Mermaids and Unicorns

April 10, 2017

First there were rainbows; multicolored foods such as bagels that took a perfectly good item and made it gimmicy and in my opinion, unappealing. But, what do I know? Those rainbow bagels made The Bagel Store in Brooklyn famous. Rainbow grilled cheese and even a rainbow burger quickly followed.

Just when you thought it was safe to eat foods in the colors that nature made them, the Mermaid and Unicorn trend hit. Similar to the rainbow trend, this go ’round features pastel hues and a more etherial, read: less regimented presentation.

Mermaid Toast:

via Kite Hill Foods

via Geewoonsanne

Unicorn pancakes:

 

via Amy Shock

and waffles:

via justlike_hannah

Breakfast may never be the same again!

via justlike_hannah

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The Long and Short of It

April 3, 2017

We are currently in a shirt cycle, with crisp, woven cotton shirts making a big statement for spring. This time around, the basics get an upgrade, with sleeve treatments and a play on proportion making the classic item look modern.

One of the more interesting trends in shirtings, is the long shirt worn over jeans. They sport uneven hemlines, and are often twisted or tucked in the front, and left flowing in the back. The look is edgy yet polished and can take you from the gloom of April showers all the way through the summer months.

This ankle skimming wrapped version adds a crisp twist to dark denim skinnies.

Asymmetric details update a classic bengal stripe shown here over cropped flares.

Kish

A waterfall hemline accent the pretty in pink shirt with a gathered empire line, worn over distressed denim crops.

Zara

Bold stripes get tucked into high waisted khakis, for a modern take on chinos.

image via Man Repeller

Eating On The Road

March 27, 2017

Traveling can wreck havoc on your diet. Take it from me, who just completed the last few days of a Whole30 while on a New England college tour.

We spent a few days last week, visiting a colleges with my 17 year old daughter. Having reached the final lap of my 30 day elimination diet; one which I have previously done twice before, I was pretty confident that I could get through this. This round was the easiest. I knew the ropes, and I didn’t have any cravings. I had settled into the boredom of it all, and since I was feeling pretty good, I just kept trudging through it.
The diet is extremely restrictive, yet when you are in charge of your own eating destiny, it’s not so bad. Lean protiens ( I don’t eat red meat but it is allowed) such as fish, chicken and eggs, vegetables and fruit are the mainstay of the program. No dairy, no grains, no legumes, no alcohol or sugar seem like foods easy to avoid, right? Well, that all depends on where you are.

We set the itinerary so that we never needed to drive more than 2 hours at a time, and scheduled one or two visits per day. We usually tried to get to the next destination early so that wouldn’t be in a panic looking for the admissions office, or finding parking, and then planned to get something to eat nearby. Since most of the schools were on spring break, there were few dining options open on campus. What was open was pretty sad. Grab and go options included tired sandwiches, (no bread, and no to many of the fillings and condiments) yogurt (dairy) and sometimes, if we were lucky, a wilted salad, or some fruit. That salad often had cheese, and croutons. Not so appetizing, or compliant.

I often ended up running to the meeting with just a cup of tea and toughing it out til the next break. One morning, we were evacuated from the hotel due to a fire alarm, and drove to the nearest cafe to wait it out. It was a charming place, filled with beautiful baked goods and not much else to choose from. Breakfast was a pass once again.

Timing between info sessions and tours always ended up being tighter than planned. A one hour tour could stretch to 75 minutes, and an info session could be followed by questions, leaving no time at all for lunch before getting to the next destination.  A big problem, when you didn’t get breakfast either!

Determined to stay compliant for these last few days (did I really want to blow it on day 29 with something I didn’t even enjoy?) I made the concession of eating just a banana, or a tiny little side salad without the requistite balance of protein and fat, just to survive. When we did have a little time, the choices in many of these towns were not easy to maneuver on Whole30. Lots of pasta, pizza, a little Chinese food ( no soy!) and a lot of fried, cheesy and meaty options. No wonder why the “freshman 15” is a real phenomenon. I have to admit, that even when not on Whole30, many of the food options were not for me.

At dinner, I combed local menus trying to find one in which I could come close to finding something  I could eat, and more importantly wanted to eat. One night was a salad without cheese, croutons or bacon with a vinaigrette dressing instead of the creamy blue cheese offered. On other nights, there was a simple chicken option that I requested without the risotto, pasta or mashed potatoes it came with, and they graciously added vegetables instead. They were slathered in butter, but at that point, beggars can’t be choosers!

The moral of this story is an obvious one: be prepared! When visiting new places, especially those in small towns, you don’t know what you are going to find. If grabbing a slice of pizza or a quick sandwich works for you, that’s great. Enjoy it! Even when not on Whole30, I tend to want to be more selective about my food. Some might call it fussy, or downright obsessive, but if you take care of your body, it will take care of you. Next time, I will plan ahead and bring portable snacks to tide me over when a fresh and healthy meal isn’t available. (Or splurge on something worthwhile…stale pizza is NOT ever worthwhile in my book! ) Here are a few suggestions that are easily portable, and don’t require refrigeration, which will be in my bag on the next loop:

Fruit: Apples, bananas etc. You can pre-wash a few pieces of fruit and wrap them in plastic wrap, so they are ready to eat regardless of where you might be. If you can find squeeze pouches of unsweetened applesauce, those are also a great choice.

Packets of nut butters: Whole30 doesn’t allow peanut butter (which I HATE anyways),but they do allow almond and cashew butters. While an opened jar of nut butter should get refrigerated, Justin’s makes single serve packets that can be tossed into your bag and are easy to eat. Just don’t get tempted by the white chocolate or maple versions, which are against the rules.

Nuts: It’s amazing the protein jolt that a handful or two of nuts can provide. Bring your favorites along for a great snack, or to add to that sad little cup of fruit or lettuce to up the nutritional ante. Word of caution: nut calories add up fast.

Jerky: I don’t eat meat, but there are some high end jerkies around that people swear by. Krave is thought to be one of the best, as it is all natural and free of additives, both of the chemical and the sugary variety.

Bars: Most protien bars are sugar bombs, and aren’t too dissimilar to a candy bar. Kind bars are good for you, but not Whole 30 compliant. If you are just being health conscious, they open up a world of great options.  Some Larabars are sort of Whole 30 compliant, although they fall into the area of pretending to be something you shouldn’t have, made of ingredients you can have; a no-no on a regime that is trying to change your relationship with food. The plan stresses eliminating those things for the 30 day period, so that you aren’t sustaining cravings for foods that aren’t good for you. So, although that bar doesn’t contain any banned ingredients, if it is pretending to be a cherry pie, and that defeats the purpose of the program. However, if you aren’t on Whole30 and just want a healthy snack, these can be a great alternative, and viable Whole30 emergency food (if you can find them! )

Anyone who has done Whole30 will tell you that it’s all about meal planning and food prep. Having the right ingredients and the right whole, fresh foods at the ready makes the process so much easier. The same holds true if you are travelling, especially if you are not in a large metropolitan area that has row after row of food shops and restaurants.

I have finished the official plan, but hope to stay compliant with pre-meditated “cheats” that are well worth calories, and potential food hangover that follows. I’m thinking there is a glass of red wine in my not too distant future, and I hope to savor every drop!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unrecipe of the Week: Beet Hummus

March 13, 2017

 

 

Rainbow carrots, beets and radishes, ready to roast. I bet those carrots would have made a delicious hummus too!

Once again, I am in the throes of Whole 30, a healthy elimination diet that is geared towards breaking up with the foods that may be inflammatory to you for a whole 30 days, in effort to better your health, and change your relationship with food. Similar to the Paleo diet, it encourages you to eat fresh, whole foods and eliminate grains, dairy, legumes, sugar, alcohol and anything processed. That pretty much leaves you with fruit, vegetables, meat, poultry, seafood and eggs, with a few nuts ( not peanuts!) thrown in for good measure. Unlike the Paleo diet, any form of sweetner, or foods that are compliant, but resembling other foods, are out of the question. Read: alternative grain pancakes, breads or pastas etc.

Most of the time, it’s not so bad, but as the days wear on, it can get a bit dull. Couple that with not being a meat eater and it gets really dull. I thumb through recipe books to find interesting vegetable dishes, and dismiss many of them for having a non-compliant ingredient. Beans, grains, a little crumbled cheese or a drizzle of honey disqualifies the dish from Whole30 compliance. I’m not dying for a pizza, or a cookie; just a new texture, or flavor profile to break up the monotony of it all.

Today, I made a roasted beet hummus accompanied by a pile of raw vegetables to dip in it. The creamy consistancy, the beautiful magenta color and the jolt of tahini hit all of my senses in new way. It’s a great snack, and pairs well with a simple piece of broiled salmon, or a bowl of cold shrimp. Tahini, made of sesame seeds, is also a source of plant based protein. Although hummus is traditionally made from garbanzo beans ( chick peas), it is much like making pesto, where the main ingredient is easily changeable with interesting results.

Beet hummus with carrots and celery

Beet Hummus:

Scrub and trim 3 or 4 beets and toss them with olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt.
Roast for about 1 hour at 375 degrees until they are easily pierced with a fork.

Once they are cool enough to handle, rub them gently to remove the skin. Place the beets in the bowl of the food processor with a clove or two of garlic, about 1/4 cup of tahini, and the juice of a lemon. Blend until smooth. Taste to correct flavors.
Beets vary in size, so you may need to add more tahini, lemon, salt or garlic depending on your taste.

Serve drizzled with a little olive oil and sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds as a garnish if desired.

Enjoy!

Check out our post on Cauliflower Hummus for another variation.

Photos by Glasshouse Images and indigo jones.

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International Women’s Day

March 8, 2017

“I raise up my voice-not so I can shout but so that those without a voice can be heard…we cannot succeed when half of us are held back.” –  Malala Yousafzai

“The difference between a broken community and a thriving one is the presence of women who are valued.” –   Michelle Obama

“Of all the evils for which man has made himself responsible, none is so degrading, so shocking or so brutal as his abuse of the better half of humanity; the female sex.” – Mahatma Gandhi

“I do not wish them (women) to have power over men; but over themselves.” –  Mary Wollstonecraft

Today is International Women’s Day. Please show your support to women owned businesses today and everyday, and support our quest for equality, freedom of choice, and respect. Surely, those are ideals we, as women can all rally around.

indigo jones and indigo jones eats are proud to be women owned businesses.

Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Caramelizing Without a Blow Torch

March 7, 2017

Writing Kitchen Tips Tuesday gets tough after awhile. It is hard to come up with legitimate tips to share, week after week without running out of them. I just saw a video clip of this one, and it is definitely one we don’t all know and use on the reg.

When making things like meringues and creme brûlée, chef’s use a small kitchen blow torch to caramelize the sugar on top. I have placed things under the broiler in a pinch, but it takes constant watching, turning and stealth speed to make sure it doesn’t burn.

But what if you don’t own a small blow torch?

via Food Network

This tip, from Jeff Mauro of The Kitchen on The Food Network, uses a metal measuring cup to do the job. Sprinkle sugar on top of creme brulee, flan or even a lemon tart, heat a flat bottomed measuring cup on the stove, and carefully, using a pot holder to grab the hot handle, press the cup down on the sugared surface. You will hear a big sizzle, signaling that the sugar has melted and is fully caramelized.  Viola! A crisp caramel top without using any special equipment at all!

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This Is Why We Ride

March 6, 2017

 

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Last weekend marked my eighth ride for Cycle for Survival. I have been a commited supporter, ever since the founder, Jennifer Goodman Linn encouraged me to get involved many years ago.

We met in my office at the company where she was newly employed, and making the rounds of meet and greets company executives. During her rotation with me, as we were getting to know one another, she mentioned her passion for cycling, that her hair was a wig, and that every Friday afternoon, she went for her weekly “spa treatments,” as she referred to her chemo regimen. I’m not sure of much else, but I think she had me at wig. I was impressed at how open and honest about her illness she was, and how she never let it hold her back. Jen was an inspiration to all that came in contact with her. During her long battle with a rare form of sarcoma, she never wavered in her enthusiasm for life, and helping others like herself find a cure for this deadly disease. Through that love of cycling, and immense gratitude to her doctors and staff at Memorial Sloane Kettering Cancer Center, she started a charity ride at Equinox, to raise money for her cause. Who ever would have imagined that years later, that spin class would turn into more than 31,000 people riding at Equinox locations all across the country and raising more than  $132,000,000 to date? I vowed to ride until I could no longer move my legs, or we found a cure and didn’t need to. I was committed, and passionate about the cause and that passion was contagious.

This year however, something changed. It became increasingly more difficult to fill my team roster. My team of 16 dwindled to 4. Solicating donations was tougher than prior years. As a result of all this, even the event itself left me feeling a little disconnected. The current political climate certainly affected things, and people are spread very thin right now when it comes to rallying for causes and shelling out money for support. I get that. But I think some of the longtime participants may have a little “event fatigue.” It occurred to me, after I got home and thought about it, that it was no longer about Jen. Even after she passed away, she was still a presence at the events. From sharing her 40th birthday dance video, to her parents running around in satin robes with boxing gloves, fighting cancer in their own way, to Sloane Kettering naming a research lab in her honor, Jen was always still there in spirit. But this year, she wasn’t.

Don’t get me wrong, I am thrilled to see how big this event has become, and the goal was always to raise as much money as possible. But I missed the human factor that made it so special. I started to question if it was time to let the next wave take over.  That is, until an email came into my inbox. It was from a women named Heather Von St. James, and she was celebrating her 11th year of survival from a deadly form of cancer called mesothelioma that she discovered just 3 months after giving birth to her daughter.  Today, I finally had enough time to explore her blog and read her story, and it is an uplifting one.  Given just 15 months to live, Heather traveled to Boston to undergo what was then, a groundbreaking surgical proceedure, followed by subsequent rounds of chemo and radiation therapy that would hopefully increase her chances of living another 10 years. Defying all odds, she is still healthy 11 years later, and is using her experience to spread awareness and help others fighting this disease.

heather2

She approached me to use this space to help her bring awareness to mesothelioma, and it’s treatment. Her blog tells her story in a way that I never could, outlining her struggles, her fear and her triumphant road to recovery. While I was reading, wiping away tears, it hit me. This is why we ride. Not for Jen, but for the many, many Jens out there, who fight the battle against cancer every day and win. For the Heathers, the family, friends and co-workers who get diagnosed every day and need the support and treatment that isn’t always readily available to them. We ride to find a cure, or at the very least a protocol that can extend one’s life. It’s not about any one person. It is about coming together to fight a demon that affects us all.

Unlike our political state right now, cancer does not discriminate. It doesn’t care about race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. It doesn’t care if  you are a Democrat, or a Republican. And it needs to be stopped. When you or a loved one is diagnosed with cancer, there are no alternative facts. It is a life or death issue that we need rally around.

If you would like to donate to Cycle for Survival or Heather Von St. James’ Lung Leavin’ Day Fundraiser please click on the links. If you’d like to learn more about mesothelioma and the dangers of asbestos exposure read here.

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Fashion Activists

March 1, 2017
Kelsey Fairhurst

Kelsey Fairhurst

The state of the States is a recurring theme worldwide, with designers taking a political stand in their collections being shown this month. With New York, London, and Milan under our belts, it seems that human rights are on everyone’s minds this fashion cycle.

Prabal Gurung created tee shirts inspired by the issues of the Women’s Marches, and hopes to be able to allow purchasers a choice of which charity the proceeds from their shirt will support. An immigrant himself, Gurung feels he owes it to the country that gave him so many opportunities, to use his voice to promote justice.

via Forbes

via Forbes

Jonathan Simkhai made his views clear by wearing an activist tee shirt while taking his bows at his recent show.

via Vogue.com

via Vogue.com

The tee is available for pre-sale on his website, and will cost $95, with proceeds going to Planned Parenthood.

screen-shot-2017-02-28-at-11-41-23-am

Public School put their own tongue in cheek spin on things, with their red “Make America New York” caps.

via Vogue.com

via Vogue.com

 

Meanwhile, across the pond, Donatella Versace incorporated impowering messages into her Versace runway collection:

via Vogue.com

via Vogue.com

via Vogue.com

via Vogue.com

One of the most meaningful statements came from Missoni, who sent all of the models down the runway for the finale, wearing pink pussy hats, which were also the gift left on editors and buyers seats at the show. Designer Angela Missoni took a moment to address the crowd, stating. “There is a bond between us that will keep us strong and safe. The bond that unites all those who respect human rights. Let’s show the world that the fashion community is united and fearless!”

via Glamour

via Glamour

This activism started last season, with Maria Grazia Chiuri notably showing a feminist statement tee shirt with an embellished skirt at Dior.

via Vogue.com

via Vogue.com

We expect to see the trend continue to develop as Paris Fashion Week begins, and even more designers choose to use thier platforms to entice, as well as incite us to take action.

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#tiedtogether

February 13, 2017
photo via Business of Fashion

photo via Business of Fashion

Fashion insiders will be donning white bandanas this fashion week, in a quiet show of solidarity, unity and inclusiveness.
The movement, started by The Business of Fashion website, asks that designers and show attendees participate in the initiative.

To get involved, simply tie a white bandana around your wrist, neck, head or bag and upload a selfie to social media with the hashtag #tiedtogether.

 

photo via Business of Fashion

photo via Business of Fashion

Designers are being urged to include the bandanas as an accessory in their show, and to wear one when taking their final bows, to spread the message throughout the month of international fashion weeks.

Intended to be a positive statement, not a political one, the creators hope to show support to human issues worldwide.

 

photo via Business of Fashion

photo via Business of Fashion

Stay tuned to see some style statements that could be the start of a major fashion trend.

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Best Laid Plans

February 9, 2017

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I am currently in the midst of a pink marshmallow nightmare. My fingertips have little tiny cuts on them, and all the scrubbing and soaking is not getting the chocolate out from under my fingernails. It’s Valentine’s Day, and I am happily inundated with orders for mostly heart shaped sweet treats. This morning, it took a little internal pep talk to get me up and out and ready to dive back into the task at hand. Here are a few of the tips and tricks I’m using to get through the latest holiday rush: (BTW, wasn’t the last holiday rush just a few weeks ago?)

These tips work whether you are shipping hundreds of s’mores, or planning a dinner party:

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Mis en place: You’ve heard me mention this before, and although it has a little different format in this case, the concept still works. Mis en place, is a French term for “putting everything in it’s place.” For many chefs, that means having all of the washing, chopping and even some of the measuring done in advance. In this instance, that meant that I pre-ordered or puchased my ingredients ahead of time, and made all of my different doughs, (which can live nicely in the refrigerator for a few days) early in the week so that I just need to roll and bake them along the way.

Categorize: Rather than fill the orders one by one, I have been trying to make all the like items at once where possible. That means that all the fortune cookies are done, and I am finishing what I hope will be the last of the hot chocolate sticks, before starting the s’mores. Since my product is perishable, and there is a singular “due date”so it pretty much has to be done over the course of just a couple of days.

All the retail orders got shipped last week, and any orders that didn’t request waiting for Valentine’s delivery have been moving through, but it feels like for every order I shipped, 3 more grew back in it’s place. ( NOT COMPLAINING!)

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Pick the most daunting task and get it done first: Right now, the hot chocolate sticks are my kryptonite. I have made a ton of them, and wiggling the chocolate out of the heart shaped cutter is slow and messy process. This morning, I am committed to getting all of the heart shaped ones finished off and packaged so I can move on to the next. Since I cut most of them last night, it’s just busy work that will feel so fulfilling once it is complete.

Make a list and check it twice. I keep going back through the orders and double checking them. I am down to the last 24 or so, but in checking them carefully last night, I realized that many of them not only had multiple items, but also multiple quantities. Because my individual elements (marshmallows, hot chocolate, dough etc. ) need to be made and allowed to set for many hours before using them, I need to make sure I am not caught short at the last minute. That means, don’t just check, but break it down. I figured out how many more marshmallows I needed across the various items, how many batches of chocolate, or dough, etc. For a dinner party, it might equate to how many onions and garlic cloves you can dice at once to be used across several dishes. Work smart.

Don’t put off for tomorrow, what you can do today. At midnight, when I finally finished up, I forced myself to replenish a couple of batches of marshmallows and some hot chocolate so it would be ready to use in the morning. I am so glad that I did. It frees up the pans for the next batches, and gives me something to work with without having to wait several hours to use them.

Give yourself the satisfaction of crossing things off that list! Somehow, crossing things off, or shipping things out and having the order leave the queue is very satisfying, and takes a little stress off as the list gets shorter.

Take mini breaks to keep productivity high. Check email, read the paper,have a snack,  or even take a 15 minute nap when you need it to keep yourself going for long periods of time. Sometimes hitting your personal reset button is all it takes to get refreshed and reinvigorated.

Promise yourself a treat when it’s over. Have something to set your sights on, even if it is as simple as sleeping in, having a glass of wine, or binging a new tv show. Give yourself something to look forward to, to keep you moving towards your goal.

What do you do to get through big projects at work or at home? Tell us in the comments.

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