All posts by Gail

There’s Always Something to do for Others


Doing for others is so empowering, for children as well as adults. We were a Camp Fire Boys & Girls family. A big part of my children’s growing up was closely tied to “The Law of Camp Fire”…give service, seek beauty, pursue knowledge, be trustworthy, be healthy… I’m sure there was more but that’s what I remember. Nature and service is where we put our emphasis. We went on litter hikes, planted flowers and trees, made gifts for seniors and veterans, worked with the volunteer center and at our schools…there is always something to do for others.

Well, I found a service project I chose to take on and have decided to include my Yoga Kids. I have volunteered to plant and maintain the flower pots on the front porch entry of the Sebastopol Community Center Annex. I will fill the pots with fresh soil and bring plants from my yard to revive the pots. I will also bring some flowering plants for the Yoga Kids to plant as well. I will get the planting started and probably bring the flowers for the kids to plant the second or third week of this yoga session. Even if your kids aren’t currently enrolled in yoga they are welcome to come check out the planters and look for a fun little secret hidden in the foliage. I’m telling all the kids that they can help water anytime they are there by just pouring a little water into the pots.

New Session of Kids’ Yoga starts this week in Sebastopol.

Smiling Tree Yoga for Kids  | Sebastopol
Sebastopol Community Cultural Center
Youth Annex
390 Morris Street
Register at
4-8 year olds 3pm – 3:45pm
February 19 – March 26

Smiling Tree Yoga for Parents and Kids | Santa Rosa
Solstice Yoga Studio
2475 West Third Street
Santa Rosa

  • March 20 – April 10
  • No class 4/17 – 4/24
  • May 1 – May 22

Children ages 4-10 with an adult. For these Parent and Child classes you may make up one missed class at the first week of the new session.  If possible please let me know if you won’t be coming to class.  Please preregister for classes and contact me if you’d like to drop in.  Minimum 4 students, Maximum 12

Please call 707.528.6208 or email in advance.

Sweet Potato-Black Bean Stew with Sweet Pepper and Peanut Sauce

I like the idea of Meatless Monday, Taco Tuesday, Fish on Friday, it gives some direction to the dinner menu.

I’d like to share a recipe given to me by Janet from our Restorative Yoga Class. Now that I look at it I see it’s actually Vegan so a great dish for meatless Monday. I serve this as a stew the first night then add water or vegetable broth and make it a thinner soup for later in the week. I start out somewhat mild then add more red pepper flakes and make it spicy as leftovers

Sweet Potato-Black Bean Stew with Sweet Pepper and Peanut Sauce

Adapted from “The Heart of the Plate” by Mollie Katzen, the author of the Moosewood Cookbook.

2 TB olive oil

2cups minced red onion (1large)

2 TB finely minced fresh ginger

1 ¼ tsp kosher salt (more to taste)

2tsp minced garlic

2 lbs sweet potatoes peeled and cut into ¾ “ cubes (7cups) I use garnet yams….do you consider those sweet potatoes? I do

1-2 large sweet red bell peppers, cut into ¼ “ dice (2cups)

2TB fresh lime juice, more to taste

3 cups cooked black beans or 2 15oz cans, rinsed and drained

1/3 cup peanut butter

1 ½ tsp cider vinegar or unseasoned rice vinegar

1 ½ tsp agave nectar or light-colored honey

Crushed red pepper

Roasted peanuts, lime wedges or torn cilantro leaves for garnish

Serves 6

Place a large pan over medium heat, add oil, swirl to coat pan. Add onion, ginger and ½ tsp salt. Cook stirring often, about 3 minutes. Add 1 tsp garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes longer or until onion becomes translucent.

Stir in sweet potatoes, remaining garlic and another ½ tsp salt. Cover the pot and cook 5 minutes add ½ cup water, cover again and cook over low heat about 30 minutes (see below), or until potatoes are almost done stir from time to time to be sure they’re cooking evenly.

Add the bell pepper and lime juice, stirring to combine. Cover again and continue cooking about 10 more minutes or until potatoes are fork- tender check occasionally and add a little more water or lime juice as necessary. Gently stir in beans during the last few minute of cooking.

Place the peanut butter into a medium bowl. Slowly stir in ½ cup of boiling water, followed by the vinegar, sweetener and remaining ¼ tsp salt

Stir peanut sauce into the stew, the n gently combine. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding crushed red pepper if desired. Garnish and serve hot

Per serving: 292 calories, 13g protein, 36g carbohydrates, 12 gfat(2 g saturated),o mg cholesterol 452 mg sodium, 11 g fiber

Notes from Gail: I do like this recipe but prefer to cut the potatoes a little larger, maybe 1 ½ or 2 inch chunks The small cubes with the 30 minutes cook time seemed too much, too mushy With the larger chunks the dish seemed more stew-like. If the stew is reheated the potatoes break down into smaller pieces and make for a creamy soup.