As some of you may have noticed, my website was down for a bit, but now I’m up and running with a new, temporary look, and a brand new look to come in the new year! Here are a few pics, take a peek.
1) The crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia) blooms are everywhere with their inflorescence.
2) This hook. It helps keep this lovely wooden cleaning brush in its place.
3) Happy sign in our kitchen corner.
4) The texture of this quinoa.
5) When you have a lot of hair and your cooking, tuck it out of the way, nobody likes long hairs in their food. Try a messy chignon! (Mine is especially messy, but you get the point.)
I hope you all have had a wonderful week and a fun weekend! Let me know if you have any suggestions for blog topics and what you’ve been up to in relation to food. And remember…bite responsibly!
There are many reasons to look forward to certain days of the week, but Thursday’s are special around our house because we pick up our packed CSA box–and I mean packed–with an array of veggies and fruits to kick-start new ideas for recipes. This winter we have been fortunate to receive some of my favorite veggies and fruits all in one box, and I thought I could share our abundance of yummies with you–in recipe form–in this fleeting winter season.
My favorite meals usually involve a bowl. There is something incredibly comforting about food in a bowl to me. Perhaps I channel back to the feeling of being a child and picking the biggest concave basin to eat my cereal from, with loads of milk and never the worry of a spill or splash. In my opinion, bowls are where it’s at! With this dish, I decided to work with layers, which I feel gives more depth to the flavors and textures touching your palette. Like I previously mentioned, I was working with veggies directly from our CSA box, thus it did most of the menu planning for me.
I get in a bit of a rut with root veggies, and though I know there are a myriad of things to do with them, I typically end up preparing one or two variations because I’m in a time bind, but this week I wanted to mix it up a hint. I decided to make a sauce with the beets to create a colorful backdrop to the remainder of the dish. I allowed myself the joy of slowing down.
What’s wonderful about this recipe is that it’s an ‘everyday’ kind of meal. It’s not as sexy as some of the gourmet delicacies you’ll find out there, but what it is, is realistic and relative to the time and availability of what you might have hanging out in your fridge or produce baskets this time of year (at least in the states).
You could eat the dish in layers or mix it all together, but this is not a dish for the faint of heart as it’s bursting with lively flavor and swimming in immaculate texture.
I suggest eating this meal with friends or a loved one, that way you can share in the bounty and casual nature of the dish. Kick back with little prep and effort for table arrangement and enjoy it with your favorite record or even this Songza playlist –> An Ipanema of the Mind. Yes, I’m hooked on Songza.
From a before dinner drink to the entrée, I hope you enjoy!
Grapefruit Ginger Fizzy
- 1 25.4 fl. oz Topo Chico or any mineral water
- 1 inch grated ginger
- 1 to 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
- juice of 4 grapefruits
- 3 or 4 drops liquid stevia (if you want it sweeter, I prefer mine more tart so I leave this out)
- After juicing your grapefruits, pour the liquid through a sieve and catch the liquid in a wide-mouth container–this will catch any extra pulp or seeds that may have slipped through into the juice (or leave it behind if you like pulpy juice)
- Now, pour the juice into a large pitcher
- Add remaining ingredients and stir
- Now, add the mineral water
- Stir or shake if you have a lid
- Chill and sip in your favorite glass before and after your big bowl of veggies!
I have always enjoyed grapefruit, it is one of my favorite citrus fruits and I am always very happy when it comes in season because it adds a nice addition to my daily eats! Fresh grapefruit or grapefruit juice would be ideal to start your days or begin your meals in the winter as it helps to detoxify your liver, alkalize your body and give your metabolism a boost. Additionally, it is loaded with vitamins and minerals and will help with reducing and preventing fevers.
Bountiful Winter Bowl
- 1 cup quinoa (rinsed & soaked)
- 2 cups water
- generous pinch of salt
- small bundle of beets – about 4 (cleaned, peeled and boiled until tender; reserve beet greens for another time)
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp annatto powder
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/4-1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (optional)
- 2 or 3 cloves garlic (more if you’re a garlic hound like me)
- handful of parsley (flat leaf or curly; minced)
- 2 glugs of extra virgin olive oil (2 tbsp)
- salt to taste
- 1 bundle of your favorite greens in season (I’m using curly kale; pull leaves off stem, massage and rip into small pieces, soak and rinse, then salad spin to remove excess water)
- 1/2 yellow onion (thinly sliced into strips)
- 2 or 3 glugs of grapeseed oil (2 or 3 tbsp)
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (or to taste, in ‘pours’)
- splash or 2 of red wine (whatever kind you have on hand, the higher quality the better the taste)
- 2 hefty pinches of red pepper flakes
- salt to taste
- 4 medium sweet potatoes (cleaned and cut into 1/4 inch half-moons; cut off the dimples or where dirt has sunken in)
- 5 or 6 small to medium carrots (cleaned and cut into half-moons)
- 2 glugs of extra virgin olive oil (2 tbsp)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 cup walnut pieces (there will be some leftover)
- 1 avocado (one half for each person you’re serving; thin slices)
- Preheat oven to 400ºF
- Place the cut sweet potatoes and carrots into a medium mixing bowl and cover with a couple of glugs of olive oil, salt and black pepper; mix well with clean hands
- Spread mixture over two baking sheets so the veggies are not touching; bake for 20 to 30 minutes, flipping half-way through
- Once veggies are in the oven, after rinsing and soaking, pour the quinoa into a medium saucepan and add water and a pinch of salt
- Cover and bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook for 15 or 20 minutes
- Fluff quinoa with fork
- While quinoa is cooking, in another saucepan, place beets in water to boil until they are tender to a fork (15-20 minutes)
- Place beets, paprika, onion powder, annatto powder, lemon juice, 2 or 3 garlic cloves, olive oil and salt into blender and blend until smooth
- Cover quinoa with beet sauce and distribute throughout; add minced parsley and feel free to add unsweetened almond milk for a creamier sauce or add water or more olive oil if mixture becomes dry; re-heat on low and cover to keep warm until remainder of dish is prepared
- In deep skillet over medium heat, add 2 or 3 glugs of olive oil until it flows like water over the bottom of the pan
- Add onion strips and cook until browned but not fully caramelized (7 or 8 minutes)
- Begin to place handfuls of kale into skillet and stir with tongs until greens are bright but not soggy (1 or 2 minutes)
- Now, add your splashes of apple cider vinegar and red wine until you hear a crashing and cracking sound–it should be a loud roar; continue to mix greens making sure to not burn, and then sprinkle with salt and red pepper flakes and remove from heat
- In a dry skillet, over medium heat, place walnuts and toast until a light golden brown; take care not to burn
- NOW, to assemble the delicious bowl, in this order bottom to top: wilted kale and caramelized onion mixture, quinoa with beet sauce, roasted veggies, toasted walnuts (by eye), avocado slices
- Enjoy every bite!
*This should serve approximately 2 to 4 people depending on portion sizes
Quinoa, no longer the ‘It’ grain, is still ‘It’ at our abode. It’s a full-source protein with a delightful nutty flavor and a fluffy light texture that absorbs flavor well. The perfect grain to use for heavier sauces like this one, the semi-bitter undertones of quinoa are offset by the sweet and mildly tangy flavor of the beets and the umami of the garlic. There are many exceptional qualities about this meal nutritionally, but take care in knowing you’ll be very satisfied and sated afterward.
Let me know what you think of the recipes and what type of creations you’re coming up with at the close of this season. And remember…bite responsibly!
Yummy and grateful regards,
Check out more kitchen letters here!
As mentioned in my previous post, today’s post will involve what I’ve eaten for the past 28+ days, and why–more importantly–the way I have eaten has changed both my digestive/overall health, and how it has changed my perspective on my old consumption habits and the way I plan meals. A little perspective; if you did not happen to catch my last post, something I focused on was listening to your body in a very pure way, hearing out the good and the bad. Moreover, those messages our body is sending us have the tendency to surface in a myriad of ways, and more than likely the pattern we hold in our eating behaviors are a primary contributing factor. Now, keeping all of this in mind, we must consider the degree to which we are conditioned by our previous eating habits based on type, texture and combinations on the plate.
More than anything, what I’ve come to understand (although, perhaps I had fooled myself into thinking I already understood) is a couple of things. Nobody’s body is the same. Duh, right? One woman’s naughty meal is another woman’s normal. I’ve discovered that anything that even ranges close to what’s ‘normal’ for most is not going to fly with my body, but I’m finally okay with this. I uncovered that I too was still a victim of ideals about food combining and texture seeking, when I thought I was immune to those feelings that I once felt. Hedonism is a part of daily life for most human beings, but hedonism in regards to food is an epidemic that’s out of control in many ways. But who am I to judge, right? Thus, from day one of the cleanse, my diet became EVEN MORE restrictive, if that’s even possible (news flash: it is), and I was a mad grumpalump. “Why is something(food) I love and enjoy so much, my enemy? I feel like I’m in a bad gastronomy epic poem that will never end. OH WOE IS ME!” After my incessant self-pity party, I did a wompledywomp dance (my husband has introduced this into our lives when we’re in a funk) and I saw past the culinary blocks I was putting up.
As the days whooshed by, I began to see more clearly what was going on; my body was happier with the way I was eating. It really needed a break from some of the food items I was consuming regularly. What I noticed? The portion size of my meals was entirely skewed, the pace at which I was eating was inconsistent, I was going on auto-pilot and I wasn’t really getting in touch with where MY body was coming from. Yeah, that’s right, chatting my body up. :p Some of you may find this to be ridiculously hokey, please…tell me your thoughts, but I feel quite sure my body was on its soap box with me.
Okay, so finally to the part where I explain what exactly I was eating. Before I do (yes, there’s more exposition), I want to reiterate something I state often on my blog; everyone’s body is different. This is about an outlook, not a formula, so please don’t interpret my experience for a formula. Basically I ate vegetables, fruits and fats (coconut oil, olive, and grape seed oil) with lentils (the only legume I ate next to peas), and brown rice (the only grain I was consuming)…yes rice. :/ I avoided anything processed, soy, corn, gluten, sugars (refined, not natural like fruit), nuts, seeds and other oils. I think that covers it, but I may be leaving something out. Basically, I gave up any typical control I would have, and I let my acupuncture specialist be my guide. This, too, was emotionally cleansing. Now I’m to the part where my perspective started to change. I began to feel GREAT, and I was completely satisfied by my meals. Everything but vegetables was secondary, which is something I don’t think I had ever 100% invested myself in, prior to this detox. I didn’t feel deprived or miserable and I still don’t!
With love and support, I’ve been given the gift of a new perspective on eating, a perspective I couldn’t have gotten by reading another person’s blog, book, or op-ed piece. Nor do I expect or wish for any of you to gain this enlightenment from my blog post. I hope only to instill some positivity into the journey you might be taking, and I aim to be a sounding board for questions and concerns you may have about resources for what you’re going through.
Here are a couple of sample meals:
This was a busy Sunday meal (post cleanse, but representative of how I was eating during):
My favorite part; the perfection that was this grapefruit. It came from the SFC’s downtown farmers’ market. We picked up this lovely gem (that is the grapefruit) from an older gentleman and a young lady who were only selling citrus at a small stand. I scooped away at it with an antique grapefruit spoon my grandmother gave me. I couldn’t resist; grapefruit is one of my most favorite treats. What you will notice behind this yummy pink citrus bliss, is a salad of many colors. It’s loaded up with red leaf lettuce, baby spinach, red bell pepper chunks, garlic stuffed olives, an avocado (yep, the whole thing), and some roasted garnet yam chunks. Then, I topped it off with a homemade dressing, and I was off. Chow-down city.
Hooked on avocado and squash! What you see is half of a roasted acorn squash with mildly wilted lacinato kale and a long grain brown rice medley of garlic, onion, red bell pepper, herbs and spices, all topped with 1/2 an avocado.
Finally, I know transitions of any type are often vexing to some degree, and it is my intention with each blog post to help make your food connections and transitions a little less vexing. Thanks for reading…and remember, bite responsibly.
Mistakes. We all make them, in fact I can’t imagine a life without them, yet at what point are we not avoiding them like a bad romcom? So much of our life revolves around eating, eating and more eating. I mean, the one major legally obliged break a person gets at any place of work–in America–is a ‘lunch’ break. It’s often touted that breakfast is the most important meal of the day–again a comment of the routine of the day beginning with food, eating! What are most people looking forward to or for some dreading when they go home after a typical 8-5 job? Dinner. Eating, eating, eating! I shall save my food traditions and habits bit for another post and bring it back around to…shudder, mistakes.
Considering our magnetism to making them, shh (whispers) mistakes, how could we possibly avoid making them when it comes to eating and our food habits? More importantly, are they necessarily a bad thing?
It is my understanding–and a nice helping of wisdom from my paternal grandmother–that we have the ability to learn from those situations in life where we place error, but it is our choice to make the change. I think our life in relationship to food very much follows this rule.
Whether you’re following a strict regimented diet or you are the type of person who eats ‘whatever, whenever’, food can weigh on our minds with a heavy cloud of guilt. I’m of the opinion that there are enough stressors in life, food should not be one of them. Eating and sharing sweet nourishment with your loved ones is something we should all cherish and give thanks for, not fret, nitpick and gobble down without a thought. That being said, awareness is not handed to us with a pretty bow wrapped around it and an encouraging note. Awareness is something we have to work toward and strive for with honesty and trust in who we are and our ability to make thoughtful decisions.
This is where things can get a little rough. Sometimes when making those thoughtful, and what one thinks are altruistic choices, there is unsightly, hidden suffering that lingers. That suffering can lend to stressors and self-doubt about one’s food choices and decisions. Would you consider this a mistake?
Maybe I’m still being too ambiguous, yes? Let me give you an example. I’ve been eating quinoa since 2008 at least and lately it’s a staple of my diet. I buy it with thought trying to pick it up in bulk so as to waste less. I buy organic –which I’ve discovered most quinoa is organic even if not labeled as so–to avoid pesticides and chemicals that can easily creep into the chenophod ‘s exterior. I take care in preparing it properly by soaking it first, and I dine in appreciation of its incredible nutritive properties. But like with so many foods, I am discovering a dark side. Yesterday I read this article on the Times website that made me throw my hands into the air and sigh with defeat. My consumption of quinoa is both helping and hurting many people and creatures in a horrendous way. And to add insult to injury it’s being turned into a commodity–quinoa vodka, cola, etc… (See article for more details). Could my acquirement of quinoa from yesterday forward be classified as a mistake? Am I consciously going to be contributing to myriad of negative situations so I can enjoy a bite of complete healthy protein? I’ve been wracking my brain about this situation since yesterday afternoon.
This brings up my next point, what truly is cruelty free, vegan? Can we not, each of us, try to do the best that we can to cause as little harm as possible? Is everything rooted in hedonism?
Sorry for the excessive hypotheticals, but there are a lot of questions to be answered. Do I have all the answers? No. I’m stuck. The truth is, living in American society, in a city nonetheless, it’s next to impossible to live a life where your purchases and choices won’t potentially harm some being.
Simply put, do the best that you can. I don’t mean try to do the best you can, but really make the consorted effort to choose a life of connectedness and awareness. Then, you can’t look back on your life’s resolutions wondering what you could have done better. Personally, I don’t think anyone wears regret well, I say avoid it. Own the choices you make, move forward and understand you will make mistakes. Life will feel much simpler knowing you aren’t perfect.
And remember…bite as responsibly as you possibly can.
As most recipes are planned out with precision, I find it very difficult to EVER truly follow a step-by-step list of directions and ingredients. Most typically I look at recipes for inspiration, ideas and a tad-bit of direction. That being said, last weekend I made these fresh yummy wraps that I’d like to share with all of you because I didn’t follow a recipe I just gathered a few tips online. I’d like to share my product and yes, a bit of a directional list. What’s great about this recipe, if you’d even call it that, is it coincides perfectly with my last post about being ‘spatially challenged’ in the kitchen.
As with most of my ‘recipes’ I am going to simply put estimates of product, but for the most part I will simply list the ingredients I used. Enjoy!!
Killer Collard Wraps
(for 1 person)
Now what you’ll need to do is fold in the vertical end of the wrap where the stems end and then tuck in the horizontal end nearest your body and squish in the wrap contents. Now fold in the other vertical end and complete the wrap process. It’s generally like making a burrito, except you’re using green leaves. In retrospect I should have taken pictures of how I wrapped it.
I hope you enjoy these wraps as much as I do. I don’t think sticking to the vegetables I used is a must. I would use whatever you have available and what is freshest at your local market. Make the wrap your own and share with me different methods you’ve approached with making yummy vegetable wraps. I would love to hear from you!
Don’t forget to masticate every bite because digestion begins in the mouth. Crazy right?! Have a lovely first weekend of spring! =^_____________^=
And remember…bite responsibly.
This weekend I began thinking about food preparation from all aspects. Rather, what it actually takes to live in such a way where you are relatively sustainable in the kitchen and how one can imbue the importance of self-sufficiency onto others. In the same token, I am not under the illusion that everyone I meet enjoys cooking, execution of food readiness, or the many facets that are involved in pre-consumption, as much as I do. There are many challenges to be faced when it comes to involving oneself directly with meal planning and preparation, so I thought I would narrow down some of the main tasks I try to accomplish every weekend to ease my weekday duties. Granted, when you have a busy schedule these tips are key, but they may not be as necessary for those who have a free-flowing schedule. Additionally, the incongruous nature of a small ‘kitchen’ space or lack of kitchen gadgets can be frustrating and stifling, so I’d like to touch on this as well and offer a few helpful tips. So, as Mario says…”HERE WE GOOO!”
(These are in no particular order)
I know this list may perhaps come off as very obvious for some, but I hope it is a helpful guide for others. Also, know that the above mentioned ideas are not exhaustive and whenever I come up with new tips, I will post them.
Let me know if you have any questions or comments. I am more than happy to produce personalized detailed plans for any individual upon request.
And remember…bite responsibly.
Healthy and Spacious Regards,
Food is fantastic. I enjoy cooking more than most other tasks, but there are occasions where the love and I both just aren’t feeling the cooking vibe. Perhaps it’s because of over-strained schedules or maybe even a true lack of ambition and creativity that day to come up with a fully nutritious and tasty meal. And though I try very hard to always have my freezer prepared for just these moments, this doesn’t always happen. More importantly, when a bout of supineness kicks in I like knowing there are products I can support that are both quality, conscious and convenient.
Let me begin my first food review with Hilary’s Eat Well veggie burgers because, well…I just ate one last night. Though I’ve tried these burgers once before, and it’s rare that I like something MORE the second time around, these burgers are tasty to the max!
Veggie Burger Breakdown:
My First and Final Impressions and Reflections:
Take Away: So much of our daily routines are centered around eating. I say in recognition of our bodies and their connection to nature, pay attention to where your food comes from and choose Hilary’s Eat Well veggie burger when you’re in a bind. Acknowledge that each aspect of this nourishment comes full-circle with green and cruelty-free commitments.
And remember…bite responsibly!
We as human beings do not feel SUPERCALIFRAGILISTICEXPIALIDOCIOUS—as the late Robert B. Sherman said and his brother Richard M. Sherman—100% of the time. Rather our body’s many functioning properties are more like that of a statistical sine wave, but maybe with frequency increasing, so those waves occur more and more frequently until we cannot remember the last time we felt ‘normal’. In fact for many, ‘normal’ is not as ‘normal’ does—to play off of the ever-popular Forest Gump. What is recognized as a normal state-of-being for many people has become so mangled and botched that societies’ vision has acquired cataracts, and we are forced to surgically diminish the cloudy covering over our collective eyes. Yes, our bodies are like fantastic warm-blooded machines and yes we’re capable of feeling better than we do! REALLY!
An associate said something to me this morning that inspired me to write today’s post. But first, a modicum of back-story is in order. The typical office environment has the tendency to lend itself to rolling spouts of sickness. Sickness of all types, but sickness nonetheless. My office is no exception, and thus I will continue with the commentary. The aforementioned individual stated—she has a cold presently—(and I paraphrase) that “it’s astounding that humans have discovered how to split the most itsy-bitsy (does that even cover it?) particle called an atom, yet we’ve yet to truly discover a ‘cure’ to the common cold,” and then my mind was racing. I started to envision what she meant. I think maybe I had an Ally McBeal moment or something similar because I could see the germs attacking people at Starship Troopers size proportions, and these very stoic calm scientists and engineers huddled to indeed split the atom…I digress.
When I began to think of any person—with all of our many resources—resigning her or himself to the notion that a cold could overtake their life, it bugged me. Not that this is what my coworker was doing, but many do. The reason there is no direct ‘cure’ is because we have the power to avoid getting a cold a great majority of the time. Then I started to realize that I too feel a little crummy sometimes, perhaps not in relation to an ‘illness’ per-say, but we all become downtrodden occasionally for an assortment of reasons. Next I thought, if all of the above is true, then why add to the misery by stuffing our bodies full of toxic to semi-toxic and gangly foods and over-the-counter drugs?!
Answer: We do not!
Thereby, I have decided to use what could be taken as a negative chain of thoughts and turn them positive. I have brewd up a list of some happy foods, that can make you feel great, potentially cleanse and even enable a dash of indulgence because let’s be straight, when we’re feeling blue, we all need a little sugar in our bowls…both types :p —thank you Nina Simone.
I would like to call this list (note I often create new words/names) my…
-If you’re feeling a sweet tooth coming on, try adding a bit of Stevia, it’s herbal and for those watching their
waistline it’s calorie free.
-Also, I like to drink lemon water first thing in the morning to boost my body’s happy cleansing properties.
-If you are feeling especially yucktastic, try peeling about an inch or so of fresh ginger root and cutting it into
chunks add a few sprinkles of cayenne and stevia to sweeten.
-Choose gf to minimize clogging your body’s intestines with sticky gluten paste.
-The coconut oil works wonders for reducing stress, and boosting our thyroid along with many other wonderful
benefits all thanks to lauric acid.
-If making them yourself is not an option, though I highly recommend trying Hail Merry treats.
-You have probably heard it before, but it never hurts to hear it again, chocolate contains magnificent party
down antioxidants that are ever-present to help rescue our body from the oxidizing invaders that age us and
make us feel lumpy. Yep, lumpy—I’m not talking Lumpy Princess either. The part most forget is the cacao
must be raw in order to reap its full benefits; again, too many wonderful aspects of this product to list them all.
-For those who question protein in a vegetable-based diet, question no more.
-Quinoa is in fact a complete protein all on its own.
-Avocado is a lustrous fat that will plump your skin and make your hair sheen.
-Garlic loves fighting bacteria and charges your immunal functions. Delicious too!
-If you’re native to TX, try raw pecan butter.
-Celery acts as a diuretic (water retention issues anyone?) and adds that crunch you crave.
-Try adding cayenne for the extra immune body charge
-Oxygen and alkalizing!
All right, of course this list is not exhaustive, but it’s a beginning for everyone, and I hope it is helpful and doable. I will post recipes and explanations soon.
Keep a few more things in mind:
I hope today’s post helps everyone, and you’re able to kick that ick!
And remember…bite responsibly.
Healthy & Happy Regards,