Monday, December 31, 2012

It's been bitchin' 2012

What a freaking whirlwind 2012 has been for me. I feel like something extraordinary happened each of the past twelve months- some fun and exhilarating, others not so much. This past year I feel like I lost, found, lost again, rediscovered and uncovered a ton about myself, took loads of risks and look forward to doing even more in 2013.  As someone who is always looking for the opportunity to renew myself and make positive changes, I always find myself reflecting and scratching out a few resolutions as December comes to a close. Some years I'm a bit more diligent than others, but I thought I'd share what I came up with this year. Here's to a healthy and a happy new year! 

In 2012 I...
+won a fatty scholarship for design project I created and accompanying research paper I wrote
+completed my first clothing collection and participated in a fashion show where I had to talk in front of a huge crowd
+went through my first "real, adult, break-up" (whatever that means. boys drool. jk)
+contributed art to an arts festival, currated a group show and graduated from college
+went to an artists residency for a month, made cool, weird art and even cooler and weirder friends
+moved back home with my mom to save money 
+very soon after found a sick new apartment, and after lots of drama, signed my first two-year lease and started living with my brother for the first time in close to a decade
+worked beastly amounts (note to self: 5 days off a month is NOT enough) to make lots of moolah to $upport myself
+quit one of my jobs, for the first time, which was also the first job I was ever hired at, almost seven years ago. not an easy task
+began getting a glimpse of what I want to do with my life, or at least my life in 2013, which brings me to...

In 2013 I...
+want to take better care of myself from the inside out (I'm obviously already a health freak but the main thing I want to  change this year is making more time for yoga/ exercising. I've learned that has such a great effect on me physically AND emotionally)
+meditate regularly
+better refine/ define my style and over-all aesthetic 
+create beautiful things, constantly 
+be more open-minded/ take risks/ go on more adventures
+don't worry, be happy! no but seriously, stop stressing over dumb shit.
+focus on myself more, and my needs and treat yo' self every now and then
+but also continue to conserve, and save up for the future
+carve out more time to see friends and family. while I love me some alone time, socializing and forming new relationships is just as important and also I feel like need to network a bit more
+continue to educate myself- this is the first time in 20 years that I'm not in school and that is terrifying for me, but also exciting that I can take advantage of all the learning opportunities around me. from all the interesting, experienced people to literal classes being offered all around the city. there are also a ton of books I've been meaning to pick up...
+only do things that I love 
(ok, maybe I don't love going to work or doing the dishes, but do I love supporting myself and living in a clean home and my current job is definitely the most lucrative and enjoyable way to accomplish that, and the dishes ain't gonna wash themselves, so...
I'll end this lengthly and sporadic melange of thoughts with a quote that I heard (or saw?) somewhere only a few days before I decided to leave my job. It made me realize that there is really no point in forcing yourself to do things that make you totally unhappy, no matter what it may lead to in the long run. Live is made up of short moments, which form a (pretty freaking short if you ask me) whole, so make sure each little speck of that whole is as amazing as possible.
Here's to many happy and exciting moments in 2013. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Death Row Chocolates

No, there isn't anything in this recipe that will get you the death sentence, but I did have an epiphany while savoring a few of these badboys that if I had to choose my last meal before execution, it would probably include these. Maybe a glass of champagne to go with? Oooh, I'm going to the chair, not the club... Anyways, these are so decadent and delicious that you will find yourself wanting them for your last meal and pre-meal too! I chose to make mine mostly raw because I'm kinda on that train right now, but you  can sub regular chocolate chips in for the cacao butter/ powder. 

I've been a little intimidated by the idea of making my own raw chocolates for a while. I mean, there are so many amazing brands that I've tried over the years, how could I compete? But when I was perusing one of my favorite West Village health food stores and found a funky little company that stone grinds whole Balinese cacao beans into a powder and then paste (assuming from the oils that are released) and then leaves it to harden into little bricks so they can easily be melted down over low-heat, I knew my time to delve into the world of raw chocolate making had arrived. (wow was that a run-on or what?!)

Sooo...I did exactly what the package told me to. I melted the little bricks of chocolate in a double-boiler and added a sweetener of my choice (maple syrup). I also added equal parts of coconut oil to make the chocolate extra silky smooth. I believe the ratio went something like this:

1 cup chocolate : 3tsp maple syrup : 3tsp coconut oil

As soon as all the ingredients were well combined, I turned off the heat and quickly (very key here) began dipping my strawberries into the mix. I poured the remaining chocolate concoction into heart shaped rubber ice cube trays (I think from Ikea?) which I had prepared by sprinkling half with Himalayan sea salt and the rest with coconut flakes so that they would rest on top of the chocolates after they hardened.  

It was so rewarding to have a healthy (chocolate is really good for you, okay!) treat on hand, and even more so because I knew exactly what went into making them; ingredient and labor wise. I learned a. to stop being intimidated by seemingly daunting tasks b. everything tastes better when you make it from scratch, no matter how imperfect looking it may turn out and finally,  c.  chocolate + sea salt= best combination. ever. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Kale Pesto

This recipe is a healthier version of the pesto sauce my mom used to make for me growing up. I left out the parmesan cheese (could have subbed in some nutritional yeast, but I'm all out ) and added some kale, duh! I also swapped the white flour spaghetti for some raw zucchini noodles, making this version completely vegan and gluten free yay* 

For the pesto:

1 Cup fresh basil, packed
1/2 Cup pine nuts (I chose pine nuts because I was feeling traditional, you could also use walnuts, pumpkin seeds or another type of nut)
1 large kale leaf
2 cloves of fresh garlic
4 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1-2 Tbsp Flax oil (or olive oil or sub another oil)

Place the first 6 ingredients into a food processor and process until the leaves are no longer whole. Scrape down the sides and continue to process while you drizzle in the oil. This should make it creamier looking. 

To make "pesto pasta"::
1 Zucchini, sliced into "noodles" aka thin strips (can use vegetable peeler) **see note
1 Cup broccoli florets

I scooped out about half the mixture from the food processor and mixed it into the zucchini and broccoli and then left it to marinate in the fridge. 
**note: don't forget to drain the excess liquid from the sliced zucchini. I did this by pressing it into a fine mesh strainer. Alternatively, you can jus squeeze it in-between your hands over the sink.

What to do with the remaining kale pesto? Kale salad? I added about 1 Tbsp of apple cider vinegar to the sauce to thin it out into a dressing and massaged it into 3 large kale leaves, sliced thin. Stuck that in the fridge to marinate too. The lemon and salt softened the veggies over night and the flavor of the basil really melded with the greens. So delicious I actually forgot to photograph the dishes on their own. The next evening I was feeling nalstalgic so I decided to cook up some gluten-free brown rice pasta and topped it with the leftover salads. 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Summer in the City*

I'm home! After an amazing month long artists residency in The Catskills, I have returned to this smelly, muggy city that I love so dear. My hair has already expanded 3 times its original size and I keep finding myself holding my breath as I walk down the streets exuding hot-garbage-air. It hasn't even been a full day since I've been back and already I miss my morning jumps into the freezing cold watering hole (um best way to wake up, ever) and even the simple things like eating breakfast outside on the porch and wiggling my toes around in the grass first thing. But, on to the next one! And lucky for me, I have very little obligations in my life at the moment and there is so much fun stuff going on in this city during the summer that I'm sure I'll find many ways to distract myself::

Governors Island
Brooklyn Botanical Garden
The Museum of Natural History (haven't been since I was a kid and something tells me I would appreciate it even more now!)
Movies in the Park
River to River NYC 
Read a book in Central Park
Pool Parties
Rockaway Beach
McCarren Park Pool
So many gallery openings, first Thursday, the Met, MoMA, The New Museum, Guggenheim, The Tenement Museum, Brooklyn Museum
Volunteer in gardens 
Brooklyn Flea, Chelsea Flea, 77th street Flea...
Visit a Russian or Turkish bath house/ sauna/ sweat

Brooklyn Brainery
Trade School
Spend an entire day at the NY Public Library! (so many books, freeeee!)
3rd Ward (beautiful studios, kinda expensive though)
Skill Share
School of Burlesque 
The Brooklyn Kitchen
Make Workshop
The Textile Arts Center

Night: (I'm not so big on going out out these days, but it just wouldn't be summer without having a drink on a roof top bar with amazing views of the city skyline!!) 
The Standard’s roof 
The Press Lounge at Ink 48 
230 FifthTop of the Strand
The Delancey
The Frying Pan (Drinks on a booaaat!)

Other things I plan to do over the summer:
-Organize all my stuff (clothes, books, art supplies, shoes...)--> have a clothing swap --> then sell or donate the rest
-Read all the books that have been sitting on my shelf for years
-Digital detox! clean through bookmarks, blog reader, back up things onto external hard drive etc.
-Make a manifestation list, including audacious ambitions for the coming months
-Journal excessively 
-Go to the farmers market
-Run around outside, take long walks over bridges, climb trees, find the nature in this concrete jungle
-Take photos of my friends, they're cute. Also I want to find more photo booths in the city.
-Go rollerblading (I just found my old ones, I hope they still fit!!)
-People watch from a cafe window, stoop, fire escape...or not even bother being subtle about it.
-Eat a popsicle
-Buy more googly eyes and stick them on everything. Is it just me or are those things hilarious?

For more updated listing of events, check out these sites:
the fly girl guide

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


For my last time cooking at the artist's residency where I spent the last month cohabiting, co-creating and co-cooking (?) with 13 other people, I decided to make a healthy, vegan (shocker! I know!) fun, "fast food-inspired" meal. What came to mind? Burgers. Fries. Cookies. Done. 

The meal started off with a vegan caesar salad inspired by The Kind Diet, that I topped with gluten-free rosemary-polenta croutons 
For the dressing (serves 6-8 people):
2 Tbs almonds
3 Cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbs Dijon mustard
2 Tbs Tamari soy sauce
1 Tbs tahini
3 Tbs fresh lemon juice
2 Tbs extra-vergin olive oil

2 or 3 large heads of romaine lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces 

For the croutons:
1 Cup polenta
2 Cups water
Rosemary, dried
Garlic powder
Sea salt

Bring the water to a boil, then slowly add the polenta whisking briskly to avoid any clumps from forming. Lower flame and allow to simmer, stirring continuously for about 5 minutes. Turn off heat, stir in salt and herbs and then pour into a square, heat-proof dish. Allow to cool completely while you make other components of the salad.
To make the dressing, place all the ingredients into a food processor; process until smooth and well blended. Add water if need. 

Sweet Potato Fries:
5 big sweet potatoes
Coconut oil
Cajun spice seasoning + a bit of salt to taste

Simply wash and slice the potatoes into french fry shape. Lay them down on a baking sheet (will need multiple if making a big batch) making sure they don't touch; this will allow them to crisp up. Coat them evenly in coconut oil (if the oil has turned to a solid, simply scoop some out and rub it between your hands) and then dowse them in cajun seasoning. Bake for approximately 40 minutes at 400 degrees, or unit they have reached desired crispiness!

Black Bean Burgers (via  GOOP curtesy of Candle 79) (Makes 6-8 burgers)
2 cans black beans
2 cups chopped yellow onion
1 tsp chipotle chili powder
2 tsp salt
black pepper to taste
cumin to taste 
1 1/2 cups brown rice
3 cups water
1 Tbs olive oil
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds 
1 Tbs smoked paprika
sliced red onion, tomato and lettuce for serving
whole grain burger buns, toasted

Bring the water to a boil and add brown rice, lower to a simmer and cover until rice is tender and all the water is absorbed, about 40 minutes. Add the chopped onion and cover for 10 minutes. Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the pumpkin seeds, paprika and 1tsp of salt and season with pepper. Cook the seeds, stirring and shaking the pan until they are lightly toasted, about 3-5 minutes. Set aside to cool. Combine the drained beans, rice and pumpkin seeds in a large bowl, add the remaining spice and stir. Place half the mixture into the food processor until smooth. Return the processed mix to the big bowl and stir into the unprocessed mix. Form patties about 3 1/2 inch in diameter and 1 inch thick. Brush a baking sheet with olive oil and bake at 350 degrees until browned, about 20 to 30 minutes, flipping halfway through cooking. Alternatively, you can pan fry them in olive oil, about 4 minute per side. Slather in condiments as you desire and enjoy!

And finally...if you aren't already bursting at the seams...

Gluten-free and Sugar-free Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie (via Chocolate Covered Katie)
2 cans white beans or garbanzos (drained and rinsed well) (500g total, once drained)
1 cup quick oats (or certified-gf quick oats)
2 cups pitted dates 
4 stevia packs, or 1/8 tsp uncut 
3/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2/3 cup milk of choice (I used almond)
3 tbsp oil (canola, veg, or coconut)
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips 

Preheat oven to 350 F, and grease a 10-in springform pan (or two 8-in round pans). Combine all dry ingredients (except chips) in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine all wet ingredients. Place dry and then wet ingredients into a food processor and blend until super-smooth (where there are no date pieces to be seen). Stir in the chocolate chips, and pour into the pan or pans. Bake 35-40 minutes, then let cool at least 15 minutes before trying to remove it. Slice and devour! 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Chillin' & Grillin'

It was my turn to cook dinner for the group again and this time around I decided to utilize our grill. I originally planned to just throw some unadulterated vegetables straight on the grill, but woke up in the morning feeling inspired to try something a bit more challenging. Enter: marinated bbq tofu and veggie kabobs. I actually don't care for tofu, I find that it tastes like squishy nothing unless prepared really well, so I decided to make a marinade for it to sit in while we went off to a beautiful watering hole for the day. The house refrigerator had a bottle of Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce, which not only has a cult following but includes quite a few culprits on it's ingredient list (I'm talking high fructose corn syrup, artificial caramel coloring and nasty preservatives...not on MY food!) 

I was a bit rushed and spastic when mixing up this alternative concoction, so I completely failed at recording what went in it, let alone any particular measurements, but I'm pretty sure it went something like this:
1 Small can of tomato paste
1 Small can of unsweetened diced pineapple
3 Tbsp molasses 
1 bottle Tamari soy sauce 
1 Head of crushed fresh garlic
1 Nub freshly grated ginger
Mustard seed, chili powder, black pepper, to taste 

I drained and chopped up lots of tofu (oh this meal was meant to feed 13 people, by the way) and placed it in two large zip-lock bags, divided all the bbq sauce between the two bags and popped it in the fridge while I went swimming for the day. This made dinner prep sooo much more simple (which I was very grateful for in my sun-stricked state) All I had to do was chop the veggies and stick them on a skewers with the tofu, alternating colors in a preconceived pattern, obviously and drop them on the grill. Actually, I had a fabulous sous chef do all the grilling for me while I prepared the guacamole (see recipe bellow). I should mention that the remaining bbq sauce was dumped onto of the kebabs pre-grilling. 

Veggie Kebabs:
Marinated tofu (see bbq marinade recipe above)
White onion, chopped 
Red bell pepper
Green bell pepper

also on the grill...lots of corn! Because who doesn't like grilled corn?

The guacamole was kept simple and included:
Garlic, chopped, lots!
White onion, chopped (a good way to use up all the pieces that were too small for the kebabs!) 
Tomatos, diced
Lime juice
Sea salt
**Keep the pits of the avocados in the guacamole until ready to serve to prevent browning

Note: this meal is best enjoyed outside with friends!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Mildred's Lane

MILDRED’S LANE is a rustic, 96-acre site deep in the woods of rural northeastern Pennsylvania, in the upper Delaware River Valley, which borders New York state. It is an ongoing collaboration between J. Morgan Puett, Mark Dion, their son Grey Rabbit Puett, and their friends and colleagues. It is a home and an experiment in living. Mildred’s Lane attempts to  coevolve a rigorous pedagogical strategy, where a working-living-researching environment has been developed to foster engagement with every aspect of life.
This past weekend SMT was invited to the first Social Saturday of the season. We were taken on a tour of the beautiful house and historic property,  feasted on a pig roast and listened to a lecture by Bay-Area artists Allison Smith. I'll let the photos of the dreamy experience speak for themselves...