Parade.com: Citrus Orzo Salad with Smoked Salmon

Citrus Orzo Salad with Smoked Salmon

Over Thanksgiving weekend, I ate four slices of my dad’s German Chocolate Cake, half of his sweet potato pie, one slice of my aunt’s famous buttery two-layer vanilla cake with chocolate frosting, and another piece of celebration vanilla cake. Of course, those were just the desserts. The following Monday, I was in the gym running, lifting weights, and stretching my body into redemption. There’s the traditional reason for this type of gluttonous eating during this time of year: The body needs the extra fat to keep warm during the colder months. Then, there’s the modern reason: Guilty am I of being greedy.  Read more

#HealthyHoliday Soul Food Blog Carnival: Mediterranean-Inspired Salad with Cauliflower Couscous

Mediterranean-Inspired Salad with Cauliflower Couscous

Everyone has their own definition of what being healthy means. For me, it’s enjoying mostly–within my budget and whenever possible–organic food my body allows in moderation. Sure, organic cow’s whole milk is used when cooking, but drinking a glass of whole milk isn’t for me. White sugar is gradually being replaced with coconut sugar (I’m giving away the white stuff). Wheat doesn’t affect me at all, but I’m experimenting with coconut flour. And, there’s plenty of soul recipes on this site with healthy alternatives, such as Black-eye Pea and Wild Brown Rice Risotto with Seared Baby Lamb Chops and Saute Swiss Chard, Duck and Turnip Stew with Dandelion Greens and Red Beans and Chicken with Wild RiceRead more

Parade Magazine: Heirloom Tomato and Green Beans with Ginger Vinaigrette

Heirloom Tomato and Green Beans with Ginger Vinaigrette

Photo by Bill Kontzias at http://www.billkphotography.com

Farmer’s markets have many varieties of heirloom tomatoes, and they’re expensive because of high demand. However, when I see them, they bring memories of tomatoes growing in my father’s backyard. Their irregular, bulbous shape with a fresh cut strong stem indicates a juicy tomato ready for picking. It didn’t matter if they were mild green for frying in cornmeal or fiery red for a garden salad. Today, those same type of tomatoes still grow in my father’s backyard for free. Since, he lives a few states away, I purchase them for too many dollars per pound at fancy markets in New York. Regardless of price, I continue to buy them, because their sweet taste reminds me of home. As a New Yorker, I’m influenced by diverse cultures, including adding tons of ginger, a hint of fresh mint, rice vinegar and a dash of sesame oil to a vinaigrette traditionally made with a no-frill oil, vinegar, salt and black pepper that is tossed with green beans and tomatoes. Since most of the ingredients are in my pantry, the vinaigrette is cheaper to make versus the price of a large heirloom tomato. Only in New York…  Read more

When Stress is too Much and Sleep is too Little

Kale and Friseé Salad, Seared Tuna, Croutons and Matcha Green Tea Vinaigrette

As this is being written, it’s almost 2 in the morning. There’s a major deadline at work. A major deadline at home. There was a major deadline missed on Monday. Taxes are due in April. And, I’m trying to maintain what’s left of my sanity. My body aches every time I wake up in the morning. It begs for a few days of sleep. Normally, when waking up in the morning, I reach for a bold cup of coffee to feebly add a little energy to my tired body. This time a generous cup of The Republic of Tea’s u·matcha Green Tea Latte (recipe here) is whisked into a foamy drink. Matcha is green tea leaves grinded into a fine powder, and it has more caffeine than whole tea leaves. The amount of caffeine doesn’t cause my nerves to become jittery like coffee. Instead, the matcha (as with most teas) steadily increases my energy in an unnoticeable calm manner. With a banana, whole wheat toast slathered with butter and marmalade, I calmly start the day to weave in and out of crowded subways to walk up numerous stairs that lead into work.  Read more

Show Thy Body Some Love

Orange and Yellow Beet Salad with Kalamata Olives and Oregano

Ummmm… expecting chocolate? Yes, Valentine’s Day is this week. And, I delivered a salad with oranges and yellow beets. Ha… the ingredients aren’t aphrodisiacal, too. Well, I have other thoughts on my mind. Such as establishing a workout regime in my schedule. I shamefully stopping working out sometime in 2012, and I had the audacity to indulge in any and all pastries without guilt (ohhh… chocolate cake, where are you now?). Last year was an extremely good year, and we celebrated hard. The down side to the happy time, is a first-time in my life struggle with extra weight gain. And, it’s not a happy sight to see… or feel. Damn be anyone who tells me to love my body the way it is. I refuse to accept it, if I’m not working out.

Here’s my excuse: I had two separate foot injuries, dealt with a difficult cough the first few months of 2012, started a new job and running bored me. This week, I finally joined a gym. Instead of being mad at myself for stopping my workout routine, I ended my first day of class by saying, “I’m proud of you.”  Read more