Thursday, April 26, 2012

Granola Gifts

Can you believe there are only a few days of April left? May is always a busy month for me with lots to celebrate: school always gets crazier, there is Mother's day, lots of birthdays (including mine), and there always seems to be a shower to two to attend. If your May is anything like mine, you'll probably be shopping for some gifts. So, in an attempt to make life easier, I wanted to share with you a few of my favorite finds. All of these gifts are earth friendly, a few of them are small-business made, and a couple support some really great causes. Happy shopping. -xo


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Sour + Bitter

Sour and Bitter. These can be two dirty words when it comes to describing our food and drinks. It's really too bad because they are both important tastes in a well balanced diet, and they are definitely under consumed in a "typical American" diet. These two flavors are considered to have yin, cooling effects in the body that can balance a diet that is full of roasted, baked, grilled, and spicy foods. Sour foods have an astringent quality that can be beneficial to the body and the mind (it is thought to counter act scattered mental patterns). Bitter foods are cleansing, and can counter over-consumption of rich foods.

Here is a list of some of my favorite sour and bitter foods. If you think your diet is lacking these flavors, try adding a few of them into your weekly meals.

dandelion root tea

sourdough bread
pickled foods
aduki beans
some cheeses

Vinegar is both sour and bitter, and very versatile in the kitchen. I probably have seven different types of vinegar in my kitchen at any given time. It can be used to create depth to a dish, or most commonly, to make salad dressings, dips, and marinades. 

Today, I used the most common vinegar found in most any home, distilled white, to make pickled carrots. I love adding pickled veggies to salads, or alongside sandwiches, and they are great for a snack. Best of all, you can get very creative with pickling because just about any vegetable can be pickled with most any herb or spice. Pickled carrots, red onions, jalapenos, and beets are some of my favorites. I kept these pickled carrots pretty basic by just adding red pepper flakes and whole peppercorns to the brine. 

Also to note: 
Pickles are beneficial for aiding digestion after meals. Properly fermented pickles like sauerkraut and kimchi are a good source of the probiotic Lactobacillus acidophilus. However, eat within reason, over-consuming pickled foods can have harmful effects as well. 

Source: Pitchford, Paul. Healing with Whole Foods. Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books, 2003

Friday, April 13, 2012

Life lately...according to Instagram

I've had a great time visiting friends and family these last few weeks. We threw a bridal shower for my friend Tess, I spent a lot of time playing with my niece and nephew, went on a few hikes, and last weekend we went to a beautiful wedding. Life has been good, and I am truly grateful.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Easter weekend

(picture from annie's-eats)

Hello. Sorry I have been absent the last two weeks. I've been on school break and did some traveling (pictures to come). I also will be working to change the layout of this blog before creating new posts, so hang in should be worth the wait.

This weekend is Easter Sunday. My mom always made a fun day of it with the traditional egg dying, followed by  a hunt, candy baskets, and Easter dinner. Even without family around, or kids of my own, I still enjoy dying eggs and making a festive dinner. This weekend, however, we are very excited to be attending a our friend's wedding in Scottsdale, so Easter traditions will have to wait.

If you're feeling festive this year, I have found a couple sites with some good Easter egg projects. This first one is from annies-eats, she teaches you how to dye Easter eggs using fruits and veggies. If you're feeling extra crafty, this project is so cute and looks like a lot of fun!