Chocolate Tofu Pudding and HAIR!

Greetings!

So…… good news! I got myself to bed earlier and woke up earlier today! yay me! this might not sound like a big deal but I loved getting my day started earlier!

So after my assisting at Yoga Works, I went to my hairdresser, conveniently two blocks down from the studio to revamp my coif. You see lately, I’ve been going through an “ugly”. My lack of sleep, lack of sunshine, and lack of time for hair maintenance left me, well, sorta like a muppet. My hair was getting super long and annoying.

horrible lighting I know, but you get the idea

Enter my decision to chop a good four inches.  To be honest, I dont love it. In fact, I’m still feeling rather unattractive, I have heard men find girls with short hair less attractive. I think its very a very “mom jean” cut. I had to cut it shorter though. Hopefully I’ll redo my high lights next week so i will get a little more dimension.

I know its blurry, and pardon my filthy towel

This got me thinking a lot about people’s relationship with their hair. Of course, I’ve talked a lot about people’s relationship to food, but its amazing the way hair affects people’s mood, energy, personality, everything really.

I have this fear I will go bald.

My mom got her first fierce chemo treatment when I was about 8 and I saw her lose all her hair. For a few months, she had a shiny, hair less head. She covered it with a wig in public, but I know it crushed her. She was ALL about the hair. She had big ass curls and she had A LOT of them. It was so strange to see her with no hair. But she had such a gorgeous, luminous face, bright forest green eyes, that I think she maybe even looked more beautiful without the hair to distract.

Once again, regardless of her beauty, I know her hair loss crushed her.

She had another round of chemo when I was 12, a year before she passed away. She’d have to lose all the hair she re-grew beautifully form the first round. This time, her attitude was different. I think she embraced it that time around. She wore a wig the first few weeks, than ditched it. I don’t blame her, its itchy and got really hot under there (believe me, I’d used to try it on all the time around the house). It was an expensive wig too! custom made by dolly parton’s wig specialist (its la, those exist around here), and made from real hair. It look EXACTLY like her natural hair! But she found the confidence within her to ditch it and sported a bare head proudly. Like a badge of breast cancer honor.

When she died. that wig gave me the creeps. I did something so sad one day, I put in on her pillow, on her side of the bed in my parents room, and stood far away to see if it looks like she was there, sleeping beneath the covers. But it was just scary and a I bursted into tears.

My dad informed me a few years ago that he gave that wig to his colleague’s wife who had chemo. I’m glad someone made good use of that wig.

Sometimes, I have a horrible day simply because my hair is not behaving. And this is the case with many people, even men. But I do try to remember about my mom’s attitude. I try to remember I have such gorgeous features that I dont need to have my hair mask. Plus, when I’m in a bad mood, it tends to be contagious and I wouldn’t want to spread that around. So next time you feel your hair is a mess or that “ugly” phase, be thankful you have hair, pull it back, and show off your gorgeous face.

I never have good transitions into my recipes, but heres what I had for my dessert part of my lunch! Chocolate Tofu Pudding!

in a blender I mixed:

-1 whole package (or box really) of mori-nu firm tofu

-2 tbs cocoa powder

-1/8 guar gum

-about 1/4 cup almond milk

-1tsp vanilla extract

(note you may add a sweetener, but I love the cocoaness of it all without sweetener)

I blended it and then made chocolate syrup by blending 2 tbs cocoa powder with 1 tbs coconut butter. Then I swirled it!

looks more like marble but I swear very edible indeed!

now go pull your hair back and admire your gorgeous features!

Cool Careers you Never Considered and “Asian Guac”

I topped my Asian guac with lagostino tails and chia seed sprinkles, cause everything looks prettier with chia seed sprinkles.

I started thinking about careers today. I was still teary eyed from my therapy session this afternoon, and smoggy LA traffic wasn’t exactly remedying it. I started thinking about my career, and if I really have one.

I’m sure YOU probably are unsure about your career, even if you already have a solid, established one.

Its not the 50’s anymore and there are so many possible career paths you can take that you may have never even thought existed. I am a firm believer you should enjoy working to some degree. Otherwise, you’r just going to be an unhappy, bitter person. Also, I never judge a person by their job. Thats just silly. I’ll have the same respect for janitor than I would a doctor (maybe more, no offense to doctors, but some can be real A-holes).

I thought I’d show you some cool jobs I came up with after some research. Remember, you can always juggle two careers. I mean I’m a part time chef, part time yoga instructor, and who know, I might pick one of jobs from this list:

Pet physiologist: Don’t be so shocked. Even Sparky sometimes needs help to keep from gnawing on your shoes or ipod. Once the local vet has ruled out physical ailments that can contribute to rude pet behavior, people who love their animals may need to call in a trained, certified behaviorist or pet psychologist. People DO seek out for these! There are even certified applied animal behaviorists. This is good if you have master’s or doctorate degree in psychology, preferably with additional work in zoology and animal behavior. I’ve heard salaries vary greatly by locale, but can be upwards of $90,000 a year. And if your REALLY good, A&E will probably contact to make a reality show with you.


Food Taster: Do you ever wonder how Ben & Jerry’s comes up with crazy flavors like “Chunky Monkey” and “Phish Food”?  They call me! Kidding! They actually have an entire job-line called the Flavor Development Specialist, dedicated to designing and testing new ice cream flavors.  There is more to designing ice cream flavors than tasting them — it’s an entire science.  If you want to skip designing new foods and simply taste them, then consider being a Professional Eater.  This is a legitimate career — take a look at this article fromFOXNews.com.  It may sound like a weird job, but it’s probably very satisfying (in more ways than one). However, ED patients need not apply (yes, I’m allowed to make fun of this, gotta problem with that?!)

-Lifeguard at a Nude Beach: I actually hear they DO exist and pay well. All you really need is to pass a life guarding exam and be CPR certified. And know who to exercise self control….

-Youth boot camp instructor for juvenile offenders: Good if your a personal trainer and your sick of being at the local gym. Always fun to see people who’ve done wrong in some sort of pain….thats cruel of me, right?

Food tour guide: This is great for all you foodies that know the best places to buy food and the best local restaurants.  To be honest, if I was to go to big city I’ve never been before, like say, Beijing, I’d love to have a local for a few hours tell me where the non-touristy spots are to get the best, authentic grub. Most cities have a company that does this and you get tips! Some are “walking” tours too so you can save more money by giving up your gym membership. Once again, ED people should reconsider this….warning, I’m being blunt, if your too skinny, they wont believe you know where the good stuff is.

Furniture tester: This could be the perfect job for the couch potato in your family. Believe it not furniture manufacturers actually hire people to sit in those chairs, loaf on on those sofas, and stretch out on those mattresses to test them for comfort.

There you have it! Believe me, there are loads more unusual jobs I found (like “jelly doughnut filler” and “bingo caller”). Once again, I apologize for the eating disorder jokes, if your offended by them, well, I dunno go eat a sandwich cause I think I get a pass on them. Just like I’m allowed to make fun of Jews (cause I’m a certified Jewess).

And now, for my asian style guacamole!

I realized that many of you like my guac bowl, and who can blame you really. They pretty much are the bomb. So i decided to spruce up my usual guac today and go Asian. I simply blended:

-half a small avocado

-about 2tbs grainy mustard

-about 2 tbs braggs liquid aminos (less sodium than soy sauce!0

-1 tbs fresh grated ginger (or you can use ginger powder)

-dash of onion and garlic powder (or real onion or garlic, but had only those spices on hand)

ignore the filthy counter in the background, my roommate and I are walking zombies so cleaning is on the back burner, know any good maids?

This is the tricky part…..Blend!

Pepita Pesto and Feel Good Things

pepita pesto a top a mound of "semi cooked" spaghetti squash, I like it on the slightly crunch side!

First of all, I must thank all of you who commented and expressed you support in kindness about my habit changing. Its so tough sometimes to pre-program yourself. I have been going to a bed a wee bit earlier (a whopping 30 min). I’m not waking up earlier, but maybe thats good for now. I wake up usually around 8:00am and I don’t think I’ll aim for the 6am wake up call until I’m in bed MUCH earlier.

Tomorrow I have a challenge in that I’ll basically be in yoga classes from 2:00pm until 9:30pm. Not in a CLASS, but yoga training which is kind of like school only no desks. We sit on bolsters and blankets and begin and end with an “Om”. But other than that it feels like school. from about 5pm until 6:30, I’ll probably be driving. Anyhow, there are very few windows of time to eat and I for one don’t want to go hungry (aka, bitch on wheels) and I don’t want to come home and stuff myself silly from not eating all day.

I could bring bars, but to be honest, they give me tummy aches, and I never liked them all that much. I dont like most dried fruit and I’ll probably bring a bag of nuts, although I always do that and still this does not always satiate me. I was considered some sort of wrap/sandwich, although they’ve turned into soggy, stinky messes in the past. We’ll see, I’ll prep some food tonight and hopefully it will be portable.

Moving on….

I do realize change is hard, not matter what it pertains too. However, if you dont find SOME element of joy in the change, it will never stick. And I’ll be honest, I’m not exactly happy go lucky these days, and I’ve been finding little joy in most things. So I tried really hard this week to take note of moments where I feel comforted and even slightly joyful. Note: I meant to find things that DID NOT involve eating or exercising because I know with my history, those elements can be taken to extreme and possibly damaging. I suggest you come up with a list like this, for when your angry or sad, take one thing from that list and become slightly more joyful. Without further ado, heres what I got:

-Listening to NPR, my favorite shows are “Wait, Wait! Don’t Tell Me” and “Car Talk”. Seriously, if you’ve never heard of these shows, trust me, download a podcast and listen. You’ll crack up within seconds and you feel slightly smarter.

-Watching Entourage, Curb your Enthusiasm, or Family Guy: I dont watch as much TV as I used to, but I love these shows and never feel like I lost brain cells watching them (unlike shows like “Real Housewives” or anything on MTV or VH1)

– creating “feel good” playlists. Sometimes listening to good music changes your mood. I know is cheesy, but I took a yoga class once and the teacher had “Here comes the Sun” on the playlist and I couldn’t help but smile.

-Google-ing cute pictures of animals: my solid heart melts at some of these pics. Especially the puppies. When I lead  a really physically hard yoga class (ie, I hold them in plank for over a minute),  I always say “O think of cute little puppies! And kittens! And bunnies! O puppies!”. It loosens my students up, but seriously, puppies make me happy. BTW, does anybody find this funny that “googleing” is a verb now?

I think this was when I got a blowout in Israel this past winter, I look awful, I took some serious guts for me to post this

-having someone play with my hair or scratch my back. Some people hate this, but I have always loved it. My poor roommate, all those night where I’d lay my head on her lap and beg, “please!!!! play with my hair!!!!”. I love going to the hairdresser, I want a hairdresser that just “plays” with your hair. How twisted is that!

being drowned by stuffed animals at ikea makes me feel good too! did I mention i'm five

What makes you feel good that does NOT involve food or exercise? surely you have something more mature having someone play with your hair.

I took a picture of this bunny at a park by my grandmothers apartment in Belgium, I wonder if he likes waffles? Bunnies make me feel good, especially Belgian ones.

For the record this isnt my cat. I'm not a cat person. But this particular cat thinks he's a dog, so i let him watch me eat and blog. And this cat, as well as blogging, make me feel good!

I have no brilliant transition to the recipe.

I bought a giant bag of raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds) last week and made pesto out of it and the remains of my fresh basil. Heres what went in (makes 1 serving):

-2 tbs dijon mustard

-4 or five fresh basil leaves

-4 small raw or cooked cauliflower florets

-1tbs nutritional yeast (aka nooch)

-1/8 cup (two tablespoons) of raw pepitas

mix it up in a food processor, blend, bullet, and enjoy!

Curry TVP or Turkey “muffins” and Habit Changes

on a bed of cinnamon riced cauliflower with a little more coconut butter!

I’ve read over the giveaway comments about what you would like me to post about, and many requested a whole archive for the recipes. I’d love to do that, but I’m new to wordpress and can’t figure it out. Did I also mention I’m not very tech savy??? Even my MacDaddy (its the name I’ve given my laptop, yes, I name my possessions. My feet are “bamber” and “basset”) which the most fool proof computer confuses me. So if you want to help me out, shoot me an email: eden.leora@gmail.com

moving on….

I was very tired this weekend. I have no good excuse for it either but I know I only got about five hours of solid sleep a night. I’d go to bed late, wake up early, and now look like a dishevled hot mess of a zombie. I don’t know why all this self sabatoge.I should have taken naps. But I was afraid of not being able to fall asleep at night, and I had stuff I needed to get done. I thought, “O, I don’t want to waste my time with a nap!”. Its strange, but I has the feeling I was treating sleep like I used to treat food.  Having very little, and convincing my self I really don’t need much of it.

But like food, I always loved and still very much adore sleep. My bed is cool, with all white sheets so I feel like I’m sleeping on a cloud. I cherish sleep so much, but it seems I’ve been restricting on it.

Odd concept, no.

NOT my dog, it was my roommates' boss' dog, I am a sucker for doggies so I'll always gladly dog sit, and sleep

I’m currently trying to reprogram my sleeping routine. Ideally, I’d love to get up at the ass crack of dawn, have a nice light breakfast, go to the gym super early before the rush hour, come home, have a second, leisurely refueling brunch, do some work, teach my yoga classes, and hit the sack by ten pm.

Ha….this is SO not what I do.

Its not far off, but I do this all much later. I usually dont get to sleep before one am. I dont find myself eating very much throghout the day cause I get so busy, so when I come home, I basically feel like I’m making up for missed snacks and meals so I end up feeling like I’ve just had Thanksgiving dinner when I do go to sleep.

And dont take any offense other bloggers, but blog surfing definetly keeps me away from hitting the sack earlier.

So I did some research about changing habits and found a wonderful article from zen habits. I encourage all of you who have habits you’d like to change, or goals you’d like to accomplish to try some these out.

I love the Habit Change Cheat Sheet, here are some suggestions I think I’ll use:

1) Write it down. Just saying you’re going to change the habit is not enough of a commitment. You need to actually write it down, on paper. Write what habit you’re going to change. I will also do this publically, on my blog right now:

“I will change my habit of going to bed late and waking up early, I will go to bed much earlier so that I get a solid 8 hours a night”

There I wrote it out. I’ll do it on paper as well.

2) Make a plan. While you’re writing, also write down a plan. This will ensure you’re really prepared. The plan should include your reasons (motivations) for changing, obstacles, triggers, support buddies, and other ways you’re going to make this a success. More on each of these below.

  1. Know your motivations, and be sure they’re strong. Write them down in your plan. You have to be very clear why you’re doing this, and the benefits of doing it need to be clear in your head. If you’re just doing it for vanity, while that can be a good motivator, it’s not usually enough. We need something stronger. So what’s my motivation? To feel better, more well rested, regulate my eating patterns, and catch the sunrise!

4) Have strategies to defeat the urge. Urges are going to come — they’re inevitable, and they’re strong. But they’re also temporary, and beatable. Urges usually last about a minute or two, and they come in waves of varying strength. You just need to ride out the wave, and the urge will go away. Some strategies for making it through the urge: deep breathing, meditation, a good book, eating someting light but comforting, calling a support buddy, post on the blog. This is applicable I think to most habits, I suggest you try some of them out for your own goals

  1. Prepare for the sabotagers. There will always be people or things that are negative, who try to get you to do your old habit. Be ready for them. Confront them, and be direct: For example, I’ll need to shut off my computer or maybe leave it my car, pack more portable snacks so I’m not ravenous when I get home, and maybe shut my phone off.
  2. If you fail, figure out what went wrong, plan for it, and try again. Don’t let failure and guilt stop you. They’re just obstacles, but they can be overcome. In fact, if you learn from each failure, they become stepping stones to your success. Regroup. Let go of guilt. Learn. Plan. And get back on that horse or in my case, get to bed already!

So I’ll keep you updated on my habit changes, hope you try these tips out as well and let me know how they work for you.

So for today’s recipe, I went “Indian” and made curried turkey meatloaf muffins! I also have a vegetarian option for these:

-1.25 lbs of ground turkey or 1 cup TVP granules

-2 large grated zuchinni

-1 egg

-1 tbs coconut butter (the secret to this whole thing! turkey is very lean so this is awesome to give it a nice flavor!)

-curry powder

-onion powder

-salt n peppa

-garlic powder

mix it all up and bake at 400 degrees for about 30 min. I added some extra curry powder on top. I like these cause they are individual servings since I used a big muffin tin pan. You could certainly just form them into six little loaves or a big one and just cut it into six slices. Enjoy!

Pad Thai and “What’s in a Name?”

quick, easy, gluten free, not very "traditional" but neither is my name

Its actually kind of mind-boggling to think that your parents have such power when they choose your name. Essentially, you become THAT name, or does you it become YOU?

Of course, you can always choose to change it legally, as my good friend Averie has done.

But most people live our entire lives with it. We respond to it, and it becomes our label.

For the longest time, I hated my name. And before I get into this, I bet your mispronouncing it. You’re probably thinking my name is pronounced, Eee-den.

Nope, its actually pronounced Eh-den.

Do I respond to Ee-den? yea, its the way people say it when they see it spelled out in front of them, and sometimes, I just get too lazy to correct them. I mean at starbucks, I dont even bother, I just say my name is “Snow White” or something.

My mother and father called me Eh-den, and thats my REAL name. Its the Hebrew name of Ee-den, but I also think it sounds softer, nicer, more…me.

I really wanted to change it growing up. No one had weird names on the playground. It was a different time, not like today where people name their kids “Apple” or “Moses”. I wanted to be “Jennifer”, “Mandy”, “Rachel”, anything but my name.

I don’t think my parents thought twice about what would happen when i would go to school with such an unusual name. I’m not sure about the whole story about how they selected it, but all I know is my dad wanted to name me “Zohar” so maybe I got off lucky (incase you’re wondering, “Zohar” is the book of Jewish mysticism, aka Kabbalah, you know that thing Madonna is obsessed with).

However, it was around college where I truly grew to not only like, but LOVE my name. First of all, everyone remembered me. I went to a fairly small high school, and my public university was GIANT. So many names, so many blonde, tanned, girls.

It was actually nice to stand out a bit, and have an unconventional name.

When I went to treatment, I had to give up my other identity, my disorder. It was nice to know that there was a difference between “eating disordered” me, and “Eden”.  Because “Eden” is not disordered. “Eden” is what I like to think of as my healthy self. “Eden” is creative, funny, outgoing, and kind. But “Eden” gets shut out by the the disordered seed within me. I’m not “Eden” when it kicks in. When it kicks in, I’m not that creative, I isolate, I’m harmful to myself.

Anyhow, I think my name is beautiful and I would never want to change it! Call me an egomaniac but I would call me own daughter that if it wasn’t already mine (but sucks for my kids! I got it first!).

I do often sit in traffic when I’m bored and think about what I’d call my own children. I do think I will name one of them after my mother if I have a girl (for those that don’t know, my mother passed away from breast cancer when I was thirteen). Her name was Leora, it means “to light up” in Hebrew, and truly, thats what she did.

So how about you? Do you like your name, did you also go through a period where you wanted it to change? Have a list in your head for your kids’ names?

Today’s recipe is cool. I picked up  bag of lagostino tails at Traders today after yoga training. So I thought I’d make a cool version of pad thai, this is for one serving:

they are so cute in the pan!

-1 large grated or chopped zucchini

-about 20 small lagostino tails

-cooked spaghetti squash

-sliced nappa cabbage or a cole slaw bagged mix

sautee everything and add my almond butter sauce!

mmmm.....almond butter sauce!

almond butter sauce:

-cooked cauliflower (about a handful)

-spoonful of dijon mustard

-1 tsp coconut oil

-1 tbs almond butter (or peanut butter, but I’m lately in love with raw, crunch almond butter!)

puree in a blend or bullet and pour on the pad thai!

Secret Eating and Blackberry Chocolate Fro Yo!

the nooch really gives it a good kick, like the salty caramel hot chocolate from starbucks!

I read an article a few months back about women’s habits of eating in secret. Its not necessarily the eating in secret, but also the what. One woman confessed to only feel comfortable eating hot dogs with cheese whiz alone because of the fear of judgment that its “weird”. After asking some friends of mine, I think many of us eat differently because we are alone. When I was younger, most of my eating was not in front of people. I’m sure many rumors swirled around when I was starting college or in high school about how I must be anorexic because I was so thin. I was indeed malnourished, but I definitely ate. I ate alone often, and massive amounts of what I though of then as “safe” food. I also exercised compulsively, that contributed a lot to it.

It took me a while to get used to eating in front of people. And I I think when I AM alone, I eat slightly differently.

I think I tend to eat more when I’m alone, I get bored and wont want my meal to end.  Do I prefer to eat alone? Sometimes, but sometimes, I do enjoy the company.

There are definitely things I do that I would not do with others. For example, I dont do this anymore, but I used to have the habit of getting fro yo in the winter, blasting the heating in my car, and sitting in a vacant parking spot, reading some trashy magazine while eating ice cold yogurt. Weird, and I would never do this with someone else in the car. But it was like my little sacred “me” time. No one could pass judgment of me and call it “weird”.

There is an old Sex and the City episode where Carrie talks about the SSB: Secret Single Behavior, things you never do in front of your boyfriend (and as it turns out, anyone for that matter). Carrie’s SSB was eating saltines with grape Jelly standing up while reading Vogue. I believe Miranda liked to put her hands in those vaseline gloves while watching Jon Stewart. Charlotte would examine her pores (I do that more than I’d like to admit) and Samantha naturally felt uninhibited and did EVERYTHING in front of everyone, naturally!

So many people have eating habits that are not considered ‘normal,’ that it’s actually more ‘normal’ to have some sort of neurosis around food, and to not fit in with the idealised picture of healthy eating.

So how about you? Are there things you only like to eat alone for some reason? Are there things you like to do ONLY alone? So you prefer to eat with others, or is alone better for you? Do you have “weird” eating habits you don’t want others to see?

Anyhow, speaking of my fro yo alone habit, I’m happy to day its been a while since I did that. But  made some at home today before the yoga class I assisted in! Heres what I put in the mix:

-1/2 cup chocolate almond milk

-one 6oz container of blackberry yogurt (any brand you like will do, even plain or greek yogurt will work)

-1tbs cocoa powder

-1 tbs chocolate protein powder (I used Jay Robb, you dont really need the protein powder but I had a little left over so I thought, “why not?”)

-sprinkling of nooch (totally optional, but I like the slightly salty sweet combo, try it!)

If you do not have an ice cream maker:

You can whiz it up and put in into an ice cube tray and then blend it in the blender or use my “ice cream” in a ziploc bag trick.

Also, my good friend Averie is giving away and awesome cookbook, Ani’s Phyo’s Raw Food Essentials Cookbook! If the recipes are as good as Averie says, I might be able to try going raw for longer than an hour! Go me!

Updates, raw almond pesto, and vanity

Atop of spaghetti squash!

So before I get into today’s recipe and other rambling I wanted to update you on a few aspect of my life:

Gym thief: The gym manager does indeed think its her after some investigation, however, we heard from the other member that had 800 bucks stolen from her that

Yoga Teacher Training: going well, still really into the whole Ayurveda thing and want to investigate it more. Tomorrow is my second class assisting, this time, he’s letting me make adjustments on people. This is kinda freaking me out, I’m afraid I’ll adjust wrong and injure someone. I smell a lawsuit

I did something recently very unlike me recently. I flexed in front of the mirror. WTF???

Many people think eating and exercise disorders stem from vanity. I won’t argue that it may be true for some cases, but truly ingrained disorders usually have nothing to do with vanity. At my rock bottom, I wasn’t attractive. In fact, I think I was down right repulsive. A part of me thinks I subconsciously knew that.

I wanted to minimize myself as much as possible. Its such a sad thing but true. I often remind myself that I’m way too awesome to be downsized.

So why the hell was I flexing?

Granted, I was alone (believe me, I would never allow myself to do such a thing in front of a live creature, yep, plants and pets included).  But I’ll tell you what, since becoming a yoga teacher, I feel somewhat responsible to look the part. Not that there is an ideal image of what a yoga teacher should look like, but I would like to appear strong, soft, and powerful. I don’t want them to see a frail, weak, and timid person. I’m not suggesting I’m weak or frail at the moment, but I’d like to appear stronger, inside and out. I don’t have a clear picture of what that strength is, or if it can even be seen through a bicep via flexing, but I do feel there is this inner strength I’m striving for. Maybe I’m being vain by saying this, but I do feel like my workouts have been geared more towards “appearance” rather than mental sanity, like it has been in the past.

Strange.

But if the desire to look strong is whats keeping me away from running 10 miles a day and waking up my exercise addiction from hibernation, than bring on the vanity.

Why do you exercise/eat the way you do? Is it to maintain sanity, “health”, are you a little vain like me?

I have no clever transition to my recipe, so here is is!

I accidentally bought raw CRUNCHY almond butter (when I meant to buy CREAMY) but I though maybe I could turn it into a pesto!

This is so flavorful and super simple:

-a couple of raw cauliflower florets

-about a tablespoon of raw almond butter

-5 or six big basil leaves

-1 garlic clove

pulse in a blender, food processor, or magic bullet, make enough for ONE serving so if your making it for a crowd, quadruple it!

Thoughts on Food Network “Chefs”

I actually watch food network every so often. Not as much as I used to. In its early years, I was about eleven and was GLUED to it. Remember the shows, “Door Knock Dinners” and “Sweet Dreams” (a purely dessert show, obviously), and “The Galloping Gourmet” (this was actually a show from the 70’s, but they used to play it at like 1 am so I’d catch it every so often when I was jet lagged). I miss the old food network.

I don’t watch all that much TV these days in general, I usually turn it on when I’m home alone so I dont feel….well…alone!  But every so often I do catch up on food network. More so at the gym to be honest because if its not ESPN or CNN, its usually Food network, cause everyone wants to see what they want to burn off, right?

My last few posts have been rather serious, so I thought I’d lighten the mood and give you my take on some of the “chefs” Food network has given birth to. Bear in mind that I am a trained chef so I’m picky and biased, just a warning:

Paula Deen: I’m reluctant to bash and criticize a seemingly nice, southern lady. I certainly wish I had a grandmother like that seeing is that my grandmother is her polar opposite (bitter, German, Jew, and only cooks stuff that comes in a box or can). She also know how to laugh at herself which I really appreciate (check out her funny or die videos). I like that she doesn’t apologize for the truckloads of butter she uses. And really, who’s to say butter is that bad? I love her dogs too, I like that she gives them whatever she’s cooking, I just hope she doesn’t feed them chocolate anytime soon.

Anthony Bourdain: technically, not on food network anymore, but thats where he started his tv career. Here’s a little confession, I have a tiny crush on him. He’s old enough to be my dad but there’s that bad ass, dark humor, foodie thing about him I sorta find attractive. Maybe he reminds me a little of myself. I read his books and I fully respect his candidness and honesty about the business. He’s ballsy and is will to try anything, he’s also rather humble and although knows high end food…he isn’t pretentious and appreciates a good, simple, street food kind of meal.

Bobby Flay: this guy reminds me of the kid that got made fun of in gym class for having red hair and freckles. You might hate me for saying this, but I probably would have made fun of him too. He irks me. I think the fact that he is an Iron Chef is ridiculous. This may sound harsh, but he seems a little egocentric to me. You know his show, “throwdown”? I bet this was his pitch: “Ok guys, I have a great idea for my next show. I’m going to do some research, find local chefs who take pride in a recipe that has been either in their family for decades or that has made them famous, then I’m going to travel there, make a completely unauthentic version of that recipe, and possibly have people tell them that my version is superior. Oh, and during the majority of the shows we’re going to mess the recipe up while creating it in the test kitchen and tell the audience that I created the recipe last night with my wife. Did I mention that I’m an egomaniac?” Classy, Bobby, real classy.

Sandra Lee: Ok first, if your teaching me all these semi-homemade recipes, I expect you to at least “semi” eat! this girl is too thin to be making cupcake snowmen. I know, who am I to say shes got issues when I’m rather thin myself, but I’m also not teaching people to put canned pie filling in store bought pie crust? Really? You need a show to tell you that?

Guy Fieri: Oh Guy, sweet sweet Guy. I hate you and your 1950′s via 1992 Swingers clothes and if I hear you describe a sandwich as “money” one more time fire I will shoot from my ears. Enough said!

Tyler Florence: I don’t know, he seems nice enough, right? He’s not very annoying and that’s probably why the Food Netowrk has only given him one show.He’s suave and I totally have the hots for him too. He does use the word “boom” a lot, but hey, better than, “BAM”.

Another list of more chefs to come soon!

sorry no recipe today, yoga school took up most of my day!

Being Nancy Drew and TVP (no Oats) Granola

the mini TVP granola mountain, floating atop a lake of peach yogurt, lovely imagery, no?

What a day!

It began well enough. My roommate and I have’t been to the gym together in a while, something we used to do religously and thought we should do a much needed group class. We did this class called “Burn Bliss” which was supposed to be a low impact strength training and core conditioning class. We figured we’d do the class and do a little cardio after. The class was good, but one pedal on the elliptical afterwards and our thighs were screaming, “please! give us a break! you killed us in that class”. Yep they were numb, so we cut our cardio and headed straight to the locker room. If your bored from this post already, this is where it gets juicy.

A quick backstory before the juicyness, I had about twenty bucks missing from my wallet a few weeks ago. I though maybe I was losing my mind. So I went to the gym a few days after and left a single dollar in there, to confirm I wasn’t really losing it. I mean, I nourish myself these, so I am not THAT prone to forgetting things. Indeed I was right, that dollar was stolen, but this high class gym burglar left everything else: credit cards, phone, my actually more expensive purse (which although is Marc Jacobs, I got it at Lohemans cause I dont like paying full price, cue my Jew-ness).

From then on I brought a lock when I ventured to the gym. I never used a lock before because as you may remember, this is a high class gym (remember the Renee Zellweger side boob run in?) and most of the people there make ten time more than I have my whole life so they have no intention to steal.

Apparently, I was wrong.

Back to our tale.

So as I was give my coif a blow job (I’m nasty like that), my roommate comes out of the shower with her towel turban and spots this woman rummaging through her bag.

WTF?

heres how the conversation went:

Roomie: “Um, that is my bag …..”

Burglar: “O, o it is…isn’t it?? O I left my black watch in here…..did you see it?”

Roomie: “Um thats weird, did you tell the front desk??”

Burglar: “Yea, they said I should in the lockers”

(Roomie, grabs her bag out of Ms. Burglar’s hand)

Burglar dashes off

So a switch off in my mind and my roomie and I started talking about maybe this was the person stealing my cash? Another young gym goer overheard our convo and jumped in saying shes a waitress and that all her tip money was stole at the same time last week. Juicy, right?

We told the manager who was perplexed a little about what action to take. He was asking us for a description of her physical appearence and that inner major bitch wanted to yell out “she could loose a few!”. But I am sensitive to weight so zipped my lip as tightly as I could about that.

We spotted her on the gym floor working with a trainer. Well, now we know where the money is going.

Anyhow, we will file a report and hopefully something will come out of it.

Alyson made granola the other day and I thought I’d make my own minus oats, cause me and oats are not friends. I never liked oatmeal much, and in treatment, I made the mistake of ordering oatmeal and a side of all bran (because we needed two grain servings) and since I had an egg as my protein (no milk or yogurt) I needed a wet factor to eat the all bran with. So I dipped the goopy oatmeal in the all bran.

I had a brick in my stomach for about a week. It turned me off oats for a while.

it comes looking like so....

But what I have discovered is the cheapness and versatility of TVP! Texturized Vegetable Protein is basically just soy flour. Its used a lot in meat substitutes like veggie burgers and veggie “ground meat” because its high in protein and looks like meat when rehydrated. But when its unflavored, its pretty bland tasting, hence a perfect avenue to be versatile. So to mimic the uber crunchyness one craves when reaching for granola, dry TVP works great! To infuse some flavor, a mixed about half a cup of TVP with some honey (or u could use liquid stevia or agave), a little water to thin it out vanilla extract, and I used a little coconut oil. I actually made two batches of this, one with the coconut oil and one without (I forgot I even had the coconut oil the first time!) and the one with was worlds better. I mixed it up with cinnamon and baked it at 350 for 10 minutes. Since dried TVP is already dry, it will burn easily so keep an eye on it. You just want the sweet flavors to toast up a bit. There you have it! Alyson had the fantastic idea of adding more bulk to this buy adding some puffed millet which it a great idea, but I didn’t have any today. There is so much creative stuff you can do with this. You can sprinkle some of your favorite raw nuts and seeds, cocoa powder, coconut flakes, carob or chocolate chips, and although TVP is very high in protein, you could boost the flavor and protein content by adding you favorite protein powder!

new manicure guys! I'm so NOT a pink girl, I was hoping it would make me more bubbly, it fail miserably in that dept

I’ll probably use this in some savory dishes later on this week, so stay tuned.

I’ll keep you posted about my “gym” case as well! I’m gonna mess that bitch up (yep, all 5’2 of me is bad ass like that).

O and dont forget, tomorrow is the last day for the giveaway!

Ayurveda and Owning my Dosha

Today we spent four hours in Yoga school about Ayurveda which is really the “science” aspect of yoga. Its based on eastern medicine, which although I have been very skeptical in the past about, I’m beginning to warm up to now.

n Ayurveda we view a person as a unique individual made up of the five primary elements: ether (space), air, fire, water, and earth. Just as in nature, we too have these five elements in us. When any of these elements are present in the environment, they will in turn have an influence on us. The foods we eat and the weather are just two examples of the presence of these elements. While we are a composite of these five primary elements, certain elements are seen to have an ability to combine to create various physiological functions. Ether and air combine to form what is known in Ayurveda as the Vata dosha. Vata governs the principle of movement and therefore can be seen as the force which directs nerve impulses, circulation, respiration, and elimination. Fire and water are the elements that combine to form the Pitta dosha. The Pitta dosha (no, not the delicious, round, flat bread!)  is the process of transf ormation or metabolism. The transformation of foods into nutrients that our bodies can assimilate is an example of a pitta function. Pitta is also responsible for metabolism in the organ and tissue systems as well as cellular metabolism. Finally, it is pr edominantly the water and earth elements which combine to form the Kapha dosha. Kapha is what is responsible for growth, adding structure unit by unit. Another function of the Kapha dosha is to offer protection. Cerebral-sp inal fluid protects the brain and spinal column and is a type of Kapha found in the body.

Heres the general characteristics for the doshas when they are balanced (see if maybe you inhibit some of them!):

Vata: energetic, creative, talkative, make friends easily, are quick and sharp, and impulsive

Pitta: Very type “A” personalities, methodical, logical, strong, ambitious, career oriented,

Kapha: Sweet, loving, generous, good memory, thoughtful, loving, etc

You can google these if you would like a longer list of the mental and physical characteristcs. Bear in mind, most people are a combination with one dosha being slight more dominant than the other. Lets explore me, for example:

I’ am:

underweight (always have been, I’m also tiny): Vata

get anxious easily: Vata

-dry (as in my skin tends to be dry): Vata

-have bursts of energy and crashed: Vata

-creative (at least I like to think so): Vata

-humorous (again, I think I’am at least to me!): Vata

-afraid of change: Kapha

-impatient: Pitta

Those are just a few, but basically, I’m mainly Vata, although I do have some other dosha charactertics, most people do.  Honestly, I dont want to be a Vata, I’d like to be more Pitta and Kapha sometimes. I want to be stronger, and more organized and methodical. I have OCD tendencies, but they dont pertain to cleanliness or organization like Pittas. I would like be more compassionate. I’m not mean, well not ALL the time to ALL people :). But I would like to be kinder and more Kapha. But everyone is different, there is not better or worse dosha. Remember, they are just elements of nature.

I should just “own up” my dosha, accept my Vata-ness and see what I can do to balance this out.

The problem occurs when we get out of balance. That when we may start to get sick, physically and mentally. Ayurveda in centered around the philosophy that opposites cure. So being a Vata that tends to be “dry” and “cold” it would be recommended I skip astringent and cold foods and pick “moist” and “warm food”. To bad I love ice cream and rye bread! For me, its recommended I eat “heavy” and “dense” foods as opposed to air ones. So I’m assuming I won’t be doing fat free diets anytime soon….As far as tastes, I should be eating sweet, salty, and sour foods. So bring on the pickles, chocolate covered pretzels, and almond butter! woo hoo! so some of the stuff I like is on my “ok” list, others, like bitter, astringent, and pungent foods I need to avoid, like radishes, spinach, and actually, its recommended I stay away from most raw veggies. You might find that in your own quest to find that right balance for your dosha, you may not like the recommended foods, but thats probably why you need them. As we all know, sometimes, we do things we dont like in order to get to a good, calm, balanced place.

And this whole dosha thing can change depending on the time of day and the season. For example, the 6-10pm time slot is a Kapha, hence a good time to slow down and get to be before ten which is when the Pitta takes over. Havent you notice you get really tired at night but if you stay up past a certain point and you starting going onilne or reading, it gets much harder to fall asleep. The Pitta times of day are optimal for productivity, so its not a good idea to be awake from that 10pm-2am Pitta time slot. The other pitta time slot is the late morning, hence a good time to be at school/work.

I can go on and on about this, but I won’t because I dont like writing lengthy posts since I’m afraid I’ll loose most of your attention spans. I know I sometimes dont read lengthy blog posts on other blogs.  Anyhow, am I gonna follow this to a T, no. Its VERY interesting to me, and I would like to try some of the lifestyle and diet recommendations (like going to bed earlier, waking earlier, eating my biggest meal at lunch, etc). But there is that Kapha part of me, resistant to change.

So what’s you dosha combo? Remember, its very likely your a mixture of two and some are “tri0doshic” which is very hard to balance. Regardless, try taking an online test. Keep in mind, its not entirely accurate and Ayurvedic practitioners often check your pulse and meet with you a couple times to truly get a good analysis. Anyhow, I’m wiped from my yoga filled weekend. Next weekend we are doing inversion,s so I’ll be upside down a lot. Fun stuff pretending I’m a bat.