Monday, August 31, 2015

Back to school with beaches on my mind

So, there we are. Summer is over and school starts again today. The transition was met with the usual short phase of depression, of “Oh, no, it can’t be!”, but protest does not make anything easier, and here we are. Freshly scrubbed and full of energy.


This morning I saw these arial photos of Italy’s beaches. Yes, this is how I remember it. Since I live in Maine, I realize how necessary it is to stay away from soooo many people to really relax, and I enjoy myself the Maine beaches. Just enough people for comfort.

The weather is still golden, warm, hot even, and the coast is calling my name. Fortunately, we still have a long weekend ahead of us. It is the time of apple picking, and inexpensive heirloom  tomatoes at the farmers market, of taking the bike to work to avoid the battle for parking spots on campus, and a silent hope that summer will turn into Indian summer and last until the end of October.

Last week, I had to renew my library card, and so I perused the cookbook section and borrowed a few classic like “Super Natural Every Day” and “Momofuku” for renewed cooking inspiration. Since I cancelled my TV subscription (and now binge-watch TV series on Hulu)  I really miss Food TV and the Cooking Channel. Unfortunately, they are not part of any streaming deal (yet). 

Anyway, I am rambling. With back to work, I hope to come back with more recipes soon.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Vacation, Part 2

It’s vacation weeks around here. Here are some impressions. Island time.





Farmers market in Belfast

free range dogs and chickens.

Indoors at Chase’s Daily

Old Port, Portland

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Vacation like a tourist

It’s been quiet around this little blog, mostly due to summer, a lot of work and letting loose. I still have a few milestones until I release myself on a 2 week vacation but I take work to the beach. Good if you can. One half of me enjoys the salty, tangy sea breeze and the other half gets work done. Not bad.

Here are a few impressions from the last weeks.

It is an event if there is a Rolls Royce Convertible in Belfast. Even men take selfies with the car.

Otherwise, the new find in Belfast is “Meanwhile in Belfast”, a Neapolitan Pizzeria, run by an Italian family with just the best pizzas. The colors of white and pastel make the place look fresh and cozy.

And that is the sandwich…. with fresh baked bread.

It is August, and people actually swim in the ocean. Brrrh.

I am not sure what happened here, maybe a paparazzi convention in Rockland?

I had not been in Rockland for at least 5-6 years, and new stores have popped up, like this gorgeous, local version of a Wholefoods, with a nice hot bar (Main Street Market, Rockland, ME).

Acai bowl for me!

Another place I hung out this summer, accidentally, is Havana in Bar Harbor. It is ‘far away’ (maybe a half Mile) from the center of the tourist craze, there are plenty of parking spots, it is quiet and it has excellent food. What’s not to like.

The outdoor patio of Havana’s.

Home-made pickled vegetables at Havana’s.

And, yes, working with a view (Northeast Harbor, ME).

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Internet Vegan Recipe Finds

Since I eat (mostly) plant-based, it is key for me to make hearty, flavorful meals that leave me satisfied. In that regard, I am a ‘foodie’ (<—dreaded word) as ever. With cutting out entire food groups, it becomes a creative challenge to come up with new recipes. Here are some vegan internet recipes that inspire me to try something new. They seem to be promising in the flavor, texture and satisfaction department.


  • Baked Potatoes with Black Beans and Salsa
To make it: bake or microwave a few Yukon Gold potatoes, then top with black beans and salsa. Dress with lime juice, jalapeno slices, hot sauce, and cilantro, and you’ve got one of the cheapest meals you can eat with next to no active cooking time.
  • Bengali Red Lentils or Spicy Lentil Soup
To make it: bake or microwave a few Yukon Gold potatoes, then top with black beans and salsa. Dress with lime juice, jalapeno slices, hot sauce, and cilantro, and you’ve got one of the cheapest meals you can eat with next to no active cooking time

Recipe link for Bengali Red Lentils.

Recipe link for Spicy Lentil Soup.

  • Romaine Salad with Beans and Tahini Dressing

Use a whole head of lettuce and half a can of beans for single salad. To fancy it up, add some carrots,  …

Tahini dressing: blend together a half-cup of tahini, a quarter-cup of lemon juice, 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, and 2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce. Then thin with water (you’ll likely need a half cup or more) and add a dash of hot sauce to taste.

  • Cauliflower Steaks
Slice cauliflower head into think slices in and grill on BBQ or in pan. Add a nice dressing.


In other vegan news:

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Fitness tracker comparison: Jawbone UP3 vs. Fitbit Charge HR

Note: all opinions are my own and this is a non-sponsored post.

I’ve been using fitness trackers for a very long time, about 10 years. My favorite is still the Bodymedia (or “bodybugg”) armband, since it is the most accurate with its sensor, still to this day, although the company seems to have folded and no longer sells them directly (they’ve been bought by Jawbone). In the summer, I don’t like wearing the big armband and so I look for less obvious trackers. --- Last year, I bought a regular fitbit and a Jawbone Up. While they are ok and basically step counters, they lack the ability to track sleep quality accurately. This year, I was intrigued that the Jawbone UP3 had come out and has skin sensors similar to the body bugg. Since Jawbone had bought Bodymedia I had high hopes.


My gray/silver Jawbone UP3 arrived end of June, and I’ve been wearing it since. The good thing about it --- sleep tracking is really good. The negative: it does not do much with regard to activity estimation. The core of the Jawbone UP3 is that it works with resting heart rate. Therefore, I get detailed information on sleep patterns. When I go running it does detect the activity and asks me to confirm. However, if I have a day where I just run around a lot, it is basically a step counter, and does not add this information to my calorie burn. --- That started to be annoying to me--- I had to manually enter that I ‘walked’ for 1 h to get a semi-accurate calorie burn for the day. “For this, I paid $180?! It is all manual.” --- On Sunday, I was annoyed enough to decide to compare it with a Fitbit Charge HR. I will return eventually one of them, but turns out they are both not ideal.