Sunday, December 18, 2011

Lazy Sunday: In The Tub

bath time

Taking a long, lazy bath on Sunday has become a bit of a habit. Best enjoyed with some aromatherapy mineral salts and post-dip flannel pajamas, I can't recommend this habit highly enough.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

How do you work best?


"Strangely enough, my imagination works best when I am sitting alone in a large assemblage, when the tumult and noise require a substratum of will if the imagination is to hold to its object; without this environment it bleeds to death in he exhausting embrace of an infinite idea." -Søren Kierkegaard

I stumbled across this quote by danish philosopher and granddaddy of existentialism, Søren Kierkegaard, in the book Wanderlust: A History of Walking by Rebecca Solnit, and couldn't help but feel an absolute sense of agreement. In college I always loved doing my work in a bustling coffee-shop (side note, why can't I find any place as cool as Stella's in DC?), and even now I've got Pandora cranking out the tunes all day as I work to liven up the office ambiance. To me, there's something about the struggle to stay on task when so much is happening that allows me to focus in a way a quiet room never could. As Søren explained in his journals, you can focus on what you're actually doing as you block out the layers of distraction rather than focusing on being isolated from the distraction.

Of course, I know plenty of folks who tell me they need polar opposite conditions to get anything done (the boyfriend for one). In fact, sometimes I can't help but think perhaps there's something wrong with my choice of work environment... is it because I can't handle the quiet? Do I have a need for continuous distraction because I watched too much TV as a kid? It's secretly nice to know my need for a bit of chaos isn't solely a result of growing up in an era of over-stimulation - something tells me that Kierkegaard's quiet, 19th century Copenhagen upbringing didn't over-saturate him with Sesame Street.

Another quote plucked from Kierkegaard's writings for Solnit's book was so sweet I had to share:

"This very moment there is an organ-grinder down the street playing and singing -- it is wonderful, it is the accidental and insignificant things in life which are significant." How perfect a sentiment for the start of the weekend. Now go out and see how many significantly insignificant things you can experience.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Back to Work

We're wrapping up the long Thanksgiving weekend here in the US. A sense of melancholy has drifted over our home as the reality of heading back to work tomorrow sets in. Let's face it, getting back into a typical routine is never easy after you've had some time off. But I read a quote yesterday (in a fantastic book I plan to write more about soon...) that is the perfect antidote to the Sunday-evening blues.

"Let's become more creative, more loving, and more joyful in our work, care more for the earth and each other, and reinvent work as the joy it is meant to be - as the expression of our heart's purpose." - Will Tuttle, PhD

Now get out there and kick some ass.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Kale Chips Made Easy

I enjoy dabbling with raw food recipes that preserve each and every enzyme naturally found in tasty fruits and veggies. Delicious and nutritious to the extreme! But sometimes raw food recipes can be even more intimidating than their cooked counterparts if for no other reason than most of us didn't grow up creating these culinary delights, so it's a bit unfamiliar. For example, I thought for the longest time that those crunchy and addictive kale chips I'd get at raw food restaurants were beyond my reach. There's no way I could recreate that signature flavor or incredible crispiness on my own, I would think... so I never tried.

Well, a few weeks ago I decided to pull out my trusty Excalibur dehydrator (ok, who am I kidding, this thing is huge and doesn't fit in any of our cabinets so technically it required no pulling out, only plugging in) and give homemade kale chips a go. A few hours later, and my world was forever changed. It is the easiest this you could possibly make and so freaking good! So I thought I'd share this remarkably easy, 3 step technique for making incredible kale chips on your own.

1. First, rinse a giant leafy bunch of kale. Tear the leaves from the tough stem, and toss into a salad spinner for a quick ride.

2. Next, transfer the leaves into a large bowl a handful at a time, spritzing each pile with just a little extra virgin olive oil (I recommend using a Misto sprayer). Then, once you've got your bowl filled with kale, add a few shakes of soy sauce and toss the leaves to distribute that liquid flavor!

3. Finally, throw that leafy goodness onto your dehydrator trays and set the heat to 105-110 degrees. That's it! And a few hours later....

Oh baby. It's time for some crispy, crunchy, savory kale chips! Such a simple process yields such major return. If your chips taste at all chewy, get them back in the dehydrator - stat! When they're ready they will crumble to bits the instant they hit your tongue. Pairs perfectly with a good movie or as a prelude to a creative raw dinner.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Spotted in Georgetown

Please pardon the terrible photo quality (the camera on my phone has lost its ability to focus) but I spotted this festive doorway, cascading with pumpkins and gourds of every stripe, and had to document it for longevity. What a great idea! They did such a good job finding just the right spot of every last pumpkin and gourd. I'm a huge fan of the mini pumpkin myself. We have a little guy keeping us company as a kitchen table centerpiece - and if you get a couple in different shades they just as colorful as flowers, but WAY less expensive and last for months.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The BEST Travel Containers

I spent this past weekend in Atlanta for my brother's wedding which meant I had to pull out my trusty quart-sized Ziploc bag to stash all my liquids in per the good folks at airport security. But alas, I had lost the plastic bottle destined to hold my face wash. I ran over to the grocery store to pick another $.99 bottle, but there was no such container to be found. My only option was a slightly pricier variety that seemed fancier than what I required - but since it was the only option, I tossed it in my basket.

Well this week when I head to the store I'm picking up a couple more of these "fancy" bottles and I can't wait until I need to use them. So what makes these little pouches so special? Why am I oh so in love with them? Let me count the ways:

  1. They're made from soft but sturdy silicone that is super easy to squeeze.
  2. They balance on their caps so you don't have to shake the bottle to get your liquid out.
  3. A large opening allows for easy filling and no spilling.
  4. A no-spill nozzle ensures your goop doesn't leak and the cap doesn't get all gunked up.
  5. The flip open cap is incredibly easy to open.
  6. The 2 oz. version I purchased has a built in suction cup that really does stay put and allows for single-handed dispensing.
  7. There is a built in ring you can adjust to show what the contents of your container are.

Have I sold you? The brand that makes these little tubes of joy is called Humangear and the tubes I am a total convert to are called GoToobs! A definite must for any frequent travelers out there. Plus they come in three sizes.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Autumnal Eats: Breakfast Edition

This weekend the temps dropped and fall hit like a Hefty-bag full of leaves. Granted, we're supposed to see some relief from the sub-50 degree weather soon, but until then I'm going to be enjoying this perfect fall breakfast... Carrot Cake Oatmeal with Maharaja Chai Oolong Tea.

Carrot cake lovers rejoice - there really is a nutritious and delicious carrot-cake-inspired breakfast option, all thanks to the amazing Angela of Oh She Glows. Seriously, you need to make this tomorrow. No excuses. It is so yummy and filling and will keep you energized all morning long. The recipe is below, but you should definitely go check it out on Angela's site for the gorgeous photos on Oh She Glows.
While I suppose any chai tea is nice to wash down the delicious oatmeal with, my favorite has to be Teavana's Maharaja Chai Oolong Tea. As I may have said before, the flavors are so intense and complex, and you get the sweetness without having to add anything but water (a much healthier alternative to boxed chai tea mixes which contain major amounts of sugar). This blend is so good it'll instantly warm you from the inside out.

And now on to the recipe...

Carrot Cake Oatmeal from Oh She Glows
  • 1/2 cup regular oats
  • 1 cup almond milk (or soy, rice, etc)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large carrot, finely grated (1 heaping cup)
  • 2 tbsp coconut milk cream (use the cream off the top of the full-fat can only)
  • 1/2-1 tsp ground cinnamon, to taste
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8th tsp ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp crushed walnuts, divided
  • 1 tbsp coconut milk cream + 1/2 tsp pure maple syrup (to drizzle on top)
  • Shredded coconut, for garnish
  • Cinnamon, for garnish
  • Raisins, for garnish

Directions: Finely grate the large carrot to yield 1 heaping cup of grated carrots. Note that you want to use the fine grate, not the large one so the carrot shreds are very small.

In a medium sized pot over medium heat, add your almond milk, lemon juice, and coconut milk cream. Stir well. Add in your spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger) and salt. Stir again until mixed.

Stir in your grated carrots and oats. Adjust heat if necessary or bring heat to low if it starts to boil. Cook for about 8 minutes, stirring frequently. When the mixture has thickened up, stir in the vanilla extract, 1 tbsp crushed walnuts, and 2 tbsp of maple syrup. Remove from heat and pour into a bowl.

Top with 1 tbsp of crushed walnuts and 1 tsp of shredded coconut. Prepare your coconut milk cream + maple syrup mixture and drizzle it over top. Sprinkle with cinnamon for garnish.

Serves 1 large portion or 2 small portions.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Scent of Wassail

I just picked up a candle at Paper Source made by Paddywax and the scent instantly made me excited for cold weather, fallen leaves, and spiced apple cider. It's called Wassail, and it's a delightful mix of apple, nutmeg, and rum.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


After seeing this stunning taupe cape coat from Lanvin over on Tom and Lorenzo* I am on a one woman mission to find a cape-style number for myself. Since I'm not a wool wearer, options are a bit more limited, but I'm drawing inspiration from some of these great internet finds to guide my search.


Okay, this Vanessa Bruno jacket, as sported by Kriste Bell, may be from last December, but I'd wear it in 2011. Well, if I had a spare $1,125 I needed to lose.


But never fear, for those of us ladies on a budget, H&M's Fall 2011 lookbook included this relaxed creme caped number.

*PS - If you watch Project Runway you've got to check out Tom and Lorenzo's episode recaps which are hilarious and so on point.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Crazy About Cabbage

I don't recall ever eating cabbage growing up - not once. My only introduction to the leafy vegetable was its occasional appearance in slaw form. Looking sad and wilted in a tiny ramekin wedged between some steak-cut fries and fried fish, or perhaps making a lackluster cameo alongside a club sandwich, I never actually consumed the pale green when it popped up during a meal out. After all these years, however, my curiosity got the best of me and I grabbed a head at the grocery store this past week. I didn't exactly know what to do with it, but when we ran out of spinach I decided to chop that sucker up and make a salad. Now, at age 24, I am officially crazy about cabbage.

Thinly sliced, tossed with shaved carrots and sliced grape tomatoes, and mixed with Annie's Goddess Dressing - green cabbage has a delicious mellow flavor with just a bit of bite and a great crunchy texture without being at all watery. Self's Nutrition Data site also tells me that "It is also a good source of Thiamin, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Potassium, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Folate and Manganese." Woohoo! Cabbage for all!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hurricane Hunkering

We keep being told to hunker down for Hurricane Irene, but truth be told the impact thus-far has been pretty mellow. It's rainy and a bit windy here in DC, but doesn't feel like anything too out of the ordinary. I am officially on vacation for the next 10 days before starting a new job (woohoo!) so while in theory I'm content to sit tight for the day and relax, in practice I'm anything but. I think I got a case of cabin fever after about 2 hours of hanging out in the apartment. What can I say - I like to be on the go!

So for the meantime I am occupying myself with online shopping. Well, more like online browsing. I'm in the market for some cute flats. Not being a heel wearer myself, it's still fun to find some fierce foot candy sans (in my case) spine scrunching stilettos.

Ooh la la! Dreamy nude hues with a little something special.
Steve Madden
Nine West

Developing a bit of an eggplant obsession.Kenneth Cole
Gabriella Rocha

I am a sucker for anything with a bow.Libby Edelman

Monday, July 25, 2011

Storm King Getaway

Have you heard of Storm King? I knew nothing of it before coming across these gorgeous photos (click that link! you won't be disappointed) on the blog Sweet Fine Day and I'm now dying to go. Anybody up for a late summer getaway? The incredible sculpture park is located in the lower Hudson Valley of New York. Can you imagine a better way to spend an afternoon than wandering the 500 acres with picnic treats in tow, cartwheeling your way across the rolling hills as you admire one sculpture after another?!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Achieving Laser-Like Focus

Since I started working from home full-time and searching for a job in my new city, focus has become more important to me than ever. There no longer seem to be enough hours in the day to accomplish everything I want and still maintain a moderate level of sanity. As an avid list maker it seems easy enough to get all the to dos on paper, but it is also easy to become overwhelmed with the possibilities and wind up dabbling in a bit of everything... and accomplishing a whole lot of nothing. So here are a few tips I've picked up in my quest to achieve laser-like focus:

Remove the excess - First, make a list of all of the activities and commitments that fill your time in any given week. Include everything you can think of, from guilty pleasure TV shows to belly dancing classes to your daily coffee shop trip, you name it. Then, get those items off your plate that are not necessary and are not getting you closer to your goal. Less items on your list not only means fewer commitments vying for your time but also fewer potential distractions. Skipping that book club you're not so interested in, opting for clean bare nails over regular painting, quitting mindless TV watching, and generally learning to say "no" can serve you well when life is calling for your full attention. Remember, this does not mean you have to give these things up forever, just until your need for such a high level of focus has diminished.

Minimize that which can't be removed - Or... that which you're not quite willing to remove. I love reading blogs and listening to podcasts but minimizing the list of those I follow frees up time and energy for more pressing matters. Even if your not willing to remove an activity from your life fully, cutting back can make a big difference when you need to get down to business.

Set a schedule - Falling into a regular, predictable schedule can have a lot of benefits. No, it may not be the most exciting way to live, but when you hit a period of your life that calls for focus, routine is your friend. Whatever schedule you find that works for you, it should ensure ample sleep (no one can focus and yawn at the same time, 7-8 hours is best), consistent meal times (again, no one can focus while hungry or poorly nourished), daily exercise (releasing pent-up energy makes mental focus much easier), and plenty of time for uninterrupted focusing. After a couple of weeks, your schedule will start to become second nature - and just as regular physical exertion becomes easier when practiced every day, mental focus becomes easier when your brain is used to kicking into high gear at the same time each day.

Work in sprints - It can be taxing to focus fully on just one task at a time, especially for an extended period. Instead, prevent yourself from becoming burnt out by working in sprints. First, break your goals for the day into manageable tasks. Then, assign a realistic time-frame to each task. If any one of these tasks will take longer than 15 minutes to complete, try and break it down further. The idea here is that it is much easier to focus, completely uninterrupted, when we know we will be finished with the task at hand in a short period of time. Once your list for the day is chopped into manageable 15 minute chunks, get started! Take a short break after every couple of tasks to stretch your muscles or enjoy a little breathing meditation (i.e. an activity that won't completely suck you in to the point that you can't regain your focus and start working again).

Recharge - When it comes time to recharge, pursue your down time with the same level of focus you bring to your work. That means... no worrying about tomorrow's to-dos as you unwind, no working while you are eating, no emailing as you talk to your spouse, no re-living that conversation from work while you shower. Instead, bring your full attention to the present moment. Let go of the work you have completed; you gave it your full focus so there is nothing to regret and now it is time to move forward.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Lazy Sunday: Slow Walk

Lazy Sunday: Slow Walk

I love walking, and city living means doing lots of it. Usually, however, walking in the city involves some combination of a quick clip, blaring headphones, a destination, and a deadline. But instead, this weekend I've embraced* the art of walking slowly.

At a slower pace, deeper, fuller breathing comes naturally and continually focusing on slowing your steps begins to slow your mind chatter too. Headphone free, it's easy to tune into your surroundings and feel more present, more connected. Without a set destination, you have the freedom to explore a new neighborhood, peak at that garden smiling at you from around the corner, or head down your favorite street "just because". No time constraints means you can go as slowly as you can stand, and not worry about what's to come next. So pop on a breezy outfit - a paper thin tunic and super soft shorts perhaps - and go for a nice, slow, walk.

*Well... I didn't intentionally embrace it so much as become aware of the benefits of slow walking when I wore a pair of not too comfy shoes that forced me to walk super slow and forgot my headphones at home, but regardless.

How to Store Fresh Produce

Since moving to our new place, I have developed a weekend ritual of going to the farmers market. Surrounded by a veritable rainbow of fruits, vegetables, flowers, herbs, and even homemade soaps, it's the perfect place for some kitchen inspiration. Because all the produce we buy at the market is local, organic, and ripe, it is best enjoyed as soon as possible for maximum flavor and ideal texture. Of course, you'll want your produce to stay fresh and delicious for as long as possible so nothing goes to waste. I have learned the hard way that improper produce storage can mean serious cash down the drain (or in the compost, as the case may be) and compromise your carefully planned meals. Just the other day I was so excited to make a homemade basil pasta dish and... lo and behold... I pulled the basil out of the fridge only to discover it has become a grey, shriveled shadow of it's once lush and leafy self.

So today I thought I'd share some of what I have learned about the storage of some specific food items. In fact, this is exactly what I picked up at the market this past weekend, and when I got home I did some research before properly putting away each one.

Wrap the bundle of chives in a damp paper town and place them in a plastic bag. Store in the fridge. Wash just before use.

Sugar Snap Peas
Keep these peas in an unsealed plastic bag in the fridge. Wash just before use.

Corn on the Cob
Apparently, as soon as corn is picked the sugars in the corn kernels start changing into starch. This means you will want to eat the corn as soon as possible for the sweetest flavor. If you can't eat it right away, however, leave the husks on and toss them in the fridge for up to a couple of days.

If your peaches are ripe, they can be left on their own (no bag needed) at room temperature for 3-4 days. Try to keep them spread out so each peach has some breathing room - they're less likely to get bruised or develop soft spots too quickly that way. Wash just before eating. You can also keep them in a plastic bag in the fridge if they're ripe and you prefer your peaches on the chilly side.

Rinse the cherries in a colander, leaving the stems on, then carefully pat dry with a paper towel or clean kitchen towel. Loosely pack the cherries in a bowl, and cover with a lid or plastic wrap. Store in the fridge.

Without washing the mushrooms, place them in a paper bag. You'll want to store these in a part of your fridge that is dry. I set one of our produce drawers to it's driest setting and tossed them in there. These should stay fresh for 5 days or so.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Umbrella Inspiration

Friday brought quite the afternoon storm and while my pocket-sized, cheetah-print umbrella kept me visible in the quickly flooding streets, I can't say it kept me too terribly dry on the walk to yoga. While my shoes are still perched on the air conditioner, waiting to dry out, I'm on the hunt for some new umbrella inspiration. How cute are these?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Washington, D.C.

Hello friends! Since I last dropped by these parts, my boyfriend and I moved to Washington, DC! I've started working from home full time, begun the job search for a new gig, and even had my first guest visit for a few days. It's been a very busy month since we left Boston, but here's what I've learned in short:

- When you move, unpack the kitchen first. With a functioning kitchen, you can fix meals and snacks and save tons of money by not having to eat out constantly during the week or so it takes to properly unpack everything else. Learn from our mistake; moving your stuff around all day makes you very hungry, and we spent way too much on sub-par sandwiches and salads from random restaurants in our new 'hood. You'll eat much healthier too.

- While everyone looks for something different when choosing a new abode, there's a lot to be said for location. We opted to pay a bit more to live in a spot that puts us just a few blocks from the metro, multiple grocery stores, the farmers market, a darling tea shoppe, a second hand bookstore, a yoga studio... pretty much everything a girl could need, and I couldn't be happier with our new home. I've removed the stress of having to drive from my life and my legs are feeling happy and strong from all the walking, it's a win-win!

- Job searching can be exhausting and trying for even the most patient among us. Tip for the loved ones of job seekers: please refrain from uttering that dreaded question, "Find a job yet?", even in jest. Stick with, "How is the job search going?", and prevent an awkward moment of genuine frustration and annoyance.

- It turns out making bagels from scratch isn't as tricky as one might think. Check out this tasty little basket of goodness my sister-in-law and I hand crafted.

- If you frequently work from your laptop, like I do, investing in a few additional tools can make your workspace much more comfortable and ergonomic. A laptop stand that raises your laptop up to meet your natural gaze will keep your neck comfortable after hours at your desk. I also highly recommend a wireless keyboard (I went for the Logitech solar powered model and have been very happy with it so far) and a wireless mouse to keep your workspace clutter free.

- Speaking of desks, if you're looking for an inexpensive option, check out the Ikea Vika Amon table top with the Vika Lerberg trestle legs. This set-up only cost me $40 and was very easy to assemble, you just have to put together the trestle legs and the table top balances sturdily on top -making it easy to disassemble and move. I do not, however, suggest getting lost in your new city and making it to Ikea a mere 30 minutes before closing time with no idea what you want... but that's another story.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Awesome Etsy Find

How cool are these rings from Etsy shop ClosetGothic? They're made out of vintage watch movements!

They also have cufflinks made from matching watch movements. What a good gift idea...

Saturday, April 30, 2011


Big happenings around these parts. My boyfriend and I are moving to Washington DC in just one month and there seems to be endless work to do. First things first - finding a place to live! I'll be jetting down tomorrow to apartment hunt and lay the groundwork for my upcoming job search. For now, here's a few fun things from around the web...

I recently discovered the incredibly delicious Maharaja Chai Oolong tea from Teavana (the flavors are so intense and full of depth), and it turns out they have a great website with tons of helpful tea information. Check out their Types of Tea guide and this great How Tea is Made visual complete with instructions for how to brew the perfect cup depending on type.

Did you get up early to watch the royal wedding? I only saw a bit of the recap coverage on TV but thought both Kate and Pippa's dresses were gorgeous.

Speaking of weddings, did you know that J.Crew has a wedding shop? Their relaxed, feminine dresses are simple perfection.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Lazy Sunday: Incredible Otimism

Lazy Sunday: Optimism
This lazy Sunday I'm decidedly optimistic. Intentionally optimistic. Optimistic without bounds. Sometimes I get stuck thinking (subconsciously) that optimism is not as powerful, as motivational, an outlook as other perspectives on life. For example, you could think that realism is a better approach to take. With a "realistic" outlook on life, you are less likely to get your hopes up about things which may not transpire. You may adopt a less rosy view of your skills and abilities, and those of others, so as not to overstate the capacity of what we are capable of. You may not dare to dream of all the possibilities that life could bring - so many paths to choose from would be downright mind boggling, and how would you know where to start? If you adopt an attitude of realism, you may be fast to acknowledge all of the challenges and obstacles you are likely to face with every action you undertake, and will therefore be braced to work harder in the uphill battle which even the most simple of tasks can become.

The thing is... with this type of "realistic" outlook, you're not actually gaining anything. Not getting your hopes up? I see it more as not allowing yourself to feel hope. Not overstating what we are capable of? How about not allowing yourself to be pushed and expand and discover what you ARE capable of? Not overwhelming yourself with "unlikely" possibilities? Try never giving yourself the opportunity to explore whichever path in life you decide is best for you. And the bit about being more motivated to work harder because you know the challenges you will face? This sounds a lot like doubting yourself from the start and perhaps creating more difficult circumstances for yourself than those which truly exist.

So today, I'm channeling some incredible optimism and I'm going to let it keep on flowing. Believe in the future, in our abilities, in possibilities, and the knowledge that whatever comes your way you will be able to handle. You have nothing to lose by greeting each new day with a smile, and so much to gain. Sometimes, especially if I'm in a foul mood, I've been known to say "life isn't all rainbows and unicorns". Well, sometimes it is all rainbows and unicorns, and with an optimistic outlook you are well positioned to recognize and enjoy all the brightness, color, love, opportunities, and divine synchronicities that each day brings.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Weekend Melody

I'm currently obsessed with this awesome music video featuring the stylings of Japanese band World Order. It's got me in a perfect mood for a fun weekend!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Oh So Springy

I am oh so ready for spring. When I walked outside this morning and realized my winter coat was totally unnecessary I actually jumped out of pure joy. Spring, with all of it's lush freshness, has only just started to flirt with us here in the northeast, but I have a feeling she'll be sticking around for a while very soon. Here are just a few things that I can't wait to enjoy this season...

Spring cleaning! Or, as I like to think of it, spring simplification. More details on that to come, but after hunkering down (with all of our stuff) all winter, who isn't ready for some simplification and organization about now?

A pink lipped look. I don't tend to wear much in the way of makeup, so I love this fresh clean look with just enough color.

Smoothies! Lately I've been totally into oatmeal for breakfast, but as the weather warms up I'm ready for smoothies to take center stage for the most important meal of the day.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

How To: Make Awesome Oatmeal

What's that? You're looking for an easy, inexpensive, delicious, healthy breakfast? Well, my sweet, you've come to the right place. I've been making this awesome oatmeal every weekend lately and it's the perfect combination of tasty heartiness to power you through a morning of errands. The recipe is crafted out of items you're likely to already have lurking in the pantry, all of which are quite inexpensive when you realize just how many breakfasts you can squeeze out of one tube of Irish Steel Cut Quick Cook oats (say that five times fast) - I like the Country Choice Organic kind which works out to be $.20/serving or less. On to the recipe...

3/4 Cup water
1/4 Cup Quick Cook Steel Cut Oats
Granny Smith Apple
Small Handful of Raisins
3-4 Dashes of Cinnamon
Drizzle of Maple Syrup

Bring the water to a boil in a small pot, and stir in the oats. Reduce heat to medium-low so that the oats can simmer, covered, for 5-7 minutes. A word to the wise - opt for a longer cooking time and lower heat.. I can't tell you how many times I've let the oats boil over and that will really kill your early morning meditative state. While you wait, cube 1/2 of the apple and eat the other half (or get a little crazy and cube the whole thing!). Toss apple cubes in your favorite cereal bowl, and top with raisins, cinnamon, and maple syrup. When your oats have finished cooking, pour them right over top of your fruity mixture and mix well. Makes 1 serving.

This breakfast is totally filling and so much better for you than prepackaged oatmeal packets, as handy as they may be. On a seemingly unrelated yet completely related note - do you have any odd habits that bring you great joy? The top of my list includes finding spelling or grammatical errors in print. I found this little gem on the back of the oatmeal canister I used to make the breakfast above...

What can I say - it's the little things in life.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

I just finished an absolute gem of a book called Radioactive: Marie and Pierre Curie: A Tale of Love and Fallout by Lauren Redniss. I'm not especially interested in science and knew nothing about the Curies before reading this book, but nevertheless I highly recommend it. Part work of art, part picture book for adults, every page was a joy to linger over. If you're looking for a hard hitting biography with loads of intimate details or a truly scientific primer, this is not the book for you. If, however, you appreciate creative expression, want to read something completely unlike other biographies out there, and treasure the books in your personal library - then I urge you to pick up this book.

Through it's picture book format, you'll learn a lot about the Curie's research on radiation, their discoveries of radium and polonium, and the effects of radiation on the human body (given the heartbreaking recent events in Japan following the earthquake and tsunami that cut power to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant causing increased radiation levels in the area - it is an interesting time to have read this book). You'll also learn much about the Curie's personal lives and the tabloid-worthy affairs of Marie - it's juicy! Even the typeface used throughout the book was created by the author an has a very interesting history (explained at the very end of the book), and the book itself glows in the dark (an homage to radium)! This is one piece of literary work that really has it all. Just check out some of these pages: