Archive | August, 2013

Tar + Roses

26 Aug

Just call me a late adapter.

For months now I’ve been told that Tar + Roses is the place to eat on the Westside by people who would know.

I’ve been in a rotation of restaurants strictly between Rose and Pico for a while now;  it’s as if there’s an electric fence that keeps me from going any further north than M Street Kitchen.

However, when the waiters at Supurba start recognizing you on the streets you know  it’s probably a good sign that it’s time to  expand the horizons.

I finally was forced to get my act together when my friend Jess saw Tar + Roses on Bravo and decided that the time had come to drive the extra mile north.  And don’t I feel like dumbass of the year because this. place. is. redick.

The menu had so much amazingness on it that we really didn’t know where to start and the waiter was shocked at the amount of food we ordered, but we still were worried about missing certain items. Luckily, T+R has made it into the rotation…or might be the rotation until we try the while menu. In the words of Arnold….I’ll be back.

Our neighbors stared as we dug right into the Bone Marrow.

menu

resto

My favorite dining partner
jesser

Octopus skewersocto

Oxtail Dumplingsdumplings

Beef Pho-Capraccio & Sugar Cube Melon (speck, burrata, melon, and Marcona almonds)

Melons + Carpacio

Wood fired Cauliflower & Beets with Tarragon and Feta.

Cauli1 I didn’t even mention the dessert, which was easily one of the best sweets I’ve had in a very long time.

damage

The only downside was not being able to try everything on the menu. We drooled at every plate that came by and something tells me I’ll be back inappropriately soon for the ricotta gnocci, whole fish for two, roasted carrots with creme fraiche, and popped corn with bacon, brown sugar, and chili. Just a feeling!

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Food for Thought

23 Aug

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Yep, this is heavy for a Friday. However, it was sent to me by a an old friend & it resonated with me and made me angry about the way Jenny Craig commercials come on right before the Carls Jr Pop Tart Ice Cream Sandwich commercials and how totally screwed up the health & food industries have gotten us.

But it’s sweet message. Even as a mostly non-emotional person, I must admit I got a little emoji reading this. Sniff.

It’s a long letter with a simple message: eat real food, worry less, and live life.

Would love to know your thoughts on this.

Happy reading & happy Friday ♥

XO, M

Dear Former Weight Loss Clients (you know who you are):

I’m sorry.

I’m sorry because I put you on a 1,200 calorie diet and told you that was healthy. I’m sorry because when you were running 5x a week, I encouraged you to switch from a 1,200 calorie diet to a 1,500 calorie diet, instead of telling you that you should be eating a hell of a lot more than that. I’m sorry because you were breastfeeding and there’s no way eating those 1,700 calories a day could have been enough for both you and your baby. I’m sorry because you were gluten intolerant and so desperate to lose weight that you didn’t put that on your intake form. But you mentioned it to me later, and I had no idea the damage you were doing to your body. I’m sorry because I think I should have known. I think I should have been educated better before I began to tell all of you what was right or wrong for your body.

I’m sorry because I made you feel like a failure and so you deliberately left a message after the center had closed, telling me you were quitting. I thought you were awesome and gorgeous, and I’m sorry because I never told you that. I’m sorry because you came in telling me you liked to eat organic and weren’t sure about all the chemicals in the food, and I made up some BS about how it was a “stepping stone.” I’m sorry because many of you had thyroid issues and the LAST thing you should have been doing was eating a gluten-filled, chemically-laden starvation diet. I’m sorry because by the time I stopped working there, I wouldn’t touch that food, yet I still sold it to you.

I’m sorry because it’s only years later that I realize just how unhealthy a 1,200 calorie diet was. I stayed on a 1,200-1,500 calorie diet for years, so I have the proof in myself. Thyroid issues, mood swings, depression, headaches… oh and gluten intolerance that seemed to “kick in” after about a month of eating the pre-packaged food. Was it a coincidence? Maybe.

I’m sorry because you had body dysmorphic disorder, and it was so painful to hear the things you said about yourself. You looked like a model, and all of my other clients were intimidated by you, asked me why you were there because clearly you didn’t need to lose weight. And yet you would sit in my office and cry, appalled that a man might see you naked and be disturbed by the fat that didn’t actually exist. I’m sorry because you should have been seeing a therapist, not a weight loss consultant.

I’m sorry because you were young and so beautiful and only there because your mother thought you needed to lose weight. And because there were too many of you like that. Girls who knew you were fine, but whose mothers pushed that belief out of you until you thought like she did. Until you thought there was something wrong with you. And the one time I confronted your mother, you simply got switched to a different consultant. I think I should have made more of a stink, but I didn’t. I’m sorry because you were in high school and an athlete, and I pray that you weren’t screwed up by that 1,500 calorie diet. Seriously, world? Seriously? A teenage girl walks in with no visible body fat and lots of muscle tone, tells you she’s a runner and is happy with her weight… but her mother says she’s fat and has to lose weight and so we help her do just that. As an individual, as women, as a company, hell, as a nation, we don’t stand up for that girl? What is wrong with us? There ain’t nothing right about that. Nothing.

I’m sorry because every time you ate something you “shouldn’t” or ate more than you “should,” I talked about “getting back on the bandwagon.” I cringe now every time someone uses that phrase. When did the way we eat become a bandwagon? When did everyone stop eating and become professional dieters? I’m sorry because I get it now. If you’re trying to starve your body by eating fewer calories than it needs, of course it’s going to fight back. I used to tell you that then, when you wanted to eat less than 1,200 calories a day. The problem was, I thought 1,200 was enough. I thought that was plenty to support a healthy body. Why did I believe that for so long? I’m sorry because I wasn’t trying to trick you or play games to get your money. I believed the lies we were fed as much as you did.

And it wasn’t just the company feeding them to me. It was the doctors and registered dietitians on the medical advisory board. It was the media and magazines confirming what I was telling my clients. A palm-sized portion of lean chicken with half a sweet potato and a salad was PLENTY. No matter that you had “cravings” afterward. Cravings are a sign of underlying emotional issues. Yeah, sure they are. I’m a hypnotherapist with a past history of binge eating disorder. I KNOW cravings are a sign of underlying emotional issues. Except when they’re not. Except when they’re a sign that your body needs more food and you’re ignoring it. Then they’re a sign that your 1,200 calorie diet is horseshit. Then they’re a sign that you’ve been played.

And that’s mostly why I’m sorry. Because I’ve been played for years, and so have you, and inadvertently, I fed into the lies you’ve been told your whole life. The lies that say that being healthy means nothing unless you are also thin. The lies that say that you are never enough, that your body is not a beautiful work of art, but rather a piece of clay to be molded by society’s norms until it becomes a certain type of sculpture. And even then, it is still a work in progress.

I owe you an apology, my former client and now friend, who I helped to lose too much weight. Who I watched gain the weight back, plus some. Because that’s what happens when you put someone on a 1,200 calorie diet. But I didn’t know. If you’re reading this, then I want you to know that you have always been beautiful. And that all these fad diets are crap meant to screw with your metabolism so that you have to keep buying into them. I think now that I was a really good weight loss consultant. Because I did exactly what the company wanted (but would never dare say). I helped you lose weight and then gain it back, so that you thought we were the solution and you were the failure. You became a repeat client and we kept you in the game. I guess I did my job really well.

And now I wonder, did I do more harm than good? When I left, you all wrote me cards and sent me flowers. I still have those cards, the ones that tell me how much I helped you, how much I cared. But I’m friends with some of you on Facebook now, and I look at your photos and you look happy. And beautiful. And not because you lost weight since I saw you last. But because I see YOU now. You. Not a client sitting in my chair, asking for my assistance in becoming what society wants. But you, a smart and lovely woman, who really doesn’t need some random company telling her there’s something wrong with her.

So I’m sorry because when you walked in to get your meal plan, I should have told you that you were beautiful. I should have asked you how you FELT. Were you happy? Did you feel physically fit? Were you able to play with your kids? There were so many of you who never needed to lose a pound, and some of you who could have gained some. And maybe sometimes I told you that. But not enough. Not emphatically. Because it was my job to let you believe that making the scale go down was your top priority. And I did my job well.

I am sorry because many of you walked in healthy and walked out with disordered eating, disordered body image, and the feeling that you were a “failure.” None of you ever failed. Ever. I failed you. The weight loss company failed you. Our society is failing you.

Just eat food. Eat real food, be active, and live your life. Forget all the diet and weight loss nonsense. It’s really just that. Nonsense.

And I can’t stop it. But I can stop my part in it. I won’t play the weight loss game anymore. I won’t do it to my body, and I won’t help you do it to yours. That’s it. End game.

Entire editorial on Huffinton Post

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/iris-higgins/an-open-apology-to-all-of_b_3762714.html

 

Guiltless Pop Tart Ice Cream Sandwhiches

22 Aug

The Carl’s Jr commercial got me.

I’m basically a huge sucker for advertising. I’m easily lured in by shiny photo spreads and flashy commercials. I often find myself mindlessly ordering crap from infomercials. Naturally, I’m especially vulnerable when it comes to pictures of food.

Most of my friends and family know all about my Inner Fat Kid. She was the 10 year old who cried when her mom told her she could only have 4 items from Taco Bell at time and who never understood how her friends could eat 1 or 2 Chips Ahoy cookies. I embrace her, truly; she could beat any boy in a pizza eating contest by the 4th grade and you have to admit that’s kind of awesome.

But I’m glad she grew up into an adult with a slightly different lifestyle 🙂

So  when I was watching TV one night and Carl’s Jr Pop Tart Ice Cream Sandwich commercial came on, my Inner Fat Kid was totally intrigued and I just felt in my heart that there had to be a way to do a guiltless version of this frozen Pop-Tarty delight.

GRAPHIC NEW

With a little help from the Interwebs I was able to come up with a totally amazing, much healthier version of this dessert. It’s made with Spelt flour, without any refined sugars, and is relatively easy to make.  (I experimented with oat flour and almond meal, and while they did come out quite edible, the dough was difficult to work with and made a less pretty finished product)

These will please any picky kid and any adult, um, well with tastebuds. I opted for an apple cinnamon filling with maple cinnamon ice cream, but also made some minis sans ice cream- a dark chocolate filling version and one filled with chia seed jam and peanut butter (which I just know would be amaze with peanut butter ice cream)

Pop Tart Pastries

Adapted slightly from Chocolate Covered Katie’s version.  (Note: I had to double the recipe below)

  • 1/2 cup plus 3 tbsp spelt flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 tbsp  pure maple syrup
  • 3/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil

Combine dry ingredients and stir. In a separate bowl, combine all wet ingredients, mix wet into dry ingredients. Pour dough into a gallon-sized plastic bag and form dough into a ball. Still in the bag, roll dough into a thin square.  Chill in fridge 20 minutes or more.  Preheat oven to 350.

Cut open the bag and carefully remove from dough. Slice the dough into rectangles.  Scoop a little less than a tablespoon of apple filling on every other rectangle, and cover with the unfilled rectangle.  Cinch down with a fork or your fingers. Bake about 14-16 minutes, depending on how thick your dough is. Let cool.

Apple Cinnamon Filling

Chop a red apple into tiny squares and combine with 1-2 tbsp Sucanat or brown sugar and sprinkle with cinnamon to taste. Microwave for about 2 minutes or until apples are slightly soft.

You can get creative with your fillings here, don’t let me hold you back if you’re not an apple person. Chocolate chips, jams, fruit (I’m thinkin’ peaches sound great this time of year)

Icing

I personally don’t think that icing is necessary for these babies – they’re awesome on their own. If you’re a traditionalist and need your icing, there aren’t many ways to do icing without powdered sugar that I’m aware of or that I’ve tested myself. I’ve read that you can make powdered “sugar” out of Stevia by putting it in a food processor, but I haven’t tried myself (I’m also not totally in love with Stevia). If you have any suggestions, please leave them in the comment section!

Maple Cinnamon Ice Cream 

1 14 ounce can of full fat coconut milk (make sure to do the full fat, canned version – not the lighter kind in a box, it won’t work)

1/3-1/2 maple syrup, to taste

1 tablespoons vanilla extract

Cinnamon, to taste

Feel free to sub honey for maple, and add in any flavors that you want (eg, cocoa powder, peanut butter, etc)

Whisk ingredients well. Make into ice cream according to the directions on your ice cream maker. Let it firm up in the freezer for a few hours. If you do not have an ice cream maker (like myself) , the David Lebovitz Freeze & Stir method works pretty well if you’re going to be home for 2-3 hours.

Once Pop Tarts have cooled, assemble by spooning ice cream on to un-frosted pastry and topping with frosted Pop Tart.

,

Skinny Vs Healthy

21 Aug

It’s refreshing to see about 9 million “Strong is the New Skinny” photos on Pinterest and Instagram.

Exhibit A:

skinny vs healthy

 I mean, not every girl wants a 6 pack and bodybuilder arms, and that’s totally cool. But you know what? This trend is so much better than the stick skinny ano-whatever ya want to call it look that was widely embraced just a few years back.

skinny celebs

Like, yuck.

There seems to be a new interest in being fit and an eagerness to eat to fuel a fit body by way of eating right, but I still know soo many people (I say people because I know plenty of men who fit this mold) who confuse skinny and healthy, figuring that because they aren’t overweight that their insides aren’t rotting to pieces. Hmmph.

Anyway. Let’s talk skinny.

Want to be skinny? Eat frozen diet meals, bars, fat free packaged salad dressings,  cut out entire food groups, and posses unimaginable self control when your body is screaming “feed me, damnit!” at the top of its lungs.  I had a friend who survived solely off Special K cereal bars, Lean Cuisine and canned soup for a year.  She was obsessed with the gym and considered herself a health nut. Was she skinny? Totes. Was she healthy? Duh, no.

There’s nothing healthy involved in a diet of preservative and sodium loaded, nutritionally empty food. This includes fake sweetner and foods that have had the fat removed. Even if they are low in calories.  All that nasty shiz causes inflammation (if you aren’t familiar with the dangers of inflammation, I suggest a little self-education on the topic) that your body will have to work extra hard to get rid of, and it certainly doesn’t make your skin or hair look nice.

Skinny does not define healthy. Get that through your head now. Want to function at an optimal level both physically and mentally? I’m not a nutritionist, but here’s the basic 101 version of what I know from experience.

1. Stop the dieting.

2. Eat the Rainbow -lots of colorful fruits and veggies. And eat lots of them, with every meal. Fill in the rest with lean proteins and “good” carbs such as quinoa, oats, and sweet potato.

3. Don’t eat foods that come in a box or bag. Extra extra yuck.

4. Don’t eat foods with ingredients you can’t pronounce (if you’re a sucky reader, ask a smarter friend to try pronouncing “bisphenol” or “castoreum” (you should probably look that one up, by the way. Hint= it comes from beavers. As in, the animal. You’ll never eat anything with “natural flavoring” again) – bet they still can’t do it).

5. Do not eat anything that your grandmother wouldn’t have recognized.

6. Stop being afraid of fat. It’s not 1988. If you don’t know about the health benefits of nuts, avocados, and coconuts by now I don’t know what to say. Google them. Also, many thin, high-longevity European cultures eat butter. Think about that for a minute.

It’s pretty basic guys. Skip this $hit

snackwells

(Cause really, what is that? Ew)

In favor of something, um, made of real food. You won’t miss the processed stuff, and you’ll both look and feel amazing.

You’re welcome.

XO

M

The Easiest Jam Recipe Ever

19 Aug


I’ve been curious about making my own jam for a couple of years now.

But the whole canning/ pectin / gelatin / boiling combo overwhelmed me every time I started to research. It just struck me as very complicated and mostly for people who also had gardens from which to pick the fruit.  So jam never made the cut with me in my kitchen.

Until now.

I got a text from my friend Julia the other day with these simple instructions.  When I say simple, I mean like level 1 beginner status. Cody could do it, and he’s a maltipoo. So I knew I wouldn’t screw this one up.

There are only three (3!) ingredients that you just may have lying around your house.

It takes like 2 minutes, its as easy as toasting bread, and it’s an antioxidant powerhouse! Blueberries and chia seeds, you’re so hot right now.

It’s delish with almond butter on oatmeal. I’m sure it’s amazing on Ezekiel bread. Anyway give it a whirl and don’t tell your friends that it literally took you like 3.5 minutes to make, just let them believe that you’re BFFs with Martha Stewart and that you’ve got a blueberry garden on your patio. No worries.

Capture

1 cup blueberries or fruit of choice

1 Tbsp pure maple syrup or honey

1 Tbsp chia seeds (soaked in 2 tbsp of H20 for 10 minutes)

Blend in your food processor / Vitamix. Put in cute obligatory mason jar. Post pics all over Facebook. Eat.

So Hot

16 Aug

Shimmery metallics are my favorite for the end of summer. This Essie Good as Gold is a perfect match for all the white outfits I plan to cram in before Labor Day. (www.queenofthenail.com)
nails

I saw a girl wearing these while I was in Vancouver last weekend, and when I asked where they were from she told me she got them at the Lululemon Lab  (exclusive to Vancouver, sniff) . Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to get there during my stay. Imagine my delight when I walked into my local LL and there they were. I immediately scooped them up in Navy. (www.lululemon.com)

mesh

Superstar trainer Liz DiAlto dishes about one of my favorite topics – skipping the calorie counting. Read up for her top three tips. (www.lifehack.org)

end it

I’ve been dying for a fiddle leaf fig tree since they first started hitting the design magazines a few years ago. Unfortunately, they run between $100-$250, a lot of money for someone who can barely keep a fern alive. I was at Ikea a couple of weeks ago when I saw an employee wheeling a card full of them past me and I practically jumped her and cried (really) tears of joy when I saw the price tag – $12.00!! It’s just a lil shorty right now but I am bound and determined to grow my tree to look like the one below. (http://abodelove.blogspot.com)

tree

The perfect workout for your booty type. I’ll be taking this with me to the gym tomorrow! (www.self.com)

Butt

A perfect design solution that can be done inexpensively. Emily Schuman of Cupcakes & Cashmere breaks it down with this handy how-to. (www.cupcakesandcashmere.com)

FRAMES

The Busy Girls’ Kitchen Time Saving Guide

15 Aug


I totally love to cook.

I also love a lot of other things. For instance, my job (despite its wacky hours), getting sweaty on the regular, being a wife, playing with my dog, and ya know, maintaining a social life of sorts. So cooking can be kind of a challenge after a long day…and the only kid I have is this guy. I can’t even imagine how you “real” moms do it all.

codyblog2

Something I know very well about myself (that I’m not particularly proud of) is that when I’m short on time, healthy snacks go by the wayside in favor of crap like packaged protein bars and froyo pitstops. Veggies come from the Whole Foods salad bar runs and end up costing me a ton of money when I’ve got heads of lettuce and heirloom tomatoes sitting in my fridge just rotting away.

So I’ve got a little trick up my sleeve for  when I’ve got an extra hour or so, in order to maximize the rest of my weeknights when I’d rather catch up on Mistresses than spend a ton of time slaving over dinner.  And I’m happy to share, since it’s not exactly rocket science.

I like to prep my food ahead of time to make packing a lunch or preparing a dinner as easy as possible. It totally simplifies adding veggies to smoothies, eggs, salads, or just alongside a meal. Because seriously…who has time to make their own snacks and lunches in the morning between a workout and running off to work? No one I know.

Yesterday I came home to a fridge full of fruit and organic meats that Danny had bought over the weekend (we buy tons at a time and freeze individual servings to pull out and thaw) and I woke up to a Farm Fresh to You box on my doorstep. Danny was out with friends for the night and I was home early, so I decided it was time to get to work.

I decided to chop veggies, roast more veggies for 2 or 3 nights of dinner, make quinoa, hummus, and powerballs.

Oh, and tomatillo salsa. My Farm Fresh box was full of the little green tomatoes and I had to send a photo of them to Jess for ID. When she told what they were, I asked WTH I would do with a giant bag of tomatillos. Within seconds, I received this reply: Roast them and add artichoke hearts, mustard, honey, lemon, shallots, pepper, olive oil and sherry wine vinegar in a blender to make salad dressing.

Okay, Emeril. Like are you kidding me, who has a totally specific recipe for tomatillos in their head like that?! My friends kill me sometimes.

I digress. Here’s how I do:

pretty

1. First things first, pre-heat the oven to 450 to roast your vegetables.

2. Put the quinoa (or whatever) on the stove and let it cook while you prep.

3. Chop + separate veggies:  This week I had sweet peppers, bell peppers, purple peppers, french beans, zucchini, sweet lettuce and kale, which I put in individual containers so I can easily grab them to cook or snack on. I sliced carrots and celery and put them in individual bags for dipping in hummus.

4. Grab a couple of handfuls of the veggies, toss them in a little bit of olive oil, pepper, and salt if you want it, and spread them out on a foil lined baking sheet. Throw it in the oven for about 15 minutes – I made enough for 2 dinners.

5. I threw together some white bean hummus (this is my go to recipe) which literally takes less than 5 minutes if you’ve got a food processor.

6. Threw together Powerballs as another snack option, which also takes roughly 5 minutes (recipe below).

Once your done, you should have single servings of frozen meat, tons of raw veggies, roasted veggies, quinoa, and several snack options. Mix n’ match for a wide variety of meal options.

BlogRoasted2

Powerballs – Recipe Below

blogballs2

I call these lil dudes Powerballs because they’re full of protein and superfoods such as chia seeds, hemp hearts, dark chocolate, and almonds. They’re an awesome pre/post workout snack or perfect to satisfy a midday sweet tooth.

Adapted from Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Balls – thanks Chocolate Covered Katie!

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup Justin’s maple almond butter (or nut butter of choice)
  • 2 tbsp plus 2 tsp pure maple syrup, or another sweetener of choice (If using a dry sweetener, you might have to add a little water or almond milk to make a dough)
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp oat flour (throw your oats in a food processor), protein powder, or almond meal
  • dark chocolate chips or cacao nibs
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 tbsp hemp hearts
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix until well-incorporated. Roll into balls and store in the fridge or freezer.

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