Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Healthy Hump-Day Dinners

Not many people I know have endless hours available to prepare themselves healthy meals, myself included. So, I thought I would start sharing my favorite mid-week meals that take very little effort.

The first hump-day dinner is brought to you by Trader Joe's Indian Fare. Trader Joe's in general is great for these I-have-no-time-to-cook dilemmas, but today I'm featuring one of my favorite (and cheap) finds. If you don't have a TJ's, no worries. I have found similar fare at any health food's grocery in different brands. My favorite is the Punjab Choley, the texture of the chickpeas makes me not miss any meat in this meal. Just to warn you, this one is spicy! There are other varieties that are available with a lot less kick.

 My Vanna White showing off the product

I often serve these Indian dinner packets with brown rice and broccoli. I make the brown rice the morning of in my rice cooker, and set the timer so it's ready when I get home. Then, I steam the broccoli and set it aside. Then just pop the packet in the same boing water the the broccoli was steamed over, and 3-4 minutes later you're done! 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Happy Monday. How was your weekend?

Unfortunately, I've been feeling under the weather. I must have caught something at school, so most of my weekend looked like this. 

Before I fell victim to the cold last week, I made my friend Anna a birthday cake (I got the idea from Jordan's blog Oh happy day! ) and I wanted to share with you the present I gave her...

The little flower thing at the bottom ^ is a snack bag. They are from Semilla, which a a very cute family company that makes baggies with organic cotton, and lines them with a non-toxic nylon lining. They are also BPA free. They would be a cute and affordable gift for a mom with young children, or anyone who snacks regularly. I also love the different fabric designs. Their website also features a blog with lots of healthy, sweet snack recipes. Hope you have a happy, healthy week!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Stay Fresh

Buying organic means your veggies don't last as long, do you know these simple tricks?

Keep root veggies and asparagus upright in a little water. This has saved many of my carrots. 

Also, after buying celery- clean and trim stalks and store them in a container filled with water, make sure they are fully submerged.

What are your favorite stay-fresh tips? 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Recipe: Jam Cookie

I like baking any kind of cookie, but these ones are appropriate for a healthy living blog ;) Trust me, they are delicious. You can use any jam on hand. I had blueberry and strawberry this time around. They go great with tea or coffee breaks, and the best part about them is they don't require any refined sugar or butter to make...or maybe the best is they are so tiny you can eat a few of them at time. The recipe is after the jump.

Monday, February 20, 2012


I got a gift in the mail last week from my Dad, and I thought I would share! My Dad loves shopping on Ebay, mostly for golf clubs, but he recently scored these mid-rise Chuck Taylor All Stars for me.
He started looking into buying vintage versions of the shoes after he found out they are no longer made in the U.S. You might remember when Nike bought out Converse in 2003, and they started producing them in China. Turns out, many people still care about this, and buying USA manufactured "Chuck's" these days is hard to do. 

I love the classic look of these shoes, and although I've been through quite a few pairs (especially when I was a server), I wouldn't be surprised if these are my first American made pair. 

Did you know that Charles "Chuck" Hollis Taylor started wearing these shoes to basketball practice in 1912, then got a job with Converse in 1921 and improved the shoe. One of the things he added to the shoe was the iconic patch on the side, which was actually put there for ankle protection. A couple years later, Converse incorporated this name on the patch of the shoe, and Chuck spent years driving a white Cadillac across country with a bunch of All Stars in the trunk making the shoe what it is today!

This is how I wore them. 

Which kind do you sport? I would love if you sent a link for a picture of you in yours! 

 My Dad in his Chuck's outside my apartment (they spelled the street name wrong in the cement:)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Recipe: Mung Beans

I wish these little beans weren't so hard to find in a "regular" grocery store, because they are seriously awesome. Mung beans are used in Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic practices for detoxing the body. They are sweet, easily digestible, and versatile. Last night, I made this mung bean and butternut squash stew that was once featured on one of Food 52's recipe contests. It's both sweet and spicy, and the perfect recipe for transitioning from winter to spring. The ginger and other spices make the recipe feel warm and satisfying, but it is also light and easily digested. It made 6 servings, so I froze the rest to have again on a night I don't have time to cook. I served it with warm naan bread that I bought from Trader Joe's. Also, this recipe also gives you and opportunity to use that coconut milk you made.
I love all of the colorful veggies in this stew

 If you find whole mung beans, you can soak them the night before you make this stew. I buy them at Rainbow Grocery, they are labeled under mung daal in the bulk section. You can find this recipe here
Happy Friday! 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Movement for Detox

Exercising is essential for cleansing those organs, and when that isn't enough motivation for you, you can watch one of these videos.

 I long to be this strong and graceful on the mat

This video is both entertaining and educational, and proves just a little bit goes a long way.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Spring is near! Detoxing and canned foods

On my walk to the dogpatch the other day to get a fancy cup of joe, I couldn't help but notice that all of the cherry blossom trees were fully bloomed. Maybe it's because I'm originally an Arizona girl, but spring is definitely my favorite season. It's also a season for detox. I don't mean detox like, let's go on a juice fast for 20 days, but it is a good time to cleanse your body of all the warm, heavy winter foods we've been feeding on. In the next couple weeks I'd like to discuss many ways we can detox and eliminate harmful toxins from our daily lives. 

One thing we can do is limit our exposure to BPA. Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical used in some plastics. In our bodies this chemical disrupts our natural hormone levels. Some ways we can avoid it is to store our food in glass containers, and limit our intake of canned foods. Canned foods are lined with a BPA plastic, so the acidity of the food doesn't rust the can. Two foods with the highest found levels of BPH are tomatoes and coconut milk. 

For a while after I found this out, I avoided coconut milk all together. Which is sad because I love making curries. Until I found out how easy it is to make your own! If you don't now how, I've left instructions at the bottom of the page. 

In line at Piccino's coffee stand in the dogpatch

You can make coconut milk a few different ways. The most authentically homemade kind is from a whole coconut, however I find using shredded coconut works well and is much faster.

Homemade coconut milk
A blender or a food processor
cheesecloth or muslin
a cup of shredded unsweetened organic coconut (more like 7/8 a cup)
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 small jars

1. Place shredded coconut in your blender or food processor and add 1 cup of warm water. Pulse 5 or 6 times, or blend on high for about 30 seconds.
 2. Dump the coconut into a bowl lined with your cheesecloth or muslin, and squeeze the coconut juice out.

3. Place the coconut back into your food processor or blender and add the remaining 1/2 cup of warm water, and repeat the process. 

4. Pour the milk evenly into the jars, and store in the fridge or freezer.

5. Save for a detoxifying recipe that is coming up this week! 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Most wanted list

As I find ways to procrastinate studying for my midterms, I thought I'd share with you my top granola-ish wants at the moment.

1. An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace. By Tamar Adler.
I think this video might help you understand why I would like to own this cookbook.

2. A potted orange tree. For a never ending supply of vitamin C, and because I think it would look great in my apartment.

3. A Chemex coffee maker. For entertaining guests.

4. A free day in the sunshine. Without feeling guilty for not studying for a test. 

What's on your list?

Monday, February 6, 2012

5 granola-ish things to do for Valentine's Day

I have mixed feeling about this holiday. I'm a little annoyed by the pressure couples feel to impress each other, and how single people all of a sudden get down on themselves. Nevertheless, I always find myself participating one way or another. So I wanted to share some Granola-ish ways to I like to celebrate.

1. Skip going out to dinner if at all possible! Instead, make this rendition of Vegetarian Pot Pie. I made this last year for Valentine's Day after I was inspired by the post on Big Girls, Small Kitchen. I liked the idea so much that I always make pot pies this way. It's adorable, and you end up eating MUCH less crust. I love the recipe these girls put together, it's an upgrade on the classic. However, I love to play around with pot pie recipes and end up making it a little differently each time.

2. Save some of the veggies (raw) you used to make your pot pie and eat them with this beet hummus to share at the office or with friends. Use the heart shaped cookie cutter you needed for the pot pie recipe, and make heart shaped pita bread.

3. I'm definitely going to try and do this DIY project I saw on Honestly... WTF, I love elbow patches.

4. Homemade cards are the best. I usually make the children's type to bring back the nostalgia of Valentine's day in elementary school (and they are compatible with my DIY skills), however this one I found via Pinterest really impressed me! 

5. Lastly, make the day an excuse to give your sweetheart a massage. I recommend a foot massage, and when your fingers get tired, use this technique Shiatsu technique I learned in school. Ease into it though, elbows can be pretty intense!

***Bonus- you can listen to this animal collective song that I love, and think is very romantic.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Dr. David Agus-Know these things about yourself!

On the Thursday night episode of The Daily Show, John Stewart interviewed an oncologist named Dr. David Agus. I was pretty impressed! So much so in fact, that I may have to buy his book (which is rare for me nowadays because I'm on a limited student budget). I wish I could find a clip of the interview for you, but you can watch the whole episode on Hulu, or Comedy Central.
After seeing it, I visited Dr. Agus' website, and I found a link to a personal health inventory questionnaire. THIS IS GOLD. Seriously. He made it so that you can fill it out before your next doctor's visit. This way you'll get the most out of your appointment. I find that M.D.'s these days skip these questions, and many of us don't spend time thinking about our personal health until something goes wrong. 
Chances are if you're seeing an N.D. or an acupuncturist you have already thought about these things-they are trained to ask you these questions. However, no matter who your primary care doctor is, they should know these things about your health, and you should too! 

Has anyone already read this book? What did you think of it? Do any of the questions on this questionnaire surprise you?

One that note, I'll leave you with this ;)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Granola Goal-More Miso

We went to Forbes Island to celebrate my friend Lauren's birthday last night. You have to take a ferry to get there. Then you have dinner on this island, that is also a boat, and also a restaurant. I had a delicious, put pretty heavy/meaty dinner with plenty of wine, so I thought I would make something light tonight!

 So I made homemade udon with a miso broth. I love miso. The fermented bean paste has so many health benefits, I aim to eat it as much as possible. I've never made homemade udon before, but I've been meaning to try it out. I got the recipe from Mayumi's Kitchen. Mayumi is one of my favorite macrobiotics chefs. She used to cook for Madonna! I highly recommend buying her cookbook.

You can throw these noodles into just about any broth base. Tonight I made a miso soup with sweet potatoes, onions, and bok choy. Noodle recipe is after the jump!

 I really like this brand of Miso. I bought these at Whole Foods. Another great thing about miso is it lasts for a REALLY long time, so you don't need to worry about "wasting" it. 

Hey, be nice!

Are you kicking your own butt? Many people I know are working on improving their heath, and often I see my family and friends punish themselves, or get frustrated when they don't succeed or stay on track. Whether it is sticking to your diet, cooking more meals at home, exercising, or whatever it is, we must understand that it is a lifelong process. Life gets crazy sometimes, and things WILL get in the way. So be gentle with yourself when it doesn't go as planned. Treat yourself how you would want others to treat you.
Have you ever considered what it is that your doing doesn't serve you? For example, I used to run. I would make plans to wake up early in the morning and work on my mileage. I dreaded it, and every few weeks I would quit, and then I would feel awful about it. My Dad even thought my running habit was crazy. He would say," If you see a Root running, you better run too, because something is chasing him."  One day I finally realized he was right, and I quit. After that the guilty feelings I had subsided, and I noticed it left more room in my life for other things I liked to do.
I'm not suggesting you should quit exercising if you don't like it, but maybe try yoga, or swimming, walking, etc. Spend more time doing the things you like, and you'll probably be more successful.

*Listen to this if you ever need a reminder to be nicer to yourself.