Wednesday, February 16, 2011

oatmeal-mixing it up!

Now that classes have started up again, it seems like I'm literally running out the door every morning. My favorite way to fuel up a busy winter day is with oatmeal. I personally like steal cut oats the best. They cook up faster than oat groats and feel heartier than rolled oats to me. I also just discovered Trader Joe's Quick Cooking Steal Cut Oats, which I've been subsisting on ever since. Now, I know you must be asking yourself, as a foodie, how do I not get bored with the same breakfast every freaking day? They key is to switch up what I add to the oats! Here are some of my favorites:

1. Apple-cinnamon oats:
Chop or grate one whole apple. Bring 1 cup of apple cider (I like TJ's) to boil, add oats and lower heat to simmer. When about half way cooked, add chopped apple and lots of cinnamon (I also add ground flax seeds at this point). Pour the porridge mixture in a bowl and top with maple syrup and some nuts or seeds (I like chopped almonds) and raisins if you like!

I topped this bowl off with some pan-toasted rolled oats for some extra crunch!
2. Coconut-almond oats:
Cook oats as you normally would (using water or sometimes I use almond milk if I want something extra creamy) Top with shredded coconut, flax seeds and chopped almonds.

3. Simple berry oatmeal:
Cook oats normally, in salted water or non-dairy milk of choice. Top with fresh berries, such as blueberries and sliced strawberries. Top with aprox 1/2 T of maple syrup if you're feeling really wild :)

1. Chipotle-Cheezy Oats:
Add to cooked oats:
1 T ground flax seeds
1 T pumpkin seeds (pan toasting them until they brown/ pop adds a nice toasty flavor)
1 T nutritional yeast
1 pinch cayenne (or other spice of your choice, I've been using "hot peppeh" that I brought back from Ghana)
tons of black pepper
salt to taste

2. Simple Seaweed/Sesame Oats:
Cook oats normally. Top with flax and sesame seeds, occasionally half an ume plum if I feel like I need the extra health, and seaweed of choice. I have a nice three seaweed flake blend (dulse, laver and sea lettuce) and sometimes I crumple up half a sheet of nori and toss it in there too. Yum. Seaweed for breakfast!

What's your favorite way to cook up oatmeal?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sunday, February 13, 2011

chocolate :)

I always have so much fun when I go out with my friend Jessika. We met 5 years ago at this single semester art school in Napa Valley, CA. Now we both go to college in New York and though we don't see each other as much as I'd like, it always seems like it was just yesterday even when we go six months without seeing each other's faces. We are also the best dinner buddies-we seem to always be in the mood for the same things! The other night we went out for a delicious dinner at Angelica's Kitchen. I got a combo bowl, which was yummy but kinda boring to photograph. Jessika also shares my love for chocolate, so after dinner we headed over to Stogo for tea and treats. Since we love all the same things, we thought it would be fun to share a few different chocolates. Here's what we got:

From L-R: Cocao V Cookies and Cream Bark, Peanut and Puffed Rice Cluster, Toasted Edamame Cluster, Spiced Dark Chocolate Tile (almost too pretty to eat...almost:) and two Cocoa Agave Truffles made by Brooklyn based chocolate company Fine and Raw Chocolate.

Everything was so delicious! Our favorite hands down was the spiced tile. It legitimately tasted like a creamy chocolate chai latte in your mouth. We were squealing in our seats, describing the hints of cinnamon and vanilla undertones. We're pretty much chocolate connoisseurs!
Jess holding up the lovely spiced tile. Two pretty things in one picture!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

a mani-cure

Ever notice how manicurists sometimes wear those mask over their mouths? Or just the general chemical-y smell of a nail salon? That's guessed it...conventional nail polish is LOADED with harmful chemicals. Yuck! Dibutyl pthalate (DBP) Formaldehyde and Toluene are some of the main guys you should avoid when picking a polish. So how can you get shnazy nails without intoxicating yourself? There are quite a few brands out there devoted to leaving out the nasties. Now, I understand that polishes without chemicals tend to cost a few dollars extra, but think about all the chemicals you are keeping out of the atmosphere! To make this initiative more exciting for myself, each time I needed a manicure (which I realized was more often when I was using chemical-laden nail polishes that dried out my cuticles) I instead bought myself a new polish from an eco brand and did my nails myself. Not only have I built up a bit of a collection, but I've also gotten pretty good at painting my own nails, if I may say so myself :) I actually look forward to trying out some fabulous nail art.

The first eco-polish company I discovered is called Priti. The founder Kim D'Amato created the line while she was pregnant in 2005 due to the fact that she was switching over to all organic food, but could not find adequate substitutions in her beauty regimen. Ok, so I know you're supposed to be supper careful with your body when you're preggers and all, but isn't that a little scary that people don't think twice about the impact of their weekly manicures anyway?! Also, find out why you should just say no to the nail dryer at the nail salon

I set out to revamp my nail collection and see if these safer alternatives could actually hold up. The first bottle I purchased to replacement my conventional deep black polish was from Priti. While perusing the cosmetics at Whole Foods, I came across a brand called Karma Organics. First of all, love that name, and secondly, after testing out their organic nail polish remover made with soybean and lavender oils, which actually left my nails more moisturized than before removing my polish, I was hooked. I will admit, the remover takes a bit more elbow grease to take off darker colors, but it's totally worth it. I also picked up two of their polishes, a dark dark purple-y red shade called Venom and a greyish color called Concrete Jungle. Yeah, I judge books by their covers, so what?

The last brand that I have tried out is sold exclusively online, and goes by the name Zoya. I'll admit, I was hesitant to give them a try because I'm totally that girl that tries out every shade of polish on a different finger before choosing one, so picking out polish on a computer seemed a bit sketch. However, I stumbled upon this coupon for three free bottles, so I thought it must be a sign! Out of all the polishes I've tried out, Karma Organics is my fav. They have a great selection of nail polish colors and products, the price is pretty reasonable for the quality, and I can easily find them at my local Whole Foods so I can see it for myself before I buy!

Do you have any eco tips for your tips?