Thursday, April 29, 2010

It was a SLOW weekend

Slow is never a word any one would use to describe most of my life. But I am a strong supporter of the Slow Food Movement, and got to especially embrace that this past week.
First, Slow Food BU participated in Earth Day activities at BU by giving away free Fair Trade Sundaes. AnnaB did a great recap here. We want to see BU start to offer Fair Trade Bananas for sale all over campus.

There's no way Bananas can be Local in new england, so at least make them Fair!!

Slow can have a very positive connotation. While most of my life is fast-fast paced, racing around, multi-tasking, running faster, getting done faster, It is also important to balance it out, and SLOW down every once in a while. And there is no better way to do that, then lingering over a long meal.

I sneaked my way onto the guestlist for my second Dinner at 76- Vegan Iron Chef.

Each guest submitted an ingredient that we would like featured, and then combined these with lovely results. My pick was Pea Tendrils!

first course: Pea Tendril Mojito
Pumpernickel bread and "coffee date" spread.

Jasmine Miso Soup

Coffee braised Portabello Mushrooms over a purple carrot-parsnip mash, wilted pea tendrils and pickled mango.

Jasmine Ginger ice cream with sticky rice and mango.
**nicer photos of our evening and recipes can be found here**
It was neat to talk with Luke about how he gets inspiration for his meals, and it just reiterated to me that I need to put more thought and effort into making my food more aesthetically pleasing, and be a bit more daring. I would have never mixed some of the flavors they experimented with, but the end result was delightful. I was so happy that they decided to have an entirely vegan meal, and the other guests were pleasantly surprised, an excellent first vegetarian meal for some. Lingering 4 hour over a meal is also a delightful experience. Once I move into my new apartment I shall be having many more dinner parties. Our kitchen and living room are currently not very conducive to being a gracious hostess.

I volunteered for Slow Food Boston in the first ever SlowFest-a celebration of local food and brew. It was a really fun event. I'm not a beer lover but Boston beer works has a good blueberry ale and how could anyone not like Cassis Lambic??

My duties included slicing bread from Iggys +talking to people about SFBoston. easy peasy
I also got to help Erin from Don Otto's market-the new hyper-local market in Boston

coffee>>>beer in my book. especially Rao's

an amazing selection of mustrards from Sherman Market and pretzels from Cusine En Locale

Hummus from Nourish-must go soon!

An excellent weekend and I definitely need to take more SLOW weekends!

Are you a slow foodie? What as the last AMAZING meal you had? Enjoy the upcoming weekend!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Spring Breakjavik in the Land of Fire and Ice

For spring break I went with 3 friends to Iceland, and here's a little recap, if you care to know what the Land of Fire and Ice is all about! It was an excellent adventure, a quick 5 hr direct flight from boston to a whole different world:

The Sights: The otherworldly sounds of sigur ros and bjork are the perfect backdrop for the moonscape of iceland.

Reminiscent of JRR Tolkien's Middle Earth, the landscape is breath taking. Geothermal hotsprings, Volcanos, THE Geysir, sea, fields, and streams.

oh amber waves of grain

and being total tourists

my little pony
Hot Springs:
Our favorite excursion was to run to a new YMCA style hot springs/pool.

you can run anywhere.

Being Vegan: Was not as hard as I anticipated. Our hotel had a lovely continental breakfast with museli and bread every morning.

i'm a muesli mouse!
I also made Priyanka go to almost every single grocerystore in the entire country. It's a hobby/obsession of mine. Hands down favorite: Bonus. Deals.

A Naestru Grosum in the middle of RKK is an all vegetarian restaurant with large portions, low prices, and delicious food.

soup salad and whole grain bread with hummus-nomnomnom
Hey, Bill Clinton said it was the "Best Vegetarian restaurant in the world."

I approve.
And of course-a diet staple-bread!!

Rugbrand you have my heart.
This moist, steamed rye bread was my favorite and quite addicting. Others agreed:

Or Not: I did try the famous icelandic Skyrr, a thick, protein rich yogurt (priyanka has an obsession with it-the blog is coming soon). It's very similar to greek yogurt and can be found in many Whole Foods under the brand name of Siggis. I think this may be a key component of the Icelandic Paradox-how does a country with minimal vegetable intake stay so supermodel skinny??

They also have soy yogurt-decent.

Also, I loved finding American influences. Like this:

cool american. you may know it as cool ranch.

Drinks- on Friday and Saturday evenings, everyone, ages 14-55 goes to house parties until about midnight, and then starts a bar crawl around downtown that lasts until 5am. It felt just like home, except that everything stays open. Although bars and clubs are constantly going in and out of style I highly recommend b5-it has a statue of a black stallion in the front window-you can't miss it.
Icelandic schnapps are worth trying, just for the experience, but unless you love salty-licorice-flavored-mint, it might not be your favorite thing. There's a reason Brennivan is called "black death"

We went out to a couple of clubs, but like any city the hip and happening are constantly changing, so check before you go. Note: they are pushers and shovers. bruises are a badge to be worn with honor.
The Best store ever:

Iceland-Check. Wanderlust satisfied-for a week or so....

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Love for my Mother Earth

“There is new life in the soil. There is healing in the trees for tired minds and for our overburdened spirits, there is great strength in the hills, if only we will lift up our eyes. Remember that nature is your great restorer.”
–Calvin Coolidge

Happy Earth Day! Need help deciding how to celebrate? Well besides getting outside to enjoy the fresh air, shopping with your reusable grocery bag while sipping out of a sigg water bottle, you can:

-Support Sustainable, Local food: Find a CSA near you at

-Try the Low-Carbon Diet-and cut your carbon emissions by going vegetarian, vegan, or eating locally!! Find out your diets carbon footprint here

-Go Veg- Sign the VegPledge and pledge to go meatless once a week, or every day in May!

-Go Slow: This weekend I'll be volunteering at the SlowFest-A celebration of local food and brew! Stop by if you're in Boston!

-Talk about it: Food, Glorious Food: Our Palate vs. Our Planet? Joanne Chang, pastry chef and owner, Flour Bakery and Cafe and Myers+Chang; Corby Kummer, editor and author May 7th at the Museum of Science More details here

-Eat ice cream? BU is having a lot of Earth Week Celebrations, and today, the SlowFood BU crew (which includes moi!) will be sharing free "Fair Trade Sundaes"! Ben & Jerrys + Fair Trade Bananas + fair trade chocolate!

Stop and smell the flowers and have a glorious day!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Dinners at 76

Back in February, I went with Julia to the most interesting of dinners, a Dinner at 76. The entire concept of underground dining fascinates me I was very excited to hear of these two chefs opening up their homes and kitchens to a select group of individuals for themed, vegetarian meals. Once their website was up we rapidly RSVPd into the Mexican Themed dinner, and they were even accommodating of my vegan requests

Their website has a recap with gorgeous photos (i want a DSLR so badly!) but here's my mini recep, reppin' the canon powershot!
not pictured: Sangria (the secret ingredient was pineapple-shh!)
and homemade tortilla chips with homemade salsa

"tortilla soup"

Huitlacoche and mushroom enchiladas with black beans and tomatillo salsa.

Margarita flan, which had the perfect consistency and jiggle.
"like a woman's breast"

Mexican Hot chocolate

Second Dessert Course
open-faced chili relleno with chocolate and a shot of horchata slushie

The food, the company, the chefs, all unbelievable! The menu was very innovative, and I was wowed with every course. The deconstructed tortilla soup was a stroke of genius, as was the dessert chile relleno. This was my first time tasting huitlacoche and it wasn't bad at all! They were daring to use it as a main ingredient in the main course, but it turned out wonderfully! I would gladly go back again!

I almost don't want to share this secret-but head over to dinners @ 76 and check out their planned dinners. Be quick to register because these underground chefs sell out of seats quickly!

Friday, April 16, 2010

26.2 Miles of Love

This Monday Boston takes a day off to cheer on the all of the amazing runners who show their hearts from Hopkinton to downtown Boston. My good friend and fellow blogger Jessica is running, and I'll be at the sidelines cheering her, members of my running group, and everyone else on.

-Dick and Rick Hoyt-the amazing father and son team that run Boston every year and will be getting a lot of cheers from me.
Just tell me this video doesn't make you tear up a bit

The distance race is a struggle that results in self-discovery. It is an adventure involving the limits of the self.
-Paul Weiss

-Ultra-Marathons. I really want to take the plunge, and go far. The siren song of ultra-distances has been calling to me for several months now. Listen to this commentary on the limits of the human body, and interviews with ultra-athletes. How far can the body go? Should its limits be pushed? Can my body be a science experiment?

"We run to undo the damage we've done to body and spirit. We run to find some part of ourselves yet undiscovered."
John Bingham

-26.2 Secrets about the Boston marathon: That you don't know, here

A marathon is like life with its ups and downs, but once you've done it you feel that you can do anything.
Weekend Events
  • Free Swag: The Boston Marathon Expo runs all weekend, and has everything any runner could ever want for sale or fo' free!
Best of Luck to All!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Thrive Fitness

The lovely people at Vega asked me if I would like to read and review Brendan Brazier's new book-Thrive Fitness and of course I said yes! I really enjoyed his book Thrive, and was looking forward to see what he would say in his Fitness-specific book.

For those of you who don't know, Brazier is a Iron Man Triathlete who eats an entirely plant-based diet, and has credited optimal nutrition in his success as an elite athlete. But, this book was not writen for professional athletes-those god-like individuals whose job it is to work out and preform. This book is for everyone-from those just starting out a fitness plan, to those who are currently working out on a regular level. He claims that the Thrive Fitness Plan will reduce body fat, build lean functional muscles (sorry juice-heads!), significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and boost mental power. In fact, it is more than just a plan- "It's a way of life." Brazier aims to reduce junk miles and inefficient training to optimize performance and health. Why waste your time and energy unless its a good investment, he asks.
This plan claims to help you to break free from the plateau you are stuck at by training smarter. He illustrates how to effectively incorporate a weight training program into endurance training to increase muscle strength without bulking up.

'Improving continually is as close to perfection as anyone can hope to get'

He gives a step-by-step program to take you to the next level in your training. It incorporates breathwork, stretching, and circuit training. Strength training for endurance athletes.
I especially liked his section on travel exercise tips-like bringing resistance bands with you so you can exercise in your room if there is no gym. He also brings along a set of Jungle Gym ropes (also sold as TRX) which allow you to do traditional strength exercises like dips and presses, using just your bodu weight. They had a set of these at a gym I tried and I thought they gave me a great workout!

The last thing he describes is how to increase your max oxygen consumption in less than 20 minute a week.

He goes back over the vegan nutrition principles he outlined in Thrive, and emphasizes a whole food plant-based diet. He illustrates the importance of proper pre and post work-out fuel/refueling and gives some delicious recipes. They incorporate coconut water, chia seeds, yerba mate, hemp/pea protein, and plenty of fruits and vegetables. He reiterates the points from his first book Thrive about The Thrive lifestyle which is made of foods that are Raw or cooked at low temperature, Nutrient dense whole foods, Non-stimulating (sorry-no coffee!)

We're all time-starved and hectic, Brendan shares tips on how to fit effective exercise and sound nutrition into every schedule. I thought this was a good book to reiterate some basic training principles, and it reminded me that I need to incorporate more strength training in my workout. I would recommend it to those who are brand new to endurance training, and also those who have been preforming and training at one level for awhile, to take their performance up to the next level. I'll keep you posted on how it helps me!

'One of the best ways to predict your future is to create it.'
-Abraham Lincoln

Thank you Kelly and the whole Vega team!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Taste of the Nation 2010

This Saturday I'm going to share some pictures from an event and organization I love: Share our Strength's Taste of the Nation: Boston. This year 1 in 4 children went hungry in America. Taste of the Nation is a 100% volunteer driven event to raise money for SOS which they then redistribute to hunger-relief organizations around the Boston area and the rest of the United States. Top chefs and businesses volunteer their food, wine, cocktails, and service to the event, and it's always a blast. This is my second year volunteering (For Pictures of Last year, see this post) and after working a 2 hr shift, I got to join in the festivities. Here are a few pictures:

Classy Cocktail Lady of LUPEC

unnamed Boston Sports Fans/chefs Go Sox and Celtics!

da Sel de Terre Baby-with Pom

Watermelon and Cucumber Infused Tequila, and their bronzed models

out in full force

Dessert tamales from Ole

Jody Adams of Rialto

The most amazing marshmallows in the world. Made from agar-agar instead of gelatin and infused with passionfruit or blackberry. OUT OF THIS WORLD. Going back to Market just for these.

It was an amazing event and I can't wait to return next year. I wish some of these top chefs had focused more on vegetables, because everything was very meat-heavy, but I loved all the emphasis on Local foods

Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A Day Without Shoes

Kick off those shoes and celebrate a Day Without Shoes Tomorrow!!

Toms Shoes is a fabulous company with minimilist shoes similar in style to traditional Argentinian kicks. I love their shoes and met the founder at a random Nordstroms 4 years ago. For every pair of shoes you buy, Toms donates a pair to a schoolchild without shoes in Argentina. The designs are straight-forward but you can always spruce them up with a bit of spray paint:

From the website:
One Day Without Shoes is the day we spread awareness about the impact a simple pair of shoes can have on a child’s life. On April 8th, we ask people to go the day, part of the day or even just a few minutes, barefoot, to experience a life without shoes first-hand, and inspire others at the same time.

I plan on taking a little barefoot stroll, perhaps even braking into a run. Care to join? More information on the Toms Website!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Spicy Mocha

My latest kick has been mochas. No not your 4 dollar skinny mocha from starbucks. Homemade, delicious and oh so good!

Hot N Spicy Mocha Makes 1 serving

  • 1 packet instant coffee (think Via by Starbucks or Nescafe. Espresso Powder and regular cup of coffee work as well)
  • 1 TBSP Cocoa Powder (FairTrade Please!)
  • Pinch of Cheyenne Pepper
  • Stevia to Taste
  • 1/4 cup Almond, Soy or Coconut Milk

Put ingredients in cup. and pour 8-10 oz of hot water over. Stir. Feel free to add ice for these warmer days!

drunk out of glass straw with Ricki Heller's Poppyseed Soda Bread and PB? Heaven


Saturday, April 3, 2010

Revolutionary Love

Wanna Start a Revolution?? Well, we vote 3 (or 4-6) times per day with our forks-so make your voice heard!
  • Startin' a Revolution: You probably heard, but Jamie Oliver is causing quite a stir with his Food Revolution.The former "naked chef" and fresh fruits and vegetable advocate with a British accent that makes you love him even more, takes on a West Virgina Town, with the country's highest obesity rate. While he fails to mention all the people who have been working for years to get these things accomplished, and the complexity of food policy, the more media attention on this issue, the better I say! A new episode airs every Friday on ABC if you've missed it, full episode's are free on Hulu and you can catch the first episode here
  • Inspiring Food Activism: In case you missed it, there have been a whole slew of sustainable food movies as of late. I think Food Inc and No Impact Man do a great job of getting the point across. If you haven't seen them yet, Whole Foods is hosting Film Screenings across the country of these two, The Garden (about a community garden in LA), End of the Line (overfishing), Food Inc, Fresh, Food Fight and more! and did I mention they are all FREE? Get to the nearest screening! See complete list and dates here
  • It is also Farmworker's Awareness Week! Farming is one of the most dangerous profession in the world, and we need them every single day! Unfortunately many of them lack basic worker's protection, such as health insurance, overtime pay and even basic living conditions. Coalition of Immokalee Workerss are doing work to help increase migrant workers wages (which haven't increased since 1970!) and Student Action with Farmworkers is spreading awareness on farmer's issues this week
  • Take out Childhood Hunger- by eating? Get tickets to your local Taste of the Nation, which benefits Share our Strength-an organization that fights to end child hunger in the US. Top chefs from your city share a delightful array of small bites and drinks, and it's an amazing event! I'll be back to volunteer for the second time this year in Boston. Get your Tickets here!
  • Let's Move Peeps! You know we're on to something when Michelle Obama's Anti-Obesity Campaign is represented with sugar-laden easter treats! Just a friendly reminder to balance your chocolate and fitness!

Love yourself, for who and what you are; protect your dream and develop your talent to the fullest extent.
Joan Benoit Samuelson

And Happy Easter Weekend to all my Peeps!