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?

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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?

One for October

[[just a heads up, the pictures in this post have nothing to do with the content]]

I probably say this all the time, but oh my, how time flies!  First of all let me say thank you so much for all of your fabulous comments, especially on this post about food intolerance and discomfort – I love hearing all the different perspectives.  (And also for the compliments on my new color streak!) I promise that I read them all even if I don’t reply – and each one makes me smile.

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My favorite genmaicha (brown rice green tea) - the brand is yamamotoyama

But now it’s a new month, and a new chance to re-assess and re-start.  I made a great list of september goals, and to tell the truth, I think I’ve done pretty well with all of them.  Looking back, though, I can see that I didn’t challenge myself.  I made goals that were attainable, which was exactly my intention. Give myself a boost, by showing all kinds of great things I can do – and it worked.  I feel great that I can now do 8-10 real push ups in a row, or run a sub 9-minute mile without stopping or slowing down.  Now, I need to take the next step, and challenge myself to do something that is really difficult for me.

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the best OIAJ ever - better with hot oats than overnighters - the nut butter melts 🙂

The past two classes, my dance teacher brought up something really important – weaknesses.  In brief – we all have them, know what they are, but out of vanity and insecurity we often choose to ignore them.  He challenged us to go home, take 5 minutes and write down our career-related weaknesses.  After blowing it off after thursday’s class, I took the plunge – and took it one step further.  I also wrote down my personal, everyday life weaknesses – which is what inspired this month’s goal.  Yup, just one goal.

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I made these into nut butter - it took all of two minutes, they

Believe. Never say I can’t. Breathe, and just dive in.

I often have very little self-confidence, and compare myself to the people around me.  I couldn’t tell you why.  I think too much, about every move I make.  I over-analyze, and question myself – and it’s really not worth it.

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cheap, home cooked meal - grilled fennel & tilapia (frozen) with soy-sesame sauce & lemon pepper

So my goal for this month is to tell myself yes – I can.  I aim to catch myself in a downward spiral of “I’m not good enough” and just stop everything and breathe.  And say “Rachel, just do it – there is nothing stopping you but yourself.”

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raw buckwheat bowl with banana, hemp seeds, and almond milk with 1T carob powder mixed in. and a tiny spoon.

Do I expect to be able to do this every time? Do I expect to be a perfectly productive, super self-confident person by the end of this month? No.  I want to improve, to chill out a bit, and I plan to try this one little thing as often as I can.  Slip-ups are allowed – after all, I’m only human – but I’m not going to dwell on them.

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My pumpkin-spice coffee add-ins: So delicous vanilla creamer & Angela's (ohsheglows.com) homemade pumpkin butter.

One goal for October – stop, breathe, believe.

What are your October goals? How do you motivate yourself to believe?

Holding On

[[warning: this is a heavier, atypical post, I will not be offended if you choose not to read]]

Today is September 11th, now a day of remembrance for the US.  Ten years ago today, millions of lives changed forever.  I know, I’m stating the obvious, but this little fact got me seriously conflicted about what to post today.

I contemplated not posting at all, in fear of not being able to say “the right things” – but it has already been a few days since my last post, and I can’t hold off any longer.  I thought about posting as I normally do, but ignoring an event of this magnitude is not something I could do.  It meant too much, to too many people, and I like to think that I am not so selfish as to just ignore heavy topic if they are not generally covered on my blog.  This is not to say that I feel like every American blogger should post about this today – that is not what I mean.  It is my personal choice, and it would weigh on my conscience to not write about it.

No, I am not going to tell you where I was when I found out that airplanes had crashed into some of the most important, densely populated American structures.  No, I am not going to make you feel bad for me when in truth,  I was just one of many millions of kids who’s immediate lives were not directly affected.  I was scared, but could not understand.

Ten years later, I still can’t say I fully comprehend the events of that day.  But, I have learned how it feels to lose someone close to you, and in no way is it easy to get past.  It does not matter what it is that causes something tragic, we still grieve, and we hold on.  We hold on to memories, to good times, to things that were lost too soon.

If there is one truly important lesson I have learned recently, it would be this:  As hard as it is to let go of the past, we must move on.  It is okay to remember, but not to dwell too long.  Instead, look forward, to great things that have not yet passed.

I found this great video circulating on the web.  As much as I generally do not like this song, I have a new-found respect for it – this video is truly uplifting.

edit: I know this is a State Farm commercial, but I really liked it, and thought it was truly fitting.

We look to the future, to all the great children and civil servants that are still with us.  We celebrate the lives of those lost, and honor their memory by being the best people, leaders, firefighters, friends, etc. that we can.  Holding on, but moving on.

On a lighter note, being a person who relates almost every event – good, bad, happy, sad – to a food, I created a simple smoothie recipe to lift my spirits for the day.  I know it seems silly, but it is one way that helps me channel excess emotional energy.

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This smoothie is simply sweet and refreshing, something we often forget to enjoy during sad times.

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gorgeous farmer's market mint

It has the dominating flavor of refreshing mint, with a subtle hint of lightly sweet peaches, maple, autumn spices, for warmth and remembrance. [[note: this is my interpretation, I am no expert on symbolism and such.  this is simply what I think of when tasting]]

Peach-Mint ‘Refresh & Remember’ Smoothie

  • 1 fresh (or frozen) peach, cut in chunks
  • about 10-15 mint leaves (or to taste)
  • 2-4 T yogurt
  • 1/4 c applesauce
  • 1/2 tsp. autumn spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger)
  • 1/2 c. light, unsweetened milk (almond, or rice is best)
  • 1 tsp maple syrup (omit if your peach is extra sweet)
  • optional: handful of spinach, ice if using fresh peaches (I added both)

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Toss all ingredients into a blender and blend it all up.  Drink it down, and think of something new you learned recently, or something you are looking forward to this week.

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smoothie with a side of the lovely NYC

Finish it up, and remember the great things of the past, ready to move on.

No questions today, I hope you all had a good weekend!

[[regular ELD posting will resume tomorrow, I promise :-D]]