4.28.2011

Prayers for the South

It's been a crazy night / day in our house --While we didn't experience any foul weather in New Orleans, the rest of the deep south wasn't as fortunate.   The images of just the immense damage from Alabama and the Deep South keep coming in over the news and have been sent to us from friends.  We've been able to confirm that all of our loved ones are safe and sound, but many of them were as close as a few miles from the tornadoes that wrecked havoc across the state.

I came across this video on  youtube that was filmed in the parking lot of University Mall in Tuscaloosa and in short, it is horrifying (especially at 4:25 and then again at 6:00, when you catch a glimpse of the Belk).


Please, if you have the resources and means, do not hesitate to give to the recovery efforts not just in Tuscaloosa, but from Mississippi all the way to Virginia -- they will need all the help they can receive.  You can text "GIVE" to 80888 to donate $10 to the Salvation Army, which already has feet on the ground in the areas affected (you can visit them here ).

And most importantly, please keep all affected in your thoughts and prayers

4.22.2011

Ginger & Berries Never Tasted So Good

I've been a huge fan of Kombucha recently, but it wasn't until today I was truly grateful for it.  I've been spending all day unloading our storage unit (New Orleans + no garage = no storage) in preparation for our move.  Exhausted from the tons of boxes of books and Rubbermaid containers, I arrived home craving one thing and one thing alone:
source
It has it doubters.  It has its faithful followers.  You can debate all day long, (and read about it here) but all I know is that this one of the tastiest drinks I've ever sampled.  My old boss let me try a little of the Gingerade 100% G.T. Kombucha version a few months ago.  I liked it, as the ginger flavor balanced the natural flavor of kombucha, so I bought a whole bottle.  I quickly realized that with every Gingerade kombucha I drank, without fail I developed a raging headache within an hour.  So I tried the strawberry version (95% kombucha, 5% fruit juice).  No headache, but the tartness of the strawberry needed something to balance it out.  So then I tried ginger berry with the hopes that the ginger would balance the strawberry.  And it does perfectly.  I now crave this stuff.  And since its ohsoclose to hitting the 90 degree mark on the thermostat down here, I'm discovering it may just be the perfect summer drink.  yum yum

Have you tried kombucha yet?  If so, what are your thoughts?

4.21.2011

My Awkward Puppy - the Graduate

Bear just graduated a few Saturdays ago from intermediate obedience class at Petco (product of our hoping he'll have manners in Europe).  One of the things we found out that came with his graduation packet, in addition to more treats than he'll ever need, was a free professional 8x10 graduation photo.  We figured "hey, it's free, so why not?"

Turns out our dog is quite the diva.  The first few shots were a little awkward, but by the end, Bear was totally posing for the camera, complete with stuffed Easter chickens and fuzzy blue blankets.  His attention to the camera was seriously impressive.  The photos were processed and when we went back to pick out what picture we wanted to have as our one 8x10, the photo lady said "oh, well if you use the free photo coupon, then you can only choose the first picture out of the entire series."  Um, terrible policy if you ask me, but whatever.

So instead of having a picture of our bundle of joy posing perfectly and looking adorable, this is the picture we were required to choose:
awkward? yes
It also wasn't til we received the print that I realized just how large an 8x10 picture is.  We have NO idea what to do with this photo, which is as awkwardly large as our pup.  An odd combination of weird factors that actually add up to make perfect sense.  Such is life!

4.19.2011

Onion Soup for the Stressed-out Soul

Yesterday was one of those days where a full day of running around "getting things done" actually resulted in nothing getting done.  The result was such a feeling of defeat (especially after the news that the move will NOT go as planned) that I just wanted something super comforting to make and eat for dinner.  I've been in the process of transferring my recipes to my new fancy schmancy recipe book (thanks mom!) and I found one of my favorite long lost recipes:  Spring Onion Soup. It's the Spring, and I still had yet to initiate my Le Creuset Christmas present, so I figured heck why not!

Spring Onion Soup (makes 6 1-1/2 cu servings)

  • 1tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large sweet vidalia onions, sliced
  • 2 cups chopped Spring onions / leeks
  • 2 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/4 cup sherry
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 3-14 oz cans low sodium beef broth
  • 1/4 minced scallions/ chives
  • 6 slices country whole wheat bread
  • 1 cup shredded Gruy√®re cheese
Here's where we start:
onions galore!
this is the hardest part of the entire recipe for me.  Onions and my eyes
do NOT get along
lots o' leeks
1.  Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add sweet onions and stir to coat. Cover, reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring often until soft and starting to brown ; approx 6-8 mins.
saute-ing onions are one of my fave kitchen smells
2.  Add spring Onions/ leeks, garlic and thyme.  cook uncovered, stirring often, until starting to soften, 3-4 mins.
yum yum
3.  Stir in sherry and pepper; increase heat to medium-high and simmer.
got to use up the contents of our well-stocked bar since we
cannot take any of it overseas with us.  
Cook, stirring often, until most of the liquid has evaporated, 1-2 mins.

4.  Stir in broth and bring to boil.
Reduce heat to simmer and cook until veggies are tender, about 3 mins.  Remove from heat and stir in chives/scallions
5.  Meanwhile, toast the bread and divide among bowls; top bread with cheese.
Ladle soup over bread and cheese.  Serve immediately
absolutely simple and amazing!
Instant stress relief, at least for the moment.  Here's hoping for a less stressful and much more productive day today. Have a spectacular Tuesday!

4.18.2011

State of my Life *now with an ironic update*

I'm getting more and more excited about this:
and this:
erynthegrey via flickr
and this:
{platinum} via flickr

But I'm totally dreading this:
Mpopp via flickr
Have I mentioned how much I DESPISE moving?  Yeah.... t-minus 7 days until our lives are packed up in boxes, put in cargo crates and begin their voyage across the Atlantic to our new home.  Then it's 2 weeks living in an empty house, 2 weeks of trekking to Bama and then Virginia, and then flying to our new country.  Bitter sweet, but also chaotic!  Heres hoping for a smooth move, not dying of boredom in an empty house and having all of our paperwork in order for entry to Europe!

*UPDATE - I knew as soon as I posted about the move date something would change.  Mr. Bama informed me today that apparently I am still not cleared to travel with him (even though we started doing all of the processing paperwork and such as soon as we found out where we were moving).  So the packing up and moving of our stuff has pushed to May 9th.  Apparently whoever is in charge of processing paperwork for overseas travel is just REALLY slow and does not understand the meaning of "expedite".  Cest 'la vie  

4.11.2011

Drive-by Clothing Eye Candy

I have a really quick post today -- Been busing wrapping up a bunch of stuff and prepping for our house hold goods to get moved on the 25(so.not.ready.).  But I still have time for pretty clothes!

pretty clothes like the spring 2011 Trashy Diva prints

Olivine:
the 1940's dress.
source
  Slap and Tickle (hehe)

The Doll Dress.
source
I tried both of the prints in their respective styles over the past few weeks and the Olivine is amazing.  I WANTED the Slap and Tickle to work soooo badly, but it just looked blah with my skin tone.  I'm waiting until after the move to pick up my dress, just because moving is proving to be SO expensive (an understatement)

So heres hoping i get a leg up on the moving to do list and that you have a great Monday!

4.01.2011

RAW-rrrrrr

That's my healthy food growl.  We actually, its my "hey, I'm sick of feeling puffy, out of shape, and oh my gosh is that ME in the mirror!?" statement.  Its a funny thing that happens when you get married (or when you live in New Orleans...), you kind of let your nutrition go to the birds.  The food here is SOOO good (an understatement), so its hard not to pick up the phone and order something when you're exhausted from a long day & don't feel like cooking.  I hardly ever ate out growing up, so I consider New Orleans a treat - we're not going to live here forever, right?  So enjoy the food while you can!  Then that leads to also drinking, which also leads to sleeping in, being lazy and forgoing that whole working-out thing.  Bah, I played sports in college and I've worked out almost every day since I was a wee summer swim team-leaguer back in Virginia, I'm in great shape, so surely a few days not working out won't matter....

...a few days, that turn in to weeks, which turn into, well you get it.

It wasn't until I saw myself in the mirror the other day and almost screamed outloud "What the!? Is that cellulite!????"  Yeah, no good.  That plus I'd been feeling insanely sluggish, tired and just all-around BLAH.  It wasn't till my little mirror revelation that I examined my options:
  1. workout and still eat what I'm eating.  Gross in, gross out, but at least I'll be maintaining my weight
  2. clean my diet up, work out and kick in the butt once and for all those stupid last 20 lbs that I have never ever been able to get rid of.
  3. do nothing and just balloon, becoming the larger version of an oompa loompa
wonka-oompa-loompas
source
I choose option 2.  Yeah, in the middle of wrapping up my design projects (oh.ver.welm.ing) and planning a move to another continent, I'm going to squeeze cleaning up my diet into the mix.  Oye vey.

So this past weekend I had one of my best friends visit NOLA with her husband.  During her stay, she mentioned that she had been trying out a raw food diet for the past few weeks.  My friend has two kids, so if it takes too long to make or if it's too difficult, then its a no go recipe wise.  She explained how everything is in smoothie form or very simplified, so in a sense it's actually almost an easier diet than a western diet.  There's a whole science behind it (I'm sparing you the details) but essentially its a diet that cleanses and tries to balance the acidity and alkalinity in a body .  Now, I'm not one to go whole-hog raw, because I'm way to much of a carnivore.
collageOrama Cow Cuts of Beef Diagram on etsy
But what's nice about the raw diet is you can choose to go 50%, 75% or 100% raw. I'm placing my bets low and aiming for 50% - so I can still slip in my sauted chicken and grilled beef Filets into my diet.

So last night I planned my first raw meal:  Lettuce Wraps.

Strike one: WFM didnt have hemp seeds.  I subbed golden flax seeds.
Strike two: I love spinach, but its hard for me to eat it raw.  I also noticed there was no lettuce in the recipe (even though it's a recipe for Lettuce Wraps) So I swapped that part for Romaine Lettuce.
Strike three: do you know how hard it is to cut a mango?  Yeah...... I didn't either until last night

So long and short if it, here's my bounty:
A little bit of mango (finally figured out how to slice that one), some cabbage, some ginger, basil, cilantro and a carrot cut down into matchsticks.

Then you make your sauce, which i didn't snap a picture of, but its essentially lemon juice, ginger, red chili powder, almond butter and honey.  After blending that, it goes with shredded cabbage in a bowl
Then, you take your cabbage mix, put it on your lettuce leaf, then add mango, basil, cilantro, and sprinkle some flax seeds on top.  Then voila!
my lettuce wrap unwrapped
Result?  actually really yummy!  It was very very light, but after two wraps both Mr. Bama and I were comfortably full.  I usually find myself an hour after I eat back in the kitchen trying to find something else to eat, but not last night.  I think Mr. Bama retracted his statement of "yes, please make those again someday!" after he was stuck cleaning almond butter off of all the dishes, but otherwise, a lovely home run on day one of raw foods!  Next up, my new raw drink find.....
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