Eat: Zingy Dressing

Last week, I was on the phone with one of my best friends (I realize that makes no sense, since best implies one, but just go with it, okay?) and she asked me if I had any ideas for zucchini.  Of course my favorite way to eat zucchini popped into mind and I sent her Health Bent‘s Paleo Pad Thai.  In return, she sent me a dressing recipe.

Now, you must know, I hate dressing.  It’s seems like a lot of work and extra calories.  (I’m not one of those skinny minnies for the record…just trying to justify my laziness when it comes to making dressing.)  Plus, why eat salad if you have drench it in dressing to make it edible.  That just boggles my mind.

Rants aside, this dressing recipe changed my mind.  The recipe is for a full salad, but you know me, I barely follow the rules.  Given that I didn’t have some of the ingredients and I don’t eat peanuts, I made a bunch of substitutions.  So below is my version of the recipe.

Zingy Dressing

inspired by Food 52’s Lacinato Kale and Mint Salad with Peanut Dressing
  • 3 Tablespoons Almond Butter (I used Justin’s Maple Almond Butter)
  • 3 Tablespoons room temperature water
  • 3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon honey (this is my friend’s substitution and optional)
  • 1 Tablespoon wheat free Tamari
  • 1-2 cloves of smashed/minced garlic
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of fresh minced ginger (peel first please)
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)

Mix all the ingredients together and pour over your salad of choice.

My version was actually a bit of an accident because I read the original recipe wrong.  So you’ll see a lot more ginger and garlic in my version.  I’ve also forgotten to put the honey in and it’s a lot more zingy.  In fact my sister and I prefer the honey free version.  We get enough sweetness from the maple part of the almond butter that we have.  Finally, I have a tendency to just approximate and throw together what I remember from memory.  Tastes good every time.

Final note, I think that blitzing all the ingredients together in a blender would make the dressing extra creamy.  I haven’t tried this one yet, but there is a thought for you. (Edit: The original instructions say to make the dressing in a blender…I did not read carefully the first time around…so, not such an original idea.)

I love that this dressing is all sorts of good ingredients thrown together in a tasty drizzle worthy dressing.

Enjoy!

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Dine: Sabrina’s Cafe Philadelphia

Oh my goodness, I am sooooo full. Just ate a magnificent platter of huevos rancheros with sweet potato fries on the side at Sabrina’s Cafe and Spencer’s Too in Philadelphia.20130616-105315.jpg

This place was recommended by the front desk and apparently there are multiple locations. Well, not knowing that, I walked another mile to one of their more established locations. If you know anything about summer down here then you’ll know that it was getting to be a hot and sticky walk despite the fact that it was still pretty early when I set out for my jaunt. In any case, this is what happens when you don’t get enough sleep and can’t catch a nap because the hotel can’t check you in early.

What really seals the deal at this wonderfully cute, relaxed, and tasty cafe is the fact that they have real whipped cream! And the wonderful girl waiting on me gave me a huge dollop in a cup so I could add it to my coffee. The coffee is pretty good straight, too, but real whipped cream! I could have eaten the whipped cream straight out of that cup and forgotten about coffee altogether. Only problem is that this girl needs some caffeine after a tossing and turning all night and a very early morning flight.20130616-105324.jpg

So ladies and gents, if you come to Philly, this is where to eat. If you come solo or even as a pair, you can sometimes skip the line and eat at the bar!

Happy Father’s Day everyone! Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday with their families!

Eat: Green Smoothie

I don’t know when the last time I wrote a blog post was.  It’s been a while.  A good long while.  In that span of a while, a lot of things have happened, but nothing productive that I wanted to happen really happened.  Life has been chaotic and I feel like I’ve been dragged around by life rather than my being in control of my life.  I suppose we’re not always in control, but I feel better when I think I’m in control of what’s going on.

Stress has a way of making me lose my appetite.  Food hasn’t been all that appealing and I’ve definitely gone to sleep a few nights this past week without eating dinner.  Tonight, my solution to this problem was to make a green smoothie.  I was inspired by this recipe: Ginger and Spinach Green Smoothie.  Check out the link for beautiful photos of a what sounds like a very tasty green smoothie.  I didn’t take any photos of mine.

I made some changes to the inspiration recipe and this is what I came up with:

Funny Eater Green Smoothie

Arugula, a handful

Spinach, two fistfuls

Fresh ginger root, about two inches long, peeled and chopped

Coconut milk, about 2 cups

Chia seeds, a few tablespoons

Frozen mango chunks, a few large chunks

**Dump everything into a blender and blend until smooth.**

As you can see, there aren’t any exact measurements.  I tend to use whatever I have on hand when cooking.  I prefer not to buy more ingredients when I don’t have to.  My farm share started a little over a week ago, so the arugula and spinach were fresh from the farm and oh so tasty.  I had some left over mango chunks in the freezer and this seemed like a good time to use them.  I liked that the mango evened out the green flavor without eliminating the peppery spiciness of the arugula and the zing of the ginger.

I’m usually not a fan of drinking my calories, but right now I need to get some calories in at dinner time and this seems like a good way to do it.  So, mission accomplished.

What kind of fresh smoothies do you like to make at home?

 

 

Life: Sleep Around the Clock

Despite the fact that this was touted to be an amazing month of procedures and an easier schedule in terms of total number of hours, I find myself in a constant haze of never knowing what day it is much less what time of the day it is.  Shift work definitely has its perks, but for me the lack of a good day to day rhythm and constantly being tired isn’t working so well for me.  It’s a good experience, but I realize that no matter how much I enjoyed this, I’m no longer really tolerant of this kind of abuse on my body.

Had I started this journey at a younger age, I probably would have jumped into whatever struck me as exciting and fun, scheduling and bad hours would probably not be given even a glimmer of a second thought.  Where I am now, though, I respect and cherish my body a lot more and the way I think about my approach to life and career is vastly different.

I imagine this terrible sleep schedule, the odd hours awake, and the liberal use of caffeine (and when I say liberal I mean one cup a day, two at the max, and two is very rare) isn’t helping me shed my winter weight.  Weight gain that I blame on the terrible hours I had over the winter with 24 hour calls every three days.

Only a few more days of overnight shifts and then I should be back to a more normal schedule.  I can’t wait to join the world of the living.  As convenient as it might sound, overnight shifts and random  hours of sleep are less than ideal.

More thoughts later…I’m not exactly coherent.

Life: Technology, Stress, and Overeating

Technology makes me crazy.  This is a realization that came to me over the last few weeks.  I think to some degree technology makes us all crazy.  We’ve gone from a culture of sit down dinners with polite conversation to constant conversations through text messages and social media.

If I’m being honest about my own habits, there is something to be said about using the Internet as your stand in roommate and best friend.  Time ticks away without any productive work being done the moment I start checking e-mail.  Yet, as much as I would like to say I’m just going to shut my computer off, most of the work I do relies on the resources of the internet and the ability to e-mail.

I remember back in the day having a computer was both a novelty and a privilege.  Not everyone could afford a computer and when Internet came around, it was limited to dial up.  If you were lucky like I was and had a techie parent or two, you might have a separate phone line just for internet, but most people had to use their regular phone line.  If they were on the Internet, it meant that they couldn’t receive or make phone calls.

I always thought myself pretty balanced when it came to media and technology.  Growing up, my mom regulated when and how much TV we could watch and frankly, I don’t think my sisters and I were much into TV anyway.  Even when I went off to college, I didn’t have much interest in watching television.  There were a lot better things to do than watch TV.

Now, that I live in a cold clime and work long tiring hours, when I get home, Hulu has my TV shows queued up and waiting for me.  I don’t even need a television.  And even with the likes of Hulu and Netflix, people think it’s amazing that I don’t own a television.

So, I make some dinner and eat dinner at my desk while watching a show.  If I’m feeling guilty, I might even try to do some work while eating dinner and watching said show.  Can you say (or scream) inefficiency??  Hours later I’ll find that I’m tired and it’s time for bed and I haven’t done a single thing on my to do list.

Did I mention to you how effective online television is at helping you procrastinate and avoid things you really should be doing in life?  I mean, come on, in a race between do boring things like study or write e-mails to various powers that be and things like eat and watch made up stories about the drama in other people’s fake lives, what would you do?  It’s much easier to watch the fake drama and feel better about your life (albeit your rather unproductive one while you’re watching television shows) than to sit down with the silence around you and actually do some work.

I remember I used to really enjoy the peace and quiet when studying back in high school.  It felt meditative and for a while the sensation of time was suspended.  At work, productiveness is punctuated by phone calls and text messages.  Inefficiency is rampant.  Despite all our technological advances, the actual work sometimes takes longer.  Not because the actual work takes longer, but because we have far more interruptions and distractions.  Of course many will argue that interruptions have long been a part of medicine since the beeper has been around for far longer than most of the technology I’m discussing here.

We’re inefficient and distracted.  Now, throw in the fact that we work longer hours, we’re more mobile and spread out, and technology advancements seem to happen in the blink of an eye.  Well, we need to connect!  And the Internet and electronic technology industry have answers for that, too.  We can talk while we drive (a practice that is VERY DANGEROUS), video chat, share photos instantly, text message, tweet, and facebook.  I’m sure there are a million other ways to connect that I’m missing.  Oh, right, blogging.  Yeah.  I realize that I’m blogging right now and I won’t even try to defend myself.

Even when we do meet people face to face, it is rare to just focus on being with that person or people.  We’re too busy checking our phones for text message or getting called.  Sometimes we’re tweeting or instagramming (oh yeah, there is that one, too).  Even with a good old fashioned camera, I find myself distracted, so with all these options, I find myself wanting to pull my hair out.

I have a friend who texts the entire time she’s at the gym.  It drives me batty and it makes me less likely to want to go to the gym with her.  While, I, too, tend to multitask, I do my best to be present when I’m at the gym or driving or spending time with friends or family.  My terrible multitasking habits tend to crop up more when I’m alone and should be doing work.

So, what does this all mean?  We’re dumber, fatter, more stressed, less productive, and inherently less connected.  You might not like that I said it like that, but that is the plain truth.

Why the soapboxy, ranting like post?  Well, because I’m working on being less distracted and stressed out by technology.  In fact, I wrote this entire post without checking my phone or doing something else online.  Aren’t you all proud of me?  Okay, maybe not.  I’m still proud of myself though.

Au Naturale Cosmetics

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While I’m a firm believer that the best makeup in the world is good food, enough sleep, and drinking plenty of water, there are just times when you want a little bit more than just your fresh faced self. That’s what makeup is for.

I think other than the few school plays I was in and occasional lip gloss, I really didn’t start wearing makeup until last year. Even now, wearing makeup is a rarity. For one thing, putting on makeup takes me a while and I’d rather spend those minutes in the morning sleeping or eating. However, I do wear makeup on some days and it does get in my eyes and in my mouth. Not exactly glamourous, but that’s the reality.

So, if makeup is getting into my body, well I’d rather be wearing things that are less likely to harm me than not. Of course what is actually safe is really an ongoing debate.

I did a good amount of online research last year about safe makeup lines and what ingredients to avoid. I spent a lot of time on the EWG Skin Deep Database and just doing gobs of research. After all of that, I feel fairly comfortable with buying makeup and self care products after reading the ingredients list without having to look up every single ingredient. Of course, natural makeup is by no means perfect, but we’re all trying here and that’s the point.

Enter Au Naturale Cosmetics. I heard about this line off some blog I read (sorry, I don’t remember where and if I do happen to remember I’ll link back to you) and took a gander. Up until I discovered this line, I had been using mineral makeup from Alima Pure and various products from 100 Percent Pure. I love both of those companies and their products (I know I promised reviews a long time ago that never got posted…I’m working on it), but I’m also someone who loves variety.

I found a great deal during the holidays that I couldn’t pass up and ordered myself a lip gloss in poppy, a lip crayon in burnt sienna, and a creme eye shadow in noir. While rms beauty has a great line of eye shadows, they don’t have a saturated black, so I was excited to try one. I had also been looking for an red-orange lip color and the combo of burnt sienna and poppy looked like what I was looking for. In addition to the products I ordered, I snagged a sample trio of three mineral eye shadows and a mineral powder blush.

I’ve had the products for less than three weeks and I love them. The lip crayon and lip gloss are a great combination and it’s a nice change from reds and pinks. (That makes it sound like I have a lot of lip colors, when in reality I think I have one red lip tint and a light pink lip gloss.) The creme eye shadow is a true black that is very much creamy. A nice change from foiling on mineral powders. The eye shadow and blush powders are also very good, but I haven’t really used them more than once or twice because I’m too busy using the creme shadow and lip products.

Now I’m not going to lie, these products are not cheap. (Remember, this is a poor student talking.) Not cheap at all, especially when you compare them to the dollar products lining drug store shelves. However, at the end of the day, I’d rather pay for products that I love and trust rather than have a million different colors from the drug store (as fun as that is). Plus, the drug store doesn’t send me a hand written note saying thank you for your order.

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Seriously though, these products are good. I’ll tell you how good in the next few posts as I highlight each product and what I love about them. Please, also stay tuned as I do my best to actually post reviews of other natural makeup products that I’ve been using since I dumped all the conventional makeup products that I had in the trash.

A New Year

I’m finally getting around to posting in 2013.  You’ll noticed I also changed up the way this blog looks.  I did a quick switcheroo with no customizations, so the look is definitely not permanent.  I’m not sure how I feel about the change, but I wanted something different.  Thoughts on this are appreciated.

In the meantime, I feel I should apologize for making promises that I haven’t kept.  I have grand plans for this blog that I’ve mapped out on sticky notes and paper, but I still haven’t found the time to get around to actually making those changes and posting the posts that I keep meaning to post.

Things will in all likelihood get busier and while I hope that I will be able to start implementing some of my ideas for this blog and get some posts up, I can’t honestly figure out when these things will happen.  So my apologies in advance.

I’m still trying to get my head around the fact that it is a new year.  It’s been sort of a strange holidays for me and my brain is still playing catch up with real time.

So, this is my short, not entirely coherent update.  I hope that everyone is well and I hope to be better and connect more with all of you this year.  First, I need to get my regular life in order before I start cleaning and organizing my blogging house.  Wish me luck.

Getting Back on Track

I realize that it’s been a while since I’ve posted.  My food blog has suffered even more than this blog.  Alas, my schedule got the best of me and sadly, I did not have much say about how that went.

In any case, I’ve been rather lax about my cooking and eating, not to mention the terrible lack of good sleep I’ve had over the last month.  Now, that I’m finally through with the wacky schedule, it is time to get back on track.

My goal is to get a whole bunch of posts written and posted over the next few weeks.  So stay tuned.