Friday, June 24, 2011

Kale - Love it or Hate it? I think i LOVE...

Before reading The Kind Diet I rarely tried new veggies but now I love so many of the ones I used to despise, namely cucumber, mushrooms, brussel sprouts, red onion and KALE, especially kale.We went to Whole Foods this weekend and I decided I needed to try something that scared me and stumbled upon a whole lotta kale and figured 'what the hell?' 

Kale is a great veggie to add to your shopping list because it has a crazy amount of nutrients, high levels of anti-inflammatory agents and cancer fighting power; it is chock full of fiber and calcium (a huge plus for me!) and when prepared alongside the right ingredients it's pretty freaking delicious. In my research, I also learned that this superfood is great for people fighting diabetes because it helps maintain normal blood sugar levels and it also can help lower (the bad) LDL Cholestorol. So, it's basically something we should all incorporate in our meals as much as possible.

We tried the following recipe adapted from Oh She Glows - one of my fave blogs - and it was DELICIOUS - the ingredients compliment each other so well, even my meat-eating hubby was raving about it! The key to this is to massage the dressing into the kale leaves so you don't get the usual bitter kale taste ... Enjoy!
Note: This recipe could have been vegan-proof but I wasn't able to find the key ingredient in the Tahini Lemon dressing so I went store bought and this is now a good 'flirt' dish. You can find the vegan version on Oh She Glows.

What You'll Need: (use however much you like of each - i'm not big on measurements)
-  Cucumber
- Tomatoes
- Red Onion
- Kale (duh)
- Cranberries
- Carrots
- Avocado 
- Walnuts
- Red Pepper
- A yummy dressing.  We used *Annie's Goddess Dressing and it was delish!

You'll want to prep the kale - pull off the bushy parts from the stems (the stems are super bitter) and rinse in a collander. Let sit. Cut all your veggies. 

You'll want to marinate your kale in the dressing - mix it in and massage it into the kale. Add your veggies and put the salad in the fridge for 10-15min. After the salad sits for a bit toss in the walnuts and cranberries and eat!

This salad is a great side to any meal and it can be a meal in and of itself. It's also a great salad to make for parties or large groups.. I will definitely make this again, and again ... i'm thinking with tofu & quinoa next time - YUM!

*A note about Annie's products - if you're looking to add more organic & vegan friendly items do your diet they carry a bunch of yummy options ... click here to browse.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Whole Life.

I'm a self professed magazine junky and they are everywhere in our house.  To declutter i've started tearing out pages of articles, recipes, etc. that I find interesting and I end up stashing those away as well ... everywhere. I'm in the middle of Spring cleaning and came across this page from the September 2010 issue of Whole Living....

I love the sentiment of each point, especially #9 - "Transform Anxiety into excitement; focus not on the fear of what lies ahead but the possibilities you might create." This one hits home for me because I've been feeling quite a bit of anxiety in the past few months about work and our timeline for a new home & starting a family ... i've realized that fear can be both a positive and negative emotion and one that has paralized me on too many occassions recently. The day this changed is when my hubby reminded me that one of the reasons he fell in love with me was because I was a fighter, I perservered and have always been able to overcome my obstacles but that suddenly I was feeling defeated by then. That definitely put a fire under my ass - why had I become so deflated? I have a few answers to that question but the bottom line is I now feel in charge of my anxiety and reassured that I can create my own future and it doesn't need to be set by anyone else's expectations or needs. I feel ignited by the possibilities of my (and our) future instead of paralyzed by them. . Well, the point of this entry wasn't to babble but i've done that.... I hope you enjoy the '10 Thoughts on Whole Living - Happy Monday! :)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

I'm Pretty Damn Lucky ...

Dad & I on my wedding day - So Special.

I have a pretty amazing family and at the center of it are the two best parents ... ya, ya, ya, I know we all say that but they are pretty much incredible. Since tomorrow is father's day it's appropriate I boast about mine ... I give him quite a bit of crap for the 'glass ball' speech that he has now given at all of our wedding celebrations and the 'life lesson' talks he has attempted to have with me throughout the lows i've experienced but the truth is he has always been right on the money ... his little speeches are so relevant and his message is almost always helpful -  if not right at the moment of crisis, I find myself on a bad day being reminded of one of our chats. He is such a huge influence in my life and I am forever grateful for what he has taught me. 

....and now to his 'glass balls' speech ... basically it emphasizes one of my motivations for this blog - mastering the balancing act; the 'glass balls' of life (family, friends, work, etc.) - they don't work if one is off, you don't work if one is off and each piece is just as important as the other - that's where the 'glass' comes into play ... life is fragile, relationships can shatter, your health can fail - you have to nurture each one. I'm pretty lucky, i've always had a pretty solid foundation with my family at the center of it, and they've always reminded me of how important this balancing act is and have nurtured every other area of my life ... they embrace my friends, my choices and are there to make sure i'm keeping myself even when I feel like i'm falling off balance. 

Last night we celebrated Father's Day with just the immediate family at La Grande Orange in Pasadena (YUM! - See below) ... my dad started dinner by asking everyone how their week was (a ritual of his throughout our entire lives at the dinner table) and ended our responses with a toast to all of us (on his father's day celebration, of course) ... he has always been so supportive of where we are in our lives, involved in the highs and lows; even when it's him that we should all be focusing on. It was a pretty great evening - both of my brother's are dad's now and I can't even put into words how proud I am of them and their families - I have a pretty incredible relationship with them and for that i'm grateful ... but it all goes back to my parents, their parents and the foundation they created for us. I left the dinner feeling pretty much just love and pretty damn lucky. 

Now, tomorrow is Father's Day and my dad is on a golfing trip with his brother's and his dad...  We are always giving him crap about his time consuming hobby but i'm so happy that he gets to spend this special day doing something he loves with some pretty special people.  

Dad & I last weekend dancing at the Paine Wedding
 .... And now to the AH-MAZING meal! I have never been to La Grande Orange before so I was a little nervous; with my new eating habits I sometimes find myself limited at restaurants so as usual I pulled up the menu before dinner and was not disappointed - fish tacos, salads, veggie burgers and a promise on their website for an "honest approach to quality food." Right up my alley .. and oh was it ever. 

We started off with chips/guac/salsa and a shrimp ceviche - both were delicious. I ordered the veggie burger with cole slaw (i'm pretty predictable) and it was seriously delicous - 2nd fave to the Granville Veggie Burger. My hubby had the ahi burger which sounded disgusting but was actually pretty damn good. The rest of the fam had tacos, salads, burgers & my dad ordered a side of mac & cheese that looked delicous and no one was disappointed. 

I totally recommend this place - it's an affordable (& historical) gem in Pasadena - the restaurant is the 1953 De Mar Train Station. 

Hope everyone is having a wonderful Father's Day weekend with their amazing dad's.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I LOVE ...

June has been a crazy month and i've felt myself tinker off and 'lose my balance' with work, family parties, trips, chores and the unexpected (namely our tv breaking on us out of nowhere ...hello target and a late night of entertainment system + tv assembly). When it gets crazy like this I really try to find a bit of time every day (even 5 minutes) to focus on myself with no distractions. With that in mind, this is what I'm loving right now ...

1. Pilates SPX  at Pilates Plus Montrose - Well, I ALWAYS LOVE this workout ... it's been my staple 2 times per week for the last year and I seriously cannot get enough of it. In 40 minutes this workout helps to burn off the martinis from the weekend & the stress from work all while working my muscles to exhaustion ...  It's AH-MAZING. My favorite stress reliever.

2. Retail Therapy - I'm on a budget but I don't think that gives me reason enough to omit shopping altogether (sorry babe ...let's be real ) so I LOVE websites like HauteLook which allows me to find great designer clothes at amazing prices (Including the cute Matty M floral print dress in the photo below - 1/2 off!). If you're not signed up to receive HauteLook's daily e-mails,  it's an absolute must & ASAP - don't miss out on great deals for yourself, the men, friends & kids in your life ... heck, they even have cute items for decorating your home, beauty products and amazing deals on hotels everywhere.

Jacob's Baptism

3. My Family - They're seriously my everything ... especially the 3 little men in my life: Gavin, Michael and Jacob. No matter how frazzled or exhausted I am my family is #1 and those three boys light up my life instantly.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

LAUGH it Up - 'To My Husband'

My good friend Lindsay sent me this website today and it's absolutely hysterical! The name says it all ... I've recently encountered the one ply v. two ply toilet paper debate in my own home. Enjoy!

Monday, June 6, 2011

LIVE - The Kind Life

Six months ago my aunt had a stroke and to be honest it scared the heck out of me … the unpredictability of the stroke itself & her recovery was a stark reminder that life is fragile and everything can change in literally one minute. It was the first time I had experienced something like this so close to home and I saw the immediate affects it had on so many people I love. I immediately started to think about my own health and decided I needed to take control of the issues (albeit small) that i've always been faced with;  stomach/GI issues, acid reflux, ulcers, headaches and a morphed perspective of my body and eating habits. I decided that I needed to make a change, educate myself and treat my body better. 

For months I had been seriously considering eliminating meat from my diet for numerous reasons but could never commit to it or to questions I would inevitably receive from my family ... but one week after my aunt’s stroke I had my last piece of meat. For me, it was the first step to taking charge of my health and making decisions that worked for me and that I felt good about. But that was a small step ... within a few weeks of eliminating meat I was hungry all of the time and feeling incredibly deprived.  I wasn't treating my body any better so I bought The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone and couldn’t put it down. This book seriously changed my life and I highly recommend it for anyone who is even the slightest bit curious about what they are really eating and how it could be affecting your body. While the book focuses on the many benefits of eating a veggie based and vegan diet it had a much deeper affect on me; it didn’t only make me want to change what I put into my body, it educated me on my choices and the importance of good, wholesome food.  It also reminded me of the importance of living a more conscious and balanced life, which is something I felt far from. In the book, Alicia breaks down three veggie lifestyles: the flirt (this is me - tinkering on vegetarian and trying vegan alternatives), vegans (no animal products. Period) and the ‘Superhero’ (based on the principles of macrobiotics). The point of all three is to eat clean, eliminate preservatives as much as possible and to make educated decisions that work for you. 

Personally, I think the whole ‘Superhero’ thing is a little out of my league (& perhaps to many my choices seem slightly ridiculous), so for now, I am a flirt making small and educated choices that work for me and my body. I've eliminated red meat and poultry (I’m still eating fish 1-2x/week), I don’t drink cows milk and I’m starting to realize that my stomach only hurts when I have certain types of cheese or dairy so I’m on the look out for a good soy alternative. 

What I love the most about The Kind Diet is that it's really not a diet (contrary to the title); it’s a new way of life that can very well positively influence my health for years to come. So, I figure, what do I have to lose? I mean, I haven't had an acid-reflux episode since I cut out meat which is a huge feat and I have a huge appreciation for everything I cook. I have so much to learn but I’m excited about this journey, trying new clean foods and documenting my progress here. 

Want to learn more about the Kind Diet? Visit The Kind Life on-line.

Live. Laugh. Love.

I love a challenge; really anything that pushes me to grow, to learn and to live life more consciously. This blog is a chronicle of a challenge to my self to live a balanced life, a promise to put more energy and time into the people I love, things I love and to love my body by eating more wholesome foods and living an active lifestyle. I hope my blog will inspire others to think about what they are putting into their bodies, how they treat their bodies and act as a reminder that sometimes even when the world is spinning you've just gotta take that vacation, splurge a little, live more consciously, laugh more every day and love every second of it.

For It is in Loving, as well as in being loved, that we become most truly ourselves.
No matter what we do, say, or accomplish, or become, it is our capacity to love that ultimately defines us. In the end, nothing we do or say in this lifetime will matter as much as the way we have loved one another.                      - Daphne Rose Kingma