Monday, September 1, 2014

Mexican Street Corn Chopped Salad

Marriage is pretty awesome. You get to spend the rest of your life with your favorite person in the universe, and what could be a better gift than that? Certainly, nothing I can think of. But coming at a close second – filling your kitchen with the brand new matching (!!!) kitchen gear from your registry. No more college hand me downs! After we returned from our honeymoon, I didn’t waste anytime before getting into the kitchen to play with my new toys.

Our big kitchen upgrade was a fancy new grill, a gift from my grandpa. After years using, get this, a handmade charcoal grill made from a discarded old keg, I was thrilled to have something not so, well, redneck. 

Of course, as soon as it was delivered, it rained for about two weeks straight. Pure torture, cause we’re the type of kids who like to play with our toys as soon as we open them. On the bright side, it left us with plenty of time to dream up the perfect inaugural dish. What did we decide on? Mexican street corn.

Until food trucks became a thing, typical street food in America was a hot dog boiled in dirty water or a pretzel with neon yellow mustard. In Mexico, they’ve been doing things right for a long time, serving up grilled corn on the cob slathered with mayonnaise and sprinkled with fresh cheese, chili powder and lime juice. It may seem like an odd combination, but once you try it, you’ll fall in love.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

I'm back with Friday Favorites! Last week Friday fell on Recipe Redux day, so this week I had two weeks of links to pull from, making this an extra-epic roundup.

Photo Credit: Jeanie/Love & Lemons

Heirloom Tomato-Sun Cheese Toasts (Love & Lemons) --> I think we've established my obsession with cashew cheese (exhibit a, exhibit b, and exhibit c). But for those of you looking for an alternative, now we've got sun cheese! Perfect for anyone with a nut allergy looking to follow a plant based diet.
Cucumber Melon Caprese Salad (The Bojon Gourmet) --> Love this take on caprese salad. Throw in some proscuitto and you've got the love child of my two favorite appetizers.

Photo Credit: Alanna/The Bojon Gourmet

Green Chutney, Avocado, and Fried Egg Toast (Journey Kitchen) --> Avocado toast is one of my favorite breakfasts. I've got some green chutney in the freezer leftover from my green falafel and now I know what to do with it!
Double Chocolate Almond Butter Trail Cookies (Oh Lady Cakes) --> One of those posts that makes me wish scratch and sniff computers were a thing.

Photo Credit: Ashlae/Oh Lady Cakes

Vegan Stuffed Poblanos with Avocado-Cilantro Sauce (Feasting at Home) --> I make stuffed peppers at least once a month, and while my all time favorite still goes to these cheese grits stuffed poblanos, this looks like it could give them a run for their money!

Photo Credit: Sylvie/Feasting at Home

Muhammara (101 Cookbooks) --> If you're getting sick of hummus, here's another wonderful homemade dip to add to your repertoire. This one is made with pantry ingredients as well - walnuts and roasted red peppers.
The Serious Eats Guide To Whole Grains (Serious Eats) --> Like, everything you need to know about whole grains.
Do Gut Bacteria Rule Our Minds (Science Daily) --> I think I'll go eat some kim chi.
Swimsuit Model's Very Smart Response to Photoshopping (Hello Giggles) --> In light of yesterday's post on body confidence, thought this would be an appropriate article to share. Seriously people, please stop photoshopping, and especially not when the model's father is the director of a body positivity group.


Acid Attack Survivors Pose For Photo Shoot, Show Us What "Beautiful Really Means" (Huffington Post) --> Women all over the world are victimized in truly horrific ways - rape, female circumcisions, underage marriages and in this case, acid attacks. As if the trauma isn't horrible enough, these women suffer the rest of their lives with scars, both internal and external. These stunning photos show you can still be beautiful, even with scars.
Childhood Obesity: Is Mom To Blame? (Take Part) --> I saw this ad when it was first released a couple years ago, but it recently went viral again. I have mixed thoughts. Although it's a powerful look at how parents can affect their children's health later in life. That said, it would have been nice to have a similarly powerful video aimed at junk food companies. What do you think?
The Lies Your Mind Tells You To Prevent Life Changes (Zen Habits) --> If you catch yourself making excuses for not making diet or lifestyle changes, read this. It has all the comebacks you'll need to put your mind back in it's place.

Five Hacks to Promote Body Confidence

Although I work with men and women of all ages, since starting my private practice, I've been working with more young females than ever before. With that change, I've become acutely aware of the epidemic of body insecurity among young women.

It's easy to see where it comes from. Turn on the TV or flip open a magazine and you're immediately bombarded with photoshopped images of overtly sexualized women who basically all look exactly the same. Although diversity is starting to be celebrated, there's still a long way to go.

The media's typically unrealistic portrayal of what women should look like is enough to make even the most secure women feel a twinge of jealousy. With the messages we receive on a daily basis, most women have to do some serious mental work to feel confident in their own skin. Listed below are five hacks to promote body confidence, because you, my friend, are perfect just the way you are!

Express gratitude for your body

Instead of focusing on perceived imperfections, focus on what your body can do, and feel grateful for it. Those "fat" thighs power your morning jog through the park or a strenuous hike, allowing you to relish the beauty of nature. They give you the strength to pick up your child or your dog or your cat or just a heavy box. They release tension, energizing your body as you stretch in bed each morning. If all else fails, you actually have thighs!! That's more than some people can say. What would life be like without those "fat" thighs? While you're at it, consider the miracle that is the rest of your body. You have arms to embrace the ones you love, hands that allow for creative expression, like painting or music or cooking. Your feet that can enjoy the sensation of walking barefoot in the grass or in your favorite, broken-in TOMS. Not to quote John Mayer, but your body IS a wonderland. When you stop to think of what your body does for you, gratitude is the only appropriate response. 

Move your body

There's no better way to foster gratitude for your body than by pushing it to see what it can really accomplish. Plus, exercise give you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don't stress about their midsection (or shoot their husbands). They just don't. Run, jog, hike, walk, dance, barre, stretch, lift, play soccer, rockclimb, jazzercise...just move your body! The only thing not to do - exercise with the intent to burn calories. Studies show if you exercise with the goal of burning fat, you'll end up eating more later on. Not only that, but you'll be much more likely to stick to your exercise if you actually enjoy what you're doing. You'll benefit more from a less strenuous activity you actually love than by forcing yourself through a vigorous exercise you hate. 

Toss the scale

So many women base their self worth on an arbitrary number on the scale. Many times their self confidence hinges on just a few pounds. If you're trying to lose a more significant amount of weight, a scale can be a valuable tool (if it's used correctly). If you're already in a healthy weight range, toss it. Using your weight as a benchmark for success is like trying to hit a moving target. So many factors influence the number on the scale, including your hydration status, time of the day, your ratio of fat to lean body mass, what floor of the house you keep your scale on and whether or not you've gone to the bathroom. The scale isn't giving you any information you don't already know. If you've really overdone it and have started to gain weight, you know it without stepping on a scale - your clothes feel uncomfortable, you feel generally crappy. Get back to your usual healthy habits based on that information, not your weight! If you're trying to lose a more significant amount of weight, don't get on the scale more than once a week. You'll drive yourself nuts trying to decipher all the usual day to day fluctuations.  

What is there to love about you?

There's a lot to love about the uniquely perfect individual that is you, but when you're staring at a perceived imperfection in the mirror, it can be hard to remember what those things are. Write them down so you always have something there to remind you. Maybe there are other parts of your body that you love, like your toned arms or bright green eyes? Write that down. However, the bulk of your list should be more than your physical attributes. Write down aspects of your personality that you love. Write down your skills. List your accomplishments, both big and small. Keep that list with you and break it out whenever you need a confidence boost. Even better, write it on post it notes and stick them all around your full length mirror - then you'll truly see yourself.

Get pissed

When you see headlines about a model dropping all her baby weight in six weeks or a bikinied actress endorsing a diet pill, get pissed. Redirect the anger you feel towards your perceived imperfections towards the unrealistic images of perfection and the predatory diet industry. Remember, they are the problem, not your thighs. When you direct your anger towards the people who deserve it, you'll find yourself being kinder and more compassionate to yourself. 

What do you do to boost your body image on a low confidence day? 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Cauliflower Rice and Tofu Bowl with Sriracha-Lime Sauce

If you read my in depth post on the paleo diet, then you already know it isn't exactly my cup of tea. Long story short, a.) it overemphasizes animal foods b.) whole grains and legumes are perfectly nutritious, and they were consumed by paleolithic man and c.) it ignores this little thing called evolution.

Still, I think a plant-based version of the paleo diet can be quite healthy. Although I find the whole craze a bit annoying at times, there are a few things I appreciate about it. Paleo has enlightened many people to the dangers of processed food and the nutritional benefits of following a diet rooted in whole foods. More people are thinking of quality in choosing animal foods, looking grassfed, local and organic options. Personally, I've quite enjoyed reading paleo food blogs and learning all sorts of creative, tasty and nutritious substitutions for non-paleo ingredients, especially grains.

At supper club on Sunday, someone who was reading Grain Brain asked me my thoughts on the great grain debate. Glance at my recipe index and you'll quickly see I'm not anti-grain. Whole grains are high in fiber, rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals and there is a wealth of scientific evidence showing their health benefits. Refined grains on the other hand, like white rice and foods made with white flour, ought to be put in the same category of danger as added sugar.