Tuesday, April 8, 2014

I am guilty...

...of ignoring my blog and its readers. Life gets good, it gets big, and suddenly I am not interested in blogging.

Not all that strange.

I'm engaged. So that's awesome. And, I live on Lon G'Island now, which is.... Something. Not awesome but not not-awesome....

Aaaaaaaaaanyway... I just at the YUMMIEST salad from the Squeeze called My Big Fat Ass Greek Salad and as I ate the "raw croutons," which are so fantastic, I thought "why am I not telling the world about this salad?" And then I thought "OMG I totally still have a little blog on which to tell the world about this dope-ass salad." And THEN I thought... Just kidding I never think that much all at once.

I also kinda want to put my thoughts out there on being a vegan... I still struggle with aspects of it. I don't struggle at ALL with not eating beef, chicken, duck, pork, dairy, etc. But I have found giving up fish a major struggle. I don't struggle at all with not wearing fur, or buying any new leather. But like any lifestyle change, mine has been slow. I still wear my old leather, for example. And, my fiance is not a vegan and I will cook things for him that are not vegan, because it isn't my job to change him but it is part of my job to care for him. And sometimes I feel extreme shame about not being a militant vegan. but I also feel really strongly about not forcing my system of beliefs onto anyone. I'm an atheist, too. But I don't want to shove that down anyone's throat either. Like, these are the things that work for me and it's okay if they don't work for you.

I guess the struggle I am having, really, is with balance.

Am I a hypocrite if I eat pole- or line-caught fish? Because I really don't think that my life is more valuable than the life of the fish. I really do believe that ALL animals (humans included) are sentient beings entitled to freedom. Really. Buts some--nay many--vegans would say I am hypocrite. That because I do not donate my old leather but continue to wear it that I am contributing to the problem: by wearing it I am saying it's acceptable to wear.

I try to buy all cruelty-free products for every part of my life, but sometimes I buy my favorite face cream and its made by a company that has not yet stopped animal testing. And then the guilt, shame, and remorse eat at me, but throwing it away seems like a total lack of respect to the animals that were tortured for it now that I do have it.

I'm not certain, really, what I'm getting out. Just thinking "out loud" I guess. Putting it out there that my humanity gets in the way sometimes. That I am a mess of contradictions, and while I think I am always striving to be a better person, I am not always succeeding. And that can make me feel really crummy. And maybe feeling crummy about it is okay.

Maybe I just want your thoughts? Sometimes understanding that other people have the same struggles, or similar ones, can make all the difference.

Be kind.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

It's Bananas! That's it! Bananas!

It's the yummiest and the healthiest soft serve ice "cream" in the whole wide world and it's nothing more than frozen bananas. I cut two organic bananas into chunks. I froze the chunks in Tupperware for maybe 4 hours. I put the frozen chunks into the food processor for about 5 minutes stopping only to push down the bananas every now and then. By 4 minutes it's a smooth creamy soft serve ice "creamy" treat. I added a little vanilla bean but no need. I mean ICE CREAM in 5 minutes with all the nutrition of bananas!!!!! I just .... I didn't believe it myself! I am totally hooked! Great for kids too and cheap!! 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

You Barb. I Barb. We all Barb for Rhubarb.

Or, whatever.

So hey, my awesome and beautiful and amazing friend Melinda (@BeautyBroker on Twitter) just posted on Facebook about rhubarb. And so I was reminded of rhubarb. Weird wild stuff, how the mind works.

As I commented there, my dad used to make stewed rhubarb in the summer and put it over vanilla ice cream. Yummmmmmy treat! And soooooo bad for us! The amount of sugar in the stewed rhubarb alone was probably more sugar than I consume in month or two now.

http://www.123rf.com/photo_15660251_rhubarb-stick-on-rustic-wood.html
Anyway.... so I was reminded of rhubarb. I made a fantastic salad last summer of roasted rhubarb and beets with watercress and Valencia orange. I made a light balsamic vinaigrette, which I don't think it needed but for those who wanted extra sweetness, I served it on the side.

So, today I wanted to tell you how to roast rhubarb. It's much like roasting anything else, and like anything else it is a great way to bring out the natural sweetness in a vegetable.

Preheat you oven to 375 F. Take ALL the leaves off the rhubarb (they are poisonous to us). Wash and thoroughly dry your stalks. Cut them up into 2 inch pieces. Toss them with about a teaspoon of olive or walnut oil. If you are really anti-tartness, toss in a teaspoon or two of sugar now, better yet a teaspoon of maple syrup (healthier overall). Put it in a roasting pan and put that in the oven for 20 minutes, maybe 30 depending on your oven. And, you're done. Let it cool completely for adding to the salad, it will wilt the watercress. Should keep for couple days, too, if it's for a weekend party.

Next week? Beets? Their awesomeness and how to roast them? Or, whatever.

eat well.
keep moving.


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Mirepoix

Maybe you don't know the word but if you've ever followed a recipe for a great soup you have probably started with mirepoix. It is the French name for the carrot, celery, and onion base for many soups and sauces. You don't really taste any of the three individually, but together they raise or enhance the flavor of the soup or sauce. Don't brown the onions! You're shooting for soft and translucent. The sweetness of browned onion will greatly alter the flavor of your soup or sauce. A mirepoix is the secret to my awesome all-day marinara sauce!!! 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

There once was an acid, Oleic

http://www.mylittlegreekfoodbook.com/olives/
There once was an acid, Oleic
and nobody knew how to say it.
And, they called it a fat--
an animal fat--
but were wrong 'cause it's found more in peanuts.*
So on here today, I'll talk about acid--
Oleic that is, it's the best.
Then you, my three readers, can do more research
and put all my words to the test.

Um, so I'm not a poet although I fancied myself one in middle school and high school. I read that drivel now and am embarrassed for little me. The angst! In my now 31 years of reading and writing I have perhaps written one poem that is worthy of someone else reading it. So there's one of the many secrets to a happy life: you're not going to be good at everything. There is a great deal of relief in that. We've all heard the phrase "jack of all trades, master of none." I'm a jack of a only few trades and a master of maybe two. MAYBE. So, just read the above and have a giggle. A good giggle on a Wednesday is not a bad thing. The asterisk next to the word peanut, is because you should pronounce it pee-knit so it actually rhymes a little ... or something.

Onwards!

Oleic acid. Yayayayayay! It is such such good acid and not in the everything-around-me-is-moving-like-the-ocean-but-I-cannot-move-my-limbs-at-all-so-I-only-look-at-the-beautiful-water-like-armchair-and-smile way. No. It's such a good acid because it is a monoUNsaturated OMEGA-9 fatty acid!!! I say again, yayayayayayay!

Huh?

It's fat! But it's a good-for-you fat. A while back I posted about fat being important and healthy and necessary and all that???? Well this is exactly the kind of fat I was writing about. This type of fat actually has health benefits, which include but are not limited to a reduction of "bad" cholesterol and and increase in "good" cholesterol, which may be part of the reason it is linked to a decreased chance of heart disease. And, some studies have shown it increases the body's production of antioxidants. One study, you can read here, shows Oleic Acid as helpful in blocking Her-2/neu, which is a cancer-causing oncogene seen in as many as 30% of breast cancer patients.

So I say all this to you and then I say, as I always say, try to get this from your food. Your diet should include oleic acid. I'm not a big fan of supplements. If you're eating well, making healthy choices, being balanced then you should have plenty of oleic acid in your diet.

So, yeah, you can rationalize a lot of meat/poultry eating by saying "but it's high in oleic acid." But you'd be lying to yourself and to whomever else you insist upon sharing it with. The truth is, oleic acid is found in the following foods at higher concentrations AND these foods don't have any of the downsides of meat/poultry, i.e., saturated fat and "bad" cholesterol among others.

Olive oil and safflower oil (highest concentrations)
Hazelnuts
Peanuts
Macadamia nuts

You see a mix after those in the foods with the highest concentrations, like lard would be next on this list, but we all know by now we should not be eating lard. Ever. So, let's instead look at some of the plant-based sources of oleic acid that have a multitude of other health benefits, too (in alpha order not by concentrations):

Almonds
Avocados
Brazil nuts
Cashews
Coconut Oil
Corn
Olives
Pistachios
Poppy seeds
Potatoes
Soybeans
Walnuts

http://www.digital-polyphony.com/37theprincessbride.htm

So, yeah, have a handful of nuts as a snack and enjoy the olive oil in your dressing a little bit more now that you know it's helping you even more than you knew. That said, EVERYTHING in moderation. A handful of nuts is YOUR hand not Andre's.

Eat wealthy.
Keep moving.
I love you today, so borrow it if you need to.






Sunday, June 23, 2013

Picnic or Potluck?

Bring this pasta salad with black beans and a chipotle dressing! Replace the oil with your favorite Veganaise and just use a squeeze of lemon for a more classic "Southwestern Pasta Salad."



What you need?
1 c gluten-free pasta, cooked and cooled
1 can of organic black beans, drained
1 stalk of celery, diced 
1 large carrot, diced

For the dressing?
1/4 c walnut oil
1/8 c lemon juice
Chipotle pepper(s), finely chopped
1/2 tsp cayenne
Salt to taste

You're all set to rock the taste buds of your buddies and blow their minds because they never knew #glutenfree and #vegan could be so #awesome.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

I do not love you Thursday

The title is from a poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay. A great poet in my estimation. Really. The whole poem, "Thursday":


And if I loved you Wednesday,
Well, what is that to you?
I do not love you Thursday--
So much is true. 

And why you come complaining
Is more than I can see.
I loved you Wednesday,--yes--but what
Is that to me?

But I'm not writing today about poetry, nor will I ever on this blog. It's an aside really. It's a rainy Thursday here in NYC and this poem came to mind.

I just ate an awesome kale quinoa salad from The Squeeze. They do great things in food there. It's raw vegan comfort food. I mean, does it get any better than that? While eating my delicious salad I started thinking about how envious I am of creative people. Not envious in like a jealous gross way. Envious like.... I admire them. I wish I thought that way maybe, or viewed the world through that lens. 

And then I thought about cooking. I often tell people that any creativity I have comes out in my food. I say "I'm not 'good' at any of the arts, but I can cook. I am creative with food." Mostly, people seem to think that's a fair answer, although I did have one friend say "there's nothing creative about cooking." And, I understood what he meant. It didn't upset me because I am really not an artist nor do I pretend to be even in the kitchen. Not in any real sense of that word. . . . . Not at all.

http://www.nathaneckenrode.com
My mother? She is. She should have been. She creates things--beautiful things--from nothing. She always has. My friend Elizabeth May? She's an artist. A wordsmith. A real one. The best there is. And Nathan? He's like my mother. He touches something, and it becomes something more beautiful, more awe-inspiring. Noelle? Makes art with her voice. And, Stephen? Sees it all through the lens of a Nikon. So many more I love and envy. But I don't envy any of them the struggle. I don't envy any of them the work. Purely. Simply. I envy the talent. 

And, while I do consider my endeavors in the kitchen creative endeavors, I would never put myself into the category of "artist." I might for a chef, although I don't mean someone who owns a chain of restaurants and never sets foot in any of "his" restaurants anymore. I mean, I consider Matthew Lightner of Atera an artist, but I think I consider most chefs--even the most superbly trained--as craftsmen or professionals, not artists. 

Perhaps, I am bias having grown up learning to cook from my mother who ran a catering business from our home kitchen for almost 20 years. And she is an artist. And her food was stunning, especially for catered food. Her dumplings, each hand made (for parties of 200 peopl!!!) were delicious and beautiful and inspired me to cook. But they were not art. She created art, and her cooking was nothing like that. Her sketches, paintings, collages those I could never learn to create. Those inspired emotions but try as I would, I just wasn't able to create art the way she could. I could learn to cook though, and I have. And, it's a brilliant outlet for me, a meditation as I've said before. What do you think?

What inspires you? What's your creative outlet? 

Eat healthy. Keep moooooooooving.

love and joy