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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Eat Pretty (and be kind to others)

So. That inspiring book:

Eat Pretty: Nutrition for Beauty, Inside and Out by Jolene Hart.
It's no coincidence that this book dropped onto the shelves now and caught my eye, since one of the chapters begins, "If you're reading Eat Pretty for the first time, it may feel like your own personal spring; it's your moment of reinvention." Even though we usually make resolutions for the new year, it feel more natural to really work on them when the days are longer, the sunlight makes us feel more positive, and we want to take part in the rebirth that the Earth is experiencing too.
Eat Pretty is a three-part book: 1 explainins Hart's philosophy on beauty ("healthy vanity" is a really interesting concept she introduces,) 2 is a seasonal breakdown of foods available at what time and what they do for our bodies (with recipes,) and 3 is other ways to take care of yr body beyond feeding it well. The healthy vanity idea really made me do a double-take.
As someone who identifies as a feminist and a punk (among many other things) there have been numerous times in my life when I've made unhealthy, and even deliberately destructive choices to prove that I didn't care what anyone thought about me, or how I looked, or how I lived my life. To come across the idea that being "vain," something most children are taught is a vice or that old school feminists have declared irresponsible or not serious enough, can be a positive choice was enlightening and a bit of a relief. I suppose I knew that already, but it's nice to have reminders. Hart writes, "Our appearance shapes the way we feel about ourselves - and that reflects in our confidence, in our decision-making, in our overall joy, even in the way we treat others." We need to learn to love ourselves before it becomes second nature to be kind to others (including other animals!)
I appreciate that Hart isn't pushing beauty products on us, nor is she insisting on a standard of beauty, and I highly doubt that she secretly works for the asparagus lobby. ("Get 'em hooked, and good!")  She also definitely keeps it real:"There are no overnight miracles. If you expect to wake up with hair that has grown silky-smooth overnight after eating half of a butternut squash, you'll miss the point." Her idea is that everyone is already beautiful; we just need to treat our bodies the way they deserve. It sounds hokey, I guess, but it's true.
Anyway, Hart then goes on to list the top "Beauty Betrayers:" alcohol, caffeine, sugar, meat, processed foods, etc. Personally, my biggest indiscretion is my sweet tooth - followed by caffeine, I guess. I don't usually drink more than a cup of coffee a day, but I do drink a lot of tea as well.
How have I been trying to incorporate Hart's healthier suggestions?

Non-caffeinated teas. I still drink a cup of coffee in the morning for now, though! (As Gena says on Choosing Raw, "add first; subtract later.") Yogi and Traditional Medicinal teas are always favorites. A lot of these I had already, but I've stocked up on nettle leaf and roasted dandelion root teas. Nettle is good for allergies, roasted dandelion root is a liver detoxifyer, ginger tea helps with digestion and inflammation, peppermint relieves stress. At the bottom is a laxative tea, which I use mostly during cleanses. Not shown are my caffeinated teas or raspberry leaf tea, which "supports the female system" aka helps with menstrual cramping and regulates one's periods.

Nettle leaf tea infusion. I left this out on the fire escape overnight for the blood moon lunar eclipse! Drank it today with some lemon juice and stevia. It was really delicious and refreshing. Surprisingly so.

Brazil nuts, which contain selenium (a necessary mineral - it maintains skin elasticity and protects against free radicals)

Coconut yogurt with goji berries, blackberries, oats, and walnuts. Antioxidants, selenium, zinc, healthy digestive bacteria...

This is one of the recipes in the Spring section of the book: Lemony Beauty Smoothie. It has watercress, lemon, and parsley in it, among other things. All very detoxifying. I never buy watercress! It lent a slight pepperyness to the smoothie, but it was light and creamy and slightly sweet too. Really good.

How to use up more watercress: in a salad with endive, lentils, onion, and olives.
I have also stopped eating sweets for the most part, besides plain dark chocolate, fruit, and dates.
There's one other Spring recipe from the book that I want to make. Hopefully I'll get to that soon, and hopefully I'll continue making the other recipes through their respective seasons, or at least incorporating more of the beautifying (and otherwise good for keepin yr body working well) ingredients into my diet. If nothing else, it'll make me expand my produce horizons.
This is not really a vegetarian cookbook: I think there are a couple fish recipes and some with eggs but it is primarily gluten-, dairy-, and meat-free. In any case, there's a ton of great information about the wonders of vegetables!
It's recommended for sure. In case that wasn't apparent.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Testing Teasers

I said I'd have a book review today for you but G borrowed my camera for a video game convention this weekend so I didn't make any recipes or get into the book as much as I'd have liked to. Soon, though.
Today, instead, I have a couple photos from a test cookbook in the works from Jess at Cupcakes and Kale! I love her pretty website and delicious recipes so I'm really excited for the cookbook itself to come out. Luckily for me the recipes so far have been mostly conducive to the healthier eating habits I'm trying to adopt:

Greens and Broccoli Quiche. Really good. I shared this with Greg for a return from the convention brunch. Apparently the food video gamers eat is abysmal. Who'da thunk? Oh, wait. (P.S. here is a comic he made for the convention.)

                                            Quick pickles - I made a gingery variation
And on the slightly more decadent side:
Cinnamon-Zucchini waffles. It's been a long time since I've made waffles (the iron was at G's - and we quickly remembered what a hassle it is to clean) so I was afraid these wouldn't turn out too well, but they came out well. Served with maple syrup and blackberries.
Can't wait for the next round of testing.
And since I wasn't able to take any photos of Haxan doing all the adorable things she did this weekend, here instead is a photo of a pin G got me at the convention. Bub!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Spring Cleaning out my Insides

I've been more determined to eat healthier lately because the weather is warming and meals can be raw and sunshine or something yadda yadda but also because of an inspiring new book, which I'll get to in the next post. Til then:

Sunflower seed pate from Kristen's Raw (no longer a raw, vegan website, but still with occasional vegan recipes) in endive leaves with tomatoes, bell pepper, carrots, and zucchini. Why do I not stuff endive leaves more often?

Kinda-raw miso soup: kale, carrot ribbons, zucchini noodles, onion, seaweed, and spices in warm miso broth.
Good stuff.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Breakfasts Lately

The most important AND often most delicious meal of the day:

                        banana on its last legs, GF toast with Earth Balance and apricot jam

Soaked overnight oats with coconut flakes, cacao nibs, and protein powder. Seems like I added a little too much liquid.

Vegan pineapple-coconut muffin from a cafe/sandwich place in the hood, Norma's. The flavor was nice but a little too greasy and airy for my tastes. Points for vegan baked goods, though.

Beet-berry smoothie with strawberries, kale, frozen banana, and protein powder added.

Monday, April 7, 2014

FOOD FRIENDZ pt. 3: We Take over the Lower East Side

Alicia is technically an old friend of G's, but she had been living in Austin, TX (though she is originally from Long Island) for the last five years. Had that not been the case, I feel like we would be old pals by now since we kinda run with the same crew and are pretty similar. Although, since we are so weird and awkward and similar, maybe we would never have met and become friends but just stayed in our respective homes living parallel lives playing with our respective pets and making zines. But that was not the case! Now she's here and we're gonna make zines together. Some day. Today we just did the hang out thing.
I met Alicia on the Lower East Side today (serendipitously and sorta spontaneously both our day off,) where we met at Cake Shop (music venue/vegan cafe/record store/apparently pretty chill hang place during the daytime.) We looked at records. Then we sorta roamed until we found some coffee at Tiny's Giant Sandwich Shop. The menu looked pretty good and very vegan-friendly (plus, you were able to swap out any chicken for tofu chicken) but we just talked over a latte first:

This was really well made AND they used almond milk! I was really happy to find a place that has a non-soy non-dairy latte option! And so pretty. It was .50 cents extra for almond milk, but some places do that for soy too - I'm not sure if Tiny's does. Greg might have something to say about that, but I just found it too enjoyable to care.
We wandered some more, with a stop at Bluestockings Bookstore (also in the linked post above, and which I always have to visit when I'm in the area) and since it was raining, just jumped over to Two Boots on 3rd and A.

This was an Earth Mother slice - a thick crust, tomato sauce, spinach, peppers, onion, and garlic. It wasn't as good as the V for Vegan slice I got last time - kinda more bread than vegetables - but it was filling and pretty cheap.
Annnddd to finish the day, Peanut Chews, still the best deal in town:

                    (Especially when you buy them bulk by the pound at Economy Candy!!!)
Then Alicia went home to walk the dawgs and I came home to write about it. Yes, this is the beginning of a beautiful foodfreindzship.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Odds & Ends

Here's some food. I guess we can see that tomatoes are getting better as the season nears:

Cooked millet, raw sunflower seeds, red onion, spinach, tomato, roasted beets, hummus dressing

                                               red onion, tomato, chopped fresh dill
                           + toasted mini bagel, Tofutti cream cheese, and black pepper =
               Cute and delicious. I had two. They really were mini bagels, ya gotta believe me.
Greg kindly brought me a sparkling jasmine tea ginger ale. It was a little too sweet for me, but nicely flavored.
Here's a kale salad:

                Raw kale, onion, bell pepper, tomato, avocado, black beans, red pepper flakes.
Here's how I ate the lentil-beet burger:

                                             Bunless, yes, but with ketchup and mustard.

                                 I blame Shen for this addiction, but I can't say I regret it.

                                                    Some things will never change.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Spring Clean Out the Pantry Time

The other night, my roommate threw a Twin Peaks Black Lodge birthday party in our apartment:

Looks pretty cool, right? It wasn't bad but I am not a super social person (surprise surprise!) and started getting sort of anxious with all the people and noise in my apartment and with the BLACK LODGE VIBES and then the roof of my room started leaking because it was raining and ahhh I just got really stressed out.
So today I cleaned (like I do most Mondays) and sage-smudged the apartment (to dispel leftover bad spirits) and welcomed Spring cleaning in other aspects too. Like the kitchen.
Clean out the freezer smoothie:

Smoothies are easier than stir-fries for me: I never have sad, must-use, leftover vegetables in the fridge because I eat them before that happens. But somehow the freezer gets stuffed with forgotten bananas, frozen fruits, nuts, and other things (like a huge bag of vegetable scraps I meant to make soup with, but will probably just compost.)
Anyway, this smoothie had frozen collards, frozen pineapple, frozen banana, coconut flakes, flax seed, spirulina, ginger, and water. It tasted slightly flat, probably from the freezer-burned pineapple but whatever.
This is the pantry stuff to work through, plus black beans (now soaking) and brown rice (5 lbs.)

Chickpeas, Israeli couscous, rolled oats, millet, and lentils.
The lentils and brown rice went into something that I should have made a bazillion times already: PPK's Quarter Pounder Beet Burgers. I like lentils, I like beets, and usually have them both, so.

I baked them rather than cook them in a skillet, and used mustard rather than dry mustard powder, but otherwise I followed the directions exactly. They held together very well (Andy); they only look a little crumbly mostly because I didn't oil the baking sheet.
The Israeli couscous went in a simple grain salad sorta thing for tomorrow's lunch:

cous cous cooked with FAKE saffron, drained + cooled, thrown with zucchini, bell pepper, raw sunflower seeds, onion, and kalamata olives. Plus lemon juice, black pepper, and tahini. No fresh herbs, I wish I had some.
Anticipate lots of oatmeal, guys.