Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Wholefoods salad bar in the fridge

It looks like everyone is experiencing hotter than usual temperatures. These days stores are ghost towns, with only a handful of people shopping. I write it off to thinking that everyone is too hot to do anything, and floats in a pool with a cool cucumber cocktail in hand or swings softly, napping, in a hammock with a book on their face.

I am definitely too lazy too cook much, and this lead to me eating out a lot more often, including skipping meals altogether for some eating ice cream. Hey, it is summer.  This week I tried something else: make my fridge look like a Wholefoods salad bar. That one always works for me…… would  a few tasty, prepared and cold salads ready to sample from have the same effect? Just grabbing a bit of this and a bit of that to make a meal really quickly?

The whole prepping started out with a big batch of this tasty quinoa, made not just with water or broth, but with some onion, garlic, white wine, and broth.  It works with everything and can be dressed up into a salad with some sliced almonds, mango, and green onions.

The second salad was one that I found on my summer trips through the beautiful, sleepy, small villages of Maine, in the Blue Hill Coop. They call it the Rawr Kale Salad, and it lives up to its name: it’s raw and rarrrrr! A combination of sliced massaged raw kale, shredded carrots, pumpkin seeds, a vinaigrette and …. pickled jalapenos for the rarrrrrr!

I can’t bring myself anymore to eat too much hardly digestible raw kale so I adapted the recipe to a mix of raw and shortly sauteed kale, which gives the salad a great texture, lots of crunch, chewy kale and a kick of spice.


RawRRRRR Kale Salad (Inspired by Blue Hill Coop)

  • half a bunch of lacinato kale (ca. 10 large leaves), sliced into 1/2 in stripes
  • 1/2 cup white wine or water
  • 1 large carrot, shredded
  • 2 pickled jalapenos, diced (I pickle my own, but store-bought are just fine)
  • 2-3 TB roasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1 TB sunflower oil (or olive or grapeseed oil)
  • salt to taste
  • juice of 1/2 lemon

Preparation (Makes 2 large servings):

  1. Separate the kale into 3 equal sized portions. Set one portion aside.
  2. In a pan, heat the white wine or water, and add 2/3 of the sliced kale. Saute for about 3 minutes, until the kale is wilted and broken down but still slightly raw.
  3. In a large salad bowl, add the remaining 1/3 of the kale, the shredded carrot, the jalapenos and the pumpkin seeds, and mix.
  4. Add the sauted kale with its liquids (it can be still hot), and add the sunflower oil. Mix well.
  5. Add salt for taste.
  6. Juice a half lemon over the salad and mix again. Serve!

This salad is great right after preparation or chilled from the fridge. Lasts about 3-4 days in the fridge. Great picnic and beach salad!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Things I like Sunday

It is a sweltering summer this year, temperatures in the 90s without end. This is the time to drive to the coast, and hope for a cool ocean breeze. The ocean water is definitely very cold.

  • Snapchat follows: a few month ago I started to follow people on snapchats. Some people can get old very fast, because they are so annoying. Most people, actually. However, 2 people are gems to follow: my No 1 is Gwen Stefani, who is currently on tour, and one of her son Kingston works those filters like a pro. The second one is Kate Hudson, who is also, although she is gorgeous and hip, mostly funny and ridiculous on her snapchats.  I guess funny works for me. People giving me pouty lip kit looks, snaps of their food, or cocktails in bars, or babies, that gets old really fast…. Swipe! Maybe, Kourtney’s sweaty exercise are inspiring.
  • Now, love this ! Not just organic milk, but grass-fed milk.
  • The Big Magic: I once listened to Elizabeth’s Gilbert TED talk about inspiration and genius (Elisabeth Gilbert of Eat, Pray, Love). It rang a bell. What if genius is not us, but a genie sitting in the walls, waiting to talk to us, once we get serious about writing? This summer I bought her book, The Big Magic. It’s wonderful. Lighthearted, magical… waiting for those mystical forces, the ideas zipping by, and being caught on paper.
  • Summer make-up: This stuff rocks in the summer. It is barely a hint of color, but makes for an even skin tone. I typically use the Bare minerals Complexion Rescue, which is very light, but this is even lighter.

Stay cool!


(source: andrew scrivani, instagram)

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Cucumber Zucchini Salad

It is summer and we are in the middle of it. We can’t remember how it was that there was not summer yet and cannot imagine it ever to end. The best of time.

I am a bit lazy when it comes to produce shopping these days. When I go to the farmers market, I stock up, but I have a hard time convincing myself to go to the grocery store. But I love English cucumbers in the summer and I love yellow summer squash, in ratatouille or grilled. In a more or less lazy but hungry mood I combined both for lunches lately.

Using a mandoline, slicing a chunk of cucumber (about a 1/3 of a cucumber) and 1 medium sized summer squash into very fine slices, and dousing it with a vinaigrette of sweet rice wine vinegar, sunflower oil, salt, pepper and finely chopped chives from the garden. It is easy to make, refreshing for hot summer days, and a great mix of crunchy (cucumbers!) and soft and chewy (zucchini). The sweet and salty vinaigrette comes close to a German cucumber salad. I switch out the vinaigrette and make a (lazy) creamy sauce with Greek yogurt mixed with a tablespoon of home-made pesto. It is herby and garlicky, and comes close to a Greek tzatziki in a bowl.


Monday, July 18, 2016

Sayonara, summer pounds

The summer slowly passes this year. Day by day, with currently very hot and humid weather. I sleep with a fan slowly purring and the cats lay in the window all night to get some of the cooler air. Unlike other summers I prefer to stay at home this year.  I feel like a child again, playing hopscotch, and loosing myself in the endless days.

With living slowly, however, came a peril. I seem not to be able to shed a few pounds that I picked up over the winter. It is a relief to know what works for me. That, that if I do it, I will be in my best shape again, not just in good shape. For many, many years I actually did not know what to do. I seemed to be on a permanent diet and I still did not lose anything. Now I know what works (for me), but I seem to have a hard time applying it this year. There are summer BBQs, a glass of rose on the porch here, and an ice cream cone there. No big deal, all part of living the summer, but I still long to fit in my (currently a bit too snug ) jeans again, with summer half passed.

While consistency is key, distraction seems to be more important. Having days filled with activities that make me feel fulfilled, and not just have time lap away by watching endless shows on netflix and dabble in not much, on the side. Asking myself what I do for the rest of my day: do I have fun? Real fun? Do I feel my day was worthwhile? Did I have a good experience? A plan? Is my day full with fulfilling, meaningful activities? Or was I lazy and took the easy way out (aka netflix)?  Then, for some reason, those pounds seem to magically sail away, waving sayonara, on their way out.

I guess I need a plan.  A ‘fun’ plan.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

On crappy days, do crappy things.

It is July, and while it has been wonderful weatherwise, for most of it, the last 4 days were overcast, dark and much colder. I feel like my the solar light string on my deck: if  it does not recharge with sufficient sunlight the bulbs look dim and sad. Thanks to the weather forecast, I know this stretch is limited.  Yesterday I tried to make it through the remaining 2 bad weather day, with a chance of residual fun.  I found myself trying to set a direction that would give me at least a little bit of joy, but in the end, I did not succeed. I was plain bored and annoyed and without ideas. I sat in starbucks and after my coffee, still not feeling any more inspired, I simply started doing some work stuff that I normally find tedious and postpone. No, I did not make me feel better. But I did distract myself for a few hours from being annoyed.

Today is another crappy day, and I don’t even want to get out of bed and start the struggle.  Instead of ringing in another self pity party with “But this is so unfair, this is summer, there should be good weather!”, I cave. I say to myself, “ok, so, another crappy day. Life is going into this down turn, but it will go up again, on its own. Life is just this meandering road, ups and downs. This is just a blimp on the larger landscape. Today, it is down, and no matter what I do I will likely not change it. So, why not accept it, and embrace it. If it is a crappy day, why not plan to get more crappy things out of my way, that might be the time for it, because it can’t get much worse.”


I think acceptance is the first step to turn things around, to transform them. If we fight them, through complaints, stones, bombs or assault rifles, we are like petulant children, wanting to get our way. But things get worse, resistance from all sides will ensue. If we accept that life does not go the way we expect it or feel we have a right for it to go, then we accept reality. We accept that our wishes are not the center of the world, but that life is bigger than what we want. That we also don’t always know what’s best. Humility. Maybe, this is what the world needs today. A bit more humility.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Summer in Maine

Summer is in full swing. This weekend summer takes a break with some necessary rain but the coming week looks intimidating with several days in a row with temperatures over 90F.  We are all taking it in.


Driving down the familiar winding roads, with the great views of bays, coves and sailboats.

A hiking (or driving up) the mountain like on Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park to enjoy the vistas.

Admiring local pottery.

Some good eats, like in this brand new restaurant in Northeast  Harbor (NEH seems to have been ‘discovered’ by tourists this summer, and, like most other places on Mount Desert Island, is now a zoo and loud, hmm).

A big of walking the backways in Bar Harbor.

Taking refuge in a TeaHouse with a zen tea ceremony.

And more of the same.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Me and my life

What is this about getting older, being settled, maybe with a long-term job, a house, a family, and feeling that life is just an endless list of chores, of predictable, necessary maintenance tasks? An endless repeat of getting up, clean your teeth, make coffee, feed the dog, the kids, the husband, start work, come home, cook dinner, do the dishes, clean your teeth, sprinkled with mow the lawn, go grocery shopping, do laundry,  go for a run and wash your hair.

When you are young, everything is exciting and in flux, and you don’t know where you end up next. A new job? A new city? A new relationship that can turn into permanent. A new baby! Another one! Each step is exciting and potentially a big change. So much uncertainty. But once you are settled, the uncertainty evaporates. It all seems like an endless repeat, on autopilot. Being support staff of life, where life and its demands has us, instead of the other way around: where we are the majestros of life, and everyone else playing the music. What if you don’t have someone to play music for you? Or they drag their feet about playing music you like?

Maybe, I am just approaching midlife crisis mode.

I can understand that people try to break the routine by slithering into an affair to bring the fun back. To not feel like a mule of drudgery. Because sometimes even the thrill of having too many shoes loses its magic.

Maybe, it is just attitude. Life does not really change, but a change of attitude and approach can make it look very different.  I guess the question is ‘who is the mule and who is the rider?’ If I feel like the mule, life sucks. But if I take the position as a rider, I have more decision power, I can decide on the course, the tempo, the stops, the breaks. I can even kiss and snuggle the mule and be grateful that it carries me in the first place, day in, day out, and gives me such a great ride. Even if I ride in a circle.  I am riding. I am living.

Happy July 4th!