea Room. Next to it was a huge and rustic bell with words of peace and friendship.
Coming from an urban background, this was definitely a big contrast from the city life. Normally, there would be a yoga studio or my tiny-ass den to meditate in. This expansive space of lush greenery set the tone for some deep relaxation.
We work so hard sometimes (or all the time for us work-a-holics). It can be easy to let a lot of time pass by before we realize we need a break. When we finally take that break and breathe deep, we can clear some space from our heads and open up some room for creative ideas. At least, that's what my road-tripping meditation did for me. In the end, we didn't need to go to Hawaii to get this benefit. We didn't need to go far at all.
Check out this experimental short video I made on "hearing zen". Looking forward to seeing how these videos will evolve over time. Let me know what you think in the comments below!