Thursday, December 31, 2009

Farewell 2009-HELLO 2010!

2009 you've been too good to me! You introduced me to the world of blogging, and took me to San Fran (twice!), Portland, New York, Montreal, Wyoming, and the summer in Boston. I ran my first marathon, turned 21, saw Girl Talk, Tim VanOrden, NPSH, B. Spears and Micheal Pollan (equally exciting), and all sorts of other shenanigans. I explored, learned, and had a whole lot of fun. I expect 2010 to live up to great expectiations

So here's to a brand new year, and to you!



Happy New Year everyone!!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Vibrant in Vancouver with Vega

Currently one of my life dreams is to move to Vancouver and work for Vega and Lululemon. Definitely two of my favorite companies out there, and Vancouver is a lovely city.

But until I move up North, I’ll contend with enjoy all of their innovative products. The Vega team sent me some of their new Vibrancy bars. There are three flavors-chocolate, original and green food. I was pleasantly surprised by the array of different textures in the bars. Rather than being your typical fruit and nut bar (example Larabar or Clif Nectar) they add sprouted buckwheat and sorghum for a nice little crunch.

Chocolate was my favorite flavor but I liked the green food and original as well. Staying true to the Vega standards, the bars are organic, vegan, gluten free and raw. Their ingredient list is a bit longer than aforementioned larabars, but chock-full of good things, such as: sprouted buckwheat, dates, hemp seed, brown rice protein, pea protein, EFA oil blend, salba (chia) and sorghum puffs. The EFA (essential fatty acids, ie Omega-6 and 3) blend enticed me. Its a combination of hemp seed, black cumin seed, coconut, pumpkin seed, black raspberry seed, blueberry seed and cranberry seed oils. I had never heard of most of those oils! The green bars also have a Green Food blend of powdered wheat grass, spirulina, alfalfa, spinach, brocolli, kale, kelp and dulse. How’s that for vibrant?? For the dirty numbers-200 calories, 9 g protein, 5g fiber, and 9 g fat. They’d be a great choice when you’re short on time, but in need of good nutrition. Now we just have to get them into more US markets! For the time being, they are available on-line and in some select stores.

**Head over to No Meat Athlete and enter Matt's Giveaway for 12 bars!!**

*****and if you want to try a new kind of bar, Chocolate Covered Katie is having a giveaway for a box of 12 Wildbars!*****

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!!


Wishing you and yours a healthy, happy holiday season!!!!




May it be full of family, friends, and snow!!!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

When It Rains, It Pours

Isn’t it funny how one good thing always follows another? And that sometimes its hard to get out of a stressful rut?

After having a stressful exam period followed by the crushing news of my flight home being canceled, I just broke down. I don’t get upset very often, but that weekend, I was a hot mess, and a fountain of tears. Well, everything worked out ok-I got on standby ona later flight, and made it home! I’ve been thinking a lot about emotions and how they really shape your life. I was walking a thin line for the week leading up to my breakdown, not enough sleep, no relaxation, too much caffeine. But now that that is over, I’ve been reflecting on just how amazing my life is.

Remember my gratitude post? Well, all those are still true, and I’ve added a few more to the list. I think I’m going to start a gratitude journal. In the middle of exams I was getting down, and I made a list of the little things that made my happy that day. When I sat down to think about it, my day actually hadn’t been that bad at all. While I’m not sure this realization helped my ace the test, it certainly improved the quality of my day! Small interactions, smiles, talks really do make a difference every day. When I get upset, I tend to retract from the world and not let anyone near me. But without those connections I miss out on a lot. I missed two birthday celebrations Saturday night because I was too busy feeling sorry for myself, not a fact that I am proud of. But life is a journey, and I try to learn from my mistakes.

So my day spent in Logan turned out not to be that bad. I got to catch up on all the blogs I follow, and start to reformat my own little bloggity (tabs!!! not perfect, but I’m lacking in css programming skillz!) I miraculously got on standby on the next plane to denver, and made it home, safe and sound. And the internet world seemed to know how stressed I was and make up for it x2384932897! Thanks to Alisa at Go Dairy Free and One Frugal Foodie, I won a copy of Ricki Heller’s cookbook “Sweet Freedom” which i can’t wait to try! Ricki’s blog is full of amazing photos and recipes, all vegan and refined flour/sugar free!! A pair of recovery socks in on the way from Matt (No Meat Athlete), which really gets my itching to train for another marathon-or maybe something longer?? Daily cadence sent my a box of Clif Bars, and Shelby from La Belle Vegan has a Oh Nuts! giftcard heading my way! See, so many things to be happy about this holiday season!
But most of all I’m happy to be home with my family and old friends. I only see them every 6 months or so, so all the time we have together is really precious.

What make you happy today? What are you grateful for? Hope you have a very happy holidays!!

PS. i promise i'll be back with nutrition, food, and fitness posts soon. Thanks for letting me let out some emotions!!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Especially in the Grocery Store!
I just adore
holiday flavors, like.....
Seasonal Clif bars

love them all-but the cranberry orange nut bread is UNBELIEVABLE!! i really didn't think i would like it-oh how wrong i was.

Holiday Celestial seasonings

i've only been having like 4 cups a night

Soy (and Rice) Nog- or Snog

www.silksoymilk.com
Gingerbread

I just love the smell of gingerbread!! I need to make Averie's Raw gingerbread, stat!

Pumpkin everything!

amazon.com
found in oatmeal, smoothies, pie, bring it on!!

Its also that time of the year again-Finals period!! AHHH!

this flyer cracked me up. No, I am NOT using tequila, vodka, chocolate and advil to de-stress!!

You can find me.....
at the gym, eliptical-ing while reading notes

or in the library

or in my fridge, nom-noming

www.howstuffworks.com
hopefully on carrots, not ice cream


What's your favorite holiday flavor? Any favorite study method, tips or tricks??

K I'm off to study Glycolysis and the Pentose Phosphate Pathway, before moving on to Porter's Five Forces and Iron-Deficiency Anemia.....

**I'll be back next week, but posting from half-way across america-can't wait to be Home for the Holidays!! **

Tis the Season For Giving

I can't believe its been 9 weeks since I signed up for Project Feed Me!!
Here's what I ended up donating:

But the more the merrier!! My friend and fellow dietitian-to-be Julia joined in the giving fun!

Look at that loot!!

x2=twice as nice
On Wednesday I volunteer at the BMC food pantry so I decided to just bring the goods with me. Unfortunately, Mother Nature decided to bring a great mix of snow/rain/slush all day, so I looked like a wreck with 1)30+ food items to donate 2) my usual 20lb lululemon crossfit bag full of study supplies.

But it was worth it to contribute to these stocked shelves:

Things I love about BMC food pantry: ( and why I donated directly to them, and volunteer there once a week):
  1. Its a Preventative Food Pantry-the only Food Pantry in the country that makes sure to give out culturally sensitive, individualized food bags for those with diabetes, food allergies, obesity and other medical conditions. The distribution of unhealthy food is very limited. No one deserves junk food!
  2. It is needed: Hunger and Malnutrition are a major problems for patients at BMC: 1/5-1/3 families with small children sometimes or often do not have sufficient food to feed their family.In this community 40-43% live below the poverty line (MA average is 35%)
  3. They have a Demonstration Kitchen to show patients how to cook new foods and makeover traditional meals!
  4. Its staffed/run by the nicest people ever!!!

Thank you so much Natalie for organizing this great food drive and for everyone else who participated!! If you're feeling a little generous this holiday season, there's still plenty of time to donate to your local food bank! (In fact, they could use a little help all year long! )

and If you don't hear from me, its because I'm buried 500 pages deep in the library! oh biochem, you'll be the death of me!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Brought to Fruition


Meet Probar's fun kid sister-Fruition! She's much lower in calories than her older brother, but still made with only Real Food-organic oats, fruit, chia and cashews! I am not a huge fan on the Probars-they are so small for the amount of calories each one contains! While great for backpacking or endurance activities, its not feasible to eat them as a normal meal replacement. Fruitation is a great snack bar-similar to Larabar or Clif Nectar Bar. While not 100% raw or gluten free (it does have brown rice syrup, and oats) sometimes its fun to try new things!
I have tried:
Peach
Strawberry
CranRasberry
Blueberry
(with Peach being my favorite)

Each one has two servings of fruit! I love that they add chia-one of my new favorite foods! While they will not be replacing my love for Larabar-its nice to know what other Whole, Organic food bars there are out on the Market!

So if you see these in your local Whole Foods or Health Food Store-I'd check it out!

**Just so you know, I bought these bars myself (well, actually my mother did), and have not received any sort of compensation from ProBar to post a positive review. Let's all blog with integrity! **

Giveaway Alerts!
Don't forget to Enter Pure2Raw's Giveaway and Chocolate Covered Katie's Coconut Butter Giveaway!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Chia-It's Not Just for the Pets!

NO not That kind of Chia!

I never had a chia "pet" as a child, but I'm a huge fan of them now! If chia seeds aren't already under your radar, go now, and put them on your grocery list!

behold the chia seeds
These little seeds pack a nutrient punch! They are antioxident rich, nutient dense, and one of the highest known whole food source of omega 3 fatty acids. Plus,25 grams of chia gives you 6.9 grams of fiber! They are a source of complete protein, and contain all of the essential amino acids. Ancient Aztec runners used to use them to fuel their ultra marathons.
the endurance duo- coconut water and chia seeds. Thank you amazon.com!
now i can run forever!

Not only that, but one of their greatest proprieties is the ability to make a gel when mixed with any liquid. Add to a milk and let sit for 15 minutes, and they start to resemble tapioca.

viscous
My favorite combination is Chia seeds, soaked in milk of choice + amazing grass chocolate powder=Nutrient-filled all-natural "tapioca" Although i am a lover of all things tapioca, or just puddingy in general, this kicks them out of the water, nutrient wise!


For Good Recipes with Chia-Check out these lovely posts!

Michelle and Lori at Pure2Raw did an excellent post about chia for athletes and dieters! And while you're there, peruse their amazing recipes and enter their giveaway!

You can get chia at Whole Foods, on many online natural food stores, Amazon.com or even your local grocery stores! (spotted some in Shaws/Star Market yesterday, for the New Englanders out there!)

have you tried chia?? any favorite recipes to share???

Friday, December 4, 2009

Candy That Grows on Trees


My mother obviously knows the way to my heart is dried fruit!!
For my bday/just to make me happy she had dates and raisins sent to me.
Big whoop, you might be thinking, you can get those anywhere!
No, my friends, these are no ordinary dates and raisins.
These ones come from a magical place called Brown Date Garden and are the best tasting, ripest, most fresh, succulent dried fruit you will ever taste. I devoured them.
If you ever need high quality dates or raisins I highly suggest you call these people up. Their product is spectacular.
If you need anymore convincing, here are some fun facts about dates:
  • 1 date=25 calories
  • They contain the highest mineral content of all fruit (raisins come in #20
  • High in Potassium, Phosphorus, sodium, magnesium, calcium, iron, copper, Vitamin A and B

And at Brown Date Garden:

  • They harvest, grade, and package what we grow themselves-with no middlemen. They're a small business and the owners are the sweetest people ever. If you ever have questions or concerns, they will answer your phone call. And every box comes with a hand-written thank you in script.
  • Super Fresh orders are shipped within 24 hours of harvest, straight from orchard to you!

I highly recommend the Medjool Dates and Red Flame Raisins. Their Grapefruit is also amazing.

What are you waiting for-before you make your next raw pumpkin pie or fudge babies -check out Brown Date Garden's Website or call 760-397-4309

**Speaking of Raw, Rawbert's Organic Cafe in Beverly, MA is having workshops every Saturday this month with demos and how-tos. So if you're in the area, call to reserve a spot now! Tomorrow is Raw Breakfast How To, and Next week is all about Raw Dessert!! **

***I had a lot of fun at the Public Radio Kitchen's Meet-up Last night! Check out Jess's Fabulous write-up! Thanks PRK***

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wander-Lusting


I'm Wander-Lusting
Maybe its because my little sister just got home from an epic adventure in India, maybe its because finals stress is starting to set in, who knows, but I feel like I need to escape. Little weekend jaunts are nice, but I need to get OUT.
So today I bought tickets with three amazing friends to Iceland for Spring Break.
And I CAN NOT WAIT!!!!

Tickets were so unbelievable cheap. Ie $660 for 8 days, hotel + breakfast + direct flight=unreal
(here's hoping they have some vegetables up North!)

Do you Wander-lust? Where are some of your favorite destinations? Where do you want to go??

The world is our playground

Monday, November 30, 2009

Willy Wonka's LOCAL Chocolate Factory

Coffee and Chocolate are the two biggest for those trying to maintain a mostly Local diet. But if one is going to indulge, its best to enjoy those that are fairly produced, and easiest on the environment. And it doesn't hurt if they are created by local, artisan crafters. Enter my favorite purveyor of Chocolate-Taza!

December 5th 2009: Tour the Taza Chocolate Factory!

Alex giving a tour

Ever wanted a firsthand look at the inside of a chocolate factory? Now's your chance! Just in time for the winter holidays, Their opening the doors to the public for chocolate tastings and tours of the factory.On Saturday, December 5th 2009, visit them in Somerville, MA and see how chocolate really comes to be. Tours run from 10 AM to 6 PM, and are free and open to the public. Be prepared: There will be lots of tastings.The factory is quite small, so come early or late if you can't stand to wait!

Still need some Holiday gifts? There will be lots of tasty chocolate and holiday gifts for sale, at factory discount prices

I went last year and it was so cool to see how they stone-grind their chocolate using traditional Mexican Methods. Check out their website for some great information about how they make the chocolate, and drool over the fantastical flavors ( Guajillo Chili is my fave!)

So if you're free this Saturday, I highly suggest you swing by!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Mad Sales

Hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving!!
Mine was excellent-very relaxing!!
Connecticut is gorgeous and I adore it! I had the sweetest hosts, and it was a blast!
Thanksgiving was vegetable-full, just the way I like it

And then Black Friday......
I don't think I've ever really participated in Black Friday, but this year-we got up at 5:30am and hit up Lord and Taylor and then, Woodbury Commons.

that's convinent-adidas and lululemon right next to each other!
But it was so worth it! There was a Lululemon Outlet, and I got a new sports bra and a running dress, both for only $20!!!!

Mad Sales!
I was in Heaven. I also grabbed another pair of Adidas Supernova's for when its time-they were on sale for $50!! SUCCESS!!

welcome the fourth addition to my supernova family
We celebrated a birthday in New Haven that night, and didn't get to bed until 3:30am, making Black Friday a 22 hour day-which I was pretty impressed about-especially since the majority of the day was spent shopping and dancing!
Then to wrap-up my weekend of discount shopping, we went on a grand-tour of discount stores.

Ocean State Job Lot is my new favorite thing! Wish we had one close to Boston! Aldi is also a win!
So now its back to "real-life" and one more push-lots of stuff due/exams in the upcoming weeks, and unfortunately I did not get much done this weekend, school-wise! Oh well, everything will work out!
I have a few posts scheduled though, and Blog-reading is my favorite distraction, don't you worry!
Ciao!

Friday, November 27, 2009

'Krautin'



I'm a Huge Friend Of Fermentation! In fact, I'm sure you are one too! Here's a sampling of delicious things that wouldn't be here today without our little anaerobic friend! Bread, coffee, chocolate, tea, vanilla, beer, wine, all alcohol, kombucha, sauerkraut, tempeh, soy sauce and others!
I love attending demos, and after seeing the one and only Sandor Katz, author of Wild Fermentation and Fermentation Guru, I was excited to get started on my own batches of Sauerkraut. Unfortunately, the summer got away from me, but with Slow Food BU, we got Alex Lewin to do a second demonstration for a small group of us. Alex is a lacto-fermentation expert and all around great guy!

Why Preserve? Extends the "window of edibility" for that particular food and makes it available year-round. If you're not near the equator or in sunny cali, this is important if you strive to eat locally. Also, to create new tastes and textures. In the case of sauerkraut it also increases the nutrient and digestive benefits of the food. Besides fermentation, other methods of preservation are canning, freezing, refrigerating, and drying.
Is it Safe?? The Danger Zone for pathogenic bacteria is 40-140 degrees farenheit. Alex believes that fermenting is much safer than canning, because you will KNOW when something is going wrong. IE if its slimy or furry-TOSS IT! If your senses are telling you something is not right, steer clear. Also our ancestors all ate food that wasn't refrigerated-if that helps settle your stomach
Doesn't That just get Moldy and Gross?? Leave a vegetable out to sit in the air, and yes, you'll get mold, and it will turn into an awful slimy mess (i'm imagining, i'm lucky enough to never have witnessed such an atrocity!) But, leave out a vegetable covered in liquid you get acid-forming bacteria (=good). These probiotic bacteria begin to pre-digest the food, making our digestive tract's job a little easier, and keeping things regular, if you know what I mean

And without further ado, This is Alex's recipe:

Ingredients
Cabbage (the fresher the better!)
Sea Salt

Equipment
Wide Mouth 1 pint Mason Jars
Large Mixing Bowls
Cutting Board
Large Knife
Kitchen Scale

Preparation:
Weigh Cabbage and then chop, using a large chefs knife or a food processor

we're all about assembly-lines
You will need 1 pint jar and 2 tsp of salt for every pound of cabbage
Add chopped cabbage and measured salt into a large mixing bowl and start to "knead" the cabbage (with clean hands!!). You want to start to break down the cell walls of the cabbage, with the help of the salt, and draw the water out of the cabbage.

you too could have forearms like this, if you start 'krautin
Once the cabbage has released its liquid, pack it into the mason jar. You want to make sure that the liquid covers the cabbage and that there is room at the top. A smaller 1/2 pint jar make it easier to push down the sauerkraut. (again, we want liquid on top to prevent the growth of pathogenic bacteria). If the liquid does not cover the cabbage completely, make a brine (1 T salt:1cup water) as a substitute. (if your cabbage is fresh, preferably local, then the juice should not be hard to get out). Cover the jar and wait...

Come back everyday to push down the cabbage, making sure it is always covered. After four days, taste it. If you like the way it tastes, put it in the fridge to bring the fermentation to a halt. At this point its all up to how sour you like your sauerkraut! It could be "ready" in a few days, or a few months, depending on personal preference and temperature.

Warning: Making Sauerkraut does produce a slight smell. I don't mind it at all, but one roommate can't stand the scent.

Variations-Wanna spice it up?? Well you can, literally!
  • Add purple cabbage to make a more aesthetically pleasing 'kraut!

  • Add herbs and spices!! Alex likes caraway, fennel or anise seeds. You can add this pre-fermentation, or when serving
  • Try fermenting other vegetables! parsnips, raddishes, turnips, carrots, really any vegetable!

Alex is my new go-to sauerkraut guru, and I suggest you check out his site- Feed Me Like You Mean It, and see what's he's abrewin' -or @reply him!
Sandor Katz's Book and website are also a valuable resource!
Check out this ebook! It has some fun facts, such as....
  • Sauerkraut is sexy! Not only does Heidi Klum love sauerkraut but the Croatian Times reports that saurkraut is a powerful aphrodisiac
So what are you waiting for-go ferment some cabbage!!

**Thanks to Rachel from BU Today for taking some great photos with her fancy DSLR camera :) **