Archive for May, 2011
Just one more day and the 16-day liquid diet fast will come to an end. It has been an experience, that’s for sure. I feel better and lost the extra 5 lbs I was carrying around.
Why am I talking about a fast in a gourmet blog? Because the word healthy is in there, too. In today’s world we overtax our digestive system on a regular basis, by eating too much, too often. Much of the food we eat is not the best quality for our bodies, either, it just tastes good. Giving your digestive tract a rest now and then is a good idea. I regularly fast for 12 hours twice a month, from sunrise to sunset. This helps keep the level of toxins down in my system and allows my body to have a short rest.
I’ve also done some longer three to seven day fasts, but never one this long. There is always the first few days of toxin release and the fact that we’re all so conditioned to eat regularly that we feel like we’re starving if we withhold a meal or change our diet. It is also a good discipline to be the master of your own body, rather than it controlling you. As some recent studies have shown foods such as high fructose corn syrup can actually make you feel hungrier. You may actually be full and have all the nutrition you need, but your body is erroneously asking for more. Fasting helps you get in touch with real hunger needs.
One of the best things about this fast is that I finally got a grip on raw foods, as almost all that we ate during the fast was raw. The outcome – some delicious super quick dishes that can be whipped up, literally, in a few minutes. One thing I learned preparing all these raw foods is that less is more. Over the next few entries I’ll share a few of our favorite concoctions.
Obviously before you do any sort of fasting you need to make sure you’re healthy enough to do it, so check with your primary care provider. Then try a short 1-day fast on juices or liquids. You may not feel very good if you have a lot of toxins built up in your body, but if you slowly work your way up to a little longer fast you’ll find your body getting to be a lean, mean, healthy machine.
This morning I noticed an article on the James Beard Awards for chefs and restaurants. Sort of like the Oscars of cooking. It was very interesting to me, because I’d never seen anything about this before. I took a peek at the site for the awards, hoping to find what criteria they used, but there was nothing there, but a brief history of the awards. They’ve only been around since 1990, so they are still pretty young. Before that there were a couple other awards being offered, so they consolidated them into this one award. So, I’m clueless what criteria they used for any of the awards given.
The winning best new restaurant was abc kitchen in New York, NY. They are dedicated to using local and organic products whenever possible, and they are using fair trade for many things. I decided to visit the site and see what all the hoopla is about. I’m always interested to see what others think is an outstanding restaurant.
In looking over the pictures, it looks like a nice, but not ornate place to eat. Decorated in neutral tones with nice hardwood floors, but not anything really outstanding. The menu itself was not appealing to me. There were just a couple items that looked intriguing: roast carrot and avocado salad, crunch seeds, sour cream, and citrus; sugar snap pea salad with parmesan dressing and herbs; maybe the spinach and quinoa salad with shiitake mushrooms and goat cheese (without the mushrooms). The menu is very heavily laden with meat dishes, including the appetizers and “market table.”
One thing I find with most “in” restaurants is they seem to use such strange ingredients. I think they feel the startle factor when you see crispy pork belly, or buffalo mozzarella makes them seem exotic and unique. This may be true, but I see it as a sales gimmick. I mean jersey tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella and basil pizza is still just a tomato and cheese pizza with basil. What makes jersey tomatoes special?
The one thing I noticed is that there were hardly any mid to small sized towns represented in any of the awards. Does that mean that we’re all eating substandard food when we go out, or that the awards committee doesn’t look to us as possibly having something that amazing…
Is this the typical scenario for you? Get off work from the hospital, make a mad dash to pick up your youngest at the day care before it closes. Run to the store, pick up what’s needed for dinner and to pack lunches the next day.
You arrive home tired, but still wired and go to the kitchen to start dinner. The little one is whimpering and wants some juice. You grab a glass fill it to the brim with grape juice and hand it over. Two seconds later you feel something cold on your back and you realize you didn’t put the juice in the sippy cup and you are now drenched with dark purple, staining grape juice, all over your last clean pair of scrubs.
You quickly throw on a pot of pasta, still drenched. Your spouse arrives with the two older ones and you make a dash for the bedroom to change. You quickly gather up a load for the wash so you’ll have something clean for your rounds in the morning. As you’re throwing things into the wash you realize that you don’t have hardly any work clothes left. You make a mental note to get some more scrubs at you favorite online store, http://www.blueskyscrubs.com/categories/Scrubs/.
Back down in the kitchen you create a wonderful tomato and basil sauce, not too spicy so the kids will eat it. Your spouse helps make up the salad with fresh greens from the farmer’s market. You pull out a hand-kneaded loaf of sourdough bread and put it in the oven to warm. You manage to get the entire family together to have a nice meal and then trundle the kids off to bed and studies.
Once finished you remember the lack of scrubs for work. You fix a nice hot cup of chamomile tea to help you unwind from the day and sit down at your computer to look for replacements for your ruined outfit. You get online and take a look around and find some medical scrubs in lots of fun colors. You order a set in eggplant and another in crimson wine so that the spaghetti and grape juice your kids live on won’t leave any noticeable stains. Then just for fun you order matching scrubs for each one of the kids.
- Plain yogurt or sour cream
Wash and place strawberries in a bowl. Put yogurt in a bowl. Put Sucanat, or other whole sugar in another bowl.
To eat pick up a strawberry, dip in yogurt then in sweetener. Munch to your hearts content!
Yogurt with Strawberries and Blueberries
- Plain yogurt
- Cinnamon or Chinese 5 Spice (opt)
- Vanilla extract (opt)
You can make this up a bowl at a time or mix all the ingredients in a larger bowl and serve it.
Wash, trim any bad spots and trim tops off strawberries. Wash and remove any stems from blueberries. Place both in a bowl. Add enough yogurt to coat them well. Stir in sweetener to your liking. Then sprinkle a scant ¼ tsp of either of the spices, for single serving, or 1 tsp for a large bowl. Again, just ¼ tsp of vanilla extract for a single serving, 1 tsp for a large bowl. Enjoy the slight tanginess of the yogurt with the sweetness of the fruit, mingled with the exotic flavor of the spices and extract.
It seems that no matter how nicely you set up your house, everyone ends up standing around in the kitchen sharing and enjoying each other’s company. You can have a beautiful banquet table, enticing overstuffed chairs, or a great outdoor space, it doesn’t matter, they’ll end up crowded around your kitchen island laughing and talking.
It is nice to present your house at its absolute best when you do have a gathering. Sometimes, though things go awry and we need the help of experts to bring the heart back home.
There are many companies, like http://www.thesteamteam.com/ that specialize in making your home clean and fresh. After years of use your kitchen may not look as nice, nor smell as nice as it did when it was new.
Tile floors are very resilient, but they do need some maintenance. There are many floor tile cleaning products austin available and learning some floor tile cleaning tips austin can help you know which products you might want to use for your particular needs.
Unfortunately, sometimes you regret having cooked a particular dish in you house, as the smell lingers indefinitely. Fish is one of the worst for leaving behind an odor that just doesn’t want to leave. If this is the case you may want to consider the help of professionals in fish odor removal austin. Then you can open your doors freely and let your friend and neighbors return to enjoy more sharing, fun, and food in the heart of your home.
Spring begins the bountiful harvest of locally produced foods. Many times you can buy these products at local farmer’s markets. One thing that is even more fun, though, is to take the family to the farm directly and pick the fruit yourself. You can often find a list of local u-pick farms on the Internet.
This is a fantastic activity to do with children that are old enough to understand how to know when fruit is ripe, probably around 6 to 8 years old. They’ll learn about where food really comes from, get outdoors instead of in front of the TV or computer, and you’ll get to eat some of the best produce you can find.
Here’s a test to try. Buy strawberries from the store, then from the farmer’s market, then go pick a batch. In my experience, the ones directly from the farm are far superior to those purchased at a farmer’s market. There’s no comparison with the pitiful facsimiles grocery stores sell. This is probably because they are going directly from the field to your house, without any transportation or sitting on the shelf time.
Call ahead to make sure they have fruit available. Dress appropriate for the weather. If it is sunny hats, UV protection and sometimes bug protection may be needed. You won’t even need buckets, they’ll provide them for you.
If you aren’t able to do the picking yourself, they usually have some ready picked for just a little extra. Not everyone can stoop or stretch or stand as long as is needed to pick a full bucket.
The only better place to get your fruit, your own yard!
Guest post written by Jake Hasselback
I went to this new restaurant in town a few weeks ago that has healthier food offerings. I was a little skeptical about it, but I decided to give it a try because if worse comes to worst I could just never go back if it was bad. When I was there I ordered a sandwich and picked this no mayo potato salad as my side. I had never tried potato salad made without mayo, but I love the normal dish so I thought that I would give it a try. Now I’m not going to give up my classic potato salad anytime soon, but this stuff was really good.
When my mom asked me what I thought about the place I told her all about the potato salad and that inspired me to try and make some like it on my own. When I was online looking for a no mayo recipe, I came across the website www.wildbluedeals.com/satellite-internet/ and after I looked through it a little bit, I decided to change over my home internet service to it.
The recipe that I found called for vinegar and yogurt, which I think is what the restaurant used. It wasn’t as good as the kind I got with my lunch, but was pretty impressed.