Banana Oat Stuffed Squash, New Uses for CSN items, and a Giveaway!

a fall specialty!

Thanks for all the comments on my culinary school post! I got lots of questions regarding it and I will answer them in a seperate post some time this week. I really do encourage those of you who “dream” of going to actually do some research and make it happen! It’s kind of mind blowing because it will be a lot of hard work, but you will want to do every ounce of it. Thats very rare. If you have more questions, feel free to ask. I’ll either address it in a future post or email you.

I know I promised to write about going to treatment and what you should think about if you are considering it, but I totally forgot it is my birthday next Wednesday.

I’m terrible at receiving gifts, so I’m giving YOU one!

A lot of bloggers do CSN giveaways. Nothing against those bloggers, but I thought that instead of usual spiel about their products, I would post some cool new and different uses for some of their products.

Product #1: Creme Brulee Torch: besides creating that beautiful, classic, crunchy custard topping, you can use the torch for all sorts of cool culinary creations!

-Exhibit A: make a “floating” roasted marshmallow for your hot chocolate.

-Exhibit B: use it for this fabulous breakfast idea, grapefruit brulee! You simple cut a grapefruit in half sprinkle raw sugar (that brown kind, it makes a better crunch) and torch it! I usually dont like grapefruit, but it made me a believer!

-Exhibit C: toast that floating piece of cheesy bread aatop a french onion soup

-Exhibit D: Of course, you can also use it for household DIY projects, like soldering…handy for lighting candles and conducting hard-core seances.

Product #2: Colander. There’s more to this tool than simple washing produce or draining pasta! You can….

-Use it as a “bug tent” for picnics. Simply cover you edibles with the colander to keep pesky bugs way

-Ice bucket for a Party: I hate nothing more than fishing for a solid piece of ice in a pool of water. At your next fete (haha, I love that word!), simply place a bowl underneath the colander and fill it with ice. Yay! Drip-free ice!

-DIY lie detector: this is a total urban legend. Apparently, in the late eighties, police interrogators wired a metal colander to a Xerox machine and convinced a suspect it’s a lie detector, thereby extracting a confession. Thats a pretty awesome and creative use!

Product #3: muffin tins. Besides baking up a batch of your favorite muffins, you can also….

-a desk organizer. You can fill up the cups with rubber bands, paperclips, whatever you need, to keep all of your supplies neat and handy.

-Soap mold. There are loads of recipes online for making your own sweet smelling soaps. Use the muffin tins as molds.

–Centerpiece: Place a votive candle in each cup and tie a ribbon or raffia around the edge of the muffin pan. Sounds a little outrageous, but it can look really awesome.

Product #3: Waffel Iron: Besides the crunchy breakfast staple, you can…..

-make grilled cheese sandwiches or pannini.

-make falafel! yep! Just use your basic falafel recipe and add a little flour and eggs (or flax eggs) and voila! Perfect with a salad and tahini dressing on top!

-make french toast. Simply make an egg/milk bater, dip the bread, and let it be smacked by the iron.

-crimp your hair, Belgian style! self explanitory. Just remember, don’t leave it in too long. Unless you’r going for that “singed” look.

Product #5: Dining Table: Some think the importance of dining tables is used only for meals. While this might be true, there are other uses as well:

-Many women find the dining table as a sort of meeting grounds. I think all the women in my family recall a time that around that table we sat until we were numb.

-a folding laundry station

-a workstation (for children and adults, hey, it beat a cubicle!)

-Storage (sadly)

Ok so heres how to enter to win a 35$ gift certificate!

Leave a comment about a new use for an item (you can totally steal something from Real Simple which I hate to admit is one of my bibles. They tend to always have new uses for old things)

Spread the word about the giveaway and tell me you have done so OR if you don’t have a blog, leave a comment telling me what I should do for my birthday. Every year its always dull and unexciting. I’m not aiming high this year, but something kind of interesting would be nice. Remember, I dont drink so bars kind of bore me and its a weekday.

Good luck!

And for today’s food…..

in its "raw" state, pre baking

We have oatmeal stuffed golden nugget squash! Its totally gluten free and vegan too! Makes one serving!

-1/2 cup oats

-1 small or half large medium ripe banana

-handful of frozen cherries (or any frozen berry)

-1 tsp canola oil

-1 tbs flaxmeal

-dash of cinnamon

-a roasted golden nugget squash (yummy, but essentially a garnish)

see one serving!

simple mash all the ingredients in a bowl and bake at 400 degrees for twenty minuets. Allow it to cool and transport it into the squash and let it bake for another 5 or 10 minutes at about 350. Enjoy! I love this because its sweet without being too overly sweet!

So you wanna go to culinary school…..

Dear Eden, you are wonderful in the kitchen! your food is always so tasty and beautiful, but frankly, your knife cutting skills suck! -your chef instructor

Hello friends (yep, I’m corny now).

I had a full day of teaching two cooking lessons back to back kindergarteners for the first round and 1st-5th grade the second.

Yep, still effective birth-control!

Thank goodness it’s cooled down a bit in the LA area. Yesterday I had my kids practically melting faster than the marshmallows in their quesadilla. I forgot my camera so no cool pic of their culinary concoctions, but don’t worry, you didn’t miss much.

Speaking of culinary things, I realized I don’t write a lot about my year in culinary school very often. And I actually get a lot of questions about my experience there and how it interfered with my eating disorder.

First, I’ll address the culinary school as a whole. Many “foodie” bloggers always write about how they wish they could go. Honestly, I think if your that passionate about food, its totally worth it. Believe me, you’ll get so much more out of anything you choose to learn if you are truly passionate and connected to what you are learning. Hence I never did well in chemistry or Pre-Calculous.

I was a straight A student in culinary school, and believe me, it was not easy. I’m not an idiot, well, what I mean is, I got pretty ok grades in high school, I went to a good college. Culinary school was harder than college. Not only do you have to know your math (its not just measuring and weighing ingredients, you have to know yield percentages and menu costing), but there is history, english, and even psychology courses. The good news is, if you studied those courses in college, your off the hook in those in culinary school.

Mind you, when I’m talking about culinary school, I’m not talking about a bunch of cooking lessons. What I did was an AA degree in Culinary Arts program.

Besides the academic classes you are required to take, you also must actually have hands on cooking time. Usually, five hours a day.

There were three slots where you could do these five hours. 6am-11am (hell no I didn’t do that one! The thought of making reductions at 7am made me cringe), 12pm-5pm, and 6pm-11pm. I chose the 6pm slot.

A typical class was like this:

There was a 40 min or so lecture, depending on the course (for example, if it were a Intro 1 course, it was probably about something simple like the anatomy of an egg). A demo for the dishes of the day which was about 30 min, and then maybe two or so hours to make those dishes, turn them into the chef, let him taste and grade it, and clean up.

I can’t emphasize the “clean up” part enough. You clean, and clean, and clean, and clean. Thats why I’m really good with using as little utensils as possible, less stuff to dirty, less stuff to clean. Instead of putting flour into a cup and brining it back to your station only to pour it into a mixing bowl, I’d simply pour it in saran wrap. I then would twist it into a little flour package, and simply make a hole and dump it into the bowl when I needed to. No need to clean a stupid cup for “holding” my flour.

Anyhow, each semester was six weeks long. There was a quiz every week which would alway include something written, and perhaps a knife skills quiz. Knife skills was about precision when chopping. We used potatoes because they are cheap (because we never ate what we practiced for the knife cutting), and we had to cut it into certain shapes and sizes. And they had to be pretty exact (you wonder why chefs are OCD). For example, a “bruinoise” cut was an 1/8x 1/8 x 1/8 cube. Yep, it was the tiniest and I found it actually the easier ones. The slightly larger dices can get tricky. I actually was pretty terrible with knife cuts. I did better in math than in knife skills. I killed me, because sometime, the most unimaginative students would get good grades because they were good at cutting. While their food was bland and boring.

Anyhow, if your wondering about the cost of culinary school, I’ll warn you it aint cheap. But then again, no school is cheap. The good news is there are lots of financial aid plans available and loads of scholarships. There are so many scholarships that simply require you to write a simple essay, and they in turn give you 300 or so dollars towards your education. I know it doesn’t seem like much, but like I said, there are LOADS of scholarships and I knew a girl in my class who paid for the school just by collecting that scholarship money. My point is, if you really want to go, money should not stop you, and it’s still cheaper than a year at harvard.

Plus, its very easy to get well paying gigs while your in culinary school. Many caterers need help with prep work and will usually pay 13-16 bucks per hour for the help of culinary students. And once you graduate, you can always demand more of course.

Also…….you don’t have to aspire to become a chef to go to culinary school! I knew from the beginning I didn’t want that. I knew I wanted to work with food in some way, but I was leaning more towards recipe development and food writing, like for “gourmet” or “saveur”. Some people in my class were over 50, and they simply had it with working in a corporate setting and wanted to immerse themselves in their passion.

Once again, it comes down to passion. Are you passionate about food. beyond just eating? Does cooking science intrigue you, does the art spark your imagination? If so, I think you would love culinary school, and I recommend you attend.

But that being said, I’d like to address the fact that I was still very much in my eating disorder while attending. I was running or walking about three hours a day, eating very little thought the day, and “bingeing” on “safe” foods at night when I got home from school. I did taste me food, always (a good chef should!), but I never ate a significant amount. With all the manual labor of culinary school AND the exercise I was doing, I resembled a holocaust victim. But I think culinary school kept me alive in some way. It felt good to be good at something besides my eating disorder. I used to think loosing weight or controlling it was the only thing I amounted to. But when chefs would try my food and “mmmmm…..” at what I made, even when all the other students were doing the same recipe, it felt good. It felt better than thinness, better than running, and maybe better than eating. That being said, a lot of eating disordered people like feeding the world while they neglect themselves. I’m guilty of that.

Thankfully, these days I always make myself things! Hell, the whole blog is mostly things I make for my self! It feels really good to make myself something nourishing, and eating the “fruits” of my labor!

Sorry, no recipe today….will have a great one tomorrow!

And from last week……The winner of the Crofters Jam giveaway is…….Astrid!  Congrats!

Stay tuned for I’ll do a “You wanna go to treatment” post!

Dessert Quesadillas and Remote “Control”

made by a ten year old, plated and cut with a "grown up" knife by me

You don’t know what you’ve got till its gone.

We’ve had temps no higher than 80 degress all summer here in la. Now its 104.

Shoot me.

I realized how the weather is something thats so humbling. With all the technology these days and our power to control cars, phone, computers, medicine, we still have not found a way to control mother nature. As it should be.

Chefs have serious control issues. Many have underlying OCD.  My eating and exercise disorder was based on control. Lets look at the things not at my control:

My mom’s death

My family’s financial situation

My genes

My diseases I’ve gotten over the years

No wonder I turned to food and exercise to get some sort of sense of control. Not that being in control is a bad things. Its great and helpful in many respects. It promotes independence. Doctors BETTER be in control! I expect teachers to be in control of their students (lord know I suck at that!).

But we can’t be too in control. It gets dangerous. Its like driving with the hand breaks up. We need to learn how to surrender a little bit and let things be out of our control. I hate to say this with the heat I’m experiencing right now, but we need to “cool” it.

My dad I think always had a good grasp of control over me. He mostly let me do what I wanted, and let me suffer the consequences. Granted, I was never a rebel or got into serious trouble. Maybe because he wasn’t so controlling, at least physically. But I’m sure it killed him as he saw me wither away when I was very sick. I’m sure it killed him that his daughter was suffering, and it was out of his control.

This partly why I am ambivalent about having children. I am a control freak and although I’m way better now, I’m scarred my daughter will do what I did. I’m afraid she’ll kill herself slowly like I did, and that I won’t be able to stop it. Perhaps not having a child is my way of stopping it.

But I don’t know about the future. I may have children, and maybe by that time, I’ll let go of that fear, and I’ll let go of more those control issues I have.

I must say I do think I’ve lost some control since my sickest that I’m very proud of. I used to be a nazi of sorts with my food. Eating at specific times only, only specific things, never more or less than planned.

Now, I’m a lot more go with the flow….or go with the appetite. It scares me a little too, because sometimes I feel like my stomach is a bottomless pit. But it helps to make single serving recipes (like most of the ones I feature on this blog) and it helps to avoid costco

When do you feel like you are too in control? Where would you like to be able to loose a little? Maybe you lack control, where would like to be more in control.

Today in my kiddie desserts class, we made “dessert” quesdillas! Heres what we used

-large flour tortilla

-half a banana (or more if you really like bananas!)

-half a peach

-handful of mini marshmallows


-a tbs or so of peanut butter

this time, I took a picture of the kids from the face down, to protect their identites

Fill the tortilla with the sliced bananas, peaches, peanut butter, cinnamon, and marshmallows. Fold in half like a quesadilla and cook on a skillet until the marshmallows melted. Salsa not recommended.


A special opportunity for anyone in Los Angeles October 2 and 3rd and is somewhat new to yoga! Come to my teacher training course as we learn to teach beginners! You’ll get to be taught by moi for free and Yoga Work will hook you up with two free classes for your participation! email me if you can come!

Chocolate Pancakes and “Rocking It”

The pancake says "I'm rocking it! Check out the chocolaty goodness and tart cherry-ness ooozing out of me! Suck it Katharine and IHOP!"

I have had a busy weekend.

Yoga school on both Sunday and Saturday as well as a project I had to work on for one of my collections of part-time jobs (I have about 4 part-time jobs, so I think that equals a single full time job).

Anyhow, I was at the gym a few days ago, mindlessly climbing the “stairway to hell” revolving stair case, when I watched an interview on the today show with Katharine Scharwznegger. She was pimping the shit out of her new book Rock What You’ve Got: Secrets to Loving Your Inner and Outer Beauty from Someone Who’s Been There and Back! Yes, that is a mouthful, I shouldn’t be surprised with an author with a long ass name like that.

Maybe I’m bitter or bitchy, but I giggled out load when I heard the title (yes, I giggled on the revolving stair way to hell, never a good idea; its like an injury and embarrassment waiting to happen).  Ann Curry, or whoever it was at Today, showed a copy of the book and this is the dialogue that went in my head:

“Seriously??? Ok, I get it, I have issues with my body too. This girl is totally gorgeous and privledged, easy for her to say, that! And dude, you 20! I’m sorry but where are you’r credentials don’t impress me. You can’t even vote or drink yet!”

But I know, not to judge a book by its cover, so I did a little research (cause lord know I will NOT spend my hard earn time and money on reading this).  Apparently, she delves into great detail about her “aunt flow” in the second chapter. Personally, I don’t need to know this, and I’m pretty sure girls old enough to purchase this book already know. Plus, that what Judy Blume books are for!

Thanks to some online reading, there is a line in the book that says “Avoid late night eating and drinking. Most likely you are not really hungry when someone says, ‘Lets order a pizza’ at midnight. You are either bored or wasted’.”

Katharine, I think its fine to eat and drink at night.  I know it may be considered  a bad habit and all, but if your hungry and a glass of wine is just what the doctor ordered, go for it. Of course, dear Katharine, you wouldn’t know about that because you are still 20 and cant buy wine.

And as I mentioned, I think its easy for Katharine to “rock it”. I read somewhere she is a size six which is not even the size of the average american and she’s loaded. Plenty of money to highlight her hair, tweeze her brows, get her makeup professionally done, and THEN “rock it”.

I’d like to see the cover of the book with her face free of make-up, without a blow dry, right out of bed. Cause thats how I usually “rock it”.

I do have some sympathy for her. I mean, the “governator” is her dad and her mom looks a little emaciated. And I’m all for girls having health role models. And at the end of the day, there is nothing wrong with promoting health body images.

But once again, that cynical side of me kicks in and I cant help but thick what girl HASN’T felt negative about her body or appearence or whatever. I don’t think this is the root of eating disorders, and I dont think a book like this will prevent them from sprouting. And do we really need to “rock what we’ve got”? I’m sure the book talks about inner beauty, but I think I will always hate my tummy and I’ve come to terms that it is ok to not love it, or “rock it”. Because really, it’s not about rocking anything but your personality and your ideas. I should be thankful I have arms and legs to “rock”.

How do you “rock it”? Am I too bitter about this? Perhaps I’m just jealous she actually wrote a book and here I am, blogging and writing nearly daily, hoping to regurgitate a published book one day.

Personally, I’m rocking my inner traits. I think I’m funny, and most people who say they are funny are anything but, but I’m the exception. Why? Because I laugh at myself. I think I rock the kitchen. I think I can come up with something yummy with minimal effort. I think I totally rock communicating with people and making them feel safe. I do that as a yoga instructor and a cooking instructor. But I guess it doesn’t hurt that I think my biceps can totally rock it as well 😉

Anyhow, on to food…

Chocolate pancakes inspired by simply having ten minutes to refuel myself after yoga. you’ll need:

-2 eggs (or 1/2 cup egg sub)

-cocoa powder

– 1/4 c ground up oats

– 1 tbs vanilla flavored protein powder (I used Jay Robb, because the ingredient list doesn’t scare me)

-some nutritional yeast (optional, and trust me, a cool kick)

-cherry yogurt (once again, optional, but I loved it with this)

Blend, pour onto a greased skillet, cook until it looks done (I think you would be a good judge of that) and inhale. Nutritional yeast may sound weird, but I keep it on the table instead of salt and pepper so it went on it. Works great with cherry yogurt. You can make your own cherry yogurt by blending some frozen cherries with greek or your yogurt of choice.

I’m definitely rocking this!

Coconut Shrimp and Film Picks (for Theaters and Netflix)

Here’s something you may not know about me. Before culinary school, I thought I wanted to be an actress and I studied theater and film in college. I’m a big film buff.

New releases usually come out on Fridays. So in the spirit of that (I wrote this post on friday), I thought I’d list some of the movies I want to see that are soon to be released. And if you tend to be like me and sometimes dont like paying so much to the theaters, I thought I’d give you some cool netflix picks!

First, for the theater releases:

This film looks awesome! Foodie or not, I think everyone gets competitive and this is looks like a great film, with the added fun of food porn!

The same guy that made “An Inconveinent Truth” directed this film. I’ve been wanting to see it for some time now, but I actually heard a “so so” review for it on the radio today. I don’t care, I still am itching to see it.

This next film has one thing going against it, that Emma Roberts is in it. I worked with her on her Nickelodeon show a few years ago when I was trying to be an actress like everyone else in LA. She’s not a very good one…but maybe I’m just jealous because her aunt is “Pretty Woman”. Anyhow, I do want to see this film regardless of her:

Here are films I HAVE seen, available on netflix that I think are well worth your time (and trust me, most arent long because I get peeved by super long movies).

The one below is a great Isreali film (yes, I’m half Israeli, so maybe I’m biased). But seriously, this won many awards and very moving and funny at the same time. Its also based around a Jewish holiday which is actually celebrated this week.

This next film is one of the most charming films around. Besides the fact that I am a huge Craig Fergison fan, this film is really one of a kind. I nearly peed my pants in this one particular scene (you’ll know which one if you watch it!).

I’m sure many of you have seen this film, or at least heard about it. I absolutely loved and it and I think I’d like to own it someday. Sadly, the writer/director passed away about a year ago and this was her last film. But I think it was so brilliant and just made me want to eat some pie (and I’m not a big fan of pies!).

Since I have loads of yummy jars of Crofter’s, I thought I’d use some up in non-dessert forms! Don’t forget you can win yourself 4 jars of any kind you want in my giveaway! Heres the ingreidients:

-8-10 large shrimp (feel free to use seitan or tofu)

-2 or so tablespoons of Crofters apricot preserves

-some water (to thin out the jam)

-shredded coconut (enough to coat)

gettin coated in coconuttiness

Super simple! simply microwave the jam with the water and when all melted, mix with the shrimp. Then coat the shrimp with the coconut and put in the preheated 400 degree oven for about twenty minutes. Serve over a salad or rice!

Strawberry Shortcake, Random Happenings, and Flashback Friday

little 3 year old chefs

Busy busy thursday I had, so this will be kind of short and somewhat random.

I began with teaching 3-4 year olds and 5-6 year olds. We read the bestseller “Cook-a-doodle-do” and made strawberry short cakes. They had a blast, and I’m assured I will not have kids for at least ten years, of at all. It was at a private bilingual school. You can totally tell, check out the “classroom”:

looks like a kitchen from a house right? I wish I went to that pre school

One of my students is actually a child of a very famous hollywood actress. I won’t say who, I’m a little afraid of confidentiality, he looks a lot like his mom. It was really cute, he thinks his mom’s job is actually a chef. I said, “O my mom is a chef!”. I really hope he WAS talking about his mom and not a housekeeper/nanny/butler….

I also forgot to mention that yesterday, I had a blogger meet-up with Crystal. She’s very awesome, and totally NOT psycho (some bloggers can be psycho, trust me on this). She’s an English major at UCLA, so her blog is probably better written and with less grammar mistakes than mine.

And since I’ve never done it before, I thought this would be a good time to start! Flashback friday!

My dad and I in his hometown of Antwerp, Belgium. I've been there so many times, its like my second home. Anywhere where waffles taste that good will be my second home!

no, economy class never had seats that big. This is late eighties business class (we were not rich, but we traveled a lot, miles add up). And we were not playing doctor, those were headphones....eighties

you wonder where I got my big appetite from

For the strawberry shortcake recipe you need:

-1 cup heavy cream

-1/2 tsp vanilla extract

-some lady fingers

-strawberries and other fruits of choice

Its super simple, since its meant to be assembled by kids.

Dice the strawberries, whip the cream and vanilla extract, and then layer with the lady fingers. I’m well aware there is no sugar added to the whipped cream and that’s on purpose. Do YOU want to hang around 10 plus sugar high 3-6 year olds???? Didn’t think so.

Habits and Blogging Habits

Hey everyone!

Busy but productive day! I needed a bounce back from my icky day yesterday.

Don’t ask me how I thought of today’s topic but I started thinking a lot lately on blogging and blogging habits. We all have habits, some “normal” or common ones, some weird ones. You may be surprised, but I think a lot of the habits we think are “weird” are actually very common!

Exhibit A: I talk to animals in a way I’d expect them to sound if they spoke English.

I know your jealous that I have this little furry for the week!

I feel better about it knowing my roommate does it too. We literally have full on conversations with the Charlotte (the pup above). But when other people see her, they seem to do it too. So I guess its not that weird anymore.

For the record, that is my roommate talking, my voice doesn’t sound like a disney princess, sadly.

Exhibit B: I like drinking from a straw. Not hot stuff like tea, but cold drinks. I thought this was surly an eatind disordered thing, but my therapist (who I can assure you, has never had an eating disorder) does it too. I guess the benchmark of ED behavior is whether I can drink without the straw. I sure can.  Don’t being a straw with me to a fancy ass restaurant. But I do have them at home.

But on to the bad blogging habits (and readers out there, please chime in too!).

Bad habit #1: I’m Sorry, But…..: this habit is the habit of apologizing for not posting. I don’t care if you’re busy today. If you’re not posting, fine. I’ll just assume you had other, more exciting things to do.

Bad Habit #2: Blogging WAY too much about…..blogging: Sorry, but once again, kind of dont care what you think about blogging.

Bad Habit #3: Checking your stats constantly: Its kind of like checking you weight and it can get obsessive. Do you really need to check your stats every couple of hours? Checking constantly isn’t going to change the results. I check once a week, maybe twice (the stats, NOT my weight, haven’t checked that in three years, by dietitian does it for me).

Bad Habit #4: Replying to every single comment: I think its very thoughtful and kind, but sometimes I find people do it up the number of replies. If you honestly have something good to reply, fine. Otherwise, I think it can take up way too much time especially if you get a lot of comments. Spend that time with your family or friends…or maybe read some new blog you have never read before. This brings me to….

Bad Habit #5: Spamming everyone with your link: “Hi, how are you today? “Visit my blog!” Hey, can I ask you something? “Visit my blog!”Is anyone free for a chat? “Visit my blog!” Really? Like Abby said on her guest post last month, “when you see the same name with the same link in the same comment on a bunch of blogs, it’s rather lame.”

Bad Habit #6: Expecting your blog to give you fame and fortune: New bloggers sometimes think they will make it big once there blog is out.They know exactly what they are going to say after the audience quiets down and Oprah Winfrey asks them to tell their story and how Julia Roberts is playing them in the movie version. Indeed, fame and money lure many into blogging. They start their blog motivated by the prospect of a pile of money and adoring fans. They work hard and long hours believing that the internet will pay them handsomely for their effort. But any mature blogger knows that the internet can’t care less about your efforts. The internet does not owe you a dime. Being hit by the ugly stick of reality, a mature blogger writes posts because they enjoy it, not for some crazy dream of chatting with Oprah.

Anyhow, tomorrow I work with the really little kids (Pre-K and kindergarten) and I’ll hopefully teach them how to cook, sort of….wish me luck, I’ll need it. I’ve never taught 3 year olds!

What about you? weird habits or blogging habits worth mentioning?

Coconut Milk Ice Cream and Incentive

yea, I know that bowl is a bit dirty, I had a shit ton of cinnamon on it

I was listening to NPR on the way home today (what I call, my “healthy guilty” pleasure) and there was an interview with Morgan Spurlock (yep, the guy who did “Super Size Me” and the TV show, “30 days”. I’m actually a big fan of his and I was excited for the interview but also for the release of his newest film, “Freakonomics” (yup, based on the national bestseller).

If you live in LA, there is a screening tonight (Wednesday) at the Landmark in West L.A and you only have to pay what you think is fair, love it.

Heres the trailer for the movie:

Anyhow, incase you aren’t familiar with the book or the film, its basically all about examining human behavior through statistics and incentives. Forget “morals and ethics”. I find this rather fascinating.

I was wondering how having incentives might work for recovery. Renee Zellweger (my “gym buddy”) was offered millions to gain weight for Bridget Jones’ Diary. Would you put on 20 plus pounds if you were offered that much money (even if you are currently at a healthy weight).

In the movie, they told kids of an inner city school that they would receive 50 bucks for every grade they got above a C. The producers upped the ante and told them if they pass all their classes, their “report card” enters a drawing where they can win 500 bucks. I’m sure your guess is correct, grades skyrocketed.

So lets put ethics and morals aside. Honestly, I think I’d find a way to put the weight on if I was offered that much money. I’m not superficial, I don’t have lots of extravaganct needs, and I definely dont think money buys you happiness. However, there are lots of things I would love to do with that money. Invest in my “yoga studio/cafe” idea, get a better apartment, donate to my favorite charity, free all the puppies from the poppy mills, etc. My point is, I do think incentive can drive us to do things we think are impossible for us to accomplish. Whether it be weight gain or getting an A. With incentives, I believe we might accomplish the impossible.

However, in my current situation, I realized I dont really have concrete incentives. The changes and goals that I’m working dont have a big incentive driving them. I realized today how desperately I’m seeking that incentive. I actually thought for a period of time that my incentive was to have kids someday, but to be honest with you, after teaching for almost a year, that incentive is down the drain.

What are your incentives for you goals? Would you put on weight if you got paid that much?

I am sorry for a kind of sappy post, I had a pretty awful day and this was the only thing my hands and mind regurgitated. Anyhow, I leave you with a simple recipe for coconut milk ice cream


-1 1/2 cups coconut milk (or any milk)

-1/2 cup greek yogurt of choice (I use vanilla flavored, but even cottage cheese works!)

-2 tbs chocolate flavored protein powder (or any flavor you like)

-handful of frozen berries of choice (I used rasperberries)

-extra sweetener (I didn’t use any extra but you can if you like it extra sweet)

Blend all the ingredients

Non-ice cream maker method: pour mixture into an ice cube tray and until it freezes or at least firms up a bit. Then give it a light whix in the blender again and voila!

Ice-cream maker method: flip the switch and let it do its thing for about 30 minuets. I find that I need to scrape down the sides during the process so do that to get it a good consistency.

much handier than the can version

PB and J Bars, Useless Superpowers, and a Giveaway!

I think that bear is adorable, animals always make better mascot, I'm sick of the morton salt girl....

Hey bloggers and lurkers!

Speaking of lurkers….I’m interested in hearing from you! Bloggers are infamous for commenting because they have their own blog to promote (not that it’s a bad thing, but I think it intimidates “readers”). I sometimes wish I had superpowers and could see exactly who all these readers are.

Speaking of superpowers, I sometimes think about all the ones I wish I possessed. I wish I could control time. I know it’s not a super creative one, but you have to admit it would be pretty great. If I could have the ability to stop time, like Zack Morris on Saved by the Bell whenever he had a concept to ponder or a cheesy anecdote to give, I could get everything I need to do done in one day. I could sleep for a couple of hours, then resume time as if nothing had every happened. I could even go back in time and re-do one night if need be.

But I was thinking there are probably a bunch of useless superpowers. I was inspired by a family guy episode where the Griffin Family all get superpowers and Meg gets the super-useless power of the ability to grow nails fast. I thought up of a few of my own:

Superpower #1: Leftsided Levitation: Only half of you can levitate. Which means the other half acts as an anchor. As an added un-bonus, cabs are constantly stopping for you whenever you engage your powers on the street.

Superpower #2: The ability to turn traffic lights yellow: And ONLY yellow. The “yellow” light is such a debate, this will simply cause a major cluster fuck.

Superpower #3: Thumbo! The ability to turn all your fingers into thumbs. Try texting with THAT!

Superpower #4: Incredible Sulk: no matter what good or positivity comes your way, you’ll manage to sulk. Cheer up already!

Superpower #5: Amnesia Man: The ability to…o that’s right, you can’t remember

Superpower #6: Hour Power: The ability to travel in the future by an hour, and it only takes sixty minuets!

Superpower #7: Vegetarian Delight: A vegetarian with the power to hear vegetables scream with every sweet sweet bite.

Superpower #8: VCR programming: The ability to program a VCR! Sounds great, but when’s the last time you saw a VCR?

Superpower #9: Bunny Minds: The ability to control the minds, of bunnies.

Superpower #10: Jam Wham: The power to open Jam Jars with my mind… cant do peanut butter or cheese spread.. only Jam..

And speaking of Jam and superpowers…….

It’s time for another giveaway! I was so mean with my teasing you last week, but the time has come. But incase you didn’t get the hints, it’s for Crofters! Crofters makes certified organic jams, jellies, conserves, preserves, fruit spreads and superfruit spreads. I used the Blackberry and Blueberry ones for my thumbprint cookies, and today with my kiddie dessert class, I used the strawberry. But I think their best is their superfruit spread which has a combo of antioxidant rich fruits like pomegranates and currants! This isn’t like that very high fructose corn syrup jams that you usually find! Their ingredient list is short and my student could actually read and pronounce all of them! I will use the jars I got to sample in other recipes this week. The winner of the giveaway will recieve 4 jars of their choice! To Enter:

1) Leave a comment telling me your useless superpower

2) Mention this giveaway on you blog OR if you dont have a blog, leave a seperate comment telling me which jams or spread you would like to try

3)For a whopping two additional entries, make one of my recipes (or a close version of it) and either post it up on your blog or send me an email with a picture of what you made!

This giveaway ends next Monday! More giveaways coming after as well, just in time for  my birthday!

Good Luck! And if you want to win something else, you can ward off vampires in Janetha’s giveaway

Now onto my kiddie dessert class! We made PB and J cereal bars, and here is the recipe:

3 tbs Butter/margerine

6 cups of cereal of choice (I didn’t do rice krispies cause they were probably used to that, so I chose my childhood favorite, cheerios!)

1/2 cup or so of peanut butter (I used chunky and I didn’t really measure, but you get the idea)

1/2 jar of jam of choice (I used the Crofters organic strawberry!)

about 5 cups of mini marshmallows

Melt butter in a big pot until its comletely “liquified”. Add marshmallows and stir until they have completely combined with the butter and lost their shapes.

Dumping the "mallows"

I had the kids take some of the pictures, they felt "grown up", I just wanted them to not break the camera

Stir in the peanut butter and jelly until well mixed. Then, pour in the cereal (any cereal you choose) and keep stirring until the cereal is coated in the mixture.

It looks so....happy

Then remove it from the heat and pour into a shallow pan. Or in my case, give a chunk to each kid so he/she can shape his “treat” however he/she like. Enjoy!

They look a little sad, but keep in mind, a seven year old molded it

New Grocery Store Finds

Hi everyone!

I hope everyone had a nice weekend! My tooth is healing and I see the oral surgeon today for a follow up. It still hurts a little when I don’t have advil in my system so I just want to make sure that’s normal and that its healing nicely.

Thanks for the kind comments on my last post! I think it was one of my favorites to write. In fact, I added a new tab call “cream of the crop” which has a few of my favorite posts. The last one is going in there.

I had a nice sunday. I went to the farmers market and got a lot of local and organic produce for only seven bucks! i got a a 3 pack of strawberries, five different summer squashes, a head of cauliflower and an egg plant for seven bucks! Thats very rare for an L.A. farmers market!

Then Mr. Eden (aka, my dad) and I spent some quality time together at a new mall that opened up in Santa Monica. I haven’t seen him in while, and he fasted for Yom Kippur yesterday, so I wasn’t in the mood to hang out with a hungry person (hunger tends to make people moody, why do you think all those hollywood actresses are such divas???).

Mr. Eden, in white, checking out the new oceanside tourist trap of a mall

Later, I went to the market and I got an idea based on this post. I didn’t realize what weird stuff there is at the grocery store! So, I though I’d show you all my grocery store finds:

Ok, So I like chicken and I like biscuits (of "Biskits") but chicken IN a biskit???? Um that just sounds wrong!

I dont get it, if I wanted "gel" I would get Jello, if I wanted fruit, wouldn't I just eat a fresh one? I also have a problem this isn't in the fridge section

Its just the color that find of turned me off....its soooo.....unnatural! like neon tweety bird yellow

I was actually curious to try it. But I dont like the s'mores Luna bar I passed

I didn't buy them cause I can get them for a lot less at Trader Joe's but I thought these were cute

I've had this when I was younger, its like crack. I'll admit I wouldnt touch this stuff now, especially if it came from the freezer section, but maybe I'll find a recipe somewhere....

remember this from a few posts ago??? yea ew. Just ew!

Don't fret, I've never touched this stuff and I never plan to. I just thought it was hilarious that they had a huge diet pill section.

Tomorrow I do my kiddie dessert class at the school, so get ready for those treats tomorrow!

So what have you found in the grocery store lately?