Brought to You by Orange

First of all, I apologize (again) for all the blog craziness that started yesterday.  As I mentioned in the previous dummy-post, I finally decided to move all of my content over to a private hosting account – that I’ve owned for a while now.

Unfortunately, none of the parties involved make it easy for you.  And as (I like to think) I’m  pretty good with tech & web stuff, there was no way I was going to pay over 100 dollars to get someone else to do the transfer for me.  It took a while, but I’m pretty sure everything is up and running by now – necessary plugins and all.  Nothing got lost, and everything is backed up.

On another note, I had hardly any work to do this weekend since I just finished the bulk of my midterms.  So I had a little bit of time to de-stress, which was quite nice.

Halloweekend, in pictures! [note numerous occurrences of the color orange…]

Starting the morning with green juice! and snow…

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It seems that now is the season for orange! Now starting with a now-to-me fruit: persimmons.  I’m not sure if I had ever tried a persimmon before, but they are easily a new favorite of mine.  I even tried both of the common varieties.  First up, the fuyu. Sliced up in a big bowl of oat groats.

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Next up, the hachiya.  Be careful if you buy these. They cannot be eaten when the are still hard – the astringency will dry out your mouth and make you feel sick, not fun.

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Instead, you have to wait until they are mushy, what would normally be considered over-ripe.  Then you can eat the flesh, but it’s impossible to cut up or bite into.  It comes out something like this:

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There were slices of failed (but tasty) kabocha pie.

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Snacks for solo adventure part 2! (click to see part one, the high line)

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Delicious flavor – I wish they made seasonal flavors all year round!

Dressed up and ready for this un-seasonally cold October.

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Destination…

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I walked around, and admired all the delicious food and pretty things.  I didn’t go to buy or eat anything, I just needed an excuse to get out of the room after the crazy snowstorm.

There was orange aplenty!

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And, I got a hot chocolate on the way out, to help with the cold weather.

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And, what would a free weekend be without some baking?

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Chocolate cupcakes, slightly modified from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, spiced buttercream from OhSheGlows.com.

And instead of buying halloween candy (avoiding crazy addicting processed sugars), I had a few bites of nature’s candy! And maybe a cupcake. Or two.

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Dates = natures candy. Natural sugar for the win.

How was your halloweekend? Was it full of orange?

For self-hosted bloggers – any advice/suggestions for a smooth-running site?

A New Perspective

I love restaurants.  Unfortunately, my college-sized wallet does not.  Also, I’m not very good at budgeting when it comes to food.  I love trying new products, and often impulse-buy new-to-me health food items.  This doesn’t leave me much room for spending on restaurants and coffee shops and such.

At home we go out to eat a lot.  But I can’t spend that kind of money on myself here.  Every once in a while, though, I indulge.

Tonight was one of those nights, and I did not regret it.  The other day, my dad sent me a link this article.  The article highlights Souen, an asian (mostly vegan) macrobiotic chain of restaurants in Manhattan.  I have eaten there many times before, but I forgot about the place until now!  I used the opportunity to get together with a friend of mine who I don’t see often, and dragged him to Souen with me.

I wish I had taken a picture of the place itself, it’s really cool looking.  But it was really cold and wet and rainy, so I just wanted my warm food.

After taking a rather long time to decide what to eat, we finally got to it.  We started with the special appetizer – brussels sprouts in peanut sauce.

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This was the perfect, light appetizer.  The sprouts were very fresh and not overcooked or undercooked, and the sauce was not too overpowering like peanut sauces so often are.  Served hot, with a few toasted walnuts.

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kale, spinach, wakame, black beans, kabocha, broccoli, carrot and brown rice, with a choice of dressings - I got tahini dill

For dinner, I ordered the macro plate.  [[click here to read more about macrobiotics from Souen’s site]] I literally squealed when I saw the ratio of greens to other stuff on this plate.  One thing that now bothers me about restaurants is when the menu says the dish has all different veggies, then you get one bite of each.  If I order veggies, I want my veggies! But Souen does really well in this department.  Also, there was a piece of kabocha. Instant win.

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beautiful, colorful bowl of yum!

My friend chose the chef’s special ramen.  He keeps kosher, so he has never had ramen before as it’s usually cooked in fish stock or has pork or shellfish.  At a macrobiotic restaurant? All veggies.  I had a small taste, and the spice was amazing.

I was too full from my giant dinner plate, but my friend wanted to try one of the desserts.

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He went with the green tea mousse (dairy, egg, and soy-free).  The flavor was there, it tasted like they used real matcha powder.  But the texture was definitely not very mousse-like.  It seemed like it was made from agar-agar, and was kind of slimy.

You win some, you lose some – overall it was an excellent meal.

Yes, I’m getting to the meaning behind this post’s title.  Ever since I started getting more into nutrition and super foods, I have a completely new perspective when it comes to dining at restaurants.  I’m unsatisfied with a meal with ingredients that do not taste fresh.  I’m unsatisfied with a meal that doesn’t have enough green.  I’m unsatisfied with a meal that doesn’t have enough protein.  These are not to be taken as disordered thoughts – I have always loved my vegetables.  This is just to say that I have found the best way for me to curb cravings, avoid overeating, and feeling sick or bloated after meals.  Eat a balance.  After eating this way for a while now, I am often unsatisfied by a meal that does not have a good balance.

This meal filled me up, but was light and balanced.  It just physically feels good to eat clean.

Have you ever tried macrobiotic food? Are you a fan?

What is your ideal restaurant meal?

What foods give you energy and that awesome ‘clean-ness’ feel in?

Priorities?

I have 2 midterm exams, 1 essay (in french?!) and a project all due before Wednesday this week.  And what am I doing? Blogging? Clearly, I have my priorities straight. But in all seriousness, blogging is really the most productive distraction for me.  And it cheers me up 🙂

I loved hearing all your thoughts on food cravings!  And I wanted to say hi to all the new readers out there – Hi!  Thanks for stopping by to comment.  I’m the worst at responding to comments, but every new ‘face’ I see around here makes me smile.

[[also, I now have a blogroll! Click on the tab labeled ‘Blog Love’]]

Now, back in full force:  Discoveries, but on a Saturday!

1. Birdbath (and arm of City Bakery) has Kombucha on tap!

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Jasmine kombucha - light, subtle, flavor

Kombucha on tap is stronger than the bottled stuff, but it tastes ‘fresher’ if that makes any sense.  I may just go out for some more today…

2.  Sunwarrior Warrior Blend – I finally got my sample!

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I signed up on the SW website for a sample weeks ago... and finally got one!

It reminds me more of a whey protein, and has a kind of earth-y taste.  The vanilla flavor as not as strong as the original sun warrior blend, but this stuff still does not taste green.  Quite good!

3. Raw Cashini butter, aka crack.

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current go-to snack: cashini & rice cakes

Probably the most expensive of my current nut butter collection (I wanted to try it!).  It has a very similar texture to peanut butter, and tastes like a lighter tahini with a hint of cashew – which only means you can eat more of it in one sitting…

4.  Peppermint tea.

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tummy loves it!

For a little while now (a few weeks?) I drink a big mug of peppermint tea at night to settle my stomach before bed.  I love it – I can go to sleep without bloating or anything.  After my TJ’s peppermint tea ran out, I splurged on this stuff – and omigosh it’s amazing.  It’s basically pure peppermint leaves – and apparently a UK product? oh well.

5. New Vega Sport Protein Bars!

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chocolate saviseed flavor. protein-filled yum.

This is easily the most filling protein bar I’ve tried.  Yes, it is higher in calories than most, but it’s worth it.  Not too sweet, easily digestible, all natural ingredients, and kept me full for hours.  Now if only I could get my hands on the chocolate coconut flavor…

6. This is not your average bowl of oats.

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cooked with chia and almond milk, sunflower butter, banana & cinna on top

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an attempt to capture the goodness that is whole oat groats.

I decided to try whole oat groats.  The verdict? Amazing.  Yes they take at least 5 times longer to cook than regular rolled oats, but they have the tooth-y texture of slightly undercooked rice – which I love.  And you get the full oat flavor!  I’m a fan.

Study Time!

What did you discover this week? Any awesome new foodie finds?

If you’re a student, what’s your favorite ‘productive’ distraction?

Days Off

I’m not a super social person.  My Sundays are usually spent sleeping in, creating and eating a glorious breakfast, lounging & cleaning, going to dance class, a bit of cooking for the week, and lots of homework.  Today was slightly different – there was no homework involved.  What? Yes.  I still have two more days off school for silly national holidays, so I took the day to just chill a bit.  I wish I could say I went to an awesome party or something, but the things I do aren’t generally that exciting.

Saturday’s fast went rather well (I slept most of the day), and I broke my fast that evening with some Jewish deli food – bagels, etc.  And about an hour after I was hungry again, so a friend and I went to 16 handles, for $8 worth of self-serve froyo.  I wish I had taken a picture!

Today was much of the same Sunday routine, except I decided to go on a little adventure – with or without company.  It was actually really nice to walk just walk around the city by myself.  I didn’t have to worry about timing, or anyone else – and I did some quality people watching and photographing.  I’ll let the pictures do the talking:

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breakfast - buckwheat blender cereal with walnuts & (the last of) homemade pumpkin butter

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second breakfast? sprouted toast w/ PB and fresh figs

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gear for my little adventure: water, snackage, comfy shoes, lululemon mini-backpack

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I went to the High Line Park! It's an old rail track that's no longer in use, and was converted into an elevated park.

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the standard hotel at the high line - this building is right on it! some great views 🙂

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Of course, I stopped for a green juice, as there was a juice bar right by the stairs to the park. Perfectly refreshing!

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Life on the park, right under the hotel

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14th St. from above

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...quality people watching...

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Gelato on the high line - this place looked so good! But I wasn't in the mood, and didn't have enough cash. Next time.

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the tracks are still in tact, they did the landscaping around them

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more cool buildings

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...and a green elevator?

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the best part - sunset over the Hudson River. Oh hey, New Jersey!

I also did a bit of cooking 🙂  Which recipe to post first… one with squash? or with chocolate…

Did you do / cook / eat anything interesting this weekend?

Do you ever go on solo adventures?

To Fast

Oh hey, Friday.  And what’s this? She’s found time to blog three days in a row?  Well, I originally was going to save my discoveries post for tomorrow, but that was before I really thought about the fact that tomorrow is Yom Kippur – the second major high holiday.  This day is a day of remembrance and repentance, and we symbolically fast for a full hours to cleanse the mind and body.

Yes, you read correctly, starting at about 7pm tonight, I am not eat or drinking anything until tomorrow night.  No, I am not using it as an excuse to restrict and such, this fast is something I have done every year since I was 12.  It is a mind and body reset, a time to reflect on the year, ask forgiveness, and take a day free of bodily indulgence.  I plan to go to services in the morning, relax a little, and to reset.  I’m going to use this time mostly for self-reflection, as I don’t really know where I stand with my belief in God at this point in my life.  But I am always happy to be in the presence of those who do strongly believe.  I love the energy.

So before I disappear for a day, here are some things that made my week awesome:

1. Soft Serve Fruit Co.

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banana with chopped apples and carob chips

I’ve been here a few times before, but I’m taking advantage of the last semi-warm weather.  No, this is not froyo – it’s all fruit! Frozen, and dispensed in the typical froyo machine.  They have 4 different flavors at a time, but I went with the tried and true – banana.  It’s always so creamy.

2. Rawganique organic hemp backpack

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there's even a padded pouch in the big pocket for a laptop!

3. My kitchen setup – or lack thereof.

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I love my foreman grill! Good for toast, grilling veggies, you name it

yup, this is all the counter space I have.

4. Green Juice.

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refreshing green goodness!

I don’t think I ever craved green juice before, but I wanted bad the other day.  I looked at Gena’s post on NYC juice bars to find the closest place for a juice right on campus.  Juice Generation was it!  I got the Supa Dupa Greens, and loved every sip.

5. Homemade Nut Milk!

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not a pretty picture, but I made cashew milk! Seriously, if you have a blender, nut milk is the easiest thing ever.

6. No food goes to waste.

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What did I do with leftover cashew pulp? Make cookies.

I love raw cookies.  These had cashew pulp, date purée, chia seeds, cacao nibs & vanilla.

7. I got new skull candies!!

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My new babies. In white! that way I can confuse people and with a quick glance they'll think I have ipod headphones... haha!

I know I could have easily spent less money, but the amazing sound quality and perfect fit is so worth it.  When I went to buy these, I realized that they’ve actually stopped making them!  I may have to purchase an extra pair just in case.

Now I’m off to complete my fast!

Have you ever fasted for religious or spiritual reasons?

What was one little thing that made your week awesome?