Posts Tagged: Holiday

VegFest 2014 Vol. 2

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Good day all,

It was an extra early-rise day Saturday, but the chilly wind helped keep us all high energy and functioning.  It was very encouraging to see how many volunteers showed up for the 6 a.m. shift–20+ to be sure–and humbling to experience the functionality of people coming together for a cause that we all stand behind.  We completed all of the ‘set-up’ tasks far before expected and we were all able to help out in areas we did not initially expect to, which was both a positive learning experience and a true test of multitasking. One of the many highlights of my volunteer experience was the fact that I was able to spend my entire volunteer shift with my husband, which is incredibly rewarding, being able to experience the fun together. Another highlight was a young mother who decided to bring her young baby along with her the entire morning by carrying the baby in an Ergo type carrier, marsupial style.  She was one diligent marsupial momma and she became my inspiration for that particular day and days to come.  It was encouraging to see someone being active and volunteering as a woman and mother, deciding to not let her world stop because she is now a mom.  She chose to involve her young one and display an act of community giving that is priceless.  I know I’m about to sound terribly cliché, but it made my heart grow three sizes bigger.  I was so taken aback, I had to tell her!

After our volunteer shift was completed, we decided to disguise our VegFest tees’ and become official guests of the event.  Though we were a little rushed, I feel like the time we spent went swimmingly!  The flow of the crowd seemed to be better circulated than in years past due to–in my opinion–better organization of the booths. Also, there were many more vendors and food stops where you could get information, samples, and a full-blown meal!

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While walking around and getting to know the vendors–some old hats and some newbies–we came across a new company called Uber Foods that makes energy bars.  After just one small sample and hearing about their new company from an eager young man, I decided to buy a bar; ‘dos cacao’.  It’s made here in Austin, has only six ingredients and it’s gluten-free and vegan!  It was pricy, but I never mind paying a little more for quality and in support of a growing company.

There were farms represented at VegFest this year, and Tecolote Farm is a local farm!

There were farms represented at VegFest this year, and Tecolote Farm is a local farm!

My tummy was soon grumbling for a meal following our volunteer shift and I had my eye set on Aster’s Ethiopian booth.  It was good gloop!  What’s wonderful about Ethiopian food is the manner in which they go about eating.  They not only use their hands, but they consume the food with a spongy bread call injera made with teff flour, which is rich in amino acids and several vitamins and minerals.   Some Ethiopian restaurants add wheat to their injera, however, Aster’s is 100% gluten-free!  Happy tummies all around. 😀

We ended our Texas VegFest time, much like we did our second year, with a bowl of Sweet Ritual ice-cream–salted caramel.  No sprinkles were on hand this year, but the ice-cream left nothing to be desired for a sweet tooth.

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Attending Texas VegFest was a pleasant reminder that we should all take a moment to re-evaluate the way we approach our time and how we devote it, not only to the food we eat, but to other people around us. You get what you give in life, so let’s all try to give a little more. :)  And if you can, involve the little one’s in your life in your activities.  Experiences are the best gifts you can give and will last longer than all the toys in the world!  Oh, and remember…bite responsibly!

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Healthy Regards,

RAM

 

VegFest 2014 Vol. 1

Good day everyone,

I must admit, I am currently under the influence of one heaping scoop of cocoa powder in my morning smoothie, and ready to talk about Veg Fests!  This coming April 5th, here in Austin, TX, we will have our very own Texas Veg Fest (year 3), and I know it’s going to be even bigger and better than the last two years.  The first year I just attended, but last year I was a volunteer with the information booth and this year I’m volunteering with the AV team, and I’m excited!

Let’s start with a little about Vegfest.  Vegfest is just that, a festival that focuses on vegetarian cuisine and more specifically, 100% plant-based, not animal product cuisine and oftentimes sustainability through lifestyle choices and animal rights.  It occurs annually in different cities and in different formats in each city.

Texas Vegfest of Austin, occurs by the beautiful Lady Bird Lake and is loaded with over a hundred vendors, cooking demos and lectures, music performers, speakers and tastings galore!  I don’t suggest attending this festival while doing a ‘cleanse’ as there will be far too many temptations.

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I am looking forward to Saturday where I’ll get to help out, meet people, try new things and mingle with veggie thoughts.  I hope you’ll join me and many others!  Be sure to stay tuned next week for ‘Veg Fest Vol.2’, where I will discuss post-fest topics and what went down.

Short and sweet to the sole today–love you Dandies.  And remember…bite responsibly!

Healthy Regards,

Rachel Manning

Splendid Springtime Spaghetti with Toasted Seeds

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Good Day Everyone,

Happy Vernal Equinox !

Springtime represents so many things in our society, that it’s hard to overlook this major transitional period–and subsequently positive alteration to the environment–by way of beautiful blooms, pollination and the beginning of a new growing season.  Spring washes over us all and makes way for sweet morning reads by a window and fresh spring salads to compliment the change of weather.

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As March settles in, I am finding my time being stretched in different directions and all I can think about lately is savory goodness to satisfy my longing to stay nourished through the busy days of work and creative projects. This recipe revealed itself one late afternoon while I was alone in the kitchen and peeking into our refrigerator for what we had “in stock” at the time.  These are the moments I enjoy most in the culinary experience because my imagination stands a chance.  Have you ever heard that we all like a range of options, but if you present too many, we’re less likely to come to a solidified choice?  Well on this particular afternoon, we were just scant enough in the produce department that is our kitchen, that I felt a happy inclination towards this vibrant and delicious spaghetti dish.

I  knew I wanted pasta, but mother time had not gifted enough to me in this instance to warrant making it from scratch.  However, I was able to use Tinkyada spaghetti noodles and they were just what I had in mind.  I wanted a noodle I could wrap my fork around and spaghetti, along with farfalle, remind me of Spring!  Also, I wanted to–as I’m sure most of you know about me–balance color, but I did lean on the green end for this dish.

I wanted to balance the semi-soft nature of the dish with something crunchy, and after cutting open the butternut squash, I was in luck; seeds!  I decided to combine the butternut squash seeds with the other three you’ll see listed below to make a nice crunchy medley.  Honestly, I initially wanted these roasted, but I went with toasted and I was pleased with the results, however I recommend trying both ways.  Additionally, I did not hull the butternut squash seeds but ate them as they are.

The peas and the butternut squash balanced their sweetness and semi-savory nature perfectly and will dance on your palette with divine texture and pleasure.

Take a moment this spring to appreciate the colors nature offers, appreciate the remainder of veggies nestled in your fridge and prepare yourself a happy Spring sketti!

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 Splendid Springtime Spaghetti (gluten-free)

Ingredients

  • 1 package gluten-free spaghetti (I used the Tinkyada brown rice kind, but the quinoa pasta is great too!)
  • 1/2 cup green peas (fresh or frozen)
  • 5 or 6 sun dried tomatoes (cut into strips and re-hydrated if purchased dried–boil water and place dried tomatoes in hot water after removing from heat; soak for 10 min.)
  • 7 or 8 thin slices of purple onion (cut in half, and separate into slivers)
  • 4 white mushrooms (cut into thin slices)
  • 1 bundle of flat leaf parsley(leaves and majority of stems minced)
  • 1 1/4 cup red kidney beans (cooked and drained)
  • 6 or 7 glugs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp Spanish paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic granules
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp dried marjoram
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • Salt to taste

Ingredients (toppings)

  • 1/2 medium to large butternut squash (roasted strips)
  • A couple of glugs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • A few shakes or cranks black pepper
  • All butternut squash seeds from cut squash (rinsed well and partially dried–either toss pulp or use for compost)
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds (raw; optional)
  • 2 tbsp sunflower seeds (raw; optional)
  • 1/2 avocado (per person, thin slices)

Instructions  (butternut squash)

  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF
  2. Rinse and peel squash and chop off bottom and top
  3. Slice in half through the vertical perimeter and then use seed scooper or large spoon to scoop out seeds  and pulp
  4. Place seeds into a bowl reserving them for the seed mixture topping (see above)
  5. Cut  squash into 1/2 inch thick strips, about an inch and a half long
  6. Place squash strips in medium bowl and cover with a couple of glugs olive oil, salt and pepper
  7. Toss squash with hands until it is lightly coated with oil, salt and pepper
  8. Distribute squash evenly on baking sheet and bake for 30 to 35 minutes (flip half-way)
  9. Once baking is complete, place aside

Instructions (pasta dish)

  1. Begin by prepping all veggies
  2. Boil enough water to be able to submerge entire pasta amount (I break pasta in half); salt pasta once pasta is added.  Cook 10 – 15 minutes or until pasta is al dente.  Gluten-free pasta can get mushy very easily, that’s why you want it to be slightly undercooked or perhaps this is your taste
  3. Drain, rinse and place pasta back into sauce pan or pot
  4. Add olive oil and all spices and marjoram to cooked pasta
  5. Add all veggies except butternut squash
  6. Mix well, but gently so as to not tear apart the spaghetti
  7. Add lemon juice and salt to taste and stir
  8. Keep over a very low heat to warm until the next step is complete
  9. In a bowl, mix together all seeds, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper (lightly coating seeds)
  10. In a dry skillet, over medium heat, add seeds and toast until golden brown (note:  add the sesame seeds toward the end of the toasting process as they will brown much faster than the other seeds)
  11. Serve pasta in bowls and place butternut squash slices on top, then fan out avocado slices and finally sprinkle with seed mixture
  12. Serves:  Approx. 4 people
  13. Enjoy out on the patio, your front steps or in whatever immediate outdoors area you have and I recommend following this meal (15-30 minutes later of course :p) with a kombucha!

splendidspringtimespaghetti5I hope you all enjoy this meal and please let me know your thoughts and experiences welcoming Spring.  And remember…bite responsibly!

Healthy Regards,

RAM

Observing Two Years!

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Happy Birthday Connect a Bite!  I can hardly believe it has been two years since I began writing and sharing all the many ways we can connect to our food through celebrating women, social commentaries, creating recipes based on what you have on hand and in season, questioning the norm and many more things!

Thank you, to anyone who has been positive and encouraging to me during this time.  I’m grateful to have this privilege and I appreciate your support and enthusiasm.  The nature of this blog has, in many ways, grown from a casual way to express thoughts and observations on the food world to a place where I’m able to highlight new recipes and share my thoughts on what’s going on in food news and begin my new series–inspired by the web–called ‘Kitchen Letters’.  Connect a Bite has given me the gift of believing that writing and linking ourselves to the food world is not only rewarding, but fun in many ways.

2014 has many more exciting things to come, like more videos, podcast episodes–‘Cinema Cuisine’–, more original recipes and possibly an interview series.  I hope you’ll join me in this journey. ^___^

If you’d like to be in the know about what’s to come in each post, feel free to subscribe by entering in your email on the homepage in the right column.  If you would ever like to contact me directly with thoughts, questions, comments or feed-back, feel free to email me at rachelannemanning@connectabite.com  You can find me on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest,YouTube and facebook too!

There’s no doubt this last year brought about enlightenment and challenges, but I know those occurrences have helped in the shaping of what I hope becomes a growing source of enlightenment for all of you!  I look forward to many more years of bringing meaning to what you’re eating!  And remember…bite responsibly!

Healthy, happy and grateful regards,

RAM

p.s. Happy International Women’s Day!  Check out this piece on Food Tank about women who are changing food.  I’m delighted to be a woman trying to make a difference. <3

Kitchen Letters #1: Creative start to 2014

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Dear world,

How are you feeling?  Do you feel like 2013 was productive and revealing in some way?  Did you come closer to any big goals you set?

The first day of the year is a very special one, but also a day like any other.  Yesterday I awoke early–as I often do–my love still snoozing, our kitty was calm and as time passed throughout the morning small beams of light creeped into our living room where I sat at our dining/craft table.   I was in a quiet and harmonious state when an incredible urge to be creative came over me.

On the final day of 2013, I did what I like to call a cleanse, wherein I exercised my ability to purge our home of unnecessary items; clutter.  This was just one final day, out of many days like this in 2013, where I felt the need to extract unused items from our house.  My closest friend mentioned she had gone through these motions too and she said it helped to clear her mind, and that was a great way to put it.  I must say, on the 31st I may have outdone myself because by the time I was done sorting, tossing, recycling, cleaning, and organizing I was exhausted.

Now we’re back to yesterday.  With a cleansed home and mind I decided it was time to put to use some of my art supplies and move forward on two things I set as a goal for my winter vacation.  One, use art supplies, two, begin my recipe book.  I cleared off our table and took out all the necessary supplies.  In my organizing frenzy on the 31st I came across many underutilized notebooks and I decided I would start there.  Stacks of magazines, my recipes, glue, scissors and most importantly my mind were all sitting at the table, ready to go.  Snip, snip, snip.  After hours of cutting, gluing, precise placement and breaks to read and browse articles I had missed in the past, my very first recipe book was created.  I couldn’t be more pleased.

The final product.

The final product.

Up to this point, every time I have a recipe idea, I scramble to find a piece of scrap paper, a notecard, anything so the culinary creation isn’t lost forever.  Now, I have my book!

Yesterday I spent some time in my kitchen cleaning, preparing meals and resting while drinking a yummy tea creation I’ve made lately.  I reveled in my accomplishment of moving forward in my life as a chef and lover of food and all that it does for us.  It occurred to me while putting together my book that I spent much of the past year doubting.  I’m not proud to say that.  What I am proud to say is that I’m here, now, allowing myself the gift of trust.

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My kitchen and my abilities in it and outside of it are something I should never doubt.  I should feel stronger every day for the creations I introduce to the world and I hope only to improve with grace as time carries on in 2014 and beyond.

Yesterday, I didn’t just create a book I created a chance.

Saw this little lady in the yard of one of my favorite houses on nature gathering walk.  What a beauty.

Saw this little lady in the yard of one of my favorite houses on a nature gathering walk. What a beauty.

I hope this letter finds you well, world.

Much love and gratitude,

 

RAM

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Harvest

A lovely walk to begin Autumn.

A lovely walk to begin Autumn.

Hello Everyone,

There I was, sipping on some hot peppermint tea to offset the cold, drippy day in Texas we all were experiencing, that is quite beautiful in many ways.  What follows are some of my thoughts.

In my mind, there is a still, calm that comes with the darkening of days that makes me feel nestled in nature more than any other time of the year.  I heard someone state on a classical radio station I listen to, that this weather is beautiful to her because we can really see the sheen and color of the newly turned leaves due to the grey sky.  As soon as I heard this, I grinned.  There is something special about being able to see creation or the potential for something wonderful amongst what could easily be considered drab, useless and ugly.

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My next thought was of a new friendship, but more importantly a comment made by my new friend.  She said–and I paraphrase–‘This is just another season of your life, Rachel, and you have to allow the season to come full circle, naturally.  Like any season, it too will pass.”  I have not been able to forget this simple thought ever since she made it.  What a brilliant way to think of the transgressions in our life, be it big life choices, hardships or good fortune.  She has helped to change my perspective on the idea of infinity and how it can become debilitating and growth stunting, but a better way to look at things is in passes.  Falling leaves that must make their way down on their own at the right time, during the right season.

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What is more, the word harvest sprung to my mind.  Harvest has many meanings, however a couple stand out in my mind.  There is the idea of collecting of crops ripe enough to eat, this act being called harvest, and then the result of some action we take in our life.  As in, after writing on this site all year, I have an ample harvest of posts.  Why do I mention this?  When I think of the harvest of my life in 2013 I am able to come to realizations about what outcome or take-away I have for this year.  As it is Autumn, a time of rest and hibernation beginnings, my mind tends to drift into a still state, which allows me the fortunate ability to focus.

Houndstooth, Hi-tops and chords

Houndstooth, Hi-tops and chords

Our biggest life accomplishment–bigger than winning prizes, opening up businesses of our dreams, writing the next great novel or non-fiction piece, formal education of all kinds–is our body.  Our life has seasons, as does nature, and we have the gift of being conscious of these seasons and their beauty, but also the curse of being able to ignore such beauty.  Most of us spend our life hoping our life doesn’t result in a doggerel, and we forget that our body is the pith of our life.

I often forget that within these seasons, whether good or bad, I have the gift of my body and how I choose to use it, how I choose to nourish it, and I am in charge of this harvest more than all others.

What we eat, how we choose to go about getting the food we eat, the reasons and thought behind every bite we take, the community we share when enjoying our meals or the solitude we embrace in packaged food, all tattoos itself into our harvest.

SO, how can we all produce a better harvest from our body, our life?  I have a few thoughts, check it out!

  • Each month, take the time to figure out where at least one of the foods you eat regularly, comes from.  Do a little research.  Figure out where the specific item came from, be it local or farther away.  Figure out the process of how it was made, packaged, shipped, grown.  Discover its origin story and think about how it became a staple in your diet.  Then, ask yourself why you like eating it, what good–if any–it is doing for your body?  Then, at the end of this exercise, if you’re still content with the comestible, take the time to send a note to the manufacturer, farmer, company, individual who grew/made/shipped/packaged/created it.  Rest knowing you took the time and that is what counts.
  • Grow something and write about it.  Choose one fruit, vegetable, herb or spice to grow this coming year.  Get a head start now and talk with your local nursery or if you are a solo project kind of person, seek out your favorite online videos, articles, blogs and books.  Grow just one edible item from seed to full form and keep a simple diary about the process.  This doesn’t need to be anything too detailed or verbose, just simply the date and a sentence or two on the progress of the plant and your thoughts on being a part of the growing process.  If the plant is perennial, something like tarragon, you could document for just a short while or write about your experience with the growth for the years you are able to keep the plant alive, but if the plant is annual, try to understand the necessity of the plants peak moment and appreciate it while it is there.  This exercise could help with truly following through with growth and understanding the process of growth before consumption.  If you go wild and grow a lot of plants, pass one on to a friend or loved-one.  Spread your bounty!
  • Visit a farm.  At least once within the next year–you could get a head start this December–take a trip to a farm in your city or in a surrounding city.  If you’re feeling up to it, get out in the fields and help them harvest some of their crops, or take some photographs.  Chat with them about the different produce items that pop up each season and try to familiarize yourself with those.
  • Cut out or minimize at least one toxic thing from your diet this coming year and replace it with something yummy and nourishing.  Pay attention to how you feel.
  • Lessen your animal consumption.
  • Create at least one original recipe a month that includes a rainbow of colors and doesn’t include dairy or animal flesh.
  • Drink water and plenty of it.

Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit.  -Henry David Thoreau

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This list is not exhaustive, but certainly a start.  I know that it is easy to lose perspective on life–our body–with the myriad of things we have going on, but the goal is to help alter our mind so that we can start considering our body more, first.  These seasons, they are all influenced by how we perceive, how we feel and how our feelings either hinder or facilitate both good and bad for us.  If we’re to give thanks for anything, make it for the harvest of our life and all that nourishes the environment and our bodies.  I hope this list is helpful, and as you snuggle into your fall and winter weather, I would love to hear from you about actions we could all take to bring more  meaning to what we’re eating and create a better harvest of our life.  Let me know your thoughts below or send me an email.  I can’t wait to hear from you, and remember…bite responsibly!

Healthy Regards,

 

RAM

A colleague helped in the discovery of this gem!  A random share. :D

A colleague helped in the discovery of this gem! A random share. :D

New York Food Retrospective

Hello Everyone,

It has been FAR, FAR too long since I have written a piece or posted photos.  Whirlwind life!  I suppose as John Lennon once said–please excuse the over-quote–“Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans”.  Thanks for your patience and still coming to my blog, despite my absence.  I hope for a revitalization, and I would like to kick it off with some photos from our–my love and I–trip to New York in  October.  I didn’t get as many pics of food as I would have liked mostly because I was so entranced in the experience–many scrumptious things will be left out in the photo bomb below–so hopefully you all will understand.  Also, the photo quality is not quite where I would prefer it to be, but when you are ready to chow down on something delicious, spending too much time taking photos takes away from the experience.

We had an incredible time to say the very least and woah did we ever gormandize the hell out of some food.  New York definitely lends itself as a food conscious city, as does Brooklyn.  We experienced many delicious meals, enticing desserts, enchanting teas, and some that didn’t really shoot us over the moon.

Welcome to a little taste of our New York dining experience.

SERENGETI TEAS & SPICES

We stayed in a sweet neighborhood in Harlem–in a brownstone that was over 100 years old–and a just around the corner was the most amazing tea and spice shop.  This was, besides dropping off our bags, the first place we visited and one of the last.  As soon as you pass under the threshold of the shop, you’re transported to another world.  The baristas were serving mainly tea–you can see the selection of just SOME of the teas behind the young woman below–but my love ordered coffee all THREE times we went, and said it was the best coffee he had ever tasted.  Not only do the workers in this shop put great care into every drink they prepare, they have the most open, and caring dispositions.  We sat at their bar and chatted with them about New York, and a myriad of other things, their product knowledge was impressively extensive.  They offered numerous samples and challenged our pallets with things we had never tried before.  Oh, Serengeti, I miss you so!  If you’re ever in New York, hop on the sub-way over to this shop, you won’t regret it!

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Italian press of a rooibos blend tea. My lovely Barista, our very first day in New York.

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Me, enjoying some of the crisp and open rooibos. I tried it iced the first day, as when we arrived it was pretty sticky outside.

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I knew while on our vacation, I would let loose a bit with food (I ate some gluten, sugar, and some un-fermented soy…woah! :p), so I decided to supplement my gut with some New York local raw slaw. It was fantastic and definitely helped out!

Champs Family Bakery

On our wedding anniversary, I was happily surprised with an entire day planned out of wonderful excursions and yummy eats.  This was where we had lunch, and it was delectable!  All vegan menu, and  I added biscuits to my order both times we went–yes, we went twice– because I adore biscuits.  The meals we ordered were ‘breakfast’ in theme and I love that they placed water on the table–in large glass bottles with clamping lids–so you could serve yourself when you got thirsty.  Below is my love, chowin’ down!  I would recommend this place to anyone visiting New York, and in the Williamsburg area of Brooklyn.  Many of the menu items can be altered to food intolerances, sensitivities, allergies or personal choices.  This neighborhood has such eccentric character and beautiful architecture, a dreamy scene for sure.

Champs

 Candle 79

On the evening of our anniversary, we dined in a plant-based, elegant dining restaurant in upper-east Manhattan.  Candle 79’s menu displayed a range of items that are locally sourced and sustainably made with attention to organic fare, and doesn’t bock at ingredient opt outs, like soy and wheat.  There is also a Candle 79 cookbook , that is highly rated and I’m looking forward to scouring through it.  Back to our experience.  We were able to get to know the manager of Candle 79, and chat with her about the restaurant and spots in New York to check out, and our server was very pleasant and helpful.  After an appetizer and delicious entree–which we ended up trading–we moved onto an astronomical dessert, that left little want for MORE chocolate.  We are very fortunate and happy to have experienced such a divine dining experience.

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Our appetizer: cornmeal poppers on ancho chili aioli. These were crisp!

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entrée: Crusted seitan with brussels sprouts, shallots, mashed potatoes and more all delightfully hidden.

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entrée: Live zucchini enchiladas with toasted pumpkin seeds, jicima salad and more!

Dunwell Doughnuts

A doughnut shop that teleports you to another time.  All I can say is I am not a doughnut person, but these were pretty yummy.  Beautifully presented, creative venue with a decent tea selection–earned points for presentation of tea display and in the cup–and had mini cake doughnuts we could take to-go.  Williamsburg, Brooklyn has another gem in their midst.

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Foodswings

We wrestled up a very hedonistic meal one afternoon, very bumpin’ place.

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Alice’s Tea Cup

As with any trip or outing, I must partake in tea time and this trip was filled with tea stops galore.  While at Alice’s Tea Cup–a cute and eclectic stop in the upper east side–we had yummy scones and I enjoyed a cleansing herbal tea.

 

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gobo

Enlightening plant-based menu, happy lunch stop on a museum day.

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Babycakes NYC

Tiny shop in Brooklyn, how you stole my heart.  I anticipated this bakery for quite sometime before our departure to New York, and my expectations were exonerated with happy smiles and pleased taste buds.  This was easily, one of the tastiest doughnuts I’ve ever had, and my love felt the same way, and he’s a doughnut guru.  We ordered the nomnoms you see below, with a couple of things to-go because we couldn’t resist.  Babycakes represents another food-sensitivity conscious bakery that are becoming ever so popular, and to my happy surprise, they were flourishing with business.  If you’re in the lower-east side near China town, don’t miss this place!

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Interior of Babycakes from the window bench seat.

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Some of our tantilizing, edible loot.

Caffe Reggio

Known for serving the first cappuccino in all the US, this dark and broody caffè was a wonderful place to write a postcard or letter–which I did!  While sipping on some hot apple cider, and a pumpkin latte for the mr., we enjoyed the sounds and chatter of Greenwich village in a place that felt timeless.  Our energetic and Italian barista was a joy to be around and took some very lovely photos of us–with what seemed to be a family member–before we departed.  Ciao!

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Cafe Viva Natural Pizza

Located in East Village, this was our kind of New York Pizza, covered in mushrooms, onions, garlic and so much more, my eyes were bigger than my stomach.  Wonderful variety of pizza, mostly plant-based, some with diary, and a couple of gluten-free.  Fantastic!

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Couldn’t leave New York without having some pizza, one of our favorite things to chow down on.

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Bhatti Indian Grill

This exquisite Indian restaurant was an accidental find on our way to a planned-out dinner excursion.  I’m glad we stumbled upon this place amongst the other fine Indian cuisine restaurants in this neighborhood.  We enjoyed a range of items from the menu and left not surprisingly stuffed, which I normally would never recommend, but in this place, you can’t resist!

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Bhatti’s ceiling decor.

No. Sleep. Till Brooklyn

BrooklynFoodGrafitti

Lively and captivating graffiti fruit near Fine and Raw chocolatiere in Brooklyn.

Beyond Sushi

Before Beyond Sushi , I can’t remember the last time I had a beautiful, fresh and yummy sushi roll.  These were completely plant-based and out of this world, delicious.  Very aesthetically pleasing and packed with veggie sauces and pastes that help boost their nutrient content.  Although this place is like many eateries in New York, small and intimate, the service was wonderful and we lucked out with a table.  A must try place!

BeyondSushi

Pure Food and Wine

My husband and I shared our last meal at Pure Food and Wine and I’m so pleased we did.  Masterfully put together raw dishes, fresh, on-tap kombucha, and a tower of chocolate–literally.  This is another extension restaurant–which seems to be very popular in New York–and Pure Food and Wine is represented by two books.

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A kind hostess took this photo for us after our dessert.

There are a number of other amazing plant-based places to get your gormandize on while in New York, but I won’t list them all.  Send me an email or comment below if you’d like more insight on the places I’ve talked about in this post or want more ideas for other places to check-out.  Our list is pretty extensive. ^____^

Overall, our New York consumption was incredible.  When I was in doubt, I turned to my kombuchas, raw slaw, and power snacks by Navitas.  This trip taught me so much about the inner-connections of the food community and the awareness of some and necessity of others to challenge their daily thoughts about what they’re eating and how we really can make a difference if we have the resources.  How did this trip teach me this?  While in New York, I was able to come in close contact with many individuals in the food realm that showed genuine and true passion for what they were doing.  They were well versed on their trade or a topic of their trade and most swelled with a deep since of pride.  It was contagious and electrifying!  Upon departure from New York, I am more inspired than ever to continue down my path of becoming more connected to the food world in whatever way I’m able to.  I gained a confidence in my abilities to communicate with others either in writing, service to the community or in the preparation of meals.  And best of all, my husband and best friend has been by my side to charge my mind and heart with positivity. <3

Looking back through all of our many photos and videos, I realized how this trip not only taught me to open up my mind even more, but it implored an even deeper feeling of humility and graciousness in my heart.

On that note, I would like to come to a close by thanking all of those working hard in the food world or trying to get their feet wet in the food world.  None of us would be here without you, and we certainly wouldn’t be as well-informed or well nourished.  You all are phenomenal.

And remember…bite responsibly!

With love, gratitude and in health,

RAM

Thanks Go Out to My New Roots & A Break Away

http://www.jamesmaherphotography.com

http://www.jamesmaherphotography.com

Hi Everyone,

Today I’d like to do something I’ve meant to do for quite sometime, a focused piece on a blogger I follow, who has inspired me or left a sweet feeling in my heart after reading/viewing their blog.  Sarah Britton is just this person and My New Roots is her fantastic blog.  I came across her blog a year or more ago, and the first I saw it, I spent hours rummaging through all of her old posts–from the beginning–because I loved her message so much and what her blog stands for.

As I’ve not come out and said this yet on the blog, 2013 is the year I will call “The Health Trials”,dumdumduuuuummmm…almost as though I’m in a life game, fencing with what ails me.  And because I’m me, I’m going to conquer and get answers!  My New Roots has been such a motivating factor in this plight.  Why is this?  It’s not because she herself–Sara Britton–has made overly confessional posts and twaddle about her life/food/health journey,  it’s because she focuses on diversity in the diet, cleanliness of our pallets–metaphorically–and bursts with helpful recipes that put into action her philosophies.  A woman who truly connects her bites!

Throughout my personal food journey, My New Roots has helped me keep perspective on my greater goals in the ‘food world’, and I cannot say enough about her bravery in reaching for what she wanted in the culinary world.

Enough about what I think, here are a couple of excerpts from her blog that you may find interesting–both are from her ‘fall’ section.

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Below you’ll see sample of A Brush With Health

Dry Skin Brushing is something I learned about last year as I was attending school for Holistic Nutrition. I had never heard of it before then, but the subject surfaced in several of my courses until curiosity got the better of me. Now, dry skin brushing it is part of my daily routine and from this simple act I have seen many positive changes take place…

The skin is the largest organ in the body, and is responsible for one-fourth of the body’s detoxification each day, also making it, one of the most important elimination organs. More than one pound of waste products are discharged through the skin every day! Toxins from everyday soaps, cleansers, antiperspirants / deodorants, lotions, cosmetics and synthetic fibers worn next to the skin, can gather beneath the skin’s surface and contribute to a variety of skin problems and conditions, as well as prevent the skin from breathing. If the skin becomes inactive with its pores chocked with millions of dead cells and chemical residues, then impurities will remain in the body. The other eliminative organs, mainly the kidneys and liver, will have to increase their labor and will eventually become overworked, thus eventually creating disease.

Read more HERE!

In this sample, Whole Food Thinking and Whole Plant Eating, Sarah focuses on eating the entire vegetable, a waste-free message I second!  Beet greens are delicious. 😀

My New Roots

My New Roots

Would it sound strange to buy sneakers without the laces, or a sandwich and throw away the bun? Well, it seems to be in this culture of ours, we’ve grown accustomed to eating just part of a whole food, and tossing away the parts that matter most. We peel our apples, we separate eggs into their respective white and yolk parts, we strip our grains of all their exterior nutrients to make pristine, white everything, and we lop the tops off our root vegetables. Stop the insanity!

Foods are whole for a reason – they are all perfect packages of well-balanced nutrition – designed that way for our benefit. Beets are a perfect example of this. Fortunately, this time of year, you can find them in their whole state, with the delicious green tops attached! It’s like getting two vegetables for the price of one! Here are some other vegetables that you can eat (gasp!) whole.

Read more HERE!

Also, my love and I are taking a vacation to New York and I hope to take hoards of photographs that I plan to share with all of you when I return.  Maybe I’ll even be stirred into yummy inspiration!  I’m more than thrilled at the thought of all the incredible food and food experiences that await us.

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Bite responsibly in the coming October, and I hope to give updates soon!

Healthy Regards,

RAM

 

Copyright 2013 Connect a Bite at www.connectabite.com

Welcome Autumnal Equinox

Good Evening Everyone,

I’ve missed posting for Connect a Bite terribly, but in my absence my love for this blog has grown stronger.  I’ve been a busy woman as of late, but that’s not what tonight’s post is all about.  Tonight I’d like to focus on the season of fall and this special time of year when the sun crosses over the equator and both our day and night are of equal length.  More than spring, for me, fall is a transformative time.  It’s a time for me to reflect on and understand my shortcomings but more importantly, a time to give my self the gift of accepting my accomplishments, even if they are modest.

Additionally, autumn is a time of great harvest and one of my favorite times of the year for vegetables.  I’m on the edge of my seat anticipating what our next CSA box will have in store for us–food nerd alert!  A lovely myriad of fall squashes and so much more.  In tonight’s post, I wanted to share with you the meal my love and I ate to celebrate this lovely transition in time.  Also, what follows are some visuals that display my romantic idea of the fall.

Southwest Black Bean Spaghetti Squash Bowls with Roasted Rosemary Red Potatoes

What was fun about this is being able to reuse the shell of the squash rather than dirtying up an extra dish.

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upcloseskettisquash copy

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…I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house. So I have spent almost all the daylight hours in the open air. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne, 10th October 1842

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As autumn is certainly the time of year we all face something we need to overcome, I have begun and hope to continue throughout the coming months a journey.  I hope to prepare and share many delicious and hearty meals, and bring my mind and body to a state of calm I can’t say I have felt all summer long.  I’m emboldened to make difficult choices and be confident and steadfast in them.  Yesterday was World Peace Day and World Gratitude Day and keeping this in mind I hope we can all thank the farmers and providers of the nourishing food we eat, to all of you I am immensely grateful.

Let me know what foods connect you most to the fall.  What will you be munching on in the coming months to help nourish your body through the coming chilly weather and shorter days?  And remember…bite responsibly!

Healthy Regards,

RAM

 

 

 

 

 

Gifs courtesy of:  laceywhispers

Podcast # 2: Cinema Cuisine: Italy – L’eclisse

Japanese B2 poster L'eclisse 1962

Hello All,

I’m very pleased to say that podcast #2 has happened!  That’s right, if you weren’t absolutely titillated after the first one then this one might help to get you more in the mood for a delicate intermixing of film and food.  Foreign Film Sunday (ffs), also known as Cinema Cuisine, has morphed into the type of occasion that can fall on whatever day is most forgiving with time and the day that allows for the most edits and polishing to occur.  Thanks for your patience in the transitioning.  I hope you enjoyed my introductory post with all of the recipes and my first ever FOOD RELATED VIDEO!!!  Please let me know what you think, and again, much gratitude and thanks to my sweet and talented love for all of his help and creativity.

Podcast HERE–> Cinema Cuisine Ep.2 – Italia

Some notes on Italian food culture:

  • Most beverages are typically enjoyed at room temperature as the Italians feel–and is often proven–this aids digestion. (Personally, I prefer all my drinks at room temperature. My love found this to be a bit more challenging.)
  • Multiple course meals are often followed up with coffee or espresso (Italian press was enjoyed with breakfast and after).
  • As simplicity and full flavor is often the goal in an authentic Italian meal, unless a strong sauce is being prepared–battuto, the starter to a dish wherein aromatics are used:  onions, carrots, celery, parsley, garlic, finely chopped–either onion or garlic are chosen for a dish, not both  (I tried to stick to this principle).
  • Creamy, garlic white sauces are often used on pizza and pasta dishes over red sauces. (I had so much fun creating this sauce).
  • Local, and seasonal produce is important when creating a meal (one of the most exciting aspects, for me).
  • Salad is a side dish, rarely a starter to a meal.
  • Typically each dish is served on a different plate. (We did not follow this tradition, as we would have been cleaning dishes until next year).
  • Primo (starter, rice or pasta), secondo (main course), contorno (side dish). (We enjoyed each of the dishes I prepared all at once rather than in stages with the exception of breakfast).
  • Breakfast is typically eaten around 11 and dinner is also enjoyed much later in the day (8 p.m.). (We ate earlier in the day).

l'eclisse

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This quote is still haunting me:

“Vittoria: Why do we ask so many questions? Two people shouldn’t know each other too well if they want to fall in love. But, then, maybe they shouldn’t fall in love at all.”

Somehow, I was entirely beguiled by the main protagonist, who spoke this line. It has resonated with me ever since.  As someone who has the tendency to look at the world with a relatively cynical view, I cannot question the love and devotion I have to my special someone. However, it does occur to me that before him, there were years of questioning and an incredulous nature that was hard to tame for awhile.  This film helped align my thoughts to the concept that those feelings or perceptions in our life that are left without sufficient closure on finality, leave us feeling as though we’re in a stagnant state of disbelief.  Vittoria seemed like this type of character to me.  Underlying naivety coupled with insecurity.    Perhaps that is why this quote sticks.  There’s discussion of institutions in the podcast, but something we–Matthew and I–neglected to remark on, is the more obvious fact that the film itself was displaying the institution of marriage of hearts to one another forever, and the credibility or likelihood of this happening with comfort and ease for everyone.  Moral concepts, we as humans, try to tattoo onto our culture and place precedence on, lose meaning when we–consequently–desecrate and participate in such institutions without a willing and bending heart.  Again, I speak to the idea of absolutes and their danger.  (See commentary in previous podcasts.)

What is more, our instinct for detachment in some aspects of our lives and–on an outside food related note–our detachment from our food and where it comes from is forgotten and ignored.  In turn, our general lethargy with consumption and the creativity that is necessary in the growth and preparation of all worlds of food is stunted.  Incidentally, the media doesn’t allow much room for empathy and seeing outside of ourselves to appreciate things.  What I mean to say is, our empathetic instincts are being muted because of societal entrenchment into technology and “moving forward”, rather than stopping to appreciate the present.  This is where we’re all flawed; our negligence to stand still and take in the beauty of our world whilst living in it.

l'eclisse

I hope this podcast helped stitch you in a little closer to the food world and it’s connection to another artistic medium.  Let me know you’re thoughts and critiques below.  And remember…bite responsibly!

Healthy Regards,

RAM

-featured gifs/jpg:  courtesy gelsominas, unpetitgateau, missavagardner