Food, Links, Musing

slutty brownies, craigslist poetry, germs

DAMN DC YOU REAL HOT N’ HUMID RIGHT NOW

Guys, my Danish host family is the cutest. My birthday was last week and they made me a virtual birthday cake! I didn’t even have to take in the calories because I just looked at it!

Okay, here is a list of things that I have been doing lately:

1) Hot yoga. Which is incredibly refreshing and energizing in the winter, but takes a whole other level of mental fortitude in the DC summertime. I get sweaty just walking to yoga, then I enter a room that heats up even more, then I work out for an hour, at which point cool air would be nice to evaporate some of my sweat, but then I head right back outside and now I am just sort of hot and humid and my clothes are all “moist” (I hate the word moist!) and there is NO relief. So, the whole “calm your mind” thing is really coming in handy when I have to wait and all I want is a shower…

photo-5

Here is a summer ratatouille made with FERMENTED CABBAGE & BEETS ON TOP, so clearly my bio-germs will be at 100% and I will live until I am 95. Haha, suckers!

2) Cooking with farmer’s market produce while simultaneously trying to maximize my GERMS. My mom and I both read Michael Pollan’s article on the importance of bacteria and now fermented/probiotic food is slowly creeping into our diets. We’re both obsessed with this KeVita drink that has popped up at Whole Foods and is sort of the stevia-sweetened water version of kefir. It tastes like a refreshing, more tasty kombucha that is super good cold and comes in very trendy flavors. But at 2 for $4, I’m not sure how long this addiction will last. Plus I’m a little skeptical about the whole crazy health benefits thing. Buuuut me and the fam have been eating a lot of fermented cabbage and herring. It’s as if we suddenly turned Danish! This will be good training for next year. 😀

3) Revamping my brand. Or, my personal website. I use Behance to host my portfolio but I’m growing a wee bit tired of the templates. I’m thinkin’ Squarespace might be where I move next, although it is a bit pricier. Hmmmm.

It's wrong how good these bad boys look.

It’s wrong how good these bad boys look.

4) ‘Slutty brownies’ happened*, thanks to a friend who sent them in the mail today. Thanks Rachel! Your brownies fulfilled their promise: they are extremely crazy, everybody wants a piece, and there are more than enough to go around.

5) I’ve been experimenting with found poetry after reading a New York Times piece on writing poetry “fridge magnet style”, using just the words in a particular article. It’s fun to use the more creative side of my brain, a side that often gets stifled or forgotten during one’s 40-hour work week. I started writing Craigslist poetry using only the phrases from actual DC Missed Connections posts. The best one I’ve been able to come up with so far is:

I coughed

Feel I might have missed
a good opportunity,

I coughed,
and your
dog stared at me.

0

Mushroom.

0-1

Blueberry.

6) I have been taking very detailed photos of my produce. And I really love this iPhone macro lens. It’s a steal deal.

*Slutty brownies (noun): an insane mixture of cookie dough/blondies, DoubleStuf oreos, brownie batter with chocolate chips, all layered together and stuck in the oven. Mouthgasm. For the quick and dirty version see here.

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Links, Musing

planning a week

For my “going away” treat to myself I did a whole week’s worth of grocery shopping at the Co-op near my house. I love co-ops — of course, the produce and special-diet selection are unbeatable — but given my measly income, it’s Trader Joe’s that has my heart when it comes to weekly shopping. I love both of them equally in different ways, though. Sometimes even organic date rolls can’t beat out TJ’s cat cookies and ginger ice cream.

Luckily enough, while I did have the go-ahead from myself to splurge, at the end of the day I like budgeting, checking out sales, etc. It makes me feel good to be creative within a limit when it comes to weekly food shopping. Two good rules for avoiding a complete grocery store breakdown (you know what I mean, the kind where you come home with organic chocolate bars and coconut ice cream and $6 eggplants but not a lot of, oh, the food you actually needed) are as follows:

1) Don’t go shopping hungry. Otherwise you’ll crave everything…EVERYTHING!!!

2) If you know you tend to be somewhat of an impulse buyer, take two things out of your cart at the very end, right before you check-out. I like this tip because it allows me to truly take a look at what I’m buying. Maybe I really don’t need two types of frozen broccoli. Maybe I already have breakfast so why am I getting these chocolate chip frozen waffles?

My final total for the above selection was $35, only $5 more than what I usually spend. (Already at home: brown rice, French lentils, and olive oil.) Not bad. There have been a few recipes floating around the internet that I can’t wait to try, so here’s how I hope to utilize these groceries this week:

Breakfast: buckwheat groats with nut milk, cocoa powder, dried apricots, roasted cashews

Lunch: a variation on this tempeh cabbage salad, or braised lentils & rainbow chard 

Dinner: Sweet potato, broccoli, and tofu stir fry with brown rice

Inevitable sweet cravings: blackberries (hopefully I can steal a banana from work and make a berry variation on this banana ice cream)

Most importantly, I tried to make it so that by the time the week is over and I move out of my house, all the food is gone!

Things I did not buy but ooh-wee was I eyeing them: the Co-op has “grind-it-yourself” nut butters and raw farm honey…man oh man…

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Food, Links

Holiday Shopping 2012

One thing I enjoy post-Thanksgiving: Christmas songs on the radio. Generally, I really like ’em. Except for that one dramatic tune “Christmas Shoes”. Have you heard that one? I hate it, sorry. The WORST holiday song, the bane of my family’s December, which I am guessing only Washington DC has to suffer through, is the song “Christmas Eve in Washington” by Maura Sullivan. Check it out if you dare.

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Food, Links

Twenty-something Thanksgiving: guest tips & ideas

Living 1,100 miles away from home is nothing new – after all, I’ve done it for the past four years. And yet, I haven’t been home for Thanksgiving since 2010. It makes me sad sometimes, yes, but the other wonderful thing is that I have been fortunate enough to experience Thanksgiving in a variety of traditions.

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Links, Musing, Uncategorized

beautiful things

It’s well known that we make judgements about anything – resumes, attractiveness, interests – within seconds. Websites are no different. We’re in a constant state of scanning & analyzing web content, trying to decide what we like and whether a page is worth a deeper look. This all comes down to visuals. You can have exceptionally well-written, witty, quirky, and downright interesting things to say, but you can also undermine all of that with a poorly-designed website. And here’s the thing: in the words of Austin Kleon, “Creativity is subtraction.” So no, you don’t need to worry yourself over fancy HTML and things like that, especially if web design isn’t your forte. Make it simple, stupid!

The following are three food websites that I love, each with a different design. Some are a little more complicated than others. But all of them are methodical, like a clean, organized kitchen. And if we’re going to take this metaphor and run with it, make your design simple and accessible, make your kitchen neat & clean, so that you can get up to some mischief. So that you can be creative, and messy, and ultimately have something to show for it. Did I also mention these food photographs are…amazing? Avoid the urge to stroke your screen.

Love & Lemons is a blog run by a couple based in Austin. Everything about the site, from the programming to photography to design, is a joint effort. It has a wonderfully quirky, retro design (I adore the font they use) and they have an ideal number of photos per post. This is something I think is pretty important: unless all of your photos are well-lit, sharp, and serve your “step-by-step” purpose well, keep it under 4. Some bloggers use more photos to take an instructional approach, like the Pioneer Woman. In most cases, though, they end up superfluous, and a burden to your reader.

Fashionably Bombed is a mixologist blog run by two sisters. The site showcases their love of candy, colors, and creativity. They’re not afraid to amp up the saturation, get a little crazy with fonts, and wear sombreros. Their site is always a treat to visit, and the design is fun but doesn’t get out of hand a la 90’s Geocities. Scrolling through all of their juicy-looking drinks wakes you from your desk job food-porn surfing. All you want to do is fast-forward to Friday and grab a bathing suit and a blender.

From the Source is a website I got wind of thanks to Twitter, and I’m so glad I did. Michael Lamotte photographs local food, identifying the vendor and the source in an attempt to “promote small, local food purveyors and foster appreciation.” The site is at its most minimal, like a gallery, allowing one to focus only on the photos. At first I was struck by Lamotte’s photos are they are all black-and-white. Normally, color is essential for conveying the nature of food. But Lamotte’s photos are meant to be focused on in a deeper way, beautiful meditations on texture and light. Spend time with these photographs, and you begin to see things – the ripples and lines of slab bacon, the fractal-like pattern of romanesco broccoli, a portabello mushroom that Ansel Adams would have loved.

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Links

monday cravings

I tend to do most of my weekly Internet browsing on Mondays. Today I’m craving:

Happy Monday!

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