Monday, January 31, 2011

Delicious Dishes: Weekend Edition

Last week, while wandering Borders after the Kris Carr event, I picked up Dr. Neal Barnard's Get Healthy, Go Vegan cookbook. I love Dr. Barnard's work. The recipes looked great, had all of the nutritional information and, since I am trying very hard to limit the amount of sugar, oil, etc. that I am eating, seemed like a great one to add to my collection. This cookbook also has several breakfast recipes, which was great since I typically eat Puffins cereal with almond milk for breakfast and had been looking for some new ideas.

The first recipe I tried was the Spiced Pumpkin Oatmeal. I love oatmeal and I love pumpkin, so how could this one go wrong? It also has a bunch of spices, raisins and dried cranberries. The recipe made a TON, so even after feeding Jesse and myself there were still leftovers. It wasn't as sweet as I am used to having my oatmeal (again....I need to step away from the sugar!) but it was still good.

Then for dinner on Sunday I decided it was time to break in my new Zojirushi rice cooker. This time it was to make brown jasmine rice, but I have big plans for this new toy. My rice cooker cookbook says I can make oatmeal, risotto, cake, beans, etc. in this thing!

I used my brown jasmine rice in the Butternut Coconut Rice recipe from Appetite for Reduction. Rice, butternut squash, coconut milk, etc. SO GOOD! It was almost the consistency of a risotto (with a fraction of the calories). If you try this one, don't be tempted to skip out on the lime zest like I almost was. It makes the whole dish.

Oh collard greens, I love you so. I don't make these nearly enough. Particularly these Pineapple Collards. They came out perfect--light, still a bit chewy and beautifully green with some spice and pineapple pieces.

To go with my rice and greens, I also made some Broiled Blackened Tofu. Mmmm. It would've been fantastic with just about any side dishes, but I made the ones that the author herself recommended for a complete meal. The combination of the three was just perfect! I can't recommend this cookbook enough!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Things I'm Loving Right Now

1. This blog post from Dani Shapiro (the author of the fantastic book Devotion) on the writing life. Very important reminders and words of wisdom.

2. This tea, and this tea and this one too.

3. A pretty nail polish color with a cozy name.

4. Snow days! So nice to be able to spend the day in warm lounge clothes, snuggled up with a good book and some good movies.

5. This article on how meditation can change your brain structure in just eight weeks. Just one more reason to make a regular meditation practice part of your 2011 intentions.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Delicious Dishes for Snow

Yesterday my office closed early due to the giant snowstorm we got here in the DC area. I came home and immediately thought about how delicious some lentil soup would be. I made a giant pot of this red lentil soup, which is easily one of the best I've ever had (and so easy to make!)

Doesn't it just look so perfect for a freezing cold night?

After dinner I got the urge to bake. I looked at what ingredients I had handy and began searching online. I decided to go with this recipe from Fat-Free Vegan Kitchen for Banana-Maple Oatmeal cookies. They turned out pretty well--not too sweet and very chewy. Plus the recipe only made a little over a dozen cookies, which is more than enough for this household. And I only ate one! Must be good if I want to reach my get healthy goals.

Today both Jesse and I are home from work due to a snow day. I can't wait to cook some more and curl up on the couch and read to my heart's content. Hope you are warm and safe, wherever this Thursday may find you!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Revelry Review: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Wow. Wow. Wow.

I'm always stunned when I learn about a piece of history that seems much more like fiction. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot is just such a case. With each page, I couldn't help but shake my head in disbelief.

In the 1950's, Henrietta Lacks, a young African-American mother of five, is diagnosed with a cervical tumor at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Her doctor removes some of her cancerous cells without her knowledge. Henrietta eventually passes away from her disease, but her cells live on. HeLa cells, as they are known, multiplied and multiplied...becoming the first human cells to do so in a laboratory. Since that time, HeLa cells have been used in experiments that have led to some of the greatest scientific innovations in the past century.

Skloot weaves together this story with the story of Lacks' husband and children in modern-day Baltimore. How is it that the children of the woman who made one of the most important contributions to science can't afford their own health insurance? She examines what has become of Henrietta's descendants and the impact that the knowledge of what happened to their mother's cells has had on them.

Skloot raises important questions about poverty, science, research and medical ethics in a book that reads more like a novel than reality. It is fascinating, deeply troubling and essential reading about medical issues that are still important today.

Monday, January 24, 2011


I had one of the best weekends in recent memory, so I couldn't wait to tell you all about it!

On Friday we received our first delivery from Washington Green Grocer! They deliver fresh fruits and veggies (and things like bread, dairy, etc.) right to your door. You can sign up for delivery every week automatically or just when you tell them. It was so nice to have fresh produce just in time for the weekend. They have amazing customer service and if you live in the DC area, I highly recommend you give them a try!

Then on Friday night, we went to see the Washington Wizards play the Phoenix Suns. I've lived in the area for almost ten years and played basketball for most of my childhood, but I had just never gotten tickets and gone to a game. Now that Jesse lives here, we decided to do it. John McCain was there too. It was a lot of fun!

On Saturday night, Jesse and I had a much-needed date night. We had a delicious Restaurant Week dinner at Masa 14, which serves Asian-Latin fusion small plates. There are no pictures because it was very dark inside the restaurant, but it was some of the best food I've ever had! I'm also now obsessed with tamarind margaritas. After that we walked around Georgetown and I replenished my supply of Lush bath bombs and bubble bars with some old favorites, like Butterball and Creamy Candy, and got some new ones to try like Mrs. Whippy and Magic Mushroom. We finished the night by seeing "The King's Speech", was which fantastic!

On Sunday, I got news that I won a raffle that I had entered the night before when we were at Lush! I won a giant bottle of "It's Raining Men" shower gel and a Hottie massage bar. We picked those up and got some groceries. Then we headed out to a Borders in Northern Virginia for Kris Carr's talk and book signing for her new book, "Crazy Sexy Diet".

Kris was every bit as amazing in person as I thought she might be. My top take-aways from her talk? First, even though the saying is that you have nothing without your health, it should really be that you have nothing without your happiness. That should be the number one focus. If you really want to make a lasting change, you have to change your mindset (your "stinkin' thinkin'", in her words). Create new neural pathways with positive thinking that won't cause stress (because stress causes inflammation!). Her book is basically an anti-inflammation diet that is big on getting oxygen and nutrients to your cells because diseases like cancer thrive where there is no oxygen.

She also talked about creating a health revolution from the bottom up, which is definitely something I can get behind. She said it doesn't matter if you just dip a toe in the pool or throw on your bikini and dive in, but you should do something! During the question and answer session, she mentioned that both green smoothies and juicing are equally good for different reasons, and that you should do whatever one you like best so that you get your greens in. A woman in the audience said she felt selfish because she was spending a lot of money on organic produce and other health items that her kids and husband didn't even really like. Kris was quick to point out that she was investing in their future and the money was better spent on the prevention side in the refrigerator than in the medicine cabinet. She said that the woman's journey was one of the most selfless things she could do, which I agree with and need to remember when things seem tough. You can go to and sign up for free to do the 21-day adventure cleanse with fellow Crazy Sexy Dieters and get advice and support.

After the talk she signed my book and was gracious enough to even take a picture with me! Here's me and my health inspiration:

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Delicious Dishes: Appetite for Reduction

Over the weekend I decided it was time to give Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz a try. The cookbook has 125 recipes for dishes that are all under 400 calories per serving. I've been reading positive things about it in many blogs and on the Weight Watchers' vegetarian message board. Plus, I've never tried a recipe of hers that I didn't like!
I made the Red Thai tofu, Bhutanese Pineapple Rice and the Green Beans with Thai Basil. All three dishes used similar ingredients and came together within an hour. Each one was very good, but the Bhutanese Pineapple Rice was absolutely stellar. I could have eaten just this one dish as my meal.
There are many other recipes in this cookbook that look delicious. I can't wait to try ones such as the warm mushroom salad with cranberries, the OMG Oven-Baked Onion Rings and the Caribbean Curried Black Eyed Peas with Plaintains. Once again, I've been reminded that anything Isa cooks up will be worth trying. I already can't wait for her next book!
Given my intention this year to get healthy, I very much appreciate that each recipe in this book contains all of the nutritional information. Lately I've been gravitating towards the cookbooks that do have this, such as Skinny Bitch: Ultimate Everyday Cookbook, Color Me Vegan and Cooking Light: Way to Cook Vegetarian. I wish that more cookbooks provided this vital information.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Revelry Review: Will Write for Food

The first book I finished this year (and couldn't wait to tell you all about!) is Will Write for Food: The Complete Guide to Writing Cookbooks, Blogs, Reviews, Memoir and More by Dianne Jacob.

A bible for all things food-writing, I highly recommend this for anyone that has any interest in the area at all. Written in a tone that seems like you are having a conversation with a friend, this is a must-read that you won't want to put down. Chapters include information on writing a food blog, developing a cookbook, the art of memoir, fiction that includes food, freelancing, writing restaurant reviews and getting published.

Jacob not only provides a wealth of information for the aspiring writer, she also includes writing exercises and book suggestions at the end of each chapter. Additionally, she interviewed many well-known foodies for the book and the advice and stories of people like Anthony Bourdain, Ree Drummond, Ruth Reichl, Julia Child, MFK Fisher, David Lebovitz, Molly Wizenberg and more appear scattered throughout the book. There isn't a single question I could think of that isn't addressed somewhere in the book.

One word of warning: reading this book will make you want to quit your job so that you can divide your time between creating in the kitchen and writing up a storm on the computer!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

January Goals

My goals for what remains of January:

-Finish Freedom by Jonathan Franzen. It's a whopper of a book and I'd really like to find something more metro-riding-friendly to read once I'm done with this one.

-Lose 5 lbs. Seems simple enough.

-Pick an international travel destination. As I mentioned yesterday, I won two tickets to anywhere in the world. We've tossed around some ideas (Greek Islands getaway? South African safari?), but we need to settle on one and book it.

-Get back into a regular gym/yoga routine. This will mainly depend on how my back feels, but I am looking forward to scheduling in some exercise.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Fresh Start.

Let's not talk about how I fell so far behind on Reverb 10 that I gave up trying to get my posts written (though the prompts are in my journal!). Or how I failed at the new start I wanted to make here back in October. It's 1-11-11. The perfect day to breathe some life back into this blog and begin anew.

What have I been up to, you might be wondering? The holidays, parties, nearly a month with my family in New Jersey, a horrible cold and a snowstorm later, it is back to the real world. To be honest, as much as I love December, I like real life better. I like getting my fruits and veggies, 8 hours of sleep a night and taking my vitamin. I like having a schedule and sticking to it. Another reason that I am glad to be back? I'm SO excited for all that 2011 will bring!

Here are my 2011 intentions:

-Get healthy/Practice Self-Care: Jesse and I joined the gym together, which will give me even more motivation to go. I'm 90% sure that I am going to end up getting a Vitamix, making green smoothies a whole lot easier. I'm giving the new PointsPlus program at Weight Watchers a go. I'm commiting to taking my supplements. Cooking healthy meals. Getting back into having yoga be a regular part of my week. Eating mostly vegan. Taking long hot baths. Trying to develop a meditation practice.

-Travel: Through a perk at my job, I won two airline tickets anywhere in the world that have to be used within the next year. Jesse and I have had some fun throwing around ideas, but I welcome any new suggestions! We also both have tickets to use on Southwest by August. We are thinking a trip to California needs to happen. This year we will also be headed to North Carolina to celebrate his friends' wedding and to Maine for some rest and relaxation (as well as Thanksgiving). Jesse also got a car in late October, which makes day trips and spontaneous weekend getaways a lot more feasible.

-Write: Journal regularly, write here on the blog and read lots more about getting a book published

-Work: Figure out my passion. Plan for next steps and where I see myself in 3, 5 and 10 years.

-Cook: Bake bread, macaroons and whoopie pies. Experiment with new grains. Use a whole lot more tofu. Figure out exactly how to use miso and then do it!

What are some of your 2011 intentions? How are you feeling as we slip into this new year?