Ugly is beautiful

Today I actually woke up at 5:40 and made it to a 6am yoga class.  This is an incredible feat for me.

Sure I get up before 6am to do long runs on the weekends, however I’m usually alone when I do this. Getting up before 6 am to go into a rather crowded warm room wearing skin tight pants where I am expected to balance on one leg while at any given time having the other leg twisted, arched, or stretched out behind me is not exactly my ideal wake up call. Don’t get me wrong. I love the practice of yoga and cherish time spent on the mat, but some days yoga can really get you.

It got me good this morning. I couldn’t find balance, my quads wanted nothing to do with any type of warrior, and my pigeon pose resembled more of a turkey vulture. Yes, it was that bad. At one point, I actually thought about rolling up my mat and calling it a day. Luckily, there was a moment of divine intervention.

No, my practice did not get any better, but my attitude did. While we were in pigeon, the instructor mentioned that although we may be tight or not able to fully open our hips, we should still be thankful for the ability to get into the pose.  Just last night, I was invited by one of my dear friends to attend a Wounded Warrior event given by President Bush.  As soon as my instructor said that, I immediately thought to all of the brave men and women from last night who courageously gave so much. In that moment my ugly practice became beautiful and purposeful.  Even though I found myself in child’s pose far too frequently this morning, I found the time to be thankful.

I also found the ugly is beautiful theme in my kitchen this week. Pesto potatoes, while delicious and full of flavor, are absolutely anything but pretty.

Perhaps if you make more of an oil based pesto that would lightly glaze the potatoes and fall into the nooks and crannies, they would be pretty. But the type of pesto I make is far from a glaze. It is slightly chunky, loaded with basil leaves that have been half processed in the food processor, and includes lots of nuts.

On par with my morning yoga class, these ugly potatoes were fantastically beautiful. Pesto covered pretty much every surface of the potatoes, just how I like it.

Of course you could cut back on the amount you use, but if you are a full on basil lover like me, I say load them up. The idea for the potatoes stemmed from my popular twice baked potatoes. I wanted the same flavor, but really didn’t want to put forth all the effort involved in making twice baked potatoes.

The effort level is quite minimal here. I actually had some frozen pesto in my freezer. Once it defrosted, I simply poured it over top of some boiled new potatoes and fingerling potatoes. Easy peasy.

A good take home lesson here is that the pesto recipe I use freezes perfectly. I’ve actually never tried freezing homemade pesto before, so I wasn’t sure how it would taste after spending a good two or three months in the freezer. Turns out it tastes just as fresh as if you had made it that day.

Sprinkle a little fresh parmesan and pepper on top and these potatoes are pretty close to perfect.  I think you could also smother boiled and pureed cauliflower in pesto if you are not a fan of carbs. Of course it won’t taste nearly as good as the original, but it should work in a pinch.

Pesto Potatoes
Side dish
Pesto potatoes: ugly can be beautiful!
  • 10 new potatoes, chopped
  • 10 fingerling potatoes, chopped
  • 4 or 5 cups of water, for boiling
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup white onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
For the Pesto
  • 1 6-ounce container non-fat greek yogurt
  • 1 cup spinach leaves
  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Juice from one lemon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup almonds
  1. In a large pot, add water, potatoes, and salt. Bring water to a boil and cook until potatoes are fork-tender.
  2. In a large skillet, saute onion in olive oil for about 5 minutes. Add cooked potatoes to the skillet. Pour pesto over top and stir together.
  3. Serve with fresh parmesan and pepper.
  4. To prepare the pesto, combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until desired consistency.

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