Monday, May 24, 2010

pine nut mouth & pesto

Last week I made this lovely pesto with a big handful of gorgeous fresh basil, a beautiful bunch of curly parsley, 2 cloves minced garlic, a few generous swishes of olive oil, some salt and pepper... and about a half cup of pine nuts (take note of this, it's what the rest of the story will be about). Blended it all very nicely in my sweet food processor, and served it a top some brown rice pasta, with a few halved cherry tomatoes and hot italian sausage. It was delightful. Absolutely wonderful... it is a perfect time to make pesto.

The issue came when I noticed about 3 days later that I had a strange bitter/metallic taste at the back of my mouth. When M came home from work I mentioned it to him... which to me meant that it was really something if I was bothering to remark. To my surprise, he had noticed the exact same thing... an odd bitter aftertaste that would happen every time he ate or drank anything. And, with all of my experiments in the kitchen... he was now convinced that I had poisoned him :). Soooo not the case here.

We also agreed that it was unlikely that we both developed diabetes on the same day with the exact same symptom... and thanks to google it was not to difficult to figure out what happened. We had contracted "Pine Nut Mouth". And, as it seems from our quick search that many others had too... especially from pine nuts from Asia. The ones I had "poisoned" us with came from Trader Joe's... so, I would not recommend those for your next pesto. If you want a medical opinion on the subject, click here.

As for my pine nut mouth... it is less and less as the days go by, working itself out of my system. Not too worried but it sure is weird. Hope you are well, xoxo tbone

Thursday, May 20, 2010

so cool it's illegal

I am very happy to report that I will be the *featured health & wellness expert* at the upcoming Illegal Wedding Fair here in NYC on June 6th. Please join me in supporting our friends who are lucky enough to find that very special someone with whom they wish to spend the rest of their lives. It is going to be a really fun event with a lot of cool people. Get your tickets early, you don't want to miss this!

Come by and say hi. I am happy to share some tips to help you look great, feel great and be great. Plus, I'm hand-making raw chocolates for the occasion... that alone is reason to put on a party dress. hope you're well, and hope to see you on June 6th, big hug xoxo tbone

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

so crazy it just might work

I just found this wacky "recipe" for a tan from Vitaljuice, sounds like a fun project and tea smells way better than those bottled tan creams.

I love the idea of putting cocoa in my body lotion... need a fix for that sweet tooth? lick my arm :)

Let me know if you try it. hope you're well. big hug xxtbone

Your Best Tan Recipe

This technique is so easy, you won't be-leaf it.

Required time: About 30-40 minutes
Skill level: Goof-proof

4 black tea bags
2 cups boiling water
Sponge or spray bottle

Body lotion
Pure cocoa powder

When water has boiled, add the tea bags to steep. Leave in for 10-15 minutes, or until tea is dark and cool enough to touch.

In the meantime, take a shower to ensure your skin is oil- and sweat-free. Afterwards, make sure skin is completely dry.

Stand on something you don't mind getting dirty. If using a sponge, drench it in the tea and wipe all over your body. If using a spray bottle, fill it with tea and spray evenly. Let skin air-dry and apply another coat for a deeper shade.

Tea will stain clothes if wet, so make sure you're all dry before dressing. The "tan" should last 3-4 days.

Optional: For bonus color, mix cocoa powder into body lotion until you reach desired color and apply for an all-over bronzing boost.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

adventure date

Happy Spring friends... the weather has been incredible here in NYC. And, I would love to share a fun idea with you. Book an adventure date with yourself. You can invite others along as well, but the most important person to show up is you.

I just recently had a really fun afternoon in the Brooklyn Botanical Garden... with my camera. No plans, no expectations, just fun. A great reason to get myself out, get a nice walk in, surround myself with nature, and gain inspiration.

I really find that when I change my situation I feel energized... and that can mean taking a new dance class, putting on an outfit that makes me feel good, shaking up my routine by walking a different route than usual, anything that awakens my physical senses. It is how I energize my resources so I feel more resourceful.

I would like to invite you to see what makes you feel energized. Shake things up. Take a walk with yourself, see something new... it doesn't mean you have to travel to Tahiti (although, sounds like a great idea!). Challenge yourself in a new way. Have fun. Play. Hope you are well. big hug xxtbone

here's a couple more pics for you... enjoy :)

Monday, April 5, 2010

satisfied and satiated

As I was enjoying my lunch today and the exciting flavor combinations that were dancing in my mouth, I was reminded of a set of guidelines for cooking that I learned from Chef Rocco DiSpirito when I worked at Rocco's in NYC. Perhaps you remember it as The Restaurant reality tv show from 7 or 8 years ago, starring Mamma's Meatballs and a whole mess of drama. It's funny how and where we pick things up.

I learned a lot of things working at that place (I could be found in the front of the house not in cooking in the kitchen) and some of those lessons continue to inform my thinking about food, creativity, experimentation, taking chances with flavor combinations, and the importance of a satisfying sensory experience.

Try out this tip to exercise your creativity, and turn the contents of your fridge and pantry into a delicious and personal meal. They are the ones I was first introduced to by Rocco but as it turns out also have roots in the ancient tradition of Ayurveda.

It is all about balance, and if you think about it, I think it makes a lot of sense. In your dish you want to hit each flavor that your tongue can taste... that way you are left satisfied and not suffering an imbalance (read: craving).

Sweet- fruit, sweet veggies, natural sugars
Sour- sour fruit, fermented foods, even a squeeze of lemon will satisfy this one
Salty- sea salt, seaweeds
Bitter- leafy greens, herbs and spices like mustard
Pungent- things that are spicy like chilis and garlic
Astringent- legumes, herbs like sage
Umami- the Japanese term for a flavor that hits at the back of the tongue, like edamame or mushrooms... not everyone can taste this

In your next creation try to include as many of these flavors as you can. It can feel bold or against what you may normally think goes together but your taste buds will be delighted.

My lunch, the picture above, was made from things I had on hand today. Here's the recipe if you'd like to try it or use it as inspiration to come up with your own combination. The amount is for one serving, but you could easily multiply to make it for more people... it would also make a great breakfast!

Sausage and Kale

In a frying pan, heat a good dash of olive oil.
  • Add 1 minced garlic clove, cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Add 1 sliced pre-cooked sausage (I had an organic chicken & apple sausage left over from the weekend, so that's what I used)
  • Add 2-3 leaves kale, rinsed and chopped (I actually just tore it into bite sized bits and threw it into the pan)
  • Give a few shakes of sea salt, and red/cayenne pepper as desired
  • Stir and cover for 2-3 minutes, until bright kale is bright green
  • Add a half bunch chopped green onions
  • Add a small handful of currants (or raisins)
  • Add a small handful of sunflower seeds
  • Mix until all heated through
  • Enjoy!
If you want more inspiration on this topic Rocco actually has a cookbook called Flavor, that came out in 2003, check it out it is a beautiful book (thanks Rocco for my copy xoxo). He also has a bunch of other great cookbooks with quick meals. I'm actually looking forward to checking out his newest book, Now Eat This!, where he makes low calorie versions of American comfort food, it sounds very cool... I'll let you know when I try it.

Well Rocco, I guess I'll wrap up this love letter by sending you a big hug and a huge THANK YOU for your inspiration and fearlessness. It was nice having lunch with you today, even if it was only in my mind :). hope you are all well, big hug xxtbone

Monday, March 29, 2010

a brownie that's good for me? yes please!

I have been doing a lot of experimental baking lately and love this recipe. I find that I feel better when I'm not eating gluten and so I have wanted to find alternative ways to bake treats without using white or wheat flour. These brownies are a great example, I can enjoy chocolatey chewy goodness and still do something nice for my body. In this recipe, which seems like a miracle the way it works, there is a high amount of protein... like a powerbar masquerading as a brownie. They make a great snack, afternoon pick-me up, treat for the kids, and I would venture to guess they make a delicious breakfast on the go. Plus, they are super easy to make. You are only about a half hour away from home-made brownies that support your health. How cool!


preheat oven to 325 degrees

In a large bowl combine:
1 jar natural peanut butter (or other nut butter of your choosing)
2 eggs
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1.25 cups agave

Then add:
1/2 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

Pour into greased (try using coconut oil) 9x9 baking dish. Bake 30 minutes or so, until the edges look done. Test it with a toothpick, it should come out clean. The middle may take a few more minutes to set once out of the oven, but don't let the edges get overcooked.

They have a really nice light, almost cake-y texture. I hope you enjoy them, or use this as a jumping off point for your own experimental baking. Hope you are well. big hug xxtbone

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

i heart deepak chopra

Hi friends, enjoy this treasure from The Dr. Oz Show website. In this video the very sparkly Deepak Chopra gives a great overview of what meditation is, why it can help us, and leads a great healing meditation. The video concludes with an easy meditation to help manifest your desires... so, here you go, it's super easy and totally awesome. Meditate and Manifest to your heart's content. hope you're well, big hug xxtbone

Friday, February 26, 2010

un-sick soup

Just to jump off today's earlier post about the wonder that is the Neti Pot... here's a quick recipe for the soup I came up with for lunch today. Matt (my boyfriend) is home sick from work, so I have had healing the flu on my mind... and figured it might help you too. So, here you have it:

un-sick soup

in a soup pot or reasonably sized sauce pan:

heat 2 Tbs olive oil on medium heat


4 minced garlic cloves, let cook 1-2 min (about the time it took to chop the mushrooms)

12 chopped shiitake mushrooms, let cook 3-4 min (about the time it took to wash and chop kale)

1 bunch rinsed and chopped kale

saute for a few minutes until kale turns bright green, and mushrooms are tender

add 4 cups vegetable broth

a few shakes cayenne pepper, a few shakes garam masala, a splash of toasted sesame oil, and a splash tamari (or soy sauce if you're not gluten free)- to taste

bring to a boil, and simmer for 5-10 minutes until you feel it's done


He really enjoyed this soup. "I love this soup!" was the actual response. And confirmed that it really helped to open up his sinuses, cut through the junk, helped him feel a bit better.... and led to a nap (to complete the perfect equation of healing the flu... broth + sleep=better). If you need it, hope it helps you feel better too. (I enjoyed it as well, and am not feeling sick... it's really a tasty soup.) Hope you're not sick too. big hug xxtbone
Seems like everyone I know is fighting the sniffles right now. Soooo, what better time to talk about the NETI POT. If you haven't tried one, you know you really do kind of want to... even though it probably seems far too gross or uncomfortable to actually go through with. If you're unfamiliar with what I'm talking about check this out:

I know it seems crazy if you haven't tried it. It looks like it must hurt or feel like drowning... but it doesn't. It doesn't at all actually. It feels good to gently help whatever is irritating your sinuses to move on it's way out. It is a great help for allergies as well. The stream of salty water keeps things moving so your body doesn't have to work so hard to keep it's pathways clear. 

Personally, I like the plastic squirt bottle version made by NeilMed. I was going to put a link to the product but here's a video about it... they are so much better than pictures, and I think it's funny to see people do this so calmly. I like the squirt bottle better as I feel less awkward pouring water through my face this way... personal preference. And one more note, I know in both of these videos they are selling you their product, which you do not need to buy to achieve this treatment. The salt water mixture is simply 1 teaspoon non-iodized salt to 16 ounces water, and if you feel comfortable trying it, you can sniff it... although to me that seems scary, for now, I'll stick to the squirt bottle method.  Here's the other video, enjoy and hope you're well xxtbone

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

there's always room for jello... i mean "kanten"

I'm a sucker for dessert. But, I want it to do a little more for me than just satisfy the sweet tooth. I am very happy to share this idea with you. KANTEN. It's like a jello-ish, pudding-like concoction... that is a bit magical in it's transformation. (In case you haven't noticed, I'm also a sucker for magic.)

In your local store where you can find sea vegetables (read: seaweed) you will find a small package of a treat called Agar-Agar, also known as Kanten in Japan. This little miracle of the sea acts as a gelatin and has incredible health benefits when added to your daily routine. It is very high in fiber, thought to help lower cholesterol and is great for aiding in your digestion... thus a super addition to any meal. It has virtually no calories, it's a sea vegetable so it comes from nature not from a lab, and doesn't have a distinct flavor. It adds vitamins and minerals to your diet as well, including iodine, calcium, and iron. How cool. 

Here's a quick recipe for the pudding I made in the photo above, I made it with organic raisins, since I had some... but I imagine you could try it with any dried fruit.

Raisin Pudding

1 cup raisins
2 cups water
2 Tablespoons Agar-Agar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a small sauce pan, heat 1 cup water with raisins for 15 minutes on medium to low heat. Add cinnamon, stir for 2 minutes. Blend this mixture in a food processor or blender. Dissolve agar-agar in 1 cup water. Add to blended mixture. Give a couple of pulses to mix in the blender. Return to pan for 5 minutes. Pour into a glass or ceramic container that will go into the refrigerator for an hour or so, until set.

There you go. It's super simple. Goes great with a little granola if you want a little something more for a snack. But, thanks to the properties of the agar-agar, it helps you feel very full and satisfied. Give it a try, let me know what you think. It's kinda weird, I know... but, I'm totally into it. Hope you are well, big kiss xxtbone

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

i miss you.

It's okay to be sad sometimes. I know for me, that's not an easy concept. 

We learn to be strong, to be graceful, to be "a rock" when faced with loss. Whether that loss is a job, a relationship, a dream, your health, or the death of a loved one, the process is the same. According to Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in her book, On Death and Dying, there are 5 stages to loss: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. How we each experience these stages is individual and personal. It is important to give yourself the space and freedom to feel and experience the richness that exists within these emotions.  

And, it is true, it does change with time... I can't say it's exactly "easier" but it certainly becomes different. It's not easy. It's never easy. But honor your feelings, honor yourself, and do your best. A loss is not a reason to give up. It is an invitation to shift your focus, to set your intention, to move forward. Share yourself with those you love, take the time to enjoy what moves you, live your passion.

And sometimes the feelings will sneak up on you. Feel it. Enjoy it (even if it makes you cry a lot). Let it move through you. Be thankful that you loved someone (or something) so much that you feel it so powerfully... even many years later. Take care of yourself. hope you're well, big kiss xxtbone

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

make space

Hi friends, sorry I have been out of touch for so long. I am thrilled to share that I have been moving in to a new apartment. And this process has taught me a few things to say the least. If you don't live in New York City, these ideas can still apply, but here in NYC space is such a luxury we can all use more of.

Whether you're moving too or just starting fresh for the new year, it's always good to clean out the old stuff to make room for the NEW. Now, that "stuff" doesn't need to be actual "stuff" it can be ideas, emotions, energy, habits... but it can also mean great new stuff :)

Spring Cleaning is a great idea, but it can happen any time of year... any time you want to shake things up, start fresh, invite a change. I've been doing some reading lately about Feng Shui as I have been thinking about how to decorate my new place, and some of the ideas really resonate with me, perhaps they will with you too. 
  • Keep an open pathway for energy to flow. I like this idea especially in the wintertime when we are less likely to open windows to bring in fresh air. This can mean a literal clutter free path, or a visually open pathway to allow the movement of ideas and energy. It will help clear thing up if you've been feeling stagnant. 
  • An often overlooked area of this is in corners, it's easy to stick things in the corner. Think about why they get stuck in the corner in the first place. When was the last time you cleaned out your corners? Believe me, I know how easy they are to forget about :)
  • Make sure you can open all doors easily with nothing blocking their path. Are you storing anything behind your doors keeping them closed? Keep the energy moving forward, and your possibilities open.
  • Clean out your space. This goes beyond the regular scrubbing. Go through your collections, closets, bookshelves, etc. If your shelves, drawers, closets are full there is no space open for anything new. You could be closing yourself off from new opportunities entering you life. 
These simple suggestions can make a big change. I invite you to see if there is anything in your way that you can get rid of. Ask yourself if it's still serving you. Would it help to let it go? What could you be making room for? A new relationship? A new career opportunity? A new sofa?

And, while it feels good to get rid of the old stuff, it also feels good to give to those less fortunate. You don't need to throw your gently loved items in the trash, please find a local charity to take your donation such as your local Goodwill or Salvation Army. Or you can have a party with your friends to swap stuff. It's a fun way to recycle, get new things without spending any money, and a great reason to get the gang together! (and whatever is left over can then be donated) 

Happy New Year! Best wishes for a prosperous and healthy 2010. hope you are well, xxtbone