funny food

interestingly enough, this illustration actually holds a lot of truths:

  • broccoli is high in calcium which makes your bones stronger so that you can stand tall and stable.
  • walnuts contain omega 3s which are linked to better brain functioning and higher intelligence.
  • mushrooms have b vitamins which energize your day, and all of your activities...

the salad jar

no, that's not a typo, i did mean salad jar - not bar.  recently, i've been thinking on new ways to travel lighter and still eat healthy when i'm at the office or out and about running to teach/take yoga classes.  enter my beloved glass jars (this one in the pic happens to be from coconut oil). 

today i made a new salad using anything and everything that i could salvage in my kitchen (read:  i need to go grocery shopping desperately) and then i put it in a jar as my takeout container du jour.

today's lunchtime salad:

  • 2 tiny heads of baby bok choy (rinsed well, then chopped)
  • a handful of sliced almonds
  • 1 ear of fresh corn (removed from the cob)
  • 1 clementine (peeled, separated, cut in halves)
  • 5 sugar snap peas (chopped)
  • about 1 tablespoon of onions


the dressing:

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh ginger (grated)
  • a spring of sea salt and fresh ground pepper


as you might have guessed, i am not really into precise measuring when it comes to cooking.  instead i view my recipes like a craft project where i work in layers until i get the desired yum-factor... but these guesstimated measurements should set you in the right direction.

overall it was tasty, i was pleased and the jar didn't leak in my purse (or rather body bag that i schlep to/fro) and it was an interesting lunchtime topic at the office.  yay for re-using!

juice-on-the go

truth be told, some days even i get bored of eating green things.  that's where juicing helps me out.  instead of chewing, get your greens liquified.  it's best to drink your juice right away, but if you don't work near a juicer, you can take yours to go like i do.  i reuse old jelly jars (the natural jelly/jam/perserves of course) and/or dressing bottles.  after you throughly wash these glass containers they are perfect for toting your juice without having to invest in any more equipment!

  fresh oj + green juice

today's green juice:
1 big bunch of kale
1 peeled lemon
1 inch chunk of ginger

blogger bread

the weather's a changing, the earth's a quaking and the hurricane's a coming (to the east coast).  what better time to bake some homemade comfort.  while refined carbs are not ideal, sometimes bread is what you want (and maybe what you need).  opt for bakery bread over the kind that lives on the shelf (take a look at the label on one of those, you might be shocked at what's in breat these days) or better yet make your own. 

today while twittering, i stumbled upon a blogger named amra (@amralove) who photo-journaled, step-by-step of how to bake 'the bread.' i love that she calls it 'the bread' (you'll have to read why yourself).

here's a snapshot of said deliciousness which i am inspired to make myself.

for easier to digest bread, try sprouted flour and of course, organic if you can.

here's the recipe from amra (verbatim):

  • 3 cups of flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon of yeast
  • 2-3 teaspoons of salt
  • 1 5/8 cups of room temperature water
  • oatmeal
  • cornmeal
  • a large bowl
  • a cooling rack
  • a 5 quart cast iron pot with lid (we used a 5.5 quart because that’s what we have)

check out amra's blog for the rest of the steps.

i'm proud to be a food snob

some may say i'm a picky eater or rather a food snob, because i opt for organic and will pay more for it, even when funds are limited.  i've gotten on my soapbox about it, and some think i am ranting.  so i was elated to find this informative video to breakdown why you should be weary of what you eat.  chemically mutated, manufactured and engineered foods may have a bigger pricetag than eating organic - it's called cancer.  this is not to scare you, but to inform.

this summer, i joined the holton farms csa, who has been bringing farm fresh produce to our curb -literally, this hard working team has been hustling from vermont to manhattan weekly.  and while their produce has been amazing they are struggling to survive.

"as a member of our CSA (for good or for bad) you are part of an experiment that seeks to get Americans eating better food, keep small farms in existence, and pay agricultural workers fair wages. While it hasn't been pretty, the concept is a pretty cool one (if I may say so myself). We need to figure this out. For ourselves, for our kids, for other people's kids. The garbage being sold to the American public as food is deplorable. It's almost impossible to eat well and responsibly outside the home today."- jurrien @holtonfarms

so i ask you, how can we make wholefood affordable again, not only for consumption but for the people who make it possible?

it might not happen overnight, but it would make my universe if you proactievely worked on eating local, whole (not processed - like real veggies) and organic foods.

thank you.

*steps down from soapbox*

citrus lover's best friend + a jumpstart juice recipe

thist tool is an oldie, but a goodie!  luckily, i acquired one from my boyfriend's kitchen supplies and have wondered how i had ever lived without one.  so simple (and so cheap -under $5!) this citrus peeler allows you to slice through the thick skin of lemons, oranges, grapefruits, you get the picture and then easily peel away the skin without having to embed peel residue below the surface of your nails.  it's the ideal companion for juicing.

 

here's a jumpstart juice recipe that i make every morning to energize my day:

1 lemon
1 orange
1 inch nub of ginger
10 drops of oregano extract
20 drops of cayenne pepper extract (the liquid makes the juice less 'gritty;' use less if you are prefer mild vs. spicy)

why add extracts?  for an immunity boost of course!

chillout with watermelon

other than being a deliciously juicy, refreshing summer treat, watermelon is packed with vitamin b6, known to combat anxiety and depression.  so forget the chill pill and pop some watermelon in your pie-hole.  need more reasons to sway you to carry a watermelon home the next time you hit the produce isles/farmer's market?  ok, here you:

  • heart and sex drive helper - yep, watermelon contains something to make it compete with little blue pills - arginine, an amino acid known to relax blood vessels and work its magic in the heart and yes guys, in the pants.
  • summer is the season - they're abundant, ripe - and cheap (read:  totally worth the schlep home).
  • internal sunscreen - watermelons, like tomatoes, are loaded with licopenes, known to be a preventative for specific cancers like that of the prostate and block uv rays to a certain extent! (but still put on that sunblock)
  • big fun - these melons, they be big - too big for individual consumption, so forgo the chips and bring one to your next bbq.

try something new!  drink your watermelon
watermelon juice - a personal love of mine, it's not only tasty and thirst quenching, but the process of juice is really stress relieving.  leave the rind on (seriously, it won't harm your juicer) and juice yourself a glass!  add a little spritz of lime for some bite and possibly one of those umbrellas for giggles.

 

soaked almonds are super

i have heard about eating soaked almonds from a few different folks in my world, so i decided to give it a try and do a little research to round it out.  here's what i did and found:

how to make 'em and eat 'em:  

  • before you head to bed the night before, put a serving size of almonds in a small bowl over night; adding just enough water to cover them.
  • in the morning nibble on these almonds for breakfast, all of the water should be absorbed so that that the almonds look plump - almost juicy.

why soaked almonds trump dry ones (read: the benefits of soaked almonds):

  • eating soaked almonds first thing in the morning kickstarts your body's ability to digest proteins. and remember protein give you sustaining energy while stabilizing your blood sugar levels whether you're into hardcore cardio or just have a long day of meetings ahead of you.
  • almonds contain riboflavins (vitamin b2), which are important for the repair and development of body parts like your eyes, skin and even nervous system to name a few.  when almonds are soaked they are easier to digest, making it easier to absorb the riboflavins. #winning
  • soaking increases the alkalinity (opposite of acidity) of almonds.  eating alkaline foods helps balance your internal pH, making your body and brain run better (think of it like the high octane gas option). 

artichokes are awesome, no need to get choked up about making them

i have always been intrigued by the artichoke.  a very durable plant on its own that buds pretty purply flowers, but mostly because they are one of the tastiest veggies to me.  my mom used to make them when i was younger usually with the time-consuming breading between leaves, which is probably why i haven't made them myself very often.  however this week while i was in the produce section, i was drawn to these baby artichokes, so i bought them not knowing when i would find the time to make them. 

so after getting into a betty crocker groove, i googled and found that they only need to be steamed for 5-8 minutes.   so i guessed, i steamed and i nibbled.  the end results - yum!

here's what i did:

  1. wash the artichokes carefully, opening up the leaves to get in all of those lil nooks and crannies (this was probably the most time consumptive part) where dirt and other natural things may be hiding (i found a baby worm!).
  2. after individually rinsing, i let them soak in a bowl of water for about 5 minutes while i prepped the rest of the ingredients.
  3. i placed about 1" of water into a big pot, roughly chopped up some garlic and parsley and added them to the water.
  4. i placed the artichokes into the water and turned the stovetop on.
  5. finally i took half a lemon and squeezed if over the steaming 'chokes along with some salt and pepper.
  6. i closed the lid and 8 minutes later, et voila. tasty artichokes!

why eat artichokes?

other than their yum-factor, they are:

  • fun to eat - i love nibbling the layers
  • a top antioxidant - in a study artichokes came out ranking 7th in antioxidants out of over 1,000 vegetables.
  • full of flavinoids - known to prevent and treat cancer
  • a liver lover - studies have even shown they help regenerate liver tissue - perhaps something to keep in mind when you feel a hangover coming on.
  • a digestion facilitator - high in fiber (1 artichoke = 1 cup of prunes) and a natural diuretic, these puppies (well, actually artichokes) keep things moving while helping your gallbladder function better.
  • cholesterol conducive - artichokes help keep your HDL high and your LDL low - basically, artichokes are a-ok when it come to cholesterol levels.

d.i.y. sushi kit

my very first sushi roll - zucchini-carrot-avocado-cucumberafter years of mysticism and intimidation about whether or not i could actually make my own sushi, i can now proudly report - i can!  while shopping at wholefoods, i came upon a sale endcap that was spotlighting, japan gold sushi roll kit.  i was instantly intrigued.  then i was sold when i found out the kit had cooked rice (i still have yet to master rice... i know, it's not hard right?!) and that it was on sale 2 for $10!  so for $5 i got the following in my kit:

1 healthy portion of pre-cooked sushi rice
1 packet of sushi vinegar
1 packet of soy sauce
1 packet of wasabi powder (you just add a little water to make your own paste - who knew?! well, i didn't...)
3 nori sheets (the green 'wrapper' on sushi)
1 bamboo sushi mat

the instructions are super easy and they are posted right on the back of the box with some great visuals.

the most time consuming part was thinly slicing my veggies.  

*breathes a sigh of relief*

now i can venture into some more unique sushi creations.  i wonder how quinoa would be in place of rice.  let the possibilities begin!

 

 

macrobar - an unexpected pharmacy find

after a vigorous late night yoga session, i was trying to catch a train and was left with little time to eat and a ravenous appetite, so i was excited to stumble upon a cvs with a deli section (14th st & 8th ave, if you're in nyc).  there i found a section of packaged bars that actually seemed somewhat healthy (good job cvs!).  i rolled the proverbial energy bar dice (because i wanted something i could nibble on my subway ride) and chose a macrobar (cashew butter).  organic, vegan and macrobiotic, i was uneasy, but then pleasantly suprised at the lightly sweet, nougat-y goodness i bit into.  not too chewy, not too sweet, even goldilocks would be content with this bar.

made with only 4 ingredients, macrobar is definitely a case of less is more.  (organic brown rice syrup, organic cashew butter, organic puffed brown rice, organic cashews -yes, it's gluten-free!)

macrobar has some other fun flavors, among them are the following that are on my list to try: cashew caramel, tahini date, almond butter with carob and banana almond. (amazon has a variety-worthy pack.)

i am pysched that more healthy options are popping up in mass-chain pharmacies, so look for macrobar the next time you're stuck with only packaged food as an option, it'll one up a snickers any day in my book.

 

jamba juice coupon - today only

it must be spring!  jamba juice has a new coupon out :)
remember, sharing is caring - so head out for a dose of vitamin d (read: sunshine), take a stroll to your nearest jamba juice with a friend and get 2 smoothies for only $5.  coupon expires today - 3/30/2011, don't miss out!

make sure to print out a copy (click on the coupon to get a bigger version) and bring it with you!

the copper cup - ayurveda's lucky penny

recently, i had my first consultation with an ayurvedic doctor (more on that later) in which i was perscribed some specific dietary changes to improve my overall well-being and health.  one of these changes was to drink a glass of room temperature water each morning (the first thing i am to drink) from a copper cup after letting the water stand in the cup overnight. 

copper cups - yes, the same shiny metal that pennies (well at least the outside of the pennies are now still) made of - are a centuries old part of ayurvedic wellness, specifically for the pitta dosha.  by letting the water stand in the cup, it absorbs the important mineral copper.    copper is said to be anti-aging and antmicrobial (if you're a medical/chemistry dork like me, check out the oligodynamic effect) and positively charges the water - literally, it become ionic (read:  charged with electrolytes).  drinking said copper water helps to wash out your g.i. tract, flush your kidneys, and stimulate your *ahem* 'motions.'  copper is also said to protect the body from respiratory problems including asthma (read:  definitely worth a try if you are paying big bucks to pharma companies for inhalers).  plus, it purifies the blood and promotes a healthy complexion.  

all these benes from just drinking out a certain cup?  i'll take it.

you can find copper cups online, but i found one at a local indian grocery store for literally half the price - so stimluate your local economy and save some dough by shopping in your 'hood.

make sure to clean your cup on the regular - mix up some flour, salt and vinegar (equal parts), then rinse with water.   

faux gras fo sure

the idea of foie gras, a mushy substance made from the fatty liver of duck (or goose), makes my mouth dry (as in wanting to dry-heave) rather than water.  although many have praised its taste and i am not one to knock it until i try it, slimy liver-gooe just doesn't tickle my pickle. 

however, when i was so graciously gifted a tub of the regal vegan's faux gras (thanks sis!), i was thrilled.  true, this isn't animal mush, but it is such a great option for the non-meat eaters looking to expand what their tastebuds deem palatable and add a bit of pretentiousness to the menu (yes, even though i don't eat it, foie gras still sounds fancy to me).

still not convinced? the toasted walnut lentil paste is a total upgrade from hummus.  there i said it.  i'm not sure if i can ever go back to the chickpea.

i feel like i've just found my green eggs and ham.  i will eat with some crackers, i will eat it with just a spoon....

de-li-cious.

 the regal vegan, founded by brooklynite Ella Nemcova, is most well known for its catering, workshops/classes and consulting services. now this scrumptious faux gras marks r.v.'s official entry into the land of packaged food, now available in nyc stores.  i'm convinced it's only a matter of time before it conquers the land of wholefoods

for more reasons to love faux gras, go here.

google recipes

bored of your usual go-to eats?  just found out about a new fruit or veggie, but don't know how to cook with it? 

enter google recipes.

google literally has the answer to everything - even how to get out of a cooking rut.  now you can just type in the ingredient you would like to use and then just click the 'recipe' search function on the left.

here are some interesting options i googled upon:

thank you google gods for making dinnertime easier and more exciting, one search at a time.

kale - the new chip on the block

a fan of crunchy textures, savory and spicy flavors and the green goodness of kale, kale chips have been on my to-taste list for a while now. but before i commit to another cooking gadget (dehydrator), i thought i'd see what they are supposed to taste like and how the experts have 'cooked' up these raw treats.

enter brad's raw chips. (the guy in charge is really brad and he has quite a tranformative tale to share about how he became a raw foodie.)

i had my first bite when i picked up a box of the vampire killer kale chips at whole foods.  then i was thrilled to receive a sampler pack from the good peops at brad's that included some more vampire killers as well as some nasty hot kale chips.  in addition to loving their names - aptly chosen - i loved said chips!  for me vampire killer comes in first, but nasty hot is a very close second.

the chips are raw and vegan, and loaded with flavor.  they are definitely a splurge treat for my budget ($7.49 for a 2.5oz box), but they are definitely a healthier choice than other chip options (e.g., tortilla, potato) and even count as a green veggie for the day! 

kale is known among the nutrition community for its healthful benefits which include superpowers that lower cholesterol, cancer risk, inflammation and body toxins.  so to now have it as faux junk food makes it truly amazing! - at least in my biased opinion...

are you a fan of kale chips?  have you ever made your own? please share your finding with me in the comments!

spice up your regular

when i was on a trip to milwaukee recently, i stumbled upon this uber quaint shop at a strip mall, penzeys spices.  fascinated by the world of spices, i was immediately drawn in to this super organized and foodie inspiring boutique, but i was also overwhelmed with options and all the free recipe cards that they offer to go along with their spectrum of spices.  now i recieve their catalog, which doubles as an educational guide, chockful of spice trivia and unique recipes.  for example, did they suggest swapping golden beets for carrots to create a unique spin on carrot cake.  they also have great sampler sets from the salad lover's to the some like it hot box.  so it you're looking to broaden your horizons and your spice selection beyond the usual salt and pepper, check out penzeys spices.

 

coupon alert:  $5 off when you spend $10 or more.   use code 00002C in the express ordering section on their website; expires 5/29/2011.

what the... kefir???

kefir, or what i used to think of as a yogurt drink when i was a kid, actually is a whole lot more and is by no means a watered down version of anything.  kefir is like yoga for your internal systems - helping to balance both the digestive and immune systems.  it's an enzyme-rich food so it helps to breakdown other stuff that you eat, plus it's a source of protein, minerals and vitamin b (an important one especially if you are a veggie).

simply put, kefir is a cultured milk drink loaded with that good for you bacteria.  kefir is relatively inexpensive when compared to the hyped up probiotic yogurt drinks out there - try kefir, it does pretty much the same thing without the spendier pricetag at checkout.

you can make your own kefir, you just need some starter cultures or you can pick up some ready-to-go bottles in the dairy section of the grocery store.

the granola bar, the unrefined anytime treat

while on a trip out west to long beach in california, i came across jumpstart body fuel granola bars.  now while the name connates body building (or at least to me), upon looking at the ingredients, i was pleasantly surprised that all of the ingredients were whole foods, unrefined and pronouncable.  these granola bars are fresh, moist (not dry) and just the right size (so you are satiated, but not overfed).  they quickly became my go-to breakfast nibble.  they have six flavors ranging from cranberry to chocolate raisin which you can purchase via their website in a variety pack for $2 a bar. mmm.