Story last updated at 3/5/2014 - 2:17 pm
Last year I made a New Year’s resolution to try something new every month. I thought it would be hard to complete, it was so wonderfully fun that I made it my resolution for this year as well. I must say that 2013 was the most fulfilling year I can remember. It is my hope that 2014 will be equally rewarding.
So far it does seem to be headed in that direction. In January, I learned to cook vegan recipes and went to Wearable Arts, an outrageously fun fashion show.
February also was full of adventure. I launched my new endeavor — cooking classes in private homes — and took my first yoga class.
I’m learning that life is about firsts: the first time riding a bike, first love, first date, and as mentioned above, first yoga class.
Like most people, I want to get fit and be healthier. I also want to try new things to keep life interesting. Last fall I signed up with a personal trainer. I strongly recommend this if you are able. Not only am I working out more, because someone is counting on me to be there, but I am also learning how to work out correctly.
After decades of doing crunches and pushups incorrectly, I am now able to do at least 30 without wanting to curl up in the fetal position and cry for my mommy. It’s a slow process.
My trainer recommended that I try yoga. It’s a great muscle strengthener and will help me stretch some tight muscles so I can participate better in other exercises. I agreed. The fact the class starts at 5:45 a.m. was the major deterrent. Who gets up this early? Not even roosters are up. Apparently limber yoga people are up at 5:45 a.m. They are known as yoga-ites.
After three failed attempts to make it to the class, I finally got there. I quietly snuck in and meekly asked to use a yoga mat from the instructor. She kindly acquiesced and when I let her know that it was my first time, a look of panic seemed to come across her face. Was I in the wrong class? Are new yoga-ites not permitted? Is 5:45 a.m. the secret society of limber people?
She cleared her throat and said, “Oh yes, yes indeed. Please join us.” I took my purple mat and did what anyone who is new to an exercise class does. I headed for the darkest corner farthest away from the instructor and anyone who could possibly know or mock me.
It’s called exercise self-preservation. I’m sure it’s in the dictionary.
I placed my mat on the floor and took stock of my surroundings. Some yoga-ites were getting blankets, straps and blocks; some Styrofoam and some wooden. I opted for the Styrofoam block since I was new and felt a wooden block might be a bit too much. I later learned it’s the exact opposite. I looked pretty tough out there with my Styrofoam block balancing me while everyone else was using wooden blocks. Amateurs.
The class got underway and after about 45 minutes of breathing, stretching and contorting, I was getting into this yoga thing and really enjoying myself. Whenever I couldn’t possibly get my short-round body into one of the required positions, I just laid in the praying child pose. This is the ultimate pose. This is the pose that new yoga-ites assume as they pray to their higher power for relief from the torture of making their bodies do unnatural things in public.
I was in this pose a lot.
At one point toward the end of the class the young man, who was contorting on the mat beside me, joined me in a moment of there’s-no-possible-way-I-can-do-that, we glanced at each other, both slightly shook our heads and quietly descended into praying child. We bonded as new yoga-ites.
The class concluded with some wonderful cleansing breaths and “Om,” and we all stood to put our items away. I never did find out what to do with the blankets.
I thanked the instructor and she asked me how I did. I enthusiastically said that I had a great time, learned a lot and that I am a pro at praying child. She then informed me that it was an advanced class. Trying to cover my shock, I grinned and said, “Well, aren’t I the overachiever?”
All kidding aside, I loved the class and have been back. I’m excited about getting stronger and leaner and being able to do more as I grow older. Mostly it’s nice to be able to hustle up a flight of stairs and not have to stop mid-way to catch my breath.
That night I couldn’t wait to get home and tell Grant about my yoga experience. I also wanted to extend my firsts into our dinner. Earlier that week I had seen a recipe for baked eggs on Yahoo Food, the article originally appeared on www.food52.com. One look at the picture of eggs baked in a decadent sauce of mushrooms and gruyere cheese and I knew I had to make it.
I also knew that I wanted to modify it. My friend Sarah calls this Midgi-ing it. I must confess that I was thrilled to become a verb. I added some bacon, caramelized onions, fresh parsley and just a bit more cheese. It was incredible and so, so easy to make.
After an early morning of bending and stretching, it was like coming full circle to have a luscious egg dinner. I admit I was sore from my introduction into the world of advanced yoga and didn’t relish the idea of cooking an involved meal. In a few easy steps, I had a delicious meal on the table with very little cleanup.
I encourage us all to continue to take those firsts. First experiences are what keep life fresh and fun. They are motivating and sometimes a little fearful, but the sense of accomplishment and joy are so worth the bit of fear. This week, I present a first for me: Baked Eggs with Mushrooms.
Until next time …
Eat and enjoy,
Kelly Moore, a.k.a. Midgi, writes and cooks from Juneau. Visit her blog, www.mealswithmidgi.com, for additional stories and recipes. She may be reached at midgi@
BAKED EGG WITH MUSHROOMS
3 strips bacon, cut into bite-sized pieces
½ sweet onion, sliced (Walla Walla, Vidalia)
1 cup baby portabella mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon butter
½ cup gruyere cheese, finely grated
3 tablespoons half-and-half
½ teaspoon dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
Cook bacon on medium heat in small skillet. Remove bacon and set on paper towel to drain. Drain most of bacon renderings into small bowl, set aside. Add sliced onions to skillet and cook on low heat until soften and caramel in color. Do not overcook and burn. Low heat is essential. Remove from pan and add mushrooms. Turn heat up to medium. You may need to add a tiny bit of bacon renderings back to skillet to sauté the mushrooms. A dab of butter for added flavor is ok too. Cook until softened and no longer too firm.
Pre-heat oven to 400º. Place 8”x8” baking dish in oven to get warm. Remove from oven and place onions on bottom, then layer mushrooms on top. Gently break eggs into pan, do not break yokes. I use a separate bowl to break each egg into one at a time. Sprinkle cheese and half-and-half over top. Sprinkle thyme on top and season with salt and pepper. Go light on the salt, as the bacon will provide quite a bit o salty flavor.
Bake for about 10 minutes until eggs are set and cheese is melted. Remove from oven and garnish with fresh chopped parsley and bacon bits. Serve with a Caesar or green salad.