Sunday, November 6, 2011

Foodbuzz Festival 2011 - Review

I'm just going to say it -- I'm disappointed.

I didn't make it to the events Friday night, but the consensus among the blogger on Saturday morning was already foreboding. The event did not compare to the previous years. In fact, it seemed that each year the event got consistently less exciting. I have my theories, but I will keep them to myself for now.

The morning sessions on Saturday were entertaining. The first panel emphasized that to be successful a blogger must be his or herself and that there is a LOT of work that must go into a blog over years to accumulate into a successful product.  A few tips on what that hard work entailed specifically would have been nice but I guess they don't want to share any secrets ;)

The second session was about taking good photos without using a DSLR camera. One option is by using a "point and shoot" camera ( ie: my $100 camera from Costco), another option is to use a micro four-thirds camera ( but it cost upwards of $700) and finally, using an iphone camera.  Did I learn anything from this session? It only reinforced what i knew

1) Make the best of whatever camera you have
2) Natural Daylight works best
3) Take a copious amount of pictures and hopefully you will get a winner among the bunch.

The final session discussed using social media to increase awareness of your blog and your presona. They were huge advocates of using twitter. But the degree of twitter-dependency they suggested seemed almost anti social to me. I would much rather meet and have conversations with individuals in person instead of "making friends" of twitter.  They also advocated using facebook and google plus. The pitch for google plus is that it is in its beginning phases and its something you can be a part of before it booms. It's something to think about, but I'm not convinced. However, apparently google has adopted hash-tags recently, so if you create a page for your blog and post a status update like " #pumpkin pie in the oven", people can search pumpkin pie and you will show up.

Finally, I don't want to stress about my blog being "perfect" in everyway. I want to have the freedom to ramble, to make mistakes, to talk about whatever my heart desires in whatever" blog voice" I feel like. It's like when you are in love with a certain subject and enjoy researching and reading about it until you take that class in college where they overanalyze it, subject it to scrutiny and dissect all your thought and opinions on the subject matter -- stressing you out so much over aiming for that " A" that your passion for the subject turns to disdain. I don't want that to happen. If changes occur, it'll be because I feel its right.

There was a "goodbye" bunch this morning in San Fran. Yesterday, the majority of bloggers I spoke to expressed hesitation and a blatant lack of enthusiasm for attending and I can't blame them. I myself chose to stay in Palo Alto and hang out with my friend rather than make the drive to SF for what was likely going to be another disappointing experience.

Plus, it's just food and honestly people ( not bragging, I swear) but my food would have been much more satisfying than the foods I had yesterday and last night.  If i can make the same meals with a better quality and a more satisfying flavor, then i'd rather do that than go have a "free" meal.....

_____UPDATE____

r


Thai Spiced Sweet Potato Fries by ALEXIA
 
Dill Tossed Fries by ALEXIA
Tyler Florence Cooking Demo




Thursday, November 3, 2011

How do you like your greens?

Do you indulge in your favorite foods then compensate by taking a 2 oz shot of pure kale juice like this??

or do you prefer to cook your veggies and eat them as a meal??

Recently, I went to a japanese BBQ restaurant. What did I order? An order of spinach and the mushroom medley?

How do you "BBQ" these veggies you may ask? In foil, just as shown below ...

Using foil, create a pocket. Make sure to secure all ends by folded multiple times. Next, stuff the foil pocket with as much spinach as possible

Now add salt, pepper, 2 cloves of freshly sliced garlic and a pat of butter

Seal well
Now you can either place the above packet on a BBQ and grill on both sides for about 5 minutes each (Depending on the heat of your BBQ) or you can do as I did and set your toaster oven to 450F for 10 minutes.

The result? Fresh fragrant juicy spinach will all the vitamins and liquids retained. Sadly my copious spinach turned into barely a 1/4 cup of cooked spinach.  Next time = larger pocket, bigger oven, more spinach :)

Served along side : fries made of russet, and purple sweet potato; scrambled eggs with swiss and gruyere ( I ended up giving away all my fries to my youngest sister-- I enjoyed the eggs and spinach too much as is)
Tonight I'm spending the rest of the evening googling past Foodbuzz Festival blog posts by fellow bloggers because that's where I will be this weekend!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pizza Please


Homemade pizza is a staple home made go to meal when you are in a rush but you still want to control what is going into your food, am I right?

I chose to make a 1/2 vegan, 1/2 vegetarian pizza.
I used Trader Joe's Pizza sauce but added fresh garlic and fresh basil maybe a little too much....; Trader Joe's whole wheat dough; mozzarella; red onion; mushrooms

Make sure you let the dough sit out for at least 1 hour to reach room temperature, if the dough is too cold it will be too elastic and wont spread out into the shape you want.


 This time around I put the basil inside the sauce instead of on top because it tends to dry up and lose flavor when it's just sitting on the cheese. But, the basil was too pungent this time around. Solution?? Leave the basil under the cheese, but sparingly used and placed on top of the sauce instead of spread all throughout it.


Preheat the oven to 450F and bake for about 15 minutes







Monday, October 24, 2011

Goodbye Juice Feasting, Hello Holidays


Well, I was able to juice fast for 5 days before the "need" for solid food took over. I'm not sure how other people do this for 30-60 days, but I think i makes a difference if you are living somewhere alone, focusing on the fast. I on the other hand was surrounded by people constantly eating and cooking.

Still i'm proud of my 5 days. Its a good start. I think I'm going to continue juicing on and off. I'm also going to make pure green juice shots and try to take that daily. IE: just 1-2 oz of kale juice.

One of my favorite and most palatable green juices was simply the juice of honeydew:

I broke my fast with something unconventional I think -- yogurt. I felt like my body was craving probiotics. Either way, I feel fine now. No crazy sicknesses or stomachaches. 

I'm slowly getting into the season with a trip to our local pumpkin patch where we picked up the following beauties: 
Mr. Scarecrow

Mrs. Scarecrow
Baby Pumpkin

Beautiful Indian Corn


Pumpkins of all types, colors and sizes







I love the deep orange color on these!



 I hope this put you in the holiday season too!!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Juice Feast: Day Five , morning

So, today marks the fifth day of my juice feast.  I'm not posting many pictures because it seems redundant to post platters/bowls of fruits and vegetables.

This morning I weighed in and another pound is gone which brings my weight loss to 5.6 lbs in 4 days of juicing.

I have to say the best part is slipping into that outfit that has been haunting me for a while, buttoning that jacket that used to refuse to button. The simple things can make a girl so happy.

I made the observation  yesterday that it is kind of like having a gastric bypass surgery without the mess, cutting, insurance and complications. I actually had trouble drinking my entire " dinner" juice yesterday because my stomach felt too full? Full on juice?? I'm loving it LOL

I also went out last night -- strolled through a food court, walked into a cupcake bakery as my friend purchased some goodies for herself, and sat through an entire movie without once craving a bite of anything.

I should be tired, right? But i'm not. So far, this is an amazing experience and I'm looking forward to see how long it will last and where it will take me.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Juice Feast: Day Three

There are some details I will leave out for your sake, but lets just say that cleansing has definitely started ;)

This morning I weighed myself and I was down another 1.2 lbs bringing my total weight loss so far on the juice fast to 3.6.bs


Sleeping is becoming easier, but not necessarily at the times I want to be sleeping. For example, I went to lie down for a bit yesterday at 2 pm and woke up at 6 pm completely refreshed. But later in the evening, sleep took awhile, mostly because it sounded and felt like there was a thunderstorm going on in my belly.

Day Two Breakfast Before:


Carrot, orange, 1/2 lemon, ginger, apples, golden beet
 Day Two Breakfast After: 
 Day Two Lunch: 
Spinach, Dino Kale, Parsley, Cilantro, Carrot, Baby Bell Peppers, Tomatoes, Onion, Garlic, Lemon, Celery 

Later that evening I juiced an orange.... followed by a pear+ apple concoction. Delicious!

Day Three Breakfast Before: 

Pineapples, Ginger, Apple, Carrot, Mango
 Day Three Breakfast After: 



Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Juice Feast: Morning of Day Two

Many people who have done this fast before mention that it helps rid them of insomnia. Well, I can vouch that it definitely doesn't start on the first night. It took me a long time to fall asleep, oddly enough I was energized and alert up until 2 am.

Sleeping and dreaming was humorous -- don't eat solid food for an entire day and I guarantee you there will be food in some shape/form in your dreams that night.

Finally, I know detox has already started, which is surprising to me. I thought it would take at least 2-3 days but no, I woke up this morning with the telltale sign of detox - a white coated tongue.  Gross, I know -- but its a sign of good changes and you just have to take a little extra time to clean your teeth and tongue in the morning. No biggie.

Juice Feast Weightloss since yesterday: 2.4 lbs

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Juice Feast: Day one

Ever since I broke out of my vegan diet and transversed into a vegetarian diet with "vegan tendencies" my cravings for junk food returned.  I don't want this. I set a goal for myself to become a healthier version of me before the bar results come out in November. Granted, I've lost 9 lbs in the past couple months and its great that its been a steady weight loss, but it has felt slow -- too slow.  I know I'm capable of bigger change. Better change.

I watched the documentary " Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead" and it gave me the motivation to regain control over my life -- in a more profound way. So, I've decided to do a juice " feast" ( or fast) of my own.  I'm not setting a set amount of days but I am going to document my experiences here.  Have any of you embarked on a juice fast? Any advice?

The morning started off with an herbal tea:


I then spent the late morning and early afternoon running from one store to another trying to find a Breville Juicer Plus. Several stores offered to order the machine but I was determined to start the fast today.  Finally after a quick trip to Whole Foods to stock up on produce I made it home by 2 pm to have a very very late breakfast LOL

Apples, Carrots, Celery, Dino Kale, Ginger
Lunch: 

Lots of Spinach, Parsley, Cilantro, Dino Kale, Carrot, Garlic, Onion, Tomato, Beet, Celery 
Dinner:  Apples, orange, cucumbers


At the end of the day, I feel fine - i'm not hungry which is nice. 

I'm curious to see what tomorrow morning will bring.... updates soon!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Food Journaling 101

Bear with me the next few weeks or so as I use my blog to journal my daily food intake. Accountability always helps one grow and this is how I choose to be accountable.

The morning started off with a quick trip to Costco. We had to be there as the doors opened -- but of course. So, a quick simple banana was enough of a breakfast for me.



Later in the day I chose this pinto bean salad for lunch and added half an avocado


Dinner came around early today, 3:30 pm to be exact. But some days I just get hungry and might as well eat then: a whole what pasta with a very light tomato sauce and sauteed veggies  -- topped with a sprinkle of mozzarella. 


While I know dinner was a healthy choice, I left the table unsatisfied. The concept of intuitive eating not only advocates eating  when you're hungry, but eating what your body is craving. Case in point: I did not feel like pasta at all today, so though I should have been full after the meal, I was dissatisfied.

This led to poor choices later in the day. Ie: I may have had a few salt and black pepper chips when my sister and father began indulging in said snack and I had a sliver of a Costco pumpkin muffin with my Armenian Coffee. Yes, they were poor choices but I am here admitting them and realizing that perhaps tomorrow I  can evade such choices if I practice intuitive eating. 


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I almost sat in my car and drove all the way across the country this week. 

I've spent the past two weeks planning the trip, envisioning the move all while I had a glow of excitement at the prospect of change, a fresh start and a bright future.

However, faith is a large part of my life and I wanted to make sure I wasn't being irrational or forcing a change I wasn't quite ready for. Perhaps my original destination isn't where I'm supposed to be at this point in time. 

After several nights of sincere praying, a few major obstacles that popped up, and consultation with friends and family I decided to take a deep breath and refocus on alternate ways of reaching my aspirations.

I still seek to settle down to a life on the East Coast, but it doesn't have to be this week.  I realize I need to take advantage of the fact that I am so flexible at this point in my life. The possibilities are endless and I know part of me is fighting against the reality that I have NO IDEA what is next in store for me. 

This week I'm refocusing -- continuing my job search, maintaining my regular workouts, and finding new intellectual stimulation.  A trip to the library and a bag full of books will work wonders to calm my fidgety mind.  I thrive when I'm busy and this time period between the taking the bar exam and receiving bar results has taken a toll, but I feel stronger and more focused today that I have in a long while. 

In fact, today I applied for a job in New York that will allow me to combine my long time passions of research, writing and law with my recent decision to embrace nutrition health and fitness. If this specific job works out I may be on cloud 9 for a very long time. If I had rushed to move to DC this week, I wouldn't be able to consider opportunities such as this one. 

In other news my vegan lifestyle is a work in progress. Though I was able to maintain a vegan diet for over a month, traveling out of town where vegan options were severely limited threw a wrench into things.  I remember commenting on that trip that, " I guess I'm mostly vegan, but vegetarian this weekend" to which I received the reply from a doctor friend of mind, " that's like saying you are somewhat pregnant but not 100%" . So I guess the happy compromise is that I am vegetarian with vegan tendencies.

As part of refocusing myself I'm planning on posting many more posts like the " What I ate Wednesday" series. 

-- until tomorrow.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

My first vegan dessert and adventures in the country side

Shol-e-zard
Persian Rice pudding(?) 

This one was my mother's idea actually -- a craving struck and the kitchen was again open for business.

Ingredients


1 1/8 cup Mahatma brand white rice
3/4 -1 cup sugar ( depending on your sweet tooth)
1/8 cup vegetable oil
6 1/4cups water
1/4 cup Rosewater
1/2 tsp Saffron steeped in 2 Tbsp hot water
Almonds, slivered and pan toasted
Pistachio, ground for decoration
Cinnamon, for decoration

Directions


Preheat the oven to 225F


Rinse the rice thoroughly once. Then place the rice and the water in a big pot and bring it to a boil. Once it begins to boil stir the mix regularly allowing for the rice to expand and the excess water to evaporate. It will begin to resemble Congee. Once the mixture begins to thicken and adopts a uniform opaque color add the sugar, oil, rosewater and saffron.

Continue cooking for another ten minutes, allowing the ingredients to mix together and thicken.

Finally, place the mixture into a glass serving platter, cover it with foil and place it in the oven. Turn off the preheated oven and let the rice stay there for a good thirty minutes so it will set.

Finally, after the time has elapsed, removed the Shol-e-zard and let it cool down. Once it is cool to the touch decorate with the almond, cinnamon and pistachio.

Tastes best when served cold. 

-------------------------
Last week I took my annual trip up to my best friend's home/vineyard for a their harvesting of the grape festivities.  As usual, it was an amazing time with friends and family-- something I look forward to every year.

I brought back these gorgeous beauties with me:


My good friends Candy and Joey Bedoya also joined us on the trip this year to take engagement pics for my BFF and her Fiance.  All the pics aren't up yet, but I can't wait any longer -- I have to share. 




Friday, September 16, 2011

Impatiently waiting

For Fall and Winter.

For cool breezes and rainstorms.

For the comfort of bundling up in a warm winter jacket and accessorizing with scarfs, hats, gloves etc.

For holiday decor and cinnamon spice.

Last but not least.

Oatmeal.

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal
Recipe here

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Oatmeal
Recipe here

Choco-nana oats
Recipe here

Slow-cooker Steel Cut Oats
Recipe here

I can't wait to come up with some all new, vegan oatmeal concoctions this year !!