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What’s the fastest way to learn something new?

Try a lot, fail a lot, and get back up to try again.  It’s how I’ve been trying to live my life, and a rough estimation for the theory behind Rocket Yoga, which is a sequence of poses based on Ashtanga Yoga (Rocket’s more serious and strict predecessor).  I spent the long holiday weekend tucked away in a house on the Chesapeake Bay with 12 other yogis, learning more about “The Rocket,” eating, and bonding…but let me back up a step…

My friend and yoga teacher, Jonathan, asked

if I would do the food for a retreat with him almost as soon as I got back from the last retreat I did.  I said yes right away – how could yoga + food + vacation ever be a bad idea?!  Jonathan is every inch the classic ashtangi: intense, driven, and precise, so even though this was the first retreat he’d led, I knew it would be well done.  Within a week, he’d found the house and given me a plethora of menu ideas, and the weekend sold out hours after he started advertising (if you want to experience Jonathan and the most pumped-up, sweaty, rocking yoga class in DC, check out his Saturday morning 10:30 at Kali!).  The man is pretty much a tornado…a meat-eating, laugh-loving, Rocket-teaching tornado.

Food unlike any other

Jonathan’s perspective on food is similar to mine: it should taste good, be plentiful, and every kind is welcome.  So he didn’t want to go vegetarian for the weekend, and there would be mimosas at brunch.  Sounds pretty great, right?  I used the same “build a bowl” method as last time to ensure that everyone’s eating patterns could be accommodated, and we served two large meals with lots of snacks every day.  Because Rocket is pretty intense, and we had afternoon workshops as well, everyone was always adequately hungry – and adequately fed.  Here’s the summary:

Dinner 1: Mediterranean quinoa bowl bar
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With s’mores around the fireplace!
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Brunch 1: Huevos rancheros tostada bar with roasted plantains
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Dinner 2: Asian noodle bowl with soba or rice noodles and sesame ginger dressing
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Brunch 2: Veggie Quiche with smokey cinnamon sweet potato wedges (recipes at the end of this post!)
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Dinner 3: Loaded pasta salad with grilled steak or tempeh over arugula 2014-10-12 19.57.11

And of course, a trail mix bar with KIND bars supplied by the company!
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The food was pretty much loved by everyone from carnivore Jonathan to a gluten-free vegan, so I’ll call it a success!  One of the brunch favorites was the roast sweet potato wedges, so here’s the recipe – easy to make for a large group!

Smokey Cinnamon Sweet Potato Wedges

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  • 3 large sweet potatoes
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 Tbsp oil (I used olive)
  • Dash salt

Preheat oven to 350. Cut the sweet potatoes into wedges (first in half, then into 4-5 slices length-wise) – leave the skins on!  Place in a gallon bag; add oil and close to toss and coat.  When coated, sprinkle in spices and toss more.  Spread wedges evenly on a baking sheet and roast for 1 hour.  They should be soft to a fork and golden orange.  Serves 4.

More of the weekend, in pictures:

Our house!

Me, sweating:

The Rocket Dog!
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Jonathan flying me for some dock acro – really, he is the best base I’ve ever flown!IMG_9274