Help! I’m Being Bullied at School!

Dear Ms. Yoga…

I’m being bullied in school. What should I do?

Signed,

Scared in School

 

Dear Scared,

First of all — I want you to remember this basic fact — no one deserves to be bullied. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you look like, what you’ve done — NO ONE deserves to be bullied.

Unfortunately, this fact doesn’t stop bullying from being a major problem in schools. Remember this too — you are not alone. Many kids — just like you — have the same problem.

So what can you — and others like you — do about it? Here are a few strategies for dealing:

  • Imagine you can send a wave of powerful, energy right through the person who is acting like a bully. Like imaginary water that can put out their fire. He or she is just acting out an insecurity of their own. Anything that they are saying to you might just be a projection of what they are really feling about themselves. You can be strong, compassionate and smart enough to not get caught up in the drama.
  • Practice visualization. A bully’s words are only as powerful as YOU allow them to be. Imagine the bully shrinking down in size or that the words he or she is using are an alien language of gibberish. Pretend there’s an invisable wall around you and watch the bully’s words bounce off the wall
  • Tell an adult you trust about the bullying. This can be a teacher, counselor, coach or parent —  as long as it’s someone who will take you seriously and listen to you. This can be really hard, but if you’re frightened, it’s an excellent course of action. An adult can support you and help with ways to change the situation.
  • Recite a mantra. A mantra is a word or statement that you can repeat that gives you strength and courage. Reciting a mantra in your head can give you power when you feel weak or frightened. Try repeating “I am fearless. I am strong. I am loved.”
  • Be brave. Bullies prey on weakness. When bullies see that you aren’t weak, they’ll be less interested in you. Stand tall, laugh it off, and remember your mantra. Do the Warrior Pose at home to feel strong.

Bullying is a real problem (and the problem isn’t YOU). Yoga can be part of the solution. It can help you develop self-esteem and coping strategies. Another great thing about yoga is that it can actually change the BULLY. If you know the bully’s teacher — talk with him or her. Suggest adding some yoga into the classroom. Most bullies are acting out of a need for attention or a sense of power and authority. Yoga can help curb these needs and change the bully’s negative energy into something positive.

Stress Less!

by Susan Rose

Clean your room!  

Do your homework!

Don’t do that!

Sometimes it makes you want to scream!

It’s called stress, and everybody has it. Moms, Dads, teachers, and especially kids all have stress.

What is stress? It’s different for each person, but usually it means too many things to do and not enough time or energy to get them done.

What does stress feel like? It might feel like a pain in your belly, or a headache. It might feel like you are going to explode, or like you just want to go back to bed and hide under the covers. It might feel like you are really mad and want to hit something. But getting mad or hiding aren’t really going to make the stress go away. In fact, it might make it worse.

So what CAN you do when you are feeling stressed? The number one best idea is to breathe!  Do Take 5, or Peace Breath to help your body calm down. Breathing can be done anywhere you are: at home, school, on the car, or on the playground. You can even ask your mom or teacher to do it with you. Doing yoga poses can also help you get rid of stress. Poses like Volcano can help get rid of some of the yucky feelings in your belly. Tree Pose can help you feel strong, centered, and focused.  And when you really feel like going back to bed and hiding under the covers, try doing Child’s Pose for a few minutes. Of course, all these poses are great for adults, too.

After your body and mind are calm, it will be easier to handle whatever tasks were giving you stress. So the next time you feel stress taking over, take a break and do some yoga!

Kitchen Safety – It’s Important!

Kitchen.

Making food can be super fun and awesome, and to keep it that way, it’s important to practice a few safety tips when you’re in the kitchen. Having adult backup, knowing how to sterilize and clean your work area, and understanding the proper way to handle different types of foods are all things you need to know and do.

Grown-up Back-up

Before you get started, make sure you get permission to start your cooking project. Let your parent know if your recipe uses knives, a stove or any other appliance used to heat food, or other types of kitchen appliances (blenders, food processors, and other stuff like that), you need to ask an adult for help, especially when you’re just learning.

Having an adult helping you while you cook will help keep you safe, and make sure you have the ability to act properly and quickly if something goes wrong. Besides, it’s always great to have a second set of hands in the kitchen…even the professionals have assistants, and sometimes even whole teams!

Wear an apron to keep your clothes clean and avoid staining. Make sure your shirt, especially, isn’t too large and baggy, as loose fabric can get caught on moving appliance parts, catch on fire, and create other hazards.

Big Bad Bacteria

When you’re working with raw food (even vegetables), you have to keep your kitchen, your cooking gear, and yourself — CLEAN. When you keep your materials clean, it keeps bacteria from contaminating your food.

BACTERIA is what makes you sick (germs), CONTAMINATION is what happens when dirty stuff (like bacteria) gets into clean stuff (like your food).  Food doesn’t have to LOOK dirty to BE dirty, so it’s important to:

Practice the following SUPER IMPORTANT safety tips all the time

  1. Before you start, wash your hands with soap and clean water
  2. Wash your hands before and after handling raw meat, poultry, egg, and fish products. < Really important
  3. Wash your cutting board, knives, and surfaces, especially in between switching from meat to raw veggies and fruits
  4. Make sure all your fruits and veggies are thoroughly washed (you can fill up the sink with water and a couple Tablespoons of white vinegar to make a good veggie wash)
  5. Clean as you go
  6. Don’t eat raw eggs, or foods that have uncooked eggs in them (like dough)
  7. Wash your hands before you eat
  8. Have an adult help you properly store leftovers

Sharp and Hot – PAY ATTENTION!

Always ask your grown-up if you can use appliances with cutters, blades, or heating elements. If they say it’s ok to use a knife, point the blade away from your body and keep your fingers away from the blade when you’re cutting. And watch it when you’re not using it, too. Be careful where you wave that thing!

Pay Attention! Give 100% of your attention to what you’re doing at all times.

Don’t get burned

  • Use potholders or oven mitts when handling hot pots, pans, or baking trays. Don’t use your shirt, or a towel, or the cat.
  • Turn pot and pan handles toward the back of the stove so you won’t flip them over by accident.
  • Never try to relight the pilot light on a gas stove. Only an adult should do this. An adult should also light the burners for you and make sure to pay close attention when you’re near the stove so you don’t catch yourself, clothes, or utensils on fire.
  • Use only microwave-safe dishes in the microwave. Some dishes can break, crack, explode, or get too hot in the microwave. If you’re not sure if something is safe for use in the microwave, ask your grown-up.
  • NEVER put anything metal in the microwave. Even a little foil on a label can cause sparks and fire.

If you practice good safety and cleanliness, and pay attention to what you’re doing, cooking can be a grand adventure. If you have any questions about what’s safe and what’s not, ask your grown-up! Chances are, they know a thing or two about kitchen safety.

Orange Pops

popsicleThere is nothing better than a cold popsicle on a hot day!

The only problem is that most popsicles are filled with junk like dyes and artificial flavors. The only way to get around that is to make your own!

All you will need is a gallon of all-natural orange juice, a popsicle mold (found at any grocery store), and a freezer, an ice cave, or simply a very very cold place.

The prep is easy…

  • Pour your orange juice into the mold
  • Place the mold in the freezer
  • Let the juice freeze overnight
  • Enjoy next to a pool or under the sun in your backyard.
  • It is that easy, I promise.

Try this same method with your favorite juice (lemonade, watermelon juice, limeade, the sky is the limit). One of my favorite things to do is add a little coconut milk to the juice mix for a creamy, delicious summer treat.

 

Pesto Pasta

Pasta is the Italian word for…pasta!  Pasta is a basic staple of Italian cuisine. It refers to noodles of all types, from penne to macaroni, lasagna noodles, bow-pestoties, and more! In this recipe, we will use whatever type of pasta you’d like. Use gluten-free pasta to make this dish gluten-free.

Serves: The whole family!

The shopping list:

  • 1 box of your favorite pasta
  • a big bowl of basil pesto (see basil pesto recipe)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 handful of parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons of Pine nuts

The prep:

  • Boil Water with several pinches of kosher salt
  • Add pasta after the water is boiling
  • Throw pasta against your refrigerator to see if it sticks — if it does, it is ready! (This will only work with spaghetti or angel hair.. and if you clean up after yourself).
  • Strain pasta into a colander

 

The fun part:

  • Place pasta back into your pot after it drains
  • Add a generous amount of pesto. Stir with a wooden spoon.
  • Scoop pasta into a serving dish.
  • Garnish with lots of parmesan cheese, a sprinkle of toasted pine nuts and a drizzle of olive oil
  • Enjoy!

 

Quesadilla

quesadillaThe quesadilla is a dish that originated in Mexico. It is traditionally made by filling a corn tortilla with cheese (and sometimes extra stuff like meat, onions, or other vegetables and herbs), folding it over, and melting it together. You can add whatever you want to your quesadilla!

Quesadilla is pronounced “kay-suh-DEE-yuh.” 

QUESO – “KAY-so” – means “cheese” in Spanish. 

 

 

Serves: 1

The shopping list:

  • 3 tablespoons vegetarian refried beans
  • 2 six-eight inch wheat tortillas (or corn, for gluten-free)
  • A handful of shredded cheese

The prep:

  • Spread your refried beans and sprinkle cheese onto one tortilla
  • Place other side of tortilla on top
  • Heat a skillet to medium high and place quesadilla on the hot skillet
  • Cook on each side for about a minute or until cheese is melted

The fun part:

  • Slice into fourths and serve with a side of sliced yummy avocado and salsa
  • Put on a sombrero (hat) and enjoy!

 

Fancy Pants Grilled Cheese

This is a fun spin on a standard grilled cheese sandwich.

Yield: 2 sandwiches

grilled cheese

The Shopping List:

  • 4 slices of your favorite whole wheat bread
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 deli slices of provolone cheese
  • 2 deli slices of fontina cheese
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced white onion*
  • 1/3 cup store bought roasted red peppers (rinsed,drained,thinly sliced)*

*If you don’t like onions and peppers, you may leave them out, but try adding veggies you do like! I also like to add avocados, fresh spinach and tomatoes into my grilled cheese sandwiches!  You can even use some homemade pesto for extra yumminess. 

 

The prep:

  • Heat a medium sized skillet on medium/low heat. Add one tablespoon of olive oil
  • When hot, add your thinly sliced white onion
  • Cook onions until they are slightly brown, then add roasted peppers.
  • Cook until peppers are hot then remove from heat
  • Lay 4 pieces of bread onto a cutting board
  • Brush the top of each piece with olive oil
  • In a large pan, apply medium heat
  • When the pan is hot place your bread into the pan olive oil side down
  • Add one slice of cheese to each piece of bread
  • Add your onion and pepper mixture onto two of the pieces of bread
  • Fold bread over to create a sandwich
  • When golden brown and melted on each side, remove from pan

 

The fun part:

  • Slice sandwiches in half and share with your best friend
  • Enjoy immediately

Basil Pesto Spread

mortar-pestle
mortar and pestle

Pesto is an Italian dish that can be used as a sandwich or cracker spread, pasta sauce, and more. It is SO DELICIOUS. I put it on everything and then have nice garlic-breath.

Pesto comes from the Italian word pestare (peh-STAR-ay), which means to  ‘pound, crush.’ It got its name because, before people had food processors, if they wanted to squish up herbs and spices very small, they would use a mortar and pestle (some people still do!), which looks like the picture on the left.

If you’ve ever been to a Mexican restaurant, you may have seen a mortal and pestle that looks like the one in the picture filled with guacamole. Mortar and pestles are great for smooshing all kinds of things! You can pestare the ingredients for your basil pesto in a mortar and pestle, or you can take a shortcut and use a food processor.


Basil Pesto

Yield: 2 cups

pesto

The Shopping List:

  • 2 cups basil leaves, tightly packed
  • 2 teaspoons of garlic, minced (chopped as small as physically possible)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 tablespoons lightly toasted pine nuts
  • 1 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

 

The prep:

  • Add all ingredients into blender or food processor with a quarter of your total olive oil
  • Turn blender on (don’t forget the lid… Or to plug it in)
  • Slowly drizzle the remaining olive oil into the blender
  • Blend until all is combined.
  • Taste. Make any adjustments needed.

The fun part:

  • Pour pesto into an airtight container
  • Store In the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • Label, ‘don’t eat’ because it is that good, use this pesto on everything!

Lettuce Wrap

This lettuce wrap is a great way to have a sandwich when you’re out of bread. Plus, I’m pretty sure it’s a well-known scientific fact that food eaten in roll-up form is at least three times as fun as food eaten in flat form.

Did you know: Romaine lettuce is super delicious AND super nutritious! It’s true: romaine ranks higher than spinach and kale on the nutrition scale, has tons of good veggie protein, and has a mild flavor that most people can enjoy.

lettucewrap

Serves: 1

The shopping list:

  • 1 romaine lettuce leaf
  • Your favorite slice of cheese
  • Your favorite assortment of vegetables (sliced thinly)
  • Any meat or meat-substitute you want to add, chopped into very small or thin slices

No prep, only fun!

Use the romaine lettuce just like you would a piece of bread

Add your ingredients and a drizzle of your favorite salad dressing, roll it up, and eat it!

 

Note to parents: This is a very fun recipe for the kids when they have friends over or for an after school snack. Present an assortment of items buffet style and let them build their own ‘sandwich.’