Crispy White Fish and Barnes and Noble Finds!

Doesn't it look delicious! You would have never thought is was frozen and cheap!

I havnet seen Mr. Eden (aka my dad or as I call him, my Aba) since out Ikea outing, and since his house is still being painted and sans everything but his bed, bathroom, and blackberry, he was bored.  Since costco was closed (our other hangout of choice) we went to see “The Switch”. Before I gab about what I thought about the film, I will indulge you in my finds at Branes and Nobel while waiting for my Aba’s arrival. I personally love bookstores. In college, I lived in the gym and the bookstore. Healthier habits obviously developed in the bookstore. I’d read magazines, skim through books, try to do my homework. But how could I when “O magazine’s 10 ways to love you vagina” calls your name? Anyhow, as some of you know, I’ve been working on my book about my whole experience in treatment and the funny things about having an eating disorder. So I thought “Hmmm I have no clue for a title, lets looks at some ideas!”

So here are some bizarre, cool, and just plain stupid titles I found:

"Its not YOU, its this STUPID BOOK", yes, that title is more appropriate for this literary masterpiece

actually, I think this might be a good title for my book...to bad its taken. I'm curious about this book, but I dont think models make good authors, even nourished ones.

yes, yes they do, Or they just go to class to pick up chicks.....

I have like three pairs of shoes I rotate, but most women DONT need more shoes. And some men have a clue...this book has false written all over it

Only Kanye West can get away with that title, but I secretly wish I had it.

sox do bring me joy, and although I love knitting, I could never finish anything. You have no idea how many unfinished scarves I have.

Ok, I just had to add this book because I've had a copy of it ever since the ninth grade and its my writing bible...its small, light, and packed with useful info. And no, this is not an ad for the book.

The author is the founder of the treatment center and program I went to and she herself had anorexia. I usually think most of these books are full of crap but this one is actually informative. I recommend it to parents that have children with eating issues. My dad has it and I'm glad he does.

So for a quick over view of my Barnes and Noble trip:

-I dont know what Kanye is thanking me for, I’m still bitter about his Taylor Swift debacle (even though Swift gets on my nerves too).

-I am curious why Crystal Renn is considered “plus size” when to me she actually looks thinner than most American.

-Real men SHOULD do yoga

-Women dont have a clue about men and men have no clue about shoes (at least women’s shoes)

-I like sox, I like knitting, I will never knit a sock.

- A PH.D means nothing obviously cause you can still write a crappy book about how its “all YOU’R fault”. Why was this in the self help section? It should be in the trash bin, next to Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution and all the Dr. Phil books.

I don’t think I will come up with a title until I finish writing it. But it was fun browsing. If you had to give your life so far a title, what would it be? I think mine would be, “Never Trust a Skinny Chef” or “Go Away, I’m Eating”. Of course, if all else fails, “East of Eden: No, I’m not Steinbeck”

Now for a very brief movie review of the “The Switch”:

I won’t give you a synopsis, go see the trailer on you tube or something. I did think it was rather funny. Mind you, movies these days are lucky if they can get a grin out of me, and my dad even laughed which is rarer than me laughing at the movies. Jennifer Aniston is not the greatest actress, but Jason Bateman is pretty decent. He’s also kind of attractive….I guess I’m attracted to slightly nerdy men…The real highlight of the film is his dog. He’s so damn cute, my heart melted faster than butter on popcorn. Its only 90 min so I was able to watch the whole thing with the trailers without having to go pee! woot woot!

ok…so now for some food.

I bought a bag on unsweetened shredded coconut about a week ago and a bag of frozen white pollack. For non foodies out there, pollack is a very cheap fish but restuarants will often call it “black cod” and hike up the price. It’s not brimming with flavor, and hence it was so dirt cheap, and hence I bought it. So I thought it would be a good canvas to add some cool flavors. I made a wet batter using:

1 egg (beaten)

lemon juice

salt

and then coated it with coconut flakes. I baked it at 400 degrees for 30 min. Mind you, if you buy any fresh white fish it will take about 10 min, but this was frozen so it took longer. You can really use any white fish, I love tilapia and halibut, but as I mentioned, those can be a little pricey.

In its "raw" state, or at least before it takes on some heat

Peanut Crusted Butternut Squash and “Can You Hear Me Now?”

still hot and bubbly, and I never use an oven mitt, so my hand are full of kitchen battle scars.

I hope all of you had a nice weekend. This weekend at my Yoga training, we had a singer/yoga instructor, Suzanne Sterling, teach us about activism, using sound, and finding our “voice”. It was probably one of my favorite workshops so far in the training.

First of all, Suzanne is pretty amazing. She co-founded the non-profit group, Off The Mat, which does some pretty incredible things for the world. I hope to get more involved with the organizations and maybe attend one of their leadership trainings. But what really touched me was about how Suzanne explained to us we live in a “soup” of sound pollution. This pollution even impacts children’s growth. Think about all the mindless advertisements heard on tv, or even cold, hard gossip. Yoga is healing because it gives us that elusive silence. Its our chance to “rest our ears”. Many people dont appreciate silence, or they are scared by it. And some people are too silent. Many of us were told in childhood not to raise our voices and talk back. But what does that do? It programs us to shut up in times we need to say something and express ourselves. When we dont express what impacts us, we store it as stress and we can get stuck in the trauma. I think thats why I’m so open about my eating disorder. As most of you disagreed with my decision to “come out” on national tv, I almost feel proud I did it after hearing what Suzanne had to say.  The more I talk about my wounds, the less power they have over me. Plus, it gives me the power to inspire and help others express themselves when they have been silent for too long. Even though it may not have been the smartest thing to say on national tv, I think I secretly hoped someone struggeling noticed, and maybe thought about reaching out to get help for themselves.

People may notice that diagnoses for mental disorders only happened in the recent years, but actually, people have been suffering for ages. But they didn’t SPEAK about them, they shut up.

Does that mean there aren’t disruptive, noisy people who maybe say too much? No. As important as it is to speak, it’s just as important to LISTEN.

As a yoga teacher, I learned this weekend that my voice is a powerful tool in shifting the moods and energies of my students. Humans and animals naturally react physically to sound. Even if you dont do it intentionally (like dancing), when you hear a very load base, you feel the vibrations in your hearts.  Sound is a carrier of consciousness.

So although I have some experience teaching, I’m trying to “find my voice”. Its what makes my yoga class unique, cause as we know, voice is like fingerprints. Its uniquely mine.

So I actually have a question for all of you….Were you told not to use your voice? We you ever told not to speak up or maybe to shut up? It scars you a little bit doesnt it. Does that experience affect how much you say today? If you have a blog, do you find you really express yourself? Maybe your blog is a facade, maybe your not really expressing yourself at all.

Personally, I think my blog expresses me pretty throughly. I have no shame in expression, I do think I have a voice, and I’m thankful someone is listening

On to food….

For today’s recipe, I decided to utilized the peanut flour. To be honest, I’m sort of over the peanut flour hype. I still find flax and corn flour make better pancakes and you simply cant compare peanut flour to peanut butter, PB will always have a special place in my heart and my pantry.  But I did buy a bag of it so I used it to coat some butter nut squash. I brushed the squash with coconut oil (or use butter, in fact, please use butter. Yet another very underrated food that people are convinced is bad for you. I just used coconut oil cause I have a whole jar sitting on the counter and I need the counter space) and dipped it in cinnamon and peanut flour.

before baking...

Lessons Learned from Treatment (besides the obvious)

Did I also mention I turned 21 in treatment? yep, it was before my last day, they threw me a little party in the dining room.

You may remember my post about lessons learned in culinary school. So I thought I’d share with you some unconventional lessons I got out of my eating disorder treatment. Yes, of course I learned the obvious “take care of your body” hoopla, but you’ll be surprised about the other things I picked up. Note, I went to a very in conventional treatment center. It was NOT for adolescents, it was in a big house with six clients living together, having meals together with therapists or dietitians, and it was NOT a hospital. We had a schedule for the week that included workouts in the morning, and we went to restaurants with our dietitian once a week. I was there for three and a half months and the did a similar out-patient program for six months. Anyhow, without further ado, the lessons:

1) How to Pole Dance: one of the other clients had bought a portable dance pole. And one of the therapists was a teacher for pole dancing classes (very popular in LA these days). So for one of our group activities, we did pole dancing lessons. It was actually a lot of fun. Many girls lose their feminine when they are in the midst of their disorder, I think the pole dancing was somewhat liberating and showed us we can be and feel sexy. I needed that, cause before I was always in a chefs uniform which is anything but sexy. And when you are in treatment, sexy doesn’t really come to mind. I wasnt very good at it mind you! It takes a hell of a lot of upper body strength and my arms were very puny and lacked muscle at the time. Hmmmm maybe I should get a pole now that I can somewhat see a bicep growing…..

2)”Eco Friendly” detergents don’t get out stains out: This place was trying to be all “green” and shit, so everything was “green” and “earth friendly”. Now I’m all for helping the environment, but the “green” cleaning products didn’t make a dent in my dirty laundry. Sometimes, I just like the harsh chemicals if it gets the job done. I know, I’m an awful, awful, earth hating person. Hey, I’d drive a prius if it wasn’t so damn expensive!

3) The CVS in Malibu, CA, is a “rehab” magnet: Almost every other house in Malibu is a rehab (yep, mine included). And its funny, when we went to our weekly CVS outing to get grooming supplies or what not, we’d spot other rehab groups with their “counselors”. We didn’t communicate with them, but I always wondered where they were from, what their problems were, and if they too had to ask permission to buy gum.

4) How to do a Workout Circuit: Its funny, but before treatment I spent many hours at the gym or a machine of some sort, but I rarely picked up a weight. A strength training circuit was part of our program (granted you were physically healthy enough to do it). I loved our trainer. My roommate (who was with me in treatment) and I miss her. We always say how we wish she could kick our asses more these days when it comes to weights. Anyhow, I discovered an appreciation for strength training which I still have to this day.

5) How to “Hold it In”: Yep, I mean pee. Sorry to be tmi, but we couldn’t go to the bathroom after a meal or snack unless we had a staff member go beside the door while we counted. Culinary school made me a very good multi-tasking, but I would get “performance anxiety” about counting or singing while “doing the deeds”. Anyhow, I could never do both, so I always tried to wait the hour, and then go. I found this new ability useful for long plane flights when I’m stuck in the middle seat. Who would have thought I’d be good at this after treatment?

6) Ensure sucks: enough said.

7) Buy Taco seasoning and Cinnamon from Different Companies: The chef confused the two on “taco” night. Cinnamon is good on many things, but not tacos. Both are brown so I can understand the confusion, hence get different looking bottles.

8) Tea and Ice cream Pretty Much Rock: I’d often get ice cream for a pm snack, and tea was always available at meals and snacks. I discovered how lovely it is to eat a sweet, creamy bowl of ice cream and sipping on a nice, hot, vanilla chai tea.

9) How to Play Basketball: I was very unathletic in high school (I took “Israeli Dance” as my PE credit….yea…..) so when we went to play basketball, I kinda wanted to sit out. But they encouraged me to try. I failed miserably. I think I got one shot out of, oh maybe 1000? But it was fun to learn and it was so gratifying making that one shot.

10) Eating Disorder Bitches Be CRAZY!: no matter how weird you may thing you are about food or anything really, there will always be someone crazier, weirder, and more extreme.

Sorry guys, I had yoga school so no time to whip up something creative, but I have loads to talk to you about tomorrow about what we learned this week. For a sneak preview, check out this link.

And one last thing, am I the only one slight disturbed by this commercial?

Avocado Cucumber Pizza and “A Work in Progress”

dominos, you have nothing on meI think for most of my years being sick, and still today, I have this attachment to being a “work in progress”. I think most people like having some goal out there. Be it gain weight/lose weight, get some degree/career, find prince charming, hell even making money. We always need a “goal”. But what happens when we reach it? There’s usually a back up goal, we will never be good enough, theres always something to work on. Take me, for example:

When I was in impatient treatment, we got weighed weekly, and met with our dietitian weekly to discuss the next weeks plan. I went to a very unconventional rehab so do not assume this is how it works in most eating disorder programs. Menus changes weekly, there we four, so every four weeks, we were on back the the one we had four weeks before (yes, it got boring after a while). Based on our weekly weigh in, the dietitian would discus with each client about their own menu modification. For a while, she kept adding to my meal plan. Some extra chicken here, more yogurt to breakfast, another snack option there, etc. Actually, I was pleased when she added more. For one, I like eating so more is always better, but it also meant that I still had to work, I still was not at a healthy weight and I still had room to grow. But one day, she didnt add more. She kept it the same. And I was crushed.

“Now what? I can just hang out in limbo? What my next goal!?”

I never told her this, so I never got an answer. And I never knew my weight (and I still to this day have no clue what it is), so I had no idea if that meant I gained enough, too much, or that I still needed too. For a decade, I saw therapists and dietitians try to get my to “recover” and I think I secretly liked having “room to gain” or having a goal of some sort. I think thats why I wallowed in it for so long and refused to really believe I even had an issue.

But I see this with other people concerning other things. People will get loads of degrees and education, and not have a clue how to utilize it. And even with people that have lost weight, I found most are very depressed after losing cause they thought losing would solve all their problems and now there is nothing to work towards. Its sad, they either go on a rampage and gain it back, or they lose and lose and then its dangerous anorexia-land. Its like a never ending cycle.

Goals as a system are set up for failure.

Even when you do things exactly right, it’s not ideal. Here’s why: you are extremely limited in your actions. When you don’t feel like doing something, you have to force yourself to do it. Your path is chosen and there is no room to explore new territory. You have to follow the plan. Some goal systems are more flexible, but nothing is as flexible as having no goals.

So what does this mean? I’m trying to not have goals and instead be open. I guess not having a goal is a goal. However, I’m always learning new things (like having no goals) without setting out to learn them in the first place.

What are your goals, or have you let go of any goals lately? If you achieved some goal, was it all it was cracked up to be?

Remember: ‘A good traveller has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.’ ~Lao Tzu

Once again, totally unrelated, my lunch…..

I got some persian cucumbers on sale the other day, so I thought they would be a cool pizza topper.

I mixed 1/2 avocado with yellow mustard (not really guacamole, but my sandwich version of it) and blended that with sliced nappa cabbage.

Then a simply topped it with cooked ground turkey and “cucumber pepperoni”. Its like a deconstructed sandwich…..only a pizza

after properly coated in avocado, spread across a crisp white corn tortilla

Flaunt it Friday and Lessons Learned From Culinary School (besides the obvious)

Good Friday.

It was interesting reading over your comments about my stint over at millionaire matchmaker. I think most of you agreed I shouldn’t have said that, but I appreciate the support for my saying it anyhow. Its too late now, and frankly, I wasn’t aiming to date them. Hence, I think I knew deep down it would scare them a bit.

Anyhow….moving on…..

I was looking back at older entries and realized I haven’t talked much about my culinary school experience. So for today, I thought I’d share some of the lessons I learned. But these aren’t what you might expect. Of course I learned how to properly make quiches, reductions, and terrines, but you’d be surprised of the other bits of wisdom I soaked in.

1) Ginger snaps and prunes are used as thickeners in Germany

2) Pate a Choux is the basic dough for eclairs and profiteroles, but it means “head of cabbage” in French. I do love cabbage, but pate a choux doesn’t leave you gassy and lets face it, tastes WAY better.

3) Waiting for sourdough to rise is torture when your impatient and somewhat ADD in the kitchen (like moi)

4) Fondant tastes like a slightly sweet tire

5) Apparently, Jews dont go to culinary school cause they parents make them be lawyers, doctors, or producers. I was the only jew in my class and when we learned how to make Challah, no one knew what it was besides me.

6) Most professional chefs smoke like chimneys

7) kneading and whisking can help you get some serious looking guns, although mine deflated cause at the time, I wasn’t fueling myself enough.

8 ) Never go out to eat on a monday: Distributors typically take Sunday off and make their last deliveries Saturday morning — which means that by Monday any food not used over the weekend is at least three to four days old. And it will be served before the same ingredients arriving in Monday’s delivery. What to do if you wish to dine out on a Monday? Ignore your instincts and go to a place that’s perpetually crowded. If a place is open 24/7 and busy all the time, all the ingredients tend to be fresh

9) Making hollandaise just right CAN be stressful.

10) You will get ugly: you cant wear makeup, jewlery, nail polish, and that stupid hat covers your head so you look bald.

11) Salt and pepper are your frenemies: No matter if you’re making pasta or chicken or even a dessert, always taste it and always add salt to bring out the flavor. Doesn’t mean you should add a ton of salt, but there should be some. Salt is best used frequently but sparingly. You can add more salt to a dish but you can’t take the salt out. Never be afraid to ask for salt and pepper at a restaurant and don’t be offended if someone asks for it at your restaurant. Everybody’s taste are different and restaurants that don’t have shakers on the tables are just kidding themselves that they are pleasing everyone.

12) Ratios:  It’s worth committing these to memory: one pound pasta for one gallon of water. 2-1 ratio of water to rice or 3-1 ratio for brown rice. 3-1 ratio of olive oil to vinegar to make a classic vinaigrette dressing. 1-1 ratio of flour to butter in a classic roux with 8 ounces of each for a gallon of water. Also a 4-1 mixture of vegetable oil to olive oil is virtually identical in taste to olive oil and much cheaper

13) I dont really need recipes (and maybe you dont either): This was my goal: to divorce myself from recipes. Maybe its because I was less of a natural cook than I wanted to admit. But I needed to gain enough sense of the ‘method behind the madness’ so I could just ‘cook ’ and not always refer to a recipe. I wanted to know how to do things without following  instructions from a card or a book. I’m happy to finally say that I can look at a recipe and make all sorts of adjustments with confidence.  I make meals all the time without recipes. I still consult the plethora of great chefs out there—I just don’t have to. That makes me confident!

Sorry I don’t have a recipe….instead I’m going to embrace “Flaunt it Friday” (I think this was April’s creation). I was gonna do something very vain like my “biceps” or “six pack abs” but I dyed my hair yesterday and to be honest, I kinda hate most of it…except this part

The rest of my hair is way too dark, but we decided to "make it fun" and I put in a teeny red streak along one of my curls, its the only part I thought was kinda neat

Maybe I just need to get used to it….As we all know, change is hard. Man, that shot makes my eyes look giant, like those Japanese cartoons. Speaking of which, I used to be obsessed with Sailor Moon, does anybody remember that?

Sweet Potato Masher, The Date Debate, and Giveaway winner!

it made more, but I didnt think dumping my whole batch would look as pretty

About a year ago, I was on a very mindless show called “Millionaire Matchmaker”. For those unfamiliar with it, its a reality show on the very “queerly” run Bravo channel. The show follows a “matchmaker”. Some middle aged, botoxed broad named Patti Stanger. She has a “millionaire’s club” which consists of sad, semi-wealthy, sorry men that for some reason lack charm as they can’t seem to get a girlfriend. Or maybe they just dont know how to pay, um “professionals” (I always wonder if hookers these days take debit or credit cards…hmmmm…..and is there a tax on that? There should be). Anyhow, Patti “screens” girls and gathers them up for a mixer so her flock of women can meet her millionaires. Its actually a pretty awful premise.

Why did I go on the show? Good question. I still wonder why I did. It was an impulse decision and a rather long story. But basically, I auditioned for a cooking show with the same casting company. They were probably sick of actresses and models so they thought maybe I would be a refreshing change. I got a call and thought, “I do watch that show when I need to bring down my IQ a bit. It would be funny if I actually was on such a stupid show. What the hey, I’ll do it.”

It actually didn’t hit me that I was actually potentially going to date someone until I got to the first filming.

I will talk about my experience about the show in a future post. There’s so much to write about. My mind is spinning at the thought of it. But I’m curious to hear your opinions about a debate that my “situation” on the show sparked.

You see, on the show, at this “mixer” both guys are supposed to pick two girls to have a mini 10 minute date with. After they get a feeling for those two, they pick one to have a “master” date with.

Since I’m stunning, and since the other girls on the show were extension wearing 20-30 year old “models/actresses/singers” (although “waitresses” would have summed all those professions up), the two guys chose me.

Its weird, every guy I had a crush on never gave me a second look, but every douche/nerd I come across is attracted to me. I also have a rather strong suspicion they both picked me because I mentioned I was a chef. Yea, I guess guys want a woman that can cook. Little to they know, I also know how to use a knife properly, so if they annoy me, I can fillet their ass.

But I digress……

So they both picked me for a mini date. I was actually semi freaking out because I really wasn’t attracted to either of them, and the thought of possibly going on a day-long date made me throw up a little in my mouth (sorry about the tmi). The first guy was actually kinda cool. I would never date him, but he seemed like he’d be a good male friend. I actually have more male friends that female ones. Anyhow, during the ten minuets he asked me all sorts of questions about my life (incase you saw the show, all this stuff got cut out). Then he asked what I did after culinary school. I’m sure he was expecting to hear that I went off to work with Wolfgang Puck or something. But I straight up told him the truth, “I went to rehab, I had a very bad eating disorder.”

He actually wasn’t as shocked as the show made him seem. This was cut out of the show, but he went on to talk about his uncle had anorexia and how he was senseative to the disease….blah, blah, blah, blah. Patti whisked me away after we were done and threw me back to the cattle of blonde date contenders.

And this is where it gets juicy.

Patti pulled me aside and asked me not to tell the next date about my “anorexia”.

I stabbed her lips to leak out the collagen with her own acrylic nails! Well, in my mind I did.

I did not appreciate her diagnosing me. Not that I think its offensive to call someone “anorexic” but she had no idea about my history and what my eating disorder consisted of. Mostly, I was just pissed that she wanted me to censor myself. Long story short, I didn’t mention it on the next date, both guys didn’t pick me, and I got to keep my lunch in my stomach. Yay.

After the show aired in January, I looked at the online forums on Bravo.com and the saw they were debating my mentioning of my disorder on a first date. A lot of people agreed with Patti and thought that is not something that should be disclosed on a first date. Some (very few), thought I was brave.

I do regret it a little. But I was scarred I’d actually have to go on a date with these losers, so maybe I was trying to self sabotage myself. But even if these guys had potential, I’m not sure I would leave that part about me out if they asked. Its not like I sat down and said, “My name is so and so, and I have an eating disorder! Let me tell you all about it!”

I may not be proud of it, but its part of what builds my character. It totally damaged me physically and emotionally, but I think without it, I wouldn’t have learned so much about myself. I actually wrote a “Thank You”  letter to me eating disorder while I was in treatment. The goal was to acknowledge what my disorder gave me, thank it, and then leave it. My eating disorder history is baggage, and they should know what they are getting themselves into. Not that baggage is bad. Kids are baggage, exes are baggage, and even your job can be baggage. I just like to know how heavy my baggage is before I pick it up. And personally, if he’s too weak to pick up my baggage, I dont want him to even try.

So what do you think? Did I do the right thing? If you don’t agree with my decision, I won’t hold it against you. Be honest. Would you disclose information like that on a first date?

And now for something completely different (this is a monty python reference….for my fellow python fans out there):

Today my recipe is for a new way to eat sweet potatoes! One of my favorite combos is cold, creamy cottage cheese with a hot sweet potato. Well, I didn’t have cottage cheese in the fridge, so I substituted greek yogurt. So I made a delicious sweet potato mash with:

perfectly roasted via microwave, how very "chef-y" of me

-1 whole steamed sweet potato (if you have patience and time, roast is in the oven, but I wrapped it in plastic, poked holes with a fork and let the microwave spin for four minuets)

-about 1/2 cup of greek yogurt (didn’t really measure but a few big “galob fulls”)

-1 tablespoon raw almond butter (actually, any butter would do, probably better with real butter, remember that?)

-dash of cinnamon

-a few squirts of cheapo yellow mustard (as Heather reminds me, sometimes the cheapo condiments are the secret ingredients!).

Blend it all up. I poured the mash over crunchy nappa cabbage which is an excellent contrast with the creaminess of the mash. I’m such a texture eater. I need to have different, contrasting textures. I blame my culinary school education. Anyhow, this is delicious, and a great way to eat a sweet potato, although I think it will be paired with cottage cheese when I have some in stock.

The Nu Naturals giveaway winner is…….April (from “The Weigh I am”). I m actually glad she won cause I know she thought she won on that fiber gourmet giveaway but it was a different April. April is so popular in the blogosphere!

Roasted Apple Pears, Underrated Foods

And underrated fruit "peared" with an overrated dairy product

So as a continuation from yesterday, I thought I would be more positive and give a shout out to some foods I think need a better publicist. Heres some of the ones that made the list:

Prunes: regularity issues aside, did you know they pack more potassium than bananas? They are like candy and taste wonderful dipped in chocolate! I’m actually not a big fan of raisins, but these are a whole other ball game. They go great in cake and muffin recipes, but also fabulous in stews (very traditional in eastern european chicken stews!). I usually prefer fresh over dried when it comes to most fruits, but I rather have prunes than a fresh plum, oddly enough!

apple cider: not the vinegar, but I think not enough people know apple cider is not just for alcoholic beverages. Its so yummy in any types of cooked grain (rice, oatmeal, quinoa) and when you reduce it, makes an excellent sauce for pork, poultry, seafood, and tofu. Its also not as refined as apple juice so if you choose to drink it plain, it’s a better bet than apple juice. The best apple cider comes from farmers markets (as most things tend to), but I think no matter where you get it, it should make a comeback.

Milk: Yes, I know people claim to have lactose issues and if your vegan, fine,  but everyone seems to be shunning milk! I have a suspicion it’s because alternative milks tend to be lower calorie, but seriously, unless your vegan, why not? I can’t stand rice milk and even though I do use almond milk, I think its super watery. Get milk from an organic farm if it helps your conscience, I think you will be surprised how much it tastes like…..MILK!

Yolks:I think the blogosphere is racist, favoring whites and all that. Poor Mr. Yolk. Not only is it delicious, its packed with WAY more nutrients that the white. I admit, I hate hardboiled egg yolks, but I prefer yolk filled omelets and scrambled eggs. It’s so much creamier, yummier, and more filling. If you want to add more whites, fine. But I think a yolk or two in omelets is essential for a tasty one. You know whats really yummy, and sunny side up egg on a salad. I like the hot/cold combo and the yolk makes for an excellent dressing.

Plain yogurt: this kind of goes along the lines of the milk. If your vegan, this doesn’t pertain to you obviously, but everyone chooses greek yogurt these days. Yes, I eat greek yogurt too. But when I went to Israel this past winter I noticed they didn’t have greek yogurt, so I had plain. And although the dairy products in Israel are way better than the American fare, the plain yogurt was delightful. I get a bit tired of greek yogurt, and sometime, I want something not as tart. Plus, greek yogurt doesn’t have as much of the good bacteria found in regular yogurt and also lacks the calcium.

Tahini/sesame seeds: I know cashew/sunflowerseed/almond/peanut butter are like the shit and all, but tahini is a pretty darn amazing nut butter. Incase you dont know, Tahini is sesame seed “butter”. It’s not just for humus, but it’s so yummy on toast and muffins. In Israel, my cousins eat it all the time with breakfast, lunch, and dinner, its like salt and pepper to them. It’s actually really good blended with chocolate as well. On that note, I dare some of you chia seed lovers to try sesame seeds in your “overnight oats”. I personally like it on salads and to coat my fish or chicken with it.

I actually had a long list of foods that I think need to be eaten more often, or at least publicized more on the blogs. But I honestly was getting a bit tired of judging food in general. That is another thing….. I think sometime judging food is overrated. I’m not saying food is overrated cause that’s like saying sleep is overrated. Food is part of life. But sometimes, I think “health” bloggers get too wrapped up in the nutrition. Hell I’m prone to that too and I’m calling myself out on it. I think its unwise to label foods as “good” or “bad”. A processed, hydrogenated, trans-fat laden chip-ama-bob will not kill you. Once in a while, I think we need to have some “fun” foods. Can I add that to the food pyramid? The “Fun Food Group”?

And speaking of underrated…you know what I hardly ever see????

ahhhh so simple and delicious, yet so neglected.

after roasting....

the apple pear! (aka the asian pear!) They are one of my top five favorite fruits! Crisp, portable, juicy, and sweet, I really cant get enough of them. They are a wonderful addition to salads and I even like roasting them with a crumble topping. They also “pair” (hee hee) nicely with the overrated greek yogurt! For the picture at the top of the post, I simply sliced it in half and roasted it at 350 for ten minutes. They roast a lot quicker than apples so be careful. Then I spooned over some greek yogurt and cocoa powder.

White Asparagus Dip, Overrated Foods on the Blogosphere, and More Yoga Answers

Looks like hummus, but its a perfect blend of nuttyness and sweetness for spaghetti squash and tortilla "bowls"

Before I begin rambling about some sort on nonsense once again, I’d like to apologize for yesterday’s post about the compliment. I sincerely thank all of you who posted thoughtful and supportive comments about it. The thing is, I dont want to come off as someone who doesn’t appreciate compliments or “show off”-like. I honestly don’t take criticism very well either. Anyhow, I don’t like to apologize, but I feel compelled to. Sometimes, you read over old posts and you’re like “What was I thinking?”. Anyhow, onwards and upwards….

I decided to share with you my thought about some food trends that I think are overrated. Tomorrow, I’ll post about some foods that I think should get a little more credit so stay tuned for that.

Before I unveil my list, I feel a disclaimer or two is in order:

  1. I’m in favor of anything that helps people become healthy or fit. The word “overrated” needs to be taken into context and is certainly open to interpretation.
  2. Just because I deem something to be overrated does not mean I don’t think it has merit. I may feel something is “overrated” simply due to the amount of hype it gets or to the degree that its proponents revere it.

Ok so for the Overrated list:

acai berry: You may have had some salesperson tell you of the magical powers possessed by this exotic berry. When tested for polyphenol content, Acai rates below concord grapes, red wine and blueberries. Stick with a variety of fruits and veggies here and save your cash.

“Green Monsters” : I’ve said this before, I understand those who drink it for the nutrients, but prefer chewing my greens or “creaming” my spinach.

“Over-night Oats”: I will get a beating from the blogger gods for the. I know every blogger and their mother eats this daily, but I’m rather impatient about my dinner roasting for a few hours. Overnight seems like too much of a stretch. I’m also not big on oatmeal, and I don’t know I feel a bit weird that it’s not cooked, I’m scarred it will cook in my stomach and expand or something. It’s like that time I swallowed a popcorn kernel and I swear I heard it pop in my tummy.

Enhanced Waters: Supermarket shelves are filled with bottles of brightly colored waters that are spiked with vitamins, herbs, antioxidants and other ingredients with names like “defend,” “rescue” and “focus.” Some claim to stave off colds, boost alertness or relax you, while others attempt to lure you with promises of weight loss. Water should be simple, I dont need it to “focus” or “rescue” me. All I ask is for hydration.

Hemp Milk: Once again, I’m expecting lots of angry sneers at me for this, but I had a sip and was not a fan. Plus, its not cheap. And apparently, it doesnt even get you high, what a rip off I tell ya.

You know what I USED to think was overrated? Avocados and almond butter. But in reality, I think I was just scared of them. Nowadays, I tend to hoard those two items. The world will be a very sad place with those two….

Some more yoga questions to answer!

Tori asked:

“I’ve never been too into yoga. I think because I’ve always assumed you have to be SUPER flexible. Or atleast a little flexibe, which I’m soooo not! I can barely touch my toes!”

Well Tori, your probably more flexible than ME. I blame that decade of my life where I did some serious over-exercise and partly genetics for my complete lack of flexiblity. I’m such a walking contradiction. A chef with eating issues and very stiff Yoga instructor. How I get hired is beyond me. Anyhow, the good news is yoga is for EVERYONE! Actually, I think its way more beneficial if your not uber flexible and resemble gumby. Yoga will increase your flexility and every pose can be modified if you cant do it due to lack of flexibility. For example, if your arm does not reach your shin or the floor in Trikonasana (triangle pose), you can use a block beside you leg and rest your arm there. I cant even reach my toes. Granted, I’ve come a long way and I used to barely reach my knees, so I have improved. I really don’t think flexibility will hinder your yoga experience.

Jam wrote:

“Does yoga really help in recovery from ed?…it seems like lots of people use yoga to obtain recovery”

Here’s the thing, Yoga is one of the few things one can do in order to reconnect with their mind and their body. Eating disorders tend to disconnect you from both. Hence its a great tool to use for recovery. Plus, there is SO much to yoga besides just the poses that its really quiet mind blowing. Its strange, after I took my 200 hr teacher training, I thought to myself, “Wow! Now I know how much I don’t know about yoga!”. Yoga can give you something to put your energy towards instead of food or exercise (and mind you, yoga is so much more than exercise). Plus, yoga has great stress relieving and calming effects which are extremely useful in recovery or any period of hardship. In the inpatient treatment center I went to, Yoga was incorporated into our fitness program and we practiced twice a week. I think that’s where I really discovered my appreciation for yoga practice. Is it for everyone? No, and dont go to classes just cause its cool or you heard it does wonders for your body or whatever. Then you are simply wasting your time. Try a few different instructors and if you like it, great, and if not, no big deal. I’m not trying to get yogi converts, I think its pretty full as is.

Ashley S wrote:

“Is yoga good for building a little muscle? I strength train on and off all the time, but I just can’t really get into it. I don’t need to do much cardio, because I’m not trying to lose any weight.  Anyway, I don’t go to a gym anymore, so are there any dvd’s you can recommend if I wanted to try to get into yoga? What about the Jillian Michaels’s Yoga Meltdown?”

I’ll be frank, Jillian Michael’s scares me, and the last thing I want to be when I’m doing yoga is scarred and intimidated. Yoga is no bootcamp. It can be physically challenging, but there is not need for a drill sergeant with a vagina teaching it. Besides, if it’s called “Meltdown”, I’m pretty sure she’ll have you do some cardio and I know that’s not what you were going for. Any “vinyasa flow” or “power yoga” dvds will actually have a bit of cardio in it, so I guess stay away from those. I know Kristen McGee is a good instructor and I know she has a line of dvd’s out. Maybe netflix them? Plus, there are lots of FREE podcasts you can download on itunes. My favorite are the Yoga Poser series. I downloaded them when I went to Europe and Israel this past winter and they were awesome. Hope that helps!

So for today’s recipe, I’m featuring one of my favorite veggies: WHITE asparagus! Yes, its not easy to find and might be a bit more pricy, but I actually found a bundle on sale! So I decided to make a dressing/dip out of it! In the blender I blended:

chop them up a bit before blending, o my my thumbs are ugly!

-5 white asparagus stalks, steamed

-3 cauliflower florets, steamed

-1 tbs almond butter

-3 tbs of water (enough to thin it out to your liking)

-1 tbs sweetener of choice (like honey, agave, or stevia)

Blend and enjoy!

A Borrowed Recipe, More Yoga Answers, and Bodily Pride

they were more "crepe" like cause I used less baking powder but I did that on purpose so I would have more surface area for the yogurt!

I was at the gym a few days ago, putting back free weights on the rack when an forty-something year old woman came up to me and said. “You look amazing,”

I was kind of a bitch, I responded, “Excuuuuuuuuse me?”

She answered back, “You’r body, its in good shape!”

I didn’t know how to take it. I replied, “thanks, and tried to let out a smile, but it was very forced. You know, like those smiles you give when a little kid asks you to taste their mud pie (thats actually made of mud) and you tell them its delicious in hopes of no crushing their feelings. Anyhow, I was debating whether or not to even mention it on the blog. The reason for my hesitancy is 1) I dont want to seem like I’m flaunting my body.  I’m neither proud or ashamed of my body. I used to be VERY ashamed. I used to be scared of wearing tank tops because I looked like “an African famine victim” (as my roommate described it). I was kicked out several gyms because of my body being so emaciated that they were worried I would be a liability. And this one time in college (when I was near my dangerously low weight) a woman came up to me and said my body looked “spectacular”! You would think that would have made me happy, but it saddened me. She didn’t know how many treadmill hours were clocked in for that body, how many nutrients were lacking, and how much self love was missing. And I can’t say I’m proud of it yet either because although I know I’m healthier, I still think I’m a work in progress. The truth is, even after all the yoga mind/body hoopla I’ve undergone, I still am rather indifferent to my body. I care about it, but I still feel a strong disconnect to the way it looks. For a long time, I’ve tried to avoid confrontation and judgment of it, be it good or bad. I didn’t examine it for too long in the mirror or “look down” in the shower. I just help my head up and kept eating for a while. I suppose these past few months, I’ve started weight lifting more and actually practicing yoga more (because as a teacher, I tend to skimp on my own practice from time to time). Its been a few days since I got the comment, and I examined my arms in the mirror and you know what, I can identify my triceps and my arms are actually having some sort of shape. Hmm…..could this woman actually be on to something? Maybe I should accept the complement, bite the bullet, look in the mirror, and share in her admiration. I would have been more pleased by complement about who I am as a person, as opposed to that exterior. But I must say, after some reflection, maybe I am a little proud. Maybe my pride is a muscle that I still need to work on.

As promised, I wanted to answer some of your questions from the giveaway:

Crystal wrote: “I have not been to a yoga class before and am planning on going soon. Do you have any suggestions for someone for their first yoga class? Any tips?” and Danielle wrote: “Is there a specific type of yoga that beginners should start with? I’m really interested in trying a class, but I’m a little nervous. What to wear, bring, etc.”

I’ll answer both at once:

Well, I’m glad your taking the plunge! Yoga can be intimidating, but any time you go to a class (be it fitness related or not) is a bit scary. I’ve been to spin classes before and it’s not like I don’t know how to ride a stationary bike, but they intimidate me and I haven’t been in one in years). Anyhow, the teacher will instruct how to do the poses, so dont fret if you dont know how to do a certain pose. Its not like they’ll start saying poses and expect you to do them (its a yoga class, not boot camp). Just dress comfortably (leggings or yoga pants, not sweats), bring a clean mat, and maybe introduce yourself to the teacher before hand. I always try to go around and see if I have any new students in my classes so I get to know them better. Most importantly, if you have any injuries, let the teacher know so they can modify poses for you. One last thing, choose the appropriate level class. If its your first time ever doing yoga, I would not recommend and Iyengar or high intensity vinyasa flow class. Best to see if its a beginners or level 1 class. Dont worry, you’ll still get a “workout” in those classes. I actually take level 1 classes more often than higher level ones. I just think they focus on alignment more and I can actually listen to my breath in those classes.

Amanda (from Seek, because there are few readers named “Amanda”) wrote:

“when you first started yoga, did you find it hard to slow your thoughts and really be able to focus and get in to your poses? Sometimes I find myself unable to get through more than 5 minutes without getting bored…”

hmm, well I didn’t feel bored but there have been times, even recently where my mind meanders and I’ve been “bored”. It really just boils down to the teacher. Thais why I mentioned a few posts ago that often the best classes are at actual yoga studios as opposed to gyms. The yoga studios usually have just yoga classes, so they are a lot pickier with the teachers. It’s actually very easy to get a 200 hr ryt training, and gyms that hired me didn’t even ask me to do demo a class! they just looked at my resume and figured I’d be good enough. The right teacher will help you go deeper in to the pose and explain what muscles you should be activating and what not. But believe me, sometimes I am SO not in the mood for yoga, and if I force myself to go to a class those times, I’m bored out of my mind. Don’t push your self though. Do yoga if you’d like to, it will always be there, but its ok to not be into it. But like with food, I’d say try it a few times with different teachers before you rule it out completely. I hated cottage cheese the first few times I had it, now it’s practically a staple in my diet.

I think one of the most gratifying things about having my blog is when I lurk some other blog and I see they have tried out one of my recipes! I just love seeing that! There have been a few bloggers that tried a few of my recipes or were inspired by them, so I though I might “borrow” from another blogger. Last night, I saw this post by Astrid and left a comment asking for the recipe. Sure enough, by morning, she responded with the recipe! So after my sunday morning yoga session, I refueled with her chocolate peanut butter pancakes! I made a few adjustment and although I didn’t mean to, I completely forgot to add cocoa powder into the mix! So I guess mine can’t be called chocolate peanut butter pancakes! Anyhow I had some tofu chocolate pudding on the side, so there’s my cocoa injection. For the pancakes…..

1/4 cup whole wheat flour (or any flour, I didnt have ww flour so I used corn flour)

1/4 cup almond milk (any milk)

pinch of baking powder

about 1 tbsp dark cocoa powder

pinch of salt

1 tbs peanut butter (I used skippy, cant stand ones that aren’t “no stir” its like peanut soup!)

1 egg

Blend it all together and cook on a skillet. Astrid had them with a banana a greek yogurt. I have this weird aversion to bananas because someone gave them to me when I was really sick as a kid and now I just get nauseous when I eat one, so I had it with my “quick” strawberry jelly and vanilla yogurt.

Dont forget to submit some more yoga questions for the giveaway!

And one last thing…..I updated my site a little but so the recipe page is UP and ORGANIZED!

Fennel Meat Loaf “Muffins”, Ikea, and “Fascinations”

"meaty" muffins

My dad’s house (which I suppose is mine too, but I dont live there anymore) was just painted and all the furniture except those in the bedroom were taken out. Hence my dad currently has no internet, no kitchen, and basically nothing outside his bedroom and walk in closet. As you can imagine, this leaves him incredibly bored and sick of watching cnn. So I suppose this is why he was up for some “bonding” time with me this saturday. My dad and I are not really into sports or anything, so we “bond” by browsing furniture disneylands. For example, today we ventured……….

Is is strange I secretly want to live in an Ikea showroom?

Yep.

I think Ikea maybe overhyped and I do think some of their furniture is rather crappy, but I admit, I get giddy when I go there. I think I’m oddly fascinated by all things Swedish. I’ve asked my dad several times if we have any Swedish relatives, but alas, the farthest north as far as my family goes is the Netherlands. Anyhow, I didnt need anything, and I’m not a big buyer in general, but I did need a new pillow. So I test the merchandise:

Yes, people starred at the middle aged man taking a picture of a weird girl sleeping on the display

Hey, I had to take it on a test run! I dont know if you all do this too, but I will sometimes browse a store, ANY store, not just food or furniture related, and end up buying nothing, or something as simple as a pillow. The one exception to this is Top Shop in Oxford Circus in London. I know that Top Shop very well and they have an amazing vintage clothing section that I just cant leave buying only one thing from.

Anyhow……heres some Swedish food for you to drool over, although I dont promise its that “drool” worthy:

actually, this jam IS drool worthy!

This bread looked cool, like a Swedish version of lavash

I'm not a fan of muesli, but maybe since it IS Swedish....

ok, I love fish, but I think I'd pass on this....

Anyhow, speaking of “fascinations” I wanted to address one I have noticed swirling around the blogosphere (and actually, the Western world).

Eating Disorders

Now I’m not a psychologist, so I cannot diagnose anyone, but I’ve noticed a lot of people who dont have an eating disorder “lurking” and seemingly “fascinated” by all these “recovery blogs”. For the record, I do not wish to be classified as a “recovery blog”. Even though it is something I’m working on, I hope to fuse together my thoughts, cooking, yoga, humor, and sure, maybe some recovery insights. But its really amazing how seemingly normal (or at least, claim to be, eating wise) people lurk blogs about eating disorders. Personally, when I got out of treatment and started being open with people about my issues, I started to feel like a museum. At first, it was helpful to tell people what my treatment was like, how I got there, etc. But after a while, I was “fed up” (yep, pun intended!) and I just wanted to hand people a brochure so I could rest my mouth. My dad is guilty of these fascinations. When he took me on a pass while I was in treatment, I found a receipt in the backseat of his car with about seven eating disorder and recovery books. Granted, I know he is my father, and naturally, is curious about what his daughter is going through, but I find MANY people wanting to learn and examine these disorders more and more.

But you know what? I dont blame them.

It is rather fascinating that some people find it so hard to do the most basic thing for human survival. That some people can’t stop counting numbers, miles, calories, fat/protein/carb grams, pounds, etc. That some people make controlling their weight or their exercise a hobby. That some people are more scarred of eating a sandwich than being struck by lightning. It IS fascinating!

But I think my point is, is that there are more fascinating things out there. Yoga is a start (and I will be answering some more questions from the giveaway tomorrow). Nature, literature, travel, film, history, botany, etc…. I think its fine that people are curious about the disorder, but sometimes, I wonder if its because there’s a little “disordered” seed within them. Not pointing any fingers, just sayin. I appreciate people being open to listen to stories of recovery, perhaps it will squash some stereotypes about them. But I just hope other people won’t feel like “museums” as well. It’s a rather sad exhibit!

Like I’ve said, I’m very fascinated by Sweden. Do you have any weird or unusual fascinations?

On to some food, also a fascination…..

fennel grating action

The fennel turkey meatloaf muffins are super simple! If your vegetarian, you can substitute black or navy beans and 1/4cup flaxmeal as a binder. Otherwise blend

-1.25 pounds of ground turkey (no clue why everybody sells it at that same exact weight)

-1 large fennel, grated or finely chopped

-1 large zucchini. grated or finely chopped

-a few spoonfuls of salsa or tomato sauce

-hefty dashes of garlic and onion powder, salt, peper, cumin, and dried (or fresh rosemary)

Mix it up and bake at 400 for 30-40 min, it will take about 20 min if you do the vegetarian version!

Makes about six “muffins”