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 :) **

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving



I have so much to be thankful for today!!
Thank you for reading this and I hope you have a Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving day with friends and family!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

New England Fall-Local Celery Root, Apple and Potato Soup


Celery Root is the ugly duckling of the root vegetables. I'm not going to lie-I was a little afraid and intimidated by it, but I decided to take the plunge. I shouldn't have been afraid-not only is it a great source of dietary fiber, vitamin B6, magnesium, potassium, manganese, source of vitamin C and phosphorus, but its delicious and versatile! Because it is a starchy root vegetable, its good in 'mashes, and lower in carbohydrates and calories than potatoes. And-its a Local!
On the recommendation of my mother I decided to check out this fall soup from marathastewart.com. I decreased the portions, because I wasn't cooking for 6-8 people. Here's my version of the recipe.
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 6 cups peeled, chopped celery root
  • 1 lb red potatoes
  • 10 cups homemade or low-sodium store-bought vegetable stock
  • 2 cups peeled, cored, and quartered local apples

1.In a large heavy-bottomed pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and season with salt; cook, stirring until onions are soft and translucent, 5 to 7 minutes.
2. Add celery root, potato, and vegetable stock; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until potatoes are soft, 15 to 20 minutes.
3. Add apples and continue simmering for 5 minutes.
4.Remove saucepan from heat and puree using an immersion blender or, working in batches, using a conventional blender; season with salt and pepper.

I don't have an immersion blender, so I attempted the conventional blender method. I was a bit apprehensive that it would work, me being a novice and afraid of 2nd degree burns-but it went very smoothly-literally!!

+


=


This soup was so satisfying, and warmed my tummy right up! Perfect for these Fall days, in beautiful New England!

Monday, November 23, 2009

T Day

Thanksgiving Comes But Once a Year, a time for family, friends and food!

Living far from Boston, it just doesn't make sense to make the journey home for 3 days, so every year I am adopted by a friend and get to experience different Thanksgiving traditions-its quite fun! This year I'll be relaxing in CT and NYC which I am quite excited about!

In preparation for the holiday here are some of my favorite holiday-appropriate posts!!
I hope you have an excellent holiday, surrounded by wonderful people, without too much stress! Come back tomorrow for a New England Recipe to warm up your dinner table!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Birthday Recap

Why hello legal drinking age!
Friday: I started my birthday off with my drink of choice-fresh carrot juice! :)

I seriously have the best friends in the world. Besides receiving mail-which is my all-time favorite-we had a little cocktail party at the apartment with kickass cupcakes and raw carob truffles.

They completely surprised me-pooled money-and bought me a dehydrator. I was so shocked!
(its new home)

(and the first bath-raw macaroons and banana chips!)
After the celebration in the apartment, us older folks went to Miracle of Science and then Enormous Room in Cambridge to celebrate-I had St.Germain for the first time, which was thrilling!
Saturday: not drinking excessively + 2am dance pary = no hangover in the morning. I went for a run to Lululemon Cambridge to show them my completed passport. My 'special gift' was a tank of my choice!!!!! wait wait-they gave me 5 free yoga classes and a piece of apparel?? Lulu, you are ridiculous and I love you tons. (Now I may just Have to pool birthday money for that Apres Sport Jacket!!)

I saw a friend preform her dance recital and then met the Clear Flour Bakery Crew at Eastern Standard in Kenmore. Their cocktail list is impressive and I'm sure all delicious but I opted for the Harvest-Sherry with Pumpkin-delightful!! To complete my to-do list of alcoholic beverages, roomie and I did 1 shot of Absinthe at Deep Ellum

once was way more than enough-holy licorice!! and sometimes a cube of white sugar is necessary....

With all these tempting cocktails I have to remind myself that my waistline and my wallet will not be able to handle this decadence very often-but hey-you only turn 21 once! Right? This weekend will definitely not be a common occurrence. Sometimes a cocktail is nice-but I really only drink as a form of socialization, and it is definitely not necessary to have fun! I feel much /healthier when I don't drink, and my wallet definitely thanks me!!

Thank you to everyone for all the birthday wishes and anyone who may be reading this who celebrated with me! I love you all!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Its my Birthday!


Watch out Boston-its My birthday!

I adore all birthdays, especially friends', but I'm excited to revel in ME for today!

21 years ago, I was born, a wee babe. Today's Agenda- Run this morning, class, Haircut, Shopping Spree, Gathering at the Apt, then out on the town-I'm not much of a drinker, but I'm excited to check out a bit of the Beantown's Nightlife.

and thank you BU- BU pub gave me a birthday card with a coupon a free sandwich. BU student health alsogave me a fun pdf telling me to be safe and that you don't need to blackout to have fun on your 21st. Oh and I coupon for free ice cream which I will not be redeeming. I can't wait to open my other presents :)


Cheers! I'll be back soon!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Helix Revolution

Its Time To start the Helix Revolution!

Yesterday I got to go to Revolution Gym and check out the Helix!! This crazy machine has the potential to be the next big thing in fitness!

The helix is a lateral trainer which means you move your body side-to-side. Since basically every other piece of equipment in the gym works in a forward-backward motion it wasn't intuitive at first. Then it started to feel almost like gliding. By reversing directions of your gliding circles you switch between working your inner and outer thighs. These two "trouble spots" for women are actively engaged the entire time.You're also squatting the entire time, making it a killer for your quads and glutes. You also have to keep your abs engaged and heels down to stay in control. The machine was created by Physical Therapist for Knee and Hip Rehab. Because it is much easier on knees, making it a great form of cross training for runners. Due to the sideways nature of the machine I feel like it would also be great for skaters and hockey players.

After 30 min and I was sweat-city. I was afraid at first that one of my feet would fly off and I'd make a scene, but I kept my heels down and abs tight and I survived accident free. Cranking up the resistance gears really increased the burn!

Revolution Gym has 7 helix machines + one for the instructor. Each class is 30 minutes long and offered 3 times a week. The class is structured like a spin class-with sprint and increased resistance intervals. But get there early because the classes fill up quick!!

Thank you to Sarah for hooking me up with a pass to Revolution!

Oh and one more Fitness Freebie- Liberty Hotel is Having Equinox Instructors teach free classes at the hotel every Saturday (until Dec 12th) from 10-11 in Boston! So many ways to stay in shape this Holiday Season!

Have an excellent Wednesday!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Fit For Free

Hello!
Despite the rainy weather I had quite a fun weekend! Started Friday off with dinner with some dietitian friends (recap soon!!!!), spent Saturday volunteering for a community nutrition project-(ie making "healthy food collages" and fruits and vegetables cootie catchers with some adorable kiddos at the Cambridge Family Fun Day), had an active Sunday and wrapped it up with a Boston Locavores/Urban Homesteaders Potluck :)

Today's Post is to show that staying in shape doesn't have to be expensive. As much as I'd love to be a member of Sports Club LA, I'm all about cheap fitness-namely running outside (all you need is shoes!) and free classes!!!

For those in Boston here are two (FREE) ways to stay in shape around Thanksgiving!

First-Lululemon in Prudential Center is have 3 free classes every weekend! Stop by the store 9-10 on Saturdays, 9:30-10:30 Sunday or 6:30-7:30pm Sundays! All the teachers are from Exhale Spa and a full class description can be found on the lululemon website! Also the Lululemon in Cambridge is also having classes on weekends!

After hitting up Pilates at Lulu, I met up with Sarah, Janel, Jess, Tina to try out the new EA Sports Active Demo store!

They let us have a little sneak preview and check out the game on their wiis

3 wii stations for maximum fun
It is such a blast! You totally forget you are working out! Janel and I got into a bit of friendly competition.

Janel and I demonstrating proper squat form,:)
I didn't whip out my camera, so half of these are stolen from Tina
The personal trainer really guides you through all the sports and exercises and each round is only about 45 seconds-keeping it interesting, never boring and a ton of fun!! My favorite was the inline skating-squats and jumps=killer! You follow your avator on the screen, and feedback from the personal trainer in a box, and info like time and calories burned are also displayed. Its really self-explanatory and easy to follow, even for those of us who fumble with video game controllers (me)!

Jess and Tina are so focused!
Very customizable-you pick out pieces that you want to do and it strings it together as a workout. But there are also pre-set workouts-ranging from Total Body Workout to Circuit for Marathoners! The game comes with a leg strap and resistance band.

Sarah on the Advanced Version
This game is perfect for when its hard to get to the gym (ahem new england winter) and you want a quick, effective workout! and even better, Today the store (156 Newbury St) opens to the public and will remain open til Dec 14th! So give them a call or just swing in and play the game on the wii stations they have set up! and its FREE

Thanks again Sarah, and the team of EA Sports Active!!

Why do you stay active? I do because it makes me happy and keeps me sane!! I can't imagine what I would do if I wasn't able to let off steam that way!!
Do you have any fun free workout tips??

Stay tuned for some fall in New England appropriate recipes and new restaurant reviews! Oh and the Countdown til my 21st birthday!! (hint: 4 days)


Friday, November 13, 2009

Thanks Giving


Hello!
My exams and flash assignments are over until the beginning of December and boy is that a huge relief! Exams really are no fun, especially when my type-A personality starts to creep in.
I tend to get stressed out about exams and deadlines and overwhelmed with all the things I schedule into my life that I just need to remind myself to step back and remember how amazing my life is. I have so many things to be thankful for!
  • I have a family that supports and loves me and gives me whatever I need. They're always a phone call away
  • I have amazing friends all over the world. Friends I grew up with, friends I go to class with, friends I live with, 'blog friends'... I try to surround myself with those who inspire me,who uplift me, and who are always there for me.
  • I'm healthy and happy. I just ran my first marathon, my days are usually energy-filled as I run around with 100 million things to do, I love the way I feel eating a vegan diet, I don't get sick often, and I laugh often.
  • I live a very comfortable life in boston-all my needs and wants are fulfilled. I am able to buy organic food and pay for yoga classes. I can take advantage of what the city has to offer!
  • I have a job with the best coworkers boss and managers I could ask for
  • I'm on my way into a field I love-Nutrition. While classes can be tough overall I love learning about food and our bodies (and a dash of business management on the side)!
Since this is the season of Thanks its important for me to take a step back from my life and give a little. Since everything else in my life revolves around food and exercise, I continue the trend and find great joy in feeding those who aren't as lucky as I am. Did you know that 11% of American Households are Food Insecure-not knowing where their next meal will come from? In the land of plenty, they are some of us who are much worse off.

Every week have I have been collecting food to give to a pantry as Nicole at Project Feed Me suggests. My mini pile is growing in the corner of my room. I also just applied to be a volunteer at Boston Medical Center's Food Pantry-the countrys only preventative food bank. They are selective of the food they give out-no junk food is distributed and dietary needs and restrictions are taking into consideration to make a individualized package!Its a great program and I like having the personal connection of actually feeling like you are helping rather than dropping a bag of goods off at a bank-(not that that ISN"T WONDERFUL!!)

So you wanna be a superhero???
This is the season that hits poor families and food banks really hard. If you're interested in helping, I highly recommend that you call around to find out if your local food bank or shelter could use a little extra help. I guarantee that they will not turn you down! Even just donating a few staple items to your food bank would make the world of difference to a family in need. I also highly recommend that you check out Project Feed Me. Every little bit helps!

What are you thankful for in your life?? Any other ways to suggest to help those who are hungry this holiday season?

Have an excellent Friday-my big-hearted friends!!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sports Club LA-Boston

Happy Veterens Day! Hope you are enjoying a day off work! I may not have class but I still feel busy busy-heading to Healthworks for Power Yoga, and then a birthday lunch and lots and lots of last minute biochem cramming the rest of the day. Joy!

Post-Marathon I'm getting out of any exercise ruts I'm gotten myself into and exploring other possibilities. Over Halloween weekend I checked out SportsClub LA-Boston and what they had to offer.
This is a gorgeous club with tons of amenities to its members. Right next to the Boston Commons (lovely view for stationary biking!) it has a cafe, store, spa, pool, squas/basketball courts, fitness equipment, group exercise classes, pilates studio and two yoga studios.
Unfortunately their yoga and pilates classes are only accessible to members, but once you are a member, all are included in your monthly fee.

photo http://www.mpsportsclub.com/clubs/boston/index.php
The yoga studio was Gorgeous-vaulted ceiling and tons of light streaming in. On Friday I went to a Vinyasa Flow Yoga and Saturday Morning I went to an Intermediate Pilates. I was pleasantly suprised by the number of men in the Yoga classes! One cool feature of the club was that they have private rooms to practice yoga alone. I also liked that they provide all of the equipment they might need. I took an intermediate pilates class, and I can still feel in in my lower abs the morning after! I love feeling sore! I find that I get so much more from a type of class if I go into a studio with an instructor, rather than doing the exercises at my apartment. They really push you and I always leave feeling much better. I had forgotten how great Pilates is for Lower Abs, and I'm definitely going to start incorporating it into my Yoga schedule. The only downside is that it's usually more expensive. I was very impressed by their wide array of classes and wish my pass lasted for longer! They do have several workshops/special classes each month that are open to non-members, so I signed up for the mailing list!
photo http://www.mpsportsclub.com/clubs/boston/index.php
The cardio and weight room was HUGE and very nice. Each elliptical, treadmill, and bike have a personal tv. For a university gym, I'm spoiled with BU's FITREC, but damn, the things you get when you pay $155 a month for membership..... Maybe someday I'll land a lucrative job as a celebrity dietitian :) Dreams!!


Note: SportsClub LA did in no way pay me to write this review for them. I am on a search to find my go-to yoga and group exercise studio in Boston, and along the way I'm posting about my experiences. I found a free three-day pass on their website and thought I'd check it out. If you're looking for a new gym in your town-look and shop around! most gym offer free, or very reduced "introductory specials" Take advantage of them!

Have an excellent Day!

Monday, November 9, 2009

And the Winner Is.......

But First, before I unveil the winner of Stevia in the Raw just want to mention some fabulous things I did last week with some great Dietetics Ladies!
The Boston Vegetarian Festival was last weekend, on a glorious fall day. Met up with Janel, Jessica and Tim (Jess's BF).

First we watched a cooking demo by Chef Rob Beaton-Director of the Vegan Culinary Arts Program at Atlantic Union College in Lancaster MA. (Which I would love to attend btw).

Mass chaos in the exhibit room-hands grabbing people pushing. Free good veg food-what else could you expect??

The prettiest little cakes (vegan too!) ever


Local seaweed

Mini larabars and Amazing grass on discount (have I shared my love for ag yet??? Omg amazing. Will post soon) and Robert Cheeke with Vega! :) Also Ran into the one and only Wheeler of Wheeler's Black Label Vegan Ice Cream Unfortunately in the chaos I did not get to see Lindsey or Gina but someday!!

On Friday, I went to the MSDA Dietetic Internship which Lindsey and Corinne organized. The directors of the top Boston/New England area Dietetics Internship Programs were there to give pointers,answer questions and just overall networking. It was a very informative several and huge thanks to Lindsey, Corinne and the rest of MSDA for putting it all together. And for my fabulous Professor Joan Salge-Blake for being her entertaining, educational self :) I have a lot of decisions to make in the upcoming years regarding my future are as a Dietitian and I'm glad I have such a great support network of amazing ladies who have all been through the same process before!

Unfortunately Lululemon Cambridge posted the wrong time on their website, so I missed the Pilates on Saturday, but I got a 5-class Passport to Yoga Studios in Cambridge!

can't wait to try them all out! Already Checked Boston Bikram off the list! Swing into the new Lululemon at 1 Brattle Sq in Harvard Sq for your own Passport!

And now, after much ado, the 2 winners of Stevia in the Raw giveaway:
Pam of Cave Cibum and Ricki of Diet Dessert and Dogs!

Email me where I should send your Stevia! Hope you like it!

Thanks to everyone that entered and to Stevia in The Raw for the Prizes!! Have a great Monday!!!

p.s. Nicole of Healthy Chow had an excellent post last week-"Everything's Amazing and Nobody's Happy-Definitely worth a read!"


Friday, November 6, 2009

Fit and Free Weekend!


My Stress levels are at super high right now. I can just feel my blood pressure raising (thank you MNT for fun facts like intermittent stress has a lasting effect on blood pressure) I have two huge midterms next week, had hackers spam my twitter account and am trying to decide the rest of my collegiate career (do i graduate early? what electives do i take? what am i doing with my life?). Everything will be much better next Friday though!

And this saturday, i hope to crawl my way out of my study cave and get to Harvard Sq to celebrate the opening of the new Lululemon!! They're special classes all weekend and tasty treats from Crema Cafe and b.good. You know you wanna go!

okGO!!!
Apparently today is a big day in fitness because Hautelook is having a big sample sale on Beyond Yoga clothing. Love Hautelook and Love yoga!

Lucy Active Wear is having a sale tomorrow as well


just in case you're interested :)

Enjoy your weekend! I'll be back sooner than I expect I'm sure. Just a little catharsis onto the journal pages of the world wide web!