Wednesday, February 12, 2014


I am not athletic.  I shied away from the active games at church and school. When forced to play sports, I always got picked last and only for numbers.  It also doesn't help that I detest running.  I've never been running and enjoyed it.  Even running to catch an international flight is not fun.  I've always thought that instead of muscles, my body was made of noodles and Jell-O. Naturally, when it came to fitness, I really didn't want anything to do with it.  I've never relied on working out to keep a certain weight.  The closest thing to fitness classes I'd ever done was Wii Fit. And let's be honest, that's not the real deal.

Then, I heard about Holy Yoga.  The classes meet at my church several times a week, and I have been every week since the beginning of the semester. My work schedule didn't allow me to attend any of the first classes.

Now I'm hooked.

Maybe I'm the only one, but the thought of going to a yoga class was really intimidating to me.  I had done one class before while on a vacation to Colorado, but I hadn't ever taken it up.  I was expecting the class to be full of hardcore yogis who only shop at Whole Foods and who would be judging my downward dog.  Boy was I wrong! I was welcomed with open arms.  We begin each class with deep breathing, a passage from Scripture, and meditation on what we just heard.  There is soft sacred music in the background as we flow through warrior, chair, bridge, and child's pose.  After an hour of twisting, stretching, and positioning, we lay silently on our mats and meditate on the Word.

Mindy and Molly, the instructors, do an excellent job including everyone.  I was welcomed with open arms at my first class and was encouraged to come back for every class they offer.  I'm not going to lie, the class is hard, but the rewards are incredible.  Everyone is encouraged to do only what they feel comfortable with and what their bodies will allow. There's no shame if you have to drop to your knees during a plank.

I've attended four classes so far, and I can already feel the change both mentally and physically.  I couldn't even touch my toes the first time I went, but now, I am able to touch my finger tips to the floor during a forward fold.  I realize now that I am strong.  My body is capable of so much more than I give it credit for! I look forward to challenging my muscles is new ways every class period.  I feel confident going into the room, unrolling the mat, and settling into the flow.

The beginning of the year is known as a time of self-improvement.  We tend to criticize the beautiful bodies that we have been blessed with and make change everything about our appearance.  I know that I am so guilty of that! One thing that Holy Yoga has taught me is to love my body just the way that it is.  As Christians, we are told that our bodies are temples, precious to God.

So if you're looking for a way to worship God, get fit, meditate on Scripture, and fellowship with other beautiful women, give Holy Yoga a chance. The details for the classes can be found here and here.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Shepherd's Pie

Well Memphis friends, it is cold outside. There is a little bit of ice, and I think we have all freaked out enough.  I know I overreacted a little bit.  You know what? I am going to keep overreacting. I am going to keep pretending like there is seven feet of snow outside, and I am going to love every minute of it.

When you are imaginary-snowed-in, you eat comfort food. You eat something stick-to-your-ribs-like.

I've been making shepherd's pie for about a year now.  I always thought that it was too involved and came out lacking in flavor.  Then I found a recipe that uses Guinness. As you already know, that is basically my favourite thing to cook with, so I gave it a shot.  It was good, but there was something lacking.  Well, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the best shepherd's pie ever.  It's packed with beef, veggies, starch, cheese, and flavor.  We will be having a salad along side ours, but really, this has all your food groups in one Pyrex. No real need for the greens.

Shepherd's Pie

This makes two family-sized portions.  You can half the recipe, or you can make two and save the second for later in the week.  If you feed people like I do on Monday nights, this will be enough for 5 adults and 1 teenage boy.

For the meat layer:
2 lbs. ground beef
1 diced onion
2 bottles Guinness
1 can green beans
2 cans corn
2 1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
3 Tb. cornstarch

For the mashed potato topping:
2 1/4 lb. Yukon gold potatoes
1/3 c. heavy cream
2 Tb. butter
1 1/2 tsp. salt

2-3 c. shredded cheddar cheese

Brown the ground beef in a large pot (pasta size--this makes a lot). Drain the beef and set to the side.  In the pot, add the diced onion and one bottle of the Guinness. Cook until the onions are soft. Add the beef, green beans, corn, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and second bottle of Guinness.  Bring to a simmer and sprinkle in the cornstarch.  Simmer until the mixture thickens.  Separate into two baking dishes.

Peel and cube the potatoes, and boil them until soft.  In a stand or hand mixer, combine the tatties, cream, butter, and salt.  Whip 'em until they're fluffy.

Divide the potatoes and spread on top of the beef layer.  Sprinkle with the cheddar cheese.  Bake on 400 until the top is bubbly and golden.